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Posted:
2014-02-22

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

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:
2014-03-27

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

PS Vita

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:
2014-02-22

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

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. 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.

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 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.

Gameplay: 8/10

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

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Posted:
2014-03-13

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

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. 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.

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 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.

Gameplay: 8/10

This game isn't Gran Turismo 5 or Forza 4 so you won't get top of the line physics. What you will get though, is an arcade style racer that's an absolute blast to play. There are 50 events to complete which take place over 10 stages. Each event represents a certain stretch of road between the countries 2 sides. During these stretches your tasks will vary, though not as much as one might hope over the course of 50 events. You might need to pass a certain amount of opponents, fight off the mob as they attempt to destroy your ride, or pass a series of checkpoints within the allotted time. Even the lack of variety doesn't slam the brakes on the fun though. As it's the blistering sense of speed that gives you the adrenaline rush needed to see the story through to the end.

You can usually just stick to the racing in a review of this type, but that's not the case here. Black Box has added an almost unheard of element for this type of game, on-foot sequences. Yes, you heard that right. You actually get to stretch your legs and get out from behind the wheel from time to time. These sequences come in the form of quick-time events. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but it's definitely a nice change of pace and helps to break up the monotony.

Final Score 8.5/10

Need for Speed: The Run is a one of a kind racing title that will appeal to gamers in general whether they are gear heads or not. There's action, drama, suspense and even a bit of comedy. You really can't go wrong here and I highly recommend it to everyone, even if it's just for a weekend rental. Happy Gaming!

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Posted:
2014-03-14

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo DS

8.0

No one really expected that Phoenix Wright would be the success that it was for all the faults the games had. But the fans absolutely loved it and they continue to love it because it is just plain enjoyable.

You are going to play an up and coming lawyer by the name of Phoenix Wright. He wakes up as the game begins and finds out that he is left to handle cases left to him. You get to learn about the cases as well as get in touch with old characters from the previous games.

What is great is that the cases are well written and interesting and the dialogue is really well written, something not commonly found in games of this genre. Even if the character you play is a defense lawyer you get to go out to the field and find out clues and details to support the cases you handle.

The courtroom scenes are well written as well complete with testimonies of witnesses and finding ways to contradict them. There is a chance to cross examine the witnesses and you can even call out objection! if you want to. Although it would just be the DS which will hear your scream. If you do not like to scream you can just tap out the command and then support your objection with evidences. If you make a mistake the judge will penalize you so be very careful.

Now if you cannot finish the game you can just save the game you completed and then just restart. This way you can mull over your attack plans and even ponder on the case facts. So you can really just go for it and fail and then just restart until you find the right method to win the case. This is what is criticized really, that this formula is holding back the challenge of the game but then again this is a game and not reality TV.

The music selection is just fantastic as usual even if they are recycled music. The music also serves as a clue to the personality of the characters you meet in the game, friend or foe. So if the danger increases, the music will clue you in with the intensity and darkness of the atmosphere.

In short, Phoenix Wright 3 can be much of the old but leaves no unpleasant taste. In fact, it is probably the faithfulness to the formula that makes this game such a success and not the failure that other games like these end up as. Will I recommend this game most definitely. This is one for the library guys!

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Posted:
2014-03-29

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

Wii U

8.8

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.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

7.7

Dishonored is a first person shooter created by Arkane Studios with the publisher being Bethesda Softworks (Yes, they do make more than just Fallout and Elder Scroll games.) The computer that this game was played to completion on has an Intel i7 processor (3.4GHz), 16 Gigs of RAM and an AMD 7970 3GB graphics card. This is to say, all bells and whistles were turned up to the max for the play through of this game. 1080p with 60 frames per second was the goal and it was achieved here.

Rats! No, this is not to say the game is bad as it is quite good, but that, there are rats everywhere. Welcome to the world of Dunwall, a town that has become infested with a rat plague. This plague is central to the story line of the game. The game's main protagonist is named Corvo. At the beginning of the game, you are the bodyguard for the Empress and are subsequently framed for her murder. From there, a very interesting whimsical tale of deceit and double (triple) crossing takes place that keeps the gamer enthralled until the game's end. The game was played with an Xbox 360 controller on the PC with the wireless receiver. Controller lag was negligible.

Technically, this game uses Unreal Engine 3, which is a very common game engine, used in games such as Unreal Tournament, Bioshock and Gears of War on the Xbox 360. However, this is a very modified version of it and it shows artistically in the graphics. This is a beautiful game as small touches such as debris in dilapidated homes and markings on walls add a distinct flair to the look of the game.

Gameplay has been the calling card of the game ever since the first trailer was shown. Imagine using Garrett from the Thief series, jumping around on rooftops, but also imbued with magical powers. Solid Snake and Sam Fisher do not have anything on this brand of stealth. Therefore, jumping from a three story building to do an assassination strikes a chord for the blood lust in us all. You are encouraged to use your environment for the best way to complete a mission as you are not given a large abundance of ammunition. In fact, it's quite scarce in the game so if you were thinking that you could Rambo through a level, think again. The game's story line can and will change depending on how you as the gamer proceed through the game. Are you violent and kill everything in sight? People in the game might not be willing to help you on some of your quests. These are some of the consequences that you face in the game.

As mentioned earlier, the story line follows the pursuits of Corvo after he is framed for the murder of the Empress. As in most cases, there is usually a heir to the throne for the sake of successful succession. In this case, is it the late Empress' daughter Emily. Emily becomes a pawn for many characters in the game as there are numerous people vying for power.

In conclusion, it's good to see that money was well spent here. Great voice actors and actresses such as Susan Sarandon, Carrie Fisher (Princess Lela of Star Wars fame) among many others lead this all-star cast. This is Arkane's first ever game together, but they have shown that they are willing to compete with the best developers out there. With knowledge that this game sold extremely well and this is now a franchise, let's cross our fingers that Dishonored 2 blows us away as much as the first Dishonored has.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo Wii

8.3

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.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

8times8

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo DS

7.5

One thing that Worms: Open Warfare 2 is not is a new take on the Worms gameplay. ItÂ’s the classic turn-based worm-weapon-wielding destruction-fest that earlier versions were. If you played any version before, youÂ’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, youÂ’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 youÂ’ll leave when you die. You can change your victory dance, flag, team color, and what fort will appear in Forts games. If youÂ’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. ItÂ’s nice to see the developers decide to take the extra time to include it.

If youÂ’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

Nintendo DS

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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