Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3: V Generation - PS Vita Review

The latest Hyperdimension game for the Vita makes the most of the handheld and series

Farming Simulator 15 - PC Review

Down on the farm - again. This simulator provides plenty to do for fans of the series

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Xbox One Review

The latest in the Witcher series does almost everything well - a definite Game of the Year contender


This shooter gets almost everything right, throwing lots at you but making it fun

Big Pharma - PC Preview

A fun simulation game with some social commentary to share as well

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bloodbowl - Legendary Edition - PC Review

I'm not real familiar with the Warhammer universe, but I've that this game is based on a board game that has been out for several years now. I bought this game on a 75% discount and was drawn in with the combination of fantasy elements and football theme. I am a huge fan of football and recalled my adoration for the old Sega Genesis game, Mutant League Football (built on a Madden engine of that time). So, did this game meet my expectations or let me down? Unfortunately, more of the latter.

Graphics - 4:

This is pretty rough stuff here. I realize this is an older game, but it is rough even by older standards. The cut scenes are roughly animated and seem to be at a very limited frames per second. The game itself does not animate a whole lot better, and the colors and textures are really bland and muddy.

Sound & Music - 6:

Some of the commentary is actually pretty funny, but it gets really repetitive. The sound effects and music are not bad, they're simply bland. They do an effective job of relaying the action through the announcers and the game's effects, but they are not what I would consider interesting in the least.

Gameplay - 6:

It really depends on what you are looking for. This game is more simulation than actual action sports title. In fact, there's no real 'action' at all. The entire game is predicated on dice rolls that determine the success or failure of every single action. Of course, some of them make sense. Dodge a tackle, knock someone down, catch a pass? There's a reasonable level of expectation to these actions being associated to a roll of the dice. Others however, like being able to walk into a clear space or throw a pass that goes three open squares? The roll mechanic just feels overused and almost cheap. Instead of taking a 'skill' team that favors the deep ball, I found myself favoring brutes simply because the tackle/turnover odds were better.

Intangibles - 6:

There are several modes, though I had trouble finding any activity in online leagues. This is likely due to the fact that the game has been out a few years. That said, the season mode has some interesting facets such as the player progressions and the ability to earn money to buy more perks. Even still, the game feels a bit shallow at the end of the day and I found myself barely able to slog through even a single season.

Overall - 5.5:

This seems like a harsh score, but the game really let me down. Fantasy + football seemed like a fantastic idea, but outside of the team progression the game itself really failed to hold my interest. Many of the rules and gameplay mechanics were unclear to start, and even when I did understand them, I found them to be often quite annoying. There is a lot of potential here, but it's unrealized potential that left me wondering 'what if' instead of appreciating what was there.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gaming Thoughts... 8/22/11 - Console Wars - Playstation 3

Due to process of elimination, the 'winner' of my little opinion piece cannot come as a big surprise. Playstation 3 was the second console of this generation I acquired - the Wii was my last. The Playstation 3 however, brings a lot to the table. The Sony claims that it 'only does everything' might not be exactly right - I give that title to my PC. However, the PS3 comes in second and is cheaper than a PC - though the most expensive of all the other systems discussed.

I will get a few complaints out of the way right off of the bat. The price is not friendly and never has been. Sony came out of the gates with a product that cost entirely too much - one of the reasons I seldom buy a new console immediately. I love the technology - but the price tags tend to go down quite a bit with time and it allows for the library to expand too.

The ability to only be logged into one account at a time is a bummer when you're trying to play local co-op with your kid or spouse. Even the Wii allows you to bring your different Miis into Mario Kart. Then again, at least your data is saved to a specific profile such as the Xbox 360 uses.

The hardware had been flawless for me - until about a month ago when the spinner or laser reader on one of my systems went out. That said, the console is still useful because it has lots of downloaded games and wireless capability.

And that right there, is a huge win for this console over my 360. My wife has been using a PS3 in our bedroom since she broke her tailbone about a year and a half ago. Netflix works beautifully in there - and trumps both the 360 due to its wireless availability and the Wii due to the content video definition.

Sony's made up a lot of ground on the game front as well. For years it felt as though the Playstation had the weakest overall game library, but now it holds its own with the other guys I think. Exclusives like Little Big Planet, Mod Nation Racers, Uncharted, Killzone, Infamous and so many more have really turned things around. The Playstation Store has proven to be excellent as well - every bit as good as the offerings by Nintendo and Microsoft I think.

The audio and video capability are top-notch, and probably the best in class barring a tricked out PC. This holds over to dvd upscaling and bluray playback as well. We have over 60 bluray discs right now, so again this console serves as a family-wide media device. Adding to that is the way it handles music and images from media servers - I know that the 360 can do this as well, but that system has always had stumbling points for my kids, but my 9 year old daughter can fire up music through the PS3 very easily on her own, and pipe it through our sound system.

This is the only system of console that does reach every corner of our household. My wife and oldest daughter love watching movies on it and playing the occasional casual game like Peggle. My youngest loves listening to music through it and Little Big Planet is unequivocally her favorite video game of all time. Then there's my son - and I briefly touched on this with the Xbox 360 article - he can play online for free.

I traded in Modern Warfare 2 on my 360 about a year ago when my friends stopped playing it regularly. My son loved the game, but only got to play on my account because I had a gold account. He had a tough time getting friends to play with that way too. Playstation's willingness to let people play games for free has been a huge determinant over the last year for me. I've purchased my last 3 Call of Duty games, my last three fighting games and last sports game because of this feature - because my son can then play online, and that is where he spends most of his time.

For me? I love content off of all of these systems we own, but if my PSP, 360 or Wii were to break down again, I probably would not replace them. When one of my PS3's broke partially, I simply found another quality use for it and immediately set about planning to pick up a new one for our living room. The fact that our entire family uses the console, in a variety of ways in a variety of rooms has made it the one system we all most enjoy now. That's why I have to declare it my winner of this generation's console wars. It's not a perfect system - no such thing exists. However, it is a near-perfect fit for the way our family likes to spend some of their free time.

Favorite titles from this system so far:

- Heavenly Sword
- Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
- Mortal Kombat


- Free online
- Wireless connection helps foster quality online experience
- Powerhouse, multifaceted system has a little something for everyone


- Only one account logged in locally at a time
- Most expensive (except a PC) system
- Late to the game with trophies - older games unsupported by them