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Game Reviews

Final Fantasy Dimensions - Prologue and Chapter 1 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Mixed. If released twenty years ago, FFD might have occupied the same hallowed headspace as the Squaresoft masterpieces of the mid 90s—all the ingredients look to be here in more-or-less the right quantities, and no one would balk at the $29 price for a full console RPG. Today, though, you have a decent iOS RPG with above-average graphics, sound, combat, and character customization, but the cookie-cutter character archetypes and job system—beloved and well-designed as they are—do not justify the headline-making price tag.

The Pros: 

+ Everything you love about Square's "golden years" are here—super-deformed characters, emotional twists, moogles, airships, tough bosses, crystals, menu-based combat, equipment, accessories, summons, etc.

+ Pretty sprite-based character visuals and animations, great spell effects

+ Good touch controls with a short learning curve

+ We've seen it before, but the job system is pretty great

The Cons: 

- Everything you hate about Square's "golden years" are here—goofy translations, the same old moody characters, random battles, an evil empire, epic but often nonsensical plot, etc.

- Poor pacing with little character development

- A possible lack of value for the price when compared to other good iOS titles

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
6

You could argue that Square Enix is trying something courageous with Final Fantasy Dimensions (FFD). You could argue that, alongside the veritable firehose of tens of thousands of freemium iOS games, they have brought a complete, high-quality RPG to the platform and that they are paving the way for other triple-A titles to charge the appropriate amount for the experience. You could argue their goal was to take a strong step towards your i-device becoming the gaming system you reach for even when you're at home and capable of playing on a console.

I don't think that was their goal.

Supermagical [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

It's easy to look past the overly cutesy story when you see Supermagical's gorgeous hand-drawn visuals, and you'll forgive some necessary grinding and softly suggested in-game purchases when you hear what is probably one of the best game soundscapes on the platform. The core mechanics of this puzzler—colour matching—were pioneered way back in the mid 90s with the Bust-a-Move games, but Supermagical adds a bit of depth to what existed and stacks powerups and allies on top. With a decent challenge curve it's a game that almost anyone can play and a strong bargain for the price point.

The Pros: 

+ Pretty graphics, better audio, and a consistent, unified theme tying it all together

+ Simple but varied gameplay complete with minigames; good challenge later on

+ Great value for you, your spouse, your kids, and your friends' kids

The Cons: 

- Childish; you won't fire this one up to show off your new iPad

- A bit grindy, and far moreso if you want to buy all the powerups in the game

- Not exactly pushing the medium or genre for innovation, though still well executed

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
7

I bought Supermagical on a lark when it was featured in the App Store—the coverage mentioned how charming the title is, and I had a road trip upcoming. While the game has a few minor flaws, it turns out my dollar was very well spent.

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.

Hybrid [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Hybrid takes your typical third person shooter, turns it on its head, adds a jetpack and says go at. While it certainly carries a unique and refreshing twist on the genre, Hybrid's fast pace gameplay is not for everyone. Not to mention the lack of single player... Sup with dat? If you're a run and gun shooter fan, this game is for you.

The Pros: 

- Cover to cover warfare provides a unqiue flare to the third person genre

- The multiplayer map interface awards players with bonus experience

- Delivers all the basic game modes a multiplayer game should

- 3 on 3 action keeps the intensity on high

The Cons: 

- Lobby finder takes forever to locate a game

- No story mode

- Fast pace gameplay is not for everyone

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
7

Hybrid is some crazy stuff... and after playing it sporadically over the past week I'm still trying to figure out if that's a good or bad thing.

5th Cell, the team behind the awesome, if you think it, you can make it, Scribblenauts, took the idea of a third person shooter and changed it as we know it. Is it ground breaking? Meh. Is it unique? Hell yeah!

Deadlight [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Deadlight is a unique blend of vintage side-scrolling adventure mechanics (in the vein of SNES/Genesis classic Flashback) with slick modern visual (akin to Limbo) that deals with some dark and mature themes surrounding a small group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic ‘end of the world’ zombie setting.  The game feels good, although vastly different from most modern ‘platformers’, and offers an interesting story-line focused around survival and rescue, with a nifty little twist in the third act. 

The Pros: 

+The storyline, while not completely original, is an interesting one and offers a little more weight than we generally see out of an arcade title.

+The controls are smooth and work well, even though they aren’t exactly ‘traditional’ for games of its genre.

+The length of the game is just about right, it fits snuggly in the ‘short but sweet’ category that arcade games should. 

The Cons: 

-There is no replayability for the casual gamer. Unless you’re a competitionist or an achievement whore when the game wraps up (just over 2 hours) you’re done for good.  

-Some of the artistic choices in the game mar the level design and can cause some unexpected deaths. 

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
7

In all honesty I’d nearly forgotten about the side-scrolling adventure genre. I say adventure as opposed to ‘platformer’ because what Deadlight, and its predecessors, provided is something much grander than what most people would associate with the term ‘platformer’ (namely titles like Mario, or Sonic). While it’s true the gameplay focuses around the same core mechanics: running, jumping, navigating through a labyrinth of 2D obstacles; the game styling is completely different.

London 2012 Olympics - The Video Game [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

As a sports game and one that just so happens to represent the biggest sports event in the world, London 2012 Olympics fails to make an immediate impression that is overwhelmingly positive.  The game does its best at adapting a variety of events in video game form, but ultimately none of them stand out since they feel repetitive and aren’t that much fun.  Lacking any immediate charm, enjoyment and everything else that makes for a fun game doesn’t help London 2012 Olympics as it’s ultimately a shallow experience that feels like it’s half a game.

The Pros: 

+ None of the games are too complex in such a way that it’s annoying to play.

+ Visuals are decent for what they are and don’t look last-gen terrible.

+ Some of the events do a decent job at replicating the rhythmic nature found in the actual sport.

The Cons: 

- Main Olympic mode is lackluster as it doesn’t represent the celebratory nature of the event.

- The various sports events may be different their nature, but the controls and game mechanics don’t do a good job at representing such a thing.

- Replayability is limited since the online modes are rather bare bones and there isn’t much to do other than Trophy/Achievement hunt.

- A few key sports are missing such a fencing which would’ve worked quite well in the game and provided nice variety.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
5

There aren’t too many things in the world which can have millions or in some cases a billion or so people completely enamored and unified in a sense.  With some countries favoring certain types of sports compared to others (such as the lack of appeal North America has for European soccer) it’s kind of understandable why the world isn’t one big happy family as dreamt of in things like Star Trek.  But outside of traumatic events, the world does occasionally band together in a slightly competitive but friendly way through the Olympic games.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Ghost Recon Future Soldier takes the core concepts of the Clancy franchise of games, and in particular Advanced Warfighter, then speeds everything up. The political intrigue and complex plot-lines involving world powers playing covert games behind the scenes are still there, with a much more fluid and quick-feeling gameplay. Fans of Tom Clancy will appreciate the themes of the game, while gamers in general will appreciate how fluid everything feels now.

The Pros: 

+The speed of the gameplay has been greatly improved and feels more fluid.

+The toys offered by the game, flying drones, magnetic vision, EMP grenades, etc. are a lot of fun.

+Gun Smith mode should be the new benchmark in video game weapon customization.

The Cons: 

-The multiplayer is extremely niche, requiring a specific kind of gamer-mentality to be enjoyed.

-Kinect features feel a little tacked on and still have that ‘novelty’ feel.

-The story has a tendency to be lost in the game’s more fast-paced/action oriented style.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
7

I think my love of shooters in general is pretty well known by this point. Generally speaking if there’s an action/shooter than needs to get the ‘professional opinion’ on Shogun Gamer, it’s something that’s slid across my desk. What a lot of people probably don’t know though is that I’m an even bigger fan of the sub-genre of ‘tactical shooter’. I’ve been following along with game series like Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon since their inception. Rainbow Six still has my favorite moments in gaming, of all time.

Battleship: The Game [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Even with the seemingly dumb premise that’s told in the film there was still the chance that Battleship: The Game could be something fun for gamers to experience. Aside from constantly snickering and finding myself in awe from all the wrong reasons, my journey with Battleship: The Game was simply repetitive, boring, and simply made me question the motives of big companies and what they deem suitable for the video game market.  The game doesn’t have any major good merits as it’s simply akin to cardboard box, it’s exists and can be messed around with but there’s not much there to begin with.

The Pros: 

+ Trophies/Achievements are easy to acquire.

+ Seeing the battles at sea while I was on the ground was a nice element.

The Cons: 

- Game is simply as ugly as a barnacle.

- FPS combat is weak and the battles at sea lack any skill aside from button mashing.

- No multiplayer, bonus modes, or co-op makes the game a one and done experience.

- Story is told in such a careless way, even by the standards of dumb Hollywood action movies

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
3

Not since Street Fighter: The Movie – The Game has something so ridiculous potentially caused the fabric of space and time itself to rip as people ponder about something as endlessly as what the number 42 means.  The perplexing question at hand now is why we have a video game adaptation of Battleship: The Movie – which as you may know is a major film adaptation of a classic board game one would never expect to receive a $200 million budget.

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?

Prototype 2 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

I know I’ll catch flack for the amount of times I make this reference, if not from the publisher directly than from the readership, but this is Hulk Ultimate Destruction all over again and I’m pretty okay with it. The game is all about massive, senseless destruction, and it’s done well. The ability to tear a helicopter in two never gets old, and there’s plenty of ways to mix-and-match the violence through concepts like tearing weapons off tanks and attack choppers to keep things fluid, and cause ridiculous amounts of explosions and death.

The Pros: 

+The scope of the destruction is nearly unparalleled, and something I’ve been sorely missing in gaming for a while now.

+The amount of options presented for messing things up, and making it look cool are absolutely stunning.

+The revenge story of the game is a classic one, and the concept of making the original game’s protagonist the villain in part 2 excites me on many nerd-levels. 

The Cons: 

-The story gets a little convoluted by the time the ‘villain’ of the story is recast for the third time.

-There are two moves in the game that over-power all others, rendering anything else you might conceive of using useless.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
8

Remember back in 2005 when Radical created the single best Hulk game of all time? Ultimate Destruction was a fantastic game because it allowed you to wreak ungodly amounts of destruction upon a city swarming with innocent civilians and a never-ending tidal wave of US army troops that would never, ever give up on their futile attempts to stop you. It was one of the best examples of a game just being pure, mindless fun, and time and time again I’ve had discussions with my friends regarding a potential sequel to that game.

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