Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – The Game

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By Brittany Vincent
Contributing Writer

Scott Pilgrim did more than meet the girl of his dreams. He met her in them. Ramona Flowers, a delivery girl for Amazon, is beautiful, mysterious, and changes her hair color weekly.

Unfortunately, there are seven major problems standing in the way of their happiness together: Seven evil exes.

These are failed suitors who want to keep Scott from dating her, all of them organized under the greatest ex of all, Gideon Graves. It’s up to Scott to finally find the power of love within himself in order to conquer Ramona’s jilted partners and nab a “good” ending for the both of them.

In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, an adaptation of the comic series and feature film, you’ll take up the mantle of Scott, Ramona, or one of the members of fledgling band Sex Bob-omb on a raucous and thoroughly retro-licious journey to take out six evil ex-boyfriends and one evil ex-girlfriend.

Like the comics and movie from where this violent rainbow sugar rush of a side-scrolling beat-em-up came, this release relies on old-school gaming sensibilities and cheeky gaming references to create one of the better and more enjoyable book/movie tie-ins of all time.

Unfortunately, it’s not one of the best video games you’ll get your hands on. While this 8-bit brawler practically oozes style and classic gaming goodness, it doesn’t quite make up for its plentiful problems.
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Review: Madden NFL ’11

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Pro football and the Madden game franchise have been part of the same sports/pop culture fabric for more than two decades. You don’t spend that kind of time together without learning how to evolve.

The real thing has witnessed the growth of ideas like the West Coast Offense, spread formation and defensive schemes. The games have withstood everything from passing windows to passing cones to the ProTak animation system.

But in the end, it’s still about how good the football is, and in the case of “Madden NFL 11,” some of it’s better than it’s been in years.
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Review: Dragon Quest IX – Sentinels of the Starry Skies

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By Brittany Vincent
Contributing Writer

The Dragon Quest series’ relationship with gamers outside of Japan hasn’t exactly been a stable one, especially out West.

It’s certainly not because of quality. Memorable characters, heartwarming adventures, and artwork from Akira Toriyama create experiences just as worthy of your time and attention as any Final Fantasy title.

This is further proven in the series’ latest iteration, Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies. It not only echoes what has made the Dragon Quest saga memorable, but is also the first numbered installment to receive a handheld-only release.
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Review: LIMBO

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Prepare to die. A lot.

That’s the first thing I’d tell anyone ready to delve into LIMBO on Xbox Live Arcade. The same can be said about a lot of games, but not many of them carry the theme of death with such a spooky, dark and minimalist quality.

Playdead has created a masterfully entertaining mindbender that comes across as not only a visionary challenge to interpretations of the afterlife’s gray area, but also as an old-school lesson in perseverance and pain.

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Review: Naughty Bear

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Naughty Bear is better seen and heard about than played. To play it invites mental punishment.

At a glance, the concept is intriguing. Take something usually associated with fluff and cuteness and turn it into a vehicle of dark vengeance. It would not only offer something relatively unseen, but it would also administer a possibly entertaining poke at our psyches. Done right, it could be clever.

Clever is not what happens here. Instead, we get the equivalent of spaghetti thrown against the wall, except it’s to the sounds of party favors being stepped on, other bears tottering around in anguish and a narrator who bellows at you like a demented babysitter.

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Review: Transformers – War for Cybertron

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If you grew up in the ’80s, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of Optimus Prime. And if you did, you probably thought he was awesome.

Prime is the first name who usually comes to mind when there’s talk of the Transformers, the famed “robots in disguise” who transformed into vehicles and captured the imaginations of kids everywhere decades ago, well before movie audiences saw Megan Fox straddling motorcycles and Shia LeBeouf running for his life.

They remain one of the lasting symbols of 1980s pop culture, and were responsible for kitchen floors, dinner tables and living rooms becoming battlefields.

Transformers: War for Cybertron resonates with those kids, who are much older now and have replaced those household surfaces with a 360 or PS3.

For them, High Moon Studios has crafted a fun trek through an intriguing piece of franchise lore, echoing good action shooters of the past while capturing enough of that ’80s-child joy to mask some of its flaws. It’s not so much a groundbreaking title as it is a dream update of beloved cultural icons.

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Review: Alpha Protocol

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Fiction tells us the world of espionage is supposed to embody everything cool. All the guys are buff, all the women are hot, all the guns and gadgets are awesome and all the tasks have something to do with saving the world. Naturally, we want to be a part of it.

Sega’s Alpha Protocol manages to capture some of this energy. But sadly, whatever slickness it has doesn’t extend to a lot of the actual gameplay, so we’re left with yet another title that falls short of its potential.

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Review: Splinter Cell – Conviction

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Revenge isn’t always carried through someone’s force of will. Sometimes, it’s through his skill.

Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell: Conviction spends a lot of time trying to prove this point, transforming one of its flagship characters into an aggressive, precise and predatory instrument of death. Sam Fisher is full of rage, and players get to reap the benefits in a short but very sweet body of work that boasts the most pure fun of any game in the series.

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Review: Major League Baseball 2K10

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From staff reports:

It seems like an eternity since EA Sports stopped making Major League Baseball titles, leaving gamers to decide between MLB The Show (if one has PS3), or the 2K games.

That’s meant an absolute disaster for XBox gamers, who’ve had only the 2K series to turn to each spring.

Every year, lovers of baseball and video games put the disk in their systems hoping it’ll be the year 2K finally breaks through and produces a game that’s both playable and engaging. And every year, it seems, the game is better than the previous year but never quite hits a home run.

Major League Baseball 2K10 shows the game’s designers are working hard to shake their reputation for warning-track ability.

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Review: God of War 3

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God of War 3 is a revenge tale, and not the kind with the happy ending that leaves you feeling fuzzy about everything that happened. This is dirty, nasty payback, fueled by the kind of single-minded rage that can take even the noblest of heroes to a dark place.

Sony Computer Entertainment’s latest (and presumably last) installment of its famed franchise is also its most ambitious, exploring the powers of the PS3 as much as the mental and physical odyssey of its hero, Kratos.

It accomplishes both tasks in impressive fashion, giving players an grand action-fest with bloody fun, guilty pleasures and even some brains — as in smarts, not what ends up smeared on the wall.

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