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

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Playstation Move - Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts? Sounds a bit foreboding huh? Well, there is a bit of a reason. With a dead PlayStation 3, I had to figure out how to replace it since it was the most heavily used system in our house. The PlayStation Move, having been free, was a great win - but the thing is, despite how good the tech is behind it, the titles to support it never seemed to interest me a lot. There were a couple of specific ones, and I got and reviewed those, but the scores were often somewhat middling.

The hardware's great, but even after E3 I didn't see many compelling titles for the Move. So, it was part of my trade-in toward the new PS3 Slim I got this summer. In truth, the Move and the PlayStation Eye were hardly ever used. A couple of times a month maybe. With the PS3 in the living room dead? Those devices were not getting used at all, so I decided to do without them. It was a fun experience, but not one that feels fully fleshed out and ready for prime time. There is a load of potential here, and maybe down the road I'll see some titles that make me regret the decision, but I doubt it at this point. The overall experience for me was probably about a 7 out of 10. Good diversion, but lacking in substance

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Playstation Move - EyePet - Playstation 3 Review

Took a small break for the Halloween special I wrote up the other night, so let's get back into my evaluation of the Playstation Move, shall we?

This was one of the titles I was most excited to acquire once we knew we were getting the PlayStation Move. I knew that my youngest in particular would be fascinated with the idea of a virtual pet to take care of, but I had a feeling it might go over well with the other kids as well. They adore our cats, they all like the variousg 'virtual pets' games like Nintendogs or even Pokemon. The idea is pretty simple - you hatch a monkey-like EyePet and name it - and then you go about playing with and caring for it over time. Each new real life day brings about some new activities and challenges, giving you an incentive to come back to the game regularly.

All of this is done while integrating the PlayStation move in a variety of ways, from hosing the little guy down for a shower, warming and rocking his egg to get him to come out and more. This also integrates the PlayStation Eye by showing you and your living room - a sort of virtual world for your EyePet to play in.

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Graphics - 8:

The little EyePet is cute. Seriously, this game is saccharine sweet overload. He's all cute, and fluffy and playful. He's also a very expressive little guy, and he animates pretty well. The various toys and tools for interacting with him are pretty straightforward, but they do the job. The crazy professor like guy's overlaying video gets the job done, but I found him pretty freaking annoying to be honest with you.

Once again, the poor quality of the PlayStation Eye 'shines through' - delivering my living room in badly colored, hugely pixelated glory. Man that part looks rough. If the camera was better, the immersion would be so much better as well.

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Sound & Music - 7:

For better or for worse, the scientist/guide that talks you through things generally describes things pretty well, but he sort of bugs me at the same time. The EyePet himself makes little chirp and coo sounds that are cute, if sometimes a bit repetitive. The rest of the music and sound effects are not bad, but they are fairly forgettable.

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Gameplay - 8:

The Move controls once again show their precision as most of the mini-games and activities play out very nicely. They seem pretty accurate most of the times. There were a couple of activities where I was trying to get him to do things, and he would drag a bit, but for the most part the EyePet remained pretty engaging. The menus were a bit of a chore to get around in my opinion, and I sometimes did things without knowing what I was doing because the tutorial had not covered the activity yet. That did not happen real often, mostly because my youngest played the game a ton and was walking me through it.

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Intangibles - 7:

The formula for unlocking things and discovering more activities is actually a good one. The actual process of playing with your pet is more engaging than I expected - this is definitely not the type of game I normally play. Still, I'd rather wrestle and pet one of my cats, truth be told. The other problem - once you have played for quite awhile, and done what there is to do, there really is not much reason to go back to it. My younger two in particular played really regularly for about two weeks, an hour or so a day. Problem is, they've hardly played again since.

One small annoyance for me was setting up the PlayStation Eye - it was not meant to be as high off of the ground as where I have it set up for my other games, so my positioning in relation to it was a bit odd.

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Overall - 7.5:

If you are a fan of virtual pets or really just need cute pet overload and can't have the real thing, this experience is probably a bit more immersive than most. It's really, really not my cup of tea, but then I bought it for my kids, and all three played for varying lengths of time - though none of them 'completed' all of the objectives. I would probably say it is designed for a very specific audience and while an interesting sort of experiment, not something I would recommend paying full price for unless a kid really wants to try it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Playstation Move - Beat Sketchers - Playstation Network Review

This is a pretty lightweight 'review' - this is not so much a game as an experience. I won't get into the technical breakdowns because quite frankly - most of them do not apply to this particular title. This is the only downloaded title we have acquired to date, and this one was at the request of my least game-playing kid, my oldest daughter.

Beat Sketcher Picture

The premise is sort of interesting - you use the move controller as a virtual pen/paintbrush/artistic 'wand' and draw on the screen. You can overlap/draw on images, and you can play it against different audio tracks. The number of tools are cool, and you can do quite a bit with it - including making movies to share or images to save. It works off of the Playstation Eye, which - as always - looks kind of like crap, though.

Beat Sketcher Picture

I'll be honest - it was more of a short diversion for me. There are some challenges set to music where you try to draw certain patterns out weighed against accuracy and time, and some easy trophies to get, but if I'm going to work with images or video, I'm going to use actual computer software where the results are something I would actually want someone to see. The kids seem to enjoy it from time-to-time, but it's a fifteen minute novelty, and as such would have had a lot more value at $5 than $10. I was not real impressed with the title, and even my oldest -the one who wanted it - has only played it a couple of dozen times so far. She seems to enjoy it, but your mileage will no doubt vary.