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Posted:
2013-04-14

epicure

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is the third of four expansions for the wildly popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), World of Warcraft. Cataclysm introduces entirely new areas as well as updating the game overall and revamping the original areas. As an expansion it received wide renown, generally getting ratings of 9/10 and up. The expansion was revealed accidentally in February of 2010 and officially unveiled in May of the same year; it was released on December 7, 2010.

Cataclysm expanded the leveling system from 80 up to 85 and introduced two new races, one for each main faction. The Alliance gets the Worgen while the Horde receives Goblins. The new races come with new abilities, skills and story lines; Cataclysm also gives more in-depth back stories to the original eight races.

The expansion adds a ton of new content, with IGN's review stating that you can "expect to play for well over a hundred hours before you've really touched upon everything Cataclysm has to offer." Ten new dungeons and five new raids have been added along with 3,500 new available quests, and other quests have been restructured and improved. Archaeology was also added as a new secondary skill.

It also brought a huge update to the game, with major redesign of the original two continents with new areas and a somewhat different appearance, as well as allowing for flying mounts which weren't in mind during the original WoW release. The UI (user interface) was also updated as were the graphics for the game.

The plot for Cataclysm revolves around the reawakening of a dragon that hasn't been seen for two in-game decades (an aspect of the dragon appeared during the real-time strategy game Warcraft II). The dragon, formerly known as Neltharion the Earth-Warder, makes a return as Deathwing the Destroyer. The game also makes use of the current political atmospheres of the Horde and Alliance factions, which saw a number of changes with the new expansion pack due to Blizzard's habit of having expansions reveal in-game history in the making.

Reception of the expansion was extremely good. 3.3 million copies were sold within 24 hours of release, putting it second all-time in one-day sales. Anecdotally, the game in the number one spot, Diablo III, was created by the same developer (Blizzard Entertainment). Metacritic, the aggregate ratings company, gave it a 90/100, which usually means universal acclaim. IGN gave it a 9/10 and is cited as saying that, "Cataclysm is far and away the most impressive expansion to an MMO ever made." GameSpot rated it 8.5/10.

Essentially, Cataclysm is a good expansion to a well-loved MMO. The millions of sales should tell you that if nothing else. If you're a fan of MMOs and RPG-type games, or already are playing World of Warcraft, this may well be worth your time and money. It prices for $10 on the Blizzard Store website.

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Posted:
2013-04-13

epicure

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

The Sims 3 for PC allows players to build virtual worlds and populate them with virtual people, called Sims. With The Sims 3 Late Night expansion pack, players can take their Sims to a new, urban world. The expansion pack features a new neighborhood, called Bridgeport, which is a buzzing metropolis where Sims can work and play.

New items and features with The Sims 3 Late Night include:

Apartments: Now Sims can live in high-rise apartments in the city. To make things easier, most high-rise buildings have elevators. Most of the buildings in downtown Bridgeport are skyscrapers, but there are a number of single and two-story homes in the suburban area across the river bridge.

Vampires: After dark, the city’s population seems to increase as the mysterious residents who stay indoors during the day take to the streets. Vampires are generally friendly, but if they get too friendly they may be tempted to bite. Being a vampire means a Sim will need to stay indoors as much as possible during the day, but they will have extra energy and a few special abilities after dark. Vampires can survive on a special fruit if they prefer not to attack their fellow Sims.

Celebrities: If a regular Sim meets a celebrity, they’ll have to try to impress them before they can become friends. Talented Sims can become celebrities by performing in public, or by becoming friends with other celebrities. Celebrity Sims get certain perks, like free gifts or reduced prices at clubs and stores. They can also have their reputations ruined by rumors and scandals, so they may have to do some explaining or even file a lawsuit if the rumors are simply not true.

Butlers: If a Sim can afford it, they can hire a butler to take care of the house and even cook meals.

Film Career: Sims can get a job at the new film studio in town and work their way to the top. Midway through their career, they’ll have to make a choice of whether to shoot for the stars as an actor or go behind the camera for glory as a director.

Bars and Mixology: Sims can order drinks and food at bars around town, or learn mixology to make drinks at home. Some drinks have certain side effects, like boosting energy or brain power.

Exclusive Clubs: Some clubs only allow celebrities to enter. If a Sim doesn’t rank high enough on the fame scale, they might be able to get in by greasing the bouncer’s palm or just sneaking in when nobody’s looking.

Bands: Sims who play musical instruments might want to start a band. Bands can earn money performing gigs at clubs or by playing for tips around town.

Subways: Parking space is limited in Bridgeport, so Sims who don’t own cars can travel by subway or taxi.

The Sims 3 Late Night requires the original Sims 3 game to play. It’s rated T for Teen.

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Posted:
2013-06-05

epicure

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

Unveiled in 2012, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the latest game in the much loved series created by Bethesda. The game is a fantasy adventure style RPG that involves a central story, multiple side quests and exploration. Retailing for $59.99, the game is available in either hard copy format for the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3, or online retailer Steam for the PC.

TES V: Skyrim starts off with the character needing to make a jailbreak or face the executioners axe. At the beginning, the player creates their avatar for their character. The player chooses gender and race, as well as physical appearance. The game does not use a traditional RPG class structure but instead allows for personal style. All skills increase based on use and include archery, melee weapons and magic. Others such as blacksmithing, lock picking and speech round out options available for use to create a personalized character.

The game itself plays heavily on two ideas: exploration and questing. A person could spend dozens, if not hundreds, of hours in Skyrim just looking around at the myriad of places to visit. Multiple locations such as forts dot the land and allow the player to wander around without the need to work on the main storyline. Playing through the storyline does help to unlock powerful new abilities and new locations. It still is not uncommon to find characters in games that have barely scratched the surface of the primary story, but still have dozens of levels to their name.

The game world is full and well fleshed out. People wander between cities and work in the towns that dot the landscape. There is a fantastic amount of history built into the game that can be discovered through books and various locations. Many of the NPCs in Skyrim have goals, families and beliefs. The cosmology created for game world of Tamriel meshes nicely and is believable.

Like most massive games these days, Skyrim does still have some bugs to it. It is not uncommon to find different places where the game will crash to the desktop. These bugs can be amusing sometimes, as well. It is not uncommon early on to see creatures such as horses and mammoths flying into the air from a distance. Most of these glitches are not game breaking, and usually just require a reload to fix. They certainly are not severe enough to prevent enjoyment of the game, especially since multiple patches have already been released.

Since Skyrim’s release, it has gone on to become one of the most popular Elder Scrolls games so far. Featuring hundreds of hours of content Skyrim can take an extremely long time to finish. The replay value is extensive as well given that many quests have several outcomes. To be able to see them all would require multiple play-throughs. With three additional downloadable content patches available and many more planned, it promises to provide even more days of entertainment. Skyrim is highly recommended for any RPG fan.

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Posted:
2012-10-17

epicure

Super Gamer Dude

8.6

Not perfect by a long shot but still more than acceptable. Sacred Gold is a fantasy role playing game that features many of the usual characters like mages, gladiators and elves.

The gamer can select their own characters and then go on to the missions. Now what makes this different from all the rest? This one gives the player a sense of freedom in the gameplay, something that is absent from the others where one feels constricted and trapped.

Just like any role playing game, there is a need to go through the missions to earn the experience points and level up. The different characters are unique from each other so playing a different one can actually make a difference in the end. And no, it does not necessarily mean that a specific character played will win the game, it really depends on how the game is played and how that character uses their skills learned that will make them succeed in the end. Being an elf does not necessarily mean they can be better than the thief.

The graphics are decent but not fantastic in any way. The gamer can zoom in or out to view the screen which can encourage the gamer to explore the expanse rather than just stick to what is shown on the screen. If the gamer does decide to go out and explore, they can experience the hundreds of off the track quests that can earn them so many experience points and skills as well. Prepare to play more than 100 hours here and as it is so well done, this is a game that is really worth the penny used.

In Sacred Gold, the focus is in the Underworld and this then means having to use characters that dwell in this location: daemons and dwarves. If choosing a daemon, this is a demon that is now made to do good deeds and they have to get over their physical appearance, which is plainly demonic. The dwarves are short but stocky and really strong so they are a class all their own.

Now, this would not be a review if I do not mention the critiques. When playing, the gamer has to really pay attention to the minor details which they would ignore in other role playing games. In Sacred Gold, it is important to pay attention to these minor details for this will really affect the combat and can result to a number of issues.

The great thing about Sacred Gold is that there are a lot of online gamers playing with this right now and all it takes is to jump in and enjoy. There are different modes for player fighting so it is really a matter of choice which mode to choose. The graphics may be dated but it is still sharper than the others so I guess it is okay. And I noticed that it is because the graphics are dated that I did not experience any crashing, so event the older PCs can handle this well. In the end, I guess this is a really okay game to enjoy and with more than a hundred hours on it, this is one to enjoy for a long, long time.

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Posted:
2013-04-13

epicure

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

Unveiled in 2012, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the latest game in the much loved series created by Bethesda. The game is a fantasy adventure style RPG that involves a central story, multiple side quests and exploration. Retailing for $59.99, the game is available in either hard copy format for the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3, or online retailer Steam for the PC.

TES V: Skyrim starts off with the character needing to make a jailbreak or face the executioners axe. At the beginning, the player creates their avatar for their character. The player chooses gender and race, as well as physical appearance. The game does not use a traditional RPG class structure but instead allows for personal style. All skills increase based on use and include archery, melee weapons and magic. Others such as blacksmithing, lock picking and speech round out options available for use to create a personalized character.

The game itself plays heavily on two ideas: exploration and questing. A person could spend dozens, if not hundreds, of hours in Skyrim just looking around at the myriad of places to visit. Multiple locations such as forts dot the land and allow the player to wander around without the need to work on the main storyline. Playing through the storyline does help to unlock powerful new abilities and new locations. It still is not uncommon to find characters in games that have barely scratched the surface of the primary story, but still have dozens of levels to their name.

The game world is full and well fleshed out. People wander between cities and work in the towns that dot the landscape. There is a fantastic amount of history built into the game that can be discovered through books and various locations. Many of the NPCs in Skyrim have goals, families and beliefs. The cosmology created for game world of Tamriel meshes nicely and is believable.

Like most massive games these days, Skyrim does still have some bugs to it. It is not uncommon to find different places where the game will crash to the desktop. These bugs can be amusing sometimes, as well. It is not uncommon early on to see creatures such as horses and mammoths flying into the air from a distance. Most of these glitches are not game breaking, and usually just require a reload to fix. They certainly are not severe enough to prevent enjoyment of the game, especially since multiple patches have already been released.

Since Skyrim’s release, it has gone on to become one of the most popular Elder Scrolls games so far. Featuring hundreds of hours of content Skyrim can take an extremely long time to finish. The replay value is extensive as well given that many quests have several outcomes. To be able to see them all would require multiple play-throughs. With three additional downloadable content patches available and many more planned, it promises to provide even more days of entertainment. Skyrim is highly recommended for any RPG fan.

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Posted:
2013-04-13

epicure

Super Gamer Dude

7.0

Borderlands 2 for the PC is the highly anticipated sequel to the popular Gearbox game Borderlands. It's difficult to review Borderlands 2 without comparing it to its predecessor's highly addictive blend of first person shooter mechanics and the traditional action adventure pursuit of increasingly better loot.

The game begins with a whole new set of vault hunters: adventurers that scan the world of Pandora for vaults containing untold riches. With this new set of characters come a whole slew of new classes for players to choose from. Regardless of your playing style, you can be sure that there's a class that will be the right fit for you.

The Assassin is designed to cater to those that prefer a stealthy option with their missions, sneaking up to the enemy and then dispatching them quickly with their sword. The Gunzerker, on the other hand, completely forgoes any chances of stealth in favor of wielding two guns at once for maximum firepower. The Commando utilizes various turrets to prepare traps in anticipation of enemy movements while the Siren uses her abilities to actually control when and where the enemy can go. In single player this creates a difficult decision early on, but in multi-player it allows for a fast paced game of frenetic action as each class works in conjunction with the others for maximum damage.

As much fun as the concept of a shoot and loot game might be, Borderlands 2 is not without its faults. Looting guns takes up a large portion of your time in the world of Pandora, though there is actually very little to be done aesthetically for your character. If sifting through lists and making calculations in your head sounds like a good time, then you'll have no problem getting into the meat of Borderlands 2. If, on the other hand, your interest lies more in the grittier aspects of warfare, you'll be left somewhat disappointed. That's not to say there's an absence of shooting in the game. On the contrary, every quest in the game will culminate in at least some form of battle, which is then followed by the obligatory scanning of the environment for more loot to compare to your current haul.

What would otherwise make this a stale and repetitive game is saved by superb writing on the part of Gearbox. Borderlands 2 follows in the footsteps of its predecessor with the same witty dialogue that sure to elicit at least a few chuckles during the course of its events.

Ultimately, Borderlands 2 is a great sequel to a game already beloved by many. With four new classes to experience and online co-op, anyone with an interest in the first game should pick up Borderlands 2 for the PC immediately. For anyone else, the far better story of the sequel is worth playing through even if you don't have intimate knowledge of the game's setting. Its sharp writing and irreverent humor will keep you entertained well after the allure of shooting and looting has worn off.

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Posted:
2013-04-14

epicure

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

The Sims 3: World Adventures Expansion Pack for the PC brings the whole world right at the player's fingertips. With World Adventures, the player can create a character and live vicariously through them as they travel to foreign places like Egypt, China, or France. This expansion pack is similar to The Sims: Vacation, Bon Voyage, and Castaways, but deliver players a more interactive experience. This game differs from the previous expansion packs because it allows players to actually have adventures and go on little tasks or missions if the player chooses to and it does not involve your Sims just staying at a resort where they do the same things they can just do at home.

World Adventures has more updates than before. This expansion offers new clothing, objects, skills, and worlds, all of which enhance the player's game and are essential if a player would like to dress their Sim based on the world they are sending them to, if a player wants their house to resemble a world, or if a player simply wants to use an object that is normally set in the worlds like a tent. The Sims 3: World Adventures lets players use their old data if they want, and players from home can decide to send their Sims to a different part of the world. The current worlds that come with the World Adventures are China, France, and Egypt. Each new world offers a plethora of things for the player's Sims to do. For instance, in Egypt, players can send their Sims straight to the ruins to discover hidden treasure or they could have them read the board to find certain adventures that they can take from other Sims.

Once at the new world's base, players can choose to have their Sim do whatever they virtually want. Players do not have to strictly stay with doing adventures, though. Since there are various small towns and shops, players can complete little mini games or have their Sim buy souvenirs. Those that do want to participate in adventures are sure to keep entertained.

Adventures provide such features as manipulating other Sims in the area to get them to do what you want, go on treasure hunting missions, search ruins, exploring tombs, and finding rare items. The tomb offers mini games that include puzzles, secrets, and traps to keep the player busy. When going on adventures, Sims can take new objects with them for exploring like shower in a can or packages of food. None of these are meant to last for extreme periods of time and will most likely make your Sim go insane. The new skills include things like photography and martial arts, which give the player more things to do.

The The Sims 3: World Adventures keeps the game mostly lighthearted and is designed to give players a new experience since they are, after all, in a new world. Players are sure to keep themselves entertained.

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Posted:
2013-04-14

epicure

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

The Sims 3: Katy Perry's Sweet Treats for PC is one of the most interesting Stuff Packs The Sims 3 Collection has seen. Every item in the Stuff Pack is inspired by Katy Perry herself, a pop artist who is most famous for songs like "Hot and Cold" and "Last Friday Night," which is a song that can be played in game on a stereo system in Simlish, the Sim language.

The items that are available to the player in Katy Perry's Sweet Treats, of course, look delicious. There are sweet-looking hairstyles, along with tasty pieces that can be gained in Buy Mode, not to mention the clothing line. The bathing suit tops/bras for Sweet Treats look like sparkling ice cream. There are glittery dresses with lollipops and other candies going down the sides that come in three colors, but of course, the colors can be altered or completely changed in Create-A-Style Mode.

Sweet Treats allows for many new things that couldn't be done before. For instance, players can now make a gingerbread house with candy canes as decoration on the outside and a fence to go around the house that is in the shape of delicious cupcakes. For the inside, cupcake chairs can be placed next to the lollipop light and sweet guitar underneath a chandelier with light bulbs that look like something to sink teeth into instead.

The Stuff Pack also comes with new venues, hang out locations, and even a local pool that is decked out in Katy Perry's Sweet Treats. These locations and possibilities makes the player feel like their sims are in a Sims 3 version of a game from their childhood, like Candyland. The entire environment can be manipulated and turned into a place where sweet things are everywhere: waffle cones, cupcakes, lollipops, chocolate, gumdrops, candy canes, and more.

Katy Perry's Sweet Treats is one of the boldest and most successful moves of Electronic Arts. EA tends to try to follow in the footsteps of the previous collection, The Sims 2, which also had many successful expansion packs and stuff packs. They went off script and created an entire stuff pack solely inspired by Katy Perry. It was bold, but wildly successful. Not only will players who are fans of Katy Perry enjoy it, but so will players that enjoy different things in their simulation game. When Electronic Arts introduced aliens into The Sims 2, it was a big and wild hit, and people asked for more in The Sims 3. If EA ever created a Sims 4, there will be a lot of requests and demands, one of them being to create a stuff pack that is inspired by another popular icon, whoever that will be at the time.

Katy Perry's Sweet Stuff was a massive hit. Simmers loved it and still love it. The items in this stuff pack are pleasing and most of all were inspired by things that Katy Perry owns. Players could even create Katy Perry themselves if they wanted to. They probably would, too. They probably have.

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Posted:
2013-06-09

epicure

Super Gamer Dude

8.2

The game has a Career mode that makes use of the numerous points you’ll score playing through the game. Here, you’ll play through races of steadily increasing difficulty, requiring you to make use of the experience you gain to unlock progressively faster death machines that will let you garner even more experience. There are a lot of things to unlock, and they’re usually close enough and good enough to keep you drooling for the next one.

Gaining experience, surprisingly in a racing game, takes priority over such things as winning races, sometimes. The game awards experience on a regular basis as you race, if you do things right. Advancing past an opponent, blocking the advance of another car, staying in the lead for a whole lap, all give a player more and more experience. There’s also a green line which shows the ideal line for the course that you’re rewarded for following. Of course, when you do win races or get the best time on a time-trial race, you’ll receive a huge experience bump, too. All this experience leads to more cars and tracks, as well as further upgrades that can be unlocked.

One issue about this game is the way the cars handle. It’s not quite realistic, especially compared to more simulation-styled racing games. The handling isn’t always consistent either, with slight adjustments sometimes making the adjustment you needed, and sometimes not doing anything. That dead space in the middle isn’t always the same, and takes a lot away from the experience. Handling is probably the most important thing in any racing game, and this game’s car handling could be done better.

This probably has something to do with the viewpoint. Initially, and by default, you’re looking through the eyes of your character. While this is an interesting perspective, it actually makes the game more difficult to play. From this first-person viewpoint, it’s easy to crash and not recognize which way you’re supposed to be going. Fortunately, there are a couple of different viewpoints that you can race with, and it’ll probably improve your game to switch to the third-person view.

The saving grace in the title is the enormous number of races that must be overcome, and the playability of the RPG aspects in doing so. These races, while not strictly correct to simulation standards, are still a blast to play due to the experience points that you rack up as you race through them. While Shift 2: Unleashed might not satisfy the simulation gamer in you, it has plenty of sheer fun gameplay to make it worth your time.

avatar name

Posted:
2013-06-09

epicure

Super Gamer Dude

8.2

The game has a Career mode that makes use of the numerous points you’ll score playing through the game. Here, you’ll play through races of steadily increasing difficulty, requiring you to make use of the experience you gain to unlock progressively faster death machines that will let you garner even more experience. There are a lot of things to unlock, and they’re usually close enough and good enough to keep you drooling for the next one.

Gaining experience, surprisingly in a racing game, takes priority over such things as winning races, sometimes. The game awards experience on a regular basis as you race, if you do things right. Advancing past an opponent, blocking the advance of another car, staying in the lead for a whole lap, all give a player more and more experience. There’s also a green line which shows the ideal line for the course that you’re rewarded for following. Of course, when you do win races or get the best time on a time-trial race, you’ll receive a huge experience bump, too. All this experience leads to more cars and tracks, as well as further upgrades that can be unlocked.

One issue about this game is the way the cars handle. It’s not quite realistic, especially compared to more simulation-styled racing games. The handling isn’t always consistent either, with slight adjustments sometimes making the adjustment you needed, and sometimes not doing anything. That dead space in the middle isn’t always the same, and takes a lot away from the experience. Handling is probably the most important thing in any racing game, and this game’s car handling could be done better.

This probably has something to do with the viewpoint. Initially, and by default, you’re looking through the eyes of your character. While this is an interesting perspective, it actually makes the game more difficult to play. From this first-person viewpoint, it’s easy to crash and not recognize which way you’re supposed to be going. Fortunately, there are a couple of different viewpoints that you can race with, and it’ll probably improve your game to switch to the third-person view.

The saving grace in the title is the enormous number of races that must be overcome, and the playability of the RPG aspects in doing so. These races, while not strictly correct to simulation standards, are still a blast to play due to the experience points that you rack up as you race through them. While Shift 2: Unleashed might not satisfy the simulation gamer in you, it has plenty of sheer fun gameplay to make it worth your time.


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