Category Archives: first hour review

FIRST HOUR REVIEW – LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7

Too depressed to do anything other than link you to my coverage of the first hour from LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7. Tara joins in on the fun and makes some classy comments. Hope you enjoy!

LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7 is fun, but more of the same

LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7 came out on 11/11/11, but despite that, GameStop wasn’t handing out copies until a few days later, which was a little annoying and makes me want to never pre-order with them again. This is the second time in a matter of weeks where they did not respect a game’s release date–Professor Layton and the Last Specter, yo–while every other place in existence did. So I had to wait, though the waiting wasn’t terrible as I had The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to eat up my hours. I swung by GameStop after work earlier this week, got my copy, got my pre-order bonus of a Dumbledore’s Army t-shirt which I’ve passed on to my wife, and snagged two more cheap PlayStation 2 games (Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell and Legacy of Kain: Defiance, if you’re curious). Tara and I finally found some time last night and gave the game a go.

So far, it’s LEGO Harry Potter, Years 1-4 with the years changed in the title. That might seem like a harsh comment, but it’s not. It’s warranted. We’re literally exploring the exact same rooms in Hogwarts that we explored in the first game, destroying the same items, hitting the same chairs/desks with spells, and completing the same challenges, such as turning on all the torches for a gold brick. I already spent many, many hours doing this to get a bajillion studs and buy everything and complete the game to 100%, and it’s clear now that if we had all just waited for a product called LEGO Harry Potter, Years 1-7 to come out, it’d be everything and above. A shame this got separated in two beings (much like the final film). The developers even then had to come up with some way to make Harry and his friends lose all their hard-earned progress, just like Samus in Super Metroid went from hero to zero; Umbridge puts a ban out on several spells, taking them out of the selectable spells list. Why couldn’t the game read my save file from LEGO Harry Potter, Years 1-4 and decide that I’m devoted enough to let me keep everything I already learned? I’m looking forward to moving past the school stuff and on to newer, stranger territory in Harry’s seventh year. Seems like Grimmauld Place–not where Tara and I live, but the actual House of Black–will be the second game’s new hub.

Unlocked two Achievements out of 49, with the first’s name being maybe the best name for a Harry Potter-themed Achievement thus far since Solid Snape:


Albus Percival Wulfric Brian (10G): Complete “Dark Times”


Off the Beaten Track (10G): Complete “Dumbledore’s Army”

A review of the game’s first sixty minutes, with some funny comments from Tara, is forthcoming over at The First Hour. Will obviously let y’all know when it goes live. And whether or not the magic seeps back on in…

Games Completed in 2011, #33 – Deus Ex: Human Revolution

This took some time, but I finally got around to writing down all my multifarious thoughts about Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a game that did not turn out like I’d hoped. Head over to The First Hour to read, read, read.

It was hard to assign the game a numerical score, something I don’t like doing in general, but I think 7 gets the point across–by no means is this a horrible, excruciating experience. Adam Jensen’s journey through a bleak and fascinating future to find answers is quite good, but marred by many elements and too much frustration for players that enjoy going the ninja route. Re-reading, I see that I actually forgot to talk about some other things in the review, such as the hacking mini-game and the augmentation that lets Jensen read personalities and whether or not someone is lying (this was not used enough, honestly). Oh well. No re-loading now.

Actually, I’m hoping to not have to write about Deus Ex: Human Revolution for awhile. Kind of burnt out on it. As promised at the bottom of the review, I do plan to go through it one more time, guns locked and loaded, but with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7 dropping in just four days, that might not happen any time soon. Fine by me, really.

Right, another game done for 2011. Oh, and thanks, Greg!

FIRST HOUR REVIEW – Deus Ex: Human Revolution

A little later on this than I hoped to be, but my coverage of Deus Ex: Human Revolution‘s first hour is now yours for the reading over at The First Hour. Either click the previous sentence or the image above to get there. Go ahead. I’d rather you read my article than the toss-able two paragraphs below.

I struggled–and am still struggling–with the game’s difficulty, even on that middle difficulty choice, which I guess some folks would call “normal.” A lot has to do with the in-game radar and how troublesome it is to walk creep the stealthy route. I have to imagine that going into a room and popping everyone in the head with a pistol shot before an alarm can be sounded would make things a lot easier…but that’s not how I like to play. Hopefully I get better as the game goes on and Jensen gets crazily customized, but I’m not holding my breath. Currently stuck on the very first boss battle, which I’ll save all ranting about for another post.

But yeah, Deus Ex: Human Revolution‘s opening sixty minutes. I died five times. Top that!

HALF-HOUR REVIEW – Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker

Attention fans of monsters and monster-collecting!

My review of the first thirty minutes of Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker is now up over at The First Hour. Do check it out, as well as click the link on minute #30 to get the full impact of the loss of my goo friend Blues.

It’s not a terribly long experience, the review, but that has to do with the fact that the game’s opening is basically “run up a mountain and grind monsters to a pulp.” I’ve gone a little further since then, getting a platypunk onto my team and equipping everyone with better weapons; however, still haven’t made it through that cave. I’ll be sure to sing it loud and proud the moment Hodor and Team Dream Beam make it to the mountaintop. Until then, heroes!

Totally died five times while reviewing Minecraft’s first hour of gameplay

At long last, my dear readers…at long last! I’ve mentioned here at Grinding Down and more than occasionally tweeted about the Minecraft review I’ve been working on over the last few days. Well, it is now done and posted and ready for your consumption. Head on over to The First Hour to see how I spent sixty minutes in the blocky world of Minecraft!

That about does it for this post. Short and sweet.

NOTE: The images in the review are from my own gaming experience, and those are my drawings on top. I like how they came out. Hopefully you do too.

Free-roaming and not knowing what to do in Minecraft

About a week or so ago, I openly mused on my Twitter profile about how I both wanted to give Minecraft a try and at the same time…did not. The former desire comes from the fact that Minecraft-related things are everywhere across the Internet; can’t go to YouTube without seeing some video about how this person and that person faithfully recreated Middle-earth or Mass Effect‘s The Citadel or all of Westeros. Can’t visit any kind of videogame-related blog without seeing a post or two or three devoted to why this beta game is greater than fully completed titles. Crazy things like that. The game’s infecting my brainspace, and I love its trixel art style, which helps it stand out as, yes, indie, but also something different. The latter desire…well, I guess you could say I was a bit worried about getting addicted to it, hard.

Magically, the peeps behind Humble Indie Bundle 3 were listening in, and have now included a free Minecraft acceptance coupon for as long as the bundle is running. No, wait. The bundle ends in five days. So that’s not correct. Customers that bought the bundle can play Minecraft for free up to…August 14, 2011. Ten more days. Now I have no excuse but to give the game a try and see if it’s for me, if it’s something I’d like, if it’s something worth devoting time and wrist cramps to on my crappy Macbook or if it’s better to wait for the Xbox 360 version.

All of those questions will be answered. I’m currently writing up a special first-hour review of Minecraft for, well, The First Hour naturally. And by special, I mean special. Just y’all wait and see…

In the meantime, I’ll continue to roam aimlessly, punch trees and grass and pumpkins, and die every time the sun goes down. That’s been my experience so far, but who knows–it might all just click randomly. Do I really have to build my own fort?