I have never really been a huge fan of racing games. However, Ive always had a soft spot for the Gran Turismo series by Polyphony Digital. I guess thats 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 doesnt live up to the hype, its still a great game.
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 wasnt really left out as much as it just wasnt fully implemented. Im talking of course about the allowance of all cars to be fully damaged from accidents. Yes, the cars do take damage, but it isnt 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 isnt a racing game in the galaxy with the car selection on display in Gran Turismo 5. Theres everything from an old VW van, all the way up to prototypes that only exist in some car designers mind. Theres 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.
Dont 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 isnt 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.
Im 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 youve 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, theres no way to deny its 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!
Super Gamer Dude
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.
Super Gamer Dude
To start off, let me specify my personal computer specs: Pentium 3.0 GHz processor, 2GB RAM and an ATI Raedeon X 850 with 256MB RAM. You might be wondering why; but this is very crucial to the observations below.
Flight Simulator X comes in 2 DVDs and is huge in terms of system requirements! It takes a solid 30 minutes to install it and once finished, there’s a few minutes of waiting before the menu finally show on screen. Apparently, Microsoft has programmed a code to optimize the Flight Simulator X’s settings in your computer. And after the screen has appeared there is a menu that looks like Flight Simulator 9, along with a sweeping music score straight from an Indiana Jones movie.
The Deluxe Edition includes 24 planes you can choose from. When you have chosen and your selection has loaded, you then see a cockpit. The game default places you in a virtual cockpit; however, you may still choose the 2D instrument view. The controls are rather simple, save for the frame rate. At this point, you may set your settings at medium-low. There is a chase plane view by pressing the S key – this view allows you to see outside the plane and the surroundings.
Next, you get a clearance from the Air Traffic Control to taxi into an active runway. The frame rate at this stage still isn’t good. I discovered that minimizing the graphic settings can improve this issue a little, but it’s still worse compared to FS9. And on this note, let me emphasize that FS9 runs on the highest settings in the PC I just described earlier, with no problem whatsoever when it comes to frame rates. This is why I still have my FS9 multiple third party add-on packs installed, to enhance several features such as weather, the cockpit, and other AI planes.
Much to my disappointment – and most likely yours, too when you get your hands on it – the so-called “new” graphics is not at all new but just the same as in FS9. There was nothing substantial that added or improved on the planes. Some changes are mostly on the effects, such as the cloud features and the water effects.
It occurred to me, though that this is probably because I have the settings in minimum; but that’s the only viable option. I have noted that if I set it at Ultra-high, the game turns into a slide show presentation. The minimum setting is the only way I can play the game on the PC that I have.
But I decided not to give up on FS X – yet; and still give it a chance. I went off to try missions. There are more than 50 missions in the game which includes rescue missions and cargo runs. Twenty of the 50 are beginner missions, 14 intermediate, 10 advanced and 7 for experts. The missions sound fun. And there are unique challenges that make the most seasoned pilot sweat. I have to warn you, when doing the missions, the frame rate still interferes.
So here’s the verdict for FS X. If you have a PC that is only at par with what I have described earlier, this is not a recommended game for you. The frame rate is going to be a real problem; and expect the graphics to be dull. I would recommend that you try FS 9: A Century of Flight, instead. For those who have high end PCs, however, install the game and play to your hearts’ content. The game’s strength lies on its mission and on the graphics when in ultra high settings.
Super Gamer Dude
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.
Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars is the portable version of the massively popular GTA series for the Nintendo DS. This is not a letdown, swear! It has based its controls and features on the DS features such as insightful use of the DS touch screen feature. Liberty City is still recognizable despite the limitations of the DS, and it offers a substantial storyline and a variety of optional activities.
Chinatown Wars happens in Hong Kong where a power struggle between and within triad gangs are happening. You will play as Huang Lee, the son of a powerful crime boss who just got killed. Lee flies from old Liberty City to Hong Kong to avenge his fathers death and gets involved with the people who hope to replace his fathers standing in the triads. The whole story will center on you, Lee, as you work for certain people in the triad this will involve crime and surely the triad will make a laughingstock out of you, not to mention abandon you, in case you get caught by the police.
Basically, Chinatown wars is essentially the same as the other games in the GTA franchise, but the addition of auto targeting of targets during driving and steering assist adds up to the user friendly factor of the game. GPS is also available if you would like to, since it is better than focusing your eyes on the map at the bottom part of the screen.
We all know that there are numerous side missions in GTA; and Chinatown Wars is no exception. However, it is the first game in the franchise to let you replay a mission in case you were not satisfied with your first time. Also, if you happen to fail a mission, a trip skip option is available that will let you skip the road trip and get right back on the action that killed you on your failed attempt and be able to correct the situation.
A local multiplayer support is available, but only for 2 people. Why only 2 you ask? Because its better than the story and various modes are unlocked and can only be truly enjoyed when there are 2 people playing. Wifi support is also available, but it only involves trading up codes, weapons, items, and sending out messages. This game is freaking awesome!
Alan Wake is a well known writer, he and his wife take a holiday to Bright Falls. However when his wife goes missing Alan is taken on a story that will make him question not only reality but himself.
Story -- 8.5/10
One of Alan Wake's most powerful aspects is the story, full of twists and turns it will drive you to find out more. With small cut away levels that will allow you to delve into Alan Wake's life to understand more about how he thinks and what lead up to them going on holiday.
Graphics -- 7/10
The graphics are fairly good and does feel realistic enough, but as most of it is set in the dark the lighting is the most powerful effect for this game. It is clear the designers knew this and concentrated on it, unfortunately it is sill nothing to be amazed by. Cleverly you will probably soon forget about the graphics as this game will make you so paranoid and edgy that not having the best graphics in the world actually helps the game.
Game-play -- 8.5/10 (Suite's the game)
One of the other powerful aspects is the game-play, while it doesn't have the best aiming system, the best movement controls or any real cover system. This all manages to fit the game perfectly, your character is a writer not a soldier of course he cant aim a gun very well and the same for the movement. Him getting short of breath after running makes it a whole lot scarier when being chased. As for the no cover system this forces you to keep moving into forward (into danger).
Extra's -- 9/10
Alan Wake offers many hidden extra's with parts of manuscripts to be found and TV show's to watch which will make you feel even more on edge though out the game than normal.Not forgetting some great download-able content. If that doesn't make you carry on playing the game after you have completed it, then try playing it in the dark on nightmare mode.
I hope this was helpful =)
Super Gamer Dude
Kinect Sports is totally different from other games currently on the market. This game not only captures the upper body’s movements but the whole body which is necessary for the player who often needs to use complex moves. In some scenes, these movements are a slightly abstracted. For example, the player need not run 100M for the track and field events. However, the player needs to run in place and jump when needed. In bowling where the player doesn’t actually hold a real ball, the game makes almost accurate guesses of the player’s shot.
The game also has events that the player needs to move around the play area. Kinect Sports has this unique feature almost not present with most games. The game does not merely require the players to raise arms and expect things to be done. The game requires players to estimate their position and actual movements. They need to move and hit around all throughout. It’ll surely make players sweat. Within the first 45 minutes of playing, players will be having covered all the playing area. Indeed, this is a very active game. The game is so precise that slight changes with technique and style of kicks in soccer results in different outcomes. It is also evident with table tennis where the player can use different paddle techniques. Kinect Sports is also physically satisfying with all the movements and actions the player has to make. Aside from that it also offers an engaging progressive level of difficulty. The higher the level the better the CPU players are. In table tennis, for instance, the shots get more difficult to catch in the difficult levels and the rivals seem to be more experienced. All these make the fun department of the working.
Unlike other sports-based Kinect game, Kinect Sports’ controls are easily accessible. It’s good for a wide variety of players. Playing it in a multiplayer mode will even be better. The rich variety of sports within the game keeps players busy most of the time. Kinect Sports has six events Bowling, Boxing, Volleyball, Table Tennis, Soccer and Track and Field which is actually in a compilation of mini-games like discus throw, javelin throw, and long jump. Aside from these mini-games there are other mini-games under those major events.
Kinect Sports could have been awesome save for the annoying lags in the game especially with multiplayer mode. While some games work perfectly on a multiplayer mode, the others appear to have some glitches. One game that works perfectly for two players is volleyball. All said, the accessibility offered by Kinect Sports makes it a perfect game for all kinds of players. The whole game is also perfectly rendered in terms of graphic quality aside from the snappy audio background. Kinect Sports is a great game for all sports lovers.
Since this is a puzzling adventure, the connection between the puzzle realm and the main character appears at the outset of the game which is quite an integral component of the games design. The real challenge of Hatsworth is the combination of 2 game types which will also work. When there are boss battles, every attack will make the bottom screen of no use or perhaps, you can add in the brand new puzzle areas which will require more work for removal. The 2 sections of the game will not make every section a half-game. Henry Hatsworth has an action or platform that is complete along with a puzzle game in which the size is life-like.
Although, there are basically several downsides to look into, the advantages are more superior to the bad. Even if there are knock-backs on the attacks, the game will not be overbearing. Yet, Henry Hastworth has made it a point to make the game for the youngsters and at the same time, give contentment to hard core fans. The down/attack is possibly the most influential conventional move in the game.
Considered a trivial complaint is the juggle system of the game resulting to a remarkable gameplay. But you will not have the chance to pick up some of the loot they have released since the juggle system will depend on the emergence of the pop up baddies and to keep them in the sky in combination. Furthermore, the design level is strong with very lengthy stages but you can have the chance to go back where you left off in the game once you have opened it again.
Henry Hatsworth is considered to be among the most original and well-constructed platformers in the system since the introduction of New Super Mario brothers. The gameplay is reliable and the style is witty and very funny. The characters of the game converse in a nonsensical twaddle and there is attitude found in the combination of the visuals, the designs of the characters while the sound aspect is sincerely amazing.
The pop-up combat is remarkable and is the ideal way to conceal more hardcore elements in a very accessible game whereas the enhancements, mobility, the design levels as well as the progression of the game all make Hatsworth an appropriate and perfect game of all ages. Though, there may be drawbacks to the elements in the platform, these are overwhelmed by the extraordinary and distinct mixture of 2 screens, 2 genres and mechanics that are in full realization.
The Walking Dead has been widely described as a 'point and click adventure role playing video game' using a third person perspective in which the gameplay focuses on the story rather than puzzles it contains. The game draws heavily from the comic book and TV series of the same name whose writer, Robert Kirkman, played an advisory role in the making of the game. Although the story takes place in locations from the comic series many of the characters in the game are new to the Walking Dead series.
The action starts in the state of Georgia in North America soon after a zombie invasion and its catastrophic outcome and is played out through the eyes of Lee Everett whose part the player assumes. The Zombies or 'Walkers' as they are dubbed due to the slowness of their gait are thought to 'infect' the survivors of the invasion by biting them but it comes to light later that they become zombies themselves irrespective of the manner of their death.
Lee Everett, the principal character in the story was once a university Professor who was convicted for the murder of a senator who became a little too friendly with his wife. There are many other characters in the tale with various backgrounds who interact with each other in somewhat complex ways.
As well as Everett, the main cast consists of:-
Clementine a girl eight years of age to whom Everett becomes a sort of father substitute.
Kenny, Katjaa his Belgian wife and Kenny junior ( nicknamed Duck )form a family form Florida. Kenny is a fisherman and his wife a vet.
Lilley who is or was stationed at an US airbase and who comes along with a bunch of survivors including Larry her father and Carley a newspaper reporter who are both aware of Everett's murky past.
There are many others too numerous to name here but who come from all walks of life and who form a rather unlikely bunch. Many are introduced as the story moves on through the five consecutive episodes into which the overall narrative is split.
Although the interaction between this motley crew of characters can become quite complex, although a little contrived, the main story is as follows:-
We start as Everett, form now on referred to as Lee, is being transported to prison and the vehicle he and his escorts are in flattens an unwary pedestrian and leaves the road leaving the vehicle's passengers unconscious. Lee regains his senses some hours later only to find that the officer escorting him is now a Zombie and Lee thinks it is expedient to kill him.
Taking refuge in a nearby house and discovers Clementine hiding in a tree house and on discovering that her parents were not with her he offers to take her under his wing and to help search for them. They travel on to a neighboring farm where the meet the aforementioned Kenny and his family. They travel on as a group and meet up with other survivors and hole up in a drugstore owned, unknown to the rest of the group, by one of Lee's family. After accidentally setting of the store's alarm so drawing attention to themselves they make a run to a motel intending to use it for a defensive position.
All is well and they are safe from Walkers but unfortunately being human they need to eat and are fast running out of food. They are then approached by a family called called St.Johns who own, of all things, a dairy. But it is soon discovered that the St.John's diet is not limited to milk products as they have dabbled in a little cannibalism. The group must flee once more when Walkers and bandits, who are in cahoots with the St.Johns
This more or less sets the tone for the rest of the action and there are too many events and complications to describe in a short review. But the group and others with which they meet move from crisis to crisis fighting off Zombie attacks and losing some of their number along the way. The closing shot does show Clementine and two figures in the distance, are they her parents, wait and see.
The game has the usual character and object interactions with many choices to be made which affect the other game characters' reaction to the main character Lee. Major decisions need to be made at the start of the five episodes into which the overall tale is broken down and although these decisions affect the episodic outcomes they can each be completed irrespective of the choices made. On the whole it is fair to say that the complex interactions are more in number than in most games of this genre. Beware that some of the decisions are time limited and so quick thinking is needed.
There is a useful save function and a facility to rewind as it were to an earlier stage and reverse previously made choices. There is also an optional 'choice notification' feature which can be switched on indicating how choices made in play affect the relationship of the characters to the main mover Lee.
Graphics and audio are, needless to say of the excellent quality expected of a game which has undergone such long development.
Super Gamer Dude
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.