By: Jeb Haught
DEVELOPER: 343 Industries
SYSTEM: Microsoft Xbox 360
ESRB RATING: Mature
REVIEW RATING: 4.0 stars (out of 5)
When the Master Chief was presumed dead by all of humanity at the end of “Halo 3,” only his cyber-companion, Cortana, knew that he was really in stasis. Those who played the game on normal difficulty were left to wonder if he would ever be rescued, but those who played on Legendary knew otherwise. Needless to say, the infamous armored warrior returns to slay aliens and save the galaxy once again in “Halo 4,”
After the Master Chief awakens from years in stasis, he and Cortana discover a new alien threat on a remote planet. Thankfully, the Prometheans aren’t nearly as annoying as The Flood, and they’re much more enjoyable to eradicate. I also appreciate how players get to learn much more about what it takes to create the hardened uber-soldiers known as Spartans.
Anyone who expects a revolutionary game will be disappointed, but honestly, most fans of the series want familiar game play. Despite having a completely new developer, “Halo 4” delivers exciting game play complete with devastating weapons, awesome vehicles (like the new Mantis mech) and an interesting story!
Gamers flock to the Halo series for the single player adventure, but they definitely stay for the addictive online multiplayer experience. “Halo 4” offers a whopping nine different adversarial multiplayer modes as well as a separate Spartan Ops cooperative campaign and the ability to play the single-player mode in online coop.
After witnessing the lackluster visuals in “Halo 3,” fans will be thrilled to see the gorgeous vistas and complex structures this sequel has to offer. Everything seems to be rendered in higher detail, a new lighting system accents these details, and the Master Chief looks better than ever!
“Halo 4” may offer little more than what gamers expect, but the refined game play and abundance of gaming modes is sure to satisfy any cyber-warrior.
‘Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’
DEVELOPER: Blitz Games Studios
PUBLISHER: Disney Interactive
SYSTEM: Sony PlayStation 3 (Xbox 360, PC)
ESRB RATING: Everyone
REVIEW RATING: 3.0 stars (out of 5)
After enduring hundreds disappointing games on the Nintendo Wii, gamers were thrilled to dust their console off and play the wondrous title called “Epic Mickey.” It offered fun game play that consisted of much more than simplistic mini-games and ‘waggling’ their controller. Sadly, the frustrations found in “Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” outweigh the joy of a new playable character, unless the game is played cooperatively.
When a series of earthquakes threaten to destroy the dark and twisted cartoon Wasteland, it’s up to Mickey and his new companion, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, to uncover the mystery of their origin. The unlikely duo settled their differences and, ironically, they are assisted by the Mad Doctor antagonist from the original game.
Players assume the role of Mickey Mouse and once again use his magic brush to paint objects into existence as well as paint thinner to remove them. Some combat is involved, but the majority of game play consists of solving puzzles, completing quests and traversing the unusual environments. It’s too bad that a map system wasn’t implemented because it’s very easy to get lost.
Instead of going through the game alone, players are assisted by Oswald and his handy remote control. With this useful device, Oswald can take control of machines and use electricity to his advantage. Perhaps the biggest new feature is the ability for a second player to take control of Oswald so the two critters can work together in split-screen coop mode.
Teaming up for coop is the ideal way to play this game because the A.I. that controls Oswald in single player mode is so irritating that even youngsters may swear at the screen. An awkward camera system that requires constant adjustment and unusually slippery surfaces only add to the frustration.
“Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” will certainly … err … draw youngsters, but most older gamers will only tolerate playing it in coop mode.
REVIEW SCORING SYSTEM
5 stars = Must Have
4 stars = Very Good
3 stars = Above Average
2 stars = Bargain Bin
1 star = Don’t Bother
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
E10-plus: (Everyone 10 and older)
T: Teen (13 and older)
M: Mature (17 and older)
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To find out more about Jeb Haught and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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