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Posted:
2010-04-23

TheStig

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo DS

8.8

'New Super Mario Bros' released for the Nintendo DS is part of the mario franchise which has plagued the gaming world for what seems like an eternity, the game would be considered an action platformer and was developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo for the DS.

If you have been addicted to video games since the 90s, you’ve probably developed an addiction to the Super Mario Bros. It’s one of those first few games that people used to play on older game consoles. It has also proved to be very addictive to children and adults alike.

The popularity of the Super Mario Bros. game has now gone several levels higher with new versions of the game in more modern game consoles. It is unquestionably a forever part of the history of video games.

The newest Super Mario game called 'New Super Mario Bros' released for the Nintendo DS is beyond doubt something special. It remains true to its roots depicting Mario’s side-scrolling environments, with almost the same but more enhanced look and feel; and even a gameplay that has an unbelievably classic touch to it. There are new elements that add up to the game making the game even more fun.

It’s the first time in 15 years that a new Super Mario game has been classically designed. New Super Mario Bros. features stunning 3D graphics in a 2D gameplay. Although this new version offers a variety of superb changes in the game to fans and gamers; almost all of the original elements remain intact. The main plot and central goal of the game is … you guessed right – To SAVE THE PRINCESS!

This game doesn’t have much of plus points for its story, as the original concept, which is Mario going up levels to the challenge of making it to the castle, collecting coins, defeating Koopas, Goombas, and all other oddly-named monsters of Mushroom Kingdom, is still basically the same. If you have played the original before, you surely need a refresher because this game in Nintendo DS is just about the same except for some breezy twists. It is a remarkable super sequel to the original.

It actually took more than a decade to develop the Mario mechanics in the side-scrolling design. The dilemma was, how could the company further go without wandering from the existing formula of run/jump/bounce and without ending up in a game that is not-so-Mario? Fortunately for the creators, they were able to successfully and beautifully do the innovation without departing from the original concept.

There are a number of areas which made it quite ideal to produce the new Super Mario game on Nintendo DS. For one, the market of hand held game consoles is more open to game designs like the side-scrolling action games. And two, Nintendo DS has more horsepower under its console than the system of Game Boy Advance. The advancements of the gameplay is more likely brought by the capabilities of the Nintendo DS processor and not the system’s more unique elements.

the presentation of the game is terrific and really well-designed, overall. The only disappointment is that the extras found in the game are recycled mini-games from the Super Mario 64 DS. Other than that, fans and gamers can count on pure delight and enjoyment of the game’s presentation. The graphics of the game are also quite awe inspiring. The really slick hybrid 2D/3D engine enables level designers to have some splendid effects and gameplay elements.

These are stuff that weren’t really possible way back in 2D days. The sound is also exquisite. There is of course the unforgettable, very famous Classic Mario soundtrack that goes with each level and with Mario’s voice now more enhanced in each level; there really isn’t any reason to complain. So you ask, and the gameplay? Well, there’s no doubt about it; you have to be exceedingly picky not to give it an excellent rating.

Indeed, 'New Super Mario Bros' will forever be remembered in the video gaming world and the DS version is no exception. It’s one of those games that remain original yet offer fun that is at par with the challenges of the newer hybrids in the video-gaming world.

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Posted:
2010-04-25

TheStig

Super Gamer Dude

Sony PSP

8.1

Need for Speed is one of the best and well-embraced racing games of all time. It gives you that adrenaline rush of how it is to be in front of a wheel, driving at a high speed while dodging other cars along the way. Coming from a very successful line, this PSP version falls quite short when compared to its console counterpart but still remains to be relatively better when compared with other portable racing games.

The PSP version still has that arcade feel to it, but minus the customization part this time. The only thing you could alter or change in your car is its color. Thus, all you have to do is just race, beat your competitors, and eventually try to win the race. Maybe they took into consideration the fact that most PSP players just focus on actually playing the game rather than making all those adjustments.

Without all those adjustments or upgrades available for your car, what is there to look forward to after each race then? Luckily, you get to drive different cars; a selection so wide, there are just enough cars to choose from to suit different types of players. But don’t get too keyed up just yet. You just can’t choose which car to drive from at the start. You still have to earn them by unlocking each one whenever you finish a race or when you beat other players in a game.

The game also loses the ability for the player to manually change gears. Instead, cars are set to automatic, taking away the thrill of how it is to actually change gears. Some may think it’s cool but many are of the opinion that it’s a total bust since you are just left with simply stepping on the gas and waiting until it actually climbs up speed. Since it automatically changes gear, it frequently fails to do so and you just notice that the car you’re driving is running low on revs.

The graphics aren’t that bad. There are some places indicating well-thought of locations; others are just downright dull and simply boring. In addition, when you make your way to the city, it doesn’t feel and look as though it is a city. For example, there aren’t much people you could see. And if you could spot a couple, they look kind of weird and just seem to just blend in the crowd instead of popping out.

Its audio however rivals those of its counterparts. Sound effects are placed just right and quite accurately at that. The screeching of the wheels, the changing of the gears, as well as the crashes, all of them sound pretty close to the real thing. The soundtrack of the game is also a good one. It offers you a wide variety of music unlike other racing games that only offer a couple at most, which can get pretty annoying with its repetitious playing.

The PSP version might not be the best among the Need for Speed games; but at least in this game you get to live the experience of driving the best cars in the world, in places you’ve never been to before.

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Posted:
2010-04-25

TheStig

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo Wii

8.6

People do often say that the greatest ideas are also the simplest. When Nintendo unveiled the four-player mode of the New Super Mario Bros. on Wii, people thought that Nintendo has already lost its creative juices. But now that the New Super Mario Bros. is already here, it’s hard to think that the new mode is a downgrade of the legendary game.

The original Super Mario game has a formula that is so easy to understand that its very simplicity became its charisma in the video gaming industry. You just run make left and right turns, and jump until you reach the new level. That’s it. There are no sophisticated moves or weapons. Just try one level, do the same moves over and over; and you’d probably get the whole trick. Amazingly, it appears to be the charm that has made the game quite famous to date.

This new Super Mario game on Wii reiterates the same Super Mario world vibe. It has playful ingenuity, lumpy environmental hazards, and power-ups that have been refined almost perfectly. This new Super Mario game might not be totally original but much of the game remains familiar to gamers who have played previous classic games by Nintendo. This new game is infused with Nintendo’s trademark of excellence in design, using the traditional Mario figures and giving it a new twist.

Mario has new abilities in this game that have very significant improvements from the DS game’s largely superficial inclusions. Here, the propeller outfit and penguin suit play a vital part in the game. These two can grant you abilities that will be to your advantage when used wisely. You can zip over troublesome areas, freeze enemies to become ice cubes and use them to defeat multiple enemies or have better maneuverability underwater.

Also one of the game’s favorite characters, Yoshi is back, too! It adds up to the game being skillfully designed; and has remained as family-friendly as ever. Nintendo might be pushing the multiplayer focus on Wii; but it is absolutely a bona fide Mario platform, whether played alone or in groups.

Speaking of the new multiplayer mode, it is also unquestionably fun. You can have a full group of friends play with you in either story-mode or multiplayer-specific extras, New Super Mario have become thoroughly compulsive with its chaos that is hilariously slapdash. What makes it an incredible game is its lack of enforced objectives. The game is not competitive and not even cooperative. The main goal is, to reach the end. This alone makes the New Super Mario Bros. a superb, relaxing, undemanding game to play.

The overall presentation is stunning, to put it modestly. Nintendo has polished it flawlessly this time. The graphics also look astounding. It may not be the best but the combination of 2D and 3D graphics works so faultlessly. The audio and sound effects also accompany and complement the game so well. With familiar ditties and new arrangements, players will no doubt have the most enjoyable fun time with the game. I bet you’re toying with the question, “And the gameplay?” Awesome! Though it remains true to its roots, it doesn’t detract from working perfectly and giving players pure, unadulterated fun.

Sure, Super Mario might come as quite too familiar. A new game with the same good ol’mechanics might not wow us to the extreme. The thing is, it’s a Nintendo classic, with new twists, enhanced appearance and much improved features - and that says a lot!

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Posted:
2010-04-25

TheStig

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo Wii

5.5

History was made in September 2006 when Nintendo released their new game console Wii that has taken the hearts of many gamers around the globe. Its innovative way of playing is so refreshing that they are must-haves for every household. It is so much fun to use because it’s interactive; which also presents a challenge for the producers because they have to constantly think of games that would be good entertainment for just about everyone.

Today, they have moved a level up with the introduction of their newest dance craze Just Dance. There was a time when dancing was so popular in arcades and later on found their way to households using dance pads, otherwise known as dance mats or dance platforms. Last year, Wii released its own version of dancing, Just Dance.

Just Dance functions on a different level because you don’t have to push buttons and unlock levels or any progression of that kind. All you have to do is - just dance. You just have to follow the dancer on your screen doing the actual steps to the beat of the song. This Wii game offers songs from different genres with a wide range of difficulties from easy to the most difficult.

Being a first, the game has areas that they could definitely improve upon. Generally, dancing has to be perfect in timing and execution; and the same goes for Just Dance. People who are into dancing or what you would call “natural” find it quite easy to follow the tempo and the dance steps; but for beginners or those who haven’t really done much dancing it can be quite a problem.

Likewise, some find it challenging enough as points is given for every step correctly followed and you get a total score at the end of the song. Others just find it simply boring. If not for the “red light/green light, Strike-A-Pose” point system of elimination, where the Last One Standing is declared the winner, there really is nothing to do that resembles a challenge. You can, in fact, easily memorize the moves and steps and just flail away.

Just Dance could have also fared better with the graphics and layout department. The dancers are dressed appropriately according to the song and everything is colorful and vibrant but the “main characters” you have to mimic are just silhouettes, which could have been more realistic if they didn’t appear like shadows. The design is overly simple where they could have added more creativity to improve it.

With all these flaws, the game can still be great entertainment as a family activity or when you want to keep guests occupied. It can be quite competitive for small group gatherings with the multiplayer phase which allows up to four players to dance off and see who’s the greatest. It can be a delightful experience for “bonding moments” where happy memories are made to last a lifetime. But if you’re not the sentimental type, this might not be your cup of tea.

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Posted:
2010-04-25

TheStig

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo DS

7.6

Nintendo has been very busy with their gaming. On November 25, 2008 they released Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force for Nintendo DS console. Elite Penguin Force or more commonly known in the game for its shortcut EPF is a cool spy agency that aims to keep Club Penguin safe; the very same Club Penguin of Walt Disney youÂ’ve been playing online.

Club Penguin is an adventure where a single player plays as a covert member of one of the penguins in the Elite Penguin Force. Here, the gamer travels around an island and is supposed to assist other penguins, and needs to sometimes crack mysteries in the process. There are also confidential missions that the player has to finish. These missions are exclusive for Nintendo DS consoles.

Being a game that is more geared into the adventurous side, it heavily relies on the plot, and luckily, Club Penguin has an excellent one. Children would really love the game for all its humor and action packed adventures.

Club penguin offers mini games that include fishing, dancing, snowboarding and other touchscreen games that can be played over and over at any given time in any place during the game. This is a way to earn coins which are important for getting costumes and other add-ons.

Earning coins is vital in the game, and Club Penguin, being inspired from an online Disney game, has the ability to transfer earned coins from the Nintendo DS version to the online game through wireless connections as long as they are using the same account. How cool is that! Moreover, players can simultaneously play on the online community and get those special features the game has to offer, through the Nintendo DS. Awesome! You can also make your own three-dimensional avatars, build your own profile, talk with friends and enjoy sharing Club Penguin accessories. Using the same wireless connection also allows you to get newer missions and achieve in-game honors. This game just reeks of absolutely fantastic!

Well, okay, so not absolutely; the features have its slight drawbacks, too. They are made for the younger generation, which means the interface design is leaning on a much simpler side where children can easily move along in the game. Its simplicity can be a bit boring for some adults who are much more used to high-tech graphics, but they work wonders for the little gamers. The game also has its ambiguities that can be confusing to players, making it tougher to deal with the game at times. Getting stuck can be an agonizing ordeal. The game also entails lots of reading; lots and lots of them. The saving factor is theyÂ’re easy to read.

All in all this is a fabulous game; not only for little kids but for teens, too. They are simple but adventurous enough for kids to enjoy. The ability to use wireless connections to relate your Nintendo account to the original online game is a huge plus; and you can just constantly play without having to put your PC to tremendous wear and tear every time you play. Given that there are still very limited adventurous games on DS at the moment, this charming game can serve as a gateway for more challenging games of this genre in the DS console format.

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Posted:
2010-04-25

TheStig

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo DS

8.0

With the success of the well-received and widely popular Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, it was just too good an opportunity to pass and not make a sequel; so after two years, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games was finally released. It still offers the players the same 27 events based on the core disciplines of the Olympic Games which features both classic and dream events. The once popular sprints and pole vaults however, are now replaced with snowboarding, hockey, skiing, skating, curling, and many more. What’s great in this new version is that you can choose which sport to play from the very start.

The game’s dream events filled with beautiful settings like rolling hills, gleaming snow, and clear blue skies makes this game interesting. The only downside to this is that each dream event mode requires unlocking done by single-player mode or multiplayer mode. What’s more annoying is that most of the events in the game are not worth the time it takes to unlock the different dream events. But what did you really expect? It would be such a bore if everything was simply handed down, right?

The one event in this game which really rocks is curling. Not many people know what this sport is but I guess once they get to know what it is they’ll get hooked. Curling is a mix of bocce ball, shuffleboard, and horseshoes. Simply put, the player who throws rocks closest to the target wins. It might seem ordinary but what makes this game fun is that the developers incorporate the actual game into how you control each throw. Speed, strength, and different ways of countering each throw can be controlled giving you full power of how it turns out. Say goodbye to blaming it all on the computer for your failure.

Working your way through the game can be such a bust when it becomes repetitive. Each event can be replayed until you reach the necessary skill level you wish to have. The tracks and courses are predetermined so once you have already played it; it won’t excite you as much as it did the first time around. The controls were also made to be user-friendly making it somewhat easy even for casual players. But hey, not everyone gets good at it that fast.

Besides the different events, Mario & Sonic also offer players a chance to some party games namely balloon popping and wheel spinning. These are strategically placed randomly before the start of each Olympic event.

This game might get you hooked right away but it will also bore you as fast as it enticed you. The whole package could have been put together better if it had been more exciting games and if the controls were as engaging as it hoped to be. It fails in comparison to the previous Olympic game in terms of graphics but it makes up for it in terms of being imaginative. Overall, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is a disappointment. But if you are that type of person who enjoys unlocking levels and stages then this game is just enough to keep you distracted or busy for the moment since the events are really not that mind-blowing. Still, it will not stop anyone, both kids and those kids at heart, from enjoying it especially during gatherings.

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Posted:
2010-04-25

TheStig

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo DS

8.7

Nintendo has again outdone itself by inventing a sequel to their 2007 Phantom Hourglass. The same hero, Link, now faces new challenges in The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks. The plot has its time set a century after the Phantom Hourglass; where Link is a train engineer who goes to Hyrule Castle for the royal blessing he needs to become a truly qualified engineer. Well, the plot thickens, of course and everything goes wrong; but unlike its predecessors, the princess isn’t kidnapped or locked away, instead she gives him a note informing him that the spirit tracks which run around Hyrule Castle is slowly disappearing. Throughout the game, Link and Princess Zelda travel around places to restore power to the Tracks and recover Zelda’s body from the Demon’s tower.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks has retained most of its features but there are some new additions. You can still see Beedle marketing his merchandise; and you still encounter boulders and enemies to break and annihilate. But the game has now become more intense and exciting because of added features or characters like the hidden rabbits that you should find and capture, for instance. You can also bring items for trading and let commuters ride between stops; where the challenge is to follow the signs and stop accurately at platforms.

Another great new feature is Princess Zelda’s ability to alter her skill sets depending on what Phantom she possesses when inside the Tower of Spirits. Together, Link and Zelda become an awesome duo that can solve puzzles and destroy enemies. Having full control of the Phantom both manually or automatically likewise takes the game to a whole new level. There is minor setback when it comes to the automation of the Phantom, though. Their Path-finding isn’t that smart, so do expect small bloopers like falling into quicksand once in a while when there’s a completely good bridge; walking straight into walls and some other blunders. Using manual control to take charge may become a hindrance when you’re in a tight situation and you need a quick back-up. The ability to play different characters like Link and the Phantom is a great opportunity to cover each character’s weaknesses; thus, making the game more enjoyable and entertaining.

These new additions, however, does not avert the fact that there are also some glitches to this installment. First, it is undeniably longer than its predecessor, the Phantom Hourglass, with all its options for extensions. Second, there is a mix of confusing controls purportedly designed to make everything smoother; but when you get to a tight spot they can interfere with your strategy rather than help.

But these are just small drawbacks to this new Nintendo DS game. Link’s adventures in the new Legend of Zelda: Spirit tracks will definitely satisfy your craving for more of the sliding blocks and puzzles you love. They won’t have big surprises but you can definitely get new tricks from enhanced old stuff. It’s totally a blast for all Link and Zelda fans out there.

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Posted:
2010-04-25

TheStig

Super Gamer Dude

Sony PSP

7.1

Star Wars Battlefront Elite Squadron was released to bring back or at least regain what was once very popular among the masses -the star wars franchise. But just as expected, the new installment was a miss and it just continued the downward spiral that was started with the first battlefront release.

You could tell that they really tried to improve on a lot of things on this one. But all those improvements were just not quite right and still fell short of what most people wanted see and experience. The concept was great but it failed big time in the application. If only more work was put into it then maybe it would have turned out better.

What you could do with the characters was a big leap from the previous installment. You could do different attacks and defenses now. Everything was so promising. Then there’s the control. How do you expect to do it well when the controls are that complicated? It could have been made a lot easier and a lot more game-enticing.

The story mode is also a great disappointment. From the names of the characters to the mission that they have to do and your role in it, everything just seems uncreative at some point. You would even often times get lost with what is going on because what the character is narrating and what is being shown onscreen are frequently out of synch. You should be a really star wars fanatic to understand things really well. Its main campaign, despite its being relatively short, is a good thing in some ways since you can replay it again and again. You then just have to adjust the level of difficulty and then just start over again.

What saves the bad storyline is the high degree of customizing that you can do with your battle troops. You are fully in charge with what they wear and what weapons they use. If you are that type of player who loves to customize, then you probably would like this feature in the new battlefront installment.

Another thing that saves this game from being a total upset is that its graphics are really gorgeous despite being designed just for the PSP. It still looks as stunning as most of its console counterparts. Even in battles you couldn’t see any minor faults – in terms of the graphics, that is. Some games sacrifice game speed for a great visual but this game does not do that. Even when your screen is jam-packed with a lot of fighting, the speed still remains to be as fast as it was when you started the game.

If you are truly a star wars fanatic then you wouldn’t have any issues with this since you would definitely look past any flaws that it has. But if you aren’t.then this game is not for you. It may be a good past time and when a new game comes along, you will surely not miss it.

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Posted:
2010-04-25

TheStig

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

5.6

James Cameron’s recent movie is one those successful movies who fell for the trap of a movie getting tied-in with a game. As a response to the movie’s monstrous hit, comes James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game.

The game and the movie have the same setting which is from a distant moon called Pandora. You can still find the terrifying animals, carnivorous plants, beautiful sceneries, and of course the Na’vi. The problems being faced are still the same. There is still the constant battle between the humans and the inhabitants. Let me just end this movie and game comparison with this statement - if you’ve seen the movie, then you know what to expect.

If you were thrown off the edge of your seat when you watched the movie, I suggest that don’t get your hopes up that much for this game. If only it had the same amount of preparation as the movie, then it would have turned out quite differently and it would have fared better. You know that feeling when you see something and you feel as if it was finished for the sake of being finished on time? It’s like an anti-climax. Unfortunately, that’s what you get when you play this game. The only thing that saves this game is the graphics, which even the movie was well-known for.

You might feel a little blown off the game by now. But don’t fret just yet. The game might not be that good but at least it lets you experience what it is to fight the war from different sides. You have the choice to battle as part of the Na’vi and protect Pandora, or become part of the RDA and fight the inhabitants and finish your mission of extracting minerals in Pandora.

If machines and guns are your preference, then you should take on the RDA campaign. You are provided with different gadgets for you to use as weapons or as defense, whichever might be to your advantage. On the other hand, if you opt for the more primitive style like attacking in close range, then I suggest you fight for the Na’vi. You go back to the basics of having to use staffs, bow and arrow, and knives in this campaign.

The two campaigns are quite different and offer you a whole new perspective; a great strategy on the part of the creators of the game. But unfortunately, both campaigns are just average and neither one is a complete stand-out.

The best part of this game though is not the campaign but the Pandorapedia wherein you get to experience and learn a lot about Pandora. You get to marvel at its wonders and just simply enjoy what you see.

The game in its totality lacks a lot of the “game stuff”, like things that would make you want to throw the controller because you can’t finish a certain level; or if you do, you want to redo it all over again. The game is focused more on the looks of Pandora, leaving all the other elements behind. The controls are poorly developed, the missions lack depth and the fighting leaves you wanting for more.

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Posted:
2010-04-25

TheStig

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

8.7

Last year, Xbox 360 owners who are Grand Theft Auto IV fans were given a special treat – the downloadable episodes that extended the story of GTA IV. And just last March, PS3 and PC fans of GTA were also delighted with the same content that Xbox 360 owners had. The disc includes two great additions to GTA IV which are “The Lost and Damned” and “The Ballad of Gay Tony.”

Let’s first tackle The Ballad of Gay Tony. Even in the first ten minutes of the game you are already hijacking a train; carrying it to an empty ball field through a helicopter. Great action here is sustained in the first few minutes of The Ballad of Gay Tony.

It may be a little over-the-top but it will suit the taste of GTA aficionados. If you have missed the outlandishness of GTA: San Andreas, then you would probably enjoy the missions of Gay Tony ratcheting up to preposterousness. The player’s character in Gay Tony is Luis Lopez who is the bodyguard and business associate of the title character. Gay Tony is the famous owner of the hottest straight nightclub and the hottest gay club in the city. But he has gotten himself into a serious trouble. The theme revolves around a successful man slowly losing grip and tumbling down off the ladder of success.

The events in Gay Tony and in Lost and Damned take place at the same time as that of GTA IV. There are lots of characters to meet and you even get to know some bigger crime lords. At one point Luis does a job for Bulgarin who is the top Russian gangster present in the city. Luis takes on an action-packed mission for Bulgarin who wants to take over the hockey team, Liberty City Rampage.

The Lost and Damned on the other hand, offers great missions, as well. The Lost and Damned has the same gameplay mechanics and great storytelling that GTA IV has. It’s like it’s a separate game by itself and not just add-on content.
L&D has a full-fledged campaign, exciting new locations, cool mini-games that include arm-wrestling, gameplay mechanics that are well refined, new and cool vehicles, new weapons, a powerful soundtrack with new DJs, even new TV shows and a new multiplayer mode.

In conclusion, these two additions to the GTA IV are a perfect way to end the saga. What you didn’t know in the main story two years ago, such as what happened to the stolen diamonds, are now revealed. Although the storyline is far from impressive, the additional supporting cast has certainly done some wonders. Though GTA IV and Lost and Damned take place in the same setting which is Liberty City, the two are distinctive from each other.

GTA had indeed made a mark in the video gaming world. And with these two new additions, gamers will surely savor the action of a pure GTA gameplay. So take the opportunity to add two more campaigns to a great collection. You’d probably be surprised to find out you’ve actually missed the noisy, crowded streets of Liberty City.


  Viewing Reviews 1-10 of 35