Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Dannie Kitten Gaming Awards!

So I've been thinking long and hard about this. It's been another good year for us gamers and I wanted to acknowledge the best with the Dannie Kitten Gaming Awards!

By the end of 2011 I had had a pretty good year...I had a difficult pregnancy which meant plenty of bed rest and time with my Xbox just as Skyrim hit the shelves. Then my life as I knew it ended. I wanted to spend all my time as Thalia, my Redguard adventurer.

This year couldn't possibly have topped that....or so I thought. But it turns out this year had some goodies in store for us. So here it is, The Dannie Kitten Gaming Awards 2012:

Game of the Year: The Walking Dead

This was by far the easiest decision I've made. This game is perfect! The first episode was amazing when I first played it, but TRUST ME it gets so much better. I know a few people who didn't buy the game based on the first episode and all I can say is PERSEVERE. I enjoyed it anyway, but when my save miraculously disappeared most of the way through Ep.4 I had to go back and replay and yes I did think it felt pretty slow and drawn out. But by then I knew the awesomeness that was coming next so it was easy to go through it again. The game is game-as-storyteller at it's very best and should be way up there on everyones lists of favourite games. To cut a long story short...GO BUY THIS GAME NOW!

XBLIG of the Year: Smooth Operators

Now I know I have already given out my award for Game of the Year but I feel this game deserved a special mention. So I created an award for the Indie games and this is the winner! God this game is good! I have long since been a fan of sim games such as these and when one came to the XBLIG market I had to have it. And it really didn't disappoint. Giving this game this award was such an easy choice to make. It is easy pick-up-and-play fun, but trust me it isn't so hard to put it down! I have sunk many many hours into this game and I still find it fun. Pick it up guys!

Character of the Year: Kenny (The Walking Dead)

This is probably the toughest decision I have made in this post. We have been treated to so many convincing characters this year. But Kenny had to win it. Kenny has been one of my favourite characters from a game EVER let alone this year. This guy is amazing. A family man from Florida who just wants to protect his family from the Zombie infested world. He goes through a lot, and comes out the other side pretty broken. The emotion that went into animating this character and voicing him is truly experienced as you play alongside him. I love Kenny. That guy deserves a medal.

Biggest Surprise of the Year: Shark Attack Deathmatch

Let's be honest here, when an Indie game attempts to do something different, it almost always falls flat on its backside. This game really doesn't. I don't know why I was expecting this game to be bad, I just was and it was actually REALLY GREAT. The single-player Survivor mode is fun enough, but this game has fully-fledged online multiplayer mode which always seems to have plenty of people ready to play. For 80MSP this game is a real steal and again, should feature on everyones game list.

Multiplayer of the Year: Mass Effect 3

This game carried with it A LOT of controversy when it was released way back in March. I'm gonna hold my hands up and say this...I don't know what all the fuss was about. I think the game was great. For me Mass Effect was about the journey, I wasn't too fussed by the 'three choice ending' because I actually thought it tied up all the stories pretty well.

So now I've got that out of they way, let's get on with explaining why this game wins this award. For me it's's bloody good. But for those of you wanting a little more explanation than that (can't say I blame you!) here goes. This is the first time Multiplayer has been included in a Mass Effect title. So it could have been shocking. It isn't though, and in the first few weeks of owning this game I sunk as much time into multiplayer as I did the campaign. I think it ties in nicely with the campaign too, increasing your 'readiness' for the grand finale. And it works well. There isn't really anything I found annoying with Mass Effect multiplayer, which is pretty rare. And they gave us TONNES of new content for free so it didn't get old. You can play as so many different races and classes that you can make the experience different every time. There are varying difficulty levels, and trust me they get hard! But it's all part of the fun with this game, it doesn't get as annoying as other online shooters and added bonus for me and my fella...the game has two discs, and BOTH of them include the multiplayer, so we can play together without forking out so much! Yay!

Co-op Game of the Year: Minecraft
I doubt there are many of you that haven't at least played Minecraft or one of it's many, cheaper clones. I hadn't played Minecraft until it was released on XBLA this year and my boyfriend begged me to buy it. So I did, and so did our friends and we spent agggggeeess building a world together. This game gets co-op game of the year because it never really gets old. If you read my blog you know I'm always on the look out for co-op games to enjoy with my friends and family, but many of them get old fairly quickly. This one doesn't. Maybe it's because it doesn't really have a main objective so you can set your own depending on what you feel like. I don't know what made this such a favourite for me and my friends but it is and it is a game we keep going back to. It is pretty dear at 1600MSP but it is a game that you will never actually that seems like pretty good value :p

Most Fun this Year: Rock Band Blitz

This game is another I have reviewed this year and loved. Living with a guitarist means we have every music game ever in our house. It also means that, unfortunately he wasn't ready to even give this game a chance, due to the lack of a plastic guitar (sad I know) I made him try it and he actually likes it. But I LOVE IT. For me it has taken everything that is most fun about a music game and made it even better. Listening to music...yes fun. Playing a game whilst listening to music...yep fun. Doing it without going through the rigmarole of digging out paraphernalia...EVEN BETTER! The tracklist for this game is amazing, and even better all of my DLC moved into there to make for a pretty full roster. The power-ups make this game a must have for me, and it is a game I keep going back to if I want some quick, easy fun. Pick it up guys!

Graphics of the Year: Far Cry 3

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so I don't expect everyone to agree with me. I gave this award on the basis of what game, upon entering the game world, made me say 'wow' and this has to be it. This game is beautiful! The characters are well envisioned and the Island is simply gorgeous. Climbing to the top of a Radio Tower and looking out everything looks amazing. There doesn't seem to be any rendering, like in Skyrim, everything is there in all it's beauty. It is an astonishing world that has so much to offer to us gamers, it's amazing graphics are just the icing on the cake.

Shooter of the Year: Sniper Elite V2

I wasn't originally going to create awards for specific genres of games, but I thought I would make an exception with this one. Almost everyone has got at least a little disheartened by all the carbon-copy shooters coming out year after year. This game offers something a little different. Yes it's still a shooter, and you don't have to play solely as a sniper, you can still run and gun. BUT if you persevere and stick to being a sniper, you are rewarded with some amazing slowed-down close-ups of your victim. The camera follows the bullet THROUGH the body, wherever you hit and goes into X-Ray vision, showing you the shattering bones in all their glory. SO MUCH FUN. My dad even managed a shot straight through the enemies that was fun to watch!

Most Frustrating Game of the Year: Spelunky

Now I know frustrating is a negative thing. SO why am I giving an award out to a frustrating game? This game is one of the most frustrating games I have ever played, but it is also one of the best. It features four player coop (yay!) and is easily one of the most annoying games I've ever played. But it has us all hooked. The fun is in the challenge in this game, if it was too easy it would not have sold half as many. This game is just as hard as it needs to be to create a challenging environment in which the right tactics can thrive. A brilliant, yet frustrating game.

And now, simply because I don't feel like I have enough of my favourites of this year on this list I am going to give you a list. This list will contain my top ten picks of the year, after all of the above. It's a kinda 'Best of the Rest' if you will. So here it is:

A truly great turn-based tactical shooter. I'm not one for turn-based games but this one is brilliant!
2. Dishonored
Reminds me a lot of the old Tenchu game on PS1. Play how you want, sneaky or full scale attack. Amazing game with great graphics.
3. Spec Ops: The Line
A great cover-based third person shooter that actually makes you feel bad for the decisions you make.
4. Deadlight
This 2D platformer features beautiful 3D environments and is SO much fun to play.
5. Game of Thrones
As a massive fan of the show and the book, this had to feature on the list!
6. Real Steel
I have never watched the film and don't even have much interest in Robots or fighting games, but this game had me hooked.
7. Hitman Absolution
Whats not to love about this return to the amazing Hitman games?!
8. Rocksmith
It's strange that I like this so-called 'game' so much, but it does provide some fun whilst teaching you to play your favourite songs on the real guitar.
9. Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse
I know it got slammed pretty much everywhere, but I had a lot of fun gunning down my friends on this game. Take it as a bit of fun (and get it cheap) and this game can provide a lot of laughs.
10. I Am Alive
A game that was originally meant for retail release and instead released on XBLA. The characters are well written and the graphics are beautiful. A great post-apocalyptic game.

Comedy Night (XBLIG) Review

 Comedy Night is available now on the XBLIG Marketplace for 80MSP.

Ok. I'm gonna hold my hands up and say, this has been one of the hardest games to review. I really feel for the developers. This game is one of the most original game ideas on the XBLIG Marketplace and the community have ruined it. I have attempted to play this game on numerous occasions and each time have been met with idiots who just shout and scream and play music down their mic. There have been probably two people who have attempted to make jokes. That's about it. So of all the time I have spent on this game, much of it was spent backing in and out of games, hoping to find someone who was actually playing the game as it should be played.
As mentioned, this game has a great, original idea. It gives us Xbox LIVE users a stage on which to perform. It is meant to be a stage for stand-up comedy, something to entertain the others in the room. 
The graphics are really good. It is an avatar game, which works well. But the environments you are placed in are nice. 
There are options to boo people of the stage, but for some reason the most annoying people weren't leaving the stage, and if they did they just came back.
I have been struggling with what score to give this game, seeing as I haven't really had the true experience the developer meant for us. 
It is with a heavy heart that I have given this game the score I have and really it doesn't reflect on the developers at all. It is the community that have received this score. 
Overall I would say skip this game, and that is solely because the community hasn't gotten into the true spirit of the game. Unless you wanna be annoyed by twelve year olds playing their CD's...

2/10 SKIP IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.

Shark Attack Deathmatch (XBLIG) Review

Shark Attack Deathmatch is available now on the XBLIG Marketplace for 80MSP.

 Again, I'm gonna jump straight into the point of this review. BUY THIS GAME! Seriously, this is a bloody good XBLIG title.
It has a online multiplayer mode, which is fantastic, and seemingly never empty. Jump on at any time and you will find someone playing.
The single player is good too. I know that this where a lot of people think this game falls down, but I'm not one of them. This mode is fantastic. It is really atmospheric and actually truly scary.
The graphics in this game are amazing, especially for an Indie game. The sharks, in particular are brilliant. These sharks are easily some of the best sharks I've come across, and seeing as I received Far Cry 3 for Christmas, that is high praise!

The game just feels right. Yes the aiming is difficult to get the hang of, but wouldn't you expect that seeing as you are shooting UNDERWATER?

This game is just pure fun. It is pretty scary when a shark attacks you, and this hasn't worn off for me even after sinking plenty of hours in. It's a game you can easily spend hours on and not get bored.

EVERYBODY should buy this game. Seriously. Especially if you're bored of cookie-cutter shooter doing the same old thing time and again. Hell, even if you don't normally like shooters, try this one out. You might like it!
9/10 BUY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.

Jigsaw Jumble (XBLIG) Review

Jigsaw Jumble Xmas is available now on the XBLIG Marketplace for 80MSP.

I have a three year old son who is MAD for jigsaws he has loads and we're always doing them together. So what better than a digital jigsaw, where we can't lose any pieces?
This game is actually pretty good, and if like me you have young puzzle mad kids it's a must have for the holiday season. This is a time to spend with family and what better way than completing a puzzle together.
The graphics are cute, the music is cute. Obviously there is nothing groundbreaking here. But after some of the blockbuster titles I've received for Christmas, this was a welcome change. Nice simple gameplay that can be enjoyed by all of us, and not saved for when the kids are in bed!
There are a variety of puzzles, all with different difficulty settings so there are plenty of options to keep even the most seasoned jigsawers busy.

80MSP is nothing for a game that saw me and my son snuggling up together. Like I said if you have kids, buy it. If you love puzzles buy it and even if you're just looking for something a little different on your Xbox, buy it!
7/10 BUY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.

Santas Xmas Dash II (XBLIG) Review

 Santas Xmas Dash II is available now on the XBLIG Marketplace for 80MSP.

 Ok. I'm just going to run headlong into the meat of this review. DO NOT BUY THIS GAME. There I said it. I know I've always said in the past that 80MSP is peanuts so most Indie titles are worth a try but that was before I played this game.
The word 'dash' for me implies a rush. You have to hurry to do what you need to do. Not so in this game. All you do in this game is press the corresponding button to make Santa go from house to house handing out presents. That is all. And it is super easy. I managed it whilst feeding my baby daughter and making sure my son doesn't kill himself jumping off the couch declaring 'I'm Batman' (It's been an eventful Christmas!)

The multiplayer offers a little more fun for your money, but again very little and very short-lived. The graphics are cutesy and the music is fun, well at least one of the songs is!

I don't really see anyone wanting to pick this game over much else this christmas. I've gotta say skip this one guys!
1/10 SKIP IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas Carnage (XBLIG) Review

Christmas Carnage is available now on the XBLIG Marketplace for 80MSP.

 Everybody loves christmas right? Apparently not the people at Bandana Games as they have released Christmas Carnage, a game about shooting everything that signifies Christmas.

Ok. So you open the game to a very basic menu, that looks like it could have been made with Paint. BUT there is a cute little countdown to Christmas ay bobbing about near the top. It's a nice touch, but it doesn't really detract from the clipart-esque fairy stood by the side.

Stay on this menu long enough and you'll be treated*note the hint of sarcasm* to the voice acting/sound affects. Oh God it is bad. It's lazy and nowhere near as merry as the nice, christmas music.

Go into the game and unfortunately the clipart theme continues. It's bad background after bad background as you're pitted against varying Christmas themed enemies. The scrolling text at the bottom is actually pretty funny...but if you're the one playing be warned, reading it all may well lead to your death, it scrolls along AS the enemies come onto the screen.

It's a typical twin-stick shooter, nothing new there. And I guess there is a certain charm to it. It plays pretty well, but you may want to turn down the volume, the voice acting gets annoying very quickly.

The point of the game is to get the highest score. So you'd expect to see a Leaderboard of some type right? WRONG. There are no leaderboards in this game, not even local ones, it just records your best ever score. That is all. That's a very poor show in a game like this, hopefully something the developer will look into doing in the future.

At 80MSP it's worth a try. It's not going to break the bank and it provides a little entertainment. Nothing spectacular but nothing too bad it shouldn't be there.

4/10 TRY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Realms of Ancient War (XBLA) Review

Realms of Ancient War is available now on the XBLA Marketplace for 1200MSP.

Now I have mentioned many a time how much I LOVE co-op dungeon-crawler RPG type games. Once the kids are in bed me and my other half pick up a controller each and go to town. RPG games are for us the creme-de-la-creme and they have an extra cherry on top if they're co-op.

So, by rights we both should have loved this game, right? Wrong. I have found it very difficult to carry on playing this game for the purpose of this review. I have lost interest in this game more times than I can count and have frequently turned it off to look for fun elsewhere. He likes it though, he's not overly enthused by it but he doesn't quite understand why I am SO bored by it.

Off the bat you pick between the three characters available, a mage, a warrior damage-dealer and a rogue. We both opt for the same characters we always do...he the warrior and me the rogue. Upon choosing them you are dropped straight into the game and it all starts to fall apart.

NO WORLD MAP! NO MINI-MAP! Quintessential in an RPG no? Well say bye-bye because this game only has a pretty useless world map INBETWEEN levels. Not good.

RPG's for me have always been best when there is at least a lose basis of tactics involved. R.A.W laughs in the face of tactics and doesn't even give players the option to roll, dodge, counter or otherwise. Just keep hitting, keep bashing the attack button and your golden. VERY, VERY basic. It means you just stand trading damage with others and running when you seem a little bit f*cked. Mage class is where this is worse, obviously, and when we did attempt to play as the mage the game just verged on the ridiculous.

The skill 'tree' (I have used this term VERY loosely as you'll see) is again extremely basic. There is no real tree. Each character has a certain amount of skills that they can level up three times. Done. It doesn't really offer any chance for customisation, something which I feel is very important.

The graphics are pretty good, everything is pretty dark, but I can't really pick on anything except the pretty crappy attack animations. They're just a bit jarring. The music is alright too, pretty atmospheric, but nothing too exciting.

Too sum it up there just isn't really anything to this game. It's very basic and monotonous and has no stand-out good points. It is what it is. Priced at 1200MSP I think this game is a total rip-off, maybe priced at 800MSP it'd have a chance. 1200MSP just seems like far too high an asking price for the quality of game you get.

If you love dungeon-crawlers and it goes on sale, maybe give it a go. Otherwise I'd say skip on this one.
4/10 SKIP IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.