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Posted:
2013-05-25

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

8.00

Very seldom do video games manage to successfully cross paths with the world of collectables, but Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Starter Pack for the Nintendo Wii is one of those titles. Cheerful graphics, sensible controls, expandable and upgradable characters, and a clever premise, all join in to create a wonderful harmony of a video game experience.

The basic starter pack includes everything the player needs to get going. The Portal of Power is easily connected via a tiny USB adapter to the back of the Wii console, which emphasizes the ease of keeping a wire-free environment. The characters included with the portal are simply placed directly onto it, and after a short prompt on the screen, players can get going to explore Skylands and save it from evil.

Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure is a two player co-op game. The easiest way to explain the title is as a platformer, similar to many Mario adventures, but with a few elements of three-dimensional controls included in certain levels. Since the buttons on the Nunchuk and Wii Remote are limited to attack or defend options, characters looking for elevation need to look for bounce spots to jump to the next level. In many cases, this strategy works for and against the game.

Two players can also face off in a battle mode. The battle mode features a number of interactive arenas that are sure to entertain and challenge the most experienced Skylanders players. However, the Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Starter Pack is merely the beginning for players looking to upgrade the characters and add new ones to explore different areas.

Players can upgrade whatever character they are playing as by simply redeeming treasure collected from playing. The collectable aspect of this title comes into play because additional characters and expansion packs are available at just about every store imaginable. Plus, there are a few variations of each character, which can make it really tough to track them all down. The new characters allow players to access certain areas, but if the 100-percent complete mark is not an issue, the Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Starter pack includes everything needed to get through the title.

Upgraded characters get more powerful attacks and more potent defenses, which makes the harder stages of the game a little easier. In addition to the upgrades, several hats are scattered, and often hidden, throughout the levels of the game. By simply putting on a hat any character can increase one of the different attributes they possess. Plus, side quests are also available to keep the game fresh, which also add points to different character abilities, like attack, speed, and armor.

All things considered, the Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure will open the world of Skylands for players to explore. This is as much a solid title as it is a cool collecting experience. While no doubt this is a title aimed at younger players, adults can also have a bit of fun with the vast amount of upgrades and characters available because the game seems to always have something new to offer.

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Posted:
2013-05-25

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

7.90

Before there was Assassin's Creed, Hitman was the franchise with a notable killing machine that could creep up unseen and unheard to deliver death to his enemies. While it may have received less notice lately, Hitman Absolution is likely to change all of that for fans of serious stealth and action combination games.

Hitman Absolution details the bloody adventures of the mysterious Agent 47. While on what feels like a routine mission, 47 is turned on by his own organization and left for dead in the field. Hounded by the police and with all of the resources of his former agency cut off, 47 has to use every ounce of skill and training to stay one step ahead of those hunting him. What's more, he has to turn the tables and try to figure out why he's suddenly gone from predator to prey, digging deep into the darker motives of the world to find out why someone suddenly wants him dead.

As with previous Hitman games, Absolution gives players a variety of options for getting the job done. While it's often possible to go in face first, guns blazing, it's often not the best approach to a given situation. Players can stealth through the shadows and use a variety of quiet killers, from garrote wire to knives and silenced pistols to strike with precision, taking out defenders and even stealing their uniforms to keep 47 disguised. This form of infiltration takes more time and patience, and it isn't always an option, but for players who can master it, missions can become a great deal less bloody.

The Hitman franchise is best known for being a unique story in a world full of imitations and copycats, and the cinematics for Absolution are no different. While the action might keep players on the edge of their seats with their tongues between their teeth, the storyline grabs you by the shorthairs and tugs hard. Agent 47 isn't just the mouthpiece that players use to interact with the world at large; he's a character in his own right. He's lost, confused and, beneath the calm and professional surface, he's very, very angry about what's happened to him. Off the leash, 47 has to figure out what's going on and why, hoping that he can find the answers he needs.

As far as gameplay and actual mechanics goes, Absolution has kept what's worked in previous Hitman games, and jettisoned most of the things that were clunky or awkward. In their place, Absolution has put a bevy of useful features and intuitive controls that make it more likely for players to be able to control 47 smoothly. While it isn't impossible to give yourself away with a slip of the finger and an accidental button push, it is more difficult to do that in this version than in previous games. However, it is still very simple for players to customize their controls so they have the best possible array for their own personal, or eclectic, tastes.

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Posted:
2014-03-12

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

7.50

It is important for me give the specifications of the PC on which I ran the game. It has a Pentium 3.0 GHz processor with 2GB of RAM and an ATI Raedeon X 850 with 256MB RAM graphics card. You might be wondering why, but the capabilities of the machine are crucial to the quality or even the basic playing of the simulation.

Flight Simulator X comes on 2 DVDs and which represents quite a lot of information even by today's standards. It took a full 30 minutes to install and once it finished loading there were a few minutes of waiting before the menu finally showed on screen. After the screen appeared there was a menu that looked like the menu in Flight Simulator 9, along with a sweeping musical score which could have come straight from an Indiana Jones movie.

The game offers 24 planes from which to choose. When you have chosen and your selection has loaded, you then see a cockpit. The game default places you in a virtual cockpit, however, you may still choose the 2D instrument view. The controls are rather simple, except for the frame rate, and at this point you may want to set your settings at medium low. There is a chase plane view which can be accessed by pressing the S key and this view allows you to see outside the plane and view the surroundings.

Next, you get a clearance from the Air Traffic Control to taxi into an active runway. The frame rate even at this stage isn't good. I discovered that by minimizing the graphic settings I could improve on this a little, but it's still worse than the FS9. And on this note, let me emphasize that FS9 runs on the highest settings on the PC I described earlier, with no problem whatsoever when it comes to frame rates. This is why I still have my FS9 multiple third party add-on packs installed, to enhance several features such as weather, the cockpit, and other AI planes.

Much to my disappointment, and most likely yours too, when you get your hands on it, the so-called new graphics are not at all new but just the same as in FS9. There was nothing substantial that added or improved on the planes. Some changes are mostly on the background effects, such as the cloud and water features.

It occurred to me though, that some of the improvement promised were lacking because I had the settings on minimum, but that's the only viable option. I have noted that if I set it at Ultra-high, the game turns into a slide show presentation. The minimum setting is the only way I can play the game on the PC that I have.

But I decided not to give up on FSX yet, and that I would at least give it a chance. I went off to try missions. There are more than 50 missions in the game which includes rescue missions and cargo runs. Twenty of the 50 are beginner missions, 14 intermediate, 10 advanced and 7 for experts. The missions look like they could be fun, and there are unique challenges that would make the most seasoned pilot sweat, but I was unable to run them as they should be run and so could not comment on how they actually play out when their hull potential is realized. As I said before, when doing the missions the frame rate is still a major problem.

So here's the verdict for FSX. If you have a PC that is only on par with mine, this is not a recommended game for you. The frame rate is going to be a real problem and expect the graphics to be very dull. I would recommend that you try FS9: A Century of Flight, instead. For those who have high end PCs, however, install the game and play to your heart's content. The game's strength lies on its mission and on the graphics when in ultra high settings.

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Posted:
2014-03-29

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

8.50

Lego Batman 2 DC Super Heroes is here and this time the developers have ironed out all the glitches from the previous game. just about everything has had a makeover, from controls and attacks to the overall graphics.

This is a really well thought out game and the story is a quirky comedy type scenario, this is also the first Lego game to introduce full character voice actions which adds to the appeal and experience of the game. In a sense that the story is in sync with the game perfectly and you find the overall experience much more engaging than other games which simply include text.

I would say that the biggest difference between the first encounter and the second is the sheer magnitude of the game, the city is simply enormous, the free-roaming within the game is also a massive appeal as you get to explore the whole city and all the nooks and crannies within the it.

You also have the ability to acquire different suits to wear, each suit gives you different abilities while it is being worn giving you the option of playing as other characters which also adds to the overall enjoyment of the game.

Like the other free-roaming games such Grand Theft Auto this game gives the users more scope to play and replay over and over again. This is due to the extensive gameplay and sheer size allowing multiple revisits the game not just a one off and then forgotten about. That coupled with the fact that there are many more missions to carry out this title is a massive improvement on the original Lego Batman the Videogame.

With the option to either race around the city in your Bat Car, carry out numerous missions, or simply free-roam, the improvement of previous controls, combat moves and the removal of glitches this turns out to be a very entertaining game.

This is by far one of the best Lego Game of the numerous titles now available in the series and the makers seem to have made an extra effort on producing it and on a scale of 1-10 I would rate it 8.5.

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Posted:
2013-05-25

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

7.50

Mortal Kombat, also known as Mortal Kombat 9 as to not confuse it with the original game released in 1992, was released for the PS3 in 2011. It's the first MK game released for the next-gen consoles and abandons the quasi-3D gameplay of the last 5 Mortal Kombat games and plays strictly in 2D, like Street Fighter 4.

Story.

Both a sequel to the last Mortal Kombat game, Mortal Kombat Armageddon, and a prequel to the original MK 1/2/3 trilogy. Raiden, the thunder god, travels back in time to warn his younger self to avoid the outcome of the final tournament held by the Outworld dictator Shao Khan. Upon his return, he realizes that Liu Kang, whose death led to the Armageddon, must be the one to defeat Shang Tsung and his various demigod masters, ending with Shao Khan.

The story mode follows various characters from the events of Mortal Kombat 1 with the tournament on Shang Tsung's island, to the transportation of the human characters to Outworld, to an invasion of Earthrealm by Shao Khan and a host of Outworld warriors. In the twist ending, Raiden's prophetic vision turns out to be a trick, as Shao Khan is supposed to be allowed to win the tournament so that he can gain the attention of the Elder Gods and be punished by these divine beings for violating the sanctity of the different dimensions.

Audio/Visual.

Mortal Kombat runs at 720p and at a smooth 60 fps, an impressive feat for modern console fighters. All of the characters have multiple models and costumes, from classic costumes to full redesigns that represent each "era" of the series. In addition, many of the classic backgrounds from the first three games have been remade to serve as backdrops for the story mode, variously set on Earthrealm, Outworld and the Netherrealm. There are about 3 full hours of story cutscenes that give each character a perspective on the overall story.

Gameplay.

In addition to the fully fleshed out story mode, there are the requisite training (including fatality training), online and local multiplayer modes. A new 2 on 2 mode, called "Tag Fighting" allows one player to swap out two characters to defeats his opponent's two characters. The Challenge Tower is a special single player mode that puts various conditions on the fights you undertake, anything from defeating eight opponents in a row to fighting without a head. In the single player mode, the various mini-games from the arcade series, such as Test Your Might/Sight/Strike/Luck reappear. Introduced in the gameplay of the fights is the "super meter" which is built up by performing combos. Once unleashed, your character can execute "X-Ray attacks" which unleash massive damage on your opponents.

Extras.

Like most Mortal Kombat games, MK9 is loaded with extras. This is based on a system of collectible coins, which are won in the Challenge Tower, one on one fights and in the story mode. These coins unlock costumes, fatalities, concept art, and about half of the game's 27 fighters. On the PS3 version, there are two exclusive downloadable fighters, Freddy Krueger from the horror film series Nightmare on Elm Street and Kratos from the God of War video game series.

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Posted:
2013-05-25

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

8.60

This is an action packed PC game that started out with Diablo and ended with Sacred. Fallen Angel fortunately did not fail in its attempt to stick to an old formula, instead, it exceeded expectations and is an exciting game all around.

Okay, so here it is. Another D&D game in Ancaria land where the player plays the role of the usual hero, so noble and so true to the quest of being a great hero. He gets faced with evil villains whose sole purpose in life is to wreck havoc on anything and everyone they encounter. Not a very original plot, mind you, but still, with the High Elves and the other magical creatures and spells, it is an interesting game that can play out the interest of many players.

The good of it is, Fallen Angel does not fail to keep the player busy. There is a lot of running around and looking for items to use and then the usual experience points that need to be earned. Thankfully, there are plenty of interesting quests so there is no boredom setting in, unlike other games out there.

What really makes this game work are the improvements made on the sound and visuals. This is a gorgeous game to look at and this really adds onto the excitement of experiencing the gameplay itself. The forests are dense, the fields are so detailed one can see the wild flowers peeping between stalks of grass and whatnots, and then the change of terrain is just as great, from the mountains to the desert, it is all gorgeously done.

One of the main issues regarding these types of games is the loading time, thankfully this is not an issue with Fallen Angel, despite the heavy graphics. Now, someone who saw some of the graphics over my shoulder said that the details were too detailed and I promptly answered that they were simply looking for something to criticize on because there was practically nothing to criticize at when it came to the graphics.

Now, there are some hiccups along the way that I feel should be mentioned, even if I do love this game. There are times when the characters get stuck in their motions and continue to attack even if they had been killed off. At first I really thought they became zombies instantaneously until I realized it really was an error somewhere in the program. Then there is the issue with playing the Good Samaritan. The helpless individual gets attacked while my character was totally ignored. It really made me wonder. Soon, I just realized that these issues were too far in between that there may be some hiccup somewhere that was not identified until this was released to the public.

But issues aside, ultimately Fallen Angels is one fantastic game of the role playing genre. It is refreshingly new even if it sticks true to an old formula. This is really an addictive game worthy of the D&D genre.

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Posted:
2013-05-25

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

5.00

Game developers usually do not take the risk of producing a holiday themed game, but in the case of Christmas the risk is very much lowered. We Wish You A Very Merry Christmas for the Wii, probably seemed a good idea. There are 13 holiday-themed games included such as, Candy Cane Lanes, Elf Hunt, Present Catch and others. The players can unlock different activities that will allow them to count down the days to Christmas. The Advent Calendar is included and players can write a letter to Santa or lead the family in Christmas songs.

The game allows the player to join with many different aspects of the traditional Christmas holiday, with sing along songs, building a better fire, or roasting marshmallows. One game has the reindeer grabbing presents and the player using a trampoline to get presents into Santa’s bag. The presents also need to be delivered to the right house.

The games are not difficult but seem to lack much in activity, except for the Elf Hunt. Players find that there are few winter related activities like sledding, building snowmen or snowball fights, but most countries in the world don't have snow at Christmas and many do not celebrate Christmas at all. The good old family snowball fight, baking cookies, putting together toys for the kids, or making a gingerbread house are very much things of the past, or at least they are in my household and for most of my friends. But if it's a Christmas themed game it is reasonable to expect traditional Christmas offerings.

The controls are easy and almost everything relies on the A button plus the Wii Remote as the pointer. When roasting marshmallows the stick jitters a bit, but the marshmallows come out nice, brown, and not burnt. Hot Chocolate and Candy Cane Lanes use more than just point and click features, in these games players will need to tilt the remote.

The graphics are clean and crisp visually. The animations for all the objects are well done, but not spectacular. The puzzle pieces in Deck the Halls are good and show up more clearly than the ones in the Reindeer game. The effects in the mini games look good, except for the flames in the fireplace which are very unrealistic.

The music comes across very well for all the holiday tunes and different renditions of everyone’s favorite Christmas songs. The vocals sound like they are coming from an old-fashioned radio, but the instrumentals sound good. When the bowling ball hits the elves there is no sound, but that could be because players were told to only tickle the elves and not smack them. The voices that are mainly heard are that of Santa or the elves and they sound just fine. One feature that could have been used a little less is that of Santa constantly wishing everyone good wishes for the day.

As a game it's not really got much going for it, but as it's Christmas almost anything goes. Play it over the holiday and then put it away for next year, or just forget it.

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Posted:
2013-05-25

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

8.50

Call of Duty is tuning itself into a storied franchise that is putting out great products, in turn, increasing it’s expectations with every release. Black Ops II is the latest release under the Call of Duty name, and it is meeting those lofty expectations among the majority of the gaming crowd.

For this review, we though it’d be helpful to break it down into two sections, campaign and multiplayer, since that’s what we all care about the most.

Campaign:

The story starts off as a continuation of the Black Ops I and spans two generations between Alex Mason and his son David Mason. The main villain, Menendez, has a great story line that makes for a truly epic cinematic experience while you are playing the game. Menendez’s character, who you will probably hate, begins to show many of the reasons why he is doing what he does, which in turn makes you start to not hate him, adding to the compelling draw to the storyline.

As far as the game play itself goes, it is nothing short of spectacular. The engine runs smoothly making the onscreen play look natural and life-like. The responsiveness throughout campaign is great, making for a very smooth experience. The newer edition to this COD line offers a split story line, one that is going on in the 80's and one that is happening in the year 2025, which takes care of all the critics from the first Black Ops game who were saying the weapons were nothing special. The fact is, in the 80’s we didn’'t have the technology we have today, but in 2025 we will have even better technology, which is why in BOII you have things like nano-tech climbing gloves.

Replay value in campaign mode is tremendous. Unlike many games that have one story that is scripted out, Black Ops II actually allows you to choose what happens in your game, who lives and who dies? This allows you to take different routes to the end each time you play the game.

Multiplayer:

The multiplayer in Black Ops has been great, so many people have asked the question, how can you make perfection better? COD’s answer to this was to tweak it, not change it. Well, we are here to say that the tweaks that COD made in the latest edition were great.

One of the best changes was to the reward system. Instead of getting kill streak rewards, the game has changed over to a point streak reward system, which allows those support players that are getting assists and helping teammates out to reap the rewards of their input.

Another great tweak was in the load-out section. This new pick 10 load out style allows the player to pick ten things to take with them on their mission whether it be guns, perks, or support equipment. This might not seem like a big deal, however, once you start to get a feel for the game, you can tweak your load out constantly to maximize your success.

Now with all the great things about Black Ops II on the PC, there are a few things that fell short for me. With all the hype around zombie mode, I felt it simply did not live up to what it was said to be. The last downside would probably come in campaign mode where you have the option, at times, to control your brigade through something called strike force. In my opinion this falls short due to its lack of AI.

All in all, the pros definitely outweigh the cons in this game, and it is well worth the money considering the great multiplayer and many options when it comes to replaying the campaign mode.

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Posted:
2013-08-23

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

9.50

Uncharted 3 Drakes Deception on the PS3 continues the story of Uncharted in a big way! Continuing with industry leading graphical prowess, Uncharted delivers one action packed platformer, laced with the turns of an intense story line it has become known for, all topped with the most beautiful and realistic environments you will see next to opening your front door. Actually there may be parts of Uncharted more beautiful than real life. It is that good.

Uncharted's developer, Naughty Dog, struck gold with the franchise, as both previous titles; Uncharted Drakes Fortune, and Uncharted 2 Among Thieves were both coveted as Playstation hits and boasted awards and honors alike. Not to be outdone, Naughty Dog aimed for Drakes Deception to build on everything the first two created, but this time do it even grander and utilize all of the Playstation 3's power they possibly could.

The single player campaign may easily be the best for any action game of all time (yep, I said that!) Ranging from burning buildings to desert lands full blinding sand and hills, Uncharted Drakes Deception takes you on the ever so mystical hunt that the series has led us to become so involved with, this time in search of the city known as the Iram of the Pillars. This time, more so than ever, the cinematic elements are heavy handed and quite frankly mind-blowing. It has become a trademark of Uncharted games, those cinematic yet playable moments; however Uncharted 3 makes it flow so perfectly it genuinely feels as if you are controlling a movie. It isn't just on occasion either, the game is filled with moments that take your breath away or leave you on the edge of your seat. Emotion is high, as you can be swept over by terror just as seconds later joy blossoms. This strong campaign may lead to the only actual gripe of the game, however, as you want to keep playing it but generally an initial play through will take under ten hours. Though the extras and multiplayer keep the game alive, let's not joke - the campaign is what you buy Uncharted for.

On to the multiplayer, not much has changed from Uncharted 2. The most notable change being more customization and a general improvement in design and graphics, but for the most part they simply built on the success of the multiplayer dynamics in the second game instead of entirely rebuilding it. The improvements and familiarity was a good move by Naughty Dog, as for a game that is known for its single player campaign the multi-player is fantastic and keeps you engaged and coming back!

As any review of this game will mirror, it is hard not to rave. Uncharted 3 is on levels most can never dream of reaching, and it a perfect showoff of the power of the PS3. I don't think it is possible to not be impressed and to say it is perfect would almost be an understatement - it is simply that good!

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Posted:
2013-08-23

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

9.50

Uncharted 3 Drakes Deception on the PS3 continues the story of Uncharted in a big way! Continuing with industry leading graphical prowess, Uncharted delivers one action packed platformer, laced with the turns of an intense story line it has become known for, all topped with the most beautiful and realistic environments you will see next to opening your front door. Actually there may be parts of Uncharted more beautiful than real life. It is that good.

Uncharted's developer, Naughty Dog, struck gold with the franchise, as both previous titles; Uncharted Drakes Fortune, and Uncharted 2 Among Thieves were both coveted as Playstation hits and boasted awards and honors alike. Not to be outdone, Naughty Dog aimed for Drakes Deception to build on everything the first two created, but this time do it even grander and utilize all of the Playstation 3's power they possibly could.

The single player campaign may easily be the best for any action game of all time (yep, I said that!) Ranging from burning buildings to desert lands full blinding sand and hills, Uncharted Drakes Deception takes you on the ever so mystical hunt that the series has led us to become so involved with, this time in search of the city known as the Iram of the Pillars. This time, more so than ever, the cinematic elements are heavy handed and quite frankly mind-blowing. It has become a trademark of Uncharted games, those cinematic yet playable moments; however Uncharted 3 makes it flow so perfectly it genuinely feels as if you are controlling a movie. It isn't just on occasion either, the game is filled with moments that take your breath away or leave you on the edge of your seat. Emotion is high, as you can be swept over by terror just as seconds later joy blossoms. This strong campaign may lead to the only actual gripe of the game, however, as you want to keep playing it but generally an initial play through will take under ten hours. Though the extras and multiplayer keep the game alive, let's not joke - the campaign is what you buy Uncharted for.

On to the multiplayer, not much has changed from Uncharted 2. The most notable change being more customization and a general improvement in design and graphics, but for the most part they simply built on the success of the multiplayer dynamics in the second game instead of entirely rebuilding it. The improvements and familiarity was a good move by Naughty Dog, as for a game that is known for its single player campaign the multi-player is fantastic and keeps you engaged and coming back!

As any review of this game will mirror, it is hard not to rave. Uncharted 3 is on levels most can never dream of reaching, and it a perfect showoff of the power of the PS3. I don't think it is possible to not be impressed and to say it is perfect would almost be an understatement - it is simply that good!


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