Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts Review: Like Build-A-Bear, But Better

January 6, 2009

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

There were a number of reasons that I didn’t expect “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts” to be pretty much the only Xbox 360 game I’ve played in the last month or so. Based on previews of the game, and the fact that my Xbox red-ringed the day I received the game, I had little to no intentions of playing the game outside of the average time I planned on spending with the game to write this review. Boy, was I wrong. “Banjo” just kept sucking me back in. Sure, it may have had something to do with my achievement addiction that I though I had under control (wrong about that too), but it’s one of those games that consumes you, and keeps you playing just a little bit longer… and then it’s 3 A.M. “Banjo” caught me off-guard, and kept me playing on, and on, and on. The last time that this exact same thing happened was with “Viva Pinata.” Damn you Rare.

I need to be completely honest to convey a good review to you my reader friends, and I have a confession – “Nuts & Bolts” is the first “Banjo-Kazooie” game I’ve ever played. Yes, that’s right, for various reasons I missed the N64 and various portable iterations of this little bears quest to take down that evil witch Gruntilda. I’ve missed out, I know, so I can neither confirm nor deny if “Nuts & Bolts” is on the same level of addictiveness as the previous titles – I can only speak from my experience, and it’s pretty addictive. I can neither confirm nor deny if “Nuts & Bolts” is even anything like the previous titles, and while I have a hunch that at least some of it is, I can only say that is incredibly unique, and one of the most satisfying games I’ve played all year. [Read more]

Xbox 360 Achievement Whorage!

December 5, 2008

I have to admit, I used to be a fan of XBOX Live Achievements. Really. I was one of the early supporters for recording the milestones you’ve achieved during your conquests through videogamedom.

I remember the lunch time arguments about who had the high score in game a or b, or who had gotten all the Choas Emeralds in “Sonic the Hedgehog” or unlocked Super Sonic. Arguments usually went like this; Guy A, “Man the Rocket Launcher in “Resident Evil” was off the hook!” Guy B, “Yeah, and when you jumped off in the parachute and had to kill the Omega Tyrant - that was hot too!” Guy A. “Parachute? What parachute, there’s no Omega Tyrant” Guy B, “Uh Huh! You gotta do six back flips during the final boss battle!”

Obviously Guy B was lying about his supremacy. But with Achievements you could “PROVE” that you did what you said you did. In theory… [Read more]

Lord Of The Rings: Conquest Video Preview

November 14, 2008

And you all figured we were done with the franchise! Ha! Pandemic looks to bring their flair of the Star Wars Battlefront series to the Lord Of The Rings universe. Check out this video preview and see if you still have the strength to run through some orcs, trolls and goblins!

Fallout 3 Review: Boom Goes The Nuclear Blast

November 13, 2008

“Oblivion” with guns; those three words have been repeated across the vast ocean of the internet ever since Bethesda announced “Fallout 3.” After beating the game, and working through my second play through, I am going to have to agree with those three words. The quick traveling, interface, and even the way you sleep are all elements borrowed from “Oblivion.” However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the game is bad; on its’ own, it’s jammed with content that places heavy emphasis on exploration and morale decisions. It’s just too bad that while the ideas of “Fallout 3” sound good on paper, a lot of it falls apart in the end due to bugs, and shoddy execution.

“Fallout 3” starts out with your 21-year-old character on the verge of escaping Vault 101, where he has lived for his entire life. He was born and raised in Vault 101, got his Pip-Boy at age 10, took his G.O.A.T test at age 18, and, at age 21, his old man escapes the Vault. The Overseer (the guy who runs this particular Vault) gets pissed off, and begins searching for you. Don’t worry though; his daughter wakes you up in your room to and informs you of the ordeal. After nabbing a pistol, some medical supplies, and a baseball bat, you’re on your merry way to follow in your Papa’s footsteps and escape the Vault - by beating up some highly trained security officers, as a level 1 character. [Read more]

Tom Clancy’s EndWar Review: Voices Of The Battlefield

November 4, 2008

Once in a while, a game comes along that changes people minds’ about an entire genre of gaming, and, when that happens, it really speaks to the quality of the game. Few titles in the past have been so expertly crafted, with such a broad appeal, that they have actually convinced gamers to make the jump into unknown territory. In recent memory; “Advance Wars” showed gamers that turn-based strategy games were as addictive as they were complex, and “Guitar Hero” proved that rhythm games can be more than just dancing on a mat. Over the last few years, these games have not only defined their respective genres, but they’ve refined gaming as a whole. There’s now another title worthy of adding to that list, “Tom Clancy’s EndWar.”

“EndWar” takes the normally very complex, very niche genre of real-time strategy games and actually makes it accessible for your standard gamer – make that standard console games. Fortunately, Ubisoft Shanghai’s definition of accessible doesn’t mean dumbing the game down, or making it easier just to sell more copies. Their way of making the game accessible actually makes the concept, gameplay, and controls of the game less intimidating, while still retaining the crux of the RTS experience. In other words, “EndWar”’s appeal is unique enough that it should cross the line and appeal to gamers that have never before tried an RTS game, as well as longtime fans of the genre.

[Read more]

Dead Space Review: The Final Frontier

November 3, 2008

What’s going on peoples? DaveDaGamer here giving you a little dirt on “Dead Space.”

First and foremost I want to say, EA glad you are back, we’ve dearly missed you. You may or not know this, but back in the last gen, EA put out an impressive list of quality titles that had graphics and ambiance that were far above and beyond what other studios offered. I’m not talking about the EA Sports brand either, there have been such gems as “The Lord of the Rings,” “Harry Potters,” some of the “James Bond” games, “Medal of Honor,” et al.

But along the way they began to buy out a lot of smaller developers and started putting out crap. (”Catwoman” need I say more?) Fortunately, it looks like they might have gotten their act together with “Dead Space.” [Read more]

Saints Row 2 Review: Headin’ Back To The ‘Hood

October 29, 2008

“Saints Row 2.” The very words will automatically make the inevitable comparison to the sandbox genre’s father, “Grand Theft Auto.” It’s not really a surprise though, as both games deal with the criminal lifestyle, offer a wide variety of activities in a metropolitan environment, and involve hijacking vehicles.

Fortunately, the comparisons end there. “Grand Theft Auto 4” showed the world that Rockstar wants a Hollywood contract, whereas “Saints Row 2” shoved players down into an alternative universe filled with shit spraying trucks, chainsaw wielding cop impersonators, and purple ninjas. So how does this game pan out with all the lowbrow humor and novelty? Surprisingly enough, it’s still a good game beneath all the glitter.

The storyline starts off several years after the events of the first “Saints Row.” You were involved in a Yacht explosion in a political assassination attempt. But since you are equipped with plot armor, you survive the ordeal, and are in major surgery inside a prison. Your character in the first “Saints Row” was forced to be a guy, but you’re allowed to pick your gender in the sequel. After picking a gender, you’re off to get yourself out of prison and rebuild your gang to take over Stillwater while facing off against three other gangs. [Read more]

Rock Band 2 Review: Keep On A Rockin’

October 23, 2008

“Rock Band” may have not been the most innovative rhythm game on the market, since it basically was just a combination of three other games, but, the end product was truly something special. Once the game was released, one of the questions that was on a lot of gamers’ minds was whether or not there was going to be a sequel, since the game was described as a “platform.” Well, with the release of “Rock Band 2” there’s little doubt about how the series will be continuing on, but a very different question remains - is “RB2” a worthy successor, or will we be rocking out to a sophomore slump?

A quick look at “Rock Band 2” will reveal that not a whole lot has changed. The basic gameplay, graphics, and music styles, are all pretty much the same. However, when you dig a little deeper, you see that there are a lot of changes that needed to happen, as well as, and more importantly, changes that fans wanted to see happen. Fortunately, the team up at Harmonix listened very closely to their audience (they had to after all that loud music and little ear protection) and put the polish on “Rock Band 2″ that it deserved. [Read more]

Mega Man 9 Review: Better Late Than Never

October 17, 2008

For some reason game companies feel compelled to stay on the cutting edge of technology, mostly because they assume that’s what their consumers want. However, on certain occasions that mentality ends of destroying beloved franchises. For years now, Mega Man has been one of those casualties. A franchise that has been around for 25 years or so Mega Man has “evolved” into something completely different from where it started. Fortunately for long time fans of the series, as well as an entirely new generation, the newest iteration of Mega Man has the potential to become a classic of a new kind – hopefully setting the industry down a new path where they embrace their roots. “Mega Man 9” truly kicks it old school.

The first thing that everyone noticed about “Mega Man 9” was the distinct choice of art style that the developers decided to go with. A true throwback to the 8-bit style of the NES, “Mega Man 9” is pixel perfect, and it continues the style of the original, creating an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for anyone that has ever died repeatedly on a disappearing brick. To complete the experience of playing an old NES cartridge Capcom even included an option to turn on or off flicker that was always present in the originals. Well played Inafune-san, well played. [Read more]

Fracture Review: Earth Shattering Fun

October 8, 2008

Sometimes, all you need to do is add one extra element to an already tried and true genre to make something stale feel new again, and that’s exactly what LucusArts’ new action game “Fracture” does. The added element of terrain deformation (T.D.) adds enough of a new twist on the action genre that “Fracture” makes running and gunning fun again. T.D. does for the 3rd person shooter, what “Gears of War”’s active reload did for … the 3rd person shooter.

While it may appear to be a gimmick, the ability to control the lay of the land to your advantage ups the ante as you progress through the game. From the outset, your gun is equipped with the ability to raise or lower the ground in front of you with just a single shot. This kind of godlike control factors into both your offensive, and defensive attacks, as well as puzzles found throughout the world. Knowing that you have this kind of control separates this game apart from the numerous other, similar titles on the market, because it alters the way that you stage your attacks, and essentially play the game. In other words, if it is a gimmick, it’s a damn good one. [Read more]

FaceBreaker Review: Something’s Gonna Break Soon

September 15, 2008

You know them, and you love them, even if you don’t like boxing, arcade boxing games. Titles like “Punch-Out!!,” “Ready to Rumble” bubble very quickly to the top of the list of the greatest boxing games of all time, rising above many, much more advanced and realistic fighting games. It’s a tough genre for games to break into and in comparison to those games “FaceBreaker” does fall short, but that’s because everyone’s expectations were so high, but that doesn’t make it a bad game.

At a very basic level, “FaceBreaker” is a fun game, as long as you’re up for the challenge. It’s definitely not a sim, like the “Fight Night” series, but it’s a lot more challenging than other arcade boxers. Even on easy, it’s going to take a lot of practice just to get past your first opponent. The game forces you to master not only the offensive techniques, but also the much more important defensive techniques - dodging and parring are supremely important in “FaceBreaker” if you want to make it anywhere. Needless to say, when playing against the computer, “FaceBreaker” is brutal unless you know what you’re doing, it’s not a pick up and play game. However, if you’re looking to mangle your best friend’s face, that’s a whole different story.

“FaceBreaker” may be one of the best party games to come out this year if you’re looking for something to play with a bunch of your friends that isn’t a mini-game compilation. It’s casual enough for all your buddies to enjoy, but not so casual that you feel like it’s too dumb or easy to play to the point where you feel like it’s a waste of time. There is even a built in local tournament mode set up for more than just two people so that everyone can be a part of the fun. Besides, it’s boxing, everyone likes to beat the snot out of their friends… virtually at least. [Read more]

Video of Wheelman’s First Mission, Airjacking, And Lots Of Vin

September 9, 2008

Recently Midway was in NYC showcasing some of their titles, and Vin Diesel’s “Wheelman” was the first game you saw when you walked in the door. It’s a wild cross between “Pursuit Force” and “Burnout” - in a good way. Check out the first mission of the game below, as well as some of the crazy stunts you can do while driving and, see if they’ve successfully captured Hollywood-style car chases in their new game.



For more, you can check out my hands on impressions of “Wheelman.”

Blitz: The League II’s Bone Crushing Preview Video

September 5, 2008

What a better way to start off the weekend than with some bone crunching brutality courtesy of Midway’s upcoming gridiron bruiser, “Blitz: The League II.” It’s been quite some time since a sports game has been rated M for Mature (if one ever has), and you can see just why “Blitz” deserves the honor. Broken bones, illegal hits, supplements, ya know… all the good stuff. Basically if “Madden” is too “classy” for it, it’s in “Blitz.” Sit back and enjoy a look at arcade style football at its bloodiest.



Castle Crashers Review: River City Remembered

September 4, 2008

In a few years, “Castle Crashers” won’t be remembered for its amazing story, or its ground breaking controls. No, the reason “Castle Crashers” will be remembered, and it’s perhaps the best possible reason for people to remember a game, is because it’s smashtastically fun. It’s a great game to play alone, with friends, or online, and you can keep playing it over and over. Add to that a persistent sense of homage to one of the greatest games of all time, “River City Ransom” and “Castle Crashers” is a quality follow-up to “Alien Hominid.”

Some people have complained that “Alien Hominid” was too hard, but those people just forgot how grueling great games used to be (go play the original “Ninja Gaiden” for 20 minutes and you’ll remember). Just because a game is hard doesn’t mean it’s not good. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on your stance on challenging games) “Castle Crashers” doesn’t suffer from the punishing level of difficulty that “Alien Hominid” made so memorable. It’s a bit more accessible, partially due to the fact that you have the ability to level up your character. However, that doesn’t mean the game is a cakewalk. [Read more]

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