Platform: MAC, PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, X360 & XOne Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Developer: TT Games Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 - 2 Number of Players Online: N/A Age Rating: Everyone 10+ Release Date: Oct. 22, 2013 MSRP: $19.99 USD Gameplay: 9 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 9 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
All of the bad guys in the Marvel Universe have gathered under Loki, the god of mischief, to gain ultimate cosmic power and take over the world. The problem is that the Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men and a whole lot of other heroes have something to say about that. You know, like they would not be interested in such a change of leadership. However, in a great distance far away, a larger, more powerful enemy is approaching and may force everyone on Earth to unify against a common foe.
The Hulk and Abomination are presented in the first level of the game with Iron Man to provide players with two things. First, to encourage them to buy the animated Marvel’s Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United movie on DVD. Players can watch the movie's trailer on the game's start screen. Second, to premier the first bigfig characters to be in a LEGO video game. Bigfigs later make appearances in Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and Jurassic World. In Batman 3, they are primarily represented by Killer Croc and Solomon Grundy. In Jurassic World, they are the dinosaurs.
The LEGO video games generally keep the same visual presentation from game to game. This game does offer an alternative means of play through part of the story in the form of a space shooter. This story element is also repeated in Batman 3. Otherwise, the game still primarily consists of breaking items to build new items while switching characters to best utilize their talents.
Unlike with the Batman games, except for Clancy Brown who voices Lex Luthor, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is voiced primarily by the voice casts of the Disney XD animated Marvel series. While Drake Bell may not voice Spider-Man, almost everyone else voices their video game counterparts. And of course, it is all done with the sense of humor that LEGO brings to these games. If players seek a means of seeing a 22 minute animated feature with the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes fully voiced by their Disney XD voice actors, take a look at LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload.
Beginning with LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, the games have had an open world to explore in between missions. In addition, the assortment of playable characters, vehicles, unlocks and more make this game worthy of being played. However, there is an alternative version of this game named LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril for those who prefer play on their handheld consoles.
Platform: 3DS, MAC, PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, X360 & XOne Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Developer: TT Games Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 - 2 Number of Players Online: N/A Age Rating: Everyone 10+ Release Date: Nov. 11, 2014 MSRP: $19.99+ USD Gameplay: 8 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 10 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
The story starts off with the typical cliche of the bad guys, led by Lex Luthor and the Joker, attempting to take control of the Watchtower so that they can take over the world. You may know the bad guys collectively as the Legion of Doom. However, approaching the Watchtower from space is Brainiac, a living computer that collects knowledge by shrinking whole populations and placing them into bottles. This forces the Legion and the Justice League to join together to save Earth. The first half of the story is rather linear. Once Brainiac is on the ropes, the open world becomes available and free play is enabled. Transportation between the Batcave, the Hall of Justice and the Watchtower are all a matter of walking into a portal.
Following the success of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, LEGO Batman 3 introduces to the LEGO Batman series the gadget wheel and the big-figs. Characters like Batman, Robin, Lex Luthor and the Joker have multiple costumes in which they can change that help solve different puzzles. Some other characters have transformations or special abilities that are activated by holding down a specific button. While the previous games in the series provided the costume changes when they were needed, this game requires a lot more thought into what gadgets will be useful in certain scenarios since once they are unlocked, they are always available. This added difficulty also provides a slight detriment since it is not always clear what needs to be done to complete a level.
Clancy Brown is back as the voice of Lex Luthor and with him he brings Adam West and Conan O'Brien as themselves. Most of the voice cast from the previous games in the series also make a return. As with the previous games, the music is a mix of series and movie orchestral sets. When Superman and Wonder Woman fly, their theme songs play in a sort of looping muzak tone.
It is easy to tell that this game has had a little polish applied in comparison to LEGO Batman 2. The colors are a bit more vibrant and there is a slight bit of added detail. Then again, it could be from not being in the gloomy Gotham City for the entirety of the game. When you spend too long in Gotham, anywhere else seems like Oz.
LEGO Batman 3 is a fun game to play for those who love LEGO and DC Comics. To top it off, there are over 100 characters to unlock and play. Think of it like practice for LEGO Dimensions and the LEGO Worlds MMO.
Platform: 3DS, MAC, PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, X360 & XOne Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Developer: TT Games Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 - 2 Number of Players Online: N/A Age Rating: Everyone 10+ Release Date: Jun. 12, 2015 MSRP: $29.99+ USD Gameplay: 10 Visual Appeal: 8 Audio Appeal: 8 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
Featuring all four Jurassic Park movies, LEGO Jurassic World is a dream game for those who are both LEGO and dinosaur fans. While it may only take about two hours to complete each movie's story, the open world is ripe with adventure. Players can also free play the movies' story levels as well as complete various tasks on each of the islands where the movies take place. These can include helping sick dinosaurs to races and even saving hapless island visitors.
Players can start off playing either the first movie or the newest. Completing the first movie unlocks the second and completing the second unlocks the third. Along the way players can collect amber so that they may unlock dinosaurs. In free play, they can play as baby versions while splicing the adults together in the DNA lab. LEGO games are known for collecting, so there is ample opportunity to unlock all of the characters, vehicles, dinosaurs and bonus content.
The audio from the movies is heavily used, both in music and voice work. Sometimes the audio clips sound a little out of place simply because of their quality compared to the rest of the game. There is a little bit of additional voice acting conducted by sound-a-like voice actors to fill in gaps that the movies do not have in relation to the gameplay. Once in a while there is audio chirping.
Graphically, the game looks as good as any other LEGO game. However, there are a few graphical glitches here and there. Some of the glitches have to do with the transitions between scenes and switching action. All in all, it does not detract from the fun.
Platform: 3DS, DS, MAC, OUYA, PC, PS3, Vita, Wii, Wii U & X360 Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Developer: TT Games Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 - 2 Number of Players Online: N/A Age Rating: Everyone 10+ Release Date: May 21, 2013 MSRP: $19.99+ USD Gameplay: 9 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 10 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
A number of years ago, LEGO Star Wars was released. It featured the stories from the three original movies. You know the ones with Luke Skywalker, not Anakin. I thought that such video game makeovers in the form of LEGO could not get any better. The fact is, after playing a few similar LEGO games I began to find the formula of completing a story level just to end up at a hub to free play that same level over again to be boring. That was why I did not pick up the original LEGO Batman game.
Beginning with LEGO Batman 2, outside of the original story mode, the world of the game is open. The story levels only contain about a third of the possible activities that players can partake. In addition, until the Free Play mode is unlocked, only certain characters can be used in the story levels. Additional characters and vehicles can be unlocked in the open world. Eventually players are able to create custom characters in the Batcave using parts unlocked during play.
LEGO video games have never suffered from looking or sounding bad, but this time every character has a voice actor behind them. Prior to this game, most LEGO characters had generic grunts. Unlike the Batman Arkham video game series, this game is not voiced by the Justice League animated series voice actors. Well, except for Clancy Brown returning as Lex Luthor. Troy Baker, Mark Hamill's replacement as the Joker, provides the voice for Batman.
This game is perfect for casual gamers because it is rather laid back and the controls are simple. There are almost no time limits, switching is almost a no-brainer and the mysteries of the open world can be completed at one's leisure. The DC and Marvel games after this one are a little bit tougher, so this game is a good jumping off point.
Platform: PS3, PS4 & Vita Publisher: Bandai Namco Games Developer: Spike Chunsoft Genre: Fighting Number of Players: 1 - 2 Number of Players Online: 2 - 4 Age Rating: Teen Release Date: Mar. 19, 2014 MSRP: $59.99+ USD Gameplay: 9 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 9 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
J-Stars Victory Versus brings characters from the Shonen Jump mangas together for an epic battle. Each character is given unique attacks, movements and other traits that have been previously seen in one form or another. This game is the ultimate fan service and in the summer of 2015, it will be re-released with an English version under the name of J-Stars Victory Versus Plus. The revision will feature English contexts, dialog and menus with a new arcade mode.
From the main menu, this game offers four general play modes. J-Adventure is a single player story mode with four different chapters. Players travel along in a ship battling various characters and completing quest goals. Victory Mode is a modified single player battle mode where the player must meet specific objectives. Free Battle is where up to two players can complete locally, whereas Online Battle allows for up to four players to compete via the Internet in ranked and non-ranked battles. As players progress through each mode, they can earn currency that can be spent it in the J-Point Shop. They can then use J-Customization to apply purchased modifications accordingly.
The most notable difference between this game and those strictly based upon one of the animes or mangas are the controls. While each button is generally assigned to a similar type of movement, not all characters can do the same things. For example, Goku can fly across an arena where other characters may only be able to run or super jump. Where Naruto can muster a Rasengan, other characters may just be able to use a special charged attack. Perhaps one of the flashiest attacks in the game is a full team attack and if lucky, it can be performed multiple times in a row. The key to mastering the controls is a complete understanding of a character's capabilities.
The game's animation style is closely tied to how each character looks in the mangas. With that said, the arenas are a mix of highly detailed computer graphics as well as flourishes from both the animes and mangas. Many fan favorites from a number of mangas are playable and voiced by their Japanese anime voice cast, if available. The game music is taken straight from the animes with a few pieces specifically made for the game. The background sounds and effects will be familiar to fans of the Dragonball, Naruto and One Piece games.
English speaking fans have been waiting for many years for an English version of the Shonen Jump games and finally one will be available. With characters from over 30 different Shonen Jump series, J-Stars Victory Versus Plus will be a hard game to pass up.
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, 360 & XB1 Publisher: Volition Inc. Developer: Deep Silver Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 Number of Players Online: 2 Age Rating: Mature Release Date: Jan. 20, 2015 MSRP: $19.99 USD Gameplay: 10 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 7 Re-Playability: 8 Overall Rating: 8 Website:Connect
If some of the abilities in Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell could have been added to Saints Row IV, it may have been the best game of 2013. I do not know what it is about having super powers, but flight should be a prerequisite for such video games. Once upgraded to its maximum, flying becomes second nature. Players can fly from one end of Hell to the other. Flight is not the only super power in the game. Players also gain super speed and strength. Players eventually earn the abilities to transmute, summon, ground stomp and suck the life from others and more.
Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell was obviously built for the new generation of consoles as evidenced by the way the cut scenes appear to be downgraded. That does not stop the game play from looking as good as its predecessor. However, there are a lot of audio glitches. The glitches most commonly occur while flying low to the ground. Sometimes the noises pop up for only a second or two, but they are loud and out of place.
While playing, I found that I missed having music. There are no radio stations in the game. Sometimes players may hear a fragment of a song when a car passes by, but there is no music for the players. While the cast does sing and there is some event music, just keep the following in mind... If there had been a soundtrack similar to the previous game, this game would have cost twice as much.
The controls are similar to Saints Row IV, however a lot of time will be spent holding down the second left trigger as it is the button for flight and super speed. The main story can be completed in just over six hours if a player barrels through to level 15. However, it will be an uphill climb if some powers are having not been completely unlocked. Players can max out at level 20.
This game also features co-op play. Two players can join up to complete co-op missions and activities. It is no different from the previous game. All in all, the game is well worth its price tag.
Platform: Wii U Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 - 5 Number of Players Online: N/A Age Rating: Everyone Release Date: Nov. 1, 2013 MSRP: $59.99 USD Gameplay: 10 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 8 Re-Playability: 8 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
New Super Mario Bros. U was a standalone title that eventually ended up being packaged with the Wii U. New Super Luigi U was a Year of Luigi sequel that meant to challenge players to replay altered versions of stages from the new Super Mario Bros. In the altered version, players are challenged to complete the stages in a set amount of time and/or under specific conditions. New Super Luigi U was originally released both as downloadable content and a disc. New Super Luigi U was eventually added to New Super Mario Bros. U on a single disc.
It is a story as old as the Nintendo Entertainment System. Princess Peach Toadstool is kidnapped by King Bowser Koopa for some crazy reason. Perhaps he was bored? Anyway, Bowser sends his Koopalings out into the world to stop Mario and crew from rescuing the princess. It is eight worlds of map hopping adventure, each world ending in a boss battle against one of the Koopalings, then finally the king himself. At some point over these last 30 years, would it not have made more sense for Peach to share rule with Bowser? Obviously they cannot agree on who should rule the Mushroom Kingdom.
Perhaps the best thing about these two dimensional Mario adventures is that fact that the basic mechanics remain the same. With each new iteration comes new abilities, but jumping on a bad guy's head still typically defeats them. This time around, the costume change worth noting is the ability to turn into a flying squirrel. Also, Yoshi returns with many shape changing alternate forms.
For the first time, up to five players can participate in a Mario game from its main series. Four players control the characters on screen while a fifth uses the game pad to create platforms at the benefit or detriment of the other players. The insanity the ensues can be rather hilarious. No matter how it is played, the game feels like a traditional Mario game, but offers a little more of a challenge.
As the first Mario game in high definition, one can appreciate the additional view to the sides. Sometimes when running fast, it can be difficult to ascertain the appropriate time to counter an obstacle. The vibrant colors to the detailed character and background design, one would be remiss to omit the fact that this game looks spectacular. The symphonic music and sounds fit Super Mario Brothers perfectly. This game should be on a classic Super Mario Brothers fans must have list!
Platform: PC, PS3 & 360 Publisher: Bandai Namco Games Developer: CyberConnect2 Genre: Fighting Number of Players: 1 - 2 Number of Players Online: 2 Age Rating: Teen Release Date: Mar. 5, 2013 MSRP: $19.99+ USD Gameplay: 8 Visual Appeal: 10 Audio Appeal: 10 Re-Playability: 9 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 opens with Sasuke and his crew attacking the Kage conference. Eventually Sasuke faces and defeats Danzo. After failing to capture Sasuke, Naruto is taken by Killer Bee to train so that he may learn to harness the Nine-Tailed Beast's powers. By the end of the game, the Ninja World War had begun.
The disc version of the game with the Full Burst content was released on October 22, 2013. It was also released as downloadable content for those with Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3. It included Kabuto in his Sage mode as a playable character as well as some costumes and a story between Kabuto, Sasuke and Itachi.
As it has been since the original Ultimate Ninja Storm, the button controls for this game are not very difficult. Each face button controls chakra, melee attacks, ninja tool throwing and jumping. Charging chakra and combining them with one of the attacks powers them up. Hitting attack buttons in succession creates combos. Timing it correctly and with the correct amount of chakra, ultimate attacks can be achieved. To counter, one just needs to seek an opening in a move's pattern.
Naruto Shippuden: Ulitmate Ninja Storm 3 looks just as good as the previous games in the series. The roster increasing to over 80 characters and the ability to change outfits only serve to increase its beauty. The cut scenes, some of which are taken from the anime, are in glorious high definition. As always, the voice actors of the Viz anime reprise their roles.
There is an online fighting mode that features fun and ranked matches in a few different formats. Players can customize a card that is displayed with the profiles. With the addition of the Awakening mode, allowing players to transform into their Tailed-Beast forms, this is a great game for Naruto fans to own.
Platform: PC, PS3, 360 & Vita Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Developer: NetherRealm Studios Genre: Fighting Number of Players: 1 - 2 Number of Players Online: 2 - 8 Age Rating: Mature Release Date: Apr. 19, 2011 MSRP: $14.99+ USD Gameplay: 9 Visual Appeal: 10 Audio Appeal: 9 Re-Playability: 9 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
Since the 1990s, Mortal Kombat has been a staple in the fighting game genre. Even though the company that makes the games has gone through ownership and publisher changes, it still produced one of the best fighters on the market. Going back to its roots on a new generation of consoles, this is the ninth Mortal Kombat game.
Players may have gotten used to the blown up size of the kombatants list over the last two decades. With each game, more players have been added. This reboot of the series brings the list of kombatants down to a core set of fighters based mainly from the first three games of the series. It even includes a fighter from Warner Brothers, never seen before in Mortal Kombat.
The only thing that never really changes in Mortal Kombat is the controls. There are two punches, two kicks, a block and a throw button. In recent iterations, the ability to change fighting styles has been added. The goal of the game still remains to beat the living crap out of the opponent so that one can produce a finishing move. Along the way, it is cool to perform a few combos and introduced in this game, x-ray moves. X-ray moves are brutal moves that can inflict a lot of damage and display it occurring at the muscular and skeletal levels. There is also the ability to have tag team matches.
As the first high definition Mortal Kombat game, it is the most realistic. The detail to the characters is astounding. The light effects are accurate. For example, a fireball actually lights up the character sending it, receiving it and the ground below it. As with other previous Mortal Kombat games the dialog is limited, but done well. The sound effects zoom from side to side of the screen as players and attacks are tossed around.
The online mode offers the typical one-on-one match style as well as tag team and king of the kill. The Komplete Edition released on August 6, 2013 with all of the downloadable content as well as various music and video tracks. Longtime fans of Mortal Kombat should really appreciate the re-envisioning of the story and fighting fans will enjoy the action.
Platform: PS3, 360 & Wii Publisher: Activision Developer: Neversoft Entertainment & Vicarious Visions Genre: Music Number of Players: 1 - 5 Number of Players Online: 2 - 8 Age Rating: Teen Release Date: Sep. 28, 2010 MSRP: $9.99 USD Gameplay: 9 Visual Appeal: 8 Audio Appeal: 10 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock was the sixth entry in the main Guitar Hero series. Taking the best features from the previous games in the series, the game was a great high note in which to end. However, rumors have been popping up since 2011 about a seventh game being planned.
As with pretty much all music games of this nature, the player has a mission that requires that they begin performing easier songs and work their way up to more complicated hits as the progress through the story. As the player progresses to defeat a boss represented by series mainstays, such as Johnny Napalm and Casey Lynch, they gain powers that they must use in an ultimate battle against the Demigod of Rock.
As with each Guitar Hero game, the overall design gets an updated look. Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock focused more on classic rock settings. That means that there were a few darker stage locations. While the Wii version's graphics were downgraded slightly, the overall appeal of the game still matches the theme of its catalog of over 90 on disc songs. Players can also import most of their previous Guitar Hero tracks. Speaking of the music, the sound is easily CD quality, if not better. The centerpiece of the on disc music is Rush's 2112 rock opera.
Players can engage the game with lead guitar, bass guitar, drums and voice. In addition, players can share their progress via social media and the Guitar Hero website. Online play offers co-op and battle of the band options. There is also a Roadie mode on the Wii for fans with a Nintendo DS. As of 2011, the release of new downloadable content was ceased. Lovers of rock music and this genre of video games should easily find a way to appease their thirst for rock!
Platform: DS, PS3, 360 & Wii Publisher: MTV Games Developer: Backbone Entertainment & Harmonix Music Systems Genre: Music Number of Players: 1 - 7 & 1 Number of Players Online: 2 - 8 & N/A Age Rating: Teen Release Date: Oct. 26, 2010 & Aug. 28, 2012 MSRP: $19.99 & 9.99 USD Gameplay: 9 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 10 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
You have just started a rock band, but you have to start off by playing at small gigs. As you continue to draw fans, you upgrade from a van to a bus, then to a plane. Your fan base has become so large that is it bigger than some metropolitan populations. That is how a player will progress in Rock Band 3.
Rock Band 3 attempts to set itself apart from its main competition by enabling players to incorporate real instruments into the game known as Pro mode. Players can still use their plastic lead guitar, bass guitar, drums or voice to play. However, Rock Band 3 incorporated Beatles: Rock Band's harmony feature, allowing for three total singers, and added the electronic keyboard.
As a music game, the graphics do not necessarily need to be the best, but they do edge out other music games on the market ever so slightly. The game disc holds over 80 songs and players can access most of their stored music from other Rock Band games as well as download more songs. This time, Rock Band 3 seems to have a broader focus on lesser known acts as indicated by the introduction of its Rock Band Network. As of January 2015, Harmonix still releases new tracks for Rock Band on the PlayStation 3 and XBox 360. The catalog stretches to over 2,000 tracks and is compatible with Rock Band Blitz.
While players can compete locally with up to seven players, online a band is limited to only four components. That is okay as long as players can still shred against or with others. In addition, players can share their progress via social media and the Rock Band website.
Released only to the PlayStation 3 and XBox 360 as standalone downloadable content, Rock Band Blitz was introduced as a means to introduce new people to music video games. Releasing with 25 songs, able to access all previously downloaded songs and able to download additional tracks, this gives players a potential to obtain over 2,000 tracks. To top it off, Rock Band Blitz uses the console's native controller. Thus, there is no need to purchase any instruments, plastic or otherwise.
Working similarly to how the instruments work in the main series, players attempt to match gems with the beat. However, in Rock Band Blitz, the player plays every instrument and must slide back and forth along the chords to maximize combos. The higher the multiplier means the better the score. While this game does not have a multiplayer option, player's scores are compared to their friends and there is some minimal social media interaction.
Rock Band 3 and Rock Band Blitz offer two different methods of enjoying the same music. Video game players who love modern rock music should give these games a try.
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, 360 & XB1 Publisher: Bandai Namco Games Developer: Dimps Corporation Genre: Fighting Number of Players: 1 Number of Players Online: 2 - 6 Age Rating: Teen Release Date: Feb. 24, 2015 MSRP: $49.99 USD Gameplay: 9 Visual Appeal: 10 Audio Appeal: 9 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
DragonBall Xenoverse takes place throughout the original DragonBall storyline. This time a new set of villains are going through the timeline and disrupting the events that had occurred as we know them from the anime and manga. When Trunks first arrives from the future to the assist against the androids, he realizes that the time line is wrong and meets two new villains. With the realization of what is happening, Trunks has no choice but to seek out help. That is where the player comes in with their own original character.
Unlike Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, this game returns to a more traditional control scheme. Going back to using triggers to allow buttons to have multiple functions, this game offers a lot more opportunities for customization and strategy. Players may select their transformations and ultimate attacks in addition to how their basic attacks are activated.
As a spiritual successor to DragonBall Online, this game is built to be an online interactive experience with role play elements. Based in a hub world, this gives players an opportunity to compete against other players, shop and customize their characters. Character customization provides both an aesthetic appeal as well as statistical boosts. Not every item sold is compatible with every species of character and the only way to earn currency to spend is to compete.
Up to 8 players may battle against one another in online matches. However, one bad internet connection can ruin the match for everyone. The stages are larger than most of the previous games in the series. Many previous stages make reappearance as well as a few new stages. The attention to detail adds to a greater sense of being a part of the story.
The game looks great as it returns to the Raging Blast era of character and environmental designs. As with pretty much all Dragon Ball Z games, the sound is imported from the anime as well as some of the music. The voice acting is provided by the English anime talent under the supervision of FUNimation.
With a new original story based on the original ones that have been retread over and over again, this game promises to be an entertaining romp through the history of DragonBall. Longtime fans of the series will enjoy feeling like a bigger part of the story as more or less themselves as they transverse time to repair the damage to the timeline. If any player loves both DragonBall and the concept of time traveling, this game is certainly worth checking out.
Platform: 3DS & Wii U Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Bandai Namco Games Genre: Fighting Number of Players: 1 - 4 & 1 - 8 Number of Players Online: 2 - 4 Age Rating: Everyone 10+ Release Date: Oct. 3, 2014 & Nov. 21, 2014 MSRP: $39.99 & $59.99 USD Gameplay: 10 Visual Appeal: 10 Audio Appeal: 10 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 10 Website:Connect
Keeping with the consistent trend of improvements that has been seen in-between games from older generations, Super Smash Brothers for this generation of Nintendo consoles is jam-packed with content.
While the 3DS and Wii U versions vary in a few modes, the general Smash modes of play are exactly the same. The fact is, they have to be or else the 3DS version would be unable to connect to the Wii U version for local play. While the Wii U version supports up to eight players in local play, both versions support four players online. The Wii U version allows for a second local player. Players can play for fun or glory. Glory has more rigid rules and a player's win and loss record is maintained.
Keeping the downloadable content in mind and if you only count the Miis once, there are 50 different characters in the games. There are also over 70 different stages in the games combined when considering the fact that a few stages are the same across versions. Many of the stages also return from the previous versions of the game. Perhaps the most interesting part is that a few of the stages introduce some new mechanics, including the ability to move from the foreground to the background and back. Most stages can also be converted to their Omega mode which is simply a large, flat field.
Both versions of Super Smash Brothers have Amiibo support. The Amiibos can be trained through fighting. Each Amiibo can also be customized with items and their attacks can be changed once they are unlocked. Once saved, the Amiibos can be loaded onto any 3DS or Wii U to compete. The game's characters can also be customized similarly to the Amiibo, however their enhancements are limited.
Both games offer the ability to earn trophies by various means. Each play earns coins which can be used to buy trophies. Otherwise, they are unlocked through meeting certain goals. The trophies add an extra incentive for those with a collector's vibe to play.
Now on to the exclusive features... The Wii U version sports high definition graphics and the 3DS version offers a stereoscopic 3D view. The Wii U version offers Smash Tour, Special Orders and Event mode. Smash Tour is a board game where players gather trophies and assemble a team for battle. Special Orders features Master Hand and Crazy Hand. Players must meet certain requirements issued by the Hands to earn rewards. The Event mode returns with such classic games as Home Run and Multi-Man Melee. Plus, the Wii U supports eight different control types. The 3DS version offers a Smash Run and StreetSmash modes. Smash Run is similar to the Wii version where players have a certain amount of time to run a maze, meeting goals and raising statistics before reaching a final boss battle. StreetSmash is a StreetPass game where players compete via disc weapons.
The one thing that has not changed in Super Smash Brothers is the ability to customize stage music. Once unlocked, each stage can randomly load a specific soundtrack set by the player. These soundtracks can be new, classic or updated classic video game music.
If players enjoyed the previous incarnations of Super Smash Brothers, they should love these. With all of the updates and new features, it is hard to find a reason not to smash!
Platform: Wii U Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Tecmo Koei Games Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 - 2 Number of Players Online: N/A Age Rating: Teen Release Date: Sep. 26, 2014 MSRP: $59.99 USD Gameplay: 8 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 8 Re-Playability: 8 Overall Rating: 8 Website:Connect
Suddenly, Hyrule is under attack by hordes of enemies. It is the most that anyone has ever seen at once, but a tale tells of a savior that will appear to save Hyrule. That savior is Link and since he is all out of bubble gum, he is ready to kick some butt. Hyrule Warriors is a mesh of Dynasty Warriors set in The Legend of Zelda universe. Dynasty Warriors is not known for its story, rather it is well-known as a button-masher. The longer the chain of button combinations are, the better the attacks. The general goal is to stop the advance of attacking armies. The Legend of Zelda adds a story component and numerous other additions that should keep the Zelda fans entertained.
Outside of Hyrule Warriors' main game mode, there is an Adventure mode that allows players to complete tasks to earn prizes. It is set in the original The Legend of Zelda from the Nintendo Entertainment System. While not engaged in the main game, most players can level up characters and customize their gear. Customizing gear costs rupees and may require a certain number of some very specific objects. The increase in statistics makes the effort of gathering resources worth the effort. Thus, for the best results, collect as many rupees and items in each stage as possible before time runs out.
As the first new Zelda game on the Wii U, seeing Link and crew in high-definition is definitely a welcomed sight. As is typical of the Zelda games, there is very little voice acting from the main characters. Otherwise, the sound is par for the Zelda course.
Hyrule Warriors does offer a co-op mode. The second player may choose from one of the characters not already chosen by the first player. To top it off, they are limited to viewing the game from the gamepad. This eliminates those annoying split screens that some games have. The lag from co-op is minimal and is only really noticed during highly active battles.
This game features limited Amiibo support. Certain characters will unlock objects while in the main game mode. There is also downloadable content. They include characters, costumes and new maps. If players are a fan of Dynasty Warriors and The Legend of Zelda, but cannot choose, why not choose the game that has some of the best qualities of both?
Platform: PC, PS3 & 360 Publisher: Bandai Namco Games Developer: CyberConnect2 Genre: Fighting Number of Players: 1 - 2 Number of Players Online: 2 Age Rating: Teen Release Date: Sep. 16, 2014 MSRP: $49.99 USD Gameplay: 8 Visual Appeal: 10 Audio Appeal: 10 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 10 Website:Connect
The Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm series began its story at the beginning of the Naruto Shippuden television series. Along the way, each game gets a little further through some of the major story arcs.
This is the fifth game in the series and it stalls inside the same Ninja World War as the previous game. The Kage are fighting Madara, Sasuke is trying to discover the truth about why his clan was destroyed and Naruto is attempting to free the tailed beasts from Obito. Then there is filler... There is a video with the story of the Fourth Hokage, his wife and team. Then there is the playable story of the Creation of the Akatsuki and another titled The Two Uchiha. The Two Uchiha explains how Itachi's friend Shisui died and the mission behind the destruction of the Uchiha Clan.
Like the previous games in the series, the graphics look good, the voice work is that of the Viz anime cast and the sounds are the usual. Also like the previous games, the moves get repetitive as they do not require a lot of strategy to fully utilize. It is essentially a button-masher as repeating hits to the same buttons produce combos. Players need to be able to see the patterns in the combos to find gaps in which to turn the tables.
New to the game are methods that teams can utilize to create at least a little bit of strategy. They can focus on Ultimate Jutsus, Support or Awakenings. In the previous games the characters were typically one type or another. Via this method, more strategies can be employed. Plus, true awakenings are more easily accessed. They allow for certain characters to transform into their tailed-beast forms. If characters are compatible in some way, ultimate combo attacks can be deployed. The animations for those attacks are superb.
The online mode features of this game are the typical one-on-one matchups with a few variations. As always, players can compete casually or ranked. There are a lot of customization options, more so than in previous games. What is not typical is the story mode. The player chooses a character and roams around an island competing in tournaments and meeting certain goals. Doing so unlocks characters and areas, some of which carry over into the online mode. There are also means to spend earned gold in shops to unlock music, online items, wearable objects and videos.
An addition to both the online and story mode is a new game format that allows players to knock the energy from each other and collect it. The player with the most energy at the end of the time limit wins. Ultimate Jutsus and Awakenings cannot be accessed during this format unless a player grabs a special orb that appears on Tonton during random times during the matches. As the fights increase in difficulty, new features and obstacles appear that change up the play in hopes of keeping it interesting.
The updates in this game's roster and some of its new features make it worth the purchase. There are over 110 playable characters! However, if one seeks to get an advanced peak at the story arc in the English anime, they will be disappointed.
Platform: Wii U Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo Genre: Racing Number of Players: 1 - 2 Number of Players Online: 2 - 12 Age Rating: Everyone Release Date: May 30, 2014 MSRP: $59.99 USD Gameplay: 9 Visual Appeal: 10 Audio Appeal: 9 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 10 Website:Connect
Mario Kart 8 is the best looking version of the series to date. With high definition graphics, a lot more features than before and downloadable content, there is little to argue about. However, not everything is as good as some players would like. While the traditional racing modes remain intact, the battle mode is no longer as it was previously. It has now been forced into the current assortment of tracks, no longer existing in cleverly designed structures that make combat fun. It is sad to say, but an added feature that created hours of fun off the track in the previous games has been changed into something too close to the main attraction and thus loses its appeal.
While Mario Kart 8 does come with a new visual appeal, its audio gets tedious. One would assume that Mario Kart 8 would have taken a page from the Super Smash Brothers book and allowed players to customize soundtracks. That is not the case. After playing certain tracks over and over again, the music gets tedious. That is not to say that the music does not sound good, it can just become repetitious.
Like with the last generation of Mario Kart games, this version is Internet enabled. The online racing modes allow one or two local players to compete against other players online. They can be friends, regional or global players. This is also where players can create and participate in tournaments. Like with the Wii version, there is a Mario Kart channel of sorts, but it is on the disc menu rather than the console menu. Known as Mario Kart Television (MKTV), highlight videos from the last 12 races are saved so that players may view and share them. Players can also see the top highlight videos from the Internet as well as the most recent videos from any tournaments that they have been a part.
Mario Kart 8 also features limited Amiibo support. If the Amiibo is supported, they will unlock a costume that a Mii can wear. Nintendo is also offering downloadable content. Each pack contains three characters, new vehicles and four tracks. That is astounding considering how many characters, vehicles and tracks that the game already has by default. If a player loves Mario Kart and does not mind the lack of the traditional battle mode, Mario Kart 8 is definitely worth their time.
Platform: PS3, 360 & Vita Publisher: Namco Bandai Games Developer: Artdink Genre: Fighting Number of Players: 1 - 2 Number of Players Online: 2 - 8 Age Rating: Teen Release Date: Jan. 28, 2014 MSRP: $29.99 USD Gameplay: 8 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 9 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
Dragon Ball games have been plagued by not having the best online fidelity. The first Dragon Ball game online was the Wii's Budokai Tenkaichi 3. Even if the connection was local, the lag was an embarrassment. It was not until the Raging Blast series that the online two player battles had some consistent stability, at least with a local connection. For whatever reason, it was decided to create a game that allows up to eight players to connect via the Internet. One has to admit, it is often not as bad as expected. Some games with a full roster of eight players can run smoothly. It is when that one player with a horrid connection sneaks in that the fun is ruined.
The controls are different from previous Dragon Ball Z games. Instead of giving each face button multiple functions or menus based upon which trigger is being held down, they are limited to a single function. This is perhaps to create a more even ground for players who may not be too advanced with fighting games. One button is for melee, another for ki and so on. The control pad has been delegated to issuing commands, such as in a role playing game.
The characters do not transform. Perhaps this is also to balance the game. However, the longer someone plays the game, the more items that they can unlock that can be used to customize characters. There are so many characters to choose from, it is hard to tell who could be the most powerful. The weaker the base statistics are on a character, the more customization items they can hold.
The areas in the game are much larger than those in the Raging Blast series. There is a rather impressive amount of detail. The overall animations are a little toned down from previous games, perhaps to reduce the chance of lag online. The sound is as good as ever and like always, the voice work is provided by the FUNimation anime cast.
The story mode follows down the main arcs of the Dragon Ball Z television series and through some of the movies, leading to the Battle of Gods. There are greater rewards the higher the completion grade for each stage. In some cases, a higher grade unlocks an alternative story path. It is worth the effort to go back to earlier stage once more powerful characters are unlocked to get better grades. Unlike with Ultimate Tenkaichi, the super-sized boss battles are not an effort in futility. Once the weakness is found, ordering the team to focus their attacks on the same spot makes quick work of the boss.
If one enjoys the Dragon Ball Z fighting games, this one is different enough from the previous ones to be worth a look. There is a feeling of accomplishment that comes with gaining experience with a character and powering them up.
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, 360 & XB1 Publisher: Rockstar Games Developer: Rockstar North Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 Number of Players Online: 2 - 16+ Age Rating: Mature Release Date: Sep. 17, 2013 MSRP: $39.99 USD Gameplay: 9 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 9 Re-Playability: 9 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
Grand Theft Auto V (GTAV) is the largest game in the series. With a huge Californian based region to explore and three different characters with both convergent and divergent story lines, it is hard not the find something to do. The stars of the game are Franklin, Michael and Trevor. Franklin is an up-and-coming entrepreneur looking for his big break. Michael is a semi-retired former criminal that just wishes to spend time with his rather messed up family. Trevor is Michael's former criminal partner and a big jerk that consistently breaks the law while running his cargo business.
Originally left to their own devices, Franklin, Michael and Trevor eventually come together to pull off some major crimes with the unofficial backing of the government. Years ago, Michael turned criminal informant for the government and in return he and his family were placed into witness protection. The government now wants Michael and his pals to repay their kindness by performing some wet work. Needless to say, a lot of people die and things explode.
GTAV is the best looking game in the series. It looks even better on the new generation of hardware, especially when viewed in the first player perspective. The high-definition graphics and improved detail over the previous Grand Theft Auto is easy to see. With that being said, the sound is even better. The selection of music on the radio stations is vast and varied. As station DJs, Lazlow and Kenny Loggins are both humorous. The overall voice acting is superior compared to that of the previous games. Sometimes during the dialog in Grand Theft Auto IV, it felt like that it was the first time that the voice actor had read their script.
A big selling point of GTAV is its improved online multi-player. Players have the entire city map to explore. They can take up missions or commit crimes to earn money. As they progress, they gain experience which unlocks the ability to purchase new items. The most annoying part of the online mode is the inability to keep children off. Most adults are civil. It is the majority of the children who should not be playing that game that are the most violent and vulgar. It can ruin a player’s experience.
GTAV offers the ability for players to buy a line of credit in the game. The credits are added to the players in-game balance, but only in the online mode. It is a great way to acquire the most expensive cars or houses. If players seek a good story and like when things go boom, GTAV is definitely worth their time.
Platform: PC, PS3 & 360 Publisher: Volition Inc. Developer: Deep Silver Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 Number of Players Online: 2 Age Rating: Mature Release Date: Aug. 20, 2013 MSRP: $19.99+ USD Gameplay: 9 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 9 Re-Playability: 8 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
Saints Row and its first sequel were quite obviously Grand Theft Auto (GTA) clones. Saints Row 3 is where the GTA and Saints Row franchises began to diverge. The story changes from being a group of gangsters to corporate sell-outs after being kicked out of their home turf by the government. The Saints are now having their stories told in the movies and are being sponsored by soda companies. While they are now dressing in suits and other high fashions, very little about the game is serious. It all actually gets incredibly goofy and leads the Saints into political office.
The opening of Saints Row IV has the Saints' leader in the role of the President of the United States of America. Soon after inauguration, the planet is invaded and destroyed. All that remains are the inner circle of the Saints and a few allies. Their goal now is to take revenge for the destruction of Earth and find survivors. However, they first need to escape the matrix.
Saints Row IV is a good looking game. Compared to the first two entries in the series, it is easy to tell that the attention to detail has steadily increased with each new game. There is also a large wardrobe selection to dress the player's character. However, the assortment of vehicles has been reduced from that of the third entry. This is primarily because of the introduction of super powers. The vehicles are still required for some activities, but otherwise, the real draw is the super powers.
Early in the game, players are essentially able to scale walls and glide across parts of the city. The super powers range from high jumping to super speed to enhanced attacks. Sure, players can still punch and kick, but now everything goes flying. Players eventually also receive hydro, pyro and telekinetic abilities as the game progresses. The super powers only work inside of the matrix.
As with the previous entries, the voice cast is a solid group of talented people. Nolan North is hysterical when he breaks the fourth wall with some of his lines. The radio soundtrack has a great assortment of music from various genres. Creating a personal soundtrack ensures that only specific songs are being played. If the player is in a vehicle with a passenger long enough and a specific song begins to play, they both will begin singing with the song.
Saints Row IV is the best of both worlds. It is a serious action game and it has a sense of humor. There is a co-op mode that allows players to join another player's game, but the action is limited. Otherwise, it has never been so much fun being super powered, destroying aliens and their futuristic weaponry.
Platform: Wii Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Game Arts / Project M Dev. Team Genre: Fighting Number of Players: 1 - 4 Number of Players Online: N/A Age Rating: Teen Release Date: Mar. 9, 2008 / Jan. 15, 2011 MSRP: $49.99 USD Gameplay: 10 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 10 Re-Playability: 9 Overall Rating: 10 Website:Connect
Project M is a fan made, non-intrusive modification of the original Super Smash Brothers Brawl. Owners of a Super Smash Brothers Brawl disc only need to add some data to an empty SD card and place it into their Wii. Once Super Smash Brothers Brawl has begun, activating Project M only requires loading the Stage Builder. Once in the game, players will be amazed at the changes. The modification is in version 3.5, as of November 14, 2014.
The most important changes are minor, but are important in serious competitive play. The tripping mechanic is gone. There is much better shield protection and collision detection. The overall play has also been balanced. The bigger a character is, the stronger they are, but they are also a lot slower.
All of the characters have newly added skins. To top it off, some formerly combined characters have been separated. The Pokemon Trainer no longer controls Charizard, Bulbasaur and Squirtle. Plus, Samus, Zero Suit Samus, Zelda and Sheik are their own characters. Oh yeah... One of Bowser's skins is Mega Bowser.
Some of the new animations and skins are not as sharp as the native animations. We cannot expect fans to have the tools that professional game designers use, so the graphical infidelity can be easily forgiven. On the other hand, Project M does allow users to import their own original soundtracks. It requires the editing of a file and placing the music on the SD card, but those who play the game a lot can appreciate the change in the music.
Originally, Project M was playable online because Super Smash Brothers Brawl was able to access the Nintendo Network. That says a lot about a programmer's talent when a modified game is still compatible with its native features. Nintendo discontinued network support for Super Smash Brothers Brawl in 2014. One could only hope that the Project M Development Team will create a peer-to-peer method for matchmaking.
There are a lot of opportunities for competitive play for this game in local circuits. Because this modification is not sanctioned by Nintendo, it may never be recognized on a larger stage, but it is still worth any highly competitive Super Smash Brothers Brawl player's attention.
Platform: Console & PC Publisher: Activision Developer: Raven Software Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 Number of Players Online: N/A Age Rating: Mature Release Date: May 1, 2009 MSRP: $39.99+ USD Gameplay: 9 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 10 Re-Playability: 8 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
Not since X2: Wolverine's Revenge has there been this much fun with the mutant known for doing some not nice things. Loosely based on the movie of the same name, Wolverine slices and dices his way through a storyline that occurs throughout his pre X-Men life.
Activision seems to have a decent grasp on what good controls are for superhero games. From Spider-Man's web slinging to Wolverine retracting his claws, it all just feels right. As players progress through the story, Wolverine can pick up new attacks and with each new one is a renewed sense of accomplishment. As Wolverine gains kills, his rage increases. Once maxed out, Wolverine can go berserk for a limited time, taking everyone in the area down with fewer hits.
The game looks good, but sometimes the view of Wolverine gets blocked by the foreground. It is annoying to have to adjust the camera in the heat of battle. However, the cinematic scenes and timed sequences make for pulse-pounding moments worthy of forgetting about the early camera concerns.
The audio, just like with other Activision superhero games, has assets taken from the films from which they are derived. It is quite obvious that the movie's cast is behind the voices of the main characters of this game. The general music and sound effects are action game standard, but who can complain when the focus most certainly found to be on the visuals.
Short of going back into the game to collect any missing items, there is not a lot of replay value unless one obtains the Uncaged Edition. The Uncaged Edition includes options to increase playtime and has a kind of challenge mode where players can take down bosses over and over again in the X-Men's Danger Room. It is worth mentioning that the Uncaged Edition is also a lot gorier.
Platform: PS3 & X360 Publisher: Atari Developer: Terminal Reality Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 Number of Players Online: 2 - 4 Age Rating: Teen Release Date: Jun. 16, 2009 MSRP: $59.99 USD Gameplay: 8 Visual Appeal: 8 Audio Appeal: 10 Re-Playability: 8 Overall Rating: 8 Website:Connect
The story takes place a few years after the Ghostbusters defeated Vigo. Suddenly, ghosts from previous encounters have begun to reappeared and wreak havoc in their old haunts. Slimer is back at the hotel, the librarian is back in the library and the Marshmallow Man is again walking the streets of New York. When there is something strange going on in the neighborhood, whom are you going to call? Ghostbusters!
The player opens the game applying for and eventually gaining employment as a tester for the Ghostbusters' experimental gear. The new hire is quickly thrown in to action. In the Ghostbusters' typical style, they speed away in the Ecto-mobile to a new assignment. The story was written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. It was rumored that the story was taken from what was meant to be the third Ghostbusters' movie.
On the game disc, there is an interview with Aykroyd where he explains that the sounds and music for the game are essentially ripped from the movies and digitally re-mastered. In addition, the entire original cast reclaims their roles and the dialog is often hilarious.
The game looks great as it easily duplicates the Ghostbusters' world and does it with minimal load times. The proton pack particle beams are very realistic looking. The mapping of the characters faces could have been better. The environments are awesome and are effectively used to scare players.
The game is controlled mainly by the control sticks. One stick is for movement and the other for turning. Using the particle pack and its various streams utilize the shoulder buttons while the face buttons control interactions and switching devices. It is normal fare for a shooting game.
The only real issue with the game is that sometimes if the player is stuck in the corner, they end up looking through the players head or into the wall. It is particularly painful when surrounded by enemies. It is simply best to avoid being cornered.
The first player mode is clearly the best thing about this game. The multi-player allows four people to compete in various modes to bust ghosts or each other. There are also movies that are unlocked as a player completes the game. If you loved the movies and seem to enjoy shooters, this game will excite and scare you while making you laugh.
Platform: Nintendo Wii Publisher: Tomy Developer: Eighting & Raizing Genre: Fighting Number of Players: 1 - 4 Number of Players Online: 2 Age Rating: Teen Release Date: Nov. 12, 2009 MSRP: $39.99 USD Gameplay: 9 Visual Appeal: 8 Audio Appeal: 9 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
It is finally here, the second Naruto television series. Naruto Shippuden premiered on American television in October of 2009, on the Toon Disney channel. This time everyone is older and Naruto still wants to bring back Sasuke. The problem is that the Akatsuki has begun collecting the tailed-beasts and Gaara is first on the list. Naruto and his team have been assigned to save Gaara, the leader of the Sand Village.
Naruto Shippuden: Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 is the third Naruto game for the Nintendo Wii and the first game based on the second Naruto television series. This time the game boasts a new feature, access to Nintendo Wi-Fi. Playing online with a fighting game is almost a standard for all game systems and it is about time the Naruto game series gets a shot at it. The game also comes with its usual story, versus, survival, time attack and various other modes. In addition, players can unlock new characters, scenery and game modes via a shop where they spend the money they have earned from fighting.
As the third game in the Wii series, there is nothing different as far as the feel and functionality of the game compared to the previous versions. There are a few new characters as well as the return of the previously established characters. Many of the previously established characters have new outfits and new moves. Most of the original voice cast still reprises their roles. The sounds and music are still par for the course. The scenery in each stage and the transitions from one stage to another are as good as they have been in the previous games. There are even some new stages.
As a very simple fighter, most anyone can pick the game up rather quickly. This game is less about fancy moves and more about finding your opponent's weaknesses and exploiting them. This game is definitely worth its price for any true Naruto fan.
This year, 2009, has been the year of too many musical games. Do not get me wrong, I love musical games. I just think that sometimes the companies have to know when to say the market is oversaturated. The funny thing is, I keep buying the majority of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games as soon as they are released. In this review, keep in mind that Band Hero uses the Guitar Hero 5 engine while Guitar Hero: Van Halen uses the Guitar Hero: World Tour engine. There is no sense in repeating previous comments. If you want to see detailed information on Guitar Hero 5 or Guitar Hero: World Tour, check out those reviews.
Band Hero's target audience is teenagers and young adults. That is in comparison to Guitar Hero, it traditionally targets an adult audience. It does not take a genius to figure out that most of the Guitar Hero on-disc music, track packs and band editions aim at people who know of vinyl records. Rock Band's audience is the same as Guitar Hero's, which is why they have introduced Lego: Rock Band to compete with Band Hero.
Band Hero has all the usual features, including the career, quick play, competitive and online modes. Players can also download new content from the Music Store, create their own content via GH Studio and create their own characters. Nintendo Wii users again get the Wii Freestyle mode where players can jam without a script and even link up a Nintendo DS to act as a stage manager.
The Nintendo Wii version of Band Hero attempts to appease the younger market by also tying in Nintendo DS features. These features include the previously established Roadie Battle, the new DS Party Play and Fan Request modes. The Roadie Battle allows DS users to join the band of a Wii player so they may destroy the other Wii players' instruments while repairing their own. Party Play allows DS players to request songs while Fan Requests sends requests from the Wii to the DS version of Band Hero.
Guitar Hero: Van Halen is much like the previous Guitar Hero band-based games. It is a simple Best Of collection with the usual career, quickplay, competitive and online modes. There is no Music Store, but there is the ability to create music via the GH Studio. The career mode is not as flashy as either the Aerosmith or Metallica games, but the music is still top notch. While some of Van Halen's music choices for their band and the others may seem questionable, the collection as a whole still rocks loud.
Both Band Hero and Guitar Hero: Van Halen does well to advance the Guitar Hero series. They both sound good and look good. Most fans would probably prefer some consistency when it comes to game modes and instrument compatibility. The only real complaint anyone could have is the inability of being able to play created GH Studio content with other Guitar Hero games.
As with many of the previous Guitar Hero games, the online infrastructure was not functional for both Band Hero and Guitar Hero: Van Halen upon release. Players could not link either game to the Guitar Hero Community and the online store for Band Hero did not work. Band Hero was finally able to link up to the community more than a week after its release. Those with advanced copies of Guitar Hero: Van Halen may have to wait until December.
In the future, games like these will not be on disc. Both the software and the music will be downloadable. As new versions of the software are released, for a minimal fee users can pay to upgrade the software and update the saved music. I cannot tell you when this future will be, but when it happens it will make the games a lot less expensive in the end.
Platform: PC, PS3 & X360 Publisher: Capcom Developer: Capcom Genre: Fighting Number of Players: 1 - 2 Number of Players Online: 2 Age Rating: Teen Release Date: Feb. 17, 2009 MSRP: $39.99 USD Gameplay: 10 Visual Appeal: 9 Audio Appeal: 9 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 9 Website:Connect
It is six months after the previous tournament and there is a new evil organization named S.I.N. looking to take over the world. Most of the fighters from the previous tournament have reunited to challenge this new threat. Some fight for peace and others fight for power.
Any fan of fighting games will quickly realize that the cooperation between Capcom and SNK Playmore had a strong influence on the game's imagery and music. Right away, the game looks and feels similar to Capcom Versus SNK, but still plays like the previous Street Fighter games. This time around, it was decided to go with more of an anime-inked look. It provides a bit of artistic flare to the action on screen. In addition, the ink effects are the substitute for sweat and blood.
New to the franchise are the extended opening, rival, closing story lines and the English voice acting. The voice actor behind Ryu is Kyle Herbert. Herbert is best known as the voice actor behind both teen and adult Gohan of FUNimation's DragonBall Z fame. With him are other voice actors from many different English anime studios.
The one thing that has survived the test of time is the commands for each character. Very few commands have changed and the powered attack system introduced in Capcom Versus SNK has been updated and implemented. However, using the current generation of game controllers can make fighting difficult. In turn, companies are releasing wired and wireless controllers strictly made for this type of fighting game.
This game also packs in a multitude of new features, such as various challenges, galleries and online fighting modes. As players fight through the arcade mode, they unlock other characters and videos. As players fight against others online, they unlock titles and icons. In all manner of ways, players can unlock items in the gallery. There is also downloadable content, including alternate costumes.
Since Street Fighter III, there has been a multitude of crossovers involving the main SF cast. It has been 15 years since there has been a strictly Street Fighter game. It is about time and online play to boot!
Platform: PS3, X360 & PC Publisher: Rockstar Games Developer: Rockstar North Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 Number of Players Online: 1 - 16 Age Rating: Mature Release Date: Apr. 29, 2008 MSRP: $49.99 USD Gameplay: 10 Visual Appeal: 8 Audio Appeal: 10 Re-Playability: 10 Overall Rating: 10 Website:Connect
There have been a number of Grand Theft Auto games since its inception. The original GTA was a purely top down view where you stole cars and evaded the police, hence the title. As the games have progressed with the technology, stealing cars to meet objectives has become a very small part of the overall game. Players can now engage in murder, dating, going out to play games and committing theft. All of it is part of being a gun for hire.
With so many different activities, the game play is near limitless. As Niko Bellic, players arrive fresh off the boat willing and able to do whatever it takes to make some cash. If stealing cars, killing some bad men and living a life is not enough for them, then there are always the multiple modes of online multiplayer game play. Players can engage in death matches, races and other activities alone or as teams. Perhaps the best feature is that once the game is started, it loads up the entire world map and other load and save times is minimal.
Due to the world being so large, it takes about three gigabytes of disk space, the graphic quality is not the best there has ever been. There is plenty of detail, such as vehicle damage, but to fit the millions of people and vehicles in this bustling city requires that something be sacrificed. The sacrifice comes in the form of less than realistic looking character models. Nevertheless, most anyone can easily live with the trade-off.
What make the audio excellent in this game are not just the bustling sounds of a city, it is in the extras. While driving, there are a number of radio station choices. The stations play real music on a loop that lasts at least an hour with fake commercials in toe. There are even television stations with looped programming. However, none of the television content is real. There is a word of warning. The language in the game is very adult.
The re-playability comes in the form of the numerous favors players can complete for acquaintances and the online multiplayer options for up to 16 players. The game's depth alone will keep most anyone involved for weeks on end. The pace of the story is based on the player’s own preference and benefits arise as social interactions bare fruit.
This game is as close as a massively multiplayer online role-playing game as any can be where no other player characters are found. It feels almost like living in a city such as New York, except it is riddled with crime… Okay, it is exactly like living in New York. This game is worth the money if players intend to stay with it until the end.
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