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Game Reviews

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.

Mario Party 9 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Mario Party has deviated from the traditional competitive multiplayer board-game, and instead takes a more cooperative, team-based approach to the series. The change is drastic, but not entirely awful. Fans of the series may, however, find that the series' deviation is a little too dramatic of a change for a franchise they have grown to love over the years.

The Pros: 

+Change to the game’s basic structure does provide a bit of a shake-up for a series that’s getting into the 12+ territory.

+The mini games are still as fun as ever, and offer the same chuckle-worthy puns as always.

The Cons: 

-The deviation from the series is pretty dramatic, and long-time fans might be a little upset by the change.

-Everything feels a little over-simplified and watered-down.

-There don’t seem to be as many items to unlock in the game, which may reduce the replay value for some.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
7

Ever since the original title launched back in 1998 I’ve considered myself a competition player. I take my Mario Parties pretty damn seriously, and have always thoroughly enjoyed winning a game in Mario Party almost more than anything else, because of the wide-variety of challenges that their mini-games provide, along with the whole board-game mentality and having to deal with the luck of the dice and random changes of fortune from Bowser and his cronies. I even love the puns that the team keeps coming up for the mini-games, which I’m surprised to see are endless.

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).

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