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Game Reviews: Borderlands, Guitar Hero 5, Modern Warfare 2, etc.
black_mammoth
Well, I've been doing a lot of gaming lately, on a lot of the current popular games, and I must say, lots of awesomeness on the shelves right now. I decided that since I haven't posted anything for a while, it was time for me to go give my thoughts and reviews on some of the current games I've bought recently. Please note that all titles in this review are for Xbox 360.

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First up, Guitar Hero 5: From what I've seen, Rock Band 2 definitely has more songs, with those certainly more good/well known on top of it, but I enjoy Guitar Hero 5 for it's better graphics, character facial customization, and it's new system for group play. While I wish Guitar Hero had more good songs to download like Rock Band 2 does (which I also purchased recently, as it was on sale for $20), it does what Rock Band doesn't; allow four people to play ANY combination of instruments, from a normal band, to two guitars and two drums, to four vocalists, etc. This is great for people who want to play but don't have the skills for singing, or drumming, or if they simply don't have the gear.

Another mode it has in it, PERFECT for any kind of get-together is "Party Play" mode, where people can jump in and out of randomly-selected songs, with any instrument, at any difficulty, and just go on without worrying about failing or stopping someone's groove. I can't wait to get another party going, and just have guys grabbing instruments and doing their thing while other people keep doing their stuff.

Yet another mode it has, that I haven't tried yet, is the song maker studio... Admittedly, a rather complex program to creating your own songs, and it doesn't allow for vocals, BUT you can basically make any kind of song you want with the know-how to work the system. I've heard some AWESOME songs on there from the previous game, and the ability to download other people's created songs gives the game some serious replay value, and somewhat makes up for the lack of downloadable songs...

I give this game an 8 out of 10.

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Next up, Borderlands: Borderlands has four different character classes, each with their own unique abilities, the ability to customize clothing colors, and a level cap of 50. The game features an unprecedented 17.7 MILLION possible guns, generated randomly by some program within the game, for several different weapon classes.

The game has quite a few varied side-missions you can do besides the main story missions, and it's recommended to do them or you'll quickly find that anything more than two levels higher than you will slaughter you. Because of it being an RPS (role-playing shooter), it is action-based, and it never gets boring as you gun down all manner of bandits and creatures.

One of the main draws of the game is going around and finding the next powerful weapon to replace your current powerful weapon. With the weapons having a few different base stats, as well as being capable of having elemental abilities AND special abilities built in, there's almost no way that you'll ever find a gun that's the same as your friend's... Another thing about the guns is that the game has several companies, and each company has their own individual specialties, letting you know immediately before looking at the stats, of what a gun is capable of doing.

I can tell this game is easily capable of becoming a clan game, like Monster Hunter, and I'll have to help a lot of the guys level up their characters with my Soldier. I would definitely recommend picking this up, at least for the cooperative play and insane amount of guns.

I give this game a 9 out of 10.

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Next title, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: Well, for one thing, unlike the Halo series, this game is almost worth the hype. The game is designed well, the graphics are PHENOMENAL, and the gameplay is quite balanced. Players are able to move about a level quickly, if they jump off a small cliff they WILL get hurt, and they all go down within a few hits depending on gun and distance. Some people might think that there should be more hits to get killed, but as quickly as the game moves I think it works.

The story mode is good, action packed with some major action scenes akin to multi-million dollar movies. Admittedly, the plot is a bit confusing at times, and there's one plot point near the end that isn't really explained; the game gives you an assumption for the reason of the action, but it never actually EXPLAINS why that happened. I'm sure that the next modern warfare game will answer any lingering questions. Regarding that "No Russian" level, there's really no reason for it to be in the game, because the whole "moral" of the mission, being "Some people must be sacrificed for the greater good" bullshit, is thrown RIGHT out the fucking window when your CORPSE is used to start WW3.

The co-op challenge mode is called Spec-Ops, and I must say the fact that such a mode is in the game is a wonder by itself. The challenges provide a good challenge while still being possible for average gamers to beat. I'd definitely recommend having a friend or someone online help you, because not only do several of these challenges REQUIRE someone be there with you, they get VERY challenging at Veteran level, and doing Veteran is the only way to get to the more difficult challenge groups.

The online mode is quite balanced, as I spoke of the gameplay before. It's actually good enough that I enjoy playing online for the most part. The graphics are just as good as their offline modes. Players can make 5 different character classes, each with a combination of customized weapons and gear depending on what situation that class is supposed to cover. There's a wide variety of weapon types, and weapons can have one camo selected and one add-on equipped (or two if you have the Bling skill). You have different skills to select, three at a time for each class, and those skills can be improved with use. Along with those skills, you also have three different "Killstreak Rewards" to select, special attacks that you gain by killing more and more people. When you die often, you also can select one death-streak reward per class.

My only problem with the online portion is that people happen to do a lot of camping on game types like Team Deathmatch. You can see how you were killed, thus seeing the position of the enemy from his own view as he kills you, so you've got a way to counter a camper... but unfortunately people tend to group together when camping, meaning that they've got each-other covered, and you've no way to do anything except get destroyed as you try and work your way through the group of douche-fucks. The killstreak rewards make it even worse as the game REWARDS these people for being douche-fucks. Hopefully someday they'll make a patch that fixes this issue and stops people from doing so much camping, because at it's core, the game design is that of a run-and-gun, and if it was MEANT for camping it would have had a cover-brace system for firing over/around cover.

Besides that issue, it's a very fun game, and I'm only waiting to play through it again because my prestige edition guide hasn't been delivered yet. I give the game a 9.5 out of 10.

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Next up, Stoked: Big Air Edition: The graphics and gameplay are quite good in this game, and it has a wide variety of different activities to do to get sponsors to hire you. The game features some snowboarder customization that grows with the sponsors you get, several different mountains, and weather that actually changes the terrain between rides. Admittedly, I am not too far into the game, but I can tell you that the customization at the early point I'm at seems to be decent, though not quite as good as Shaun White Snowboarding.

The game is supposed to have a far smaller learning curve than the original, and I gotta say it wasn't too difficult to get into the game. The controls work well enough, but unlike in the Shaun White game, you can't actually buy snowboards to improve your character's stats. It has quite a few different grabs, and the ability to pre-wind for spins and such.

Being an action-sport game, it has no real story besides "Get a sponsor and do this for a living!" so the main focus is doing different challenges to impress the sponsors. Any real story comes from going to a new mountain, the chopper pilot actually tells you facts about the mountain and the surrounding areas, and I thought that was a very interesting and unique thing to add to the game. The sponsor challenges can be quite difficult, but not for what you're thinking: two issues with the game I've seen is that one, they ask you to do tricks without ramps to jump off of... and two, when they provide you a ramp, it's a fucking LOG or BRANCH coming off the ground that you have to carefully aim for. It can be real bullshit when they want you to do a complex trick, yet you have to focus most of your energy toward going up the goddamned RAMP to pull it off!

I'll give a full review after I've played more of that one.

Edit: You know what, I just played some more of this damn game, and I've just decided that the fake difficulty of tiny or NO ramps for these damn challenges is just fucking annoying, and then the character can decide IF he/she wants to pull off the trick you're ordering them. I'd rather play Shaun White Snowboarding because at least that one allows for all the customization you want, long as you've got the money, and you have the ability to get a better board that improves the skills of your character. I give this game a 3 out of 10.

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Last up, Army of Two: The 40th Day: Like the first one, this is a third-person shooter that revolves around two mercenaries doing different jobs together. The plot in this one isn't nearly as good as the previous game, unfortunately, but the situation is one where there's not much of a plot besides what started everything, so you have to forgive them that. Along the way, you can make moral decisions and immediately see the results of those actions. and what you do can change the game a bit. Honestly, there's only two points in which doing the "bad" thing is alright, but for the most part doing the good thing is what helps you.

You can customize your mask on the Army of Two website, and actually wear it in the game, if you have an EA screen-name linked to your gamertag. You can do basically whatever you want with the masks, and you can download other people's designs to your game. A big point of the game is the ability to customize your character's weapons, choosing a main part and then selecting a stock, barrel, scope, fore-part, clip, muzzle suppressor, and paint job. There are LOTS of parts, and the guns can get quite odd-looking depending on the base style, but I can guarantee that you'll be able to get a weapon you like, with a stat focus that you want.

I haven't tried the online mode myself, and I don't plan to, because most times online play is just annoying... I DO hear that in a week or two they'll unlock the co-op survival mode, and that'll be a blast to play. Only reason we can't play it yet is because EA decided that not enough people pre-ordered the game, so they're punishing everyone else by locking the mode until a month after it's release. Going up to 4 players online to fight off wave after wave of enemy mercs should be fun.

All in all, I give this game an 8 out of 10.

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That's enough for today, I think I've made up for the several months of silence. I plan on doing more reviews as I play more new games, and I'm hoping to start a "Let's Play" profile on Youtube, hopefully soon. I'll start out with a couple less-known games, see where that gets me, and get a feel for the thing. After that, I'll go to more mainstream games.

See ya later.