RSS

Category Archives: X-Box 360

The Legend of Spyro (Trilogy)

[Click here to watch the A New Beginning Trailer]

[Click here to watch the The Eternal Night Trailer]

[Click here to watch the Dawn of the Dragon Trailer]

Titles: 1.) The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning 2.) The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night 3.) The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon

Genre: Fantasy Action

Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

Consoles: Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 2 (<<<A New Beginning), Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, Wii (<<<The Eternal Night), Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii (<<<Dawn of the Dragon)

Game Description:

The Legend of Spyro trilogy is a relatively newer branch of the classic Spyro games, of which there are many. This particular trilogy has newer graphics and a separate, dramatic story-line, and it also acts as the prequels to the popular Skylanders games. You play as a young dragon raised in a pleasant swamp. When you meet another dragon for the first time, you learn that you are a special dragon among the dragon species, and that it is your destiny to save the world from the Dark Master.

A New Beginning and The Eternal Night are quite similar to one another, though the second has numerous small improvements, including more varied levels. You travel through decorated fantasy lands fighting evil apes and other creatures with your claws, teeth, and draconic powers you learn throughout the span of the game, including fire, electricity, ice, earth, and eventually, time. Most of the game consists of fighting and puzzle-solving your way through levels. Flying is limited, unfortunately, and these two games are single-player only.

Dawn of the Dragon is the final installment of the trilogy. It has different animation and style than the first two, because the series was taken by new developers. This game takes place a couple of years after the first two. Since Spyro and his sister (who you meet in the previous games) are older, they can fly without limitation. This game is the only one of the three to provide multi-player. One player plays as Spyro and the other plays as his sister (who has her own, separate set of powers, including poison, fear, shadow, and wind). This game has slightly more difficult fighting and puzzle-solving. I personally found this game disappointing in comparison to the other two, and wouldn’t have played it at all if it hadn’t been for multi-player and the fantastic new flying function. Regardless, I don’t think kids will mind the differences quite as much as I do.

Skills Recommended and Required:

  • Good understanding of a controller – REQUIRED
  • Ability to use complex controls – REQUIRED
  • Problem-solving skills – REQUIRED
  • Puzzle-solving skills – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
  • Patience – RECOMMENDED

General Difficulty:

These games are meant for kids, so they aren’t particularly difficult, but they aren’t easy either. They have slightly complicated fighting controls, and a lot of the game is fighting. The rest is puzzle-solving, which can be frustrating at times, especially in the third game. It is just hard enough that it will push a child to think outside the box at times, as all good puzzles do, but not so difficult that the kid declares hatred for the game forever (though there are points where a kid could get stuck for a while without help).

Level of Violence:

As mentioned before, a lot of the game is fighting. None of the violence is very graphic, however, but, as a dragon, you do possess the ability to set your enemies on fire (none of which are human). There is quite a bit of destruction, though none of it is much different than what a kid might see in an action show for kids. The fighting and destruction look cool, but are never severe, disturbing, or bloody. There are some bigger, scarier, more destructive monsters in the third game though, but again, the violence is kept down to an appropriate level for kids.

Use of Bad Language:

There is no bad language in these games.

Presence of a Story:

These games are very story-centered. Like a movie, they are involved and dramatic, aiming toward a young, particularly male, audience. The story-line spans across all three games, with the same action, adventure, humor, suspense, and occasional sadness you would find in a kids’ show or movie. The story is an essential part of the game, but there are plenty of cool powers and other game mechanics to make the game more than just a story.

Presence of a Message:

Like any story, there are lessons to be learned and themes throughout, such as mercy, forgiveness, bravery, perseverance, and friendship. While there is tension and negativity from certain characters, the most impressionable characters are good by nature.

Entertainment Value:

This is an appealing game to kids (especially boys) who love fantasy and action because of the awesome powers and fighting styles you possess. And, naturally, dragons are always an attracting force in games, shows, or movies for kids. The story is fit for children, simple enough to keep their attention and prevent confusion, but thought out enough to be interesting to them. There are also many stars that voice the characters of these games, including Elijah Wood, Gary Oldman, and David Spade. I should mention here that the handheld versions of the games (for the Game Boy, DS, and phones) have totally different graphics and style. I never desired playing them because they looked bad in comparison to the normal versions of the games.

Age Range Recommendation:

The age recommendation for these games are 10 and up, but, 7, 8, and 9 year-olds would probably play them well enough (though they might have a difficult time with later, more complicated puzzles). My brother played the multi-player third game with me when he was 4 – he learned quickly and wasn’t perturbed by the scarier parts of the game, but would have had a hard time with the puzzles without my help.

Usual Cost:

The games’ costs are all over the place, depending on the console you’re buying the game for, where you’re buying the game from, and whether you’re buying a new or used game. I see them on sale anywhere from $7 to $70. Make sure you can’t get the game for a lower price before buying it. I wouldn’t pay any higher than $30, maybe $40 for one of these games. Your best bet is probably buying a used game on Amazon.

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Minecraft

[Click here to watch the Minecraft Trailer.]

Title: Minecraft

Genre: Sandbox

Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+) *Excludes online interaction

Consoles: PC, X-Box 360 *Also has “pocket editions” for iOS and Android

Game Description: 

Minecraft is essentially a free-play game in which you appear in a blocky world that expands indefinitely (or so it seems, anyway). You use your hands to harvest the land, from its soil and stone to its plants and animals. Using these resources, you can craft tools, weapons, furniture, and other objects to protect yourself and build whatever you can imagine.

You can use the Minecraft Wiki if you want to learn how to craft particular objects, or verify anything about the game, whether you want to know how to tame wolves or learn where the best place to find diamonds is. There are no rules, no levels, and no solid structure to the game. You simply appear, harvest resources (or in the case of creative mode, choose resources), and let your imagination take you from there.

The game has two main single-player modes. The first is survival, which is strategic, and gives you a health meter, a hunger meter, an experience meter, and an empty inventory that you have to fill yourself. This mode is best for those who like a challenge. The second is creative, which is, as it suggests, creative, and gives you an inventory with all existing items. You cannot die and have the ability to fly in creative mode. This mode is best for letting off creative steam.

There is also a multi-player mode, but you must join a server in order to play on multi-player mode. Be warned that most free servers host players of all ages from around the world and give them the ability to type whatever they want to each other in the “chat.” Some servers are free, some servers are not, some servers have rules, some servers have rules that are not strictly enforced, and so on. It is better not to connect a child to a multi-player server unless you run a server yourself.

Skills Required and Recommended:

  • Basic understanding of a keyboard and mouse, or other controller – REQUIRED
  • Ability to use somewhat complex controls – REQUIRED
  • Ability to navigate an inventory – REQUIRED
  • Ability to read – RECOMMENDED
  • Ability to write – RECOMMENDED
  • Problem-solving skills – RECOMMENDED

General Difficulty:

Minecraft is complicated, when used to its fullest extent, but kids are able to have fun with it without diving into the less simple aspects of the game (such as enchanting items, planning expeditions, creating portals to the Nether or the End, and so on). When using creative mode, the game is easier. All you have to do is choose what items you want to use and then build whatever your heart desires.

Level of Violence:

I would not consider Minecraft a violent game. It does have monsters that come out at night, and weapons to fight these monsters, but there is no blood, gore, or graphic scenes (there is literally nothing graphic about this game – the game is advanced, but the graphics are primitive). Fighting is a simple manner of whacking the enemy until they fall down and disappear. Some of the monsters may be scary to young children, however. For example, the tall, dark Endermen appear harmless, until you stare at them, and the little green creepers hiss right before they blow you and everything you’ve built up.

Use of Language:

Since the game has no dialogue, there is no bad language. However, if you use multi-player mode, you run the risk of encountering people who will curse in the chat.

Presence of a Story:

Minecraft does not have a story. It is a sandbox game, which means it is a virtual sandbox – you put your kid in it and your kid plays with what he or she finds in the sandbox. No story, no rules, and no limits besides your imagination.

Presence of a Message:

Again, with no story, there is no real message in Minecraft. Playing it can encourage creativity, architectural planning, and even strategic planning, if you play on survival mode. Otherwise, it teaches lessons through experiences – after falling into lava and losing all the valuables you just mined you start to learn to be patient, move on, and accept that sometimes you lose what you’ve worked for and simply have to try again. Among other things, you may learn a thing or two about geology and the responsibility of keeping pets safe.

Entertainment Value:

Though it may not look like an appealing game (especially due to the intentionally poor graphics), it truly is, and kids usually get sucked into it quite quickly (as long as they are able to understand the controls). I was skeptical of the game for a long time, being someone who is snobbish about game graphics, but I’m very glad I tried it. It’s fun, but as a result, it is easily addictive. If you don’t keep an eye on them, your kids may play it for hours. This means hours of creative exercise, but it also means hours of staring at a computer screen.

Age Range Recommendation:

With all of the above in mind, I’d say anyone 6 or above will probably be able to play this game. This depends on how experienced your child is with games – kids who already know how to use controllers and/or computers will be able to grasp the controls quickly, especially if they can read, but kids who are not “fluent” with technology may have more trouble adjusting to the controls.

Also make sure he or she is aware that there are monsters in the game. These monsters are made of blocks, but they can still sneak up on you and give you a scare. If you think your child won’t handle this well, they can set their game to “peaceful.” To do this, you must first create a world (survival or creative) in single-player. Then go to options, and where it says “difficulty,” click until it says “peaceful” (in which there are no monsters in the world) or “easy” (in which there are still monsters, but they are easier to fight).

Usual Cost:

At the moment (March of 2013), you can purchase Minecraft for your computer (by downloading it from minecraft.net, which is a safe site) for around $26 to $28, or you can get it for $20 on the X-Box 360. This is a good deal for a good game that will keep your kids entertained. There are free demo versions of the game for iOS and Android, but they are very limited compared to the full game. There have been improvements (such as adding survival mode to these pocket editions), but I would not recommend the pocket editions of Minecraft except to see whether your child likes the game.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 7, 2013 in PC, Video Games, X-Box 360

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,