Hmm...now I've played some sh*tty games in my day. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that I've played games who could have only been bred by sh*t parents--yes, parents who are also composed, corn piece by corn piece, of sh*t. Now that is a serious waste product. So no matter what anyone else tells you, I can safely say that Lost Planet 2 is not sh*t. Heh, now I've played a sh*t load of awesome games too and I can tell you that Lost Planet 2, like its predecessor, aint one of those either...also, there is no Santa and its highly unlikely that a tooth fairy resembling Dwayne Johnson (or anyone else for that matter) ever existed. Seriously, what was "The Rock" thinking...???
Anyways, the landscapes of Lost Planet 2 are pretty f#%*cking awesome. The lush jungles are painstakingly detailed and the requisite rendering of realistic water is done well in addition to some epic explosion effects, among other things. The game features great animations as well. Everything from digging to activating data posts to climbing into your mechanized Vital Suit is given a relatively elaborate animation. I hope you like them too, because you'll be seeing them a lot. A lot. A lot. A lot. You see how I said that several times in the exact same manner to emphasize--huh? Oh OK, overemphasize my point? You found that a lil' bit annoying, you say? F#%*ing Exactly, Capcom. F#%*ing exactly. Yeah, I know I'm b#%*@ing "a lot." Yeah, I know that realistically it doesn't really hamper gameplay and few casual players are even going to give a flying f#%*, but these animations do begin to impede on the games fluidity, which, considering that you can completely ignore the story, is a lil' bit important...
Lost Planet 2's story...yeah...the story...well the good news is it couldn't grow anymore incoherent (and might actually be enhanced) if you tossed in an assortment of personable toys. The game is composed of six episodes and each episode is told from one of several different perspectives. Several different perspectives. Several diff--OK, I'll stop. But seriously, that should send up red flags immediately as its very difficult to create a coherent and compelling narrative that constantly switches perspectives. Lost Planet 2's story has a three-level hierarchy: there are 6 episodes; each episode is broken into chapters; and each chapter is further broken up into missions. Alright, dammit that's "a lot" of breakdown, but who cares, right? Especially when the story itself can largely be ignored. Well, the thing is...there is no saving between missions. F#%*. This means you must complete an entire chapter before you have any chance to save. Each chapter is going to be about an hour long endeavor, which is fine...IF YOU NEVER F#%ING DIE. And good luck with that because before that happens, you're much, much more likely to hurl your controller against the wall and rain down the jagged pieces of its shattered carcass from your window onto small children and passerby who appear to be pushing baby strollers.
The scale of Lost Planet 2 is one of the most enjoyable aspects of this game and sh*t gets pretty epic. The bosses are sh*t yourself huge. and there long, persistent life bars convince you that your going to need more than a measly chain gun. Luckily, in a departure from the first game, you always have squad mates to help bring the hurt. This brings me to my final point: If you've got friends--well then good for you. Oh yeah, and make sure their playing with you at all times. I mean let's be honest here, Capcom, that's clearly what this title was built around. Campaign levels have a tendency to feel more like multiplayer maps that have been filled with trivial bugs all leading up to one big-ass boss; however, this works well when you are playing with other human-controlled characters (as opposed to the AI who are on casual terms with Death ) and can be a real blast with friends. Lost Planet 2 features local split screen co-op and up to four player online co-op through the entire campaign. I really found myself enjoying the marathon boss battles and forced teamwork dynamics of the game when I had a couple of friends along for the ride. That's where Lost Planet 2 really shines. The competive multiplayer is pretty fun too, but largely unchanged from the first game.
Though Lost Planet 2 was incapable of convincing me that it could even surpass its predecessor, this entry's focus on multiplayer creates some pretty cool multiplayer moments, provided you have friends, of course. Lost Planet 2 is kind of like an attractive girl with a predictably terrible personality, but doesn't mind choo choos...or something like that--look, the bottom line is if you have friends to play it with or plan to play online, Lost Planet 2 is an awesome experience and a really fun challenge. Otherwise, just accept that this hot chick is not going to bang you sans friends, err, or something like that...
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Lost Planet 2 (Xbox 360, PS3)
Sam Fisher is back in Splinter Cell: Conviction and he's mad as hell. His anger single-handedly transforms this entry in the series into a damn near unrecognizable game. And yes, its f#%*ing awesome.
To paint a picture of Sam Fisher in Splinter Cell: Conviction, I'll say its along the lines of Jack Bauer meets Black Panther. The story line reeks of Jack Bauer's wet dreams, erm...in a good way, and Sam's general kick-ass, explosions be damned attitude is the stuff Bauer is made of. But make no mistake about it, people, if Jack Bauer had half as many chest hairs as Sam, then the show "24" would probably be entitled "5." On the other hand, Sam reminds me of Black Panther because...well his former agency's codename for him is "panther" and uhm...he wears a lot of black. Oh yeah, and he is literally (well, figuratively) invisible in the shadows. For the purpose of this review, Sam's codename will officially be Jack Black--the pinnacle of refined, stealthy, and meticulous killing prow...Oh, wait, dammit!
Continuing on the shadow system, its one of the greatest features of Splinter Cell: Conviction. We no longer need to eyeball some relativistic meter to determine our stealthy prowess. No, in Conviction Mr. Black's stealth is indicated intuitively and blatantly by the fading of color from the screen, ultimately becoming completely black and white. Now I'm a real stickler for the accuracy of color and depth of blacks in my LCD and Plasmas televisions so seeing the color fade from the screen altogether is like a slap followed by someone screaming: "You're being stealthy!"--and I love it. It allows gameplay to be seamless and flow as fluidly as Bauer's best wet dream...I'll admit I was somewhat disappointed that their was no sepia tone stealth setting, but that seems like rather small complaint. The shadow sytem is not the only helpful in-game mechanic that has become more fluid and streamlined. Splinter Cell: Conviction projects words onto surfaces to indicate objectives and also uses said surfaces to relay recaps and flashbacks. This may sound trivial, but the implementation is phenomenal in look and feel and is something never before seen in a video game. At this point, the review may begin to sound like: "fluid this, and fluid that..." but I have to use the word again to describe the cover system. The sh*t is fluid. You are not glued to a surface such as in games like Gears of War. The cover is more reminiscent (and appropriately so) of Metal Gear Solid, where you can easily engage and disengage the cover; however, I found the cover system here even easier to use and more versatile.
Remember when I suggested that Mr. Black would transform "24" into "5"? Yeah, I wasn't kidding. Splinter Cell: Conviction's campaign weighs in at a measly 5 hours. Now don't start b*tching about it just yet. Splinter Cell: Conviction offers a selection of other game modes that aint nothin' to sh*t on. One of those modes is an awesom co-op mode that has its own storyline and is even more enjoyable than the solo campaign. And both modes utilize the gameplay mechanics mentioned above to great effect. Also, there's Splinter Cell's usual, but highly original and engaging multiplayer modes that any spy worth his salt will get giddy over. Finally, Conviction doesn't punish you for not having played the previous titles and the story is very easy to comprehend and accept, especially if you are a fan of the "24" series.
Unless a game's longevity is as important to you as, say, drawing your next breath, Splinter Cell: Conviction is the best the stealth genre has to offer, which, to be honest, if there are any other serious contenders outside of Metal Gear Solid and Assassin's Creed, I'd be surprised...so let's just say its among the best of the "do you play video games at all" genre.
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Splinter Cell: Conviction (Xbox 360, Windows)
Kratos is one bad ass dude. If you were a fan of the first two games, and you were right, then I hate to break it to you, but he has probably already slept with your mom...and sister...twice. And as if to suggest he's far from satisfied, he then proceeds to take the virginity of every single foe foolish enough to cross his path--even if they weren't virgins to begin with. Seeing him constantly turn what was a living body into nothing more that ornate ribbons strewn over pools of blood leaves no question that his heart is 3 sizes too small, but only because his balls are 3 sizes too large.
HOLY MOTHER OF F#%*! That about sums up the first couple of hours of God Of War 3. Without a doubt, this game's introduction is among the BEST TWO HOURS in all of gaming, and thus, all of my life. The game picks up right after the first one and takes off at breakneck speed and before you even have a chance to pull up your panties, you're fighting a boss whose namesake is immortalized in countless amounts of Greek literature and whose very presence could cause even the best mortal's testicles to rescind. Unfortunately, he seemed to have forgotten--completely and all--that the man who stood before him so absolute, angry, and tall was Kratos--a man whose heart was 3 sizes too small. Thinking his might a match, he led the charge only to see a teabag that was 3 sizes too large. I'd finish the rest of my rhyming tale, but I'd go something like this: And then, HOLY MOTHER OF F#%*! and that's when HOLY MOTHER OF F#%*! but not before HOLY MOTHER OF F#%*! That's seriously the only accurate way to describe the epic-ness and scale of this game.
Unfortunately, similar to the first two titles in the series, the beginning is so insane that I don't think the game itself can even keep up after the initial two hour joy ride. To quote Persephone, even while you're playing the game those first two hours you know that "such a thing is not meant to last," but you hope. Now hold on, no need to start whining. This game is still epic and immensely enjoyable throughout, but dammit when you start with 150-f#%*ing-percent you're really building expectations. You can no longer disappoint me with just a 110% effort.
In case Kratos' vindictive past, wanton disregard for life, and his penchant for decapitation disarm you and leave you feeling confused about his emotions, Kratos is an angry guy. How did developer Santa Monica Studio ensure we knew Kratos wasn't too happy? By giving him one of the most persistent scowls in all of gaming. Ever. Every confrontation is, more or less, as follows:
RANDOM ENEMY WHO IS CLEARLY RETARDED: You insolent lil' sh*t. You die now.
Fighting ensues mostly with the enemy attempting to counter Kratos' massive swinging balls.
KRATOS: *mutilates enemy*
The big guy's heart doesn't start growing until we near the end, at which point I was so used to Kratos giving the world the middle finger that it was kind of hard to buy.
Gamplay-wise, God of War 3 will feel familiar to returning players, but suffice to say, will look like she's put on a new, form-fitted dress. The animations for disembowelment and beheading are rendered better than ever and may give you a taste for blood. So I suggest cats, dogs, and various other small mammals be removed from the room prior to play, as per the game's manual. The secondary weapons in this installment are so ridiculously sweet that a lesser man would probably call any one of them his main weapon--ya' know, a lesser man like say...lil 'ol Hercules. The action is as good as it ever was and with Kratos' new weapons and movesets, you'll have a lot of bloody, bloody fun. One of your new moves is reminiscent of Spiderman's web yank and allows you to string together the kinds of combos that would give all your friends (yeah, guys and girls) penis envy. The puzzle element for this outing has been noticeably scaled back in terms of difficulty and amount, which is f#%*in' fine by me because now all the attention is on the brutal, visceral, and sometimes fast, but sometimes slower and methodical action. Also, the gorgeous graphics in God of War 3 are only surpassed by the epic scale of your surroundings and sometimes you'll just have to sit back and say to yourself: HOLY MOTHER OF F#%*!
'Kay kids, today's key word is: scale, Scale, SCALE. And God of War 3 has an epic amount of it. As you utilize your awesome arsenal to de-limb your opponents in amazingly rendered detail in environments equally well rendered, the persistent presence of scale is damn near a nonplayable character and really helps to craft an experience that is bigger than life. Its truly a fitting end for an incredible series. I can't just recommend a game like this. That would be like being a doctor and recommending that you eat food to survive or ya know, being a normal f#%*ing person and suggesting that you eat food to survive. Fact is, if you've played through the first two then this is a requirement. If you haven't then no harm, but you simply must buy the first two titles (which are very cheap by now) as well as God of War 3 to experience this trilogy as you should.
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God of War 3 (PS3)
"Hey, Big Daddy"...its funny how, in the real world, those words uttered by..well pretty much any female whose makeup applicator isn't an ugly stick will have most guys ready to whip it out, but in the world of Rapture its pretty much the last thing you want to hear. In the latter case, I can assure you that your sudden onset of erectile dysfunction has a lot to do with that big f#%*ing drill, or BFD as I'm sure Doom creators would prefer. Well, the good news is that Bioshock 2 puts you in the shoes of the Big Daddy. No, that doesn't mean your ill-equipped, goofy ass is now suitable to be a young boy's father, but it does mean you are infinitely more bad-ass, which, interestingly enough, is all you need to take care of sweet young girls.
In case you are out of the loop, in the Bioshock series small girls known as Little Sisters are the harvesters of a valuable resource known as Adam. How valuable? Well let's just say that your life is worth a few ounces of the stuff. Seriously. A Big Daddy is tasked with protecting the Little Sisters from the Adam fiends. In the same fashion as the first game, your big bad self will find a thrilling, fluid combination of magic-like plasmid powers and firearms. And to protect your Little Sisters, your going to really have to exploit the strengths of these combinations because just like with the first game, ammunition is f#%*ing scarce. Sometimes you must be so thorough in your search for ammo that I wouldn't be surprised if you happened upon a f#%*ing Scarab Gun. You may find yourself cursing the heavens from time to time, but the scarcity and scavenging aspects of Bioshock 2 really allow you to appreciate the manifold methods you can employ to have your foes saying uncle in no time or better yet, Big Poppa. You'll truly come to take pleasure in the many combinations of plasmids and weapons at your disposal. Also, if you want to engage your friends in a lil lovin' from Big Poppa as well then you'll enjoy the multiplayer. It's very satisfying and enjoyable and retains all the flexibility of the campaign, but without the ammo scarcity...
Bioshock 2 gives players the opportunity to explore the dynamic between the Big Daddies and Little Sisters--a central theme of the first game. If you are interested in the universe of Bioshock, then the story can reach some compelling heights, indeed, but is still not particularly engaging and ultimately falls short of the first game's. I can assure you that you won't be falling asleep, but the fiction will be pulp-free. While the game's story shows you the dynamics of the relationship between Rapture's two most intriguing entities, the game itself presents some pretty gorgeous aesthetics. And by gorgeous, I mean it convincingly conveys the dilapidated and generally sh*tty state of Rapture. Make no mistake about it, Rapture has always been and will always be a pretty f#%*ed up place where its batsh*t insane denizens are more than willing to rip each other apart for what can amount to an Adam quicky; however, it really changes the experience for the gamer when you can practically feel the degradation and smell the rot.
Overall, Bioshock 2 offers powerful play mechanics and a sense of mood that make this a no-brainer purchase for people who played the first one. If you have no experience with the first title, then this is still a no-brainer purchase if you enjoy first person shooters at all (read: if you're a gamer at all). In fact, I'd say that if you aren't already exposed to the universe of Bioshock, then you may find the offerings of Rapture even more engaging than returning veterans.
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Bioshock 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, Windows)
First, I'm going to save some of you guys some time. If, at any point, while you were playing the original Mass Effect you found yourself saying: "Gee, this game is pretty awesome," then buy this game. Hell, I'll take it one step further. If the original Mass Effect managed to prevent you from thinking about masturbating for seconds at a time, then buy this freakin' game.
Now if you still need to finish this review, then you fall in one of two camps: you haven't already purchased the game (???) and want an honest review; or you have bought this game and have already logged more hours on it than all of your 4 years of college coursework combined, but still need reassurance and affirmation that you made a great decision, you p*ssy (yeah, yeah, I fall in this category too). Well read on, friend.
By far one of the most awesome aspects of Mass Effect 2 is the ability to import your Shepard from the previous game (like I said, if you played the original, then BUY this game, dammit!). Yes, that also means that your decisions from the first game ACTUALLY MATTER. Huh? What's that? You're not used to consequences? You didn't think twice about Mass Effect's final decision and thought: "there isn't enough time!"...? Well sorry ladies, but Mass Effect 2 aims to please by providing the single best experience of continuity of any sequel EV-ER.The reminders of decisions from the first game are everywhere, which further exacerbates the gravity of the decisions you make in Mass Effect 2--because you know you'll be hearing about them in Mass Effect 3. This makes Mass Effect 2 incredibly engaging as you really want to see how the universe has developed based on your past decisions, err, indiscretions all while thinking about how a present-day decision will affect the universe in the later game(s). Couple the naturally engaging continuity with the fact that this game is made by the one, the only...BIOWARE, and you've got a formula that probably gave birth to Zeus and the word we now know as "win". Now if you've never played through the original Mass Effect and you're thinking of just hopping right into the universe of this game, then you clearly have been distracted while reading this. I shall reiterate: "the single best experience of continuity of any sequel EV-ER." You should really consider playing through the original, which is great in its own right, if you haven't done so already. With that being said, Mass Effect 2 does not punish you for being ignorant and still plays much better than all those other "RP-what"s your parents have also never heard of, but the story probably won't blow you out your shoes and socks if you are fresh to the universe of Mass Effect.
The size of the cast in Mass Effect 2 makes you wonder if the galaxy of the original Mass Effect was in a recession due to the crippling deficit of testicular fortitude. Though there are twice as many characters, Bioware manages to give us fully fleshed-out, complex beings that further enhance the engagement of Mass Effect 2 and really put it in a class of its own. But that's really no surprise for the likes of Bioware. When will they make a game capable of providing distinct, personable characters that can ALSO make me real life sandwiches? Huh, Bioware? F%#$ing slackers.
Bioware took a step forward from their classic RPG inventory system with ME2. The slot upgrading is gone in favor of upgrading the the basic weapon types themselves. Its a nice addition, uhh, omission?...well, its nice, but the modification I'm most grateful for comes in the side missions. I'll admit that I completed nearly 100% of all the ri-goddamn-diculous, tedious, Mako-piloting side quests in Mass Effect, but that's because I'm retarded. Mass Effect 2 streamlines the collection of valuable resources from the seemingly infinite number of planets and makes the actual beacon-marked missions much more varied and even fun--an obviously big change from the last game.
All things considered, ME2 is an awesome game with a comparably gorgeous presentation and offers the best RPG experience you've ever had on a console of this generation. If you don't have a lot of friends, then Bioware's epic is one of the best ways to spend 40 hours of your life. If you do have a lot of friends, then f#%* 'em--this game is one of the best ways to spend 40 hours of your life.
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Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360, Windows)
For those of you behind the curve, grab the original Mass Effect while you're at it:
Mass Effect (Xbox 360, Windows)