PixelJunk Racers Review for PS3

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342w ago - PixelJunk Racers is a neat little game that takes the basic concepts of slot car racing and applies them to a multitude of minigame-like events that you can play alone or against friends. There are a good number of different events, though the addition of a few more tracks and online multiplayer would have made it a much longer-lasting collection.

The controls in Racers are simple. You can use either the D pad or the analog stick to change lanes, and the L2 or R2 triggers can be used to control how fast you're moving. You don't have direct steering control, and so you can swap between lanes only one at a time. This control scheme is applied across 10 different tracks and 32 different game types, which gives you a lot of different potential combinations. But that doesn't prevent the game's solo tournament mode, which gradually unlocks tracks and game types as you play, from feeling monotonous for sticking to the same handful of tracks early on.

Some events are basic races to the finish line. Others include stuff like "the munchies," which is accompanied by this helpful life lesson: "Eat cars to stay alive for as long as possible!" Still others have you blowing up your car like a balloon to charge it with forward movement; dodging cars until you pass enough to turn into a fireball, at which point you have...
 

NBA 08 Review for PS3

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342w ago - There's no question that this year's game is better than last year's, but its gameplay is so laden with problems that it's still not worth your time. For starters, there's not a whole lot to do. There's no franchise mode, only a bare-bones single-season mode. You can't manage a salary cap, draft players, sign contracts, manage team finances, or pretty much anything else basketball games have been doing for the last several years.

You can trade players, but the CPU doesn't bother to veto trades, so you can trade the worst player in the league for the best player whenever you want. There are a few minigames to choose from, though they're nothing new. Own the court is a timed head-to-head shooting challenge that's pretty fun; the three-point contest is entertaining against friends for a few rounds; and skills challenge, where you dribble, pass, and shoot on an obstacle course, is rather lame...again.

If you fancy an online game you can go online, but if your experience is anything like ours, you won't be able to find anyone to play unless you get a second copy of the game and trick a friend into playing. Once we did get someone to play against, the game ran fairly smoothly and the lag didn't affect the timing of the shot meter much at all.

NBA 08's only unique gameplay mode is NBA replay. The...
 

LocoRoco Cocoreccho Review for PS3

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342w ago - The bulbous, bouncy blobs known as LocoRoco are back, though things are a bit different this time. The tilting mechanics of the original PSP title have been replaced with an interesting new control scheme, and the minimalist gameplay is even simpler this time around. But really, it's all about the agreeably goopy globules that spread charm across your screen, and it's hard not to be taken with them. At $6.99, this PlayStation Network download feels a bit overpriced for a single (albeit large) level, but the few hours of gaming you'll get out of it are rewarding and strangely compelling.

If you played the original LocoRoco, you'll immediately notice the changes in mechanics. Rather than tilting the playfield to move your LocoRocos, you move a cursor in the form of a butterfly around the screen. When you press the circle button, you call any Locos in range in your direction, and if you tap the button, they will jump toward your cursor.

You begin the game with a single LocoRoco, and your goal is to awaken the remaining 199 blobs by getting other Locos to bump into them. The level itself is set up like a huge, complex Rube Goldberg contraption, complete with trampolines, moving platforms, water bubbles, wind gusts, and all sorts of other elements that send your screwy spheres careening across the screen. Once...
 

Nucleus Review for PS3

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342w ago - Every six seconds, a new dual-stick shooter in the vein of Robotron is released on a console download service. At least, that's what it feels like these days. While every one of these games has its own spin on the genre, few go as bananas as Nucleus. Nucleus is like some weird combination of Robotron and the movie Fantastic Voyage. You control a "remote unit," a sperm-looking robot...thing that fights viruses and nuclei inside some sort of living organism. Along the way, you blast away at, drag around, and push various cells for a variety of purposes, from blocking enemy shots to collecting power-ups for your special weapon. It all sounds kind of interesting, but in execution, it's actually quite dull.

The problems begin with your remote unit, which is about as speedy as a snail with a brick taped to its back. You can dart forward for a quick moment, or "squirt" as the game refers to it. Squirting, however, still feels a bit sluggish, and you basically have to hammer on the button several times to get anywhere quickly.

After you realize you're in control of a sperm that couldn't make it to the urethral tract without stopping for a breather, you'll discover that combat isn't much better. You start out with a rather piddly default shooter (that eventually upgrades into more powerful weaponry), which, like...
 

DiRT Review for PS3

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344w ago - The game already looks phenomenal, but when you combine that with a smooth frame rate, you've got something special.

There have been plenty of driving games of late that have been visually impressive, but very few live up to the visual fidelity displayed by DiRT. This game is a technical achievement in car design, track design, and damage modeling. To begin with, the cars are beautifully rendered, highly detailed models that are as fantastic to look at as they are to destroy. Damage modeling is one of the most impressive aspects of the game; you can lose bumpers or doors, break glass, tear up the paintjob, and roll your ride into a crushed, deformed mess. Tracks are equally beautiful and destructible. From the rain-slick tarmac tracks of Japan and the dusty backroads of Italy to the muddy, gravelly countryside of the UK, DiRT nails every environment wonderfully.

The game also uses lighting to fantastic effect, not just to emphasize how shiny and reflective the cars are, but to give each track an individual atmosphere. Driving around desert mountains in the washed-out haze of late day is an amazing sight to behold, for sure. And if you feel like tearing up these tracks, you can bust through fences, barriers, bushes, and anything else not held to the ground with concrete. All the while, dirt, mud, or gravel...
 







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