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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:
2014-03-28

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:
2014-03-28

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:
2014-03-27

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

6.90

When the original Darksiders was released, many people (myself included), hailed it as the best Zelda game ever released. With Darksiders, Vigil had managed to do something that Zelda had not done in years, something new. Vigil took the tired and true formula and wrapped it in a somewhat unique world with gameplay that mixed things up a bit, leading to a bit of a cult hit. Can Vigil capture our collective imaginations once more with Darksiders II, or will they just try for a repeat?

One of the first things that Vigil announced during development was that the game would now have loot, and many fans of the first game including myself, were relatively sure that the sequel would be a completely different type of game, perhaps something more like a Diablo or Torchlight.

My concerns over this new element of the game were quickly proven to be unfounded though as I began to make my way through the very familiar Darksiders motions once more. The old elements that Vigil brought back from the new game mesh perfectly with the new loot system, as well as a few more minor new features.

For a game with such a feeling of mechanical flow, it absolutely falls flat when it comes to proper gameplay flow. As the game carries on, the difficulty constantly oscillates back and forth, especially when the game gets to the boss encounters. Since its still a Zelda game at heart, most of the bosses require the use of some item you just picked up a few minutes before, while other bosses just need you to beat them senseless in order to win. Darksiders II alternates these two boss types back and forth until the game concludes, failing to create anything even resembling a difficulty curve.

Even more punishing then the massive difficulty spikes and dips found in the main campaign are the side missions that you are given by NPCs. These side missions are leaps and bounds more difficult than anything you are ever required to do in the main game, and as a result will often require skills that the game has never really bothered to fully teach you, leaving you ill-equipped unless you decide to just leave all of the side missions until you come back for a second play-through of the game.

The most atrocious mission does take place in the main story-line, though. Just as the game is winding down, the game suddenly and randomly throws you into a horrific third person shooter sequence that throws every single convention out the window in favor of mass murder by turret.

Nonetheless, Darksiders II remains an excellent dungeon crawling game, and still remains leaps and bounds beyond the latest Zelda game, Skyward Sword. While Nintendo does the same things with its franchises over and over again, some companies like Vigil are picking up where they left off and truly moving their ideas forward in a way that Nintendo never seems quite willing to commit to.

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Posted:
2013-05-25

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

6.90

When the original Darksiders was released, many people (myself included), hailed it as the best Zelda game ever released. With Darksiders, Vigil had managed to do something that Zelda had not done in years, something new. Vigil took the tired and true formula and wrapped it in a somewhat unique world with gameplay that mixed things up a bit, leading to a bit of a cult hit. Can Vigil capture our collective imaginations once more with Darksiders II, or will they just try for a repeat?

One of the first things that Vigil announced during development was that the game would now have loot, and many fans of the first game including myself, were relatively sure that the sequel would be a completely different type of game, perhaps something more like a Diablo or Torchlight.

My concerns over this new element of the game were quickly proven to be unfounded though as I began to make my way through the very familiar Darksiders motions once more. The old elements that Vigil brought back from the new game mesh perfectly with the new loot system, as well as a few more minor new features.

For a game with such a feeling of mechanical flow, it absolutely falls flat when it comes to proper gameplay flow. As the game carries on, the difficulty constantly oscillates back and forth, especially when the game gets to the boss encounters. Since its still a Zelda game at heart, most of the bosses require the use of some item you just picked up a few minutes before, while other bosses just need you to beat them senseless in order to win. Darksiders II alternates these two boss types back and forth until the game concludes, failing to create anything even resembling a difficulty curve.

Even more punishing then the massive difficulty spikes and dips found in the main campaign are the side missions that you are given by NPCs. These side missions are leaps and bounds more difficult than anything you are ever required to do in the main game, and as a result will often require skills that the game has never really bothered to fully teach you, leaving you ill-equipped unless you decide to just leave all of the side missions until you come back for a second play-through of the game.

The most atrocious mission does take place in the main story-line, though. Just as the game is winding down, the game suddenly and randomly throws you into a horrific third person shooter sequence that throws every single convention out the window in favor of mass murder by turret.

Nonetheless, Darksiders II remains an excellent dungeon crawling game, and still remains leaps and bounds beyond the latest Zelda game, Skyward Sword. While Nintendo does the same things with its franchises over and over again, some companies like Vigil are picking up where they left off and truly moving their ideas forward in a way that Nintendo never seems quite willing to commit to.

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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:
2013-05-25

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

6.80

The secret mission was formed when a military leader named Paxton Fettel became insane and controls a secret cloned army with telepathic connection to him. Fettel and his team had created chaos in a certain city in America. The effects of great weapons are captured in a reality like situation during the game which is really good. The game is a combination of scary events and excellent gunfights. The stillness and solemn atmosphere after the chaotic shouting of the people is a great contrast as an effect.

There are a wide variety of weapons to choose from. Some handy karate skills are also available for the player especially during times when guns are empty. The greatest body weapon is the player's superfast reflexes which can be use to create a matrix like during when there are heavy bullets coming. This maybe an old school action but the bullet time is well executed in the game but only use in short bursts.

The player can sustain many body damages but this can be repaired with the help of plenty of armor kits and health badges and will allow the player to stock up ten health packs to use later during the game. When the player will be defeated he can only save every checkpoint so when he dies he will return to the previous checkpoint. The game has excellent fight scenes as well as AI.

There are issues of redundant encounters with enemies because they are clones. They will be the player’s opponents for most of the time. But in the middle of the game there will be little additions to the enemies which will make the game exciting again and provide some difference. There are also modern ninjas that wear invisibility cloaks and also possess super fast abilities. The player might be in awe when they encounter the ninjas but it can be frustrating to not encounter them again in the next or future levels of the game.

There are only three settings for the environment in the game which is really `repetitive such as the abandoned industrial buildings, abandoned offices and abandoned urban areas. It could be a nice addition if there are people for the player to protect. The game has common scary effects mostly inspired from the Japanese movie 'The Ring' but it is effective because the placing and timing for the effects are good.

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Posted:
2013-05-25

smeeagain

Super Gamer Dude

7.00

It's taken 6 very long years, and a new developer, Square Enix, to bring us the next iteration in the Hitman franchise. That comes in the form of Hitman Absolution. Was it worth the wait? That depends on how much you were looking forward to the latest Hitman game, because in my opinion, this isn't it. It's a decent, if only slightly above average stealth game, but as the latest addition to the Hitman series it's very mediocre.

The differences in Hitman Absolution and the past games in the series are striking and it all begins with the games linear story. For example, in past games you could choose your weapons before each mission allowing you to eliminate targets any way you saw fit. Now, if you want to slit someone's throat, but the game dictates you shoot them with a silenced pistol, then you're just out of luck.

Square Enix has also replaced the map system in Hitman Absolution. It's substitution is a feature called Instinct, which makes important objects glow, shows you enemies behind walls and covers your face when in the close confines of enemy territory. Oh, did I forget to mention that it lets you slow down time to more easily and precisely shoot multiple targets. While this doesn't sound like and isn't really a bad feature, it just doesn't seem suited for a Hitman game.

The Hitman franchise has always been about choices. You were given a target and it was up to you to choose how to dispose of them. There are 3 or 4 levels in the game that fit the old mold, but most of the others are just check point style levels requiring you to reach Point B from Point A undetected. While the game does offer a variety of ways to get from one point to the other, the bigger problem lies in the ratio of sneaking to assassination missions. What good is a Hitman game with so few assassinations?

The one saving grace in all this would have to be the Contracts mode. Here you can create your own missions allowing you to choose your own targets and method of assassination. You can even share these missions online with other players which also means you can play their created missions too. This really adds some variety and longevity to an otherwise linear experience.

If you're the type of fan that collects games in a series regardless of quality, then I would have to recommend the Hitman Absolution Deluxe Professional Edition. This special limited edition comes with a high quality 10" figurine of Agent 47, an exclusive Making of The Game video, and a very nice hardcover art book. You'll also receive exclusive early access to a host of in-game weapons.

Overall, I wouldn't say Hitman Absolution is a bad game. However, the linear story and lack of freedom in how to finish the game makes Hitman Absolution seem more like an awkward cousin than a full- fledged member of the family. Despite that I would still give the game my recommendation for at least a weekend rental due to the decent story, top notch graphics, sound effects, soundtrack and voice acting.

Final Score 7/10

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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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