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However, the game also keeps itself in check through the limitations of the critical gauge. Since the gauge can hold only four quarters total, and refills slowly as you fight, you can't abuse the new techniques. It's a finely tuned balance that fits naturally atop the existing system. Matching the excellent choreography are the visuals. The bright neon dancers with their stark white outlines look better than ever and are still modeled after video footage of real-life performances, making them natural and easy to follow against the bright backgrounds. The graphics have seen an overhaul, with improved detail and animations that fit within the theme of each song. Highlights include the '70s disco lights and Afros in Earth Wind & Fire's "Boogie Wonderland"; the electronics-infused circuit boards and robot costumes in Daft Punk's "Da Funk"; and the floating price tags and cash symbols in Jessie J's "Price Tag." The enemy AI struggles with its grasp of terrain as well; in the fight that ends one chapter, your foe has two power points inside a fortification. You've got just one way in, which forces you to funnel your forces through a small gate. Does the enemy fortify this position? No. No matter how many times you play the mission, your opponent sends out a number of its units instead of relying on its superior position. But the game does allow you to simulate a number of battles, so if you're not into the combat, you can skip a significant chunk of it (though this is a sad statement for a game that includes "wargame" in its title). And then there's Jenny, the girlfriend Jackie watched get murdered in the first game. Yet here she is, her ghostly image constantly urging him forward. On the occasions Jackie catches up to her, they share brief but tender moments that effectively illustrate his dedication. But is she real? And if not, how is it that Jackie sees her and interacts with her? Some of The Darkness II's best moments come when it plays with your expectations and has you wondering: What is real and what is imagined? And ultimately, does it really matter? The story gathers up all the assumptions you made from the beginning and turns them inside out. On the other hand, the arcade controls take a bit more time to adjust to. Here, the game incorporates a series of gauges to determine your shot. You can adjust freely where you wish to roll the ball from, but the angle of your shot, the amount of power, and the degree of spin are all dependent on your timing when pressing the A button. While it's difficult to mess up with the stylus controls, it can be extremely easy to make a mistake when using the arcade controls. Unfortunately, there is no visual tutorial explaining how to capitalize on either control scheme, so mastering the arcade controls comes down to trial and error. If you are like me, you will often save PDFs or Web pages (for tickets receipts, orders, books, Manuals, or anything you want to keep) and wonder how to find them again later. Now I always save any web documents to the "Web" folder within the "Documents" folder. The Mcafee Stinger.exe application can be accessed from the football/Soccer icon in the system tray (near the clock on the Task Bar). It basically allows quick and easy access to these saved documents, you can view, print and browse within the application. You can also organize your documents by creating folders in Windows Mcafee Stinger.exe and navigating them within this application. The game's lack of content is apparent as soon as you open up the main menu. Its swishy, swipe-based interface looks pretty, but flick past the many options, ranking, and trophy icons to the section entitled "Race" and you spot just three entries: Spot Race, Time Attack, and World Race. Spot Race lets you jump straight onto a circuit with AI opponents, Time Attack lets you compete for the best lap time, and World Race features the game's multiplayer modes. Multiplayer consists of Ghost Car Battles (with lap times exchangeable via Near), Online Battle for up to eight players, or Face-to-Face Battle for local races via Wi-Fi. Almost seven years after it was released alongside the PSP, Lumines is still a must-have game for the system. Its uncomplicated Tetris-style gameplay makes it fun to play for both short and extended periods of time, and its stylish presentation still serves as something of a showpiece for what the aging handheld has to offer. Now, Lumines: Electronic Symphony has been released alongside the PlayStation Vita, and while it isn't nearly as new and exciting as the first game was, it makes some noticeable improvements to the formula and might very well be the one Vita launch game that you're still playing a year or two from now. Besides suffering from length issues, the minigames also feature objectives that can be unclear when you first start playing. You eventually get a feel for what is expected of you as you go along, and in general, you should know what you're doing by the time a game ends, but until that point, the experience can be needlessly frustrating for all players involved. Most of the games also don't look very good. When the visuals aren't limited to video of your living room and some screaming rabbids, they're just plain generic. Textures are bland and environments lack detail, making you wonder why everything takes so long to load. Your characters also advance by defeating enemies. After leveling up, you are awarded points to improve either your character's stats or structures. Do you increase the health of your wizard's turrets or the damage output of his attacks? However you decide, when it comes time to actually play the game, it stumbles. At the heart of this issue is character locomotion. The little guy or girl is slow, sluggish, and has a floaty jump that makes navigating the environment a chore. And these issues are further compounded in the early hours of the game when the arenas are smallest and your character's speed rating is at its lowest. It's not all about fighting soldiers with swords, though. You sometimes find a crossbow or a longbow. These are useful for taking out archers, who mostly send misfired arrows your way while you lock on to them and kill them in one shot. Sometimes, you can use the bow to take out non-ranged enemies, but it's usually too cumbersome and time consuming to actually pull off. Then there's the ballista, which has a visual aiming arc with no correlation to where the projectile actually goes, save for the direction it's pointing. It's also unclear what you're meant to be shooting at because the targets are almost out of camera shot. When so many sword-swinging games seem to readily devolve into frantic button pounding where you slice and dice foes into itty bits, it's refreshing to stumble across one that takes a more strategic, thoughtful approach to bladed combat. Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword doesn't skimp on the ol' stabby-stabby, but it favors precision and split-second timing over chaos and flying limbs. There's a cool sense of honor that comes from dueling foes one-on-one, even when you're fighting a large group. It's also easy to get sucked into the campaign, thanks to the rhythmic nature of each battle and the rewarding progression system. Sega also found other ways to make the actual sporting events engaging, even if you're not playing the London Party mode. Besides k

Team Deathmatch and a variation thereof, Capture the Flag, and Conquest are the modes available, and so you shoot the competition, perhaps while capturing control points or defending your flag. The moment-to-moment gameplay is great fun, however, in part thanks to the transformations. In the single-player campaign, there's rarely a strategic need to flip between robot and vehicular forms. On online battlefields, however, being effective means using each form to your advantage. There are four classes available, and you can take to the skies and rain down rockets, use your considerable bulk to soak up bullets on the ground, or zip around for quick, decisive strikes. It's a good mix that favors constant movement over camping. Despite the promise held by moving Tropico 4 past its "been there, done that" Cold War setting, Modern Times is about as annoying as the CIA was to Fidel Castro back in the 1970s, with all of their out-there assassination plots like the one with exploding cigars. The campaign wears out its welcome fast by repeating virtually all of the tasks that you faced in the last two Tropico games, albeit with minor face-lifts like groovier apartment buildings and organic cattle ranching. With that said, the core of the game is based on an addictive concept with some lingering appeal held over from the past two games. So fans of the franchise can still find themselves sucked into spending a few more hours in the presidential palace, even while realizing that so much more could have been done with this concept. There's a great deal of gear to choose from, too. All items in Legasista are earned in the dungeons; there are no shops or currency, so you amass a virtual armory of all kinds of items. Equippable armaments are determined by a character's class and energy frame, and every piece of gear has variations on its efficacy, special skill offerings, and equip cost. The most desirable items are those that come with "titles," which provide various augmentations. It's possible to swap titles between equipment by discarding old items, collecting their titles, and overwriting titles on other gear, thus creating some awesome armaments. However, the process by which this is done seems to have suffered some errors in localization, making it difficult to figure out an essential element of high-level customization. It certainly doesn't hurt that the same boss creature is many, many times your size--as are a number of the other monsters you face. Griffons, chimeras, and golems are among the beasts you slay, and the ensuing battles are the game's primary draw. Imagine this scenario: You exit the city of Gran Soren, and a massive shrieking griffon flies above, circling in the air before landing just a few feet from you. As a warrior, you lash away at its talons while your companions set its wings ablaze, though this is by no means a certain victory. The griffon may simply fly away if you don't occupy its attention long enough. It might pick you up, fly upward, and drop you to your death. But you might gain the upper hand by leaping upon it, grabbing its feathers, and flailing away as it soars through the skies. While your SMG and pistol are great teammates, your rifle is the franchise player. Shots to heads and torsos usually kill or incapacitate your foes. You can hone your targeting by slowly exhaling, which slows time and zooms in slightly. If your aim is true, you are rewarded with one of the many gruesome and gratifying camera shots that Sniper Elite V2 lovingly serves up. The camera tracks the bullet and gives you a front-row seat to the moment of impact. Sometimes you just watch the bullet enter and exit the body, leaving a blooming exit wound behind. The more dramatic moments offer an X-ray view of the bullet smashing through bones and tearing through organs in grisly slow motion. These are brutal and gratuitous (perhaps too much so, for some), but even after hours of sniping, they never get old. If you crave a greater challenge, you can tackle the more formidable five-person dungeons; they go by quickly if you're up for the challenge, but evoke the toughest bits and pieces of Wrath of the Lich King's boss battles to put you through your paces. After exhausting these, there are the multitude of Challenge mode dungeons to wet your adventurer's whistle, which offer rewards in the form of cosmetic gear, achievements, and more depending on your finish time. Challenge mode dungeons can test your proficiency, and are thus a fine measure of skill for players looking for the more austere side of Pandaria. Alternatively, you can explore two new player-vs.-player battlegrounds: the Temple of Kotmugu and the Silvershard Mine, both glittering and polished takes on established concepts that work well. Other elements are thrown into the combat system with little regard as to how they interact with each other or add anything meaningful to the gameplay. Special attacks can be imbued with a "blast off" effect that sends enemies ricocheting off each other and onfield objects, which looks pretty cool but never does the sort of damage you'd expect. Hoveri