Total Reviews: 10
Average Overall Score Given: 8.80000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 0

Halo: Combat Evolved

Overall: The benchmark game for this system. If you own an XBox you must have this game. This is truly a revolutionary FPS shooter with so many ways to play (basic story, cooperative, a plethora of multiplayer deathmatch and team games, etc.)

Gameplay: This game requires some tactical thinking. You cannot simply fire as much as you can downrange without thinking about how to set up enemies who use cover an advance on your position. This alone makes the game worth owning.

Graphics: Excellent and immersive. Once you get onto Halo proper and look at the blades off grass and other environmental detail you feel like you're there. I can't say enough about the visual superiority of this game so I won't even start.

Audio: The soundtrack is so good they put it out on CD. Weapons firing, Marines talking smack, and the aliens screaming "run away!" add to the overall dominance of this title. My favorite sound feature is when you are critically wounded you can hear your character heart pounding in your subwoofer.

Suggestions: Please put out Halo 2 soon!

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

Overall: Sell or trade in your copy of Metal Gear Solid Substance as quickly as you can, Splinter Cell is here. Finally a game that takes itself a little more seriously in the reality department (Other than crappy action movies do you really think there's a boss at the end of the level in real life?) Metal Gear was fun on the PS One and truly revolutionary but Splinter Cell raises the bar on XBox to a whole new level. In light of recent events this game also sheds some light on what is truly happening behind the scenes. If you are a fan of the stealth, single operative against the world type games like Syphon Filter and Metal Gear Solid BUY THIS GAME!

Gameplay: Excellent! There are so many ways to approach problems in this game. It takes some to master Sam Fisher's moves and tactics, but it is well worth it. Be forewarned, this is not a shoot your way through the level type game. Staying in the shadows and being invisible is the name of the game.

Graphics: Stunning! The use of shadows and soft physics (interacting with curtains, etc.) make this game well worth buying. You have to see this game to believe it. The lighting effects are unlike anything I have ever seen in a game. The people in the game are hand drawn rather than motion capture which adds a less robotic feel.

Audio: Ubi Soft did a great job with this game's sound. First, casting tough guy actor Michael Ironside as Sam Fisher adds so much to the game. He's distinctive and not a Clint Eastwood poser like so many lone wolf video game characters. The sound environment in surround sound is excellent. You feel like you are fully immersed in the environment (burning house, rooftops, etc.) Lastly, the little things like gravel grinding under foot add that last perfect touch.

Suggestions: 1) Add some free for all type environments to train in 2) Let the operative select the weapons he needs for the mission. Otherwise this is an excellent game.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Serious Sam

Overall: Serious Sam on Xbox (a.k.a. when I grow up I want to be just like Halo) is sheer mindless FPS fun. This is a passable buddy game in cooperative mode. However, repetition, repetition, repetition kills this game. This is a rental game you play to vent with. Played this game with a buddy for three hours (half way through it) the other night and I've had enough

Gameplay: Let's be serious here. You won't buy or rent this game for its fine use of tactics. This game is about putting as many rounds downrange as you can and dodging incoming fire. My major beef is getting lost on a map where everything looked the same.

Graphics: Good but not great. This game suffers some jaggies and slow down with a higher volume of fire and enemies. My biggest gripe with this game is the screen presentation in cooperative mode (2 player). Why didn't they just copy Halo's presentation (horizontal split and the entire screen)?

Audio: A redeeming quality for this game. With a surround sound system you'll be hearing the soothing sounds of the kamikaze bombers in your sleep. They actually have a doppler shift like effect in this game which is oh so cool. The soundtrack is not half bad either and picks up to let you know somethings up.

Suggestions: Nice port but could have used some fine tuning in the gameplay and the general flow off the game. You should not get lost on a map in a game like this.

Overall Score: 6.0 / 10 Conflict: Desert Storm

Overall: Finally a reality-based shooter for XBox! Conflict Desert Storm brings modern combat nearly to life. The soundtrack feature and the cooperative aspect of this game (2-4 players!) adds a great deal to the XBox game library. This game takes you from rescues to SCUD busting, to hunting down the infamous Iraqi dictator, which at this moment in time, is a real treat.

Gameplay: Very good, but with some !&%$@#* bersome points. First off the soldiers really act like someone with a 60-pound ruck and weapon so there's no jumping or extremely quick movement (some complain of turning around to be too slow, well consider the load the soldiers in this game carry). If you want another Halo this is not the game for you. Sniper and heavy weapons soldiers fire only when stationary. For these few points it wins in the realm of gameplay. The muliple paths you can take for each mission adds to the game. You can either take out the Iraqi's with stealth, evade them, or use firepower. The weapons and items interface is frustrating at time. I do wish they had stolen the left trigger as grenade feature from Halo. Best of all in the gameplay is the ability to build experience among men (feminists take note) in your squad. This is great when you're on a mission and need a target serviced. Simply switch to one of your less experienced soldiers and let the veterans in your squad take care of the problem.

Graphics: Okay, but not great like we've come to expect from XBox. The terrain detail is good. The actual detail on the soldiers often falls short of what could have been. Things like the weapons firing, explosions, and change in time of day add to the experience. The moon at night in this game looks like it really does in the Gulf, which is a bonus.

Audio: Great! Training mode starts your audio bombardment. The drill instructor is vaguely reminiscent of the gentleman in Full Metal jacket! In missions the weapons all have their own distinctive report when fired. Rounds whistle past you head when fired at. Signals to team members are done with regard to enemies being near or far. Best yet the soundtrack capability of the game allows you to listen to your own tunes while on missions.

Suggestions: Work on graphics a bit more. Add a couple more modes to the game (versus, etc.) Make the weapons interface a bit more user friendly.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 MLB Slugfest 2003

Overall: Not your average boring baseball game, MLB Slugfest serves as a good quick-fix type of baseball fan for those of us who don't care about all the stats and options hard core baseball fans live for. It is a breath of fresh air with exagerated gameplay and excellent camera angles (especially on homeruns). Unfortunately it was released so late in baseball season that few people have taken notice. Overall this game focuses on the aspects people enjoy about modern Major League Baseball: big offense.

Gameplay: Controls are simple to pick up and some actions such as throwing to separate bases have multiple ways to do it. Midway's infamous "Turbo" option is included and does wonderful things at bat and in the field. Inclusion of all the right buttons to push on the screen further simplifies the game. Pitchers each have a battery of four pitches and batters can hit for power or contact. Best of all the pitcher can bean batters to lower attributes such as speed, power, or batting. There's nothing like playing against your buddy and steadily lowering his superstar's ability to hit and run throughout the game. This is one of those games which is best played with a fellow casual baseball fan.

Graphics: In many regards better than other stiff baseball games. The stadiums are well done. Players look great but could use a little more detailed facial work. The reactions of players after homeruns, strikeouts, and other big plays are where this game excels. At times the reactions are all too human and hilarious. Another nice touch is the tracking line on the ball as it is thrown and hit. It is eerily reminiscent of the puck highlighting graphics on hockey games a couple of years back, but helps when playing the game.

Audio: Another great part of the game! The two announcers do a great job of duplicating the often brainless banter of baseball announcers. The older annnouncer often slips into hilarious rambling which prompted one of my buddies to purchase the game simply to hear the announcing. Additionally, Midway does a great job of duplicating the ambient noise at the ballpark.

Suggestions: Great work, but like the NFL Blitz franchise MLB Slugfest needs continuous work. 1) Add a trade or move player feature to the game 2) Add a create a player option to the game (possibly with a feature to build the players ability) 3) Give pitchers the ability to catch on fire besides going 2 for 2 in hitting (2 or 3 stikeouts in a row perhaps?) 4) Add soundtrack support for between innings or when a batter steps to the plate. 5) add more players for pinch hitting and defensive substitutions.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Madden NFL 2003

Overall: After owning the other two football titles it is easy to say Madden 2003 is the best of this year's class of XBox pro football games. It plays like real football without the arcade-ish timewarp feeling of NFL 2K3 or the predictable feel-good NFL Fever series. Madden 2003 forces you to put together solid drives and play off your opponents weaknesses. Best of all the AI has been tweaked in this year's offering to open up the offense without compromising the overall defensive orientation of the pro game.

Gameplay: Excellent! Madden forces you into the role of football tactician and forces you to play a realistic, sound, and tight gameplan. Players who think last second heroics win games need not purchase this title (stick with Blitz). The feel of the game is definitely improved from last year. In both of EA's football titles this year the ability to shift defenses, not just audibles, sets their games apart from competitors. In the actual action phase Madden reigns supreme. There was nothing I hated more in the other two titles than a finesse cover corner like Duane Starks of the Arizona Cardinals making a textbook tackle on Tampa Bay fullback Mike Alstott despite my best efforts to stiff arm/run the little guy over. Madden is the only game where the reality of the 245 pound fullback sets in over the 170 pound defensive back.

Graphics: Simply not in NFL 2K3 or NFL Fever 2003's league but getting closer. The player models still need rework and refinement. The actual motion capture of player movemenets is right on the mark. Replays in this game are superior to NFL 2K3 and NFL Fever.

Audio: Excellent! Every time you pick up this game you feel like you are in a Monday Night Football Game. Michaels and Madden mesh nicely despite Madeen's occasional rambling (which makes this increasingly true to life, funny enough). Next to NFL 2K3's in-your-face nobody announcers and NFL Fever's poorly-chosen Ron Pitts and Kevin Callabro this game is superior. The icing on the cake is the on field sound. Gamplay sounds like the real thing and often leaves you wincing in pain!

Suggestions: Even though I don't care about it 1) online play capability. 2) Hopefully someone will put out a midseason update disk. 3) Keep working on the graphics. This would be the last piece of the puzzle to total Madden supremacy. 4) Get rid of the Madden Cards (cute, but totally unnecessary). 5) Keep tweaking the environmental aspects of being at a football game (crowd noise, etc). This is one thing baseball games on XBox have perfected but football has neglected. 6) Please make classic teams modifiable.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 NCAA Football 2003

Overall: NCAA 2003 proves to be a very enjoyable college game. It captures the pomp of the college game right down to the nubile co-ed cheerleaders on the sidelines. Better yet, it features the varying playing styles of the college game nicely. However, the graphics still leave something to be desired, especially with the power of the XBox at the EA's disposal, and makes you wish Microsoft put out a college game to challenge it. The in-game sound and commentary save this game.

Gameplay: Good on the whole but a bit hard to run, which is the bread and butter of the college game. For example, you can control a stout 220 pound bruiser with a 90 rating and he'll get absolutely clothes lined at the line of scrimmage like he's a skinny WWF villain. Passing is nicely done in this game though. Defense proves a bit difficult as tackling can be a chore to get in position, but when done properly is oh so pleasing. The hitting in this game is possibly the only thing that brings it close to NFL Fever. The biggest problem with defense is that pursuit angles sometimes seem unnatural. You take your fastest DB and try to track down their fullback rolling out into the flat and he still will undershoot the guy. Very wierd... The play diagramming and on-field coaches camera is a great feature to help get your defense set. Lastly, the plethora of shifts on the defensive line, linebackers, and secondary makes this game a lot of fun scheming against the opposition's offense.

Graphics: Good but not great. Stadiums and crowds detract from the improvement EA has made in the players. Although it is an improvement over previous college games it still lacks the upper-tier graphics available courtesy of the XBox's power. My first question is what's up with the limited number of camera angles? There's only four, pitifully few for the XBox. Moreover, EA needs to learn from the makers of NFL Fever so their next offering does not look so much like a PS2 port. The stadiums, another major facet of the college game, are nice but incomplete. The litmus test for this area of graphics is Husky Stadium in Seattle. For fear of having to spend the effort detailing the lake behind the end zone EA simply puts up a shroud of trees. Very disappointing. The crowd in this game is pathetic. Every game is like playing in front of 2D cardboard cutouts that writhe and undulate in identical directions. Lastly, the cheerleaders, which admittedly are another major part of the college game, move nicely but suffer from polygon deficiency also. Nice try EA, instead of giving us more features please give us better graphics.

Audio: Surprisingly good. I hate Lee Corso but the combination of him, Kirk Herbstreit, and Brad Nessler make for great play by play and commentary. When you watch the "making of" section of the game and realize how they put the commentary together it is even more amazing. In game the pump up/quiet down the crowd feature is nice. However, late in the game the crowd seems to go flat. Flat out the best part of this game is the gameplay sounds. EA does an excellent job matching up the visual and the audio especially with hitting. The audio makes you wonder if your ball carrier, quarterback, or other unlucky player will ever walk, let alone play football, again. Great job EA!

Suggestions: 1. CONCENTRATE ON GRAPHICS! I will not buy another EA game until graphics are reworked. The other options are nice but do I really care how many yards rushing #19 of San Jose State has (no offense Spartan fans).
2. Work on offense. Running the ball should not be so difficult especially at the college level.
3. Work on the angles in the game. The physics are great but something is awry with how players act in pursuit closing in on ballcarriers.
4. The play diagramming and on-field coaches camera is great. This combined with the adjustments a team can make on defense make this game a keeper. I wish other game developers would take notice of these features.
5. Keep up the good sound work EA!

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 NFL Fever 2003

Overall: Having grown tired of the quasi-NFL Blitz feeling of NFL 2K2 I decided to purchase this game. So far I have not been disappointed. The overall graphic presentation is excellent with extremely few notable flaws. Best of all, this game plays with the speed, control, and polish that should be found in an NFL game.

Gameplay: Very smooth gameplay! I especially appreciate the momentum control of the players. Having played football I do not appreciate the "sliding on ice movement" of some EA games products (though NCAA 2003 to a certain extent corrected this). The passing game is easy to control and establishing a running game is not all that hard. The defensive AI is good and will adjust to the tendency many gamers have to stick with a money play. Best yet, Fever is the only game guaranteed to have an in-game save feature for those of us who can't devote an hour to a game every day.

Graphics: In a word BEAUTIFUL! I couldn't wait to see how some of the stadiums looked. The new Seahawks Stadium is detailed nicely with a great rendering of the Seattle skyline in the background. The Chicago Bears home away from Soldier Field is detailed down to the Red Grange monument in the endzone. The players are well detailed but tend to look a little thick. The uniform detail is great. An interesting new wrinkle is the towel a lot of skills position players wear. It flaps in the wind as you sprint down the field. The replays in this game accentuate the power of the XBox graphically. Having played football on the small screen since Tecmo Super Bowl it is wonderful to see a replay of a nicely thrown spiral heading down field to a streaking receiver (with 3D fans in the background-something EA Sports' games lack). Also, if your quarterback gets off a duck (wobbbly pass) the replay will show this! All in all I wonder how NFL 2K3 or Madden 2003 will top this game graphically have lagged so far behind Microsoft and 989 Studios. NFL Fever is the winner versus rivals that make football players look smooth and alien-lean as in Sega's games (makes you wonder if they worked on "Signs" with M. Night Shyamalan) and the low-polygon graphics of EA offerings (though NCAA 2003 is a step forward).

Audio: Here's the only category it is hard to be objective about. The audio in this game is a mixed bag. On one hand the on-field sounds coupled with the intelligent reactions of the home crowd to how their team is faring is uncanny. There's nothing like giving up a bad touchdown and hearing the boos down in the endzone afterward. Conversely, the crowd roars when you pull off a big play or score. In this regard the game shines. On the other hand, the play by play and color commentary sometimes cut in and out haltingly during rapid screen transition. Being totally subjective, although I have no problem with Ron Pitts, Kevin Calabro is an interesting choice (to put it mildly) for football commentary. No doubt he's a great basketball commentator but not football. He really takes some getting used to. His in-your-face style may suit basketball, but I have a hard time with him calling football. This choice by the good people at Microsoft put a damper on the audio portion of this game.

Suggestions: 1. Please show more in-game stats. I realize this is not Madden but the stats would help show tendencies the player could plan against.
2. Please, please, please replace Kevin Calabro with an established football commentator.
3. Make players and their uniforms more customizable.
4. How hard would it be to add the soundtrack option so users could rip the songs to their XBox that they actually hear at these games?
5. Make it easier to judge the momentum level between teams.
6. Make the defense more flexible. I hate to say it but look at the D line and linebacker shifts available in NCAA 2003. It's simply not enough to have shift right/left when you need to pinch the line against a run up the gut.
7. Some players are missing in action. I have yet to find Doug Evans RCB for the Seahawks. I know free agency and the salary cap wreak havoc on making games like this but omitting an established player is disconcerting.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 NHL Hitz 2002

Overall: I usually don't purchase anything other than the conventional 4-line hockey game. This time I was pleasantly surprised and am now addicted to NHL Hitz 20-02. It sports multiple features which enhance its replay value like create a team, create a player, and multiple modes of play. Next to Halo this is the most addictive game I own.

Gameplay: Simply outstanding. Fluid, easy to understand controls and the overall hectic pace of the game make it a joy to play.

Graphics: Excellent! Other than some minor glitches in animation the game runs smoothly and is very polished visually. The instant replays of goals add to the effect of scoring in a clutch situation.

Audio: Very good. I enjoy playing this game on my surround sound system. The soundtrack feature adds a lot to the game.

Suggestions: Excellent game! Believe it or not a season mode would be an excellent addition next year.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 NFL Blitz 2002

Overall: At last Midway brings the Blitz franchise to XBox! Ever since Tecmo stopped making the Tecmo Super Bowl series NFL Blitz has been the only game in town for fast, addictive football. However, repetitive gameplay and lack of expandibility hamper NFL Blitz 20-02's potential.

Gameplay: Gameplay was what you would expect from the Blitz franchise with passing and blitzing being the normal mode of operation. Normal ball-control running and safe defensive players need not apply.
Midway's developers hit upon an excellent idea with the impact player concept. Hopefully other football game developers will copy this idea. Alas, passing and blitzing grows old (and being burnt by inferior NFL teams) after 20 hours of play.

Graphics: This is the true strength of the game. Instant replays are breathtaking and too few. The only problem in this department is physically impossible catches where the ball magically appears in the reciever's hands out of nowhere. Also, the small number of tackle animations detracts from the game's quality. Otherwise, Midway did and excellent job with this game.

Audio: Simply horrible. There's no value added playing this game on a surround sound system. Additionally, after NHL Hitz 20-02 came out with the soundtrack feature why couldn't Midway have put it in this game?

Suggestions: With the technology that is available now NFL Blitz should have more features like create a player, additional NFL players from each team to field (imagine knocking the other team's star quarterback out with a crushing sack), and individual team play styles (vertical passing game or crushing running game). The sound must be improved to sell NFL Blitz 20-03.

Overall Score: 7.0 / 10

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