[2 Minute Review] Too Human

Can a game that a blogger was so adamant against getting because of low “professionally reviewed” scores be any good?

Surprisingly, the reviewers got it all wrong. However, most “professional” reviewers compared it to what they thought it should be (i.e. what was promised) and they did not review it for how it stood as a final product. However, this game can be summed up in two words: lost potential. Is it still fun?

DO: Cut down anything that moves using the left thumbstick to move and the right thumbstick to attack. Gamepad buttons confer bonuses and a dodge.

TYPE: Third-person action.

PLATFORM: 360

PRICE: $59.99

MEAT: You play as Baldur, a semi-god, who with his brothers protects the human race in the future. The plot loosley follows Norse mythology. Actually, the plot is convoluted unless you know a little bit of the mythology. Even then, don’t try to understand it. There is a surprising twist at the end that does make some sense in the narrative. However, unintentionally, this is a game for just playing. (Did Pac Man need a story to be fun?) Your character progresses by loot grinding through four worlds. (There’s an alternate world that basically offers nothing called Cyberspace–an exploration map that nets you armor perks but is probably there just to frustrate you by getting you lost.) Every item has its own look, perks, and can be color customized. This is a game for weapon and armor customization nuts. This is also a game for those who like to RPG farm. There’s a wonderful co-op mode that blends well with the core gameplay and skips the narrative altogether. It only supports two players, but four may be coming via update. There may be some new classes added to the included five (Berserker, Defender, Champion, Commando, and Bioengineer). The classes don’t change the style of play that much because the enemies pretty much all attack the same way.

PERKS: excellent visuals; satisfying combat (sliding especially); loads of items; replayable for grind nuts; wonderful finishing moves

SCREAMS: to use it’s potential: story, combat, enemy variety; better class distinction; change a couple of boss battles to be fun and not grinds; eliminate enemy ranged attacks for the sake of difficulty–maybe actually code some enemey AI other than “mob the player”; add a defensive move other than dodge; it wants to be epic and there’s glimpses of that, but the potential is lost

VERDICT: Rent. Buy it when it’s a budget title.

Proof being in the pudding. Here’s my gamercard to show I beat the thing.

[2 Minute Review] Top Spin 3

Should I break a sweat playing a sports game?

Well, I maybe didn’t break a sweat, but I did cramp my brain.

DO: Play possibly the most realistic tennis game ever. Overhand smashes, drop shots at the net and grunts that would make Maria Sharapova proud. (Okay, maybe that was just me)

TYPE: Tennis (hopefully that’s obvious).

PLATFORM: Xbox 360 (also available on everything else but the PC).

PRICE: $59.99 on the 360.

MEAT: On the surface, it’s another sports game. Where Top Spin 3 really shines is its complexity. At times it can be extremely difficult and hard to get used to, but it becomes second nature pretty quickly. The tutorials are very well done, and get deep fast. It may be a surprise, but I’m not a professional tennis player. So I can’t say if this “feels” right, but some of the shots definitely feel like they should.

There’s a career mode, of course, which I spent most of my time in. There’s nothing new here. Play some matches, get some points to get better skills, rinse, repeat. It’s fun, it’s addictive and I’ll be playing this much more. Oh, and the character creator? My daughter could have played with that for hours. Yay for electronic paper dolls!

PERKS: We’re getting dangerously close to the uncanny valley. Not sure if that’s a perk?

SCREAMS: Nothing new? Even though this is the first Top Spin game I’ve played, I’ve played enough sports games to know there’s only so much improvement can be made. It also can be insanely complex if you want it to.

VERDICT: For most gamers, this is a rental. Tennis fans and sports fans know what they’re getting and are more likely to pick it up. It’s a good buy for a specific group of gamers. You know whether you are in that group or not. If you’re not, you probably won’t be playing this.

[2 Minute Review] Trials 2:Second Edition

Are a simplistic physics engine, simplistic controls, and impressive visuals enough to make a great game?

Yes, yes, and yes. Read on.

DO: You control a bike rider in a straight line in a warehouse full of ramps, jumps, and other obstacles. The catch: the way you lean forward and back on the bike. There are timed modes and stunt modes. Uses a keyboard or gamepad.

TYPE: Casual (that can be played for hours or as little as 30 seconds)

PLATFORM: Digital download online or via Steam

PRICE: $9.99, FREE Demo


PERKS: Leaderboards; achievements (Steam); team play; download-able content; video editor; price +

VERDICT: Buy. Own it on Steam.

I am feeling generous, and to celebrate our first 2 Minute Review I’ll be gifting one copy of this game via Steam. All you have to do is post your Steam ID in the comments and leave us some feedback on the review (like the idea? thoughts?). Drawing closes a week from posting.

2 Minute Reviews

I’m getting sick and tired of online reviews and magazine reviews of games. I feel that if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. Also, have you ever noticed that the reviews are getting longer? Every little nitpicking detail is gone over. I usually end up just reading the summarizing statements and the scanning the scores anyway—oh, man, the scores—don’t get me started.

I want to try something new: a 2 minute review—a review you can read quickly and get a (hopefully) good overview of what it’s about and if it’s worth the price to play.

I did a count and I have just under twenty new games that I can cover over the course of the summer. My requirements are this: that I play the game for 5 hours and then summarize (1) if I should keep playing and (2) is it good (+) or bad (-).

Maybe then I bring myself back to a little more sanity and you can hop along for the ride.