Unlike other games whose only purpose is to conquer all enemies, the Shadow Dragon will stimulate the players strategic minds in order to gather intelligence information or find ways in which to free his armies from the enemies. When the game was already available in Europe some hardcore fans of the Fire Emblem commented that the storyline was too shallow compared to other related games, but considering the fact the game is based on a 1990 Famicom, anyone can see that the latest version has made a difference.
The storyline of the game started with the main character named Prince Marth who runs away from the kingdom when he learns that his father has been killed in the battle. The Shadow Dragon follows him and later on becomes his great ally in reclaiming the kingdom. The story is perfect for the gameplay. In the new version of Famicom the grids had been upgraded with latest designs. There are 4 pre-chapters that have also been added and also the famous rock-paper-scissors triangle.
With all the lousy games from Nintendo that disappointed many of their fans, it is a good thing that the Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon game has stepped into the picture. It is one of the best that Nintendo has come up with. The game features a strict and unforgiving nature for the players. Once a players unit or team is defeated he will never get a chance to revive it until the combat is done. It seemed drastic and difficult but it will enable the player to think of different strategies and be wiser to keep all his units alive. The game is an indication that Nintendo can still produce top rated games if they want to.
There are significant additions to the game features. The pre-chapters of the game provide clear instructions and mechanics especially to those who are new players. There are additional units for every level which definitely make for a great fight. It also has multiple and online gaming features and allows voice chat. Online players only caters for up to 5 players which is a bit disappointing. A player can borrow units from other players and can buy special gears in online shops with the money they win in the combat.
The character animation in Shadow Dragon is quite old unlike the Square Enix. The game itself does not have new game designs or unique gameplays but it is a good example of a well refined and equally well designed game that promotes strategies. The publisher has perfectly in maintained the excitement and challenges within the game but has not forgotten to add friendly commands for the new players and fans
The player of the game represents a newly hired detective in the New York Police Department dating back to 1976. The setting has the latest version of the present New York City but the soundtrack is from the 70s. As a new detective who has not yet made a name in the industry, the player will be the assistant of the well known detective named Marcy Blake while doing errands for Captain Abbot. Just like in real life scenarios the murder ranges from clean cases of poisoning to highly distressing massacres.
The crime scenes are in different places such as dingy motels, parks and suburban houses. Just like in real police department situations Captain Abbot will be the one to explain and inform the two detectives of the current case then ask them to go to the crime scene and solve the case. They are also given a few hints and lists of witnesses and suspects. The player can view the scene in a first player perception. To those who love unraveling mysteries the game is for them.
But some things that still needs to discovered are oftentimes revealed immediately. Though as the game progresses the cases are getting more difficult but there is no improvement with the gameplays. While solving the case the player as the new detective will be presented with questions but there are given choices on what to answer even though the player is not making notes in his observations he can easily answer the questions because most of it them are really not connected to the situation. If the player mostly answered wrong there is no warning that he will be out in the service.
Being out of the game is no big deal since the player can easily go back on what level he left. But there are also times that four answer choices are not available and the player needs to pinpoint the exact answer in order not to be bullied by Marcy. In those challenging moments the game is engaging and the player will really think like a detective enhancing his ability to be sensitive in finding clues. The other disappointing feature of the game is that the player will not be allowed to do face to face examination of the suspect like most detective work does.
There are action parts of the game where the player will be involved in shootouts. The 3D designs of the settings especially in crime scenes are just plain and simple but it provides a little air of exploration. The computer generated characters had minimal expressions but their attitudes fit in the game. The sound effects are not much but some of it is realistic such as the constant ringing of telephones and typewriters in the headquarters. Each case will take an hour to solve but cannot inspire repeat playing. To some who used to puzzle solving games the Unsolved Crimes might not be for them but to those who love anything about detective games, it deserve some credits.
The game has a single player feature with still the same main character which is Jill. She is a baking expert in cakes. Jill needs to jump from one bakery to another every year and to six bakeries. She needs to spin her magic to let the bakery become successful. The bakery only offers cakes to its clients. The same gameplay is applied from the first game. Being Jill, the player needs to make and sell cakes to produce enough money so that the bakery can still operate for one month.
The player will now use the stylus instead of the mouse which is use in the first version in selecting the equipments and customers that need to be attended. The player needs to click the customer to offer menus, click the oven to bake the cake, click directions for frosting, and everything that needs to be done is accomplished by clicking.
The only and the biggest changes in the game but cannot really considered as a new feature because it is just to make the game look good, is the swapping of venue designs and costumes of the clients or customers. Other than that there are no more significant additions. The designers only altered the colors to make the setting more attractive but retained the same set ups.
There are a few appliances models to make Jill work faster and easier but not enough to recognize the game as new. The pattern of the game is the same all throughout the entire duration of playing. It is good only to those who love to start a game especially first editions but when there will be introduced a new version or sequel but turns out to be entirely the same it is considered old even when it is not yet explored.
The game is originally from a PC version but in the sequel it is played on the DS handheld. It turns out that the PC game does not fit right in the DS formatting. The result is a stretched and scrolled screen in order to reach the farther areas on the setting but this is just minor disadvantage compared to the annoying 2 minute buttons in every machine that made the player frequently having mistakes in baking the cakes. This error is in the first game but now in the second game it is still there as annoying as ever. The second game presents an endless mode but the designer still forgot to add a multiplayer mode which can actually add to its appeal. The game is really not that bad but it is just that there are no particular exciting new features and the DS version is really wobbly.
Just Dance 4 with the Kinect is a dance game in which the users have to mimic the dance moves that appear on the screen and they are scored on how well they can accurately repeat these dance moves during any given track supplied in the game. At times this is challenging, especially during the initial start of the game when you have had no practice, but after a little practice it becomes far easier to get a higher score and mimicking the dance moves becomes a breeze.
There are numerous problems associated with the menu screen where you use the Kinect in order to select the track, this is tedious and can at times become very frustrating as you often find times where you hover your hand over selected tracks and end up selecting the wrong track due to the awful menu screen. That and the limited number of tracks that have been assigned to the game make it really not everyones cup of tea. A good alternative would be Dance Central which compared to this title is a far better choice of dance game.
Depending on the song in question, you can at some points have up to four players in what is known as a dance off, where you and your friends can have a competition, but to be honest it still gets a bit boring without integrating the option to have more players and different dance offs.
There is a downside also to playing with a friend, as for some unknown reason tracking is much harder for the Kinect to keep of more than one person, why this is so I have no idea, but it adds to the overall frustration with the game. The other problem is the addition of a category associated with keeping fit. Again this does not make sense either, as when one or more players are using the workout the calories of each player following a routine with the same rating shows different calories.
Within the track listing you are able to play over 50 tracks from an array of artists, these include One Direction, Rick Astley, 2 Unlimited, Barry White, Will Smith and other artists to boot. All the tracks come from different artists and I feel they did this to try and reach a larger audience by making it more of a karaoke style setup.
For people who want to keep fit or who enjoy dancing this will solve a basic need, but personally I would go with Dance Central 3. The problems associated with this game and the lack of direction or finalization has made this more of an annoyance rather than a dance game which is fun to play.
Painkiller Hell and Damnation, released for the PlayStation 3, was meant as a remake of the original Painkiller, as well as a sequel to it. In the initial game players took on the role of Daniel Garner who had stepped up to the position of heavenly hitman. In traditional first person shooter style inherited from Doom, Quake and Serious Sam, players mowed through hordes of the damned using weapons ranging from the unique to the truly bizarre, all for the express purpose of reuniting Daniel with his wife. He was denied at the end of the first game, and that's where Painkiller Hell and Damnation picks up.
What's the Mission?
Daniel, lamenting his current position, is approached by Death. In exchange for 7,000 souls Death assures Daniel that he will be reunited with his lost love. Daniel, suspicion but between a rock and a hard place, accepts the bargain along with the Soulcatcher gun. With it Daniel goes face first, guns blazing back into Purgatory hoping against hope that this time he comes out ahead on his bargain.
When Daniel's old ally Eve shows up and tells him that Death isn't really on the level, he tries to ignore it. Daniel fights many of the same enemies, as well as many demon lords, that he's already defeated once and collects the souls as asked. When he returns though, Death tells him there's only 6,999 souls; the last soul he needs is Eve's. Daniel refuses and once again is left twisting in the wind. However, he does realize that Eve was correct, and that Daniel isn't really dead... he's been in a coma this whole time! Unfortunately now that Death has gotten back with the other three horsemen of the apocalypse, it's only a matter of time until they invade Earth. So Daniel's going to have to step up and find some allies among those who were, so recently, his enemies.
How Does it Play?
Painkiller Hell and Damnation brings a lot of what modern gaming has to offer to an old title, without sacrificing any of the blood soaked savagery and brutal style that Painkiller was steeped in. So, that said, it feels like a good merger of an old style first person shooter with the great graphics, beautiful physics and sheer responsiveness that games offer in the modern day when it comes to all out shooters.
Painkiller Hell and Damnation is a Frankensteinian throwback to when shooters gave players impossible guns to fight impossible foes. Shooting demons with cannons that fire lightning shurikens or spinning death fans that shop off heads is nothing new to the genre, but it displays a level or irreverent fun that has been lacking in many modern shooters. A great deal of fun with a solid plot that reinvigorates a popular, older title and introduces it to an entire generation of younger gamers, this game is a definite good investment. Particularly for those who've missed all of Painkiller's rip-roaring fun and body counts.
Nintendo's biggest cross over fighting game features all of your favorite characters from the Nintendo Universe as well as some other cameo characters. Super Smash Bros Brawl Wii lets you duke it out as your favorite characters to prove who the best of the best is from Nintendo. You can prove your own skills and brag how great your favorite character are when you claim victory against your opponents. This game was developed by an assortment of talented developers coming from Sora, Game Arts and other well known organizations. Together they put their talents together to create this platform fighting game.
Most of your favorite Nintendo characters such as Mario, Link, Pikachu, Samus and Captain Falcon return in this version of the game. In addition to your favorite returning fighters you can also play as Solid Snake, Sonic and many other fighters making cameo appearances in this game. Super Smash Bros Brawl Wii has the most characters in the franchise and is fun for both casual and competitive gamers alike.
Super Smash Bros Brawl has a solo mode and an adventure mode, the subspace emissary. Solo is regular fighting and the subspace emissary can be the same as campaign. This mode does not offer much story other than basic cutscenes, but it is still fun. You get to play as a variety of characters which can help you figure out which you like the most. The only downfall to this is that there are so many characters that the game takes a long time to complete if you want to get through solo with every one of the cast members. While you play through solo you have the opportunity to unlock new characters which adds appeal to passing the game several times over.
Versus is the mode gamers take much pride in when they play Super Smash Bros Brawl. You can play one on one, free for all or as a team. The total number of characters that can play at one moments are four. Up to four players can play or you can add in computer characters to play alongside human characters. Whatever your choice this game is jam packed with many hours of versus playing fun. The more hours you log in versus helps you unlock new characters.
Super Smash Bros Brawl has online capabilities as well. Although it is very fun to play against random opponents the online aspect can be seen as the weakest part of the game. Most of the time players find that there is too much lag in the game and that you cannot take matches seriously when played. There are reports of people lagging out of games despite having a good internet connection.
Overall Super Smash Bros Brawl is best played in versus mode against close friends. This game has many hours of quality playtime value. The graphics are great and bring your characters alive and the music gives you nostalgia right when you play.
Need for Speed: The Run is not your typical racing game. It's premise has been done many times in movies, but never in a video game racing title that I'm aware of. Similar to the Cannonball Run series of movies and TV show, Need for Speed: The Run tasks players with being the first to reach New York City from San Francisco in a fast-paced racing adventure you'll find nowhere else.
Jack is strapped for cash and basically forced to enter a race across the country with $25 million dollars on the line and over 200 competitors standing in his way. That's pretty much the entire plot, which is acceptable for just about any racing game. However, with a game as heavily promoted with Michael Bay cinematic videos as this one, I guess I expected a lot more.
Featuring the Frostbite 2 engine, Need for Speed: The Run is a good looking racer. My favorite thing about the look of the game is by far the surrounding environment. There are some really interesting tracks with awe-inspiring views. You'll drive through the barren landscape of Death Valley and across the beautiful mountain tops of Yosemite National Park. You'll breeze past the flashing neon signs that plaster the strip in Las Vegas, and roam through the beautiful forests of Appalachia. You've never raced a track type in any other reality-based racing game that you won't encounter here. The cars are also meticulously recreated here with tremendous attention to detail. The cars don't just look great though, they sound great too. You'll truly feel like you're there for every bone-shattering collision on a crowded New York City street, and every spine-tingling tire screech as you sail around a tight corner on the streets of Chicago.
This game isn't Gran Turismo 5 or Forza 4 so you won't get top of the line physics. What you will get though, is an arcade style racer that's an absolute blast to play. There are 50 events to complete which take place over 10 stages. Each event represents a certain stretch of road between the countries 2 sides. During these stretches your tasks will vary, though not as much as one might hope over the course of 50 events. You might need to pass a certain amount of opponents, fight off the mob as they attempt to destroy your ride, or pass a series of checkpoints within the allotted time. Even the lack of variety doesn't slam the brakes on the fun though. As it's the blistering sense of speed that gives you the adrenaline rush needed to see the story through to the end.
You can usually just stick to the racing in a review of this type, but that's not the case here. Black Box has added an almost unheard of element for this type of game, on-foot sequences. Yes, you heard that right. You actually get to stretch your legs and get out from behind the wheel from time to time. These sequences come in the form of quick-time events. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but it's definitely a nice change of pace and helps to break up the monotony.
Final Score 8.5/10
Need for Speed: The Run is a one of a kind racing title that will appeal to gamers in general whether they are gear heads or not. There's action, drama, suspense and even a bit of comedy. You really can't go wrong here and I highly recommend it to everyone, even if it's just for a weekend rental. Happy Gaming!
God of War Ascension is a third person action adventure game, in reality a bit of a hack and slash. Set in Ancient Greece it is loosely based upon the mythology of those times. The game was published by Sony Computer Entertainment and developed by Santa Monica Studio.
The list of characters reads like a Pantheon of Greek Gods. The main characters are Kratos, from Sparta, a region in ancient Greece, played by the user, who was once the servant of Ares the God of War, Ares. Then we have Orkos the oath keeper and the Furies, Megaera, Tisiphone and Alecto who are collectively the Gods of Honor and the enforcers of punishments. The Delphic Oracle, Aletheia, the twins Castor and Pollux, Zeus, the chief or father of the Gods, Poseidon the God of the Sea, Hades, the God of the Underworld, the Hero the mighty Hercules and the Cyclops Polyphemus along with others also feature but play smaller parts.
At the start of the game there is a short narrative giving the background to the story, but the story of the game begins with Kratos in chains being punished for breaking an oath he made to Ares as explained in the narrative prologue. With the assistance of various Gods, Kratos escapes but the narrative moves backwards to a time before Kratos was cast in chains. The story wanders around the locations of ancient Greece, visiting places such a Delphi and the Island of Delos, which are factual, and several more fictitious ones.
There are plenty of weapons on offer in God of War Ascension, Kratos has as his main weapon a pair of blades on the end of chains,the Blades of Chaos, whose use should be obvious, but he can also find and use others to be found dotted around the game's locations, but they last only for a limited amount of time and he is limited to owning a single weapon at any one time. The arsenal available to him include a sling, javelin or spear, a club, a sword and a defensive shield, and when weaponless he must resort to unarmed combat. Special abilities also feature such as the use of fire, lightning and magic and others that enhance the power of Kratos's own main weapon, the twin blades.
As well as combat there is also a puzzle solving aspect to the game sometimes involving the use of objects to make the progress of the main character easier or even possible. There is also a platforming element to the game whereby Kratos jumps across chasms and leaps over walls.
Their are also relics to be had which also have some unusual uses. These are an Amulet of Uroborus which can slow down enemy attacks for a limited period. The Oath Stone of Orkos lets Kratos be in two places at the same time and which can function something like an assistant where on pair of hands is not enough. The Eyes of Truth allow Kratos to distinguish reality from the illusions spun by the Furies.
The collection of objects also features in play and these objects are in the form of chests each of which contains Orbs which come in different colors, each colored Orb has its own use. With the use of these health can be topped up, weaponry upgraded and attacks made more intense. The player can also collect Phoenix Feathers and Gorgon Eyes which have their own power giving properties.
The many enemies include some of the entities from Greek Mythology such as the Gorgons, Sirens, Satyrs, Centaurs and Harpies which while not actually Gods did play a large part in the Myths of the time. There are also entities created for the game such as Juggernauts, which are to all intents and purposes Elephants, Wraiths and Manticores as well as hordes of parasitic insects. In a neat twist, under some circumstances, the larger of the creatures can be tamed for a time and ridden in battle against their former allies.
There is also an online muiltiplayer mode for up to eight players and consisting of four modes. These modes are Team Favor of the Gods, Trial of the Gods, Match of Champions and Capture the Flag.
The 'main' multiplayer mode is Team Favor of the Gods and in this mode two teams which can consist of up to four players per team play against each other as Trojans and Spartans and attempt to amass a predetermined total of points. Match of Champions similar to Team Favor but is not played as a team but can have between four and eight players competing.Trial of the Gods is a two player co-operative mode which is played against the clock and in which the creatures fought increase in strength over time, culminating in a major boss encounter at the end. the Capture the Flag mode The Spartans and Trojans compete to steal each others flags. Those who have played earlier God of War titles will recognize the maps for these modes as being taken from these earlier titles.
While the God of War series is not really regarded as highly as those such as Assassin's Creed, God of War Ascension certainly has a pretty good stab at rivaling them and does not fail completely. The story is a bit out of this world but that's Greek Mythology for you.
No one really expected that Phoenix Wright would be the success that it was for all the faults the games had. But the fans absolutely loved it and they continue to love it because it is just plain enjoyable.
You are going to play an up and coming lawyer by the name of Phoenix Wright. He wakes up as the game begins and finds out that he is left to handle cases left to him. You get to learn about the cases as well as get in touch with old characters from the previous games.
What is great is that the cases are well written and interesting and the dialogue is really well written, something not commonly found in games of this genre. Even if the character you play is a defense lawyer you get to go out to the field and find out clues and details to support the cases you handle.
The courtroom scenes are well written as well complete with testimonies of witnesses and finding ways to contradict them. There is a chance to cross examine the witnesses and you can even call out objection! if you want to. Although it would just be the DS which will hear your scream. If you do not like to scream you can just tap out the command and then support your objection with evidences. If you make a mistake the judge will penalize you so be very careful.
Now if you cannot finish the game you can just save the game you completed and then just restart. This way you can mull over your attack plans and even ponder on the case facts. So you can really just go for it and fail and then just restart until you find the right method to win the case. This is what is criticized really, that this formula is holding back the challenge of the game but then again this is a game and not reality TV.
The music selection is just fantastic as usual even if they are recycled music. The music also serves as a clue to the personality of the characters you meet in the game, friend or foe. So if the danger increases, the music will clue you in with the intensity and darkness of the atmosphere.
In short, Phoenix Wright 3 can be much of the old but leaves no unpleasant taste. In fact, it is probably the faithfulness to the formula that makes this game such a success and not the failure that other games like these end up as. Will I recommend this game most definitely. This is one for the library guys!
There has probably never been a game quite like Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning, and that might not necessarily be a bad thing. That is not to say Kingdoms of Amalur is a poor by any means, but it feels like someone took practically every type of role playing game and mixed them together in a pot. The huge open world with more quests than you can manage evokes Bethesda titles like The Elder Scrolls, the combat feels somewhat like that of the Fable series, and the insanely detailed story feels like a Bioware title.
The fact I can talk about practically everything in Kingdoms of Amalur in the context of other games points to its core problem, that we've seen this all before. Nothing about Kingdoms of Amalur is in any way revolutionary or even vaguely interesting, and in many instances it takes perfectly good mechanics and drives them into the ground.
We can start with what was Amalur's most touted feature in the pre-release run-up to the game, its story. 38 Studios wanted to create a massive world with an intricate backstory for an entire series of games along with a full-fledged MMO, so they decided to spend as much money as possible and hire R.A. Salvatore. While a great idea at its core, the resulting backstory for the world is filled with incredibly bland fantasy conventions. Every NPC in the world has a few dozen conversation options in which you can ask them about the backstory, and the entire thing feels like it was shoved into the framework of a game that already existed.
Beyond the story though, the world itself can look absolutely fantastic. Amalur makes use of a cartoonish art-style that actually looks pretty great. That said, a great world that isn't filled with fun things to do isn't worth much. Kingdoms of Amalur manages to do the filling thing well at least. In every building inside every tiny little town are half a dozen quests for you to grab, and soon you'll find your questlog filled with a massive number of quests requiring you to go kill a specific amount of monsters in order to get a specific amount of loot.
In fact, none of the quests outside of the main storyline or guilds contain much of any story beyond giving you a flimsy reason to be doing what you're doing and slapping a marker on your map. At some point you'll be 50 hours into the game and have done a hundred or so sidequests with no story progression whatsoever.
More importantly, the combat feels like a poor ripoff of the Fable combat system, which already wasn't all that great, and you'll have much more time to grow tired of Amalur's combats while you're doing all those sidequests.
Put simply, this is an extremely mediocre RPG. It has everything an RPG should and more, but everything Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning has consistently been done better elsewhere.