September 21, 2011

Review – Driver: San Francisco

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 8:42 am

Review Driver San Francisco
Before I begin discussing Driver: San Francisco, I feel it’s important to mention that I have an issue with driving games. There’s a conversation that happens between myself and any such game I sit down to play, and it goes like this:

“Use the handbrake for sharp turns, Brad!”

“Okay, driving game—oh, I made the widest possible turn, spun out and crashed into a wall. Thanks.”

As a result of my crippling deficiency, driving isn’t usually a lot of fun for me. The driving games I play are invariably the ones where I can mitigate my incompetence with offense. That is to say, there’s a gap between me and the amount of skill necessary to win a driving game, and I close it by shooting other drivers. Mario Kart, Extreme-G, Blur—these are the games I can contend in (just barely), because I can leverage missiles and mortars and heat-seeking koopa shells against my fellow racers.

Driver: San Francisco doesn’t have any of that—but it does have something even more unusual.


September 20, 2011

Review – Gears of War 3

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 2:24 pm

Review Star Fox 64 3DS
So, here’s Gears of War 3 in a nutshell: somewhere on the battlefield, a Locust drone fell to his knees, and out I ran—because it wasn’t acceptable that he might just bleed out. I had to get to him, so that I might ram my flamethrower into his chest and burn him from the inside out.

Yeah, that’s a thing you can do.

I think what makes Gears of War special, as a franchise, is its unique aptitude for making me want to do things like that, and, more importantly, for making me need to shoot monsters.

That’s the impetus of any shooter, of course, but the focus here is notably more pure. Every asset is leveraged toward this end. Whether it’s brutish dialogue that can only rightly be answered with a shotgun, the satisfying kick of the rifle, the suffering atmosphere of the world, or a story that demands good old-fashioned revenge, everything in this game compels me to shoot monsters, and fashions that need into the most satisfying experience possible.

It’s the art of the shooter, and Gears of War 3 is a symphony on the subject.


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