Halo Wars
Bungie/Ensemble Studios/Microsoft
Reviewed on Xbox 360
Street: 03.03

The Halo series is what has helped me blossom into a geek, no question. The first time the flood appeared in that abandoned covenant base I was hooked. It wasn’t until later in life that I discovered RTS games, with Starcraft and Age Of The Empires. It took me a minute, but again I was hooked. That being said, I was a bit apprehensive about how an RTS would work on a console, and its limited controller. But with Bungie‘s history of flawless Halo games and Ensemble’s experience with RTSs (Age Of The Empires) my fears have been quelled. Controls have been streamlined, with limited space for the hotkeys I have become so accustomed to—each button on the controller is a shortcut to a different familiar action. Because of the limited amount of control the complex technology trees, you may have become use to with other RTSs, are mysteriously absent. It is very, very simple for an RTS. This game wasn’t made for people who played Starcraft, or AoE, which sucks because Starcraft 2 is taking forever.  This was definitely designed for the extremely obnoxious, simple-minded 12-year-old Halo fanbase. That being said, all of the things that have made Bungie so successful are present. The graphics are beautiful, especially in the prerendered movies. The storyline is great as usual (no Masterchief, sorry) and full of spartans. Also there is no covenant campaign. Overall it is a pretty good game if you know what to expect. –Cody Hudson

Resident Evil 5
Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Also on: Playstation 3
Street: 03.05

Is that . . . is that you Resident Evil? I hardly recognized you in your new summer dress. You used to hang out in bad-camera-angle hallways, struggling against one maybe two zombies at a time.  You used to be low on ammo like it was a fashion statement.  Sure you’re not as scary as I remember you being, but these days you’re a lot more badass and, most importantly, a lot more fun. RE fans who crawled through the Raccoon City mansion back in ’96 might deserve to be irate about RE5, but seriously, if it’s fun, what is there to argue about? So let’s not.  Also, on the topic of racism: to avoid the devil is to acknowledge his existence.  That is, I believe Capcom has made the more progressive, less racially motivated decision in setting RE5 in Africa. Give it a rest, naysayers.

Having thoroughly explored the game, my only major gripe is this: it’s simply not fun alone. To play RE5 on single player only is to miss more than half of its enjoyment. Swapping ammo mid-battle, coordinating reloads, shouting orders and enemy locations, and generally relying on your partner for support—this is what really makes Resident Evil 5 a big success. If you can find someone who compliments your style and matches your skill level, it can be awesomely exciting. At about 10 hours minimum, RE5 is long enough, I guess, but RE4 was longer and all the better for it. Nevertheless, Mercenaries mode is back with a vengeance and when compared to the standard these days, RE5 is more than enough game for your 60 bucks.  –Jesse Hawlish

Wanted: Weapons of Fate
GRIN / Warner Brothers Interactive
Reviewed On: PS3
Also Available on: PC, Xbox 360
Street: 03.17

Okay, I admit, I was skeptical! With everything I had heard, I had no interest in ever seeing the movie, nor did I have any desire to play any related games. Upon playing this to review, my assessment is simple: Wanted: Weapons of Fate is pure stupid fun. Just don’t expect anything more. An appropriate analogy would be to say that Wanted is to Max Payne as Painkiller is to the original Doom, meaning it’s a nice little substitute, if only for a while. The story here is completely negligible just like the movie seems to be, and the game itself is very linear and cliché. The narrative didn’t exactly hold my interest. It flashes back and forth between a suave father and a smarmy son, armed with pistols and sarcastic one-liners who is avenging said father. What I appreciate about this game is that it doesn’t try to be anything more than it is, or try to conceal the fact that it is literally holding your hand as you progress. There’s a sense of its purpose just a few minutes before you finish off the first “boss” fight. How does this game differ from Max Payne? Because there is a very tangible marriage between the fairly intuitive cover system, and the various skills your character can perform. For example, when you’re taking cover behind an ACME Generic Villain Crate, you can peek out and use your “special” button to fire bullets that curve around corners and into fleshy targets. Unfortunately the replay value here isn’t great, but I can honestly say I had fun playing regardless. The game is also a bit short, five, six hours, and unfortunately the hardest difficulty is unlockable only, and the highest available difficulty was much too easy. Give this game a shot. –Conor Dow