Review: Tron – Evolution

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Tron: Evolution is the “prequel” to Tron: Legacy, Disney’s big sequel to the eighties movie that stunned crowds with its stylized idea of a world within your computer.

Evolution preps fans for the film by explaining a little of what happened since the eighties in the Tronverse making it something of a spoiler for what it reveals, but not so much that it lessens your enjoyment of the film. I still got a kick out of it and as a fan, the extra lore was great stuff.
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Review: James Bond 007 – Blood Stone

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I’m a Bond fan. I love his films. Not all of the movies were great, but at least on the whole, they’re better off than his often polarized career in gaming has been.

Blood Stone is the latest to punch and shoot it’s way onto shelves. But the question I have is why it’s begging me to buy a smartphone.
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Review: Assassin’s Creed – Brotherhood

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Brotherhood isn’t some ‘multiplayer only’ experiment: the kind of game where it wants to rely on only one online trick to convince customers to part with their hard-earned money because it uses ‘multiplayer’ like a magic word.

When Ubisoft began to talk up Brotherhood in the past year, it was hard to ignore how much of a tease they were making of its multiplayer but not so much of its single-player. The reason, it turns out, is because the single-player is alive and well and needs no introduction.
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Review: Star Wars – The Force Unleashed II

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The Force Unleashed from Lucasarts is the kind of fantasy wish-fulfillment that franchise fans hope to see from their favorite worlds.

It’s also not the first time that Lucasarts had dabbled in giving players a chance to step into the robes of a Force wielder. But unlike the subtle nuances of Jedi Knight on PCs or Bioware and Obsidian’s take with Knights of the Old Republic, the Force Unleashed tramples the screen like a rabid rancor.

It’s unfettered by bothersome things like guns or a library of Force skills. Instead, it whittles the experience down to the bare essentials allowing jump-in Jedi to brazenly wield the Force as a god-like adept capable of delivering a beat down to Darth Vader and the Emperor.

I thought it was tremendous fun, though with a few rough edges – especially involving one Star Destroyer. But I liked it. It had a certain flamboyantly overpowering style that made it a Force flavored guilty pleasure in blasting countless Stormtroopers into the air again and again.

The Force Unleashed II, though, wasn’t quite the sequel that I was looking for.
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Candid Kinect

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Kinect came out yesterday amidst much hoopla and joy for those that managed to snag one. If you haven’t heard of what it is, it’s the motion sensing accessory for the Xbox 360 that essentially follows your body to do stuff onscreen – like control your dashboard or actually play games using it.

It’s got a leg up on the Wii and the Move by not forcing you to hold anything, but did you also know that it takes pics of you? That’s what Destructoid is reporting.

Apparently, someone “got too hot” while playing Dance Central and took off their clothes. What they didn’t realize is that Kinect randomly took pics of them and now they have no idea how to delete the potentially embarrassing album on their console.

So I guess the moral of the story is: Kinect is watching you? Play safe, my friends.

Review: Vanquish (Xbox 360)

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Arcades back then were filled to the brim with row upon row of cutting edge excitement, the kind that ate quarters and tokens as if there was no tomorrow.

When new and fancier consoles arrived on the scene from Japan, Capcom, Konami, Sega, Data East, and many others would blister thumbs and recycle gamepads on an almost monthly basis with simple, action packed titles that warranted the price that they were sold at. In those days, it wasn’t so much how long a game would last than it was for simply having that kind of arcade fun at home without having to stand next to someone that hasn’t taken a bath in three days for an open spot.

And that’s what Vanquish has resurrected with its fast, frenetic, third person, kill-em-all action fest filled with ridiculously crazy explosions and a host of mini-bosses that shake the screen with their very presence. This is an unabashedly arcade tour de force for the console complete with online leaderboards and a scoring system challenging all comers to do better.
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Review: Fable III (Xbox 360)

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Steve Jobs isn’t the only person equipped with a reality distortion field.

Peter Molyneux’s evangelism of the first Fable touted it as a revolutionary step forward for RPGs. It was a bold claim, but when it came from the man with as many accolades as Molyneux, you had to wonder whether or not he could actually pull it off.

Once Fable became reality, however, it came up short of what was promised – yet the undeniable charm and fairy tale whimsy glossing over what it didn’t bring to the dungeon had found an audience that loved it for what it was. For adventurers that didn’t like poring over statistics or lists of equipment, Fable’s simplified approach to role-playing was a welcome mat to what might have been an intimidating genre to many.
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A New Experience on your Xbox

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Have you logged into Xbox Live today? If you did, you would have gotten the update to the dashboard which changes how it looks and likely gets it ready for Kinect’s big retail debut this week. But there are a few more things that it adds on that go beyond looks alone.

It also adds ESPN, improved Zune offerings, and streamlines a few things such as connecting to a wireless network or take new snapshots with your avatar. I’ve been tooling around with it for awhile and its not bad, though I also looked at what Gamasutra had pointed out with Indie Games. It’s a little puzzling why Microsoft decided to define Indie Games as a Specialty Shop – because that’s where it’s at now – instead of under the more intuitive header of Games & Demos.

The download only takes a few minutes – at least outside of peak hours – and after it’s done, you’re ready to go.

Review: Enslaved – Odyssey to the West

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Enslaved: Odyssey to the West feels like something I’d have seen in a movie theater and enjoyed. Perhaps that’s the point Ninja Theory, its creator, is trying to make.

The fusion of techniques from the movie world into the creation of games has been a long-pursued subject. Gamemakers have always sought ways to make their works feel more epic or artistic. Some games offer cinematic treatment to their cutscenes, while others blast your ears with high-end sound engineering or dramatic musical scores. Some use their characters as the engine for the whole experience.

Enslaved attempts to do all of the above, using a blend of glorious visuals, exquisite voicework/character development and action, hoping the player will be too busy enjoying the ride to notice any shortcomings.
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Review: Medal of Honor (X360)

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When Call of Duty first set out to take on EA’s Medal of Honor series in 2003, few would have guessed at the time that the ‘me too’ WW2 shooter would not only go on to trounce its rival but evolve expectations on what an FPS can deliver – especially online. Reinventing itself as Modern Warfare, the series then became something of a benchmark by which any contender to the throne purchased with the pixelized blood of countless Nazis and enemy mercenaries would be graded against.

But that didn’t stop EA from resurrecting the Medal of Honor series with a reboot, one that ripped its content from today’s headlines by taking players to Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al Qaeda as a Tier 1 Operator. For longtime fans, that’s not so far from when it had started out as Allied Assault on PCs years ago before devolving its formula into boss characters and floating icons.
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