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Review Round-Up: The games of July - Destructoid

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Review Round-Up: The games of July


2:00 PM on 08.03.2010
Review Round-Up: The games of July photo



While copy-and-pasting this together I attempted to figure out what the "theme" of this month was so I could write about it up here. But July just sort of was. There were good games and bad games. There were definitely some stellar hits and some massive misses. I couldn't wrangle anything really special out of it, especially since our StarCraft II review landed a few days out of the month.

That's not to say that games like Dragon Quest IX aren't truly epic, but July counterbalanced all that greatness with some pretty sad games. Needless to say, I was concerned for this opening, but then I remembered a lesson I learned from Jim Sterling himself: opinion is not needed (see below). And so I give you this explanation of the reviews of July:

July had videogames. We reviewed them.

So check it out, if for no other reason than Samit makes a "touchdown" pun in a review for a football game.

Also, of note is the positively righteous artwork that Sheppy done did for the Round-Up this month. I'm pretty sure he's worked in the most characters yet and thrown in Mr. Destructoid to boot. Slow clap beginning now, please.

APB (PC)


APB has a noble idea at its heart, and could have been something truly special. Unfortunately, the game suffers due to a complete lack of... well, anything ... It's as if the developer had this great concept and felt that the premise alone was all it needed, that making a city and a game that used the bare minimum was "good enough" to sustain such a terrific premise. It's not good enough though.

Score: 3.5 -- Poor (3s went wrong somewhere along the line. The original idea might have promise, but in practice the game has failed. Threatens to be interesting sometimes, but rarely.)

Arc Rise Fantasia (Wii)

As it stands, Arc Rise Fantasia still manages to be pretty good. If you can ignore the acting, then what you have is a solid JRPG that remains enjoyable throughout and has enough to satisfy fans of good old fashioned roleplayers.

Score: 7.0 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)

Alien Swarm (PC)

Despite the issues of repetition and somewhat contrary design choices, Alien Swarm is an enjoyable shooter at an absolute steal at a non-price. Even if you grow bored of it in five minutes, that's five minutes of free entertainment.

Score: 7.5 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)

Blacklight: Tango Down (PC/PSN/XBLA [reviewed])


With no tangible story, no explanation for anything, and no semblance of coherence, Tango Down is the bad multiplayer aspect of a good single player game, only without the single player part.

Score: 3.0 -- Poor (3s went wrong somewhere along the line. The original idea might have promise, but in practice the game has failed. Threatens to be interesting sometimes, but rarely.)

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)

As a much more balanced game than the already fantastic original, offering plenty of new side content and insane plot options, I would say this is a risk I would recommend anyone to take. A fantastic and fun fighter this is, anyone looking for a distinctly Japanese and over-the-top fighting game will want to check this out.

Score: 8.0 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

Crackdown 2 (Xbox 360)


So basically, Crackdown 2 is a stolen game in a stolen setting ... Ultimately, this game is a very sub-par offering that has no real reason to exist. Everything that is good about Crackdown 2 is already in the original Crackdown, and many of the problems in Crackdown 2 are unique entirely to this installment.

Score: 4.5 -- Below Average (4s have some high points, but they soon give way to glaring faults. Not the worst games, but are difficult to recommend.)

DeathSpank (PlayStation Network, Xbox LIVE Arcade)

As a single-player game, though, DeathSpank really shines. The addictive nature of leveling up and looting treasure chests and fallen enemies is here in spades, not to be missed by fans of the genre.

Score: 8.5 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

Limbo (Xbox Live Arcade)

Limbo is as close to perfect at what it does as a game can get. It's artistic without being pompous, difficult without being cheap, and violent without being gratuitous ... I'm not going to tell you to buy it. I'm going to ask you to buy it.

Score: 10 -- Flawless Victory (10s are as close to perfect as you will get in a genre or on a platform. Pure, untarnished videogame ecstasy.)

Naughty Bear (PS3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])

On paper, it sounds great, but unfortunately the halfhearted attempts at comic violence, grinding repetition and inability to do so much as give us more than five maps despite having thirty-five stages, has made this into a bland and boring affair.

Score: 5.0 -- Mediocre (5s are an exercise in apathy, neither Solid nor Liquid. Not exactly bad, but not very good either. Just a bit "meh," really.)

NCAA Football 11 (Xbox 360 [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2)

To achieve its goal of creating the most realistic college football experience to date, EA has made a few changes to the old NCAA Football formula ... There’s still room for improvement, but for the first time in I can recall, I actually feel like I’m playing a college football game and not just Madden: NCAA Edition. If you like college football, definitely pick this one up, because EA’s scored a touchdown with this year’s installment.

Score: 8.0 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor (Wii)

As it stands, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is the only game of its kind in town (that I know of, anyway), and for fans of the genre, that's reason enough to stand up and take notice ... It's an amazing game, one that I see myself playing for years to come.

Score: 8.5 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

Singularity (PC, PS3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])

There are a few problems ... throughout the game, but they do little to take away from what is otherwise and overwhelmingly enjoyable experience that should take you about six or so hours to get through ... If you want a great Summer shooter full of violent toys and silly super powers, then you won't get much better than this. Quite possibly the best new FPS of the year so far.

Score: 9.0 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 (PlayStation 3 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Wii, iPhone)

Like Tiger before the scandal, the PGA Tour series is a paradigm of consistency. Year in and year out, EA Tiburon delivers reliably solid, if unremarkable, golf games. This year is no different.

Score: 8.5 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

Toribash (WiiWare)

I really like Toribash, but given that it's a downgraded port of a free game, I'm not sure how to score it. It's a really interesting experience no matter what platform you play it on, but there is no denying that it sucks to pay $10 for game that is arguably better and free of charge on Mac/PC.

Score: 7.5- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)

Tournament of Legends (Wii)


Tournament of Legends reminds me of (the old days) ... Strangely, I don't mean that as a bad thing in the least ... It's no Eternal Champions, but it's easy to get into and provides just the right amount of innocent, unpretentious fun. For under thirty bucks, that ain't too bad!

Score: 7.5 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)

Toy Story 3: The Video Game (Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, PC, Xbox 360 [reviewed])

So, yeah, the game is kind of amazing ... Toy Story 3: The Video Game has enough sophisticated design and true challenge that even hardcore gamers (and hardcore Pixar fans) like myself can find stuff to love. The Toy Box alone makes it worth checking out.

Score: 8.0 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

PORTABLE

Archetype (iPhone)


What could have been (and looked to be) an action-packed, AAA iPhone shooter is, unfortunately, a gloomy and dreary affair, as mediocre as the most vanilla console FPS and about ten times less convenient to play.

Score: 5.0 -- Mediocre (5s are an exercise in apathy, neither Solid nor Liquid. Not exactly bad, but not very good either. Just a bit "meh," really.)

Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night (iPhone)

Unless you’re sporting petite elvish Orlando Bloom-like fingers, you will encounter a healthy heaping of frustration when you can’t get a crucial block to drop how you need it to ... Without the issues surrounding the use of screen space and controls, Castlevania Puzzle would have been a phenomenal title.

Score: 7.0 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS)

It's simply the best DS game of the year and one of the finest RPG experiences you could hope to own. 

Only the most jaded of gamers could play this game and not smile.

Score: 9.5 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)

Master of Alchemy (iPad)

Just like science class, Master of Alchemy is not easy. But it is quite a bit more rewarding, especially in the later stages, where you'll find yourself frantically swishing your fingers across the iPad screen, trying to figure out what goes where.

Score: 8.5 -- (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

Persona 3 Portable (PSP)

We loved it before and we still love it. This title would have sit very high on our recommendation list just as a straight PS2-to-PSP port, but the new additions make it appealing to both the new gamer and the seasoned Persona fan. 

Score: 10 -- Flawless Victory (10s are as close to perfect as you will get in a genre or on a platform. Pure, untarnished videogame ecstasy.)

Predators (iPhone)

If you like the Predator franchise, then this is recommended. If you've never been a fan, this certainly won't change your mind.

Score: 7.0 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)

Puzzle Quest 2 (Nintendo DS, Xbox LIVE Arcade)

Never underestimate the compulsion to find and match gems ... Puzzle Quest 2 is as fun as the original, and offers enough new content for old hands that they should want to revisit the series. Fair warning, though -- while killing that rat swarm is of the utmost importance, remember: you have people who love you and don’t forget to bathe.

Score: 8 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

The Red Star (iPhone)


With no story to speak of, a shoehorned console experience, and a sizable price tag for the App Store, I am forced to assume that the end-goal of this communist propaganda is simply redistribution of wealth. As much as I wanted to rave about this one, I must begrudgingly admit that those who love freedom would probably be better served hunting down a copy of the PS2 version or downloading it for PSP.

Score: 4 -- Below Average (4s have some high points, but they soon give way to glaring faults. Not the worst games, but are difficult to recommend.)

Soul of Darkness (DSiWare)

In all honesty, Soul of Darkness is a decent game that adequately captures the gothic spirit of the Castlevania  franchise. Unfortunately, its failure to expand upon promising game mechanics, its criminally short playtime, the absence of any real challenge, and the lack of compelling replay value make it hard to recommend.

Score: 6.5 -- Alright (6s may be slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.)

 

ACCESORIES

Sumo Gigantor Giant Bean Bag

It's really a question of whether or not you want to add some flavor to your quarters. Just like an entertainment object in The Sims, adding a Gigantor adds +9 fun to any room its in. Your guests will immediately want to check it out, as you simply cannot beat how inviting this to a curious posterior.

THINGS I'M HAVING TROUBLE CATERGORIZING

PlayOn

PlayOn is quite impressive. I really like the no-hassle installation and background running features. Once your computer is on, all you really need to do is turn on your game system to get video going. Yes, some of the systems have dedicated services for specific streaming outlets, but this is everything, all in one place.

THE ONLY REVIEW TRULY UNBIASED ENOUGH TO BE AN ACTUAL REVIEW. ALL THE STUFF ABOVE IS JUST CRAP WITH PEOPLE'S OPINION IN IT. FUCK THAT.

Final Fantasy XIII (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 [reviewed])

In conclusion, Final Fantasy XIII is a videogame.

 

Score: N/A (Since a reviewer would use his judgment to give a game a score, a score cannot be given at this time.)

Review Round-Up: The games of July photo





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