Publisher: Software and Microsoft
Systems: Xbox 360
"Tenchu Z" is a ninja stealth game, the latest installment of the "Tenchu" series, which is set in ancient Japan. Your goal is to accomplish missions, which include assassinations, finding bombs, and sneaking past a checkpoint. Unfortunately, these missions become slightly repetitive, as you attempt to accomplish these over and over with just a change in the small town scenery and boss.
The graphics are definitely one of the high points to the game, with each character and setting beautifully made. The customization of your character is also well done as the game gives you many choices on your face, hair, wardrobe, accessories, and abilities.
This game tries to make the main way you move, creeping around using stealth tactics such as crouching, crawling, and jumping onto buildings, but it seemed to me that your character is noticed way to easily by the enemy. I found it was almost better and quicker to just sprint past all of the enemies, then find a dark spot to crouch and hide in as they seem to forget about you after a while. If you end up fighting an enemy, make sure to finish him quickly, as his buddies arrive quickly and it's extremely difficult to fight your way past more than two enemies. The stealth kills are very cool, especially the consecutive ones. Unfortunately, the same few are used the entire game. More variety would have been welcome in these moves.
Online play makes this game a lot more fun. You team up with up to three other ninjas to go through all the missions again. This time, however, there are four ninjas creeping around the map, each watching the others' backs. It makes for a more enjoyable gameplay. This game is good enough to keep your attention for a while, but isn't a title that you will continue to put in time and time again over other games.
"NCAA Football 08"
Publisher: EA Sports
Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox, PS2
With another college season ready to commence, it's time again for this year's installment of EA Sport's "NCAA Football" game. This year's game comes with some new features that are very enticing. One of my favorite features was the ability to save video highlights and photographs of your greatest plays. In the main menu, you can them access your montage of greatness in My Shrine and remember the time you broke two tackles, then juked that free safety to score the go ahead touchdown in a bowl game.
Campus Legend mode is back, and all new. You start by making your player on his high school team. After winning the state championship game, you can commit to the college of your choice. You attend practice every day, working at your position, trying to move up the depth chart. Every night after practice, you have a simulated evening event. Every Saturday, there is a game. You play in the game at your position only a certain amount, depending on your spot on the depth chart. I really enjoyed Campus Legend, but I think it would have been more fun if I could have been involved with the school and evening event portion of this mode.
Dynasty mode keeps getting better, this year with a very in-depth recruiting process. During the season and the offseason, I was riveted by making sure I got the top prospects and the ones I needed. It was fun talking to my prospects on the "phone," but that aspect could use just a little work to make it more in-depth. Making promises and keeping them kept my focus in the game. To go along with the aforementioned features, the gameplay is still fabulous. Each team has its actual playbook, and all the players, as expected. Play is smooth, with everything improving just a bit on last years' game. The graphics are great as usual.
A couple new features that I love are Super Sim and the Weather Channel Update. The Weather Channel Update is a feature that adds a touch of true realism, as the game will take the update live from the Weather Channel for the actual weather at the stadium that you're playing at. Super Sim is amazing for me because, you know, I'm such an amazing gamer. It allows you to sim play by play or to the next quarter, allowing you to stop whenever you feel the need to play again. This option is awesome for those games in which the score is 45-0 in the second quarter.
This is a great installment to an established franchise, and is definitely worth picking up to play along with your team as you cheer them to the BCS Championship!