Mini Reviews: R&C, Split/Second, Mass Effect 2 DLC

Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time
This game treads familiar territory, but there are a few additions to the R&C formula that make this outing the best in the series. I love Clank's time puzzle levels. They're perfectly balanced; not too frustrating, but not too easy. Just tough enough to make you say, "I'm a freaking genius" when you finish them. Well, that's what I say when I finish them anyways. Ratchet's levels are more open-ended than before, encouraging exploration. The visuals are as lush and detailed as ever. All the game reviewers kept tossing around the phrase "Pixar quality." I'd say that's appropriate.

Overall: 9/10
The best part: There's more side missions and activities in this game, and most of them are fun and challenging. I love Ratchet's new rocket boots too.
The worst part: I'm not crazy about the way they made the space flight stuff. The controls are a little strange.


Split/Second
I really liked this fake "reality show meets Michael Bay movie" racing game at first. The explosive tracks were fun and the visuals were beautiful. The single player game is 12 episodes long, each episode has a handful of races and events in it. Around episode four, I started noticing how unfair the rubber band AI was. By episode six, I was winning (or nearly winning) races by pure luck. The AI gets so bad, that it doesn't really matter what kind of car you have, or how well you drive it. I'm glad it was a rental. I got to episode six by the end of the weekend and then sent it back to Gamefly.

Overall: 7/10
The best part: Driving off a sinking aircraft carrier while stuff explodes around you
The worst part: The awful rubber banding. I understand it's a necessity for a game like this, but it's a bit overdone.

Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker
I've played just about all of the Mass Effect 2 downloadable content, and this is by far the best. There's great character development, a chase sequence in a new vehicle, some decent humor, a few impressive set pieces, and a couple of cool reveals. If you played the first Mass Effect and you were disappointed by how little Liara was used in the second, you'll enjoy Lair of the Shadow Broker. Even if you don't care for Liara's character, this is still a really cool, and meaningful addition to the story.

Overall: 10/10
The best part: Catching up with an old character (and love interest depending on how you played the first game). Uncovering details about the Shadow Broker.
The worst part: Nothing really. I wish it was longer.

If you haven't seen the GiantBomb Quick Look for the Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood multiplayer, you should check it out. I love the Assassin's Creed series, and I was a bit worried about how that game would translate into multiplayer. Looks like it's going to be a lot of fun. I can never play multiplayer shooters for long because I can't compete with the ultra-amazing 14-year-olds. But Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood looks like it has the perfect balance of cat and mouse strategy that will be fun for people like me. I can't wait for this game.