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Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Price: $33.46
93 used & new from $24.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Not-so-Scary, but Delightful Adventure, March 30, 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I was pleasantly surprised at how cute and fun Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon turned out to be.
(Having played the first Luigi's Mansion in anticipation of the game, I've also included some comparison between the two.)

---STORY: 4/5 - 5/5 (Predictable but still very enjoyable.)
The story is very predictable, but, nonetheless, I enjoyed it. The dialogue, expressions, and reactions are cute, funny, and entertaining. The story starts with Professor E. Gadd working in his lab with some friendly ghosts, but the ghosts quickly turn hostile when a "mysterious" Boo shatters the Dark Moon. Luigi is then recruited by Professor E. Gadd to help reconstruct the Dark Moon.

Story vs. Luigi's Mansion (GCN)
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is a sequel to Luigi's Mansion on the GameCube. You don't need to have played the first game to enjoy Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, but playing the first one will help with understanding references. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon has a different but similar story, alluding to the first game a bit. There are many returning characters. As already stated, Professor E. Gadd returns--more eccentric than ever--along with some other favorite characters.

---GRAPHICS: 4/5 (To be expected.)
The graphics aren't anything special; it's in the style you pretty much come to expect from a modern Mario game. Luigi has some great expressions though, which added to the game's charm. I don't play with the 3D on but from what little I saw of it, the 3D seemed good. Although, there are a few situations where you have to tilt the 3DS, which might make it hard to focus on the 3D.

Graphics vs. Luigi's Mansion (GCN)
The graphics in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon are brighter and more colorful than in Luigi's Mansion, where it was almost impossible to see in the dark without the flashlight.

---CONTROLS: 4/5 (Good but not perfect.)
Most of the action occurs on the top screen of the 3DS, the bottom screen is used for displaying information like your health, quest items, treasure collected, and the map. Once you get used to the controls, it's fairly easy to control Luigi. The only thing I had a lot of trouble with was aiming the flashlights. There are two different types of flashlights in the game, which you use with the A or Y buttons. To aim up or down you can either tilt the 3DS the way you want Luigi to look, which can be awkward, or press the X or B buttons, which is difficult because you'll already be pressing the A or Y buttons.

Controls vs. Luigi's Mansion (GCN)
If you're coming straight from the first game, there are some changes in controls that will take some getting used to, for example, you now have to hold B to run. The main change is the inability to turn when vacuuming (or charging the flashlight to stun a ghost), you can only sidestep. This seems intentional, to make the game more challenging, but when coming from the first game, where sidestep is an option, some practice was needed.

---SINGLE-PLAYER: 5/5 (Fun and easy to replay.)
The game is mission based. Missions are around 5 - 30 minutes each, depending on how focused or distracted you are. Almost each mansion has five main missions, followed by a boss and a secret mission you unlock by finding all the Boos in the mansion. There are five mansions, but since the story is linear, you only unlock a new mansion after you've completed the previous one. Each mission has a different objective, ranging from finding an object, to chasing a ghost dog, to rescuing a Toad, to (of course) catching ghosts. You'll encounter many different ghosts throughout the game, along with other non-ghost creatures. Bosses are fairly challenging and all have unique mechanics. You get ranked for each mission you complete, and you can replay missions at any time, allowing you to get a higher score, search for hidden gems, or re-watch the story. Most scenes can be skipped as well, making replaying levels less tedious and more enjoyable. The game actually isn't very scary. Some young kids might be scared by certain parts, which are scary only because they're startling. Overall, the game is more funny and cute than scary.

Single-player vs. Luigi's Mansion (GCN)
The Luigi's Mansion for the GameCube was a fairly short game. It could be beaten in six to eight hours (or less), even when trying to achieve the highest end-game rank. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is about twice as long as its predecessor. It took me about fifteen hours to beat the game, and that's not even including the secret missions. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon also has a lot less backtracking than the first game did, and when you do have to backtrack to previous rooms, it is less of a chore because there are usually changes in rooms from mission to mission. With that said, there are a few parts that borderline tedious. Unlike in the first game, money doesn't play as big a role--money is still everywhere--but it's mainly used for upgrading your tools. Elements also no longer play a role. Instead they've been replaced by the Light-Dark Device, which allows you to see invisible ghosts, make invisible objects visible, and release objects and people from portraits.

---MULTIPLAYER: 3/5 - 4/5 (Interesting but shallow.)
Multiplayer is essentially co-op mini-games, although there is a competitive aspect, as you are ranked against your teammates depending on how useful you were. You can play with up to four players, or you can play by yourself. There are three main game types, each with different objectives: capture all the ghosts, catch all the ghost dogs, or find the exit. Each type lets you select the length and difficulty of the game. Starting multiplayer is simple. You can play locally (you can play with people who don't own Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon via Download Play but it's a limited version) or you can play online with friends or strangers. However, multiplayer must be unlocked by completing the first four story missions. There is no voice or text chat in game; your interactions are limited to four sayings ("Thank you!" "Hey!" "Help me!" "Good Job!"). One problem I encountered online is a result of there being no penalty for leaving; if one player leaves, it sometimes results in everyone else leaving--especially if you're playing on the hardest difficulty, which is made specifically for four players. Otherwise, I had fun with multiplayer, but it doesn't seem like it would have long-lasting value.

Multiplayer vs. Luigi's Mansion (GCN)
There was no multiplayer in the original game.

---OVERALL: 5/5
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is a solid, well-made game. I cannot say enough how charming and fun the game is. I would definitely recommend Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon to kids, Nintendo fans, and children at heart.

Tera Online - PC
Tera Online - PC
Offered by Hitgaming Video Games
Price: $17.29
55 used & new from $2.89

195 of 214 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tera & Different Player Types, May 3, 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Tera Online - PC (DVD-ROM)
Although the game is, for the most part, well put together, people's views are going to vary greatly. Some people are going to love this game, while others are going to hate it.

Needless to say, the graphics in this game are gorgeous. Even on low settings, the game looks amazing. The races themselves are also quite stylized. Most races have a wide variety of hairstyles, hair colors, faces, and skin colors. However, character creation can get a little confusing when you get to the "face" and "adornment" options. The "face" option allows you to select the overall facial structure of your character (baby-faced, weathered, etc.). Each face has its own specific adornments. The "adornments" option shows you more pre-made faces, which further defines the look of your character (green eyes and a scar, blue eyes and dark eye shadow, etc.). You can further tweak the structure of the face with eye, nose, mouth, and ear sliders, but you cannot further customize the adornments (i.e. you will not be able to change the color of the eyes or make-up). Also, you cannot change any properties of a character's body (height, weight, etc.). Overall, there's a lot amount of customization options, but some players will be left wishing there was more.

If you've played a lot of tab-target MMOs, the combat will take some getting used to. The main difference between tab-target MMOs and Tera is you do not need to target enemies to attack them. All you have to do is aim and shoot/swing. Tanking and healing are also much different in Tera than in other MMOs. Tanks will have to manually block, dodge, or even move out of range to keep themselves alive, while healers will have to aim at party members' characters or at the floor beneath party members to heal them. Even damage dealers will have to keep on their toes, since many BAMs(1) and bosses move around, and not all heals will come to you (the mystic class can put down motes that can be picked up for healing in the middle of a battle). Fighting big monsters in small areas can be a bit awkward, though, because of the camera; when against a wall, the camera zooms in and you will not be able to see very well. Also, accessing the UI does take some getting used to. When moving around the world and battling, the UI is not accessible by a cursor. You must press Alt, Mouse Button 5, or Esc (or a rebound key of your preference) to access the cursor so you can click on UI elements (like the menu) or things in the world.

In Tera, the movement is smooth and combat is a lot of fun, but combat is slightly different than in some action MMOs already out there. (See the section "players from other MMOs" below for combat comparisons between Tera and other action MMOs.)

If you point and click your spells in MMOs, you will have a very difficult and frustrating time with Tera, since, by default, your cursor disappears when moving (and you'll be moving a lot during battles). You may want to try playing with a controller or look into keybinding (and possibly investing in a gaming mouse or gaming keyboard), or else this game probably isn't going to be for you. There is a combo system in the game to make playing with a controller feasible and playing with a keyboard easier.

Compared to clickers, keybinders will have a much easier time getting used to Tera's combat system. The only problem keybinders might encounter is if you use left or right click on your mouse to move. By default, your two main abilities (usually a basic attack and a block/dodge/evade) are bound to the left and right mouse buttons, and your mouse movement is connected directly to your camera. Also, you will always attack in the direction your camera is facing, not the direction your character is facing.

PvE isn't much different from other MMOs out there. The main focus in PvE is questing, which can become grindy after a while.
-Questing: 2/5
Tera brings nothing new to questing and will remind you of many other MMOs & RPGs: you pick up a quest, kill 10 boars, and then turn in the quest for experience and rewards. Questing has a very linear feel in Tera, especially if you're following the story quests. Some quests can only be unlocked if you finish certain quests first. If you get into the story, it can be pretty interesting, albeit a bit confusing. The quest text is actually fairly well done (and even occasionally humorous), but it is so verbose, many people's eyes will glaze over it. There is also an amazing amount of pop culture references shoved into the game, especially in quest titles. If you like traditional questing, then you won't have a problem with the questing in Tera. Otherwise, questing can feel redundant and boring.
-BAMs & World Bosses: 4/5
BAMs (short for big-ass monster) are tough monsters that usually take a party to kill. BAMs and world bosses are scattered throughout the world and act as a challenge or a quest objective. BAMs will always be more challenging than regular mobs and give a lot more EXP.
-Dungeons: 4/5
Not only are there instanced dungeons, but there are also open world dungeons that can be freely explored. However, instanced dungeons are the only dungeons with set bosses. You can either manually enter an instanced dungeon or you can use the dungeon finder to automatically find a group and get teleported there. There is a cooldown on dungeons (even lower level ones), so you have to be careful when looking for a group.
-Raids: (UNRATED)
There will be NO instanced raids at launch! If this is a deal breaker for you, I suggest waiting until the game implements raids (there are supposedly plans for them). There will be open-world, raid-like content though (similar to how rifts work), where you'll be automatically grouped into a party/raid to fend off invasions (some monsters needing 30 or more players to kill).

Some people will like the PvP in Tera, others may not. There are many ways to participate in PvP, even on PvE servers. On any server there are duels, deathmatches, and eventually there will be battlegrounds.
Note: You will not be able to level up on PvP. Duels, deathmatches, and open-world PvP do not grant experience. And battlegrounds are only end-game content. If you focus entirely on PvP in games, this may not be the game for you, since you will have to complete quests, kill monsters, or do dungeons to level up.
-Duels: 3/5
Similar to any MMO, duels are fights between two players. Unfortunately, some classes clearly have certain advantages over others in one-on-one fights.
-Deathmatches: 4/5
Deathmatches allow players to sort into two teams (with a max of ten people per team) and duke it out. Teams can be sorted unevenly (10 vs. 1, 3 vs. 6, etc.), if so desired.
-Battlegrounds: (UNRATED)
Unfortunately, I can't say anything about battlegrounds, because they have not been put in the game yet. It's said that they'll be implemented later this summer.
-Open-World PvP: 4/5
On PvP specific servers, you'll also have open-world PvP and guild vs guild (GvG). Because there is no targeting or factions in the game, open-world PvP works a little differently than in most MMOs. In order to attack other players freely, you must first use a skill called "Declare Outlaw" (which you can learn at level 11). Once you use this skill, you can attack any player (outside PvP-free zones), but you'll also be flagged so all other players can attack you (even if they haven't used the skill "Declare Outlaw"). Beware, there will be higher level characters going out of their way to kill lower level characters. Fortunately, there are multiple channels outside main cities, so, if you find you're continuously being killed on channel 1, try changing to a different channel.
-Guild vs Guild: 5/5
Enjoyment of GvG is really going to depend on how effectively guilds use it. GvG gives guilds the potential to stage epic battles against each other, but can also be a giant gankfest if a large guild declares war on a smaller guild. GvG wars last for 24 hours before ending in a draw if a set amount of points aren't earned or a guild leader forfeits.

Currently, there's only one role playing server, which is PvE. Although there is no PvP server, but En Masse may add one in the future if enough players shows interest in one and if the PvE server is popular. From what I can tell, Tera has some rich lore, and with the wide variety of races, RP in Tera may prove to be interesting.

If you find a favorite race and class, there is actually little need to go back and make any alts. Unlike in many MMOs, you can specialize in all gathering and crafting areas in Tera. If you're a dramatically higher level than a friend, they will gain no EXP from mobs when grouped with you, but they will still gain credit for certain quests.
Unfortunately, I can't say a whole lot about end-game content right now, since I haven't experienced it yet. But, there seems to be enough content to keep you busy for a while. There are: 5 level 58 to 60 dungeons, each with a "hard mode"; the Nexus, which sounds similar to the rifts in Rift; the political system, which lets guild leaders can run for vanarch of a certain area; and daily quests.

One of the reasons for alts is because each class plays differently (although, there are similarities across classes). Unfortunately, there is only one starting area, so you'll be doing the same quests over and over again if you decide to create a lot of alts. Even at higher levels, you'll often end up at the same areas because there is only one obvious place to go to or skipping quests causes you to have to backtrack. You can make up to 8 characters on each server (enough to make one of each class). Banks are server bound (i.e. characters on the same server will share the same bank). Also, achievements are not account bound.

When playing by yourself, questing will feel grindy and you will probably have trouble killing BAMs (depending on your class and level). Some BAMs can be soloed, and, if you do happen to kill a BAM by yourself, there's definitely sense of accomplishment afterwards. But, many BAMs are very difficult or tedious to solo (taking a lot of time, skill, and observation). You'll be missing out on one of the greater aspects of the game if you simply ignore BAMs (and in certain zones it's difficult to continue questing because of the amount of BAMs). Finding a group for BAMs can be difficult, though, since few people use the LFG option at lower levels. For dungeons, there's the dungeon finder, if you want to automatically be put in a group.

As with most MMOs, playing with friends and guildies is often more fun than going it alone. Questing isn't as grindy, mostly because you and your party will end up blowing through the quests. BAMs and world bosses can be a lot of fun, while still being challenging (depending on the group makeup). The game has even made gathering feasible in groups, since all party members can gather the same node at once.

There are tons of achievements in Tera, many of which give titles and some even give awards. Beware though, not all achievements are attainable after certain points (like the achievements earned from completing low-level, repeatable quests cannot be completed after you out level them). Also, many achievements will be practically unattainable for many players because many require you to be the leader of a guild and participate in the political system.

Tera does not support add-ons and En Masse has stated mods are not allowed client side. On the positive side, you can rearrange and resize most UI elements.

-Monster Hunter's combat is very similar to Tera's combat. BAM and boss battles in Tera will remind you of hunting monsters in MH; you will have to watch for hints on when and how the monster will attack. One of the main differences, however, is that in MH you have a very limited amount of abilities per weapon, where in Tera, you'll gain over twenty different skills for each class. If you loved Monster Hunter for its combat, I would highly recommend giving Tera a try.
-Vindictus also has similar combat to Tera. There are even areas in Tera where you will have to attack the environment, like destroying barriers (although these situations are far less than in Vindictus). Unlike Vindictus though, Tera is mostly an open world; there are instanced dungeons and areas, but most of your questing will be done out in the world.
-Dragon Nest has similar but slightly different combat than Tera. Both are action MMOs, but there is two main differences between the two. In Dragon Nest, ranged classes can run around and do their basic attack at the same time. In Tera, you cannot attack and move at the same time--you will automatically stop moving when you start attacking (although, some skills will naturally move you forward or backwards when attacking, and you can move in between attacks). Dragon Nest also feels much more face paced because your attacks are faster and your movement is quicker compared to Tera.
-Aion has a very similar look to Tera. The graphics, the in-game cut scenes, and the menus all resemble Aion. However, don't be fooled by appearances, this game does not play like Aion. Where Aion's movement system sometimes felt clunky or stiff (unless they improved it since I played years ago), Tera's feels a lot smoother. Don't make the mistake of thinking Tera is an Aion clone.
-Guild Wars 2 and Tera are very, very different games. It's like trying to compare an apple and an orange. Yes, they're both fruit, but they have completely different properties. If you're looking for Guild Wars 2, then wait for Guild Wars 2. Do not expect Tera to be the same thing.
-Tera is not World of Warcraft. With that said, Tera is an MMO, and thus has many similar elements to the many MMOs out there. For example, questing in Tera is going to feel a lot like questing in WoW (although Tera is much more linear feeling).

-This game is pay to play! You will get your first 30 days free, but after that you must sign up for a subscription in order to continue playing.
-If you have very bad internet, you'll probably find this game infuriating. Lag completely kills the combat in this game, especially in PvP and against boss monsters. When fighting a BAM, you need to be able to quickly dodge or block if you're any type of melee class and a healer will sometimes need to perform quick heals to keep a party alive--with lag, this is near impossible. (I personally have bad internet--download speed of about 2.6 Mbps--and I can play without too much frustration, but it's definitely not optimal.)
-Although warriors are considered tanks, they will not be able to queue in the dungeon finder as tanks until the next big patch (they will only be able to queue as DPS).

It seems like Tera is going to be one of those games that people either love or hate. I personally love it, but I've been waiting for this game for over a year now. Your enjoyment of this game is going to depend on if you like the combat and who you're playing with.

(1) BAM: a tough monster that usually takes a party to kill (short for big-ass monster).
Comment Comments (17) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 11, 2012 11:13 AM PST

The Sims 3 - PC
The Sims 3 - PC
Price: $21.37
146 used & new from $7.34

1,467 of 1,503 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun for some, diappointing for others., June 3, 2009
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: The Sims 3 - PC (DVD-ROM)
There are many different Sims players out there buying this game from years of playing The Sims 2, and I think some of them will be impressed with The Sims 3, while others disappointed.
Note: This review is for the base game only, and does not include any of the expansion packs.

Create-A-Sim Players: 4/5
If you have an juiced up computer, the graphics are amazing. The customization you can give a sim is also very rewarding; you can now color customize the different parts of a sim's outfit with virtually any color, and the pattern system they've created only increases the amount of customization you can give a sim's clothing. A sim's hair coloration is now broken up into four parts, all of which can be set to any color you wish. The only disadvantage I found is that there doesn't seem to be as many ways to customize the face as there had been in Sims 2; there are some new, different ways though.

House Building Players: 5/5
Because of the new pattern system in the game, building houses now has a new level of customization, making it easier to customize a house's color and texture to your liking. Another nice thing is that furniture can now be placed at angles, so you no longer have to worry about awkward placement of objects near angled walls. Just keep in mind that since this is the first game, with no expansions made yet, there is a limited amount of furniture you can use. Also, if you're only interested in building houses, its not as easy as simply clicking on the lot you wish to build, once the game starts; you actually need to be playing your saved household and then exit your household for "Edit Town," where you can then select a lot to build on.

Neighborhood Building Players: 1/5
If you were big on building neighborhoods in Sims 2, you're going to very, very disappointed. You can no longer make your own neighborhoods; you are stuck with customizing Sunset Valley (the only neighborhood that comes with the game) or downloading another neighborhood from The Sims 3 website. There are no pre-made empty neighborhoods you can create and then customize and populate. Needless to say, there is no compatibility with SimCity 4 neighborhoods either. You're stuck with Sunset Valley, and that's that.
Note: There is now a "Create a World Tool" (in beta form and only for PCs) on the official website, but it's a very difficult to use if you don't know what you're doing.

Movie/Story Players: 5/5
If you're into making movies or stories there doesn't seem to be big difference between Sims 2. Photo capture now seems to be similar to what the "Print Screen" button does on your keyboard. The quality is exactly what you see on the screen, and the size of the image is as big as your resolution for the game. Video capture options seem almost identical to Sims 2. And like Sims 2, the controls are still difficult to deal with if you're trying to make smooth transitions. Also, there is no in-game Storytelling option anymore, storytelling is mostly focused online at The Sims 3 website, where there are some neat tools you can use for editing.

Single Family Players: 4/5
If you liked only playing one household in Sims 2 (like if you were into the Legacy Challenge) Sims 3 makes it even more interesting and more realistic with the fact that the entire neighborhood ages around your sim; no more childhood friends always being children, even when your sims have become adults; no more grandchildren out-aging their grandparents because they happen to be on different lots. And not only that, but you can now explore the rest of the world, expanding the possibilities for your sims.

Multi-Family/God Players: 2/5
If you liked jumping between many different houses and creating a complex story between many different households, you may be in for a big disappointment with Sims 3. You've ultimately been demoted from being god. You can no longer save individual households for later. Once you leave a household the sims there become NPCs (characters for the computer to control) and continue on their own lives and own story without your help. This may sound odd but Sims 3 is more of a game, and less of a device to tell a huge complex story.

The Sims 2 Console Players: 5/5
For people who loved The Sims 2 for PlayStation 2, X-Box, and GameCube, The Sims 3 plays very similar to those. In fact, The Sims 3 seems like a souped up version of the console Sims 2. For people who hated The Sims 2 console games, well . . . you may not like how The Sims 3 plays.

You're liking of The Sims 3 is really going to depend on what you did and enjoyed in The Sims 2. And sadly, I have to say this game isn't for everyone who loved The Sims 2.

New Players: 3/5 - 5/5
For players who haven't played the Sims games before, from my experience, Sims has either been a hit or miss deal. You either like it or you don't. And it's hard to say whether or not you'll like it until you give it a try. Sims can be a very repetitive game, yet a very addicting game. It all depends on what entertains you. As I've said above, Sims is a very creative game, and that alone can be entertaining for hours. The customization in the game is probably one of the game's greatest assets. As far as game-play is concerned, part of the game is about making your own story, but there are also objectives ("opportunities" and "wishes") that help make the game challenging and entertaining if you're more goal-oriented. But keep in mind, if you're looking for a game with a solid plot and an ending, this isn't the game for you. Sims is a game that never ends. It's a simulation game of life, and The Sims is never short on life; even if you kill off everyone in your neighborhood, you can simply create more.
[This part wasn't originally in the review, but I figured since I was focusing on people who were familiar with The Sims 2, I decided to add this.]
Comment Comments (63) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 21, 2012 1:08 PM PDT

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