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Game Reviews

Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Porting a title is no easy task... especially if it’s coming from PC. There are certain variables that often don’t work on consoles as they do on its computer counterpart. 4J Studios, Mojang and Notch had their hands full when they positioned the idea of moving Minecraft to the Xbox 360. While a few features didn’t make the cross over, Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition is a near flawless transition.

The Pros: 

+ The essence of Minecraft wasn't lost in transition

+ An innovative crafting experience is introduced

+ Split screen co-operative play

The Cons: 

- Movement can be a bit iffy at times

- Inventory cursor lacks the accuracy of a mouse

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
8

Oh Minecraft... how I resented playing you for the longest time, for fear that I would be absorbed into your blocky world. Coming into the Xbox edition I was slightly worried as to how 4J Studios and Mojang would tackle some of the challenges Minecraft brings with it. For example, gaming with a mouse and keyboard often brings its share of bonuses.  Minecraft is also very user friendly as it allows gamers to enhance their play with the addition of mods. A personalized touch can go a long way.

Fable Heroes [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Lionhead Studios put in a valiant effort towards breathing new life into their RPG series Fable. While its charm shines through in character design, it’s overshadowed by repetitive and simple minded gameplay.  This is defiantly made for the gaming impaired... namely kids. Hardcore Fable fans tread lightly.

The Pros: 

+Lionhead succefully crafted both charming characters and a vibrant world

The Cons: 

-Repetitive gameplay leaves this title dead in the water

-Difficulty progression is none existent 

-Player customization is long and exhausting

-Good and evil decision should have been left on the sidelines

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
4

 

Fable Heroes is a step back from the RPG roots it’s garnered its fame from. Now a 4-player beat ‘em up, players cross the universe of Fable hacking and slashing through familiar enemies and new ones.  You take the role of a puppet hero from a library of 12 characters. As you finish each world, you’re able to customize your stats, and character appearance. 

SSX - Mount Eddie DLC [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

As a somewhat minimal add-on to the core SSX experience the Mount Eddie DLC succeeds in giving some exciting content to gamers as well as providing a much desired return to the classic SSX formula.  Mount Eddie may not be bursting at the seams with content as it only has a couple of events, but at the end of the day it’s still an amazing addition to SSX since it captures the same fun energy that the series had back in the PS2 era.

The Pros: 

+ The price point is perfect for what’s offered.

+ Combining the tone of the new SSX with the classic era doesn’t feel too odd as both are evenly represented.

+ Mount Eddie itself has a balanced design which results in some amazing trick opportunities.

The Cons: 

- Not having a Deadly Descent does feel a bit odd and like a missed opportunity.

- Half pipes are slightly under-utilized which is a shame.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

Taking an already fun game and making it more fun is sometimes a tough thing to do, especially when it comes in the form of DLC.  We’ve seen dozens of games go the DLC route this generation with add-on content that in some cases has been terrible in what it provided to the player. There’s honestly nothing worse than paying an additional $5 or $10 for some add-on content after you spend $60 on a game only to think about how you would’ve been better off buying a sub from Subway with that money.

Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The game itself is determined to creep the player out, but falls flat due to its dependance on the included AR book. Many (myself included) would argue that survival-horror is a genre best played in the dark, but being forced to play in the daylight or under intensely bright lamps strips the atmosphere and left me playing simply to get through the storyline. The integration of the 3DS' camera is clumsy at best and it's difficult to play in 3D when you have to constantly wave your system around.

The Pros: 

+ Interesting story

+ Battling with ghosts in your living room can at times be seamless and engaging

The Cons: 

- Dependance on included AR book means if you lose sight, the game is interrupted

- Playing with the 3D enabled means you see a lot of blur when moving your system around

- Scary atmosphere is non-existant when playing in bright light 

- Very short title

- Constant static when book view is obscured is incredibly irritating and breaks the illusion

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
5

Were or are you a fan of the Fatal Frame series? I am, a huge one. The idea that you couldn't simply beat what was attacking you with a crowbar until it went away, but rather face it head-on and take a freaking picture, staring right into a ghoulish face, in order to defeat an enemy was the source of many a restless night in the dark. And as a spin-off of such a fantastic series, I wanted to love Spirit Camera so badly. I tried, really I did. But, like math homework, sometimes you miss the common denominator and the formula doesn't work out.

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.

Xenoblade Chronicles [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Xenoblade has some big shoes to fill, and it does a fair enough job keeping pace with its popular predecessors. While some elements seemed a little too one-dimensional for me, overall it has some really interesting gameplay concepts and a fairly solid battle flow. The ways in which it attempts to incorporate MMO gameplay, however, are what left me feeling a little disenchanted with the title.

The Pros: 

+ Great combat use of "Arts"

+ For Wii-level, has great visuals

+ Has a pretty great storyline 

+ MMO-style fetch quests not tedious at all

The Cons: 

- Characters are very flat and cliché

- Map is a little hard to navigate sometimes around expansive areas

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
7

Xenoblade , as a successor to the venerable series for the Playstation 1 and 2, is a game that does not give the impression at all of trying to live up to its predecessors. Monolith did a commendable job at building an RPG that incorporates the series' popular themes while letting it stand on its own as a new title. I will have to admit that going into writing this review took a lot of reflection and a sizeable attempt to remain objective, and in the end the conclusion was reached that this really is a pretty great game.

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.

MLB 12: The Show [PS3 Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The Show is one of those rare sports games in which every aspect is conveyed perfectly and isn’t saddled with an element that’s less than pleasing.  Featuring minor yet impactful enhancements in how the game controls, The Show is one of the best baseball games ever created in addition to being a sim game that’s approachable and never once intimidating.  

The Pros: 

+ Controls feel perfect and aren’t difficult to handle.

+ The detail in the players and stadiums is astounding and the game as a whole is a beauty.

+ New Pulse Pitching mechanic is a terrific addition to the game.

+ Diamond Dynasty Mode may require a lot of time, but it’s an awesome mode for those wanting to create an original team and put together a dream team.

The Cons: 

- Presentation is flat in a few areas as it doesn’t have a ton of pop or character to it.

- Having licensed songs during menu navigation needs to go away forever.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

Sometimes doing something that’s simple in its nature is an incredibly difficult task to pull off in a video game.  Most of the time we’re graced with games that are overly complex or have many layers to them, but doing a simple 3rd person action game that feels right or even a racing game is something that isn’t as easy as one would think.  What’s even more difficult is developing a sports game for a simple sport such as that of baseball.

Kid Icarus: Uprising [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

If someone had once asked me what franchise I’d like to see return (even if you were to go as specific as asking for Nintendo only) Kid Icarus is not a title I would have picked. It is not something I have a personal affinity for, but having played the newest iteration of the franchise, I’m glad that there were enough people out there crying for more Pit-centric action that this game got made. 

The Pros: 

+The control scheme works!

+There is a lot of fun to be had, both in the sky and on land.

+The voice acting is awesome, Pit is legitimately entertaining.

+There are so many additional features to the game that it's hard to even name them all.  

The Cons: 

-The multiplayer is lacking the polish of the single-player.

-The AR card integration feels like little more than a cash-grab.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

Honestly, Kid Icarus: Uprising wasn’t a title that I would have considered “on my radar” until about two weeks ago at GDC when I finally spent some time with it. The idea of another re-hash (as epic as that first teaser trailer at E3 was) didn’t really get its hooks into me from the jump. It took actually going hands-on with the completed version of the game to see why fans were excited to see a return to this ancient franchise that would have been all-but forgotten if not for Pit’s return in Smash Brothers.

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