User Review

9 Reviews


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Posted:
2014-01-26

mrbean

Super Gamer Dude

7.9

In Tomb Raider for the Xbox 360 Lara Croft the world's most famous fictional archeologist is back with a vengeance, or should we say, makes her first appearance, as this is a sort of 'what happened before' story or, as some would, say a prequel. Even that is not quite true because her origins were also charted in a previous title. Billed by the developers as 'an interconnected hub-and-spoke model that combines action-adventure, exploration, and survival mechanics' the game is played from a third person perspective and comes with a multiplayer mode.

The heroine, younger than you may remember her, but still wonderfully outfitted, is the role which you, as a player, take up. This young Lara has only recently graduated as an archaeologist and in the course of her studies she came across references to a supposedly lost kingdom named Yamatai. She comes into contact with the Nishimura family who claim to be descended from the original inhabitants this lost kingdom, and, with their encouragement Lara raises the funds and mounts an expedition to investigate the existence of Yamatai. Samantha, who just happens to be Lara's best friend and companion, is a member of the Nishimura family and becomes their representative on the expedition. Other members of the expedition are Dr.James Whitman, Conrad Wroth, Joselyn Reyes, Angus Grimaldi, Jonah Maiava, and Alex.

Whitman is a world renowned archaeologist, lately divorced and bankrupt and having a generally bad time of it. Roth was once a Royal Marine Commando who now puts his combat and survival experience to good use as an adventurer. Grimaldi is a Glaswegian Scot who is down to earth and tells it how it is. Reyes is a single mother and, surprisingly, also a mechanic, with a somewhat cynical disposition. Maiava is of a more spiritual bent and willing to believe in things without seeing very much in the way of proof, the sort who believes in ghosts. Jonah Maiava is a quiet unassuming man with an impressive physique. And last, and probably least, is the geeky looking Alex who of course is an electronics genius.

A good selection of differing personalities which of course fits perfectly with the games' requirements, and whose mixture of abilities when combined should equip them for the task in hand, but with sufficient weaknesses to make them vulnerable. So whoever, or perhaps more to the point whatever, inhabits the island of Yamatai, and if things go to plan, had better watch out. And so off they go, setting sail or turning on the engines of the good ship Endurance, to find and explore Yamatai. But all does not go to plan and against better advice they make a detour through the dangerous Dragon's Triangle and it is here that disaster befalls them in the form of a violent sea storm. The group survives and reaches an isolated island where they land and where Lara becomes separated from the rest her party and is captured and imprisoned by a hairy cave man type savage who makes her an unwilling guest in the cave he knows as home.

This is where the plot begins to get interesting and with its many twists and turns would most likely take as long as playing the game would, or perhaps that is a little unfair as there are quite a few hours of play time to be had out of it. There is an awful lot of content but certainly not a lot of awful content. Let's just use the usual get out by saying that there are many twists and turns, trials and tribulations in which each character plays much the part you would expect them to and some which you would not. And anyway too much detail would spoil it for the player and, if you are not yourself of the hairy cave dwelling type, you will get the general idea from other games you may have played.

There are of course the compulsory arsenals of wonderful weapons and marvelous skills and upgrades, but these are just incidental to the story but do, as in most games of this nature, form the main source of the action, some of it original and some not quite so. Lara herself, even in her younger days, is well endowed, well armed, and fortunately not too well dressed, as too much clothing might interfere with her weapons skills.

As expected the music is in itself a fine and fitting composition and would do justice to a quality audio system. The graphics and animations, while never quite reaching cinematic perfection, also live up to expectations.

Lara Croft fans will view this game as a must and for newcomers it presents a good introduction to the events of the earlier games in the series to which this is a useful and enjoyable prequel.

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Posted:
2013-05-27

mrbean

Super Gamer Dude

7.8

Life proves that all good things are worth waiting for, even when it comes to new video game releases. Fans of the manga-based Japanese North Star games know this firsthand. While the Japanese have been enjoying Fist of the North Star Kens Rage 2 Xbox 360 since December of 2012, European and North American gamers did not get the privilege until this month. Those who enjoy a solid blend of martial arts and blood, guts, and gore will appreciate everything included in this North Star sequel.

The game is based off of the152 episodes of the manga-based anime Japanese television series, and the setting is a post-apocalyptic world full of blood lust. The game follows the accounts of the cult. Fueled by rage in both games of the series, Kenshiro is the blood thirsty protagonist and a master of Hokuto Shinken. The entire story line is finally covered for fans, from Raoh Saga to the Land of Shura. So far, Fist of the North fans love the new characters and improved gaming abilities, lauding it as far better than the first one.

More comparable to the games of the Dynasty War titles, players who take on Fist of the North Star Kens Rage are guaranteed to face off against much larger hordes of enemies than those they faced in the original game. In fact, certain stages within the game challenge the best gaming skills by blitzing with more than 100 enemies at a time.

But not to fear, both combat and movement have been improved and accelerated to provide a more exciting gaming experience. Players can perform signature moves from the original game as well as a host of new moves that compile a well-rounded repertoire of martial arts. Gamers can even create their own combos to inflict devastation by mixing their own attack inputs.

This sequel game also allows players to use stealth skills to sneak up on unsuspecting targets. As players become more and more capable with the martial arts techniques, they can opt to up the level of difficulty for an increased challenge.

With 22 playable characters and an additional 3 downloadable ones, players may play in one of two modes: legend and dream. Legend mode is composed of a single campaign that expands on the storyline of Kens Rage 2'’s predecessor, including all the chapters that unravel after the close of the first game.

Players must keep a look out for valuable scrolls. Collecting the right ones and learning how to correctly mix and match them is the key to winning the game. Other useful information and helpful tips are provided during loading screens of Fist of the North Star: Kens Rage 2 Xbox 360.

The dream mode of Fist of the North Star Kens Rage 2 Xbox 360 provides a singular perspective into the game as it reveals the back stories of all the playable characters. It also allows for a variety of alternate scenarios that characters may choose for a unique plot twist.

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Posted:
2013-05-27

mrbean

Super Gamer Dude

5.8

Excite Truck is a really fast paced game much like its predecessor Excite Bike. There is a feeling of thrill when controlling the truck because of the fear that somewhere and sometime the player would eventually lose control and flip on over. It is this thrill of unfortunate possibilities which successfully challenge the player though that finally overcomes the player for nothing else much happens after that.

The Wii remote control has to be handled sideways, the D-pad has to be accessed to the left thumb of the player while the 1 and 2 buttons have to be accessed at the right. The 1 and 2 buttons are the gas and brake respectively, the steering is done by tilting the remote control to the left and to the right. The D-pad nit on any direction will serve as turbo boosts. Once that turbo is hit during a jump, the distance it can generate will be extensive. While in the air, tilting the control forward and then back will control the pitch of the truck. This will make it go higher and gain more distance. If the pitch is moved forward, the landing will be sooner than expected.

The player can also steer the truck in mid air which can be done with great difficulty using the Wii remote. This is kind of exciting but at the same time frustrating because of the feeling of a lack in control. There is no consistency in the mid-air turns and between jumps. The goal is to jump on turbo strength so the truck can fly but there is none of that for the truck can overheat and this can slow it down and there is a delay for the need to recover. If the truck drives into water, this should cool down the engine.

Unlike other race games, Excite Truck does not give the feeling to the gamer that they should win in first place, instead they have get the feeling that they just have to finish the game without giving up. This starts out as a challenge initially but gradually the feeling of doom sets in and the player eventually looses the need to win. There is a kind of desperation created when player which is the key to the lack of long term interest. The multiplayer option is there as well but the screen is split into two and limits the viewing space, if there are four players, the screen is further divided into four, further limiting the gamers’ view.

Obviously there is a lot of potential for Excite Truck because of the speed and the chaos. Ultimately, the whole gameplay becomes more a fight for the finish rather than winning and this can quickly cool the ardor for the game.

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Posted:
2013-05-27

mrbean

Super Gamer Dude

5.8

The control system for the Wii should be the perfect match for the way that table tennis is played. Alas, however, Rockstar has removed the element of control from your ping pong play. You no longer swing at the same time the ball arrives, instead you swing way in advance, and the game does the swinging for your character, automatically. It’s a system that builds a direct disconnect into you swinging the Wii Remote, and your character swinging the ping pong paddle onscreen. A game like this should be completely absorbing, but the results that are rendered with this system end up leaving a player feeling completely removed from the game.

Other than how disconnected it is the control scheme on the Wii Remote works well. You can aim for different spots by swinging the remote in different ways. You can also hold a direction on the D-pad and put a measure of spin on your shot. This system works excellently because it is very difficult for you to shoot off the table. There are also two other control schemes included that use the Nunchuk controller. One of these allows players to control the movement of their character with the analog on the Nunchuk, but the automation of the character movement is done so well that there really isn’t any need for it. The other allows the player more control over their shots.

There isn’t even a lot of content offered for the players that are willing to suffer through the miserable disconnect in your shot, and your player’s shot. Eleven different characters are available, each of which plays and looks quite different, and nineteen different arenas that can be played in. There are only three tournaments, though, and a single exhibition mode that lets you play against a computer opponent, or another player. That’s it, no online multiplayer, no career mode, no challenge mode, nothing. The short list of games to play will keep even dedicated players from playing it very regularly.

It doesn’t seem quite right, but somehow Rockstar Games has missed the mark with Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis. Despite creating a game on a system that was essentially designed to play this active type of game, the choice of gameplay elements has created a game that doesn’t even feel like it’s being played, more like it’s being controlled. It’s really too bad, and a reviewer can only hope that they will choose to release another version in the future that doesn’t hold to these same unrewarding gameplay elements.

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Posted:
2013-05-27

mrbean

Super Gamer Dude

7.2

If you spent any time at all playing the first one, then stepping into this new version will feel right at home. The control scheme of using the Wii remote to move your character in all ways feels natural and intuitive, even though you're using your hands to simulate controlling your feet. You only use the buttons to tweak what set of tricks you’ll be performing once you’re up in the air. The Wii remote works well for this, other than there being a tendency for your character to start spinning while you're trying to line up a landing. Despite that small issue, the Wii remote control system works pretty well.

This snowboarding game also allows players to use the Wii balance board, as well. Playing with a balance board takes this game to the next level, with you adjusting your foot placement to cut turns, speed up or slow down, and jump into the air. You still have to use the Wii remote to control your skill sets, but other than that, control is exclusively at your feet.

The campaign in World Stage is made up of tracks spread throughout the world. You start out as the 100th ranked snowboarder who quickly works their way up the ranks towards number one.

Every race has you picking out two characters. One of these is your character, and the other is your cameraman. The character that you pick to board with has different attributes associated with them, and the cameraman that you pick makes different special moves available to you that can be used on the course, once you'’ve performed a few tricks. These special moves include improving your balance, providing a burst of speed, or knocking down your competitors. Pulling off a trick move at just the right time can sometimes turn the tables, making them helpful as you play through the tournament.

There is also multi-player Career mode, which lets you play through the whole thing with your friends. If snowboarding is fun alone, it's enormously more fun with or against your friends, although you can only play with one Wii balance board at a time.

When it came around the first time, Shaun White Snowboarding blew away gamers with the relative ease with which it could be played, along with the incredible gameplay that was delivered once a player picked up the simple skills required. This second version, by changing almost nothing since the previous version, continues to live up to that legacy. If, however, there had been some sort of change for the better, than players that had played the first one would have a reason to buy this new one. As it is, save your money.

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Posted:
2014-01-30

mrbean

Super Gamer Dude

7.2

Farming Simulator 2013, has certainly taught me that money does not grow on trees. As the name suggests the simulation lets you manage a farm using up to date methods and machinery. But what a farm! Think of everything you expect on a farm and it's almost certain that you will find it here, available for you to add to the farm you wish to create, along with others you do not normally associate with agriculture. You have the normal everyday animals, cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and all the common animals immediately associated with a farm. But what about bees for their honey and llamas, increasingly popular for their wool.

Crops. All the usual such as corn, barley, mowing grass for hay, sugar beet and oil seed rape. But don't forget about greenhouses or giant polythene cloches for tomatoes, cucumbers and the like.

The animals have to be fed, watered, fattened for market, mated for breeding, milked for the dairy and taken to market for slaughter. They have to have space to live in, indoors and outdoors. the crops need to be planted, fertilized, and harvested.

You may want to become more self sufficient and energy conscious by using electricity from wind, water or solar electricity generators on your farm.

Only the smallest of farms is run by one man and his family and so you may have to hire labor, sometimes on a seasonal basis as some crops are labor intensive only during harvesting. Think of potatoes and potato picking, all sorts of fruit, lifting some of the hay bales which cannot always be done by machinery.

All these things have to be juggled around by using only the available hours of the day and days of the year, by clever use of time management. And unfortunately, as I said, money is not a crop that grows on trees and so financial matters have to be attended to, although the game gives you various money making tasks to top up the kitty.

Farming by its very nature is not to me a very interesting subject for simulation but I must admit that this game has taught me that there is more to it than meets the eye. It has also taught me that I do not have the makings of a farmer.

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Posted:
2014-01-31

mrbean

Super Gamer Dude

8.0

The Hitman franchise allows players to release their inner Assassin with Hitman Absolution Professional Edition for the PS3. Hitman Absolution is the first Hitman game to be released on the PS3.

To accurately review this game, any comparisons with any of the other games in the franchise, such as Blood Money, should be avoided. This is because avid players of previous games are bound to have expectations that new players of Hitman Absolution are not aware of. In its own right, Hitman Absolution is a beautiful game that offers an experience unlike any other game on the market right now.

The thing that is most noticeable is the graphics. The scenery is visually stunning and beautiful enough so that you will want to be immersed in Agent 47Â’s world, hoping to see more of it. Each of the many new setting that the players find themselves in has been carefully planned down to the smallest details. Even the NPCs (non-playable characters) have a personality of their own and as Agent 47, you can even eavesdrop on their conversations. But, of course, there are more important and interesting things to do in Hitman than eavesdropping.

The game begins with a mission that sets up the storyline of the game. This mission also doubles as a tutorial so that you can get a feel for the game and not waste time later. Each mission after this tells only a part of the story, which could be considered a bad point, but the game itself is great at telling the whole story, even though it may be a little too linear for those who want to wander off the path chosen for them. While Hitman Absolution was never intended to be a completely open world game, some freedom is to be expected. After all, one of the most appealing features of the game is the fact that there is more than one way to complete a mission. While that fact is still true for some levels, other times there is only one way to do something and the usual freedom of the game is missed. Still, there are dozens of features, costumes and kill methods that will keep players interested. Even replaying levels can be fun because there is more than one way to assassinate a target.

Hitman Absolution Professional Edition for the PS3 also has an online feature that is unique. That is the Contracts feature. Contracts allows you to create your own mission within a level that has already been played. You can choose costumes and characters and assassinate a target anyway that you want. Once it is complete, you can share it with the online community and challenge them to carry out your Contract.

This is not a game for impatient players. Rushing to complete a mission will more than likely cause you to fail, whereas the patient players with a well-thought out strategy will succeed. That is how Hitman Absolution is intended to be played and it is worth the extra effort.

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Posted:
2014-02-21

mrbean

Super Gamer Dude

7.2

Farming Simulator has certainly taught me that money does not grow on trees. As the name suggests the simulation lets you manage a farm using up to date methods and machinery. But what a farm! Think of everything you expect on a farm and it's almost certain that you will find it here, available for you to add to the farm you wish to create, along with others you do not normally associate with agriculture. You have the normal everyday animals, cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and all the common animals immediately associated with a farm. But what about bees for their honey and llamas, increasingly popular for their wool.

Crops. All the usual such as corn, barley, mowing grass for hay, sugar beet and oil seed rape. But don't forget about greenhouses or giant polythene cloches for tomatoes, cucumbers and the like.

The animals have to be fed, watered, fattened for market, mated for breeding, milked for the dairy and taken to market for slaughter. They have to have space to live in, indoors and outdoors. the crops need to be planted, fertilized, and harvested.

You may want to become more self sufficient and energy conscious by using electricity from wind, water or solar electricity generators on your farm.

Only the smallest of farms is run by one man and his family and so you may have to hire labor, sometimes on a seasonal basis as some crops are labor intensive only during harvesting. Think of potatoes and potato picking, all sorts of fruit, lifting some of the hay bales which cannot always be done by machinery.

All these things have to be juggled around by using only the available hours of the day and days of the year, by clever use of time management. And unfortunately, as I said, money is not a crop that grows on trees and so financial matters have to be attended to, although the game gives you various money making tasks to top up the kitty.

Farming by its very nature is not to me a very interesting subject for simulation but I must admit that this game has taught me that there is more to it than meets the eye. It has also taught me that I do not have the makings of a farmer.

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Posted:
2014-05-25

Old School RPG.

mrbean

Super Gamer Dude

6.3

In the past few years, we've been seeing less and less of the traditional JRPG. Even Square Enix, who were once the biggest proponents of this specific genre have more or less completely abandoned turn-based strategy games in favor of the more action-oriented Final Fantasy games that have been coming out as of late. Bravely Default marks a return to the old style of Japanese role playing games for Square Enix as a publisher, but does it hold up to the very standards that the same company set some 20 years ago?

The most noticeable thing the first time you boot up Bravely Default is how much the game looks like the Final Fantasy remakes that were put out for the DS. The visual style isn't the only similarity, though. Bravely Default's combat system ends up feeling like a mix of the combat of Final Fantasy 3 and the job system that lay at the core of Final Fantasy 5, but with one major modernizing difference.

One of the biggest innovations that Bravely Default brings to the table is actually revealed within the game's own title. During battle, you have two options in addition to the standard options that most gamers have come to expect in a JRPG - Brave and Default. The Default option functions as a sort of defense, but it also grants you something that the game calls a battle point. This point can be used to activate the Brave option, which grants you an extra attack for that turn and can be used up to 4 time per turn depending on the number of battle points that you have accrued.

Even despite this somewhat revolutionary change in Bravely Default's core combat system, it still makes many of the same mistakes that many JRPGs made in the past, from a very sluggish start to a convoluted story and a lack of detailed instruction on how the entire genre works. Of course, most of those problems are no issue if you are a veteran of the genre, and that is really who Bravely Default was made for.

I really hate saying that "fans of the genre" will like these games while others won't really like them at all, but in the case of Bravely Default it has never been more true. Those people who have remained devout fans of the JRPG genre will absolutely adore this game - it hits all the notes that a good RPG needs to hit - but as a result of its unwavering adherence to that same old formula it has a bad tendency to make many of the same mistakes that those old games made as well.

Bravely Default is by no means perfect, but if you're looking to get your old-school JRPG fix, there are a lot worse options out there, and Bravely Default will keep you entertained for its entire duration as long as you are ready for a slow start and a few issues that persist throughout the genre.