Holiday Gaming Most Wanted 2010
Find out which games make the naughty/nice list when our in-house gaming reviewer rates: "Rock Band 3," "Medal of Honor," "Need For Speed," and "Call of Duty."
As the holiday season approaches, you may find yourself wondering what games to buy on a loved one's wish list. Well never fear, Super Gamer is here! I have a few quick gaming reviews in this week's episode to help battle your shopping villains.
ROCK BAND 3
The first game to tackle is "Rock Band 3" by MTV games. Released on Oct. 26, this game features the same great style of rocking as its predecessors with a few new twists.
The piano is a new component to the game, which allows the band to add another musician. I found this addition to be very fun and a clever way to spice up the rocking series.
The song list for "Rock Band 3" is incredibly large and ranges in difficulties. There are around 80 different songs to choose from and the ability to download more online so the gaming can continue until the band breaks up and your friends decide to go home.
Overall, "Rock Band 3" is a great game for rockers of all ages (that fall into the "Teen" rating category). If you or a loved one has been rockin' since the original "Rock Band," I would highly suggest that you buy it and play it for the holidays. However, if you're unsure weather rocking is in your blood, or if your hand-eye-foot-brain coordination is lacking (such as mine), I would suggest you leave it due to it's hefty price tag (if you don't already have the equipment) until you test it out first hand. I give it 4 solos out of 5!
MEDAL OF HONOR
The next gaming villain I will attack this holiday season is "Medal of Honor." This game came out on Oct. 12 and has been in my heart ever since. Released by Electronic Arts, this mature rated game has an action packed story combined with breath-taking graphics that make you feel as if you're in an actual combat.
The "Medal of Honor" series has always been excellent with accuracy and attention to detail, but this game took it to another playing field. The story is so realistic and intensely emotional, that it pulls the gamer in creating an illusion of actually experiencing these events. The game developers did their homework when it came to realism and detail.
My younger brother (and co-game tester) is a Marine with a good eye for spotting inaccuracies in military type games. With "Medal of Honor" he could not find any major errors.
A huge plus in my book was that during story mode your friendly computer players actually work for you. When your computer allies fire their weapons, they not only aim in the right place, but also hit their targets! This feature, that I rarely see in games, helps out immensely and really draws you in deeper to the story by giving you a sense of commitment to the team.
I rate "Medal of Honor" 4.5 salutes out of 5 and recommend you play it!
NEED FOR SPEED: HOT PURSUIT
"Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit" made its way onto my most wanted list on Nov. 16. This "E-rated" game brought the "Need For Speed" title back to its grass roots of driving fast cars.
This game focuses on driving fast exotic cars, not super tuning your Civic into a racing gold mine. You don't upgrade car parts or customize the appearance by way of decals and fancy paint jobs. What this game focuses on is an arcade-like driving game.
As you progress through the levels you unlock more vehicles. With the faster cars and higher levels, I noticed an increasing trend in the difficulty of the game. This game was no drive in the park, and at times I found it frustrating when I just could not pass a car ranked slower than mine.
One neat feature is the ability to play as either a cop or a racer. As the cop you must stop those engaging in an exhibition of speed (speeding). An arsenal is provided to you as you progress, so you will be able to call out a spike strip or roadblock to catch your perpetrator.
"Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit" is getting my rating of 3.5 burnouts out of 5 and a recommendation of play it!
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS
Now it is with a sad heart that I must read the Miranda rights to this next game. Unfortunately, this next game will probably get sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
"Call of Duty: Black Ops" is a first person shooter released on Nov. 9 with high expectations from the gaming community. The "Call of Duty" series has been a very profitable franchise for gaming publisher Activision. Most of that fame can largely be attributed to the Modern Warfare games, created by Infinity Ward, which bring new technology and wars to the forefront of battle games.
"Black Ops" takes a step back from modern conflicts and enters the Cold War era. You play as a character named Alex Mason who is being interrogated by the CIA. Through the interrogation you have flashbacks to game play during the 1960's era. The first memory and mission takes place in Cuba during the Bay of Pigs Invasion. From there you travel to Russia, Laos, and Vietnam playing missions all while trying to understand the deeper, complex story as to why you are being interrogated.
The story itself is interesting, original and challenging enough to keep the player going until the end.
My biggest problem with the story, however, was its historical inaccuracies. I realize that they are telling a fictional story that took place during real events, but their attention to detail was flawed.
During the Cold War era, most of the weapons used in this game were not in action until a later date. In the Bay of Pigs Invasion, April 17, 1961, the M16 was not a rifle that would be used since it was issued into service in 1963. And further, it would not have rails for optic sights. These were not invented until the present century.
In Vietnam, there is a mission where you can locate an AK-47 with a flamethrower attachment. There is no such thing as an attachment for your rifle that can shoot flames. A level that took place in 1968 allows the player to use an AK-74, a gun that gets its name from the year it was made, 1974.
I found this lack of attention to detail disturbing coming from a series that usually does their research. Yes, this is a fictional story set to past events, but when you expect something from a brand and get something else there will always be disappointment.
The problem lies in the fact that they wanted customizable weapons available for upgrades, which did not exist in the time frame they chose. I would have been much happier if they made up a completely fictional plot twist where they explained how current weapons were appearing in this time period (Fidel Castro built a time machine and brought them back, maybe?).
Other than the inaccuracies, you will find that your computer allies are of no help in the story. They will stand in the open and fire aimlessly, not taking any fire nor hurting any enemies. This leaves you to do all the work and take all the fire while never ending enemies swarm you. Some missions will have no limit to the enemies coming out, so despite how many you kill you must move on to the next checkpoint in order for scenery to change.
Thankfully, there is more to this game than its story mode. "Call of Duty: Black Ops" has an online multiplayer mode and a zombie mode.
The online multiplayer mode is what you expect from "Call of Duty" with a few slight adjustments. In addition, there is a combat training mode, which allows the gamer to go against computer enemies in order to get a feel of the maps and the game. This is helpful to build up skill and to become comfortable with the game.
Another new online feature is the upgrading system. You still need to unlock certain things at different levels, but everything you unlock needs to be bought. This allows the user to pick and choose which upgrades are important to them.
Different styles of sight reticles are available for purchase as well. Instead of a traditional red dot holographic sight, you can have three dots or even a holographic skull. This feature is a fun little graphic tweak.
Other than a few slight adjustments, online multiplayer mode is the same as the past "Call of Duty" games. It still has different game modes to play among friends or strangers. There are new weapons, upgrades, and kill-streak perks but overall it is typical of a "Call of Duty" online gaming experience.
Following the same concept as "Call of Duty: World at War" there is a zombie mode. In this mode you battle waves of zombies coming at you getting points for each kill. The points allow you to purchase guns, ammo and/or unlock different rooms to survive in. This mode can be played solo or with friends online. Zombie mode is pretty fun and can be a nice break from the fast paced online multiplayer or the disappointing story.
I highly and strongly recommend you leave it for this game. The hype of this game far exceeded its actual quality. Graphics were on par with other games, the story wasn't worth it, computer characters are not graphically representative of previous games in the series, and the online and zombie mode is the same as the other "Call of Duty" games. Overall, this game doesn't live up to its predecessors of this series and I must rate this game, 2 flamethrower attachments out of 5.
Let us know in the comments what you like to play and what you would like to see reviewed next.