Tuesday, January 25, 2022

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Sore Thumbs




Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Xbox 360

Tricked into killing Lois Lane and destroying Metropolis, the Man of Steel loses his mettle and decides that the best way to protect mankind is to rule it with an iron fist. At least, that’s what happens in one reality. The second game in under a month to embrace multiverse theory (after “BioShock Infinite”), “Injustice” creates dystopian versions of Metropolis and Gotham City in order to showcase a skewed version of DC Comics’ stable of once-familiar superheroes. Naturally, the dependably altruistic versions of these heroes are summoned from our own universe to set things right. This occasionally convoluted plot device allows good guys to fight good guys and bad guys to fight bad guys and characters from both camps to fight their morally divergent doppelgangers — all of which is standard fare in a fighting game, but rarely justified so elegantly.


So anyone who’s ever wanted to see Lex Luthor fight the Joker or Green Lantern pummel his yellow-clad twin can finally get his chance. Combat feels similar to developer NetherRealm’s recent reboot of “Mortal Kombat” (minus the copious amounts of blood). Characters have a weight to their movements that suits their excessively muscular physiques, but their attacks are still quick and brutal. Objects in the background, like cars, can be utilized in battles, either as springboards for the more agile characters or oversized melee weapons for the stronger ones. Though there are plot points designed to augment and diminish certain superpowers in order to keep all the combatants evenly matched, there are plenty of opportunities for spectacular moves, like knocking an opponent into the stratosphere or bulldozing him through the center of the planet. There’s a tremendous amount of fan service here, but even if you didn’t grow up watching “Super Friends,” “Injustice” succeeds simply as a mild-mannered fighting game.


tigerbox‘TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 14’ (E)


EA Sports

Xbox 360

The game designers at EA Tiburon must be a nostalgic bunch. Last year they took us back to the titular golfer’s childhood to replay all the important tournaments of his life, starting from the very beginning. This year, EA’s virtual time machine takes us back even further, allowing us to go head to head with Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and other golf greats who were sinking putts long before the sport was televised. These segments come with period-specific clothing and equipment, which should impress the history buffs out there. The rest of us will have to make do with the minor gameplay tweaks that are par for the course on annually released sports games.




Microsoft Game Studios

Xbox Live Arcade

Despite offering a mere nine tracks spread across Iceland, Egypt and Australia, “Motocross Madness” has a surprising amount of replay value. Each course features branching paths and hidden power-ups, so for those willing to explore new routes, no two races are ever the same. Your Xbox Avatar serves as the rider (thus finally serving a purpose), and his bike and the way it controls match his cartoonish aesthetic. With a bevy of single-player modes, splitscreen multiplayer and eight-player races through Xbox Live, you’re getting a ton of content for a measly 10 bucks.

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