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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo DS

7.6

The game is somewhat similar to the first version. As in that game, blocks drop from the top of the screen toward the bottom almost continuously. Also as in that game, you combine groups of three similar blocks together and then launch them into the air, by using the stylus to throw them up. The blocks get pushed up by you, but pulled down by gravity, so your goal of trying to throw blocks off the screen for points is made more difficult as you play. Gravity changes on nearly every level, so learning how the different gravity affects your throws is an instrumental part of the gameplay. Once blocks are in the air, they can also be combined with other blocks to create combos, which increase the force of the launch. These tactics are required in the later levels of the game just to make it through.

The big change from the original Meteos to this one is that blocks can be moved horizontally, and not just vertically. This is a big changeover from the original version, because the fact that you couldn't move blocks horizontally had a lot to do with why the game was so challenging. Now, the possibility exists for it to be less challenging, but that is not actually the case. That is because the levels are now so hard later on, and there are so many different difficulty levels to choose from, that players will be able to master simpler skills, and still have to learn the more advanced skills just to get through levels.

The numbers of different Disney movies that are featured are sure to keep most little fans happy, as well. Jiminy Cricket is your narrator, and helps tie together all the little stories that involve the Disney movies. There are certainly movies missing, but there are others that you wouldn't expect to be in a game like this, such as Lilo & Stitch.

The major thing missing from this title would have to be worthwhile content to unlock. While the few Disney pictures that you are able to acquire as you play might interest a young gamer, for most puzzle-fans, winning a Disney picture is closer to not winning at all than it is to winning something worthwhile. An extra level, a new character or upgrade, a new level type, anything other than a Disney picture for a player to unlock would have made the experience more rewarding.

Fortunately, that is about the only issue with the game. It has numerous difficulties so about anyone can play, and the gameplay itself is enjoyable through level after level. Meteos: Disney Magic brings the gameplay from the original back with a few twists, and theyÂ’re all good ones.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

7.4

Sniper Elite V2 PS3 will definitely have you sitting on the edge of your seat from start to finish. This game is refreshing because it is anything but a Call of Duty clone, it is a smart shooter game that requires careful strategy and planning in order to accomplish your goals.

The game allows you to play multiplayer missions or solo missions. The multiplayer missions are best played with a friend versus a complete stranger, because communication between partners is essential for these missions to be a success. The one thing that this game received criticism for was the missions being too brief. Also some people thought there should be better stealth options because it was somewhat difficult to be stealthy at certain points in the plot.

The great thing about this game is that there is more than one way to complete a mission. Another nice touch is the ability to fire a bullet so that it will kill two enemies at once. Another is the use of x-ray vision to show the kill, with the sniper's bullet in slow motion. The advantage of x-ray vision is that it will show you exactly where the bullet hits your enemy, even the vital organs. It's all very gory and there is a lot of tension because there is always some sort of danger lurking around the next corner. The game is of course perfect for those who like the accuracy of the sniper's art.

Another complaint is the fact that enemies often seem to have superhuman vision. They can spot you from unrealistic distances. The enemies also have poor AI, which can make it easy to get past them. What is good about this game is that you are rewarded for having patience. Not many games reward players for their patience.

Overall, this is a great game to add to your collection. You will be thoroughly impressed by the fun you can have with some of the features and you might even learn something in the process. The great thing about history games is they teach you as you play them.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

7.7

Dirt Showdown for the PS3 is the new installment in the Dirt franchise by Codemasters. As soon as you start Dirt Showdown, the game will bombard you with pop ups asking you to go online. Even if you refuse these popups, the game will constantly hound you with more and more, until you finally give in, so its best that you do. The game will also prompt you to tweet about it, and ask for your Youtube account, all for social stat tracking. Despite this, its hard to confuse Dirt Showdown as anything but a game from the Dirt franchise, filled with smooth menu transition and crash overlay options.

In Dirt Showdown, the cars are quite nicely detailed, and the longer you drive your car in a race, the more dust and dirt it will collect. The tracks are filled with spectacles and fireworks, and each racing track is filled with destructible objects. It is a good looking game, which is what we have come to expect from Codemaster games. The Audio is decently done as well, with a decent soundtrack and some cool exhaust sounds. One thing that is incredibly frustrating is the inability to mute the extremely bad commentary they have put in the game. You can mute the music entirely, but the commentary will not go below 50% volume, so dumb! The commentators have a very limited and come up with some non existent words, they will have you cringing at some of their verbal offerings.

Dirt Showdown is a bit lighter than Dirt 4, it has shallow handling and a very simplified vehicle physics. Unfortunately the game has a very small selection of tracks, and audio that will leave you feeling uninterested and bored after only a couple of hours. Most of the actual racing tracks are equally as boring and flat as the commentary, making for some pretty dull races.

Dirt Showdown does come with a few different game modes. The gymkhana-based Joyride mode is basically a near copy of the one in Dirt 3. You start by doing tricks and picking up hidden packages in what looks to be the Battersea Compound in Dirt 3. Then you move to the Yokohama Docks area. There is also Smashhunters, in which you track down and find sequences of coloured foam bollards. This is short fun, but certainly does not last long enough to redeem the game. There is Domination, in which the track is divided into four sections, and in which each section is time ranked. If you dominate enough sectors, you win. The destruction derbies are well, not quite right. Showdown does not do too well with this arena based system, as you are put on a time limit, even though it is last man standing. This means beaten cars donÂ’t stay wrecked and, when you get written off, all that happens is you re-spawn.It is basically a deathmatch with cars.

All in all Dirt Showdown is a reasonably good game to to keep you occupied for some little while, just don't expect anything as well polished as Dirt 3 or 4.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

7.8

Sly Cooper Thieves in Time, often abbreviated to Sly 4, is a follow on to Honor Among Thieves and takes place in a world once again populated by animal with human characteristics. It continues the story of Sly Cooper the raccoon, who is the latest in a long line of Coopers, a family of professional thieves. His mission in this story is to bring together his gang to repair the Thievius Raccoonius, a book describing the history of the Coopers which has been damaged by a time traveling villain. The player gets to control Sly himself and Sly's ancestors, as well as, to a lesser degree, Murray, Carmelita Fox and Bentley and some of Sly's ancestors, and he has to put their abilities to use to carry out robberies and to discover who was responsible for tampering with the above mentioned book.

The gang travels backwards and forwards in space and time, as do their villainous opponents, to such far flung eras and locations as the American Wild West where they manage engineer the prison break out of Tennessee Kid Cooper who was framed for a bank job. While there they also meet the character Toothpick, a gunslinging armadillo, now the town sheriff, and meet the skunk, the wheeler dealing Cyrille Le Paradox.

In Japan, during its feudal era, they rescue Rioichi Cooper, a Ninja and inventor of sushi, and there they encounter the military genius, the tiger El Jele, who overthrew several small nations in the Far East and auctioned them off. In England during the middle ages they meet Sir Galleth, a Knight of the Order of Coopers and the Black Knight. their travels also take them to Ancient Arabia and as far back as the Ice Age, places and times where they encounter other members of the Cooper family tree.

After much travel and adventure, countless twists and turns, and toing and froing in time, the gang ends up in modern day Paris. While there, Sly and Le paradox, who we first met in the Wild West, and who features often throughout the plot, do battle, ending in the imprisonment of Le Paradox along with most of the other villains. By this time most of Sly's gang have returned to where they came from.

Much of the gameplay is similar to the three previous Sly titles and it is Sly who the user mostly takes control of. There are various physical obstacles to be negotiated and many of Sly's abilities form before are inherited. New to this latest installment are the costumes and equipment which can be earned as the game progresses. These include such things as suits of armor and shields, useful in Medieval England. These costumes, having been earned, can be taken back and used in levels already completed to unlock and reach secret places not visited before. There are also other treasures and disguises such as masks to collect which act as in game currency to purchase upgrades and abilities.

When the game is completed successfully the player is treated to a scene of an Egyptian temple which gives a hint of a possible sequel to Thieves in Time.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo DS

7.5

Unlike other games whose only purpose is to conquer all enemies, the Shadow Dragon will stimulate the playerÂ’s 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 playerÂ’s 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

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo DS

6.3

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.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo DS

6.3

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.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

5.0

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 everyoneÂ’s 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.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

8.5

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.

Story 7/10

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. ThatÂ’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.

Graphics/Sound: 9/10

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 wonÂ’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.

Gameplay: 8/10

This game isn't Gran Turismo 5 or Forza 4 so you wonÂ’t get top of the line physics. What you will get though, is an arcade style racer thatÂ’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 itÂ’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 thatÂ’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. ThereÂ’s nothing groundbreaking here, but itÂ’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 their 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

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo Wii

6.1

Disney's Epic Mickey was a huge success upon release, selling 1.2 million copies in just a few short months. Because of this success, Disney, Nintendo and developer Junction Point decided to create a sequel. Epic Mickey: The Power of 2 offers up even more Disney nostalgia, complete with another heart warming story and all of the characters you fell in love with during the first game. The game even adds some new nods to Disney's amazing history.

Sadly, that's where the game's similarities to the first Epic Mickey end. The first Epic Mickey suffered from some minor control problems but it wasn't bad enough to ruin the experience. In Epic Mickey 2, the controls will make you frustrated and angry and detract from the experience significantly.

The idea behind Epic Mickey 2 is that you will travel through the game world not just as Mickey Mouse but also with the assistance of Oswald the Rabbit, a character from the Disney vault who was also featured in the first game. If you have another player to play with you with a second Wii Remote and Nunchuk, this player can assume the role of Oswald and offer at least some degree of intelligence to the character. But if you intend to play the game the same as the original Epic Mickey, as a solo affair, Oswald is not going to be much of a help. His artificial intelligence is almost laughable and he will frequently get in your way and just generally does more to hinder your progress than to help. Sometimes when you get to attack an enemy, Oswald will jump between you and the enemy like he's going to help you, but then he'll just stand there in your way, soaking up your paint brush attacks, effectively shielding the enemy while complaining that you are injuring him.

The combat is still seriously flawed even when Oswald is not getting in your way. The game suffers from some serious collision detection problems. Mickey can take damage when it appears that the enemy is still far enough away from him that the attack should have been avoided. You can appear to have avoided the incoming danger, only to then lose your life anyway, which is incredibly infuriating. Combat can also grow to be tedious. You're essentially doing most of the same moves over and over and even boss fights just feel way to drawn out.

The game's story offers many side quests this time around, but all of the extra quests add a bit of confusion to the game. It's not always crystal clear where you are supposed to go to complete the next main objective to progress the story. Non linear gameplay is usually welcome in most adventure games but in Epic Mickey 2 it sometimes makes you just feel lost.

If you are a hardcore Disney fan, there is enough Disney lore and nostalgia here to suggest at least taking a look. But as a game, the magic isn't there.


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