Sidescroller: A review of ‘Mario Tennis Open’ and ‘Starhawk’

“Starhawk” is in stores now.

Remember that mountain of gold Scrooge McDuck would swim through? That’s about how expensive it is to make a top-tier video game these days. As a result, developers simply can’t risk giving one console an exclusive to call its own.

Console manufacturers, though, can still flex that “we’ve got what the other one doesn’t have” muscle. Here are reviews of two.

‘Mario Tennis Open’
Console: 3DS
Company: Nintendo
Grade: 4/5
Nintendo is essentially the king of exclusive titles, and nobody speaks to that more than everyone’s favorite Italian plumber. Mario, just like Joe, may be a plumber in name only. He spends most of his time saving princesses and playing sports. Now he’s back on the tennis court, this time in 3-D!
“Mario Tennis Open” is pretty similar in layout to last year’s “Mario Kart 7.” There are tons of courts, characters and play styles. The online play, available in 1-on-1 and 2-on-2, retains the high watermark set by “MK7.” The game tries too hard to shoehorn in touch-screen and gyroscope control, but it’s still an addictive and fun game of cartoon tennis.

‘Starhawk’
Console: PS3
Company: Sony
Grade: 4/5
If Nintendo is the king of exclusives, Sony is definitely an archduke. The company has the “Uncharted” series, “Resistance,” “God of War” and too many more to list. Now they have “Starhawk,” too.

This third-person action title has a pretty generic single player campaign. The writing is lazy and doesn’t adequately capture the majesty of the space Western. Some of the set-pieces are cool, but a great many are forgettable. So why the high score? The multiplayer is seriously amazing. Like, “hold your pee in for 16 hours because you are so addicted” amazing. Thirty-two people in space battling it out on foot, in ships or however else they want. It’s the craziest online experience to be had on the PS3.


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