Total Reviews: 14
Average Overall Score Given: 9.42857 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 0

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

Overall: Second best game ever for the XBOX (Halo duh). The only possible gripe is that it was too short. Buy this game (on XBOX), you will not regret it!

Gameplay: This game will have you walking from shadow to shadow in real life! Truthfully, while I was playing this game, I would walk around during the day imagining a photometer in my HUD! Being able to shoot on the run would have been an improvement though.

Graphics: Perfect. I honestly don't know how it could be much better. The attention to detail is incredible.

Audio: This game makes good use of my 5.1 system and the sound actually ties in as a game play element. For instance, if your sneaking somewhere, you had better pay attention to how much noise you are making!

Suggestions: Hurry up with the add on missions. For the sequel, I want to be able to move when I fire.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 World Series Baseball 2K3

Overall: This game is awesome, especially for a baseball nut. If you are, prepare to spend untold hours adjusting rosters, negotiating contracts, attempting to drum up fan interest, etc. Oh yeah, you can play baseball too . . .

Gameplay: The "in-game" portion of this game is very good. The baseball is handled fairly realistically and with some excitement (for baseball anyway). But where this game really shines is in the off field elements. I don't even play actual games that much, I simulate them through the incredibly deep franchise mode. If you can do it in real baseball, (contracts, coaching strategies, scouting, minor league development, etc, etc, etc . . .) you can do it in this game. If you ever wanted to be the owner of a baseball team, this is the closest you're going to come unless you stumble upon $500M.

Graphics: Pretty good graphics all around. Character models are good (not exceptional). The stadiums are accurately represented and the fans are reasonable (fairly 2D). However, if you play the game like I do, the graphics and sound are irrelevant.

Audio: Having the ESPN soundtracks (Sportscenter, Baseball Tonight) is cool. The announcers are pretty boring and could definitely be livened up.

Suggestions: How about an occasional "Baseball Tonight" broadcast giving scores and highlights from games played in Franchise or Season mode? That would be SAA-WEEEET

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Crimson Sea

Overall: OK, I finally finished this thing, and I must say that my overall impression has changed greatly from beginning to end. At first, you will be very irritated by certain things, but if you push past this, this game ends up being awesome.

Gameplay: Negatives: the controls and camera take some getting used to (this is what is the cause of the early frustration I mentioned above). You should have the controls worked out within a couple of hours (Why can't everyone just use standard, Halo-type controls?). As to the camera, my advice is to forget the right thumbstick even exists. First of all, you can't control it worth a !&%$@#* , and secondly you can't even invert up-down. NOW, after all that bitching, let me tell you why I ended up loving this game. 1) HUGE battles against 100's of creatures on screen at the same time. 2) Neo-psionics are cool. I doubt I'll ever get tired of Blastospere! 3) Good storyline. 4) Cool RPG elements (experience and money based powerups).

Graphics: Absolutely beautiful. 100's of creatures on-screen simultaneously with NO slowdowns or hiccups. Cool effects when casting Neo-Psionics. HOT chicks. What's not to like?

Audio: Good voice acting throughout. Awesome soundtrack which can be accessed from a seperate menu. Great explosion and other special effects.

Suggestions: Shaquin (the hero's sidekick) could not be more annoying. Did he hatch from the same egg as Jar-Jar? Also, for god sakes, strafing by holding down the left trigger is awkward. Let me invert my up/down. Do all this in a sequel.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 NCAA Football 2004

Overall: The game that consumed my life. I already loved the 2003 version, but EA has really gone overboard this year in continuing to make this a "must have" for any college footbal fan.

Gameplay: The actual in game portion has been improved in several ways. Defensive AI has been greatly improved (although I still say the computer cheats, i.e., has an uncanny ability to know what play I'm going to run or what audible I call). The sliders that allow you to minutely tailor the gameplay experience are excellent. For example, with sliders on default on All-American level, I tend to kick !&%$@#* on defense and do about what I'd expect from The University of Texas on offense. The problem is that the defense is TOO good, leading to unrealistic statistics and lopsided games. The solution is to adjust the CPUs offensive sliders upwards, until I feel that I have an accurate simulation. The Dynasty mode continues to highlight this game. The have added depth to the recruiting and have added a feature that allows you to expend recruiting points to talk underclassmen out of leaving early. About the only way this gets better would be to go with 85 player rosters (currently 55) and add a mini-camp (training) mode (ala Madden). Currently, off-season training and development is automated with no user input.

Graphics: Moderate improvements from last year. The tunnel entrances are cool. The fans could use a little work. The are still very 2-D and they jump up and down all the time, even when their team is getting pasted. The Sports Illustrated feature is really cool.

Audio: Really excellent work that captures the escence of college football. The crowd is more intelligent now as far as cheering at the appropriate times (they react mid-play to a good play by the home team). A bigger plus this year is that they got my school's (UT) fight song right ("Texas Fight" instead of "The Eyes of Texas").

Suggestions: Copy Madden's mini-camp mode in place of the automated offseason training.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Overall: Boy, it's been hard to wait to write this review. As a rule, I won't review anything that I haven't finsihed, and given that I HAVE a job, finishing this has taken some time. It has also made doing my job difficult, as KOTOR is the first game since Halo that had me thinking about it during work (couldn't wait to get home!) This is a must have game (unless you just hate RPGs), whether you like SW or not. The game is executed virtually perfectly, and it has a story that is better than either of the last two movies. I doubt it would happen, but it would be sweet if Lucas made a movie out it.

Gameplay: Again, if you only like shoot 'em up action games, you probably won't like this. However, this game has the best and most exciting combat system ever for an RPG. There is a good deal of strategy involved, and there is nothing more satisfying than hacking someone down with your light saber.

Graphics: The 7 planets are all beautiful (I particularly like the Unnamed Planet (excellent water). Bastila is a HOTTIE! About the only gripe I can think of is the relatively small number of unique NPC faces they use. However, given how much depth and other work went into this, I'll give Bioware a waiver on this.

Audio: All dialogue is spoken and is done well (in the appropriate languages). ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME? That shows the enormous amount of hard work and attention to detail that went into this game. Great sound effects (light sabers rock) and a excellent score (including some actual John Williams from the movies).

Suggestions: Sequel please!!!

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Brute Force

Overall: Truly an outstanding gamne and a must-have for your collection. I have no idea what's behind all the hating I have seen for this game. I assume it's from people who only played for 30 minutes. It does take a little while to get started, but once it keeps getting better. I just finshed the campaign on "hard" and now I'm going to go back and do it on "brutal". I expect that my increased ability and understanding (gained by playing it through) will offset the harder difficulty.

Gameplay: Start with a very familiar control setup which behaves well in this game. Add an excellent squad command interface and make the strategic use of this a vital element of the game (IOW, you can't get away with playing the same character and just having everyone else follow). Sometimes (quite often), you don't just want to charge around a corner (good way to get killed) - send in Hawk in stealth mode. Sometimes you may be out of Medkits - use Brutus (he can heal himself). If their is a particulary tough enemy sniper or rocketeer - that's a job for your sniper, Flint. If all else fails, resort to TEX with twin rail guns or miniguns.

Graphics: The cutscenes are excellent - movie quality (Hawk is hot!). The in game graphics seem very good to me (not a very important issue as far as I'm concerned), but they have a kind of harsh, sharp tone to them (as opposed to the soft, ambient look of Halo).

Audio: Not something I really pay much attention to. All the right pieces seem to be there, and 5.1 is used well. The music is at times repetative, but again, I don't personally care.

Suggestions: SEQUEL!!! More cohesive, compelling storyline (the only thing holding this game back from epic-greatness, IMO). A little more open-endedness (alternitive paths). It's muchofun to send Flint to an off the path location to snipe, you should give us more opportunities to do this.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War

Overall: 2nd best single player game for XBOX (Halo, duh). The BEST XBOX Live game. What's not to like? Good graphics, good IA, perfect controls, good story, awesome multiplayer fun . . .

Gameplay: Great FPS action. The ability to peek around corners is great to have (are you listening Bungie?). I found the nazi AI to be very good and somewhat unpredictable, so I don't really know what a previous reviewer is talking about. The nazis are definitely trickier than a bunch of Grunts and Jackals. The controls are perfect (minor gripe about having to scroll through 20+ weapons). The storyline, while nothing compared to Halo's, is better than average.

Graphics: Graphics are overall very good. Again, they're not Halo, but what is? The only gripe I can summon are a few instances of really poor dead body physics (part way through doors, floating in air, etc.)

Audio: In combat, the 5.1 is put to good use and adds to the game's excitement. When dealing with undead types, the noises are very creeping. However, the standard music is repetitive and gets boring in a hurry.

Suggestions: Smarter weapons management . . . more varied background music . . . A SEQUEL!

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Red Faction II

Overall: I enjoyed this game quite a bit. Although it was fairly short (the single-player campaign), you can never have too many good, smooth FPSs. The multiplayer (especially with bots) adds some replay value, although it's hard to understand how they could not include system link play.

Gameplay: Almost perfect FPS play. Excellent choices of weapons, all very balanced (i.e, there is not an uber-weapon to be used at all times - the weapon to use will depend on the situation). The Geo-Mod engine is pretty cool too (this allows you to blow up walls, etc and create new pathways). Most of the vehicles are fun (except the sub): especially the battle armor. The first half of the game is very easy, but then it gets harder when you run up against your former nano-enhanced teammates.

Graphics: It's OK; nothing to write home about. About what you would expect from a PS2 port. In terms of other FPS ports, it's better than Turok, but not as good as Timespitters.

Audio: Again, nothing truly note worthy. Good explosions, decent voice acting. The only thing I really liked were the incessant "Big-Brother" type rantings by Sopot (over PA systems everywhere).

Suggestions: Live or SystemLink (duh)

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Overall: Very, very good (with some flaws), but also short. If you're a Tolkien fan, you will love playing it for around 15 hours. If you don't care for hobbits and such, you should probably spend your money elsewhere.

Gameplay: I'll start with the gripes. The game is short. Not 6 hours short (like some game-ninjas on here dubiously claim ("Easy" setting?)), but it is short. Second, the camera can definitely be inconvenient, especially during boss battles where you're trying to run around dodging things. Lastly, the buttom mashing can get monotonous.

Now, having said all that, I think this game was a lot of fun and definitely worth getting. If your a fan of the books/movies, it's probably a "must-have". The action is fast-paced and fun. I thought the leveling-up system was interesting and gave you a good reason to replay levels in search of more experience points. Plus, getting to play in the Tolkien universe is something of a "dream

Graphics: Hell, you get to watch chunks of the actual movies (plus a scene from LOTR:ROTK once you finish)! The in-game graphics are excellent. Strangely enough, the non-movie cutscenes were the low point. The character's faces (especially Gimli's) were really undetailed.

Audio: The inclusion of the soundtrack from the movies will give the game a good sound score alone. I didn't notice much use of directional audio, but since you're pretty much surrounded by orcs the whole game anyway, this is not such a big deal.

Suggestions: An excellent effort for a movie-based game. It would have been a better game if all three books/movies were rolled together (longer), but then they would only have made $50, not $100!

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 NCAA Football 2003

Overall: No game has spent as much time in my box as this one. But, then again, I'm a college football addict. If you have similar tastes, and haven't picked this up, do so soon (or wait a couple more months for 2004). This is the total college football experience

Gameplay: While in a FB game, the action is realistic and exciting. For the running game, you should tailor your recruiting and play calling to the way you like to play. If you, like me, like to mash the A button to break tackles and sprint, make sure to get big, strong lineman and running backs, and call a lot on dives and off tackles. If you're into the speed, spinning, and juking thing, you need to get agile OLmen and fast RBs. The passing game and the defense can similarly be tailored to fit your playing style (I throw it deep and blitz alot respectively).

Graphics: Pretty good. The bodies of the players are fairly realistic and the stadiums (including some cool sunsets) look good. 2 gripes: 1) the fans are 2D and look stupid, and 2) since when are there only 10 guys on each sideline for a FB team?

Audio: Again, the in game sounds are exciting. You will actually feel the bone-crunching hits with your sub-woofer. The crowd and the PA add excitement to the experience. I would have like to hear more fight songs though. Not all of the schools have all their songs and chants.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast

Overall: This game is an excellent value for three reasons. 1) it takes a LONG time to finish this game. It took me almost 1.5 months of sporadic playing to get through it. 2) the story line is good enough that you will stay interested long enoungh to finish it. Having the main antagonist kick your butt and take your girl early in the game sets up a revenge motif that is brought to a good conclusion in the climactic battle. 3) JEDI ARENA is a fun multiplayer battle game (with 'bots) which will give you some good replay value.

Gameplay: When the game starts, you won't be impressed. It's basically a average 1st person shoot 'em up with some annoying puzzle type situations (i.e., you could walk around for hours looking for a little switch or a lift that you missed). But later, after you get a light saber and force powers, this game becomes a heck of a lot of fun. Light saber duels rock!

Graphics: Very, very average graphics. This game screams "PORT". Takes advantage of none of the green boxes advanced capabilities. I assume the cut scenes were made to look grainy on purpose????

Audio: Excellent. The hum of the light sabers, the zip of the phasers, and much of the original movie music are all excellent. The voice acting (who really cares?) is adequate.

Suggestions: These graphics suck! The XBOX deserves better.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon

Overall: A totally engrossing experience. The controls (especially those for squad command) are very convenient and do their job effectively. The strategic thinking that is involving (even in the single player), is very deep and satisfying. The ability to level-up your soldiers between missions ads a extra level of interest.

Gameplay: The player interface is very good. It is easy to transfer your control from one squadmember to the next. The only thing that could be better would be to improve the way squads are controlled and ordered on the tactical map. For instance, you can only orientate your squads in increments of 90 degrees (cardinal points of the compass). Also, the 2 members of the squad who you are not personally controlling sometimes behave stupidly, requiring direct control (they may move past the cover which your "point-man" stopped behind). Despite these issues, the gameplay (from a tactical stand point), is so deep, engrossing, and realistic, I have to give a 5 for this.

Graphics: This is the weakest point of the game. The graphics aren't BAD, (nightvision especially looks cool), but I expect more from the mighty green box. The menu screens could have been better done.

Audio: 5.1 baby, 5.1!!! If you don't have it, get it. The first time your crouching in a field and you hear a bullet zip over your head from left to right - you'll believe you're actually in the game.

Suggestions: Improve the graphics to Xbox standards (it looks too 2 dimensional). More missions (downloadable expansion missions).

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Turok: Evolution

Overall: Overall very a engrossing experience. The game gets better the longer I play. The challenge of the levels are just about exactly righ: Challenging but not frustrating.

Gameplay: As stated above, this game is very fun to play and will challenge you without frustrating you. The controls are very configurable and easy to get used to. Targeting is very well balanced.

Graphics: BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD . . . The rest of the graphics are something of a mixed bag. In general, the landscapes are beautiful with looonnngg draw distances. However, the 2-D plants are pitiful (very PS2).

Audio: Very, very good. The sound track makes good use of 5.1. Explosions (especially enemy bodies exploding!) are very satisfying.

Suggestions: Improve the graphics: THIS IS XBOX!

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Enclave

Overall: Overall, a very exciting and engrossing game. The combat system is very fast paced and challenging. Sound and visual used very well to built atmosphere.

Gameplay: The controls are outstanding other than the jump button (right stick pushin). A minor point. As others have mentioned, some of the levels are insanely difficult. This works up to a point because it gave me a "I'm going to finish this no matter how long it takes me" attitude. However, I found one level to be fairly impossible (too long to maintain the errorless play required). Simple solution: if you get too frustrated and want to move on - GOD MODE CHEAT.

Graphics: The best visuals since Halo. The menu screens are very professionally done (would not look out of place on a DVD-movie menu screen). Blood splatters (even from skeletons ?!?) are very cool.

Audio: Excellent music and sound effects. Crank up the 5.1!!! Seriously, if there is anybody yet who hasn't gotten a decent sound system yet, you're really missing out.

Suggestions: Either make it a little easier or allow more than 1 difficulty level (ala Halo).

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10

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