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Published: Emptying the Coffers

January 20, 2010

PopMatters spent the weekend turnaround ridding their queue of anything I gave them in December, so between Friday and Monday, three game reviews were published. Look out, people, I’m takin’ over.

Friday was my review of Band Hero, which I’m a little ashamed of right now because I left out the word “engine” in a crucial spot in the last paragraph, but I’m too doubtful of the number of people who are going to notice or care to have it changed. Other than that, there’s a lot going for Band Hero, most notably an inclusive attitude that makes for a varied-to-a-fault tracklist and a kid-friendly aesthetic. At this point, I think I’ll be happy with anything that runs on the Guitar Hero 5 engine, the lack of which is the main reason Guitar Hero: Van Halen felt like such a mess (we’ll get to that in more detail later).

Two reviews went up on Monday, which was surprising but not entirely out of left field given the quality of the two games involved. First up was a writeup of Tony Hawk: Ride, in which I struggle to say anything that hasn’t been said before. I hate joining a chorus of people declaring “TOO HARD”, because it feels like a cop-out. Still, I think there’s a difference between difficulty that is programmed into a game and difficulty that arises when you know exactly the moves you’re supposed to make but simply can’t muster the physical coordination to do them…and when you think you do, it only works half the time.

The undercard on Monday was a review of The Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun, a title so silly it should at least end with an exclamation point or two. It’s a licensed product, based on a TV show on the Cartoon Network that I’d never heard of until I played this game. It’s a decent mostly-2D experience, but it had the unfortunate timing of sitting in my review stack at the exact time New Super Mario Bros. Wii was beginning to eat my life. I tried to be as objective as possible anyway.

Speaking of which, my review of New Super Mario Bros. Wii showed up in the paper this week. I think I spent too many words talking about old games, but you almost have to with this one. It’s Mario. It has multiplayer. It’s incredible. It’s replayable. What else is there?

Truth is, there doesn’t need to be anything else. Would that more games could get it right like that one does.

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