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

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

Sylvio - PC Review

There is plenty of tension to be had in this title, despite some curious design choices

Audiosurf 2 - PC Review

A bit less polish than the prior version, but more options provide greater variety

Horizon Shift - PC Review

Bright, colorful and full of variety, Horizon shift is simply a lot of fun

BlazBlue: Chrono Phatasma Extend - PS4 Review

This is the latest, and certainly greatest, release in the series to date

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Playstation Move - Tiger Woods 11- Playstation 3 Review

Of the sports titles that come out, Madden is my favorite and the NBA 2K series is runner up. I enjoy MLB: The Show, EA's NHL, EA's Boxing and Tiger Woods golf games - but I tend to pick them up every few years, and not each season. I was excited to pick up Tiger Woods 2011 though, because it was not only well-received, but Move compatible. Golf is just one of those titles that seems a natural for motion controls. The last version I had played was 2009, so that is my only real point of comparison.

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Graphics - 7:

The player models generally do not impress me a lot. The scenery is nice, and some of the weather effects and grass effects look nice, but there is very little in the way of 'wow' factor here. On a technical level, there is no slowdown or tearing that take you out of the experience. A decent effort that does a fair job of immersing you in the game, but they won't do anything to blow you away either.

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Sound & Music - 7:

The announcers do a decent job of detailing the action. Having recently been horrified from the much newer audio found in Madden 2012, I can appreciate how well the commentary flows in this game, which is a couple of years older. The sound effects are somewhat minimalistic during play, but they work well enough to keep you into the match.

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Gameplay - 9:

Kudos go here. I enjoyed the Move interaction. I was very impressed with the level of tracking and control - though at times sometimes it was a bit too sensitive. What do I mean? Well, the swinging and putting controls feel fantastic. Seriously, it is so much more immersive than prior PS3 iterations, no doubt due largely to the Move controls. That said, sometimes little things like aiming was a bit too touchy for my liking.

For non-Move users? The game plays pretty well too. I'm not terribly good at it, but I did enjoy the basic timing mechanics that drive the game and it was easy to get around the menus. I also made use of the Playstation Eye to create a zombie-like Me as a golfer. It actually did a pretty good job of mapping my face, but adding lifeless eyes to it was 'creepy' according to my kids.

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Intangibles - 8:

The Move controls are a welcome addition, but the game itself is pretty good too. They added a Ryder Cup mode that I didn't get much play out of, but I did spend a lot of time building up my created golfer and losing a lot of matches. I am not very good at playing the game, but I still enjoyed it, which is a sign of a good game I think. Like all of these annual sports games, I think a big part of the game's value is how much has changed since your last version. To me, the game, modes and controls were worth the update from version 9 of Tiger Woods. That might not be the case for someone coming from version 10.

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Overall - 7.5:

I enjoy the game, and though I don't play it nearly as much as some of my other sports titles, but when I'm looking for a slower-paced, almost relaxing break, this is the title I most often turn to. Now, why am I reviewing this version when it's so old? I got it cheap, and its integration with the Move gave it some extra value for me. I know there are newer versions out there, but as someone who skips a couple of years between releases most of the time, this one should hold me over for awhile all the same - especially at the price of $12 I got it for.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Playstation Move - Sports Champions - Playstation 3 Review

The first title we actually purchased for the Playstation Move was Sports Champions. It seems like these sports titles are the preferred introductory experience for these kinds of motion controls. It makes sense really - since sports are often inherently familiar to people and their movements are somewhat easily tracked and translated to video games. The Wii made use of this a couple of times over, first with the system itself and then the introduction of the Wii Plus.

Here are the sports you get:

- Table Tennis
- Volleyball
- Disc Golf
- Gladiator combat
- Archery
- Bocce Ball

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Graphics - 7:

The attempt here is to come up with a more realistic sports entry than the Wii's charming if simplistic sports titles offer. This is both a good and a bad thing as this game looks nice overall, but sometimes animates just a bit stiffly and you see odd graphic pop-in and overlap. I know a lot of people prefer the Wii method, but I can at least appreciate the direction they went in here with Sports Champions and personally prefer the more realistic appearance

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Sounds & Music - 6:

The music is nice enough, simple and completely forgettable. It doesn't take anything away from the experience, but it adds almost nothing as well. The sounds are very simple, with appreciate thuds, whacks and player noises where needed, but like the music, these sound effects are very simple and do nothing particularly well, if not particularly badly either.

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Gameplay - 8:

The controls generally respond well, and that is the key with a game like this, right? Show off what you can do with familiar controls? I think archery was probably my favorite, tennis my least favorite. My son really liked the gladiator combat, and my daughters were all amused by different sports, if only for a short time.

There is a very nice option to do some of the games like archery and gladiator combat with two motion controllers. It is not required, which is great for families with only one Move controller, but I won two in the contest and was able to sample out both methods and did find that two controllers was better.

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Intangibles - 7:

There are not a ton of sports to be had here, but there is a fair amount of depth in trying to master them. There are also quite a few different types of rounds and to unlock everything would take an incredible amount of time. With different sports, everyone's interests and mileage will vary. We also benefited from having two Move controllers, because we could take part in multiplayer, which made things a bit more fun.

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Overall 7:

These types of sports games with motion controls often feel like dressed up tech demos, and honestly Sports Champions does very little to change my opinion on this. That said, it feels like a fairly polished and successful demonstration that entertains, if not for a terribly long time. The events are probably not all going to be for everyone, but for the most part they are well enough done that you should find at least a few different types of sports to keep you busy for awhile.