The All New LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and an Old Classic Disney Universe

This Christmas, gaming headlines will be dominated by the big new consoles and their big new games. It’s an exciting time for the serious, hardcore gamer but the choice of games on offer is decidedly un-friendly to kids and families, mostly by virtue of taking themselves too seriously. It’s good to know then, that there’s life the old machines yet.

We’ve got two great games to look at, a hot new release and one you might’ve missed, both of which offer hours of adventuring fun on your XBOX 360, PS3 or Wii U (amongst others).

After this year’s Disney Infinity (a contender to the Skylanders’ throne but still unproven), we decided to take a look back at a simpler time. A time before you had to have dozens of (pricey!) plastic toys to play a  game.

Disney Universe in the Video Game Party Wagon

In 2011 saw the quiet release of Disney Universe. Mixing inspiration from games like Little Big Planet, the LEGO series and even Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, with their most popular Disney film franchises, it’s a game squarely aimed at the seven-to-eleven crowd. But that’s not to say it’s just for young lads.

Like the best Disney films, this is one for everyone; girls and boys, Mums and Dads. It’s a good job then that Disney Universe lets four players team up and take on the bad guys together. Adding and removing new players when you’re in the swing of things is tricky and it’s starting show it’s age a little in the looks department but these are minor quibbles. For a little over a tenner in most places, this is a great value package that deserves a second look.

Fast forward to the present day and we’re going hands-on with the latest instalment in the always-popular LEGO game saga, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes in the Game Wagon

Each new addition to the franchise, since its inception in 2005 with LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game, has applied the formula of co-operation, collection and comedy to a huge range of pop-culture icons. From Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings, the emphasis has always been on exploring the subject matter from a little, yellow, plastic perspective.

Marvel Super Heroes changes little here and adds a lot. If you’re a fan of LEGO games or Marvel characters – like Spiderman, Hulk or Thor – you’ll feel completely spoilt by what this game has to offer. Over 100 different super heroes await your control, from the popular to the obscure, each with their own special power and play-style.

You can play the whole thing alone, or have a sidekick hop in and hop out when you need a helping hand. If we had to nitpick, Gamewagon would love to have seen this expanded to four players to make it a real smash at events. If you’ve tried a LEGO game and wasn’t sold, Marvel Super Heroes probably won’t change your mind. There’s nothing to revolutionary here but there is heaps and heaps to do and you’ll have plenty of fun doing it.

Super Mario 3D World 60 Second Review

Super Mario 3D World

Super Mario 3D World is the latest WiiU must-have game, starring the world’s most famous gaming icon – Mario!

Following on from the success of last year’s New Super Mario Bros U, it’s a bright, colourful and wonderfully playable leap forward for a series that spans generations.

With hundreds of levels that take you from familiar green fields, to fantastic new locations like a floating carnival, everything looks better than ever thanks to the extra power of Nintendo’s Wii U console.

Presentation – Visuals, Sound and Theme

The gameplay feels updated too, sitting comfortably between the 2D of classic Mario games, and the full-blown 3D of something like Mario Galaxy or Mario 64. If you’re one of the thousands of gamers who got their introduction to Mario with the Wii, it’s a great way to ease into a deeper game world that you’ll love to explore.

And there’s plenty of exploring to be done. New power ups like the awesome catsuit or mind-boggling, multi-Mario, hidden in every nook and cranny. There’s tons of stickers, stars and coins to collect that it can seem like an impossible task for just one pint-sized plumber.

Multiplayer in the Gamewagon

Lucky then, that Super Mario 3D World supports up to four simultaneous players. You’re all bundled in together, as either Mario, Luigi, Toad or Princess Peach, working together to make it through level after level for imaginative fun.

Summary

So, who would’ve thought, with the bombastic launch of Sony, and Microsoft’s new massive consoles (with their massive price tags), we’d be talking so excitedly about a 30 year old series on a 2 year old machine? Super Mario 3D World is a pure gaming challenge for the hardcore, and the very best family gaming experience for the casual gamer.

Family Friendly Video Game Review – FIFA 14 Multiplayer Fun at It’s Best

FIFA 14 the video game party wagon favourite

EA’s FIFA video game has become a household name over many years now. Every year new editions come out with millions of sales in the first few days. It is not just for the boys  my daughter and her friends are FIFA players and they play every aspect of the title from skill challenges to ultimate team!

But is the latest release all that good?

Well…. Yes it is, we have taken a couple of months of game play to get a good feel on the evolution of the game in it’s current 2014 version. This year’s version does not disappoint. The graphics, and fluid play combined with the latest players creates a polished game with depth and hours of game play.

The continuous stream of updates stop FIFA getting old and means that the game is a joy to play even after months of playing; something many games fail to achieve.

The game play

There is not much more you could hope for in a computer game of football that FIFA 14 does not include. Learning from their previous games in the series EA have made the game play more deliberate and made the game feel more rewarding when a goal is scored. There is a learning curve even if you have played previous releases but the overall feel makes things more realistic.

Player opinion

After speaking with a number of dedicated FIFA 14 players the general thoughts are that the game continues to evolve and it rewards experience and practice. FIFA 14’s Ultimate Team has become a key part of the game, people literally spending more time and money on this part of the game than the game itself.

Overall

In reviews all over the world you will struggle to find a review giving the game lass than four stars. It is simply one of the best video gaming sports titles of all time.

FIFA 13

Every year EA (Electronic Arts) release a new FIFA and every year brings with it new features to better the last, along with new graphics and for the most part; better animations and feel to the game play. FIFA has long been the dominant football game on the market for a very good reason, with every improvement the game tends towards realism but keeps to its competitively fun roots. It is a big favourite in the Gamewagons and everyone learns something new whilst playing together.FIFA 13

With the animations, response times of the players, positioning of computer controlled players and skill, training modes and option features, FIFA only gets better with this latest outing for the 2012-13 season. All the latest players and team rosters are included which even includes weekly mini-updates that relate to transfers and individual player form. This manages to correct a player’s stats based on current form throughout the season and reflects on the real world in a better way than any sports game before. There are a large variety of game modes including managing and player careers; there is a lot to do in this game including some of the best skill practices that can act as mini tournaments in their own right.

Gameplay

FIFA 13 brings home the bacon with its quick setup games; this is your generic friendly matches you will play vs. your friends and family. The menus are easy to navigate and the rapid setup does not get in the way of getting your competitive streak going. We tend not to get involved in changing starting squads and formations in the Gamewagons but you can and many can spend a long time getting their team “just right”.FIFA 13 Game Play

The players respond perfectly to your controller input but only to a point. A low skill player may fumble the ball while receiving a pass, at least more often than a Barcelona starting squad player. The controls are very familiar to returning FIFA fans and don’t take long to learn for the newcomers to pick up. We have included a basic controller guide at the bottom of this review and highlighted a few controls that can really help.

Now about the in-match gameplay, this is the chasis to any football game. The improvement to Fifa’s ball play is considerable; passes look fluid and non-robotic. A good ball to switch play looks gorgeous and similar to what you would see on the TV. Defending now has a stand-off (Jockey) option that simply stops your player charging in like a mad man and holds their ground like a professional. The deeper you get into FIFA the more tricks you pick up to beat your opponent. Practice makes perfect and the time you invest in this game is rewarded with some spectacular moments.

Presentation – Visuals, Sound and Feel

A generation on from FIFA 12 and the realism has again built up. Not only player FIFA 13 Amazing Graphicsanimations but the detail (mainly noticed on the replays) has increased significantly. It has truly welcome HD quality, if you can avoid it don’t play with anything but a HDMI cable.

The commentary is hugely varied in this version and stats are quoted for the most unlikely of teams and players. Almost gone are the days of tedious repetition during your matches. The menu tracks are even current tunes that will certainly be familiar to you.

Multiplayer – In the Van

This is the ultimate “In the Van” game. You can play competitively and cooperatively which offers something for almost everyone. You can have up to four players in a game (nore with the PS3 version) which gets as many involved at a time as possible. Various match lengths mean that we can find it fairly easy to run a tournament if this game is your bag and you want to discover who the best FIFA player is and learn from their techniques.FIFA 13 in the Gamewagon

This traditional style sports game is the rite of passage of any young gamer and even as a rugby fan I find myself loving a kick around vs. my colleauges. A truly fun and great game for party atmospheres and well worth a long session. You can even handicap the best players by giving them a low stats team such as Leyton Orient and have them battle Premiership giants in order to level the playing field.

Tips and tricks

There are so many different play styles to Fifa that are unique to each team and sets of players. Here are a few of the generic ways to attack.

Fast wingers? Then use the space wide and cross in, this is especially effective with a tall striker as a target man.

Great technical players? Use a lot of short passes to weave in and out of your opponents and create chances through hogging possession. Defences do get drawn out of position if you are patient and then a little through ball can open up the route to goal.

If you have a great defence and at least 1 fast attacker then it could be worth letting the opponent come at you, steal possession then send the long ball down the field to have a 1 on 1 against the keeper.

In short, you must use what you have got in your team but that main tip is to pass it around a lot, learn to defend not just attack and slowly your win count will increase.

Basic Controls

XBOX 360 Controller

 

 

 

 

 

In Attack

Left Thumb stick – Dribble

Right Trigger Button – Sprint (Shooting when sprinting is less accurate)

A – Ground Pass

X – Lobbed Pass / Cross when in position

Y – Through Ball (Key Skill takes some practice but work on it)

B – Shoot (Do not hold down too long, a short press is enough else your shot will fly over the bar)

B + Right Bumper Button – Finesse Shot (Tricky to get your fingers to come off sprint and then on this but the goals will come)

B + Left Bumper Button – Chip Shot (Nice as your opponent sprints their goalie off their line)

A + B – Fake Shot (Really tricky but when used is very effective)

Left Buffer Button – Trigger Player Run (When passing around making players make forward runs really stretches the defense, get ready to use the through ball but watch the offside).

RB (Held) – Dummy Pass (Similar to fake shot, helps draw tackles and commits a defender).

In Defence

Hold A – Contain (Stand-off attacker much better than rushing in and risking missing the play)

Hold Right Bumper Button – Team mate Contain (Brings in another defender to help defend a player without diving in)

B – Standing Tackle

B (while chasing opponent) – Push & Pull

X – Slide Tackle

Hold LT – Jockey

LB – Switch Player (Moves to nearest defender)

Flick Right Thumbstick – Manually change player

Y – Rush your Goalkeeper

Y x 2 – Send back Goalkeeper

This review was created by one of our experienced Game Experience Managers Charlie Osler. To learn more about Charlie and the rest of the team click here.