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Posted:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

Wii U

6.5

Ben 10 Omniverse is a new Wii-U game based on the Ben 10 television franchise. While the game is sure to satisfy die-hard fans of the tv series, newcomers may find the game content enjoyable but a bit lacking. One of the upsides of the game is the sheer amount of characters to play, and while that adds a lot of seeming diversity, the characters themselves lack a commensurate diversity of functions and abilities. The general premise of the game (and franchise as a whole) is that the main character, Ben Tennyson, has in his possession a tool which allows him to mutate into a variety of alien forms.

The aliens are all very interesting and distinct looking and the game allows you to shift into these different entities at any point during the game as they become unlocked. Even the storyline within the game radically shifts between past and future points, there isn't a lot that changes between each time shift, therefore the game comes off as that much more creatively shallow as a consequence. If the developers had added more diversity and richness to the settings contained within different time frames, it would have added a much needed sense of immersion.

There is a certain degree of creative problem solving within the game that can be quite compelling, however. When different environmental challenges present themselves, Ben must inhabit the different alien forms he has it his disposal in order to use their specific abilities to overcome an obstacle. These physics-based situational puzzles are relatively entertaining and fairly engaging, yet the simplistic difficulty seems to skew to a younger audience.

Besides the numerous environmental puzzles, combat tends to make up the meat of the game-play. As you travel from one obstacle to the next, you're bound to run into a variety of enemies that need to be dealt with. By far, the most rewarding element of the combat-based game play involves the initial experimentation you find yourself immersed within when trying to find the optimal strategy for dealing with the opposition.

After you get the hang of how to properly take down the enemies, however, the challenge begins to wane, as does the fun and engagement. An interesting quirk contained within the battles, however, involves an energy meter which you have to keep an eye on while inhabiting an alien form as Ben; if the energy meter depletes, Ben's bulky alien incarnation disappears and he is left relatively defenseless until the meter charges up again. This game mechanic makes the combat a bit more involving and requires some planning.

While the Wii-U is capable of fairly impressive graphics, Ben 10 Omniverse is somewhat lackluster. The graphics are not terrible, but they are somewhat sub-par. Additionally, the game is very linear and feels somewhat formulaic after a while. There aren't many surprises to behold. An annoying restriction of the game involves needing to have access to a television in order to activate non-TV play with the console, which is somewhat inconvenient.

Ben 10 Omniverse looks like it had a lot of potential while in development, unfortunately, the overall gameplay is somewhat hampered by a lack of depth and an abundance of repetition. While the puzzles are the main strength of the game, these elements are unfortunately the least prevalent. All in all, a fun game for lovers of the Ben 10 franchise, and a so-so diversion for others.

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Posted:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

Wii U

5.1

Rise of the Guardians for the Wii U allows you to play some pretty amazing fantasy characters from the stories that everyone read as a child. The characters are the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, The Sandman, and Jack Frost but in the game that have different names, but it is obvious who they are meant to represent. The idea of the game is for the player to control these characters and to try to defeat the ultimate evil called "Pitch" whose goal is to make unbelievers of all the children of the world who believe in our fairy tale heroes.

When playing you have the option to take control of each of the five guardian characters at any time. Every character is equipped with his or her own set of abilities, strengths, and moves which, over time, can gradually improve through upgrades. For each of the five characters there is a different kingdom and on your travels through these realms you can buy gems which will help you achieve your goal. Through every level you have several missions to complete, most of them involve destroying nightmare creatures, and each realm has about five or six missions of varying degrees of difficulty to attempt. You can unlock achievements by completing certain missions with help from the other four characters who fight off enemies, a job that they do well. You can defeat "the nightmares" by slapping them and then moving on, and if they re-appear you slap them again, and so it continues throughout the entire game, making it a little repetitive. But to make up for it to some degree the soundtrack and cutscenes are both impressive.

The game is very easily controlled, and this WII U version allows you to have a bigger picture of the environments. The problem is the environments are very stereotyped and much of what happens in them is predictable and the actions are lacking in challenges.

The game is pretty short but can seem to drag on a bit because of the repetition. Your characters do not have a very large health bar and they can die very quickly if you are not careful. There are a few glitches throughout which can be troublesome and the game is not very challenging and so unfortunately the bad points outweigh the good.

With a clever concept and plot it is a shame that the game has so much else to let it down.

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Posted:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo Wii

5.2

Club Penguin Game Day released on the Nintendo Wii gives the player hours of playing time in three different modes. The Story Mode entertains the player with plenty of competition, Quick Play and a Tournament mode challenges the player to mini-games.

The player must first create his or her own penguin, choose the color for the penguin and give the penguin a cute name. In the Story Mode players have a choice of four different colors blue, green, yellow or red as a team color. The task they are presented with is to conquer the winter island. The team color must control all areas of the island. The player engages in mini-games and must come in third or higher in order to control an area. Once a mini-game is completed, the player will receive coins and some new games to play. Zones on the island will also be unlocked and the player can buy items for the penguin. Players must go through the game's Story Mode in order to play the dozen events of Game Day.

Club Penguin Game Day has a good assortment of mini-games that will entertain the kids for hours. The limited numbers of mini-games can be played out if different ways every time, giving all players many hours of replay appreciation. The mini-games center on Fast Freeze, Sumo Smash, Sled and Slide and more. Kids and adults will find the games exciting with a lot of action. Every time a team beats a challenge, they triumph over another area of the island. The player's goal is to take over as much of the island as possible.

The island is sectioned off into six locations. The players must play a set of four mini-games and a challenge game. Once they have conquered all the challenges and the areas are changed to the player's team color, the player can move on to Quick Play or Tournament mode. Only the Wiimote can be used on the mini-games. The events the penguins perform are well executed. The family will have hours of fun completing each event. The cute little penguins will waggle and twist around in events like snowball rolling contests, sack races, to throwing large sacks of coffee off their heads to the finish line. What a bizarre sight it is to see, coffee being hefted off penguins head.

While the games are simple enough to learn the controls can become frustrating. The player needs to point the location in which they want to penguin to go in order for the penguin to move and then click. The penguin will then be located in the right spot. Each of the mini-games moves the penguins in a different way in order to complete the task. Some of the maneuvers will be hard for a younger child to master.

The mechanics of the penguins in the game are exceptionally well done and will wiggle and bounce their way into everyone's heart. The team playing is fun with both friends and family and those of all ages. There is hours of enjoyment for everyone.

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Posted:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

8.0

I could probably only tell you the basic plot of Just Cause 2 if I had to. It is not because the story was bad or anything, but rather it just seemed to be in the way of blowing everything up. That pretty much sums it up, Just Cause 2 is an open word action game with a ok story to it, but you won't really remember it because you will be too busy grappling hook parachuting off of cars.

Just Cause 2 isn't that different than the original Just Cause. You star as Rico Rodriguez, a general action hero, who is dropped off on a tropical island in order to stop the bad guys. The beauty of all this is that after the first 3-4 missions you can achieve that goal whenever and however you want to. The island becomes the proverbial "sandbox" that you are free to roam. You unlock all more missions by creating chaos. The basic premise of how this works is you find one of the bad guys buildings and blow it up. If you blow it up more impressively than you earn even more chaos. Chaos is what moves the game forward and chaos is what moves you to play more.

Visually speaking, the Island of Panau is stunning. Most games made with a decent budget these days tend to look good, but Just Cause does a fantastic job of making all its diverse environments(jungles, snow topped mountains, deserts) really pop. Overall you can really see all the texture and detail that the designers have put into the 400 square mile environment. They were also considerate enough to add over 100 different types of vehicles (cars, boats and planes) to make traveling around Panau that much easier.

There are some sand box style games out there that try to restrict you in the beginning. The strength of Just Cause 2 is that they do the exact opposite of that. They give you total freedom and let you find your own way. Want to do some side missions? Sure, go ahead. How about you just feel like running around and exploring? That is fine too. The control scheme used to control Rico works incredibly well, you can deploy his grappling hook with one click and fly in that direction, while another button will instantly deploy his parachute. This makes getting away from your pursuers (probably mad at you for blowing up there communications tower) a lot more fun and enjoyable than it probably should be. It never gets tiresome driving at high speeds off a cliff and releasing your parachute in mid air to glide into the safety of the ocean.

Overall, I completed the main story and side missions in 35hrs. That does not mean I have stopped playing the game. I currently have 70hrs logged and am still only around 50% completion of all the challenges that are offered. That is not a problem though, since I am not opposed to more grappling hook parachuting explosion filled fun times!

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Posted:
2013-05-25

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo Wii

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:
2013-08-18

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

Wii U

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:
2010-12-03

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

7.5

You have driven fast, put your foot to the floor on straights and also wrestled meandering bends. You have driven top of the price range and top of the power range cars at top of the range speeds on all kinds of roads. Youv'e deployed your personal stinger device and blasted police cars with your magnetic gun. So that's the first hour done with, what's next? You are not kept hanging around in this game.

The Seacrest County Police have a Lamborghini Reventon, one of only a handful in existence, with which to nudge criminals off the road during pursuits. The game is, wonderfully, out of touch with reality and presents you with a cops and racers scenario where you can take the part of a cop or a baddie depending on your mood and upon which guise the friends who may care to challenge you have taken. The outrageous pursuits come in all shapes and sizes with varying numbers of competitors and adversaries or just one on one time trials to name but a few. There are few full on crashes as the vehicles are not lightweight racers bur seriously solid and so one crash could prove to be your demise.

At the start of each event a leaderboard shows the scores of you and your selection of friends and when a record or a time is broken this is put on the board, broadcast among your list of partaking friends for all to see. Even if you have no list of personal friends the game will recommend to you on line players who are suited to your preferences and style. There are plenty of online action events to choose from.

Seacrest County is a racers paradise with straight roads miles in length, long long curves, short bends and few annoying crossroads. The terrain varies from forest to desert and you are free to roam. Most of the time you aren't presented with unexpected hazards so giving you a chance to think in advance and drive accordingly, and, of course, avoid police cars. Having said that, some of the races and chases do involve blocked off roads and short straights making more for point and squirt driving techniques, and a driver in the know mapwise can also take advantage of short cuts. In the interceptor mode all maps are unlocked and your only escape is by trickery, duplicity and hiding as the police vehicles are tuned to a greater degree than yours and so can easily outrun you.

Hours of varied fun and action and hard to put down once played.

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Posted:
2010-12-12

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

7.5

On returning to his homestead, John Marston finds that a family member has been turned, thus setting off a series of events that make Marston decide to venture back out to the Wild West frontier. First he calls at Blackwater and its locality to begin the search for a cure. From now on Undead Nightmare introduces you to some new faces and a lot of old ones with a lot of attendant character detail.

The story is very busy with a B-movie horror feel to it; you can often see what's coming, but thats part of the fun, especially when you can do nothing about it. There are moments of humor amongst the depressing, brooding darkness.

Like the original Red Dead Redemption before it there are also a variety of sub challenges to overcome, such as treasure hunts, and weapon-based based situations. Finding survivors and assisting them in cleansing settlements is a constant theme and there are plenty of locations that need protection. There is always a plethora of Zombies around, particularly in towns and cemeteries where you soon learn that Deadeye is your most precious commodity in Undead Nightmare. Not only does it buy you valuable time, but it also lets you line up quick and reliably efficient headshots, essential since zombiesbrain blowing is about the only way of taking Zombies out.

Marston is still a gunslinger, but now he also has other strings to his bow, being handy with a rifle butt for one. He also has a flaming torch for multiple Zombie zapping. There is also a shortage of Ammunition to consider, calling for rationimng of shots and the use of other killing methods in their stead.

Once the location is clear can rob cadavers for extra bullets or bits to stuff into your Blunderbuss type scatter gun. But most of the time pure luck decides whether or not you find a sizable cache ammunition.

Keeping your wits about you is important; lapses of concentration could lead to decomposing Zombie animals, so its a case of gun drawn and loaded at all times.

There is a lot of mileage here, hours of storyline complete with an entirely new soundtrack and a new voice-over and many memorable moments. If all that were not enough there's the multiplayer Undead Overrun horde mode, enormous fun if you can get 2-4 players to help you defeat wave after wave of infected zombies. But then there's even more in the guise of the bonus King of the Hill-style 'Land Grab', a non-horror themed multiplayer mode for Red Dead's Free-Roam, adding even more value to an already fairly priced package.

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Posted:
2014-03-29

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

Wii U

8.0

I certainly don't envy the job that Eidos Montreal was given when they were told to make a new Deus Ex game. The original Deus Ex is perhaps one of the most revered PC games of all time, but it hasn't aged particularly well. Of course, that meant that Eidos would have to make some major changes to what the game was, and we all know that gamers are not huge fans of major changes.

Thankfully, Eidos has done great job of managing to maintain the feeling of the original Deus Ex while managing to bring the gameplay into the modern day. The core gameplay allows you two basic ways to go about missions, either stealthily or violently. You get a talent tree, like in any game with RPG elements, that allows you to choose your preferred methods and make you even better at executing them.

When making your way through a mission stealthily, you run around and either slit people's throats or choke them out, leaving them unconscious. Stealth is certainly the most rewarding way to play Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but it can often be entirely too frustrating to actually make it worth it, thanks to sub-par AI that seems to be both psychic and clueless at the same time. One moment they won't be able to figure out where you are, and in the next moment they'll somehow see you through a wall.

That same horribly programmed AI makes going throw every level like a shooter the much easier way to go about things, but the shooting mechanics that are built into the game aren't all that great, and the way the AI behaves when you're just shooting everyone is even worse than it is when you're trying to sneak your way through a level.

The game's story feels very similar to that of the original Deus Ex, at least in general. Practically every overarching conspiracy theory regarding the Illuminati, the Majestic 12, or even FEMA can be found in Deus Ex Human Revolution, all crammed into a story that starts out as a simple "rescue your love interest from the evil people" story.

Perhaps the biggest problem with Deus Ex Human Revolution has nothing to do with either the story or the AI, though, it's the boss fights. Post-release it came out that these boss fights were made by a completely different studio than made the rest of the game, and it certainly shows. These boss fights require an extremely violent approach, and since there is no way to stealthily kill them, players who took a stealthy approach in their talent tree get the short end of the stick.

It really is quite amazing that even with all these problems, I am still wholeheartedly willing to recommend Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Sure, it has its share of problems, but as a whole its a solid open world experience that encourages exploration and experimentation with the game's mechanics, and that is something more games need to do.

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Posted:
2017-04-20

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

7.0

In MotionSports, the player’s movements are projected into the in-game character. The player uses his body to control the action of the character. There are games like soccer, hang gliding, horseback riding, football and skiing. The games come from assorted sports genre but do not give a representation of the whole sport. The games are sort of excerpts of the real-life game; for example, playing soccer will instruct the player in how dodge, tackle or run around and not play a whole entire soccer game.

The game appears incomplete and this is the main issue pointed out against its developers. There are some other setbacks with this game. The console does not properly capture the movements of the player, there are instances when the player’s movements are not registered, for example docking in soccer would need players to really drop low or else your movement will not register. Occasionally the game projects inconsistent movements in contrast with what the player does. There is also a short boxing game. The game appears great except that it is often unresponsive. The player’s punches are not wholly captured and thus results in a defeat. Defensive movements, however, will save the players from inevitable loss.

Another issue with MotionSport is the game’s structure. The unlock system is not easy to understand at first. There are locked challenges in the start of the game but how to unlock them is the player’s problem. Players will have to discover for themselves how they will unlock these challenges. But once the player goes through the game he’ll realize that the medals are needed to unlock them. When the challenges are unlocked, the player will have no idea which levels are open or not. There are just no symbols to signify unlocked challenges. Despite these many issues, MotionSports has some interesting features. The hang gliding challenges are extremely fun and accurately capture the movements of the player. In this game, the player need to move through a levels of aerial gates while maintaining speed and altitude. This game needs a delicate touch which makes it a energizing offering of the game pack.

The Horseback riding mini-game is also enjoyable. The player needs to control the horse accurately throughout the course. However, constantly tapping the reigns and galloping around will make players look ridiculous.

MotionSports can boast of its multiplayer mode which appears in a split-screen view for some events. Also interesting is the four-player hot seat perfect for group playing, although this game may appear poorly organized. The game may have lots of setbacks but its motivating game play will make player hooked into it. The game also has a wide variety of mini-games which are perfect for group playing and single player modes.


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