Author Archives: Ernest Cook

8.3

gameplay
8
graphics
9
audio
9
value
7
"Rage marries long standing FPS controls with a imperceptible amount of RPG elements, that tangentially rides the line between fun and tedious."
- Ernest Cook

Rage Review

Nothing gets by this guy...

A great deal of time has passed since we witnessed the intellect of John Carmack gracing our computer screens. The innovators behind such classics as Quake and Doom, id Software rise again to bring forth their latest creation since Doom 3. Rage is an apocalyptic tale of humanities struggle to survive an insurmountable force hellbent on reshaping the earth into a “Wasteland” of human refuge. As a planned survivor of the asteroid that wipes out most life on the planet, you begin your journey as the sole progenitor of your Ark, and proceed to free various towns from the reigns of the “Authority.” Throughout this adventure you will take on various tasks that require a point-to-point adventure in your vehicle of choice in order to arrive at and complete your objectives. Sporting brand new technology held inside id Tech 5, we are treated to a pleasant canvas of environments, stock full of items, sounds and people that give the game a unique spin from past id projects.

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9.3

gameplay
10
graphics
9
audio
8
value
9
"Hot Pursuit pushes Need For Speed to new heights, and boasts a fun, exciting Multiplayer"
- Ernest Cook

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Review

NFSHP - Your Turn To Roll

To get this out of the way quickly; yes the game has an ad in the beginning that you can not skip, but it only plays once. The game also uses EAs Online Pass system which requires you to enter a code, or buy a new code online if you purchased the game used. Don’t let this take away from the great game that is beyond the walls of these inane concepts.

After so many years of lackluster iterations in the Need For Speed franchise, it’s about damn time we get something that holds up to the old school roots it takes its name from. Still it might be difficult to aggregate any interest in anything related to Need For Speed after many years of obscure attempts to revitalize the series. The guys over at Criterion — makers of the popular Burnout franchise — bring us Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, which does an astounding job of reinvigorating the series, and actually making it fun in the process. The game finally hits a long awaited necessity, going back to high octane exotic racing and cop chases. Gone are the days of tuning your ride with parts and decals. Hot Pursuit brings in some of the mechanics that appeared in more recent Need For Speed titles that were pioneered by Burnout, and combines them with insane action, high speed racing, and a solid online multiplayer experience to create a worthy return to the series.

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8.8

gameplay
9
graphics
9
audio
8
value
9
"Sporting plenty of new modes, improvements, and crazy over-the-top action, Black Ops is Treyarch's best work to date."
- Ernest Cook

Call of Duty: Black Ops Review

Call of Duty: Black Ops - Fire

It’s that time of the year again where we get another infectious wave from Call of Duty. Bleeding countless hours from our fingertips as we grip the sticks to destroy mass amounts of dudes. With the Infinity Ward Activision breakdown, Treyarch has to step up and bring everything they have to make the title stick. Treyarch has had some past troubles with the COD series, following Infinity Wards smash hits. It wasn’t until World at War that they managed to produce a respectable foray into the series with the unexpected fluke in Nazi Zombies. Back in the saddle, they bring us Black Ops, which throws a little bit of everything in the pot. This title embodies the spirit of the Modern Warfare games, and Treyarch’s knack for unique modes. However this title mostly just seems to polish off the rough spots of previous iterations that make an remarkably solid shooter.

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7.1

gameplay
6
graphics
8
audio
9
value
7
"Medal of Honor brings a lot of great things to the table, however they have been done before, and aren't executed as well as the competition."
- Ernest Cook

Medal of Honor Review

Medal of Honor - Gunships

Seeing the titular amount of modern military based shooters rising to huge success in the last few years, it’s no surprise to see EA bringing the once popular and highly influential Medal of Honor series back to the mix. Being that EA has already posted a successful shooter in to the field with Battlefield, it’s clear the intended target of this game is to debunk the ever growing popularity of the Call of Duty franchise. With Activision dominating the scene with recent behemoths of the Modern Warfare series, and soon to be released Black Ops, can Medal of Honor bring enough to the table to compete? Medal of Honor will also have to contend the sticks against the upcoming Battlefield 3 game as well. The game brings all the right pieces to make a successful game, but poor execution plagues this title and diminishes the potential staying power once known to the series.

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7.4

gameplay
7
graphics
8
audio
8
value
7
"A definite improvement over the original H.A.W.X. but shoddy controls, and inane difficulty still run rampant."
- Ernest Cook

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 Review

Tom Clancy's Hawx 2 - Oil Rigs

In the land of aerial combat simulators there lies few specimens to gaze at. Ubisoft brings us such illustration with another high flying action packed dose of Tom Clancy branded video games. H.A.W.X. 2 comes into the picture sporting a new story mode, multiplayer unlocks, gameplay tweaks and a plethora of graphical enhancements. The developers put an serendipitous amount of effort and time into improving the foundation of H.A.W.X. for any plane loving aficionados. Unfortunately, clunky flying mechanics, poor objective instruction and lackluster story deter this sequel from the aerial prowess it needs in such a niche market.

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7.8

gameplay
8
graphics
7
audio
8
value
8
"Not everything is subject to being boosted, but when it comes to boats, Hydro Thunder delivers."
- Ernest Cook

Hydro Thunder Hurricane Review

Cutthroat Lake Powell End

Not everything in the arcade world gets a chance to come back to the limelight in the increasingly fast paced world of modern day games. Fortunately for the Hydro Thunder franchise, we get to see a new iteration to this arcade hit. Hydro Thunder Hurricane is an completely new game in the long running franchise that has seen releases on the Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, Playstation, and even making an appearance on the PC in European regions. Memorable powerboat fun is brought back to us by developer Vector Unit published during the Summer of Arcade as an XBLA exclusive. The developers have given us a faithful adaptation to the series; bringing back the classic nitro fueled boats, all new tracks, game modes, and multiplayer in this fully reworked successor. For 1200 MS points (Or $15 USD), they have reproduced the original Hydro Thunder and introduced more modern conventions you come to expect with a console based game.

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8.9

gameplay
9
graphics
10
audio
9
value
6
"This title lives up to its name as you walk, jump, and feel a general discomfort for all things that bump in the "dark"."
- Ernest Cook

Limbo Review

Limbo: Hang Loose

Limbo throws you into a transcendental world of shades and tints of black and white, to provide an incredible virtuosity of eeriness. The ambiance of the whole performance instills an overwhelming need to escape the hellish ploys of a universe unknown. With little sound play it really leaves you in a state of “limbo”.

You start out as a young boy in a quaint forest with very little information as to why you are wandering through the environment. It was designed with simplistic controls, that can allow any hardcore gamer, and or casual counterpart to easily pick the title up and begin playing with very little thought. As you progress, you come across various puzzles that often lead to your untimely demise; oft leading to moments of amusement as the poor boy is dismembered by various instruments of death. The game contains scrupulous amounts of scripted events; which is acceptable for a puzzle game of this grandeur. Depth of these puzzles is sometimes frustratingly entertaining. There were times where you just slapped your head in a Homer Simpson-esque “doh” moment, and other times where you were beyond confused as to the purpose of the next puzzle. This vagueness contained in some of the puzzles lends to the few short-comings of the experience. Not being able to progress through some parts of the game more readily pulls you back from the feel, and generally disrupts the immersing aspects it has to offer.

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