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Posted:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

5.20

Club Penguin Game Day 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:
2013-05-25

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

7.60

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:
2010-12-12

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

7.50

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:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

8.00

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:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

7.00

Games that have an engaging or interesting story are few and far between, and when Catherine was first being shown to the public, it certainly had promise in that department. The core concept that the game is built around involves you playing a man named Vincent. Vincent has been engaged in a longtime relationship with his girlfriend Katherine, and she desperately wants him to commit. In this environment, a second woman, Catherine, comes on the scene. This new woman is youthful, energetic and carefree, the exact opposite of Katherine. Before Vincent even realizes it, he is cheating on his girlfriend with this new girl, and he has to make a choice between his carefree past and a more responsible future. As he goes further and further down this road, he begins to have nightmares in which the game's actual gameplay takes place.

Of course, just telling the story through a whole bunch of cutscenes doesn't necessarily play that well in video games, and the game realizes this, at least at a basic level. While there are still an excessive amount of cutscenes and boring dialogue, at some point in the "real world" segments of Catherine, the game dumps you into a bar where you get to hang out with your friends, talk to strangers that are going through the same type of nightmares you are, and answer text messages from both of the women you are having relations with. As you engage in all these activities, there is an "alignment meter" that determines who you are being most loyal to.

You might have noticed I haven't spoken to the gameplay at all yet. That is because the gameplay is by far the worst part of this game, and for me it ruins the rest of the experience. The core gameplay takes place in these surreal nightmares that Vincent is having in which Vincent has to climb a large tower of blocks. That's right, Catherine is a puzzle game. By pushing and pulling the blocks, you create a safe path for Vincent as an enormous, demonic version of Katherine tries to kill him. The puzzles start out easy enough, but they quickly become extremely frustrating, and eventually become a roadblock that prevents you from getting back to the part of the game back at the bar that is actually interesting.

Catherine is one of the few games that I am willing to say would have been better off as a visual novel. The strongest parts of the game involve how Vincent is handling these two relationships, even if the player does not have all that much control over how the story plays out. Although I find it difficult to recommend this game, I think it is something that everyone should at least try out to see excellent storytelling, but pick it up as a rent instead of a full-fledged purchase, and if you like it go out and buy it. Just make sure that you play it on the easiest difficulty.

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Posted:
2013-05-25

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

6.50

The Nintendo Wii has come up with some great games in its short life and exercise, song and dance games have featured in disproportionately large numbers, but have nevertheless proved to be very popular, or so we have been led to believe. Most of these games are merely clones with different music and a few added extras to differentiate one from another. Exerbeat does not really have enough to make it stand out from from other games in the overcrowded fitness market. Some reviewers have claimed that ExerBeat encourages exercise for its own sake and not just as part of a competition to gain the highest score and so win some sort of competition, but there are elements of the 'game', such as party and mini games that are not absolutely necessary to a fitness regime but act as a means to make the workouts less boring. This puts it back into the category of most of the other fitness titles on the market.

So what does it offer. There are 150 simple exercises with varied themes such as martial arts and dance. There are also facilities for customizing the exercises to suit the user's current fitness rating, preferences and goals. There are the almost obligatory calorie counting and body mass index indicators. A novel idea is a measure of equivalent distance walked as indicated by on screen Mii characters which travel through locations on the globe, roughly at that equivalent distance, and give on screen information about the local scenery and customs.

So for its function as a fitness aid it does what it sets out do and presents itself quite well. It is certainly no worse or no better than all the other get fit quick software packages out there. I have no real beef about Exerbeat as a means of making exercise a little more interesting, my complaint is with the hype and marketing blurb that make it, and all of its kind, sound as if they were the greatest exercise aid since carrying suitcases of money to the bank.

If you want to buy this sort of exercise 'game' you might just as well buy this one.

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Posted:
2010-12-03

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

7.50

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:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

5.30

The game starts you off as a character named Dave, who has accidentally become an apprentice to Balthazar, a previous apprentice of Merlin’s. The nemesis of Balthazar accidentally becomes free due to your actions, so you have to go on a hunt to imprison him once more. Meanwhile, you have gained the power to shoot magical bolts out of your hands, and everyday items all over the world have decided to try and chow down on you.

The game has a lot of potential for fun. Since Dave is the apprentice to a sorcerer, he has a lot of magic powers at his disposal. When one magic is equipped, it is essentially of a certain element. If enemies that use that element attack you while it’s loaded up, you are immune to the attack. Using your spells takes mana, which is replenished at different shrines throughout the levels, and there are also super-attacks that you can gain over time to do even more damage to enemies. These are gained by collecting items from the game world, and then completing an extraordinarily simple mini-game.

Because of the system that has you using spells of a certain color to defeat certain types of enemies, you'll continually be switching your spell selection up. That led to a lot of enjoyment at the start of the game, running around the levels, selecting the proper spell for a situation and then using that spell to annihilate the numerous baddies that are after you. It didn't take long though, for the game’s formula to get tiring. Even with the modifications that you have to do to select the proper spell in order to deal with a situation; it still becomes repetitive fast once you know what you’re doing.

At least the graphics for the game look really good. This should be the best part about the game, considering it is a Disney title. Although it can be really easy to tell what some of the stuff is, a lot of the rest of it isn't described, and forces players to use their imaginations to come up with what it is that they're looking at. If that's the sort of magic that Disney was looking to elicit with this title, they succeeded.

Most video games, however, do the job of using your imagination for you. It’s a recipe for success that has long been followed by game designers. If only The Sorcerer’s Apprentice had a spell that could make this game enjoyable, then they probably would have cast it. Unfortunately, it looks to be that no such spell exists.

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Posted:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

8.00

The Call of Duty series is a very popular multi-platform first person shooter. The game is developed by Treyarch and published by Activision. In Japan it is being published by Square-Enix.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is one of the most recent additions to the series, and in this game the player is able to utilize many modern weapons in current use, as well as futuristic weapons which exist only in the imagination of the designers.

This title has a unique single player campaign which allows player driven actions to help direct the course of events in the game. This single player campaign allows the player to follow two different timelines during two different cold war eras. The first part of the game takes place in the late nineteen eighties during the first Cold War era, and the second part of the game takes the player forward into the year 2025, where futuristic weaponry and artillery are utilized in the second Cold War era China and the United States.

The two cold wars periods coincide with each other for both the protagonists and antagonists involved for any particular event. This creates a very interesting and engaging storyline, and with the fact that the game bridges two different periods of time, means that decisions made in the earlier stages of the game, during Strike Force Missions, will alter the course of the rest of the gameplay. Events will be determined, for example, by whether someone of particular importance dies or lives. This interplay creates multiple possible endings for the story, which is a first in the Call of Duty franchise.

Along with the story comes an array of new weapons, created for the future setting in the 2025 cold war period. Earlier stages call for more basic weapons which were around in that time period, and for the future cold war, robots, cyber wars, and other weaponry created for the future are at the players' disposal.

Another great addition is the opportunity to fight against monsters in the Zombie mode. The Zombie mode has it's own Campaign quite aside from the regular single-player campaign.

In Call of Duty Black Ops II, more players are able to join in a co-op game, and there are three particular modes in which players are able to participate, together with the possibility of playing in an 8 player co-op game. There are interesting challenges to face during all these modes.

Should anyone be looking for an exciting first person shooter. Call of Duty Black Ops II should definitely be on the check list. The whole franchise has itself managed to gain a huge popularity amongst gamers from all over the world, and those who do like to play first person shooters should definitely give this one a try as it will certainly not disappoint those with trigger happy thumbs or those who can plan strategic maneuvers to outwit their foes.

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Posted:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

9.00

Just like Ultima and Final Fantasy, Namco Bandai’'s Tales RPG series has been a staple of both the Western and Eastern gaming markets for many years. The great tradition is continued with Tales of Grace f for the Sony Playstation 3 console.

Story/Gameplay: 9.5/10

You'll play Tales of Grace f as Asbel. After a fateful meeting with an enigmatic girl, your character begins to feel as though he’s more important than he is. This leads to a series of unforeseen problems and events. When he meets up with her over 7 years later, the story really picks up the pace. You've never seen as many plot twists in a game as you'll find here. Well, unless you've played a previous entry in the series.

Tales of Grace f isn't a turn based RPG like most and features fast and furious gameplay that requires a lot more skill than just pressing one button to win a battle. This isn't a button masher and you shouldn't play it as such. If you can execute a certain amount of combination moves, win a match without sustaining any damage, or win a fight in a certain amount of time, you can reap great rewards. Those rewards can come in the form of extra experience points, healing power for the members in your party, or even something as simple as more money. The ability to have up to three other members in your party is also very helpful, although they don't serve much purpose other than helping you fight.

Tales of Grace f uses titles in order to level up your character and their abilities. Titles are earned in a variety of ways, while performing a variety of actions. Each one can be leveled up five times using experience points gained in battle. The in-game tutorial, which displays during the first couple of battles, explains everything a lot better than I can. It will teach you how to perform all of your basic moves, how to control your allies in battle and how to use the title system.

Sound: 8/10

While there’s nothing spectacular to be found in the sound department, everything that is included is solid. The music is upbeat, suited to the situation it’s presented in, and generally not annoying at all. You're not going to find that in most RPGs, as they usually feature at least an annoying ditty or two. Nothing really stands out though about the music. You've heard it before and nothing is particularly memorable. The voice acting is all top notch and probably the best part about the game’s audio.

Final Score: 9/10

Veterans of the series will know exactly what to expect. First time players should prepare to immerse themselves in a game like no other. Once you play Tales of Grace f, I can guarantee you’ll want to play the other games in the series too. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, because there’s a lot to do here before you go on to the other games. You could easily spend 75 to 100 hours with Tales of Grace f if you’re a stickler for completing everything a game has to offer. Whether you're a long-time fan of the Tales series or just RPGs in general, you don't want to miss Tales of Grace f.


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