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Posted:
2013-06-21

paulwarnett

Super Gamer Dude

8.1

Fifa has long been one of the leading franchises in not only sports games, but in games in general. Time and time again they have produced games that play and feel very realistic, and that provide the user with a great gaming experience. FIFA 13 for the Wii U is no exception to that. FIFA's newest addition to their franchise includes some great new features, and is proving to be a very interesting and fun game in its own ways.

A number of great new features have been added to the Wii U version of FIFA 13. For example, users can manage the match in real time, meaning they can substitute players, change formations, and so on. FIFA 13, like other FIFA games, provides an extensive list of teams and leagues, with the ability to use players from those teams, and play in hose clubs. FIFA 13 even adds the Saudi Professional League to the list of leagues on the game.

A number of modes have been changed on the Wii U version. In career mode, not only can users manage clubs, but they can also manage international teams. A big added feature of FIFA 13 is the Ultimate Team feature, or FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT). In FIFA Ultimate Team, you can create your team from real life players. You can them compete using your players against teams on the internet. If you win you get coins which you can use to buy cards which improve your teams and players. You can buy decks of cards and single cards.

FIFA games are made to be as realistic as possible, and the Wii U is no exception to this. The players in the game are all real players, and even the stadiums in the game are real life stadiums, found all over the world. There are 26 real life stadiums found in the game. 4 of the stadiums in this game are new additions to the franchise. The teams are all real teams, both international and club teams.

The Wii U version of the game is different to other platforms in a number of ways. The use of the Wii U Gamepad helps the user to be completely immersed in the gameplay, which in turn helps the game to be a lot more realistic. People can use the Gamepad to better aim the ball and take penalty kicks, which eliminates the "hit and hope" aspect that some previous soccer games had.

Overall, FIFA 13 for Wii U is a great new gaming experience. The use of the Wii U Gamepad adds an aspect of realism that is not available to other gaming platforms. FIFA is one of the leading names in soccer games, and for good reason. This game is no exception to the fact that FIFA games are leading the way. The addition of several new features proves the fact that FIFA is looking foreword in their games, and we can expect to see games getting better and more realistic as time goes on.

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Posted:
2013-06-21

paulwarnett

Super Gamer Dude

7.3

The deliriously entertaining antics of Nickelodeon's Spongebob Squarepants are on full display in the most chaotic party game the franchise has ever licensed, Spongebob Squigglepants 3D. This rapidly paced installment in the Spongebob saga is exclusively available on the Nintendo 3DS. The bulk of this adventure is comprised of a relatively new form of mini-games known as Nanogames which typically last between five seconds and one minute. The result is a deviously humorous roller-coaster ride through the underwater city of Bikini Bottom.

The loosely constructed plot revolves around Patchy the Pirate, the comically deranged host of the series. He appears in sudden intermittent segments to string the zany excess into some semblance of coherency. Abrupt hilarity lurks around every corner of this game. The majority of the game-play focuses on the unique features of the 3DS controller. The stylus is a prominent aspect of most Nanogames, although other ones involve shaking and spinning the controller or racing on the circle pad. Irreverent jokes riddle every second of the non-stop playing action. Every game offers a wide set of visual aesthetics, showcasing the signature animation style spliced with live-action narratives and a series of retro games presented in 8-bit pixels. These arcade twists include spins on Tetris, and Pong. Progressing through the game's seven world environment fiendishly difficult task for children, fans of the show and experienced gamers alike. While the tasks seem simple at first glance, they become mind-numbingly addictiveness. Exceedingly complex games are unlocked as the player improves their skills and masters all the Nanogames.

Despite being a formulaic hodgepodge of miniscule animated missions, there is hardly any filler content in this game. Every unexpected turn of events contains hilarious tidbits of information about characters that fans cannot get anywhere else. There is not a dry second let alone a boring one. The quickness in which players can rack up accomplishments is stupefying. The key reward is secret access to behind the scenes animation from the series itself, including previously unreleased storyboards.

The first and foremost goal of Spongebob Squigglepants 3D is to deliver a non-stop stream of ocean silliness. In accomplishing this task, THQ managed also to produce a game that can appeal to all generations. At no time does the inanity detract from game-play value. In enlisting the original talent from the show, Tom Kenny, as Patchy the Pirate, Nickelodeon managed to extend the life of its most recognizable franchise yet again. The use of 3D is astonishing and engaging, more so than most releases at this time.

In eventuality, some portions of the game can become repetitious. The Remix and Hyper Remix Modes remedy this a little bit, but older fans still may want to skip the over-the-top narrative segments and just get right to the lightning speed gaming. The most adaptable feature this game features is the ability to create one's own assortments of Nanogames in the order of their preference. Everyone in the series at least gets a cameo, packing endless explosive surprises.

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Posted:
2013-08-16

paulwarnett

Super Gamer Dude

6.4

One amazing feature that stands out, which has been noticed on the 3DS, is the sound quality the console can provide. It is fantastic. It has such great sound for such a little hand held device. The music for this game is simple as are many of the other features of this game. You can very much tell that this takes place in France. You are forced to know it by the music, but it does set a great mood for the game.

The characters of the game are very compelling, and the story is great, but it also seems to lose track of itself along the way and does not give enough information when you need it. The story is about Doctor Lautrec and his assistant, Sophie, and their search for relics belonging to the French king Louis the XIV, using maps as clues and the Doctor's razor sharp intellect as a guide.

This game is of fairly good quality if you are willing to spend a little time on it, as it has many unexpected twists and turns. There are not enough puzzles and they generally start off being much too easy. It is also a little drawn out because of how little time you actually play the games compared to how long you stare at the screen and listen to the characters.

The game can be split into two sections, above ground play and below ground play. When you are above the ground you are wandering through the open streets of Paris, but the underground gameplay is a little more fun as you have to navigate through underground passageways and this can get challenging especially since you have to dodge the many strategically placed guards. Underground is also where the majority of the puzzles can be found.

This game is a good game but does not live up its full potential. You keep playing along hoping for something a little more challenging later, but it just not happen. The puzzles start off relatively easy and do not get much more difficult later on, and even the storyline becomes weaker. The concept is great and the game is well presented it just lacks that extra touch that could make it so much better. The graphics are fine, the sound effects are simple but atmospheric. What could have been an excellent game has turned out an OK one.

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Posted:
2014-05-19

On the whole, Mario and Luigi is a success mechanically.

paulwarnett

Super Gamer Dude

7.9

The Mario RPGs have been a consistently fantastic and inventive branch off series for Nintendo since the Super Nintendo era. This latest portable edition is riskier than some prior entries, but unfortunately this comes at a cost to its quality and more specifically its pacing.

Before we get too far into where the game struggles, it's important to note the game does carry the typical Nintendo polish and certainly executes, dutifully towards its 'charm quotient'. As always, Treehouse has done a wonderful job translating the dialogue, although at times, exchanges last a few beats too long and there's a feeling that some 'fat' needs to be cut in the future.

Focusing on the game itself, the structure balances a dual-world idea, as the plumber brothers bounce from real to dream world, often tediously. Puzzles feel padded by this duality, pushing our heroes into former areas and making smaller tasks feel more laborious because of the backtracking. The first 15 hours of playtime feels like 8 hours of game, and because of this I found myself clicking through dialogue to just finish it. Instead of looking forward to the next twist, interesting boss, or explorable area; I was hurried because it became a blur of repetition (something that readily eradicates its 'charm quotient').

The saving grace in this monotony however is the classic active turn-based system that remains fresh even today. With a large variety of enemies, and each of them presenting different attack cadences, there's rarely a dull battle to be had. Players actively want to get in battles here although as the game seemingly extends into monotony, additional fights begin to feel tedious because the rest of the game was becoming so repetitive.

Aesthetically, Mario and Luigi is clean and vibrant; employing Nintendo's wonderful palette and pseudo cel-shaded look in 3D. Most gamers will appreciate the subtle 'picture book' look made from the 3D effect, something that works particularly well given the general look of the Mario RPG series. As well, the sound FX are simple and the music quality as always, employing old classics and new joints that fit well alongside the colorful action.

While the game stays close to the formula of battle/grind/explore/cut-scene, there are some successful risks such as the 'Kaiju' boss battles that mix things up. These novel/flip your 3DS segments challenge convention and breath some surprise into the game at a time where the monotony has settled in.

On the whole, Mario and Luigi is a success mechanically, and occasionally with its humor and charm. Unfortunately, it's dual world/dream world mechanic is more tedious than fun, and monotony gets in the way of both the rhythm and momentum of the title. Still, the game has that same wonderful battle system you've grown to love and enough Nintendo whimsy to sink its teeth into you for a little while. The best advice here is to wait for a sale and maybe snag it at $20 as opposed to full retail.

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Posted:
2014-05-19

Wreck-It Ralph is surprisingly playable.

paulwarnett

Super Gamer Dude

6.0

The film Wreck-It Ralph was a fun little romp through video game references in the theaters, and when I saw a copy of Wreck-It Ralph for the 3DS, I thought that it might adopt the things that made the film so great. However, while the game does at times make attempts to evoke the highly referential nature of the movie it misses one opportunity after another to really make that fun.

On the surface it seems like it would be rather simple for a developer to create a game that riffs off of the fake fix-it felix game from the movie. It would have been far better to just make a New Super Mario Bros-esque version of Fix it Felix, which would have probably been a far better game. In fact, pretty much anything that was more rooted in the movie itself probably would have been a better game than what eventually came of this property.

Alas, it is impossible to review a game that does not exist - so I need to review this pretty awful game that came out instead. Like most movie cash-in games based on movies that are ostensibly for kids, Wreck-It Ralph is a pretty badly built game with few redeeming qualities.

That said, Wreck-It Ralph is surprisingly playable. The mechanics are at least present, and it feels like a 90s platformer in the vein of Donkey Kong Country - but that is where anything positive about this game ends.

The core mechanic requires swapping between Fix-It Felix and Wreck-It Ralph, both of which have unique abilities that are required to progress through the level. However, instead of using this mechanic in any sort of remotely interesting way, every time the game needs you to use a specific character to do something it basically just tells you to do it, sucking any fun or interest out of the mechanic.

That said, the biggest problem with Wreck-It Ralph has nothing to do with the gameplay and everything to do with the levels. Not only are the levels extremely generic and repetitive, but there are only four levels in total, meaning that most people will finish the game before they even fully realize that they've even managed to start it.

Sure, you could say that the game is still good for kids, and I'm sure that certain kids would get an absolute kick out of seeing the characters from their favorite movie again and seeing the story of the film followed up on (albeit in a very half-hearted way) - but if you really want to buy your kids a game that they won't only like but will have some amount of staying power, don't pick up this one. Instead, pick up any of the incredible Nintendo platformers on the system, like New Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario 3D World, or even Donkey Kong Returns 3D - basically just buy anything that twas made by Nintendo and you are more than safe when choosing a game.

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Posted:
2010-10-05

paulwarnett

Super Gamer Dude

8.9

Codemaster has a new franchise up in its sleeves in the form of F1 2010. this racing game is a fun remake of one of the most challenging games in the world of motor sports. It is challenging, fast, and realistic. The cars and race tracks have been rendered in a most magnificent way. A fan of the Formula One series? Then you can bet you will surely enjoy this game; packed with a variety of race modes that includes single race, time trial, and career mode, you are very unlikely to get tired of it soon. Also, join you mates and see who is the best racer.

The current Formula One season are all represented in the F1 2010. Yes, all the fast cars, great teams, and tracks are in this package. The reflections created by the clouds, the grandstand, and the over – hanging track markers are remarkable as well as outstanding since they enhance the racing experience and makes you feel that you are really one of the race drivers. And when it rains, it pours. The splashes the cars make as they speed through puddles are rendered greatly, and in accompaniment of visibility changes; and when the track begins to dry, you will the marks the rain splatters has made on your helmet. These developments makes the graphics department of the game really stand out. The audio does a great job as well as you hear the impressive roar of the engines and from time to time the radio will work up to keep you company during races.

As a simulation game, F1 2010 offers full customization on the difficulty settings of the game. However, one might get intimidated by the whole scenario especially if you’re a first timer as there are no tutorials available. I was kind of overwhelmed when I first started the game. The modeling are so realistic that in fact, if you damage your car during the race, you will see the impact and magnitude it made. You can create custom races that can be used individually or as part of a series. This can also be done online.

There are plenty of multiplayer options in F1 2010, most of which are only available online. Believe me you and your mates will have fun with this! But that means you can create multiply Grand Prixs with strangers and show off your racing prowess! F1 2010 is clearly a game any fan of Formula One or simulation racing would do well to take for a spin.

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Posted:
2013-06-21

paulwarnett

Super Gamer Dude

7.7

The Hitman series has undergone a lot of changes over the many years it has existed. The first Hitman game was almost universally panned on release, but then Hitman 2 came out. This game was praised for being revolutionary in its time, and won a number of game of the year awards. As time has gone on, the Hitman series has continued to change, culminating in this year's highly controversial re-imagining of the series in Hitman Absolution.

In this way, the Hitman HD Trilogy allows us to take a look at the series's three most popular games and see what made them so great. The trilogy contains Hitman 2, Contracts, and Hitman Blood Money, all of which were the pinnacle of stealth action in their time.

Let's talk about Hitman 2 first. The up-rezzing of the game has done it some serious favors visually, but the game is, at its core, still old. The controls that lie at the center of the game have a tendency to never do exactly what you want them to, and the game simply feels limited by the technical constraints of the time, leading to smaller levels and more limits on creativity than later games.

Hitman Contracts has ages significantly better, featuring a much better button layout and a massive amount of room for creativity. In fact, if you play Hitman 2 first, you will probably find the amount of choice in play here almost overwhelming. That said, it still feels a bit old thanks to the aggressively bad AI, but it looks and plays better than Hitman 2.

The shining jewel of this collection, however, is Hitman Blood Money. Sadly, all that Square Enix has done here is taken the original version of Blood Money for the Xbox 360 and shoved it into the same box as the disc containing the other two games, but this is certainly the game that has aged the best. Levels are wide open and allow for an insane amount of variety when it comes to kills, and the graphics look like about what you would expect from an early Xbox 360 title.

There is one other thing that will come with the first run of the HD trilogy that I have neglected to mention, and is likely one of the biggest reasons that long-time Hitman fans are going to be interested in buying this game. This first-run limited edition comes with a hardcover art book that contains art from not only all of the core games in the pack, but other ancillary games that came out around them, even down to the cheap old phone games that were being released on flip-phones at the time.

For any serious Hitman fan, the package is worth if you go for the limited edition which includes the artbook, but for anyone else, none of these games barring Blood Money have aged well. Just find a used copy of Blood Money somewhere and buy that instead of this package, and you'll have a much better experience with it.

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Posted:
2014-05-08

paulwarnett

Super Gamer Dude

6.0

In between the game matches that involve tournaments and park battles which are similar to the arcade mode, the player gets the chance to purchase a Bakugan, enhance it, or perhaps buy a G-Power card and control the decks for the next fight which is yet to come. This kind of set up is operational despite the restricted number of Bakugan to buy since this set up will repeat across the 6 various types of Bakugan which are also known as Attributes. Based on what type of cards is being played and which battlefield you are located, a certain Bakugan type can offer more bonuses compared to another type.

With respect to the game, there are some liberties that are taken into consideration along with the game rule to come up with an exciting game. Once you have thrown your Bakugan inside the field for playing, the other players will try to take the Bakugan off the course while the player is maneuvering the creature in the field for pick-ups so that your Bakugan will grow stronger for the existing game match. When you are done with it, you can now utilize one of the 3 Ability cards which you have selected beforehand in order to further advance the G-Power of your Bakugan.

Afterwards, you will play a minigame from among the three to further increase the G-Power. These minigames consist of a timing/rhythm game, shooting game and another game wherein you provide shudder to the Dual Shock 3 with swiftness to level up your G-Power. All the elements of a good game are present as well as the four-player support even if the set up is simple and is not online.

Overall, the rating of Bakugan is at moderate level. With respect to the presentation, the story is unpleasant as anticipated, yet, the cutscenes are reasonably well-done. Even if the art style is managed suitably, it is still not the most appealing game ever. The sound quality is fitting but the overall effects are very redundant. With regards to the gameplay, there are way too many options as well as minigames which are supposedly fine if the strategy is heavy. Although, Bakugan’s story will not take forever to play, it is very lengthy. Though the gameplay mechanic offers excessive build-up in every fight, these will only serve as distractions for Bakugan aficionados.

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Posted:
2014-05-19

Surprisingly playable.

paulwarnett

Super Gamer Dude

6.0

The film Wreck-It Ralph was a fun little romp through video game references in the theaters, and when I saw a copy of Wreck-It Ralph for the 3DS, I thought that it might adopt the things that made the film so great. However, while the game does at times make attempts to evoke the highly referential nature of the movie it misses one opportunity after another to really make that fun.

On the surface it seems like it would be rather simple for a developer to create a game that riffs off of the fake fix-it felix game from the movie. It would have been far better to just make a New Super Mario Bros-esque version of Fix it Felix, which would have probably been a far better game. In fact, pretty much anything that was more rooted in the movie itself probably would have been a better game than what eventually came of this property.

Alas, it is impossible to review a game that does not exist - so I need to review this pretty awful game that came out instead. Like most movie cash-in games based on movies that are ostensibly for kids, Wreck-It Ralph is a pretty badly built game with few redeeming qualities.

That said, Wreck-It Ralph is surprisingly playable. The mechanics are at least present, and it feels like a 90s platformer in the vein of Donkey Kong Country - but that is where anything positive about this game ends.

The core mechanic requires swapping between Fix-It Felix and Wreck-It Ralph, both of which have unique abilities that are required to progress through the level. However, instead of using this mechanic in any sort of remotely interesting way, every time the game needs you to use a specific character to do something it basically just tells you to do it, sucking any fun or interest out of the mechanic.

That said, the biggest problem with Wreck-It Ralph has nothing to do with the gameplay and everything to do with the levels. Not only are the levels extremely generic and repetitive, but there are only four levels in total, meaning that most people will finish the game before they even fully realize that they've even managed to start it.

Sure, you could say that the game is still good for kids, and I'm sure that certain kids would get an absolute kick out of seeing the characters from their favorite movie again and seeing the story of the film followed up on (albeit in a very half-hearted way) - but if you really want to buy your kids a game that they won't only like but will have some amount of staying power, don't pick up this one. Instead, pick up any of the incredible Nintendo platformers on the system, like New Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario 3D World, or even Donkey Kong Returns 3D - basically just buy anything that twas made by Nintendo and you are more than safe when choosing a game.

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Posted:
2014-06-15

Above average

paulwarnett

Super Gamer Dude

7.0

2014 has become the 'year of the RPG' in hardcore gaming circles, and with such variety to choose from, smaller titles face an uphill battle in getting noticed. One such niche title is Spiders' Bound by Flame, a challenging Action-RPG that is simultaneously interesting but also undercooked. However, while it's a title that's flawed and not immediately charming, it has some sharper edges that may carve out a niche amongst those looking for more customization and challenge.

In terms of presentation, Bound by Flame presents an intriguing base concept of having gamers play as an individual with a demon trapped inside his body/mind. We're constantly given villainous commentary from this demon, and while it gives a certain color to the proceedings, the script is sadly lacking. Actually, this concept is the only real redeeming aspect of the storytelling; which is devoid of likable characters and it fails in utilizing the demon aspect to its potential. There's a promise of 'big decisions' with this device, but those made by the player feel more superficial and perfunctory. Instead of having us make grey decisions that make us really ponder our approach, we're left to decide black and white things like 'maybe I'll be bad and kill someone this time'.

However, while a poor storyline can be the undoing of an RPG, Spider has crafted a weighty battle system that not only gives players a tactile sense of growth, but a consistently rewarding sense of accomplishment. Mixing impulse and strategy, players need to enter each battle attentive, as even the smallest tussles can end in death. There's a great deal of timing involved, and players are forced to learn the rhythm of multiple opponents in order to be victorious. As well, the three trees of progression (Warrior, Ranger, and Pyromancer), each have their integral traits that fill out the player. While you won't suddenly feel overpowered, there's a careful and well-thought balance to the upgrades that rewards players who put the effort in. Two-thirds into the game, my character felt like a different beast than when I started, and my player skills and overall ability in the game made me feel like a certifiable badass.

Alongside this strong combat and character growth is robust item and equipment customization that encourages the player to dig deeper. As players move from encounter to encounter, they'll realize that they're able to modify and strengthen just about every item they come across. Combine that with a healthy loot rate, and there's a strong incentive for players to investigate their inventory thoroughly. This is a key point, as Spiders has done a valiant job in mixing the combat action with the detailed customization, and they make the effects of this customization felt in subtle but appropriate ways. Overall, the gameplay balance is uncommonly good, and for those that enjoy 'going deeper' in their RPGs, they will find themselves right at home in Bound by Flame.

On the aesthetic front, Spider has created a nice-looking game that's held back by its modest budget. Character models, effects, and environments look strong enough on their own but there's a slight lack of polish when you take things as a whole. Perhaps there's an inorganic veil shrouding the game, but players will notice the game doesn't always hold together visually. Similarly on the aural end, music is generally bland and the voices are serviceable but dry due to the weaker script. It's safe to say these aspects don't enrich the experience, but at the very least they do service it through its 12 hour running time.

Overall, Bound by Flame is sometimes mundane title with a rough storyline and lower grade presentation. However, it offers strong and uniquely satisfying gameplay that gives a lot back to the player in terms of customization and progression. Those looking for more meat and less flash in their role-playing games would do well to check out Bound by Flame.


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