RETURN TO ENLIGHTENMENT

Solo Gamer Reviews

The loner's source for gaming news, views, and overviews

REVIEWS & ARTICLES

The Video Games of 2010 (Solo Gamer Reviews) - Page 2

Mass Effect 2
MASS EFFECT 2
Release Date: 1/26/2010
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: BioWare
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Sites: Official | IGN | Gametrailers


FINAL TALLY
STORY: 10
GAMEPLAY: 9.5
PRESENTATION: 10
SOLO GAMER SCORE: 10

TOTAL SCORE: 9.9

My only problem with Mass Effect 2 is that it's over. Mass Effect 3 can't come quickly enough.

Mass Effect 2 is a nearly perfect game. It has an impossibly deep story that logically follows the first game--with choices made by the player in the first game carrying over into the sequel--but has a style and feel all its own. The combat has been vastly improved from the original, with tedious RPG elements streamlined and third-person shooter mechanics greatly improved. The graphics are also better, the game universe is larger, the missions are shorter, and the game as a whole is much longer. All of these are improvements over the first game, and that's saying a lot as I consider the original Mass Effect to be one of the greatest single-player RPGs of all time. If I had to dig for complaints, I would bring up resource mining and lack of true mission variety (not counting the DLC additions), but really, those complaints are minor. The only people who won't like this game are people who don't like deep story, science-fiction, fascinating characters, meaningful dialogue, or things that are awesome.



Splinter Cell: Conviction
SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION
Release Date: 4/13/2010
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Sites: Official | IGN | Gametrailers


FINAL TALLY
STORY: 9
GAMEPLAY: 10
PRESENTATION: 10
SOLO GAMER SCORE: 4

TOTAL SCORE: 8.3

If it weren't for the short campaign and the game's over-emphasis on multiplayer, Splinter Cell: Conviction might deserve a near perfect score and could be considered the best Splinter Cell since the original, if not the best of them all.

The Splinter Cell franchise was starting to feel stale. Few people even know about the shocking ending to Splinter Cell: Double Agent, because most people gave up on the series long ago. The long-gestating Splinter Cell: Conviction aims to turn that momentum around, and it absolutely succeeds. The story is good, though newcomers (or people returning to the franchise after missing a game or two or three) will feel a little lost among the characters and previous events that are often referenced. While Sam Fisher from time to time comes across as a Jack Bauer clone (as if that were a bad thing), his character and how it has changed over the years is the core of the story. There is intrigue involving EMPs, corrupt agents, the White House, and some plot points that are very cool, but the story never loses its focus on Sam's character, and for that reason, it is a great tale (with a coda at the end that I absolutely love). Splinter Cell: Conviction shines even greater, however, in the gameplay, which is a complete overhaul from previous installments. Stealth is still the focus, but it feels more intense as things move much quicker, enemy AI is much smarter, and the way the game uses light and darkness is visceral and immediately intuitive. Unfortunately, despite all this awesomeness, the solo gamer needs to beware. Much like Halo: Reach, the solo campaign is far too short and there is way too much focus on multiplayer. Granted, most of that multiplayer focus is on two-player co-op (which can be played locally), but it's still multiplayer. There are many achievements (even in-game challenges that net points for weapon and gadget upgrades) that cannot be won without another person present, and that is hard, if not impossible, to forgive.



Super Mario Galaxy 2
SUPER MARIO GALAXY 2
Release Date: 5/23/2010
Platform: Wii
Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Publisher: Nintendo
Sites: Official | IGN | Gametrailers


FINAL TALLY
STORY: 9
GAMEPLAY: 10
PRESENTATION: 10
SOLO GAMER SCORE: 10

TOTAL SCORE: 9.8

What is there to say? It's a-Mario!

While much of the story and design of Super Mario Galaxy 2 have been streamlined from its predecessor, it is actually a better product for it. Blending the interface from the original with the simplicity of the maps in 2-D Mario adventures, the game is more intuitive and less tedious than the first game. However, while the game's design is made more user-friendly and less complex, the levels themselves are more imaginative and varied than ever before. There is something for every type of player in Super Mario Galaxy 2, with goals that are easy for fledgling gamers and some that are seemingly impossible for those of us with more hardcore inclinations. At the end of the day, it's a Mario game, with all that that entailes. It is, like most Mario games, Nintendo at its finest. If you liked Super Mario Galaxy, there's no reason to avoid this one.



Super Meat Boy
SUPER MEAT BOY
Release Date: 10/20/2010
Platform: XBLA
Developer: Team Meat
Publisher: Team Meat
Sites: Official | IGN | Gametrailers


FINAL TALLY
STORY: 9
GAMEPLAY: 10
PRESENTATION: 10
SOLO GAMER SCORE: 10

TOTAL SCORE: 9.8

Super Meat Boy is fan service at its finest, a ludicrously challenging and amusing game that is nearly impossible to put down.

Though not a sequel (it's based on a 2008 flash game), Super Meat Boy is a sleeper hit that is designed for people who have been gaming for a very long time. It presents itself as a simple platformer with goofy cutscenes that are all loving homages and parodies of old-school titles. The plot is as ridiculous as it gets, with characters like Bandage Girl and Dr. Fetus, and it all seems like a satire on the arbitrary silliness of greats like Super Mario Bros and Mega Man. The gameplay is pixel-perfect, with accuracy that will impress and frustrate you to no end. What starts as a simple concept quickly blossoms into a challenging maelstrom of levels designed to kill you as creatively as possible. However, with no load times and an instant resurrection at the beginning of each short level when you die, the game takes a long time to bring you to your knees. The allure of just one more try can keep players going for hours, and the sense of accomplishment you feel when you best certain stages is something you don't often get in games today. I highly, highly, highly recommend Super Meat Boy to any gamer out there who remembers what video games were like in the 80s.



<< PREVIOUS
|
Page     1     2
|


-e. magill 12/28/2010








Facebook

Copyright 2010 e. magill. All rights reserved.