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Posted:
2010-12-28

smithy

Super Gamer Dude

8.5

Sonic Colors Wii edition might well be SEGA's redemption yet as it proves once again the embodiment of SEGA excellence in this final offering for 2010. Although not quite flawless, Sonic Colors offers more than enough excitement rather than disappointments in this new adventure, with great looks, flashy abilities and breezy action, making this entry much more creditable compared to other offerings in an occasionally wobbly franchise. Saving the best for last, SEGA ultimately came up with a Sonic that's as vivaciously modern and fun as it can get.

Sonic Colors starts at a peculiar place created by Dr. Eggman Robotnik where the Wisp's planet is trapped and its power-granting alien creatures are held captive by the evil doctor. The astonishing beauty of Sonic Colors appears to be a fantastically wacky combination of Super Mario Galaxy, Captain Eo, and Tron, which incorporates all the Sonic indispensable essentials, from the casino to the grassy meadows of the Wisps' home planet. Among my personal preferences that many of my mates likewise find fabulous are the Starlight Carnival where you can witness the endearing blue hedgehog zip through space on an energy road and the Sweet Mountain scene from which you get a glimpse of Sonic racing trenches of popcorn flanking huge mounds of cake. Sonic Colors is undoubtedly the most excellent graphics on Wii in 2010, with its outstanding lighting and marvelous animation.

The gameplay itself is a pleasant surprise; already, the remarkably crafted smart and precise controls are astounding, but the presence of the wisps adds another dimension to the game where each wisp color corresponds to a certain power that Sonic can use. There are 8 colored wisps which give Sonic the extra quirks to some of its fascinating basic moves and abilities.

The addition of the new features in the gameplay is anything but lackluster and can absolutely test the capability of a diehard Sonic fan with unexpected twists and turns as you continue to explore the game that comes with amazing design and intricacies of the most intriguing puzzle concept ever. Sonic Colors definitely challenges your prowess through numerous paths, which you can only explore every time you secure a new Wisp that grants you a specific power.

The creators of the game made a near perfect work of blending the new and the old aspects of platforming that Sonic games are famous for. It provides a fresh and distinct flavor into the game as the players experience the evolution of the game in the last twenty years of its inception.

However, as colorful and wonderful as it gets, the game has its loopholes. There are certain parts of the game that are ridiculously too-easy and illogical they take the challenge out of the game. These areas are so downright dreary it even made me toss my Wii Remote and nunchuk from sheer disappointment. Worse, there's no other way to go around it but finish each stage of every world to make headway in the game. These parts with underhanded design seem like death-generators and are the main problems in Sonic Colors. The lack of warp pipes and alternate paths to create a fast traveling game necessitates following the long routes; a monotonous approach that plainly kills the fun in the game. Towards to the end of the game, checkpoints could not be located, making me waste a good three minutes stuck on the same level, throwing life after life and doing the same maneuver over and over.

Despite the few flaws that spoil an otherwise totally splendid gaming experience, Sonic Colors still ends up quite an awesome experience overall. This is one game that Sonic fans and Wii owners shouldn't miss grabbing. As an indicator of future offerings from SEGA, Sonic Colors undoubtedly delivers a taste of forthcoming treats.

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Posted:
2013-04-14

payola

Super Gamer Dude

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:
2013-05-24

plugster

Super Gamer Dude

5.0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted:
2013-08-17

smithy

Super Gamer Dude

7.1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted:
2013-08-18

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

7.7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted:
2013-12-17

kandoo

Super Gamer Dude

8.0

Featuring player characters who are either plumbers or strange mushroom people, and journeying through lands that turn you into a flying squirrel simply by touching acorns, it will surprise absolutely no one to learn a Mario game is peculiar. Even Mario DLC is strange.

That's what New Super Luigi U is. Though you can buy the game in a retail package, like most DLC, it was designed to be downloaded and played as a companion to the main game. New Luigi U contains nearly the same multi-player setup, graphics, sounds, and game mechanics from its brother title, New Super Mario Bros. U. Although there's an unlockable that will take players a step closer to Mario, you can't actually play as the more famous brother. As a piece that fits into a whole, it is prudent to keep in mind that the levels are shorter, and while multiplayer is available, elements like the Challenge Mode are not.

While some levels are modifications of earlier ones into significantly altered forms, others are entirely brand new. What they all share is a 100 second time limit and a tall, lanky, green, skittish, mustachioed coward who sweats out "Whew! I did it!" when you make it through. Like Mario U, this is an adventure through 80 or so levels of 2D platforming. Unlike Mario U, Nintendo's designers seem to have been cackling like mad scientists while making it.

Whether you will enjoy it has little to do with how much you enjoy flipping and flopping through bizarrely fantastic physical landscapes that play out like Rube Goldberg machines filtered through the minds of Roald Dahl, Salvador Dali and Hello Kitty, which is a "typical" Mario experience. It has more to do with whether you're the type of player who can enjoy mastering extremely precise demands on your trigger finger. These demands play out like being asked to thread a hyper, wobbling needle through a hole that's doing the limbo while drunk. If you don't like trying again when you don't succeed the first few times, Luigi U may be a little intense and cause anger issues.

(And if you just find it too unbelievably cruel, there is a secret that allows you to play as usually multi-player-only character Nabbit. This guy is a strange thief who appeared in the original as an enemy. He can't be hit by enemies or collect power-ups, which is like entering an invincibility mode of sorts.)

This is not to say the levels are poorly designed. Each stage is devoted to the idea of the younger brother's wonky momentum. A bevy of surprises and laughs are waiting for those who appreciate that Nintendo is top of the class for making these types of games. However, considering how much more the levels bear repetition, it would have been nice if there was an easier way to repeat them without going through multiple, irritating steps.

Just like Luigi himself, this game is New Super Mario Bros. U's lesser-known, more unique, loopier brother.

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Posted:
2014-03-29

fatman

Super Gamer Dude

6.4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted:
2014-05-17

What does Yoshi's New Island actually have? Not a whole lot.

homer

Super Gamer Dude

7.0

Marketed as the sequel to Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island for the Super Nintendo is a somewhat contentious game in certain circles. Some people believe that it is one of the best games that Nintendo has ever made with original graphics and fresh gameplay for the time, while others believe that those same qualities make the game awful and a stain on Nintendo's record. With Yoshi's New Island, Nintendo has managed to do something that I wouldn't have thought possible - they've made a game that doesn't make either camp happy.

Put simply, Yoshi's New Island throws away that really made the original game so interesting for so many people - its uniqueness. Unlike other Yoshi-centric titles like Yoshi's Story, Yoshi's New Island does absolutely nothing to distinguish itself as a new game. Other than the graphics, pretty much everything about Yoshi's New Island could be done on the Super Nintendo.

Even that new more modern graphical style that Nintendo has adopted takes away from the charm of the Yoshi's Island series, however. Instead of hte beautiful and unique style that typified the Super Nintendo game, New Island uses a mostly generic Mario artstyle.

The gameplay, while it has not been modernized or changed in any significant way hasn't really changed at all. There is nothing interesting going on if you've played the first Yoshi's Island - but perhaps that is New Island's biggest strength. People that have some sort of strong opinion on the original Super Nintendo game will more than likely not be huge fans of the new game - but people who have never touched a Yoshi's Island game in the past could certainly find a lot of fun in the new one.

Of course, that would make the assumption that they haven't really played a large amount of side scrolling platformers either. Like so many other Nintendo platformers, Yoshi's New Island starts off relatively easy. Most Nintendo platformers would then take a sharp turn upwards in difficulty after the first few levels - but not New Island. Instead, the game waits until the last few levels before it finally becomes as difficult as you would expect a Nintendo platformer to be. Indeed, many levels of the Super Nintendo game were notoriously difficult, and in losing that the game loses another part of its charm.

Without it's charm, what does Yoshi's New Island actually have? Not a whole lot. Without the charm that made the original game so interesting, Yoshi's New Island has become yet another bland platformer in a sea of similar titles on the 3DS - many of them from the same company. New Island is a valiant attempt at recapturing the flame of the original title, but it is clear that the people who developed this game did not quite understand what people really loved about the Super Nintendo game.

The original game was not so beloved because it had a fun egg throwing mechanic - that was probably the worst part, and has always been somewhat clunky. The original game was fantastic because it was doing something that Nintendo had always seemed reluctant to do - try new things. In a world where Nintendo is churning out the same games year after year in an attempt to boost sales of their hardware platforms, the degradation of such a unique franchise like Yoshi's Island stands out as even worse as it would have been otherwise. Yoshi's New Island is by no means a bad game, and is probably worth picking up on a sale or a rental, but no one should pay full price.

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Posted:
2014-06-16

Excellent.

notty

Super Gamer Dude

7.3

Borderlands 2 is the sequel to the acclaimed Borderlands by 2k and Gearbox. In this latest offering you start as a new vault hunter, stranded in snow barren wasteland after Handsome Jack (The leader of Hyperion) tried to murder you on the way to Pandora. You are then escorted to safety by Claptrap, your favorite robot back from the first Borderlands.

If you played Borderlands 1, the scenery in 2 will make you feel right at home, the barren wastelands only inhabited by the insane nomads of Pandora, and the cold steel of hyperion robots. The environment is beautiful in its own way though, and very polished. From epic desert environments to Deep ice caverns, Borderlands 2 is definitely not an eyesore.

The actual gameplay is very smooth, just like the first Borderlands, moving is smooth, aiming and shooting very consistent and easy. Picking up items though, is still a bit clunky and difficult.

The skill trees are back, basically a replica of the original Borderlands. They have some all new original classes, that are influenced by the original classes. The new classes are, Salvador the Gunzerker, Zer0 the Assassin, Maya the Siren, Axton the Commando, Gaige the Mechromancer.

Salvador the Gunzerker is a dual wielding raging bull. He is inspired by Brick of the original game. He has the ability to wield any 2 weapons at the same time, with increased damage, bullet, and health regeneration. He has the ability to dish out some incredibly insane damage with 2 launchers.

Zer0 The assassin is the sniper/melee class of Borderlands 2. He has a very cool stealth ability, which increases the first damage you do when you exit it. He can pull off some crazy critical hits out of stealth. He is inspired by Mordecai of Borderlands 1. Zero is the best hunter for the killing of any single enemy quickly.

Maya the Siren, is indeed a siren, like Lilith from Borderlands 1. Maya has a new ability in Borderlands 2, Phaselock. Phaselock suspends enemies midair, temporarily preventing them from moving or attacking. She is a great team player as she has crowd control and healing in her skill trees.

Axton the Commando is inspired by Roland, the original soldier from Borderlands 1. Just like Roland, this Commando can drop a Sabre Turret during a fight. You can build your Commando to have 2 crazy turrets at once, To be an insanely hard hunter to kill, or to increase your skills and damage when your turret is deployed. The commando is a very versatile and defensive hunter.

Gaige the Mechromancer is a brand new and completely original vault hunter. She is a gadget-savvy mix between human and machine. Her playstyle is formed around movement, elemental damage, and pet support. Gaige's action skill is Death Trap, a Huge machine of bad ass death. It can act as a tank or a huge damage dealer.

Borderlands also comes with a whole bunch of very well made DLC, so many that this review cannot do justice to them all.


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