Scooby Doo and the crew of mystery solving teens the lovable Great Dane pals around with what are perhaps some of the most recognizable cartoon characters in popular culture today. And in Scooby Doo and the Spooky Swamp for the Nintendo Wii, players will be able to come along with Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby Doo too in order to solve the mystery of the strange brew in the swamp.
For fans of the Lego series of games on the Wii, the controls and mechanics for the Scooby Doo and The Spooky Swamp will feel very familiar indeed. There is basic platforming, as well as character switching while players are going through the various levels. Every character has a special ability that can come in handy when defeating foes and trying to solve puzzles, and the whole crew will be necessary for players to really explore the whole game and solve the mystery of what, exactly, is in the strange brew in the spooky swamp.
As with so many Scooby Doo stories, The Spooky Swamp is simultaneously straightforward while at the same time challenging enough that it might be hard to figure out who to pull the rubber mask off. Assuming of course the mask is rubber, since over the years as the movies and games have gone on, the mystery solving teens have to contend with more and more ghosts, ghouls and creatures of the night that are as real as real can get.
Players are tasked with trying to solve the mystery of the strange brew made by a weird girl in a swamp. The mystery leads them, and the crew, through a haunted Alpine village and a deserted ghost town, with real ghosts! Players will need to fight enemies, collect clues and work out secret messages in order to figure out what is really happening.
While it is a fun game to play, and it does hold to the standards of slightly goofy investigation that the television show set decades ago, Scooby Doo and The Spooky Swamp is most definitely a game that's meant for younger players. The rating officially says that this game is for ages ten and up, but much further past that first mark of double digits and players are going to quickly grow bored with the simplistic plot and fairly easy to master mechanics.
This isn't to say that Scooby Doo and The Spooky Swamp isn't a good game. From an objective standpoint it's well put together, it functions simply, and it holds up under the usual standards one would apply to a game. However, the game is also designed with a very specific, and fairly young, audience in mind. An easy rule of thumb is that if players have outgrown the title characters of the game, then chances are very good that the game itself won't pose much of a challenge to the players either. Definitely fun, but just not for grown ups who play on the Nintendo Wii.
The Sims 3 for the 3DS offers a brand new experience for those that are used to the PC version and those on other platforms. The Sims 3 is new to a 3D platform and features many changes from the original series. This game is a life simulation that can keep players engrossed for many hours because of the many different things they are able to do.
The game features the same storylines as in previous games, each player gets the choice to make their own character and customize them however takes their fancy. The player has a choice of gender, clothing, age, and so on. The story is whatever the player wants it to be, Sims 3 gives players the complete freedom to live their Sims lives in whatever way they want, so that if they do not want their Sims to work and get married and live a conventional life, they can opt out of the mainstream activities and be a little unconventional.
The Sims 3 does have some new features that were never previously present. These include a karma system, new jobs, WiFi capability, a facial recognition feature, and challenge completion. The Karma system offers players new ways to gain or lose abilities that range from shooting fireballs, making ghosts, speeding up the time it takes to gain skills. Players can choose to have their Sims gain points in either good karma or bad karma, the choice is up to them. Some of the new jobs on offer are rockstar, world leader, and master thief. By using wifi, players can now trade their Sims with other players and vice versa. This last feature is different from previous versions, but it is similar to that of the Sims Exchange in the PC version of the game. The facial recognition for The Sims 3 features something completely new to the whole series and allows players to upload pictures of whoever they want to make into a Sim character. The 3DS works with the game to map out the face so players can easily make the changes to their Sims to match the person whose face they want to copy or caricature.
There is also have the ability to compete in a series of challenges. This is a brand new system that provides players with certain rewards after every challenge is complete, like unlocking new buildings, items, clothing, and much more. These tasks can range from fixing a sink to making a new friend. The game lets players travel to new locations that were not previously released on other DS versions of the game. This allows players to not only travel to a neighbor's house, but also to such places as shops or clubs.
Through all these features Sims 3 achieves its aim of giving the player the opportunity to live a second life by virtue of their Sims, this life of course will be very different to their usual real life, their Sims may even play video games.
It is no surprise to find that We Sing Pop is a Wii game where players get their chance at singing karaoke pop songs, following the lyrics and watching the music video clip of the song currently being played.
There are multiple game modes that the players may choose from and in each mode they are presented with many configurable options. Such options that may be set are the difficulty setting, the option to sing with instrumental backing and no lyrics, or an option to sing the songs without backing if they wish to do so. However the player configures the game options, the basic plan behind the game is to attempt to sing with the best timing, pitch and with the right words, so earning points depending on the player's accuracy in performing the song.
Although the game might be best played in multiplayer mode, players can also take advantage of the single player mode for practice sessions. The many options that can be set include choosing music playlists, selecting specific single tracks or configuring karaoke options for actually performing the song. While playing single player, the person will be presented with challenges that they can attempt, and success allows the unlocking of further game options or award trophies.
The strongest point of this game is the multiplayer modes as the most enjoyable option in singing karaoke is to do so with your friends.The multiplayer modes consist of various types of sessions the user may play. However, a popular game option is the Party Mode. The Party Mode in We Sing Pop also includes the We Sing mode in which lyrics can be removed from the screen at certain moments to see if the person singing knows the lyrics. Or the players may use the Expert Mode. The Expert Mode removes the lyrics from the karaoke song as well as the pitch bars so that the person singing is not only tested on their memory of the lyrics but also on how well they do in regards of timing and pitch.
The songs included are pretty much what you have come to expect from this genre of game, some top top artists and bands, some new and some not quite so new, giving a reasonably wide variety musical styles.
If you like singing buy it, if you don't like singing don't.
Spore being the company's most ambitious release was followed by another hit maker, Darkspore. The game presents a genre of blood and gores much like that of Diablo. Being a newcomer for this genre, you can tell that Maxis is really doing their job. Though there are some points they may have made some underestimations.
Your role will be a Crogenitor, a DNA master who has the capability to manipulate genetic makeup of living things. The story begins when a group of cogenitors laid their hands to an enhanced DNA (E-DNA) with a purpose of developing powerful beings. Unfortunately, they failed to stabilize the E-DNA and resulted to the Darkspore. These entities are set to exterminate all other living beings except a very few number of cogenitors who has been set to sleep and is sent off to various parts of the galaxy to make them incognito to the Darkspores. Now, your adventure starts with waking up in your sleep. Your goal is to defeat the Darkspores by making powerful beings with the help of your AI installed in your ship.
The storyline isn't that exciting since your AI will give you snippets of the story or about a planet you want to visit as you go along. The gameplay however will give you the thrill like a cold winter breeze whispering in your ear. The main feature of the game is to unlock and customize 25 different genetic heroes that have four variations of the spore elements. You can't make beings from scratch but you can make new ones by making customizations. A version of Spore Creature Creator is being used for the customization of Darkspore. As you pack your hero with power equipments and they change, their stats will be altered too.
If you want to win, you must know how the game and the heroes work. In the game, you can select three heroes and have them interchange as you play since you can only control one hero at a time. Each hero belongs to one of three classes and one of five genesis types. A darkspore-type hero damages two-fold hence, you will need a good strategy.
After each level, you are given an option to either return to your ship and customize your heroes or continue on the journey to gain more rewards. A breakthrough feature is that your heroes don't actually level up based from what they do. It is these various items that you give your heroes that are awarded with certain levels that determine how far you have gone. It is in fact the crogenitor that levels up making you capable to unlock more heroes and catch some wonderful items for upgrade.
Though Darkspore is a phenomenon, there are still some things Maxis needs to improve. Heroes tend to be out of place in some environments, they also make sounds as they battle like they're saying Sue Me or Cry Baby. Since the game is mainly played in the cooperative mode, Maxis failed to include multiplayer ranking which is very important.
Shoot 'em and kill 'em boys! Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is an intense mission based computer game that is a joy to play. Although there are no voice chats online, still the game is well done. Here, there are two opponents where each team will attempt to complete their specific objectives. So get prepared for the shooting and killing.
It is the year 2065 and a race from the Quake universe called the Strogg have invaded earth so they could get their hands on stroyent, some form of raw material that can be processed into some form of fuel. The gamer plays a character who joins one of the two teams: Strogg or Global Defense Force (humans). The action: shoot 'em and kill 'em. This is really nothing new, plot or story-wise, but still it is enjoyable in all of its gore.
There is a whole lot of action here and it really does not matter which team is chosen, all players feel that they are part of their team and make important contributions. There are the usual experience points to be earned before the levels go up but that is also nothing new. The emphasis of the game is the ability of the characters to stay alive within the game. And with all of the intense fire fights and difficult missions, this can be quite a challenge.
The gamer has a choice of three playing methods: single map, three maps and the two round duels. The three map campaign usually takes place in one continent, while the two round duels is usually played on one map where each team competes with one another and the winner is the one that is left standing. In total, there are about 12 maps and these can be played by 32 players at one given time. This is a bit much for most of the servers can only support 24 gamers at one time.
Basically, the maps really look good and cover a wide terrain. But the lack in the details on those terrains can make the visuals a little flat and the explosions sound more like whimpers rather than the expected kabooms. I must say thought that the lighting is good, and there are some images that are realistically detailed. Some of the weapons really sound too loud and can hurt the ears when they are fired so I must say that I found myself adjusting the volume several times. I really dont want to mention the voice over commands for they irritated me no end.
Ultimately, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is the obvious next step for those who have played Enemy Territory and because this is a much improved version, I have to recommend this to even those gamers who are not really into team shooting. This is a really fresh and interesting game that, although not for everyone, is definitely worth playing. Who knows, the skeptics may just change their minds and become fans. This is definitely one for the library.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Shadow Wars for the 3DS is not what you would think it is at first glace. It isn't a first-person shooter, and you certainly don't need to understand or have played any of the other games in the Ghost Recon series. Ghost Recon Shadow Wars is a TBS (turn-based strategy) game that is reminiscent of Final Fantasy Tactics, or the Advance Wars and Fire Emblem series. Developed and released by Ubisoft, it made its debut in 2011 with generally decent reviews by the critics. Surprisingly, it's actually pretty good. Fun gameplay and good use of tactics make up for uninteresting characters with bad voice acting, an unoriginal campaign and cartoon graphics.
It's a good thing that the voice acting in Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars isn't the most important or defining characteristic, because it's absolutely horrible. The characters are flat, stereotypical and basically uninteresting, filling in roles that show the lack of thought or care put into the story.
The plot for the campaign is easily forgettable; it's the future and there's a problem with Russia. Despite the solid gameplay, mission objectives during the campaign aren't variable, and this can lead to boredom due to the 20+ hours necessary to complete what might actually be a campaign that's a bit too long.
Good strategy is key in this game, and despite the repetitiveness of the campaign, gameplay is great. Turn-based strategy can be a hard genre to make a good game in, but Ghost Recon didn't stray far from the mark on this one. You move each of your "Ghosts" (soldiers) through a battlefield that is marked by a grid. Terrain has a significant impact on battle strategy, as does the high ground. Games like this will remind you of chess, but a lot more graphically interesting and with guns (in this case).
Ghosts come in several different classes, and you have to pick and choose which ones to take with you on any given mission. This adds another level of complexity to mission planning and strategic planning; it's necessary to plan ahead of time a general strategy for each level and then bring the correct soldiers with you to get the job done. There is also an element that hasn't been seen in turn-based games before: supporting fire. If you have troops positioned in a position to do so, an enemy firing on one of your men will be shot back at by the soldiers that are able to.
There is also an option after you beat the campaign to play several bonus stages. Surprisingly, these missions are, in a lot of ways, better than what the campaign has to offer. That's mostly because while the objectives for the campaign can start to feel repetitive, the objectives in this bonus content are more varied and entertaining.
The graphics for the game are simply cartoons. This isn't really a problem for this genre of game, but it will be a disappointment if you're expecting them to do anything spectacular with the 3DS' graphical capabilities. There is hardly a difference between having the 3D on or off, other than the well-known 3D side-effect of having your battery life run out quickly.
Overall, Ghost Recon Shadow Wars is a better game than you might expect. It earned a Metacritic score of 77/100.
Wii Sports Resort was such a hit among the casual crowd for Nintendo's Wii console that the company decided to take WuHu Island, the centerpiece of that game and use it for a PilotWings adaption on the 3DS. Just as the point of Sports Resort was to show off the Wii's motion capabilities, PilotWings Resort was built almost as a tech demo to show off the 3DS capabilities. That doesn't mean it's not fun though. It's just not as full featured as many other titles you can find on the system.
The game gives a choice of fixed wing light aircraft, hang gliders or strap on rocket belts to use as required in the forty or so missions presented to the player.
The game can be broken into groups of challenges across two different categories. The first is Free Flight Mode, which basically gives you the ability to fly over the island, exploring and collecting items. Free Flight is not Free Play, there is a countdown timer and you only have so much time to collect items before you receive a final tally and your quest ends. The game does a good job of adding replay value to this level by asking you to find specific items and then hiding these items in obscure spots. You'll need precise piloting to get your plane into every nook and cranny of the island. As an added bonus, gathered items will add to the time you have to explore the island.
The second mode is Mission Flight mode. In this mode you are given specific tasks to complete with certain restrictions. The challenges are broken down into different classes, training, bronze, silver and so on. The early tests are quite boring but the excitement ramps up later on.
Control is generally good, although sometimes you won't have the exact precision you would like to maneuver into tight spots, and of course the craft you are flying makes a difference of where you can actually get to. The 3D effect works well when you need it but is not necessary but does help in accurately gauging how close your craft is to the ground. If you are just aimlessly wandering around the island on Free Flight Mode, you may want to just turn 3D off and enjoy the crisp 2D graphics.
On the downside is the lack of a decent multiplayer mode. The game seems like it was made for it. It would be wonderful to see another airborne craft flying around in your the shies of your world, but alas, that's never going to happen. Oddly, the game does support StreetPass, so you could log on to find a bonus or two if you happen to bump into someone also carrying a 3DS near you.
To sum up, PilotWings Resort is a very good game for what it sets out to do. It introduces the player to the 3D capabilities of the 3DS and is casual friendly so that just about anyone can jump in and play. The 3D isn't always needed though and a lack of multiplayer in a title like this suggests that perhaps Nintendo just ran out of development time.