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Posted:
2010-12-09

snowie

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

6.4

Total War Shogun 2 sends the player back in time to the turbulent era of Japan in the sixteenth century at the time of the end of the Onin war, you find yourself in a country whose society and infrastructure has been destroyed by battles against enemy Shoguns leaving its capital, Kyoto, a ruined shell. Eight warlords control their own dominions and these lesser rulers rival each other to gain the favor of the main ruler, the Emperor, and to strengthen their hold over their lands. The player takes on the character of one of these warlords, each of which has his own expertise, perhaps political, diplomatic or military. Their lands are scattered all around the Emperor's lands. some may be positioned on distant islands while others may be in the central plains. The warlords must make use of these scattered terrains to their own particular advantage.

The Samurai warriors of this era present a wonderful mix of realism and imagination. The game has captured a Total War experience and the setting of Feudal Japan is a perfect place and period to host this grand conflict. Between the participants there is much competition and everyone has the possibility of climbing up the ranks to be top man. Political and technological advances have been brought by the Portuguese and Dutch colonizers, and added to this is the introduction of destructive gunpowder from China.

The game also introduces hero characters. Heroes are skilled army units who have specialized fighting skills allowing them to sneak up to the enemy unnoticed. These heroes are based on Japan's historical figures which make the game even more representative of the era in which it is set. The heroes are relentless, once released on the battlefield there is little chance of stopping them. They can hold a bridge against enemies who wish to cross or crash through a battle formation to fight alongside their commander. However, the enemy can also send their heroes against the player, so be prepared, as such attacks can be costly for the unprepared opponent. Tactics can deter enemy heroes, a flurry of arrows can make it hard for them to penetrate the battle line and fighting your heroes can slow or stop them.

The whole game exhibits the distinctive character of Oriental architecture, a wonderful backdrop for the military encounters. The piled pagoda architecture permits assaults to be taken in stages, with the enemy and friendly units hopping from level to another. This provides each camp with more choice than merely waiting for an entry point in the enemy's battle lines and then just sending in army units around it. It is extremely challenging to topple a castle as each has five levels of structure, and as the player progresses, the level of choice and sophistication advance as well. To add more content, each castle possesses distinctive characters according to where they are situated. These locations range from mountainous terrain to the coastal regions.

Overall presentation is brilliant and the animations of units and battles move fluently. There are loads of new characters added to those which feature in the earlier installments of Total War games. Graphic quality is exceptional and to give added substance the game also has inventive sound effects reflecting realistically the feel of ancient Japan. In my opinion this new game will be a great addition to the top-class war games already on the market.

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Posted:
2010-12-09

snowie

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

7.2

The game focuses on the magical side of the story with lots of salamander-freezing, ice sliding, toothed-book shooting and other unusual acts. Although the story of the game does not closely follow that of the film, it still has the central theme - Harry running away from the nasty Dementors.

Fight encounters may look simple, open-ended and not too hard. There are few opponents taking on Harry at any one time. The player easily takes them down by clicking the mouse over – it’s not that hard to eliminate enemies. However, there are some difficult puzzles in the game, like containing the enemies, tossing them and throwing them over the walls, or, harder, turning the flame into ice – overall, most of the action in the game is not very effective

The game has made it easier to cast magic. With the on-screen controls where players choose the spells, thereÂ’s no need to use specific mouse movements. Simply click over the spell and it will instantly be cast. The interactive objects are visibly at hand. The Expecto Patronum spell gives the player some challenge. When cast at the wrong time, this spell will be rendered ineffective. Correct timing is definitely needed to make this spell work. Objects which can be cast with a spell are easy to recognize as they have a big red chevron over them.

You get the impression that the whole game is a tutorial for some more difficult level to come, but unfortunately the game ends without that level appearing. This is especially so with the puzzles where the player is almost spoon-fed with the way out, but worth trying are the secret areas, where thereÂ’s virtually no way to solve the puzzles. These optional areas will certainly challenge the player. Almost all of the levels in the game are easy to accomplish and take little time to finish. There are a lot of challenging combats throughout the game. Harry must be able to get through them by collecting beans, pumpkins and cake which he can use to buy accessories in store. These items will also be used to gain access to the secret areas.

All Harry Potter enthusiasts will love this game especially since it has an improved graphic quality with detailed character animation and rendering. The game is set on an impressively drawn Hogwarts. Game textures and surrounding environment are awesome and are coupled with an impressive audio background. Voices and other sound effects are great and contribute fully to the overall impressive atmosphere of the game.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has brought the magical story to the fingertips of every player. The enjoyable gameplay will be a draw to all Potter addicts, both adults and kids.

avatar name

Posted:
2010-12-09

snowie

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

7.2

The game focuses on the magical side of the story with lots of salamander-freezing, ice sliding, toothed-book shooting and other unusual acts. Although the story of the game does not closely follow that of the film, it still has the central theme - Harry running away from the nasty Dementors.

Fight encounters may look simple, open-ended and not too hard. There are few opponents taking on Harry at any one time. The player easily takes them down by clicking the mouse over – it’s not that hard to eliminate enemies. However, there are some difficult puzzles in the game, like containing the enemies, tossing them and throwing them over the walls, or, harder, turning the flame into ice – overall, most of the action in the game is not very effective

The game has made it easier to cast magic. With the on-screen controls where players choose the spells, there’s no need to use specific mouse movements. Simply click over the spell and it will instantly be cast. The interactive objects are visibly at hand. The Expecto Patronum spell gives the player some challenge. When cast at the wrong time, this spell will be rendered ineffective. Correct timing is definitely needed to make this spell work. Objects which can be cast with a spell are easy to recognize as they have a big red chevron over them.

You get the impression that the whole game is a tutorial for some more difficult level to come, but unfortunately the game ends without that level appearing. This is especially so with the puzzles where the player is almost spoon-fed with the way out, but worth trying are the secret areas, where there’s virtually no way to solve the puzzles. These optional areas will certainly challenge the player. Almost all of the levels in the game are easy to accomplish and take little time to finish. There are a lot of challenging combats throughout the game. Harry must be able to get through them by collecting beans, pumpkins and cake which he can use to buy accessories in store. These items will also be used to gain access to the secret areas.

All Harry Potter enthusiasts will love this game. It has an improved graphic quality with detailed character animation and rendering. The game is set on an impressively drawn Hogwarts. Game textures and surrounding environment are awesome and are coupled with an impressive audio background. Voices and other sound effects are great and contribute fully to the overall impressive atmosphere of the game.

‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ has brought the magical story to the fingertips of every player. The enjoyable gameplay will be a draw to all Potter addicts, both adults and kids.

avatar name

Posted:
2010-12-09

snowie

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

7.1

The designers did not use the now usual 3D graphic engines, but instead they used a static 2D visual method, mostly hand-drawn. Players get the characters moving by using the mouse, so to talk with other characters the player simply clicks over them and to interrogate them he again just uses the mouse. Players get their essential clues by clicking on important dialogues spoken by the characters. For an effective interrogation the player needs to make use of all the dialogue options available.

There are also lots of minigames which need to be played when not questioning suspects. Minigames range from evidence finding to fingerprint mapping or drawing blood stain patterns. There are also lots of puzzles like deciding what’s wrong with the scene being shown. Apart from that there are lots of minigames which instruct players to find figures embedded on the scene.

Players need to be careful as too much clicking will be penalized. The cursor will disappear for a second; this is deliberately annoying for the player and even takes toll on his time and so the player will have learnt to avoid excess clicking. This is the designers way to deter the impatient player.

Puzzles within the game are hard and can sometimes be frustrating. Fortunately, each problem has hint options which are always useful and sometimes necessary. This feature will tell the players what to do, and although players can definitely finish each puzzle without help, there are some difficult puzzles for which players will be thankful for the hint option. If ever the player still finds a particular puzzle too difficult he can opt out and jump to other two puzzles of his choice.

To date, there are four episodes out, although the creators have promised other future releases, which will be downloadable in the coming few years. Most of the episodes begin with a mysterious case – usually a death. For the first installment, the players get to investigate how a man has fallen from a skyscraper. The second installment brings the detectives into a restaurant to discover how a food critic ended up dead in the freezer. In the third installment, they investigate the death of a girl at a small town’s amusement center. The last episode requires the player to take on the case of a girl killed while shooting her video blog. All of these installments are entertaining and end up with the killer admitting his crime.

The game may not be as exciting as the TV show because of its limited graphics; added to that there is no violent action or gunplay available in this game. It tests only the detective skills in its players - having to solve a mysterious crime, finding who did it and how it was done.

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Posted:
2010-12-09

snowie

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

7.0

The Shoot is a relatively family-friendly affair, no risky stuff. The targets you shoot at are literally that, wooden cut out targets which cannot die and along with the sets themselves can be rebuilt and used for another shoot. There are two ways to lose a take -- taking too much damage from enemies or making the director angry. While the former is pretty self-explanatory, the latter could use a little explanation. As you progress through each level you will hear the voice of the film's director, who shouts words of encouragement or otherwise depending on your performance. The voice is accompanied by a graphical representation in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, which features a fat director with a circular gauge. With combos and precision, the director will be appeased and the gauge will fill, but missed combo opportunities and fewer kills will cause the director's satisfaction level to drop. If it reaches zero, you lose a take; after five lost takes, you have to start again.


The levels are fairly straightforward but varied enough to maintain interset. The environments also have a lot of destructive facets and there are plenty of hidden items that trigger explosions and other events that either clear an area of enemies or enable a score multiplier. Attempting to gain high scores in the singleplayer mode can be fun, but the two-player multiplayer mode spices things up a bit with a little friendly competition.

The Shoot's Career mode is the best way to gain up Trophies, as many bronze and silver trophies can be obtained through level progression or by shooting a certainj numbert of enemies or items. A handful of Trophies are also awarded in the game's two other modes, Score Attack and Challenges, which are shorter challenge-based modes.

In this game interesting use is made of the Move controller pushing its capabilities to the limit as a light gun, and the Move's built-in inertial sensors are used to bring tilt and motion gesture controls into the play. For instance, if an enemy throws a stick of dynamite in your direction, you have to lean left or right to avoid it. Similarly, players must perform a full 360 turn, swing the controller around their heads, or point it up or down to initiate certain power-ups like bullet-time, a shockwave blast, or rapid fire.

So yes, the Move works fairly well, though the game did seem to have trouble detecting certain movements if you are seated, and, lke all other Move games, performance is affected by how carefully you calibrate the controller and will determine how accurate the aiming reticule is on the screen, and if you take a temporary halt for more than a couple of minutes, recalibration may be required. Otherwise, however, there seemed to be very little lag between the controller and screen.

Despite its many good points, there are some problems. The load time is very long and the graphics are a little rough round the edges, and frame rate drops are common when certain events are triggered. The soundtrack works well enough, but eventually becomes tiresome. It is also short with only three modes and five levels with four stages each. Completing a level can be done in 30 minutes or less, and unless you're playing competitively with another player, there is little reason to revisit a level.

But again, the biggest problem with The Shoot is its lack of depth, and the gameplay mechanics cannot disguise the fact that the game is shallow. However, the good points outweigh the bad points and the game is certainly playable and just long enough to play without becoming tiresome.

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Posted:
2010-12-17

snowie

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

8.0

Eternal Sonata sounds too good to be true. It's crammed full of music, love and romance. Set in a beautiful fantasy world and, better still its also packed full of action with a battle system that continually keeps you alert.

Composer Frederic Chopin is on his death bed as the clock slowly ticks away, and the story takes place in his mind. But the real story is an alternative reality in his thoughts. His first friend is Polka, a loveable girl with magic pigtails. They are joined in their adventures by other companions such as street urchins Alegretto and Beat, and goat herder Viola and together with Prince Crescendo and Princess Serenade they unite against the evil ruler Count Waltz, who is turning the inhabitants of the town of Forte into addicts, hooked on some sort of mineral powder. Your job is to get them unaddicted by accumulating floral powder and healing cookies earned along the way.

The graphics are stunning, imaginative and beautifully suited o the storyline. The clothes are drawn in terrific detail, and interiors of the cottages are filled with meticulously designed decoration. Environments are spectacularly rendered on PlayStation 3, but all of this 2D art does curtail depth of view in 3D. The PS3 version does suffer from some odd, occasional frame rate hitches; a minor problem in context.

Music plays an important part and is as stunning as the visuals. The voice acting is solid enough. The gameplay matches the other aspects of the production. There are no random encounters, so you can see every monster. You will have to take part in some battles and some terrific boss fights. Eternal Sonata's battle system is an inventive mix of turn-based and real-time warfare and gets trickier as the game progresses.

First up is your action bar. Each character has a limited amount of time to complete his or her turn before it ends. But within that turn, you can move freely about the battlefield. Each action, whether an attack, a spell, or a simple movement reduces the bar even more. As your party level increases, the planning time you have decreases, special attacks deplete more of your meter.

If you're standing in the light, you have a different set of skills available to you than if you are standing in shadows, and these abilities may change depending on how close you are to your enemy. It gets complicated as your enemies behave in a similar manner. The same applies to weapons which are effective in the shadows than in the sun. There are many other features too numerous to describe here.

There is so much more to this game, I have not even mentioned the emotionally charged aspects of it. The whole thing has to be seen and heard to be believed.

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Posted:
2010-12-18

snowie

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

6.9

An explosion in the delapidated Croft Manor that seems to have been caused by Lara herself, blows most of her possessions away. Her once faithful sidekick, Zip even has a couple of shots at her. The story then goes back a week and we find Lara in the Mediterranean looking for clues as to the location of King Arthur's fabled burial place, Avalon, and its there where Lara’s nemesis, Amanda, claims Lara’s mother may be trapped. Along the way Lara will find an unsolved mystery left by her father that will lead her on a quest for Thor’s Hammer,in the process visiting Thailand, Southern Mexico, a stronghold in the Arctic Sea, and even the unknown depths of Croft Manor.

The story follows familiar Lara Croft lines, but adventures aside, it’s the puzzles that stand out, imaginative and thought provoking. Underworld features fantastic battles against fantastic beasts and grotesque monsters, but the fights against humans are not so deftly handled; but there’s far less human combat in this game than in others in the series.

The visual content is a delight and with the remarkable soundtrack the game takes on a very well rounded feel. After half a days playtime I reached the astonishing finish; it would have been well worth a journey of twice that time. As with even the best games there are a couple of trivial technical problems but these are of a minor nature and do not spoil the overall excellence of the game itself.

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Posted:
2010-12-18

snowie

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

7.2

Jimmy Hopkins, a fifteen year-old misfit is the hero of the piece. Mother is honeymooning with hubby number eight and you are in the bottom grade an "underperforming", rough and extremely unpleasant school. You begin in a relatively large map with a combination of missions and side quests, trying at all times to do a balancing act between rival school factions, trying not to antagonize any of them.
Despite being nicknamed Bully, your mission is to stop the bullying within the school. This you attempt to do by thumping everyone up until they agree with you; a bit like bullying.

The gameplay itself is so much fun. Mostly doing everyday things that teenagers do, including figting. Others, like mooching around the lunatic asylum are not so everyday things. Jimmy also has to take lessons twice a day, or as is more likely, avoid getting caught while skiving off classes. There are some good ideas along this theme; art classes improve his kissing abilities, and gains extra health. English improves his ability to bull his way out of trouble. Chemistry classes teach him to make his own explosive fireworks and so on. But most lessons have no such practical uses, consisting of either boring quick-time event challenges or second rate puzzles.

The PC controls are particularly poor, being sometimes contradictory, and pop ups carry misleading or incorrect information relating to the current action. There are other small problems, and though obviously frustrating, because the acting is marvellous and it’s a pleasure to play, overall I do recommend it.

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Posted:
2010-12-18

snowie

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

7.3

In the year 2171 as Dylan Ramsey, a young engineer who’s handy when in a wanzer, you’re in a thirdperson shooter where you mostly drive your giant war machine, clunking and bumping around at a fair old pace while firing at other robots. There’s also a part of the game where you’ll find battling enemy mechs on foot. This man against machine combat is well-paced, and taking out an enemy wanzer with only a rocket launcher is a satisfying feeling, but these sections of the action seem like afterthoughts to fill in a bit of time.

Back in your wanzer you’re given ample opportunies between missions to glam up a bit. A bit of paint here and a few upgrades of skills, weapons and armor. You can gear up with things like more weapons and then still more weapons. All needed in the frequent and difficult boss battles. Even though most battles involve taking on higher performance wanzers, you never feel completely outclassed because you’re the underdog, and will do what underdogs do, devise a strategy.

The levels are often a bit tedious but, fortunately, short and there’s enough variety in the types of environments you travel through, from bunkers and bridges to streets and jungles, to make things interesting.

Evolved is a bit repetitious, but to be fair there is a lot more intrigue and politics involved in the story than reviwed here, and at least the repetitive bits are repeating something enjoyable.

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Posted:
2010-12-21

snowie

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

7.9

This game is more of a mystery and exploration game with a horror twist to it. Lost Souls provides the most unique adventure game ever. With this game, you get a combination of horror and mystery. This is new style of an adventure game that adds more thrill to every gamer. This review on Dark Fall: Lost Souls will take on its story line and give you a glimpse on what this game is all about.

The story starts with a man trying to save his missing brother in the village of Dowerton, somewhere in England, but I can't think where. And another side of the story being about Benjamin Parker who aims to stop the evil that lives in the Fetch Rock Lighthouse. Now you will control the role of the inspector who has a failure in the past that haunts him until the present time. You will start your investigation in the Dowerton hotel and train station. You will be going up against ghosts and demons. The monsters you fight do look pretty amazing, if I may say so, and the backgrounds or environments are what I like the best though (they are kind of flat but in its unique way is kind of cool). The lighting is absolutely amazing.

This game is played in the first person perspective. I really couldn't see it being played any other way. Therefore, you are directly into the scenes and games. You will be given a mobile phone which will be your weapon all throughout the game. The mobile phone will also be receiving clues from a mystery character. This game offers a good sense of horror. The scenes are well presented and will give you that terror feeling all the time. You will be given lots of puzzles to solve, obstacles to go through and clues to find. Clues will lead you to solving the mystery and erasing the past failure that you had in career as the inspector.

Dark Fall: Lost Souls is an effective adventure game that truly provides the kind of horror that a gamer would want in a horror-adventure game. It has no boring scenes; everything is worth watching and working on. You will have lots of things to do in this game. Activities are all related to the story line. And lastly the story is so interesting that you do not want to stop until you finish the whole game. In other words, the game is addicting. The graphics are well done. The element of fear and fright were achieved in its attempt to show horror in the game. It is truly terrifying. I would have to say the audio or background noises are one of the best things about this game. You will hear things, but never see then; it really gets you in the mood. Sometimes just knowing something is there is actually more terrifying than actually seeing it. The way the story is told is very unique way. Dark Fall: Lost Souls is a very good horror adventure game. It will leave you in awe with how the puzzles were given within the story of the gameThis game is fun, thrilling and enjoyable. For people who like horror and adventure, this is the game they should try. I would rate it 8/10.


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