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Posted:
2010-05-12

TheStig

Super Gamer Dude

8.2

If you have been ignoring the SOCOM series for years, then you might get pulled to the game this time, with the newest franchise, SOCOM: US NAVY SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3. Developed by Slant Six Games and Published by Sony Computer Entertainment, this first-person shooter game is definitely something to look out for in the PSP handheld.

Your character in this game is Wraith, a SEAL squad leader who recently put together a squad made of four men under an ultra hush-hush mission. The story seems to involve a U.S. operative behind Soviet lines and everyone that the government is sending to check on in with the mole never comes back and report. So, the SEALs are moving on their own to get to the bottom of the mystery that has been happening. Fireteam Bravo 3 puts the focus on action with the responsibility resting on your shoulders, which you probably hardly noticed in past SOCOM games.

The guys involved are on Black Ops mission so there is no HQ present, whispering instructions to their ear; no fancy intelligence using 3D; and no rescue boat around the corner. Before embarking on a mission, Wraith and company dwell upon an old map and some black and white photos, discussing their plan of attack. As things go wrong in the inside – a squad mate being held-hostage, for instance – the SEALs then react of their own volition and and move to attack almost impulsively. Another important factor that’s really quite challenging is you can choose how you and your squad may solve each situation.

Indeed, SOCOM absolutely excels in putting you (the player) in Wraith’s shoes. You can give orders to your squad, like tell them to hold their position and then run ahead to kill the patrolling guards stealthily; or you can also send your squad ahead of you and order them to fire at will to clear the path. You can also order them to kick open doors; to contact or toss flash bangs and kill just about everyone that get in your way. With this, you get the feeling that you really have your own team backing you up, as well as counting on you to lead. You get that amazing feeling of being looked up to with the guys taking orders from you and the fabulous sense of satisfaction of knowing that you are able to make your squad function like a very well-oiled machine, when you finally shut the system down.

Overall, the presentation of the game is superbly done. Every mission is presented with the right level of action and the game is also filled with exquisite cutscenes. The graphics also are very good in the sense that the environments and all the action really look good and realistic throughout the game, though one could do with more details on the in-game SEALs. The audio of the game is also nicely done with the great voiceovers and music. However, there are portions where sound drops out in some scenes, especially at the beginning. The gameplay unquestionably earns a thumbs-up; though you might wish that it was a bit harder, and the rocket/helicopter scene could have been totally dumped. You totally feel like a true SEAL when you play this game.

With all its fantastic features, this one is absolutely dream game to play.
Peace Walker is definitely one good game to play, especially if you’re the type to dig more action. This game surely has the right stuff that keeps you playing on and on for quite a while.

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Posted:
2010-09-17

Bazza

Lowly Worm

8.7

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 father’s death and gets involved with the people who hope to replace his father’s 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 it’s 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!

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Posted:
2010-12-16

ryan1980

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

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.

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Posted:
2013-04-14

payola

Newbie

7.5

Total War: Shogun 2 is the latest installment in what has been a very successful strategy/war game series by The Creative Assembly. Set in feudal Japan during Sengoku Jidai, the game has you take control of one of eight factions (more are available through downloadable content) to fight for the Shogunate, the rule of Japan.

The game has received excellent reviews by most publications since it was released in March of 2011, scoring a 90 on the aggregate critic organization Metacritic. The two standalone expansions, "Rise of the Samurai" and "Fall of the Samurai" respectively, also received good reviews.

Shogun 2 concentrates on combining two popular strategy gameplay types TBS (turn-based strategy) and RTS (real time strategy). The game revolves around the campaign map, where you make economic, diplomatic and military decisions to guide your clan to victory. "Agents" are featured; ninjas can be deployed to assassinate enemy generals or agents and to sabotage enemy buildings and armies, missionaries or monks can inspire a populace or army and also convert enemies and metsuke can be recruited to administrate a province or apprehend enemy agents. Armies and navies have "movement points" that determine how far they can move in a turn, making logistical strategy important.

The campaign map is made up of Japan and is divided into provinces. Each province contains several buildings. The capital's castle, building slots in the capital, farms and roads are available for upgrade in all provinces. Some provinces also have a port or other resource such as a monastery, ninja village or gold mine.

Battles are conducted in real time, requiring good tactics to emerge victorious. There are three types of fighting: land battles, siege battles and naval battles. Land battles are conducted by up to four armies per side (allies or reinforcement armies of your own) and are limited to 20 units per faction on the field at a time. The terrain varies widely from dense forests to open fields. The terrain also mirrors the campaign map; if you see a river by your army avatar on the campaign map, you'll see a river on the battlefield.

Siege battles happen when an army attacks a garrisoned city, whether it's garrisoned by an army or units that are automatically garrisoned based on buildings in the city. If you were attacked, you're manning the walls. You're on the attacking side if you initiated the battle. On the defensive side, all you have to do to win is defeat the attackers or last for a predetermined amount of time (ff the length of battles is limited and time runs out, the defender in a battle automatically wins). The attacker must capture the central point or defeat the occupying army.

Warships are used to protect shipping routes, trade nodes and ports, or to attack those of your opponents'. In combat you can board the enemy ships or shoot at them (arrows unless you have developed the right technology for guns, which requires trading with Europe) in order to win.

A single Shogun 2 campaign can take a lot of hours to complete, so this isn't a game for someone that is only casually interested. If you like an excellent strategical experience complemented by a good physics engine and beautiful graphics, this game ticks all the boxes.

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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:
2013-05-23

martinraven

Super Gamer Dude

7.4

Rabbids Land for the Wii U lets people play as the popular wild, buck-toothed Rabbids characters that are also known from the previous Rabbids games. This Rabbids game is a party game that people may team up to progress or battle each other to win. For example, one player may control a part of the action on the Wii U gamepad while the other player utilizes a Wii remote to simultaneously control the action on the television screen. There will be many instances throughout playing Rabbids Land where the players will be required to team up and figure out what to do next to progress to the next stage in the level.

Some examples of how the Wii U gamepad and Wii Remote are used together is that one player may steer a boat on the television screen with the Wii Remote while another player might make a blowing sound into the Wii U gamepad microphone which would move explosive penguins into their opponent. When players are battling against each other in a mini-game, it is only ever two opponents at any given time while the other one to two players must wait their turn.

Rabbids Land for the Wii U is similar in nature to other party games as well. Many times throughout the game, players will interact in mini-games. The mini-games consist of the players taking turns to roll dice and then moving the corresponding spaces on the game board. While moving spaces on the game board, players may also pick up trophies. However the trophies must be taken from defeated opponents or may also be won by the player themselves in mini-games. Once the player has accumulated up to 10 or 20 trophies, they may then return to the center of the game board to win the game.

The game board that is played on consists of traditional game board spaces like roll again, move forward X amount of spaces, move back X amount of spaces and so on and so forth. The player can also pickup powerups or be given the chance to spin the game wheel which results in board-shifting events. There are many different types of mini-games all of which have their own unique themes and gameplay modes. For example, one game has the players shaking the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk at the right moment so that flames launch out the back of their space vehicle. The second player who is attached to the first player's space vehicle bumper has to tilt the Wii U game pad to tilt out of the way of the flames. It's games like these that tie multiplayer together in fun, entertaining ways.

There's also another mode to the game called Treasure Hunt. The Treasure Hunt feature lets players engage in mini-games and collect tokens that they may later use to unlock gameplay videos. The final touches to the game involve more defined Rabbids characters with better graphics and the A.I. is also tweaked to challenge solo players better. If playing alone, up to three Rabbids characters can be controlled by the CPU to offer an exciting gameplay experience.

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Posted:
2013-05-25

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

7.6

When Nintendo and Sega first announced that Mario and Sonic would be teaming up for a title together (along with their many friends) for 2007's Mario and Sonic At The Olympic Games, the title was heralded as exciting by many long time gamers because it was the first time we've ever seen Mario and Sonic together in the same title. The once fierce rivals from the 16-bit era then saw fit to fight each other in the Wii's Super Smash Bros. Brawl and then joined up again for Mario and Sonic At The Winter Games in 2009. We were able to forgive some of the flaws in the previous two Olympic outings for these two, simply because we enjoyed the novelty and feelings of nostalgia we received by seeing two of the industry's greatest icons finally together. Now that this spell has worn off however, we have to say that the game at its core doesn't really live up to what you'd expect from a Mario or even Sonic game. It's fun in bursts, but lacks the polish of a true high end Nintendo or Sega title. The city of London does shine bright though, and the backdrop it provides does add some charm that makes this game worth at least a look.

The games in this release are almost identical to the games released in the 2007 version. But getting to see Mario and Sonic jumping around on a pretty decent cartoon recreation of the London venues and the city itself is amusing at least for a little while. Big Ben and other London landmarks make an appearance. The game has added a bit of a Mario Party feel to it, you'll navigate to the different menus through a map of the city of London that looks similar to a Mario Party map. This is actually called "London Party" mode, so it's not like Nintendo is trying to hide the inspiration. Up to four characters can compete against each other, just like in Mario Party.

Beyond London Party are the game modes you've played before. Dream Events are mini-games where the characters get to recreate certain Olympic sports competitions with a cartoon twist. When you do the Long Jump, you'll also be trying to grab rings from the Sonic series as you fly through the air.

Finally, the game does bring back the actual Olympic sporting events, but just like in 2007, these feel uninspired. There are four new games for this version, horseback show jumping, soccer, badminton and canoeing. None of these are especially inspiring.

What's most ironic about Mario and Sonic at the 2012 London Games is that the best gameplay the title has to offer comes from the party mode and the Dream Events. The actual London games themselves don't really have much excitement or replay value. Still, seeing London in cartoon form and watching your favorite characters from the last two decades of video games jump across the screen does warm your heart a little.

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Posted:
2013-12-11

monk

Super Gamer Dude

8.0

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted:
2013-12-14

gadget

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted:
2014-10-04

Fun and more fun.

tracker

Super Gamer Dude

7.8

Mario Kart 8 does the exactly the same thing that Mario Kart games have been doing for over 20 years and we have now come to expect it from them. But that is in no way a complaint because the series is all about high-speed racing drifting around corners and shooting shells at your opponent and that formula feels as good as it ever has in Mario Kart 8.

When you start a race a you are able to choose from dozens of characters taken from the Mario series, then you piece together a vehicle, choosing the body, tires and glider parts to suit your preferences. The races and tracks play a major part and are one of the main sources of depth in Mario karts' otherwise simple gameplay. I have spent many a happy hour playing with different character and vehicle combinations and comparing Mario Kart 8the handling of peach driving a race car versus the Iggy Koopa on a motorcycle. Some experiments were miserable failures but I were just as much fun because of this.

No matter who you play as you have to master the art of drifting. Drifting is a simple but important factor in Mario Kart 8, and making sure that you centre your vehicle around the corner at an angle shaves off the odd fraction of a second that would normally be spent turning and also builds up small boosts of speed. Those speed boosts are essential as in winning races on any difficulty above the lowest you have to take advantage of every drift you can to have a shot at first place. Mario Kart games have been using this drifting system almost from the very beginning, the game really drives home the brilliance of it. I felt skillful and my characters looked cool when I was able to pull off perfect drifts. The drifting system also forced me to keep my wits about me at all times, but the game would have kept my attention riveted anyway.

I think this has to be the single best looking game that Nintendo have created to date, from underwater courses to music blasting stadiums, everything is colorful, bold and brilliant, and those graphical flourishes also hold some wonderful surprises with cameos from across the Mushroom Kingdom.

There are also loads of shortcuts and hidden items, taking advantage of these shortcuts was useful against computer controlled opponents but it was absolutely essential when I went online. Mario Kart 8 features a much more robust online multiplayer experience than we have come to expect from Nintendo, I was able to create my own tournaments and rooms with a mix of roles. I could set races as mirrored versions of the tracks or turn on frantic mode in which the most powerful elements in the game show up more frequently. And, best of all, the online mode ran smoothly with no lag and with very fast flow times. If there is anything I am concerned about in Mario Kart 8 it's that a player might move on from it faster than it deserves.

Even if the game does not go on forever it is going to be fun for as long as it lasts, it does not bring massive innovations to the basic tried and trusted formula but it is jammed full with that Nintendo magic that makes it so easy to overlook or not worry about the few shortcomings that it does have. The game is such good fun that even when you lose you cannot complain.


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