Lagging Behind - Saints Row: The Third

If you look at the total number of unique users, as of December 3rd, Grand Theft Auto 4 ranks as the 13th most actively played Xbox game. Players managed to turn Liberty City into a canvas for ideas both ambitious and simple. While some players established activities through unofficial rules or constituted verbal challenges to all participants, I preferred the structured modes available in the multiplayer. I especially loved the thrill of out-driving my friends in game of Cops N' Robbers, though naturally I grew bored and sought other games with more responsive controls and clearer purpose.

The stiff and imprecise character control made turning corners quickly like trying to Parallel Park a tank in an obviously small parking spot. Regardless of control, I would often block a busy intersection with a bus or any large vehicle. Awkwardly climbing onto the roof, I stood and watched atop the bus for traffic to pile up. When drivers became suspicious of my choice of parking spot, they would try to reverse out of the traffic jam. I responded quickly by lobbing grenades then firing a RPG multiple times into the sea of metal. Shrapnel flew in every direction. Explosions triggered more explosions. But comparatively, my trivial bus roadblocks in GTA 4 reflect amateurish desires in the universe of Saints Row: The Third.

Review: New Super Mario Bros. U - New console, same Mario

Placing a "New" label before the title "Super Mario Bros. U" is a lie. Four games ago, when the New Super Mario Bros. franchise first appeared on the DS, the return to Mario's 2D side scrolling roots felt like a new experience, although a familiar one. 

With a brand new console to allow Nintendo's first venture into the HD era, expecting a different Mario experience, even at launch, does not seem like an unreasonable expectation. Despite new hardware and expanded limitations, New Super Mario Bros. U recycles the old ideas belonging to the 3 previous "New" Mario titles and creates one uninteresting, but familiar, Mario game.

Now Playing: League of Legends

While playing StarCraft 2, I often saw the rumblings between its e-Sports community and the much larger community of League of Legends. I first played League of Legends a few years ago and quit after about twenty minutes. At the time, I remember receiving no helpful instruction or indication of the main goals. And just like many other free-to-play games that leave a bad first impression, I quickly gave up.

I typically don't stay attached to free-to-play games for very long, and with no obligation through monetary ties, League of Legends didn't fare any better. For the past month however, I spent a lot of time with League of Legends. When you know people who willingly help you and will stay patient (for the most part) while you learn how to play, the learning curve doesn't seem so steep.

Review: Borderlands 2 - A Vault not worth hunting

I believed if I collected enough junk shields and single shell shotguns that I eventually wouldn't be so bored with Borderlands 2. Only about an hour in, scepticism to whether I would even finish, let alone begin a second playthrough, already began to develop. All the positive and glowing feedback said up until and after the release, made me question whether or not I failed to see the brilliance. But I know of that brilliance - I dumped over 50 hours into the first Borderlands and all of its DLC. After 25 levels as a Siren, the unsettling familiarity and the unsatisfying reward for the patience the progression requires ruined any desire to ever play more Borderlands

My visits to New Mombasa

For some, on a DVD rack somewhere, rests a movie they will re-watch. On a shelf somewhere, rests a book they will reread. On a disc or cartridge somewhere, rests a game they will re-play. For a piece of media to captivate someone much to warrant multiple revisits, must do something that never becomes stale.

Until last year, I never owned that kind of game, and I would suspect that its occurrence remains a rare occasion. Every year or so, usually during the colder seasons, I re-play Halo 3: ODST.

Halo 3: ODST never struck me as a game I would occasionally revisit, especially since I never owned a copy of the game until recently. But something about that soundtrack just sounds perfect to my ears. For a while I thought the soundtrack represented the only reason for my revisits, yet listening to it alone does not satisfy.

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