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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.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The campaign mode provides an epic conclusion to the Modern Warfare 3, wrapping up the tangled storylines of Captain Price and McTavish in a crazy large-scale Hollywood-esque thrill ride. However, a large number of 'on rails' style gunner-style sequences and a rather uninspired take on the multiplayer leave a little something to be desired... At the end of the day, there's not much to complain about, considering everything was well established with the first two games, but it would have been nice to have a little further departure and a couple of more risks taken to truly advance the franchise.

The Pros: 

+Massive-scale story mode, and dramatic conclusion to the MW franchise.

+Addition of the Survival Mode is an intelligent one.

+Class-based system helps to shake up the game's competitve multiplayer a bit.

The Cons: 

-Everything feels like it leans a little too hard on the previous title.

-Campaign mode features a lot of 'on rails' moments that can detract from the challenge of the story-mode.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
8

To be completely honest, Modern Warfare 3 was a title I'd almost entirely wrote off. With the drama surrounding the majority of the Infinity Ward team walking away after Modern Warfare 2, I didn't think it was going to be a proper "Modern Warfare" title now with the bulk of the creative team having walked away from the franchise.

Dance Central 2 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The games mechanics and tech have all been given the upgrades that the fans requested. The new options for voice control on the menu system and the integrated co-op that allows you to dance with your friends at the same time are welcome additions to the game. The track-list however is a little south of 'impressive' and could have used a little more of that classic Harmonix awesomeness.

The Pros: 

+Voice controlled menus make navigation quick and easy.

+The integrated multiplayer allows you to dance together.

+The same gameplay that made DC1 the best launch title for the Kinect is back and refined.

The Cons: 

-The track list is pretty weak, which is kind of important for a game that's supposed to make you want to get up and dance.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
7

When Dance Central launched alongside Xbox's newest peripheral, the Kinect, one year ago (Happy Anniversary Kinect!) it was hands-down the best received game to take advantage of the hardware. To be fair, it wasn't a particularly stellar launch line-up to be fair... but even still a rhythm-based game from Harmonix is always a welcome addition to any new medium.

Spider-man: Edge of Time [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Fans of Spider-man as a series may appreciate the all-star voice-acting cast that bridges together the iconic Peter Parkers of the past and the numerous nods to the franchise's hertitage. It's just unfortunate the whole thing is wrapped around lacklustre combat and a game that forgot that it's swinging that brings the true visceral thrill of being Spider-man to life. 

The Pros: 

+The best voice-acting cast of a Spider-man game, ever.

+Tons of references to the TV series and comics, both braisen and obscure.

+Stellar writing that takes advantage of the classic Spider-man wit and intelligence.

The Cons: 

-Bland combat that forsakes the classic free-flow style of the previous series.

-Everything takes place inside in-doors which means there's not a lot of room to swing.

-Everything 'game' about the title feels uninspired, and worse like a back-track for the series as a whole.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
6

To provide this review with a little bit of a context, Spider-man has been the only comic book series I've followed with any regularity since the early 90s when I first got into comics. While my interest in other series waned, and I found myself focusing more on other pursuit, Spider-man has always had a knack for swinging me back around and keeping my interest over these many years. Oh, and you can add on to that the fact that a number of Spider-man games will forever be on the top of my lists: Spider-man 2, Maximum Carnage, Separation Anxiety, etc.

X-Men Destiny [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Everything you will experience in X-Men Destiny you have had before, and better.  The repetitive button mashing combat, the basic dialogue choices, the subpar levelling up system all fail to bring anything fresh to the table.  That's not to say that there is no fun to be had in (insert developer hear) title.  If you are indeed an X-Men fan you still might have to dig deep, but the enjoyable moments will happen.

The Pros: 

+X-men characters look great and they use a healthy variety of them.

+Certain moments in the game pay off and you're left feeling happy that you are a nerd.

+Voice acting for all the main characters feels proper.

The Cons: 

-None of the elements of gameplay feel polished.

-Way too much unused potential for this universe.

-Levels are very linear with a ton of invisible walls.

-None of your choices in the game really feel like they have an affect.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
5

Some of my fondest memories as a kid were waking up on Saturday mornings, getting a bowl of the cereal that had the most sugar in it, and sitting a foot away from the TV and watching the 1990's X-Men cartoons.  So you should understand the excitement I originally felt over a year ago when an X-Men action/RPG was announced for current Gen consoles.  You might also, upon further reading, understand my disappointments with how it simply falls short...on almost every occasion.

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