Game Description: Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict continues the Unreal franchise on the Xbox and introduces an evolutionary new gameplay style to the traditional FPS genre: acrobatic melee combat. This highly anticipated sequel features new single-player and multiplayer gameplay, player acrobatics, third-person camera mode, and intense melee abilities. Unreal Championship fans can play as any one of 14 characters from the Unreal universe, each with spectacular new Adrenaline Powers that enable new offensive and defensive combos.
The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact seems to have come from a bizarre parallel dimension; a parallel world where there was never a Virtua Fighter, or a Tekken, or a Dead or Alive, or even a Battle Arena Toshinden (the now-forgotten game that first made "changing the axis" into a workable 3D fighting game mechanic). Maximum Impact doesn't just feel like first game in a new series; it feels like the first game in a new genre. Unfortunately, though that genre has actually existed for more than a decade now, SNK just seems to be completely unaware of it.
In Mike Doolittle's review of Crimson Skies, although he had many splendid things to say about the game, I was surprised to see a rating that was just above average. Perhaps I tend to immerse myself in a game world too deeply, from reading the backstory to wondering what experience the designers expected me to have as the roguish pilot Nathan Zachary. What I found at the end of my journey was a far richer experience overall than Mike gave the game credit for.
Game Description: The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants has freed their leader, the diabolically intelligent Magneto. An unprovoked attack on mutant-kind by a secret Sentinel army compels Magneto to plan his most maniacal scheme yet. He intends to use his mutant superpowers to shroud the Earth in cosmic debris, blotting out the sun and plunging the globe into eternal winter. From this chaos the Brotherhood will emerge to reign supreme over humankind. As the Sentinels continue to wage worldwide mutant genocide, the X-Men must confront Magneto and save the earth from certain destruction.
Comic fans will geek out at numerous points (none of which will be spoiled here), but even newcomers to this alternate reality will find things to love thanks to a richly crafted story courtesy of a group of former X-Men writers. Because of this, the game genuinely feels like an X-Men story instead of just generic videogame plot #32654 with X-Men characters in the mix.
Game Description:Halo 2 continues the story of Master Chief, the heroic super-soldier who defied the invading alien Covenant and survived. The Covenant leaders within Halo are angry at this unheard of event. To save face, they launch an invasion of our planet. Earth's defenses are breached, and we're all in danger—unless Master Chief can lead a small military squad to victory against Covenant forces, in all-out guerilla warfare!
But despite such overwhelming expectations, Halo 2 is essentially a bigger, badder version of the first—nothing more, nothing less. It refines and expands upon many of the original's strongest concepts, stumbles over a few repeated missteps, and offers an experience distinctly similar to the first that fluctuates between modest tedium and prodigious epic.
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