Excerpt: * DEAD RISING 2 SPOLIERS AHOY!* I was a huge fan of Dead Rising 2 . It easily made my personal Top 10 of 2010, on the strength of its interesting story, relatable characters, and addictive combat mechanics. After finding out who set Chuck up in Fortune City, I wanted nothing more than to take it to them as soon as I could. Unforunately, with the exception of one or two goons, you don’t really get the chance… …until Case West , that is.
Excerpt: It lurches towards you. Grey skin, the stench of decay, pieces of carrion stuck in the broken remnants of its teeth. No, it’s not your ex from a couple of years back. It’s the bloated, walking corpse of a security guard. By coincidence, he also wants to nibble on your earlobe. But it’s not nearly as erotic.
Conclusion: When you’re out on the streets freely swinging, that’s when Spider-Man 3 works and is entertaining. Yes, there are still camera issues to deal with at times (such as when you’re trying to get to the exact location of a bomb or character), but the act of navigating across Manhattan is a blast. The game also has a nice mix of achievements.
Conclusion: As for XBLA-specific features, New Rally-X has what you’d expect, with online leaderboards enabling you to compare your progress with the whole universe as well as those on your friends list. It also contains the standard 12 achievements totaling 200 points. Most of them are easy to acquire—I snagged half of them in my very first game for a quick 55 points—and a couple of the harder ones will require you to really dig in so you can get them.
Conclusion: For a series that has had the tour, the persistent environment created for Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland is the perfect shot in the arm. But it seems this series needs additional life support to be interesting into the next-generation. The gameplay engine is showing its age, and the graphics hurt the story mode with some pretty poor cut-scenes.
Conclusion: To be fair, gameplay is vastly improved once to take a lot of the AI out of the mix by means of multiplayer gameplay. Taking on a few of your friends, either in the same room or over Xbox Live, is a good time just waiting to happen. And for the more ambitious players out there, NBA Live 08 supports custom leagues for upwards of 32 players. So far, I haven’t run into any issues in any of my online matches.
Conclusion: Phantasy Star Universe seems far too content to wallow in its mediocrity. The story kind of lumbers along until its conclusion, and while there’s fun to be had with character progression, the plotline never really grabs hold of you and demands your attention. The multiplayer offering is only bad because it isn’t free. There isn’t enough content and the community atmosphere is lacking, thanks largely to SEGA's demands for a fee greater than Xbox Live.