Game review: Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon

The Rune Factory series is a hybrid game that appeals to a niche audience. It’s one part farming, one part finding a mate and one part action. That’s an odd combination and won’t appeal to some people — but those who enjoy this type of title, they will find plenty to like here. The game offers lots of customization and numerous things to do (including tilling crops, cooking, crafting, fishing, or just wandering the town to talk with people). The town is actually one of the most interesting aspects of the game, as every citizen seems to have a distinct personality and their own quirks. That’s vastly different than many similar games, where non-player characters are more robotic. Combat is challenging  — characters move freely and in a very fluid method. It’s anything but boring — a common complaint in earlier entries in the series.

Read more at Common Sense Media

Game Review: Adrenalin Misfits (Xbox 360)

Adrenalin Misfits won’t be a game that people talk about in six months. Sadly, many will have forgotten about it. But that’s not to say they won’t have fun with it today. It’s the gaming equivalent of a potato chip: fun to enjoy for a brief moment, but something that leaves you hungry for more. The controls are inexact and might cause some frustration, but not to the extent that families won’t get past it. (Gaming enthusiasts are more likely to notice the problems.) The characters are largely forgettable and try too hard to be edgy, but being able to use your Xbox Live avatar to board down a mountain is novel. Both single- and multiplayer modes (split screen on the same TV) are fun and can be a good bonding experience for families — and might get the kids excited about some real outdoor winter activities.

Read more at Common Sense Media

Video Games on Holiday Wish Lists 2010

Retail sales might be in the tank, but that doesn’t mean 2010 has been a year of bad video games. It’s quite the opposite, in fact.

While shoppers have been more picky about what they buy — and spending more time with games that have extensive multiplayer elements — there are a lot of highly rated titles on shelves and others coming soon. The good news? That makes it easy for gift buyers to find something for everyone.

Here are some suggestions that can’t be overlooked.

See the gift guide at CNBC.com

Review: Halo: Reach

Prequels rarely resonate with audiences – regardless of the medium. So when Bungie Studios decided to make its last “Halo” game a prequel, there was some cause for concern.

Thankfully, those fears were misplaced. While the final chapter of “Halo: Reach” is something well known to any fan of the franchise, the game itself is perhaps the best in “Halo’s” nine-year history. And it’s a fitting sendoff for the developer, who is responsible for creating and growing one of the biggest series in the video game industry.

Read more at Daily Variety