Hey guys, I've now finally had a chance to come back on this site and possibly do more reviews. My problem is that it takes a long time to properly construct a good five or six paragraph review. Now, I'll talk about a few games I've played over the past several months.
First off is Halo:Reach. I never felt this game was really necessary to make because it's a prequel, so I automatically assumed the plot would be predictable and uninteresting. My predictions were pretty much spot on. You're introduced to Noble Team, which consists of several other spartans who ultimately end up dying. You play as Noble Six the newest member to Noble Team and you try to fight off the Covenant on Reach before they destroy the planet. None of the characters' deaths were all that sad or well-thought out. Also, I felt the art design was lacking, as the locales you visit throughout the game just weren't as interesting as Halo 3's. The campaign itself isn't all that fun to play unless you play in four player co-op. The multiplayer is ruined by unbalanced armor abilities such as armor lock and jetpack, and most of the maps are either too large or consist of too many camping spots. Also, was it really necessary to add bloom to your rifle? Custom games are pretty fun to play, but there is no public searching option for this mode so if none of your friends are playing then you won't be able to do them. Theater mode is mildly amusing for replaying awesome moments from any mode in the game and also for improving your strategies for the next match. Finally forge mode is definitely a cool feature, but unless you have a lot of time on your hands and have a great imagination for building things, then I think most players won't get as much out of this feature as they should.
Overall, I'd give Reach an 8.3/10. It was a pretty solid game but the campaign and mulitplayer felt a bit lacking.
Second is Black Ops. The campaign in the game is probably the best aspect of the entire game. You start off in an interrogation room and have to play all the missions through memory in order to answer what the interrogator wants. The only problem I have with have nearly all the missions in the past is it creates a minimal amount of danger for your character because you know he ends up surviving through it, unlike the Modern Warfare series. The campaign will last around five or six hours and overall there are a lot more levels that you'll want to replay again. The multiplayer has already been done before, but this time they added money into it to buy your guns and attachments. I like this idea for the attachments because I don't have to do those stupid challenges, but I don't think they should've used it for primary guns. There's a theatre mode but I don't think it's nearly as good or useful in this game than in Halo. Finally, the zombies mode is back and featured two default maps and more add-on maps. I personally was never a fan of this mode because I never felt like I achieved anything from surviving a long time. But if you liked it in World at War, you'll like it here.
Overall, I'd give it about an 8.5/10 The campaign was awesome, didn't like the zombies mode, and multiplayer is as solid as ever.
Now on to Fallout New Vegas. After how much I enjoyed Fallout 3, I really had high hopes for New Vegas. In the game you play as a courier who gets shot and left four dead before ending up healed by a doctor in a small town. This is an interesting way to start the game off, but the story never really picks up from that point and turns into a simple power struggle between four different factions. It just felt shallow and uninspired to me, and was probably the most disappointing part of the game. There are lots of interesting characters to interact with and complete side missions for as well. The gameplay is pretty solid at this point in the series, with a wide variety of weapons to use against your enemies. The atmosphere is also a very strong aspect in this game, ranging from the bright lights of the strip all the way to the darkest caves where giant insects such as the ant queen reside. Surprisingly, the strip is pretty small and barren, with hardly anyone on it but I suppose this is due to the hefty amount of money you need to pay in order to enter it. Jumping is still a problem in this game, especially when you're trying to climb on or around mountains or rocky areas, where it looks like you should be able to climb but the game doesn't let you.
Overall, I you liked Fallout 3, you'll like this, most of this game is great but the story is shallow and the gameplay has some problems. 8.5/10
Finally, L.A. Noire. When I first heard about this game I thought it was going to be another Mafia shoot-em up type game. However, the game puts you in the opposite point of view. You play for nearly the whole game Cole Phelps, an LAPD officer who tries to uphold the law as best as he can. Throughout the game you tackle different types of crimes such as arson and homicide. The problem I have with this game is that it takes the nonlinear form of real-life detective work into a linear format in this game. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of linear games, but here it simply makes the content extremely repetitive. Almost every crime follows the exact same pattern. The head of your police department tells you about a crime and you're tasked with visiting the crime scene. A good thing is that you can have your partner drive you around, as the cars don't handle very well in the game. Upon arriving, you inspect the dead body and look around to gather evidence before leaving. Some of these can be easy to find, while others are simply annoying. This all relies on luck and guesswork rather than actual skill, as the game allows you to pick up the stupidest objects such as a carrot or another piece of food. If it doesn't help your case, then why even give us the option to pick the object up in the first place? For me, this was probably the most frustrating aspect of the game. It's already hard enough to find the evidence you need in the first place, so why give us other objects to pick up that are entirely useless? It basically boils down to just pressing the A button around every square inch of the place and hope you pick up the right thing. One of the pieces of evidence usually has an address on it, so you go there (usually it's a bar) and talk to the bartender or other person there about the victim. They tell you where the person lives, you go to their house, gather up more evidence, find the husband at his house, and ultimately convict him. Repeat this for about 15 hours or so with some gunplay mixed in sporadically and you've got LA. Noire. The facial expressions are superb, and the game tries to be RPG-like by giving you the option to either trust the person, doubt them, or accuse them of lying. The problem is that the case can only really be solved one way, and there's only one right answer during the dialogue options instead of having different endings for each case. So sometimes when you generally use the wrong options in a case, the case will still end but you'll have no idea how. Finally, the accusation of lying option isn't well-executed. Despite having multiple pieces of evidence to accuse the person of, there's only one right piece even though more than two might essentially mean the same thing. Finally, there's a plot twist between the vice and arson desk that feels unnecessary and out of place with the rest of the story.
I'd give this game a 7.5/10. It has a lot of cool ideas, but a lot of them weren't executed as well as they could've.