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Posted:
2013-05-24

plugster

Super Gamer Dude

5.0

Ubisoft Quebec based the game on the film and the Marvel "Avengers" comic book. In "Marvel Avengers Battle for Earth", twenty separate characters battle a shape-shifting band of scoundrels called the Skrull who infiltrate the Avengers by replacing them with doppelganger look-alikes who have the same powers as the originals. The remaining Avengers have to battle the impersonators to keep an alien race from invading Earth through a portal hovering over New York.

The characters make the game. Most of us are familiar with the most popular. Black Widow, Captain America, the Hulk, the Human Torch and Iron Man are part of our culture. All of the twenty have appeared in a comic book. Each character has three unique super power moves which can be chained together for combinations. As the player controls his or her character, he'll be rewarded with damage-enhancing super attack, frenzies, velocity boosts, and breakers.

Gameplay features four different modes; Campaign, Arcade, Versus and Challenges. The player can ignore the Versus mode if he wants but he must complete the rest. Combat within each mode except Versus gives the player four characters. The player can control two and the game controls two. The player can switch back and forth between the characters he controls at will.

Campaign mode has five levels and eight stages within each level. You have to complete the first four stages within a level before you can do the last four. Other than that, they can be played in any order. The opponents are selected by the game and form a loose storyline.

Versus Mode - is PVP or player versus player and takes place on one of five stages.

Arcade Mode - you play in teams, any two unlocked characters for a ten battle progression.

Challenges mode should be done first. It has a training section to acquaint the player with the moves available with each character and the controls used to move and strike with the character. Once the player knows what he's doing, he's ready for the Trials section. Twenty scenarios make up the Trials with specific handicaps and parameters and each must be completed to succeed in the game. There are eight more scenarios available through the player's Uplay account.

Gameplay on the Wii U uses the gamepad or Wiimote and Nunchuk controllers. Using the gamepad, requires players to press buttons then trace patterns on the screen. The Wii remote inputs commands through the pad alone. The Wii gamepad takes advantage of the natural movement of pointing to control the game. The controller is held in one hand (the Nunchuck is held in the other hand and adds additional commands but doesn't have a pointing device) and pointed at the screen. Movements of the controller are tracked by an image sensor which can track movements along three axes.

Uplay came into being in 2009 with the release of the game, "Assassin's Creed II". It's a network which allows players to connect with other players and gain rewards through achievements in the game. Uplay targets four specific actions within the game to earn the player between five and forty units or reward points. The units can be used in any Uplay enabled game.

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Posted:
2013-08-17

smithy

Super Gamer Dude

7.1

Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor's Edge for the Wii U is another installment of the Ninja Gaiden series and takes place after Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. The storyline features a lot of action and includes stories from both the point of view of the main character and his sidekick.

The story feature the master ninja, Ryu Hayabusa and look in depth into his character Ryu as he fights off the curse of the "Grip of Murder". Ryu becomes the main focus as a cult of alchemists try to destroy the world and create a new one by using Ryu as a sacrifice. Ayane gets her own storyline and is added in with the use of cutscenes.

Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor's Edge uses the Wii U Gamepad to change weapons, view the character information, and to perform Ninpo. Control can also be performed by using the touchscreen if the player wants to opt for it, but they do not have to use it if they do not want to. Things that players liked in the earlier games in the series are brought back, such as decapitation and dismemberment. Players can also choose between four different modes to start off in these being easy, normal, hard, and hero mode.

The game also features new abilities to the series such as the ability to have Dual Katanas and Lunar Staff. Players can upgrade their weapons by using the "Karma Counter" as in previous games. These Karma points can be used to upgrade their weapons like Ninpo spells, characteristics like health bar extensions, and special attacks. Players are also able to fight brand new enemies and experience battling on new grounds.

Razor's Edge offers a new online co op mode that lets players have the choice of using a new character, Ayane, a female ninja. She has the same moves that she normally does in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 and will allow for the addition of cutscenes if the player decides to use her. This mode also provides competitiveness for players by featuring new modes that set up to 8 players against each other or they can work together.

Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor's Edge keeps to all the strengths and controls of the series which are popular with existing fans but offers easy enough gameplay for newcomers to absorb.

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Posted:
2013-08-18

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

7.7

Scribblenauts Unlimited is a unique puzzle game that follows the story of Maxwell and his sister, Lily. The game takes players through different world levels where they are challenged to solve other's problems using a magical notebook. The notebook works by magically creating any object they the player writes in it.

This title is very similar to the previous Scribblenauts titles. In each, puzzles are solved with the same magical notebook. However, this title actually includes a great background story which answers a common question throughout the Scribblenauts series: Where did the magic notebook come from?

The game opens with the story of the notebook. Players learn that the notebook was actually a gift from Maxwell's parents. He, and his 41 siblings are raised with the best of intentions, however, they have become somewhat spoiled. The story continues with Maxwell and his sister Lily as they come across a poor, old man. He seems to be hungry, so Maxwell decides to play a joke on the man by conjuring a rotten apple from the magic notebook. The man confronts Maxwell for his misdeeds, says he is spoiled rotten, and punishes him. The man curses his sister, Lily, and she begins to slowly turn to stone. The only way that Maxwell can save her is by collecting starites. He can collect these starites by using his notebook for good and helping others solve their problems.

The game introduces players to a map of the world, where you can visit different areas. Each area has a theme. There is a school, restaurant, firehouse and castle, just to name a few. Each level has different characters with unique problems that Maxwell has to solve with his notebook. The player is able to interact with each character and can create different objects to help solve problems. For example, a character may need help putting out a fire. The player is then challenged to come up with an object that will help them complete this task. After writing it in the notebook, the object appears on the screen, allowing the character to interact with it. Players can write almost any kind of object to create and encourages them to be creative with their choices. The ability to add adjectives to objects adds an interesting element to puzzle solving.

The puzzles become increasingly difficult as the player goes through the world. All the while, they collect parts of the starite. Once they collect enough pieces, they are periodically able to visit Lily at the farm. Each visit shows how Lily continues to turn to stone as Maxwell works hard to break the curse.

Scribblenauts Unlimited for the Wii U also allows players to play in a multiplayer co-op mode, so they can play with friends. There is also online interactions where players can save and share custom objects. This gives the game a lot more content and more fun for all players. As a whole, Scribblenauts Unlimited is a fun puzzle game for children and adults.

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Posted:
2013-12-11

monk

Super Gamer Dude

8.0

First of all, I recently watched LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload which I loved. I thought the unique use of LEGO graphics was genius and fun to watch at the same time. So, when I came across the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes video game I was doubly pleased. The graphics are amazing! The style, look and feel of the game is comparable if not better than the movie. You even feel like you're part of an extended sort of choose your own adventure version of the movie when playing. I have good memories of LEGO from my childhood and Marvel Super Heroes was another favorite, so this game has combined some of my favorite things together in one, making it even more enjoyable to play.

The game takes place in a highly populated New York City and offers you the choice of a wide range of Marvel characters, both heroes and villains. Following the Marvel comics story line, the basic idea of the game is to stop Loki and the other villains from destroying the world with a super-weapon they are trying to create. You get the choice of which characters you control, and by using their different abilities like Spiderman's web action. You also get to build new constructions in the city, smash them up, solve puzzles and travel through various environments. Some of the places you will travel through are the Green Goblin's Oscorp Tower, Grand Central Station and Doctor Doom's Castle. You can also sky dive and explore the city in between missions and do so many other things. In fact, you really must explore the city in order to uncover all the secrets present within the game.

Each mission or level is quite involved and the secrets are very well hidden. Through exploring you will be able to unlock over 100 characters you can play and discover other things like hidden bricks. Every character has a unique voice and animation, making the game even more memorable. Most of the characters have multiple abilities. It's fun to figure out what character abilities are need to move past the various challenges. Personally, my favorite Marvel characters are Captain America, Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk.

A really nice feature of the game is the ability to control multiple characters by pressing a button. In order to move forward in the game, you have to use a mixture of the super-hero powers and battle the bad guys. There's plenty of humor packed in the game as well that makes it even more entertaining. During the game there are plenty of tutorials and prompts to help you play.

Overall I really think the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes game is fun for all ages. Visually, it's bright, interesting and full of a narrative that offers plenty of fun jokes. Effects like cascading water, debris flying around and super hero powers are very entertaining to the viewer. It's also reasonably priced at about $25. It's also available on all major consoles, so anyone who loves video games can easily purchase it. Christmas is coming up so it's a perfect gift for all the game lovers in your life.

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Posted:
2013-12-14

gadget

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

In a world where regurgitation is the norm, seeing the Splinter Cell series rise from a humble Xbox launch title, to the console spanning giant it is today, feels heartwarming. With that frame of mind Splinter Cell Blacklist, now gracing the Wii U library, is a success. It is originality in a world that lacks it. Unfortunately for us it is also: unpolished and clunky. Fans of the series will enjoy this latest installment whereas new players approaching for the first time will feel a little wary afterwards. Let's look at the ins and outs of Splinter Cell Blacklist.

Splinter Cell is actually iconic for its main characters minimal costume: the black suit with glowing green goggles. That image alone can tell you where the bulk of gameplay is going to be spent. This is good news, as the latest installments prior to Blacklist moved away from the strategy and stealth formula. The combat in the game is based on efficiency, stealth, and strategy and every kill can bring in the euphoric feeling of finishing off a great hunt. Moving from wall to wall, cover to cover, is nerve wracking and an absolute joy. The ability to mark out kills is also very useful.

The Wii U is not quite on the level of processing that the other next gen consoles are and the results are mismashed because of this. Sam Fisher looks great and the other character models hold up well, but the textures overall are just OK. Fortunately for Splinter Cell the graphics were never going to be the calling card of the video game.

The story of the game has Sam Fisher joining up with a new group, The Fourth Echelon, taking over for the Third Echelon, in order to take out the new baddies. If you are a fan of the Tom Clancy novels then you will probably love the story a fair bit more than I did. The usual build up is all there: twists, turns, new baddies, new buddies, and the technological thrill to the whole story. Nothing to write home about, certainly not classic literature, but it is functional and will keep you moving towards the endgame.

Let's take a look at where Blacklist starts to break down. For a stealth game, and one not installed into an open world style of play, there are too many cutscenes and after the third one in a thirty minute span, the pace begins to wear down. There are also a plethora of audio glitches, including moments where the audio simply gives up and cuts out. No excuse or apology--just done.

Where Splinter Cell excels is when you lose yourself in the game. The single player offers enough story to give you hours of fun chasing down new baddies, and the available multiplayer is a thrill: armed mercenaries versus strategic spies. There's also a co-op mode as well to add a bit of replay value. Splinter Cell: Blacklist is an uneven game with moments of real joy.

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Posted:
2014-03-29

fatman

Super Gamer Dude

6.4

Rovio has taken its pervasive game of Angry Birds and re-programmed it for this platform. It has the same birds, the same pigs and the same "do it over again and again until it works" style of game play. Rovio packaged Angry Birds (the original), Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio together so we can play the game for an entire month without leaving the house.

All computer games come from the same set of instructions; create a number of different classes of characters, give them different abilities, set some as good guys and some as bad guys and tweak the settings to make it slightly easier to be a good guy than a bad guy. Games are more satisfying than real life because you know the rules and the other players. If there's a surprise that defeats you the first time, it's there on purpose; and, once you know about it, you can deal with it. Life doesn't give us second chances, and there's no instructions or FAQ's.

Angry Birds Trilogy brings us lazy pigs who have taken the eggs of some industrious and happily self-destructive birds who fling themselves at the pigs and the structures they inhabit with reckless abandon. The birds come in different flavors; red birds simply go from here to there and hit something, blue birds split into three smaller birds, yellow birds have an afterburner which gives them greater speed and destructive ability, black birds explode and white birds drop bombs. The pigs hide behind wood planks, stones and big ice cubes. There are limitations. Red birds have very little force behind them. Yellow birds burst through wood, but ice and stone stop them dead. Blue birds bring explosive death to ice but stone shrugs them off. The game decides what type and how many birds you get and what order they come in. Tailor the aim point to the type of bird and launch. Each level has a strategy, an aim point that will cause more destruction than it should. You can find walk-throughs for each level online. At the end of each level, the game gives you a score based on how efficiently you destroyed pigs and structures.

The instructions for each new type of bird show the insidious omni-presence of the game. There are no words to run afoul of language differences. The new bird is shown doing its particular trick on the screen over and over until you learn it.

As the game progresses, Rovio adds small complications. They string ropes across certain areas that trigger some of the birds prematurely or add small vehicles that have to be pushed from one place to another. It works, making each additional level different from the last.

It is thoroughly addictive and the game looks better on a big screen than on your smart phone. That brings us to the sticking point. It's almost the same game. On your phone, it's free or $2.50 at most. On the PS3, it's $40. It's played on a bigger screen with a game controller rather than a touch screen and Rovio added 19 new levels to the more than 700 original levels, but that doesn't really change anything. It's still the same game.

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Posted:
2014-06-20

bluecross

Super Gamer Dude

8.5

Batman Arkham City is the sequel to the 2009 popular title on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 Batman Arkham Asylum and it is also a revamped version the 2011 popular title on Xbox and PlayStation 3 Batman Arkham City. Now this is essentially exactly the same game with a few minor differences in the details; for example, all the DLC from the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 version is on the disk so you don't have to buy say Harley Quinn's revenge on the Wii U. Despite a few small changes there is really no difference between the two games.

For those of you who have never played a Batman Arkham game they are sort of combination of Prince of Persia, God of War and Metal Gear Solid and maybe a hint of Assassin's Creed, it is a stealth focused combat game where you hop into the boots of the Dark Knight himself and you take down a motley array of criminals. The story in this game concerns professor Hugo Strange who has been given permission to close off a section of Gotham City and, after renaming it Arkham City, house all the super criminals in the area inside it. That means characters like the Joker, Mister Freeze and so on; all those characters and their goons will all be housed in this one section of the city. Bruce Wayne shows up to protest against Arkham City and a is on the point of closing it down when he is promptly arrested by Hugo Strange's TYGER guards. It is there that he finds out that Hugo Strange knows his, Bruce Wayne's, dual identity as Batman.

I'm not going to spoil the story any further but what you should know is that this is a very very intense roller coaster ride and any fans of the Dark Knight will enjoy it. Your main aim is to win the race against the clock to stop Hugo Strange's plan to launch the devastating Protocol Ten.

What makes this version different from the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 counterparts is the addition of Bat Mode and the armor suits. What happens is that while you are in combat, any punch delivered builds up kinetic energy in a little bar on the gamepad and, once its full, you can hit the Batman Insignia and you then go into Invincibility Mode allowing you to perform super combos and or leaves you not having to worry about doing certain tasks against harder or more well armored enemies.

The tablet controller includes the feature that, whenever you throw a remote-control Batarang, allows you to either use the control stick or use the gyroscope function above the Wii U gamepad to maneuver the Batarang. There is also a real time map so that when you are going from location to location you can always check your map to see that you are going in the right direction. Also when Batman is having a conversation over his communicator the voices of the characters that he is communicating with come through the gamepad. The game also allows you to play entirely on the gamepad so that if you want to watch say your favorite sports game you can still play Batman Arkham City while the sports game is on. Another great addition is the downloadable content.

It is a great game for any fans of the Batman series and even people who aren't even familiar with the Batman series will definitely get a kick out of this game as it is a very enjoyable and even addictive action game.

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Posted:
2015-02-19

Tasha_Merry

Newbie

7.0

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is one of the latest titles to be released in the vaunted Lego based video game series. This title, which was released on the PlayStation 4, was released in November of 2014. The game is a follow up to 'Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes'. Fans of the series will have an idea of what they are getting when they step in line to purchase this game, but for the people we will break it down. Keep on reading and find out why this might be the crowning jewel in the Lego universe.

Let's get out of Gotham.

Brainiac has returned to cause some more trouble for the Caped Crusader and his band of Lego allies. In this game, which follows up right after where 'Lego Batman 2' left off. Brainiac is buzzing around kidnapping the different Lanterns so that he can use them to shrink the Earth down to a tiny object in order to add it to his collection. This diabolical plot causes Batman and the gang to be forcibly linked up with a variety of unusual allies. The Joker, Justice League, Lex Luthor, and the rest of the Legion of Doom get in on the action to help actually save the planet. It's definitely bizarre but it works and it is an interesting way to get players to experience some of the other iconic DC characters that are out there. Fans will definitely get a load of familiar faces in this game and they will get to experience all of their abilities, too.

How does it all handle on the PlayStation 4?

Much like the other games in the Lego series, 'Lego batman 3: Beyond Gotham' puts you right back into familiar stomping grounds. You will be tasked with busting up bricks, using your special moves, and working with your partner to push the story along. The game is geared toward younger audiences so there is less of a pressure to make the game difficult and a bigger push to make the game more enjoyable. There is the occasional puzzle to keep things interesting.

As you play through the nearly ten hour campaign you will end up getting the hang of the different characters that you play as. Due to the diverse abilities of the different characters, you will find yourself switching them around pretty often. Over the course of a single mission, when stopped at a checkpoint, you will likely end up changing to a different character. It is a solid way to keep the game fresh without devolving to gimmicks. Each character brings their own abilities to the table and on the whole provide some form of usefulness.

How does it look?

The Lego video games hold a special place in our hearts for what they bring to the table. The games are vibrant reminders that it is great to revisit your childhood. As with the other games in the Lego universe, 'Beyond Gotham' provides a beautiful visual experience. The story is a bit darker than 'Batman 2' and it looks appropriately more gritty. When you are chasing Killer Croc through the sewers the visuals match that decision. The greatest thing that 'Beyond Gotham' has done is their recreating of dozens of famous and not so famous heroes from stories of old. Seeing each individual character on screen, armed with their unique costume, is pretty darn cool. Each character's personality definitely embodies that of the source material. The idle animations of the characters are even on point. On the whole, the game looks great. The interface is intuitive and it is easy to know what to do and how to do it. The game isn't some sort of graphical juggernaut, but it definitely does what it needs to do and it does all of that very well.

Batman is a sidekick?

'Beyond Gotham' is probably the closest thing to a Justice League video game that we are going to get, at least for awhile and that's not exactly a bad thing. The game offers an array of interesting personalities and it pushes you to actually use them all as you push forward in the campaign. Now I think this is a wonderful thing but it will rub some hardcore Batman fans the wrong way. At times Batman is no longer the most important man in the room. He will often find himself taking a back seat to other characters as their stories are developed and pushed across our screen. Is that a good thing? A bad thing? It's hard to say. In any event, 'Beyond Gotham' should offer fans of the Batman IP a chance to really dig in with some under represented characters.

A few special cameos?

The Lego series of video games have always done a remarkable job of treating their fans with respect but also of having fun with the franchise. That means that Batman isn't always perfect and there are goofy moments that sort of mock the original material. In doing so the Lego series has always straddled a fine line. For 'Beyond Gotham' the developers decided to add a little bit of flavor to the game. Real life celebrities Conan O'Brien, Kevin Smith, and Adam West all make appearances in the game. Conan O'Brien, the funny late night comedian, acts as your tour guide at the Batcave. Adam West makes a cameo in almost every level, through typically under the disguise of differing characters. Kevin Smith, the director and writer, also has a few bonus lines. While we can see the entertainment that these cameos provide, they might blur the line a little bit for comic fans.

A few thoughts in closing.

At the end of the day the Lego Batman series is all about having a good time. With the same hack and slash combat styles and simple puzzles in the way, 'Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham' on the PlayStation 4 is an enjoyable and relaxing game to play. There are a few minor flaws and sometimes the camera is a pain, but those can be forgiven for what is truly a golden experience.

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Posted:
2015-02-21

Jamie_Hall

Super Gamer Dude

7.4

MotoGP 14 is another entry in the ultra popular Moto series by Mileston S.r.I. This game was released in June of 2014 for the Playstation 4. This is the first next gen title to be created and released by the developers. As with many of the other Moto games, this one features a large array of different bikes and tracks to burn through. While there are many new upgrades in the 2014 release of the Moto series, it is still far from being perfect. Let's dig in and see what all of the fuss is about.

A history of success.

MotoGP got its start way back in 2008 and since then the company has only been trending up. It offers gamers the chance to hop astride a motorbike and to really feel the speed of the track. The game exists in a sort of niche world where car enthusiasts don't quite gravitate but there is still a hardened crowd of followers. The series has routinely been considered the only way to enjoy motorbike racing outside of actually hopping astride of a pair of wheels yourself. The big question that MotoGP 2014 will face is this: Does it give that same sense of speed while promising players more?

A slew of options to enjoy.

Upon booting up the game players will be greeted with a huge array of playing options. You have your standard single races, considered just exhibitions, and you have historic races as well. Though the history of motorbike racing is relatively considered 'lost knowledge', it is still interesting to hop into a race that happened in real life and to experience it in HD on your living room television. You also have your timed events and online modes, as well. There are tons of options to keep you entertained and, at first glance, this is almost a bit intimidating.

How does it all look on the Playstation 4?

As with many racing games, MotoGP 14 is pushed to the limit. There really are only two things that this genre of game needs to do well: look good and play tight. So with the gaudy PlayStation 4 schematics at its back, MotoGP continues to shine. The environment looks crisp and the colors are as sharp as ever. There is a ton of detail on your racer and the textures involved are quite gorgeous. Slow down the race sometime with the replay mode to see just how smooth everything looks. We've made no mention of the actual bikes yet but they too also look gorgeous.

Of course now that MotoGP has the official license for the sport there is a host of licensed material available. You will get to use sponsored vehicles, branded clothing, and even league tracks to race on. So if there was a track that you fell in love with watching on television you can go ahead and take it for a spin with your rider and bike in the game.

So how does it all handle?

If you are one of those guys that considers all racers 'the same' then you are in for an infuriating wake up call. Racing on four wheels is a whole lot different than racing on two wheels and it won't take long time find out. The physics in the game are on point and the terrain is varied enough to put it all to the test. You aren't strapped into a heavy machine in this game. You are sitting astride a small bike that will bump and bobble and almost flip based on the terrain that you are riding. There is velocity, physics, and the terrible combination of the two that will leave most fans gritting their teeth after another wipe out. That isn't to say that the controls are bad, however.

MotoGP 14 refuses to hold your hand once you've actually begun to race and it is for that reason alone that we have to respect the series. In a game like MotoGP, where many players won't be accustomed to how the sport is done, you will have to be willing to learn while on the road. The controls are fine, and tight, and there is definitely some method to the madness that is perfecting two wheeled racing. You will want to hit as many practice modes as possible in order to get comfortable with how to stream behind people and even the act of turning.

For those that continue to struggle there are some ways you can address your problems. There is a physics option in the menu that can be adjusted to make the feel of the bike more tolerable. Switch between standard, semi pro, and pro in terms of the level of reality in the physics simulations. There are a ton of other options as well that you can fiddle with in order to make your biking even simpler but it will take some time and dedication to get it all perfected.

A detailed campaign mode.

Once you actually get into the groove of racing things start to get really fun. As you get better on the track, including pushing your ranking up the crowd, your agent will start to get you more and better work. You will push ahead and out of the Moto1 division and into some headier territory. Your agent will do their best to negotiate you better contracts with better teams that could help out your career going forward.

Messing with your bike while in the garage is an overwhelming and entertaining experience. You can tweak your bike, change its settings, and ready it up for the races in any way that you see fit. There is an excellent question and answer mode where you tell the engineer of your bikes what problems you are having on the track. They will offer guidance on how to fix the bike going forward.

MotoGP 14 on the Playstation 4 is for the kind of person that wants to play games and beat them. Fans of the sport will find their way to a copy, but the rest of us will have trouble getting into it. Racing moto is difficult and sometimes frustrating but the rewards are definitely fulfilling.

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Posted:
2015-03-08

Steven_Shaw

Super Gamer Dude

7.0

'Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - Freedom Cry' on the Xbox One may be a crowning moment in DLC history for the developers at Ubisoft Montreal. 'Black Flag' was already one of the most popular games to be released under the 'Assassin's Creed' IP and it is definitely one of our favorites. The sixth entry in the series kicked off with swashbuckling gameplay, amazing graphics, and a ship sailing dynamic that kept us chanting 'Yo ho' for hours while our dog looked on in confusion. 'Freedom Cry' is an excellent expansion piece that further serviced the main game while rewarding those who stuck around, waiting for more comment. We grabbed onto our cutlass and dove right back into the Golden Age of Piracy for another taste of 'Black Flag'.

A true hidden treasure.

'Black Flag' is set in what we would call the Golden Age of Piracy for the Caribbean. Set in the 18th century we got to follow along as Edward Kenway, grandfather of the main character in 'AC III'. Kenway is a simple pirate who falls into the longstanding war between the Templars and Assassins. Things get crazy and pretty soon Kenway has a bone to pick with some pretty deadly people.

Ubisoft Montreal decided to do something pretty dangerous with 'Black Flag' when they changed the focus from open world urban gameplay to sea faring boats instead. As Kenway you sail a ship all over the open oceans. You attack island forts, flee from the Royal Navy, and fight anyone who gets in your way. The game brought a whole new meaning to the word 'epic' and included some of our favorite 'AC' experiences so far: ship to ship combat, including boarding. While the experience was a ton of fun we weren't ready to put it down when we finished the campaign. That is where 'Freedom Cry' steps in.

'Freedom Cry' puts us in the shoes of Adewale, our Quartermaster from the initial 'Black Flag' game. The game pushes us fifteen years ahead of the final events in 'Black Flag' and it allows us to dig in deeper to a character that deserves more story. The campaign follows Adewale as he becomes an Assassin and eventually ends up shipwrecked down in Saint Domingue. This is where Adewale confronts some of the worst, most brutal slavery in all of the West Indies. Seeing that Adewale is a black pirate with an array of killing techniques, this puts him at the forefront of a charge against not just bad people, but a bad world.

The rough snapshot of the story is enough to get the cinematic side of us hankering for a film adaptation. But we'll settle for going over what the DLC pack offers gamers.

After your shipwreck you wake up on the shores of Port-au-Prince. You are a stranded black man stuck in one of the most brutal slave colonies in all of the Caribbean. You need to get a crew and find yourself a ship in order to get off this cursed rock but along the way you also want to help those that you can. This is where the strength of 'Freedom Cry' is really developed. Adewale is a charismatic character that we are familiar with. He has also undergone personal change and growth and that makes him at least a hundred times more interesting.

Armed with solid writing, we aren't afraid to say that this is probably the most powerful story in all of the 'Assassin's' universe. The great war between the Templars and the Assassins is interesting and epic and sometimes even touching, but it doesn't resonate at a human level like Adewales war against slavery does. Perhaps this is exploitative, the topic definitely defaults with emotional resonance, but we don't care. It works.

Adewale's problems are apparent as soon as he steps into town. Even though he is a trained killer and probably the most powerful man on the island, he is still at a disadvantage. Almost every single person that isn't black is at least passively working toward hurting him. Everyone is an enemy. This means that he is almost always on his guard and almost always one false move away from a blood filled battle.

With the entire city against you, Adewale is forced to use everything that he learned in his training. He has to move with stealth and he has to avoid combat whenever possible. He also has to avoid notice. I've never played a game where simply walking in my characters shoes made me uncomfortably aware of how different I am. There is probably going to be a small portion of vocal people who hate this and loathe that the game dared to take racial matters into its storytelling element, but I feel like it should be applauded.

Fans of 'Black Flag' will be treated to more of the same in terms of action and gameplay is considered. While you are definitely going to be approaching situations differently as Adewale, the way you resolve them almost always ends up in the same frantic hack and slash, assassination attempts.

There are plenty of side quests to work through and they all revolve around slavery. You won't be recruiting local pirates to run your crew and instead you will be freeing slaves, taking on runaways, and liberating auction blocks. You'll be a virtual Robin Hood that cares more about people than gold.

On the whole there are nine missions to work through and the lack of open world explorations makes them the center of our attention. Working through these missions is a lot of fun and the game surprisingly offers you a deep experience, even confined to one big location. If you focus on the campaign it should take you about five hours to see it through until the end. Once there you can hit the oceans with Adewale if you like.

'Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - Freedom Cry' on the Xbox One is the ultimate experience in terms of DLC combat. We got to see more of a little known character and we got to feel something new from a great franchise.


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