Total Reviews: 13
Average Overall Score Given: 8.69231 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 1799

Burnout 3: Takedown

Overall: This is another pleasant surprise of a game. It wasn't largely hyped, so it wasn't even on my radar until i saw the major reviews. I was like...whoa. Controls and graphics are great. I went back and played Burnout 2, and after Burnout 3 it was nothin. Sound...will be talked about later. Online is a bit annoying, and i didn't play it a lot since the single player is so huge. At over 20 hours, i'm surprised i'm not done yet.

Gameplay: It's a driving game. Not really any complex procedures to explain. There's a manual/automatic option, press bla to go, bla to turbo, bla to brake. Simple stuff. Sense of speed is amazing, sometimes i'd find myself not blinking and my eyes tearing up because of the game. Traffic can get on your nerves, but it's a challenging addition. Menus and stuff are easy to navigate. I didn't play a lot of the crash modes, but the little i did play was pretty good.

Graphics: Graphics. This is a multiplatform game, so i thought they wouldn't be as good as they are. Motion blurs, reflections, everything is awesome. I can recall a level where part of it you go offroad. The trees were reflected on your car, dirt was getting kicked up, and the screen is blurred from going over 100 mph. And the Max Payne-ish camera after you wreck is superb.

Audio: Let's just say, if you want a gangster soundtrack you'll feel left out. All punk and rock songs on this in game soundtrack. Some notables are Franz Ferdinand, Yellowcard, and Jimmy Eat World. I'm a fan of these genres, so i liked it. But i know plenty who can't stand it. The game supports custom soundtracks, but it's kinda hard to set up, and you can only play one soundtrack at a time (i.e. you can't have your 50 Cent xbox music folder thingy and your Eminem playing, unless you combine them). The in game sounds are cool, with the crunching and swooshing as you blaze past cars. Good stuff, but not really for everyone.

Suggestions: EA sucks for live, just give up your seperate service crap and be normal :p . Add more diversity to the soundtrack and make custom soundtracks easier to use. Other than that, good job.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Halo: Combat Evolved

Overall: cmon, who hasn't played or heard of this game? in fact, so my review isn't like the many others on this site, i'm gonna grade halo on todays standards. most people know the story (uber marine cyborg fights aliens and destroys a little halo thing). since this was a very original concept (at least to me), the game gets a 5 in that department.

Gameplay: i can name 2 games off my head that have used this type of control/gameplay engine after seeing how big a hit Halo was. what's not to love? run, shoot, melee attack, and (in 2 am multiplayer matches) hump the dead bodies by crouching a lot on em :D (and i know i'm not the only one who finds this funny). meh, my only complaints are the sniping (it's too hard to do head shots!!!) and cheap respawn deaths.

Graphics: wow, this game really looks over 2 years old. blocky character models (i still roll my eyes when i see Cortana) and the good ole "have i been in this hallway/tunnel before?" bring this game down. guns look nice though, and so do explosions and the death physics :).

Audio: da da da DAAA, da da da DAAA, da da da DAAA da da DAAA da da da DAAAA (sorry, but even when i go for months without playing halo, i can still hum the theme to it :D). anyways, besides the ubercool theme, a lot of the tunes are repeated, but the voices are good and so are the vehicles and gun noises. odd fun fact : the lady who did cortana's voice is the same who did princess peach in Super Mario Sunshine -_-;

Suggestions: good job on halo :). however, if you screw halo 2 up.... well i'm still gonna buy it and enjoy the hell out of it but pleez don't screw up :D. my actual suggestions to them are sound in multiplayer matches (custom soundtracks, in game tunes, whatever), and some killer easter eggs to make playing the single player mode more worthwile (like unlocking new maps, or better yet a map editor, new skins for mp characters, and just some new stuff)

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Rogue Ops

Overall: Rogue Ops is one of those games where you can play a level 10+ times, and when you finally beat it, the feeling you get is very rewarding. That?s not saying Rogue doesn?t have flaws. The camera is confusing, the voice acting is terrible, controls are sluggish, and graphics aren?t anything to brag about. However, the thing that bothered me most about Rogue Ops was all the stuff the game stole from much better games. The busty heroine looks like a Tomb Raider reject, the stealth and emphasis to ?be stealthy, don?t run and gun? is straight out of Splinter Cell, and the communication between characters is very similar to that of a Metal Gear Solid game. Also, the difficulty is almost extreme, not in an aspect where you die a bunch of times, it?s just completing goals is very difficult to do (i.e. don?t get found, avoid the tripwires, etc.). If not for the rewarding feelings, Rogue Ops would be a stinker.

Gameplay: Like I said in ?Overall?, the control in Rogue Ops is very sluggish. The thing that makes it so difficult to move is when you move the analog stick left or right, your character will strafe. It?s bothersome when you?re trying to dash through a doorway to the right or left with enemies coming from ahead, and you accidentally strafe into a wall. Also, the camera is confusing. I don?t like how you can try to look straight up, and some weird goggle thing appears. Also, the camera makes navigating through tunnels/ventilation shafts is difficult. Finally, I don?t like how you can kill numerous bad guys and they?ll die the same way every time.

Graphics: Normally, this is where I would say ?Blah-Blah game shines in this area?. However, Rogue Ops is not one of those games. Environments are very bland, and the character models could have used more work. Blood isn?t as realistic looking as it should be, and the guns look more like toys than actual weapons. The thing I like least about Rogue?s graphics are the characters faces. Nikki, the main character, has a rather ?butch? hair cut. Also, the eyes on characters are very unsettling. The only graphical feature I like is the stealth melee kills.

Audio: Sound is really pretty bland in Rogue Ops. It would have sounded so much better if it had an orchestral accompaniment, not crappy techno. Techno is for games that are unable to support orchestral sound, like on the Gameboy. It?s really a shame to hear a game sound like a Gameboy game on a big console like Xbox. The voice acting is also terrible. In the level right after training, Rogue Ops acting department lost any respect I might have had for it when I heard ?Blow his brains out!? by a terrorist with a really fake accent. Weapons are another disappointment, with the very basic ?rat-a-tat-a-tat? sound.

Suggestions: Even though I think it?s very unlikely a Rogue Ops 2 will be made, if there is one, improve EVERYTHING. Also, try more original ideas instead of ideas made by other, better games.

Overall Score: 6.0 / 10 Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne

Overall: Despite what I?ve heard about Max Payne 2 being a sloppy port, this game, not once, disappointed me. Whether it was the heart-stopping bullet-time action, the compelling story, or the graphics and sound, I don?t know what I liked the most about Payne 2. Also, unlike what numerous websites and reviews have said, MP2 is not anywhere near 6 hours long. Only those of you marathon gamers, who skip through cut scenes and can go through a game without dying once, will find Max short. It took me at least 15 hours to beat MP2, which is the normal length of most action titles these days. Simply put, everything in Max Payne 2 is amazing.

Gameplay: I have yet to find a person that couldn?t pick up and play a MP game and not be totally addicted. Running and gunning with bullet-time got repetitive in the first game, but thanks to the new body physics system, it never gets old. You?ll want to go through levels several times, just to make a bad guy die in a more comical way (like shooting him into the air in slo-mo, then shooting an explosive behind him to launch him even further into the air, then finally reloading in the very cool new ?twirling? feature, and shooting the baddie some more). Also, despite what people have said about Max Payne 2 being 6-9 hours long, it took me over 15 to beat it. The story makes MP2 even harder to put down, which is very well written and acted, and doesn?t, not once, NOT make sense (like in the first Payne, with all the cults and prophecies and whatnot). Finally, one of my many favorite parts in Payne is when the action switches over to Mona, and you have to snipe to protect Max from the rooftops. A definite 5.

Graphics: I?ve heard people say graphics is where Max Payne disappoints. I believe the opposite. Sure, if you compare the Xbox version to the PC version, Xbox is not very impressive. But, if you don?t have the high expectations from the PC versions graphics, Max Payne 2 will do nothing but impress. Characters look very realistic, and it?s super-awesome when a bad guy falls into a pile of boxes, and his body reacts like he hit each box. Guns are also realistic; none of them look like toys in this game. My favorite graphical feature is all the characters faces. Max is no longer constipated, Mona is very sexy, and Vladimir and Vinnie have a very cool aspect to them. If not the slowdown in frame rate (and no, I?m not talking about bullet-time), MP2 would have earned a five.

Audio: Sound in Max Payne 2 is amazing. All the voices are done by professional actors, and it?s hard to find a person that can?t tell that. Whether it be Max?s hoarse voice narrating, or Mona?s sexy voice talking, I can?t decide. Also, the TV shows are very entertaining, whether you?re watching Dick Justice, The Adventures of Captain Baseball Bat Boy, or Lords and Ladies, you can watch one for almost 30 minutes without getting bored. The weapons in Payne couldn?t have sounded better; in fact they were almost too realistic. Also, the music set the mood very well, with each tune, whether it?s the slow paced opening or faced paced shooting music. The only thing that bothered me was the sound, more specifically certain voices, that skipped sometimes.

Suggestions: Lots more length. And I mean LOTS more. I want the next Max Payne to be at least 30 hours long, with an even more compelling storyline and even better graphics. Other than that, great job Rockstar.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Secret Weapons Over Normandy

Overall: Poor Secret Weapons over Normandy. It has to be released against the heavyweight flyer Crimson Skies. Also, chances are good, when it comes to the console game flying gamers will choose, 49 out of 50 will probably try Crimson first. That?s not saying SWON is a game not worthy of the attention, it?s just not as spectacular as CS. Enough comparing this game to Crimson, I?ve decided to write the review from a non ?CS vs. SWON? point of view. To start it off, SWON takes place in the 1940s (hence the title, with Normandy being one the location of one of WWII?s biggest battles). The main character has a name, but all the pilots call him Chase. As Chase, you have to shoot or bomb all your competitors until none are left. Sound easy? It is. As said in EGM, ?if you stuck wings on all the good and bad guys in Medal of Honor, took away the stealthy and difficult bits, you?d have SWON?.

Gameplay: There are basically 3 things you (the player) will have to do in Secret Weapons. One, use your airplanes machineguns and blast the heck out of the competition. Two, use your planes bombs and blast enemy ground troops. And three, man a stationary gun and blast the heck out of enemy planes. Controls won?t take too long to get used to, and even though it sounds tough, landing your plane on the ground to reload is easy, even if you?re under heavy fire. Another thing that EGM said that I?d like to quote is ?the only difficulty SWON has to offer is not in the skills of enemy pilots, but in the sheer number of them?. That?s right, half the time in SWON, you and your few co-pilots will be outnumbered at least 10 to 1. Other than that, SWON is pretty fun to play, but not really a great game to play.

Graphics: Secret Weapons looks good, but I can?t help but feel that all the planes have a kind of ?model-planish? quality to them. Whether it be that all the model planes you see look like the ones in SWON, or the planes in this game just have a ?fresh coat of paint? gleam to them, I don?t know. Also, the environs aren?t too much to be proud of, since most of them are rolling hills, dense forests (with trees that you can some how fly through), or dull bodies of water.

Audio: At first, the character voices in SWON really bugged me. Chase has a real ?Texas cowboy? quality to him, and all the Brits have English accents and all the Germans have German accents. However, once I got used to each characters unique voice, it didn?t bother me too much. In fact, I even watched a few of the introductions to each mission after I got over how annoying Chase?s voice can be. Bombs can be really annoying, each having a very high pitched ?WHIIIIRrrrrr? to them. Guns also don?t go any farther than the simple ?rat-a-tat-a-tat?. The soundtrack is the big (and almost only) plus SWON has in the sound department. Each level has almost Indiana Jones quality music (coincidentally, LucasArts makes those games too).

Suggestions: LucasArts, if you can make the excellent Star Wars shooters, why didn?t you take more from those games and put it into SWON? Other than that, SWON screams for an XBL mode, along with cooler planes and more variety in the environs.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Kill Switch

Overall: There?s so much to love in Killswitch. Being able to hide behind almost anything, peek around, and blast the heck out of all that moves never gets old. It?s like the cool arcade game Time Crisis, except Killswitch is not on-rails and is in a 3rd person view (coincidentally, they?re both made by Namco). However, the story in this game is pretty hard to follow, but like other cool action games in the stealth-action genre, that?s not too important. Hiding and shooting isn?t too hard to do, and the game looks and sounds great. My only gripe is the game isn?t too long.

Gameplay: Killswitch is never anything more than hiding behind an object, whether it be a pillar, a wall, or a car, and shoot any and everything that moves. Controls are simple, like ?press this to shoot, do this to move, and press this to hide.? Some missions can be completed in a 10 to 15 minutes, while others can take up to 30 minutes. With only around 15 missions, Killswitch would be really short if not for the fact that most missions take a couple times to complete.

Graphics: Killswitch has great graphics. However, its hard to tell how good they really are when you shoot the same 5 guys a bazillion times each level. The main character looks good, the levels definitely above average, and the guns look realistic (but then again, I don?t know how the guns should really look). Thankfully, the objects you?re supposed to hide behind aren?t too hard to pick out, like a car in the road or a big box in a warehouse. That?s helpful, since most environs aren?t much more than a simple town, rooftops, or a weapons factory. The saving grace in Killswitch?s graphics are the cutscenes, the most memorable being the one where the main character shoots up all the baddies in his house, with blue blood and everything!

Audio: The sound in Killswitch is above average, but not anything sensational when compared to the sound in bigger titles like Freedom Fighters. The disappointing lack of weapons means most guns end up sounding the same (trust me, after shooting the same 3 guns for a few hours they?ll sound the same to you too). Each bad guy has an accent, which gets pretty old after a while. Also, the techno soundtrack (?what a surprise, another game with techno!?) isn?t very good either. The only good sound in this game belongs to the main characters, who all do an excellent job.

Suggestions: More variety than just running and gunning, like maybe a puzzle or two and a few non-shooting, perhaps comical minigames, like being able to find a car, and you have to guide the main character correctly out of the enemy compound, pressing left, right, A, B, etc. ala Shenmue.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War

Overall: Return to Castle Wolfenstein Tides of War is a hard game to review. It just has so many things to do in it! The single player mode is above average, but not anything spectacular. The co-op mode livens up the pretty bland single player mode by having you go through it with a buddy. However, the XBL connectivity is where RTCW really shines. At first, RTCW seems to have a normal FPS multiplayer mode, where you choose to be on the Axis (Nazis) or Allies (Good guys) and fight till one side loses. However, RTCW has character classes. You can be a soldier, where you can run into battle with your guns blazing, hang out with the other grunts and ambush lone baddies, or protect weaker classes. Medics can revive you if you die or throw health packs so you don?t die. Engineers can place dynamite and repair broken things. I won?t go into the other classes, because they really don?t do too much.

Gameplay: I don?t really have much to complain about in RTCWs gameplay factor. It has simple FPS controls: just point and shoot. Running and gunning couldn?t be easier, but I do have one gripe about that. There?s not enough stealth action. I like games that try new things, but as a FPS, RTCW doesn?t go for anything exceptional (except its online mode). During the single player mode, I think it would?ve been cool if a gun with a thermal scope could see through walls (wooden or cardboard or something) and you could see a snoozing Nazi, and then switch to the MP40 (machine gun), shoot through the wall and kill him.

Graphics: Simply put, RTCW has solid visuals. The character models aren?t anything special, but they fit the games atmosphere nicely. The environments also aren?t much to brag about. You?ll see the same buildings and posters a lot throughout RTCW. My favorite visual effect, however, would have to be in the crypts, when you?re slowly walking about and all of the sudden there?s a Nazi arm!Graphics: Simply put, RTCW has solid visuals. The character models aren?t anything special, but they fit the games atmosphere nicely. The environments also aren?t much to brag about. You?ll see the same buildings and posters a lot throughout RTCW. My favorite visual effect, however, would have to be in the crypts, when you?re slowly walking about and all of the sudden there?s a Nazi arm!

Audio: I love the sound in Tides of War. The great thematic soundtrack, the Nazis screaming in pain as you fill them full of lead, oh boy is there a lot to love. Sure some of the voices are corny, but I?m sure that?s what Id (RTCWs developer) was going for. My favorite sound effect is listening to the silenced machine gun fire; it just sounds so dang cool!

Suggestions: Come out with another Wolfenstein sooner! Make more XBL maps, weapons, character models, and PLEASE a multiplayer death match, capture the flag, etc. made to play on one Xbox (not over XBL).

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 SSX 3

Overall: I?m the type of person that really enjoys a new extreme sports game. Give me a new skateboarding or snowboarding title and I?ll enjoy it until I beat it. SSX3 is an exception. This is the type of game you?ll play for weeks upon weeks, trying to beat high scores or earning enough dough to buy extra characters. This game is that good. The new characters are sweet, the mountains are amazing, and no snowboarding game offers anything close to what SSX3 brings to the table. I?m almost confident that once you take your first leap of a mountain, doing flips and tricks and whatnot, you?ll be hooked.

Gameplay: Gameplay: Where to start, where to start. I?ll just make this simple. SSX3 is hard to control at first (to people new to the series), but you can compete with the pros after only a few hours of practicing. Busting moves is easy to do since there are only five buttons you need to worry about. My only complaint about 3 is its too easy to wipe out.

Graphics: The mountains and characters look awesome in the third installment of SSX. Neither mountains or characters look photorealistic, but that?s not what EA Big was going for. I love watching the characters go 50+ feet in the air, flipping and spinning to your hearts content. Everything about the graphics is amazing. My favorite graphical thing in SSX3 would have to be watching your character triumphantly pump his/her fists in the air after landing a big trick.

Audio: Sound: SSX3 has a great soundtrack. Bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane?s Addiction (among other great bands) leant their talents to SSX3. The characters voices are great, and what they say is so hilarious it never gets old (like when Viggo, one of the newbies to 3, says something like ?Vile? Revolting? Yeah pretty much, pretty much all of the above.?). My only complaint is with the amazing soundtrack. If you wipe out once, or accidently jump off the track, the songs lyrics die. What I mean is a song be be playing, but if you screw up, only the beat to the song is playing (I hope this makes since to you, because this really annoyed me). However, the new announcer saves the day, bringing the 4.5 I was planning on giving SSX3 a 5.

Suggestions: In the sequel, have different mountains, but make more selectable characters, bring back the celebrity voices, and an XBL multiplayer race and trickoff support.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 True Crime: Streets Of L.A.

Overall: Like most of you who looked at this game as Grand Theft Auto LA, I came into True Crime with very high expectations. When you start TC, hearing Christopher Walken narrate, and seeing all the cool character models and somewhat cool theme song, you?ll think ?Oh yea, I?m so glad I bought/rented this game?. And then the first mission, a basic shooting range level, shows how much TC should have to offer. The first mission is pretty good, especially funny when Nick throws chopsticks into a bad guys ear. The next two missions are the best in the game, number two has you fighting a sniper, and three has a cinema where the main character, (ex-cop now government agent) Nick Kang, karate chops a baddie in the back of his head while the guy is taking a leak, and says ?You have the right to soak in your own urine.? It?s after this where the game goes downhill. You?ll want to throw TC in the garbage by the time when you reach the ?Good Cop? mission VI, where you actually fight demon/zombie looking thugs, flying fiery demonic heads, and a dragon. I?m telling the truth, a game that seems all GTA-like pulls a crazy stunt like this.

Gameplay: The controls are pretty solid. Running around LA isn?t too tough, and the cars are pretty easy to handle. The gunplay could have used some work though. I don?t like how the aiming reticule always points down when you bring it up. It?s really annoying when a bad guy is shooting at you and you?re trying to aim at his arm or leg so you don?t be labeled as a Bad Cop. The Good Cop/Bad Cop idea would have worked in a strictly shooting game, but in a game where it?s so easy to run over or shoot a civilian, it just doesn?t work. See, when you kill a baddie that you could have just arrested, the game gives you a ?1 on your cop rating. But, if you aim and shoot his arms, you get a +1. In big firefights, especially when the guy is shooting right at you, aiming his arms is too much of a hassle. At times, you can lose 20 cop points in a mission. The fighting in TC is also a hassle. It may seem cool at first, with the ability to perform special moves when an opponent is stunned, but when you have to rely on the same moves over and over, fighting gets dull real quick.

Graphics: True Crime has some pretty good character models, especially Nick and his female sidekick, but the others are kind of bland. Speaking of bland, the environments couldn?t be any more of that. You?ll see the same lame ?Adult Video? and ?XXX? signs everywhere in the game. Most houses look the same, and other than different colors, most civilians and vehicles are the same too. Nick?s gun looks very cool, especially with all the upgrades you can give it, and hands down this game has better graphics than any GTA game. However, other than the main characters, this games graphics are nowhere near as good as they should be.

Audio: Boy howdy does this game have some bad sound. Nick will repeat mostly everything you hear him say at least 5 times by the end of the game. In desperate attempts to raise your good cop rating by frisking civilians, you?ll hear ?Get off my balls!? and ?I?m calling the Senator!? more times than you should. Unlike the GTA games, which have radio stations you can change if you don?t want to hear a certain song, you have to listen to all of True Crimes god-awful songs over and over again. Also unlike the GTA series (more specifically Vice City), not one tune in TC is family friendly. If you easily get tired of hip hop and hard rock songs full of n-words, f-words, and s-words, this game is not for you. One specific objectional song is called ?A** and Ti**ies?. The only things that sound decent in this game are the guns and the vehicles. The only reason I?m not giving the sound a 1 is the custom soundtrack support.

Suggestions: Please. No more True Crime games. Ever.

Overall Score: 4.0 / 10 Freedom Fighters

Overall: You got to love the story behind Freedom Fighters. After losing the Cold War to the communists, we get invaded by the Russians and have the fight back for our freedom. This is definitely the most historically fun game outside of the Medal of Honor series. If only it was longer, then I would call Freedom Fighters purchase worthy. This is the type of game that you can rent on a Friday and be done with it before the weekend is over. It?s really a shame, since FF does so well in every part other than length.

Gameplay: Running and gunning with your grisly crew of patriots is always action packed and suspenseful, and I never tired of raising the good old US of As flag above a war torn landscape. The secondary objectives are always a blast, like blowing up helipads or rescuing POWs. I really like how all the missions are structured. They always give you a choice, like what do you do first, stop the enemies from getting reinforcements or destroy the helicopter pads to get rid of those pesky choppers. The choice is always yours. The controls feel awkward at first, but after the first few levels, they?re a breeze.

Graphics: On the cover of Freedom Fighters, it proudly states that it was made by the makers of Hitman 2. The graphics were pretty much taken from that game, but improved so it would hold its own against almost every game released today. Watching your character shoot his gun, and the way bodies fly and hit the ground when a grenade explodes screams Hitman 2. If only more games used that kind of engine for the way a body reacts to those things, there would be a lot more cool games. Also, the cities you run around look absolutely superb, and games that are based around cities like the GTA series should use Freedom Fighters backgrounds as their role models.

Audio: Freedom Fighters is very impressive in the sound department. You?ll imitate the outstanding vocals in the wonderful orchestral soundtrack (second only to Halos). Hearing your comrades man a stationary gun and yell ?Say hello to my little friend!? ala Scarface never gets old, and the guns sound quite realistic. Unlike most games, characters don?t sound corny (with the exception of ?The Kid?). When you recruit your fighter, they talk like they would fight for their country or die trying, and that is really a neat thing. In the end, I still can?t stress enough how good Freedom Fighters sounds.

Suggestions: Fighters needs an online mode. I would love to go co-op with a buddy on XBL fighting communists and rescuing comrades. Even forming a squad and fighting other squads would be cool. Finally, MORE LEVELS!

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Overall: The Return of the King is a very good game. The graphics are amazing, the controls are solid, and the music is straight from the movie soundtrack. The adventure is quite long, but that?s mainly because it takes multiple times to beat some levels. The cool levels are full of interactivity, like being able to pick up spears and throw them, or knocking over a lamp and watching its contents set baddies on fire. However, like most games, RotK has its flaws. First, it?s very difficult. No matter what group you?re playing as (Either the fellowship episodes with Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas, the hobbit episodes with Sam and Frodo, or the wizard episodes with Gandalf), it will take numerous times to beat each level even on easy difficulty. Second, you have to rely on the same moves (strong attack, weak attack, or long distance attack) throughout the game no matter which group your playing as. Finally, even though RotK is a very worthwhile adventure, there is no online play (only PS2 has 2-player co-op).

Gameplay: The Return of the King is a hack and slash game at heart, but there are some elements that make it different from other slasher games. Your characters can buy upgrades (like improved attacks or new moves) not only for himself, but for the entire group. Another improvement over the Two Towers is the co-op mode. I have yet to try it out, but I?ve read that its really good and a reason to buy this game. However, during gameplay, RotK is nothing more that pressing A (weak attack), X (block), or Y (strong attack).

Graphics: Geez, does this game have some killer graphics. All the characters in the game (from the main ones to even the supporting ones) look almost exactly like they do in the movies. I like the improvements made in the baddie-slashing department. In the last game, there was no ?residue? left when an orc was slashed (ya know, blood and gore). Even though there isn?t really blood in this game, there is some black liquid looking stuff that follows your sword after you slice a bad guy, and that?s really neat. The backrounds look very cool as well, and you can tell a lot of hard work went into them.

Audio: I really appreciate all the effort that went into RotK?s sound. Most voices are from the actors that played them (sadly, Aragorn and Legolas?s real life counterparts didn?t participate), like Elijah Wood as Frodo, Ian McKellan as Gandalf, Sean Astin as Sam and so on. The music, which rocks, is directly from the movie soundtrack, so that is also cool. The grunts, weapons, and the arrows all sound very realistic. Most noticeably, when you kill a troll by throwing a spear into it, the wheeze it makes when its dieing sounds very cool. In the end, this game really soars in the sound division.

Suggestions: If there is another EA made LotR game (since Return of the King is the last movie in the LotR triology), there should definitely be an online mode for Xbox and something else to do other than hacking and slashing (*cough* minigames *cough*). An ideal minigame would be first person arrow firing, riding a horse or animal into battle, or even something oddball like hammering a sword.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Tony Hawk's Underground

Overall: I'm a veteran in the Tony Hawk games, and yet again Neversoft comes out with the same basic game but somehow (like always) makes it totally fresh. THUG has the same ramp and grind and tricks that we all know and love, but this time around you can get off your deck and ride in cars and run around.

Gameplay: Wow, this game is really impressive. If you thought the last two Hawk's were kinda killing the series (like i did), then don't worry because this one is GREAT. If you've played any other TH game, you know how the boarding feels, but the new cool parts are running around and driving. Running feels awkward at first, but after a while you'll start to love it. Driving, however, feels totally tacked on, but doesn't ruin the game experience since all the driving parts are easy.

Graphics: I don't know how many of you remember THPS 1 and 2, but even though those were the best games in the series, they looked like crap. This one looks very good. Some of the character models could have used a bit of work, but the overall visuals are above average.

Audio: You gotta love games that have real soundtracks. This one has the biggest selection of songs that I've seen in any game. One of my pet peeves from previous Hawk games was not being able to see what the title of a song was without going through the sounds menu. This one has the song details on the menu that pops up when you press start. Like almost every game thats ever had a real soundtrack, some songs are bad, some are okay, and some you'll hum and sing along to for as long as you remember them. I also love games with Janes Addiction songs, so I'm grateful for that.

Suggestions: Hmmmm, none that i can think of other than more good songs. Also, maybe there should only be a few more TH games. The developers should move onto more different products... they've already shown that they can do extreme sports, now how bout TH MMORPG :) ?

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Soul Calibur 2

Overall: I was a big fan of Soul Caliber on the Dreamcast, and have played Soul Caliber 2 on every system. By far, Xbox has the best graphics and character (go Spawn!).

Gameplay: Any fan of fighting games like DOA3 and Marvel vs. Capcom will fall in love with Soul Caliber 2. Moving around is a breeze (though I've had some trouble ducking) and unlike 2-D fighting games, moves are pretty simple to execute.

Graphics: Wow. Even though Soul Caliber 2 came out a year after DOA 3, I can't help but be impressed when I see a game with graphics on par with DOA3. Unlike the PS2 and GC versions, there is no slowdown at all.

Audio: When you first here the sword swings and the orchestral music, SC 2 will really impress. However, when doing modes like weapon master, where you sometimes have to do a stage more than once, you'll start to wish Voldo at least acted human and you could use your custom soundtracks as background music. Also, it's fun to make fun of the announcer for the first couple times you hear his nonsense, but after a while, you'll feel the same about him as you should Voldo (which is irrevsible, blinding hatred).

Suggestions: Make a Soul Caliber 2 version thats like Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution; have all the system characters (Heihachi, Link, and Spawn) and add a whole bunch of better content like fan art and cooler costumes (anybody who has seen Cassandra's 3rd costume knows what I'm talking about).

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10

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