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Gaming Reviews: FIFA 12, X-Men Destiny, The Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection

FIFA 12, X-Men Destiny and a classic Sony twofer.


Uh-oh. Looks like Wayne Rooney’s just spotted another aging hooker...

FIFA 12 (XBOX, PS3, Wii, PC, PSP, DS)
Price: $59.99 

What’s it about? 
As far as we’re concerned, if you wanna play the beautiful game, then there’s only one place to do it. FIFA 12 continues the tradition of incrementally building upon the franchise, tweaking certain aspects and adding game modes and realism to make the game worthy of your 60 bucks (that’s slightly less than two seconds’ salary if you’re a pro soccer player in any other country).

How does it look? 
Better than ever. Player avatars are truer to their namesakes than you’ve seen before, while stadiums rock as chants go up from the crowd during pivotal moments or big rivalries, like our reenactment of El Clasico. New collision physics create more spontaneity on the field, so when you trick-stick your way around a slide tackle in high traffic, don’t be surprised if you leave a pile of stunned defenders in your wake.

Is it any good? 
FIFA 12 uses an upgraded physics engine and switches up the defensive dynamic, all in the effort of making the game more realistic, which it totally succeeds at. The unexpected bonus of all this effort is that it also made it a smoother, faster game: Passing feels more crisp, first touches are seamlessly woven into the pace of the game and the trick-stick continues to evolve as a necessary component to winning, not just a fancy way to humiliate your
Madden-loving roommate.

Out of ten? 
9. FIFA is the sports franchise that leaves no stone unturned. Every country and league you could want are represented here and you can play in more game modes than any other franchise. No gimmicks, just mounds and mounds of gameplay locally, online, by yourself or with 10 other dudes to round out your team. Bonus: If you play online at midnight Eastern Time there’s a good chance you’ll face off against a drunken Spaniard who’s just walking in at 5am. Dios Mio!

If I like this, what else will I like? 
Madden 12 , NHL 12, Flying kicks to the chest

 


Desperate for new blood, the X-Men resorted to recruiting The Wiggles.


X-Men Destiny 
Price: $59.99 

What’s it about? 
Choosing a mutant and fighting alongside your favorite X-Men or Brotherhood characters. X-Men Destiny is the first full-fledged RPG to come out of the Marvel camp, and it’s a big departure from the typical X-Men games that we’ve been playing since the Arcade version from the 90s. Destiny gives you the option to choose from three different characters to start your journey, from a mutated peon to a maxed out powerhouse, making choices and picking up powers all along the way.

How does it look? 
The free roam environments of San Francisco mean there’s a lot to explore and scavenge along the way, if you’re that kind of player. The linearity of an action game is still present, though, and anyone just looking to blow through the storyline won’t be disappointed. We were especially impressed with the sheer abundance of familiar mutant faces that showed up, and being able to have them lend you their powers was a nice touch that added a good amount of depth to the game.

Is it any good? 
As inspired as an X-Men RPG sounds, being forced to choose from three measly characters significantly undermines the appeal of the game. Not only can you not create a player who looks like you (or your evil alter ego - just add goatee) but customization of the three chooseable characters is limited to powers and not looks. Call us superficial, but we’ve never understood how a game could go gold without a bra-size option.

Out of ten? 
7. This is a freakin’ X-Men RPG after all, and people who love comic books should be flocking to pick this up, if only to encourage Marvel to continue making games in this genre and, hopefully, making them better. Besides the significant downside of a too-limited initial character choice, the integration of choosing your destiny in the game’s overall plotline is well executed and makes for an interesting and different playthrough with a lot of replay value.
Stuffing the game with more X-Men characters than a dance party in the Danger Room didn’t hurt, either.

If I like this, what else will I like? 
DC Universe Online, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Simple questions like, “If he was Magneto, why would he need to use his fingers to strum a guitar string?” 
 


This is, uh, this is a game. So, yeah, nothing to see here. *whistles tunelessly* Are you still reading this caption?


The Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection 
Price: $39.99 

What’s it about? 
Taking two classic PS2 games and updating them for the PS3. Essentially, this means you get the exact same games you loved on PS2 but now they’re coming in glorious HD and 3D too. And we didn’t think either of these games could get any better.

How does it look? 
Extraordinary. We had the good fortune to check out both games in 3D and, unlike the changes that get made to classic movies *ahem Star Wars ahem*, both of these games benefit in a huge way from the HD graphics and 3D treatment. When you first fire up Shadow of the Colossus and see the sweeping landscape pop out as you shine your sword’s reflection into the yonder, it’s really tough to not grow a nerdboner. You’ve been warned.

Is it any good? 
Games don’t get remade unless they’re good, so you know that Sony isn’t effing around when they stick two classics onto the same disc. Anyone who loved either one of these games will absolutely want to own them in this form, because they’ve been polished to a high sheen (just like Bree Olsen got polished BY a high Sheen, zing!).

Out of ten? 
9. It’s not fair rating classic games, but when two classics come together and brush the dirt off their shoulders, it’s hard not to
appreciate their combined excellence.

If I like this, what else will I like?:
God of War Origins Collection, Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, awesome reunions.