L.A. Noire embraces the frustrating trend of shipping with retailer exclusive pre-order bonuses. Depending on where you order the game from, you’ll get one of four exclusive cases. There’s one unique to Best Buy, Wallmart, GameStop, and one for the PS3. The most annoying thing about these “deals” is that the content is digital and could easily be made available to everyone, but business politics dictate that they remain exclusive for a set amount of time. The upside to this situation is that L.A. Noire has also embraced a different kind of pre-order bonus, a physical product that allows us to experience the game in a new setting: the real world. GameStop’s exclusive Badge Pursuit Challenge is more alternate reality game than video game and that makes it far more entertaining than any extra in-game case.
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Dragon Age II is about prejudice, against refugees, foreigners, and those among us who are simply different. The citizens of Kirkwall hate the refugees from the Blight, they hate and fear the stranded Qunari, and like everyone else in the world of Dragon Age, they fear mages. Oh, and mages fear the Templars. The conflicts are well presented; neither side is very sympathetic as the victims often lash out with violence at their oppressors, justifying further oppression. Dragon Age II seeks to explore this vicious cycle of hate, and for the most part, it succeeds. Prejudice against mages isn’t just a major theme, it’s an important plot point with ramifications that will change the world of Ferelden. However, this delicate balance falls apart whenever the player is put in the role of victim because the player is never truly victimized or oppressed.
It can be hard to find good games among the chaff of the Xbox Indie Marketplace, but they’re certainly there. These are three games that I like enough to go back to over and over again every month or so. The fact that their entertainment value holds up so well over time speaks to their quality. This is by no means a comprehensive list—just three games from my collection that I think deserve a special mention.
Goldeneye 64 is a classic. It’s a game that deserves a remake. It’s one you can’t go back to, yet nostalgia would drive many back to it. It’s easy to be cynical about Activision’s remake, especially since it’s so clearly made from the same template as Call of Duty, but developer Eurocom made an impressive effort to createa game that’s referential, reverential, yet capable of standing on its own. While they got a lot right, the updated story succeeds because of one decision: the decision to update the character of Bond along with the rest of the story because in many ways Daniel Craig’s version of James Bond is the perfect FPS protagonist, and that’s not a good thing.
Goldeneye 007 is a great game. It’s everything a remake should be. The levels evoke the right amount of nostalgia while still looking distinctly different than their Nintendo 64 counterparts. The story is updated for modern times and adds new twists to the plot, so the game is never predictable (or least it’s as unpredictable as a Bond game can be). Updating Bond himself so that you now play as Daniel Craig fits well with the gritty gunplay. But Goldeneye 007 is a Wii game, which means it has motion controls, and while the motion controls aren’t bad, they also aren’t designed for a standard Wii controller. Goldeneye 007 would probably be better if played with a dual analog controller, and it’s all because of the prevalence of iron sights.
// Channel Surfing
"Series creator Nic Pizzolatto constructs the entire season on a simple exchange: death seems to be the metaphysical wage of knowledge.READ the article