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Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games [WII]





Vampire Smile has amazing combat, a unique story and art style like no other.

9.0

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Highly addictive"

Summary

The Good: Punchy, brutal, and fast paced combat, responsive and silky smooth controls, unique and engaging story, gorgeous art style, fun and varied boss fights, two stories in one game

The Bad: Brutal difficulty spikes, a bit repetitive towards the end, requires twitch reaction fingers to really play well

The Dishwasher is a strange name, but the story of Yuki is actually pretty sad and engaging. Yuki dies in the hands of the Dishwasher and is hallucinating. You play flashbacks of her in an asylum trying to find her killer, but the again she's hallucinating and kills the wrong person. She crash lands on the Moon trying to find the person making her hallucinate and find out why this is all happening to her. There's a lot of detail in the story so explaining too much will give spoilers. Just know the story is excellent and very engaging.

The game is all about combat which is super fluid, fast, and fun thanks to smooth and responsive controls. You will find different weapons like Cloud's sword, a hypodermic needle, kamas, as well as having a mini-gun arm attachment. You can use the right stick to use the blood dash to go through enemies and dodge them, but everything is just so fast and fun you just forget the controller is in your hands. You can hit enemies with a light and heavy attack as well as a unique attack with B such as a grab, needle jab, or chainsaw attack depending on your weapon. After you damage an enemy enough they will have buttons flash under them. Hit it and see a brutal execution move that just looks awesome. The game is very punchy, heavy hitting, and powerful thanks to the excellent combat system.

You can equip beads that add attributes to Yuki, you can also use magic skulls that do massive damage to enemies. I just can't really describe how excellent the combat is until you actually play it. It's like trying to explain how good Devil May Cry's combat is. There's just no way unless you actually play it. Boss fights are also fun and unique but some can be brutally difficult to beat. Dodging and twitch reactions are key to staying alive in the game, so this is no walk in the park. The game will just take your breath away by how fast paced it is, but I guarantee your fingers will ache after a couple of levels.

The art style is just awesome with a very messy, dark, and smeary art style. It looks like you can't tell what's going on, but it was done is such a way that you can make everything out just fine. I love how dark and brutal the art is, so it just helps portray how helpless Yuki is. I didn't really find much wrong with the game except the brutal difficulty. The enemy variety is pretty high and there are plenty of boss fights. After you finish Yuki's story you can even go back and play the Dishwasher's side so its like two games in one. This is probably one of the best XBLA games I have ever played and it should not be passed up.




Displaying an emo vibe while turning out to be a great game with amusing modes and fun online co op.

8.5

Superb
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Just plain fun"

Summary

The look and feel of this game is very unique as you progress through the story of either the "dishwasher" or "yuki", spilling blood every 2 seconds. My only knock on this game is how repetive the gameplay is even though the combos are quite fun. Online co op is also a nice feature to this game as is the arcade and challenge mode increasing the games playablility. The story isn't as shallow as you might think it is where multiple levels have you escaping a ship and another has you traversing the moon. Boss fights left me frustrated as I was fending for myself which led me to find someone to coop with making it much easier. There are various weapons at your disposal including machine guns, samurai swords and hammers. You'll also notice for a side scroller it encourages you to purchase items from robots such as fish and other things to heal yourself. For 800 microsft points I think this warrants a download for your arcade collection.




Bleak exploration doesn't stop The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile's amazing graphic design and intense, but fluid combat.

8.0

Superb
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Rocks"

Summary

With the slow demise of arcades, the beat-em-up has found new life on home consoles, more recently on download services like the Xbox Live Arcade. While the Xbox Live Arcade is chock full of colorful brawlers from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Castle Crashers, sometimes you just want to satisfy your bloodlust with something a bit more…macabre. Bash an enemy's face in the ground, slash a foe in half, or just shove a chainsaw right through the guy's skull. Well, Xbox Live Arcade is ready to quench your thirst for violence in spades. From the twisted mind of James Silva and the folks at Ska Studios comes The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, a slash-em-up that lets loose those restless demons and bathes them in plasma. While its overall design is flawed with repetitive room-to-room traversal, the brilliantly visceral combat and unique presentation elements make The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile a dark trip through insanity that shouldn't be missed.

The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile follows The Dishwasher (the hero from the previous game) and his stepsister Yuki. While The Dishwasher is out to pick up the pieces from his last adventure, Yuki has her own inner demons to contend with. Yuki was imprisoned on a space prison after the cataclysm of The Dishwasher's journey, and after experiencing some frightening visions, she escapes the frigate and aims to get revenge on whoever imprisoned her. The storyline has branching paths, but the two protagonists on occasion encounter each other, adding to the tumultuousness of the narrative. It's not complex and can feel a bit melodramatic at times, but Vampire Smile is engaging thanks to some memorable characters.

Vampire Smile makes a great first impression. The overall presentation is beyond any other game on the XBLA service. It's dark. It's violent. It's amazing. The cutscenes play out in comic-book panel form, with some fantastic art design. Though some fully animated scenes would've been better, the cutscenes are captivating in their haunting construction. Even better is the in-game animation. Like an alternative graphic novel in motion, Vampire Smile has beautifully gory art design, echoing the works of Jhonen Vasquez or Roman Dirge. When the battles start, every animation is strung together into a crazy combo of animation. Chainsaw duels, decapitations, and shotgun blasts are frequent and never get old. To complement the near flawlessness of the combat animation, the music is just plain awesome. Heavy metal guitar solos sound off during the heat of combat, keeping the pace moving. The Dishwasher and Yuki can even play through button-tapping minigames where they rock out to heavy metal performances. By far, The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile makes a name for itself with its beautifully dark presentation.

But the presentation is just the appetizer. The main course for The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile is easily the combat. Both The Dishwasher and Yuki have a superbly crafted set of skills, allowing for some of the smoothest and most fluid combat this side of Bayonetta. Both characters can slash, shoot, and grab enemies, along with using context-sensitive finishing moves. They can also perform chainable mid-air dodges with the right analog stick. Topping off the melee and ranged attacks are magic spells that can be used to clear rooms of enemies or restore health. All of these simple ideas come together unbelievably well. Every battle is a treat. To be fair, Vampire Smile does walk the line of button-mashing (the three-slash X button combo is a fine weapon), but those who explore the intricacies of the combat design will find fluidity to rival Devil May Cry. It's smooth, some of the smoothest seen on XBLA, and demands that the player find a gameplay style all their own.

Both characters can earn different weapons and skills throughout their journeys. The Dishwasher may find meat cleavers to swing around, while Yuki can use the aptly-titled "Cloud Sword". Each weapon can be assigned to a "loadout" for quick access and weapons in the same loadout can be swapped on the fly. Floating Shop Bots appear frequently and offer items to use in battle along with upgrades for weapons, magic, and health; this all comes at a price, specifically currency which can be collected from fallen enemies. While these features have become standard ingredients in the modern action game formula, Vampire Smile's use of these ideas just makes the combat even more versatile and diverse. Plus, using a giant hypodermic needle to take out enemies just never gets old.

The boss design is creative and engaging. Along each character's campaign, you'll encounter fire-breathing tanks, butterflies with knives, and even the occasional mental patient. The bosses are challenging and take advantage of the dark aesthetic in cool ways. Still, while the boss fights are fantastic to play through, they have one significant flaw. Almost every boss can only attack from the front, so finding their blind spot is usually all you need to do. The rest mostly depends on quick dodging and attacking at the right time. It doesn't ruin the action, but it feels a bit weak after taking out waves of ninjas, chainsaw maniacs, and cyborg soldiers. Overall, though, the bosses are crucial to the shadowy appeal and always seem to surprise visually, even if the actual fight is slightly underwhelming.

Sadly, though, the exploration is neglected. The main gameplay architecture involves running from room to room, the exit doors closing, leaving the player to take out waves of enemies. Once all waves of enemies are destroyed, the doors open. You can collect keys to open doors, fight bosses to end chapters, and if you're adventurous enough, go off the beaten path to find hidden beads to collect. It's nothing complex. The exploration is a skeleton used to link the many battles together and doesn't do anything to add depth to the running around. While games like Devil May Cry have added some minor, but interesting diversions to gameplay, The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile is all about the combat. It's excellent combat, but it's just combat.

At 800 Microsoft Points ($10 US), The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile is rich with content. Aside from the combined campaigns between The Dishwasher and Yuki, there also are challenge rooms, multiple difficulty levels, and leaderboards. Those looking to tear up enemies with a friend will also find the cooperative multiplayer to be a treat. Compared to many other games on the XBLA service, Vampire Smile has all of the bases covered, offering a satisfying single-player with plenty of replay value in addition to a fun multiplayer mode.

Pros
+ Over-the-top, combo-pushing combat is blissfully intricate and deep
+ Dark and unquestionably violent presentation captures a fantastic macabre style
+ Great amount of content for a good price

Cons
- Exploration is horribly neglected
- Boss fights rely more on attrition than on creative tricks

The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile is a blissfully action-packed experience hindered only by a few jabbing factors. The room-to-room movement is tedious and the boss fights (despite their creative aesthetic) aren't as complex as hoped. However, if you're looking for combat that doesn't hold back in intensity, challenge, or style, Vampire Smile is the brawler to have. The stunning presentation combines seamlessly with the fluid battles. Whether tackling a wave of enemies with a friend or climbing the difficulties as a lone warrior, finding fun in Vampire Smile is extremely easy to do. If the exploration elements weren't as repetitious and the boss fights a bit more intricate, The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile could've been the next absolute must-have on XBLA. Still, while the tedium can set in on occasion, The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile remains a fantastically choreographed brawler, one with style to spare and guts to spill.





The Olympic games has returned with your favorite characters

8.5

Superb
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Best in series"

Summary

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games contains over 50 original Olympic themed events playable in both single and multiplayer modes. Bringing a whole new dimension to the Mario & Sonic universe, the glasses-free 3D visuals and the unique control systems mean there are plenty of new and exciting ways to compete for a coveted gold medalThe cross-over rivalry that no one ever thought would happen is happening for a fourth time. They first met up and competed against one another in 2007's Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. After that they fought it out on the battlefields of 2008's Super Smash Bros. Brawl, then hit the slopes for 2009's Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games. Now Nintendo and Sega's heaviest hitters are once again going head-to-head on Wii -- and this cross-over's feeling a little weary.

The novelty factor of seeing Mario and Sonic in the same game has certainly worn off by this point. This gives Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games a bit less momentum to build on than four years ago, when these characters had not yet met. Even more unfortunately, the Olympics side of this equation is waning too. We've come full circle and returned to the Summer games again, meaning almost all of the sporting events featured in this release are the same ones we first saw in Mario and Sonic's first meeting. It's all feeling a little too familiar here.

So where does that leave us? London. The one stand-out new element in this third Olympic outing is the setting itself. The location of London is prominently presented with a celebration of the city that Beijing and Vancouver never got in the older games. Famous landmarks like Big Ben and the London Eye offer real-world iconography that feels like it's truly starring side-by-side with the game-world characters. The developers' focus on elevating London ends up elevating the entire package, especially in the new "London Party" mode.

Similar to Nintendo's Mario Party series, London Party is a four-character competition mode that serves to bring all of the game's many different events together into one fun free-for-all. A cartoony, accurately mapped version of London becomes the equivalent to Mario Party's virtual boards, and you direct your Mario or Sonic character to run around the city collecting items and running into other Mario or Sonic characters.

The ultimate goal is to fill up a tourist's sticker book before your three opponents can do the same, and stickers are awarded for earning victories in events -- events that take place every time Big Ben chimes to say it's time.

It's a lot of fun. London Party does a great job of pulling together all of the wildly different elements that make up this game, and overall it's a mode that could comfortably take up a spot in regular multiplayer rotation for you and your friends. But that said, not all of those wildly different elements are winners individually -- and the game can be frustrating when you come across a stinker.

There are three categories of events that you'll encounter. The first are unique to London Party mode, and they're mini-games made almost directly in the tradition of Nintendo's Mario Party series. They often have nothing to do with the Olympics at all, and sometimes nothing to do with Mario, Sonic or London. Still, they're generally fun activities like matching spinning icons with a partner, chasing down and tackling a Shy Guy or collecting coins strewn throughout the city streets. The second category of mini-games is the Dream Events, making a return from the first two Mario & Sonic Olympics games. These "what if" scenarios are a bit more connected to actual Olympic sports competitions that the unrelated London Party mini-games, but they're still not too grounded in reality. In Dream Discus, for example, characters ride on the giant discs they throw and their tosses turn into a two-minute race to collect Sonic series rings. Dream Long Jump transforms a one-leap event into a multi-jump bouncing competition where four characters hop across Yoshi's Story clouds. Dream Hurdles and Dream Spacewalk adapt pieces of Super Mario Galaxy, and so on.

And then, last and least, is the final category of games contained here -- the actual Olympic sporting events. These quasi-realistic competitions are the least video gamey part of the package, and they're also the least fun. Most of them are recycled from the original 2007 game, often with the same control schemes in place -- which feels like an unwelcome step back to the days when developers thought the Wii remote was only good for constant, repetitive and arm-fatiguing shaking motions. Some of these designs are fine in an encore appearance, but I could have done without ever waggling my way through another 100m Dash.

Within this group of mini-games (which are the core of the game, after all) only four events are entirely new -- badminton, canoeing, horseback show jumping and football (a.k.a. soccer for American readers). It's nice to have at least a few new, non-recycled sports to experience, but playing through each of them here it's easy to see why none of them were good enough to make the cut for 2007's first crack at adapting the Olympics. Badminton is a basic Wii remote-swinging volleyfest, as you mindlessly slap a shuttlecock back and forth until one side or the other screws up the timing and sets up a point-winning super shot for the opposing team. Canoeing is reduced to a rhythm game, as you simply swing the controller in time with an on-screen graphic again and again. The horseback riding, a.k.a. equestrian event, is arm-tiring waggling combined with a need to balance the controller and Nunchuk between obstacles, which doesn't seem to register subtleties in your hand position well. And the football? Bland. Mario Strikers Charged did it so much better.

That's the sense I walked away with from a lot of these events, actually, as many parts of Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games just end up feeling like late-generation rehashes of mini-game designs that earlier Wii games already offered better versions of years ago. Just look back at Wii Sports Resort for a perfect example -- a few of its included activities mirror the events contained here, like canoeing and table tennis. And Resort's use of the MotionPlus adapter made its versions of those same activities feel immersive and fun. Mario & Sonic, though? Not so much.

I would have loved to see Sega's developers work more closely with Nintendo and perhaps integrate MotionPlus support into some of the returning events for this game, to make them feel and play differently than they did four years ago. Tons of Wii owners now have MotionPlus controllers -- especially after the release of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword -- and upgrading some of the old sports like fencing and the discus toss could have been great.The only great parts of Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games are the parts that have nothing to do with the Olympics. The new reality-ignoring Dream Events, the multiplayer London Party mode and the presentation of London itself are all wonderful here -- pick up a copy of the game if one of those items catches your eye. But the actual sports? They're the same here as they were four years ago, and anyone who's already got a copy of the first Mario & Sonic Olympic game sitting on the shelf doesn't need to double-dip.




Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games gets a review it should be proud of!

7.5

Great
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Great multiplayer"

Summary

Yesterday, at the time of writing, was Christmas Day, and i was very happy to find the "Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games" game for Wii. This was gonna be interesting on what this game was going to be like. I've already got "Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games" and "Mario & Sonic at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games", so, it was all about what was new in this game, and i wasn't disappointed.

The Mini-games on single player consisted of some old mini-games from the 2008 Olympic games game, and some new additions, like Horse Riding and Football. I especially like the dream events that they've added to this game. One of them is Dream Space walk, which, if you didn't work out already, is set in Super Mario Galaxy 2, yet has an original Super Mario Galaxy monster. The idea is that you guide your character to some on-screen circles by tilting the Wii remote up, down, left and right and defeating Peewee Piranha. on the first attempt at this game, it wasn't the easiest to complete first time, it takes alot of practice.

All 20 chracters from the winter Olypmic game return as usual, though with a few voice changes. What;s strange is, is that Yoshi isn't one of those that had their voices changed, despite the voice change in Super Mario Galaxy 2.

The music in the game come from both Nintendo and Sega games, most of them come from either Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 or Sonic Heroes. The invincibility music comes from New Super Mario Bros.Wii.

They also have a London Pary mode, which allows for maximum multiplayer possibility. You go round London, competing in events and collecting stamps for your team. the most stamps wins. simple enough.

THis game gets a 7.5 out of 10, simply because of the multiplayer advantages it has over the previous Olympic game from 2008. The only problem is, is that the game consists mostly of arm actions, which leaves you with alot of tennis elbow....which isn't good. all things considered, its not a bad game, so go buy it! its great for the family!
7.0

Great
6.7