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Posted:
2010-10-06

dementedde3

Lowly Worm

Everyone should know by now that Infinity Wards latest is not to be missed, and it was more than just a video game release. It amassed millions of hours of playtime and had gotten endless amount of press over the past year, making it practically a force of nature unleashed on the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Every nuance of the game as been inspected, every detail has been examined, to the point that if they wanted an unspoiled experience when their copy arrived they would need to make an effort to avoid the news about it. The developer has honed its well-worn formula to achievable and logical shine, far from shunning the weight of expectation; rarely in mechanics, it crafts a campaign that surprises with scope.

The series of Modern Warfare 2 is back on the hands of Infinity Ward, the developer that brought us Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the most significant multiplayer FPS. But between Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2 was another game that managed to be successful in its own right, which was Call of Duty: World at War, it never had a chance at being another Modern Warfare, though.

I need to get one thing straight – it was obvious that Modern Warfare 2 wasn’t going to be able to compete against its original, but that’s not to say this sequel has practically no chance of being anything other than a great game. COD4 had featured a strong single player campaign and was nearly perfect as a multiple game, Infinity Ward is simply building off this. Their mission, which turned out to be very successful, was to keep gamers interested and to add to the franchise regardless of how much time they might typically spend on a first-person shooter. Modern Warfare 2 has a top-notch online experience, a great single player campaign, and a new Spec-Ops mode that lets players test their skills in one-off missions and builds off COD4’s popular coda.

The single player campaign in MW2 takes everything a step further, but can be found a lot similar to COD4. The story is much harder hitting; they get you ready for a much more in-your-face look at nuclear attack, terrorism, and hand-to-hand combat than the previous game. Despite that MW2 is more of a mature game than the series’ previous titles, it also takes the story and goes completely over-the-top with it. It’s a military plot combined with different vehicular sequences, and slow-motion action stunts along the lines of the Watchmen movie.

The story isn’t entirely clear why certain things take place, following it can be very hard and muddled, and many of the character’s relationships with one another remain foggy. While there are some missing links they don’t really detract from the story and their almost always clear what your character needs to accomplish, why you’re on a specific mission, and the larger strategy that you are operating under. The story doesn’t quite hold up for the same period as the original, which is a huge shock since COD4’s campaign mode was a quick run through. It’s not by much but I would have imagined Infinity Ward trying to make something longer with their sequel to listen to all of the criticism. You may want to not ask too many questions and suspend your disbelief though, especially if you’re geo-politically minded. One point that’s interesting though is that you never fight in the anonymous, sandy regions found in COD4, instead the game mentions many specific places and countries which you never step foot on. Another thing is how quick the set pieces get put together just apparently after America went to war. It looks like the war has been going on for years!

This is a title that oozes a confidence built on collective experience, from the comforting and safe assault course opener. It’s the sort of videogame that doesn’t flinch in delivering set-piece after set-piece understanding exactly what its audience wants with barely a pause to load the next scenario. The commitment certainly isn’t questionable, but the politics may be.

The developer has – controversially – included an extremely graphic depiction that the player has full control over of a very specific act of terrorism early on in the game. This is something of a talking point, unsurprisingly, and to ignore the issue would be remiss.

I wouldn’t say it was deeply disturbing but the level is, without the doubt, an experience that is the most thought-provoking I have yet encountered in any mainstream game. Providing you’re immersed in the context and its atmosphere it can also be a pretty sobering experience, but you can easily skip or ignore this level if you don’t want to put yourself through a fairly clearly-defined moralistic mill. Despite the abhorrent undertone running beneath, it’s powerful in a way that videogames rarely are, and I just can’t help but admire it in some twisted way. It shocked me all the way through of playing it.

For those of you in the persuasion of wondering what all the fuss was about, as there will be a significant chunk of the gamers that will end up feeling this way, MW2’s action beat and constantly assaults the senses that proves the primary draw.

At times the visual panache and superlative gunplay borders best-in-show which is here Infinity Ward steps above and beyond criticism. Set-piece animation is integrated in an almost seamless fashion within the level design, enemies crumple realistically under fire, and you’ll be hard-pushed to spot a single respawning set of foes, which even if early reports of veteran difficulty as a direct consequence are to be believed.

The colour and lighting is noticeably improved in this second iteration, the crisp 60fps console versions are surprisingly well-detailed, and whilst the environment remains resolutely non-interactive, it’s a sheer pleasure to keep the eyes locked onto the screen when things are being blown up for you with relative frequency.

New additions to the mission structure will be pleasingly well judged, from climbing mechanics that offer up a healthy dose of tension to vehicle sections that work within the confines of the physics engine – it’s all integrated with a strong taint of talent and money behind the scenes, but whilst all this is great fun the majority of the missions will be familiar (clear the house, destroy the AA gun, follow the tank, etc). Even this is still done brilliantly, its Infinity Ward’s baby after all, and even though Treyarch may well be an improving off-year custodian, the fingerprints are unmistakable.

There is a new part to the game called The Special Operations (Spec Ops). These are short missions where you have a very clear goal – kill this many rebels, win this race, get to this point, etc. They are basically run through missions on either normal, hard, or veteran modes that are Call of Duty skill challenges in order to win stars. More stars will win you some achievement points and will increase your ever-present completion percentage. The missions include defending a point and stealth escapes, though you also get vehicle missions like a snowmobile race and a helicopter attack, even though their varied they stick to the same operations and settings handled in the game. These Ops can be fun, but not long lasting as there isn’t any way-points making the missions very challenging – you have to start over by making one critical mistake, which is not so easy when you have attack dogs and about 40 guys to kill. Anyone who dreams of getting 1000 Xbox achievement points must know that Veteran-level challenges are only for the most skilled gamers and anyone else putting in the time is going to be disappointed. Ops is a great way to improve your game while playing with a friend as it can be done in single player or multiplayer (including local) modes.

It’s all about more within MW2’s multiplayer. More mayhem, more levels, more weapons, more skills, and so on. COD4’s multiplayer has become the baseline against which all online FPS games are measured, and what better way could there be to follow this experience with MW2? With highly customizable skills and weapons and huge skill streak bonuses, Infinity War this time made sure to keep Veteran players interested while allowing new players to get into the game, with solid early level weapons and death streak bonuses. You feel like your achieving something with every session you are playing multiplayer because you are building up towards the next level. So that next holographic sight or launcher could be right around the corner. This means two things – there is a constant sense of achievement whether you were victorious or not and you don’t want to put the game down. It might not be a huge step up from COD4 but it’s still a great experience with enough changed to keep things interesting.

This may arguably be the best online FPS right now, but not everything is perfect with the multiplayer though. The game is now largely silent as MW2 has basically killed voicechat. This was about the opposite in COD4, this was mainly put down by numerous homophobia, racism and cheating. So instead Infinity Ward decided to curtail the chat, except allowing it in a few games. Most players (at least on the Xbox 360) have unplugged their headsets because the cuts that were made were large enough. Teamwork is what could have taken MW2 multiplayer to the next level, unfortunately it just doesn’t look like its going to happen in this generation.

MW2 refines and builds on the most solid of bases and is spectacular, as a whole, in all the right areas. This game has problems just like any other, but despite this it’s a game you should play for what it does achieve. The single player subject matter is often hard to follow and mostly over-the-top, but it also has powerful settings and compelling characters with a thought-provoking undertone. It really gets players into the mindset of the game as it’s a much more cynical look at the battlefield than previous titles. Spec Ops often requires a second player due to its difficulty, but it’s the single biggest addition to the game, and lets players perfect their skills in scenario-based combat which becomes quite rewarding. It’s definitely not as brilliant as its original, since it’s the same type of exercise but with a few different ideas added in, but MW2 is still a brilliant game in its own merits and stands proudly head up high above most other FPS shooters. This is a game every FPS and war veteran fan should definitely buy.

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Posted:
2013-06-21

omanic

Super Gamer Dude

8.4

Battlefield 4 on the PlayStation 4 is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) and published by Electronic Arts, this is the actual sequel to Battlefield 3 as the story continues.

The Battlefield series is about to add Battlefield 4 to its collection and, from what is so far known, it takes the war game genre to another level of sophistication. There are single player and multiplayer capabilities, with the multiplayer allowing up to 64 participants and this will almost certainly prove to be the most popular of the two. Game modes include Playground, Obliteration, Elimination, Commander and Spectator. Little is known about the first three, or whether there are more to be added to the list, but Commander mode makes a welcome return from when it was last seen in Battlefield 2142 and Spectator mode is new to the series and gives a new perspective to the play.

The Commander mode is really an overview in which one of the multiplayer participants takes on the role of Commander, and with his overall display of the battle scene, and view of the positions and numbers of men and vehicles, the Commander can direct the course of the overall action. Of course the Commander cannot actually take a physical part in the action which he is directing. Spectator mode allows a player to view the action from the position of another specified player, and in this mode the various combatants are color coded to differentiate squad members, team members and enemies.

There are three playable factions, USA China [Peoples Liberation Army], and Russia with the previous troop classes retained, these being Assault, Engineer, Support and Recon. Much of the content from previous titles is retained but there are of course many refinements and improvements both in weaponry, vehicles and gameplay. The game also uses the tried and tested Frostbite 3 engine.

Battlefield 4 has a bewildering array of weaponry among which are 5 assault rifles, 2 carbines, 3 marksman rifles, 3 sniper rifles, 8 personal defensive arms and, if your aim is not too good, 5 shotguns. These come with various optical and laser aiming and pointing devices as well as bayonets, knives and variations of ammunition. There are, in addition, 7 explosive devices including mines and grenades.

The vehicles also appear in a wide variety of forms. There are light armored fighting vehicles with their various mounted armaments, infantry transporters and heavy, main battle tanks. Then we have aircraft, both fixed wing and and helicopters, and marine assault craft. Many of these vehicles have specialized upgrades available for them.

Other elements which have been bought into Battlefield 4 is the mix of emotion, the game creators DICE decided this time round they would incorporate emotion to pull at the heart strings of the gamers, whether this will actually work is untested until the beta release is launched later this year. An example of this is teamwork, Dice stated that they want people to engage more with the on screen characters, making the gamer actually care about what happens to their team-mates whilst playing the extensive campaign missions along the dynamic landscapes in a war type environment.

If the advanced publicity, which is based on trailers and gameplay at exhibitions is to be believed, this game will be a great addition to the Battlefield stable which is currently thriving in all areas. It remains to be seen if rumors of female combatants being included are true.

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Posted:
2013-12-17

sparks

Super Gamer Dude

8.5

If you know what I mean when I say that it is refreshing when a real time strategy game attempts to do something outside of the familiar concept where several factions build structures that allow them to kill off their competition, then Pikmin 3 is a game you will probably enjoy. Alas, if you are also the type of person who swore off Winnie the Pooh as too childish when you were six years old, then you might want to look elsewhere.

Pikmin 3 is a game for those who like to tinker. It is for the mechanically-minded, the patient and the curious. It takes place in hugely miniature play areas rendered in a gorgeous 3D elegance as if they were the computerized visual notes of an artificial intelligence that travels to alien worlds and records what it sees. It is a game about cute little space people who raise adorable plants and flowers to twit and twitter through twee adventures with bizarre organisms. These adorable creatures live in a world that is at turns heartbreaking, unnerving and devastating, aimed toward neither children nor adults.

Pikmin 3 requires patience in order to fully appreciate it. Above all other things, it rewards long-term planning, careful strategy and a keen eye for observation. If the essay is about you commanding a legion of small creatures to do an astoundingly varied series of tasks, its thesis is that it's hard to manage so many independent lifeforms. If you have entertainment ADD, where you buy lots of entertainment things, but don't read, play, watch or listen to many of them, you might just play Pikmin 3 for five or so hours and then forget about it forever.

That would be a shame, because it's ultimately the best game in the series. In the original game the concept was a little undercooked, and while the time limit was a neat idea, it didn't work quite right. Pikmin 2 was more thorough, but went too far in the other direction in making it more of a hardcore dungeon-crawling real time strategy plant army simulation. Pikmin 3 nails the balance. You need to carefully look at your map, consider your options and delegate duties well, like Pikmin 2, but it has the tension that time introduces without being too short or frustrating like Pikmin.

It's best if you don't know a whole lot before you play it too. Much of the joy of Pikmin is similar to that of a child examining bugs in a microscope. If you've followed Pikmin 3's promotion and know all about its features and different Pikmin, the joy of experimentation amidst the unknown that the game fosters will be hampered somewhat. Pikmin 3 would have benefited from a surprise release because of this. However, it was blessed with an incredibly lengthy development time ranging past 5 years, so it is polished, long and contains lots of features for extended enjoyment.

Pikmin 3 is a game for armchair philosophers who can also find pleasure in the simpler things in life.

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Posted:
2013-12-17

pamh

Super Gamer Dude

8.5

Is the horizon of the endless sea on sunset evenings a sight that inspires a deep desire to see what's beyond it? Do the quiet spaces in a forest where the leaves form dappled shadows intrigue you? Do you ever wonder what it would be like to live on a volcanic isle with a dragon as your roommate?

If these questions resonate with you, The Wind Waker HD, Nintendo's Gamecube classic reborn in high definition resolution, is a game you should consider.

What awaits is a sprawling adventure in a whimsical, dangerous cartoon world amidst colorful windswept ocean breezes and the mysterious depths of unexplored islands. When young Link's sister Aryll is kidnapped by a giant bird, he sets in with a talking boat called The King of Red Lions to find her. He is embroiled in a conflict far bigger than the player imagines when his fate crosses that of a band of sea-faring pirates.

Link will make friends with leaves that play fiddles, fire cannons at monstrous sea creatures, climb a tower of light and encounter an island wrapped in a powerful gale. He can also choose to chase pigs, feed map-writing fish, confront a roving band of bratty bullies, take selfies and hunt for buried sea treasure. The adventure is diverse and vacillates between humor and pathos like a well-kept metronome.

This installment does not follow the classic Zelda formula of journeying around 10 dungeons on a sprawling land, like Ocarina of Time. The sea is mammoth, but no island is larger than a typical Zelda dungeon. Oddly, the amount of those traditional experiences is low. Instead, it subverts the franchise's expectations with bosses without dungeons and areas to explore that do not conform to the long-running franchise's expectations. The closer you are to a dreamer and an explorer at heart, the higher the chance you will be enchanted into its world.

For those who have played The Wind Waker before, the question remains: is the Wii U version worth it? Visually, any rough edges have been smoothed out, the images are bursting with renewed clarity and vibrancy in widescreen, and the journey is brighter for it. Some prefer the original look. It's like choosing between two wonderful landscapes in an art gallery -- make a choice by experiencing it beyond screenshots or movies.

Due to common and long-standing complaints, Nintendo has tweaked various elements like sailing, using the grappling hook, a certain hunting quest and the Nintendo gallery. Elsewhere, little additions like Miiverse messages that wash up in bottles upon the shore add to the dreamy escapism. A Hero mode is significantly more demanding.

Unfortunately, Nintendo says the missing dungeons were later used in Twilight Princess, but surely they could have designed entirely new ones. They've done it before with Link's Awakening, so that sounds a lot like an excuse. Even 10 years later, Wind Waker has areas that still feel unfinished.

Still, an unfinished masterpiece is still a masterpiece. Wind Waker HD awakens the dreamer.

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Posted:
2010-05-10

homer

Super Gamer Dude

7.9

Wii Sports is undoubtedly the best seller in today's video gaming, the Wii Fit bundle that comes with the innovative Balance Board closely follows and just slightly behind. Now here's good news. Wii Fit Plus now takes the place of the original Wii Fit, so aptly named, because of the many enhancements that come along with it, including additional mini games and several new exercises with the much needed extra layers of tips for calorie burning.

Nintendo simply recycled the core Wii Fit package for its latest version, which is not bad really; most of these features, the menus, interface system, virtual trainers. Balance games and strength training exercises, are well-executed and definitely worth trying out. And here's one delightful thing, you can even bring in you previous workout data from its predecessor so you can just continue from where you left off. What's more, if you haven't unlocked any of the advanced routines before because you weren't really committed, you don't need to sweat it out as they are now automatically opened for you in Plus. All other added features can also be accessed right away.

Speaking of added features, Plus does boast several worthy ones. For starters, three new yoga and three strengthening exercises have been added. Also noted is how Nintendo has emphasized putting on more balance games in Plus, a total of 15 well-planned extra modes that are really a lot of fun! The games are great but are too easy and as far as exercises go, you can't expect to sweat and shed some pounds if you just play them and avoid strength training and yoga.

The one remarkable enhancement that is likely to become a favorite of many is the calorie counter. Get this, every activity in the game has a metabolic equivalent of task, also called METs, number. Most of the mini games are assigned MET ratings of 2, which is about the same as the most leisurely walk you've ever embarked on, but the more rigorous exercises, such as push-ups, have higher rates. Here's how the calorie counter works, just multiply your weight by the MET ratings you get for each exercise you perform and you'll get the amount of calories you burned.

This can either be encouraging or discouraging; encouraging, because you can envision a scientific demonstration of your workouts, and discouraging because the outcome don't really register double or triple digit calorie numbers. Understandably, since the Wii Fit Plus workouts are relatively simple and easy, it will take you sometime to burn those calories.

Don't get disappointed now but Nintendo has decided to warn customers not to make the calorie counter as the be-all and end-all indicator of calorie burning; rather, that you are well advised to still rely on BMI or body mass index scale as your fundamental gauge of success or failure with regards to burning calories. In a sense, this can make you have second thoughts as to the accuracy of the results when you use Wii Fit Plus.

Another thing that you're going to miss with the Plus is the inclusion of any online functionality. It doesn't even have leader board features. Wii Fit Plus would have benefited from similar online functionality such as that offered by Nike Plus, which lets users track how far they've run and compare the results of their efforts with family and friends online. It is truly a major lapse on Nintendo's part not to include this feature, and offer instead a fast and easy local multiplayer mode where players take turns, which doesn't even come close to motivational.

One thing that you have to be thankful about is the measures taken to address one of the biggest issues of the original Wii Fit, which was the inability ot create a customized workout program for individual preference and needs. This time, you can conveniently go to My Wii Fit Plus Routine section and choose your own set of exercises that are designed and aimed at trimming down specific body areas. This you can do either by using the presets that Nintendo has or creating your own routines from scratch.

To sum it up, Wii Fit Plus is a fantastic way to burn some calories while simultaneously having fun. There are issues that could have made the Plus even stronger, had Nintendo given the appropriate attention to resolve it and did not ignore those few shortcomings. Still Plus is a lot less expensive that paying for a gym membership. With proper diet and by using it right, you can actually lose weight and tone your muscles, while having a fabulous time.

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Posted:
2013-04-14

moffatt

Super Gamer Dude

8.0

Starcraft II Wings of Liberty for the PC has been eagerly anticipated ever since the end of Starcraft: Brood War over a decade ago. Luckily, Blizzard does not disappoint with this new continuation of the Starcraft saga. As the story goes, Arcturus Mengsk has regained support after his disastrous defeat at the hands of Kerrign at the end of Starcraft: Brood War, but his vendetta is aimed primarily at Jim Raynor. Raynor, now an outlaw engaged in guerrilla warfare with Mengsk's empire, is shocked to discover his old friend has been released from prison: the cigar-smoking Tychus Findlay. From here the story twists and turns until coming to a satisfying conclusion, with just enough of a teaser for future expansions that could only be done so expertly by a company such as Blizzard.

The campaign itself is interesting for its since of persistence: upgrades can be purchased aboard the Hyperion that directly affect future missions. This also makes optional mission objectives much more important, as they are what directly fund these technological upgrades. The value of upgrades range in importance: from giving marines permanent increases in health to providing medics with the ability to heal multiple units at once. In addition, "xenos samples" can be gathered from Protoss and Zerg artifacts to research further advantages for Raynor's men.

Owing to how long it's been since the first Starcraft was released, and how much games have evolved since then, this new one offers a branching narrative. Raynor can choose which missions he wants to undertake and which he wants to ignore. Each of the optional missions ultimately culminates in a choice that will dictate not only where Raynor's story goes, but what units will join him in his cause. Without spoiling too much, Blizzard has interwoven decisions into the campaign that will leave many players scratching their heads as to what is the most appropriate decision.

Of course, Starcraft is known for its amazing multiplayer just as much as its known for its interesting campaign. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty holds its own as a great real time strategy game (RTS). Blizzard has shown commitment to its support of Starcraft II with its endless release of patches to fix any exploitable mechanics in the game until the end result is a perfectly balanced RTS experience. Players can form parties with their friends to participate in matches of up to four on four.

If the normal matchmaking isn't of interest, players can also join their friends for custom games. Made by the players for the players, these custom games can range from simple tower defense games to highly complicated role playing games that save your progress from one custom match to the next. Blizzard takes its custom map-making community very seriously, working around the clock to make sure these Starcraft cartographers get the support they deserve. It is through them that Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty remains such an endlessly replayable game.

Ultimately, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty PC version is a great choice for anyone interested in experiencing Blizzard's sci-fi masterpiece.

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Posted:
2013-04-14

epicure

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is the third of four expansions for the wildly popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), World of Warcraft. Cataclysm introduces entirely new areas as well as updating the game overall and revamping the original areas. As an expansion it received wide renown, generally getting ratings of 9/10 and up. The expansion was revealed accidentally in February of 2010 and officially unveiled in May of the same year; it was released on December 7, 2010.

Cataclysm expanded the leveling system from 80 up to 85 and introduced two new races, one for each main faction. The Alliance gets the Worgen while the Horde receives Goblins. The new races come with new abilities, skills and story lines; Cataclysm also gives more in-depth back stories to the original eight races.

The expansion adds a ton of new content, with IGN's review stating that you can "expect to play for well over a hundred hours before you've really touched upon everything Cataclysm has to offer." Ten new dungeons and five new raids have been added along with 3,500 new available quests, and other quests have been restructured and improved. Archaeology was also added as a new secondary skill.

It also brought a huge update to the game, with major redesign of the original two continents with new areas and a somewhat different appearance, as well as allowing for flying mounts which weren't in mind during the original WoW release. The UI (user interface) was also updated as were the graphics for the game.

The plot for Cataclysm revolves around the reawakening of a dragon that hasn't been seen for two in-game decades (an aspect of the dragon appeared during the real-time strategy game Warcraft II). The dragon, formerly known as Neltharion the Earth-Warder, makes a return as Deathwing the Destroyer. The game also makes use of the current political atmospheres of the Horde and Alliance factions, which saw a number of changes with the new expansion pack due to Blizzard's habit of having expansions reveal in-game history in the making.

Reception of the expansion was extremely good. 3.3 million copies were sold within 24 hours of release, putting it second all-time in one-day sales. Anecdotally, the game in the number one spot, Diablo III, was created by the same developer (Blizzard Entertainment). Metacritic, the aggregate ratings company, gave it a 90/100, which usually means universal acclaim. IGN gave it a 9/10 and is cited as saying that, "Cataclysm is far and away the most impressive expansion to an MMO ever made." GameSpot rated it 8.5/10.

Essentially, Cataclysm is a good expansion to a well-loved MMO. The millions of sales should tell you that if nothing else. If you're a fan of MMOs and RPG-type games, or already are playing World of Warcraft, this may well be worth your time and money. It prices for $10 on the Blizzard Store website.

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Posted:
2013-04-23

trinity

Super Gamer Dude

8.0

Resident Evil 6 had one of the most controversial development cycles of the series. Capcom expressed an interest in getting more casual fans to gravitate towards the series, and this acknowledgment caused an uproar among long standing fans of the series. Capcom's attempt to reach out to a wider audience does not go unnoticed, in Resident Evil 6, nor does it help make the game better. Only the strong points of the game, the ones that more often than not come from past entries into the series, pull Resident Evil 6 from out of the dregs on mediocrity and make it a game worth playing, just not one that is must play.

Instead of simply making one game that appeals to a certain niche, Capcom decided instead to combine four separate games and smash them into one game under the same engine. The result is the largest, most epic and most varied entry into the series, but it is also the most muddled. Rather than having one campaign Resident Evil 6 has four. Each campaign follows one or two different character from the Resident Evil series. The game's storylines intersect and overlap but each one can be played individually and has its own beginning, middle and end. The Tarantino-ish take on story telling is very effective and when they intersect it can be very satisfying. It is encouraging to see Capcom take this approach with Resident Evil, and it provides hope for where the series might go in the future.

The issues with Resident Evil 6 become apparent when the player realizes that some of the campaigns are simply not fun to play. Each campaign has its own feel and pace to it, Leon Kennedy's is a fantastic journey not unlike previous entries into the series, and is full of suspense and legitimate fear. On the other hand Jake Muller and Sherry Birkin's action-packed campaign seems like a generic pop and shoot game with a broken cover mechanic.

Extended fire fights and car chases are not the things fans remember when they think about the Resident Evil series, and Capcom's attempt to grab some gamers from Gears of War and Call of Duty by adding these elements did not work in Resident Evil 6's favor. Ada Wong's campaign is similar to Leon's, only with more stealth elements and it too is a great testament to the Resident Evil series. Chris Redfield's campaign meanwhile, falls somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.

Fortunately, regardless of the campaign, the graphics are top notch. With a greater emphasis on dark environments than in Resident Evil 5, the atmosphere is incredibly creepy, when it isn't being interrupted with gun fights and car chases. The controls are mostly solid, except for the cover mechanic, which is border-line broken, but most of the game can be played without it.

The good parts of Resident Evil 6 are some of the best in the series, and are a real testament to how good Capcom can do the survival horror genre.

Unfortunately the campaigns that put an over emphasis on action bring down the experience quite a bit. If those shortcomings can be overcome there is a great storyline and some terrific game play to be had here.

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Posted:
2013-12-17

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

On June 9th, 2013 Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released for the Nintendo 3DS. New Leaf offers players something all Animal Crossing games do, hours upon hours of entertainment. This simulation-style game will keep the player enthralled for years to come. The mechanics of this franchise that fans have come to love will not disappoint in this new addition to the series. The changes and new features that have been made are sound improvements that make play smoother and more exciting.

The Return of Successful Mechanics

In most simulation games, relatively mundane activities are played out by characters over and over. The trick to making the game entertaining and eventually successful is to make each activity fun as opposed to tedious, and to offer incentives to the player for completing the tasks. Animal Crossing games have been well known for entertainment value in the past, and they do deliver again with New Leaf. As always, the player moves into a town and builds a life there by decorating their home, catching bugs, managing relationships with the NPC residents of the village, and many other similar tasks.

What’s New, New Leaf?

In New Leaf, for the first time in the franchise the player is the acting Mayor of the town. This allows the player to decorate the inside and outside of their home as well as the rest of the town. This new feature is a large and welcome change to the previous games in which the player only had control of their own home. Starting at the beginning of the game the player makes important decisions about the layout of their village. The organization of the town and its buildings, and the decorations will be up to the player and their creativity throughout the game. The possibilities can seem endless from more traditional ideas up to a miniature Stonehenge. The more the game is played, the more options open up to the player. With the addition of the resell shop players can even personalize individual pieces of furniture, making their town completely unique from any other player’s.

Ah, the Possibilities!

Somehow, New Leaf seems to have maintained the adorable simplicity of its predecessors. This is exceptional news considering the plethora of new options to choose from. What does this mean for the player? There are new activities like swimming, new clothes and furniture, and even new holidays. With all the activities and ways to make each town unique it is truly impressive that the game has not become too busy or confusing.

Show it Off in Multiplayer.

The multiplayer from previous games is expanded upon greatly in New Leaf. When picking up this game, one expects to be able to visit the home of friends. As usual a visitor can be friendly and leave gifts, or be a butthead and mess up the landscaping. This can be done online or locally.

The new feature, called the Dream Suite, allows players to visit a dream world version of other player’s villages. In this way, a player’s town can be shown off to anyone without the fear of having their flowers stomped on. It is only a dream, so the town can be toured but not affected by the visitor. This is also a fun feature for the visitor because they can still run around interacting with the town, just without permanent consequences.

While that is all incredibly impressive, there is still more! New Leaf makes use of Street Pass by allowing the player to view the homes of every other player they pass in the real world. As long as someone has a copy of the game, their home is available to view in Street Pass.

Resort Island Multiplayer Minigames

For a more personal multiplayer, players can visit Resort Island. The resort is run by former Mayor, Tortimer, and hosts a multitude of games players can enjoy together online. It should be noted that it is not necessary to play with others online, as the island can be visited offline as a single player. This can be convenient in some ways.

The Final Word

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is so much more than just a game. It will offer up more entertainment value for the price than most games on the market, today. The new additions of content, activities, and multiplayer features will keep the game new and exciting for literally hundreds of hours. The online world of other players across the globe helps this game stay current and refreshing. From the huge changes to the tiny improvements in gameplay, the whole game has been revamped without losing its original simplicity and charm. Anyone who owns a 3DS can consider this game a sound investment.

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Posted:
2014-11-06

Garfedout

Super Gamer Dude

7.8

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare on the PlayStation 4 was published by Activision and Developed by Slegehammer Games, the video game is geared towards a first-person shooter.

War sucks, at least it does in real life. In Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare it is hard not to see it as one giant and entertaining playground. From the guys that basically reinvented what the shooter genre really is, Advanced Warfare is a continuation of their boundary pushing concepts. You've probably seen the commercials and watched the gameplay videos but those experiences will pale in comparison to getting your hands in a sweaty death grip with your controller. Released for the Xbox One and PS4 as well as the 360 and PS3, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is another blockbuster entry into one of our generations most storied franchises. Let's dive in and see what exactly makes this game so much fun.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has a pretty clear mission from the outset: it seeks to continually blend cinematic and gaming experiences until the line is indistinguishable. We can see how this happens with the addition of Kevin Spacey and Troy Baker to the line up of voice and motion capture talents for the game. Kevin Spacey plays the role of Jonathan irons, the President of Atlas Corporation. He is deliciously evil, dangerously charismatic, and always interesting. In short he's the kind of villain that you enjoy hating because you never know what he'll do next. These characters are brought to life with the type of reality that has only become possible in recent years. You can count the pores on the faces of the characters you run across and you'll be amazed by how realistic every little detail of these characters is portrayed. That's a lot of detail, right? Now imagine that level of detail while the world is blowing up around you.

The Call of Duty series has always been about trotting your character around the globe to kick butts, take names, and try and save the world. Advanced Warfare is no different. The chapter-by-chapter gameplay style works especially well as you traverse the planet as Mitchell, the protagonist for this story. You kick things off with an action packed tutorial-turn-full blown introduction mission in Seoul, South Korea. The gameplay tips come flying in almost as fast as the bullets and you are charged with quickly learning how to carry yourself on the field of battle. It's hectic, eye opening, educational and quite fun. The rest of the campaign will have you marching through a series of sort of familiar missions. You'll traverse battleships and fight your way through closed in cities all over the planet. You'll find yourself forced to take over bridges, defend them, and ultimately leave them behind. The gameplay has the traditional up and down flow of any Call of Duty game.

Advanced Warfare is set in the eponymous future but it never feels unbelievable. While much of the environment, in particular the cityscapes, feels kind of new and different it never takes away from the games tone: things are bad and about to get much worse. In fact there are elements in the campaign that starkly remind players of World War II. You'll see dark segments that include human experimentation, torture, and death. These are uncomfortable to watch but they give you the sort of juice you need to move forward and kick some baddie butt.

For fans that aren't enamored with the campaign and merely here to serve up some butt kicking online, never fear. Advanced Warfare brings the same sort of hectic, manic, and infuriatingly fun online multiplayer as the previous franchise installments. You'll find yourself weaving through all the different levels as you try to one up your opponent in the fast and furious game of modern warfare. You'll see new tactics employed by your opponents that make you furious and then curious. You'll have to spend hours online getting to a point where you can play competitively and defend your precious Kill/Death ratio.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is an excellent game for fans of the franchise and those looking to take their first mission for Sledgehammer Games. Advanced Warfare is sleek, sexy, and filled to the brim with popcorn guzzling action. The performances by the sound team and motion capture artists make this one of the defining chapters in first person shooter history.


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