Tag Archive: Game



Read the full in-depth review HERE
Developed By: Nintendo
Platform: Wii
Players:1-2
Online: N/A

What It’s All About:

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is just pure fun! The premise is the same as previous titles – run and jump through a huge collection of levels spread across a bevy of different locations, collect power stars along the way, defeat big bad Bowser and rescue the Princess. It’s a formula that has been working for over twenty years and it still works just as well today. You’ll find yourself flying from planet to planet, being sucked into orbit, gravity making the ceiling of a level into your floor, all ideas that were developed and explored in the first tile. These ideas have all been built upon with exciting twists and capabilities, with each galaxy exploring them in their own unique way.

What It Did Right:

  • Fantastic level design
  • Tight and precise control scheme that feels like second nature
  • Beautiful visuals and stunning soundtrack
  • Accessible to casual gamers and hardcore gamers alike

What Brings It Down:

The Final Verdict:
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is simply more than just “Galaxy 1.5”. It provides some of the most fun, challenging and addictive gameplay that has come out this generation, and yet still manages to be accessible for casual gamers and the hardcore alike. Nintendo implement a series of helpful mechanics for gamers who need assistance finishing the game so smartly, those of you who are skilled enough to collect all 120 stars wont even notice they are there. The graphics, the sound, the level design and the overall charm perfectly encapsulate the spirit of classic gaming while still offering something next, exciting and unique. All backed up by a tight and precise control scheme that simply feels like second nature and is so intuitive you don’t even have to think about it. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is platform gaming at its absolute finest and is one of the greatest games to be released this generation.
I never give a game 10 out of 10, never! Yet I purely cannot see how Super Mario Galaxy 2 could ever be improved upon.
10/10

You have to give credit where credit is due; the Super Mario Bros. franchise is one of the biggest, oldest and most successful gaming franchises in the existence of video games. It’s simple yet challenging formula has continued to win the hearts of gamers for over twenty years, cementing Mario as one of the faces of Video Games the world over.

2007 saw the release of Super Mario Galaxy; Mario’s first 3D adventure since the lackluster Super Mario Sunshine on the Nintendo Gamecube. A lot was riding on the success of Galaxy and it more than delivered, offering gamers a fantastic world with fun and challenging gameplay. Last year we saw the reboot of 2D design with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which returned to the series roots providing challenging 2D platforming adventure, complete with multiplayer support. Now Nintendo bring us Super Mario Galaxy 2, a direct sequel to the 2007 title that many have regarded as Mario’s best 3D adventure. Nintendo need to provide something absolutely stunning.

They have.

Yes Super Mario Galaxy 2 is based on the foundations of the first title; it uses the same graphics engine, the same controls and the same concept, yet this is the very reason why Galaxy 2 is so successful. The team have learned from the first title, listened to the feedback, and have improved every facet of an already masterful gaming experience. Yes Galaxy 2 is based on the first title, yet it has been improved in so many ways it doesn’t feel like Super Mario Galaxy 1.5, this is a stand alone sequel that offers some of the most fulfilling gaming moments of this generation.

Nintendo have put a lot of focus into accessible gaming for Wii titles, and SMG2 has been structured in such a manner that even someone who has never touched a controller before will be comfortable enough to play. This is evident in the opening sequence of the game as it starts off on a 2D plane as the story unfolds, then the player is forced to moving between the foreground and background before they are let go and given full control. It’s subtle and doesn’t feel like a tutorial at all, yet that’s exactly what it is. It doesn’t detract from the experience, it doesn’t feel forced, and it never feels like the game is holding your hand. Simply put, it is perfect and I wish more games would take a similar approach.

Your progression through the game has also been simplified to offer a more streamlined experience as you traverse the worlds of SMG2. Rather than the overwhelming Observatory Hubworld that we were introduced to in the first title, SMG2 utilizes a simplified world map much similar to the one introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3. Ultimately it makes the game easier to pick up and play, and does away with a mechanic that was unnecessary and overwhelming.
Nintendo have brought back the “play for me” mechanic that was featured in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. If you die too many times you will be asked if you need assistance and the game will help you pass the trouble spot you have been stuck on. While it might sound like a cheats way out it will certainly be a welcome addition to those casual gamers out there, especially in the later levels of the game. Using this feature doesn’t come without a cost though; when collecting the star at the end of the level you will only be given a Bronze for your efforts instead of that Gold. You can go back and play through the level again and get that Gold once you feel a little more confident. Nintendo have also included Hint TV monitors that teach players exactly how a specific task should be completed. Once again a handy feature for new gamers, yet those who have been playing Mario titles for years should be able to work it out on their own. Once again these mechanics are not forced onto a player, so you will only see them if you want or need to.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is just pure fun! The premise is the same as previous titles – run and jump through a huge collection of levels spread across a bevy of different locations, collect power stars along the way, defeat big bad Bowser and rescue the Princess. It’s a formula that has been working for over twenty years and it still works just as well today. The team behind SMG2 has refined Mario’s controls to a point where everything just seems like second nature, making the player feel right at home with the controller in their hands.

Most of the levels in Super Mario Galaxy 2 are based around concepts and designs of the original game. You’ll find yourself flying from planet to planet, being sucked into orbit, gravity making the ceiling of a level into your floor, all ideas that were developed and explored in the first tile. These ideas have all been built upon with exciting twists and capabilities, with each galaxy exploring them in their own unique way. SMG2 constantly steps above and beyond your expectations to continually impress you, whether it be a throwback to nostalgia with a reference to a past Mario title, or just a twist on a basic game mechanic that was unexpected, Nintendo still know how to make a fun title.

Everyones favorite Dinosaur Yoshi is back, and a completely welcome addition to Super Mario Galaxy 2. As soon as players leap onto Yoshi’s back and start running around they will feel right at home. Controlling Yoshi is just a precise as controlling Mario, and using the Wii remote’s pointer to eat enemies or hook onto platforms with Yoshi’s tongue works a treat. It’s a lot of fun and opens up the gameplay to a multitude of new and exciting elements.
Yoshi doesn’t appear in each and every level, his appearances are restricted to specific galaxies, but they are all incredibly creative and some of the best levels in the game. Whether it’s using his ability to jump higher to collect a hard to reach coin, his ability to inflate like a balloon to reach great heights, or to provide a light in complete darkness; these are some of the absolutely stunning moments in Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Where Mario Galaxy 2 truly excels is it truly caters to gamers of all skill levels. Nintendo have included all these features to make the game fun and accessible to casual gamers, yet those hardcore competionists are not forgotten. Each galaxy has a hidden Comet Coin, and if collected, will unlock a series of challenges within that level design. It keeps you coming back for more, and these challenges are in fact rather challenging. Collect all 120 stars and you will unlock another gameplay mode that will give you a fulfilling, yet hardcore challenge.

SMG2 features some impressive production elements that are not only the best for it’s console, but also some of the best across any platform out there today. Level design and variety is simply unparalleled, the visuals are unique and stunning, quite amazing considering the Galaxy engine is 3 years old, and the soundtrack is full of orchestral moments that would rival a Hans Zimmer production.

The only thing that you can fault Super Mario Galaxy 2 on is the story, but let’s face it; who has ever played a Mario game for the story? Mario is all about fun, challenging and addictive gameplay and Super Mario Galaxy 2 has that by the truckload.

The Final Verdict

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is simply more than just “Galaxy 1.5”. It provides some of the most fun, challenging and addictive gameplay that has come out this generation, and yet still manages to be accessible for casual gamers and the hardcore alike. Nintendo implement a series of helpful mechanics for gamers who need assistance finishing the game so smartly, those of you who are skilled enough to collect all 120 stars wont even notice they are there. The graphics, the sound, the level design and the overall charm perfectly encapsulate the spirit of classic gaming while still offering something next, exciting and unique. All backed up by a tight and precise control scheme that simply feels like second nature and is so intuitive you don’t even have to think about it. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is platform gaming at its absolute finest and is one of the greatest games to be released this generation.

I never give a game 10 out of 10, never! Yet I purely cannot see how Super Mario Galaxy 2 could ever be improved upon.

10/10

Read the full in-depth review HERE

Developed By: 2K Games
Platform: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Players:1-2 (split-screen)
Online: 4 Player Co-Op

What It’s All About:
Welcome to Pandora, a bandit-ridden wasteland that draws the attention of off-world scavengers for one reason: The Vault. The Vault is a mysterious structure that is believed to hold the most powerful and wealthiest treasures in the universe, and everyone from scavengers to fortune seeking global corporations wants to get their hands inside. This is the setting you will find yourself wading through with Gearbox’s latest title Borderlands, a FPS meets RPG.

What It Did Right:

  • Great character development
  • Unique art design
  • Reward system
  • Fantastic Gunplay

What Brings It Down:

  • Vehicle Control
  • Lonely, anti-social single player experience
  • Cock slap of an ending

The Final Verdict:

Borderlands succeeds as a perfectly balanced combination of the RPG and FPS genres. Along with it’s unique gameplay style, it boasts an art design that makes Pandora come alive and will keep calling you back to the bandit ridden wastelands. With satisfying character development and an impressive arsenal of weapons, this game will keep you busy for a long time. There are a few places that the game could be improved, especially when it comes to the anti-social and lonely nature of it’s single player experience. All in all, Borderlands is a great title that is well worth checking out.

8/10

Lego Indy

It seems a long time ago when Lego Star Wars graced us with a family friendly, fresh faced, fun look at one of the biggest franchises and changed the way we would look at Lego platformers forever. With two sequels it was time to move on to the next Lucasfilm series, Indiana Jones.

What we are given is much of the same, graphics are a little better but this is most likely due to the real world locations instead of outer space. It’s nice to see Traveller’s Tale have kept in the humour that we have grown to love.

What I immediately noticed on the first level and then by the end of the second level I was ready to never touch this game again, POOR CONTROLS! Hell even Bill Clinton can control his actions better than I can control this ducking game. Jumping from platforms are hard to judge by horrible camera angles, and don’t even try to aim coz you’ll be throwing shit at the walls instead of your enemys.

Level design is more varied when compared to LEGO Star Wars and the puzzles are solid too. All in all if you are looking for a family friendly game this could work for you, or it could backfire when you end up stringing together a non sensible string of profanities at the poor controls infront of the kids

6/10

Spore has been in development for what seems to have been a mammoth of time, but finally last week it hit the streets and people have been going mad for it ever since. What can you expect to find in Will Wright’s newest creation? Well first let’s discuss how we got to this point first….

So no doubt hardcore gamers will know who Will is, and all you casual readers out there would have at some point either played or heard of a little game called The Sims. The Sim series of games started in the late 80’s with the classic Sim City which was followed by a numerous amount of games until the ever successful The Sims, and The Sims 2. I’m not going to lie, controlling peoples lives instead of living your own seemed a rediculous idea to waste my valuable time, but many people love the game, hell I did find myself killing a few spare hours on it, and people keep buying it, and keep enjoying it, but there is something that just doesn’t sit right for me.

Sure The Sims I get that, but then they released some expansion packs. Sure I understand how these can be cool, but at $99.95 AUD for The Sims/The Sims 2 followed by a further $49.95 AUD for each expansion pack it adds up to a LOT of cash for your new found addiction. 

Sure one or two expansions at that price not too bad, but there are what seems MILLIONS of the packs floating around. The Sims: Hot Date, The Sims: University, The Sims: Pets, The Sims: Government Lies, The Sims: Dog took a dump on new Persian Rug so need to get someone to clean the carpets extravaganza, The Sims: Terrorist Holidays the list goes on.

So now we have Spore and immediately I found myself drawn to it. You start off as a cell from an asteroid that hits a planet (which you get to name) and you float around in the water eating either plants or meat depending on WHAT your species is. This portion of the game lasts a good 25 mins or so, and while can get boring it certainly pays off. 

Once the requirements had been fulfilled I found myself evolving to the next stage of life. This involved me getting on land, and meeting and befriending, or killing and setting species up for extinction. While all this is going on, I am finding shiny new body parts available for me to create my species the way I see fit. 

And now I’m up to the third stage of evolution, getting a tribe together. This plays out like a watered down RTS game, but I still enjoy it immensly. The idea of the game is to evolve to outerspace travel, in which you can fly around visiting other planets and futher enhancing your species. The online component allows you to visit other players species on other planets, and also track their stats in the Sporepedia.

So really many people are describing this game as a God game. Yeah that’s cool but isn’t the church telling us that Evolution doesn’t exist?

8/10

Best $10 Ever Spent?

$10 will buy you a lot these days, a pack of cigarettes, a large meal from McDonald’s, and depending on what part of town you live on it can probably get you a filthy street urchant to perform acts you’ve only seen on a scandleous video of a celebrity in a hotel room somewhere in Paris? What do all these things have in common? They all leave bad tastes in your mouth (or hers, even his if you’re into that kind of thing) and the same usually applies for games that only cost $10.

Trials 2 would be the exception to this rule. Trials 2 is this fun little game that has you riding a bike through courses that the Crusty Demons would be too shit scared to attmept, all while employing a realistic physics engine and online stat tracking worldwide. Each course slowly gets harder and harder and it’s one of those games that you can sit down to play for 15 minutes, and before you know it you have to get dressed to go to work as you haven’t been to bed yet.

Graphically it’s simple yet what it does have is done well. The flames, lighting and shadows are fantastic, sound effects are good and controls are simple. My favourite feature is the stats tracking and team competitions. Basically everyone who is playing trials 2 has an account, and every track they pass their time is recorded and placed on the worldwide rankings. This is great, I can see that while I’m not totally the best at number 1, I’m not the worst at 10424. But what you can do through the power of a friends list is create a TEAM to represent, and all of a sudden you are racing for your teams glory!

All in all want to spend a good $10 that doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth? Trials 2 is the way to go. Available for purchase through STEAM

With the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid 4 on our doorsteps the reviews are starting to trickle in one by one. In a surprising move Konami have enforced restrictions about exactly what publications can, and can’t talk about

IGN UK confirmed this in the opening paragraph of their review “”In return for letting us play Metal Gear Solid 4 before its release, Konami issued us with a list of things that we’re not allowed to discuss. This list of prohibited topics is pretty long, and even extends as far as several facts that the company itself has already made public.”

While IGN were happy to publish a review despite the restrictions on their freedom of speech, it seems that gaming publication EGM are not so happy with Konami’s imposition, stating that the will not publish a review “Due to the limitations that Konami wanted to place on our comments”

It seems that Konami want o let loose a little information to satisfy the hunger of those eagerly awaiting one of the biggest titles of the year, but don’t want to let all the cats out of the bag just yet.

Metal Gear Solid is set to hit store shelves in just a few more weeks

If we were to think of FPS games as beer we’d have a stark comparison. We’d have the high quality german import beers, namely Bioshock, Rainbow Six Vegas and Call Of Duty 4 to drink and enjoy, before we emptied that six pack and moved on to the lukewarm piss your cousin mopped off the toilet floor and put into beer bottles and made his own beer namely Haze.

 

Sure your cousin talks it up but no matter how much sugar he throws in to sweeten the nectar (pun intended) it leaves a horrilbe taste in your mouth and once you have digested in your mind what you have just drank you begin to vomit you guts up like your fourteen year old sister who came home pregnant last July.

 

That’s right Ubisoft have served up another tasty turd compliments of the Hype Train after we were all just starting to forget about that whole Assasin’s Creed thing. He’s in the past, he’s from the future, DNA reconstruction WTF!

 

Haze puts you in the role of Shane Carpenter, fresh out of college and joining the Private Millitary Corporation Mantel. Mantel soldiers are hand forced a drug called Necatar, which enhances their vision and increases their health and strength. For all the good this drug does it sure as hell doesn’t increase brain activity which brings me to my first gripe… CHARACTERS AND VOICE ACTING.

 

Some of my favourite lines

“It’s like taking candy from a cippled baby”

 

And who can forget the timeless battle cry “BOOSH”

 

The NPC’s are uninteresting and do little to forward the story even when they are attempting to, and you end up just hating them by the end of the second or third level. Voice acting, even by the protaginist seems lacking and phoned in, and overall the player tends to not connect with the characters of the game.

 

The story is like a kebab, good idea in theory but horrible the next morning which has you sitting with the porcelain princess for most of the day. Haze’s idea’s were intriguing but due to shitty voice acting and not ever going into anything in great detail, it’s all it is, a good idea that is never explored to even 25% of it’s potential.

 

Graphics are very average, but there are some shining moments. Smoke from fires when in open environments billow out realistically, and looks fantastic, and some of the ligting effects are really done well. It’s not the worst game to look at, but it’s sure as hell not the best either.

 

Got your run of the mill guns here that Charlton Heston would be comfortable handling on his back porch while waiting for Michael Moore, and they all seem pretty weighted and sound fantastic. This is where Haze shines, the sound. Guns and explosions sound, whats the words I’m looking for, FULLY SIC!

 

Mulitplayer, while lacking game modes is a lot of fun. It’s not going to overtake Cod 4 anytime soon but it’s good for a change. Also drop in, drop out 4 player co-op does make the single player worth playing again a second time round with some friends.

 

All in all Ubisoft once again fooled us in thinking this was going to be a gem, and with Free Radical involved we all bought it! Haze is a solid game but it’s not going to wow you, and with it’s terrible voice acting, a story that could have been amazing but was under developed and  average graphics, it’s going to be a game you either love or hate. I personally quite like it, but to keep an objective view I’ll give it the rating it deserves

 

6/10

 

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This week I got my hands on a copy of the newest title in the Burnout franchise, Burnout Paradise for both the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. Built from the ground up, not only is this one of the best looking games I’ve seen in the driving genre, but it is certainly one of the most enjoyable

You are given free roam in a huge city that features a large range of driving conditions, hundreds of hidden areas, jumps, ramps, carparks and so much more, but we’ll discuss that in a minute.

So basically you come into Paradise City with nothing but a wrecked stunt car, a learner permit and your away. The city features a number of stations with drive throughs, those being repair shops that fix up your car’s damage, gas stations which fill your boost bar to maximum, and if you are feeling like a change of colour there is also paintshops scattered all across the city. These do come in handy when entering events, and can often be the upper hand needed to beat your opponents

There are a number of events throughout the game, going from Races which have you racing from one point to another main point on the map (there are six in total, and all races will end at one of these), but it’s up to you to find the quickest way to your destination from the starting line. This leaves it open to find alleyways to shave off precious seconds ot beat your opponents. Other race modes include Marked Man which is the same principal except your opponents are trying to take you down, if you survive to the destination you win, and Stunt Run which involves reaching a target score before the time limit runs out by stringing together combos of stunts. Road Rage involves meeting a certain takedown quota before the time limit runs out.

Entering an event is easy! Pull up to a set of traffic lights and above the mini-map the event will come up letting you know what type of event it is, and just hold accelerator and brake to start the event. Each win adds to your licence and you slowly move up the ranks.

As you move along the game, certain cars will start cruising the street, and if you take them down while roaming freely around Paradise City, it will be added to the junkyard for you to repair and drive at your leasure.

While the game modes are often very similar, the game vary rarely gets boring. I often found myself just cruising the streets checking out the city, which has a lot to discover and see. There are 400 Smashes to complete, which are indicated by yellow gates that often lead to shortcuts, a bunch of Burnout billboards to break, and 50 Super Jumps to find and land

The graphics are fantastic, and paired with a silky smooth 60fps framerate and the best crash phsyics I have ever seen, this game is extremely easy on the eyes, not to mention a killer soundtrack and fantastic sound effects, this game is a visual and aural delight

But online is where the game truly shines. With a quick press to the right of the D-Pad and you have entered the Easy Drive menu, which lets you send invites to your online friends to join your city, or enter a ranked or unranked Freeburn session. Once you enter a freeburn session you are all of a sudden cruising around the city with your friends (or enemies) and can complete challenges together, enter stunt competitions and so forth. Every so often someone will start up a race and you have an option to jump in on the action. Choose you car and it takes you to the starting grid where the game camera focuses on key players in the race with vital information, like Hellerphant has 57 rivals online, Wtenosdy has 427 wins and this is Budsy’s first game. It’s fun little facts like this that shows which opponents to stay away from and which to try and take down for the thrill. It’s the simplicity, and ease of use that makes Burnout Paradise stand out as an online gamers title of choice

But while I have been singing the praises of Burnout Paradise, I did encounter some issues on the PS3 version, that are not apparent in the 360 version of this beast. First of all I found that sometimes the car will seem to sink into the road in single player, but the majority of my issues came from online play. More often then not traffic will dissappear before my eyes as I am driving along and then reappear at a point that it’s too late to do anything about it and I’ve wrecked my ride. I did not encounter this on the 360 version, and at first I thought it could have been due to lag, but after further testing I realised that it wasn’t my internet connection. Also at times the position I held in the race would not update until I had lost the race which was quite annoying and once again I did not encounter this on the Xbox version.

All in all Burnout Paradise is plain fun, great looking, addictive and one of the best driving, and online games I have played in a while

8.5/10