|45 25%||True Crime: Streets of LA (2003) - Jan 21, 2020
"A pointless, cliché-ridden mess dressed in a bit of eye-rollingly laddish "mature humor" that runs clear off the rails. There was ambition in trying to be a driving, shooting, and brawling game at once (with some afterthought stealth bits, naturally), though it's a very dodgy take on all those things, saddled with convoluted controls full of pointless "abilities" you don't really need. On the plus side, it's easy, looked nice for the time, and features a very hammy Christopher Walken."
|73 71%||Call of Duty (2003) - Dec 19, 2019
"Activision having sniped away the core people behind EA's Medal of Honor: AA results in a game in much the same spirit, but easier, and leaning harder on the "cinematic experience". Now, levels boil down to deceptively linear corridors briskly ushering you from one theme-park thrill to the next, but the breathless hustle did make for an impressive spectacle. Part of the new ease also comes from some improved mechanics, with a heavier focus on cover, flanking, and some light AI support fire."
|75 74%||Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (2002) - Dec 19, 2019
"A reigning console shooter of its day bringing in an upstart developer to give it the PC shooter treatment. As far as gameplay, the result was solid and gave them the hit they wanted. As to the campaign, it tied the series' spirit closer to the big budget late-90s WWII movies which inspired it (well at least the big action sequences and swelling orchestras—not much room to attempt teary poignancy here) with big set-pieces like the Normandy landing or a ruined town full of snipers."
|88 92%||Max Payne 2 (2003) - Nov 22, 2019
"The suddenly generically handsome Max returns, in a game that turns out rather easier than the first, in part thanks to all those heavily scripted (and sometimes amusingly chatty) enemy approaches that allow *you* to be the one setting up the ambushes more often than not this time. With even more interesting level concepts than last time, and plenty more of that oddly humorous intersection of highly-wrought madness and dry self-deflation."
|76 75%||Max Payne (2001) - Nov 22, 2019
"The flashy slow-motion may be useful and much-imitated, but it does get rather silly. Maybe it's that you just wind up using the same overdramatic dive move every two minutes at every doorway and corner to counteract repetitive ambushes. It's the big setpeice moments (especially the nightmares) and the wryly overwrought and self-critical noir narrative that really makes this so memorable, though."
|34 8%||Jak II (2003) - Nov 15, 2019
"A game that tries to jump on every trend of its moment, especially the ones least likely to improve a platformer. Jack is back, he's talking, and he's surly in a drab and gritty sci-fi cliché of a city pulled out of nowhere, where the player may experience just enough foul language for a T rating, a pointless rage meter, mediocre third person shooting, terrible open world driving, and maybe even a little linear platforming. Graphically and technically impressive it may be, but fun it is not."
|55 35%||Futurama (2003) - Nov 05, 2019
"Good use of the license with cutscenes by the show staff and everything. Levels feel rather by-the-numbers, but there's variety as some are third-person shooting, some jump-heavy platforming, and some "find the switches to get through the temple" with brawling. Would be more fun if the controls weren't so iffy. About "rental game" quality for its day."
|63 46%||The Simpsons: Hit & Run (2003) - Nov 05, 2019
"Well, if you cared for the driving missions in GTA III at all, here's many dozens just like them, gussied up with an endless stream of Simpsons references. Thankfully, there's no dodgy GTA style shooting, but there is a bit of half-baked platforming instead. Miles above most games with this license, at least."
|75 74%||Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (2003) - Oct 25, 2019
"An appealing tactical game, though it's more about playing around and building up your characters than challenge per se. The constant advancement to ever more overpowered stats can be fun if you care for the constant grinding needed to achieve them, though. The goofily energetic yet character-driven anime-style plot was a fresh change of pace for the genre at a time when Japanese strategy RPGs were generally bogged down in drawn-out "epic political intrigue" of variable quality."
|64 50%||Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (1985) - Oct 02, 2019
"Mechanically like III (other than a tedious "crafting" mechanic for spells). People have always been taken by the idea of acting out a moral role as the main goal, which I get, especially in a 1985 RPG. But do not expect the mechanics to live up to that concept. Sure, cheat and slaughter everyone a bit, but be sure to donate one coin at a time to beggars and tell some random person named Singsong or Billybob "No, I'm not proud" a few dozen times, and you're the most moral person who'll ever live"