The gameplay itself is split between two different kinds of games. The first is the adventure portion. Thats 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. Thats 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.
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 theyre all good ones.
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.
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 dont 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.
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.
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.
As those who have played BioShock I and II will know, and what newcomers to the series, experiencing BioShock culture for the first time by playing BioShock Infinite will soon realize, there is a wealth of lore and and an extremely complex intertwining of characters and items, even when the many cultural references that serious reviewers find in the game's characters and storyline are left out..
In essence the main thrust of the plot is fairly simple inasmuch as it deals with a strong character with problems in his past or present life, seeking to rescue fair lady and so solve his problems. The man and lady in question are Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth. Booker's past is that of a Pinkerton Detective Agency operative whose proclivity for the arts of drinking and gambling led to him parting company with his employers. His twin addictions of course are no fault of his own bit are the consequences of post traumatic stress brought on by experiences in battle and the loss of his wife in childbirth and the subsequent trials of bringing up the resulting child. And, as is usually the fate of such characters, he is now heavily in debt.
The fair maiden, Elizabeth, is a girl of around twenty who from an very early age has been a captive in the floating city of Columbia. But she is not as ordinary as Booker as she can, under certain circumstances, manipulate the Tears, which are breaks in the local spacetime continuum. She is guarded by a creature called the Songbird, a winged monster, which she once regarded as a friend but then came to hate. It is she who Booker, who the player controls, is required to rescue, and the pair are consequently hunted by the Songbird, the Founders and Zachary Comstock and more. Recovering Elizabeth and delivering her to New York will result in Booker's debts being serviced by whoever commissioned the rescue.
The action for the most part takes place in 1912, in Columbia, a sort of floating city suspended aloft by a giant dirigible, and entered by way of a sort of light tower or lighthouse. Columbia is ruled by the Founders, a patriotic, nativist party, led by the aforementioned Comstock. The opposing political grouping, the Vox Populi, are regarded as a subversive rebel grouping who support the poorer levels of society. The city boasts a unique form of transport in the form of an elevated rail or tramway which Booker uses by deploying one of his abilities in the form of a grappling device to hook up to, and travel between locations, occasionally jumping down on enemies along the way.
Other characters who play a major part in the proceedings are Robert Lutece, Rosalind Lutece and Daisy Fitzroy who is Lady Comstock's servant, a migrant brought to Columbia as prisoner and who does not share her the political views of Lady Comstock's husband, so much so that after her escape she becomes leader of the Vox Populi. There is also a fairly large cast of supporting characters who play their particularly relevant parts and who, for the most part, have pretty uninspiring and ordinary names considering the imaginative nature of the story. The Lettuce twins, Robert and Rosalind, play an important part throughout the story, popping up all over the place offering aid and advice to Booker, and although identical twins and so physically similar apart from gender, they represent dual sides of a single character.
An all important role is played by Vigors which are worn on the arm and give Booker various abilities. These Vigors come in eight varieties namely Bucking Bronco, Undertow, Possession, Shock Jockey, Devil's Kiss, Murder of Crows, Return to Sender and Charge. Each has its own properties, or rather two properties, as they each come in charged and uncharged form. For instance the Bucking Bronco in its uncharged form can levitate opponents who, while in this levitated state, are quite harmless. In its charged state it can be deployed as a stationary booby trap having a similar but more powerful levitating effect. So, in general, Vigors when charged have a more powerful effect. They do however have some things in common. They can only be upgraded twice during the game and they also rely on Salts to power them.
Salts are are a chemical which comes in blue bottles found at various locations. The bottles come in small medium and large sizes and give proportionally one quarter, one half and full charge to a Vigor, and this charge, or how much of it is left, is displayed on a bar on the player's screen. Vigors play a similar role to Plasmids in earlier BioShock titles. They can also be charged at special vending machines found around Columbia, and certain foods and drinks contain the substance and help in charging Vigors.
The enemies on which these Vigors and other weapons are used come in many forms but fall roughly into two groups, Standard and Heavy Hitters. The first group contains Police, Soldiers and Citizens which are weak enemies and the last of which are not all of the hostile variety. The Heavy Hitters are far more interesting and comprise Firemen, Zealot of the Lady, Beasts, Sirens, Boys of Silence, Motorized Patriots and Handymen. Motorized Patriots are George Washington lookalikes, clockwork robots, relentless in assault and heavily armed, and Handymen are Human in form, welded to a mechanical frame. They are very strong, very fast, and very bad tempered. It goes without saying that each has its own powers and abilities, and each needs to be tackled differently with different weapons.
Weapons also, as expected, come in all shapes and sizes. We have the Triple R Machine Gun, the Pig Volley Gun, the Barnstormer RPG, the Bird's Eye Sniper Rifle, the Broadsider Pistol, the China Broom Shotgun, the Huntsman Carbine, the Skyhook, the Peppermill Crank Gun, and the wonderfully named Paddywhacker Hand Cannon. These again have varying accuracy and destructive powers, and some have limited ammunition, some are automatic and some have to be manually loaded for each shot.
Another useful tool is the Tear in the time continuum. These Tears can be found in many places and, although all can see them, only Elizabeth can use them to advantage. Useful artifacts can be transported for use in the characters present, and past events can be altered to some degree. However, they can be unstable and therefore the results of using them, or even being near them, can be unexpected and unpredictable.
So we have a basic main plot with many many sub plots with their twists and turns in place and time. A wealth character interactions and oodles of weaponry and enemies. Throw in the graphically well presented and well designed scenario, in which you may wander around finding all sorts of goodies and information relative to the storyline, or just to explore in spare moments, and you have a game which, if anything, has too much in it to comprehend in one go. The audio is pretty good as well, but who cares, you will be far too busy to notice.
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.
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 Gamin
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.