We won’t tease you for longer than this sentence – Gears of War 3 is awesome. The campaign is epic, with action sequences that are more intense, weapons that are more powerful, enemies that are more formidable and heroes that are more relatable than ever before. The multiplayer is extremely generous, with a horde of new maps and new modes that are instant classics, as well as perfectly suitable for either competition or cooperation, experts or beginners. All aspects considered, this is a spectacular shooter.
Gears of War 3, however, is not just another shooter. This is the end to a trilogy, the final (for now) chapter in one of this console generation’s defining franchises. As such, it arrives with a lot of lofty expectations. Fans want much more than an awesome game. They want the absolute best game in the series, and a satisfying conclusion to the story they’ve invested in for half a decade. By those high yet not unreasonable standards, Gears of War 3 falls short – only by a little, but enough to affect our score and our discussion. First, though, the awesome…
Gears of War's trilogy might be over, but a COG's work is never done...
There's a pinwheel on your ass. You try to run away but you're suddenly bombarded by two dozen pulsing blue diamonds. Quick, cut left - but don't get sucked in by the black hole that's inexplicably bright red. After a narrow escape to a relatively empty corner of the undulating, pinpoint-laden blue grid, you're abruptly annihilated by an explosion of what can only be described as electric sperm. If you think you're stuck in a nightmare, you're right - but when that nightmare is Geometry Wars:
It’s almost three years since Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved first appeared on the marketplace, but three spin-offs later and it’s still classed as the pinnacle of twin-stick shooting. So just how do you go about reinventing the wheel? Developer Bizarre obviously knows. The key to this sequel is that it’s Retro Evolved... evolved.
Sept 26, 2007
Say what you want about how new, how fresh, how vibrant this arcade action title is; anyone who was alive in 1985 knows better. The shape of the playfield may change, and you may not be a yellow circle pursued by ghosts, but there's no mistaking the dot-munching pedigree on display here: this is head-to-head Pac-man with a trip to the restroom added.
It's funny, really, 'Ghostbusters: The Video Game' is a bit of a misnomer. It's Ghostbusters, yes, and it's clearly a video game because here it is loading up in our 360 under 'Game'. But this is, without question, Ghostbusters 3 'the movie'. As a game it's far from perfect, but in a very refreshing turn of events we can confidently say that, for once, that isn't the point.
What, if you recall, was the number one rule for a Ghostbuster handling a proton beam? That’s right: “Don’t cross the streams.” If you think about it, you’ve already got the design blueprint for a unique cooperative twin-stick shooter right there. Can you imagine a game in which crossing your stream of fire with your buddy would result in instant death for both of you? You’d have to be super-careful, lay off the trigger, and keep in constant communication in order to survive. You’d develop camaraderie with your teammates and whack your friends on the couch upside the heads if they screwed up. To be honest, that sounds like a pretty fun Ghostbusters game, if a little high-stress.
Yeah: Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is nothing like that...
So here's the $60 question: if you played The Godfather when it was released six months ago on the Xbox, PS2 and PC, is it still worth playing on the 360? That depends on whether you're the type to run out and buy director's cut versions of DVDs you already own. The Godfather is still basically the same Grand Theft Auto clone it was in March, but so much has been retooled and improved that its fans will want to take a second look.
If you didn't catch The Godfather the first time, though, this
Whether or not you agree with its high position as IMDB’s third greatest film of all time, The Godfather II is a license that no developer outside of Rockstar North could even come close to fulfilling. Other than Grand Theft Auto IV there hasn’t been a sandbox game that has even promised to match The Godfather II’s tone, quality and vision.
Following in the footsteps of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Double Dragon is another great arcade brawler for Xbox Live Arcade. Golden Axe was one of the earliest weapons-based beat-em-ups in arcades, and remains one of the best out there.
Golden Axe on Live Arcade is actually based on the original arcade version, rather than the more likely Genesis port from back in the day. You'll notice little things that give it away, such as the bodies of minions you slay lying on the ground rather