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The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword for the Wii is an action adventure game and is the sixteenth game in the long franchise. Developed by Nintendo this game is unique as it utilizes the motion features with the Wii in order for gamers to play through the game. This means that you have to have a feel for how to move around as if you were actually swinging at bad guys or aiming your arrow to shoot a monster. Now is the time to get off your feet and start your battle to Hyrule from the forces of evil.
Although this is the most recently released game in the Zelda franchise Skyward Sword takes place as the first Zelda game in the timeline. For all of those Zelda fans who want to learn how the adventure unfolded this is the game to play. In Skyward Sword you get to learn a lot more about the history and roots of The Master Sword and the main antagonist in the Zelda series Ganon. The plot goes into further details surrounding the game's history in general. Not only is the gameplay great, but the story makes this game one of the best Zelda games to date.
Throughout the you have to figure out how a lot of puzzles, which is why the Zelda series has always seen a lot of success. The puzzle and mind boggling aspect keeps gamers thinking at all times and gives you a sense of accomplishment when you figure out complex puzzles. The amount of side quests also make this game very fun and gives you a lot to complete in addition to the regular storyline. If you need a game that is going to keep you entertained for many hours this is it.
The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword was highly received and reputed to be one of the best in the franchise. Before the release of the game a the gaming community was skeptical of Nintendo's ability to keep gamers interested in a Zelda game. The previous game Twilight Princess did not receive as much positive reception as anticipated and as a result people thought Nintendo lost their edge. Yet Nintendo continued to prove people wrong by releasing a game that takes you back to the roots of how Zelda games are played. Even with the addition of the motion mechanics to the game it still feels like a wholesome Zelda game. Skyward Sword received many game of the year awards upon its release. In addition to winning game of the year awards from many reputable organizations it also received best original soundtrack, level design, graphics and story awards. Every long time Zelda fan will appreciate this incarnation of the game as it takes you back to that feeling you got when you played The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. This Zelda game is a must play.
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.
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. Thats 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 wont 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 wont get top of the line physics. What you will get though, is an arcade style racer thats 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 its 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 thats 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. Theres nothing groundbreaking here, but its 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
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.
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 multiplayer 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.
Sniper Elite V2 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.
One thing that Worms: Open Warfare 2 is not is a new take on the Worms gameplay. Its the classic turn-based worm-weapon-wielding destruction-fest that earlier versions were. If you played any version before, youll 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, youll 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 youll leave when you die. You can change your victory dance, flag, team color, and what fort will appear in Forts games. If youre 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. Its nice to see the developers decide to take the extra time to include it.
If youre 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.
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.
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.
Super Gamer Dude
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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