Gaming Reviews: Uncharted, Goldeneye and Lord of the Rings: War in the North

Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
placeholder title



Goldeneye 007: Reloaded(Xbox, PS3) 

Price: $59.99 

What's it about?: 

Last year we saw Goldeneye get a revival on the Wii. Though the game was a dutiful reimagining of the classic N64 game, many were unimpressed with the Wii's control scheme and sub-par graphics. There was still a good game to be found in there though and so Activision had the good sense to update the update for the Xbox and PS3 with significantly better graphics, more robust online multiplayer and, of course, a traditional control scheme that would please anyone who learned that, if it's not a slap, it's not a melee attack. 

How does it look?: 

This is not exactly the Goldeneye you'll remember from 1997. Brosnan has been replaced by Craig not just in the character modeling but in the approach to certain situations. The opening Dam level remains largely intact but this time you'll forgo the stealthy strategy of Pierce's Bond in favor of the rough and tumble nature of Craig's. Levels have been altered and added from the late 90's original, a shame when most fans would have (and will still) go berserk should anyone actually make a 1:1 version of the original for the current gen of consoles. Reloaded does make huge graphics leaps over the Wii version with the game being rebuilt for the HD capabilities of the Xbox and PS3 and employs a more traditional control scheme, finally letting us wield a golden gun without waggling a wiimote like a fool. James Bond would literally never be caught dead doing that. 

Is it any good?:

Until Rare, Nintendo and anyone else can get the rights sorted out, Reloaded is a valiant attempt to bottle the same lightning of 1997's Goldeneye without actually remaking the original. Anyone hoping to relive FPS glory days will probably feel some kind of disappointment when the levels begin diverging more than you'd hope. In its own right, Goldeneye Reloaded is a solid game with great voice acting, an interesting (and somewhat familiar) plot and a ton of action that's fun to play and rarely frustrating though sometimes a bit too easy. Luckily, significant shifts in difficulty can be made thanks to 00 Agent and MI:6 modes. Of course, there's also multiplayer, both online for 16 players and local for four and, though you might not be able to pop off Klobb shots in the stack, you can still wail on Oddjob like you did when you were a squeaky voiced freshman.

Out of ten?:

8, any game that carries the Goldeneye name is going to have irrationally high expectations. If you can put those aside, Reloaded is a very good entry into the interactive Bond series that have all had to exist in the original Goldeneye's shadow. 

If I like this, what else will I like?: 

Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: MW3, specially colored weaponry

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception(PS3) 

Price: $59.99 

What's it about?: 

The next entry in the Uncharted series is a treasure-hunting adventure, the likes of which we haven't ever seen before. Nathan Drake's return brings with it a series of twists and turns for both the plot and for the expectations of series' fans. Flashbacks and familiar faces abound to set the stage for Drake's biggest adventure yet that'll take him from bar brawls to cargo ships to plummeting planes and beyond in search of a macguffin that George Lucas wishes he thought of. 

How does it look?: 

Naughty dog has really accomplished something with the graphics of Uncharted 3. Cut scenes and character interactions are so realistic, you almost have to double take and wonder if you're playing a game or watching a movie. We played through the game in 3D and that was even more of an eye popping spectacle. Drake's also got himself an improved combat system that'll now allow for taking on multiple enemies, contextual melees and stealth take downs, as well as enough gunplay to make Charleton Heston stiff(er than his dead ass already is). New animations go along with Drake's upgraded arsenal that are seamlessly woven into the flow of his fighting, like when Nate bashes some nameless enemy in the face while being choked out, it's sort of how we imagine David Carradine offed himself. 

Is it any good?: 

Drake's Deception was our favorite entry into the franchise yet. The improved combat is a welcome addition but Uncharted 3's complex plot, exotic locals, familiar faces and signature banter are the high points of the game...like K2 high. Sure, you'll spend a lot of time hanging from ledges (Drake would put those Ninja Warrior dudes to shame) but the variety of levels, complexity of the puzzles and different approaches to each of them make Uncharted 3 an action game to be reckoned with, especially because Drake as a character is the closest thing we'll get to a modern day Indiana Jones, considering Indy himself is now a card carrying senior citizen.

Out of ten?:

9.5, PS3 owners, consider yourself lucky because your system is the only one that's getting one of the premiere games of 2011. Some flighty cinematic cameras can detract from the action but what you're getting here is an experience, not just a game and, as far as experiences go, this one is great.

If I like this, what else will I like?: 

Batman Arkham City, Tomb Raider

Lord of the Rings: War in the North (Xbox, PS3, PC) 

Price: $59.99 

What's it about?:

Lord of the Rings has as almost as many video games to its name as it does Oscars, so when Warner Bros Interactive approached the latest LoTR game they knew they had to take a different angle if they were going to keep gamers happy without retreading the same old story, beloved as it may be. Their solution to this problem was to create a storyline that takes place in tandem with the story we already know, that weaves in and out of scenes we've seen and characters we care about even though you'll be playing as an elf, dwarf or ranger we've never seen before. War in the North focuses on….the war in the north (shocker) and sets it's triumvirate on a bloody course to help the heroes we know and love.

How does it look?:

Cut scenes lacked a bit of polish but the story they tell were new additions to the LoTR canon and fans will forgive the lack of graphical finesse in order to watch a new angle of the epic unfold. Since this is an action game with heavy elements of RPG, we were relatively happy with the menu system that let you set the equipment you need without detracting from the flow of the battles you're in. Combat animations were smooth and switching between your long range weapons and close combat options were as easy as a trigger pull. Last but not least, WBIE made the interesting decision to make the elf a girl, a frustration when you're playing with two buddies and are stuck with her but it's a pleasure at all other times because, well, boobs.

Is it any good?:

The core experience here is a three-person co-op, which you don't often see and it's a niche that plays really well. Since the game has heavy RPG elements, there's a sense of importance to the cooperation because it's a necessary component in leveling up quicker. What's most interesting about War of the North is how it weaves itself, rather successfully, through the existing LoTR storyline, from a meeting with Aragorn just before the Hobbits are attacked by Black Riders or a little tet-a-tet with Gandalf in his absence from the fellowship. It's clever and, though we never cared about our character as much as Frodo or Aragorn, we loved the outsider perspective that War in the North offers up.

Out of ten?:

7.5. A well-crafted storyline wasn't enough to entirely make up for a relatively bland combat experience. War in the North is definitely a game made better by playing with friends and we would recommend tackling it via online co-op because it's a substantially better experience that way than it is as a solo campaign. That Tolkien dude really knew his shit when it came to fellowship.

If I like this, what else will I like? 

Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One, Gears of War 3, Elven titties.