Mini Reviews G-P
Mini Reviews

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Halo
Score: 2.5/5

Halo is often referred to as one of the greatest games of all time, something I just can't quite understand. This game is sometimes fun, but is very often repetitive, especially in terms of indoor level design. Stages often have long stretches that just aren't eventful enough to be fun and aren't visually stimulating at all. It's often easy to get lost in indoor areas as well. The outdoor areas are a good deal better, with impressive attention to detail. Fast loading, no slowdown, and a very good control setup.

Halo 2
Score: 3.5/5

The pace of the game is better than in the original, with less wandering around in large areas without anything to do (many areas are now more linear in design), and more exciting and challenging combat situations. Instead of having you fight one type of enemy for the first half, and mostly fight another for the second half, things are much more balanced this time. The new weapons and enemies for the most part make the game better, though there were some questionable additions. The story was entertaining, showing you events from both sides, though could be a little confusing at times. Didn't help that dialogue is often going on while you're trying to fight enemies and can't pay attention. Cliffhanger ending might frustrate people, but as long as you know about it in advance, it's not such a big deal. Graphics seem to be a bit better than before, but nothing too noteworthy. Game is still not recommended for those who disliked the original, as the two games are still extremely similar in basic gameplay style.

Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap
Score: 3.5/5

A flawed, but fun new Zelda release. One of the biggest problems with Minish Cap is the gimmick that it's named for. Link has the ability to shrink down to a tiny size to interact with the Minish people, as well as to solve some puzzles and defeat bosses. But it's usually a tedious experience, as the game has you doing very few things that are creative or challenging when small. I think it should've stayed for boss battles, but otherwise been used less often.

The dungeons are not overly challenging, but there are plenty of fun enemies to battle and puzzles to solve. This is mostly traditional stuff, so if you've enjoyed past 2D Zelda dungeons, you'll probably have fun with these as well. It's unfortunate that inbetween each dungeon, you have to go through tasks that are usually boring, and at best, tolerable, when what you really want is more dungeon exploration. Some excellent 2D graphics help the experience, and the music is usually pretty decent. Many parts of the soundtrack are borrowed from other Zelda titles, though.

Lord of the Rings: The Third Age
Score: 2.0/5

Okay, I have to say first that I didn't finish the game. I played about 40% before deciding not to go on. It started out good, with interesting places to explore, but actually became less interesting as it went on. And by then, the rather basic battle system (like Final Fantasy X with traditional style leveling and a ton of powerful abilities) was routine and unexciting. Graphics are excellent, especially in battle, but there's noticeable slowdown at times when walking from place to place. Story focuses almost entirely on the characters from the books/films and not on your party. Lots of scenes from the films narrated by Gandalf... more than 100! Evil Mode sounds interesting, but you just fight your party in a series of random battles. That could've been much more. An overall average game good for novice RPG gamers and huge LOTR fans.

Luigi's Mansion
Score: 3.0/5

This game was fairly simple to beat, and what you're doing in the first hour was not all that different from the last hour. But still, it managed to be a very addictive and surprisingly fun game to play at most times.

Luigi catches ghosts with a vaccum cleaner. Some ghosts you simply need to stun with a flashlight. Some require a little simple puzzle solving. And there are a few bosses that are pretty unique experiences compared to everything else. Clearing a room of ghosts usually gets you a key, which opens up a new room that has more ghosts in it. This room by room progression makes it hard to put the controller down, as you just want to see what's in the next area before taking a break. It's also satisfying to slowly but surely clear the mansion of ghosts.

The experience manages to mostly be funny, partially due to Luigi's character design and reactions, as well as the silly nature of many ghosts. Still, some people may find certain areas to be a bit creepy as well. The graphics were very nice, especially considering that this was a launch game. The fact that the game gives you a ranking at the end may motivate some gamers to play through more than once.

Lumines (PSP)
Score: 4.0/5

Despite being someone who usually has no interest in puzzle games (Tetris bores me), I've been having a blast playing this one. At first glance, it looks a lot like Tetris, but the mechanics of the game are pretty different. Timing is an important factor, all blocks are the same shape (perfect square), and matching up the colors and creating chains is what you've got to focus on. Playing the main game is very addictive, especially as you unlock new skins and songs when you make progress. No save points here. You start from the beginning each time, and play until you lose. You can play around with just one skin and song in a separate mode just ofr fun, if that's your choice. You can also play wireless 2-player mode with another person who has a PSP, or against the computer (quite a challenge early on).

Panzer Dragoon Orta
Score: 2.0/5

This game is occasionally entertaining, and it's good for those who like a bit of challenge. Graphics are excellent, with an unusual and sometimes beautiful style. The original Panzer Dragoon is included as a bonus. Orta is too short overall though, many stages have boring uneventful areas, and dealing with camera rotation can be very frustrating... especially if you're trying for good rankings.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Score: 3.5/5

Some really fun puzzles and fights early on. Unfortunately, battles become very easy, yet still considerably time consuming later on. You'd rather just move onto the puzzles and forget the combat entirely. Game is also not as much fun approaching the end, and has a simplistic final boss battle that might just be impossible to lose to. Some really nice graphics, though, and the narration style of storytelling works very well.


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