Reviews.

A few days after christmas 2009, I bought an Xbox 360 from Amazon. Along with four games, one of which had only just been released, that was three hundred bucks. It – and three of the games, the fourth came from somewhere else – were delivered around a week before I finally switched to Linux. Yes, there was a time when I used Windows. But that is not the point.

I’d like to give a brief review of each and every game I own on the XBox 360, sorted by purchase date (as good as I remember that, at least).

1. Brütal Legend
UK-Import, came on the same day as the console. Has Jack Black, Lemmy, Ozzy and Rob Halford as well as a kickass soundtrack. Also, from a guy who worked on my favorite game of ever, Monkey Island 2. Great story, plays well, nice graphics and an extraordinarily badass world that is heavy metal in every detail.

Rating: Recommended!
If you like Metal, you’ll love this game.

2. Pure
Shipped for free with the console. Racing game with stunning graphics. Extremely hard after just a few races. Reminds me of Motocross Madness on PC, just… with two additional wheels.

Rating: Playable.
It’s hard as shit. I’m myself not a hardcore enough gamer to get really far, but if you have the skill, there you go. If you get something going, it’s fun.

3. LEGO Batman
Also shipped with the console. Pure and Batman are a bundle. Unbelievably juvenile game. Fun for a few minutes, lame and repetitive thereafter. Lots of Batman characters.
I love LEGO, I like Batman. But this just doesn’t really deliver.

Rating: Playable.
Can do, for some time or if you are very young.

4. Burnout Paradise
After Burnout 3: Takedown and Burnout Dominator my third Burnout game. Awesome open world lacking the frustrating and shitty parts that made me hate NFS Underground 2 (Jackson Heights, screw you! Boring and with little variation, what the hell?). I also bought just about all DLC cars there are for it, including the DeLorean from Back To The Future: Part II – with hover mode – and the Ecto 1 from Ghost Busters. Fast and entertaining, great graphics and lots of vehicular mayhem.

Rating: Recommended!
Awesome. And fast. And bent metal.

5. Mirror’s Edge
Refreshingly new concept, clear design, fluent control (that does require a little getting used to – especially jumping took me a while). Story is delivered via videos between the levels. I have no idea what the story was again, but playing it was fun as hell. Time Trial is also fun.

Rating: Recommended!
Original concept, great design.

6. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
Being a fan of the original F.E.A.R., I first started playing Project Origin with high expectations. I didn’t need to lower the bar a single inch. Origin surpasses F.E.A.R. in graphics, atmosphere, sound and weapons and is great even in the censored German version. The AI of the monster thingies is a bit stupid, though. Wait, scratch the “a bit”. It’s just stupid.

Rating: Recommended!
I like shooting things in slow motion.

7. Batman: Arkham Asylum
The second Batman game on this list and unarguably the superior one. Has a proper story, excellent graphics and utilizes a lot of Batman characters. Few boss fights – one of which is essentially repeated over and over, since the mechanics are recycled for a slightly weaker yet more frequent enemy. Luke Skywalker is a great Joker, too.

Rating: Recommended!
Plays awesomely. Looks great. Everything is just awesome.

8. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
This game is without a doubt made for the console. The UI is much, much better to handle. Came without English voices, the German dub sucks. Stiff animations. Nevertheless an awesome game with lots of exploration, countless caves and a damn lot of stuff to do. My first – and as of now only – game where I got the full 1000 Gamescore.

Rating: Recommended!
Aside from minor points which have nothing to do with the gameplay, it is perfect.

9. BioShock
It’s a hell of a ride. That’s all there is to say, really. Play it. Now.

Rating: Play it. Now.

10. The Need for Speed – Hot Pursuit
NFS finally went back to what they do best – Arcade racing. After all, this is how it all started. It’s sad how few people know the original games, the best – in my opinion – of which is Porsche Unleashed. Many features introcuded within the first five games were later reintroduced and marketed as innovative as shit, such as police, damage and tuning. Hot Pursuit has one hell of a big open world with deserts, snowy mountain sides and coast lines as well as fluent day/night transitions that even occur within races. Many, many expensive cars. Plays a lot like Burnout 3: Takedown, just with police: The map screen, car unlocking and all that are almost exactly Burnout 3.
Since it is split into racer and cop, which are very different, it’s almost like playing two different games. Which means I paid a mere nineteen bucks per great game. Good.

Rating: Recommended!
NFS at it’s best.

11. Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
Yes, I had to mention the GOTY. Because it adds a lot of content. This is a UK import, fifteen pounds for it. Absolutely awesome, somewhat similar to – big surprise – Oblivion, but in a good way. The story could be better, but – SPOILER! – I’ve seen Liam Neeson die in the Phantom Menace, so this wasn’t really all that shocking. SPOILER END.
The DLCs are great. Mothership Zeta was really fucking hard, at least for a noob like me, but definitely worth it – I got out of there with an incredibly powerful rifle that has theoretically infitite ammunition.

Rating: Recommended!
Extremely awesome atmosphere. Love it. Also, my character looks like Lemmy.

12. BioShock 2
I only bought it because it was a mere seven pounds from Britain. Also, because BioShock was awesome. This time you’re a big daddy, with drill and everything.
My first thought was “Holy shit! I’m fucking back at Rapture!” and right I was. The atmosphere is equally awesome, which makes up for all the bullshit. The biggest disappointment was the behaviour of the Little Sisters – you’re a big daddy, so your option to harvesting them is adopting them and escorting them either directly to a vent or to corpses where they can gather.
Every single boss fight could be won merely with the drill and ice plasmid. Halfway through the game I got a tonic that restricted my weapon usage to the drill and drastically lowered the use of EVE when activating a plasmid. I never once missed my gun. Even the Big Sisters were no trouble. Could’ve been balanced better. Should‘ve been balanced better.
Also, too short. I was like halfway through the game and suddenly there was the end sequence.

Rating: Playable.
Has downsides in weapon balance and gameplay mechanics, still very enjoyable.

13. ‘Splosion Man
Pressing “A” makes your character explode. Pressing “B” makes your character explode. Pressing “X” makes your character explode. Pressing “Y” makes your character explode. That is all you need to know about “‘Splosion Man”, which lives up to it’s title better than any other game… maybe except for the second to last one in the list.

Rating: Playable.
I’m stuck at a very frustrating part where robot things shoot you and thus throw you off ledges into lava.

14. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
The best thing about Lara Croft has always been the boobs. This perspective really doesn’t work for a game featuring her. Others than that, it plays nicely, is fast and entertaining and includes plenty of puzzles.

Rating: Playable.
It could be much better. At least the controls are great.

15. LIMBO
What at first looks like a simple platformer will end up in a lot of dying, all in monochrome. Great atmosphere, highly recommended.

Rating: Recommended!
It’s slow, but looks stunning – even though monochrome – and has a number of difficult puzzles where I died… a lot. Three digit number at least.

16. Monday Night Combat
Imagine Team Fortress 2… even more senseless. Made up to look like a TV-show of some kind, the goal is to kill all robots in an onslaught over a predetermined number of stages. Somewhat Tower Defense-ish, too.

Rating: Playable.
I guess if I were to play it with someone it would be better, but without XBL Gold or a second controller, it’s really not much.

17. Dead Space
Stunning atmosphere, scary and extremely violent. Highly recommended, especially for little girls. Good German dub, too.

Rating: Recommended!
I said it up there. Read it.

18. The Impossible Game
I agree. Looks ridiculously simple, is ridiculously hard. 80 points, just try it.

Rating: Recommended!
It’s frustrating, it’s got bad music (well, I think it is good for music that is not Metal) and the graphics are so simple a child could make it. But when you get a bit further every try you’ll never want to stop. Also, only 80 points, which translates to $1.

19. Minesweeper Flags
Minesweeper with 3D graphics and a story mode – clear minefields all over the world! Unfortunately, no unique design for the middle east, which would be badass.
I like Minesweeper. Play it a lot when I get bored. So the XBox version is an obvious purchase for me.

Rating: Playable.
Has some interesting innovations compared to Minesweeper on PC. Oddly, Classic on Expert lags when the bombs blow up in a 3D map. You read that right: Minesweeper lags on the XBox 360.

Given that I’ve had the console for well over a year, I’d like to have twice or thrice as many games. Unfortunately, I can’t afford them. So there’s that. I have two definite candidates for this year, though: Duke Nukem Forever (I still can’t believe it has a definite release date!) and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The trailer gave me a boner. Figuratively.

I also just realized that I do not own a single actually bad game on the 360. Cool.

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  1. I guess longevity isn’t a factor for you in reviews, since Mirror’s Edge is recommended, hehe. I strongly agree with your opinion on Batman: Arkham Asylum, I somewhat agree with the opinion on Bioshock (it’s an excellent, nearly-perfect game, yes, but it’s not a must-play in my book). Otherwise, I haven’t played those games.
    It’s amusing how you criticized Pac-Man: Championship Edition DX on a chat recently when you actually BOUGHt Minesweeper. Which, you know, actually came for free on most Windows computers. I know, I know, you have Linux, but… buying Minesweeper? You can play it on MSN!

    Also, just for the record, I *have* thought of a sort of reviews system for the site, though it’s confidential. I actually had an article on a comic book as a draft, but I never got the time to finish it.

      • Althir
      • March 16th, 2011

      Actually… I wasn’t criticizing DX. We were talking about different games as it turns out. Pac Man Championship Edition (without DX) was preinstalled on my XBox and was literally only Pac-Man. Also, Minesweeper came with Linux as well.
      As for Mirror’s Edge… I can spend a lot of time in the Time Trial mode. But it’s mostly the originality of the concept that makes it “recommended”.

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