Lego Star Wars II:
The Original Trilogy
Xbox 360, Xbox, PSP, PS2, Nintendo DS, Gamecube, PC
Lego Star Wars captures the fun of playing Han Solo and Boba Fett with those plastic blocks as a kid. It’s more fun, really, because your console or computer makes the laser sounds for you. Playing out like the nerdiest stop-motion animation movie ever made in your mom’s basement, the game faithfully renders key sequences from the movies with little plastic stand-ins. Even non-gamers can be persuaded to join the geekfest, thanks to the constant drop-in/drop-out multiplayer option and one of the simplest control schemes you’re likely to find in this newfangled 21st century. A button-masher in the Double Dragon style, LSWII recalls the days when we only had two buttons to mash — and we were thankful for them, by God.
Enough about Saints Row’s blatant ripoff of the Grand Theft Auto model. Give THQ credit for actually improving a few things without screwing much up. The cut scenes aren’t as well-acted, the storyline’s pretty lame, and the humor is somehow even more racist, homophobic, and juvenile. But Saints Row also offers more variety in its missions, an online multiplayer mode that’s more than an afterthought, and the ability to fake car accidents to collect on insurance-fraud schemes. Remember what the GTA franchise originally taught us: Sometimes theft can be damn fun.
Apparently, F.E.A.R. stands for Freaking Everything at Random. The game plays like a bastard love-child born nine months after a first-person-shooter orgy. Rainbow 6’s army maneuvers and uniforms? Check. Halo’s grenades? Yep. The completely overused but still freaking sweet bullet-time feature? You bet your ass. Throw in the fact that the game looks almost exactly like Half Life 2, and Sierra may have to schedule a paternity test after F.E.A.R.’s November due date to figure out exactly who their baby’s daddy really is. I’d make a joke about Maury Povich here, but I think we’ve already taken this metaphor too far. The demo is available for free on Xbox Live.