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2653 Reviews


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Posted:
2010-10-26

Mike_Likes_To_Write

Super Gamer Dude

9.1

Dragon Age Origins is brought to you by BioWare, if BioWare brings out an RPG game you can pretty much assume that its going to be brilliant. They created the Star Wars Kinght's of The Old Republic series and the Mass Effect series, which are both unbelievably great RPG's too.

Story -- 9/10
The story is blatantly stolen from Lord of The Rings, weird Orc's looking things that live underground trying to kill everything. Typical its down to you to save the day, however picking it apart aside. The story line is not only very deep but also very clever; many choices effect not only how people treat you, if they know of you, how they think you will act and in some case's if they will even interact with you at all. The character customization is great too, not only can you customize how the look and your voice but you have your own background story which you play though leading up to the main event. Race and gender also give an eerily realistic difference to how you can be treated in certain situations.

Game Play -- 8.5/10
The game play is typical of the fantasy RPG game genre, it offers a simple attack technique in which you character continuously attacks the enemy. However you also have special moves which give you a more fun part to play rather than to sit back and wait until every thing is killed.

Graphics/Sound -- 9.5/10
The visuals, to put it bluntly, are brilliant. The worst I could spot was one conversation where the pixels didn't match up in a small section of the screen. However that was it, the sound is very good! The voice's are almost perfectly synced wand suite the characters, and you may recognize voices which will submerge you even deeper into the story.

Extra's
The game offers plenty of hidden extras which will amaze you when they become part of your characters own story. The side quest offer much distraction when you want to level up your character, character customisation makes you truly feel as if your character is unique. With the three different race's and three different class's creates a practically different story for each, which gives major re-playability (Is that a word?).

Overall this game starts well with great character customisation and background story's. Which leads into an unbelievable free-roaming world with additional (and optional) followers to aid on your battle. Throughout your choices make subtly effects to your own story line until the end in which some choices become an obvious hindrance or assistance. All of this leads to a great game with many more features that will make re-playing fun over and over again.

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Posted:
2010-10-26

Mike_Likes_To_Write

Super Gamer Dude

5.8

Sam Fisher returns in Splinter Cell Convition; as all great fans of splinter cell will know Sam Fisher is now on the run. He has gone in search for his daughters killer for revenge. If your new to the game series and you didn't know the background story...unfortunately they don't really tell you in the game. Other than the obvious remarks to him trying to find out who killed his daughter your going to be pretty lost, which was kinda a big error to start with. Especially when they talk about people you never meet and then you find out they died and your left sat there like "well why mention him if hes not in the game?" and the game (if it could talk) would say "well you should know". Which is awful stance for the game to take.

Anyway...

Story -- 6.5/10
Tom Clancy is a well known writer who would never write the same kinda crap over and over again, oh wait! The game starts off well and different from the last Splinter Cells, you are on your own and on the run from your old organisation which sounds fun and refreshing until you hear some terrorist are about to take over America. Classic Clancy stuff, which is the problem. He's done this many many times and its got to the point where the next splinter cell either has to be unbelievably brilliant or the last one for Sam Fisher at least.

Game Play -- 6/10
Nothing new other than the pretty awesome tag and kill system. In which you...tag and kill, it gives some pretty fun kills to watch but I always think anything you just watch in a game that isn't story relevant shouldn't be their. However the beauty of jumping down on to some guy and shooting 4 other guys in the head in about 2 seconds makes up for the fact you really do nothing. The control layout is different as per normal to Clancy games showing that he is "a head" of the gaming world. Takes a while to pick up but not to difficult.

Graphics -- 6.5/10
Over all, pretty good. That's about it really...
The other thing is that it gave a good cinematic feel which is a good and strong way of keeping the story going, however the story isn't that strong to start with so after a while the cinematic interrogations become a pain.

Online -- 4.5/10
While you are probably already getting the feeling that I hate this game and i am picking at all the bad points, I promise you this. The online is AWFUL, certain games are not meant to enter the online world and is clear that Splinter Cell Conviction is one of them; in the past Splinter Cells it was ok but with practically no players online and many bugs it falls short of what it could have been.

So overall I would say this game is not the worlds best, especially for the great Tom Clancy its a bit of a disappointment. For all of those great fans out there I would say buy it despite all of the above, its interesting to see the direction of the NEW Sam Fisher in a darker mood and it reveal's some secrets that you may remember. Most importantly to all new customers who are thinking about trying Splinter Cell for the first time here is what I say: BUY SPLINTER CELL: DOUBLE AGENT its much better and you don't need to know anything other than the basics (Sam Fisher is one awesome super agent). The story is way better, along with the characters and the choices that will impact on if each side believes your a traitor makes it even more difficult to make some moral decisions.

(Just like to add; some other reviews may say the opposite but I aimed this for people who are new to Splinter Cell)

Hope I was helpful =)

User Reviews

del - 2653 reviews

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Posted:
2011-02-13

Mike_Likes_To_Write

Super Gamer Dude

8.3

Kane & Lynch are back and its darker and deeper than ever. Kane, who you played in the first game, is mercenary who was convicted of killing tens of innocent people for which he denys. Lynch, who met Kane when he bust him out of death row, is a schizophrenic. Kane reluctantly teams back up with Lynch for another job, this time you play as Lynch. However they accidentally anger the Shanghai underworld and are left on their own.

Story -- 8.5/0
The story suits the game play well, the story finds them on their own. Against Shanghai underworld; full of twists, backstabs, death, betrayal and lots of blood, the story sticks true to its motive. The way that the characters are shown is perfect, we know they are not good guys but we still would hate to see them fall and die, however theres plenty of times when they do. This helps create unique characters and when we find a character dead this also shocks us back and lets us know that they are not afraid to kill off people, again drawing us deeper into the story.

Gameplay -- 9/10
The jump'y camera movements and style was inspired by the "Youtube look" as they call it. This helps give it a unique, gritty, dark amateur feel. However the cam holds its self still when you get into fights, this transition is so subtle that I, myself, have never noticed it. The layout is that of a basic third-person shooter with cover to use. A great example of how dark the game is, is a very odd one. The camera will normally blur out the image of someone you shoot in the face. While that sounds horrible and not very gruesome, when you run around and shoot some one point-blank in the face and it suddenly blurs it out, your attention is draw to it instantly and you will probably say "Awe man, I just shot that dude in the head!". However you may not say that as you are probably not a stereotypical 60's American teenager...anyway.

Graphics/Sound -- 8.5/10
The style compliments the characters and storyline well with the graphics matching a amateur video of two mad men you could find on the internet. The character detail is great, however the voice sync is not very well done. But the feel of the game is to always keep moving, hence the jump'y and rolling camera movements along with short cut-scenes to always keep you in the action. So you may notice bu just like me just sit there and think "Meh..." and carry on. The environments and weapons all feel realistic enough with time obviously spent on the more dominant areas, eg the cars, weapons, clothes and environmental reactions to fights.

Online -- 7.5
With a unique multi player and new type of online games it instantly sets its self as a unique game. It use's the lobby picking style, normally typical to computer online games, still allows people to join friends with alot of ease. Or make new friends through familiar lobby's. For a list of what online game style's there are you can find them on other sites, but a quick list is Fragile alliance, under cover cop and Cops and Robbers. For more info on what they are visit either, and/or any other game websites you know and trust. Just to leave you saying, there all brilliant online games.

Overall this game definitely tops the first Kane & Lynch and draws you into the world and thoughts of Lynch. To all new and old fans out there I say its a must buy, to new fans it doesn't matter which you buy first but I'm sure if you buy this you'll want the first so you can see some back story to what they say...so you might as well just buy that one first. Its cheaper and it will let you know if you like it.

Hope This was helpful! If so push the thank button and/or give this a thumbs up, if not please feel free give me a thumbs down =)

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Posted:
2013-04-14

moffatt

Newbie

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:
2013-05-29

ratty

Newbie

8.5

I have never really been a huge fan of racing games. However, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Gran Turismo series by Polyphony Digital. I guess that’s because Gran Turismo is more of a racing simulator than a racing game. Gran Turismo 5 is the latest entry into the series and although it doesn’t live up to the hype, it’s still a great game.

Gameplay 8/10

As a racing simulator, the way the vehicles handle is one of the more important aspects of gameplay. In that regard, Gran Turismo 5 is a vast improvement over the games in the series before it. The physics system employed here really gives each car a distinct feel. Even a teenager with a learners permit can easily tell a 1969 Mustang from a 2009 Corvette with their eyes closed. Well, if they could still drive with their eyes closed. With that in mind, this is definitely not a pick up and play type game. It will take many hours behind the wheel for a Gran Turismo novice to gain any kind of comfort level. Although, the inclusion of many driving assist options make the transition from arcade racer to simulation racer much easier. There is one thing in particular though that many players, myself included, wanted to see in Gran Turismo 5 that was inexplicably left out. Well, it wasn’t really left out as much as it just wasn’t fully implemented. I’m talking of course about the allowance of all cars to be fully damaged from accidents. Yes, the cars do take damage, but it isn’t very realistic. If you hit a concrete wall head on at 200 mph, it would be crushed. Not in Gran Turismo 5. Here it would look more like you ran into a shopping cart at 25 mph. This is one area where the game was over-hyped, as players were just expecting more from the damage system in a game that was in development for 7 years.

Car Selection/Models 8.5/10

There isn’t a racing game in the galaxy with the car selection on display in Gran Turismo 5. There’s everything from an old VW van, all the way up to prototypes that only exist in some car designers mind. There’s even a DeLorean as seen in the Back To The Future Movie Franchise. How many racing games can boast that? All these cars look gorgeous on the track too, most of all the Premium models. There are two types of cars in this game, Standard and Premium. The Premium models are flawlessly detailed and feature 100% true-to-life cockpit views. Standard cars, while graphically acceptable for a PS3 game, really suffer from the cockpit view standpoint. Each standard car only has a basic shadowy interior with almost no detail. This is very disappointing since the cockpit view is my favorite view to drive from.

Tracks 6/10

Don’t get me wrong, there really is nothing wrong with the tracks in Gran Turismo 5. The low score is based more on lack of variety than anything else. Yes Polyphony Digital added day and night cycles and changing weather, but unfortunately this great feature isn’t available on all the tracks. This really makes for a high level of redundancy when you consider the vast amount of cars at your disposal, and such a small variety of tracks to drive them on. There is a Course Maker, but it seems more like a last second tack-on than a full fledged feature.

Sound 9/10

I’m not really in love with the soundtrack in this game, but that's easily remedied with the option to play tracks straight from the audio library stored on your PS3 console. Want to drag race while listening to Metallica? Go for it. How about a 100 lap race around Daytona Speedway while blasting Taylor Swift? If you’ve got the songs on your hard drive the opportunity is yours for the taking. Where the sound really shines though are the cars and their corresponding effects. Each car sounds exactly as it should and is easily identifiable by sound alone. Plus nothing beats the thrill of blowing away that rival car on a straightway while hearing my Camaro roar like the beast that it is.

Final Score 8.5/10

Gran Turismo 5 was over-hyped and it shows with the lack of vehicle damage, poor track selection, and a failure to have all cars rendered as Premium models. Even so, there’s no way to deny it’s an outstanding game because the positives far outweigh the negatives. Gran Turismo 5 is proudly displayed in my gaming collection and is without a doubt my favorite racing game in a long time. Hope to see you in my rear-view mirror very soon. Happy Gaming!

User Reviews

Pikmin 3 Wii U - 2653 reviews

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Posted:
2013-12-17

sparks

Newbie

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

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:
2010-04-25

homer

Super Gamer Dude

8.0

Sony Playstation continues to head on the right track in reforming their successful PS3 video games into PSP formats. From their popular Resistance series, here comes Resistance: Retribution, which continues the story of James Grayson, the British soldier on a fight against the Chimera force, aliens trying to invade the Earth.

In Resistance: Retribution, developer Bend decided to do some tweaking to the game for improvement and adjustment purposes especially to more restricted specifications PSP could offer. First off, instead of the first person point-of-view, they switched to a third-person over the shoulder perspective. It does not give you the same Resistance experience but is effective for the PSP version, which also becomes a solution on the tight controls it has been developing over the years.

Because it is smaller, the PSP handheld version has several limitations and adjustments have to be made. The left stick is used for movements; while aiming is done through the four face buttons found on the other side. This is actually a good thing because of the auto aiming and target lock-on features that you have to rely on. If your weapon is at the right direction, the game itself will guarantee that you hit the opponents. You can opt for free-aim by tapping the d-pad; but this is not recommended because it is so slow.

This game also has new enemies like the Boiler, a skinny creature with a swollen head that blasts when it is near you. The game does have exploding enemies but these Boilers are more irksome because you spend a lot of bullets to defeat them; unless you shoot them on their heads, then you save a lot of ammunition. The bad news is this is near impossible with the auto-aim on, so you just have to do it manually. Enemies that blow up charges at you anytime out of nowhere, is another source of exasperation, especially if you are caught off-guard. Good thing there is a polished cover system that automatically glues you into place when you are in close proximity to a wall, a doorjamb or a box, which saves you the trouble of a blind fire or the complicated motions of holding a direction, leaning over and firing.

Resistance Retribution may not be a purely original game with all those gameplays but they are the best on PSP pure shooting games with their polished controls and consistent action. They have great graphic designs that could compete with other PSP games and even exceed in some areas. The game is very detailed when it comes to enemy graphics and location. If you’re looking for snags, it is most likely be about the quality of the audio.

Besides being able to enjoy a single-player campaign, one of the unique features of this new PSP version is the availability of a multiplayer mode. This is all possible through a local wireless connection or play online with PSP’s Infrastructure mode. Eight players can tough it out with each other in teams or in everyone versus everyone games or the most popular of all, the Assimilation type.

If you loved the Syphon Filter games, this is definitely much better. Although they have a lot more in common, the adjustments in the new Retribution has made the game a lot easier and faster to play.

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Posted:
2010-05-05

homer

Super Gamer Dude

8.2

LEGO Batman is the fifth go of Traveller's Tales at the LEGO theme but still only minimal change has happened during this time. However, even if that is the situation, gamers and fans of the dark-caped crusader, are sure to find the game amusing. The main reason here is that the gameplay used is a proven success. It is enjoyable and easy to understand. Yet all the problems in the past concerning the LEGO games, such as nonsense puzzles and the AI problem are still present. At this stage you would have expected Traveller's Tales to nearly perfect the game, but that is not so.

LEGO Batman is a unique game because it did not take its story from any of the Batman movies or from the comics. The plot within the game is kind of original; thus, it gives the creators a wide horizon, since there is no pressure to follow up with a well known story. The Batman here is not even connected with the Batman we know. It is exactly like a Batman in the toy shelf where you can create anything you desire with it.

The main idea of the plot is basically a story of Batman chasing and capturing villains that escaped from the Arkham Asylum. When you play LEGO Batman, the main goal is basically to destroy enemies and smash objects. The story isn't all that important.

The charm of LEGO is still present in the game and as a whole, it is still very funny. You have the same stoic Batman here, Robin is still same old goofy self, and the villains have remained amazingly crazy. The characters are really good LEGO counterparts of the cartoon Batman. However, aside from the characters, the background is not something to get crazy about. It would have been better to see a more creative Gotham City.

To the game's credit, LEGO Batman has everything in the mix. There are a multitude of characters spread out in six acts. In the first half you can use Batman and Robin. There are also power suits you can use. Robin can use the magnetic suit that allows him to walk through metal walls. And Batman has the demolition suit so he can turn stuff into smithereens in an instant (this fits Batman, he always wants everybody's attention, right?).

When you reach act three to six, you may start using the villains. In this plot, you can have a taste of how the sinister villains set up their master plan. This, however, is before the ultimate meeting between them and the bat. Each villain has their own unique powers. Poison Ivy uses her kiss to poison another. The joker gives joybuzzers to anyone he touches. Mr. Freeze places anyone in the cold storage. The Riddler controls the minds of other villains to make them his minions. You know the rest. But the main Batman Nemesis here is Killer Moth. Oh yes, the all popular Killer Moth that everybody remembers (That was an attempt at sarcasm, by the way. No one really knows who Killer Moth is or was.)

And on top of the story, there are dozens of unlockable characters that can be used when replaying levels. Among these characters are Night Wing, Batgirl, Hush, Man-Bat and others; which can be unlocked with each LEGO bit collected in the game (Cool, huh!)

There are many good things going for this game. The huge downside is that the problem from the previous LEGO games was never addressed. The AI presents problems; the jumps are difficult to time and stuff like that. But if you are looking for a good laugh with a buddy while appreciating the comical Batman and friends the game has created, then by all means, go ahead and purchase the game!

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Posted:
2013-05-29

kandoo

Super Gamer Dude

7.9

Taking a much loved literary series and movie franchise and turning it into a successful video game can be a tricky proposition, but Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 for the Nintendo Wii manages to accomplish the task with relative ease. The title is a one or two player co-op adventure that allows the players to explore the world of the famous boy wizard that was revealed through the first four books and movies.

Gameplay is centered on exploring the Hogwarts castle and grounds because that area serves as the launching point for each level of the game. The castle and grounds are huge, but the game takes full advantage of whatever horsepower the Wii can conjure up because the graphics and sound are top notch and could have come right out of the films themselves.

The control scheme is pretty simple, at first because of the usual combination of Wii remote controller and Nunchuk dictate movement, jumping, spell casting, and all other player moves. The game uses a submenu, easily controlled by the Nunchuk, to select individual spells collected through playing. The spell casting menu is a bit difficult to control at first, but fortunately becomes second nature after spending some time on the game.

The biggest asset of Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 is the familiar and famous characters that players get to control. Exploring the world of Harry Potter as Harry or Ron is one thing, but walking around as Dumbledore or an evil wizard is something altogether different. In typical Lego game fashion, players start out with limited character options but can unlock other characters by redeeming studs and discovering new faces around the Hogwarts grounds.

Those unlockable features are what makes the addictive gameplay of the game. Players need to find owl posts and collect as many studs as possible to get bonus abilities, like invulnerability, that make the game easier and a bit more fun to play. The co-op nature of the game requires players to work together to solve certain puzzles, which only enhances the need for certain special abilities or characters to be unlocked and playable. Luckily, this only adds to the fun of the game.

One issue in particular that changes things up for players is the split screen that occurs when players are far apart. At first the split screen can be a bit frustrating because the play area gets shrunk by nearly half for both players; however, after a few sessions, this issue becomes invaluable because both players can explore areas of the level or the castle without having to be in close proximity to each other.

All things considered, Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 is a fun game that doubles as a platformer and a puzzle game. This combination has served several Lego titles well, and it does complete justice to this particular game. Players will spend hours combing through the world of Harry Potter and facing down the challenges the famous character encountered, which makes for some familiar and entertaining days and nights.


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