Project Wonderful - Your ad here, right now, for as low as $0.00

Indie Game Mag Issue 2 Available!!

Issue 2: Winter 2009 is now Available!

You can order a Physical Copy from MagCloud
You can order a Digital Copy from Graduate Games' Store

or you can save some cash by just subscribing and supporting the only indie game magazine around.

Nobody is safe from the Red Ring of Death!

After 2 long years of Xbox 360 Enjoyment, I was stabbed in the back by the system that has brought me so much pleasure. 2 Days ago, I was struck by the red ring of death. I can't imagine that anything in particular set this unfortunate series of events in motion...I guess I am just another statistic (1/3 or 33% of older Xboxes have this issue). Sadly, my manufacturer's warranty is way overdue and I cannot bear to spend $99 and be without my xbox as Microsoft toils away at a pathetic and rushed console. Instead, I bought a $199 Xbox Arcade yesterday...taking advantage of the new model's HDMI hookup, quieter fan, and supposedly one that is without red rings. If you are proficient at fixing this problem (as many have become) you can bid on my Xbox 360 on ebay. I am selling it in hopes of subsidizing the cost of this catastrophe. I can't help but think it's all some Microsoft conspiracy to break older xboxes (with the NXE perhaps?) so that avid gamers such as myself are forced to buy new ones...thus boosting their console sales...which they so like to gloat about.

Updating the Magic Toy Chest

Updating the Magic Toy Chest has taken a lot longer than expected, but after reading our reviews and critiques, I felt that I could easily make improvements to vastly improve the game. Sorry for the lengthy time that this update has taken, but as we worked on it, more and more things were included.

We still don't have everything done for the update...but we're very close. Check out the new graphics above (its only the load screen). Anyway, Here's everything we've been able to cram in the update so far:

  • Upgraded Visuals - Brand New backgrounds, Kid Avatars, and tweaked foregrounds
  • New Graphic effects - all foregrounds have a drop shadow to better distinguish themselves from the background
  • New Music - We've kept in the old music, but have added over 6 new tracks
  • Quick Reload - hit 'Q' to restart the level instantly - NO LOAD TIMES!
  • Trophies! - Visit your bedroom to check out what toy trophies you've earned. Work to unlock over 16 trophies by mastering all 80 puzzles and completing specific game achievements
  • Level Tweaks
  • Most importantly all your save files are 100% compatible with the please enjoy and BUY our great game NOW and help us pay for all these great and FREE improvements!

Gears of War 2 Review

Gears of War 2 is the follow-up to the enormously successful pop-n-stop shooter Gears of War. Developed by Epic Games and touted as "Bigger, Badder, and more Badass," Gears of War 2 delivers with the same addictive gameplay and spectacular graphics, but its blemishes are more visible this time around.

Gameplay: 9.5/10
The gameplay really hasn't changed that much since the first time around. You move in and out of cover with the A-button, aim with the left trigger and shoot Locusts with the right trigger. There are some great gameplay additions like the ability to grab a downed opponent and use them as a shield...and the OK chainsaw battles. The more important and necessary tweaks come in the form of giving bullets "stopping-power" which severely hampers shotgun bum rushes and making chainsawers vulnerable during the animation. The main campaign and story is also a lot better but still littered with some ridiculously cliche dialogue.

Graphics: 9.5/10
Unreal Engines still delivers in the graphics department and the animations, characters and levels all look spectacular. If you thought Gears 1 looked good, Gears of War 2 certainly won't disappoint. The multiplayer levels have a fantastic variety of looks, lighting, and color palletes. Unfortunately that doesn't translate to the latter part of the campaign where you spend a majority of your time underground in blase tunnels.

Sound/Music: 9.5/10
The voice acting is really good, but there is still some dialogue that is suspect. All the Locust talk is incredibly well done and the one-liners in multiplayer work well. The sound FX are fantastic. The weapons sound visceral and get your adrenaline pumping. The music is good but is dwarfed by the sounds of combat.

Lasting Appeal: 9/10
Gears of War 2 makes great strides in its multiplayer. It has 15 maps, a much improved spectator mode/camera, and some great new multiplayer modes (specifically Wingman, Submission and the incredibly addictive Horde mode). It also has implemented a matchmaking system...which was incredibly slow at launch and was recently patched...even still it pales in comparison to the matchmaking found in other games. The ranking system is also suspect since my fellow teammates and I have ranked up when we lose and ranked down after a win. There is still a significant host advantage, disconnects, and incredibly laggy multiplayer. Finally, multiplayer is in need of some sort of health bar...the red gear indicator is too subjective and there's nothing more frustrating than getting killed because you judged you and your opponents damage incorrectly.
Average: 93.75%
Tilt: +0.25%

Despite its flaws, Gears of War 2 is still a vastly entertaining experience. Yes it can be frustrating at times. But regardless of how many times you get killed, you never want to put down the controller. When it comes to multiplayer, GoW2 is not nearly as technically capable or refined as Halo 3, but the game itself is still just as fun.
Verdict: 94%