LEGO Battles (Nintendo DS) Review: Strategic Block Busting in Real Time
Lego sets – the authentic ones (not the ones you’ve seen on the Harry Potter movie) – are all about epic battles. Just about everyone who has an ax to grind with something or someone – space men, knights, pirates, ninja, treasure hunters – has had a LEGO set at one point or another. Here’s the good news for the avid fans: besides your imagination, you can now have (and hopefully, win) all those battles on the Nintendo DS. Although it has an undertone of “my-first-real-time-strategy” to it, the game is truly appealing and relatively impressive from a technical view point.
LEGO fans who’ve been in the know for a long time can easily distinguish some of the classic sets, such as the Space, Castle and Pirates pieces from a couple decades or so ago. LEGO Battles now makes it possible for the player to be in control of these various mini figures in a game that has a story mode of over 70 levels. The video cutscenes thankfully retain the humor charm and style that LEGO has been famous for.
Unfortunately, RTS fans who are expecting more challenging strategies aren’t so lucky, as LEGO Battles are really a piece of cake. The sad thing about LEGO franchise is it seems to just cater to kids, not realizing that everybody just loves LEGO! Still, LEGO Battles isn’t such a bad choice for neophytes in real time strategy. Although the six story modes are inclined to get repetitive, they are quite lengthy and maneuver the players smoothly into various units and buildings, showing each function as you go along. These are nice and helpful if you’ve never had any experience with an RTS in the past.
On the technical side, the touch screen controls seem to work well. At some point though, picking a single unit gets to be a little tricky, especially when a number of people and buildings appear on screen. The AI gets pretty irksome as they often get stuck somewhere when you send troops out over an extensive distance. You think you have better things to do winning a battle than babysit an AI that can’t figure out how to find its way! The workers are equally annoying as they simply just cease working and have to be prodded to continue gathering lumber.
The story modes reflect varied areas of expertise of different armies; and this is where the most fun part is; when you can actually mix and match diverse armies in the free play or multiplayer. Players get to choose their own heroes, vehicles, infantry and other paraphernalia from any of the unlocked sets, with available options that range from 5 to 25 selections.
The multiplayer is actually the highlight and best part of any RTS, and LEGO Battles, for all its shortcomings, has at least done an extremely good job at this, making the game as challenging as you opponent’s skills makes it. Be warned though, there are some snags in the caps on troop numbers and the maps aren’t that big. But all in all the mode works great, with just a very minimal slowdown and looks pretty impressive with two dozen characters fighting each other on screen, all at one time.
If the well known LEGO charm and humor are enough reasons for you to play the game, then you won’t be disappointed as there’s plenty of that in LEGO Battles. However, if you’re looking for more challenges, then this game probably would just bore you. It’s just too much of a “cakewalk”, which is such a shame as the multiplayer really is pure, solid fun and has lots of potentials. It could have been an excellent game to recommend to everyone. As it is… it’s really your take!
Super Gamer Dude
Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (Wii) Review – It’s Still a Great Misadventure Even Without Whiplash Restrictions.
The original LEGO Star Wars game was a uniquely created game. It provided a new and fun experience. Due to the success of the original game, the creators made similar games such as Batman and Indiana Jones. Now, its latest offerings include the sequel of Indiana Jones. However, the new game is more likely the same as other Lego games and the gameplay is more or less like the other LEGO titles. The character destroys everything that can be destroyed and collect the rewards.
In this edition, the most notable addition to the gameplay is the unrestrained usage of the whiplash already. In the first Indiana Jones game, the whiplash could only be used in a restrictive manner where you had to be near the target, for one. The Wii now allows you to use the whip your target whenever and wherever you need it; which gives you a wider spot, rather than a small or restricted area. The only limitation is you can only use it on specific characters in a certain level.
This new LEGO Indiana Jones 2 title put huge focus on the movie, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Surprisingly, the creators of this new game somehow ended up integrating the past movie editions of the Indiana Jones series. This created a mess as players are thrown into confusion on what really is happening; other things that are not part of any movie edition even happen inexplicably. Also, while all other LEGO games feature buying new characters and vehicles capabilities, that aspect does not exist in this new installment.
The story line of the game does not present any surprises and that makes the whole experience boring. The addition of bonus stages even fails to save it with the dismal approach that can really bore you to tears all throughout. Some parts of the games let you fight off enemies in bunches, but they’re not even particularly created not with combat in mind; you get the feeling that its sole purpose is only to make the game longer and the experience excessive.
The essence of having a single approach that focuses on a specific movie series of a certain movie to the game is gone in this new game. The game was not created in support of the Indiana Jones movie editions; it was then a destruction of the movie editions as it is put into a one single game that makes it confusing. The creators have forgotten the former aspects of the original game in this new game by now making the character purchasable. It is done through fighting enemies and acquiring them directly in a certain stage. It has contributed to lack of inventory and upgrades to the brick collected in the game. By reason of the integration, there some parts of the game that will eventually make you lost. It is already very hard to cope up with the storyline as it involves other storylines of other Indiana Jones movies as well.
A new thing introduced in the game is the level creator where you can create pre existing levels but it will never look good as to the original made by Traveller’s Tales. At first it would be exciting to create your own challenges but it will be for naught because there is no online connectivity for the game.
If you plan on buying this new game, my advice is to buy the original Indiana Jones game. with too many loopholes in this new game, any beginner would not be satisfied and would be asking for more.
Super Gamer Dude
2010 FIFA World PS3 World CUP season is back in stunning form, EA Sports has come up with yet another soccer game which gaming fans for sure will appreciate. This year, along with 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, comes another event from FIFA, the release of a new soccer game entitled the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The new game depicts and presents some of the great soccer action seen in FIFA 10. Together with the right combination of mechanical and aesthetic innovations, it is a game that can definitely stand on its own with features of the world’s most popular sport event. It delivers excitement and exhilaration better than any other sporting games ever created.
The game runs under the same engine of FIFA 10 that offers crisp motions from the graphics to the movements. Infusing the World Cup fever to the game, it produces somewhat of everything a World Cup experience is all about. With the presence of a raucous crowd, coaches on the sideline and amazing player moves, the gameplay is magnificent. However, there are some features of the game that does not sit too well compared to its original gameplay. It shows off too much of the World Cup stadium atmosphere, which makes game sometimes a bit annoying. Beyond these minor concerns, the game has realistically captured the real-time flow of the World Cup season.
The features, design and gameplay all fall into place in depicting an awesome 2010 World Cup experience. Everything is World Cup, from the mascot to the facts presented in the loading screen and down to the game itself. There are many gameplay innovations presented in the game. A fine-tuned penalty kick system that adds more control for the user is a welcome change. Additional features also include playing the qualifying tournament with the 199 team present. You can select one team and bring your team to glory. Trying out the qualifying mode also presents a challenge for you to rewrite history.
Another altered feature in the game is that you get to play as Captain of any country of your choice. The player assumes only one player on the field, and you have the option to create one or you can use an existing player. The camera angles are definitely better than FIFA.
The modifications really improved the game, the player’s actions and reactions are better than FIFA 10, with the players making strong and smart runs. This actually makes the game more realistic. Adding to the enormous fun of the game is the noticeable improvement of typically boring commentators.
The biggest issue in this game is the game sliders, as users could not alter or change the game experience. The noticeable absence of gameplay simulations of the World Cup is also disappointing.
All in all, the game is very strong but it totally lacks the versatility that any user usually looks for in a video game. Try to use different teams in head to head battles to enjoy the added features of this game. You can also try playing online if you do not want to challenge the world on your own. At least it would break the somewhat monotonous tone.
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Expansion Pack is finally here, a full featured retail add-on for the popular game World of Warcraft has finally been released. Fans have waited for years and now it is already out. The release created buzzing feelings and emotions to the gaming world of WOW. The addition of two new races, starting places, new trade profession and plenty of new caves and dungeons to explore together with PVP options come with this new expansion of the World of Warcraft game. As the saying goes, first impressions last, the game is very impressive with the changes and additions presented by Blizzard.
The new races are the draenei and blood elf races. The game gives older players to make a start over and the new players get a resounding introduction to the game. Blood elves are the more famous between the two. The blood elves can play paladins being a horde type, which adds up to its being billed famous among the servers. However, the new class on the side of the alliance balances the feature of the blood elves. The draenei’s can play as shamans. Because of its newness, the balance of power could not yet be determined in raid groups. The Burning Crusade, in spite of its much awaited debut, falls short on the area of leveling up for Levels 20 to 60. The price is too high for players and many are quite contented with the only available level that their character can experience.
The addition of a new profession, jewelcrafting, also makes the players enjoy the experience of creating a variety of jewels. Together with mining, it presents and offers a good profession. Patterned from Diablo II, players can learn how to cut the jewels and put them in socketed weapons. Part of the challenge of this game is the patience that low level jewelers need to endure so that they can fully maximize their power. They need to undergo leveling up for their characters to improve.
The draenei and blood elf starting points are not so integrated with the existing land of Azeroth. Each area is a little less isolated and finding trainers requires extra work. There are NPC’s that are available in Azeroth and quests also let the new classes integrate with the previously existing ones.
Through years of experience, Blizzard managed to improve the player experience, especially the new races as it is more adept and advanced. Running on early levels lets the user enjoy the quests with its compelling story. It’s a wonderful ride for beginners as well as old players in this expansion set with the use of the new available races.
Level 60 players can now roam the Dark Portal in Blasted Lands and enter the new Outland areas of the game. The new zones provide new monsters, quests and capture areas as well as PVP-oriented gameplay. In fact, the game really provides enough balanced experience for players that are already in level 60 to reach level 70. The new feature of the game has multiple rewards that can motivate any player.
An example in the feature is to own three citadels in Hellfire. Players definitely have to engage in PVP’s to grab this kind of opportunity and experience this added feature. The addition of a wide range of flight paths and portals in Shattrath City lets the players enter and face the wild. The Outlands also offers players a chance to buy some flying mounts available only to level 70 players. In preserving the balance of the game, the flying options are only available in the Outlands and the training is also pricey.
The Outland zones provide a unique environment. From the forest of Zangarmarsh with its mushrooms to the Blade’s Edge, the golden lit land of Nagrand and to the twisted beauty of Netherstorm; these areas cater to players’ expectations on what the World Of Warcraft is like.
The Burning Crusade is performing very well. With the same issues such as lag and population considered, the overall play of the expansion set is great and stable. Despite the problems encountered that seem to recur all throughout the game Blizzard still provides a very good game. All in all you can absolutely enjoy the wonderful ride of the World Of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.
Although Rooms The main Building is not one of the most interesting challenging puzzle games around, it still managed to rise above its mediocrity. The game presents 100 levels of puzzle games to entertain and present a challenge to any player who has bought a copy of this game. The very reason why this game has been created is the idea of having high level puzzle games that can provide enough challenge to a player who is crazy about puzzles.
The story mode of RoomÂ’s focuses on a young man who is trapped in a world that he can only escape by solving slide puzzles. The essence of the puzzles is to guide the character to slide pieces of the puzzles and unlock a doorway to another level. The game gets to the point of being boring and dull as you get repetitive experience of sliding puzzles and unlocking doorways to a new level. ItÂ’s actually too much of a no-brainer!
The creators of the game anticipated the boredom that would come with this kind of game; hence, it is inevitable that twists are presented. The creators added twists and diverse approaches to the game such as additional mechanics including teleporters and magic cupboards. However, the additions are pooled into a single stage, a more difficult stage that is very challenging. The negative part of this concept of puzzles is that some difficult puzzles are overshadowed by many easier puzzles.
The player suffers from a created plot that makes them, at some point, integrate the game to point and click stuff only. The creators of the game made an honest to goodness effort to make the player very more participative to the world of Rooms; but failed miserably. The game has its own charm; but sad to say, its dialogue and interactions were so bad that there is less recall for the players.
The DS version and Wii version both feature challenge modes that are timed but only playable once the story mode has been finished. It is very disappointing that for DS players, they can only play the game with a friend who also has a DS; and for Wii players, there is no game to be shared at all. Both versions have horrible interface.
Rooms: The Main Building is for players who really like puzzles. Some of the features are annoying such as the time limit. The later versions of the game however, have already an added feature of untimed level of puzzle solving. Patient players are quickly rewarded by working around some quirks and twists.
The game is a unique concept. It is impossible to ignore because of its level design. Just keep in mind that solving a puzzle is still rewarding, just not my cup of tea to be honest.
Warcraft III Frozen Throne is finally released. Blizzard has always been very well right on target when it comes to releasing expansion packs. Right now, the release of The Frozen Throne has created a lot of buzz in the world of PC games. The expansion pack needs to exceed various expectations of fans and players around the world. It starts from where the original game left off. The bad guys are no longer around and the surviving races are busy creating their new homes.
In the expansion campaign you start as a member of the night elves. The primary concern is too clean up the mess that the demons left behind. On the other side, the betrayer Illidan has set out for his payback by raising the marine creatures, Naga, so he can proceed with his own plans. This is the beginning of the plan to shake the world’s foundation once again, now that it has already been relatively peaceful. The stories that were left hanging such as who would control Lorderon (they were without king, remember?) is now tackled in the expansion set of The Frozen Throne.
Campaign bonus centers on the new colony Durotar; taking on one mission that span an entire campaign. It is like a role playing kind of game approach. However, the campaigns are the usual ones with chances of playing different side of the story.
There is an introduction of new units and extra races. The Naga race is particularly interesting even if they are one of the races that’s not playable in multi player. The Frozen throne offers new stuff for avid gamers. Significant additions include nine new heroes. Each race gets one, together with five neutral ones. The Night Elves have the warden; Orcs have Shadow Hunter, a troll hero. The humans on the other hand, have the Blood Mage, an Elven hero. Undead has a Nerubian hero, the powerful crypt lord. You can also hire the services of the neutral heroes like the Naga Sea Witch, Pit Lord, Beastmaster and the Pandaren Brewmaster.
Blizzard has already eliminated bugs from this expansion. An intensive beta testing has been performed to easily wipe out bugs that existed before. However, no game is really perfect; the Frozen Throne has minor slip ups, like voices of the blood elves for example, it sounds more intelligent than the humans. 3D units of the game have not change. The new units do not look any more detailed than it was previously. Blizzard created an expansion set with the purpose of compatibility with mid range sets to cater to a more varied and bigger population of gamers.
To those players that prefer normal RTS, the campaigns of the expansion set do not usually play like any traditional RTS. There is still the feature of building a base and conquering another base. This has been somewhat boring; however, Blizzard has gone through the production side and focus on these missions to retain the strategy game that is present among its predecessors.
The downside of the expansion set is its price as it ranges from $20 to $25. But it is a worthy investment for avid gamers. Since the expansion set starts from where its predecessor ended, the player may find it easy to establish a connection to the game. Which kind of brings the other downside - for new players who have not played the previous campaigns it would be hard to understand the storylines behind the Frozen Throne. So far, Blizzard has created another great and astounding expansion pack. Pick a copy now and start playing WarCraft: The Frozen Throne.
Diablo II Lord Of Destruction Expansion Pack (Mac/PC CD) Review – The Best Ever Expansion Pack with a Whole New Act
Diablo II Lord of Destruction is the expansion pack made by Blizzard for its award winning Diablo II. It has been one of the most anticipated computer games of all time. Blizzard has put an emphasis to make the game more complex and larger than its predecessor.
First off don’t be surprised if you encounter resolution and gameplay problems when installing the Lord of Destruction expansion pack. This is due to its large size and it’s not a surprise for most of the Blizzard games. The actual gameplay of the expansion pack is still much the same as its predecessor. It is by killing monsters that you earn experiences and gain items that drop from corpses.
Before getting deep into the gameplay and storyline of the expansion set, you need to choose first your character. Old characters can be converted to expansion pack characters but that’s it; you can’t have them back to their original character. The ever reliable Barbarian is still around, together with the Holt man Paladin, the feisty Amazon and the enchanted Sorceress.
In addition to these four characters, the expansion pack introduces two new characters, the Druid and the Assassin. The Druid character get his powers from nature, you might say he’s one with nature. The Druid can perform spells such as tornadoes, hurricanes and he can also summon wild creatures such as bears, ravens. In addition to his special abilities from nature, he can also transform into an animal, giving him extra powers. The assassin is a much more different proposition than its new counterpart. The assassin character is a skilled martial artist that has amazing powers, including traps, and is very good in frontal combat. Get this… the Assassin is portrayed as a woman; but she can certainly kick ass.
The expansion pack also introduces new weapons. Each character has their own specific weapons, from barbarian to assassin. There are weapons, armors and items that only a certain character could use. There are also weapons that could not be repaired called ethereal items, these items are powerful yet they cannot be repaired and rendered useless once it is broken. The addition of runes is also new to the game. A player needs to collect runes and must combine them depending on the available sockets, in a particular weapon to form rune words. This makes the weapon much more powerful.
All in all, the expansion pack provides quite an adventure as it indeed surpasses its predecessors with the improved gameplay through the additions of new characters, weapons, and a new act. However, it cannot be denied that veteran players can easily be bored because of the lack of difficulty in some aspects of the game, but, the introduction of the new act, which is the mission to kill Baal, the brother of Diablo and Mephisto imposes a new adventure and challenge. The minions are strong particularly Baal.
The expansion set is maybe the best expansion set ever created yet by Blizzard. It is a solid game and very much worth it. With a whole new Act, a gazillion monsters new weapons, and so on … it’s not just your typical expansion pack. If you like Diablo II, you will be enamored by the Lord of Destruction.
Club Penguin: Herbert's Revenge (Nintendo DS) Review – Disney Interactive Has Another Hit on their Hands Again
Club Penguin is a virtual game. A world full of snow with multi colored penguins. The game has already established a loyal fan and user base. This game is a kid friendly game created by Disney interactive. It is a follow up from its predecessors such as the Elite Penguin force in 2008.
Basically, the game is a point and click kind of game. It has a taste of adventure in it that makes the kids play more. The storyline focuses on the player being a secret agent and has a mission to stop Herbert the bear that is causing damage and panic in the island. The island is much the same in Club Penguin the MMO game. The new game has still its basic features which make it very easy for veteran players of the game.
The creators of the game added some new features. Players can now combine items and come up with a new and much enhanced item. Another significant improvement is a much better help system for the kids, which is very valuable in this kind of game as sometimes you get stuck in certain parts. The graphics was also upgraded and it now boasts of smoother lines compared to its predecessor.
There’s one negative aspect to the game that’s quite noticeable, though. It only has one save game feature, which can be annoying as it hinders other players because once a game is saved could not deleted to accommodate another player. This is particularly annoying when there’s only one DS to play with by several players.
This game is very ideal to kids and parents are great supporters of the game. The game is ideal for kids and parents who support games similar to this. It definitely offers a safe and positive sport for kids. The game provides rules and regulations that particularly focus on respecting other penguins and … no cheating is allowed. The creators of the game also introduced parental controls to the site. It allows parents to switch the game into safe chat mode along with word filters so that kids do not encounter the so-called bad words. The game does provide a peaceful environment and promotes safe behavior, teaching kids how to behave in a social community.
Like most games, there is, of course, a downside. It is prone to overcrowding. Also, there are some features that are not available to non members; which means you have to register and become a member if you wish to avail of these features. There’s not much to offer on that side, however. Kids can still play even without membership. It seems the creators had some lapses here.
Primarily intended for kids 6 to 12 years old, this game is really worth it for your kids. It is such a fun game and is very accessible. Kids have plenty to learn and enjoy in this game!
Scribblenauts (Nintendo DS) Review: Living Up to Expectations Despite the Frustrations.
Are you intrigued by the thought of having a puzzle game that gives the player the ability to conjure up any object they can think of? Well, that's exactly what Scribblenauts guarantee their gamers. It is one of the rarest games Nintendo DS ever have. This game is incredibly stunning!
The concept of this game actually stirs up skepticism. You might think it is quite impossible to begin with. Scribblenauts is a 2D side-scrolling platform-like encounter. The whole idea is to use any item or material in the real world to solve a given situation in the game. The creators encourage players to invoke anything by writing it on the screen. However, you cannot use words that are vulgar and inappropriate for the game. Also, you cannot utilize words with trademarks, such as Superman, Batman, and other similar terms. No matter how vast a vocabulary you have, there are limitations to this game. As long as you type objects that are applicable and acceptable, you can make it exist in the game.
One of the most fantastic aspects of this game is that the items you have evoked take on their own distinct characteristics and behaviors. For example, if you conjure up a car, you can ride on it; if it is food, it can be eaten; and if it is a weapon it can be used to attack enemies, and so on. However, the big BUT is the player can only make use of all these conjured up objects through Maxwell, the game's player-controlled protagonist. You have to tell Maxwell everything. If you want to dig a hole, give the shovel to Maxwell and tell him to begin digging. If you want to drive around, tell Maxwell to jump in the car and start the engine. Get the drift?
Now, you would think controlling Maxwell is a piece of cake. Sure, if you use the D-pad and buttons. And this is where the first frustration sets in. The thing is you have to use taps on the control screen to control the little fellow. It is so much like those RTS games where the troops tend to do things on their own, even after you tell them what to do. It can be real confusing and frustrating when Maxwell can't seem to get things right!
You thought that this game is all about absurdity? Well, think again! This game implements a physics engine. If you have dropped multiple objects at the same time, and you find yourself losing sight of what happens next, you can either stack up all those items or throw them around in the surroundings.
After a well executed tutorial, you can start solving dozens and dozens of problems. The first part is pretty much basic. However, as each level is raised, the difficulty is also amplified; which implies the need to think seriously and logically.
The reason behind making it as 2D is probably to preserve the player's sanity and to fit all software into the DS cartridge. It does not only have its own unique concept on how to play the game; it also has its own unique graphic designs. Nintendo supports the Wi-Fi Connection. You can download new creations and upgrades through the Internet. If you want to pass that kind of method, you can still trade levels in the game without even using the internet.
As an interactive toy, the game is enormously fun despite the cumbersome controls. It's like a sandbox for players who enjoy mucking around outside the normal realms. The puzzles can be very challenging and can even encourage some outlandish thought processes. It's not far off to think that this franchise may soon have a sequel. Hopefully, when that happens, Maxwell gets a control upgrade, too.
Super Gamer Dude
Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? (Nintendo DS) Review – Explore Your Inner Genius
The brain is the most mysterious organ in your body. Even with the use of the latest technologies, there are still some questions about this soft, shiny, grayish-white mushroom-shaped structure that remain unanswered. Isn’t it rather intriguing that a game was created to help you enhance your brains?
With this game, Nintendo can help enhance your developing neurons. It has been successfully played in Japan. And now Europe is into it, too, with the first game that hit it, called “Dr Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain?”
The game is defined as the regular mental exercise. You can hold your Nintendo DS like you’re holding a book and using a stylus, you write your answers on the right hand screen of the touch screen. The numbers need some getting used to figure out correctly, especially numbers ‘4’ and ‘8’. But normally the software can recognize the correct digit. The great thing about is you can have fun while at the same time, enhance your mental calculation skills.
There are many mental exercises in the game. Your score is recorded to gauge if your brain is progressing. Brain Training records your score and assesses your brain age from excellent to inaccurate. You can play every day but you can only have one examination a day. You can also create your own brain age graphs to know if you are improving or not.
Get this … you can actually cheat on some tasks of the game. In various parts of the game you are asked to read a classic literature or count from one to one hundred twenty aloud with a time limit; you are instructed to press the button when you start and do the same when you are done. This makes a tempting way for you to cheat in the game. But why do it? You’re only fooling yourself.
If you play frequently the advance tests get unlocked; these tests include syllable counting and solving out the difference between minutes and seconds from the two analogue clock faces. The final test contains psychological Stroop Test, where you have to tell the color of the words aloud. The challenge in this particular game is that you can see the word ‘red’ which is in blue. Another challenging game is the word memory test, in which you have to memorize 30 four-letter words in just three minutes.
Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training is not anything like hard school works. There are entertainments too, like the floating head of Dr. Kawashima. He welcomes you when you switch on your DS, makes you laugh with his special jokes, and warns you if it’s your first time to play. Just don’t take this game too seriously.
This game can be a good exercise to enhance everyone’s brain. You can definitely add it to your leisure activities. Don’t be shocked if you see old people playing with this game as anybody can play it! Older persons, especially, do need to enhance their minds.