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Zack & Wiki: Quest For Barbaros' Treasure
Zack and Wiki is not your average Point and Click adventure - story takes a back seat to puzzles. In each level, there is a treasure chest in plain sight and you have to find ways around the levels various traps and other hinderances to get your hands on that golden deliciousness.
The puzzles are briliantly thought out - there are few where you get genuinely stuck. The difficulty curve is also excelent. Puzzles do start off as very easy but get devilishly hard by the end. They are always well thought out though so when you solve a particuarly hard puzzle, you get a warm, smug glow.
The characters are entertaining (Wiki is one of my favourite gaming sidekicks), the levels are well designed. Even the graphics are nice in their own way. No, they're not as good as crysis but who cares?
The game is *very* Japanese - there is no recorded dialogue and the noises both Zack and Wiki make will be familiar to anyone who has watched anime... I find this charming but I'm sure many people will find it childish and annoying.
Other than that, though, there aren't really any down sides. It's a well designed, clever and often charmingly funny game that's worth buying if only to get some use out of your Wii... Also it's a 3rd party game and they need as much support as they can get at the moment...
Rayman: Raving Rabbids 2
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I didn't really like the first one - the multiplayer wasn't particularly strong and there was seldom support for four players.
In this one, the ballance has been redressed. It's more of a part game than a minigame collection as the minigames are in groups of six, each themed around a continent (Europe, America, Aisia etc.) After each minigame, the players are placed first, second etc. and given scores accodingly. The winner is the one at the end of the trip with the most points.
This makes the game feel larger and more engaging than the minigame collections like Wii Sports because you are engaging in a tournament with your friends rather than just playing single game after single game with no one really keeping score. This does leave the players who are a bit rubbish out in the cold somewhat though...
The games are less inventive than they were the first time round though. The use of the wiimote is less exciting but then again, I think the games are of generally a higher quality. There are only 60 this time so there are fewer duds (although there are definitely some dodgy games in there). The humour has been stepped up a notch thanks to Rayman being sidelined by the Rabbids.
The single player game is pretty terrible however. It doesnt have any of the charm of Wario Ware and the only reason you'd ever play them is to unlock new costumes (of which there are almost a hundred). Actually, I'm being unfair. The minigames are still fun by yourself, they're just not as fun as they are when you're with friends.
It beats Mario Party 8 as a party game because, joy of joys, you can skip the cutscenes. The games are all slightly longer as well, which increases the sense of competition.
Overall, Rayman: Raving Rabbids 2 is a brilliant game if you have several friends who all love the Wii. The games are polished and often hillarious. The only things that let it down are a disapointing singleplayer and a few dud games. Because of the quality of the rest of the game, this really doesnt matter.
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The story is just plain confusing, the fights unsatisfying and the AI is pretty bad...
There are plenty of customisation options and the graphics are quite good but there's little to recomend this unless you're a die hard space sim fan...
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Bioshock is probably the best game to be released since Deus Ex. The plot is absolutely superb, involving and touching. The moral decisions you make have a genuine impact on it. The action is good, the genetic modifications are well thought out and devastating...
The characters are great, it's scary, thrilling, disturbing and touching in the right amounts.
There are a few problems - for instance. When you die, you are revived in "vita-chambers" minus some resources. This means that dying really isn't much of a set back. The game is also quite heavily bugged - it has activation issues and AVG anti virus has a nasty habit of deleting the EXE.
These flaws don't take away from a superb game that absolutely deserves the praise it's been getting.
Trauma Centre: Second Opinion
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One of those titles that only Nintendo could produce...
A very fun surgery-em up which has a ridiculous but intriguingly plot about medical terrorism. The pace of the game is excellent, as is the difficulty curve - you are constantly faced with new scenarios which are always challenging but never boring or frustrating...
With no multiplayer, its long term appeal is suspect but you could do a lot worse, especially considering how great it feels to play something genuinely original.
Need For Speed: Carbon
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Many people have complained about the controls. I'm sorry to say that they are totally, totally wrong. Carbon provides you with several control schemes, involving gestures and buttons, all of which come with three sensitivity settings. The upshot being that there is definitely a perfect control system for you.
As for the game itself, the gameplay is pretty much identical to NFS Underground, Underground 2 and Most wanted. IE the game is still very fun to play but has nothing really new to it. The police chases are still there but there aren't as many (you don't need to complete chases to advance in rank this time).
Interestingly, this incarnation of NFS is much shorter than previous ones. This means that there are fewer cars available but the game is a sensible length instead of the weeks it took to complete Most Wanted.
My one big criticism of the game is their allocation of the cars. There are three car types, Muscle, Tuner and Exotic. The Muscle cars are stuff like the Mustang and the Dodge Charger which no sane person would touch with a barge pole but the Exotic cars, stuff like the DB9 and the Porsche 911 handle terribly - they just don't turn corners. This gets frustrating because if you want a car that handles well, you're forced to stick with the Tuner cars.
This turns out not to be a problem as the Tuner cars have the Skyline R34, the MR2 and the Subaru Imprezza but it's a shame to have the excellent selection seen in Most Wanted messed with.
Overall, its still a very fun game, especially if you don't yet have a racing game for the Wii. I'm not sure it's worth £30 but if you see it in a sale, go for it.
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
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Yes, it's a very fun game but no, it doesn't live up the hype annoyingly. Whilst the gameplay mechanics have moved on, it lacks the amazing horror atmosphere of Resident Evil 2 but isn't as good a shooter as something like Red Steel. Spooky Islands just aren't as cool as fighing in cities and underground complexes.
But the story is good, the characters are solid and it's never boring or frustrating. You could do a lot worse.
Patriots: A Nation Under Fire
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Patriots isn't the worst game I've ever played but it comes close. Terrible AI, offensive, buggy, no story to speak of and generally soul less.
Aura 2: The Sacred Rings
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stupidly obscure puzzles, a terrible script, voice acting that makes you want to commit suicide and an interface that should be buried in an unmarked grave, this game should be avoided, even at this price.
The graphics are quite nice though...
SiN Episode 1: Emergence
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Derivative title which is nothing but the worst bits of Half Life 2 with some different character models. Awful AI, an over reliance on scripting and you only get three weapons.