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Posted:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

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

5.2

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

7.6

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

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:
2010-12-12

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

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:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

4.6

Madagascar the movie is a favorite for many people and now, thanks to the 3DS, you can take the game Madagascar 3 wherever you go. You can play with all your favorite film characters including the memorable Marty the Zebra, Alex the Lion, Melman the Giraffe and the fat and silly Hippo, Gloria. All these and others have their own unique and special abilities, so that the player can choose the right circus animal for getting through any particular level. They can all walk and skip, but Gloria is the only one that can get the other characters through the water scenes as she is the only one that can swim. Without her help in the water the other characters will sink and drown. Completing all the levels will get the circus back to New York.

The circus comes to life as the player performs circus mini-games filled with daring acrobatics and astonishing stunts. The challenges may have the player's character soaring though the air, and jumping over objects, to stay one step ahead of the nasty animal control officers that are chasing them. Traveling along the famous roads and streets of European cities, the main characters receive help from other characters who they meet on the way. The comic adventures have all the Madagascar friends and some new characters help the player to collect tickets and put up posters, so everyone can get home to The Big Apple safely.

Performing on the different stages the player can buy more tickets, so that their chosen animal character can increase its powers. If playing as the Lion, the player can buy tickets to spend on enabling the lion to get a double roar. With a double roar it scares away the police officers who patrol the area.

The 3D functionality seems to be a bit scarce. The only time the game has the 3D feature is in the slideshow cut scenes, and those are few and far between. The stages all seem to merge making it hard to find the one you are looking for or want to re-visit.

Madagascar 3 seems to be designed for younger children, as it lacks solid controls and clever game features that older, more serious gamers, find necessary. It is all the more child friendly because it is free from major technical issues which are the bugbear of many games. The visuals are more than adequate, in fact for a game of this type they are more than good enough. The tightrope acts and the motorcycle courses could have been better, but the zany actions are just right for youngsters.

The game runs comparatively smoothly with only a few very minor hiccups. The circus sections are the best part of Madagascar 3 and the graphics are extremely colorful, clean cut and there is no shortage of content, although this content can be a little bit repetitive to older players' tastes. A great game for kids but also good for young adults who do not take gaming too seriously.

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Posted:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

7.1

The Nintendogs are back and they have brought friends, their crazy cat friends that is. The Nintendogs + Cats, French Bulldog + New Friends for the 3DS released in 2011 is one of the three extensions for Nintendogs + Cats and includes a few new features, and a choice of more dogs and cats. Personalizing the pets by giving them accessories, different colorings and personalities allows the player to make a new level of connections with them.

Moving on, the 3DS makes for a more enjoyable game with various new features. For example, the microphone produces a sound that is precise and clear so that the dog or cat can easily understand what command is given during a challenge, competition, play session, or even when their name is being called. The 3DS also has a built in camera that is pointed towards the player. This camera is used for the dogs and cats to see their owners and enables them to recognize them and if the player makes a face or reacts in a certain way to the pet, then the dog or cat will react accordingly. The 3DS graphics are very real and make the animals fluffy and bouncy.

This latest title adds breeds such as Toy Poodle, French Bulldog, and Golden Retriever to the list as well as many additional cats. When viewing the animals in their kennels or cages, assessing their personalities is important as pointers can be obtained as to their trainability or behavior around the house.

This game also features the ability to share pets and presents with others. Using the StreetPass the player can send presents to their friends or have their dogs and cats play with them. SpotPass can be used to go on the internet that the 3DS has and download new Mii characters and new accessories. These new features are great for connecting with the Nintendogs community.

Overall, the game is just an extension of Nintendogs, and although it includes many new breeds of cats and dogs, if you did not like the first title you will have no reason to like this one.

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Posted:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

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

6.5

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:
2014-11-06

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

6.3

We may never invent a time machine in our life times but we sure as heck can pop in games like WWE 2K15 to revisit what made our childhood so much fun. For the younger gamers WWE 2K15 will be another entry into the current media mogul that is wrestling entertainment. For the older gamers, the ones that grew up with the WWF N64 entries, 2K15 will show us exactly what we've been missing. This latest entry into the pantheon of wrestling video games was released this past October for all of the current gen and last gen consoles: the PS4, XB1, Xbox 360, and PS3. We'll take a look at the general gameplay of the game before diving into the nitty gritty of what makes it better, or worse, than the prior entries in the series.

The WWE gaming world had quite the challenge on its hands when it was asked to come up with an entry that surpassed the WWE 2K14 smash hit of last year. 2K14 showcased an incredible deep roster, an interesting campaign mode, and one of the most interactive customizable suites in the history of wrestling games. So did they live up to the challenge or just get bounced like so many jabronies before them?

WWE 2K15 Has A DEEP Roster

The most important aspect of any yearly sports game is the updated roster. What good is it to have a game full of out of date wrestlers? Nobody wants to be busting heads with the 1996 version of Goldust in 2014...well, maybe they do but that's not the point. For 2K15 we get to play with 63 of the hottest names in sports entertainment along with eight special divas and three managers. Sounds like quite a few people, right? While the actual number is DOWN since last years entry we can still say that the roster here has enough oomph to make up for any perceived lack. You have all of the new wrestlers like Bray Wyatt and the NXT crew and the classic dudes that are still active today like HHH and Shawn Michaels. Considering the path that we've taken from the days of Atari gaming, it's hard to complain about a 70+ person total roster.

The Gameplay Has Been Elevated

The second most important aspect of a wrestling game is the way that the controls respond in your hands. Much like any other twitch based fighter, like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, you need to know that your avatar will strike and combo when you ask them to. Fans have been promised by the 2K crew that there would be a major overhaul in gameplay mechanics. While this is not the case for the old gen versions of the game, the next gen systems play very smoothly. There are occasional mix ups when you try to do work on the mat and sometimes you can lose yourself in space as you try to line up your special moves, but those are indicative of the type of game--not the game itself.

Relive Your History

One of the greatest things about professional wrestling is the fact that it is a long running narrative that incorporates thousands of people across decades of television airings. In 2K15 you can step into the shoes of some of the most legendary fighters in that span and relive their greatest moment. Want to experience the rivalry between HHH and HBK first hand? How about stepping into the shoes of some of the greatest legends in the history of the sport? You can do that too. There is literally infinite re-playability in this game thanks to the great roster and open gameplay modes.

In Closing: To Next-Gen or Not to Next-Gen

Fans of the WWE 2K series will have a decision on their hands this holiday season. With the game being released across old platforms and new it stands to reason that there will be some major differences in gameplay experience. The 360 and PS3 versions of 2K15 are noticeably worse than the XB1 and PS4 versions. The graphics are dulled down, some gameplay elements have been pulled, and the mechanics of the fighting are a little loose. If this sounds like something you don't want to deal with then stick to WWE 2K14 or move on to the next gen consoles.


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