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16 Reviews


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Posted:
2013-02-12

camel

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

7.0

Released over 10 years after Diablo II, die-hard fans have been patiently waiting for the third installment in the Diablo franchise. Well, it’s released, and since launch has sold over 12 million copies. By the fiscal metric, it’s a success. But is it a good game? Let’s find out

First, we’ll go over the good.

Playing through the game will give you beautiful fall landscapes, blisteringly bright deserts and spooky, morose catacombs and graveyards. But it’s not just the scenery that impresses, but the character and monster design as well. I played a Barbarian, and as I went about killing zombies and fallen, the way I moved and swung my weapon made me feel powerful.

But it’s not just the way the game looks, but also the way it sounds. Their musicians and Foley artists really outdid themselves. My footsteps sounded heavy, the enemies made various squishy or gurgling sounds as I slaughtered them. The audio and visual aspects mesh together perfectly, creating a very pleasing atmosphere that persists throughout the whole game. This was very well done.

The gameplay itself is also mostly rewarding. Blizzard has done a good job of making the various abilities feel unique and fun to use, and with the runes to heavily modify how the abilities act you can build a customized setup that can be a joy to play.

And we can’t forget the gear. Diablo II was known for the wide, wide, WIDE variety of gear it offered, and its successor does not disappoint. There is an immense joy bursting the minions of evil like the pinatas they are, hoping and waiting to see those yellow or orange letters flash on the screen.

Unfortunately, it’s not all fun demon bashing.

You do have to deal with an online only DRM, which is often annoying when it isn’t rage inducing. Few things can ruin a perfectly good gaming moment than a disconnection notice followed with a restore to a previous checkpoint. Fortunately, those checkpoints are often, so you never lose more than a few minutes of time. What really sucks though is if you lose Internet service. Diablo 3 isn’t an MMO, and though coop play is a big, enjoyable part of the game, sometimes you your Internet is down, or your connection is really spotty. Not being able to play offline can be a huge hassle.

Diablo II had one of the best stories I’ve ever experienced in a game, and after finishing Diablo III I felt unsatisfied. Overall, the story was trite, bland and predictable. There were a few cool moments, but those moments are few and far between, and very critical points of the story felt incredibly forced. Very unfortunate, because the overall atmosphere was so perfectly executed that a strong story would have made for an incredible experience.

Diablo III is a good game. It plays well and is gorgeous, but the story fell flat and the DRM is annoying. I was hoping that Diablo III would rekindle the magic I felt with Diablo II, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t.

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Posted:
2013-03-04

camel

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo Wii

8.0

Big Brain Academy is a game for people of all ages that is both entertaining and educational. There are puzzles, brain teasers and memory tests of all kinds. The game is broken up into two parts - solo and group - and sub-categories of these two parts.

Student Registration

The game opens with Professor Lobe introducing himself and telling you a few basic facts about the game. You must go to the office before playing, where you select your character and register for your student record book. You may pick one of the characters that they provide for you, or better yet, you can simply use your own Mii.

Solo Activities

There are two solo activities and these are Practice and Test. They recommend taking the test first to gauge speed, accuracy and the size of your brain. They will tell you which categories you excel at, and which ones you need to work on. The practice exercises have four difficulty levels - easy, medium, hard and expert. The scores given for these are broken down into bronze, silver, gold and platinum awards.

There are five Practice and Test categories. They are Identify, Memory, Analysis, Compute and Visualize. There are three subcategories for each of the five main categories. They all test your visual reaction time and mental acuity. Some of them test your hand-eye coordination as well. One such exercise is Whack Match, a subcategory in Identify. You are presented with a picture and you must whack the matching character with a mallet when it pops out of a hole in the ground. Your mathematical skills will get a workout with Mallet Math, a sub-category of Compute. You will be given a number and you must figure out which blocks you need to leave on the screen which add up to that number. All the other blocks you whack away with a hammer.

Group Activities

There are three group activities. The first activity is Brain Quiz which consists of twelve categories. Each contestant picks which category they would like to play. The level of difficulty that will appear is completely random. This section of the game is popular because there are five puzzle types included here that don't show up anywhere else in the game.

The second activity is Mental Marathon. Here you may either play alone or as part of a team. You play one of the previously mentioned subcategories in a race to see how many correct answers you can achieve before the timer runs out. Each correct answer extends your time remaining, but a wrong answer will end the round immediately.

The third activity is Mind Sprint. You may play against another player, or against the records of an opponent stored in the game's memory. This is a split-screen game that is a race to see who will finish the tasks the quickest.

All in all, Big Brain Academy is a fun way to test and train your brain and keep your mind and memory sharp.

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Posted:
2013-02-16

camel

Super Gamer Dude

PlayStation 3

6.0

When the current generation of video game consoles first began we were quickly welcomed to it by The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion. Up until this point, the elder scrolls series had been popular on PC and, even though a version of the third game was released on the original Xbox, the series had never taken off on consoles before. But then of course, came Oblivion, which sold millions of copies on both he PS3 and the Xbox 360, shattering expectations.

There was, of course, a single black spot. The PS3 release of the game was incredibly buggy, laggy, and to a large extent broken. Bethesda never truly completely fixed the game, leaving it broken to this day. Does Skyrim on the PS3 share these issues as well? If it does, can the game's quality otherwise make up for it?

Certainly, Skyrim shares a lot of things with its predecessor. The game takes place in Cyrodil's northern neighbor of Skyrim, making snow and Nordic lore plentiful. The core game play remains very similar to that of Oblivion, creating a open fantasy world for players to explore. While exploring the world, you will stumble upon a seemingly endless number of quests to do, and your map will rapidly fill with places to explore.

The game's combat remains mostly unchanged from Oblivion. While it has been somewhat improved as far as feel is concerned, the first-person based combat still seems a bit clunky, though less so than it did in Oblivion. Of course, Elder Scrolls games have never really been about the combat, they've been about the stories.

Those stories, thankfully, are better than ever. The use of the Nordic aesthetic allows the writers of Oblivion to go in some really interesting directions with both the main story and the side quests. The guilds common to all elder scrolls games, remain at their core unchanged, but they also gain a distinctive Nordic twist.

Of course, none of these amazing pieces of the games are worth anything if you cannot experience them properly, and the PS3 has some serious issues. Sadly, most of the issues that existed with the Oblivion release on PS3 carry through to Skyrim. While not completely broken like Oblivion was, Skyrim has serious problems that include, but are not limited to freezes, textures not loading, and major frame rate problems. In addition, these problems are made even worse the more time that you spend playing the game.

In addition to the problems with the core game that are slowly being fixed, there are other issues with the PS3 release. As Bethesda continues to release DLC for the game, it is coming to the PS3 extremely late, if at all. A worried Sony has begun to help Bethesda with its PS3 issues, and things are improving, albeit very slowly.

At the end of the day, it is hard to recommend the PS3 version of Skyrim until its major issues are fixed, and it could be a long time until it happens.

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Posted:
2013-02-28

camel

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo Wii

8.3

Okami was originally released for the Playstation 2 in 2006. Normally a re release of a game on another system is nothing to write home about. That is not the case here. This enhanced port of the Playstation 2 game blows away its predecessor in every possible way. The highlight of the game even on the Playstation 2 was the Celestial Brush. You would use this brush to paint the game world to open up new paths and solve riddles and progress through the adventure. It was fun even on the PS2's analog controller. But add the Wii's nunchuk and remote and it really feels like you are painting right on your television screen. Not all of the controls transition perfectly to the Wii, the dodge function is a bit clumsy but we can forgive this simply because using the Wii's Remote to paint with the Celestial Brush is such a joy.

Initially, the game's puzzles are a little on the easy side. Your character needs to add light to one of the game's environment's and so you draw a sun in the sky, which solves the puzzle. These puzzles will get progressively more difficult as the game moves on and feel incredibly satisfying when you figure them out.

Another reason Okami was a hit on the PS2 is the deep storyline. PS2 fans said it felt like a Legend of Zelda style adventure. Perhaps that's why Nintendo fans were begging for a re release on the Wii even back then. We won't spoil it for you, but the game's world is truly epic in scope and feel and the character development throughout the title does remind you of a more traditional Nintendo franchise.

The game's overworld is not as streamlined as say, Nintendo's Zelda titles and you have the ability to go back and forth and just explore this amazing world. The game was beautiful on the Playstation 2 and Nintendo has taken advantage of the Wii's more advanced hardware to offer an even better look to the game. Okami now supports 480p progressive scan and a 16:9 widescreen mode that will look amazing on your big screen television. The game still does suffer at times from some slowdown and it is a bit disappointing that developer Ready At Dawn made no attempt to clean this up during the port process.

The game's soundtrack is easily one of my favorite of all time. It fits the Okami's different environments perfectly and the score soars during the games occasional cinematic sequences. The sound runs in Dolby Pro Logic II on the Nintendo Wii, another upgrade over the PS2 version. The game itself is a little on the easy side, although the difficulty will ramp up as Okami progresses. Perhaps the highlight of the combat is the game's amazing boss battles. You'll fight creatures that take up the whole screen.

Okami isn't a perfect port but it is a must play title for any Nintendo Wii owner, especially Zelda fans.

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Posted:
2013-08-04

camel

Super Gamer Dude

Xbox 360

7.5

Sherlock Holmes is an icon, and perhaps one of the most famous private detectives in all of fiction. Holmes has spread out to practically every form of media, from the original fiction to film, radio, comic books and others. He's even appeared in video games before, though never quite like he has in The Testament of Sherlock Holmes.

In The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, something is going very wrong at Baker Street. Holmes has recently solved a case where he re-assembled the gems of a famous necklace and returned them to his client. However, the client accuses the necklace of being a pale imitation. This casts suspicion on Holmes, which is then made even worse when he goes to an appointment with the Archbishop of Knightsbridge, who is beaten, mutilated and set on fire. The circumstantial evidence doesn't look good for Sherlock, who has to follow leads and prove his innocence of the crimes he appears to be guilty of.

Players step into the shoes of the famous detective and have to use all of his methods to figure out who actually committed the heinous crimes Sherlock is accused of. This requires deciding which leads to follow and which to ignore, collecting facts and the use of the deduction mechanic which allows the player to see the crime re-enacted. There are even segments of the game where players take on the role of the faithful John Watson, who must examine his old friend's behavior to see whether or not it really is Sherlock who's responsible for the brtual and bestial crimes that have been committed. Of course, it's also entirely possible that there is a deeper, darker game being played and that Holmes and Watson are just two more pieces on the game board.

Though it's now available on the Xbox 360, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes wasn't actually released in America until the late Fall of 2012. The game was made part of the general hype of the E3 convention in the year 2011, and it features new graphics engines and gameplay mechanics that make an action/mystery game that much more feasible. Designed and released for consoles, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes takes simultaneously a more traditional as well as a more unique twist on a Holmes video game than has been done in recent memory.

As a character, Sherlock Holmes appeared in four full length novels and 56 short stories by the acclaimed author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes has become iconic through his renderings by various actors, and this particular interpretation of him remains true to both the cultural feeling of who and what Holmes is, along with all the source material that was created by Conan Doyle himself. The theme and atmosphere, combined with the intuitive gameplay and style of the engine, renders a dark, dreary London where crime lurks around every corner, and madness dwells just out of sight.

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Posted:
2013-08-04

camel

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

7.5

Sherlock Holmes is an icon, and perhaps one of the most famous private detectives in all of fiction. Holmes has spread out to practically every form of media, from the original fiction to film, radio, comic books and others. He's even appeared in video games before, though never quite like he has in The Testament of Sherlock Holmes.

In The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, something is going very wrong at Baker Street. Holmes has recently solved a case where he re-assembled the gems of a famous necklace and returned them to his client. However, the client accuses the necklace of being a pale imitation. This casts suspicion on Holmes, which is then made even worse when he goes to an appointment with the Archbishop of Knightsbridge, who is beaten, mutilated and set on fire. The circumstantial evidence doesn't look good for Sherlock, who has to follow leads and prove his innocence of the crimes he appears to be guilty of.

Players step into the shoes of the famous detective and have to use all of his methods to figure out who actually committed the heinous crimes Sherlock is accused of. This requires deciding which leads to follow and which to ignore, collecting facts and the use of the deduction mechanic which allows the player to see the crime re-enacted. There are even segments of the game where players take on the role of the faithful John Watson, who must examine his old friend's behavior to see whether or not it really is Sherlock who's responsible for the brtual and bestial crimes that have been committed. Of course, it's also entirely possible that there is a deeper, darker game being played and that Holmes and Watson are just two more pieces on the game board.

Though it's now available on the PC, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes wasn't actually released in America until the late Fall of 2012. The game was made part of the general hype of the E3 convention in the year 2011, and it features new graphics engines and gameplay mechanics that make an action/mystery game that much more feasible. Designed and released for consoles, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes takes simultaneously a more traditional as well as a more unique twist on a Holmes video game than has been done in recent memory.

As a character, Sherlock Holmes appeared in four full length novels and 56 short stories by the acclaimed author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes has become iconic through his renderings by various actors, and this particular interpretation of him remains true to both the cultural feeling of who and what Holmes is, along with all the source material that was created by Conan Doyle himself. The theme and atmosphere, combined with the intuitive gameplay and style of the engine, renders a dark, dreary London where crime lurks around every corner, and madness dwells just out of sight.

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Posted:
2012-10-22

camel

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

7.5

This game would have been amazing, if not for bugs, and some downtime in connection. The story is well plotted and the scenes are well laid out. The almost real execution, the nice soundtrack which is not disturbing at all and the whole game is fun. Some of the cons of the game are that there is no text chat that could help you communicate with the other gamers; battles are short and at times not that challenging.

Splinter Cell: Conviction is a unique game wherein it has this mark and execute feature. This gameplay feature lets the player mark targets, objects, and enemies, and when they come out the door, that mark the player placed on those targets then fires. There is also this kind of visual shadow, or the last known position, that allows the player to flank his enemies without his actual position being known.

You would be able to see the difference, the development as compared with the early ones in the series. Sam could still do those bending and sneaking around but in this edition, Sam could use the bystanders and the civilians as covers, or those vehicles and some walls, and other vertical surfaces. The visual silhouette could help you cover your real spot by fooling the guards with the silhouette, and then you can zoom to where you want to get to next.

What makes the executions great is that there are many ways in approaching the different levels and planning attacks. You can be very flexible in this game, and you can use all your wide imagination. The game allows you to be creative and resourceful. You can throw such gadgets like remote cameras, you can have your guns silenced.

The Splinter Cell: Conviction looks really attractive though the colors make it look outdated. The texture may be grainy and there may be some rough edges. The soundtrack is also a little beyond just okay. It is not bothersome, but it makes the game spontaneous. Sounds happen to be where they are needed, improving those fight scenes and other effects. There are even certain alarms or warnings when a guard senses your presence and the movements of cameras, and the like.

The game is overall easy to get through, especially if you play the normal difficulty level. But with the hardest difficulty level, you can use your other gadgets and think of other ways because you will really be in need of them.

The PC version of the Splinter Cell: Conviction may not be the best version of the game, though. A great plot and a great way of telling the story may give it a plus, but it is not able to bring out the best of the game. Yes, you can play with other players but there is not a form of text chat communication between you making it not work out. But overall, the game is fun and entertaining, as long as you are not so keen about everything.

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Posted:
2012-10-25

camel

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

8.4

When it comes to casual and time management games, I confess that I am not all that interested. But to my surprise, Farm Frenzy 3 changed my heart and mind and I found that I can get just as addicted to this type of game as much as I am with stealth and killing games.

The character played by the gamer is Scarlett whose goal in life to become the president of F.U.N. or farmerÂ’s union. She needs all the experience and votes she can acquire to get to that level of trust from other farmers. This means that she has to go through all sorts and levels of farms all over the world and make use of her skills in management to help the farms and optimize their function and efficiency.

Overall there are 95 levels with their corresponding one to four goals that have to be met. Stars are earned after each level is completed. These stars are used to upgrade the shop. There is no limit to the time spent to complete each level, but a gold or silver credit is given if the time of completion is short. There are also extra stars given as bonus for really short time completions. The good thing is that the level can be replayed if the gamer is on the quest for more stars. The time of completion can be improved in these replays and there is a chance to earn more gold, silver and stars in the process. It is a win-win situation and I found myself going back several times just to add on the stars.

Farm Frenzy 3 actually has one of the simplest setups I have met so far and once it is installed into the PC, only three things may be modified: volume, and a choice between full or window screen mode. After the modifications, the game can be started. The graphics are more sophisticated compared to the older version.

Although the improvement on the graphics can slow down older PCs, there are no other flaws. If the PC has a high capacity, the improvements are actually a delight. So, let this be a warning for those with low capacity systems once the objects start falling, the slow system can disrupt the game. Otherwise, thatÂÂÂ’s it. There are no other flaws and the game is simply fun and exciting. So exciting is the game that I soon found myself getting hungry but foregoing food for the sake of completing another level.

This is one casual game which is a delight for everyone who simply wants to relax and enjoy a time playing in front of the computer. There are 95 five minute missions which may be short but can take time to get right. It is easy to spend 20 hours straight in front of the computer, so with the low cost it takes to buy this, it is definitely worth it. Recommendation: I say go ahead and buy it, this is one for the collection.

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Posted:
2013-02-27

camel

Super Gamer Dude

Nintendo Wii

7.0

Ever since hitting the main stream fitness circuit in the mid 1990s, it is hard pressed to find a gym that does not offer Zumba classes on a regular basis. Zumba gained popularity by its ability to make working out more fun for those who naturally detest traditional cardio and weight training. Though Zumba work out DVDs have been available for years, Nintendo Wii attempts to cash in on the Zumba dance craze with a series of games that promises to get the player moving and grooving, all while working out major muscle groups and toning the core.

The latest Zumba game offered by Nintendo is Zumba Core. Released in October, 2012, Zumba Core is said to offer new choreography that has specifically been designed to target the notoriously difficult core area, all while maximizing the cardio and toning benefits to the rest of the body. There are dozens of new songs as well as additional dance styles which enable the player to dance to disco, funk and celtic bluegrass music, if they feel so inclined.

Of course, there is the belt that comes with the game to hold the controller in, enabling the Wii to detect the accuracy of players' dance moves. While the belt serves it's purpose, it is a function that any old belt can also do. No need to buy multiple belts for multiple players, simply grab a few regular belts and make sure that the Wii remote is firmly in place.

While Zumba is a fun workout to do by one's self, it is even more entertaining when there are multiple players. Though it seems cheesy, when there's three or four players, a Zumba workout can quickly feel like a dance party. Working out to Zumba Core with friends can quickly bring out one's competitive side as well, since players are rated at the end of each dance.

The calorie and progress tracker is a great feature, as it can be helpful to visualize calories burned during play. Overall, Zumba Core is a great game, that can really help motivate people to work out, especially people who don't particularly like a traditional style of working out. It can be a wonderful way to spend time with friends and can be a great way to squeeze exercise into a busy day. Though Zumba Core promises to deliver moves which target the core area, it was difficult to differentiate the moves presented in this game with any of the previous Zumba Wii games. There was no real dramatic difference in abdominal muscles, even after several weeks of regular game play.

Unless someone is seriously committed to a lifestyle change, including incorporating a healthy diet and exercise routine into one's life, she should not expect occasional game play of Zumba Core to dramatically change a soft belly into a hardened six pack. However, Zumba Core can be a great way to ease into a healthy fitness routine and have fun with friends.

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Posted:
2013-11-01

camel

Super Gamer Dude

PC Games

6.8

While Train Simulator 2013 on the PC can never generate the unique atmosphere experienced by enthusiasts on their railway journeys it can fill gaps in the enthusiasts time table when other things, such as rising train fares and home and family commitments conspire to keep them away from the real thing. Of course where the game scores highly is with the number of routes available for journeys, but unfortunately these are extras and come at a price, although with the ever rising costs of train fares, buying these extras is probably less than the fare for the equivalent journey, and this is especially true for the routes in countries other than your own.

There are five routes included in the basic package and these are London to Brighton and Isle of Wight in Britain, the North East Corridor and the Sherman Hill North America, and the Munich to Augsburg line in Germany. An extensive choice of other lines in Britain, America and Germany are also available for download.

There is also a wide range of locomotive engines and rolling stock on offer both diesel and steam, and again the basic package comes with a choice of around thirteen trains going back as far as the early sixties with representatives from the same three countries, and once again more are there for downloading. There are also some added scenarios to download which are needed for certain engines and rolling stock. For instance the British GEML Class 90 add on locomotive requires the Great Western Main Line London Ipswich add on. These mix and match add ons can be a bit confusing but they are all listed in tables in Wikipedia. I believe that there are software resources
as extras that allow the user to create their own layouts and worlds but that is beyond my knowledge.

One of the greatest improvements with this game is that you can now save multiple games which was not allowed in earlier versions, which was a bit of a drawback as some routes take up some considerable time to run. The graphics may look good but as I have never undertaken any of the journeys for real I cannot vouch for the accuracy, but i would suspect its pretty close.

To get off to a quick start, and to get a look at the possibilities the game offers to a new player, you can choose the Quick Drive option. This option allows you to get up and running quickly. You choose your train, route, time of day, weather and season. Of course all these choices and more are available in the more complex modes.

There is also a Career-Mode which will score you on your timing, speed and the level of comfort your journey provides for your passengers. The passenger comfort is something not obviously considered in a train simulation which is usually assumed to be all about driving from A to B while looking at scenery. The driver needs to know what stations he is scheduled to stop at and the times of arrival and departure.

The game has undergone the year on year upgrades in terms of graphics and sound both of which are important for real train journeys. Of course the standard of graphics depends on the quality of your computer's graphics card, the sound less so.

The game in its basic form will be of interest to almost anyone who does not want to take it too seriously, it does give them a chance to do something which most will never do ie. drive a train. In its more detailed forms with additional lines and locomotives it will be of interest to railway enthusiasts and those who have tried the basic format and enjoyed it. I enjoyed it but would not wish to go further than the starter pack and so would not recommend it too highly. How a real railway enthusiast would rate the game needs to be seen.


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