In December certain things are inevitable; inflated credit card debt, Bill O'Reilly's 'War on Christmas' and year-end retrospectives reminding us how ridiculous the events of the past year sound when stacked up next to each other. I abhor the "buy now pay later with nauseatingly increasing interest rates" culture that is bestowed upon my generation. The last time I checked I wasn't a crotchety bloviater that panders to the ideals of 70 year-olds. All that's left for me in December is a good old fashion Review Round-Up of all the reviews that I have unleashed onto the Newsvinian masses.
This is now becoming an annual article for me as this is the second Yearly Review Round-Up that I have written for the Gamevine readers. I liked to think that if the Gamevine group had existed longer that this would be my third annual, but that is neither here nor there!
For the handful of people who may have read my first Yearly Review Round-Up, and for the fewer people who may even remember it, I will be retaining the same format of only commenting on the games that I have reviewed and played in 2007. This being such a saturated Christmas season I can also say assuredly that I will not be playing anymore new games until the new year.
With the overwhelming expansion of our humble gaming group over the past year I would also like to link to those other reviews posted by other authors. If you would like the link to your review removed from the Yearly Review Round-Up please do drop a line in the private Gamevine comment section below and of course I will respect your wishes.
In no particular order (except alphabetic) here is quick round-up of my reviews for games that were released in 2007. The 2-3 sentence synopsis may not necessarily be from my original review, but is how I feel after playing the game for the past year, 6 months or 3 weeks.
And without further adieu:
Assassin's Creed (X360)
Sometimes the hype leading up to a new game can do more damage than good. With AC a great story and an immersing experience, it is lost in the minor technical hiccups and some of the repetitive gameplay. It may not be a game for everyone, but the hardest of the hardcore will be lost in ancient Jerusalem well into 2008.
I must be susceptible to hype, because BioShock was another overly promoted game this season. Unlike Assassin's Creed, some of the aspects promised to amaze in BioShock fell short, mainly the moral choices needed to progress in the game seemed to have fallen flat. The action, the story, the controls and the visuals were stunning and still makes this a must have game for all Xbox 360 owners.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (X360)
After the critical and commercial flop of ho-hum, same-as-usual-World-War-2 Call of Duty3, CoD4's modern take on the franchise has been received as a breath of fresh air. Once the brief single player campaign is completed the online action offers just enough of a role playing element to keep even the most multiplayer-skiddish gamers coming back. Modern Warfare has perfected the first person shooter genre on a console and is a major contender for Game of the Year in a year when a gluttony of great games are hitting shelves.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (XBLA)
Having only played the original Castlevania on the NES I felt a need to pick up this PlayStation remake (with achievements!) to try and get back into my old vampire bashing ways. The side-scrolling genre doesn't get much love nowadays and I challenge any naysayers to play SOTN and experience what a great game in the genre can offer.
Originally billed as that game that came packed with the Halo 3 Beta, those that bought it found a fun and action-packed free-roaming shooter. Run-and-gun action, orb collecting and ridiculous weapons make Crackdown and ever addicting game to begin with, but then add in a drop-and-go co-op feature and incredible downloadable content and you've got must own game for any type of player.
Dance Dance Revolution: Universe (X360)
Unless you're a pre-teen who can't your hands on a copy of Guitar Hero and you need a rhythm game quick for your 13th birthday tomorrow then there is not other reason to pick this up for your Xbox 360. The score is slightly boosted by the sheer fact that this game may combat childhood obesity.
Heavy Weapon (XBLA)
Many may have overlooked this Live Arcade title and I insist that you go and check it out. A frantic tank-battle shoot 'em up game with an excellent multiplayer component. If it wasn't so short it would be the perfect Arcade title with it's pick up and go action.
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS)
Link has finally come to the Nintendo DS and his cell-shaded boat splashed down in a big way. The Legend of Zelda faithful will find perfection in this fun and engrossing game with beautiful art direction and the most innovative control scheme on a hand held console. Those used to the pick-up and put-down gameplay that is the hallmark of the Nintendo DS may find some of the quests stretched-out repetitive.
The Lord of the Rings Online (PC)
LoTRO may have come the closest of any other MMORPG, to not overtake, but at least compete with the juggernaut that is World of Warcraft. With a widely known and comforting back story plus constant and fun updates (or chapters), the game is ever growing and improving. Where it falls flat for me is the repetitive nature of the quests and the amount of time needed to invest in this, or even any MMORPG.
Pretty visuals will only get you so far with a game that has clunky play mechanics, a mediocre storyline and lazily laid out missions and levels. A less than middle of the road title that may get extra points for its blatant display of cleavage in a frozen wasteland.
The Orange Box (X360)
I guarantee that you would pay $60 for Portal and Team Fortress 2 alone, but the sheer quantity of quality - no, stellar - games makes this a must own for anyone reading this sentence. Fantastic visuals, challenging puzzles, an engrossing story line you will have no complaints and nothing but praise for any of the five titles included in this package.
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (DS)
Addictive puzzle playing gameplay, RPG elements and story line, mutiplayer functionality and a pick-up and put-down pacing makes PQ:CotW the perfect game for the Nintendo DS or any hand held console. Another stand-out must-have title from a year that brought us many great games.
SimCity DS (DS)
You've seen it on store shelves and thought to yourself, "I love SimCity and the stylus controls of the DS will make a perfect companion to the game." I hope after thinking that you left SimCity DS just sitting on the shelves, because horrible controls, eye-straining visuals, and gameplayed stripped of all the originals fun has left this game unplayable. Oh yeah, and extended load times on a DS? Why?!
Super Paper Mario (Wii)
Nintendo is great at answering question that you've probably never asked like what the World One of the original Super Mario Bros. look like in the eyes of Mario? SPM answers that question along with the question of how fun can a unique 2D to 3D perspective play in a funny and addictive Mario action RPG? The answer is a lot.
Tetris Evolution (X360)
It's Tetris. It's Tetris on the Xbox 360 so it has Achievement Points. There's really nothing else to say about it.
Packaged with a Wii-mote in an time when Wii-motes were/are scarce my explain the sales of this disc packaged with nine Wii tech demos. What they forgot to package with it was fun, as even grandma may not play these simplistic and boring games. Stick with Wii Sports.
Another remake of a game that I rarely played in my youth I felt a need to purchase this to see what all the clamor was about. Now I know it was about addictive and challenging gameplay along with an adorable homicidal art direction. I would say Worms is a must own, especially for any husband and wife gaming team.
Now I encourage all members and visitors of Newsvine and Gamevine, new and old, to explore all the reviews written by other Gamevine authors over the past year. You'll notice some overlapping with games, but I assure you that you will find the difference in opinions in these reviews refreshing, helpful and interesting.
- BioShock (Xbox 360) -
- Clubhouse Games (DS) -
- Elite Beat Agents (DS) -
- Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS) -
- Kirby's Squeak Squad (DS) -
- Phoenix Wright: Justice For All (DS) -
- Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (DS) -
- Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii) -
- Super Paper Mario (Wii) -
- Wario Ware: Smooth Moves (Wii) -