Video Game Reviews – December 2009

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Forza Motorsport 3
Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft
Reviewed On: Xbox 360 (exclusive)
Street: 10.27
Remember when racing games consisted of only four basic maneuvers? All you needed was left, right, stop and go. Those were the days, right? Well, it’s time to grow the hell up and strap into the infinite possibilities the third installment of the Forza series has to offer. Forget the fact that there’s over 400 customizable cars and more than 100 real world tracks to master—the detailed craftsmanship devoted to each vehicle, whether it’s a $16,000 Honda Fit or a $1.5 million Bugatti Veyron, has surpassed any and all predecessors on every level imaginable. The high-end graphics project the sleekest images ever seen with a driving simulator, which constantly tricks the mind to question if what you’re witnessing is real or not. The developers also integrated a plethora of difficulty options allowing the most novice of players the ability to enjoy a spin around the course. The only factor not settling well is the newest assist feature: game play rewind. While the sensation of totaling your car after 30 minutes of racing is unpleasant to say the least, the ability to sweep up the chaos as though it never happened and still win comes across as cheap.  Don’t let that one fault sway you from experiencing the year’s greatest racing title. –Jimmy Martin

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
Vicarious Visions/Activision
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also On: PS3, Wii, Nintendo DS, PSP, PS2
Street: 09.15
All of the core mechanics that made the first MUA game a blast to play remain the same for the second installment of the game, but repetitive levels, lack of unique character abilities and easy but frustrating game play ruin the superhero party for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. What was introduced in the first game in the fun aspect of button mashing, hack n’ slash, RPG, co-op fun is continued with MUA2, but the fact that you can easily loose track of your character on the screen in either poorly lit levels or screwy camera angles makes playing the game feel like all you’re doing is pounding on buttons and somehow progressing through levels. Not only is playing through MUA2 extremely easy on your own, it’s much easier in co-op mode and extremely tedious because of the lack of anything unique and fun in the story or amongst all the superheroes you can play or fight against. With MUA2, instead of actually accomplishing something satisfying and striving to unlock character goodies and more playable heroes, or taking down impossible villains and ultimately saving the world from untimely destruction, you have a game that plays out as more of a chore than entertainment. –Bryer Wharton

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Naughty Dog Software
Reviewed on: Playstation 3 (exclusive)
Street: 10.13
Let’s get one thing straight: If you’re looking for a critical, well-balanced review of Uncharted 2 you’ll have to look elsewhere.  I have such a raging nerd-boner for this game that I’m walking funny.  In the past I may have had more fun with other videogames—I’m sure I have—but I’ve never been more impressed.  No joke.  The team at Naughty Dog has learned to harness the power of the Playstation 3 such that they are leaps and bounds above their peers.  The result of their efforts is so fucking scrumtrulescent that I’m just completely at a loss for descriptive diction.  If this game were purely its cutscenes it’d be a better summer blockbuster movie than any I’ve seen in years.  Conversely, if there were no cutscenes, no characters and no narrative whatsoever, this title would still be an absolute must-buy for its gorgeous, fluid gameplay alone.  Among Thieves is one of those rare bits of media that transcends the consumer’s tastes or preferences completely.  It doesn’t matter what you like in your videogames: if you play games at all you must play this title.  –Jesse Hawlish