While we were still waiting for news that we would finally be owners of this site, the staff of Game Revolver didn’t just spend the free time watching YouTube videos of skateboarders cracking bones and praying nightly that the “Harlem Shuffle” fad will die that horrible death that it deserves very soon, we have been playing games.
So here’s a collection of micro reviews of games that we should meant to review but couldn’t.
ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES
As fans of the James Cameron film featuring our favorite acid-blooded aliens, we foolishly had high hopes that Sega would do justice to a game set after the events of the movie. Hell yeah we would love to tear the aliens apart as a colonial marine in the exact same place where Ripley, Hicks, Bishop and Newt managed to escape so of course we were on board. However, nothing hurts more when your hopes are smashed to pieces when you’re presented with a game that is this lackluster, repetitive and without any redeemable value. Also, the multiplayer is poorly executed.
Be prepared to see this game in Angelina’s column very soon. Yeah, it’s just that bad.
OVERALL GRADE: D-
DEAD SPACE 3
While this third chapter in the Dead Space saga might not be as great as the first game or the second, there’s much to like about this one thanks to the great balance between good storytelling and action that still works well. My heart still belongs to the first game but if you’ve played both you definitely need to play this third game.
OVERALL GRADE: B-
SLY COOPER: THIEVES IN TIME
Sly fans have been looking forward to this PS3 offering and, for the most part, it does not disappoint although the things that made Sly Cooper games of old so charming and enjoyable have been toned down some in this game. Still, that’s not to say that you won’t have fun with Thieves of Time. In fact, we still recommend this one very enthusiastically either way.
OVERALL GRADE: B+
HITMAN HD COLLECTION
With the arrival of Hitman: Absolution, it just makes sense to remind gamers why Agent 47 is such a bad ass anti-hero we cannot help but love by releasing an HD Collection of the early games like Silent Assassin, Contracts and our personal favorite, Blood Money. While the visuals are not as gorgeous as Blood Money, both Silent Assassin and Contracts more than makes up for it with the addictive mission contracts 47 must complete anyway you – the gamer – see fit.
If you never played the earlier games in the series, you are seriously missing out on some truly enjoyable games that should not be missed if you like an inventive action series with the best feature a game could have … total freedom. This collection is a Must Have for sure.
OVERALL GRADE: A-
DmC: Devil May Cry
Much has been said about Dante’s younger look and lack of style that made him so darn likeable in that Japanese pop star sort of way but looks aside it’s the gameplay and action that should have been on everyone’s mind and DmC: Devil May Cry does not disappoint whatsoever. Don’t call this a reboot or a comeback, this is an origin story and it works well.
If you liked the original Devil May Cry games, this one hits all the right notes and makes for a solid action-packed title that will make you a fan all over again.
OVERALL GRADE: B+
FAR CRY 3
The Far Cry series has never let us down when it comes to providing an exotic setting that becomes like a second character in this first-person shooter series that keeps you on your toes as you explore your surroundings. This third outing finds a new characters stuck on an island with even more dangers to face as we witness a young man go from helpless victim to stone-cold killer.
Add an equally awesome multiplayer game with enough bells and whistles that Far Cry fans are already accustomed to and you have a game with a lot to offer first-person shooter fans or action junkies in general.
OVERALL GRADE: A
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Platform: Xbox 360 (also available for PlayStation 3 and PC)
ESRB: M (Mature)
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Review By: Natalie Romano
As it is for any iconic figure, sometimes it’s hard to live up to the legend that is born from the beginnings that transformed them into what they are now. For tomb raider Lara Croft, her legend began with her early adventures as the confident, fearless, pistol-packing busty aristocrat who eagerly entered ancient tombs complete with dangerous threats of the animal variety as well as the human kind whether it be deadly henchmen or man-made traps.
Yes, Lara Croft has had her share of mediocre and even a really forgettable games but Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics has decided to reboot the series to finally do justice to the icon that is Lara Croft. The result is Tomb Raider, an origin story that introduces us to a much younger Lara and the events that leads to the birth of a legend. Call it a return to the Lara Croft we have come to love along with gameplay elements that take its nod from the Uncharted games that were inspired by Lara’s early adventures.
Tomb Raider introduces us to a young woman whose fascination with archeology and mythology drives her to put together an expedition to a place that holds many secrets. Unfortunately, the voyage was not a smooth one and she – along with those she brought along for this expedition – are shipwrecked. If being stranded on a mysterious island wasn’t enough, the local inhabitants are not friendly village folks but rather violent guerillas. Suddenly, Lara and her friends find themselves in a fierce fight for survival.
Survival is the theme of this Tomb Raider as we witness a young and inexperienced Lara Croft gradually becomes the strong figure we all know. Sometimes it takes a harsh environment and extreme conditions that force you to realize that it’s either you or them that a person discovers what they are capable of pulling off. Suddenly, Lara sees no other choice but to take a life and then several more throughout the course of the game. It’s a jarring experience watching Lara kill a man for the first time and then witness her doing it again without the nervous retching.
The game begins with a number of QTE (Quick Time Events) moments that require pressing a button when it flashes on the screen and at the right moment much like the ones in games like the Uncharted series. Several minutes later, the island becomes a dangerous playground that is open to you. As I mentioned above, Lara’s story takes her on a quest to survive the island and the dangerous men who push a young woman to take up arms and make use of her skills to strike back.
Those skills come in the form of Lara’s ability to take in her surrounding and find an advantage that she can use such as finding that extra foothold or spot that will allow you to climb higher and all of this is done through Lara’s Survival Instinct Vision that highlights these things with the touch of a button. Then there are the weapons that Lara uses to take down the army of vicious thugs whether it’s with a shotgun, grenade launcher or a hunting bow (yes, Lara’s situation calls for her to hunt animals).
It’s quite a reversal to see Lara go from a frightening moment where a guerilla grunt attempts to force himself on her to a hunter who could spring out from behind cover to shoot a flaming arrow straight into the head of an armed thug. Combat in the game is a vast improvement over the last Lara Croft adventures, making each combat encounter feel intense and action-packed. There are also stealth moments that add stealth kills to Lara’s defensive skill set. Everything from aiming to making use of cover and dodge moves makes combat a gratifying experience.
Despite the new QTE moments and immersive combat that is mixed in with action-packed moments that drive the intensity of Lara Croft’s situation, Square Enix made sure the game did not lose sight of what made this series so beloved and that is the actual tomb raiding. The island itself once hid the ancient Yamatai civilization as we can see from the many ruins scattered throughout. By way of caverns, Lara finds herself unlocking this civilization’s secrets as well as discovering the treasures it contains.
The game truly highlights the classic tomb exploration later in the game and, strangely enough, at its end when you are given complete freedom to fully explore Yamatai without the restrictions that come with the story. Like they were in the early classic Tomb Raider games, each chamber is something of a puzzle as you try to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B or how to reach that relic piece that’s doesn’t seem to have an easy way to reach it. The game offers plenty of collectibles such as rare totems, caches and maps among some other items worth looking for during the course of the game.
Luckily, the game offers a number of upgrades you can add to weapons and equipment among Lara’s arsenal. Aside from the helpful flame arrows you can shoot with your trusty compound bow, there are rope arrows that can create bridges and other means to get from one place to another as well as napalm arrows that can really clear a space of multiple bad guys. On top of that, Lara’s skills can also be upgrades to make you a better brawler, hunter or survivalist.
There’s no escaping the scripted moments throughout the game that very rarely will get on your nerves considering the fact that they look spectacular in motion. However, you get enough freedom in the game to explore your terrain to encounter camps, bases, villages and temples. Lara’s adventures find herself slipping into a shanty town one moment then exploring a shipwrecked PT boat in another.
The island is a visually impressive spectacle that, when open to the player, is immersive enough that you won’t help be caught up in its beauty. The setting is filled with mystery whether it’s due to the crashed WWII planes or the creepy atmosphere of the many ruins. Cinematic camera angles add to the dramatic action-packed sequences that pop up throughout the campaign. Lara herself looks more natural and her expressions of fear early in the game and the look of rage when she becomes comfortable taking lives feel genuine.
Then there’s the score that punctuates each scenario and cut scene perfectly. It fits the game like a glove and helps drive home the intensity of each combative encounter with the guerillas or Lara’s exploration of an old civilization’s wonders. The voice acting is handled well enough when it comes to the bit players in this story but it is obvious that the star of this show is Lara Croft and the voice actor who takes up the role does so with enough emotion to make Lara even more convincing.
New to the Tomb Raider franchise is a multiplayer mode that, when it was first announced, didn’t sound like a very good idea. At times, it feels like it was ripped straight out of Uncharted 2 and 3 and that’s what it feels like and that isn’t such a bad thing seeing as Uncharted’s multiplayer was fun in short bursts. The same can be said about Tomb Raider’s multiplayer portion – fun in short burst yet still an underwhelming experience with little to offer. Sure, you can upgrade weapons and unlock skills that will make you even better at setting traps or executing sweet headshots more accurately. It’s just too bad that the four multiplayer modes don’t offer anything remotely unique to add variety to the deathmatch, team deathmatch and free-for-all modes.
Tomb Raider is more than just a reboot but an extraordinary prologue to the legend that began back in 1996 as we play through an adventure that is both convincingly thrilling and delightfully challenging. Yamatai has a lot to offer and Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics even pushes the traditional exploration and treasure-hunting elements of the classic games that gives this game reason to keep playing. Tomb Raider fans, you will not be disappointed by this game.
GAME REVOLVER RATING
Review copy provided by Square Enix
Have you ever gone on a date with a person who totally sweeps you off your feet to the point that the only you can see is the possibility of a long and fruitful relationship that will last forever? We have too but not with a person but with a publishing company that gave not only us a home but also our sister sites called Comic Revolution and Animanga Nation.
We thought we were in love with this company but after a few years of dating we came to realize that when your significant other tries to stifle your creativity and try to change who you are then you know you’re not in a healthy relationship. So, after a lengthy battle our site has broken free of a relationship that was no longer a loving and encouraging one to start anew sans a controlling lover.
So Game Revolver is official back and with nothing holding us back we can return to being the fools who bring you gaming news and reviews in a slightly different manner. We have always seen ourselves as comedic journalists who bring you news and features in a slightly more tongue-in-cheek sort of way while taking our game reviews a lot more serious (mainly because games are expensive and serious business).
Thankfully, we were not alone in breaking off with the creativity-smothering publishing company because Comic Revolution (a site run by my younger sister, Eden Zacarias) has also broken free to make a triumphant return as well. Sadly, Animanga Nation – despite announcing they were back – will officially be back for good in 2014. Sorry about that anime and manga fans.
Our return, however, comes at a good time. With the announcement of PlayStation 4 during Sony’s press conference in February we will be joining a new generation in gaming goodness. On top of that we have the Xbox 720 to look forward to as Microsoft will bring a new console to this new generation and believe me when I say that we are so looking forward to that as well.
In the meantime, the current generation will not simply fade into console obscurity since there are a number of upcoming titles that will surely continue making us happy gaming addicts. With games like BioShock Infinite, Grand Theft Auto V, God of War: Ascension and Gears of War: Judgment among a few others, we will have our hands full until the new consoles hit store shelves.
So I am happy to call the old staff back for more gaming news and reviews and we wish to thank all you fellow gamers and readers who have sent us so much love and e-mails asking for us to come back.
Also, Natalie Romano and Valentina del Toro would like to thank all the male readers for all those e-mails requesting dates after they seen pictures of them covering last year’s San Diego Comic-Con when they dressed as the Black Cat and Catwoman for a friendly review site that will remain unnamed for so many reasons.
Ah, thanks for making our nerd dreams come true, ladies.
Anyway, we’re back! Just in case you forgot how we looked like while we were away, here’s a picture of us now.
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar Studios
Platform: Xbox 360 (also available for PlayStation 3 and PC)
ESRB: MA (Mature)
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Review By: Eduardo Zacarias
It has been a long while since we last seen Max Payne, a man that has lost everything he loved and has spent his days punishing himself by taking on the criminal underworld with nothing more than a few guns and some pills. He has been through a lot and it shows as we catch up to Max once again in Rockstar Games’ Max Payne 3 – a booze-soaked, bullet-slinging shooter with more than enough action to keep Max Payne fans more than satisfied.
Nine years has passed since the events of Max Payne 2 and Max has decided to trade the streets of New York City for the more colorful, sun-soaked streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil working private security for an affluent businessman named Rodrigo Branco. Despite his new life and a different setting, Max still finds himself haunted by the ghost of his past and drowns his pain with hard liquor and pills. Working for the Branco clan, Max is forced to see the world as seen through the eyes of Brazil’s elite as well as the poor. Then, Rodrigo’s sexy wife, Fabiana, is kidnapped and Max is determined to get her back as he dives back into the world of bloody violence, corruption and something even darker.
Like the first and second game in the series, Max Payne narrates his descent into a bullet-fueled quest for redemption, revenge and – in his mind – save a man’s wife and thus keeping somebody from experiencing the hell he went through and still goes through every day. Back are the graphic novel-like sequences but these are just to reminders of the series’ hardboiled film-noir flavor that saturates the narrative. This is a story that is well-written, which doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with this publisher, and believe me when I say that the story will make you want to see it through to the very end of its 12 hours or so single-player mode.
Also like the first two games, Max Payne 3 doesn’t offer much freedom to explore your surroundings and there are several moments throughout the game that you will want to do just that and that is mainly due to the exotic locale. Sure, there’s a sequence that will take you back to New York City but it is sun-baked Sao Paulo that is so inviting that you will want to run through its favelas or explore the hot nightclub scene.
It’s the shootouts that make this game so thrilling as Max displays his brand of gunplay and, this time around, it has been tweaked enough that you now have three different aiming options to cater to your own individual preference. You can have Max lock on to the nearest enemy if you like or have him keep track of an enemy he locked into or you can choose to freely aim and shoot at the enemy yourself. Either way, the gunfights continue to have that spectacular John Woo-esque action style with the exception that now you can literally sling hot lead at multiple enemies.
The game is also ultra violent as bullets tear into flesh and shots to the head are deliciously gruesome to the point that you will find yourself savoring each kill. Add destructible environments and you find yourself taking advantage of weak cover the same way the enemy does as well. It’s the return of Bullet Time that will have you pulling off stylish moves and the fact that the Bullet Time meter is easy to fill up you will get a view of the bullet as it leaves the gun and hits its target. Then there’s the return of the Shoot Dodge move that has Max diving and shooting at the same time in slo-mo. This isn’t just a visual feature but rather a tactical one that can give you an advantage in a particularly difficult situation.
There are a number of situations where you will not only feel overwhelmed by the enemy but come to realize that you can’t charge into the fray with guns blazing expecting to shake off the damage you sustain by waiting Halo-style in hopes that your health with return to normal. Sure, you can pop some pills but the supply isn’t unlimited. This forces you to approach a fight with cover and your Shoot Dodge move in mind. The fact that the environment is destructible means that pillar you’re hiding behind could crumble away or that table you just ducked behind could be turned into Swiss cheese until it breaks away.
Sadly, as I mentioned, you will feel like the game is leading you by the hand from one action-packed scenario to the next and if they weren’t so damn fun I’d be really complaining. The truth is that the fights will keep your adrenalin pumping in the best possible way as each scenario adds something unique whether its sliding off the titled rooftops of a favela or grabbing on to a helicopter in flight. It’s fun stuff, indeed, and – as I mentioned – the story is a good one with more than enough colorful characters. My only real complaint besides the lack of freedom is that the game didn’t add any other new features to the gameplay.
What is new, however, is a multiplayer component that is just as much fun as the single-player campaign. It is here that you can on other players in game modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Gang Wars and Payne Killer. Gang Wars offers a five-round team match that has you completing fun objectives that have you either protect/kill a VIP or one where one team plants a bomb and the other team tries to defuse it. Payne Killer, those who become Max Payne or his friend, Passos, is hunted down by the other players.
The multiplayer portion adds the Shoot Dodge move that makes the entire experience rather lively and challenging at the same time. It’s chaotic fun and the reason you will still be playing this game after finishing the single-player mode. Add some great maps and more than enough crazy shootouts and you will definitely not be disappointed by it.
Visually, the game looks great on the Xbox 360 with some gorgeous backgrounds and the visceral eye candy being the bloody kills and destruction. Some effects range from awesome (I love how things shatter) to occasionally annoying (the blurred effects of popping pills and chugging booze) but, overall, the visuals are good but not as amazing as it could have been a lot better. Then there’s the sound that is excellent as it plays up the amazing score and the brilliant voice-acting make this a truly cinematic experience.
Max Payne 3 is an exciting and action-packed shooter that is a fitting sequel worthy of the Max Payne franchise. Sure, the game’s single-player mode leaves no room to explore Max’s new setting or offers anything new to the gameplay but it does the action sequences right and tells a great story to boot. Add a delightfully wild multiplayer mode with enough to do and we have a game that is certainly worth playing even if you’re new to the series.
GAME REVOLVER RATING
Review copy provided by Rockstar Games
Here’s a true story, dear readers, one that will give you chills and – quite possibly – give you nightmares when you go to bed tonight. I myself still require a nightly dousing of fine spirits … particularly the one made by my amigo, Jose Cuervo. So you can see how this story still haunts me even today because this story took place when I was but 12.
Back then, there was a new gaming system known as the Playstation that already had quite an impressive lineup of titles that included a newly remastered version of Resident Evil. In fact, that’s what I wanted for my 12th birthday and nothing else. I had seen the game in action before in my friend’s house when his brother was playing it and I wanted it so badly that I could taste it.
So, Grandpa Del Toro was sent on a mission to obtain said game to give to his granddaughter on her birthday. Of course, Grandpa Del Toro knew nothing of games or that darn techno gizmo that spun said game inside it so he got advice from a circle of his “younger” friends … all of which played games too of the chess and checker variety. Oh yeah, his “younger” friends still had some of their original teeth but did they really know anything about gaming?
Well, imagine my surprise that fine day when I unwrap my present and find myself staring at a Playstation game. Way to go, Grandpa, you actually did it! Now, imagine my surprise when I discover that the game is called “Barbie and Friends Adventure!” Oh wow, Grandpa even opened the game for me and tossed out the receipt so returning it would be impossible.
Ok, I don’t blame my grandfather for his blunder nor is that the nightmare I mentioned. The real nightmare came from playing the game because – get this – the damned thing had no save point. So how is a little girl suppose to “beat” this game with no save point? On top of that, why does the super dream date with Ken have that creepy stalker vibe to it? Plus, why do Barbie’s friends have to tag along on the date? You don’t see me getting in the way of a friend’s intimate date waving hello like an idiot much like Barbie’s friends do in the game.
Anyway, this kind of thing kept happening every birthday even when other members of my family decided to give me games for birthdays or Christmas. It got so bad that I told them I would much rather have a sweater or socks instead.. When it did lead to, my friends, is nightmares and this gig that I am proud to have on this site.
So, lets get back to the nightmares, shall we?
DUKE NUKEM FOREVER (XBOX 360, PS3)
Like most of you, I too have been waiting a long time to get my hands on a game that seems to have been in development for centuries. So, after so many years of working on the game, you would expect it to be a masterpiece in first-person shooter gaming but instead we get a game whose biggest highlight is having the steroid-using hero pick up a turd right out of a toilet bowl. Even a trip to a strip club seems lame … a strip club!
Male pig hero aside, the level design is so by-the-numbers that it loses its charm so quickly that you forget you’re fighting pig police officers and other demonic aliens. Even the vehicle parts seem so dull that I once fell asleep while playing the game. Well, that could be Jose Cuervo’s fault but Duke Nukem Forever will forever be considered one of the biggest letdowns that I am not surprised when I went into a GameStop to find it already collecting dust in the bargain bin.
LEISURE SUIT LARRY: BOX OFFICE BUST (XBOX 360, PS3)
Considered one of the worst games of 2009, you can definitely see why just 2 minutes into the game and – if you hate yourself that much – an hour with it will just seem like torture. You see, we love funny and we love to laugh but this game is funny for all the wrong reasons. It’s too bad, really, since I recently got to play the old PC games of the original Leisure Suit Larry titles that are still a laugh riot even today.
First of all, this game has one or two good laughs while the rest is made up of a series of pointless, repetitive and nauseating mini-games as you assume control of Larry Loveage working in a movie studio. If you came to the game looking for the classic nudity and sex you will not find it here. If you came looking for fun you will find it … making tiny paper hats out of the instruction manual or using the shiny side of the disc to blind friends and foes. Other than that, the rumors are true … this game will suck the life out of you.
BIG RIGS: OVER THE ROAD RACING (PC)
Normally, I don’t get any PC games since this site covers console gaming because that will just open a new can of worms for me. Still, this game is so bad that it had to be played and having sat down for a few hours to play it I found out one thing: this is the funniest game I have ever played! No other game has made me laugh harder or longer and it’s totally not on purpose.
Imagine racing a big rig across the open highway when – suddenly – said highway just disappears and it looks as though your big rig were flying. The box itself says you’ll be running from the law but after speeding and breaking a number of highway laws, no police siren could be heard. Whoo-wee, Cletus, I done found me a patch of Heaven!
Unfortunately, the game crashes often and there are glitches that have the game believing you won the race mid-way. Dang, if that ain’t the end of it, Hoss! You won’t even find the final race unless you git on your Internet and you go and download that there last race. Boy howdy, this game is might fun and for all the dang wrong reasons too.
Soul Calibur V is one of the many games we are so looking forward to in 2012 and the same can be said about our Japanese gaming brothers and sisters awaiting to get their hands on this awesome fighting series’ fifth installment. Oh, but the marketing geniuses of Japan have a most eye-popping way of pimping out the game as you will see in this advertisement for the game.
Let’s just say that it features one of our favorite fighters in the series, Ivy, or should I say a BIG part of Ivy. Wow, if this doesn’t get 15-year old boys to pre-order I don’t know what will. Just take a good look at this Japanese ad. It’s Ok to stare, boy, really.
After a long reflective pause and a hiatus that seemed way too long, Game Revolver is back … again.
It seemed like a number of things conspired against us, including a brief scuffle with our old partners and a media firm that thought we were a bit too condescending when it came to making fun of bad games. After all, these companies still put out games but – come on, suits – every big name company, movie studio or publisher produces a bright and shiny turd every now and then so why can’t we point it out and laugh at it.
Here’s another thing the suits didn’t like. We are a bunch of comedians who also happen to be hardcore gamers so the only thing we do take seriously are our game reviews and that is for an obvious reason … games cost money and reviews should be help our readers decide whether they should buy, rent or pass on a game. We feel the same about previews, which we also take seriously because we are just as excited as you – our dear readers – to learn more about upcoming games.
Other than that, we make with the funny when it comes to special features such as Valentina’s Adventures in Bad Gaming or when we do our own version of “Punch Buggy” only when we see crates in a game. Oh yeah, so you can imagine how many sore arms there are after playing a game like Skyrim.
Oh, and I would like to thank all our readers for all their wonderful words of encouragement and the other emails requesting we come back. To tell you the truth, Game Revolver would have dissolved completely without all of your support. I’m not kidding, three of our reviewers were seriously going to start their own gaming website in protest so I’m glad they’re still with us.
Well, we’ll get back to doing what we do as we bring you gaming news, reviews and everything else in-between.