Frogger Inferno released for the iPhone

Frogger
Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced that Frogger Inferno for the iPhone and iPod touch is now available on the App Store for 99 cents. One of Konami’s most beloved franchises, Frogger is back and better than ever in a classic arcade game with an all-new twist.

In Frogger Inferno, players must employ familiar dodge-and-run tactics to safely guide Frogger across the busy highway to his home marsh while avoiding cars, trucks and alligator-filled waters ready to stop him in his tracks. Upping the ante, players are challenged to complete their mission without the ability to double back, as trails of fire are left wherever Frogger goes. As an added bonus, gamers can compete and compare scores with friends using the new Facebook Connect integration functionality, allowing users the opportunity to track game scores, play against others, and follow friends and family on the Frogger Leader Board.

Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition out in May

Batman Arkham Asylum
Eidos Inc.* and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, on behalf of DC Comics, today confirmed that the Batman: Arkham Asylum™ Game of the Year Edition will be available in North America in May 2010. The North American version will come with four extra challenge maps on disc and feature an innovative new technology which offers a play-in-3D option compatible with all standard and high definition TV sets.

Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition adds a new dimension to the multi award-winning gameplay experience, with support for TriOviz 3D on both PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system from Sony Computer Entertainment and the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. TriOviz 3D is a patented 3D process which adds depth to the game, visible to players wearing the included 3D glasses. By leveraging the depth-of-field while maintaining the original gameplay and color integrity, TriOviz 3D creates a far more immersive gaming experience, allowing console players to dive deeper into the gothic world of Arkham Asylum.

Expanding the gameplay of the original boxed edition, the Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition comes with four previously released Downloadable Content Challenge Maps on disc, giving players further opportunities to hone their FreeFlow™ Combat skills and test their Invisible Predator™ prowess.

In Batman: Arkham Asylum, BATMAN finds himself trapped inside the confines of Gotham’s psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane, ARKHAM ASYLUM. The Joker has set a trap for the DARK KNIGHT and has conspired with the deranged inmates to eliminate Batman once and for all. Adding to the authenticity of the game are veteran animated Batman voice talents Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, who reprise their roles as The Joker and Batman respectively.

Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story by Paul Dini, Batman writer and five-time Emmy Award winner whose credits include Lost and Batman: The Animated Series. Gamers will move in the shadows, instil fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City’s most notorious villains, including HARLEY QUINN, BANE, KILLER CROC, POISON IVY and SCARECROW, who have taken over the asylum.

Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition will be available across North America from May 11th, 2010, and throughout Europe and Australasia from March 26th, 2010, for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Games For Windows LIVE.

Napoleon: Total War gameplay trailer is now live

Napoleon: Total War
Napoleon: Total War
The first Napoleon: Total War gameplay trailer is now live and unveils a brand new Story Mode with three unique theaters of War: Northern Italy, the Middle East and Grand European campaigns. This is your chance to rewrite history as or against, Napoleon, the greatest military tactician in history.

Whether you play as the legendary General or against, the outcome of war can never be guaranteed. The course of history relies on your ability to lead your troops through the most intense battles as never seen before in a Total War game.

The seamless mix of objective-based missions and sandbox experience makes this the most complete Total War experience to date. Advanced weaponry enables new tactical options and even more exciting real-time battles on an epic scale, while the highly detailed environments and improved battlefield buildings guarantee a realistic recreation of famous historical battles.

Napoleon: Total War is developed by award winning developer the Creative Assembly, the team behind the revered Total War franchise and most recently the critically acclaimed Empire: Total War RTS game for PC.

Wii Fit – Wii video game review

The active-play phenomenon started by Wii Sports now spreads to your whole body thanks to “Wii Fit” and the pressure-sensitive Wii Balance Board, which comes bundled with it. Used together players will experience an extensive array of fun, dynamic and surprisingly challenging activities, including aerobics, yoga, muscle stretches and balance oriented games.

wii fit
Game: Wii Fit
Platform: Wii
Studio: Nintendo
Rating: 7.5/10

Corporate line:
The active-play phenomenon started by Wii Sports now spreads to your whole body thanks to “Wii Fit” and the pressure-sensitive Wii Balance Board, which comes bundled with it. Used together players will experience an extensive array of fun, dynamic and surprisingly challenging activities, including aerobics, yoga, muscle stretches and balance oriented games. The focus of these activities is towards providing a “core” workout, a popular exercise method that emphasizes slower, controlled motions, but it’s the fun approach to fitness of “Wii Fit” that will keep players hooked on fitness for years to come.

The “Wii Fit” Balance Board

The primary tenet of Wii Fit is balance. Your center of balance, the point between your left and right sides when you stand upright, has a lot to do with your health. Those without an even center of balance will be unnaturally compensating for this imbalance, which causes their posture to become misaligned, increasing the possibility of putting unnecessary strain on their bodies. This is where the Wii Balance Board comes in.

Similar in appearance to a step aerobics board, the Wii Balance Board is much, much more. Easily capable of supporting weights up to a maximum of 300 pounds, it is sturdy and precise, able to measure weight and register pressure accurately when placed on a variety of flat surfaces. This advanced level of sensitivity allows for both the wide range of activities found in the “Wii Fit” software as well as the board’s amazing ability recognize individual players by their weight alone.

Getting Started: Create a Profile

Before you jump into doing exercises and activities, you’ll start by creating a profile. This is done easily and intuitively by simply choosing a Mii, entering your height and age information, and doing a few quick tests that will serve as a baseline for your new Wii fitness regimen. These tests are:

* BMI Check: BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that is the standard used by agencies such as the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health. To check your BMI, you’ll enter your height then stand on the Wii Balance Board and let it read your weight.
* Wii Fit Age: After you’ve checked your BMI, you’ll do a basic balance test and find out your current Wii Fit Age. This basic balance test measures how well you can control your left and right balance. Based on the results, you’ll be assigned a “Wii Fit” Age.

Four Categories of Fun
Once you have created your profile it’s time to have some fun. “Wii Fit” features four main categories of exercises to choose from: Strength Training, Aerobics, Yoga and Balance Games. “Wii Fit” will guide you through the first three with the help of your own virtual personal trainer, while the balance games offer variety and fun to help keep you engaged and excited about your fitness goals. In addition, as you spend time exercising, you’ll earn Fit Credits that unlock additional exercises and activities within your favorite categories that will allow you to continue to push yourself. See more detail on the four categories below:

* Strength Training: Put your strength to the test with muscle-toning exercises like Single Leg Extension, Sideways Leg Lift, Arm and Leg Lift, Single-Arm Stand, Torso Twists, Rowing Squat, Single Leg Twist, Lunge, Push-Up and Side Plank, Jackknife, Plank and Tricep Extension. Challenges include Push-Up Challenge, Plank Challenge and Jackknife Challenge.
* Aerobics: Get your heart pumping with fun, interactive Aerobic exercises like Hula Hoop, Basic Step, Basic Run, Super Hula Hoop, Advanced Step, 2-P Run, Rhythm Boxing, Free Step and Free Run.
* Yoga: Work on your balance and flexibility with Yoga poses and activities like Deep Breathing, Half-Moon, Dance, Cobra, Bridge, Spinal Twist, Shoulder Stand, Warrior, Tree, Sun Salutation, Standing Knee, Palm Tree, Chair, Triangle and Downward-Facing Dog.
* Balance Games: Get into the action with fun, balanced-based games like Soccer Heading, Ski Slalom, Ski Jump, Table Tilt, Tightrope Walk, Balance Bubble, Penguin Slide, Snowboard Slalom and Lotus Focus.

Keep Track of Your Progress
Because keeping fit is an ongoing process, Wii Fit also tracks the activities you do the most and puts them into your Favorites category. With this information players can note exercises and activities that they are strong in, as well as others that may need to improve at. Some of the ways players can use this information for are to:

* Keep tabs on your daily progress with easy-to-understand graphs and charts. Using your personal profile, you can set goals, view a graph of your BMI results over time, see how many Fit Credits you’ve earned, check your Wii Fit Age and even enter exercise time you’ve done outside of Wii Fit. It’s all about coming back and exercising a little every day, and the personal profile makes tracking your daily progress simple and easy.
* Quickly check your Wii Fit Age and BMI without even putting the game in the console by going directly to the Wii Fit Channel.
* Allow up to eight family members can create their own profiles in Wii Fit. On the profile-selection screen, everyone in the family can see each other’s recent BMI progress and Fit Credit total. This will allow families to have a friendly competition to exercise and get fit.

Variety, fun and progress tracking; Wii Fit has it all. So, Wii owners if you ready to reclaim your balance and get fit all you need is Wii Fit, a few minutes a day to play and the urge to have fun. Get on board today.

Get a great workout right in your home without going to the gym. Nintendo Wii Fit with Wii Balance Board turns your living room into a fitness center for the whole family. Family members will have fun getting a “core” workout, and talking about and comparing their results and progress on a new channel on the Wii Menu. Aerobic Exercise – 10-minute exercises that are designed to get your heart pumping Muscle Conditioning – Controlled motions using arms, legs and other body parts Yoga Poses – Classic poses that focus on balance and stretching Balance Games – Fun activities, such as ski jumping and heading soccer balls, that challenge the player’s overall body balance.

The review:
The balance board is your guide to making “Wii Fit” work. The balance board can tell you lots of things from your weight, body mass index and your movements. Not surprisingly the board works really well and interacts with the Wii fantastically. The problem is the balance board often seems like a better idea for a surfing game than a fitness product.

It’s a really positive move in the video game industry to have a game that focuses on fitness. But this won’t replace your gym membership. What “Wii Fit” certainly won’t help you with is solid fitness advice. You may or may not end up in the good side of your body mass index but “Wii Fit” isn’t going to give you lots of details of why you aren’t or how you can get there. I guess its just believed to be common knowledge. That might make sense for a 30 year-old but not a 16 year-old.

There are different training games that take you through numerous different exercises. You can go from yoga to strength training. The Yoga moves sure aren’t as hard as the real thing. A lot of it has to do with breathing and posturing. Of course the game never really knows what you are up to but if you are going to fake it here you’ll fake it at the gym too so what would it matter? There are a wide array of aerobic exercises like step-dancing, jogging and boxing. The balance ones are skiing type moves and a tilting table.

The biggest missing element to “Wii Fit” and its score is that it can’t take into account what you are really doing. It can tell your weight and other things, like your level of balance but not your upper-body exercises. You could just stand there and pretend to be doing your workout–but again you are only cheating yourself.

Finally:
With limited exercises, 30 total, the exercise regime gets a bit boring. Worse yet–you have to unlock the exercises. Sure it gives you incentive but its a lot of work to try and get some variety. One of the biggest problems is the inability to create your own workout routine. It makes sense to have a video game where you have to go through a certain level a certain way, but not for an exercise game. At the gym you have tons of things to choose from. The real proof that it’s working is increasing weight or reps and/or losing weight and putting on muscle. It would also be cool to be able to insert your own music.

It’s really hard to put down a game that actually strives to make you healthier. There are some flaws, but the game shows a lot of promise. You can bet that the next version will be a lot better. “Wii Fit” is sort of like having your cake and eating it too–exercise and play. Who would have ever thought?

Iron Man – Xbox 360 video game review

Based on the comic book series and major motion picture from Marvel Studios, Iron Man immerses gamers in hardcore shooting action and explosive combat from the film.

iron man
Game: Iron Man
Platform: Xbox 360
Studio: Sega
Rating: 4/10


Corporate line:

Based on the comic book series and major motion picture from Marvel Studios, Iron Man immerses gamers in hardcore shooting action and explosive combat from the film. Exclusive content created just for the game makes it even more interesting for those who want to know more about the Iron Man story. With freedom to move anywhere in the open world environment, customize your Iron Man suit, and seamlessly transition between ground combat, and open air flight as you battle against armies of fighter jets, tanks, armored Super Villains, and more. You are a One Man Army. You are Iron Man.

Features:

* Become a Devastating Weapon: Iron Man alone battles armies of fighter jets, military tanks, armored Super Villains, and more.

* Beyond the Movie: The game includes additional plotlines and characters from the Iron Man Comic Universe that are not featured in the movie.

* Open World: Players have complete freedom to move anywhere in the environment and make seamless transitions between ground combat and open air flight.

* Power Control : Players will direct power to different parts of Iron Man’s suit, creating a variety of unique attacks.

* Chaotic Battlefields: Open-ended battlefields create adrenaline-packed combat filled with unpredictable challenges.

Gameplay:
There is the rare moment of joy playing as Iron Man–which is a shame because the movie is so good. One of the rare bright spots is your ability to tweak your suit. You get to mess with everything from the weapons to the abilities of Iron Man.

Then there is the bad–and there is a lot. “Iron Man” is the definition of repetition. The enemies couldn’t be lamer. If I didn’t have to review the game I’d have bailed on it much sooner. Another pisser is the fact that you either make it through a level or you don’t. There is no halfway point where you can die soon after and restart there–its back to the beginning if you burn through your lives. There were numerous occasions where you are asked to be a hero but can’t because its impossible. Either you are so massively under attack which makes it near impossible to complete a mission or you just can’t sort through the chaos to save a nuclear plant from exploding. Sometimes its just easier to pretend the bad guys aren’t blowing things up.

Graphics:
“Iron Man” is all over the graphic map. Occasionally some of the scenes are great and others just move awkwardly. The cut-scenes should be great and yet they are lackluster.

Audio:
Robert Downey, Jr. and Terrance Howard are actually voicing the characters and yet it doesn’t matter. Not because the game isn’t good–they just sound like two guys going through the motions.

Finally:

“Iron Man” is an exercise in frustration. Not only because the game isn’t good–but because it could have been great. Flying around as Iron Man is cool. It’s when Iron Man has to react to a problem that the game falls to pieces. “Iron Man” is the type of game where you wish it were more “Grand Theft Auto” with a massive world where you can explore everywhere. How cool would it be to fly across the ocean to Europe just because you can? Well you can’t fly forever and that is forgivable, but little else is. The lack of AI and other important details kill “Iron Man.”

Watch the trailer:

[Love or hate the review? Write your own and send it to us or post it in the comments!]

Grand Theft Auto IV – video game review

If there was a Russian “Scarface” his name would be Niko Bellic. And Liberty City would be Niko’s playground—and what a massive playground it is.

Grand Theft Auto IV
Game: Grand Theft Auto IV
Platform: Xbox 360
Studio: Title
Rating: 10/10

Gameplay:
If there was a Russian “Scarface” his name would be Niko Bellic. And Liberty City would be Niko’s playground—and what a massive playground it is.

Niko is straight off the boat from Eastern Europe and he has one goal—to live the American Dream and make it big in Liberty City. Niko thinks it will be easy because he believes his cousin Roman is a hot shot rich guy who has already made it—but he soon finds out Roman is no better off than him.

Niko is the best character GTA has yet to offer. He is more like Michael from the Godfather than Scarface. Niko is a smart guy who realizes that he can have it all, but at a cost. There are times when Niko struggles with being little more than a killing machine which adds to the depth of his character.

But before you get caught up in the emotion of the game there is still the part where you steal cars, run from the police and murder people. An interesting twist is that there are moments in the game where Niko must make moral choices—often to kill or not to kill. And those moral choices have ramifications.

The brilliance of GTA IV is what seems to be hundreds, if not thousands of interactions happening. It’s as if you were driving your car in the real world while something is happening to others on every block throughout that city. This is what makes GTA IV feel so alive. It seems that even if you weren’t there something would still happen as other characters go through their simulated life. One moment you might be getting your car washed and watch a cop chase a criminal down the street. These people go on with their lives without worrying about you—that is unless you steal their car or run them down as you crash through an intersection.

Liberty City may not be the largest city, in terms of what you may have played in other games, but it’s amazingly functional. You may end up on a roof chasing someone or just buying clothes, playing pool or bowling.

A great feature in this version of GTA is the mobile phone. Niko call, receive voicemail or be texted. There is even a phonebook entry for calling a car from Roman’s place and every person you meet ends up in your quick dial phonebook. And, Niko doesn’t have to be standing still to make a call. He can be driving 100 mph through the city will asking someone out on a date.

You will also use your phone to call some of the cast of characters that fall into your lap. One of the more interesting characters is the Jamaican drug/gun dealer Little Jacob. It’s not necessary to befriend everyone but when you need something it doesn’t hurt. Even an enemy can come in handy when they are in need of your services. Sometimes it seems as though this is a brilliant way to create mini-games. You might take one of the characters out for pool or bowling—you can actually bowl and play pool. But it’s about bonding even when it doesn’t seem completely necessary, however it’s hard to know what helps and what may not. You can even go drinking—and when drunk you have a hard time driving your car and may find it really tough to run from the police. Drinking is also an interesting way to get some of the characters to tell the truth.

The combat system is better but there are occasions when it’s very hard to lock on to someone. It makes sense to be able to lock on when firing a weapon but why do you need to lock on when just throwing a punch? There was one occasion where Niko was out on a date and the owner of a restaurant started a fight and it was impossible to lock the target on him. Instead Niko locked on to his date and in a split second hit her. The whole time the owner was punching and kicking Niko all I could do was run out of the place to stay alive. Even with free aim it’s not as easy as it should be.

One of the other issues is the police. They aren’t really good at capturing crooks, particularly Niko. It’s also amazing that you can run red lights right in front of them without getting chased. The only time the police seem to show up is when shots are fired, you steal a car when they are within sight or when you run someone over. The radar system is great however. When the police are after you there is a parameter that details how you need to get in order to outrun the police. It’s nice to have a goal rather than just running aimlessly hoping to get away.

The single best feature of GTA IV is the waypoint feature. It allows you to hit pause and go to the map and set a GPS style direction to follow. This streamlines the game and makes up for frustrating and aimless navigating, especially when in pursuit of someone or while trying to run from the police.

Graphics:
Liberty City is as massive and alive as it is beautiful. It’s not beautiful in the sense of the perfect utopian city—it looks more like New York City—but it’s the rare video game city that actually looks and feels realistic. The next generation platforms couldn’t have come soon enough for this franchise.

Audio:

The soundtrack is huge. I’ve read that there are over 200 songs, even though I prefer to drive without music. There is too much happening to try and follow along with the phone, people screaming and the radio on. The constant environmental noise is far more interesting than the radio.

As amazing as the soundtrack is, the characters are even better. Each character has a unique voice, and like a good movie they are immediately identifiable. There is so much dialogue that GTA IV could easily be a movie—and maybe one day it will be.

Finally:

I’m not really a fan of this genre, but Grand Theft Auto IV has me addicted. I can’t go to bed without at least an hour of Niko’s adventures. This is easily one of the best games I’ve ever played. Grand Theft Auto IV is epic.

Mario Kart Wii – Wii video game review

Start your engines and race with Mario and his friends with their finely tuned racing machines in Mario Kart Wii. Use 3 different control styles with the Wii Wheel included in the box. The worldwide race is on with a whole new set of tricks, tracks, and ways to play. Mario Kart Wii draws on courses and battle arenas from every game in the series – not to mention tons of new ones.

mario kart wii
Game: Mario Kart Wii
Platform: Wii
Studio: Nintendo
Rating: 8/10

Corporate line:
Start your engines and race with Mario and his friends with their finely tuned racing machines in Mario Kart Wii. Use 3 different control styles with the Wii Wheel included in the box. The worldwide race is on with a whole new set of tricks, tracks, and ways to play. Mario Kart Wii draws on courses and battle arenas from every game in the series – not to mention tons of new ones. The true king of the Mushroom Kingdom racing circuits will finally be crowned. Experience new tracks, enhanced Wii graphics, extraordinary gameplay and much more. Place first in Grand Prix circuits or clear skill-based missions to open up increasingly difficult and thrilling circuits. You can have multiplayer races on any open courses or battle in arenas. Now you can feel like you are Mario and steering to avoid obstacles and doing incredible stunts.

Special Powers/Weapons/Moves/Features – Shake the Wii Remote to pull off a trick that will temporarily boost your speed. When riding a bike, gain additional speed by flicking the Wii Remote up and popping a wheelie Up to 12 people via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection or up to 10 people via Wi-Fi Connection with 2 people playing locally

Gameplay:
“Mario Kart Wii” is a rip-roaring race against 11 other competitors. There are 32 courses total, some new to the Wii version. A cool new feature is the ability to do extreme moves when kart goes off a ramp. There are all sorts of cool tracks with fun ramps that produce all sorts of interesting features and tricks. The tracks are way more interesting than the few classic maps that have been carried over from previous releases. The tracks are loaded with items to help or hinder your race.

The new Wii Wheel transforms the Wii Remote controller into a steering wheel that feels natural in anyone’s hands, while the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controller offer a classic control style for the Mario Kart veteran. In either configuration, players can perform speed-boosting tricks with a shake of the Wii Remote.

Players can race as their favorite Nintendo character, 25 characters in total, or as Mii characters.

Graphics:
The Wii version should look better but it doesn’t look much different than it did on the GameCube. The environments have more detail and of course there is the addition of the Miis. Too bad it isn’t a much larger upgrade visually.

Audio:
The sound effects and sound track is very similar to the previous releases.

Finally:
“Mario Kart Wii” is as fun and fresh as it was 16 years ago. The addition of the Miis and the new Wii wheel give it a new level of fun.

Gran Turismo 5 – Playstation 3 video game review

Gran Turismo 5: Prologue features over 60 stunning cars – including vehicles by Lotus, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Ferrari for you to race on seriously realistic, real-life tracks: including the Eiger Nordwand, the London City Track and Suzuka – all rendered in incredible High Definition graphics.

gran turismo 5
Game: Gran Turismo 5
Platform: Playstation 3
Studio: Sony
Rating: 8/10

Corporate line:
Gran Turismo 5: Prologue features over 60 stunning cars – including vehicles by Lotus, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Ferrari for you to race on seriously realistic, real-life tracks: including the Eiger Nordwand, the London City Track and Suzuka – all rendered in incredible High Definition graphics. There’s also all-new driving physics for the most lifelike driving experience ever and new, improved opponent artificial intelligence for the toughest race challenge yet.

But that’s not all – for the first time ever in the history of Gran Turismo, players will now be able to race online. Up to 16 players will be able to go head-to-head on some of the world’s best racetracks on PlayStation Network. All you need to get racing is a broadband connection and PS3. Once you’re up and revving, Global Online Rankings and the My Garage homepage feature will leave the world in n o doubt as to just who is the best at Gran Turismo.

And then there’s the Online Dealership, providing a wealth of information on cars and manufacturers and also Gran Turismo TV – a dedicated online channel available exclusively from PSN and packed with some of the greatest content that Motorsport, car manufacturers and TV has to offer.

Gameplay:
This version of Gran Turismo is much like the previous where you must unlock events in order to move forward. Typical of a GT release the game gets progressively more and more difficult. And fans will be able to buy different cars–but you won’t be pimping your ride.

In terms of driving, GT5 is difficult. The controls never feel sloppy–which is important because its not easy to conquer. The fifth version of GranTurismo is the closest the franchise gets to become a full on race simulator. The camera views aren’t anything new to the franchise except the nice view from the seat. Still the bumper view is the best as the inside view is little more than a bonus feature. You can also modify your vehicle’s suspension, tires and gears.

The competitors are phenomenal. They occasionally make mistakes but it often feels like you are racing a robot and not a human–which is to say the AI isn’t realistic enough. The competitors are too close to perfect.

There are over 60 cars from a massive amount of auto companies. This is a huge drop from the cars that were available in GT4 however. I know some people are complaining about the lack of cars but truth is I always felt like it was a hinderance to have so many cars and trying to figure out what to drive. It wasn’t something that made me want to come back and drive those cars–instead it was a bit overwhelming. As with previous versions, the cars are as they should be. Cheaper cars suck and expensive cars are great. And it still takes a lot of work to unlock all of the cars.

You can compete on 6 tracks with 12 total layouts, including Fuji Speedway, Suzuka Circuit, and Daytona International Speedway.

Graphics:
The Playstation 3 hasn’t come close to proving its worth until now. GT5 looks amazing. The tracks are some of the most amazing things you’ll have seen yet on the PS3. This is the way hi-def gaming should look. Everything from the mountains to the clouds are visually stunning. The game renders in 1080p at 60 frames per second with crisp, realistic lighting and camera effects (replays rendered in 1080p 30fps).

Audio:
The soundtrack is top-notch with all kinds of musical styles. The sounds of the game are brillant as any simulator should be. It’s not hard to imagine yourself there as the car revs and tires screech.

Finally:
“Gran Turismo 5” is a great game but not as good as “Dirt.” Even though “Dirt” isn’t meant to be a sim its far more fun. There are occasions when “Gran Turismo 5” feels too stiff and not fun. It’s a bad thing when fun takes a backseat to realism.

Watch a cool trailer for GT5:

Baroque – Wii video game review

You awaken to find the world in ruin, your heart beset with unexplained guilt. A cataclysm has destroyed the cities and empires of men and disfigured the spirit of humanity. In this nightmare, it falls to you to descend a mysterious tower in search of absolution.

Baroque
Game: Baroque
Platform: Wii
Studio: Atlus
Rating: 6/10

Corporate line:
You awaken to find the world in ruin, your heart beset with unexplained guilt. A cataclysm has destroyed the cities and empires of men and disfigured the spirit of humanity. In this nightmare, it falls to you to descend a mysterious tower in search of absolution. Battle merciless foes in treacherous dungeons, scour for new items to aid you in your travels, and unlock the secrets of a devastated land. You will find death in the depths, yet learn that death is not the end of the story; in the twisted world of Baroque, it is only the beginning.


Gameplay:

Death isn’t bad. Instead when you die you end up in the “Overworld.” This bizarre world is actually quite interesting. The overworld is an odd little town–while the real action is in the world happening inside the tower. The tower is where you fight monsters who were once humans that lost their baroque. You must stay in the tower, unless you die and find yourself back outside in the Overworld. The tower offers all sorts of challenges and opportunities. There are numerous weapons, items to help and others that hurt. Your limited inventory will force you to think about what you carry as you continue to come in contact with new items. Sadly the gameplay is average. You can use different features–like combos and other special attacks. Much of the game focuses on button mashing and stays clear of attacks.

Graphics:
The graphics are rough and will remind you of a PSOne or early PS2 release. The game looks the same much of the way through and their is a filter to try and soften the graphic blow. The camera is a mess. It’s hard to do battle and maneuver the camera. It’s like fighting two enemies–monsters and camera angles.

Audio:
The voice acting is serviceable while the atmospheric sound is quite good.

Finally:
Baroque is fun even with its many downfalls. It’s the sort of game that once you start its hard to stop. Sometimes addiction is what saves an average game.

Okami – Wii – Video Game review

Okami tells the story of a mythical sun god who sets out to restore a dismal world, decimating the forces of evil who stand in the way by commanding the elements and mythical abilities the deity possesses.

Okami
Game: Okami
Platform: Wii
Studio: Capcom
Rating: 8/10

Corporate line:
Okami tells the story of a mythical sun god who sets out to restore a dismal world, decimating the forces of evil who stand in the way by commanding the elements and mythical abilities the deity possesses. Mixing Japanese folklore and a stunning traditional Japanese art style, players must utilize an inventive control scheme to overcome the challenges and evil that await. By enhancing the unique gameplay, visual style and story line of Okami with the control of the Wii Remote, it is sure to be the ultimate version of the game.

Originally designed for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system and released in 2006, Okami now comes alive in an entirely new way on the Wii with its visually stunning art style and beautiful scenic 3D levels that have the appearance and texture of paper scrolls brushed with watercolor-like calligraphy art. Throughout the vibrant and distinctive surroundings, players must use the Wii remote to interact with a dynamic world and cast of characters. The blend of stylized graphics, movements and unique gameplay will result in a rich and dynamic experience never seen before.

Features:

* Innovative gameplay and control scheme optimized for the Wii – Defeating monsters requires both motion-controlled physical attacks, but also use of the Wii Remote as Amaterasu’s ‘Celestial Brush’ to paint the desired powers for decimating enemies and solving puzzles.
* Utilize various gameplay styles – In addition to the Celestial Brush, Amaterasu can wield three types of offensive weaponry, each with their own unique abilities and effects. Depending on how a weapon is equipped, it can be used as the main or sub weapon:
o Reflectors – These well-balanced weapons are suited for close range combat.
o Rosaries- Sacred magatama beads are great for quick long range attacks.
o Glaives – These can be charged up to unleash powerful close range attacks.
* Intriguing main character – Assume the role of the sun god, Amaterasu, who descends upon the earth in the form of a wolf. The Japanese translation of the word wolf is “Okami”.
* Original visuals and revolutionary design- Vibrant and inspiring graphics, reminiscent of traditional Japanese art created on paper scrolls, produce a large variety of stages with a watercolor-esque appearance.


Gameplay:

I’ve read a few other reviews which compare “Okami” to “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” and I couldn’t agree more. Zelda is expansive as is “Okami.” Zelda is an epic as is “Okami.” I guess if you are going to craft a game after anything it should be a classic. The experience of “Okami” is also very cute and cuddly but bold and deep. This makes “Okami” interesting to children and adults alike. The storyline is engrossing and leaves so much open for the imagination.

The controls work well for the most part. There are occasions when the controls don’t seem to match the motion. Movements, especially dodging, seems to be out of sync. Drawing on the Wii is certainly better than it was in the previous PS2 release. The creation of your own world with the stroke of a brush is genius. So much of the game is high in the imagination department.

The size of the world is another reason why this is a must buy. You could play for what seems forever. You can build up your characters and grow with the game. The sheer mass of this adventure makes you want to go back and explore as much as tackling the adventure.

Graphics:
Even on the Wii, Okami is beautiful.

Audio:
The soundtrack is as epic as the game itself. The environments are dressed with wonderful aural delights.

Finally:
“Okami” is a brillant game that is full of life and imagination. The sheer massiveness is astonishing. Buy it now and buy it for the Wii.

Watch the trailer: