ModNation Racers Review

I finally got around to finishing up ModNation Racers career mode and now after I feel like I have “finished” the game I’m ready to do a review of the game. Now since the game was released a few weeks ago I’m not going to bore you with stuff you may already know about the game, but I’ll go more in depth with my own experience with the game.

The first thing I want to mention is the games creation mode leaves something to be desired. Yes you can create anything, and yes it’s very easy. However when creating a Mod or even a Kart there are plenty of times that you just can’t make what you want to make, do a search for “Halo” and you will find a mediocre Master Chief at best with things that look nothing like a Ghost or Warthog. However there are more than enough creations that actually can turn out good to really say they did this aspect of the game wrong. Just know that there is a good chance you won’t be able to create a good looking Stewie or Peter from Family Guy. For myself I ditched trying to copy off of characters like Peter, or Iron Man, or Master Chief and just create my own creations like a Zombie or a Rich Snob.

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Can you guess what character they tried to make?

Now that I let you know what I dislike about the Mod and Kart creation tool (again the tools are easy to use, however I don’t think are as powerful as they should be) it’s time to go into the track creation. Talk about a piece of cake, you lay down the track, auto populate and boom you have a new track that is unique. Not quite though, from what I noticed when you auto populate a track you end up with a generic feeling atmosphere, ever single alpine level looks like a ski resort while the beach tracks look like Miami. However if you invest a few hours into a track and put down everything yourself you can end up with a really great track that is completely unique that can grab a lot of attention. I’ve had a lot of fun with the track creation personally.

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Just a quick view of some tools in the track creation.

I think I’ve spent enough time on the creation aspect of the game, now it’s time for what I thought about the racing. When it comes to taking first place time and time again you will need to find a balance between drifting every corner, using boost sparingly, using weapons at the best moment as well as not crashing into anything. There are some races that you just want to punch the wall where you can’t seem to finish any higher than 12th place. However there are other times when you can’t seem to finish in anything but 1st place because you are drifting at the best times, knocking your opponents off the track and saving your boost to use a shields when they come back for revenge. I love the games racing, I haven’t had too many frustrating moments while playing online. I said online though for a reason. The games single player can get old very fast, there are times (especially at the end of the career) when you will be in 1st place with a massive lead and then all of sudden a huge cluster or rockets from 4 different CPU players will hit you. You’ll drop to about 3rd and then get hit by a sonic boom which takes away that weapon you were saving the entire race and then of course you get knocked back to 4th place and end up having the redo the race again (because you must take 3rd place or better in most races with the ones that end a series requiring a 1st place finish) Thankfully it’s only 28 races and after you finish them going back and racing the tracks is a lot less stressful.

The last thing I want to cover is the games online play. When I first got the game on May 25th there weren’t a bunch of people playing it online yet. I would have to wait 5 to 10 minutes to find an online match which is why I stopped playing for a while. Today it looks like the community has grown a bit more and it took me just 3 minutes to get a race series started up. I have been kicked from races before, however since it’s not Xbox Live you can’t expect to have the world’s greatest network for playing games and should expect some disconnects now and then. My only complaint about the games online is that there aren’t many people that use headsets which can leave you feeling like you’re playing with a bunch of CPU players.

The bottom line is if you like racing games, and like to create stuff then this game is the perfect game for you. If you haven’t bought it yet then pick it up off of Amazon ModNation Racers Reviewand enjoy one of the best games I’ve played on the PS3 in quite some time. Just don’t expect to create perfect replicas of your favorite Video Game or TV characters. I give this game a solid 9/10.

The Good
Creating things is easy and quick
Racing is fun and addictive
Everything seems really polished

The Bad
Creation tools could give a little more power to the user
Single player campaign can get annoying

Pokemon SoulSilver Review

Pokemon SoulSilver is a game that has provided me hours upon hours of enjoyment since I got the game. So much enjoyment that I have not given my full or even partial attention to VideoGameBlogger or Ripten (a video game website I write for). This is why I decided that I would do a review of the game today, just to let everyone know that I am still alive.

The game is a remake of Pokemon Silver which was originally on the Game Boy Color, a game which I had played through once before. Those of you that have already played through the Silver / Gold series of Pokemon be sure you know that the game follows essentially the exact same story line, so if you are looking for an entirely new game you may want to wait for Pokemon go hack for ios.

Those you that are willing to chug through the same story that you played through 10 years ago will find yourselves getting sucked into the game, losing an entire day just so you can level up your party and beat the next gym leader. You will find that the game plays almost exactly like Pokemon Silver, however the addition of the touch screen and the option to pick your moves and manage your gear by using the touch screen is a very nice touch to the game. Of course if you were expecting Game Freak to redesign the games control system from the ground up, you will be disappointed.

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SoulSilver also offers the player a fairly challenging game at certain points. There have been more than enough times where I had to take the long grind to get certain Pokemon to level up. Granted it wasn’t anything that was too difficult as I had a Pokemon 10 levels ahead of the ones I was battling. Other than that, you will also find yourself being challenged by the different Gym Leaders, sure some of them are very Trivial, but some leaders will really surprise you and you’ll find yourself getting your butt kicked and having to train your Pokemon a little bit more before returning to battle the Gym Leader again. The last aspect of the game I found challenging were some of the puzzles. Perfect example is the stick in the road that you have to water in order to get past. I knew that I had to water it from playing Pokemon Silver, however I couldn’t remember where I had to go to get the watering can. Of course once I visited Google I soon figured out where I needed to go and my journey continued onward. Despite being 20 now, I still feel the same challenge I felt when I played Pokemon Silver when I was 10.

The games graphics and sound are one aspect I really wish Game Freak would have worked on a little bit more. The game does look nice on the Nintendo DS however compared to some of the other games out there it isn’t the prettiest game by any means. The game still uses the same Pokemon sounds that they have used since Pokemon Red and Blue came out which isn’t that bad as it brings me back to when I was a kid. However I really hope that Game Freak changes this when White and Black come out by using the Pokemons actual sounds, I’m not sure if that will possible due to the DS cartridge constraints, but it would be a very nice touch the series in my opinion.

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The last thing I wanted to address before closing up was the games Pokewalker. Every copy of the game comes with one and it is a pretty cool addition to the game. The best way to describe it would be to call it a Tamagotchi toy that counts how many steps you take. My only complaint about this is it is very easy to cheat, and while it doesn’t play a big role in the game, they could have left this out and the game would have been just as good. None the less I will take it to work with me just so I can collect some exclusive items and catch some exclusive Pokemon.

Closing Comments

For me Pokemon SoulSilver is more than just a filler between Pokemon White / Black. The game has brought me back to the days when I didn’t have to worry about paying bills, passing my college classes, or having a balance between my work life and making sure my girl friend doesn’t get neglected. This game just brought me back to my childhood, which might be why I have played it so much since I got the game just a few days ago. I have not beaten the game yet, however I have already played Pokemon Silver and beat it, and from what it looks like it is the same exact story.

Another thing I have not done is play Pokemon Platinum which is supposed to be another remake of a Pokemon DS title which I plan on playing after I beat SoulSilver. What I am trying to get at is that SoulSilver is supposed to integrate different gear from Platinum which sounds about right since there are certain things I don’t remember being in Pokemon Silver.

At the end of the day the game is Pokemon, and it’s very hard (for myself anyway) to hate the game series. Yes I am 20, and yes I am too old to keep up with the TV show (but that didn’t stop me from getting the 1st season) but the game is really fun, and it’s addicting. That’s all I can really ask for when it comes to a great game.

Score Break Down


8

Presentation
It’s a remake of one of the best games in the Pokemon series. Accept it’s a remake and all is fine from there.

8

Graphics
The game looks good for a handheld game. However it isn’t as pretty as other DS games.

8

Sound
The sound is passable, and I wont give it a bad score for sounding the same as the origional. However the next game I want to hear the actual sound the Pokemon make.

10

Gameplay
Very fun, and very addictive. I had to fight myself to not play the game while doing the review.

10

Lasting Appeal
I can see myself playing this game for a long time to come. I have only gotten 4 of the 16 badges in the game. I still have to get some WiFi friend codes so I can do some battles online as well.

Total: 8.8

Alien Swarm Review

It’s not every day that a game like Alien Swarm gets released. Alien Swarm is a source mod which is based on an Unreal mod “Alien Swarm mod.” The developers of the game worked on other Valve titles like Left 4 Dead 2 and Portal 2 but were hired by Valve because of Alien Swarm mod. Which has since been developed into the official game Alien Swarm. It can take a little bit of time to wrap your head around that one.

The game is a top-down shooter that allows four players to play co-operatively as they progress through different science fiction themed levels. Throughout these levels you are faced with killing waves upon waves of aliens (which looks like the Dead Space aliens) with an arsenal of 40 high powered weapons. The game has some incredible statistics as well as an achievement system.

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In the game you can choose between four classes which are; Officer, Special Weapons, Medic and Tech. The Officer class grants a passive bonus to damage and defense resistance to nearby allies as well as access to a class-restricted shotgun with incendiary grenade launcher and has general all-around abilities. The two Officers are Sarge and Jaegger.  The abilities granted by the Special Weapons class are all about being able to use your weapons better, with the ability to auto aim, high magazine capacity along with a customized autogun, you’ll be sure to wreak havoc all over the aliens you encounter. The two Special Weapons people are Wildcat and Wolfe. Next up is the Medic class which focuses on (you guessed it) healing the other teammates. The special abilities given are a healing beacon which teammates can run to for healing as well as a healing gun to heal individual teammates. The two Medics are Faith and Bastille. The last class is the Tech which carries a motion sensor, can set up sentry guns faster, welds doors faster and is the only class that is able to unlock door panels that must be hacked. The two Techs are Crash and Vegas.

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This game requires an enormous amount of team work if you want to pass any level above the easy difficulty. If you get a bad player that doesn’t take advantage of his classes ability you are sure to have a very tough session on your hands and depending on the difficulty you may not even make it past the first few sections of the level. While I was playing co-op on the normal difficulty one person forgot to pick up their sentry gun and later in the game my team ended up wiping because we didn’t have the sentry gun to back us up.

Of course even on the easiest difficulty you can still run into challenges, such as trying to play a level without a Medic on your team. When I tried this I ended up dying from an infestation which could only be healed by a Medic, it was a slow and annoying death.

However my favorite part about this game has to be the statistics that you get to sort through after you complete a level. It breaks down everything from how many kills you had to how many times that jerk shot you during the level. These stats alone would make me happy, hover as you hover your mouse over the line graph it shows you where you were at on the map when you got those kills or when you got shot in the back. Very cool stuff in my opinion and it was my favorite part about this game.

Actually the only thing I didn’t like about this game was the single player aspect was completely overlooked. I understand this game is focused on the multiplayer aspect, however after I completed a practice mission, exited to the main menu and then tried to play the next practice mission I was unable to select which one. I had to start at the very beginning. There is a very good chance that I did something wrong, but none the less when the game’s single player is listed as “practice mode” it does take away a little bit, considering you can’t gain any experience while in practice mode.

So here you are debating whether or not you should get this game, and here I am with nothing but great things to say about this game. If Valve were to charge $29.99 for this game I would still praise is as much as I am right now. The game is well worth it’s FREE price tag and it’s worth the time it takes to download as well as the time you take to play it. So head over to Steam now and download it.

Score Break Down


10

Presentation
This game is about as polished as a game from Bungie, which in my opinion is very polished. It was free of any glitches or bugs while I played the game.

10

Graphics
The looks very nice, it is probably the best look top-down game I have ever seen.

10

Sound
The game sound was excellent. The only issue I came across was the shotgun sounded like the Halo shotgun. But then again I love Halo.

9

Gameplay
I loved every second I played this game, the controlls took just a few minutes to get used to, and then after a few games I was an expert of the games controlls. My only issue is the practice mode is the only Single player experience for this game.

10

Lasting Appeal
This game will be played for a long time to come. With the multiplayer as well as the ability to level up and unlock more items I can see this game being like Team Fortress.

Total: 9.8 out of 10

5 Reasons You Suck At StarCraft 2

Disclaimer: I am actually a noob at StarCraft 2. Taking my advice will in no way guarantee your induction into the “1337” hall of fame. The following advice may not be 100% correct in the eyes of the pros. However the following article was devised after seeing many players in the Bronze league making these mistakes time and time again which allowed myself (the noob) to win most of my matches after following these simple rules.

 

Your Economy Is Worse Than America’s

This was my biggest issue when I first started playing StarCraft 2. You have to make sure that in the first few minutes of the game you get enough harvesters up to bring in enough minerals so you can build up your offensive and defensive units. For myself who plays mostly Protoss, I always typically get 9 gatherers (in my case Probes) and then use the 9th one to build my first Pylon. While that Pylon is going I create my 10th and final Probe since you are limited to just 10 units before building a supply center. Typically the player that has just the right amount of harvesters will end up winning the game. If you have too many harvesters you probably will be overcome by an initial rush. If you don’t have enough you will bottleneck your economy and won’t be able to build the structures you need.

You Don’t Scout The Other Player(s)

Scouting is a major gameplay mechanic in StarCraft 2 and if you don’t’ use it; you will surely lose most of your games. For those of you asking what scouting is, it’s the simple task of taking one of your units (I use a Probe) and sending it to the enemies base. It’s always wise to get one in their base before they block off their base. However you don’t want to go in so early that all you see is a group of harvesters collecting minerals. This requires some practice, typically when I put up my first Pylon I will usually send that Probe out to find the other base. So why is scouting important? By scouting you know what to expect, some players will build up an air fleet so you will want to have something that can defeat that, for the Protoss players out there, having 150 Zealots is useless against 15 aerial units. On the flip side having 100 aerial units that can only attack other air units is totally useless against 200 Zerglings that are decimating your base. Remember scout the enemy, prepare properly and PWN them into the ground.

 

You Have TOO Many Minerals

I know this may sound like a very stupid point to make. How can having TOO many minerals be a bad thing? Don’t you want to have a lot of minerals in the game? After all that is what I said for my first point. Well while you do want to have plenty of harvesters for collecting enough minerals, you want to also make sure you spend them as soon as you can. If you have over 1,000 minerals then you are not doing something right. If you have over 3,000 minerals than you might as well stop the game right there because you aren’t spending them on anything. If you have too many minerals and don’t know what to spend them on here are some ideas.

  • Passive Defense such as photon cannons which don’t count towards your total units.
  • Build up your army!
  • Build more production facilities so you can push out more units.
  • Expand to another area.

These are just 4 ideas and there are sure to be many other things you can do with your minerals. The key is to never stop using the minerals in some way. This can be by expanding or by building up a larger army.

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You Leave Your Base Wide Open

This is just asking for an early Zergling rush that can completely decimate your base. You need to block off your first base so the enemy cannot get in. Terran has the easiest job since they can actually block off their base while still being able to push their troops out. For Protoss I will usually create a path that is 1 unit wide so I can push my Protoss out when it’s time to expand but the enemy can only send their units in single file. With Zerg, well you are kind of on your own for that advice as I don’t play as Zerg, however you should still try to block of your base in some fashion.

You Build Up An Army Of The Wrong Units

This goes back to when you scout. Make sure that you know what they are preparing to attack you with, and make sure you prepare an army that can counter their army. If they are going heavy air then build some passive air defenses around your base and build some ground/air units that can take on air. If they are going heavy ground then build some passive ground defenses and focus on air units that can attack ground units as well as some other ground units. The key is to not prepare for the opposite attack, too many times I have had an army of Zealots and then realized they decided to go with an air offense. I’ll be honest; it didn’t end in my favor.

So now that you know 5 ways to avoid losing I want you to go play a game or two and apply these techniques and let me know if you don’t win the game, did you at least live a bit longer? If you would like a great guide to help you play better I strongly suggest Shokz Guide.

Splinter Cell Conviction Review

itch the uniform, Sam Fisher will never wear any spy suit.

Are you looking for a great game that will keep you entertained for hours? If you are then Splinter Cell Conviction could be the game for you.

Splinter Cell Conviction should not be confused with or even spoken about in the same sentence as Splinter Cell Double Agent. This game is a complete remake of not only Splinter Cell but the Stealth genre entirely.

I think Ubisoft decided that after Double Agent they needed to fix the Splinter Cell series. I personally didn’t get past the first level on Double Agent because the game was just difficult due to the game being so clunky. So Ubisoft made the game easier, with an excellent cover system as well as a very easy “am I hidden?” approach to the game. If the screen is black and white you are hidden, if it’s in color you are visible.

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You will learn to love window ledges.

Ubisoft didn’t just stop at adding an amazing cover system or easier “am I hidden?” system though. They completely remade how you play Splinter Cell. Remember when the game first came out? Stealth was your number one priority and speed was something you wanted to avoid. Now however the way you hide is by being quick about what you do. For example you shoot a guy while hanging from a window ledge. He had buddies in that room that saw you shoot from that window ledge; if you stay there you’ll get killed so if you move to another window ledge while they are going to where you think you are, you are hidden. This proves to be a great tactic most of the way through the game, and very rewarding at that because the enemy voiceovers are often cocky so when you finally do take them out you’ll want to high five your guinea pig.

However that is not to say the game is free of issues. The game is a little bit too short, I beat the game on Normal in about 6 to 8 hours. I do plan on playing through on Realistic though, and the co-op mode (which I didn’t get much play time on yet) should add even more play time. There is also an awkward military flashback level that will make you question why Ubisoft placed the level in there, it’s essentially like Modern Warfare 2 and since the game isn’t really a run and gun first person shooter it will throw you off. My last and final issue is as you get the end of the game Ubisoft makes the levels harder by throwing waves and waves of trained spies at you while taking away any option of being stealthy, I didn’t like this because often times I found myself replaying the same spot 4 or 5 times and I only got past an area due to luck.

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Come out from the shadows to execute your enemies. Or just run and gun, it’s up to you.

However these are some fairly minor issues I had with the game and I still feel the game deserves a solid 8.5 out of 10. If you want to buy the game and want to get it at a great price, you can buy it off of Amazon Splinter Cell Conviction Review.

The Good:
The Cover System
“Am I Hidden?” Works Great
How Stealth Works
Weapon Upgrades

The Bad
Random Military level
End game levels difficult due to lack of stealth options.
The main story is too short!

Fable 3 Review

The Fable franchise has had issues the last couple of years, these issues were not due to a bad game but rather a game that was over hyped and didn’t deliver everything it was supposed to. There is no doubt in my mind that the Fable franchise is a great one, and I wouldn’t consider any of the games in this series as bad. The issue I have always had with the series is I am always left wanting more; will Fable 3 fix this issue?

Fable 3 starts you out in a castle overlooking Albion, your brother is the king and you are just the prince or princess. What is odd is that you do not start out as a child, but as a young adult. Throughout the entire game you do not age at all, something I’m still unsure if I like or dislike. As you know (or may not have known) every Fable game thus far starts you out as a kid, and then you get older and older as you do some tutorials. This change is just one of many that you will notice in the way this game plays and feels.

The game has brilliant voice acting with vocal actors such as John Cleese, Michael Fassbender and Sir Ben Kingsley. Your character actually has a voice in this game as well, and it adds to the story even more having a character that actually talks quite often. I really can’t remember if the other Fable games even had your character talk at all. The talented team that gave Fable 3 its voice made this game much more engaging than most other games in the same genre. Hopefully other studios take note and pay more attention to voice acting in their future titles.

With Fable 2 there were many gamers that had issues with the game menu system. It was too boring for most I suppose; honestly I never had any real problem with it. However now that I have seen what Lionhead has done with the menu system in Fable 3 I am very happy gamers complained. Instead of a normal menu system they have given us a sanctuary that is essentially an interactive menu system. If you need to change weapons or magic, go to the combat room. If you want to change your clothes go to the dressing room. There are some other room but I think you get the point. The sanctuary does a great job at spicing up a boring task that you need to do. Hopefully other developers will think about adding a similar system to their future titles.

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Lionhead also promised us a dynamic world that would change based on the decisions we would make. While they did live up to this, they certainly could have done this much better. For starters there are only a handful of times where you can actually change the world, and it doesn’t really change the world that much. The choices you make are also black and white there is no gray at all. For instance you have the choice to rebuild an orphanage or build a whore house, this changes the world but it certainly is obvious how the world will change. I would have liked to see smaller choices change the world as well, but that didn’t happen. Another problem I had with making decisions is you only get one game save for your hero. That means no doing one thing and then reverting to the last save, you are stuck with your choice. While I see why they did this, it’s rather annoying when I kill the wrong person due to a clunky combat control and now have to live with that. What is worse is they made it very hard to tell if you can even have multiple hero files on the same profile, I still only have one hero in fear of losing that save by starting another one. Overall Lionhead did a great job improving on the decision making process, but when the game is all about decision making they should put more focus on it and really innovate rather than just doing some tweaks here and there. Granted the choices you have to make will likely be the hardest you have ever made in a game, it still just doesn’t add enough in my opinion.

Combat has stayed the same in the game; you press X to use your melee weapon, Y to use your ranged weapon, and B to use magic. What has changed is magic is so overpowered in this game you don’t even need to invest in your ranged or melee upgrades to be successful. Merely focus on magic and you will beat the game without dying once. This is a glaring issue as it’d be nice to see more reasons to invest in the other areas of combat.

The Road to Rule replaced the experience points system, something I’m still unsure if I like or dislike. Instead of collecting multiple colored orbs like you did in previous games you now collect guild seals that can be used to purchase your upgrades. You can upgrade plenty of things including your combat, expressions, get a license to buy property, and improve your job skills. There may be some I missed but that’s pretty much all of them. The issue I have is that it’s so easy to power level in this game now. If I wanted to I could upgrade my pie making skill to 5, without ever making a single pie.

Lionhead streamlined the games social interactions, taking a step back for some reason. Instead of having many different expressions you could make, you can now only make either a good expression or a bad expression. You have no option to change this expression, and it cycles through them like a pull string doll cycles through phrases. The real issues come when my straight hero always has to dance with the male NPC’s because that was the first interaction I had for a positive one. I can’t even try to defend why Lionhead chose to do this, hopefully they can patch it to make it more intuitive again, but I know they probably can’t.

The task of making friendships is just as bad as the expressions. The pattern I noticed is if you will be able to marry the person you will have to go search for a package or item somewhere. If the person will not marry you, and you can only become best friends then they will have you deliver a package somewhere in town. It’s a really repetitive task, and it gets old rather quickly. Add in an issue with the game having a glitch when you need to hold their hand and it can get downright frustrating. I’m not sure if this glitch is wide spread, reloading my game fixed the issue, but when I would hold an NPC’s hand if I ever ran into an object or our hands became separated and rejoined then the fastest we could move was at an old man’s pace.

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Fable 3 is definitely a game worth buying if you enjoyed previous games. Even if you didn’t give the previous games a try it would still be worth picking up. After you look past some of the glaring issues with the game, or little change from Fable 2, it is still a very fun game. It’s very enjoyable, probably one of the best games I have played this year. Don’t expect the world to be as expansive as a game like Fallout or Oblivion, but do expect for a great game with a great story. When you take the crown will you rule as a tyrant or a savior? The choice is yours and the decisions you make will sort of change the world either for the better or worse.

Like this review, and looking to buy Fable 3? Please purchase it from Amazon using the link provided Fable 3 Review. Doing so will help keep VideoGameBlogger up and running as well as help ensure you get the best price for the game.

Final Score: 8.1

Presentation – Is the game free of bugs? 8.0 For the most part the game is free of any major bugs. Still has some bugs that need to be patched out though.
Gameplay – Is this game fun, does it have replay value? 9.5 This game is by far one of the best games I have played this year. Very enjoyable, just wish the main story was longer.
Value – Is the game worth its retail price? 8.0 The game is definitely worth buying, however just know there are other games out there that will give you more bang for your buck.
Innovation – Did this game change the industry? 7.0 That game did make some great changes, however there wasn’t as much innovation as I would hope for.
Multiplayer – How is the game’s multiplayer? N/A I didn’t get a chance to play the games multiplayer, so I can’t give anything on it. From what I hear it’s decent, but not fantastic.