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Posted:
2013-05-29

kandoo

Super Gamer Dude

9.0

Star Wars: The Old Republic (or SWTOR) represented an ambitious effort on Bioware's part. The famed developer, best known for plot and dialogue-heavy titles such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect, promised that gamers would experience a massively multiplayer game with unparalleled scope, with a prominent focus on plot and character development. Given the rather stagnant nature of story-telling present in the online gaming landscape, it was uncertain whether or not Bioware would be capable of living up to their word. After years in development and with fan expectations reaching a staggering height, SWTOR was finally released in December of 2011. But did it live up to expectations, or did it fade into MMO obscurity?

While perhaps not living up to every hope, SWTOR, nonetheless, represents a functional shift in story-telling possibilities within an online title. The Star Wars universe makes for a fantastic setting, appealing to a large demographic of both casual fans and dedicated enthusiasts. Bioware does an admirable job in staying true to the franchise while introducing plenty of original content and characters. But perhaps the greatest accomplishment in SWTOR is the fact that you actually care about the story and characters introduced.

Most MMOs feature sub-par plots that act as a means of acquainting the player with various game mechanics. Functional gameplay systems have always trumped compelling plotlines in MMOs, and SWTOR bravely breaks the mold. Characters and actions have depth and lasting consequence. The dialogue system implemented in-game is comparable to that of, say, Mass Effect's, allowing for similar branching conversations and choices. This obviously works if playing solo, but in group settings, it's adapted to allow for functionality with a simple tweak; each player selects a response, and the game rolls numbers for each player. The player with the highest number rolled is given 'priority' in that their response is chosen.

Being an MMO, comparisons to World of Warcraft are inevitable. There's no denying that some quests and aspects of gameplay draw inspiration from the MMO kingpin, yet SWTOR features a more robust, action-oriented combat style that suits the title beautifully. Wielding a lightsaber in combat would feel nowhere near as immersive if the bulk of combat was relegated to an auto-combat system or queued. While combat is undoubtedly a point in the game's favor, other areas - namely crafting, which isn't exactly intuitive - aren't executed with quite the same finesse. Crafting and user interface are two examples of designs within the title that just aren't as seamless as they could be. Regardless, the bulk of content is extremely well-implemented, and updates since launch have already set to work on fixing what isn't.

SWTOR had impossibly high expectations, and has managed to succeed in toppling a number of them. It represents an admirable shift in focus for MMORPGs at no cost to functionality or playability. It's a truly entertaining title, and a treat for fans. Prepare to live out your fantasy in a galaxy far, far away.

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Posted:
2013-05-29

kandoo

Super Gamer Dude

7.0

To be completely honest, I'm surprised to even see a copy of Sleeping Dogs sitting on my desk. Initially a True Crime game, it was cancelled and then eventually revived into its current incarnation. In other words, suffice it to say expectations were rather low when I first booted up this game. Despite my initial hesitance though, Sleeping Dogs is a rather good open world crime game in a market that is no longer flooded with them.

There's not really anything inherently wrong with Sleeping Dogs other than the fact that it stays very close to the mould created by the open world games that have preceded it. As is usual for these games, the core game play consists of driving around in a car that may or not belong to you, shooting some guys and doing some missions that contribute to a larger story that sticks to the same tired cliches that crime game and movies have been sticking to for countless years. Sleeping Dogs in particular follows the "Undercover cop questions his allegiances" plot just about as closely is possible, and while there are a few interesting characters involved, they can't rescue a terribly generic plot.

That being said, Sleeping Dogs is not without its unique elements. The melee combat system of the game, an afterthought in most third person action games, is the most interesting feature to be found in Sleeping Dogs. The system borrows its core elements from Batman: Arkham Asylum, allowing for blocks, counters, and disarms, along with a difficulty that slowly ramps up as you get further into the game.

In addition, while the story does tend to follow overused story beats, it takes place in a Yakuza infested Hong Kong, a far cry from the extremely generic American city found in your standard GTA type game. Even small touches brought about by this setting such as having to drive on the left side of the road instead of the right make the game unique and interesting.

On the other side of the coin, the excellent melee combat seems to have come at the cost of the gunplay. The moment you pick up a gun in Sleeping Dogs, you can almost feel the game taking a turn for the worst. Aiming never feels consistent, particularly when getting out of cover. The shooting isn't particularly terrible, but after spending several hours with the melee, it simply does not seem up to par with the rest of the game.

Realistically, you probably are not going to be playing much Sleeping Dogs after you complete the story once, and that sentiment echoes my feelings on the game as a whole. Sleeping Dogs is that kind of game that really is not exceptional in any way, but remains an extremely fun ride the entire time that you play it. In the case of Sleeping Dogs, the game has some extremely enjoyable core mechanics and a few great characters that rise to the surface amidst a sea of blandness.

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Posted:
2013-05-29

kandoo

Super Gamer Dude

8.0

To move the pieces, you just press the A button and move it using the D pad. If you press B, you will cancel your move or display the menu that gives you the option to quit, get hints, save your current games and do other related functions. There is also an option that would allow you to receive hints and ideal moves when you highlight a particular piece. On the screen, a timer is displayed to provide you and your opponent an idea on how much time its taking both of you to do your moves. There is also a sort of reviewer on the side of the screen that enables you to check recent moves.

Chess allows you to play on a single mode. There are actually ten levels of difficulty and the higher your level gets, the degree of difficulty naturally increases. It also allows you to play offline or online. Offline chess is more like an actual chess game only that with Wii, you and your opponent need to use the controller to execute your moves. The game warns you about illegal moves and it also does not provide an area for you to cheat.

On the other hand, playing Chess online is what this game is all about. You just have to hook your Wii to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and you are all set to invite and play with your friends all over the world or find someone your match online. There are two options for you to choose from when playing online, one provides five minutes and the other one provides 20 minutes to each player to strategize and do the moves to beat his opponent.

The downside about Wii Chess is that it doesn’t have a correspondence option so you won’t be able to communicate with your opponent even when you are both online and this is also sad because Wii has a built-in messaging system. If this system could be utilized, it would boost this game’s popularity. For the good part, this game allows you to save up 20 finished matches so you can review your strengths and weaknesses and hit the start or stop controls whenever you want to.

In general, Wii Chess remains to be a good choice if you want a healthy chess game. Although it lacks some features that would make it even more commendable like motion sensors and correspondence options, its sound game options enhances the game to make its players feel like they are playing professionally and Wii Chess is also a good game for starters as it does not require complicated set ups.

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Posted:
2013-12-05

kandoo

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

Watch Dogs is an open world action/adventure action game from the same makers as the successful Sleeping Dogs, Ubisoft Montreal, and published by Ubisoft.

Players take the part of an Irish vigilante character named Aiden Pierce living in a stylized version of Chicago. Aiden has the knowledge and expertise to regularly hack into the government's CtOS, otherwise known as the City's Central Operating System, a system that runs every technical aspect of the entire city. His knowledge gives Aiden the power to hack everything from bank accounts, public and private records and smartphones to traffic lights and street cameras. Aiden must use this technical know how and everything else he can in a mission to assassinate a media mogul named Joseph DeMarco, who has been acquitted of charges of a murder which he in fact committed.

Watch Dogs allows players access to an open world where they can free roam around many areas. They can use the central operating system to cause traffic jams or even major car collisions or other disruption as a distraction from his real mission. Players can make useful being able to hack into the system to avoid being located by the authorities. The city is literally under the player's control at any given time during the game.

Watch Dogs offers more than just computer hacking and hijacking technology, even though that is the main point of the game. Players can enjoy taking care of business in the city their own way. Players have access to many different weapons, super fast cars, and powerful computers.

In the online multiplayer mode, game players also have the challenge of finding hidden characters that they didn't realize were in the game, which works by one player secretly taking the place of another player or steal another's identity, without the second player realizing. Things can get a little complicated. When online, players will be able to hack into other player's information and use that to their advantage. They can go around the game committing crimes and causing problems without drawing attention to their own character.

With such a novel technological emphasis and amazing game play, players may be left wondering if the game is lacking anywhere else. The answer to that question is no, Ubisoft has worked hard to make sure all of the graphics are of amazing quality. They have continually pushed back the release date so they can make sure Watch Dogs is completely ready with no issues before it was publicly released. It is released for most systems including the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and the Wii U.

Watch Dogs has beautiful, stunning views along with great story lines. After playing Sleeping Dogs and comparing it to this game, I found it every bit as good and I can say with confidence that Watch Dogs will be a new best selling game.

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Posted:
2013-12-05

kandoo

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

Watch Dogs is an open world action/adventure action game from the same makers as the successful Sleeping Dogs, Ubisoft Montreal, and published by Ubisoft.

Players take the part of an Irish vigilante character named Aiden Pierce living in a stylized version of Chicago. Aiden has the knowledge and expertise to regularly hack into the government's CtOS, otherwise known as the City's Central Operating System, a system that runs every technical aspect of the entire city. His knowledge gives Aiden the power to hack everything from bank accounts, public and private records and smartphones to traffic lights and street cameras. Aiden must use this technical know how and everything else he can in a mission to assassinate a media mogul named Joseph DeMarco, who has been acquitted of charges of a murder which he in fact committed.

Watch Dogs allows players access to an open world where they can free roam around many areas. They can use the central operating system to cause traffic jams or even major car collisions or other disruption as a distraction from his real mission. Players can make useful being able to hack into the system to avoid being located by the authorities. The city is literally under the player's control at any given time during the game.

Watch Dogs offers more than just computer hacking and hijacking technology, even though that is the main point of the game. Players can enjoy taking care of business in the city their own way. Players have access to many different weapons, super fast cars, and powerful computers.

In the online multiplayer mode, game players also have the challenge of finding hidden characters that they didn't realize were in the game, which works by one player secretly taking the place of another player or steal another's identity, without the second player realizing. Things can get a little complicated. When online, players will be able to hack into other player's information and use that to their advantage. They can go around the game committing crimes and causing problems without drawing attention to their own character.

With such a novel technological emphasis and amazing game play, players may be left wondering if the game is lacking anywhere else. The answer to that question is no, Ubisoft has worked hard to make sure all of the graphics are of amazing quality. They have continually pushed back the release date so they can make sure Watch Dogs is completely ready with no issues before it was publicly released. It is released for most systems including the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and the Wii U.

Watch Dogs has beautiful, stunning views along with great story lines. After playing Sleeping Dogs and comparing it to this game, I found it every bit as good and I can say with confidence that Watch Dogs will be a new best selling game.

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Posted:
2013-12-08

kandoo

Super Gamer Dude

7.5

Watch Dogs is an open world action/adventure action game from the same makers as the successful Sleeping Dogs, Ubisoft Montreal, and published by Ubisoft.

Players take the part of an Irish vigilante character named Aiden Pierce living in a stylized version of Chicago. Aiden has the knowledge and expertise to regularly hack into the government's CtOS, otherwise known as the City's Central Operating System, a system that runs every technical aspect of the entire city. His knowledge gives Aiden the power to hack everything from bank accounts, public and private records and smartphones to traffic lights and street cameras. Aiden must use this technical know how and everything else he can in a mission to assassinate a media mogul named Joseph DeMarco, who has been acquitted of charges of a murder which he in fact committed.

Watch Dogs allows players access to an open world where they can free roam around many areas. They can use the central operating system to cause traffic jams or even major car collisions or other disruption as a distraction from his real mission. Players can make useful being able to hack into the system to avoid being located by the authorities. The city is literally under the player's control at any given time during the game.

Watch Dogs offers more than just computer hacking and hijacking technology, even though that is the main point of the game. Players can enjoy taking care of business in the city their own way. Players have access to many different weapons, super fast cars, and powerful computers.

In the online multiplayer mode, game players also have the challenge of finding hidden characters that they didn't realize were in the game, which works by one player secretly taking the place of another player or steal another's identity, without the second player realizing. Things can get a little complicated. When online, players will be able to hack into other player's information and use that to their advantage. They can go around the game committing crimes and causing problems without drawing attention to their own character.

With such a novel technological emphasis and amazing game play, players may be left wondering if the game is lacking anywhere else. The answer to that question is no, Ubisoft has worked hard to make sure all of the graphics are of amazing quality. They have continually pushed back the release date so they can make sure Watch Dogs is completely ready with no issues before it was publicly released. It is released for most systems including the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and the Wii U.

Watch Dogs has beautiful, stunning views along with great story lines. After playing Sleeping Dogs and comparing it to this game, I found it every bit as good and I can say with confidence that Watch Dogs will be a new best selling game.

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Posted:
2014-02-02

kandoo

Super Gamer Dude

6.3

Ben 10 Omniverse is a classic example of a game that relies on a TV fan-base to be successful. Keeping in mind that the game is obviously targeted at boys aged six to ten, it succeeds on a few levels and fails at others.

The game does a good job at remaking the story elements and characters from the show. Players will play as young boy hero Ben, who has the power to temporarily transform himself into various alien creatures using a device called the Omnitrix. The game successfully uses this mechanic to add a layer of strategic depth to the game. Players will need to consistently use the Omnitrix power to win, and they will need to choose the correct alien form for any given scenario. There are multiple simple puzzles that will require the use of specific forms to overcome. There's nothing overly challenging, but considering the target demographic, simple is probably best.

The combat itself has very little depth. With some exception, combat revolves around mashing the attack button in order to stack as many attacks together as possible for maximum damage. There are some combos, and different alien forms have different attacks, but the basics are always the same. One serious lacking, considering the game's platform, is that it makes very little use of the Wii's motion functionality. All of the game's controls could easily be rolled into a standard Xbox or PS3 controller. While the game is available across consoles, its target demographic is most likely to have a Wii, and thus it would be nice to see more Wii-specific functionality. The control format, however, is easy to use and readily accessible, even to less-experienced players. The Omnitrix tool is a bit clunky at first, but not overly difficult to master.

Where the game really shines is in dialogue and characterization, which is taken right out of the cartoon. Many of the lines are actually quite humorous and would be downright hilarious to the target audience. Players will immediately recognize the voice and personality of their favorite characters from the show. The dialogue is also delivered in a classic text and voice-over format, so young gamers can read along as they play. This inclusion of text is a major plus for any children's game.

Graphics quality for the game is understandably cartoon-looking, but this is acceptable because it fits the cartoon quality of the original show. Level design and appearance is nothing spectacular, but it isn't something that hurts the game overall.

Repetition is what kills Ben 10 Omniverse. Targeting a young player demographic should be no excuse for simplified gameplay. The entire game consists of basically traveling to various locations and beating up on various alien or robotic enemies over and over again. There is low replay value and the multiplayer options are limited.

All in all, Ben 10 Omniverse is an okay game that will appeal to fans of the series and probably no one else. The dialogue is fitting, humorous and memorable, but intensely repetitive gameplay and lack of strategic depth will limit the game's overarching popularity.

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Posted:
2014-02-23

kandoo

Super Gamer Dude

6.3

Ben 10 Omniverse is a classic example of a game that relies on a TV fan-base to be successful. Keeping in mind that the game is obviously targeted at boys aged six to ten, it succeeds on a few levels and fails at others.

The game does a good job at remaking the story elements and characters from the show. Players will play as young boy hero Ben, who has the power to temporarily transform himself into various alien creatures using a device called the Omnitrix. The game successfully uses this mechanic to add a layer of strategic depth to the game. Players will need to consistently use the Omnitrix power to win, and they will need to choose the correct alien form for any given scenario. There are multiple simple puzzles that will require the use of specific forms to overcome. There's nothing overly challenging, but considering the target demographic, simple is probably best.

The combat itself has very little depth. With some exception, combat revolves around mashing the attack button in order to stack as many attacks together as possible for maximum damage. There are some combos, and different alien forms have different attacks, but the basics are always the same. One serious lacking, considering the game's platform, is that it makes very little use of the Wii's motion functionality. All of the game's controls could easily be rolled into a standard Xbox or PS3 controller. While the game is available across consoles, its target demographic is most likely to have a Wii, and thus it would be nice to see more Wii-specific functionality. The control format, however, is easy to use and readily accessible, even to less-experienced players. The Omnitrix tool is a bit clunky at first, but not overly difficult to master.

Where the game really shines is in dialogue and characterization, which is taken right out of the cartoon. Many of the lines are actually quite humorous and would be downright hilarious to the target audience. Players will immediately recognize the voice and personality of their favorite characters from the show. The dialogue is also delivered in a classic text and voice-over format, so young gamers can read along as they play. This inclusion of text is a major plus for any children's game.

Graphics quality for the game is understandably cartoon-looking, but this is acceptable because it fits the cartoon quality of the original show. Level design and appearance is nothing spectacular, but it isn't something that hurts the game overall.

Repetition is what kills Ben 10 Omniverse. Targeting a young player demographic should be no excuse for simplified gameplay. The entire game consists of basically traveling to various locations and beating up on various alien or robotic enemies over and over again. There is low replay value and the multiplayer options are limited.

All in all, Ben 10 Omniverse is an okay game that will appeal to fans of the series and probably no one else. The dialogue is fitting, humorous and memorable, but intensely repetitive gameplay and lack of strategic depth will limit the game's overarching popularity.

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Posted:
2014-03-14

kandoo

Super Gamer Dude

9.0

When New Super Mario Brothers first came out on the DS in 2006, it was the first new side scrolling 2D platformer in the Mario series since Super Mario World 2 came out in 1995. The game was a massive success on the DS, and more importantly than that, it was a fantastic game that brought back a rush of nostalgia for anyone who grew up with the NES and Super NES Mario platformers. Thanks to that success, Nintendo is now releasing New Super Mario Brothers on the Wii, but can lightning strike twice?

New Super Mario Brothers Wii continues the same style that was used in the DS version of the game, and by extension every Super Mario 2D platformer ever made. You'll spend a ton of time running from left to right, grabbing different colors and sizes of coins, and jumping on top of the heads of a lot of goombas.

For the Super Mario connoisseurs out there, if I had to pick a game that this new title feels the most like, its definitely Super Mario Brothers 3, which is considered by many people to be the best 2D Mario game ever created.

Not everything about New Super Mario Brothers Wii is familiar, though. The game adds a number of new power-ups, like the ice flower that serves as the exact opposite of the fire flower and the propeller suit that allows you to fly with just a shake of the remote.

Speaking of remote-shaking, the game thankfully does not make any sort of extensive use of the Wii remote in its controls. You hold the remote sideways, using the d-pad with the 1 and 2 button to control Mario. While certain moves will require shaking or moving the remote side to side, the game does not require the sort of wild movements that many Wii games tend to overuse.

The most intriguing part of New Super Mario Brothers Wii has nothing to do with the single player at all. With this new game, Nintendo has introduced 4-player co-operative multiplayer. This multiplayer brings 4 characters into the single player levels and has them all trying to reach the end of the level. This might sound hectic and out of control, and you would be right. While that level of insanity might seem annoying at first, it is a ton of fun to jump around on top of your friends while fighting to get as many points as you can.

With New Super Mario Brothers Wii, Nintendo has managed to take what seemed like a one-off remake on the DS and transform it into a full fledged franchise. They have basically brought 2D Mario games back from the dead and created a world in which 3D and 2D Mario games can coexist once more. In fact, if Nintendo keeps up this trend, I look forward to new 2D Mario iterations far more than I look forward to the inevitable future 3D iterations of Mario games yet to come.

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Posted:
2014-04-10

kandoo

Super Gamer Dude

5.8

The story of the game has to do with the continent of North America being split down the middle between the Pacificians and the Atlantic Alliance. The West Coast ended up choosing to allow DNA alteration, while the East Coast banned genetic engineering and chose the route of cybernetics instead. When the Pacificians can't take the ban on genetic engineering any more, they secede, and the Atlantic Alliance sends you, Jet Brody, to bring back the renegade general leading the separation.

This third-person shooter plays very similar to other games of its sort. When you take cover, your health regenerates. You get to shoot machine guns, rocket launchers, sniper rifles, and other implements of distant death. You get to drive around on an All Terrain Vehicle in between shooting at foes. One thing that is different about this game, however, is that you are able to terraform the ground with your guns and grenades. You can use this feature to move the terrain up, or down. This is used in the game to help complete a couple of traps, and to find hidden items throughout the levels, and in a couple places to kill enemies, but that's it. Generally, too, the game points out any opportunity to use the skill to take out targets, so there goes your chance to feel like you pulled off a sweet move with it. While it's an interesting feature to check out, it doesn't really add a lot to the gameplay.

That's too bad, too, because the gameplay could use a little adding to. It mostly consists of fighting off the enormous number of enemies that the game throws at you. Spending time fighting through the same section over and over again to reach another save point would be the most rewarding part of the whole experience, except that you end up doing it again in the very next section. That makes the yellow goo that comes along with each head shot the most rewarding part of the game.

The visuals in the game definitely make a person feel like they are a couple hundred years in the future, if that future became very drab. Most of the levels are filled with grays and browns, making a person wonder if the if they had outlawed color in the future along with genetic engineering.

While the Fracture experience isn't a completely unpleasant one to take on, it had its annoyances. The fights are difficult, sometimes overwhelmingly so, and the tool that the game gives you to help deal with them, doesn't do much for you tactically. What you're left with is a game that you could slog through the muck and fight for but probably won't.


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