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Fez [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Fez bends the platforming genre to its will by allowing players to rotate a 3D world and traverse across it as if it were a 2D structure. Along with some relaxing, low-stakes platforming and a focus on collection, Fez features some incredibly complex and demanding puzzles that require some serious attention to detail to solve. This is a game that rewards players according to how deep they want to go, and stands as an example of the level of quality indie games should aspire to.

The Pros: 

+ Perspective-shifting gimmick never gets old

+ Hidden puzzles are challenging and intelligently designed

+ Atmospheric, calm environments are accompanied by a wonderful 8-bit soundtrack

The Cons: 

- Platforming isn’t overly challenging

- Puzzle clues can be impossibly subtle at times

- Occasional slowdown can be a bit disruptive

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

Fez, from indie developer Polytron, isn’t an easy game to review. That’s not because it’s bad, disappointing, or polarizing. Fez is a remarkable achievement, and a new touchstone for what indie games can aspire to. It’s difficult to talk about Fez because the less said about the game and its mysteries, the better.

Skullgirls [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Skullgirls is a quirky, fun, and deep 2D fighter with a particularly distinct aesthetic style. With its roots in respected fighters, like Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 and BlazBlue, Skullgirls offers a deliberately paced fighting that rewards high-level combo execution and adaptability. The content offered is a little sparse, and the game is a bit unfriendly to new players, but as far as sprite-based 2D fighters go, Skullgirls is a knockout.

The Pros: 

+ All-female cast may seem scarce, but each fighter is unique and fully realized

+ Visual style is daring and evocative

+ Combat system developed and refined by tournament player Mike Z, resulting in some great balance

The Cons: 

- Lacking in content. Most notable omission is a move list for each fighter, a genre standard

- AI is brutal, even on lower settings

- Steep learning curve for new players, even compared to other modern fighters

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
8

Creating a fighting game isn’t easy. All it takes is one balance issue or design flaw to turn an entire community against your best efforts. This goes double for indie fighters, which generally lack the tuning and quality control necessary to be accepted by one of the most rabid and hard-to-please fan bases in the industry.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City offers a really interesting concept by casting aside traditional survival horror elements for a squad-based 3rd person shooter. Playing as the bad guys during the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3 could have made for a memorable title, but the poor gunplay, control issues, and overall lack of excitement make for a rather dull single player campaign. The multiplayer fares slightly better, but it’s not enough to bring Operation Raccoon City up to an acceptable level.

The Pros: 

+ Great premise and setting

+ Provides an interesting side story to Resident Evil 2 and 3’s events

+ Heroes mode is an interesting take on classic team deathmatch gameplay

The Cons: 

- Too focused on co-op, which hurts the single player campaign

- Guns feel underpowered, which makes the shooting pretty stale

- Melee combat system lets opponents juggle you endlessly or kill you instantly

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
5

For a venerable Japanese company like Capcom, it’s a risky proposition to hand off one of your franchises to a Western developer. You could get lucky and end up with another Dead Rising 2, but pick the wrong studio, and something more like the 2009 version of Bionic Commando may be in store.

Shoot Many Robots [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Shoot Many Robots is a side-scrolling, robot shooting, beer chugging adventure from Demiurge Studios that puts you in the tough and muddy boots of one P. Walter Tugnut, a hard ass who spends his days during the robot apocalypse camping in his dodgy R.V., acquiring all the guns and ridiculous outfits he can to kick major mechanical ass.  At its core, Shoot Many Robots is a very basic 2D side-scrolling action game.  You will not find anything groundbreaking in its shooting mechanics, or anything that will make you choose its gameplay over other similar titles, however there is a lot of fun to be had inside its robotic depths, and that includes a rather fun multiplayer experience, as well as the ability to try and make Tugnut look as ridiculous as humanly possible by purchasing as many bizarre outfits and equipment you can.

The Pros: 

+ Leveling up and purchasing new loot is rather rewarding and hilarious

+ Multiplayer can be fun when playing with a friend

+ Gets rather challenging later to keep up the pace of your new awesome loot!

+ Your single player character transfers to you multiplayer game

+ A borderlands-like art  brings you the robot apocalypse in style

The Cons: 

-Can become repetitive a few hours in

-Not as fun when collecting crazy loot in single player when there is no one to share the laughter with

-Odd controls which in turn take longer to get accustomed to 

-Level design is different, but your progression through always feels the same

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
6

You know when there is a nasty chainsaw-wielding robot apocalypse going on and all you want to do is destroy hordes of them while wearing a Jason hockey mask, jetpack, and a tutu, and then blow them up by pulling a giant bomb out of a cat carrier you were using as a decoy?  Thank God then that Shoot Many Robots came along.

Alan Wake: American Nightmare [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Using the tools established in Alan Wake, specifically the ability to re-write reality, Remedy has taken Alan Wake in a whole new direction. The game is now themed more like pulp '80s action films, moving away from its Stephen King/Twin Peaks roots, and offers a whole new (unique) story with the flavor of the mini-series Night Springs that ran within the original game.

The Pros: 

+Well written story-line that manages to feel fan-fiction and cannon at the same time.

+Improved gameplay mechanics that make the core even more fun to play.

+Remedy's love for genre films really shows through.

+Small touches like the constant narration (via a Twilight Zone knock-off host) provide that same strong feeling of the original, with a whole new tone.

The Cons: 

-The game does only use three locales, which loop three times.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Remedy’s 2010 thriller title Alan Wake. I went on record saying that it was the best game of the year, and was passionate enough in my appeal of the other writers of the site that eventually we pushed it through to win. The reason was that the game brought something new to the table, it was atmospheric, creepy, smart, and offered just a touch of humor (via the TV series Night Springs, which could be watched through monitors placed through-out the world).

WARP [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The game feels confused. It splits in multiple directions, and never really locks down one particular thing properly. It feels a little like, during the development, someone changed their mind on what the title should be; or that there were two teams working together and they ran out of time and just tossed everything in.

The Pros: 

+The mechanics behind the teleportation are solid, and fun to use.

+There’s nothing quite as satisfying as making a pleading scientist beg for his life before exploding him from the inside.

+The challenge rooms offer a great diversion to the main-story, and going back to beat your times will help stretch out the play-time with the came when the story is done.

The Cons: 

-Everything feels like a contradiction of itself. Mechanics, AI, art and story all seem to go in two different directions at once.

-For a puzzle/platformer title, the challenge in the game is minimal. 

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
7

Before I get rolling with this review, I have a couple of confessions to make:

Firstly, I’m a big fan of the puzzle genre. I’ve, for a long time, held that if you were going to try and give one game the honor of being called “the best ever” (or could have only one video game on a deserted island, each situation equally as ridiculous) it would be Tetris.

Secondly, in any debate for “which superpower would win” conversations I will always interject Teleportation.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is an Action-RPG.  That's not to say that the RPG elements are weakened like most others are, as a matter of fact, the game screams a traditional western-RPG and holds nothing back about its depth considering character management and story. I say Action-RPG because it's one of the only games in recent memory where one gameplay mechanic is just as strong as the other, and KOAR's combat is an absolute blast. This last bit actually broke my brain for the first few hours into the experience; the thought that I could have a game that delivers a true RPG experience and offer fun, fast, and challenging combat did not compute, but I am sure glad it came along, and if you are looking for game that has bang for its buck this year that you can spends enormous amounts of time on, you will be too.

The Pros: 

+ An interesting story that brings a lot of lore into a new world

+ Amazing combat that could stand alone as an action game

+ Environments are beautiful with tons of rewarding loot to find

+ Being able to Re-customize your characters stats and look in game

+ Voice acting is truly spectacular

The Cons: 

- Side quests are all rather similar and can start to feel like a tedious single player MMO

- Some of the creature models don’t quite meet the expectations set by the environment

- None of the NPCs really feel like they have a purpose other then to get quests from

- Sometimes during combat the camera angle is not the greatest

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
8

2011 was one hell of a year for video games.  Platformers, action/adventure, and shooter games and yes, especially RPG's, Game developers on all fronts delivered us hit after hit last year, and even though I found myself running thin on time to take in all of the awesome, I was still very thankful for the high caliber software at my finger tips. So you can see why I felt that the first "big" RPG of 2012 had a lot to live up to.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Easily the most requested/talked about franchise in gaming, people have been clamouring for a sequel to Oblivion since its release in 2006. For the last five years it has been one of the top questions we’ve been asked to relay to developers/publishers at every event/trade-show. “When?” we were asked, time and time again, and now finally we have a successor, and it is every bit worth the wait.

The Pros: 

+Breath-taking scenery that spans every type of terrain imaginable, and is all available for exploration.

+Improved magic system keeping everything simple, effective and rewarding.

+Potentially one of the best stories in gaming this year, with side-quests on a scale so large they wind up feeling like ‘main’ quests in their own rights.

+Easily the most atmospheric and engrossing title released this year.

The Cons: 

-The PC release of the game seems to have a metric TONNE of glitches, many of which can end the game; in some cases permanently.

-Considering the development cycle and the history of the franchise, along with the large PC fan-base, it’s disappointing to see the PC version feeling like little more than a poor-port of the console version.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
8

I'd like to apologize for the delay of the Skyrim review. The intention is always to get a review up as timely as possible, especially for something this widely anticipated, but sometimes it's just not logistically possible; no matter how hard we fight to make it happen. That being said, the timing of this review comes with two interesting side-benefits that I hope everyone can enjoy:

Sonic Generations [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Sonic Generations is simply the best idea for a long-running video game franchise that a fan-boy could ask for. It builds on the classic gameplay that fans have been crying out for since the end of the 16-bit era, and offers up a whole lot of fan-service to those who have stuck by the Blue Blur during his descent over the last dozen or so years. It melds beautiful the classic 2D speed-based platforming of yore with the modern graphics and gameplay mechanics that gamers will no doubt expect from anything released on a modern platform.

The Pros: 

+The presentation of the game is phenominal, and provides some much needed love to the fans of the franchise.

+The return of “Classic Sonic” is everything that a fan could have wanted, backdropped with some gorgeous reimaginings of iconic Sonic locales.

+The writing is funny and unfiltered, providing tons of allusions to previous Sonic titles throughout.

+The over-world navigation is simple, clean, easy to progress through and offers an end to the convolution of most modern Sonic titles 3D ‘hub worlds.’

The Cons: 

-Considering the amount of ‘Sonic Friend’ models that are in the game and featured in the ‘challenge zones’ multiplayer seems like a no brainer, but was left out.

-The 3D or “Modern” segments of Sonic Generations could have used a little more tweaking and still run into the same old problems of poor handling and unintelligent camera angles. 

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
8

Fans of the site, or Sonic in general, are probably aware of the fact that I am and have always been a pretty big Sonic fan. This year I went far enough to solidify my love of the Blue Blur by permanently inking myself with the Sonic Team logo on Sonic's anniversary. I say this upfront, because Sega has given me a rare opportunity: The ability to speak positively about a new Sonic game.

Dead Rising 2: Off the Record [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Overall it was very difficult to find play value in this $40 title if you've already played Dead Rising 2. If you happened to skip it because you felt that a Dead Rising without Frank West wasn't worth it (it was still good in its own right, though) then this is all you were looking for.

The Pros: 

+Sandbox Mode means hordes of zombies will die without the hindrance of time limits

+Interesting look into the life of Frank West, who now looks like Dan Aykroyd; post-Dead Rising

+New weapon combos

The Cons: 

-It's basically an expansion pack for Dead Rising 2

-You can't get around the Zombrex this time

-Only real new addition is the just-opened Uranus Zone

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
6

Right off the bat, Dead Rising 2 seemed a little too much like Capcom wanted to rush out another Dead Rising title as soon as possible. Not that the game felt broken or sloppy at all, but really just that, as a full release, it didn't seem to have a lot to offer to the series other than a "what-if" scenario where Frank was on the scene at Fortune City instead of Chuck. While it was nice to see the addition of at least one new area and some fresh weapon combos, the whole thing felt like something that should have been DLC instead.

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