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NHL 2K8 Review

50°
366w ago - For years now, 2K Sports' NHL 2K series has been the gold standard for hockey games, both in gameplay and depth of content. But over the last couple of installments, a trend has been developing. While certain strides have been made to improve various aspects of the game in each installment, these changes have become less and less significant. Last year, most of the work went into the presentation, which left the fun yet aging gameplay engine much the same as it was in NHL 2K6. In NHL 2K8, the gameplay has been reworked in some key areas, but many of these changes don't really improve the gameplay so much as change it for the sake of changing it.

There isn't the feeling that 2K8 has really moved the series forward in any major capacity, and in some regards, it feels like a step backward. This is a good game of hockey that's jam-packed with features, but it's nowhere near the level of quality the series has previously set for itself.

Most people's first reaction to NHL 2K8 will probably be, "Wait, what the heck happened to the controls?" That's because the controls in 2K8 have been completely reworked, and not necessarily for the better. For example, shooting and passing have been mapped to the bumpers on the Xbox 360 controller, and to the R1 and L1 buttons on the PlayStation 3 controller. On top of that,...
 

Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 for PS3 reviewed!

50°
367w ago - The new gear introduced in GRAW 2 is still pretty freakin' sweet. The UAV Cypher, for example, gives you an eye in the sky to scout ahead for enemies. The MULE is a mobile, automated weapon shop; it can be used in a pinch to run down any bad guys foolish enough to stand around out in the open. And the Gun-cam lets you take a bead on enemies without stepping out from behind cover.

And all that spiffy recon gear is put to good use, because GRAW 2 liberally mixes strategy and action, balancing the two more adroitly than in any other tactical shooter I've played to date. In some levels, you'll go in guns blazing; in others, you'll creep from cover to cover and pray you're not seen. Sometimes you'll be alone, other times you'll make heavy use of your three-man squad, and sometimes you'll end up with additional support as the mission moves forward. The game constantly mixes things up, and in the process manages to neatly avoid the most common frustration of tactical shooters: figuring out how you're supposed to be playing the level.

See, most tactical shooters I've played have a specific path in mind for the player; you need to take out this guy first, then move to that cover, and take out that vehicle with this weapon -- and if you don't do everything right, and in order, the mission becomes vastly more difficult,...
 

Heavenly Sword Reviewed- 8.0!

50°
368w ago - If you were to look at Heavenly Sword in a series of glimpses -- or, say, videos that appeared online prerelease -- you'd be forgiven for not knowing exactly what kind of game it is. Clearly, it's action and features a lot of fighting, but is it a God of War clone? Is it a Dynasty Warriors clone? A Sniper Elite clone? In short, yes. But the long answer is a little more complex....

A good half of Heavenly Sword is reminiscent of God of War -- you run through dramatic environments, hit enemies with flashy attacks, participate in button-pressing minigames, and even follow an oddly similar plot. Another quarter of the game ramps up the number of enemies, so the experience feels more like Dynasty Warriors. And then the remaining portion of Heavenly Sword involves long-range arrow and cannon attacks using the PS3's tilt controls. There's where your sniper skills come into play.

It's a pretty compelling package, especially when you consider that there aren't many games of this sort on PS3 yet, and that Heavenly Sword's visuals are arguably the best the system has seen to date. I can't talk up the graphics enough -- not only are the characters and environments incredibly well detailed, but there's very little of that typical (and easily abused) next-gen gloss applied to them, so you get a much cleaner-looking...
 
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