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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

One thing that Worms: Open Warfare 2 is not is a new take on the Worms gameplay. It’s the classic turn-based worm-weapon-wielding destruction-fest that earlier versions were. If you played any version before, you’ll be right at home with the game on the DS. There are a number of new weapons in this version like the Explosive Buffalo of Lies. With your arsenal at hand, you’ll command your troop of four worms across the crazy destructible landscapes against up to three other teams of worms.

There are multiple single-player game modes in Open Warfare 2 for you to battle through. There is the campaign mode, which takes your group of worms through a series of more and more difficult scenarios that are set in the backdrop of historical battles. This allows the game to showcase some of the more interesting tile sets. One new addition in this version is the introduction of boss battles, which are a more difficult take on the standard battles against AI worms. There is also a puzzle mode, where you have to complete tasks with a limited arsenal, and a laboratory mode, which lets you play around some with the touch screen and microphone.

The addition of multiplayer to this version takes it to the next level. Not only can you take your party of worms online to battle against opponents from around the world, there are also new game modes for you to play. One of these is called Forts, where the battlefield is two large forts on either side of the screen. The other is rope race, where you use the ninja ripe to swing through a level faster than the opposition. The options for online play are limited, but the important thing is that they are there.

Another nice new addition to this version is the new levels of customization that are offered to players. Now, you can customize much more on your team than just the worm names and what tombstone you’ll leave when you die. You can change your victory dance, flag, team color, and what fort will appear in Forts games. If you’re feeling really artistic, you can even customize your flag with the built-in editor.

A little artistry has always been appreciated in Worms games, and this one finally adds an editor for players to create their own levels. This is a feature that, although standard in early versions, has been cut out of recent releases. It’s nice to see the developers decide to take the extra time to include it.

If you’re a fan of strategy games of any ilk, you've probably played a Worms game over the years. Worms: Total Warfare 2 has that same excellent gameplay, in an updated package with a bunch of new features. This is definitely one for any Worms fan, or strategy fan, to add to their collection.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

The gameplay itself is split between two different kinds of games. The first is the adventure portion. That’s where you'll need to utilize all the capabilities your rat-form allows to move around the kitchen, snagging ingredients as you move about the environment. In order to get the ingredients gathered up, Remy the rat, who you play in the game, will need to dodge mousetraps and evade being seen. The level of awareness of the cooks in the kitchen is indicated by a bar that slowly rises as you maneuver around the level. If it gets too high, Remy will have to take some time hiding in a dark, quiet spot and wait for the heat to die down.

Once all those ingredients are collected together, the other part of the game comes alive. That’s where you take the ingredients you just collected and use the touch screen on the DS to perform all kinds of cooking-related tasks to get the ingredients ready to be made into a meal. Then, the actual task of cooking is performed, where you maintain temperatures under pots for the proper time to get the food made. Then, you have to plate and garnish your creations. From there, the food goes out into the restaurant to hungry patrons, just like in the movie.

For a DS game, the 3D graphics are certainly detailed. Puffs of white smoke pop out when you land on bags of flour, running through fire singes Remy's coat, and more. There are also a ton of different animations for the things Remy does, ranging from hilarious to adorable. The 2D items in the kitchen aren't always the most detailed, but the cooking tasks are so enjoyable you'll barely notice it. The scenes in between levels detail what's going on with still shots taken from the movie, and some text allows players to get a feel for where they're at in the story.

The biggest issue with the game itself is how short it is. The entire game can be beaten in an afternoon, since most of the adventure missions take about five minutes to gather all the ingredients, and then cooking them up usually takes between five and ten minutes per dish. It will only take you about three hours to kill off the whole story, although the external cooking mini-game lets you have a little more time on it.

When all the ingredients are put together properly, even a movie videogame can be tremendously tasty. Ratatouille is one of those games, and if you take the time to sample it, you'll thoroughly enjoy the flavor.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

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 they’re all good ones.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

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

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 everyone’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

7.7

Starcraft II Heart of the Swarm is an expansion pack for Starcraft II Wings of Liberty which mostly dealt with the Terrans who are a fragmented group of human exiles who have a tendency to fight amongst themselves, and in which Jim Raynor leads a rebellion against the ruling Terran Dominion.

In Heart of the Swarm the focus is more on the Zerg, a race of large insect like creatures whose swarms share a collective consciousness and so have no sense of self or self preservation, and controlled by the Zerg Overmind. They are used in overwhelming numbers forming ant like swarms during attacks.

The game has twenty missions and is played from the perspective of Sarah Kerrigan.

The story begins with Sarah Kennington, aka Queen of Blades, who featured in previous titles and is an infected Terran, assimilated into the Zerg race and who gained control of the Overmind. A research center is running tests on her to see how much of her power over the Zerg swarm remains. The scientist performing the tests is Prince Valerian and he escapes, together with Kerrigan, after an attack on the research lab by Terran Dominion Forces. Jim Raynor, a mercenary and co-conspirator, is left behind while the other two reach Raynor's spacecraft, the Hyperion. From this point the main thrust of the story is of Kerrigan,s attempts to search out and rescue Raynor. To add another level of confusion Kerrigan herself is marked as a target for assassination by the forces of Emperor Arctuus Mengsk, Valerian's father.

The actions take place in many locations scattered around the Galaxy and many characters from Starcraft lore make appearances, and many new and wonderful devices with remarkable powers are introduced. Kerrigan visits may places in various morphed forms and makes alliances to help her in her ambitions. Alliances are formed, deals are brokered and Kerrigan uses her psychic and blade wielding powers against all and sundry as the situation dictates, eventually reverting to type and becoming once again the chief of the swarm.

The story is intricate and perhaps overly complex, and the game seems to have less content than Wings of Liberty. The graphics and soundtrack are superb as you would expect from a major series like this one. The accompanying art book has some stunning pictures but as for the mousepad, does anyone use one nowadays?

As well as the game software the collectors edition comes with an artwork book of 144 pages, a Zerg Rush mousepad, a behind the scenes DVD and an audio soundtrack CD.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

5.6

Dirt Showdown for Xbox 360 created by Codemasters is further addition to the much loved Dirt series. The overall game presentation is slick, the cars are nicely detailed and there are plenty on obstacles on the tracks, but overall something is missing.

The overall detail in the tracks is fairly well done and the scenery on each level is nicely toned. Some tracks are loaded with obstacles but it seems the developers spent an awful amount of time of the scenery and not enough time creating enough tracks to race over. Before you know it you have played all the tracks and with some tracks merging with other tracks during play it really does seem very bland and repetitive.

The commentary in some of the modes of play is also quite shocking and really does not add anything meaningful to the game whatsoever. Using such words as T-BoneTastic, or T-BoneDelicious really gets irritating and I cannot fathom why they have done this.

The best mode within Dirt Showdown is the Dominator, where the tracks are divided into four sections and the best time wins, win enough of these and become the Dominator. There is also a Destruction Derby Mode but instead of being last man standing winning in this mode is based on a time limit. They really could have done so much better with this game, and leaving the racers to get on with it and waiting for the time to run out makes for a disappointing way of winning.

There are other modes of play also where you knock down different boxes positioned on the track, but after a while this gets boring too. Another example is when you have to perform a donut, and again you simply hold down one button and no controls are needed. It almost feels like they are trying to pan the game out but making a terrible job of it.

Compared to Dirt 3 this game is a real disappointment, what should have been great turned out to be a standard dirt racer, instead of being a separate game they should have make this game an add-on for Dirt 3.

Taken as a whole, Dirt Showdown could have been a good game, but it is simply not long enough, the commentary is terrible and the tracks are very bland, a real disappointment.

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Posted:
2014-01-31

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

God of War Ascension is of yet only released on the PS3 platform and 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 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, 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, 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.

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Posted:
2014-02-22

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

5.0

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 quest log 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 side quests with no story progression whatsoever.

More importantly, the combat feels like a poor rip off 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.

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Posted:
2014-06-15

Mediocre.

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

5.0

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.


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