IGN Score: 9.4 (Outstanding)
Console: Xbox 360
Gears of War Review
At a crossroads on the war-torn planet of Sera, you have a decision to make. Both paths are equally dangerous, with the Locust horde armed with explosive arrows and revving chainsaws, ready to tear you to pieces, either way. No, this debate is between you and your co-op partner as you argue over who will pick up that next COG tag, secret pickups that act as currency for heralded Achievements.
It's here that you truly realize what a masterpiece Epic has created in Gears of War. Yes, it's the most gorgeous looking game on the Xbox 360, period. Yes, the sound design is worthy of awards. Yes, the game is fun as hell. But playing with a friend, as you bark flanking orders into your headset over Live, or across the room during a system-link game, or right next to you in a split-screen campaign, you realize that Epic has created the 360 game we all hoped for, and that Gears of War more than lives up to the impossible hype.
And then you snap back to reality, remember that you haven't picked up that COG tag yet, offer some kind parting words to your co-op partner, and choose to go left, because you're Marcus Fenix, and Marcus Fenix goes where ever the hell he wants to.
Gears of War takes place over the course of 36 hours on the planet Sera, what was once a civilized human planet of cheerful sidewalk cafes and flower-filled parks. No more. The population did not know that underneath every major city, the Locust Horde was digging. Underground monsters, of superhuman size and strength, with filthy complexions that could rival the ugliest of teens, the Locust are fearsome creatures. And on a sunny Sera afternoon, the Locust emerged.
The loss of life was catastrophic, or so it appeared in the opening sequence. The soldiers of the Coalition of Ordered Governments, or COG, fought valiantly, but failed. As the battle slipped away, COG soldier Marcus Fenix defied orders to try and rescue his father. He was caught and imprisoned. Fourteen years passed, and the Locust have closed in. As alien creatures take over Marcus's prison, an old friend opens the cell door, gives Marcus a gun, and asks him rejoin the fight.
Yes, Gears of War is a bit light on story. You are a soldier. There are bad guys. You must kill them. If fact, the only place you'll find the story tidbits above are in the instruction manual -- Epic assumes you already know all this. Without giving too much away, Epic does touch briefly on Marcus's father and Marcus's "sham" of a court martial, but this shallow story is a simple vehicle to drive the action. It's the manner in which Epic introduces us to Sera that is so fascinating.
Epic chooses to show instead of tell, using superbly directed cinematic sequences and bits of informative dialogue between Marcus and his fellow COGs: old mate Dom, cocky Baird, and former Crashball star Cole. The effect is a sweet introduction to the world of Sera and to Marcus, just enough to pique our interest, but not enough to give us a resolution. (Resolutions are reserved for sequels, unless you're Halo 2.) No, we never learn what happened to Marcus's father, even though one mission brings us back to the old Fenix estate. Chapter one in the Gears of War saga is all about one simple goal: to get to an underground mine and deploy the Resonator, a COG device that will map the Locust tunnels.
Along the way, you will fight through "survival-horror" missions, designed simply to scare the crap out of you. And eventually, you'll fight in large, open battlefields, taking on large numbers of Locust at one time before taking on the evil Locust general. Gears is light on story, but presents a very immersive and compelling atmosphere that sucks you right into the planet Sera. Any insight into the story of the war or into our protagonist's past will have to wait for the inevitable-but-as-of-yet-unannounced Gears of War 2.
But enough about the story. Let's talk chainsaw.
The COG Lancer Assault Rifle goes down as one of the great weapons in gaming history, right alongside Link's Master Sword and Master Chief's sighted-pistol. At first glance, there's nothing particularly special about the fully-automatic weapon -- the bullets don't do much damage and it isn't particularly accurate at long range. But as you sneak around a corner and see an unsuspecting enemy with his back to you, you quickly run up, hold down B and rev the chainsaw bayonet, carving up your opponent in a bloody mess faster than you can say "Thanksgiving Turkey." The "vroom-vroom" sound of a purring chainsaw is both a glorious thing and frightening thing.
Unlike in Halo, where you can circle strafe and jump eight feet in the air before planting an energy sword into an enemy's face, you have to work for this chainsaw kill. The core gameplay mechanic of Gears is the cover system. To get into cover, you simply run up to a wall, a ledge, a wrecked car -- whatever -- and hit A. You will be sucked right into cover, safe from enemy fire, for the moment. From there, you can blind fire, you can pull down the L-trigger to pop out of cover and then fire, or you can perform a variety of evasive maneuvers like SWAT turns and rolls.
IGN Score: 9.4 (Outstanding)
I'm not a big fan of flash games but you guys should definitely check this addicting game out:
Desktop Tower Defense
Protect your desktop from invaders by spending money on attacking pieces and building a maze for them to follow. How many levels can you survive?
Website: List of private servers (free)
Official Server (monthly payments)
Cost: I suggest that you join a private server and enjoy the full features of the game instead of paying to play on the official servers.
Graphics: 3D world, 2D characters
Don't let the graphics fool you! The game is much better than what you see. Over 18 unique job classes and a lot of features. After level 99, you reborn stronger into a new class. There are countless that I can think of: player vs. player, guild wars (War of Emperium), hundred of possibilities in armor types with cards that you get from monsters and their functions, elements on armor and monsters, marriage system, adoption system, guild skills, pets, homunculus, boss monsters, etc.
All the features are reasons that the game is worth your time. Plenty of opportunities to prove how good of a strategist you are with: stats selection, cards (upgrades) you put into your weapons equipments, etc.
Console: PS2, Wii, PC and Game Cube
If you're a fan of horror, action, and TPS genres, this game is for you! From the first moment you control Leon Scott Kennedy you're sucked into this world of shotgun, suspense, and action.
You're controlling Leon Scott Kennedy and your goal is to rescue the president's daughter, who has been kidnapped by a mysterious cult. You begin in a rural village in Europe where you encounter a group of zombie-like villagers who are part of the Los Illuminados, the cult that kidnapped Ashley. Later in the story, you enter a giant castle where he found Ashley...
My favorite part of the game is when Leon was stuck in a house surrounded by zombies and I had to block all the windows with furniture. When they broke in I had to shoot them all with Luis Sera, a guy I've met during the mission.
Website: http://www.maplestory.com/ (Choose your region)
Genre: Side-scrolling MMORPG
Cost: Free-to-play with a Cash Shop
The graphics are nicely drawn, it has the best looking graphics of the 2D games that I've seen. The background moves as you walk, which make the game a little more realistic. As your level get higher, your skills look more awesome and your equipments look better.
Note: You can easily screw up your character by adding points on unnecessary skills. That's why you should check a guide before starting your character.
-Even though it's tiresome to level up, it is fun and you make new friends
-Every class is unique and equal at the same time
-Party quests are fun but repetitive
-After many months of gameplay, I still haven't seen any hacker yet
-Leveling up is tiresome (hours of grinding)
-No player vs. player system which means no competition between players
-A lot of scammers (can be avoided)
Website: http://www.gunbound.com/ (Choose your region)
Genre: Turn-based tactical shooter
The player's objective is to try to hit the opponents from across the map by calculating the correct angle and power of the shot. Gunbound is a MMO that anyone can play without a large time commitment. Typical matches last 10-30 minutes depending on the number of players (from 2 to 8). The currency of the game is called Gold, and it is obtained by killing players during a game. Your avatar raise your character's stats when you play a game: it will boost damage, defense along with many other stats.
-Unlike many other games, the leveling system isn't important
-Easy to play even though you need skills to hit the target
-Many unique mobiles that you can choose before a game
(Each of them has its own unique ability and power)
-Paying players are favored over the non-paying players
-Sh*t loads of lag