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  • DCEmu Games Reviews

    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:19
    1. Categories:
    2. Xbox 360 News,
    3. DCEmu Games Reviews

    Developer: Volition
    Publisher: THQ
    Genre: Action
    Price: $59.99
    Players: Players: 1-2 (off-line) Players: 2-12 (on-line)

    Blood and Gore
    Intense Violence
    Sexual Content
    Strong Language
    Use of Drugs

    *Reviewed on an xbox360 console*

    Overview:Some say that Saints Row 2 is not as good as GTA4 and that is the reason they won't buy it, but it really isn't trying to be GTA4, though it may seem like it at first glance, this game actually exceeds GTA4 in some ways.

    Gameplay: There is alot of things to talk about this game, so let me break it down this way:

    When you start out, you will only have one crib, and little money, you can do missions to earn money and respect which will allow you to buy more cribs in which you can do a number of activities, such as watch previous cutscenes, change your clothes, weapon, and even collect any money your gang has gathered up, you can get money daily by buying food places, and such once you have owned the hood they are in. While you are in your crib, an interesting thing you can do is play a separate game called "Zombie Uprising" where you and a small group of other people are trapped in a small area, and you fight wave after wave of zombies until you beat the game, at the beginning you ARE supplied with weapons such as a chainsaw which when used, the camera closes up on you so you can see the zombie being ripped apart even better, just like in gears of war, this is a great addition to to Saints Row and only adds more value as well.
    Other ways of getting money include doing missions, stealing a taxi and driving people around, stealing cars and selling them, and even stealing a car and taking the people inside of it hostage, this leads up to a sort of mini game in which you have to avoid the cops for a certain amount of time, if you stop or drive too slowly, then the hostage will get off the car. Missions in Saints Row 2 are very varied, you will find your self doing the regular racing and killing activities, but then you will also find yourself in a truck throwing human waste at buildings, or pretending to be a police man and trying to break up a gang fight between pirates and ninjas.

    The character customization deserves a good look at, here, you can tweak and change things large as how fat you are, down to jaw placement, which is simply amazing, let say you for example choose to be an old person, the older you are, the more your skin will start to sag, and lets say you choose to be a man, what is stopping you from walking like a woman? or talking like one? not Saints Row 2's character creator, you are even free to get breast implants, this is actually more fun then making a mii, there I said it! the guy I made actually looks like me! Once you are done making a character, you can go to multiple stores to buy different clothing, this is a more limited selection, but still doesn't cut short from any other game out there that lets you customize your character, the wardrobe is large enough to satisfy your basic needs of looking fly, this will earn you more respect after completing each mission.

    Unlike in GTA4, money in Saints Row 2 is actually helpful, you can use it to buy clothes, ammo, weapons, buildings, businesses, upgrades for your cribs, and for your cars, and feel free to upgrade away, unlike in the GTA series, upgrading a car can be frustrating, as you will find yourself driving slowly seance can easily crash and dent it, or in worst case scenario, blow it up, in Saints Row, you can leave it anywhere you want, and it will magically be stored in your garage, blew it up? no problem, it will magically show back up in your garage, except you will be charged a fine to fix it up, so go ahead and install those spikes at the side of your wheels so you can pop the tires out of other cars if they get too close, they aren't going anywhere.

    Aside from the clothing options, the character customization in this game is the best I have seen in a video game so far.

    There are many weapons in this game, ranging from my handy dandy taser gun, to a target seeking missile launcher, the variety is great to have, too bad you will feel like you mostly won't need them due to the fact that bullets do little damage to you, making this game a little less challenging then it needs to be in some areas, you can literally walk up to a cop while he is shooting at you and then throw him with your bare hands, this process can be repeated multiple times at once without dying, this only gets worse as you level up your character to take less damage from bullets, regenerate faster, and inflict more damage per punch. You can level up your character by doing certain missions, on the down side, this does not carry over to online component of this game, due to the fact that you have to make a new character to play online, this is both good and bad in the seance that who wouldn't wanna have the chance of having TWO customizable characters, I myself chose to make mine look like an alien, something I couldn't do in carrier mode without ruining my experience.

    The controls are fine, but if you are used to driving cars in GTA4 like myself, then you may have to spend a few minutes getting used to the way things handle on Saints Row, you accelerate with "A" and fire with the right trigger, you can press the left bumper at any time to make your car go at the same speed without having to press the gas pedal, this gives you freedom to do a 180 and shoot at any hazards behind you, though this works best on straight roads so keep an eye on the map.
    The fighting system is also simple, but fun, you can grab people and use them as meat shields or throw them, and the two trigger buttons are used for left and right punches, chaining these in any form will result in a small take down move where the camera zooms in on you, and you hit them to the ground.

    In Saints Row 2 you will find some sweet rides from pee-wee scooters to deadly copters, you can steal most of these, but some will require you to buy them, or you can just type in some cheat codes. You can customize some of the vehicles you have but don't hold your breath, the options are not very variant, you can for example give your car a turbo, and that is where it ends, no stronger or ultra turbo which is kind of disappointing.

    I funna go pimp ma hoes with dis ride (click here for more information on "funna")

    Now, not everything is rainbows and butterflies in this game, there are constant glitches and frame drops to be seen, a car even disappeared on me once, enemies often don't notice you and you can easily walk up to them and shoot them, and even after that, they occasionally don't respond making the game at times, easier then it was meant to be. At least the online component of this game makes up for it, if you are really looking for a challenge, you can always get over to a multiplayer match where you can get your bottom handed to you in many different ways as there is a variety of modes to be played.

    Graphics: The player models are all right, but now that the bar has been raised, it couldn't hurt them to have made them a bit better, still, this doesn't mean they aren't pretty every now and then. Animations could also use some work, when the player walks it instantly faces the direction in which you are going, there is no smooth transition, but in the long run, this brings a more responsive control rather then other games which require you to go around a circle in order to make a 180. And the small cinematic moves at the end of combos also bring up some eye candy, specially when they change depending on what fighting style you choose.

    Sound: Voice overs are great, the track list on the radio could be bigger but what is there works and you can buy some more songs from cd stores, also, the radio hosts will make you smile every now and then, and sometimes maybe even laugh, and overall sound effects are just there, except for the sound of the UFO which can get very annoying quickly. Your character will trash talk every now and then, but there is a large enough variety of things he/she will say to not make it too repetitive, you have to keep in mind that different lines were recorded for different voices that you can choose from which is a big plus.

    Replay Value: There is full online co-op, and multiplayer mayhem support which is great, this game also has many different missions and activities to do, and once you are done with that, you can always walk up to people, tase them and watch them twitch in the ground, overall, i found that free roaming in this game alot funner then free roaming in GTA4, as this one is not as realistic, jumping out of planes and robbing stores don't bring much consequence.

    Achievements: Most of the achievements in Saints Row 2 only require you to finish all levels of certain activities which is pretty easy for the most part, they are not all fun, but at least they are easy to get if you are looking for some extra points, they just take some time.

    Conclusion: Just because this is not GTA4 doesn't mean it is just another wanna be, in fact, there are many elements of this game you won't find anywhere else, this game feels like a combination between GTA4, Postal, and Dead Rising, as you can pick up or destroy most of the things you see and ether hit others with it, or throw it at them. I recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of free roamers, crazy dialogue and missions, and overall crazy fun.

    While car surfing may not be very fun, it sure beats walking.

    Gameplay: 4.5/5
    Graphics: 4/5
    Sound: 4/5
    Replay Value: 4.5/5

    Overall Score:

    .: GREAT GAME!:.
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:19
    1. Categories:
    2. Xbox 360 News,
    3. DCEmu Games Reviews

    Developed by: The Behemoth
    Published By: The Behemoth
    Players 1-4
    Genre: Action/beat'em up
    Console: Xbox 360
    ERSB: T: Blood And Gore, Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor.
    Prices: 1200ms pts

    $14.99 (USA)
    $19.99 (CAD)
    $19.80 (AUD)

    Overview: Castle crashers is made by the same people behind alien hominid, this title keeps it's roots while giving a brand new experience, alien hominid fans will be happy, and newcomers will enjoy it as well.

    Gameplay: In Castle Crashers, you start out with four playable characters (or five if you have alien hominid, in which case, he will be playable from the beginning as well) each have their own special power, and who you choose may easily change the outcome of how you fight, tho in general, you will be going left to right, killing waves of enemies that come at you, and a boss at the end.

    You can level up your character in strength which will make your character's melee attacks stronger, magic which will make it stronger, and the magic barr will re-fill it self faster, defense which will allow you to take less damage per hit AND you get a bigger health bar, and agility which will make you faster, and will improve your archery skills.

    In castle crashers, after you beat the first level, you will notice that the level selection layout is the same as the one found in "Super Mario World" this allows you to go back to any boss or level you have previously completed, and level up your character or gain some extra cash.

    Money can be used to purchase health potions, bombs, and sandwiches; Potions will re-fill your health, bombs are pretty much useless, they do not go far and don't do much damage, but it is still a nice addition to the game, sandwiches will make your muscles expand to a hulk level, and you can punch and kick, tho you are unable to use magic and a sword for the exact ten seconds it lasts, you will not loose any health for any damage taken.

    Even tho you start out as a wimp, you quickly level up and gain new moves, and depending on which level up route you take, you may find yourself ether flying across the screen doing an incredible combo and clearing everyone out, or making giant clouds of gas appear from your fingertips infecting big portions of enemies leading them to their death, OR you can be a well rounded person and use magic and might together, which ever rout you take, you have four to five different playable characters from the beginning so you can experiment with them all you want, and you will soon unlock more, you can unlock new characters by ether getting through certain levels, or by finishing tournaments.

    These cute looking bears will fool you, they pack a big punch.

    At times, and in certain levels only, the gameplay may become a bit repetitive, mainly in the desert areas later on, even if you DO get to ride a camel that spits, which brings me to a more "special" part of this game which is humor, you will find animals pooping everywhere, and signs that make no sense; Enemies often make funny faces when hurt and so does that old king of yours, you have to be pretty bitter to not even smile at some of the jokes this game is packed with.

    Another new addition to this game is pets! you can choose from a wide library of pets (you start out with none, and move your way up) every pet has a different purpose, whether it rises your defense, suck the enemies blood and hurts them, or take them down with a good tackle, these pets will let you show them off online when you are playing with friends, and it is always nice to have a companion with you when you are traveling the world alone.

    Aside from single player you can also bring up to three of your friends to your town, and they can help you beat that one boss you just aren't ready to take on your on, and are too lazy to go back and do some past levels over to level up, four player co-op is extremely fun, and can get very crazy, you will see blocks of ice rain from the sky, and clouds of gas cover the entire level, also, even if you are 20 levels below you fellow team mates, you can still feel like you are doing something to help them out, since you are free to level up in whatever area you please,you may still be stronger, or have more magic powers then them. after each boss battle, right after you save the princess, you have to fight against any teammate that may previously be at your side, the victorious one gets to kiss her, and there is an achievement for kissing all four princesses in multiplayer.
    And even if you don't have anyone to play with, on certain levels, you will have warriors or even peasants fighting by your side which can always come in handy when fighting bit herds of enemies.

    Graphics: Everything in this game is hand drawn, which has its pros and cons; On the pro side, everything has a great look to it, specially the environment, and if you look closely, the backgrounds are often very well detailed, you might see for example a canon ball come down from the sky, and then a herd of warriors launch into the air, in certain levels you may find animals, and enemies are sometimes doing hilarious things, for instance, you may see a group of them sleeping, or a guard reading the news paper, once you get close enough to them, they will engage you in battle.

    The down side of having hand drawn sprites, is that most of the animations contain very few frames, sometimes so few you can see each of them individually, making them seem incomplete, there is for example a boss later on that gets a cannon ball to its face, and instead of going into a face squishing animation, they instantly replace his regular face with a squished one, so there are no frames in between to make it smooth.

    He should have never accepted that mystery drink from that homeless guy.

    Sound:expect some exiting and sometimes dramatic tunes to match up the game depending on what level or situation you are on, some of the songs in this game can be found in the "Audio Portal" of newgrounds.com.

    Sound effects are okay, you hear a "Woosh" every time you swing, and a "Pow!" every time you hit, but sometimes, you hear the sound of two metal pieces crashing against one another when beating up an enemy with wooden armor which can be a bit misleading, and if you are a perfectionist, a bit annoying as well.

    Replay Value: With so much to unlock in this game how can you NOT have an amazing replay value, there are tons of pets to unlock as well as characters (around twenty) and they EACH have their own special powers which can be levelled up! there are also multiple weapons to unlock, and you can combine all of this with an exiting multiplayer experience, apart from that there are also numerous hidden items and secrets that can be unlocked.

    Once you have unlocked a pet or a weapon (to unlock them all you have to do is grab them) you can go back to the "blacksmith" there, you can withdraw any weapon you have previously unlocked at no charge, as well as pets, you can also get info on what each pet does through a teacher dressed as a nurse.

    Don't be fooled by their cuteness, the pets you can carry around with you are actually quite helpful, they each have their own special ability, and some may even help you in combat, my goat looking thing saved me from some ferocious bow and arrow throwers back at the arena.

    Also, once you beat the game, a new difficulty mode "insane mode" will be unlocked, this makes you start over from the beginning except this time, the enemies are much stronger, but in my opinion, they felt as hard as they were when you first started to play the game, the only difference is that since the enemies are stronger, you will level up faster. (even if you ARE level 42 *cough**cough*)

    Apart from the main game, there are also two mini games, "All you can quaff" where you rapidly press the "X" and "Y" buttons to tear apart fruit and the one who tears a certain amount the soonest wins, and then there is tournament where you fight waves of enemies.

    You later unlock the ability to play as your enemies which can be a bit confusing at times.

    Difficulty:The game may be hard at some points, but you can always go back and re-do levels to get your experience up, and having the option to have some friends to back you up can make a big difference, specially since when playing with your pals, they can bring you back to life when you die, all they have to do it go up to you, and press the "Y" button a few times.

    Rarely, but surely, you may find your self in a situation where enemies gather around you, and you can't get up, this may sometimes be fixed with a few good bombs, or maybe a sandwich, but when you don't have ether, then you are to be in the ground until you die, which can get very annoying.

    Achievements: Most of the achievements are easily done, a few only take some time and patience, instead of skill, nevertheless, they are fun, and lets be honest, who doesn't like some easy achievements every now and then? (Click on "Achievements" for a full list of them)
    Here is a tip on how to get the "Melee is Best" achievement, level up a few times (anywhere above level ten will do fine) and go to the "Barbarian Boss" stage (that is the first boss you fight) once there, you can finish him off pretty quickly without using magic.
    To get the "Medic!" achievement, play a multiplayer match with your friends, let them willingly die, and then heal them.

    Conclusion: This is a must buy for any xbox360 owner with access to the internet, for only $15 this is a bargain! There is a bunch of content here that will keep you busy for a long time, and i personally recommend it! stop reading this review now and go out and buy it! even if the AI is a bit dumb every now and then, and some more magic spell would have been appreciated (you end up with three different magic spells)
    Also, if you are a newgrounds member and often visit their site, then you will find quite a few references to some of the flash cartoons found in the site.

    *Multiplayer support on and off line.
    *Great tracks.
    *Over 20 playable characters.
    *Many cool secrets.
    *A wide library of weapons and pets.

    *Online multiplayer is virtually impossible unless you are aiming for one of the two mini games, or have friends to invite you to a private match.
    *Gameplay may get repetitive at times.
    *too many characters have the same magic.

    Gameplay: 4.5/5
    Graphics: 4.5/5
    Sound: 4/5
    Replay Value: 5/5
    Difficulty: 4.5/5
    Achievements: 4/5

    Final Score:


    2nd Opinion: By Shadowblind

    You'll laugh, you'll cry, you might even get a chance to blow a hole in your buddy's head while paying Castle Crashers. Despite that previous comment, you won't be crying much, but you may be laughing like a hyena after playing this game. Its stylish flash-cartoon graphics and crude humor will make this a very enjoyable game. Still, as far as gameplay goes, its pretty much the same thing throughout, but 4 player online multiplayer rocks. For the value of 1200 MSP its well worth it, but its not exactly something that goes and breaks thousands of Boundaries of gaming here. If anything, its a step back to the retro days of Golden Axe. But now who ever said that old school is bad school?

    Second Opinion:
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:19
    1. Categories:
    2. Xbox 360 News,
    3. DCEmu Games Reviews

    Fable 2 Pub Games
    Publisher: Microsoft
    Developer: LionHead
    Genre: Casino mini games
    Players: 1
    MSRP: 800 MS point ($10, £6.80, €9.30)
    Platform: Xbox 360 (XBLA)

    First of, you can get these games for free as they will be bundled with Fable 2 or if you preorder Fable 2. Any money you make can be used in the full game of Fable 2, but also if you get too much debt it will have consequences in the fable world (people will come after you for the the money you owe? ). Also when you win tournaments you can unlock items for the main game, like strength potions, tattoos etc. Sounds like a nice little game to wet you apatite for when the main game comes out, doesn't it? Shame the games are so bad ....

    There are 3 games in Pub games, Spinnerbox ,Keystone, Fortune's Tower. You can only play some of the low bet limit games first in each type, the rest are unlocked as you gain experience points, which are gained mostly by how much you bet and not how much you win, which is good because it seems you lose more than you win in some of the games.

    Fortune's Tower is by far the best of the 3, Its basic card game, cards are laid out in a pyramid formation with a row added to the bottom for every round. First you place your bet then the first 3 cards are drawn, the first card in turned down, and the next 2 are placed face up underneath (in a pyramid formation). For each round another row is added to the pyramid, and your winnings is based on the total value of all the face cards on that row (15 is break even). Now the catch. If a card from the current row is touching a card of the same value on the row above it, it's "Burned" which is game over. The only way that can be stopped is if an Knight card is drawn in that row (as in the screenshot above), which saves the row from any burned cards. If no Knight cards are drawn, then the card from the top of the pyramid (who's value you don't know) is used to replace the "burned" card, but this can only be used once.

    For each row you have the option to take the current offer of that row, or risk revealing another row. But as there are more cards on each row, there further down the pyramid you go, the higher the reward could be, but then there is more chance to be "burned". If you get to the last row with out using the save card from the top of the pyramid, you win the jackpot, which is the face value of all the cards in the pyramid added together (= alot), so there is a good reason to keep going to the end.

    Yeah its seems a bit complex, but once you play it, it makes sense. You can draw parallels with "Deal or No Deal" as is all about getting the best deal you can get.

    Keystone is basically a roulette game. You make bets on what number, colour, shape, etc that will be thrown. Once bets are placed 3 dice are thrown, which added up, is the wining number. Each time a number is thrown a stone is removed, if that stone has already been removed then the one under is removed. This keeps going until the "keystones" are removed (2 or 18 / 10 and 11). The rules are interesting, and some of the variants have reverse rules (you bet on what numbers are not thrown) , but ultimately its very slow, drawn out game.

    Spinnerbox is medieval version of slots, and like slots requires no skill, other than pushing a button. The only saving grace is you don't have to be in the same room to play (thanks wireless control), just keep hitting "A" (Auto-fire anyone), to keep spinning, which is handy for getting though the tournaments, which, if you have not guess by now, are complete luck if you win.

    Most Casino computer games fail because there is no risk with virtual money, who cares if you lose. What makes Fables pub games interesting, losing (and winning) does mean something.... if you are planning to buy Fable 2 when it comes out. But considering only one of the 3 mini games, is really a game that can be called "a game", its not really anywhere near enough to justify 800ms points for it. As a free game is interesting, but asking people to pay for it is a bit much. I was wondering why this game has been left out of the much hype "Summer of Arcade" that Microsoft has been going on about, now I know why.

    - Unlocked items for Fable 2
    - Might earn money for Fable2
    - One of the games is interesting

    - Most likely get debt for Fable 2 (unless you use the glitch)
    - Only 3 Games
    - OMG So Boring!!


    *Note: the above score is in relation to 800ms points price point. If you get it for free, add a few more points to it
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:19
    1. Categories:
    2. Nintendo Wii News,
    3. DCEmu Games Reviews

    Published by: Majesco
    Developed by: Budcat Creations
    Genre: shooter/sandbox
    Players: 1-4
    Price: $20
    Platform: Wii

    Overview: "BlastWorks: Build, Trade, Destroy" is as unique as its name, it offers chaotic multiplayer while keeping single player fun enough to keep coming back even if you have no friends due to its limitless builder that allows you to create bullets, ships, enemies, environments, ect, the only limit here is your imagination!

    Gameplay: Many things can be said about this game's gameplay, not only does it offer a refreshingly new way of playing a side-scrolling shooter, but it is also packed in with a marvelous creator that allows you to make anything you can imagine!

    Lets start with the simpler side of this game, the campaign mode: you and a friend can engage a Difficult road of a disappointingly short amount of levels which offer a good challenge and some great fun in all three difficulty modes.

    In campaign, even tho it is small, it doesn't fall short in its fun factor, specially if you have a friend beside you, as you shoot at your enemies, you will notice that you can actually grab them and make them part of your ship, this is good for tree reasons: one, they provide a temporary shield for you (they fall off when hit) two: they automatically shoot in the direction they were looking at when caught, in which case you may find yourself with ships that are shooting behind you which seems useless, or funny, ether way you look at it it never hurts to have an extra ship to take care of you. And three: after you have collected enough ships, you will receive a bonus life which can be the difference between clearing a level or not.

    Grabbing ships is probably one of the funnest things to do in this game apart from making your own levels, there is a special joy that can be achieved once you see that your ship covers the entire screen, and death comes to all that challenge you.

    You CAN at any time call back all of your minion ships by pressing the "Z" button on the nunchuck, this skill is specially useful when fighting bosses and you wish to keep your shield, then quickly popping them out for a small burst of random bullets to hopefully hit the boss's weak spot, or if your friend can't grab any enemies because your ship is all over the screen, you can be a good fellow and call them back until your friend has collected enough to satisfy his needs.

    After you have beaten campaign mode, or if you just don't have anyone to play with, there is always "build" mode, here, you can build anything you want from backgrounds to bullets, you can literally customize anything you can think of! color size, speed, rate, you name it. but just don't expect to get there and have a master piece in five minutes, creating a good looking ship or a well rounded bullet can take up to thirty minutes or more, it all depends on how detailed you want it to be, I for example made a chicken in it's shell that throws up in about twenty minutes, this may be seen as an upside or a downside depending on which way you look at it, even tho there is nothing really wrong with the editor, it took me a whole day of patience before I could even start to build my own map and that was with only ONE enemy.

    This builder has MANY things to offer, with a very well numbered amount of choices for each option, there are over 50 different colors to chose from, over 30 different bullet paths, sounds, ect, you get the idea, this is probably the best in-game builder to have ever been made in a game, it is so complete, it even offers customizable AI for the enemies, and you can surprisingly make it to where the enemies break apart as you shoot them instead of dying in once piece, this builder is so well made, the developers actually used it to make every level in the game.

    This image does a poor job at illustrating the amount chaos that can be reached in this game.

    Graphics: To say that this game's graphics are good or bad would be a mistake, it doesn't even have a set art style since you can make your own, want a Lego theme? you got it, how about a black and white look? you got it! a cartoony art style? with some darn hard work you got it!

    How good the graphics are is really up to you and the hundreds of active users out there, and I am positive it will evolve as time goes on, here is the official blast works site where you can upload and download user created content, this can be done easily since the site will ask you for your wii code number (finally they are put to good use) this allows you to click "download" on any desired item and it will be downloaded straight into your wii, from here you can add even more detail to it. but if we were to take every single piece of content that has been made, then i would probably say that most of them DO have a set art style, and that for a $20 game the graphics aren't too bad, that is also taking in consideration that most of the content you will have on your maps will be made by you, or another user with little experience in 3D design.

    Still, a bit more animation would have been appreciated, as well as the option to animate yourself, tho not all are knowledgeable over the fourth dimension which is actually twisting and turning and not a straight line from past to future as represented by us three dimensional creatures opening the possibilities for time travel, but that is another story for another time.

    Each of this ships probably took about an hour to make, maybe longer.

    Sound: this game has some catchy yet simple beats which get more complex as time goes on but never really gets too wild, it is there not to be heard, but to be appreciated every now and then.
    You can edit sound effects of pretty much everything, bullets, explosions, ect but not background music, and it would have been nice to have had that option, i mean, who wouldn't want to play a Mario themed level with a Mario song? and with even a launch game (excite truck) offering this feature, I can't see why this game which is so built around the idea that you can customize anything would not have it.

    Replay Value: Offering up to four player co-op, the ability to build, trade, AND destroy, how can this game NOT have a great replay value, most things are unlocked from the beginning so you don't have to work too much for the few extras which is a little disappointing because it would have been more exiting to have had to unlock more things, still, the replay value doesn't revolve around playing campaign mode, but letting your imagination come to life and letting everyone see it, there are hundreds of downloadable parts available online and hundreds more to come which will bombard your with excitement, so let your imagination run wild with the builder! and feel free to show the world.

    Conclusion: What can YOU get for $20? A shirt? Some cheap shoes? A collector's edition $1 coin? How about Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy! this action packed shooter/sandbox game allows you make your dreams come true, and build your own game! not only that, but you can share it with your friends AND the whole world! This game also allows you and up to three of your friends to play in one of the levels YOU made, so they can complain about why the background is not pretty enough, or why a pig shoots bullets from its butt.

    So to close this conclusion, Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy is a great choice if you are looking for a cheap wii game that will give you some good bang for your buck, or if you are just desperately looking for a good wii game because you are tiered of all the mini games you have played in the past two years,so whatever the reason is, Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy is a great choice for anyone out there with a wii.

    Difficulty: Again, YOU make it, YOU choose how many enemies are on screen, and how powerful they are, YOU make the difficulty, and in my opinion, it can't get any more perfect then that.

    Still, aside from that, you have three difficulty options: Rookie, Pilot, and Ace, they only affect how quickly you die as far as I can tell, or how many bullets it takes to kill each enemy, not how many of them are on screen so your maps will remain untouched.

    Gameplay: 4.5/5
    Graphics: 4.5/5
    Sound: 4/5
    Replay Value: 4/5
    Difficulty: 5/5

    Overall Score:

    .:Great Game!:.
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:18
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    Feeding Frenzy 2: ShipWreck Showdown
    Publisher: Oberon media
    Developer: Sprout Games
    Genre: Arcade Action
    System: Xbox 360 (Xbox LIVE)

    Big fish eats small fish. Its a fact of life, and is a saying that well explains the worlds state of life. Feeding Frenzy takes this saying quite literally, as you play as a fish in the big sea whose only purpose is to eat small fish and became a big fish to eat even bigger fish. Sounds simple right? Well it is, almost too much so. The game isn't broken(well, controls may be) but it certainly does what its supposed to, if by 'supposed to' means bore you in little over an hour.

    The gameplay revolves around trying to devour other smaller fish and grow larger, so that you can eat the larger fish. Thats the formula for every level you play, except for the occasional bonus level which has you doing some some mini game to attain a higher score. The thing is, its all been down before, and in 1995 at that. Playing this game reminded me of a lesser quality version of Odell Down Under, a similar game where the gameplay is nearly identical. However, Feeding Frenzy is far more simplistic. There is usually only a single type of fish you are able to eat, and that will, for most at least, get extremely boring as the game progresses, since there is really no change to gameplay. This results in a very repetitive experience all throughout story mode, as there is far too little depth in the game to really hold anyone other then a casual gamer's interest for very long. The 'not-so-different' special levels you do every so often do little to keep your interest.

    The controls are quite a mess. Constantly, you'll end up drifting into the mouth of a bigger fish on accident because of the Astroids-style drift that happens after releasing the controller stick. It also makes devouring small fish a pain, at least until you get the Vacuum ability to suck up fish.

    The good news is there is co-op, and if you have a relative who doesn't generally like video games, this is a great game that can be played with them. The game's difficulty is easy and its learning curve is non-existant. Just try to make sure your friend or family doesn't fall asleep while playing it.

    Try doing this for just 10 levels and see if your not sick of it.

    The charming underwater theme of the game fits very well with the mood of the game. Vibrant and colorful, but all too bland and reptitive. The backgrounds repeat, the same fish sprites are used constantly, and all in all its just becomes boring after the 15th level of the same background and fish. I guess the solution Sprout games used for this was to invert the fish colors every so often. Meh.

    The tranquil music does its work, like the rest of the game, to make you feel tired, and sort of relaxed. The creepy sound effect you hear of the guy saying "Feeding Frenzy" is more likely to scare you then relax you though. Sound effects for eating fish will get annoying after a few hours of continuous play, but hey, at least they didn't have you hear the fish screaming bloody murder every time you eat them.

    Closing comments:
    Feeding Frenzy is one of those games that your sister would play on an internet game site rather then a game you'd be wanting to spend money for. After all, there are some almost identical flash games you could play at no cost. I suppose Feeding Frenzy's biggest offense that it commits is just not being all that fun, even though it generally does what its supposed to. Which I suppose, is make you get very drowzy.

    Story: N/A
    Graphics: 2/5
    Sound: 1/5
    Gameplay: 1/5
    Replayability: 2/5

    OVERALL: 1/5
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:18
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    Developer: MommysBest
    Genre: Side Scrolling Shooter
    Players: 1
    Price: 400
    Rating By Community:
    Mature Content=2/3


    Overview: The new Xbox experience is out along with a hand full of XNA or "Community" games, there are many to pick from and after playing all the demo's on a $5 budget this one seemed like the clear winner, does it live up to its name? or is this just another one of those games that are thrown out there to make a quick buck?

    Gameplay: Tho ridiculously short, this game brings a new fresh twist to side scrolling shooters with a good deal of characters to choose from each with their own weapon, special double jump AND secondary fire for each, plus, they all hold one extra weapon in common that you will be completely ignoring throughout the game but is still nice to have.
    A problem I have with XNA games is that you MUST be connected to Xbox live in order to play them, I found this out when I went to play it as I was just starting this review (I like to have the games on while I write about it in case I have to double check anything) this off course became an instant frustration for me. Off course no points will be taken off for this as ALL games are the same, but this is one thing to have in mind for any future purchase of an XNA game.

    Another problem that I wish Microsoft would fix is the lack of achievements on these XNA games, it was fun playing them, but would be even funner if I knew that all my hard work would be rewarded, plus, it adds value. Now that I have listed the problems of ALL XNA games, allow me to continue by listing the problems of this particular one, the frame drops at least once per level, this is not consistent but very noticeable, also, it takes about fifteen minutes to get through the story once, you have the option to complete each level through different paths which adds a bit of replay value but not much. All the characters can be unlocked within half an hour which is about how long it takes to beat the whole game seance you have three different paths to choose from starting from the first level and each path takes ten to fifteen minutes to complete.
    Each character also has a strange gadget that will grab on to walls and roofs for you, this not only looks cool but once you get used to it can be very helpful as well.
    One last feature of this game that needs to be mentioned is the automatic "bullet time" effect that activates when you are near death, this looks and feels cool, plus gives you a second chance at avoiding mortal hazards near you, this makes the game very forgiving, but the fact that this game revolves around the hone hit kill philosophy sort of evens things out. Once you die you will be taken to the character selection menu and after you choose one, you will be blasted back to action, once all of the players die, the game is over.

    There are various enemies and terrains in this game.

    Graphics: The game has a visual style unlike any other, monsters are imaginative and colorful, the backgrounds and environment are well detailed, and bullets in weapons are distinct. Opponents are animated strangely, their bodies are often stretched and my best guess is that its part of the style they are trying to pull of.

    Sound: This seems like a game made for the stereotypical gamer male, there are big buns, chicks (you don't really get to see them up close tho) explosions, monsters, and aliens.....the sound is no different, it is very squishy and crunchy at times mostly when an enemy is killed, and there is rock on the background, could this possibly get more manly?

    Replay Value: If you have been ether reading or paying attention to my review so far, you will know that there are not many reasons to come back to this game, no multilayer support, only about seven levels, and even tho it has three different endings, it only takes about thirty minutes to get there, on the bright side, there are seven unique characters. For 400 I would really have liked to get at least one hour of fun, overall whether or not you should buy this game comes down to how much is 400 worth to YOU, and how much you are willing to pay for a fun, but VERY short experience.

    Conclusion: It seems like almost every single game that does something new or cool for the first time is very short, take portal for example, it was a completely new and awesome puzzle game but only lasted about two hours and it always ends up coming down to how much you are willing to pay for a very short but awesome experience. There IS a surprisingly alright story, and this is how the three endings are broken up, whoever you choose to serve will determine where you will go next, but be careful, you die in two out of the three endings.

    It is easy to ignore backgrounds while in the heat of battle...don't.

    Final Score:
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:18
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    Klonoa: Empire of Dreams
    Publisher: Namco
    Developer: Namco
    Genre: Action
    Players: 1

    Klonoa: Empire of Dreams
    for the Game Boy Advance Nintendo handheld game system

    Now this was the first Klonoa game I bought. After playing it, I was hooked. This game set a gold standard for GBA games for me, platformers specifically, and this was a definate before-its-time, being one of the first GBA games to be released.

    As with all Klonoa games, its a standard platformer. Unlike its earlier relatives, it is full 2D, as a GBA able to emulate 3D would be a miracle. The sprites a well done, they fit together very well, fully articulate design spaing no pixel of Klonoa's character and essence in attacking, jumping, and the other things a game character basically does. The enemies are particularly something, as they reflect the lighting effect that would be present in a 3D game. The background is not as intricately designed, often being a single landscape. The level design is a bit more detailed on most maps, despite the glossy background. Here is a screenshot of ingame play:

    While not showing much in foreground, you can plainly see the glossy land-scaped background, but it isn't very noticable during in-game play, despite its obvious nature. Cut-scenes have nicely rounded textures, showing obvious work in detailing most parts of the character and background images, with touch ups to the already nicely drawn and created sprites. Heres another screenshot for the good nature of adding them:

    The sound is perfect for the levels...but sometimes the levels are a little too fluffy for their own good, much like in the Kirby game series. This makes some levels music both vexing and calming, which usually makes you tune them out. This doesn't mean the music is bad, its simply not very noticable when indulged within the addicting gameplay. The music in the cutscenes usually fits the scene to the best I would think possible. Again, like in the other Klonoa games, they speak they're own, un-interpretable language. For the music type the GBA is able to chug out, this is a good addition to the game.

    The battle system remains the same in this Klonoa game as all others; sucking in enemies with your ring and expounding them to other enemies or into a walls or to gain distance. Although this style has gotton a bit old, hte Klonoa game series is still holding to it strong. With that effort they also make it continue to remain interesting. In this game, like Door to Phantomile, your ring is powered by the spirit which dwells inside it, namely Huepow.

    The story begins as you, Klonoa, find yourself in multiple visions where you are not sure where you are, or whether theis place even exists or not. Soon you find out that the King of this land has put a law out which claims that no one may sleep, or dream more importantly as the law states. So now I know what your all thinking: "So what if they dream? Whos gonna stop them?" In answer to that: the guards. They, even though made miserable from this law, go and arrest anyone who they find sleeping, even breaking into homes to perform the arrests. The king's reasoning upon the law? The king is having a sever case of abnormal insomnia. He has not been able to sleep in days, and will not permit others to sleep. So comes Klonoa, the "dream traveller". Not really sure what he's doing, he fights through the visions to find out why the King is having insomnia and to liberate the land from this dreaming deprevation.

    Now onto the ratings:

    Graphics: 4 out of 5Nicely drawn sprites and eneies, and great front-gound scenerio textures. Now we get to that screwy-looking background. Sheesh...good thing its not very noticable.

    Sound: 3.5 out of 5
    Very calming music, which fits the levels. Unfortunately, sometimes you just wanna start smashing stuff to some jamming music, but oh well, this is second best!

    Replay Value: 4.5 out of 5
    Im not sure just what it was about this game that made me want to play it about 3 times over before I got bored. All I know is that it is wicked fun from start to finish and back again.

    Gameplay: 4.5 out of 5
    Another well done, good-to go platformer. What makes this one special is its the first best I've seen for GBA, AKA handheld.

    Overall: 4 out of 5
    As GBA games go, this one has held out to me as one of the strongest een since its release at the beginning of the GBA saga of gaming.

    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:18
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    Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
    Developer: Media Molecule
    Genre: Platformer
    Players: 1-4
    Price: $59.99

    Video Review:

    Overview: When LittleBigPlanet was first announced everyone became curious about what this little sack people were all about, as more and more information was released about this ambitious game the more people seemed to get hyped for it. A few weeks after its release I finally get to put my slimy hands all over this one of a kind platformer to calm my own hype for it, is it really as fun as it seems? find out NOW!

    Gameplay: LittleBigPlanet is a platfomer like no other in almost every single way and there is alot to be said about it so I am going to separate it into different sections.
    I am going to go ahead and start with the main story. After about a good ten minutes of tutorials and explanations you will be able to head on straight to the story mode, actually, until you complete the first three levels or so, that is the ONLY thing you will be able to do, no matter tho, they are short and off course, fun. The whole story consists of you being a sack boy or girl, and you pretty much just travel the world helping out friends with all sorts of problems, towards the end, a nemesis shows up and you have to save everyone but that is all I can say without spoiling too much.
    The main story takes place on a world where all dreams go to, here you will get to play through levels from all over the world, each being as stereotypical as they can be, you will fight ninjas in Asia, explore Mayan ruins in Mexico, ect, this makes each world completely unique and non repetitive. The way levels are spread out is each continent has one or two buttons you can click on, once you click on of of them, all levels within that area will pop up, each area also has a few challenges outside of the main story that can be unlocked ether by beating levels, or by finding hidden keys within levels, these challenges are well varied from bull riding to rope jumping and can as well be played with friends.
    Now allow me to go on with gameplay. There are three different lanes of the map in which you can be at during the game, this is new in the world of 2D platforming, you can change lanes at any time by pressing up or down on the left joystick, this works well, but can be frustrating when you are at a crucial moment and it decides it wants to rebel, luckily, the game changes lanes for you whenever it thinks it needs to, and again, this works fine most of the time, but sometimes it will change into a lane that you want to get out of over and over again just because it thinks you WANT to go to that lane, I wish there was a way to turn this off.
    Aside from that, another new thing that LittleBigPlanet wanted to do was make their game physics based, now this opens up the game to new platforming opportunities such as launching yourself from a spinning wheel onto another, or picking up momentum while swinging to land further, but this also restricts the level of control that you have over your character while it is in mid air, as well as once it lands, this lead up to a few frustrating moments for me when I landed on a small platform, only to walk off of it because I didn't want to slide off.

    Every family has a black sheep, sack boys have four.

    Aside from the story there are two other things you can do, one is create levels with amazingly powerful tools, and two, is play user made levels, both great choices.
    Starting with making your own levels, this is probably where LittleBigPlanet shines the most, at first, you will be bored with a good 40 minutes of tutorials, on the bright side, most of the things they tell you are things you will want to know, so pay attention! plus, you get a trophy for going through all the tutorials after that you are pretty much left alone to do what you wish on the level creator and what a creator it is, stickers, textures, figures, even buttons and hidden action events are at your disposal and even tho they are great at doing the things they were meant to do, it feels even better to do things they weren't meant to do, to use items in ways that no one ever though of before.
    Even tho it is very easy to make levels, it takes up alot of your time, it took me a good two days to make my first level and it was just a boss fight with a giant alien, and it wasn't all fun, I had to test my level over and over again, then go back and fix whatever it is that needed to be fixed, and seance it is physics based, you need to give anything you make extra thought.
    A big let down for LittleBigPlanet was the fact that it is very easy to completely mess up your level, during my first attempt at making a giant boss, I made a dragon, after I thought I was done I tested him to see if he would disappear when you hit his weak spot, so I did and he DID disappear and all the point bubbles came falling from the sky like I had programed it to, right after this event I saved the level, exited out of edit mode I went into "play" mode where you get to play the level you made as it will be once you publish it, to my surprise, the level started as I had saved it, the dragon was destroyed and the ground was covered with points, I tried to get my level back but it was all in vain, my level had been ruined and there was no way to get it back. Another thing that should be pointed out is that you can't undo actions, you can only reset time to a the moment of the last action, this is just like an undo button except it can take a good 10 seconds or so at random times, still, despite all of this issues, once you become familiar with the way things work, you will get used to them and won't bother you as much.
    Once you are finally done with a level and publish it, you can see how many people have played it, and how many people have hearted it, once this is done you can't update it anymore, but you CAN go back to the level editor, fix it up, delete the already published and outdated level, and replace it with the new and improved one.

    One last thing you will be able to do, and probably the mode you will spend about half your time with is playing levels that other people made. You can go straight to "cool levels" which will show you bunch of the most played levels, you could also look at "recent levels" which shows you the latest levels you have played, and lastly you can search for levels yourself. The amazing thing about LittleBigPlanet is that games that are dependent on a community to make awesome levels normally fail to succeed, but LittleBigPlanet seems to slap all those other games on the face with already plenty of great and imaginative levels to play. You can "heart" any level you see, this allows you to look at a list of "hearted" levels and play them whenever you wish without having to search for them, you can also heart people, so if there is a single person who has made multiple levels that you like, instead of hearting all of his levels you can just heart the creator himself. It seems like LittleBigPlanet has great potential to be even better as time goes on, you would not believe the creativity that some people have and have been able to bring to life with LittleBigPlanet.

    You can turn your creations into prize bubbles and give them to others during or at the end of a level as a reward for beating it.

    Graphics: In one word: "OUTSTANDING!" I have never stared at character models the way I have been at the sack boys ever seance I first played gears of war. The character animations are as smooth as you can get without sacrificing the control over it and the fact that you can control their emotions during gameplay is genius and IS be constantly used by users, this is not only a great way to express yourself online when you don't feel like typing or don't have a mic, but mostly it is plain hilarious! as I was driving an unstoppable car while the road behind me exploded, the fact that my sack boy was making an incredibly scared face actually made me laugh out loud, small moments like these make the game even more fun, and they pop up constantly. Smoke effects are top notch and the environments are non repetitive and well made, everything in LittleBigPlanet looks like it came out of a kid's fairy tale book, everything is bright, colorful, and overall has a very nice and attractive look to it that brings me back to my kinder garden days. The game has an amazing and unique new visual style never before seen in video games as far as I am concerned, seriously, everything looks so good in this game it may at first distract you from gameplay, then again I AM graphics freak. (Insert Nintendo fanboy comment about that being the reason I hate the wii here)
    And then we have the double edged sword of the fact that it is physics based, on one side, everything looks and acts natural adding to the great animations and making it feel like you are actually interacting with things, and on the other side, because it is physics based, poor little sack boy gets his limbs stretched as far as the whole screen every now and then because of some strange error and even tho this could potentially be fixed with future updates, it is not fixed now and it DOES happen enough times to the point where I have to point it out, this will off course, not interfere with the overall experience.

    Sound: There are a bunch of different sound tracks and each of them is completely different from the last specially seance they come from all over the world. You can unlock them to use in your own levels the same way you unlock everything else, by ether collecting the sometimes hidden prize bubbles, or by beating a level with a certain condition. Sound effects are wacky but often easily ignored, the two main sound effects you will hear are the "woosh" from the character jumping and the "bloop" and "pop" whenever you collect a point bubble. Overall they fit well with the whole visual style of the game as they are mostly the kind of sound effects you would expect from a happy Nintendo game.

    Replay Value: The story mode literally has HUNDREDS of unlockable prize bubbles, some can be found easily, but some are well hidden, and you will need the assistance of one or more sack person in order to get to them. New levels will keep on coming from the community for a good few months if not years, not to mention that alot of them are really fun, and with the ability to create your own levels like no other game allows you to including the fact that you can make a level with friends which is rarely seen, I would say that the replay value of this game is probably about as good as it gets.

    Conclusion: There are some things that need to be tweaked here and there and I specifically have to complain about not being able to copy and paste props without converting them into objects which will remain on your prop menu until you delete it. specially the online play, but nothing that will affect your final decision on whether or not to buy this game, this is seriously a must buy for all ps3 users this holiday, and for those of you platformer haters, you might want to try this one out, there is enough non-platforming levels online for you to enjoy it even if you end up not liking the story mode. Also, if you want to get someone started in gaming, this is one great friendly game that can attract many people due to its simplicity in control (left, right, jump, grab).

    The game looks WAY better on a T.V.

    Overall Score:
    .:Amazing Game!:.
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:18
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    Platform: Nintendo DS
    Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
    Publisher: Square Enix
    Ratings: Not yet rated by PEGI


    Disgaea DS is not a new game. The original Disgaea was released on the PS2 in 2004. Disgaea DS is a port of the PS2 version, albeit with some changes suitable to the DS such as stylus support and less shiny graphics.

    The main character is Laharl, a demon prince of the Netherworld. He has slept for the past 2 years, during which his father, the king, has died and his throne is under contest. Laharl naturally believes that the throne is his inheritance, so he sets off to become King of the Netherworld. He is joined by a variety of different characters, including an angel and a team of earth defenders, to assist him with his goal. Main story events are recounted with voice-acting for the main characters, and it's very good voice acting too.

    The game takes a very light hearted approach to the story, many character are amusing, even Laharl's servants such as dragons and chimeras come off as comical and lazy. This is a diversion from most RPG's which take a very serious story, but it's a welcome change. What it doesn't change however, is the genre's other notable aspect: deep mechanics.

    The battle system is an isometric, turn-based strategy system. Your team will spawn, one at a time in the order you choose, from a starting tile. You may then move them and attack with them as you see fit. A couple of twists to this grant the player more control and strategy. One of these is the team attack system. By placing characters next to each other and having one attack, there is a chance that those in base contact with gang up on the enemy, with each of them letting off an attack. While each attack is slightly less powerful than a normal blow, the total damage is greater than any individual attack. The other change is that movement can be canceled unless an action is taken. This allows a smart player to move his units to a team attack formation, let off one attack, then cancel the movements of the team to allow those who didn't attack a chance to move elsewhere, and possible take part in another team attack!

    Each level may also contain pyramids known as geo-effects. These geo-effects grant a bonus or penalty onto any colour of tile which they sit on. For example if a geo-effect with the bonus of “+50 defense” is placed on a red tile anyone, friend or foe, who stands on a red tile will gain that bonus. Furthermore destroying a geo-effect will cause all tiles of the colour its on to change to the colour of the geo-effect damaging anyone who stands on those tiles, should a different coloured geo-effect be destroyed in the process all of the new tiles will change colour also. This gives the potential for huge damage combos and is possible to wipe out an entire map of enemies in a single turn by smart positioning and destruction of geo-effects.

    Regarding the skill system of the game, Disgaea takes a very in-depth approach. Everything in the game can be leveled up. Items, spells, skills and characters. Characters are leveled up by defeating enemies. Skills and spells are leveled up by using them. Items however require a different approach.

    Each item in the game has its own world with 'inhabitants'. There inhabitants provide bonuses to stats when that item is equipped. It is possible through the use of an NPC to enter the item's dimension known as an Item World. If you do this you fight through randomly generated levels back to back filled with enemies, defeating the inhabitants subdues them and allows you to move them to other items. Also each level you defeat increases the natural bonuses of the item. This item world allows you to take even the starter weapons of the game and turn them into very powerful items.

    Whilst there are story characters which join you, these don't comprise your entire team. There exists a Senate, through which any of your characters can make propositions, these can include more expensive items in the store, unlocking a secret world, but the main use is to create characters.
    Now every time a character defeats an enemy, they gain mana equal to the level of that enemy. The higher the mana, the more powerful a new character they can create. What kind of character can you make? Any monster you have defeated, yes including dragons, or any humanoid with classes such as cleric, mage, warrior, ninja etc. More classes get unlocked as you progress in the game. In addition to this the new character will be the pupil of the one who created him. When a master and pupil are in base contact, the master can cast any spells the pupil can. If the master levels up that spell, he learns it permanently. This grants huge control over the skills and spells of your characters, allowing even your cleric to cast very high level fire and ice spells.

    Now all this sounds very complicated, and it is. However the main story of the game is well balanced and even if you only create characters with no care for master/pupil or learning spells, you can still complete the game with the bare bone basics.

    My only problem with the game is that it gives you too many options too quickly. From your first chapter of the story you are able to enter the item world, approach the senate, create new characters and learn all manner of skills. Whilst more hardcore RPG players or Disgaea veterans won't be bothered by this, it could be off-putting to a new player.

    Sounds: Very good voice acting, though the battle cries in combat become annoyingly repetitive. Music is varied and fits the scenes well. Also includes the option to buy tracks to have as the music for the Item World

    Graphics: Anime style characters allow for easy showing of emotion. Animations of combat and special abilities are all very good. However the graphics are a downgrade from the PS2 version.

    : Fantastic in-depth RPG. Many many options and near infinite team combinations available. Weapon and Armour use isn't restricted by class allowing a wide variation of equipment. Inclusion of top screen mini-map and camera rotation allows easy location of hard to see enemies and tiles.

    Overall: Great game. It can be overwhelming in the beginning, but none of the advanced functions are necessary to beat the game, allowing for as casual or hardcore a game as you choose to make it. If you enjoy RPGs and never had the chance to play Disgaea before, pick this up and you won't be disappointed.

    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:18
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    Portal: Still Alive
    Publisher: Microsoft
    Developer: Valve
    Genre: Action
    System: XBLA
    Price:1200 MS Points

    The first iteration of Portal we saw was attached to the sweet-as-a-nut deal The Orange Box. At the time I paid 60 quid for the Orange Box, and I was noted for saying that I'd have paid that for Portal alone. This was of course a lie, that would be mad, but Portal's quality and uniqueness stood out from the other parts of the Orange Box (Half Life 2 and it's episodes, and Team Fortress 2. The Orange Box as a whole was great, Half Life 2 and it's episodes are a fantastic play, they age well and converted to the 360 nicely. Team Fortress 2 has a big following even today. The 'Box was full of Diamonds, and Portal was like a, Golden Diamond.

    A number of things set it apart - for one it wasn't a First Person Shooter, it was an FPP (first person puzzler). Puzzle games until then had largely been restricted to 2D, with no real story to speak of. Portal showed us unique puzzle situations with a deep and often darkly humorous story, and a good game mechanic which was well realised. The way the game plays is simple enough, one trigger puts up one portal, the other trigger, a second portal. You can travel between the two. And that's it, but I can't explain in words how intricate this game mechanic makes Portal. It sounds simple, but when you take into account that you can use portals to redirect missiles, take objects through to use elsewhere, and that momentum and gravity are unaffected by portals, then the game becomes much more rich and rewarding.

    Portal: Still Alive, is a hard one to figure out. To be brutally honest, it's a mutilated version of the original. There are puzzles I remember that are cut out (perhaps to fit the XBox Live Arcade maximum size limit). So you get the feel for what the game is, and you get a good taste for the puzzle element, and most of the story is here in tact. There are no new story bits that I noticed, but some of the puzzles themselves seemed to have small additions or twists I don't remember from first time around.

    There are extra and new test chambers (puzzles) to be done individually (i.e. not featuring any of the classic Glados chatter or story). These are simply puzzles and that's it. So I found myself asking - what is this? It's not a prequel or a sequel, and it's not a remake, because a remake would warrant extra and updated content. It's more like a dowloadable content pack for Portal. But it included most of the original game so the only real extras if this were classed as DLC, would be the 20 or so extra puzzles, and if I paid over 5 quid for 20 short enough puzzles, even for what was and is one of the greatest games of all time, I'd cry blood. I'd want more than that for DLC!

    But as it stands, Portal: Still Alive is not DLC, it's standalone Arcade game. So where does that leave my opinion? I love the original Portal, but for this review, I just had to play a bastardized version of the game I love. Why would I play this game? For the extra puzzles? I want more of the excellent story! For the achievements? It's a bit lame to be buying something you already completed just to get extra points (or just to be able to say "rub it up ye, Paddy, I gots more points than u!") There are also modes where you have to do each test using only a set amount of portals or footsteps but really, could you be arsed if you've already done them?

    I seem to be giving this game a bollocking so far, but the best way I would recommend this game, and this is the important part of this review, this is what I want you to remember - If, AND ONLY IF, you have never played, and have no intention of ever paying for and playing, the full Orange Box package, Portal included, then you owe it to yourself to get this. This will probably be the case if you don't like first person shooters much. And that's fair enough, but Portal is not a first person shooter, not at all. The rest of the Orage Box however, is. And if indeed you are that small minority that doesn't like shooting the christ out of anything that moves, then you should opt for Portal: Still Alive on the Arcade.

    It is a great game, even in this slimmed down arcade version, and if you are not a FPS fan, there's no point going for the full Orange Box, take this and enjoy it, because although it's not a complete version, it's enough to show you how awesome the world of Portal is, and you will get almost as much as enjoyment out of this version as the original.


    if you have the Orange Box
    if you haven't
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