Mark of The Ninja
Alright, think of a brilliant combination between Outland's fast paced gameplay and cutscenes and Deadlight's planning and visual style, and that's Mark of The Ninja. However, Mark of The Ninja, still innovates upon that formula, unlike Deadlight and Outland, Mark of The Ninja is a stealth game, so I guess I should say that it's got some fast paced and slow paced gameplay, so it really is a blend in between Deadlight and Outland, with a more flexible AI. When I say it's a stealth game, I would say that it's not like other stealth games too, like the many stealth games that seem to migrate towards mastering both playstyles, the assault type and the unnoticed silent type, Mark of The Ninja seems like it's a lot closer to past and better stealth games, like Hitman, Splinter Cell, and even Dishonored, which I feel were two games that proved that stealth games still thrive today, the stealthy option is always rewarded far more than the assault option. The game does take a lot from these two games also, you can move and hide bodies, and it has the splinter cell shadow system that works really quite well in this game as well.
However, like I said, Mark of The Ninja is very, very similar to Deadlight and Outland, but it's still unique and stylish, and it's really fun to play. I still don't like the comic bookish cutscenes just like I didn't with Outland and Deadlight, so I'd have to say that Mark of The Ninja is still pretty great.
Recommendation: I'd like to say before I continue, that out of Deadlight, Outland, and Mark of The Ninja, I found Mark of The Ninja to be the best, with Deadlight coming in next. I say get the demo and try it if you're interested, but this game is at the top of my must play list, just because I find games that favor stealth over action to be better than others.
Rating: Based on the demo, 8.5/10
American Mensa Academy
Like I said, I'll play anything and everything to try these games out before you do. Based on the demo, all I can say is that this game isn't great, some might even argue as to whether or not this game is even a good game to play. I say that it's just too easy. The demo didn't leave any lasting impression on me, and I grew disinterested in the game quickly.
Recommendation: I personally wouldn't buy it, but you might find it to be good. Try out the demo, see what you think of it, and go from there. It's not a bad or terrible game, but I wouldn't say it's good or great either.
Rating: Based on the demo, 6.5/10
Think of a decent boxing game, but with robots, and you have Real Steel. The game is good, but it isn't perfect. The system that you have to use in order to stand up after being knocked down is odd, but it isn't broken. The game also suffered for it's simplicity. It's kinda easy, I think it would be a fun game to play with friends if you have some down-time though.
Recommendation: Try the demo and make sure you play against some friends. I'd say it's a good game, but it's real great qualities seem like they can shine in multiplayer, just like with any other fighting game. Mind you, I couldn't play multiplayer at the time, so this rating is based on my single-player experience.
Rating Based on the demo, 7.5/10
This game is one that I've been interested in playing for years now, but have just never had any time or need to play it asap, so I was delighted when I finally saw that a demo had been put on xbla, as there wasn't one before hand, at least, that's as far as I know.
Hydrophobia seems like it's going to be a lot like I Am Alive. It's going to be pretty short, but it's going to be pretty decent for the most part and it will deliver on most of what it preaches, don't ask why I'm thinking this way, but this game just gives me that feeling.
The game isn't at the pinnacle of gaming from a graphical prospective, and I'm not really sure as to how the gameplay will be like when I play the full game, what I did play seemed to work okay and it was pretty decent. The voice acting was probably the one thing that annoyed me the most about this game, and that's mainly what bugged me.
I like that there is deep, interesting setting with a very enriched story. There are many notes lying around that give the player insight into what exactly the world is. It gives players a more detailed look at the place where the game takes place.
Recommendation: I'd play the demo first, I'm not sure what to think about Hydrophobia, but it does seem like it is a complete product, based on the demo. Give the demo a shot and see what you think!
Rating based on the demo: 7.5/10
Okay guys that was part one, head to the last blog I uploaded for part 2.
Well, this is where things get interesting. March has been an interesting month, that started off as, disappointing to say the least, and then I managed to finally get some good games going. First up...we've got...
The Godfather 2
Now this game isn't bad, and it's definitely not as bad as Gamespot makes this game out to be. The main problem here, in my eyes, is that The Godfather 2 is not an improvement upon the first Godfather game which was made for the previous generation of consoles, even though it also did see an Xbox 360 release, actually, it is a step back from what the first game was.
Now, I'm not saying that the Godfather 2 should have been exactly like the first game, what I'm saying is that the key to sequels is to improve and evolve. This game's problem is that it is stuck in it's old roots. It refuses to shine by itself, and it only uses the greatness of the first game to really sell itself. While it has many great qualities, such as the ever useful Don's view, it just feels like a step backwards. The game is basically the same as the first Godfather, with dated visuals, they aren't great graphics, but they aren't horrible.
The game tries to copy the success that the first game had rather than make it's own, and I see a great game in The Godfather 2, especially with the few innovations that were made, but sadly, it just doesn't have enough innovation. There's nothing ground-breaking in the game, and it's story isn't anywhere near as good as the first game's plot.
The combat is nice, and taking over businesses is fun and all, but it's all just too short and it seems like it's much easier than the first game. The AI also isn't that smart either, and it's kinda needed in a game like this. Especially one where you will have followers that you can select from your family, who will help to take over businesses for you, or defend one from a rival family.
Great ideas---just not enough to make a great game.
Recommendation: I'd rent it first, or maybe play the first game and see what you think of that, if you like the first game, you might like the 2nd. If you then decide to play the second game after beating the first, you may either find yourself disappointed in the simple fact that it isn't really as great as the first game, or you may be satisfied with game, simply because it doesn't deviate that much from the original game's formula. I thought it was a fun and enjoyable game, but it just wasn't as fantastic as it could (and should) have been.
My rating: 7/10
Okay, trial and error works....alright. It works in many games. It works in stealth games, like Splinter Cell and Hitman, and it works in puzzle games, like Limbo.
BUT....and I cannot stress this enough...TRIAL AND ERROR SHOULD NEVER...EVER....BE INVOLVED IN ANY DRIVING OR RACING GAME!
It's just annoying when the do things like this....Stuntman was a great game, especially for it's bombastic, explosive levels in which you really feel like you're a stuntman working on stunts for the big screen, and it's decent driving controls, and fun set pieces. I feel like this game was just entertaining and fun to play, but trial and error really just killed the game for me in more ways than one.
When you play this game, you want to do everything perfect, but the simple fact is, you're not going to do that without lots of practice. The inclusion of trial and error just feels out of place in a game that centers around speed and timing like this, and I know, it's almost unavoidable, but it just seems like trial and error work in Hitman and Limbo and Splinter Cell and Dishonored because for the most part, those games offer a slower paced experience that isn't explosive and bombastic like Stuntman does.
I feel as if the inclusion of strikes against you is too intrusive, along with the scoring system. Rather than letting you retry a section of the track as much as you need to, if you mess up 5 times, or sometimes even once, you have to restart the entire level. It's challenging, and I am happy to invite challenge into any game, but still, it's a ridiculous challenge that was added just for the sake of challenge. Rather than creating this epic game, where the driving and performing stunts should be all the matters, all the scoring system does is draw your attention to the stunt that you have the most trouble performing. It gets to the point where you're just satisfied that you beat the level, rather than how well you actually did the stunts. Also, the controls are unresponsive at times, though this didn't happen all too often as I kept playing.
It's a weird setup, and I can't say I like it that much. Stuntman Ignition is a good game, with a brilliant idea that's overshadowed by an imperfect scoring system and the unnecessary addition trial and error to complete levels, two malicious things to add to a driving game.
Recommendation: Rent this game first. No if's, and's, or but's about it. Rent it and try it. If you enjoy putting yourself through hours to finish an agonizing level that won't reward you in any way, here you go. However, I'd recommend playing Limbo or Hitman for a proper trial and error experience, the way that it should be in a game, unless you're a diehard fan of trial and error and driving games, this might be a good game for you.
My rating: 7/10
What can I say...Risk: Factions is fun to play. It's basically the same thing as the board game, and it's just as fun to play. The campaign is short and sweet and to-the-point, and while it isn't fantastically written, it can be somewhat humorous and appealing in a cartoonish kind of way.
The game has two main modes to play in, Classic mode and Factions mode, Classic is the mode that is based purely on the board game, it's the way that the game has always been played. Factions is basically the same exact thing as Classic mode, but with the inclusion of different characters as well as their armies from the story mode, and some cinematics that you won't see in Classic mode, and Factions mode is based around completing objectives, rather than capturing territories, although you can do both if you wish.
While they're very similar modes, their entertainment value is still retained, even though some variety would be nice, it still seems like a complete experience. My only quarrel with the game is that certain AI inconsistencies make the game feel weird at times, especially when you would expect the computer players to complete a certain action that would lead them closer to victory. It's hard to explain, actually, but if a computer player has 30 units situated in one territory on the map, next to a territory that I control with only 1 unit guarding it, there are times where the AI will not attack my territory, which is strange. There are also times where the AI won't place a reasonable force in a territory to protect it. For example, let's say that the AI takes over three of my territories in the same turn, all of these territories are next to one another, and I surround him with 15 units assigned to 2 territories, one below the territories he took over, and one above them, and he attacked me with 45 units, rather than placing those more units in the territories that he just invaded to protect what he took over, he will place all of the remaining units in one territory so that only one unit is protecting the other two territories he controls. This makes it way too easy for me to take back the territories that I lost, and it doesn't make sense. I also feel like the die are rigged at times, something's not right there either.
That's why, I can tell right off the bat, that the game is meant to be played with friends, just like the board game. If you want a reasonable and sensible challenge, play this game with people. I've got to try out the multiplayer though, so I can't give the game a legitimate rating just yet. Other than those few issues...I've gotta say that I love this game. It's exactly what I wished for, and I love the board game, so this game is definitely a game that I enjoy immensely.
Recommendation: Risk isn't a game for everyone sure, but I'd have to say that a demo is in order here, and I even recommend a buy for this game, especially if you like playing games with friends at home or online, if you like Real Time Strategy games or if you are a fan of the classic board game, then you'll probably like Risk Factions, but if you're not sure about the game, try the demo on the Xbox marketplace.
My rating based on what I've played so far: 8.5/10
I've played a lot of racing and driving games over the past few years, but Dirt Showdown is just an all around great game. It's easily one of my favorite racing games. Motorstorm Apocalypse and Driver San Francisco were two great racing games that managed to keep me occupied for quite awhile, and honestly, though Forza and Need For Speed look like fantastic driving games, I sometimes think that they miss the point. The fact is, I like the mariokart 64 philosophy. You know, you sit down with some friends and just have fun, through split-screen. Forza and Need For Speed don't have that, but Dirt Showdown does, and it's a great multiplayer game, online and off.
The game really is meant to be played with other people, just like with most racing games out there, and there are lots of different and unique modes to play, mind you, I have never played the previous Dirt games, so I can't speak for them, all I know is that they focused more on the rallycar racing aspect, but what I can say is that the variety here is great, and while it isn't like previous games, it's still a fair game.
You basically have three categories of races. All out demolition derbies to races. Everything is there, and each mode seems unique and different from other racing games. The single player is also really great, it's not as fun to play as it is online, but it's still a fun mode.
I found the game to be quite enjoyable from start to finish and I'm still playing the multiplayer because it's just so great. The only thing wrong with the game is that the scoring seems delayed and inaccurate during online multiplayer, it could be me, there is definitely some lag, but these issues are rather small when in comparison of what the full package has to offer. I also don't like that your vehicle isn't reset after falling off the knock out platform, for those who don't know, knock out is the game's version of sumo wrestling but with cars, it's really cool.
Recommendation: If you like racing games, demolition derbies, a nice variety of events to choose from, and if all of your friends like that stuff. Get Dirt Showdown. It's fun and sometimes it's just insanely fun. The demo doesn't offer that much, but you may be interested after giving that a chance too. I'm not sure if fans of the old games will like this game, but I'd have to say that the demo should help you decide for yourself.
My rating: 8.5/10
Trials Evolution is a great game, and while it can sometimes be tough, it's a welcome and reasonable kind of tough. The game never really gives you more than you can handle, but it seems like it is. All of the stages are designed around some trial and error and experimentation, however, here it actually works, it's not an easy game and it's something when you get into the user-created tracks and games, they're all something else.
The game really has a lot to offer, from the very detailed and well thought out stage creation system, to a campaign that is both funny and challenging and just plain good.
The multiplayer is the only thing that I haven't tried yet, but I'd have to say that it looks fun. I also like how there are other games to play, called skill games, rather than just racing the entire time. It's fun and creative.
Recommendation: Try out the demo and see what the game has to offer. I'm pleased with it and I personally recommend this game to anyone who likes racing bikes or making user-created content via LittleBigPlanet.
My rating based on my first impressions: 8/10
Check out Part 3 of The SuperB Show by checking out the blog I posted before this one. Thanks for reading!