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While We Were Away – Fist Full Of Micro Reviews

March 27, 2013 Leave a comment

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

AliensCM Xbox
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

DeadSpace3 Box
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

SlyCoop4 TT Box
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

Hitman HD Coll Box
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

DMC_PS3 box
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

FarCry3 Box
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

Tomb Raider – Xbox 360 Review

TombRaider Box

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Platform: Xbox 360 (also available for PlayStation 3 and PC)
Genre: Action
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB: M (Mature)
Release Date: March 5, 2013

GR Choice Award

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.

TombRaider Screen1

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.

TombRaider Screen2

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.

TombRaider Screen3

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.

TombRaider Screen5

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.

TombRaider Screen4

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

Gameplay: 9.0
Graphics: 9.0
Sound: 9.0
Appeal: 8.5
Overall: 9.0

Review copy provided by Square Enix

Categories: Xbox 360 Review

The Return of Game Revolver … Yet Again – Monthly Editorial (March 2013)

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.

PS4 Logo tiny

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.

GameRevolverStaff00

Happy Gaming,
Eduardo Zacarias
Editor-in-Chief

Categories: Monthly Editorial