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'Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning' Twists Videogame Tropes

Kingdoms of Amalur takes all of the principles of videogames – agency, choice, exploration, conflict – and turns them into an expansive experience of testing the conventions, and even the technical framework, of videogame fiction itself.

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Games

The Race for a New Game Machine: The Hardware/Software Conflict (Book Review, Part 1)

Concentrating on the narrative that David Shippy and Mickie Phipps tell in The Race for a New Game Machine is made difficult by a conflict in perspective.

Reviews

Afro Samurai

Afro Samurai would be a little too self-serious if it wasn't for Ninja-Ninja, a white-haired, impish character that can best be described as Samuel L. Jackson playing Samuel L. Jackson.

Reviews

The Maw

The only major problem with The Maw is the pacing and speed of gameplay. Unfortunately, it's a crippling sort of problem.

Thomas Cross
Reviews

Tom Clancy's EndWar

Tom Clancy's EndWar takes the premise of leading through words and literalizes the experience for the real time strategy game.

Reviews

Prince of Persia

The effort here is to provide a fantastic experience, not at all intellectual but one driven by velocity and the player's own gut.

Reviews

Midnight Club: Los Angeles

Even if you're not actually walking around on the streets or going into buildings, the Los Angeles here feels just as fully realized as New York City does in Grand Theft Auto 4.

Games

Why Gears 2's Story Works

A defense of the narrative elements in Gears of War 2.

Reviews

Call of Duty: World at War

Call of Duty: World at War's catalysts for combat personalize the brutality that the player will mete out on the Axis by dehumanizing and "othering" the Japanese and the Germans as barbarians and monsters.

Reviews

Gears of War 2

Gears of War 2 is a sequel with nearly perfect gameplay sullied by silly, derivative and downright ridiculous story and dialogue.

Reviews

Left 4 Dead

Playing as the infected and coordinating with your team as you try and stop the survivors from reaching the safe room is just as fun and fleshed-out as playing as the survivors.

Jason Cook
Reviews

Mirror's Edge

Mirror's Edge clearly treats parkour with a good deal of respect and admiration.

Reviews

Quantum of Solace

The hybridization of Quantum of Solace's first person mechanics with gameplay styles more often found in third person action titles lends the Bond game a curiously more elegant and thoughtful approach to first-person shooting.

Games

Fable II

Fable II is, perhaps, the most seductive game world ever created.

Reviews

Silent Hill: Homecoming

"Atmosphere" is the key word when talking about Silent Hill, and Homecoming is no different.

Jason Cook
Games

ZA Critique: Call of Duty 4

A break down of the passive sequences in Call of Duty 4 as amusement park rides. Spoilers Abound.

Reviews

Pure

Pure will appeal to those who already ride ATVs and wonder what it'd be like to ride without our world's current gravitational limits.

Darwin Hang
Reviews

Crash: Mind Over Mutant

All of the platforming in Crash: Mind Over Mutant takes place in one continuously-generated world, with every area eventually accessible from every other area in that world.

Reviews

Dead Space

While Dead Space's influences are easy to spot, it is extraordinarily smart about cohesively assembling key elements from these influences into a compelling experience.

Reviews

Saints Row 2

Saints Row 2, more so than many other open world games, has a real tendency to drive one to distraction.

Reviews

Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise

The chief lure of the Viva Piñata series is the ability to witness the E-rated mating rituals of the piñatas themselves.

Reviews

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09

EA Tiburon's nip and tuck approach adds up to a significantly enhanced virtual golf experience.

Reviews

NBA 2K9

If only a hoops game the caliber of NBA 2K9 could have been released in the heyday of pro basketball: the 1980s.

Games

The Console War

A Dramatization of the Console War of 2008.

Reviews

Lego Batman

With Lego Batman, it feels like the Lego series has finally hit its stride.

Reviews

Too Human

Too Human is more or less a Diablo clone.

Reviews

Infinite Undiscovery

As much as Undiscovery's combat feels fresh, the plot feels like it was something taken from the Generic JRPG Plot discount rack.

Reviews

Facebreaker

The AI fighters are unrelenting in their quest to turn your face into a smashed melon.

Jason Cook
Reviews

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

Things like plot, moral compasses, characters and dialogue are all secondary concerns in Mercenaries 2.

Reviews

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2

Geometry Wars 2 is the best game and best value available on Xbox Live Arcade.

Reviews

Soul Calibur IV

Soul Calibur IV is a deep, rewarding and -- most importantly -- downright fun fighting game.

Jason Cook
Reviews

Braid

The organic, malleable gameplay that Braid offers is refreshing in the context of a game that superficially looks to be a platformer.

Reviews

Beijing 2008

Gaming should have evolved a bit over the course of the last twenty four years.

Jamie Lynn Dunston
Reviews

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars' journey from PCs to consoles was apparently a bumpy one.

Reviews

Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy

Bourne seems like the kind of cool action hero that might well easily transition to the role of the protagonist of a video game.

Reviews

Battlefield: Bad Company

A first-person shooter focused more on fun than authenticity or a deeply written narrative is actually a bit refreshing.


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