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Batman: Arkham Origins [REVIEW]

Overall Feeling: 

The prequel to Rocksteady's ace series, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, arrives to an overwhelming amount of expectations. So it's really no surprise that Arkham Origins doesn't quite live up to them all. WB Games has everything needed you think would add up to a great success for this franchise. All of Gotham is now open to explore, the enemy roster has never been deeper, and the animations and combat flow with such a graceful ease that it will be hard to go back to any other combat system ever again. However, something feels off. The exploration of the city doesn't feel as fluid, the story comes across as lacking compared to the previous games, and the worst of it, Arkham Origins is plagued with glitches. There is a lot of good to experience here, just know that you could always be replaying Arkham City, and probably having a better time in doing so.

The Pros: 

+ Combat feels better than ever.
+ The Animations are spot on.
+ Enemy roster is fantastic.
+ Voice acting (even though missing fan favorites) is solid.

The Cons: 

- Free roaming across the city feels clumsy.
- Story feels less important than it actually is.
- Sometimes suffers from game breaking glitches.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
6

Five years before Batman had his troubles with the inmates of Arkham Asylum, when he was only a couple years into donning the cowl and terrorizing the streets of Gotham, he had one very bad Christmas Eve. A night full of assassins trying to kill him, new enemies popping up all over Gotham, and one terrible nuisance that plagues him with riddles and challenges all over the damn city. This brings us to Batman: Arkham Origins.

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Heart of the Swarm does what every good expansion/sequel to a Blizzard title (or game in general) should. It expands on the original concepts, without killing the reason we fell in love with it in the first place, and brings something new to the table. At first glance, the changes to the competitive gaming (easily the biggest part of the game for most gamers) seem subtle, but after playing with the new units for a bit, it’s easy to see just how drastically the game has been changed for all levels of gamers.

The Pros: 

+Improvements to the play and feel of the campaign mode.

+New units drastically reshape the gameplay in competitive, with subtle tweaks to the play-style.

+Top-tier production value that we’ve come to expect from Blizzard.

+Some of the most visually impressive gameplay and cinematics in the RTS genre. 

The Cons: 

-F*ck the Zerg.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

Does anyone else feel the connection between Blizzard Entertainment and Wolverine? Seriously, it’s been bothering me all week… Every time Blizzard comes out with a new trailer, a new game, an expansion, or whatever I hear, in my head, “We are Blizzard, and we’re the best at what we do and what we do is…” roll the title and display whatever it is they are showing off that particular day of the week.

Memory Express Velocity MicroATX [Hardware Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Memory Express has out-done themselves. Each and every criticism previous offered (on our original gaming PC reviews) has been addressed, and removed. It is sleek, it is sexy, it is small, easy to carry from home to LAN Party, and is a stone-cold software KILLER.

The Pros: 

+Smaller case, perfect for portability.

+Light-weight (less than 28lbs).

+Dual GTX670s in SLI will CRUSH any game out there (go nuts with your Skyrim mods people!).

+Silent. As. The. GRAVE. The new liquid-cooled approach means I sometimes forget it’s still on.

The Cons: 

-No real room for improvement. What are you going to do next ME!?

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
10

Memory Express, it would seem, have been paying attention to the reviews that we’ve been providing on their gear. This is a positive and a negative. How so? Well, for the consumers, it’s good news. Memory Express has proven they can not only take criticisms when supplied them, but show dedication to improving. The bad news is for the writer that has to try and pull apart their third-generation build. Criticisms are harder and harder to come by…

Mass Effect 3: Leviathan DLC [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Leviathan provides an interesting new chapter to the ME3 story, and it's clear that a good deal of thought and care went into both the narrative and encounter design, but it doesn't match ME2's best efforts, most notably Overlord or Lair of the Shadow Broker. The DLC provides some beautiful new areas to explore, answers questions and fills in some of the rich lore of the ME universe, and challenges the player with slight innovations during some stand-out action scenes. Still, with a misstep in revealing information too early and no truly difficult decisions to make, it's a little short and a little plodding for the price tag.

The Pros: 

+ Strong writing and voice acting, and some interesting, challenging twists on combat scenarios

+ Suitably creepy and mysterious, and well-paced overall with several ups and downs

+ New weapons, a new power, and decent payoff towards the main plot

The Cons: 

- Coming this late after ME3's release considerably lessens the impact of the events in Leviathan—I wish I could have played it on release

- Slower-paced "detective" work is fine at first, but once the player has exhausted the eye-candy and grown used to the mystery, sections can drag on

- Probably a little pricey for the value, especially when compared to past DLC

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
7

Commander Shepard's exploits, male or female, have sold millions of copies of their games in our universe, safe-guarded billions of aliens in theirs, and have made headlines in both by including the ability to punch out reporters mid-sentence and explore cross-species, same-sex, and even old-fashioned hetero loving with accompanying make-out scenes. The intellectual property has been much-loved and simultaneously reviled, most recently by the outcry over ME3's original endings.

Memory Express Custom Gaming PC Review

Overall Feeling: 

Memory Express’ second generation custom gaming PC is insanely powerful. So much so, it’s near impossible for us to properly test this thing. Like a super-car that was somehow made street legal you may never get to see its full potential, but it’s got ridiculous bragging rights. If you have the money to spend, you’ll be able to watch people drool over your PC as they leer insides through the case’s side window. 

The Pros: 

+The twin GTX680s mean never having to worry about lacking the graphical juice for a video game until sometime next year.

+Slim black case offers a sleek and sexy design that doesn’t sacrifice function for form, and actually offers more accessibility than the original build.

+Everything here is top of the line. With a PC of this caliber you get to reverse the industry. Games will be made to try and keep up with your system, rather than you worrying about if your system meets the specs for a game.

The Cons: 

-There’s no real good way to carry it, so if you’re a LAN enthusiast, look at investing something to carry it with.

-The cost is right up there, you’re getting the best, but you need to expect to pay for that as well.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

Anyone familiar with the world of PC Gaming, or just PCs in general knows that technology moves quickly. Keeping up with technology is a full-time gig for the dedicated technophile. In the past I’ve equated PC gaming to car building and collecting. Hopefully our readers won’t begrudge me a few more extended automotive metaphors because our PC Hardware sponsor, Memory Express, has basically just dropped a Rolls-Royce in our lap after six months of running with a Lambo.

Diablo III [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Diablo III is what I would personally consider a solid ‘meets expectations’. It does exactly what’s expected of it, which was, to be fair, a lot. However, the whole thing feels a little ‘safe’ and doesn’t push the franchise as far as Blizzard managed to go with their other game series, in specific StarCraft II.  

The Pros: 

+The game scales well, meaning almost anyone can play it.

+The inclusion of Nightmare, Hell, Inferno and the Hardcore Mode mean there’s plenty of options for replay.

+Each character is unique and viable. Everyone has opportunity to develop a character to their play style that’s fun and personalized.

+The multiplayer experience is seamless, jumping between games to meet up with friends is not only easy, but elemental. 

The Cons: 

-The story of the game is pretty short at around 6 hours.

-A lot of the game’s features are cribbed from either previous iterations of the franchise, or Blizzards library of other games.

-Everything feels a little ‘safe’ no boundaries felt like they were pushed or even tested. 

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
8

Let’s be honest, the ‘dungeon crawler’ genre has become kind of over-saturated at this point. For years now, 16 of them in fact, people have been doing what they can to capture a little bit of the magic that Blizzard unleashed on the world with the original Diablo games. Now, 11 years after the release of the franchise’s last bit of content (Lords of Destruction) we finally have a true successor to the game that defined ‘dungeon crawler’ and the hype surrounding the game has been surreal. Does it, however, meet with the lofty expectations that we’d set for the game ourselves?

The Walking Dead [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

AMC’s adaptation of The Walking Dead is a hard sell because it turned the genre of zombie films over on its head. In the same way that the concept of a human drama back-lit by the zombie apocalypse might confuse/bore people jumping into a series (who were likely expecting more action/slaughter) it’s hard to describe what exactly makes Telltale’s video game adaptation magical to nerds like myself who get off on player interaction and debate. 

The Pros: 

+The twist Telltale put on the zombie survival game genre is nothing short of magic.

+The world is filled with characters who truly come alive through your interaction with them (minus the zombies of course).

+Telltale has provided a companion piece to a TV series that, for once, manages to capture the tone and concept of the original source material.

The Cons: 

-Chapter 1 is far, far too short for my liking. It can be wrapped inside of two hours. 

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

I think that we can all agree that zombies, as a whole, have kind of reached their critical mass in terms of being ‘a thing.’ They’ve always been around, but in the last couple of years their popularity has surged to a point where a game without zombies in it seems almost as obscene as a game without multiplayer. It’s a fiercely competitive genre right now, with no shortage of options for how it can be represented… and honestly, I thought we’d seen it all, but Telltale’s take, based on the world of the Walking Dead, has brought something entirely new to the table: the human angle.

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.

Trine 2 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Trine 2's simple concepts, easy controls, goregous graphics and quirky humor provide that 'fun for all ages' feeling that is often refered to on the back of the box, but rarely ever captures.

The Pros: 

+Beautiful art work.

+Quirky sense of humor.

+Great use of co-op

+'Short and sweet' story campaign.

The Cons: 

-Playing in multiplayer, only Player 1 can purchase upgrades for his team.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

While the site went in a bit of a ‘black out’ mode over the holiday seasons, believe it or not, video games continued to be released. One of them was a game that I was eagerly anticipating, but didn’t manage to get around to until the new year.

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.

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