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!
Super Gamer Dude
Throughout the release of Wii, its games have always been quite fun and enjoyable to play especially with the company of friends. Games such as bowling, boxing, tennis and the rest of the sports on Wii Sports prove to be quite addicting and entertaining for so many people. It’s a good exercise for someone who really doesn’t exercise that much too. And then there’s Wii fit. It’s really the workout regimen you’ll probably need at the end of the week. It similarly proves to be addictive and engaging as well. And now, we have Wii Music. Understandably, some people may skeptical about this game release in the Wii console, but those skepticisms may prove to be quite real because Wii Music if you want to call it as such is a huge disaster.
Along with expectations of fabulous music selections, players definitely expect that the songs be presented in very high quality. But Wii Music unfortunately left those expectations unsatisfied. The songs are in MIDI format proving to be second-grade and cheap quality. There are plenty of MIDI format tracks out there that are quite good but not the ones found in Wii Music. Generally, a MIDI soundtrack is not really that bad. It has some great advantage especially that it has spontaneity and you can easily add or remove instruments from a piece. But Wii Music just sounds plain terrible.
Some may feel entertained by the Nintendo game tracks like the theme for the Legend of Zelda and some themes coming from Super Mario Bros.; and then there are quite good contemporary songs including Material Girl and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, but expected roster of songs from the present time are noticeably missing; so you’d be sorely disappointed because Wii Music doesn’t cater to the more recent types of music.
Moving on to the mechanics, it’s pretty simple in its strictest sense. You may want to compose a song, which is relatively easy. When you try playing a tune like Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star, for example, no sweat! Even I who don’t have much synchronization to speak of, managed to perfect it. Moreover, I quite enjoyed tweaking some songs a little bit by changing pitches or holding a note for a little while. You can do all these because of the wide array of musical instruments available. But these alone didn’t succeed in getting me glued on to the screen to continue playing the game. The setup could’ve been better.
Kids might find Wii Music entertaining as they can choose whatever instrument they want to play. Although there’s also another hitch here; truth is, some instruments aren’t that easy to manipulate or play with. The drum is one example; there’s just too much stuff you have to hold or press. The gameplay and controls are gimmicky to a certain extent, rather than intuitive. I suppose kids would definitely enjoy making noises, though. In general, the presentation of the game is quite good with the integration of Mii Avatars, WiiConnect24 Support, and music video backdrops which generally shows the excellently polished interface of the game. The graphics are similar to that of Wii Sports, which are too over simplistic to the point of becoming bland. And then, of course, there’s the music. Need I reiterate how truly disappointing it is?
Overall, the game isn’t really that fun. I wouldn’t be so harsh as to say it’s a complete failure, but if Nintendo continues to produce games such as these, why bother if the end result is just getting even more bored than before playing the game.
Super Gamer Dude
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.
Super Gamer Dude
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.
Super Gamer Dude
Marvel Super Hero Squad for the Wii, developed by Blue Tongue Entertainment, features miniature versions of everyone's favorite Marvel super heroes, and was published by THQ. The characters featured are Iron Man, Wolverine, Storm, Captain America and the rest of the super hero squad cast, from the toy line and television show. As a result the graphics for the game are, understandably, a bit cartoon like, and the music is suited to a younger audience. This is a beat 'em up game where players use the powers from their favorite Marvel super heroes to fight off all the villains that get in the way of the saving the world.
The comic storyline of the game has been simplified so that children can understand the story from a their perspective. You get to venture into places such as Asteroid M, Asgard, The Vault, Villainville and Super Hero City. The plot develops as Doctor Doom aims to collect enough fractals to create a complete Infinity Sword, in order to become one of the most powerful villains in the universe.
The game starts in a S.H.I.E.L.D missile base where MODOK and A.I.M. appear, and take an Infinity Sword fractal to Doctor Doom. This is the beginning of the serious plot that develops which involves Doctor Doom working in coordination with some of the most powerful and menacing villains. Some of the undesirables which you must face are The Juggernaut, Magneto, Mystique, Loki and The Abomination. This makes it hard for the super hero squad to thwart Doctor Doom's evil plot to take over the world. Luckily, the Super Hero Squad, team up with your favorite friends in order to take on the evil Doctor Doom and all of his colleagues as they try to make the world their own.
The game received decent reviews and will probably be seen as an average game by experienced gamers, but is the perfect game for kids, who are its target audience. The multiplayer aspect of the game is another feature that makes it good for children as it encourages teamwork.
There is also battle mode to the game where players can choose to play their favorite Marvel characters to fight in an arena. The battle mode is a simple fighting game mode where people have life bars and use their powers to battle it out until there is only one person standing.
Note that the game has a sequel which gives this game added play value. Marvel Super Hero Squad, The Infinity Gauntlet was released in 2010 and expands on the story presented in Marvel Super Hero Squad.
Family Party 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade will provide you with a few hours of laughter and stiff competitions in the comfort of your own home before it becomes repetitive. This multi-game package from Nintendo, allows players to participate in party games specifically designed for multiple participants. Complete with a number of arcade challenges, obstacle courses, familiar athletic events, and thinking games, the Family Party package delivers an economically reasonable selection of games.
Family Party 30 transports its participant to "Family Party Land", an island full of magic and fun combined with a wide range of family favorite games and over-the-top challenges. Challenges that you have witnessed throughout life now come to life in your living room. You will have the opportunity to experience such adventures as space flights, horseback rides, skydives, and other activities without the concern of doing damage to your living room. Medals are awarded as you prove your mastery of each game, and high scores are kept to determine which member of your family will be king of "Family Party Land." The battle for supremacy of the island will provide a certain level of entertainment.
The all-new Wii U system, another advancement of the constantly evolving in-home gaming industry, includes the GamePad which has a special multiplayer challenge mode with many of the games that allows unique competitions between players. With the GamePad it is now possible to kick virtual soccer balls in the family room, to act as a game master in hidden card games, or to navigate obstacle course challenges. The Wii U GamePad can be used in a variety of methods to participate in the Family Party 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade. Your family will utilize the GamePad to attempt each challenge that Family Party can bring your way.
This package of games was designed specifically for family play and interaction. For about £30.00, your family could experience many evenings together entertaining and being entertained for a brief time. There are games for every member of your home and enough variety that there is always something someone will want to play.
Overall, the game is designed for interaction with several players, solo players may not have enough here to enable enough playability within the game, so users may lose interest quite quickly within a short space on time.
Super Gamer Dude
The Wonderful 101 is a new release for the Wii U, released by Platinum Games. The title is as obfuscating as possible, you receive no hint as to what you are about to play. And that is for the better. The Wonderful 101 is an almost isometric game that is stepped in Anime kitsch: anime women, mech suits, vibrant colors, and so on. The Wonderful 101 is a tremendous leap forward in the third party library that is starting to filter in to the Nintendo back catalog. But what exactly is this game and why is it so great?
The first thing gamers will notice about The Wonderful 101 is that there is no lead dog in your adventure. The story single player mode is entrenched in the zany action of a Pikmin game and the fighting sequences that can bring an action game above those around the genre. You can control, at any given time, upwards of 100 different characters. They are as diverse as they are colorful with each character possessing their own moves, combinations, and personalities. The fighting sequences occur in a sort of 3D isometric and have some great innovations, including the "UNITE" move that requires you to draw a symbol across your screen in order to activate a combination attack technique.
The Wonderful 101 will bring back the best of memories in relation to early NES and SNES titles. The vibrant colors of the drawings and the smooth animations used in the beat-em-up will call to mind the simple games we played as a child. Only this game is not simple. it is a frenetic and frenzied romp through a world steeped in anime references, nods to other video games, and even references to other Nintendo franchises.
The story is almost stereotypically Japanese. Zany, nonsensical, and full of odd humor and quirky cut scenes. Most of this story fluff can be set aside. The gist of the story is that you, the 101st of the Wonderful, are super heroes defending Earth from alien invaders. Any information past that is sort of just beside the point.
The game plays smooth, overall, and the animation is wonderful. The gameplay is original and unique and tends to offer things other games in the WII U library are just not offering. If there are downsides it would have to be that some of the controls can be clunky: drawing a straight line is hard enough now try drawing all sorts of different shapes on your pad while fighting off aliens. There are some issues as well with the camera and thus your ability to control characters. The isometric view, making small the giant settings you will be playing in, has a habit of causing the camera to be unusable. There will be moments during your gameplay where you lose track of your miniature super heroes and this can cause a few frustrating deaths.
Overall The Wonderful 101 offers something new and exciting. That makes it worth a purchase.
Super Gamer Dude
For quite a few people, some of their favorite Super Nintendo games were the Donkey Kong country titles. Released late in the Super Nintendo's life cycle, these games were psuedo-3D side scrolling platformers that were known for their often extreme difficult and their somewhat revolutionary graphic style.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is more directly a sequel to the recent Donkey Kong Country Returns for the original Wii. While the gameplay from that iteration remains almost completely intact, almost nothing has changed either. Co-op play has been added as well as a few powers, but Donkey Kong is all about the core platforming, and that remains completely unchanged.
This is doubly disappointing since this new game is making its home on the Wii U. Tropical Freeze makes absolutely no use of the features that make the Wii U unique, and as Nintendo continues to try and keep the Wii U relevant this game does nothing to make the core features of that system seem necessary at all.
One of the most important lines for a side scrolling platformer like Tropical Freeze to straddle is the one that represents the game's difficulty. The game needs to be tough enough to keep the player's attention while still being fair. Donkey Kong nails that balance. If I died in Donkey Kong, nine times out of ten I was able to immediately recognize not only that the death was on me but the things I could do to remedy it.
There isn't just the standard platforming challenge to be had in Tropical Freeze though. Sure, there are several worlds full of normal stages and bonus stages - all with a boss at the end, but what sets Tropical Freeze apart is the exploratory aspect that it has added. With different co-op partners, you can ferret out parts of the levels that are otherwise inaccessible and contain cool items that are fun for players to find.
This feature is not only great because it adds extra content, but it gives cooperative play a point. There are countless Nintendo platformers where the co-op play is completely pointless and often actually makes your experience worse. In games like New Super Mario Brothers, other players get in your way and keep you from completing the level, making the experience extremely frustrating and convincing most people that the only way to play a Nintendo platformer is by themselves.
Tropical Freeze not only gives you a valid reason to play co-op, but it also has a number of different changes to the formula that make it easier for co-op to work properly. In short, the co-op mechanics in Tropical Freeze work similarly to how Diddy Kong worked in past games. You can bring him back almost constantly, and if the player wants to stay out of the way, they most certainly can.
At the end of the day, Tropical Freeze is very much the well-made platformer that you would expect to get from Nintendo. Retro Studios knocked it out of the park with Donkey Kong Country Returns, and they've done it again with Tropical Freeze. They've added just enough new features to make the game fresh without stripping away any of the elements that people loved not only about the Wii game but also about the original Super Nintendo games.
If you are a fan of Nintendo platformers, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a perfect game to pick up. It may not take advantage of the Wii U's core features, but what it lacks in control methods it makes up for with a fantastic art style and great gameplay.
Better on multiplayer.
Super Gamer Dude
Need for Speed Most Wanted has the weird position of sharing its name with a title from earlier in this console generation, but being a spiritual successor to an entirely different title from that generation. The original Most Wanted was one of those titles that bridged the gap between the PS2 and the PS3 by being released in very slight variations on both systems. It was a fun and silly title that used live-action actors to depict its tale of street racers and the police.
The latest Need for Speed Most Wanted has absolutely nothing to do with that game, though. Developed by Criterion, the game pulls almost all of its core gameplay elements from Burnout Paradise, with a few major tweaks. Just like Burnout: Paradise, it takes place in an open world where both the traversal between races and the racing itself happens. Also just like Paradise, it has a massive amount of leaderboards to compete with friends on, this time supplemented by the autolog system that EA has become so fond of.
Most Wanted's multiplayer is also very similar to that of Paradise, in that it simply dumps people into the world and allows the host to choose events, which consist of crazy challenges instead of the usual point-to-point races. For example, one event requires to park yourself on the wing of a plane and stay there. The players compete in the event, then drive on to the next one. This mode really shines in how it encourages players to be complete dicks to one another. If you are taken down during a multiplayer event, you are automatically disqualified, encouraging constant violence between players and creating an extremely hectic and fun experience.
All this said, the game absolutely falls apart when it comes to the single player. Solo play shifts the game's focus to its wide array of cars. As you drive around in the world, you find new, extremely expensive cars just sitting on the side of the road for you to hop in. Each car has a set events that you have to win in order to unlock upgrades and get "speed points" which allow you to race AI drivers on the "Most Wanted" list.
While the system is not inherently flawed, it quickly grows repetitive. The races that initially seem to be car-specific are actually repeated ad nauseam. Not every vehicle has the exact same races, but they pop up enough times to make the task of earning points a grind. The addition of cops to the Burnout Paradise equation feels out of place at best, and the difficulty of escaping from them with very little reward make them utterly pointless at worse.
Whether you should get Need for Speed: Most Wanted depends on what you want out of it. If you are looking for a fantastic multiplayer arcade racer, by all means, pick it up. However, if you are looking for a good solo racer, you should probably look elsewhere.
Super Gamer Dude
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.