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Dan Ryckert

Stories by Dan

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Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party (Wii)

There's only so much you can do with a collection of minigames and some basic motion controls, and it all feels worn out at this point with the Wii. Hopefully, the upcoming MotionPlus attachment breathes new life into this genre, because it has quickly grown tiresome.

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Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff (DS)

Considering that Tecmo is clearly going for the old-school crowd, they'll certainly please them thanks to the fact that this game is nearly identical to its predecessors in many ways.

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Tomb Raider: Underworld (360)

It boggles my mind that this buggy, glitch-filled mess must have passed through the hands of dozens and dozens of QA testers, developers, and Eidos management, and they all said “Yep, this seems like a perfectly finished game to me!”

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Left 4 Dead (360)

It shamelessly borrows from every zombie movie cliche in existence, but that's exactly why fans of the genre will love this game. You've got your ragtag group of diverse characters, hordes of bloodthirsty zombies, and plenty of "stand on top of this thing and shoot everything that moves with your shotgun" moments.

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Lips (360)

Karaoke games might be huge across the pond, but they've yet to catch on much here. This game's party-compatible features could help, although it's single-player side is weak.

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Prince of Persia (PS3)

It's disappointing that it's so easy to love the game during the impressive platforming segments, then quickly hate it once an enemy pops up. With some more polish and a better combat engine, a sequel to this game could be stellar.

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Namco Museum Virtual Arcade (360)

There may be some confusing elements to the overall presentation of this package, but what's really important are the games. Thankfully, there's a lot of them, and a good chunk of them are worth your time.

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Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (360)

Nuts & Bolts is simultaneously a great throwback to classic 3D platformers and a breath of fresh air in the genre. The level progression may seem straight out of Mario 64, but the new vehicle system makes it more than just nostalgia.

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Active Life Outdoor Challenge (Wii)

It's been two years since the Nintendo Wii hit (and subsequently flew off of) the shelves, and there have been two major success stories: minigames and Wii Fit. It seems that Namco Bandai saw a couple of emerging fads and tried to capitalize on them, as Active Life Outdoor Challenge is an odd combination of both minigame and "fitness".

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Resistance 2 (PS3)

Resistance 2 doesn't quite keep up with the level of quality of today's AAA shooters, but it still delivers a campaign worth playing through and an impressive multiplayer component.

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Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades (DS)

The difference between Guitar Hero and On Tour Decades is that one is meant to be played in a living room with friends and some beers, and the other is meant to be played portably. Oh, and one is impossible to play without looking like a massive tool. If you doubt me, please watch the commercial for the game herein...

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Midnight Club Los Angeles (360)

There are a few frustrating hiccups in the quality of the actual races, but fans of the genre shouldn't let that dissuade them from picking this up.

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Gears of War 2 (360)

When the first Gears of War came out, I remember hearing many gamers say it was good for tiding the masses over until Halo 3 hit. Now, it can certainly be said that the Gears of War franchise is just as much of a heavy-hitter as Microsoft's other big exclusive.

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Review: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (360)

The cartoonish DC heroes and villains fit right into the ridiculous MK universe. It's jarring at first to see MK mainstay Scorpion plunge his spear into the Joker, but these DC characters really help to add a new element to Midway's franchise.

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Review: Saints Row 2 (360)

You won't see any gaming industry experts defending this title on national news, as there's nothing to defend. This game is probably the most purely and unapologetically immoral game I've ever played.

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Review: Quantum of Solace (360)

With their first attempt at the Bond license, Activision wraps the narrative of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace around the superb Call of Duty 4 engine. It sounded like a perfect match, but the end results are a bit messy.

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Review: Call of Duty - World at War (360)

It may be WWII again, and it may be Treyarch instead of Infinity Ward, but World at War does the Call of Duty name justice. It's every bit as good as its modern predecessor.

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Review: Far Cry 2 (360)

Overall, it's an interesting take on the FPS genre that will please patient gamers. I won't say "if you liked the original, you'll like this" as it really has no connection with that game other than the title.

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Review: Crash: Mind Over Mutant (360)

The Crash Bandicoot series never quite turned into the phenomenon Sony hoped it would, and the franchise was passed from Naughty Dog to lesser developers. Crash: Mind Over Mutant is what happens when you take a series out of capable hands.

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Mirror's Edge (PS3)

EA continues their extremely surprising trend of introducing new IPs with Mirror's Edge, a parkour-inspired action game. It features a great first-person perspective that really puts you in the action, but some of the gameplay decisions bring down what could have been a great, innovative experience.

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Review: Buzz Quiz TV (PS3)

Considering there's already a huge amount of available questions (not to mention the downloadable packs), the online options add an almost limitless amount of replay value. It's a great title to have laying around when you've got company over, and well worth the purchase.

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Review: Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (360)

While nothing is completely broken about Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (although the camera comes close), there's nothing particularly great about it. It offers little new in a genre that requires innovation in order to get noticed.

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Fable II (360)

Fable II is a huge improvement over the original in every conceivable way. The first game could have never lived up to the hype Molyneaux surrounded it with, so it's good that the press around this sequel was respectively understated.

Review: Guitar Hero World Tour (360)

After the massive success of the Rock Band series, it was only natural for Guitar Hero (the originator of the "plastic guitar game" craze) to throw its hat in the "full band" ring. Unfortunately, it can't quite pull it off with the same level of polish that Harmonix's baby possesses.

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Singstar vol. 2 (PS3)

The game itself is not bad for what it is, but the fact that it's a full disc purchase rather than the more convenient and efficient DLC makes it harder to recommend.

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Review: Lego Batman (360)

While the Lego Star Wars games had a good variety of characters, lightsabers, blasters, and Force powers, the Indy movies didn't have nearly as many memorable faces or weapons, and the game lacked because of it. Luckily, Batman is another series that is rich with abilities and characters, and it translates to the Lego framework very well.

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Review: Little Big Planet (PS3)

Every single person that owns this game will have their own moments, own creative input, and own connection to the characters and stages. It's a milestone in gaming, and it will be offering new experiences for years to come.

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Review: Wii Music

Wii Music is not a videogame. It's a Fisher Price "Baby's First Guitar" toy with a bigger price tag and probably less fun.

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Review Roundup

We take a look at the recent video game releases Socom for PS3, Baja for 360, and NBA '09 for PS3

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Review: Dead Space (PS3)

At no point do you feel safe, and the game preys on your vulnerabilities and even violates some unwritten rules of the survival horror genre in order to make you feel even more uneasy. This is a game that is to be played late at night on a nice HDTV, with the lights turned down, and the sound turned way up.

Review Roundup 10/6

It's the beginning of the holiday season, and we take a look at the first titles out of the gate.

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Review: Rock Band 2 (360)

We'll see how Guitar Hero: World Tour ends up, but Rock Band 2 remains king of the hill for now even if it all feels very familiar.

XBLA Giveaway Trivia - Rocketbowl

We try out our first giveaway contest. Three winners will receive free download codes for Rocketbowl on Xbox Live Arcade

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Review: Spore (PC)

Rather than simply having you build a city or control the mundane lives of individual Sims, Spore puts you in control of an entire species from the primordial ooze to intergalactic domination.

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Review: Too Human (360)

It's a shame that Too Human's combat is so repetitive, because it's certainly a very ambitious project. The vast amount of weapons and customizations is fantastic, but it can't save the actual gameplay.

iPhone reviews - Enigmo, Cro-Mag Rally

We take a look at a couple of the first games to hit Apple's iPhone.

Review: Soul Calibur IV (360)

Online play is great, Create a Soul mode will keep you busy for a while, and the fighting action is as fast-paced and nuanced as ever. A must-buy for fans of fighting games.

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Review: Rock Band (Wii)

This Wii version is somewhat castrated in terms of modes offered. It's a port of the stripped-down PS2 version, which means you won't find the robust Band World Tour mode, downloadable content, customizable characters, or online play.

E3 2008 impressions

I detail my hands-on impressions with the newest titles shown off at the (significantly smaller) E3 2008 in Los Angeles.

Review: Ninja Gaiden II (360)

While the combat and controls are usually rock-solid, there's one enemy you won't be able to overcome using your assortment of blades the terrible camera.

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Review: Battlefield Bad Company (PS3)

Bad Company unavoidably draws comparisons to Call of Duty 4, but is a solid game in its own right.

Review Roundup 7/1

We look at the games of early summer.

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Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)

Wherein we award a game our first perfect 10-MGS4 has unparalleled narrative, graphics, audio, gameplay, weapons, environments, voice acting, soundtrack, replayability, and on and on...

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Wii Fit (Wii)

It was supposed to be a fun way to work out, and accessible to virtually anyone, regardless of age or familiarity with videogames. It does a great job on all accounts.

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Review: Okami (Wii)

I saw some recent ads for this Wii port of Okami, and it had an incredibly true headline: "The best game you've never played". The PS2 original was a masterpiece when it comes to level design, gameplay, and art style. This Wii port retains this level of quality, although the motion controls take a bit of getting used to.

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GTA IV (PS3, 360)

Fantastic, controversial, hilarious, gigantic, varied, beautiful...yes.

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Review: Mario Kart (Wii)

Mario Kart has always been the ultimate "casual" game. Growing up, even if your friends didn't like video games, they liked Mario Kart. Non-gamers of all kinds have tossed a red shell at one point or another. It's only fitting (and inevitable) that the franchise makes its first appearance on the ultimate "casual" console.

Review Round Up - 5/5

MLB 2K8, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, The World Ends With You, Obscure, and Teenage Zombies.

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GTA IV impressions

My impressions of GTA IV, updated several times daily as I play through the game for the first time

Review Roundup 4-17

We take a look at the games of April