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Posted:
2013-02-12

rtuman

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

7.6

In the Sims 3, the overall interactions of the Sims 3 characters which you have created allows them/you, along with all the other things in life which a person may do, to form relationships with each other. These Sims can fall in love and, if they want to, get married and have children.

An element new to this version of the Sims is the ability of the characters to share their interests and hobbies. Every time a character learns something new, the player has the option of allowing the newly learned interest to be shared with others. This makes the level of interaction between characters more interesting for the player. The characters can discuss their hobbies, their job or their personal relationships with other characters.

A specific example of what your Sims can do is the furnishing of their homes to suit their individual taste by using the custom create tool. This tool accesses an in-game mode where the player can select from a variety of fabrics and colors to upholster their furniture with. This tool is not limited to furnishings but can also be used to create new outfits for the Sim characters by selecting from the available options. The create content tool can be used to change the color, pattern or texture of just about anything in the game. Players can also save their own colour combinations in the standard queue so they are easily accessible from the main menu.

The world in which these Sims live is also created to be more interactive than the previous versions of Sim games. The biggest difference is in the way he characters can move about their neighborhood. For the first time, the Sims can actually walk down the streets and side walks in their town to visit area stores and community centers. They can also pay a visit to their neighbors and friends by simply walking or driving to their homes. The player can track the movements of their Sim by selecting one of the location modes from the main control panel.

Another difference in the community interactions in the Sims 3 game is the way the Sims participate in area events. Sims now have the ability to go to the sports arena to watch a sporting event or visit the museum to see an exhibition. When characters visit a store or community, they enter the building and dialogues appear on screen which inform the player of what is happening inside the building. The players do not get an inside view of these buildings and do not have the ability to move their characters around as they did in previous Sims games, with the exception of the residential homes.

When a Sims character enters a store, a dialogue box will open on screen asking the player if the character would like to shop. A menu of available items will then be displayed which allows the player to do the shopping for their character. Some buildings allow characters to take lessons during which time their learning bar will be displayed indicating they are now in the learning mode. Sims 3 characters also have the ability to use items they purchase such as digital cameras, to take real in-game photos.

Neither you or your Sims need ever be bored as there is always plenty to do.

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Posted:
2013-02-12

rtuman

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

7.0

The release of each World of Warcraft expansion has heralded new zones in which to quest and new bosses to conquer, but Blizzard's World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Expansion Pack PC presents a wholly changed world for long-time players. The zones and quests that veteran MMO players have known well since the game's inception in 2004 have seen tremendous change and updates. The game's programmers have effectively redone the entire existing game world, in addition to adding some massive new zones.

Rather than traveling around the world on ground mounts, players have the opportunity to fly around the old continents and see the game world from the sky. Blizzard has also made substantial changes to the style of questing in the game. Rather than travel to a zone and choose a large group of quests, which requires the player to venture out and kill various targets, collect objects and satisfy general objectives, Cataclysm questing represents a much more linear experience with a beginning and an end for each zone. This change has meant a massive overhaul of old zones.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm also makes significant use of storytelling called "phasing," which allows the game world around a player to change during the questing process. The technology was intriguing and saw some use in the last expansion, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, but some player complaints have suggested that grouping up with friends has been more difficult if each player wasn't at the same exact point in the zone's quest lines.

Another new entry for the Cataclysm expansion comes in the form of two new playable races with the wolf-life "Worgen" available for the Alliance and the vertically challenged "Goblins" coming to the Horde. Players may choose from a variety of classes for each race such as warlocks and warriors, and will also get to experience memorable starting zones with new quests and stories that are unique to each race.

For higher level players, the new zones created specifically for this expansion represent some breathtaking artwork from Blizzard's designers along with some absorbing storytelling. One of the best zones created in the game thus far is that of "Deepholm," designed to appear like a giant, colorful geode at the center of the planet. The size of the zone is positively enormous and the visuals within the area are unlike anything seen before in Blizzard's game world.

To address player complaints regarding PVP (Player versus Player) combat regarding unbalanced play, Blizzard has also made the decision to increase the hit points of characters, which is their attempt to make it more difficult for someone to die too early in arena or battlegrounds. The health pools of players have effectively quadrupled at the start of this expansion.

Positives:

Flying in old zones.
Refurbished quest lines.
Increased player health pools.
Expansive look for quest areas.

Negatives:

New content easily consumed.
New archaeology profession is lackluster.
Phasing creates problems with group play.


Cataclysm represents a bold move from Blizzard with significant changes made to a game that already has many years under its belt. A majority of the efforts made by Blizzard for Cataclysm seem to have been attempts to refurbish outdated storytelling and graphics and successfully shave a few years off the "feel" of the game.

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Posted:
2013-02-23

rtuman

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

7.5

The Fall of Cybertron is a closely related sequel to the former War for Cybertron title, but it does several things differently from its predecessor. Across the board, Fall is a significantly more solid game. The title sets out to do more than just cash in on the Transformers craze. It promises a meaningful and memorable experience to fans and newcomers alike.

The best changes in Fall of Cybertron have to do with level design. The setting is still the Transformers' home planet of Cybertron, but players will experience the embattled cityscapes in a fresh way throughout the game. Levels look and feel unique rather than just rehashed versions of the same.

Character choice is also limited to just a single Autobot or Decepticon for each level. This places some restrictions on players, but it also allows the developers to greatly enhance the level experience. Each level is tailor made for the specific character in that level. This also allows developers to place more engaging and meaningful cutscenes into the levels. While some players may gripe that they can't use their favorite character for the entire game, the benefits outweigh the costs in this case.

With a single character focus, level design becomes more linear. The game balances this out with collectibles to be discovered off the beaten path and plenty of opportunity to transform between vehicle and robot form, but these extras are really minor additions. This game has clearly chosen the scripted path, with all the advantages and disadvantages of that. Players looking for a deeper character experience will be thrilled. Players looking for an open combat environment full of choices and different approaches to the same scenario may be disappointed.

Fall of Cybertron also makes a trade in the multiplayer department. The classic co-op campaign mode found in War is cut. This makes sense with the character specific, linear nature of the game, but it may rob many past fans of a popular experience. What Fall does retain is the equally popular horde mode multiplayer called Escalation for a PvE experience. Of course, the game also retains a PvP element, allowing players to blast their robot friends to bits with equal fervor.

An excellent addition to help alleviate the oppressively scripted campaign is the character creation tool designed for multiplayer. Players collect Energon from multiplayer victories and can spend this resource creating their very own Autobot or Decepticon from scratch. The creation isn't just eye candy or a fancy avatar either. Players can use their personalized robot in actual multiplayer battles. Multiplayer battles are heavily nuanced with different weapon abilities, cool downs, and ammo capacities, so weapon choice becomes more than just getting the biggest, baddest gun on the list for an easy win. The multiplayer arenas also leave plenty of room for transformation, adding another layer of strategy.

All together, Fall is just a different take on a game than its predecessor. It comes with all the advantage and disadvantages of a less open, but deeper story experience. Despite the losses, it presents an all around superior game worthy of the name Transformers.

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Posted:
2013-02-27

rtuman

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo Wii

7.4

Lego Star Wars The Complete Saga is exactly what fans of both Star Wars and the Lego video game franchise want it to be: Over the top, button mashing excitement, augmented with classic Star Wars and Lego franchise humor. It's not going to win any awards for best combat or game control, but with a game like this, you kind of know what you're getting. Lego Star Wars The Complete Saga is not trying to compete with the huge holiday blockbusters. It just wants to be a fun title to pick up and play on the weekend to share some laughs with your friends. And in this goal, the game is a smashing success.

With that said, you can stop reading now, if you've already played Lego Star Wars or Lego Star Wars II, this latest offering for the Nintendo Wii is simply the first two games in the series put into one box. Yes, it has some graphical updates and minor tweaks, but you're getting the same story and gameplay that were in the previous titles. This game is for someone who hasn't played the two previous titles or just for someone who is a true devotee or collector of the series.

One nice touch is that the game now features an overworld which you can roam inbetween all six episodes. After you beat the first level of Episode 1, all other episodes will unlock. You can play the six episodes of The Star Wars franchise in any order you want. All six episodes take about 12 hours to get through but the fun isn't over there. The game lobby, modeled after a cantina, offers mini games and arcade style play for you to tackle in between episodes.

These games offer quite a bit of replay value. You earn currency to play the mini games, called Studs by playing through the main six episodes and smashing things with your lightsaber. The games you play with these studs can then unlock special characters, costumes and other prizes. It's a system that works well for adding longevity to the game. You'll want to go back into the six episodes to get more studs, so you can then use those studs to try and unlock more hidden features. For even more replay value, the game features a free play mode. You can run through the game again with any of the other characters you run into during story mode, like Yoda or R2-D2. This mode requires more studs, which sends yoou back through the cycle all over again. It's well designed.

With that said, the problems that were in the original two games are still present here. The Lego series has always suffered from an awkward camera and the platform jumping sequences can be especially frustrating as the controls are not very precise at times. But honestly, Who cares? This game is about button mashing fun and unlocking your favorite Star Wars characters as you travel through the galaxy with your friends.

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Posted:
2013-02-27

rtuman

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo Wii

6.0

The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn's Quest was developed by Headstrong Games and released by Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment on September 14, 2010. Reviews of the game were mostly mixed, earning an aggregate score of 58/100 on Metacritic. The game features Zelda-style gameplay, although players have complained of too many item fetch quests and some repetitiveness. Graphics are decent, but not spectacular;but for the Wii it does very well, especially when having many characters on-screen at one time, something the Wii has historically been bad at handling.

The game is based on the books and movies, with Sam, whose voice is done by the original actor in the films, Sean Astin, telling his children the stories of the Fellowship of the Ring.

Controls on the Wii are responsive and accurate, making the action parts of the game, of which there are plenty, feel absolutely excellent. This takes some of the edge off the pain in the early half of the game, which feels like it goes overboard with fetch quests, go to one area of the map, pick up a certain item, bring it back.

As the game goes on and your abilities expand, it starts to feel more and more like a Zelda title with a Lord of the Rings skin. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Zelda is an excellent franchise after all, and Lord of the Rings could have been an excellent setting.

The reason the game isn't better, or better reviewed, for that matter, is that it doesn't draw you in like a Zelda game. Many of the quests seem pointless and don't seem to further the plot, and the game occasionally feels graphically lost and it wavers between cartoons and realism.

By the standards of the Wii, the graphics are great. Even in late game, with many enemies and allies fighting it out on-screen, there is virtually no loss of frames or tearing, a problem that other Wii titles have struggled with.

Gameplay is centered around melee combat. After a while, it starts to feel somewhat monotonous, as it doesn't diverge from that much except for occasional missions wherein you must keep allies alive or complete similar objectives.

Cooperative play in Lord of the Rings, Aragorn's Quest isn't only possible, it's encouraged. A second player can start playing anytime, joining in as Gandalf, and because there are certain tasks that can only be accomplished by Gandalf the wizard, it appears that the game was designed specifically with cooperative play in mind. Note that the things he can do aren't necessary for game completion, you can play perfectly well by yourself.

Reviewers of the game were mostly neutral, earning Aragorn's Quest mostly mixed reviews. IGN gave the game a notably higher score than average, 7/10, citing only the repetitiveness and poor port to the PS3 as downsides. On the other hand, GameZone stated that both the combat and some quests were mostly pointless, and that Tolkien deserved better. Overall, this is a decent game but will mainly appeal to the many fans of the series.

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Posted:
2013-05-31

rtuman

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

6.0

Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013 for the PS3 is somewhat controversial. Among the mainstream community, the game would be considered misnamed at best, and unethical at worst. It doesn't feature hunting; it features simply slaughtering animals as they come at you, and there is everything from hyenas to cape buffalo to elephants to big cats. In the gaming community, Dangerous Hunts 2013 is thought to be doing too much and too little at the same time. It feels, at times, like it is trying to be several genres at once, and the graphics for the game fail at close range, with polygons being easily visible at times, and animal movement being stiff and awkward at close range or while running.

Most levels for the game are pretty simple. You move to your objective, usually a boss animal or action piece. Occasionally there are vehicle levels wherein you're in one place shooting at everything that gets close, as you are driven along. As mentioned above, gameplay features killing big animals in droves as they try to attack you. There are big cats such as lions and leopards, elephants, rhinos and all manner of other wildlife.

The game gets pretty confusing in some ways. Sometimes it feels like a first person shooting game, and sometimes it has more of an arcade feel to it. The only thing it absolutely never feels like is a hunting game, as there isn't any hunting in the conventional sense of the word. In that way it's a bit disingenuous. Even reviewers that view the game in a positive light admitted that you should know what you're buying, and the title is deceptive when it comes to giving a hint of what the game is about.

Some versions of the game also come with a controller/gun that is supposed to be used while you hunt. The gun largely works well, although it requires setting up a sensor bar near your TV (and no, the Kinect doesn't work for this) and finding the perfect height to use the weapon. Also, using the gun is in many ways a hinderance, especially when it comes to looking around you in the game.

Although Dangerous Hunts 2013 received positive reviews on the sound performance, with good voice acting and excellent ambient sounds, the graphics are sadly disappointing. Environmental animations are virtually nonexistent, giving the landscape a "painted" feeling.

There is a two player mode called "Maneater" that received better ratings by critics than the game did overall, with many saying that it is the only part of the game that is playable.

In essence, Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013 is a first person shooter clothed in the guise of a hunting game. As long as you know that when you buy it, it isn't absolutely terrible. However, it certainly can't stand up to any of the franchise first person shooting games that dominate the PS3 console.

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Posted:
2012-10-25

rtuman

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

8.0

Grand Theft Auto has been around for several years and it was a bit disappointing that the great game was only enjoyed by those who had game consoles. No longer the issue here, with the PC version dropping in and surprising everyone with the effective shift. But with the good news, there is always the bad, something to be expected in all thing man made and developed. Fortunately, the bad is not too bad and can be overlooked. Nothing's perfect, right? That would be asking too much.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for PC comes in DVD and a book which serves as a manual. A bit daunting when first looked into but it definitely makes a lot of difference getting familiar with it. This version of the thrill ride format can easily be seen as the best version ever developed. The display is incredible, the characters look so much better and the sound is simply fantastic.

There are some problems here and there and some of the characters are a little on the dumb side. The music could have been improved but in the end it really doesn't matter. There are a lot of things to do, the dialogues obviously went through a lot of reading and improvements to make them sound well and logical, the cast is good, there are so many unexpected surprises along the way. In short, this PC version of GTA is strong and thrilling.

Full options come with the controls in the PC version. The player can customize the gamepad to make it play like the console does or the player can choose to use the standard mouse and keyboard control. Whichever method is chosen, they work, although there are times when the ALT-TAB had to be used because the keyboard refused to respond. This may not be a good thing to experience in the middle of the adventure but it's okay. The mouse control has been refined as well, and can pose a bit of difficulty for the unfamiliar. It can be slick and the control can run amok.

Overall, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas PC version is at par with the previous game console versions. There are the usual minor issues, but nothing is perfect and no game is perfect, those that I have played at least. For fans for the thrill ride, this is the PC version you do not want to miss out on. There are so many things that you need to discover on your own, just as the thick manual implies when you first get to look at it. My recommendation? Isn't it obvious? I say go and buy it, there would be no regrets. This way you not only get the chance to play an incredibly developed game, but you get the chance to go back to it several times once you are done with all the level. This is a good addition to the library or collection.

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Posted:
2013-02-17

rtuman

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

6.0

Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013 for the Xbox 360 is somewhat controversial. Among the mainstream community, the game would be considered misnamed at best, and unethical at worst. It doesn't feature hunting; it features simply slaughtering animals as they come at you, and there is everything from hyenas to cape buffalo to elephants to big cats. In the gaming community, Dangerous Hunts 2013 is thought to be doing too much and too little at the same time. It feels, at times, like it is trying to be several genres at once, and the graphics for the game fail at close range, with polygons being easily visible at times, and animal movement being stiff and awkward at close range or while running.

Most levels for the game are pretty simple. You move to your objective, usually a boss animal or action piece. Occasionally there are vehicle levels wherein you're in one place shooting at everything that gets close, as you are driven along. As mentioned above, gameplay features killing big animals in droves as they try to attack you. There are big cats such as lions and leopards, elephants, rhinos and all manner of other wildlife.

The game gets pretty confusing in some ways. Sometimes it feels like a first person shooting game, and sometimes it has more of an arcade feel to it. The only thing it absolutely never feels like is a hunting game, as there isn't any hunting in the conventional sense of the word. In that way it's a bit disingenuous. Even reviewers that view the game in a positive light admitted that you should know what you're buying, and the title is deceptive when it comes to giving a hint of what the game is about.

Some versions of the game also come with a controller/gun that is supposed to be used while you hunt. The gun largely works well, although it requires setting up a sensor bar near your TV (and no, the Kinect doesn't work for this) and finding the perfect height to use the weapon. Also, using the gun is in many ways a hinderance, especially when it comes to looking around you in the game.

Although Dangerous Hunts 2013 received positive reviews on the sound performance, with good voice acting and excellent ambient sounds, the graphics are sadly disappointing. Environmental animations are virtually nonexistent, giving the landscape a "painted" feeling.

There is a two player mode called "Maneater" that received better ratings by critics than the game did overall, with many saying that it is the only part of the game that is playable.

In essence, Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013 is a first person shooter clothed in the guise of a hunting game. As long as you know that when you buy it, it isn't absolutely terrible. However, it certainly can't stand up to any of the franchise first person shooting games that dominate the Xbox 360 console.

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Posted:
2013-02-28

rtuman

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo Wii

7.5

Peppa Pig was a game meant for children who are just starting to learn colors, letters and all of the other things seen on the show Peppa Pig. The game was so successful that it launched a sequel, Peppa Pig Fun and Games. This second game offers players even more parts of Peppa Pig's world to explore, right along with a variety of different games and activities to explore. Meant for kids, the game is fun, entertaining and at least as educational as the Peppa Pig television show is.

Gameplay

Due to the audience that Peppa Pig 2 is meant for, the controls are fairly simple to master. Additionally, because the Wii is a game system that's meant to use hand-eye coordination, the game focuses on giving younger players simple challenges they can overcome with relative ease. There are tutorials that show players how to use the Wii-mote, and which shows them exactly how the game works.

The Fun and Games

Just as the title of this particular Wii game promises, Peppa Pig and friends offer a lot of different activities for players to participate in. There's cupcake decorating, an apple picking game, polishing a bicycle, going to the duck pond, drawing pictures and a half dozen other options depending on the player's fancy. Once young players get used to navigating the options they can choose different games to play as they want, switching back and forth with relative ease.

Unlike traditional, adult video games Peppa Pig 2 is really more of a collection of mini games that are meant to work on a particular feature of the audience's education. The games teach them how to count, or how to use a controller to get a given result, or how to paint pictures. There isn't a plot to follow, even one as simple as can be found in other children's games like Marvel Super Hero Squad. Just as with the television show, children are shepherded hither and yon to complete tasks that allow them to interact with the world and have fun. At the same time they're having fun though, players can work on some of the most basic skills they're ever learn.

Different From Other Children's Games?

While Peppa Pig 2 offers a lot of different activities, it is very similar to a lot of other children's games available on the open market. But what gives the game its appeal isn't the simple, amusing mini games that it offers; it's Peppa Pig. This game is driven primarily by the fan base that watches the television show and as such wants to play the game based off of it. The games were made to fill out the world of Peppa Pig and to allow players to interact with the characters from their favorite TV show, not the other way around. With that said though, the game manages to present everything in a fun and friendly light that is sure to keep the young audience playing and learning for some time.

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Posted:
2014-03-26

rtuman

Super Gamer Dude

3DS

6.5

'Yoshi's New Island' for the 3DS is an action platformer which contains mild cartoon language, the game was developed by Arzest and published by Nintendo and released on March 14, 2014. for the 3DS handheld portable console.

Marketed as the sequel to Super Mario World, 'Yoshi's New Island' for the 3DS is a somewhat contentious game in certain circles. Some people believe that it is one of the best games that Nintendo has ever made with original graphics and fresh gameplay for the time, while others believe that those same qualities make the game awful and a stain on Nintendo's record. With Yoshi's New Island, Nintendo has managed to do something that I wouldn't have thought possible - they've made a game that doesn't make either camp happy.

Put simply, 'Yoshi's New Island' throws away what really made the original game so interesting for so many people - its uniqueness. Unlike other Yoshi-centric titles like Yoshi's Story, 'Yoshi's New Island' does absolutely nothing to distinguish itself as a new game. Other than the graphics, pretty much everything about Yoshi's New Island could be done on the Super Nintendo.

Even that new more modern graphical style that Nintendo has adopted takes away from the charm of the Yoshi's Island series, however. Instead of the beautiful and unique style that typified the Super Nintendo game, New Island uses a mostly generic Mario art style.

The gameplay, while it has not been modernized or changed in any significant way hasn't really changed at all. There is nothing interesting going on if you've played the first 'Yoshi's Island' - but perhaps that is New Island's biggest strength. People that have some sort of strong opinion on the original Super Nintendo game will more than likely not be huge fans of the new game - but people who have never touched a 'Yoshi's Island' game in the past could certainly find a lot of fun in the new one.

Of course, that would make the assumption that they haven't really played a large amount of side scrolling platformers either. Like so many other Nintendo platformers, Yoshi's New Island starts off relatively easy. Most Nintendo platformers would then take a sharp turn upwards in difficulty after the first few levels - but not New Island. Instead, the game waits until the last few levels before it finally becomes as difficult as you would expect a Nintendo platformer to be. Indeed, many levels of the Super Nintendo game were notoriously difficult, and in losing that the game loses another part of its charm.

Without it's charm, what does 'Yoshi's New Island' actually have? Not a whole lot. Without the charm that made the original game so interesting, 'Yoshi's New Island' has become yet another bland platformer in a sea of similar titles on the 3DS - many of them from the same company. New Island is a valiant attempt at recapturing the flame of the original title, but it is clear that the people who developed this game did not quite understand what people really loved about the Super Nintendo game.

The original game was not so beloved because it had a fun egg throwing mechanic - that was probably the worst part, and has always been somewhat clunky. The original game was fantastic because it was doing something that Nintendo had always seemed reluctant to do - try new things. In a world where Nintendo is churning out the same games year after year in an attempt to boost sales of their hardware platforms, the degradation of such a unique franchise like Yoshi's Island stands out as even worse as it would have been otherwise. 'Yoshi's New Island' on the 3DS is by no means a bad game, and is probably worth picking up on a sale or a rental, but no one should pay full price.


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