Unfinished Video Game Micro-Reviews: Monster Hunter 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Max Payne 3, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: May 31, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Included here are four micro-reviews for major video game releases from a few years ago. You may remember them. You may not. Still, enough time has passed to give them a more thorough, unbiased perspective.

There is tremendous hype and mindshare that influences criticism on creative endeavors. I pointed this out in my study of Paradise Lost ages ago. As they are now, videogames are disposable candy snacks, like a rockabilly single from the 1950's, meant to spin on a radio turntable for a month, only to be replaced by the next single. Then very smart people started enjoying music, listening to music, and producing music of their own.

The same can be said of film. Formerly just little image reels, movies got, uh, big, to put it lightly, and EVERYONE wants to BE movies, be they athlete, rapper, or videogame. That artisitc perspective came with time.

I will not flex any muscle to say the micro-reviews included below are set to become celebrated triumphs five decades from now. None of them is the Citizen Kane of videogames (we won't know that for about 20 years after the assumed videogame is released). Nevertheless, these are THINKABLE games.

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Topics: Review, Wii U Review, Game Review, PS3 Review

Valkyria Chronicles | PlayStation 3 game review

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Aug 21, 2013 12:00:00 PM

"If there ever can be a best game, unfortunately, about war, this is it. It's long, brutal, occasionally boring, always intense, and above all else, never really in your control."


We can think about life faster than it actually goes by. Without meaning to, certain events and entanglements can consume years of unconscious thought, running parallel to what's actually happening right before you, sometimes outpacing your senses, sometimes overwhelming them altogether. You often are not in command of your mind, and what it will be, as those years pass. A decade from now though, it may. Life does not embolden life immediately. Experience's benefits are staggered and we cannot derive clarity at first glance because memory is not good enough -- true clarity comes from acknowledgment and confrontation, a repulsive thing to face right here in the waking present.

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Topics: Review, Game Review, PS3 Review

Tomb Raider (2013 Reboot) | PlayStation 3 game review

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: May 15, 2013 12:00:00 PM

part i | in TOMB RAIDER, you are playing as a woman

What was the last good game I played where my character was a female? Emphasis on character. Emphasis also on female. I've played plenty of games where my avatar has been a chick. They were hardly characters or women though. Commander Shepherd in Mass Effect, my "FemShep," Lu Shepherd (named after my bro's adorkable black lab rescue), was indeed a woman -- but she was also androgynous. She was a soldier and a human before she was a woman. The Mass Effect galaxy reacts to Shepherd's good/evil tendencies more than his/her gender, which I suppose is optimistic for the future of humanity. In the future, we won't be as hung up about that. I previously mentioned how Saints Row: The Third was the biggest feminist statement in gaming in years for how your female avatar earned respect for her actions, not because she was a dude or a lady.

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Topics: Review, PS3 Review

Bioshock Infinite's Ending Explained

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Apr 3, 2013 12:00:00 PM


Are you wondering just exactly how all those bits and pieces of Bioshock Infinite fit together? Wonder no more! I only found it complicated at first because it's a little contrived, with some odd character motivations at first glance. A game that requires examination is art. It looks nice and it makes you think. Anyway, without further delay, let's dig into what a floating city in the sky and a girl with some quantum physics books have to do with the Battle of Wounded Knee and alternate versions of reality.

++ SPOILERS!! ++ This is what Bioshock Infinite's ending means. ++ SPOILERS!! ++

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Topics: Review, PS3 Review, Game Review, storytelling analysis

Final Fantasy XIII-2 | PlayStation 3 Review

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Aug 15, 2012 12:00:00 PM


Some modern games have their auto-pilots set to: "cruise," a plush rug that's nice between your toes and looks good next to a Metacritic score of 86. Final Fantasy XIII-2, however, has its auto-pilot set to: "beautiful," or, at least, beautiful to somebody that has stared at the moon for too long. Whatever Final Fantasy XIII-2 was intending to make you "feel," it has failed, because nobody would try to mass-distribute a sugarcane-enema-simulation for the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 on purpose.

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Topics: Review, PS3 Review

Killzone 3 | PlayStation 3 Review

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: May 18, 2012 12:00:00 PM

Killzone 3

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(originally published May 18, 2012)

"It's just your gun occupying Killzone's world. If the gun was a more fun person to pal around and goof off with, then this would be acceptable..."


Put down your vaporizer and that bottle of Quaaludes, we're going to deconstruct concept of "winning" at online videogames. Killzone 3 does not do this. It does not win at offline videogames either. It's the expensive chew-toy that your dog perpetually ignores because it's spiky and it makes her gums bleed. It mashes its terrible haircut, let's say, for example, a weave, into a discolored biomass. Interacting with this world is a joyless affair.


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Topics: Review, Game Review, PS3 Review

Saints Row: The Third | PlayStation 3 Review

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Nov 30, 2011 12:00:00 PM

Saints Row: The Third

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(originally published November 30, 2011)

". . .[Saints Row: The Third] a super-deformed, weaponized-speedball that knows the difference between good and evil."

There has been serendipitous fun in videogames for more than 25 years. Beating The Legend of Zelda in one sitting is serendipitous fun. Running through a grand prix cup in Super Mario Kart with the always-tiny cheat is serendipitous fun. Juggling a velociraptor with a quad rocket-launcher in Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is serendipitous fun. Doing backflips off the highway median in a stolen Yakuza sportscar in Grand Theft Auto III is madness and all-consuming and fun. These things are special because we discover them within a defined, but easily violated, set of rules that the videogame has laid out before us (. . .rules like gravity). This madness becomes ours and becomes true, golden escapism. Even if we are told somebody else discovered that exact same bar of gold, it's never theirs, it's ours. As far as we're concerned, dad invented speedruns when he accidentally beat Super Mario Bros. in 1989 in eight minutes.

Saints Row: The Third was probably made by a covenant of college students that spent a lot of time avoiding responsibility for their actions in Liberty City, probably the GTA3 version, and they learned where serendipitous fun came from, challenging us now with the question: "Why brew our game from anything that isn't instinct, projected?" That's freedom -- not being given the ability to do anything and told to find your fun, but rather anticipating what people will want to do with the dark materials given to them.

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Topics: Review, Game Review, PS3 Review, video games

Dark Souls | PlayStation 3 Review

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Nov 2, 2011 12:00:00 PM

Dark Souls

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Topics: Review, PS3 Review, Game Review, video games

Vanquish | A Shinji Mikami PlayStation 3 Game Review

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Oct 5, 2011 12:00:00 PM


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(originally published October 5, 2011)

"Vanquish is stupid. It is fighting stupid with stupid."


Know this: the “rocket-slide” button in Vanquish pulls double-duty as the “smoke-cigarettes” button.

First released in 2010 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Vanquish joins the Japanese developer PlatinumGames Inc.’s expanding back catalog on Steam. We need to celebrate this. Vanquish volleyed forth a tongue-in-cheek counter-argument to a decade of western action design sensibilities in 2010. In 2017, the joke is finally landing.

It turns out this joke began in 1992.

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Topics: Review, PS3 Review, Game Review

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