Wednesday, January 30, 2008
NFL Tour (360)
In essence, this is NFL Street Vol. 3. Outside of the watered-down control scheme and omission of style points, this is virtually the same game as the Street series with a couple of added minigames. Instead of the "street" playgrounds, we have actual football fields set in parks and downtown areas of several major cities. Gameplay-wise, the biggest change is the counter/reversal system. If you're running with the ball and a defender gets a hold on you, you can break the tackle by pressing the A button when prompted. Likewise, defenders can counter this with a well-timed press of the X button. It's not a massive upgrade to the gameplay, but it can be nice when you break what seems like a sure tackle and sprint 30 more yards for a touchdown. The Smash N' Dash and Redzone Rush minigames are nice distractions, especially with a few friends to play against. Unfortunately, the simplified controls and repetitive gameplay cause NFL Tour to become stale very, very quickly.
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (PS2)
Considering that almost every Sonic game since the Genesis days has been a mess in one way or another, I have no idea how new entries in the series keep getting the green light. Critics hate these games, but obviously someone is buying them, because here's Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity. It's filled with the same nonsensical and horribly voice-acted type of story we're used to seeing in 3D Sonic games, but now it's based around hoverboard racing. Outside of the odd slingshot turn mechanic, this is nothing more than a mediocre attempt at the racing genre. Stay away.
MX vs. ATV Untamed (360)
This is one of those titles that already knows its audience. Fans of motocross and ATV racing that have stuck through the last several titles in this series will find more to enjoy with Untamed. The game is absolutely loaded with courses, tournaments, and enough vehicles to satisfy even the most hardcore fans of the series. I'm not a huge fan of this type of game, but I still found myself having fun with some of the outdoor courses. And of course, the physics engine can cause some pretty entertaining crashes. Some of the events are fairly tedious, but there's usually a fun outdoor event right around the corner. Worth a purchase for fans of MX/ATV racing, possibly worth a rental for casual racing fans.
Samurai Warriors: Katana (Wii)
When I heard this game had arrived here at Lawrence.com, I immediately foresaw some sore arms in my future. Considering how much button-mashing there was in the past Samurai (and Dynasty) Warriors games, I dreaded that reviewing this game would consist of me flailing my arms more than I had in any previous Wii title. After all, the series is known for running through massive levels, killing hundreds upon hundreds of enemies with your sword. Fortunately, the sword controls are pretty intuitive with the Wii remote, and side-to-side and vertical slashes respond fairly well. You can also use a gun to point at the screen and shoot when your arms need a rest. However, the series is known as much for repetition as it is for swordplay, and this is no different. It's viewed from a first-person perspective, and many levels are on rails. The sword controls aren't quite interesting enough to make up for the fact that you're being guided along a track as enemy after enemy comes after you. A fully free-roaming Dynasty/Samurai Warriors game could potentially be a solid Wii title, but this is not the one.