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MWEB GameZone Black Ops II Launch: Going In Guns Blazing

The latest game in the First-Person-Shooter series, Call of Duty, entitled Black Ops II was released recently and what better way to celebrate this than by having a launch party. The MWEB GameZone team did exactly that on Tuesday, the 13th of November; the very day that the game was released.

I arrived at the venue with my fellow journalist Zombie Dredd only to find that we were early..really early. So early in fact, that the employees of MWEB hadn’t even left for the day yet. However, it wasn’t long before other enthused gamers arrived and checked in. Being a launch party hosted by MWEB, it wouldn’t be complete without everyone in attendance receiving a bag filled with goodies.

Shortly after a large crowd had formed, Desmond Kurz and his team lead us through to the famous MCave, the venue for pretty much all of the launches held at MWEB. As soon as people entered the doors, they either made for the food platters or one of the many open seats in front of a console or PC. Once everyone was inside, Kurz hopped on the microphone and welcomed everyone to the event. He also informed everyone about the Challenge-a-Pro competition in which attendees could challenge Call of Duty clan members in order to win some great prizes including Gioteck products, the Black Ops II game and a voucher to go fire some real guns at the False Bay Gun Club. All they had to do was get one kill against a pro to win while the pro would have to get 2 kills on their challenger in order to eliminate them. Pros that would send many a gamer a way empty handed were Chad from High 5, Lee from XtaZ, Nashief from Clan ASF or Brad from MWEB GameZone. Yes, I know Brad isn’t really a clan member; which is probably why people were challenging him most of the time, obviously looking for the easy way out. Tsk, tsk.

It wasn’t long before stacks of pizza came through the door and everyone decided to chow down. Mountain Dew also supplied the MCave with some of their product for the attendees to try out or just to wash the pizza down.

On show during the evening was a MAG motion gun controller. This looked pretty interesting and made me feel like I was standing in the arcade. The only difference is that the shooter was not on rails and the player is required to use the analogue stick to move around. The gun is used to aim and fire. It was confusing at first trying to navigate the level and then the gun started being buggy. I tried aiming straight while in the game but while holding the gun, I would be aiming at the floor. Something was wrong there.

Quite a few attendees actually dressed up for the event and it seems, for one of them, the effort would be worth it. It was a tough choice for the judges but ultimately Janrik Oberholzer emerged as the best dressed as he spent the weekend researching what the characters would be wearing in Black Ops II and materialised it in his costume. He walked away with a copy of the game and a Limited Edition Black Ops II t-shirt that came all the way from Gamescom.

Everyone played as much as of the game as they could. One of the highlights of the evening was the 8-man Free For All match on the Nuketown 2025 map. It was so chaotic to play with that many people on such a small map but man was it awesome.

Following the Nuketown madness, the guys from Clan ASF set up all the console players on the PC’s. I don’t think that I have ever sucked that much while playing Call of Duty. The PC players have my respect. I don’t know how you guys do it.

To end off the evening, Glenn Alexander from 2upGamers, Zombie Dredd from Zombiegamer, Marlon Sasman from Gecosports and I played a few rounds of a mode called “Sticks and Stones”. This mode allows the players to only use a Crossbow with explosive bolts, a Ballistic Knife and a Tomahawk in order to kill other players. If there was ever a mode to make you burst out laughing, it was this one. It makes things very interesting and is a lot of fun. Hell, I’d buy Black Ops II just for that mode if I could.

It was a great launch party and it seems that everyone had quite a good time. There were actually a lot more stragglers this time than usual. I can’t wait for the next launch party. See you there!

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News

What to expect at rAge 2011

The rAge expo has officially kicked off this weekend at the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg.

ITF Gaming had the opportunity to join in on all the fun by hosting some awesome prize give-aways compliments of Apex Interactive and the team on the Nintendo 3DS stand. The Nintendo 3DS stand is showcasing an array of upcoming 3DS titles to test out, so make sure to swing past the stand and chat to the guys about anything and everything Nintendo related. The team from ITF Gaming will be situated at the Nintendo 3DS on the 01/10/2011 from 10am – 12pm and on 02/10/2011 from 12:00pm to 13:00pm.

Apart from all the Nintendo awesomeness, ITF Gaming has compiled a list of the must see exhibitions at rAge 2011. If you are only joining in on the rAge action on Saturday, then this will give you a preview of what to expect.

Things to check out at rAge 2011:

Nu Metro:
Batman Arkham City
Lord of the Rings: War in the North

Megarom Interactive:
The Darkness 2
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon
Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
Final Fantasy XIII – 2
Xmen Destiny

Electronic Arts (EA):
Need for Speed the Run
Battlefield 3
Mass Effect 3
Grand Slam Tennis
The Sims 3 Pets

PlayStation:
Tekken Hybrid
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
Dragons Dogma
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Microsoft Xbox 360:
Gears of War 3
Kinect: The Gunstringer
Kinect: Star Wars
Kinect: Disney Land Adventures
Forza 4

Nintendo:
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
Dead or Alive
Resident Evil
Street Fighter
Steel Diver
Pilot Wings
Kid Icarus
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

A few of the major highlights to look out for on Saturday and Sunday will be at the main stage, this will include: Tomb Raider, The Darkness 2, Guildwars 2 and a host of epic presentations and give-aways.

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Paul Crocker Talks Batman: Arkham City with ITF Gaming

ITF Gaming had the opportunity to chat with Paul Crocker, lead narrative designer, Rocksteady Studios at rAge 2011. Paul Crocker and his team have been burning the midnight oil in order to bring one of the most anticipated titles to video game fans across the globe, Batman: Arkham City.

ITF Gaming: After putting Batman through what may be the longest night of his life in Arkham Asylum, where did the idea come from to move all of the inmates into an enclosed area inside Gotham City?

Crocker: As we were developing Batman: Arkham Asylum, we knew we wanted to put Batman into a city environment and a rooftop environment. We carefully crafted Batman: Arkham Asylum to fulfil all our design ambitions and make the Batman experience a very claustrophobic one. Once we had done that, we were confident in moving forward to the next stage, which was to make a bigger, better environment for Batman to play in and a great storyline to support it.

We now have Arkham City, a section of Gotham City that has a big wall wrapped around it. This is where all the bad guys have been contained, mainly because Arkham Asylum was the least secure place in the Batman universe. So the idea was to make a super prison that no one could escape from, however the problem with putting all the bad guys in one place is some like each other, some don’t like each other, so now there are turf wars, alliances and jealousy amongst the gangs. This brings a unique approach to Arkham City and places Batman in a different situation which is not expected.

ITF Gaming: Hugo Strange is one of the most underused villains in the Batman universe and it seems that Batman: Arkham City might just put him on the map. Why was he chosen as the main antagonist?

Crocker: We needed a villain who would fulfil the role of being in charge of this new prison system, some one who is a psychological expert and would fit into the environment perfectly. Hugo Strange was chosen as he is the perfect fit for the antagonist, he is an incredible psychiatrist and as we revealed in certain trailers, he has worked out the identity of Batman. Hugo Strange has this knowledge and it gives him a unique angle and personality. Hugo Strange is not super powered, nor is he a huge mutant, he is a doctor and he wants to be better than Batman. Once gamers have the opportunity to play the full title all the details will be revealed.

ITF Gaming: Arkham Asylum re-established Batman as the epic badass he is today. Why would you say Rocksteady’s interpretation of the Dark Knight is so successful?

Crocker: Truth be told, we are all fans of Batman, we all want to make the best Batman game that we can and in doing this from the beginning we were able to analyse and include key features into the game in the form of the detective elements, the gliding system, the combat and the predator elements. From a gameplay point of view these were the main elements that made the Batman games unique, original and successful. I talk about making Arkham City an authentic experience, and to make it as authentic as possible we brought back the original voice of Batman, Kevin Conroy. Kevin Conroy makes you feel like you are actually talking to Batman in real-life, and by voicing the character so well, he brings out the true Batman experience in this title.

ITF Gaming: Paul Dini was the writer of Arkham Asylum and also wrote the sequel. What was the pressure like on him and your team to bring out a game that topped Arkham Asylum?

Crocker: We did not want to let people down and we wanted to create the best Batman simulation we could. However this took time, effort and we constantly evaluated what we worked on, in order to create the next step in the ultimate Batman simulation.

ITF Gaming: Catwomen or Harley Quinn, who is hotter?

Crocker: Well the thing is… one will stab you in the face and the other will claw your eyes out, so it’s really hard to say as they both hot in their own way.

ITF Gaming: Batman Arkham City is looking great, is there anything you can tell us about the game that no one knows?

Crocker: We don’t want to spoil any of the surprises that gamers will experience while playing this title, otherwise the whole Batman experience is gone. However I will tell you that many secrets and twists await gamers who have the opportunity to experience Batman: Arkham City.

Batman: Arkham City builds upon the intense, atmospheric foundation of Batman: Arkham Asylum, sending players soaring into Arkham City, the new maximum security “home” for all of Gotham City’s thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds.

Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City, this highly anticipated sequel introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight.

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A look at EA Games rAge 2011

The EA Games stand at the rAge expo 2011 was a demonstration of why the company is one of the principal global interactive entertainment software companies of today.  Sports game fanatics had a chance to play Need for Speed: The Run, FIFA 2012 and SSX (or Snowboard Super Cross). The FIFA series is of course one of the best-selling video game franchises in the world and no annual video game convention would be complete without a preview of the latest FIFA-endorsed version.

Need For Speed: The Run, the 18th game in the popular series is the first game to have been rated T for teen since Need For Speed: Undercover, back in 2009. Contrasted with the very legit, governing body signed FIFA game, The Run features illegal street races across the most hazardous roads in North America. While it appears to follow a linear plot about a racer who must reach the finish line in order to pay his debts both to crooked cops and vile criminals, The Run promises to contribute to the development of story in racing video games.

The EA games stand also offered war FPS (first-person-shooter) fans a chance to frag each other in the Beta version on Battlefield 3, or to play the game’s demo as a single-player experience. It also featured a Mass Effect 3 demo, that I did not look at too closely, as I am anticipating its release and do not want to spoil my experience of the game. It did, however, look promising.

The one game demo that did look out of place amongst the aforementioned titles was The Sims 3: Pets, but then again, as one of the heirs to the best-selling PC games in history, this could not be left out simply according to aesthetic standards. EA has once again showcased its dexterity in creating new versions of the most popular games today. As these games continue to develop I look forward to playing the final releases of the games on show at rAge and excitedly await any future releases from the team at Electronic Arts.

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Heroic mutants and devious demons: Megarom at rAge 2011

The Megarom stand was probably one of the places that I spent most of my time at rAge this year. What excited me the most was 2k’s The Darkness II. It was similar to the first game in the comic-based series, except this time it featured quad-wielding, meaning that you can wield four weapons simultaneously. The protagonist Jackie Estacado can now use two guns and two demon arms at once. The player also has more control over summoned minions and the graphics have been given more of a comic feel through the introduction of the cell shaded graphics. Even at this early stage in production (this was not even a Beta version yet) the game looks and plays flawlessly, making for an enjoyable experience.

Additionally, Megarom showcased a preview of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations that was almost hidden away in a booth, like a contract killer in the shadows. Dark Souls was also on show and is anticipated as one of the hardest games to be released in the near future. The demo definitely lives up to being difficult as I could not even get past the first opponent the first few times I attempted to.

Aside from this, I played the latest Marvel title, X-men: Destiny, which predominantly appears to be a third-person beat-em-up, action title. X-men: Destiny allows the player to alter the destiny of his/her character by creating unique mutants as he/she plays throughout the game. I also tried my hand at the latest Final Fantasy, however I am out of practice and I didn’t get very far in the demo. One thing I did notice was the new Final Fantasy has opened up and will be staying true to the original concept, by offering players a non-linear experience… unlike the previous title.

Megarom also hosted a preview of Tomb Raider. The demonstration went a little further than the footage seen at E3 earlier this year. It showed that Lara can visit locations that are seen far off in the horizon, completely reinventing the franchise as a sandbox title. The Hitman preview also looked promising, although I couldn’t help thinking that it wasn’t bringing anything new to the table, unlike the Darkness II.

The Megarom stand and events definitely stood out amongst the others, but what else can you expect from one of the top leaders in video game distribution in South Africa?

Due to certain restrictions, ITF Gaming respected Megaroms restriction on photosensitive products.

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Rage at the rAge Expo 2011

t’s been a very busy weekend’, says Pippa Tshabalala, host of the Verge, outside their stand at this year’s rAge Expo 2011. With so much to do and see at rAge 2011, it comes as no surprise that this is the case for a lot of the exhibitors and visitors that frequented stores and stalls at the show.

The annual event showcased some of the most exciting upcoming titles, great bargains for pre-ordering video games and comics. It hosted information about various IT packages and it even showcased the card game Magic: The Gathering and board games such as Space Hulk. And of course the rAge Expo hosts South Africa’s largest PC LAN to top it all off.

There was a lot to see and do this year as always, demos including Batman: Arkham City and the Darkness II were highlights for myself and eager fans. Competitions, however, seemed to drive the masses into a frenzy. Crowds stampeded from one stage to the next whenever the word ‘competition’ was uttered. A disappointment was to see how fellow gamers tried to pull each other’s arms off, in order to get a promotional t-shirt.

I also heard about numerous brewing fights and assumed that some people had come to rAge mistaking it for the next Extreme Fighting Championship event, which is also hosted at the Northgate Dome. Two visitors to the show got so wrapped up in a promotional lanyard, that they were fighting over, that they could not break up their brawl even though even when threatened with expulsion from the venue. Aside from this, it was also unsatisfactory that the video game Rage was not being promoted, as it is scheduled for release very soon and you would expect an event with the same name to capitalise on this fact. Also, there was no sign of Diablo 3 and some other titles that are to be released soon.

Rage at rAge expo

The event was for the most part extremely enjoyable, however I just wish people would realise that the whole premise behind a technology expo is that we have evolved beyond the angry caveman, who wants to bash people over the head to satisfy some primal urge. Such things are bad for video game publicity, as they are often already equated with this level of ignorance and are said to incite violence. I hope that next year visitors to the show refrain from taking the name too literally.

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Nintendo 3DS Reviews Nintendo Wii Reviews

Super Mario 3D Land Review

Developed by Nintendo, Super Mario 3D Land is the latest Mario title to grace the Nintendo 3DS. Super Mario 3D Land is pure Mario to its core, with an additional 3D twist; however does Super Mario 3D Land hold high in the ranks of gaming on a handheld console? Let’s find out!

Storyline: 
Super Mario 3D Land brings the traditional storyline of the Mario world to the Nintendo 3DS. As always, Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser, and it is now up to Mario to save the Princess. Although this is a traditional Mario storyline, I couldn’t help but smile while watching the short animated cut-scenes.

Gameplay:
Super Mario 3D Land is a platform title that combines the elements of the 3D into the gameplay. The main objective is to reach the end of each level by either avoiding or taking out enemies, within the time limit, and grabbing onto the flagpole at the end in order to progress. Super Mario 3D land features some killer power-ups including: The Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, Super Leaf and many more! I will admit that I have been hooked on my 3DS for most of the morning, and I found it hard to pull myself away.

While Super Mario 3D Land uses the 3D feature of the Nintendo 3DS quite brilliantly, it is also an integral part of the gameplay, as it is generally harder to complete without the use of the 3D effect. Super Mario 3D Land is a genuinely fun title to experience especially when it comes to gameplay and it also includes some stylish bonus content.

Mario titles from the past have never been a walk in the park to complete… by saying this, I have not come across anyone who has ever finished the first Mario title; however, completion is still achievable in Super Mario 3D Land. While breezing past the first few levels, I noticed that from World 8 the gameplay tends to shift quite a bit, bringing a sense of freshness to this title.

Super Mario 3D Land also incorporates the use of the gyroscope and StreetPass to further increase the appeal of gameplay. The Gyroscope can be used to look through binoculars and gain a better perception of the level at hand.

The addition of the mystery boxes is an additional bonus. While these tend to be more time challenges, they do allow you to gain those much needed power-ups and special items. While some 3DS titles tend to be too short, Super Mario 3D Land will keep you entertained for hours on end, as well as promote multiple playthroughs.

Graphics:
Super Mario 3D Land looks spectacular and completely utilises the power of the 3DS to its advantage. While this title is visually appealing with the 3D turned on, it looks equally as good without it.  The level design is beautiful and the characters have been designed with crisp, clear visuals.

Each World has a basic theme to it, which showcases colourful forest areas, spooky ghosts and a wide variety of visually stunning elements. When it comes to graphics this title plays smoothly and effortlessly.

Sound:
Nostalgia of note is included in this title! The music is a perfect fit and so is the quirky sound effects featured throughout. Classic Mario based tunes have been included and promote a nice up beat gameplay experience.

Lasting appeal:
Super Mario 3D Land is a title you will want to play over and over again. While the last few levels can be blatantly hard to complete, you will find yourself coming back for more Mario action quite often. Additionally, the StreetPass content included will keep you entertained for quite a few hours more.

Conclusion:
Nintendo has surprised me lately, especially with the amazing titles they are bringing out of late. Super Mario 3D Land is one of these amazing titles and a great addition to any 3DS owner’s collection.

Super Mario 3D Land brings well designed levels, innovative gameplay and sound that really sets the mood to the Nintendo 3DS. Now if you will excuse me, I am off to take on Bowser and his army of awkward looking minions and rescue the beloved Princess Peach.

The Breakdown:
Storyline: 9/10
Gameplay 9/10
Sound: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 9.5/10

Predominantly reviewed on Nintendo 3DS.

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Nintendo 3DS Reviews

Tetris 3D Review

Nintendo tends to have this unique ability of  breathing new life into even the oldest video game titles to date. Nintendo’s latest rebirth is in the form of Tetris for the Nintendo 3DS; however, does this new version of the classic Tetris of the past live up to today’s standards? Let’s find out!

Key features:
Tetris for Nintendo 3DS  features a range of fun multiplayer options to keep you and your friends engrossed – five Local Play modes and three Download Play modes designed for up to eight people to enjoy at one time. What’s more, the Download Play multiplayer modes only require a single Game Card. Addtionally, you can also go online and compete against the rest of the world over the Internet using the World Battle and Friend Battle game modes.

Gameplay:
While there are plenty of Tetris titles out there at the moment, Tetris on the Nintendo 3DS is by far one of my favourites at the moment. This title features over 20 modes to explore including: Marathon, CPU Battle, Fever, Survival and various ways to play using the AR functions.

Tetris for the 3DS also features various Party modes, which include various options such as: Fit, squeeze blocks into specifically shaped holes; Bombliss Plus, use bombs to explode blocks coming up from below; Capture, strategically cover stars on both sides of the Matrix with Tetriminos; and Jigsaw, solve picture puzzles or import your own pictures. Make sure you also look out for new items available via SpotPass for Fever mode. These modes are fun and entertaining and allow for plenty of hours of Tetris madness.

The standard mode of Tetris is also included in this title, and allows one to reminisce to the good old days of Tetris. Tetris back in the day either had you jumping for joy because you just beat your friend’s highest score, or it made you want to take the cartridge and stick it in a giant bonfire due to frustration and aggravation. However, this it what Tetris is all about it’s a challenging puzzle that will push your brain to its limits.

Tetris for the Nintendo 3DS is a great idea; however, it is an old concept that has been brought back to life. While this version is fantastic, it does however have many competitors on the market already.

Graphics: 
While playing Tetris in 3D, you will notice how much the game actually changes. Animations are brought to life and the backgrounds now seem more involved and show a great sense of visual appeal.

One thing I will note is, while having a Mii character is entertaining and the concept generally brings a lot of games to life. I found the use of the Mii in this title rather pointless and annoying. This is due to the fact that the Mii character will dance in the bottom screen in a highly repetitive fashion, which is ultimately distracting.

Sound:
When I first loaded this title into my 3DS I felt a great feeling of nostalgia. This was due to the classic music and sound effects that have been included; however while this nostalgia only lasts for a few moments, you will find yourself muting this title after an hour or two of gameplay.

Conclusion:
Tetris on the Nintendo 3DS is definitely a title that deserves a lot of credit. While this title is indeed fun and entertaining, it will bring back age old memories from your childhood. Tetris is a great way to pass time and even better way to challenge your friends and family to some good clean fun.

As noted above, while having a Mii character is entertaining and the concept generally brings a lot of games to life. I found the use of the Mii in this title rather pointless and annoying. This is due to the fact that the Mii character will dance in the bottom screen in a highly repetitive fashion, which is ultimately distracting.

The Breakdown:
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 6/10
Replayability: 9/10

Predominantly reviewed on Nintendo 3DS.

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Nintendo 3DS Reviews Nintendo Reviews

Mario Kart 7 Review

Welcome to the world of Kart Racing… Mario Style!!! Mario Kart 7 is the latest racing title to hit the Nintendo 3DS; however with the amount of racing titles released this year, does Mario Kart 7 deliver something unique, energetic and absolutely amazing to the world of racing? Let’s find out!!!

One thing I did notice when popping this title in my 3DS was that 16 classic maps have been included in this title including: SNES’ Mario Circuit 2 and Rainbow Road with more recent additions, such as the Wii’s autumnal Maple Treeway and Coconut Mall, and the DS’ Airship Fortress. Nintendo has really gone all out to make this title fresh, yet holds a certain classic appeal to it as well.

Gameplay:
Mario Kart 7 is amazingly simple to get the hang of, which is fantastic for newcomers to the release. Gamers have the opportunity to choose a character from the Mario Universe including: Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Princess Peach, Bowser and various other characters.

Mario Kart 7 offers a variety of modes, which include:

Grand Prix:
Grand Prix allows you to race it out for first position in various 50cc, 100cc and 150cc races. Grand Prix also includes various power-up’s to hinder the opposition.

Time Trials:
Time Trials allows you to achieve and then try beat your personal racing times.

Balloon Battle:
This mode puts racers up against each other, in an arena type setting, where the object of the race would be to pop the oppositions balloons in order to win.

Coin Battle:
Coin Battle places gamers in an arena type setting, where the object is to collect as many coins as possible and try hang on to them. The best part of this mode is the array of power-up’s scattered throughout the arena, which can be used to take out the opposition and steal their well earned coins; however, be wary as they can steal your coins too.

While playing through the various modes, you will notice a few new additions to the power-up’s scattered throughout the raceway.

The Fire Flower:
The Fire Flower allows you to throw fireballs at unsuspecting opponents, which will cause them to spin out of control momentarily.

The Tanooki Tail:
The Tanooki tail allows you to smash opposition players out of the way; however, you need to be in pretty close proximity to nail this one.

The Lucky 7:
The Lucky 7 offer you a set of seven items to use as you wish throughout the race, which gives the player a very unfair advantage over the opposition (hey, sometimes you have to do, what you have to do in order to win).

Another great addition to these modes is the ability to race each event via Local Multiplayer or Online Multiplayer modes.

While Mario Kart 7 is easy to pick up and very hard to put down and is not an easy title to complete. The race modes offer some really intense A.I that will not stop attacking you with power-up’s, until you either give-up or settle for last place. While it’s not impossible to win every single cup in this title, you will have a major challenge ahead of you if you do attempt it.

Mario Kart 7 is a great title when it comes to gameplay. The controls have been mapped out perfectly, and the inclusions of the various different modes and power-up’s make this title fantastic to experience.

Graphics:
Mario Kart 7 offers up some truly impressive graphics on the Nintendo 3DS. The character models have been designed smoothly and creatively and the course designs offer up some truly beautiful scenery.

Sound:
Mario Kart 7 sounds great while using the Nintendo 3DS. A few of the major highlights would be hearing more complex sounding characters, and the addition of some funky new tunes, which definitely puts you in the mood for some non-stop Karting action.

Conclusion:
Mario Kart 7 is a great title, which offers a variety of modes, features, characters and more importantly power-up’s! It is a title that is easy to pick up and really hard to put down. While most Nintendo 3DS titles tend to have this trend of including the most annoying music on the planet… Mario Kart 7 strays away from this trend. The up-beat tunes and music gear you up for some non-stop Karting fun, which is exactly what the 3DS needed.

If you own a Nintendo 3DS, Mario Kart 7 is definitely a title that should be in your collection.

The Verdict:
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 8.5/10
Sound 9/10
Lasting appeal: 9.5/10

Predominantly reviewed on Nintendo 3DS.

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Nintendo Reviews Nintendo Wii Reviews PlayStation 3 Reveiws PlayStation Reveiws Xbox 360 Reveiws Xbox Reviews

WWE: All Stars Review

Most of us have at some or other point in time played a WWE video game and if you haven’t then you’ve likely grown up a deprived child. While it is easy to understand why some people may have abandoned the series and games over time, we still see new games coming out of the woodwork. WWE All Stars is now on the shelves but the question remains, is it worth buying? Time to find out!

Past WWE titles have slowly but surely been morphing into what can only be described as wrestling simulations, it’s all fine and dandy to try and make these games as real as possible, but the problem is that when developers make games realistic most of the fun usually gets kicked out first! This is where WWE All Stars hopes to set things right. No more individual health meters for each limb, just one single old-school arcade style health bar. Characters are also no longer limited to ground based combat only but can also do more exaggerated over-the-top mid-air attacks.

The game offers numerous gameplay modes to treat fans to, such as Path of Champions mode, where you get to pick your favorite wrestler and then battle it out until you are crowned champion. However, there are many unique paths to discover that will make you want to come back for more. If anything, the only real blemish here is the fact that the main menu lags a bit. Veteran players will also probably find fault with the new health bar, since in previous titles it was somewhat possible to make a comeback from even the worst luck at the start of a match and escape defeat repeatedly… presuming you had enough skill though. Players will also be able to once again create their own character; just don’t expect them to look very life-like.

Everything in this game has a cartoon action hero feel to it, this includes the special moves that the characters execute. As mentioned before the special moves are greatly exaggerated, but this just makes it all the more sweeter when you manage to land one on an opponent that is down to his last bit of health. There is after all, nothing quite like rubbing it in and if you’re going to do it then why not over do it?

There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong as far as sound is concerned. By that, I mean that glitches where certain actions on screen are not accompanied by the appropriate sound does not seem apparent. This is a common glitch found in modern games today but it appears to be absent in WWE All Stars, which is a good thing. The bad news is that while the sound is working well the game doesn’t seem to have any wow moments either. Gamers who have a bass speaker attached to their console or a surround sound system may not feel as impressed as they may have hoped to be with the sound. At least it works though… right?

As I mentioned before the graphics are over-the-top and cartoon-like and each wrestler has a chest bigger than their real-life counterpart does. Frankly, this was just borderline freaky.

Some shortcuts have been taken with the character’s hair; you will never see a single hair on their head fall out of place. Honestly, this actually works and looks graphically better in my opinion, or at least as far as this game is concerned. If anything, at least it shows that the developers thought it was a good idea to remove this from the game and build on the strengths of the game engine instead of adding unnecessary elements. Special effects during special moves gives the game a very unique feel to it, but after a while they become slightly stale and offer nothing more than a giant “you are about to get beat up and you can’t do a thing about it” feel to them. Regardless of all this WWE All Stars is the best looking WWE game out there. (For each platform respectively).

Conclusion:
WWE games have always been loved by fans simply because they make great party games. If you and your friends both loved playing the previous titles and/or watching the shows. Then I suggest getting your hands on this title. It’s wacky, crazy and comes with a big fat dose of nostalgia… just be careful that it doesn’t all go straight to your chest. The downside is that all of this tends to get slightly stale after a while.

The Breakdown:
Gameplay – 7/10
Sound – 7/10
Graphics – 8/10

Predominantly reviewed on Xbox 360.