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Posted:
2013-12-17

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

On June 9th, 2013 Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released for the Nintendo 3DS. New Leaf offers players something all Animal Crossing games do, hours upon hours of entertainment. This simulation-style game will keep the player enthralled for years to come. The mechanics of this franchise that fans have come to love will not disappoint in this new addition to the series. The changes and new features that have been made are sound improvements that make play smoother and more exciting.

The Return of Successful Mechanics

In most simulation games, relatively mundane activities are played out by characters over and over. The trick to making the game entertaining and eventually successful is to make each activity fun as opposed to tedious, and to offer incentives to the player for completing the tasks. Animal Crossing games have been well known for entertainment value in the past, and they do deliver again with New Leaf. As always, the player moves into a town and builds a life there by decorating their home, catching bugs, managing relationships with the NPC residents of the village, and many other similar tasks.

What’s New, New Leaf?

In New Leaf, for the first time in the franchise the player is the acting Mayor of the town. This allows the player to decorate the inside and outside of their home as well as the rest of the town. This new feature is a large and welcome change to the previous games in which the player only had control of their own home. Starting at the beginning of the game the player makes important decisions about the layout of their village. The organization of the town and its buildings, and the decorations will be up to the player and their creativity throughout the game. The possibilities can seem endless from more traditional ideas up to a miniature Stonehenge. The more the game is played, the more options open up to the player. With the addition of the resell shop players can even personalize individual pieces of furniture, making their town completely unique from any other player’s.

Ah, the Possibilities!

Somehow, New Leaf seems to have maintained the adorable simplicity of its predecessors. This is exceptional news considering the plethora of new options to choose from. What does this mean for the player? There are new activities like swimming, new clothes and furniture, and even new holidays. With all the activities and ways to make each town unique it is truly impressive that the game has not become too busy or confusing.

Show it Off in Multiplayer.

The multiplayer from previous games is expanded upon greatly in New Leaf. When picking up this game, one expects to be able to visit the home of friends. As usual a visitor can be friendly and leave gifts, or be a butthead and mess up the landscaping. This can be done online or locally.

The new feature, called the Dream Suite, allows players to visit a dream world version of other player’s villages. In this way, a player’s town can be shown off to anyone without the fear of having their flowers stomped on. It is only a dream, so the town can be toured but not affected by the visitor. This is also a fun feature for the visitor because they can still run around interacting with the town, just without permanent consequences.

While that is all incredibly impressive, there is still more! New Leaf makes use of Street Pass by allowing the player to view the homes of every other player they pass in the real world. As long as someone has a copy of the game, their home is available to view in Street Pass.

Resort Island Multiplayer Minigames

For a more personal multiplayer, players can visit Resort Island. The resort is run by former Mayor, Tortimer, and hosts a multitude of games players can enjoy together online. It should be noted that it is not necessary to play with others online, as the island can be visited offline as a single player. This can be convenient in some ways.

The Final Word

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is so much more than just a game. It will offer up more entertainment value for the price than most games on the market, today. The new additions of content, activities, and multiplayer features will keep the game new and exciting for literally hundreds of hours. The online world of other players across the globe helps this game stay current and refreshing. From the huge changes to the tiny improvements in gameplay, the whole game has been revamped without losing its original simplicity and charm. Anyone who owns a 3DS can consider this game a sound investment.

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Posted:
2013-05-25

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

8.3

Dishonored has been heralded as a new step in the right direction; a step back towards letting players actually play games. A sandbox game that allows for a variety of choices and solutions, Dishonored combines stealth, action and strategy into a single game that will appeal simultaneously to a wide variety of different players and styles.

Players step into the boots of Corvo Attano, the personal bodyguard to the Empress of a strange, Dystopian world. In the gritty port city of Dunwall, Corvo fails in his charge and the Empress is assassinated under his watch. Rather than sit and stew though, Corvo seeks the identity of the assassin and vengeance for what he did. However, just how Corvo goes about that vengeance is entirely up to the player.

Dishonored is, primarily, a game that allows players the choice to accomplish the mission however they see fit. For instance, Corvo can go in with bared steel, cackling like a madman and leaving a sea of blood in his wake. For players that don't want to play the game that way though, it isn't the only option (just the easiest more often than not). Players also have the option of manipulating other NPCs into doing the dirty work for them, or moving so stealthily that they can reach the objective without having to kill anyone. There are even non-lethal combat options, which are more difficult to make effective, but which keep the body count at an absolute minimum. For the truly skilled player it is entirely possible to finish Dishonored without getting any blood on Corvo's hands.

Which path a player chooses to take also has an effect on the world. Dunwall is currently dealing with plague, and the more bodies that Corvo leaves behind, the worse the plague is going to get because of all the additional death and food for the rats. However, the more guards Corvo kills, the more guards will be posted at later missions. This will just amp up the difficulty, so being sneaky might be challenging, but it will result in fewer guards being posted in future missions, which definitely sounds like a major advantage.

Beyond the creativity that went into designing a game with multiple ways to win, Dishonored also offers players a unique control system that helps them get the job done. With stealth and combat often so closely related, Dishonored takes a few hints from Assassin's Creed and makes sure that players have as little downtime between moving quietly in the shadows and pulling steel. After all, sometimes all it takes is a second of hesitation for Corvo to be stretched out dead in an alley somewhere, and the player left cursing and grinding his or her teeth. Of course, as with any game, practice makes perfect. Once players are more familiar with the controls and the world, it's just a matter of time until Corvo can slip through the shadows and bring vengeance on the person responsible for the Empress's murder.

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Posted:
2013-05-25

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

7.1

The game plays directly into the story from the film. You are Lyra Belacqua, keeper of the alethiometer, the title device that allows you to answer any question you ask of it. You are trying to save your friend Roger from a group called the Gobblers who have kidnapped him. You have a daemon, Pan, who will adventure with you, as well as a huge polar bear named Lorek. The game often follows the same path that the movie did, while not giving you a chance or a reason to care about what happens to these characters. All told, it adds up to a mishmash that will have you wondering just what you’re doing with that controller in your hands.

Trying to figure out the gameplay will have you doing that, too. There is a lot of the game that is spent on just roaming around, looking for clues to the next portion. There are a number of little side-games, but despite throwing the occasional change into the mix, they don’t really do much your experience. In fact, they’ll probably confuse you the first few times at how to perform in them, since documentation is nonexistent for a few of them. There are also numerous timed button sequences that require you to push one of your buttons at the specific time that it asks for it. These gameplay elements are not very fun, and don’t add a whole lot that is positive to the experience.

If gameplay elements that are un-entertaining aren’t enough of a reason to keep you away, maybe graphics that will suck the magic of the movie right out of you are. The graphics in this game are dated and dark. The graphics in the movie itself were one of the best parts about it, but that tradition wasn’t held to for the game. The sound effects, too, are low-budget, as they are either disruptive or not even present at all.

While there are games out there that take a movie and allow a player to participate in the storyline in a new and engaging way, this is not one of those games. The Golden Compass tries to bring the characters from the movie home to you, but with the large number of side games that are uninteresting, and a main game that isn't much fun either, it’s not really the sort of game you should waste your money on. Unless you have a child that is an enormous fan of the movie, this is probably one to hold off from buying.

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Posted:
2013-05-25

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

7.1

The uDraw Tablet including Instant Artist allows owners to enjoy what was previously only available to Wii owners.

Design

The design of the uDraw Tablet is sturdy enough even for the punishment that kids can dish out. It requires two AA batteries for it to run and of course the time that those last will depend on the quality of the battery, and thus the price you pay. It has a touchscreen that responds to the stylist pen or your finger, and you can draw as much as you like, it will not wear out as long as you don't scratch the screen. The stylist pen is the best choice for drawing sensitivity, but fingers can be fun for kids.

Getting Started

The uDraw Tablet comes with the base unit and the attached stylist pen and with a game called "The Art School" which teaches the user how to draw from the basics through to more advanced sketching and shading techniques, and it is very thorough. If you don't want to learn then you can just doodle away to your heart's content.

What it is Like

When you use the tablet the feeling of the styling pen is very much like pencil on paper. The crayons feel like crayons and the flow of colors is just as realistic. Overall the game feels like you are drawing, but then of course you are, that's the whole point of it. Imagine finger painting with the bonus of being able to make your fingers anything that you would want to use for drawing. Whether you are serious and want to learn how to draw, or just want to play around without wasting paper, this will do the trick.

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Posted:
2013-12-25

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 is a top selling golf video game packed with great content and includes 21 new courses as well as 50 golfers. There is a new mode called the Team Tour, the gamer can assemble his or her own team, can improve the status of the team, establish rival teams and get to compete with the others for the EA Cup, all the time trying to chase down Tiger Woods and the rest of the teams.

There are also some facelifts like the character can be customized for a more in-depth modification with regards to clothes, equipment licences and other special equipments. The challenge of the game can be played by up to three players in the online tournament mode. There s also the integration of ESPN where the gamer can get the latest news reports and breaking news.

There are also commentators in the form or voices of Gary McCord and David Feherty, however, their presence on the game is a little on the old side, but it does not really matter, if the gamer does not mind, then their presence really does not matter.

There are Mini-Games which are as challenging as ever. Gamers can challenge each other with modes like Elimination, Battle Golf and One Ball. The sound has also greatly improved in this Xbox 360 version with the inclusion of realistic crowd cheers and jeers which are usually seen in the real Tiger Woods performances on Live TV.

It is definite that the long-time fans of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour games would immediately recognize that this is one of the best in the series. This not only looks better, but it is dramatically better. The sound, the gameplay, the added features and all the other add-ons are all great. Even the airplane flying overhead sounds great. This gives the game a realism never before seen in other golfing games.

Is this game recommended? The answer is yes. Is this a better game than the 06 version? Again, the answer is yes. There are no longer any of the game breakers which were annoying in the previous versions, and this one offers more flexibility to the player. The gameplay itself is very challenging and can keep the golfing aficionado on their toes.

For those who are not sure if this is a better version than the previous one, all I can say is try this out and have a grand time playing this much improved game. Only then can you decide if you really want to upgrade your golf game or not.

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Posted:
2013-12-25

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

6.5

You play the game as a hero assigned to find and rescue the Queen. You won’t go questing alone though, as you’ll eventually find yourself in the company of several people eager to join you in your quest. You’ll have Prince Anlance, Claymore, your father, and Fleurette, a French maiden. Aside from clever remarks and minor dialogues, they won’t contribute much to your gaming. This also doesn’t mean you’ll get into dungeons with a full party as most of the time you can only have one companion fighting alongside with you.

The game is still essentially an RPG albeit a very simple one. RPG elements of leveling up, upgrading equipments and running around town getting quest objectives before you head off to fight in dungeons are still present. However, each of those elements is kept to its basic form with little or no complications. With the D pad, you can walk around in first person view and talk with characters. For targeting objects you can press the A button. The game controls have even been made simpler as they totally excluded Nunchuk functionality. Despite the game developers simplifying things, you still have to deal with sloppy controls when moving around.

As soon as you are in combat, however, you can use the Wii controls to hack and slash to your heart’s content. You can do slashing and slicing gestures like handling a real sword to mow down approaching enemies which often attack in groups giving you the satisfying feeling of cleaving through them. With the A button, you can also point to specific targets onscreen when you want to focus your attack power on one enemy. With the B button, you can raise your shield and defend yourself from attacks. Conveniently, the direction of the attacks are shown onscreen just moments in advance giving you ample time to react and shield yourself in the right location. There is also this special attack gauge that gets filled up as you’ve killed more enemies. When this becomes full, you can initiate a special attack move which requires you to do a series of wiggling, thrusting and waving of your remote. It’s certainly very amusing and perhaps may be the only highlight of your combat.

Setting the combat factor aside, Dragon Quest Swords doesn’t have anything remarkable to present. With the limited companion you have during dungeon runs, and not to mention that they only do light support by casting spells, to the very basic RPG elements that’s common among other RPG games, it really doesn’t have much to offer. This game may still be able to draw new players to the Dragon Quest franchise, but for long time fans, this is just as stale stripped down version of a popular gaming franchise.

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Posted:
2013-12-25

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

5.0

The Dungeon Siege franchise has been consistently one of the top action role-playing games genre in the industry. It has secured millions of fans with its first and second installments that achieved its success at multiple gaming consoles rather than just having to be concentrated on one. However, the third installment of the franchise has turned out to be such a blunder especially for the PC version. Unlike its previous installments, Dungeon Siege III offers a limited range of customization, skills, and equipment, which was one of the highly rated parts of the game in the previous installments. It also sets up with a fairly short storyline, very different to what the previous installment were praised for.

It is not really clear what gave the developers the idea of eliminating all the aspects of the game that had proved to be its winning traits. The wild and fun experience of the game though is still there; sword fights, magic, skills, etc. are still something to look forward to. However, when you talk about the PC’s controls, it might prove to be too much for gamers to handle. You would like to think that most PC gamers are experts in mastering all the keys they have to deal with in that wide keyboard. But with how the keys and controls are laid out in Dungeon Siege III, the gameplay would surely be overshadowed by the frustration that the controls will prove to inject unto you. There is also a slight problem with the camera being blocked by objects like walls or trees when it falls in the wrong position, which mostly happens in the middle of fights. Though it might not be impossible to master the controls; if you’re a hardcore gamer then you know that you can handle anything. However, by the time you start to get the hang of the controls, you might already want to exit the game and uninstall it right there and then.

It is utterly frustrating with all these issues of control, display, and limitations. Each character now only has 9 skills to learn, far off from the previous installments which had an ocean of skills to choose from. Also, the story just seems to be unbalanced. There is just too much talk for a very short story. Dungeon Siege was known to cut the talk and get to the fighting. However, the developers seem to plug the gaping hole of the campaign’s lack of length with the length of narratives and dialogues. You choices of dialogue would also prove to steer the fate of your companions and on how the game would meet its ending. The utter limitations to skills and action moves mostly brought by the mechanics and control layout is certainly the most annoying thing about the game, when attacking was as easy as clicking on an enemy to attack, with Dungeon Siege III you will have to manually face the enemy and perform the moves you wish to do. This makes skills and long range weapons miss a lot. The game just seems to be a little bit out of place on the PC.

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Posted:
2014-03-18

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

7.0

With the single-player mode you can play with your team to go through the qualifying campaign or you can opt to challenge the other team at the finals. You can also play on other modes like Be A Pro or Captain Your Country. The latter is pretty much alike with the former mode as introduced in FIFA 08. The games starts by creating a player, and making your way through the whole course of the qualifying rounds, not just one match. The trick is to acquire a large number of good records throughout the game to be promoted as the captain as you go to the finals. The key is that the weaker the team is, the easier you get promoted.You should be able to outplay other players aspiring for the captainship. Whether played in single player, where the other team is AI-controlled; or multi-player, the game is hot.

The football per se is the same with FIFA 08 with the advanced kick system. Additionally, there are a number of scenarios that can be played out aside from the regular matches and competitions. Previous midseason football titles are given in relation to major titles, teams playing on a full qualifying game is pointless if battling against a high-ranking team. But in this release, it is not always the case. Though weak in ranking, the opponent AI makes changes from the get-go of the competition. The more weak teams there are in number, the more difficult your path to the goal is. The crowd is more aggressive making comments that would hurt in real life.

The weather pretty much affects any outdoor game especially football. One of the features that have been enhanced in the game is the climate. The rain has noticeable effects on making the player's actions slower, and the ball slides easily on the surface. It will also greatly affect the landing of the ball as you hit it in different kinds of surfaces.

The multi-player mode will hasten the competition s you begin to challenge your friends or anyone online. This release presents a metagame that tallies the scores of various European nations on the entire tournament and hands out prices to whoever played best during the day.

Euro 2008 is indeed a breakthrough in football gaming as it perfectly mirrors the drama in a major international league. The game is not that of an improvement of FIFA 08 but the technicalities are smoother. There are many things in the game that will surprise you even if you have repeatedly read it in different reviews.

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Posted:
2014-04-11

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

The game measures your performance by tracking whether the lyrics that you've sung are correct, but it doesn't stop there. It also allows players to record their performance. There is even a social site dedicated to players who wish to share their recorded session and participate in popularity contests. This in turn adds depth to what could have been just another run of the mill karaoke game. For every aspiring rapper out there, Def Jam Rapstar could be the next best thing to an actual stage performance minus the possible boos from the crowd.

Playing the game is pretty much straightforward. It gets you immediately to the singing part without further annoyances. You are of course presented with game modes to choose from. There's a solo mode, a two player mode where you can perform a duet, or compete with another player and top each other's score. Lastly, there is a party mode. Some players may be a bit disappointed in finding some song selections containing censored lyrics as the game has a T rating for Teens. There's no penalty though, should the player decide to fill them in while singing. If players still find the pre-included song selections inadequate, they could always visit the online store and purchase downloadable tracks to expand their song selections.

In Def Jam Rapstar, there are two scoring mechanics that gauge the player's performance: Melodic section and Rap Section. Melodic sections are shown by bars hinting the pitch of each note and the relative length of the phrase. This is quite common among Karaoke games. The Rap section shows a dot on top each syllable. A ball would then bounce on top of each dot to show the correct timing when singing the phrases. The more synchronized the player is in singing the phrase while it's hit by the bouncing ball, the better the score the player is awarded.

If a player is trying out a not-so-familiar track, it may be best to sing along with the rapper first until you get a hang of the beat. Some song selections may post difficulty for those singing solo as some lyrics during the chorus may be superimposed like the female lyrics of the song quickly following the male lyrics or vice versa. This brings players to choose which parts they sing and which they don't. But all in all, Def Jam Rapstar does a remarkable job in bringing out the fun of this under represented music genre and converting it into an awesome game experience.

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Posted:
2014-04-25

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

6.8

Like the previous games in the series, you are involved with the military and fighting with Special Forces operatives to save the world from some dire threat. In this case, the threat is from nuclear weapons, and it is up to you and your partner, down from three teammates in the previous game, to save the world from destruction. Another notable change from previous titles in the series is that this game is in first-person view, not third-person.

Playing through the game, you will be playing as either the heavy gunner Lang or the sniper, Graves. You can switch between these two characters depending upon the situation, giving you a lot of tactical capability. You can also heal your ally, and direct the AI controlling them. That will be essential in the game, since your ally provides a lot of necessary fire, and does a good job of killing the enemy as well as you. If you put your AI ally in the right spot, they can really provide the sort of fire that makes it worthwhile to have a buddy in a shooting game, but if they're in the wrong spot, it can prevent you from being able to battle effectively at all.

Properly positioning your AI buddy is something that takes away from the realism, slightly, but adds dramatically to the sense of control that you have available on the field. Add in that you can take over that buddy of yours in a heartbeat, and you end up having a lot of fun battling through the chokepoints and set-pieces in the levels.

Despite numerous chokepoints and other confrontations, there isn't a lot of uniqueness when it comes to the level design of Denied Ops. There are a few different locations such as a castle, a whaling depot, and an African city. These levels generally have few differences in the missions in them, such as go-there-and-kill-everybody missions, and blow-that-up missions. If you're not looking for a lot of variety in your destruction, it'll work just fine.

There is a lot of stuff to blow up, at least. Lots of things in the levels are destructible, giving your battles an epic feel at times. You're taking on large numbers of enemies with heavy firepower, and this game really gives you the feel of that as you fight. You'll fight the same enemies over and over, but you'll pretty well mow them down, if you do it right.

Conflict Denied Ops isn't a thinking-man's shooter, but it does provide a lot of play that doesn't do anything specifically bad. If you're willing to settle for its mediocrity, Denied Ops has some fun to be had.


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