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Posted:
2014-03-20

ckane

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

5.0

In a world that has somewhat suddenly found itself full of simulator games working to simulate every mundane segment of life from truck driving to farming, there is one series of games that has been around far longer than any of these other simulators - Emergency. In the past, the series has won accolade from gamers and critics alike, but many people believe that the game has rapidly declined in the past few years. Instead of creating new games, the developers have seemingly been slapping a new skin and a new title onto the same game for years now, is Emergency 2014 any different?

In short, the answer is very much no. Emergency 2014 is yet another re-skinning of the same old Emergency game without any sort of real change. Moreover, the game itself hasnÂ’t been very good for years now. Emergency 2014 not only fails to bring something new to the table, but it also fails to be a game as good as some of the past entries in the series. This might be due to the fact that the core concept has become a bit exhausted, but nevertheless, the game has become something that itÂ’s hard to muster any interest in playing.

The concept of dealing with all sorts of different emergencies is intriguing at first, and the user interface that the game uses is great at facilitating finding your way through those emergencies, whether you need to put out a series of fires or try and contain a rapidly spreading plague. However if you make just one mistake, that mistake quickly snowballs into a full-on disaster. This might be realistic, and that is the purpose of many of these simulation games, but in this particular case once you trigger a series of negative consequences, there is no going back and there is no solving the problem.

Even worse, the game does not allow you any chance to learn the mechanics so that you donÂ’t make those dumb mistakes. There are no difficulty options for you to choose from, meaning that you always have to play it on the hardest possible difficulty. Sure, that difficulty imparts an impressive amount of realism, but it also imparts a similar amount of frustration.

Something that was present in previous Emergency games and would certainly help make this game significantly better would be support for user-made mods. Emergency 4 had a wide array of mods that added everything from new cities to new missions, and that variety made the game far better than what existed at its base.

At some times these other enormous problems donÂ’t even begin to be an issue, indeed nothing is an issue if you canÂ’t get the game to run properly. Beyond a huge amount of compatibility issues that prevent the game from starting at all on certain setups, there seem to be bugs everywhere. Those bugs are not made any better by the fact that they often lead to that aforementioned snowballing effect. One simple glitch can lead to your entire game falling apart, and there is nothing more frustrating.

At the end of the day, there is absolutely no reason to buy this game. If the concept intrigues you, Emergency 4 remains the best game in the series. The fact that these games have seemingly gotten worse with each iteration is frustrating, but hopefully the developer will abandon the idea of making yearly refreshes and finally develop Emergency 5, which the developers are constantly making promises about, right before they release another re-skin, making it impossible to recommend these games.

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Posted:
2012-10-19

ckane

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

7.0

It’s really too bad that the controls for the game end up being so difficult, because the actual game is essentially solid. It uses the standard version of the Warhammer universe rules, albeit a rather simplified version of those rules, that allows the focus of the game to be where it should be on battles. The story for Warhammer Battle March is that a force invades from the North, destroying all before them. You can play as any of the three involved sides, trying to either invade the known world with the Hordes of Chaos, defend it on the side of the Empire, or play as the Greenskin tribes, composed of orcs and goblins.

Because this is a game that is primarily focused on combat, you could expect it to not have an extremely deep storyline. In that, you would be correct, as the missions all follow a linear path and the story between missions involves a text scroll informing you of what your next mission will be. Some RTS games can make the storyline that the player is following be the most important part of the single-player game. A couple of real-time games from Blizzard come to mind. This one, however, doesn't take that step.

The battles that a player gets into as they play through the single-player campaign provide an opportunity for the negative aspects of the game itself to be made visible. Although the little characters look very visually appealing, as does the entire game itself, actually controlling those characters is a maddening enough experience to make it seem not even worth the effort. Using the control pad to control an enormous number of units, and set them properly facing the right direction, and control the other minute aspects that win battles in an RTS game, is not easy. It is accomplished through the use of various button pushes, the combination of which actually performs the action desired, like a unit using an item. The basic matrix interaction of units is one thing that the traditional RTS fan will understand, with certain units working better against some units than others.

When it comes down to it, Warhammer Battle March is a game that should be an entrant in the RTS world. It has scores of fans, a real-life game outside of computers, and a rich history. Like other RTS's, however, it is better off being playing with a mouse and keyboard than a gamepad.

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Posted:
2013-02-16

ckane

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

6.4

After years of development hell, Gearbox has finally delivered the much-anticipated return of the Aliens franchise back into the realm of video gaming. With the amount of hype surrounding Aliens Colonial Marines, we hope it meets the expectations. Simultaneously released on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, fans of the film series are expecting a decent representation of the Aliens universe. Unfortunately, this game has quite a few flaws in it.

Aliens Colonial Marines has had a fairly open development cycle, with the developers showing off the incredible textures, lighting and atmosphere. However, what we received as a final product was, in actuality, nowhere near what was promised. Being in development for over 5 years has really taken its toll on the environments. The small corridors that you'll have to fight through all look exactly the same, with little deviation between different areas. This is something that was acceptable in the early 2000s, but today it is a major eye sore.

The atmosphere also strays from what one would expect from a game based on the Aliens franchise. Instead of slowly sneaking around dimly lit rooms, awaiting a tough fight with a xenomorph, you are forced to run down narrow corridors where hordes of enemies come charging at you. The xenomorphs have become unintelligent, weak enemies that take only a few shots to kill. Gearbox took what was expected to be a creepy yet challenging game, and turned it into another corridor shooter.

Some good things that Gearbox included in the game are plenty of Easter eggs from the film's history. You will enter familiar rooms, meet famous characters and see things that will peak your interest. While this is a welcome addition to the Aliens universe, there is still a lot to be desired.

Multiplayer suffers from many of the same issues that are found in the single player campaign. There are only four different modes to play, plus co-op. The small corridors and the swarms of enemies hamper co-op play. It doesn't seem like there is an increased number of bad guys to compensate for the additional players, making the game incredibly easy to beat with a friend.

The adversarial matches are inadequate and fairly uninteresting. With the paltry weapon upgrades you'll be relying on interesting gameplay to convince yourself to play, of which there isn't any. When playing the xenomorphs themselves you will feel underpowered against the marines, while also experiencing a number of issues with the controls. These balancing problems could be fixed in a patch, and there is a number of paid DLC that will be arriving to expand your online experience. That is if you decide to stay for that long.

Aliens Colonial Marines just isn't a good representation of the Aliens franchise. The game feels more like one of the hundreds of generic shooters of the last decade rather than a scary horror game. The graphics are unacceptable for a game with such a large budget and development cycle. While there are some interesting throwbacks, even die hard fans of the series should pass this game up.

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Posted:
2013-02-19

ckane

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

7.6

Sleeping Dogs is an action game in an open world setting. It follows the story of Wei Shen, as he works in Hong-Kong. Much like other open world action titles, Sleeping Dogs features a good deal of violence, crime and fast cars. However, Wei Shen's crimes have a bit of a twist.

The game starts with a long scene with obvious criminal activity. The player is able to get a real first feel for the game in an on foot chase scene. Wei Shen is running from the police after being busted with other criminals. The player races and weaves Shen through a Hong Kong neighborhood, with fast-paced, exciting music and another character rushing Shen to hurry. At the end of the scene, all seems lost as Wei is handcuffed by the police. When questioned, it is revealed that Wei Shen is actually an undercover cop, working with the police to infiltrate the notorious Triads.

The story is really interesting and it works well with the gameplay. Players have to try to balance their cop and Triad responsibilities without raising suspicion. Meanwhile. Shen is also developing relationships, learning about other big criminals and trying to bust crimes with high tech gadgets. Beating the game requires the player to complete tasks as they come. There are Triad tasks and police tasks. The player is able to choose which ones to work on, while completing side tasks as they explore the world.

Unlike other similar styles, there isn't a lot of gun play in Sleeping Dogs. In fact, almost half the game is completed without a single gun fired. This is rationalized by the characters because of China's strict gun laws. However, the game is definitely not lacking in action because of the lack of guns. The melee combat is really the game's crowning achievement. There are plenty of opportunities for players to fight in hand to hand combat. Most of the boss battles are melee combat and Wei Shen even gets the opportunity to learn new special moves throughout the game. The fighting style is fast paced, with the unique ability to use world objects to perform special moves. For example, when grappling with an opponent, players can push them into a vent fan or against soda machines. This ability makes the lack of weapons a non-issue for many players.

Once the game does introduce weapon play, guns are fairly easy to acquire. The gun play is unique and satisfying. Players are able to zoom and lock on to enemies while fighting. There is even the ability to slow down time while shooting.

The limited edition version of Sleeping Dogs includes two packs of additional content. This includes the George St. Pierre and the Police Protection packs. Each pack comes with special moves, new objects and weapons and different characters and missions.

This is an exciting action game for experienced and new players. The story contains a lot of violence and adult themes. So, it isn't appropriate for children or teens.

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Posted:
2014-03-20

ckane

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

5.0

When Dark Matter was initially released on the PC, there was a huge amount of controversy swirling around the title in regards to how it ended. Due to limitations during development, the game abruptly ends its story 4 hours in without any warning, and with serious ramifications to the story. A wall of text pops up, telling the player why the game has abruptly ended (a lack of funding from the crowdfunding website Kickstarter) This is obviously a huge problem, but beyond this rather sizable stumbling block, how does the game work otherwise?

Dark Matter is a 2.5D atmospheric sidescroller in the vein of a metroidvania - though the game lacks any sort of of the traditional item finding or backtracking mechanics of a metroidvania game. Instead, you get 4 different weapons to shoot things with as you slowly make your way through the game, none of which really do anything interesting.

And therein lies the biggest problem with the core mechanics of Dark Matter. Almost ever aspect of the game are just painfully generic and average. Nothing is particularly bad, but for a game that only lasts a few hours before abruptly ending, the mechanics are not nearly enough to prop up the rest of the games faults.

That is not to say that the game doesn't have a few redeeming qualities. The atmospheric sections of the game are beautifully done, and the developers' use of lighting in a 2.5D environment is practically unmatched in the rest of the industry. Likewise, the audio design goes a long way to creating their creepy atmosphere thanks to an utter lack of it. The only sounds you'll hear for the most part are your own footsteps on the mechanical whirring of nearby machines.

However, after you go through an especially tense hallway or set of hallways, the gameplay comes back into frame and the game falls apart again. The character movement was seemingly designed to feel as tense as the environments do, but they end up feeling clunky and awkward instead. It seems like every gameplay mechanic that was designed to add tension and create a creepy environment just comes across as tedious and boring instead.

There is at least one redeeming quality about the gameplay, though - the crafting system. The system contained within Dark Matter only allows the player to create ammunition, health packs and the like, but just like the audio and visual design of the game, it helps Dark Matter feel tense, which the gameplay fails utterly to do.

Indeed, the ability to create ammo and the like from scrap metal that you find around the world seems like the only reason you ever have to do anything that isn't directly advancing the plot and barreling down the main path. While odd for a title that is ostensibly related tot he metroidvania games that so many of us have come to love, after playing through this game I don't think anything could surprise me.

In many ways, the abrupt end that the final wall of text brings to Dark Matter is more of a sweet release than anything negative. It seems that the fact that the game was not able to meet its funding on Kickstarter was probably a good thing, because as poor as the game can often be in the existing 4 hours or so, dragging it on any longer would have stretched the gameplay beyond its breaking point. Dark Matter is a perfect example of a Kickstarter gone right - this game clearly did not deserve money, and people refused to give them that money.

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Posted:
2014-03-20

ckane

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

6.0

One of the many genres of games that seemingly always exists under the radar is the management sim. Some of the most famous examples of this genre are games like Football Manager and Out of the Park Baseball, but there is a new sub-genre that has slowly been emerging over the past few years.

The fact is that as much as some people like playing management simulator games, many people find them rather boring and would rather play gamers that allow them to live out the action instead of just manage it. Many management games have been looking for ways to make the management experience more interesting and perhaps more exciting, and we're looking at one such game today, Lords Of Football.

In addition to the traditional football management core of running the football team and trying to make it the best in its respective corner of the world, Lords of Football also allows players to directly manage their players. Anyone who pays attention to any sort of real life sports knows that sometimes the personal actions of the players can be what truly makes or breaks a fantastic team.

The actual player management ends up working quite a bit like The Sims. You micromanage each player in a way that optimizes their statistics, not unlike having to constantly tell a Sim what to do. However, the level at which you do this from ends up feeling a lot more like a god game in the vein of Black and White. You can either be a compassionate deity or an evil one, and your players will respond accordingly.

When it comes to playing the games themselves, this feeling of hovering over everything persists. The only thing you can do during a match is simply pick an overarching strategy and then direct specific players in real-time, though any real time interactions consume an energy bar of sorts whenever you use them.

As you might have realized at this point in the review, Lords of Football is trying to be a lot of different games all at once. Sadly, Lords of Football is a rather generic jack of all trades. Trying to even figure out where to start with the myriad of problems that the game has is rather difficult.

For starters, the Sims-esque player management segment of the game feels like it is several years behind, with only a few different needs, making it extremely easy to make everyone happy and keep them that way.

In addition, instead of spreading the actual matches throughout a full year, the game requires you to play a match every single day, as well as a practice session and the parties that your players will want to attend.

Nevertheless, for an independent title, Lords of Football is very impressive mixture of a huge number of different elements. Each element could certainly use improvement in a number of ways, and it's very hard to recommend this first game, or any of the DLC added in the Royal Edition. This is absolutely a series to watch though. In the near future, when sequels will hopefully begin to be released, the gameplay will improve over time. In a few years, one would hope that we see this perfected.

At the end of the day, Lords of Football is a mish-mash of imperfect gameplay elements made into a rather interesting if somewhat hard to stomach final product. There are a lot of interesting ideas at work here, and if you really like the ideas, you'll likely get some sort of enjoyment out of them, but others should stay away.

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Posted:
2013-12-28

ckane

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

4.5

The good thing about Turning Point Fall of Liberty is the great musical score. The powerful set pieces as well as the melees based on clever environments are an added plus to the game. But these three are not enough to combat the mediocrity of the gameplay. There are too many bugs which break up the gameplay consistently. Some of the major happenings in the game cannot be kept up with by the lousy frame rate. Add in the boring graphics and an unoriginal plot and you get a feeling that somewhere along the way, you got duped into playing.

This is a game that starts out with a fantastic idea but the developers failed to translate it into an interesting game which keeps the gamers keep coming for more. In this alternate reality game, Hitler's armies overwhelm the world and are just about to stage an attack on the United States. This is the turning point of the game, where the game just flops into oblivion. The idea behind the alternate history should have been a great platform for a great shooter game but it does not.

The game starts out with the character, Carson, working in a construction site. And that is all that you learn about your character. After this, you soon find out about the invading Nazis have taken control over the US presidency and there is the presence of a smattering of resistance fighters. That's it.

There are a few good set pieces which can excite the gamer, but as they are far apart and rare, the excitement soon wanes. At first it starts out really well with a lot of fighting and first shooter experiences, but then you get to keep on running, and running, and running some more. Soon, you forget that this is a shooter game and feels more like race game; you even forget that you are supposed to be a freedom fighter.

There is also some combat where you can switch between weapons and shoot, but then there is more running. It really worsens up when the targeting system of the game simply fails or becomes unreliable. So even if you think you can shoot, you end up shooting wild.

There are more technical problems along the way which are too numerous to mention. On top of this, the enemies look like twinks, sorry, but they do. They look like running cartoon characters running chaotic.

The game is just plain uninspiring and leaves one feeling burdened with having had the bad luck to play it. If you read this and would like to avoid buying or even playing the game, you are in a good place, so stay there. This is just a great example of what should have been and didn't.

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Posted:
2012-10-10

ckane

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

4.5

The good thing about Turning Point Fall of Liberty is the great musical score. The powerful set pieces as well as the melees based on clever environments are an added plus to the game. But these three are not enough to combat the mediocrity of the gameplay. There are too many bugs which break up the gameplay consistently. Some of the major happenings in the game cannot be kept up with by the lousy frame rate. Add in the boring graphics and an unoriginal plot and you get a feeling that somewhere along the way, you got duped into playing.

This is a game that starts out with a fantastic idea but the developers failed to translate it into an interesting game which keeps the gamers keep coming for more. In this alternate reality game, Hitler's armies overwhelm the world and are just about to stage an attack on the United States. This is the turning point of the game, where the game just flops into oblivion. The idea behind the alternate history should have been a great platform for a great shooter game but it does not.

The game starts out with the character, Carson, working in a construction site. And that is all that you learn about your character. After this, you soon find out about the invading Nazis have taken control over the US presidency and there is the presence of a smattering of resistance fighters. That's it.

There are a few good set pieces which can excite the gamer, but as they are far apart and rare, the excitement soon wanes. At first it starts out really well with a lot of fighting and first shooter experiences, but then you get to keep on running, and running, and running some more. Soon, you forget that this is a shooter game and feels more like race game; you even forget that you are supposed to be a freedom fighter.

There is also some combat where you can switch between weapons and shoot, but then there is more running. It really worsens up when the targeting system of the game simply fails or becomes unreliable. So even if you think you can shoot, you end up shooting wild.

There are more technical problems along the way which are too numerous to mention. On top of this, the enemies look like twinks, sorry, but they do. They look like running cartoon characters running chaotic.

The game is just plain uninspiring and leaves one feeling burdened with having had the bad luck to play it. If you read this and would like to avoid buying or even playing the game, you are in a good place, so stay there. This is just a great example of what should have been and didn't.

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Posted:
2012-10-23

ckane

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

7.0

While Thrillville isnÂ’t exactly a game made for adults, itÂ’s also not exactly a game made for kids. There are portions of it that are very easily accessible to children, and the game itself is full of enough fun and design options for adults to enjoy it too. Just like in everything it does, this game provides a balance that makes it an enjoyable experience for nearly anyone to play.

The single-player campaign game here has you playing the role of manager for a theme park. You start off with a single park with three different themed areas that you can fill with rides and games. As you build games and rides and complete tasks throughout your park, you unlock thrill points, which allows you to unlock new parks to build in.

ThereÂ’s no doubt that one of the best parts about this game is the capability to design your own roller-coaster, build it in your park, and then watch as people ride it and enjoy it. The process to do so is simple and intuitive, and there are even special pieces that can be added into your coaster, like loops, teardrops, and corkscrews. While adding these to your roller-coaster can be fun, you donÂ’t want to have too many of them, or else youÂ’ll raise the coasterÂ’s nausea rating too high and no one will want to ride it.

If building your own roller-coaster isn't your thing, then perhaps one of the fifty different mini-games that is a part of Thrillville will do it for you. These mini-games are a crucial part of the game itself, providing you with the means to be able to accomplish all the goals that you will have to do to properly take care of your park. Mini-games about repairing broken rides, mini-games about shooting enemies away from your park, mini-games throughout tell the story of your park, and allow you to do what is necessary to keep it up and running.

Although the gameplay itself is definitely on point in this game, the graphics tend to leave a little bit to be desired. There are frame rate stutters occasionally, as well as difficulties with rendering. The game also looks a little cartoonish, as well.

All told, Thrillville: Off the Rails has a whole lot going for it. It provides a level of enjoyment in the gameplay that few games possess today. While itÂ’s not perfect, it is a very well balanced game that is a whole lot of fun for gamers of any age, and isnÂ’t that what video games are really all about?

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Posted:
2012-10-25

ckane

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

6.5

The charging of troops is as easy as picking someone around to combat. The player will just have to click a troop if he loses some men in the battle then he can go back to the war again. This rule of the Bladestorm game made it a lousy game. The player cannot feel the real action because there is no way to make an individual fight. The action of the player applies to all the allied troops. It is like watching a synchronize battle.

The mode of battles is also repetitive and constant. In advancing level by level, the player just has to charge to French troops to destroy them then proceed. This goes on and on for the entire game. There is no new battle strategy for every level to make it more exciting. The battle looks exciting because of the chaotic troops from both sides but you just need to click the shared action to defeat the entire camp. If you lose energy you just need to retreat to the nearest camp to regenerate, grab some troop then head back to battle again.

The battle setting always happened during the night. The artificial intelligence seemed to be like in reality. The enemies donÂÂ’t attack first they wait to be slaughtered. The only concern of the player is the number of enemies. They are too many but you can easily replenish your troops so there is an easy solution to defeat the enemy.

The interesting part is how the player maneuvers the troop in settling the camp, or in the tavern. He will spend some time gearing up the troop, categorizing them according to weapon and the positions during the war. It is interesting to customize gears, weapons, strength, skills and strategy. The player can also buy some equipment for the combat. But during the war all the preparation is hardly recognize because the success of the battle only depends on the total destruction after.

Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 version of bladestorm do not offer a multiplayer option which makes it less enjoyable. The audio and video of the game are also rated as low. The large amount of troops during battle makes it hard to recognize the different teams. The design is not so great because of its limited color. The only difference between the two is that the xbox game is frequently interrupted by glitches but the PS3 game runs smoothly. Though known as a promising game, bladestorm is still half finished.


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