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Archive for November, 2012

Review #487

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

FIFA ‘13
Developer: EA Sports
Publisher: EA Sports
Genre: Sports
Release Date: 11/18/2012

So this has been an odd system launch for me. First I reviewed Madden ‘13, a series I haven’t touched in roughly a decade. Now I’m reviewing FIFA ‘13. I’ll admit that I’ve never cared much for football/soccer. I played it (forced into it by parents really) as a small child and found it to be boring. I found the Simpsons episode mocking soccer to be spot on and it was a tad awkward when I lived in England and had to say, “I don’t much care for football.” That said, I’ve actually enjoyed soccer video games over the years with my two favorites being Nintendo World Cup for the NES and Real Sports Soccer for the Atari 2600. I’ve stayed out of the PES Vs. FIFA debate that football gamers seem to get into, but I’ve played a few of each of the years.
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Review #486

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Funky Barn
Developer: Tantalus Interactive
Publisher: 505 Games
Genre: Time Management/RTS
Release Date: 11/18/2012

I’ve never really understood the appeal of Farmville but my wife loves it. It’s the same disconnect I had with Shenmue. Why would I want to spend hours playing a fake forklift jobs or going to a simulated arcade when I could do those things for real? So when Funky Barn was announced as a launch title for the Nintendo Wii, my first thought was, “Why would anyone pay fifty bucks for a Wii U game that they can basically play for free on their computer?” I ended up decided to review Funky Barn after 505 Games generously supplied us with a review copy because it would be something my wife could enjoy watching while I fiddled with it, and an attempt to understand why people would spend hours tending fake crops and animals. The end result was surprising. I kind of liked Funky Barn while my wife thought it was dull and boring. Why the complete reversal? Well it’s because Funky Barn doesn’t actually have too much in common with Farmville aside from the farming aspect. It’s more a time management game mixed with Sim City. The end result is a game where you have to be far more involved/engaged than in Farmville, which has both its benefits and drawbacks, depending on what type of gamer you are.
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Review #485

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013
Developer: Blue Byte
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Exercise
Release Date: 11/13/2012

For the past four and a half years, exercise games have become their own little niche market thanks to Nintendo push of the game, Wii Fit. Of course the genre actually started in its current form back in October of 2004 with the release of Yourself!Fitness on the original Microsoft Xbox, but the genre has been around as far back as the old 8-Bit Nintendo with the Power Pad. Still, it wasn’t until Nintendo’s Wii Fit that developers, publishers and gamers alike realized this could not only be a full genre unto itself, but a money making one as well. The irony of course is that Wii Fit is a terrible game in terms of both doing exercises and doing them correctly. Besides Wii Fit, we’ve seen other terrible snake oil style “exercise” games hit the market like EA Active, Adidas MiCoachand Walk It Out. but we’ve also seen some truly excellent exercise games as well, like Exerbeat, Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout and the crown jewel of the genre - Get Fit With Mel B.. The original Your Shape proved to be one of the better games, as it provided a web cam that projected yourself alongside the trainer (a digital representation of actress Jenny McCarthy) so you could see that you were doing the exercises correctly and correct your form and posture to prevent strains or pulls. It was successful enough that two sequels, both for the Kinect were released. Like the original game, they used a combination of web cam footage and motion tracking to ensure a person was doing the exercises correctly. Now, the fourth game in the series, Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013 has come back to a Nintendo console as a launch title for the Wii U. Unfortunately it’s jettisoned everything about the previous games that made it both successful AND a quality product. Instead we have a game that does just about everything wrong that you can do with an exercise title and it ensures that casual or newcomers to trying to get in shape will end up doing things incorrectly, or worse, hurt themselves. This is not a good product.
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Review #483

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Batman Arkham City Armored Edition
Developer: Rocksteady
Publisher: Warner Home Games
Genre: Beat ‘Em Up/Sandbox Action
Release Date: 11/18/2012

Let’s not kid ourselves here. Batman: Arkham City was a great game. When I reviewed it last year, I gave it one of my highest ratings ever. Then, when it came time to give out the 2011 Video Game Awards, Arkham City walked away with Best Action Game of the Year and it tied for our Game of the Year award with Radiant Silvergun. That’s pretty damn impressive. Earlier this year Warner and Rocksteady bundled all the DLC in with the core game and released a GOTY Edition that was just and fun, as well as easier on the wallet for those that missed out the first time around. Now, just a few months later a THIRD version of Arkham City hits shelves. This time it’s a Wii U exclusive (as well as a launch title) known as the Armored Edition. Now the catch here is that practically everyone has already picked this up for either the PC, PS3 or Xbox 360 in either its original or GOTY form, so that leaves three big questions about Armored Edition. The first is who is left to pick this up? The second is, why would people pay sixty dollars for a game they already have and the third is, “Is Armored Edition different enough that it’s worth twenty dollars more than the GOTY Edition?” Let’s find out.
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Review #482

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Madden NFL ‘13
Developer: EA Sports
Publisher: EA Sports
Genre: Sports
Release Date: 11/18/2012

I’ll be honest; I’m not much of a football gamer. If you asked me what my three favorite football games were you would get Mutant League Football, Tecmo Bowl and Joe Montana Football. In fact, out of the 481 games I have reviewed over the last decade before this one, only one was a football title: the disappointing Tecmo Bowl Kickoff for the Nintendo DS. The last two football games I really enjoyed were ESPN NFL Football 2k4 and 5 respectively. I haven’t touched a Madden game since EA got exclusive rights to the NFL license until now, and that’s because I was the only one on staff that had a WII U at the time the game came in. By the time you are reading this, Wii U launch day, we’ll have two others on hand, but for now, I was the only one on tap to do this. The good news is you’ll be reading a Madden review from a fresh perspective and you won’t hear the common “same game but with a roster change,” because let’s be honest – it might not seem like there are many changes from year to year, but for someone whose last Madden was 2k4, a lot HAS changed. So sit back and get a fresh perspective from someone who hasn’t touched the franchise in a decade and whether or not they were able to get into the game. For those looking for a veteran Madden player’s perspective, you can always read Aaron’s review of the PS3 version.
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Review #484

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Rabbids Land
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Board Game/Mini Game Compilation
Release Date: 11/13/2012

I was a huge fan of the Rabbids series when it first came out. The first game was one of the best titles for the Wii in its early days and it made wonderful use of the motion controls. The next two game were highly entertaining mini-game compilations that could be enjoyed by a single gamer or a group of friends. The fourth game Rabbids Go Home switched the wacky alien lagomorphs from mini games to a platformer. I didn’t care for it at all and obviously neither did too many people because the series went right back to mini game compilations after that snafu. Since Rabbids Go Home though, the series has lost its luster. Travel in Time, Alive and Kickin’ and the other Rabbid releases just haven’t been as fun or funny as the original trilogy (which you can buy as one big collection or the Wii for about ten bucks these days). However, Rabbids Land looked like a return to greatness for the series. Like the original Rayman Raving Rabbids, this was Ubisoft’s chance to make the most of the new GamePad and really showcase what the Wii U could do. Unfortunately while the game does do a good job of utilizing the GamePad, Rabbids Party takes a nose dive in regards to practically everything else one uses as a benchmark for a quality game.
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Review #481

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Monster High: Skultimate Roller Maze
Developer: Little Orbit
Publisher: Little Orbit
Genre: Racing
Release Date: 11/13/2012

I reviewed the first Monster High game, Ghoul Spirit, back in October of 2011 and found it to be much better than I had expected. As my wife and some of our friends are very big into the franchise, I was happy to review the second Monster High video game, Skultimate Roller Maze even though I’m not a fan of racing games. It meant at worst they could fiddle with the game if I hated it and at best, I’d be able to plug a game that’s very much under the radar due to THQ dropping the publishing rights to this and nearly every license they had that wasn’t WWE or Warhammer. That meant indie publisher Little Orbit has a lot of pressure on them as this is a big Mattel license, but they obviously don’t have the advertising budget THQ did before it imploded. So is Skultimate Roller Maze a jewel well worth hunting down?
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Review #479

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Ragnarok Odyssey
Developer: Game Arts
Publisher: XSeed Games
Genre: 3D Action
Release Date: 10/30/2012

I really enjoy the Ragnarok franchise. I tend not to like MMORPGs, but I actually had fun with the core game. Back in 2010 I reviewed Ragnarok DS and found it to be one of the better RPGs released for the system that year. So when I heard there would be not one, but two Ragnarok games released for Sony portables in 2012, I was pretty pumped. Aaron will be covering Ragnarok Tactics for the PSP down the line, but today we’re looking at Ragnarok Odyssey for the Playstation Vita. This game is perhaps the closest to the actual MMORPG out of the three, even though it does have different classes and the like. In fact, there were several times I felt like I was playing a fantasy version of Phantasy Star Online for the Sega Dreamcast. Unfortunately though, Ragnarok Odyssey is nowhere as good as that game and the end result ended up being one of my least favorite games of the year. Let’s see why.

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Review #480

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Transformers Prime: The Game
Developer: NowPro
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Action Platformer
Release Date: 10/30/2012

I was a huge fan of the first generation of Transformers. I had nearly the entire series of figures made on both sides of the Pacific, most of G2, a lot of Beast Wars, beast Wars 2, Beast Wars Neo (Wooly Mammoth Convoy!) and even some of those terrible Beast Machines. Then in mid 2002, I sold the whole collection piece by piece and never looked back. I still have a few like my original Ultra Magnus and Menasor, but for the most part, aside from the old cartoons, I haven’t really cared too much about Transformers, especially with some of the bad cartoons (and even worse Michael Bay) movies that have been released. I do have Transformers Prime in my Netflix queue, but I’ve yet to watch an episode. Still. Frank Welker back as Megatron? Peter Cullen as Optimus? The Rock as Cliffjumper? Jeffrey Combs as Ratchet? That’s an awesome cast. So when we received three different versions of the game here at Diehard GameFAN, I ended up picking up the 3DS version. It was my first introduction to the Transformers Prime universe and although it wasn’t the best experience…it did have its moments.
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