Video Game Review: Limbo

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Limbo has been sitting on my Xbox 360 for the past few months, and I finally took the time to sit down and experience it in its entirety. I quickly found myself deeply engrossed in its foreboding atmosphere, clever puzzles, and unconventional storytelling. It is one of those games that pushes the medium forward and offers a glimpse of how the interactive medium can evoke emotions in such a way as to rival the most moving pieces in other art forms.

The first thing I noticed about Limbo is its unique visuals. It portrays a dim, black and white world that uses focus and shadows to create a sense of depth and mystery. The animations of your character portray a scared, weak little boy who is unable to defend himself. The effect is compounded with large, aggressive enemies and gruesome death sequences. These all combine to create an ominous environment that never feels safe and leaves you nervous about every step.

Limbo’s sound is just as effective at creating an engaging atmosphere. The boy’s footsteps echo in a near-silent forest, leaving you unsure of what you might find next. The stillness is shattered with the loud crashes of attacking creatures or smashing boxes, coupled with strong, sudden vibration from the controller. This brings you further to the edge of your seat as you avoid dangers, and downright scares you in some cases.

In many ways, Limbo’s presentation of ideas and expressions through gameplay is exemplary. It leads your emotions not only through the visual and auditory feedback you receive, but also through the movement of your character and the actions you perform. Read on for my interpretation of what this is saying, and how it communicates without a single piece of dialog.

WARNING: Some spoilers below. Due to the importance of surprise in some cases, I’d advise you to play before you continue reading.

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The word “limbo” has a great deal of religious connotations, but I don’t interpret this game as a story about a boy existing somewhere between Heaven and Hell. Rather, it is a metaphor for the idea of being stuck in a situation or state of mind, unable to make progress outward. A fitting substitution would be “The Waiting Place”, as referenced in Dr. Suess’ brilliant Oh! The Places You’ll Go (forgive the reference – I’m a dad; this is one of my daughter’s favorite books). Here’s an excerpt:

“The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

“Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

“Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.”

Limbo is a journey out of The Waiting Place.

The first thing that you do in Limbo is make the decision to act. When you start the game, the boy is lying on the ground, motionless. Only when you choose to act does the adventure begin. If you choose not to, the boy stays trapped in limbo. There is no escaping The Waiting Place without the desire to act. This first button press sets the stage for the rest of the game – your actions are specifically designed to elicit emotions or ideas from the game.

The first area is a dense forest, wherein we find our first adversary: the spider, which represents our fears. Spiders are typically small creatures, but this spider is massive and seemingly impossible to overcome. Fears often seem larger and more daunting than they are, and this enemy certainly reflects that. Overcoming these fears will not be easy. You begin by timidly facing the spider by moving towards it to provoke it, then running away as it attacks. You are then stuck in its web and prepared as its meal, reflecting the danger of letting fears limit us – to the point that we cannot move and are consumed by them. Finally, the game forces you, by means of an approaching boulder, to stop running from the spider and face it head on in a moment of absolute terror: you then find that this spider is not so indestructable. By the end, you face a defeated, pitiful enemy and even use it as a means to progress toward the exit of The Waiting Place.

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Facing our Peers

You are then thrust into the midst of a group of hostile kids, a representation for the peers that limit us to where we are. This could be active on their part, such as when one of them manipulates the boy’s fear with a mechanical spider look-alike. It could also be our own concern for what others think. This is portrayed a few times when the others simply stand in front of an obstacle, staring at the boy, seemingly saying “you can’t do this”. There are other boys hung amongst the trees, discouraging you with the failures of others. You continue to push forward, ignoring their attempts to stop you. Finally, these adversaries are destroyed as a result of their attacks against you.

You then enter a city and stumble upon a dilapidated hotel sign. Hotels remind me of rest and finding comfort, but the sign for the hotel points to a pit that would result in the boy’s death. This seems to convey that, if we are to get out of The Waiting Place, we can’t get comfortable. We have to push forward. After passing the hotel, you fall into a factory, where you are pushed along conveyor belts and gears. This area represents the habits and routines that keep you in limbo. Staying on the conveyor belt and following the gears leads to death; instead, you must choose a different path. You must choose to break those habits and accept change.

In the final areas, the shifting of gravity and magnetic attractions is key to the puzzles you must overcome. You fall down, then fall up, and must change gravity in mid-air to reach your intended destination. This represents the obliterated confidence you have when stuck somewhere. The gravity shifts from moment to moment as you second-guess yourself and remain unsure of what is up and down.

Finally, after overcoming your fears, what others think, your self-destructive habits, and lack of confidence, you shatter through the glass of The Waiting Place and find yourself…back in the forest, lying on the ground.

Once again, you choose to get up and start moving forward. Are you still stuck? Are you right back where you started?

No. Something is different this time.

This time, you find what you were looking for. You are in the same place you started, sure, but you are not the same person. You know the way out, and you know who the people are that matter most – those who will help you get there.

Want some other thoughts? Check out GamesRadar’s compilation of interpretations of Limbo from their writers. There’s some really insightful thoughts in some of those.

Video Game Review: Assassin’s Creed II (360)

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a review, and, to commemorate the occasion, I’m going to change the format again!  I found the positives vs. negatives approach rather stifling, but didn’t want to stick myself to a particular template.  So, I’m just going to write about whatever I feel deserves mentioning.

Yes, that’s correct.  My new format is no format.  Free the birds, whisper to the trees, and run naked down the beach.  Down with the restrictions of video game review formats.

Once you’ve gotten your clothes back on, come on back and read my review for Assassin’s Creed II.

In this sequel to one of my favorite games of 2007, Desmond explores the life of another of his assassin ancestors – an Italian named Ezio who lived during the Renaissance.  My first impressions of the assassins of this game were that they seemed far less epic than they did in the previous game. Altaïr’s assassins appeared to be in training for the majority of their lives, whereas Ezio becomes an assassin as a young adult and immediately becomes accustomed to the skills an assassin requires. There are other assassins, from Ezio’s pudgy old uncle to the angsty, pissy historian, who detracted from the mystery and skill apparent in the Altaïr’s brethren.

Desmond’s story isn’t very prevalent in Assassin’s Creed 2, much to my dismay.   The back-and-forth of revelations was an interesting narrative approach in the first game, and there is far less of it here. I like where it is headed, though; they are exploring the effects of the Animus, as well as pushing Desmond toward becoming a member of the modern-day assassins.

Ezio’s story, luckily, is fully fleshed out and just as interesting.  Ezio is a much more developed character than Altaïr, making it easy to relate to him; though, admittedly, it leaves much less mystery around him.  The interaction between Ezio and the supporting cast is excellent, with Leonardo da Vinci as my favorite NPC to visit.

The missions are greatly varied and each has a unique purpose, unlike the repetitious tasks of the previous entry. An unfortunate side effect of this is that the concept of performing in-depth research on a target before striking is mostly lost, making Ezio’s skills seem far from Altaïr’s methodical approach.

As I started to relearn the controls, I remembered that the puppetry metaphor they use (assigning face buttons to specific parts of the body) can make things a little confusing.  The button for interacting with an object depends on the interaction itself, unlike the dedicated interaction button used in most games. Movement is also complicated; you must hold down three buttons simultaneously to run and climb, which is what you are doing about 80% of the time. All of the face buttons are context-sensitive, making it hard to pick up at first. How many other games have you seen that have the controls as part of the HUD?

After I was reacclimated to the controls, the game started to feel familiar. Remaining hidden and eluding enemies is much easier with the ability to hide in any group and hire people to distract the guards.  Assassinations are easier to execute without being discovered, but you are still always forced to run after the fact.  The combat is still very counter-based, forcing you to be more strategic and precise.  It is greatly improved by the ability to strip an enemy of his weapon and use it against him; however, if you didn’t enjoy the combat from the last game, there will be little here to change your opinion.

Exploration is a blast, as you can explore the culture and architecture of the Renaissance.  You can research painters and landmarks from the time, which satisfies the history nut in me.  There are also story-related unlockables strewn about the city, motivating you to explore the world more completely.

One of the story-related unlockables is a series of puzzles revealing a video that unravels more about the origin of the Pieces of Eden.  The challenge of solving the puzzles ranges from mentally stimulating to mind-numbingly difficult, as some make little sense.  They often have you translating symbols to numbers, but the symbols often don’t translate in a logical way.  As an example, one in particular (spoiler for the rest of the paragraph) had the symbols depicting a base 3 number system using dots and lines (∙,∙∙, |, |∙, |∙∙, etc.).  This much I got on my own; though I doubt someone who hadn’t studied number systems would pick up on it very easily.  What I didn’t get was why the number system started at an arbitrary point – that is, instead of starting with a single dot (∙), the series starts in the middle and wraps around.  That makes the series, from 0-9, (||, ||∙, ||∙∙, |||, |||∙, ∙, ∙∙, |, |∙, |∙∙).  There are clues in a series of several pictures – that is to say, in one picture, there’s a two, and in another, the symbol “||∙∙”.  But these pictures are small and hard to see, with the symbols cryptically hidden within.

Lastly, I have to mention that the game comes with some serious technical problems.  Ezio would occasionally lose his ability to grip some objects or would become permanently affixed to something he was climbing.  The direction at which he would jump would not always feel consistent with the direction I was pushing towards, causing Ezio to fall to his death.  Strange graphical glitches would occur as well, contorting Ezio’s body in strange directions.  It was playable most of the time, but there were areas that were consistently problematic that I had to avoid.

Assassin’s Creed II left me very satisfied, but ready for more.  The fact that we’ve explored two unique landscapes within the same story has been amazing, making me disappointed to hear that Assassin’s Creed III will continue exploring the Renaissance period with Ezio.  I remain excited about the series, however, and can’t wait to see it conclude.

Have you played Assassin’s Creed II?  What are your thoughts?

Video Game Review: Far Cry 2 (PC)



Open-Ended Action Done Right
The thing I enjoyed the most about Far Cry 2 was just how many ways I could approach a problem.  If I were tasked with an assassination, for example, I would scout the area surrounding the target before deciding my approach.  If there was an elevated point with good visibility, I would snipe all of the guards that I could, before slowly sneaking into the encampment and clearing the remaining guards.  If there was a lot of grass, I would throw Molotov cocktails around to smoke them out, gunning them down as they escaped the spreading fire.  If it was a relatively small area, I might drive in on a weapon-mounted jeep, switch to the gun, and send them love letters (or bullets, if they ended up being more effective).  You are rewarded for scouting and strategizing your approach, and it adds a fulfilling amount of depth to the action.

Yeah, That Looks Like a Tree
Far Cry 2 has some of the best graphics I’ve seen.  Trees sway in the wind realistically with leaves moving independently.  Explosions look vibrant and send smoking debris everywhere.  Day slowly transitions to night, sun to rain.  Shadows dance along the ground, providing helpful cover while scouting.  Everything looks amazing and does wonders to keep you in the world.

Riveting Music and Sound
The soundtrack provides a great backdrop to this African adventure.  The different tracks provide subtle cues to the situation at hand – whether enemies are aware of you, in hiding, or panicking.  It also solidifies the part of the world you are influencing.  The sound effects bring you into the African wilderness, with animal calls filling the air.  Even the sound of cracking bones and gushing wounds remind you of the challenge at hand.

Interactive Story; Interactive Story-Telling
Far Cry 2 tells its story with you as the narrator.  You decide where to go, how to accomplish your tasks.  You sometimes make hard decisions, where the only security is that you have the quick save before you decide.  It puts you into every situation, not the character you choose at the beginning.  Some scenes remind me of the best story sequences in Call of Duty 4.  The story itself delivers a sharp commentary on war and power, as well as how money can drive people.

No Wonder They Have Safaris There
The African wilderness in Far Cry 2 is a dynamic, beautiful place.  Barren deserts and lush, jungle-covered mountains litter the landscape, giving a great variety of places to explore.  This variety keeps every mission fresh, as you find new approaches for the different terrains.



While Far Cry 2’s story is great, there is a LOT of filler between the plot points.  I enjoyed the side missions, but eventually stopped completing them just because I wanted to finish the game.  I don’t think the second area was even necessary – all that they wanted to do could’ve been done in the first area, maybe expanded just a little.  I wonder how much effort they had to put into the extra space, while not much is really gained.

So About that War You’ve Been Talking About…?
I rarely saw evidence that a war was going on.  Apart from a couple story-initiated scuffles, no one is involved in a fight besides you and everyone else.  There is no clear indication of what faction you are fighting at any given time, and the only effect you have on the outcome of the war is who’s story missions you choose more.

Everybody Hates You
Almost every person in Far Cry 2 wants to kill you.  Outside of the peace zones and safe houses, everyone you see will immediately attack.  Given the open world, it would’ve felt more alive if it had been more like the opening sequence – where there are military checkpoints instead of hostile guard locations.  It would’ve been nice to also see the resistance expanded beyond some people hiding out in closets – make it seem like you’re actually doing something for the civilians left behind.

Lack of Persistence
The fire spreading mechanic is amazing.  Unfortunately, after you’ve burned the grass and trees surrounding a guard post, it’ll be there when you pass through 2 minutes later, with all of the guys you just dispatched gunning for you.  While I wouldn’t want all of the guard posts to be barren after you clear them (boring), I would like it them to be weakened.  Fewer enemies; no trucks; damaged weaponry…something showing how you’ve affected the area.

Good Thing I Still Have My Oblivion Quick Save Skills
I had a lot of crashes with Far Cry 2.  In a sitting of 4 hours, I would probably hit at least one crash.  In the last day of playing (about 6 hours), I got the BSOD twice and it crashed a good 6 times.

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

Worth the Purchase
Far Cry 2 was an amazing experience.  Despite the shortcomings, the only thing that really stole from the fun was how drawn out it was.  By the end, I just wanted to finish and hurried through the story missions.  This left me with a bitter “aftertaste”.  The game was great, just lingered on too long.  Some may feel that this gives it more value; however, I have other things to move on to.


Video Game Review: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune



Brilliant Platforming Through Exotic Environments
The platforming segments are exciting and fast-paced.  The progression is quite linear, but is kept interesting by the detailed, beautiful environments.  They also keep you on your toes with decaying platforms, which fall apart of collapse when you put your weight on them.  This also produces occasional events where you must run from collapsing columns or to jump off a collapsing bridge.

Gangsters More Intelligent Than Their Real-World Counterparts
The enemies in Uncharted are very persistent and keep you on your toes.  They will run to nearby cover and stay behind it, sometimes diving to other cover or moving around other sides.  They’ll throw grenades at you if you stay behind cover too long, making you stay on the move.  They also will slowly move in, ensuring you keep track of every adversary.  They even dodge side to side or dive away if you start shooting in their direction.  The animations are smooth and intricate, making all of these motions believable.

Killer Combat
The combat is smooth and varied.  There is a plethora of weapons to acquire – hand grenades, Desert Eagle and 9mm pistols, AK-47 and M4 assault rifles, SPAS-12 shotguns, hand grenades, and plenty more.  Each gun feels different and brings with it strengths and weaknesses, adding a degree of strategy to what you choose.  Ammo is limited for each type, which makes you change out weapons from time to time, forcing you to experiment.  It also has a hand-to-hand combat mechanic, though it is a bit limited in terms of what you can do.  It allows you to take down enemies who sneak up on you, as well as perform a quick kill while on the move.  There’s a lot of visual aesthetic to it as well, giving you a nice cinematic view of the schoolyard pummeling you can often lay down.  You also get double ammo for beating someone into the ground, so you get a nice reward.

Appearance Matters, Despite What 80’s Movies Say
Uncharted is one of the best-looking games I’ve seen.  The models are detailed and smooth and are animated with astonishing realism.  The animations are applied everywhere to make the characters appear to really be in the environment; for example, your character, Nathan Drake, would brace himself on the doorway while traversing through a submarine.  Subtle details like this make them seem like real people navigating real environments.  The textures are amazingly detailed and bump mapped.  Wet stuff would appear wet or slimy (even Drake’s clothes look weighed down and drenched after getting out of water).  Lighting is surprisingly realistic, bringing in spots of sunlight through the canopy of jungles and falling upon character bodies and the environment alike.

Control Freak
The controls are incredibly responsive.  The actions are mapped well to the buttons, and the feedback given for each of these actions is great.  I rarely fell prey to problems like falling short of cliffs or sticking to the wrong cover, as you see in many games with these features.  You can easily switch between platforming, shooting, and melee combat without a problem, making your movement fluid throughout the game.

Memorable Characters – That Is to Say, I Remember Them!
Uncharted is full of little details that help make the characters more believable and/or likable.  For example, Drake will sometimes talk to himself when in tense situations.  While behind cover, he’ll say “okay” to ease himself while reloading; he’ll yell “woah!” when he sees a grenade land near him, or even taunt  his adversaries.  The voice work is amazing – very believable – and each has his/her own personality.  The characters seem more like they are out of a movie than a video game – they have depth and depict emotion.  It does a lot to bring you into the experience.



Large Puzzle Pieces
The puzzles in Uncharted leave a lot to be desired.  They’re very short, simple, and so straight-forward that you don’t really have to look in the diary that gives you clues on how to solve them.  It mostly involves an order to throwing switches or to turn objects a certain way.  There’s also the occasional exploding barrel thrown into 800 year old ruins for good measure.

I Received No Candy Upon Completion
I don’t know if I was just magically drunk the entire time I played Uncharted or what – above is the only negative I can think of.

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

Worth the Purchase
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was an incredible experience.  The games that most closely resemble it – the Tomb Raider series – don’t hold a candle to it.  Take a look, Eidos.  You could learn something.  Oh, and while I have your attention – you can stop trying to make Lara sexy.  Not working.  Don’t care.  Work on the rest of the game.

Video Game Review: Fallout 3 (PC)



Beautifully Ugly
The Capital Wasteland looks amazing.  The textures are detailed and high resolution, and the environment is filled with debris to really make it look like a post-nuclear wasteland.  All buildings show some degree of damage, if they stand complete at all.  All buildings and towns built after the blast are composed of scrap metal or other debris found in the world.  The world is expansive and you can see it at every moment.  The pop-in is minimized enough to not be distracting.  Character models are good as well, and facial animations look great, though the body animations are a bit stiff.  They also have some great particle effects, such as when an enemy is blown into dust with certain weapons.  The gore is also a nice touch, giving a sense of satisfaction on good shots.

Interesting Locations, Despite Desolation
The fact that this is a wasteland makes the world very bleak, gray and hostile; however, there are still interesting locations to find.  From historical landmarks like The Washington Monument to old towns, wiped clean of civilization, you’ll never know what you’ll happen on to next.  The vaults each tell a story of their survivors, and the pockets of society you find have unique characters and ways of dealing with the poor circumstances.

Decisions, Decisions
I love that the decisions you make actually make a difference. The classic Megaton example – where you are given the choice to destroy a town or save it – illustrates the things that happen throughout the game.  I also like how you only get one shot to do something, and, if it doesn’t work, you have to find another way.  The combination of these makes the story unfold as it does in real life – you make decisions and live with them.  I’m glad I saved Megaton, as it gave me a great place to store my trophy objects, such as garden gnomes and guns

What Should I Kill with Today?
There are a ton of weapons in this game.  Shotguns, assault rifles, laser rifles, sledgehammers, missile launchers, miniguns, and plenty more can be found fairly readily.  There are also special weapons that can be found – I found a gun called the Firelance that was a pistol that caused tons of damage and set the enemy on fire for awhile.  You can also fashion weapons using blueprints and junk you find around the world.  I built a sword with a gas valve attached to it, giving me a flaming sword.  Keeping these things in condition is easy, as you just combine similar weapons to repair them.

Brilliant Quests
Oblivion didn’t escape offering fetch quests.  Running around collecting x number of items is not a good way to make me interested.  Fallout 3 offers very few of these, and the ones that are there are limited to just giving you gold for a particular item that they need.  The rest of the time, you are saving entire cities, rescuing villagers from slavers, or disrupting would-be superheroes (yeah, the quests can be quite unique).  The stories for the quests were also fascinating; they would often touch on issues like racism or bring humor into it with ridiculous circumstances such as the superhero quest mentioned above.  I completed almost all of the quests that I ran into, simply because I found them interesting.  This didn’t come close to happening in Oblivion.  The overall story wasn’t as interesting, as they never brought so much into it to make it epic – I never felt like the fate of the world rested on my ability.

VATS, the system that pauses the game and allows you to take aim to chosen limbs of enemies, breaks up the action and allows you to stop things and do some strategizing.  It also gives you a cinematic view of the battle.



Low Interest Density
While there are plenty of intriguing locations in the Capital Wasteland, there is so much more of nothing at all.  You will spend a great deal of time walking, interrupted by mutated animals (mostly scorpions).  Bringing the interesting parts closer together would make it much more rewarding to explore.  It would also be helpful to add the biggest settlements to the map (like Oblivion did by placing the largest towns on the map).  Lastly they really should have let you use a vehicle.  Fast travel works for places you’ve already been, but I want to be able to explore faster, like when riding the horse in Oblivion.  The worst part is that there are motorcycles that look completely functional all over the place.  Let me drive them!

Everyone Owns a Gun, but No One Owns Bullets
Like I said, there are tons of kinds of weapons; however, it is too hard to find ammunition for them.  Every enemy that you kill will have about 8 bullets on them, it seems.  Even towns will have very little to offer – most shops only carry enough of some type of ammo to keep you stocked for an hour of heavy fighting.  Not to mention that you never accumulate much cash in regular questing, leaving you unable to buy equipment.

Radiation Affects the Brain
The AI is terrible; there are three states for enemies: oblivious, bum rush, and stand and shoot.  They rarely move to cover or use their weapons effectively.  You’ll find people with shotguns firing from long distances and guys with single-shot rifles get closer.  Anyone with a melee weapon will immediately run at you, paying no attention to the distance and lack of cover between you.

Yeah, a Little too FPS
I loved Oblivion because how you expanded your abilities changed how you played the game.  It really exemplified the idea of a role-playing game – the stats you set up didn’t just make you better at something, it made you adapt your methods to those strengths.  Adding to sneak made it a stealth game; adding to strength and melee made it a brawler.  Fallout 3, on the other hand, makes you play the same way regardless of your skills.  You use the guns all of the time, and you use them the same way throughout the game.  If you add points to sneak, as I did, you could sneak around until you started firing – then you would have to run and gun.  Most of the skills just allowed you to access things you otherwise wouldn’t.  Higher levels in science allowed you to access systems that were harder to crack, but didn’t actually make it easier because of your skill.  It will also open up options in dialogue – due to my character’s intelligence, I was allowed to reflect on the irony of certain situations in my conversations (yay?).  These things are great touches and all, but I wanted to build more of a distinct role for my character.

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

Worth the Purchase
I really loved Oblivion, and I think that’s why I was disappointed in Fallout 3.  On its own, it really is a great experience; however, knowing what the developers were able to do with this type of gameplay set it up to be much more than I got out of it.  I just would’ve liked more Oblivion in Fallout 3, which is probably exactly what they were trying to avoid.

Video Game Review: Fable II (360)

In order to save time on my reviews, I’m going to forgo my old format and split up the things I enjoyed from the things I loathed.  Then I’ll wrap it up with the same bottom line I’ve been using.  I plan on getting on to some side projects now that I’ve finished the Fall blockbusters I most anticipated (expect a Fallout 3 review soon [SPOILER]).  Let’s hope I can get focused and get to programming.



Social Simulation
The interactions allowed with the NPCs are complex and realistic enough to be interesting, while avoiding the overbearing realism of maintaining relationships.  Things like cheating on your wives or summoning skeletons in town have an effect on the population’s opinion of you, but it never goes so far as to make you lose friends because you didn’t take them to a strip club when you were busy, GTAIV.

Making Money to Make More Money
The jobs are an easy way to take a break from exploring and do something mindless but engaging.  I could use PIP to make gold while watching some TV.  This really was just a way to get some extra cash to spend when I wanted to buy a property and jack the prices up.  I expected to have no interest in obtaining real estate, but ended up buying almost every property in the game.  The constant reward of gold piling up every 5 minutes, along with the hefty payout on game start up, persuaded me to spend the vast majority of my gold on property.

Being Hilariously Evil Actually Matters
The good/evil choice thing is a bit old hat, but Fable makes it unique by changing everything about the game based on your morality.  It affects your character’s appearance and behavior options, making your character change completely based on your actions.  The world also reflects this in the town’s crime rates, economy, and NPC behavior.  You can really get into the role of your character and see how it affects the setting.  Also, it is hilarious to kick chickens and fart on babies.

Man’s Best Friend
The dog was a great companion throughout the game, and its loyalty really made me feel for it (I killed many on its behalf – don’t ever kick my dog).  Its usefulness was also unparalleled, as it found me tons of gold.  Faced with the final choice, it was easy (considering I already owned most of the world).

Combat Subtleties
The simplistic combat gives rise to slight changes as your character levels, making the way you fight in the end completely different from how you fought in the beginning.  The rhythmic melee combat is visually rewarding, the quick shooting allows you to throw in attacks to further enemies while in the middle of combos.  The magic makes you feel empowered and offers a solid amount of variety.

Overall Personality
The entire game is presented with little seriousness, offering a fresh drink of lighthearted, mischievous fun.  Chesty is my favorite character in the whole game.  Be sure to look for him.



Wooden Ghost Puppets
Graphics and animations seemed to be a low priority here.  The characters moved stiffly, and clipping problems were prevalent.  The models weren’t very detailed and textures seemed boring and low-resolution.  After watching videos of Fable, I am reminded of just how much this game looks like its predecessor – and not just stylistically.  Considering the generational leap, I expected more.

Menu Interface Not So Great at the Interfacing Part
I spent so much time wandering that menu system.  Going through the whole system to find the next quest, use a potion, or change your inventory was such a bother that I sometimes would hold off on leveling up my abilities just to avoid it.

Same As I Ever Was
The lack of choice in terms of clothing and weapons stunts your character’s growth by causing you to keep everything you have.  In the entire length of the game, I went through 4 distance weapons and probably 7 melee weapons – I just rarely found anything better than what I already had.  The same went with clothing.  While the dyes were a nice touch for customization, I only found 2 outfits that I liked at all for my character.  I never found a tatoo or hairstyle that I liked (out of the 15 possible for each).

Stacking Spheres
The magic stacking was incredibly annoying.  You can have 5 spells active at a time, but you have to hold down the magic button longer and longer to traverse up the stack of spells you have equipped.  So, the spells that I wanted to use quickly I had to leave at the bottom and never use at a higher skill level.  Switching spells around was a pain (see the menu interface referenced above) so that was out of the question.  Also, when you only have low-level spells, you can only equip one at a time.  This drew me away from using magic for a long time.

The Fable Part Sucks
The story in Fable 2 is absolutely boring.  I often forgot why I was fighting the antagonist and never cared about any of the main characters.  Some lady your character doesn’t (and never does) really know, despite the player knowing, tells you where to go and what to do without giving you any motivation to do so.  [Spoiler possibility]  After finding some allies, you don’t get anything from them except a cinematic which claims to make you powerful enough to fight the end boss, which really changes nothing about you.  Then, the game ends abruptly and with no climax.

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

Worth the Purchase
Fable 2 had its fair share of problems.  I would definitely say that Fable was a better game for its time, which left me a little disappointed by Fable 2.  However, it was a fun experience that kept me entertained through the entire game.  I don’t see myself coming back to it soon, but the possibility is there.  I would’ve definitely gone back if the coop were worth it, but oh well.

Your thoughts?

Video Game Reviews: Mirror’s Edge (PS3)

Next on my list of games to play from the fall lineup is Mirror’s Edge.  This game has been on my radar since it was announced.  As more videos came out, showcasing the unique take on the first-person view, I became even more excited.  By the time November came around, Mirror’s Edge had become my most anticipated title from the long list of fall releases.  Find out how it holds up below.

For reference, here’s my review standards:

I’ll discuss four things that I find important in the medium of video games:
Story, which deals with the game’s story.
Presentation, which encompasses the game’s visuals, sound, and UI.
Gameplay, which will entail the mechanics of playing the game.
Technical, which is composed of the technical achievements and faults in the game.Finally, I’ll wrap up with my overall view of the game, and rate it based on three options:
Worth the purchase – I got my $60 worth, and really enjoyed the game. Might play it again down the line.
Worth a rental/bargain – The game was alright, but I probably wouldn’t play it again. I would’ve been OK with moving on halfway through the game.
Skip it – The game isn’t very enjoyable and not worth my money nor time.


The city in Mirror’s Edge is a page right out of 1984.  All communications are monitored by the government, the press is controlled and deceitful, and most have accepted the changes out of fear of the terrorism that the government reports on.  There is an underground resistance, however, and they found a way to communicate beyond the government’s eye: runners.

Runners are traceurs that carry messenger bags that contain communications for other parts of the resistance.  You control a runner named Faith, a runaway whose mother was killed by the government as she protested its control over its citizens.

This whole premise sets up the opportunity for an incredibly intriguing story; however, instead of following the story of the runners and the resistance, Mirror’s Edge focuses more on Faith’s sister, Kate.  Kate is a police officer and is framed for the murder of a new mayoral candidate who promised to lift the laws regarding controlling the press and monitoring communication.  You end up unraveling a story related to the runners, but it never goes beyond your own small group.

The story isn’t bad – it’s just disappointing.  They had a great start and just didn’t follow up on it.  You only actually carry one message and never meet anyone from the resistance groups.  The game is supposedly the beginning to a trilogy, so perhaps the purpose of the story actually is just to start things off.  While I found the story entertaining – I just can’t help but see the missed opportunities.


The way the story is presented is equally disappointing.  While in the game, you are always in a first-person view.  You get a very good sense of where you are and what you are doing, because you can see the movement of your entire body.  This also goes for in-game cutscenes – these aren’t prevalent, but occur occasionally.  They make sense and keep you in the same context that the gameplay gives you; however, the story is told in animated shorts between levels.  These clips are, stylistically, completely different from the rest of the experience.  They’re poorly drawn and animated, and look as though they were done by the same studio that creates the Esurance commercials.

The in-game graphics, however, are great.  The world is vibrant and stylized, while still having a degree of realism.  The world appears sterile – like a clean environment, which is expressive of the government’s actions.  Portal fans will feel quite at home here, as the style is rather similar.  While it is stylized, it is still quite realistic.  Objects in the environment move realistically, though there aren’t too many around (the PC version looks to improve that).  There are some noticeable jaggies when looking at objects closely, but it’s not so noticeable to be distracting.  There are also a lot of details that add to the experience.  For example, when you run against a wall, you can see the shadow of Faith’s hair waving on the wall.

The UI is slick and minimalist, making it really easy to use.  There is no HUD, taking away any distractions on the screen.  They leave a dot in the middle of the screen, supposedly to aid motion sickness.  I wish they’d allow me to turn it off, to keep the screen completely clear.  There is one thing that doesn’t make sense – after Faith dies, the screen fades to black.  While the game loads up the last checkpoint, it shows a white screen with a loading icon.  This sharp contrast – from a black screen to a white screen – after death tends to exaggerate the time between death and level reload.  If it, instead, faded to black and fade back to the checkpoint, the delay would be much less noticeable.


Mirror’s Edge mainly tasks you with getting from point A to point B.  It shows you your destination at the beginning of the level, and you just have to figure out how to get there.  In this way, it is again comparable to Portal.  It is mostly a environmental puzzle game, determining how you can use the layout of the environment to get where you need to go.  How you solve the puzzles, however, is much more action-oriented.  They often add a time limit to your actions by sending enemies chasing after you, making it more intense and always rewarding speed.

What typically comes out of this is a fast-paced sprint to the goal with no looking back.  Faith has a special ‘runner vision’ which paints objects red that will aide in reaching her destination.  As you continue running, the runner vision gives you some hints on how to move around the environment.  This option can be turned off, but never distracts from the experience.  There are other paths to take than the ones painted red, often which are hard to find and rewarding to use.  This aspect reminds me of some of the first scenes of Half Life 2, as you are quickly eluding your armed enemies and quickly finding your path while you are running.  The excitement slows down at times, giving you puzzles that require accurate aim and careful exploration rather than speedy execution.  This helps to keep things fresh, as you are running most of the game.

They split up the running by throwing some enemies directly in your path.  Sometimes it is optional to deal with them, but it typically makes it easier (unless you know of a clever path around them).  The combat is alright, leaving you with punches, sliding kicks, jumping kicks, and grapples.  The punches and kicks do little but stun the enemy and push them backward.  If you are in the right position, you can sometimes knock them down; however, it typically isn’t very useful, as they just recover and start shooting you within a second.  You can take their gun away with a grapple, but you can only do this when they attempt to melee you with their gun, at which point the gun turns red.  This means, in order to disarm someone, you have to run up directly in front of them, wait for them to swing their gun at you, then press triangle at the exact right moment.  If you don’t time it right, you take a great deal of damage and have to wait for him to swing again.  With some weapons, the time in which you can grapple is so minimal that I often got frustrated with performing it.  They give you a bullet-time button to help with this, but when 5 enemies are around you, it’s only useful for the first one.  Once you take a weapon, you can start using it; however, I never used them, as I went through the game without shooting anyone.  The next time around, I’ll probably explore that, and I’m sure it’d make it easier.

The story mode is a little on the short side – it took me about 7 hours to complete; however, there are time trial and speed run modes to keep you exploring for faster routes.  You can even follow a ghost of your best time or the best time on the leaderboards to see how you compare.  I spent a little time in these, but I got so anal on the perfection of my execution that I started getting a little obsessive.  I think I can still have some fun with it, I just have to go into it with a little less seriousness.


The programming team did a great job syncing up the animations of Faith’s body with the actions the player performs – it was all very fluid and really looked like the view from a person’s head.  It also almost always interpreted my actions correctly (that is, whether I wanted to jump/wall run/etc).  The world below is very low-detailed, as would be expected to improve performance.  However, I think they should have made it look better in one particular level where you actually look carefully at the street level.

The game ran smoothly – not a single hiccup in framerate.  There was no noticeable objects popping in , considering the large layout of the levels (though this could also be due in part to the stellar level design).  Overall, the entire experience is as I would expect it to be in the actual world – there are few limitations and there are plenty of visual cues to hide the limitations that exist.  The only thing that disturbed me was, upon falling down, Faith lands rigidly at a 90 degree angle to the ground atop the first thing she touches.  So, if you fall down on a slant, you fall as though you landed on a flat surface (with your hand floating in the air, though you supposedly have gone limp).  I can understand that rag doll first-person would be hard to control, but it would certainly improve the death sequence if it could have been done.

Final Verdict

As I stated before, Mirror’s Edge was my most anticipated game of the fall.  Turns out, it left me completely satisfied.

Worth the purchase

You should find a way to try this game out some time.  I think it’s a must-play, as it really brings a new direction to the first-person perspective.  I’ll definitely be playing through this one again, and checking out the time trials as well.  I can’t wait to see the kind of routes people find in these levels.  Hopefully, the PC version will allow people to make maps as well – that might be enough for me to get it again.

Video Game Review: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (360)

Star Wars has quite a video game history.  It’s a little mixed in terms of quality, but there’s no doubt that some great games have come out of the franchise.  The newest entry to the series is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.  It’s largely been touted as a technical marvel, combining three physics engines: Euphoria, Havok, and Digital Molecular Matter.  How does it come together?  Find out below.

For reference, here’s my review standards:

I’ll discuss four things that I find important in the medium of video games:
Story, which deals with the game’s story.
Presentation, which encompasses the game’s visuals, sound, and UI.
Gameplay, which will entail the mechanics of playing the game.
Technical, which is composed of the technical achievements and faults in the game.Finally, I’ll wrap up with my overall view of the game, and rate it based on three options:
Worth the purchase – I got my $60 worth, and really enjoyed the game. Might play it again down the line.
Worth a rental/bargain – The game was alright, but I probably wouldn’t play it again. I would’ve been OK with moving on halfway through the game.
Skip it – The game isn’t very enjoyable and not worth my money nor time.


The Force Unleashed takes place between episodes 3 and 4 in the Star Wars saga.  It fits the gap rather well, filling in information on the last of the Jedi and the creation of the Rebel Alliance.  You control Darth Vader’s secret protégé, known only as “The Apprentice” (leave your Donald Trump jokes at the door).  Your mission is to eliminate the remaining Jedi to complete your Sith training, after which you will join Darth Vader in an attempt to overtake the Emperor.

The story actually surprised me – I really enjoyed it.  It was as good a story as any of the prequel films – which, admittedly, isn’t spectacular, but is definitely entertaining.  The lead struggles with the light side vs. dark side, as is expected.  His development is a little disappointing, as it seems to be a bit transparent.  That is, you aren’t aware that he is struggling within until he outright says that serving the dark side is horrible (after which he continues to serve Darth Vader).  You don’t actually ever make any choices of your own until the very end – which seems lacking when compared to most games playing the ‘choose between good and evil’ card.


This game looks great.  The character models are highly detailed and the environment is spectacular.  The utilization of the three physics engines makes a real difference – the characters and environment react correctly to you actions and make the world come to life.  As you move the enemies around, they stumble, catch themselves on the environment, and simply do more than just flop to their death.  Havok does its usual work with objects, and digital molecular matter causes the various materials to bend and break as they should.

As for cons, the attack animations are a little stiff at times, and I quickly became annoyed of the action camera that randomly took control away from me to show how far I flung an enemy.  Other than that, I can’t say anything else negative about the visuals.

I was instantly frustrated with the menus, simply because they took so long to load (5-10 seconds when loading menus?  How does that happen?).  Other than that, they were functional, though ugly.


The combat is separated into two main parts: saber combat and force powers.  The saber combat is a traditional beat-em-up.  X is used to swing the saber and combos are executed be modifying the saber combat with force powers (such as adding lightning to the saber).  This is simple and a bit repetitive, because the combos don’t vary too much, leaving you with few options.  Sorry, it looks like Jedi Outcast’s saber combat isn’t coming back anytime soon.

The other side of combat lies within force powers.  This part is great.  I love being able to grab things from the environment and toss them at enemies.  That of course isn’t near as satisfying as grabbing the enemies themselves and throwing them off of cliffs.  That doesn’t hold a candle to grabbing an enemy, throwing him into another enemy, and watching them both fall off of a cliff.  Add some lightning to the mix, and you get a group of seizuring stormtroopers flying around, clinging to each other.  Oh yes, much satisfaction.  The only thing that bothers me is the targeting system – I occasionally had a problem with grabbing the wrong object or throwing it in the wrong direction (when throwing at enemies a long distance away).

Oh, there’s a few RPG elements thrown in as well.  You get to choose what force powers, combos, and attributes to improve upon.  You can also change your costume and light saber color, both of which are cosmetic.  There are also modifiers you can add to your light saber that add damage bonuses and the like.  These additions help add a little depth to the game, but aren’t so distracting that you have to worry about it if you’re not an RPG fan.


The engine is really the shining star in this game.  The integration of Euphoria, Havoc, and Digital Molecular Matter is astounding.  Often, you have objects bouncing off of people and walls, people grasping to rails, particles flying everywhere, and the environment bending and swaying to your motions – and not once did the framerate drop so far to make it distracting.  In fact, it only dropped a couple of times at all.

The A.I. is a little dull, but that’s to be expected in a game like this.  Due to Euphoria, however, they seem to get a lot smarter when they die.  My favorite dumb NPC moment was when I released some wookiees from being enslaved by stormtroopers.  The wookiees retaliated against the stormtroopers, as you would guess.  What was hilarious is that they continued to beat upon the stormtroopers as I held them up in the air.  To finish it off, when I held the stormtrooper over the edge of a cliff, the wookiees ran and jumped off (with notable enthusiasm).

Other than that, everything worked as expected.  I didn’t experience any major bugs – the only one I remember is a camera problem that left me clueless as to what I was looking at…it righted itself in time, however.  Smooth as butter.

Final Verdict

I’m sure this won’t come as any surprise:

Worth the purchase

I had a lot of fun with this game and might go back to it.  While it had simple saber combat, everything else was quite satisfying.  Pick it up if you can.

Video Game Review: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (360)

As you may have guessed – I’ve been playing Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. It’s the first in my ‘fall lineup’ – the games coming out for the holiday season. I’ve been a Spider-Man game fan since Spider-Man 64. Since then, I’ve also played Spider-Man[: The Movie: The Game], Spider-Man 2[: The Movie: The Game], Ultimate Spider-Man, and Spider-Man 3…[: The Movie: The Game]. The only one I was disappointed in was Ultimate Spider-Man – mainly because I hated the controls and finished the game in about 6 hours.

Fast forward to today (well, last week to be more exact). I’ve played through Spider-Man: Web of Shadows over the past week and change. I finished it up yesterday and am ready to give my review. For reference, here’s my review details.

I’ll discuss four things that I find important in the medium of video games:
Story, which deals with the game’s story.
Presentation, which encompasses the game’s visuals, sound, and UI.
Gameplay, which will entail the mechanics of playing the game.
Technical, which is composed of the technical achievements and faults in the game.

Finally, I’ll wrap up with my overall view of the game, and rate it based on three options:
Worth the purchase – I got my $60 worth, and really enjoyed the game. Might play it again down the line.
Worth a rental/bargain – The game was alright, but I probably wouldn’t play it again. I would’ve been OK with moving on halfway through the game.
Skip it – The game isn’t very enjoyable and not worth my money nor time.


The game starts with an explosive opening cinematic (don’t worry, the text at the end is not from the actual game).  As you might guess from the chaos, it starts near the end.  Spider-Man recounts his tale up until that point, starting with the day he once again wielded the black suit.  You take control of Spidey in the middle of a fight with Venom and some of the symbiote detaches from Venom and covers Spider-Man.  Spidey senses the suit is different this time and believes he can control it – which he feels is necessary to fight Venom.

Venom disappears for awhile without mention, however, and you control Spider-Man as he settles some gang disputes, fights some robots, and runs into some of his many arch-villains.  It all leads up to a city-wide symbiote infection, leaving New York in a state of disarray.  As Spider-Man, you must save the city at any cost – even if the cost is to lose yourself to the black suit.

That’s the premise.  The decision between good and evil surely isn’t anything new to games, and there’s nothing unique here – at specific points in the game (most often after a boss fight), you can choose between the red and blue or the black.  Choosing the red and blue gives you the typical Spider-Man response – things like webbing the enemy up to a billboard and leaving him to the cops.  Choosing the black side causes Spidey to take the most emotional, selfish road – such as beating the Hell (er…symbiote) out of the enemy.  Based on your decisions, you either get the good ending or the bad ending.  I swapped between good and evil decisions, but ended up with a good ending.

I really enjoyed the story – the zombified city really made for an interesting setting for the last half of the game.  It was quite a chaotic setting, and a good contrast to the beginning half of the game when the city was normal.  It seemed more like a ‘save the city’ scenario, because the entire city is in ruin, and you never have time to grab a little girl’s lost balloon (Spider-Man 2).


The presentation in Web of Shadows is a bit hit-and-miss.  There are some really cool visual effects – the symbiote goo looks great and moves around like it does in the movie.  Some of the models are really good (Spider-Man, Black Cat) and others are horrible (Cage, Mary Jane).  There’s also a lot of cool visual cues to the city being overtaken, with black goo strung from building to building.  Spidey looks great in both suits, and the city itself looks fair.  The visuals seem a little inconsistent, as they neither strive for realism  nor strive for a comic style – it’s a little in between.  The result is mixed and a little distracting.  Spidey looks better here than in Spider-Man 3, but the city looks worse.  You can definitely tell this isn’t New York – something that Spider-Man 3 did much better on (more traffic, more people, etc).  Overall, I give the visuals a resounding ‘meh’.

The sound is the same way.  I thought the voice work for Spider-Man was sometimes great – reminded me of a mix between the movies and the cartoons I used to watch; however, if any real emotion was required, he just sounded like a whiny 14 year old girl who just got told she couldn’t go to the dance.  The sound effects do little to give credence to the realism.  The music is appropriate most of the time (sounds like a Spider-Man soundtrack), but my main complaint is that it disappears when the symbiotes take over the city and you aren’t around a crime; so, if you’re just swinging around, you won’t hear any music – just deep laughing that sounds a little too much like Andross from StarFox 64.

The UI isn’t intuitive at all – the main menu has two sets of tabs to navigate through (one set with RB/LB, the other with RT/LT).  On the start screen, it defaults your cursor to ‘New Game’ rather than ‘Continue Game’ when you have a save, which very easily could’ve led to me overwriting my save file.  There aren’t any visual cues to why a certain move didn’t work (timing is important in the combat).  There was a red overlay that appears when low on health (a la Call of Duty 3), but it came up a bit too early (leaving me feeling like I wasn’t that threatened when I saw that indicator).  They also had a life bar, however – I honestly don’t understand why you would need both.


The gameplay in Web of Shadows is very similar to the Spider-Man games since Spider-Man 2.  They pushed the RPG elements while marketing the game, but they didn’t extend beyond buying new combos (which has been in there since before Spider-Man 2).  I’d suggest turning on auto upgrades, as picking your upgrades isn’t that rewarding.

The combat is repetitive and leaves little to improvisation.  A is jump, X is attack, Y is web strike (where you attach a web to an enemy, pull yourself closer, and attack as you reach him), and B is for web shots (why this move requires a dedicated button is beyond me).  What this breaks down to is hitting X repeatedly on the ground or in the air, or hit Y to pull yourself towards the enemy and then hit Y or X when you reach him.  You can tap B every once in awhile to stun the enemy, but I rarely really used it.  I love the web-strikes, but I hate that it replaces the strong attack.  The end result is that they took a lot of the subtlety out of combat that previous Spider-Man titles had (and even those were a bit button-mashy).  It still ends up being pretty fun, I just wish they had executed it a little differently.  Being able to switch into the black suit and back mid-combo is nice, and the different move set really makes you want to use the black suit a lot of the time.  By the end of the game, you can have tentacles flying around at people, really making damage.  They added a lock-on system, which is very useful for keeping your eyes on who you want to attack.  The problem is that after performing a web-strike, the target automatically changes ‘for you’.  This was helpful when stringing attacks between multiple foes, but horrible when fighting a boss (which were often surrounded by other enemies).

Web slinging is still a lot of fun, but you can now sometimes attach web to the sky if no buildings are present.  It leaves a lot of the tension and fun of swinging around behind when it doesn’t matter if a building is there or not.  I’m not really sure why they brought that back.  Another way they’ve made exploration less fun – there aren’t any extras.  None at all.  No races, challenges, comic book covers, or anything.  There are little spider pieces you can pick up, but they just amount to experience and are all over the place.  Not exactly hard to find.  Because there’s nothing else to do, you also can’t explore the city after you beat the game.

Overall, the gameplay is Spider-Man 3 with some lost subtlety, lack of an interest for exploration, an added lock-on system, and little else.


Technically, this game is a bit of a train wreck.  It definitely needed more time before release, as I ran into a lot of bugs.  Here’s a list:

  • Slow-motion not stopping – Occasionally, the games shifts to slow motion to exemplify an attack. Occasionally, I would get stuck in slow motion after this occurs.
  • Enemies disappearing – I would swing down to the city, start fighting some baddies and saving civilians, then everyone would disappear – no enemies, no civilians, no crime marker – just gone.
  • Stuck in mid-air – Once I had to restart the system because every time that I brought Spidey into the air he would get stuck and become immovable.
  • A little off – During a couple of cutscenes, Spider-Man wasn’t where he was supposed to be. He was supposed to be sitting on a pole or hanging from some web, but would be floating in mid-air above or next to what he was supposed to be attached to
  • Symbiote Wolverine, hanging out – About a quarter through fighting Symbiote Wolverine, he stopped attacking and just stood there. He stayed that way until I defeated him.
  • Web-strike confusion – Upon initiating web-strikes with enemies behind obstacles, Spidey would get stuck on the obstacle for a bit, then magically slide around it to continue on his course
  • Civilians forgetting they’re in danger – sometimes I wouldn’t be able to save a civilian because I would no longer be able to pick them up to take them to a safe zone – they would just stand there and watch. Some would run away, but I still couldn’t save them

Those are the ones I can remember.  Any technical accomplishments they had are overshadowed by the bugs.

Final Verdict

The game was fun.  I enjoyed playing it and never wanted to quit, but I’m not sure how much of it is because I like it for being another Spider-Man game.  The things I really enjoyed about it (apart from the story) can be enjoyed in the other games as well.  So, without further ado, my rating:

Worth a rent/bargain

Since the game was a lot of fun, I’d say it’s still worth your time (especially if you’re into Spider-Man games);  however, it just doesn’t offer as much as Spider-Man games have in the past.  Honestly, just get Spider-Man 3.  It’s like $15 at GameStop.

Currently Playing…

Ninja Gaiden 2

I was close to quiting tonight, as the beginning to chapter 8 sucks.  I definately hate the guys that spit out 40 rockets/second.  Whatever happened to blocking nuclear explosions?  But no, I have to get 30 rockets to the face along with giant mech guys along with dogs throwing exploding shurikens…and whatever else there was.  I ended up saving after each battle, and running people around to avoid the rocket dudes.  After all that was over, things got better.  That is, there were fewer 30 rockets/second guys.

Not a fan of the exploding shurikens either, but I’ll deal with that.  The beginning to this chapter ensured I wouldn’t go play on path of the Warrior.