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Posted:
2014-01-30

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

7.8

The first time Square Enix showed Hitman Absolution to the public, there was quite a bit of outrage. The first slice they showed was filled with action, something that Hitman fans despise, and certainly was never associated with the Hitman series in the past. Thankfully, Hitman Absolution maintains the spirit of past Hitman titles while adding enough new features to make it worthwhile.

As is normal for Hitman titles, missions consist of hunting targets through specially designed levels that offer many different options when it comes to finally killing your assigned targets. While most of the basic Hitman formula remains unchanged, there are a few key additions, not the least of which being the Instinct system. This system allows you to see guards through walls or other obstructions, as well as their assigned patrol routes.

Instinct also allows you to cheat your way past checkpoints where guards might see through your disguise. Going right along with Instinct is a full-on radar system that not only shows guard's locations, but the direction they are facing. For more veteran Hitman players, neither of these mechanics exist on the highest levels of difficulty, but for someone new to the series, they should be extremely helpful to navigate the often confusing world of Hitman.

While Instinct is certainly interesting, the most interesting new feature is the game's extremely autolog-esque leaderboard system. This system allows you to compete with your friends and people all over the world to perform the best hit in all of the games missions, which adds a massive amount of replay value to a series that used to have very little unless you were obsessive about perfection.

Though Hitman Absolution shares some of the best things about past Hitman games, it also carries on some of their greatest failings. Even the greatest hit imaginable can be broken by any number of AI problems, such as broken pathing or animations. For instance, I had just pushed a guard down one of the game's innumerable deep pits, when a nearby guard "sees" his body through the ground. The guard then proceeded to stare through the ground at the dead body, constantly reiterating the victim's need for medical assistance.

However, Absolution's greatest flaw lies in its attempt at creating a more cohesive narrative. Instead of cutting at the end of a hit and transitioning to the next one, Absolution attempts to link these missions together with lengthy sequences requiring you to Evade the Police over and over and over again. Without an objective other than to escape, these sequences quickly become tired and monotonous. However, it seems as if the developers realized this, as each level is split into very distinct sub-missions, each with an independent score, allowing for leaderboard competition without playing through the entire level again.

So, is Absolution the game Hitman fans wanted? It probably is not, but that shouldn't keep you from enjoying what is a quite good game with a few glaring but manageable flaws.

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Posted:
2013-02-14

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

8.3

Dishonored has been heralded as a new step in the right direction; a step back towards letting players actually play games. A sandbox game that allows for a variety of choices and solutions, Dishonored combines stealth, action and strategy into a single game that will appeal simultaneously to a wide variety of different players and styles.

Players step into the boots of Corvo Attano, the personal bodyguard to the Empress of a strange, dystopian world. In the gritty port city of Dunwall, Corvo fails in his charge and the Empress is assassinated under his watch. Rather than sit and stew though, Corvo seeks the identity of the assassin and vengeance for what he did. However, just how Corvo goes about that vengeance is entirely up to the player.

Dishonored is, primarily, a game that allows players the choice to accomplish the mission however they see fit. For instance, Corvo can go in with bared steel, cackling like a madman and leaving a sea of blood in his wake. For players that don't want to play the game that way though, it isn't the only option (just the easiest more often than not). Players also have the option of manipulating other NPCs into doing the dirty work for them, or moving so stealthily that they can reach the objective without having to kill anyone. There are even non-lethal combat options, which are more difficult to make effective, but which keep the body count at an absolute minimum. For the truly skilled player it is entirely possible to finish Dishonored without getting any blood on Corvo's hands.

Which path a player chooses to take also has an effect on the world. Dunwall is currently dealing with plague, and the more bodies that Corvo leaves behind, the worse the plague is going to get because of all the additional death and food for the rats. However, the more guards Corvo kills, the more guards will be posted at later missions. This will just amp up the difficulty, so being sneaky might be challenging, but it will result in fewer guards being posted in future missions, which definitely sounds like a major advantage.

Beyond the creativity that went into designing a game with multiple ways to win, Dishonored also offers players a unique control system that helps them get the job done. With stealth and combat often so closely related, Dishonored takes a few hints from Assassin's Creed and makes sure that players have as little downtime between moving quietly in the shadows and pulling steel. After all, sometimes all it takes is a second of hesitation for Corvo to be stretched out dead in an alley somewhere, and the player left cursing and grinding his or her teeth. Of course, as with any game, practice makes perfect. Once players are more familiar with the controls and the world, it's just a matter of time until Corvo can slip through the shadows and bring vengeance on the person responsible for the Empress's murder.

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Posted:
2013-12-25

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

7.5

First, the good news: Lost Planet: Extreme Condition has all of the features and campaign modes which did great with the first version. But, this Xbox 360 version looks much like the first version. It is still impressive, but for those who have the first one will think this is just a repeat. For those who missed out on the first then this can be a great game to play. This new one has new features and modes so the gamer can actually learn a few things from this one. There is a game for the first person as well, it is all a matter of personal choice.

There are three single player modes and Score Attack, something new for Lost Planet. Score Attack is a mode which can add energy to the game with all the action one can get out of it. Aside from getting the chance to shoot the enemies, there is a chance to blast the environment and create some chaos along the way.

There is a Trail Battle Mode which can pit the player against numerous bosses. Of course, the added boss fights give the game an added edge. Finally, there is the Off limit where the need for speed is satisfied. The online game is better as well with a lot of new weapons which gives distinction from the older version.

Now for the bad news: this is a standalone game, totally distinct from the earlier release. This means that whatever you have played in the older version will not be transferred here or even work. No matter your rank on the online game, you have to start from scratch. Making this a totally different game gives it an edge, but for those who love the earlier release will get the disappointment they never expected.

The good news, again, is that all of the achievements are new, because the gamer starts off from scratch. So if you love the earlier version, you will find that you will definitely love this version, but it is different. There are new weapons, new modes, new features and a lot of other new stuff. This is great for those who have never played this game before as they don’t miss out on a lot. But this is not going to play good for the old players.

The important thing to remember is that you can now play with a totally new game for there is nothing of the old version found in the Colonies Edition. There are not that many players online as of yet, because of the crossover problem, but other than that, this is a cool game.

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Posted:
2013-02-14

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

7.4

Darksiders II brings in more and bigger everything; from expansive vistas, to an in-depth loot system, the game balances ambition and technical merits to expand on everything that made its predecessor a hit. Unfortunately, while there is much to like about the sequel, the game feels stretched thin by ambition and ends up equating to less than the sum of its respective parts. That's not to say Vigil's title isn't highly playable, it's just a rather forgettable experience that loses itself across Death's epic journey.

Speaking of Death, he/it is the playable character for the duration of the mostly unobtrusive story. Thankfully, the designers keep cut-scenes to a minimum, and there's genuine effort made to make sure players are, well, playing the game. So while there's certainly a bit of cringe-worthy humor interspersed, Death's epic tail doesn't detract from the game, and the emphasis on actual gameplay over cinematics is very appreciated.
Luckily, the gameplay found here is approachable; mixing weight-y, albeit easy combat along with ambitious Zelda-style exploration. The latter aspect is the definitive highlight of the game, as each of the dungeons are complex and varied; offering interesting boss encounters, satisfying puzzles, and impressive visual design. However between these high points, the repetitious combat becomes the crux of the experience, and this is the unfortunate and most unsatisfying part of the game. While technically sound, the action fails to encourage different styles of play, and the enemies bleed together to make large sections of the game perfunctory. The simple act of mashing buttons will suffice across every weapon type and your choice of blade or gun will come down to look rather than an appreciation of the combat style offered.

This brings us to the other large (and unfortunate) aspect of the game - the loot. Nearly every encounter nets you a spiked shinguard or some other piece of armor or weaponry along with a bevy of rated stats. While the effort to encourage strategy is welcomed, the drop rate on these items it too high to feel rewarding, and their middling quality renders them useless (aside from fetching some currency). It's very likely you'll find yourself unloading an inventory full of useless equipment more than once, and without an adequate junk system (e.g. <i>Kingdoms of Amalur</i>), management becomes an exercise in tedium. So for all the neat armor and admittedly cool-looking weaponry, the strategy of it all is lost due to the poor management system and the onslaught of meaningless equipment.

On the whole, Darksiders II is flawed experience undone by the weight of its design choices. The game is as a playable disappointment, with some considerable highs held back by the overreach of its ambition. Those looking for a passive time-waster may find an enjoyable title here, but those looking greater depth and consistency may be turned off by the bloat of ideas on display.

Verdict: 15 pounds max.

PS3 Version Performance: Solid framerate and minimally enhanced lighting over the 360. Overall a very technically proficient port.

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Posted:
2013-02-17

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

7.8

The first time Square Enix showed Hitman Absolution to the public, there was quite a bit of outrage. The first slice they showed was filled with action, something that Hitman fans despise, and certainly was never associated with the Hitman series in the past. Thankfully, Hitman Absolution maintains the spirit of past Hitman titles while adding enough new features to make it worthwhile.

As is normal for Hitman titles, missions consist of hunting targets through specially designed levels that offer many different options when it comes to finally killing your assigned targets. While most of the basic Hitman formula remains unchanged, there are a few key additions, not the least of which being the Instinct system. This system allows you to see guards through walls or other obstructions, as well as their assigned patrol routes.

Instinct also allows you to cheat your way past checkpoints where guards might see through your disguise. Going right along with Instinct is a full-on radar system that not only shows guard's locations, but the direction they are facing. For more veteran Hitman players, neither of these mechanics exist on the highest levels of difficulty, but for someone new to the series, they should be extremely helpful to navigate the often confusing world of Hitman.

While Instinct is certainly interesting, the most interesting new feature is the game's extremely autolog-esque leaderboard system. This system allows you to compete with your friends and people all over the world to perform the best hit in all of the games missions, which adds a massive amount of replay value to a series that used to have very little unless you were obsessive about perfection.

Though Hitman Absolution shares some of the best things about past Hitman games, it also carries on some of their greatest failings. Even the greatest hit imaginable can be broken by any number of AI problems, such as broken pathing or animations. For instance, I had just pushed a guard down one of the game's innumerable deep pits, when a nearby guard "sees" his body through the ground. The guard then proceeded to stare through the ground at the dead body, constantly reiterating the victim's need for medical assistance.

However, Absolution's greatest flaw lies in its attempt at creating a more cohesive narrative. Instead of cutting at the end of a hit and transitioning to the next one, Absolution attempts to link these missions together with lengthy sequences requiring you to Evade the Police over and over and over again. Without an objective other than to escape, these sequences quickly become tired and monotonous. However, it seems as if the developers realized this, as each level is split into very distinct sub-missions, each with an independent score, allowing for leaderboard competition without playing through the entire level again.

So, is Absolution the game Hitman fans wanted? It probably is not, but that shouldn't keep you from enjoying what is a quite good game with a few glaring but manageable flaws.

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Posted:
2013-05-31

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

7.1

The uDraw Tablet including Instant Artist allows Xbox 360 owners to enjoy what was previously only available to Wii owners.

Design

The design of the uDraw Tablet is sturdy enough even for the punishment that kids can dish out. It requires two AA batteries for it to run and of course the time that those last will depend on the quality of the battery, and thus the price you pay. It has a touchscreen that responds to the stylist pen or your finger, and you can draw as much as you like, it will not wear out as long as you don't scratch the screen. The stylist pen is the best choice for drawing sensitivity, but fingers can be fun for kids.

Getting Started

The uDraw Tablet comes with the base unit and the attached stylist pen and with a game called "The Art School" which teaches the user how to draw from the basics through to more advanced sketching and shading techniques, and it is very thorough. If you don't want to learn then you can just doodle away to your heart's content.

What it is Like

When you use the tablet the feeling of the styling pen is very much like pencil on paper. The crayons feel like crayons and the flow of colors is just as realistic. Overall the game feels like you are drawing, but then of course you are, that's the whole point of it. Imagine finger painting with the bonus of being able to make your fingers anything that you would want to use for drawing. Whether you are serious and want to learn how to draw, or just want to play around without wasting paper, this will do the trick.

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Posted:
2013-05-31

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo Wii

7.1

Design

The design of the uDraw Tablet is sturdy enough even for the punishment that kids can dish out. It requires two AA batteries for it to run and of course the time that those last will depend on the quality of the battery, and thus the price you pay. It has a touchscreen that responds to the stylist pen or your finger, and you can draw as much as you like, it will not wear out as long as you don't scratch the screen. The stylist pen is the best choice for drawing sensitivity, but fingers can be fun for kids.

Getting Started

The uDraw Tablet comes with the base unit and the attached stylist pen and with a game called "The Art School" which teaches the user how to draw from the basics through to more advanced sketching and shading techniques, and it is very thorough. If you don't want to learn then you can just doodle away to your heart's content.

What it is Like

When you use the tablet the feeling of the styling pen is very much like pencil on paper. The crayons feel like crayons and the flow of colors is just as realistic. Overall the game feels like you are drawing, but then of course you are, that's the whole point of it. Imagine finger painting with the bonus of being able to make your fingers anything that you would want to use for drawing. Whether you are serious and want to learn how to draw, or just want to play around without wasting paper, this will do the trick.

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Posted:
2014-05-09

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

Sony PSP

7.5

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 is a top selling golf video game packed with great content and includes 21 new courses as well as 50 golfers. There is a new mode called the Team Tour, the gamer can assemble his or her own team, can improve the status of the team, establish rival teams and get to compete with the others for the EA Cup, all the time trying to chase down Tiger Woods and the rest of the teams.

There are also some facelifts like the character can be customized for a more in-depth modification with regards to clothes, equipment licences and other special equipments. The challenge of the game can be played by up to three players in the online tournament mode. There s also the integration of ESPN where the gamer can get the latest news reports and breaking news.

There are also commentators in the form or voices of Gary McCord and David Feherty, however, their presence on the game is a little on the old side, but it does not really matter, if the gamer does not mind, then their presence really does not matter.

There are Mini-Games which are as challenging as ever. Gamers can challenge each other with modes like Elimination, Battle Golf and One Ball. The sound has also greatly improved in this Xbox 360 version with the inclusion of realistic crowd cheers and jeers which are usually seen in the real Tiger Woods performances on Live TV.

It is definite that the long-time fans of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour games would immediately recognize that this is one of the best in the series. This not only looks better, but it is dramatically better. The sound, the gameplay, the added features and all the other add-ons are all great. Even the airplane flying overhead sounds great. This gives the game a realism never before seen in other golfing games.

Is this game recommended? The answer is yes. Is this a better game than the 06 version? Again, the answer is yes. There are no longer any of the game breakers which were annoying in the previous versions, and this one offers more flexibility to the player. The gameplay itself is very challenging and can keep the golfing aficionado on their toes.

For those who are not sure if this is a better version than the previous one, all I can say is try this out and have a grand time playing this much improved game. Only then can you decide if you really want to upgrade your golf game or not.

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Posted:
2013-12-25

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

7.0

With the single-player mode you can play with your team to go through the qualifying campaign or you can opt to challenge the other team at the finals. You can also play on other modes like Be A Pro or Captain Your Country. The latter is pretty much alike with the former mode as introduced in FIFA 08. The games starts by creating a player, and making your way through the whole course of the qualifying rounds, not just one match. The trick is to acquire a large number of good records throughout the game to be promoted as the captain as you go to the finals. The key is that the weaker the team is, the easier you get promoted.You should be able to outplay other players aspiring for the captainship. Whether played in single player, where the other team is AI-controlled; or multi-player, the game is hot.

The football per se is the same with FIFA 08 with the advanced kick system. Additionally, there are a number of scenarios that can be played out aside from the regular matches and competitions. Previous midseason football titles are given in relation to major titles, teams playing on a full qualifying game is pointless if battling against a high-ranking team. But in this release, it is not always the case. Though weak in ranking, the opponent AI makes changes from the get-go of the competition. The more weak teams there are in number, the more difficult your path to the goal is. The crowd is more aggressive making comments that would hurt in real life.

The weather pretty much affects any outdoor game especially football. One of the features that have been enhanced in the game is the climate. The rain has noticeable effects on making the playerÂ’s actions slower, and the ball slides easily on the surface. It will also greatly affect the landing of the ball as you hit it in different kinds of surfaces.

The multi-player mode will hasten the competition s you begin to challenge your friends or anyone online. This release presents a metagame that tallies the scores of various European nations on the entire tournament and hands out prices to whoever played best during the day.

Euro 2008 is indeed a breakthrough in football gaming as it perfectly mirrors the drama in a major international league. The game is not that of an improvement of FIFA 08 but the technicalities are smoother. There are many things in the game that will surprise you even if you have repeatedly read it in different reviews.

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Posted:
2012-10-13

halfwit

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

4.7

In the single-player game, you'll be flying as one of four different pilots. You'll begin fighting off German attacks that venture above the island of Great Britain, but end up fighting with the US and New Zealand forces over Germany itself. The characters all tell their story of why they're fighting there, but the voice-acting that follows the cutscenes is absolutely dreadful, resulting in you not wanting to really be any of these terribly boring pilots.

The campaign itself jumps around some, since missions with your earliest squadron can only be played once you've progressed, and moved out of the area to some new group. You'd think that having crossed the channel and being based off the continent would prevent you from heading back to Great Britain and having to defend them, but it doesn't.

There are a number of different airplanes that can be unlocked, especially if you're willing to play at a higher difficulty.

Likely, you'll play at the higher difficulty, even without the bonus of more easily unlocking planes. That's because the AI is not very difficult at all, and will often not even notice you trying to devastate their ride. The missions, also, are only somewhat different as you go through the game, and though there are some novel takes on the essential elements, they mostly consist of your dog-fighting enemies or bombing buildings.

The game does offer a new element of the gameplay, which are Ace kills. These allow your character to zoom in on the enemy and specifically target certain portions to shoot at, such as their engines or the pilot themselves. This option is a nice added feature, but it actually makes a game that is already too easy at the most difficult difficulty level even easier.

One feature that is nice is the extensive online play. There are four different game modes, as well as four maps for your flying pleasure. Up to sixteen players can play a map at a time, though it's very difficult to find that many people playing the game at any given time. The modes are fun, especially Team Survivor, where the last person standing wins it for the team. That will have you performing selfless acts to keep your survivors alive, like diving in front of bullets.

While Heroes Over Europe does certainly provide opportunities for fun, the simplicity of destroying AI opponents, combined with the lack of real opponents to fight, leaves the player with little to do. If you're a huge WWII buff who feels like they've missed out flying the aircraft of that era, then this simulation will offer that opportunity, but beyond that it's a merely average flight sim.


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