Posts Tagged ‘gaming review’

Ever wanted to see WWE legends like The Rock, The Ultimate Warrior and Stone cold Steve Austin fight against Triple H, Randy Orton or even Sheamus? Well now you can!

Macho Man and John Cena Image

I'm not too sure about the likeness or that John Cena's muscles are that big but there you have it

You can make your favourite legends fight against the latest wrestlers from the WWE Smackdown and Raw roster in many epic battles. You can play Exhibition mode which is a single match and choose either a basic 1v1 match or maybe you fancy putting your wrestlers in a steel cage match, a fatal 4 way or even an extreme rules match.

There are a wide range of modes and many different wrestling rings for you to play on this game and if you like you can even create your own superstar.

I have played a few of the Smackdown vs. Raw games over the years but i was never a big fan of them but i actually enjoyed playing WWE All Stars. I found All Stars a lot easier to get the hang of, especially with the controls, and i loved the hints that would pop up beside my life bar (hints such as how to get in and out of the ring, how to climb the ropes etc), these are very helpful for beginners such as myself.

I liked the fact that this game is very Arcady – you can just pick it up and play as and when you want, you do not need to sit for hours playing and trying to get into it.

WWE All Stars Cover Art

WWE All Stars for Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, X-Box 360 and Sony PSP

The moves in this game are easy to do but you need to get close enough to the person you are wrestling to be able to pull them off, i also found that sometimes when i would be trying to do a move i would end up doing a completely different one without even knowing how i did it.

The main thing in this game that I’m not a big fan of is the fact that the wrestlers are all very bulky and have a lot of muscles. I know some wrestlers do have quite a few muscles but not as much as there is on them in this game. Most of the wrestlers look wrong because of it. I also felt that the ring entrances were a bit short. It just seemed to last a few seconds as the wrestlers ran to the ring and got into it, so I wasn’t very impressed with that.

If you are still not sure whether this game is for you then you can download the demo free on both Playstation 3 and on Xbox 360 now. In the demo you can only play as either Ray Mysterio or Ultimate Warrior but you still get a good tryout of the game – well enough to decide if you like it or not.

I will recommend this game although i do not believe it is worth the £39.99 price tag. I would say wait a few weeks to get this when the game decreases in price a little bit as the game is good but not brilliant and not worth spending loads of money on.

Score: 7.5/10

Buy WWE All Stars (Xbox 360) from Amazon.co.uk

Buy WWE All Stars (Wii) from Amazon.co.uk

Everyone knows about the matryoshka doll; the wooden Russian dolls that can be placed inside each other. Nice little ornament, but hasn’t many uses, apart from shelf space. That hasn’t stopped Double Fine (creator of such games like Psychonauts and Brütal Legend) from making a game about them. And that game is Stacking.

Screenshot taken from the X-Box 360 version of Stacking

Screenshot taken from the X-Box 360 version of Stacking

Stacking is set during the Industrial Age; everything was steam-powered, soot covered 95% of the world… And the human race evolved in to matryoshka dolls. What… You never read about that part of history? Yes, in this game, everyone is a Russian doll, each a different size. You play as Charlie Blackmore, the smallest doll in the whole game. Being the smallest doll has to put a damper on this kid’s self-esteem; there are babies in prams bigger than he is. The Blackmore family all work as chimney sweeps to make ends meet. When the father mysteriously vanishes, the children are forced to work to pay off the debts. Of course, Charlie is left behind with his mother because he is too small. Again, this can’t help his self esteem. Charlie learns that his brothers and sisters are being held against their will and forced into child labour by the Industrialist Baron, so ventures onward to rescue them.

What makes the story telling in this game captivating is how it’s told. The cut scenes play out like a silent movie; the characters act, followed by a text with what they just said, and the emotion of the scene is indicated with the musical accompaniment. Well with your face painted on it’s going to be rather difficult to pull of a facial expression. I like this way of story telling, as its simplicity is very effective. The simplest ideas usually work best; look at Pac-Man, Pong, and Super Mario.

Stacking for X-Box 360 and Playstation 3

Stacking for X-Box 360 and Playstation 3

The game is essentially a 3D puzzler, so no swords or robots this time. In order to progress further, you need to solve various conundrums dotted around each level. To solve them, you make use of Charlie’s unique ability to ‘stack’ into other characters, take control of them, and use their abilities to decipher the puzzles. These abilities include moving people out the way. Opening vents, punching things, and passing flatulence (classy eh?). Even if you do complete a puzzle, there are multiple solutions to find out. So just clearing each conundrum once won’t get you 100%. For example, to get past an obstacle like a guard, you could seduce him, lead him away, and stack into him, allowing you to open the door. Alternatively, stack into a mechanic to wrench open a grate to enter the vent. Each solution to each puzzle is unique and offers a balanced challenge; challenges are not too difficult that you eat the controller out of rage, or too easy that the game feels patronising. Even when you figure out the solutions and reach the end, you can still aim for 100% with hi-jinks; little challenges that make use of a character’s ability to cause a bit of mayhem, from punching a number of people, to scaring them, or playing tag.

One thing that I find a small let down is the length of the game; it’s quite a short game, and after you finish it, there’s nothing else to do but wander around aimlessly. That wouldn’t be so bad, but it fells like there should be more to the game, like more things to do to kill time. And giving the high price of the game (1200 points on the XBLA) it seems there should be extra content on offer.

I have to conclude that Stacking is a very enjoyable game, though the length and the lack of replay value have much to be desired. If they release some extra DLC I may let this slide.

Score: 7/10

Review carved from soap by: Satchel

Buy 2100 Microsoft Points (Xbox 360) from Amazon.co.uk

Picture the scene; two kids in a playground having the argument almost everyone has at one point in their lives:

“Iron Man could so beat the Hulk”
“NO! Hulk can throw chunks of earth at Iron Man”
“Iron Man can fly! And shoot lasers!”
And so on…

Normally these sort of disputes are rarely sorted, but Capcom’s newest fighting game could go some way to sorting out these arguments; Marvel vs. Capcom 3: The Fate of Two Worlds. This is Capcom’s latest attempt to beat the living daylights out of a bunch of well-known characters from a particular franchise. Previously, they laid the beat down on SNK, though they mostly just used characters from Street Fighter, with one or two from other games. Now, to take on the giant of comic superheroes, they’ve brought in characters from many more of their games, including Devil May Cry, Darkstalkers and Megaman.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - Developed by Capcom and noted to be the fifth installment in the acclaimed Marvel vs. Capcom franchise

The game itself is about Dr Doom (from Marvel’s Fantastic Four series) and Wesker (of Resident Evil fame) joining forces to bring together the greatest super-villains from both dimensions.  Of course, the heroes from the world of Marvel and Capcom join forces to put a stop to this.  I’ve never felt beat-em-ups needed a plot; just hit buttons and beat the other guy, end of story.  Also, the plot is never really shown in the game apart from the little paragraph in the manual. Guess the developers needed a reason for Captain America to punch Ryu from Street Fighter in the face.

The gameplay is quite simple in this game; you have a light attack, a medium attack, a heavy attack and a special attack (used to send the enemy in the air).  These attack buttons are used in any order to deliver a variety of combos.  Each character has a number of signature attacks too, activated with simple button combination (e.g. Ryu’s Hadoken is used by pressing down, diagonal, forward, attack).  There are also “Hyper Combos” which are extremely powerful multi hit signature attacks. Each are specific to every character, so Viewtiful Joe (from… well, Viewtiful Joe) won’t have an attack similar to any other character.  What is good about this control scheme is it feels free and easy to handle; you can use any button combination to pull off different attacks.  It doesn’t feel as restricted as, say, Tekken, which has a long list of moves for each character, but not much in the way of actual freedom to move around as you see fit.  With the ease of controls in Marvel vs Capcom 3, you now select your characters not by who is easiest to control, but whichever ones are your favourites.  In a game like SoulCalibur 4, you’d normally choose a character by how easy it is to use them.  But think about this; would you rather have a character you’re not too fond of, but with an easy move set, or pick your favourite characters you like playing as, with a simple control layout, that allows for a multitude of combos?

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - X-Box 360 Cover Art

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds - X-Box 360 Cover Art

Graphics wise, it’s top notch; each character looks and move perfectly, with vibrant colours, and very smooth animations.  And don’t think it’s just the playable characters that got the works; even the stages are beautifully rendered.  One example is The Daily Bugle stage.  The background seems to stretch far into the distance, with no indication of it ending.  Looking closer, you’ll notice that while you’re fighting, two photographers are following you and taking pictures; one even leaps in the air to take a photo when you pull off an air combo. It’s the little things like that which I like, and makes me think that Capcom and Marvel have done something not many game developers do nowadays; put actual effort into their games.  It’s nice to see a company put a lot of time and effort into making a game the best it can be (but I’ll go into that in another blog maybe).

The characters in the game all look like they’ve been individually handcrafted; by this I mean they all have their mannerisms and personalities captured perfectly.  For example, Deadpool (debuted in New Mutants #98) is known to be unpredictable, wise cracking, and has a tendency to break the 4th wall.  Capcom capture this very well in the game, making him jump around, have an erratic fighting style, and even talk to the player when he wins the round.  Depending on which characters you pick, and whoever your opponent is, the fighter’s intro speech changes.  When Iron Man enters the fight at the very start, and if a woman is his opponent, he will start to flirt with her.  Again, it’s the little things that add to the fun of this game.

If I have to mark the game down for something, it would have to be the difficulty curve.  Take this scenario; Arcade mode, normal difficulty, stage 5.  Everything is going great, and the player manages to win no problem. Stage 6… complete annihilation from the computer.  The difficulty seems to jump up after a certain point. This is even apparent in the mission mode, where you need to input a particular move to advance; after mission 5 it all gets a bit too hard a bit too soon.

Something else caught my attention, and that is the number of character in this game; there are 36 character altogether, with a further two announced as downloadable content. This doesn’t seem too bad, but in the previous game, there were 56 characters. The only theory I can come up with is that they were wanting to put a lot of detail into the game, so taking out some fighters might have made that a bit easier.  In my opinion, it’s better to have a few distinct and detailed characters, than a lot of potentially similar fighters.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has been able to nail down a great recipe for “pick up and play” fighting games.  I thoroughly enjoy playing this game, and it’s one of the few that’s a joy to play online as well as offline.  If they altered the difficulty curve a tiny amount, to make it a bit more gradual, then this would be a near perfect game.

Score: 9/10

Review attached to the side of a goat by: Satchel

By Marvel vs Capcom 3 (Xbox 360) from Amazon.co.uk

Mario hammering Donkey Kong

Mario this time using tools (Such as hammers) to defeat his foes.

Have you ever wondered what happens when you mix Mario with Lemmings? Well this game is just that.

In each level you have a few mini Marios that you need to get safely home, but of course, it is not that simple, there are a series of obstacles you need to get your Marios past.

Using your DS touch screen you can make your Mario walk, jump or go back to stationary, but be careful, if a moving Mario bumps into a stationary one both will start moving in different directions. This can cause a lot of chaos in the game especially as I tried to press a Mario to make him stop moving and then he bumped into another Mario and they were all just running anywhere.

When playing this game you will notice a letter in each level and if you collect them all they spell out ‘minimarios’ at the top of your touchscreen in each world. Collecting all of these letters will unlock a mini game at the end of the world for you to play before moving on to battle against Donkey Kong.

Mario vs Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis Cover Art

A mini adventure? Mario vs Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis

This game is good I do like it especially since you can just pick it up and play it for a long or as little time as you wish but I do feel it requires quite the level of concentration, you really need to think about what route to get your Marios home and how to overcome the obstacles.

Although this game is only just being advertised now it has actually been available since 2006!

Admittedly the mini Marios are cute but it would be better if you could pick a different character (perhaps mini Yoshis?) and I feel the battles with Donkey Kong are not much of a battle. In the first world, for example, you fire your little mini Marios at Donkey Kong and that is pretty much the battle. A bit too simple for my liking.

There is a lot that could be improved in this game, but for anyone who just likes a puzzler this game is perfect. For those who like Mario but don’t fancy thinking about the game, I would recommend just sticking to Mario Kart.

Score: 7/10

Review by: Rainbow

Buy Mario Vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis (Nintendo DS) from Amazon.co.uk

Sackboy is back in his biggest adventure yet! After much anticipation Little Big Planet 2 is finally here. Little Big Planet creators, Media Molecule, have managed to take the excitement of Easter, Christmas and a trip to Disneyland and put it altogether into one game.

With the return of Stephen Fry as the narrator play story mode and use sackboy to battle your way through the levels and save the planet from the evil Negativitron. You will go through worlds such as Da Vinci’s Hideout, Victoria’s Laboratory, Avalonia and many more. In each world you will find levels for your sackboy to venture through alone as well as a few multiplayer levels so your sackboy can play games with his friends.

Little Big Planet 2

Little Big Planet 2

As well as playing story mode you can build your own levels to play or take your sackboy to the online community as play levels that you and others have created, and either play them on your own or with other sacks from around the world.

I personally love this game. I like the fact that I can either sit and do story mode if I have a lot of time or can just go online and pick a level to play if I just want to mess around for a short while.

It is nice to be able to play a game that is not the same old football, car racing or fighting game. Although Little Big Planet is a great game I found that I was more drawn into the levels on the sequel rather than on the original, the levels just seem more fun and exciting and due to people playing and creating levels on the first game the community created levels are a much greater quality than those of the first.

This game will keep you wanting more. Let us just hope that a third one is on the cards!

The Little Big Planet world may seem crazy to some but the saying ‘let your imagination run wild’ has never been truer.

Score: 9/10

Review handcrafted by: Rainbow

Buy LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3) from Amazon.co.uk

The rule of thumb when it comes to sequels is to expand on the previous game; adding many new features, plots points, and generally improve the series. However, one gaming series seems to ignore this rule. Dynasty Warriors is the culprit, and their first next gen game, number 6, shows how little has changed since their PlayStation 1 debut.  And with the 7th game due for release, now might be a good time to have a look at this franchise.

The whole game series is set in China, around the Han dynasty and the Three Kingdoms Dynasty.  Three opposing factions (Wei, Wu, and Shu) wage war with each other to gain full control of china.  The story is told usually in small cut scenes, or via a narrator explaining the events that lead up to the next stage.

Dynasty Warriors 6 Cover Art

Dynasty Warriors 6 posted on gamingbytes.wordpress.com by Satchel

The stages are usually the same; huge battle grounds for two armies to beat the living daylights out of each other for an hour.  The player takes control of a general, and must basically defeat the commander of the opposing army, while protecting their own. Each general is based on a real figure from Chinese history, with their own back story and allegiance to a particular faction.

Now that the basic premise is out the way, it’s probably a good time to take a look at how DW6 plays out.

Each level plays out very much the same; run around, smack enemy soldiers in the chops, run around some more, beat an enemy general, more running, defeat the commander, win, rinse, and repeat. There may be the odd variation, such as assist a castle siege, or escort a target, but it’s pretty much the same. No matter how much KOEI changes the layout of each field, there’s no real variety.  Combat is pretty easy to understand in the game; mash the X button (on the Xbox), and the Square button (on the PS3) until the crowd of 200 enemies are killed or retreat. You get the opportunity to use a wide range attack, but you will always return to the quick endless attack button. Smack around enough enemies and you can use what’s called a “Musou attack”, which is a stronger combo.  Each individual Musou attack looks nice, but it’s all very samey, no matter which character you use.

Now while I may be playing DW6 to give this review, you could technically apply this to any of the previous games; just cross out 6 and write 2, or 4, or whatever. The biggest flaw in this game ism, and will probably always be, the lack of variety, and the lack of new developments. One great example is, in DW6, you can now climb ladders; a feat which was alien to the character in previous games.  Oh how groundbreaking (!)

It’s repetitive, and samey… but I have to admit I have a soft spot for this game. While you may read about me point out the flaws, when you play it, you will be able to experience the satisfaction of laying waste to over 1000 soldiers in one level.  Seeing the entire army run at your presence can give you a warm sense of glee… until you send them flying off a cliff. Then that glee turns to cruel enjoyment.

It really is a love hate relationship when it comes to Dynasty Warriors; love the whole getting stuck in with the fighting, but hate the lack of new developments.  If KOEI can give the 7th game in the series (not including the add-on games, of which there are at least two per game) a good overhaul, they can redeem themselves. If not, maybe they need to consider taking DW round the back with a shotgun, and lay it to rest.

Score: 7/10

Review cobbled together by: Satchel