Gamer

"Cell" out

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction hews to dogma -- and limps to a conclusion

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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction

(Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal) PC, Xbox360Read more »

From Russia with ... mutants?

Metro: 2033 is a little rough around the edges, but still impressive and haunting

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Metro: 2033

(4A Games, THQ); Xbox360, PCRead more »

Nothing's shocking

Gamer: Once more into those gorgeous ruins for BioShock 2 -- but can it live up to the original?

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BioShock 2

(2K Games/Digital Extremes/Arkane Studios); Xbox360, PS3, PCRead more »

Galaxy quest

Moral quandaries and rhetorical pickles in Mass Effect 2

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MASS EFFECT 2

(Bioware/Electronic Arts) PC, Xbox360

GAMER It took a piece of state-of-the-art hardware and a team of abundantly talented animators and programmers to get me back to the gaming basics. I'd assumed control of Commander Shepard, hero of Mass Effect 2, and I needed to weigh my many options; making the wrong choice would have disastrous consequences. As the Xbox hummed and guzzled power from across the room, the back of a takeout menu became its newest pen-and-paper peripheral — a list of pros and cons.Read more »

No escape from Azeroth

Five years in, World of Warcraft is still bigger than Chad
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World of Warcraft
Blizzard Entertainment (PC, Mac)

Most games don't celebrate anniversaries, nor do they last long enough to celebrate five. World of Warcraft is so unlike most games that its recent milestone seems like just a pit-stop on the way to its 10th, or 15th year. Produced by Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine, the Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) has rewritten the rules of the possible when it comes to computerized entertainment, smashing records of size, scope, and popularity with every new press release.
Since it debuted Nov. Read more »

Gun-derful

Borderlands is one of the rare games that inverts the current surface over substance paradigm
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Borderlands

(Gearbox, 2K Games) XBOX360, PS3, PC
Video games are a remarkably derivative medium, recycling old tropes and exhausting cliches. This is made more frustrating by the industry's relentless hype machine, which trumpets newer, better, more unfamiliar games, only to deliver tired titles bound up in a patina of pretty, cutting-edge graphical distraction.

Borderlands is one of the rare games that inverts this paradigm. Read more »

Brütal odyssey

Game designer Tim Schafer rides a heavy metal road to Brütal Legend
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>>Read Ben Richardson's full interview with Tim Schafer here

arts@sfbg.com

GAMER "The first time we pitched it, they wanted us to change the genre, to make it about country or hip-hop or something."

Game designer Tim Schafer is sitting in his SoMa office, in his favorite chair — appropriately, a rocking chair — and talking about his masterpiece. Read more »

Gooooaaaallll!

FIFA '10 kicks it up a digital notch
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FIFA '10

Electronic Arts (XBOX360, PS3, PC)

GAMER Soccer is the world's most popular sport, so it follows that soccer video games are among the world's most popular games. With such a mammoth amount of cash on offer, the battle to be the planet's premier publisher of simulated footy boasts extremely high stakes. Read more »

Autumn with Xbox

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: Legend (and other games) of the fall
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GAMER The fall release schedule lacks the marquee names and rabid hype that defined the previous year in gaming, but thumb-callused consumers everywhere should have much to look forward to following a summer of ho-hum titles.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Infinity Ward/Activision), PS3, Xbox360, PC After farming out a by-the-numbers semi-sequel, Call of Duty: World at War, to developers Treyarch, Infinity Ward has redeployed. Read more »

Happy trails

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood slings past its many faults
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Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood

(Techland, Ubisoft; PC, XBOX360, PS3)

GAMER Though the cowboy is a quintessentially American hero, the Western genre has flourished in the hands of foreigners. Famous for his "Dollars" trilogy, Italian director Sergio Leone was one of the many European filmmakers who reinvented and preserved the form, even as it became unfashionable in the U.S. With this in mind, the efforts of Polish developers Techland in creating Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood are impressive, but less surprising. Read more »