Archive for Cheap Game Reivews

Old Games, Big Savings

Games like Silent Hill and Final Fantasy VII are still SUPER expensive. If you're going to buy a game like that, you might as well go with something in the current generation of consoles.

Feeling extra cheap this holiday season?  It’s not too late to go el cheapo on some of your gamer friends and family members.  The truth is, most of the best games ever made weren’t made during this generation of consoles (Wii, PS3, and Xbox360) and you can find the biggest hits of yesteryear for extra cheap on Amazon.com used!  Of course, the best of the best are still really expensive (like Silent Hill, which is still well above $30 used, or Final Fantasy VII, which should still hit your pocket book pretty hard).  So, what follows is a guide to the best games from the past that have gone down significantly in price.

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Let’s go look at the last generation of games and see what we can find.  These games are especially great because most can be played on today’s consoles since they’re backwards compatible, meaning that Xbox360 can play most regular Xbox games, and the Wii can play Gamecube games.

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The PS3 is kind of tricky, and only some models can play PS2 games, but all models, from what I’ve gathered, can play PSone games (the original PlayPlayStationtem).

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For the PS2 and Xbox catalocatalogmes, there are a few that stick out.  For owners of either system and for fans of Spider-Man, the Spider-Man 2 video game (about $2 used) is a pretty awesome buy.  No other Spider-Man game really captured what it might be like to swing through New York like this one did.  The game takes you though the story of the movie, but it also introduces other villains like The Rhino and Mysterio.  The game plays very well and is full of side missions and upgrades to keep people interested for a long time.

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Another great title that you can’t go wrong with is Tony Hawk’s Underground (less than a dollar online). True, there were sequels, but none really matched this game’s greatness.  You get to rise through the ranks as a pro skater in this video game epic.  The greatness of this game, however, comes from the multiplayer experience and in building your own parks.

Making your own parks and goals makes Underground a game that you can literally play forever.

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Sadly, the park editor has been cut from later games in the series, which is one of the biggest crimes in the history of electronic entertainment. Find someone who has this game, break out your memory cards and start building parks and goals within them, and watch the fun start.  Never has so much creative freedom been placed into a game (with possibly the exception of Little Big Planet).  It is a gift that will keep on giving, especially if you can hand copies of this game out to multiple members of your family.

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For all your GameCube playing, Nintendo loving persons on your list, there’s only one way to go.  Nintendo puts so much energy and so much polish into games that bear the franchise’s most prized characters that you really can’t go wrong with any Mario, Zelda, or Metroid game.  Check out this price list:

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One of the best games on the GameCube was this cartoony look into the Zelda universe.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door: $12

Metroid Prime: $5

Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker: $20

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Stay away from Super Mario Sunshine.  It’s was a mess.

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Going even farther back, you can run into some issues.  You don’t want to buy games for older consoles unless you’re sure your friend or family member has the older console or that it still works.  A Sega Genesis might cost about $25 on Amazon used, but you never know if it’s going to work or not.  So be careful.

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What is nice though, is the thought that you might inspire someone to break out their old NES or Super Nintendo and encourage them to revisit some of their most beloved games from 10 or 20 years ago.

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Here’s a quick list of prices for old used consoles and some great deals for some of their best games.  I’ve also included some pretty awesome ads for each respective system.  Enjoy!

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Sega Genesis: $25 used

Comic Zone: $4

Sonic the Hedgehog 2: a penny!

Streets of Rage 2: $6

Golden Axe: $6

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PSone: $20

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped: $10

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2: $1.50

Gran Tourismo: $2

(A lot of these games are still over $20…which is interesting to me…)

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PS2: $50

Twisted Metal: Black: $3

God of War: $5

Sly Cooper: $2

Red Dead Revolver: $4

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Xbox: $35

Brute Force: a penny!

Halo: $7

Burnout: Revenge: $5

Spinter Cell: 75 cents!

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Nintendo Entertainment System: $30

Legend of Zelda: $8

Super Mario 3: $10

Metroid: $8

Dr. Mario: $5

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Super Nintendo:  $40

Super Mario World: $10

Donkey Kong Country: $15

Street Fighter 2: $2.50

Mega Man X: $10

F Zero: $1

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Nintendo64: $30

Golden Eye 007: $9

Mario 64: $20

Diddy Kong Racing: $8

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Also, if you’re stupid, you can get a Virtual Boy for $50.

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Thanks for reading!  Happy Holidays!

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Used Games for Christmas!

It’s getting close to that 24th deadline and things are getting crazy!

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Well, why not order a used game offline for that special someone?  Print out a picture, wrap it, and blame the lateness on the sender.  No need to mention we waited this long, right?

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Here are some ideas I think will be a hit.

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This is the map for Burnout Paradise. It's pretty big and there's tons to do.

For the racing game fanatic, hows about Burnout:Paradise?  Basically, you just drive around a GIANT beach city, burning rubber in races, causing crazy crashes, and pushing people off the road.  With the addition of motorcycles and other downloadable content in combination with online multiplayer, you’re going to be giving a gift that will keep giving for a long time.

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Burnout Paradise is $5 used.

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GIFT GIVING TIP: When giving a video game with online multiplayer, why not buy two?  Keep one for yourself or give the extra away as a gift also.  Encouraging people to play together will add a lot to the experience of owning the game.  Just make sure the game says “online multiplayer” on the back of the box.  If you’re not sure, ask a store attendant.

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Fallout 3 is the most impressive game I think I've ever played.

If you’ve got an action buff in the family, there are a lot of fantastic options on sale this year.  There are games that deserve their discounted used prices on Amazon, even if they are a bit high.

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First up is the best game I’ve played in a long long long long time: Fallout 3.  You can get the original game for less than $20.  This game takes a VERY LONG time to finish if you explore the entire map and take part in a lot of the side missions.  It took me weeks, and I was playing it into the early morning on some occasions.

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If its for someone really special, I strongly recommend the Game of the Year Edition which comes with all of the downloadable content.  For a lot of you who don’t know what I mean, I’ll explain.  The game was released and then additions were released month after month.  There are 5 in total and they each cost about $10.  This game comes with these additions on the disk, so you don’t have to buy them separately and you don’t have to download them.  The additional content was hit and miss in terms of quality.  For a die hard fan like myself, they were all very enjoyable, but the reviews were mixed.  Still, the value for this content alone is about $50, and if you buy the Game of the Year Edition used, that’s how much you’ll pay.  $50 will get you the original game AND all 5 downloadable additions.

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GAME BUYING TIP: If you’re buying for someone who doesn’t have an internet connection to his or her Xbox360 or PS3, try to find a good deal on the Game of the Year editions.  These usually include everything the developers released as downloadable content which you can only get if you’re connected to the internet.  Also included in these games are “patches,” which are basically updates that make the game run smoother and, in some cases, changes the game mechanics to make them more enjoyable.

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I know Left 4 Dead 2 is out, but there are still tons of people playing part one, and it's a lot of fun making friends and killing zombies with them into the wee hours of the night.

Honorable mentions in the action category include:

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Prototype: $20

Left 4 Dead: $20

Fable 2: $20

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Ghostbusters really puts you in the action. It's easy to get a little too excited, but that's totally fine...

For those of you buying for a movie fanatic, there were a couple great games released this year based on awesome movies.  Of these, the one that really stands out is Ghostbusters.  The game features ALL the original actors doing voice work for their respective characters.  For any fan it’s a must own.  You can get it for $20 used.

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Another game that came out recently was the Godfather 2.  I didn’t actually play it, but it did get decent reviews.  Most people complain it was too much like the original game, however, I enjoyed the original, so what’s the problem?  My roommate played it, he said he liked it.  You can get this game for about $15.

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GAME BUYING TIP: I know a lot of us are tempted to get a game because it’s based off of a movie that someone likes, but DON’T!  Usually, these games aren’t fun, they’re put together and released before they’re finished to meet crazy deadlines, and they don’t feature many things we loved about them on film.  Stick with the few that you’ve heard are good, don’t trust the store clerks, and focus on getting a game that is fun to play, not to look at.

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John Madden wants all your money...and a chili dog.

Sports are always a hot genre in video games, but often the games remain overpriced through the holiday season.  You can also buy an older version of a game, like last years NCAA Football instead of this year’s.  But be warned: a lot of people aren’t going to be happy with that choice.  It’s going to be very obvious you were trying to save money, and your friend or family member will be missing out on a lot of new features that have been hyped by EA for the last 6 to 9 months.  It might be best to avoid these games all together if you’re trying to save money.

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MADEN NFL 2010 will cost you at least $45 if you have an Xbox360 or a PS3.  It’s only about $20 on the Wii, but be warned, the Wii version is geared more toward the casual gamer and is in a lot of ways inferior to the others.

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GAME BUYING TIP:  Try to find sales where you can buy a game and get a gift card in return or a rebate and use that extra money to get a new sports game.  That’s your best bet on getting someone the sports game they want this Christmas without killing your budget.

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If you’re going to be cheap, be smart. See my other review to see how to save EVEN MORE MONEY by buying games for older systems.

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Thanks! And Happy Holidays!

The Getaway

Believe me. You're going to love it much more than you hate it.

Oh, MAN! I LOVE THIS GAME! It could be one of the best things to come from the whole GTA craze in the mid 2000’s. I mean, it’s got everything: car chases, mobsters, murderers, corrupt cops, good cops, bad cops, machine guns, and some of the best story telling to ever grace the PS2.

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Yeah, he was sleeping in a suit. So, what? You want to fight about it?

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Here’s the rundown: You are Mark Hammond. You used be a thug, but now you’re not. And those guys in that video, they took your kid, and the crime boss in charge, he won’t give him back unless you do what he says. Basically, you’re on the hook and you have to go on about 12 suicide missions before you can get your boy back. This cop, he starts figuring things out as he tries to capture you, following you through the bloody crime scenes, staying right on your toes, and eventually helping you get your son back.

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After you finish the game as Mark, you get to play through again from the cop’s perspective. It’s an original concept that most game designers would save for maybe a part two or something. It’s great. I remember when I beat the game as Mark and then had to start over. I was a little pissed, but mostly, I was jazzed. It’s like Enders Game and Enders Shadow. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go read a book.

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I’ve heard that the game is based loosely on the movies Snatch and Get Carter. I don’t really see the direct connections, but I definitely feel it. The Getaway plays like a traditional tough-guy movie. There is no bullshit about it, so bring your A game. You can’t carry 20 weapons like in GTA and you don’t get a HUD to tell you how much life or how many bullets you have left. You run into a war zone and you pick up what weapons you can. You take cover to catch your breath and heal up a little, then you fire away until that weapon is spent. Pick up a new weapon and repeat.

The game might be lacking in graphics by today's standards, but the action more than makes up for it.

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This constant picking up and dropping of weapons and blowing up canisters and limping to the next shotgun or machine gun really helps get you in the mood of the game. It works well together with the driving missions. You’re always going somewhere, you’re always moving, pushing forward. The game keeps you on your toes and it really has a fast pace to it that grabs your attention and can create a lot of excitement.

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The developers at Team SoHo recreated London. I can’t tell you how accurate it is since I’ve never been, but I can tell you that it’s what you’d expect. The only real drag about it comes from trying get into cars on the wrong side all the time, but you get used to it. What I found interesting was that the game actually got car companies to let them use their models in the game. There aren’t that many cars, but it’s nice to be driving around in a real automobile.

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The controls aren’t bad. They aren’t winning the game any brownie points, that’s for sure, but after playing for a while you can get used to it. Cars are a little stiff and hard to move around tight corners at first, and sneaking around warehouses and stuff can be tricky, but it didn’t take me long to get past these issues and learn to cope.

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There was a sequel, but it wasn't very good. Stick with the original.

The killer in this game is the length and difficulty of the missions and the checkpoints. You’re going to spend more time cursing at your TV while trying to get to certain places on time and trying to survive certain moments than you ever have before. I promise you that there will never be a time when you wanted to swallow your tongue more than when you’re racing against a clock you cannot see. But you can’t stop trying, because damn it, this story is too good.

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In fact, the story is fantastic.  The game is a challenge for sure, but it’s worth it. I never walked away from a game, other than Fallout, with more respect for its storytelling. The characters are all well developed, Mark Hammond, the cop, and the man who has your son are all very easy to love and hate. The voice acting is some of the best you’ll ever come by. The city is massive, especially for the time it was released, and it adds so much flair and fire to the game to know that you’re actually igniting hell on Earth in London. The there isn’t much by way of its replay factor, but believe me, you’ll play it again.

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It’s an A+ game if you think you can handle it. The Getaway for PS2 is only 45 cents used on Amazon.com! Only $3 new!

Peggle MANIA!

I know this might look lame, but TRUST ME! You can thank me later.

Peggle…if there was ever a game more perfect, it would have “Mario” or “Tetris” in the title.

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Basically, in Peggle you shoot a ball down through a board covered in pegs. The ball bounces off these pegs, hitting other pegs on the way to the bottom of the board. Your goal is to clear the screen of all the red pegs while racking up points by hitting purple and blue pegs. Every board has a different layout of pegs, each placed over a different picture. For example, there is a board with pegs outlining the image of a bat, and some have moving parts, like windmills and wheels on a car.

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The most addictive thing about Peggle is that it’s about 50% skill and 50% luck. You can sit around perfecting your skills for hours, days even, and still you will never have two games that are exactly the same, nor will you ever be as good as you know you can be. There is a lot to be said about a game that makes you struggle through its levels, challenging you and also allowing you to have this much fun

It's not as easy as it looks, but victory is always one lucky bounce away.

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Online play is great. On Xbox, I’ve met so many cool people who just want to casually play a light-hearted game of Peggle between zombie killing or pinata raising. I even met a 56 year old woman from some place near London who plays every day. EVERYONE LOVES PEGGLE!

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A few other things that set Peggle apart from other puzzle/strategy games: The game comes with built in challenges. I played it on Xbox360, and while there are achievements, there are also challenges to beat built into the game. Do things like clear boards of all its pegs, get a crazy score on single board, or just pass a board starting with only one ball to clear these challenges. It’s enough to keep you coming back for more and more.

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Another thing Peggle does that no other puzzle game that I’ve ever seen does is cater to the color deficient. I have a color deficiency, so I appreciate this more than most, but you can click a button and suddenly the game doesn’t rely on just colored pegs to let you know where things are, it places shapes and symbols in the pegs to allow people like me to play and have just as good of a shot as anyone else to come out on top.

In Peggle Nights you get to see what every character dreams of being in the real world. Some of them can be pretty entertaining, and they all make for great game boards.

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Just released last week was Peggle Nights, and add-on to the original Peggle game. While the original game had about 55 boards, this new expansion has 60 AND a new character AND new challenges! Seeing as how I haven’t even finished all the original challenges, I’ve got a lot of Peggle in my future. And believe me, I’m fine with that.

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Peggle: A (about $20)

Peggle Nights: A+ (only about $5)

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To get a free demo of Peggle, go here: http://www.popcap.com/games/peggle

Cheap Game Review: WWE: Legends of WrestleMania

Classic.

Amazon.com used price: about $15
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Alright, Brother!  What are you going to do when your XBox 360 gets its 1080p pythons around you, Brother!?
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Ok, enough of that.  Remember when you used to get excited when it was about noon on a Saturday so you could watch the endless hordes of nameless nobodies get the snot kicked out of them by a big league wrestler like Ravishing Rick Rude or Jake the Snake?  If you don’t, then you can stop reading this review and not waste your time.  But. ff you do, then get ready to live it all again.
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This is the first WWE/WWF game I’ve played since WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game in 1995.  I lost interest after people like Stone Cold and the Rock started showing up, and to my amusement, that’s as far back as the game goes.  The most recent two playable characters in the game are Stone Cold and the Rock.  And to be honest, the matches that feature those characters are pretty fun.
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The controls are simple.  People have made the argument that since the WWE games that feature new characters have more developed controls, this installment should as well.  I don’t see the point, really, since I think a lot of people like me are the ones picking this title up.  The controls are pretty similar to WWF WrestleMania the Arcade Game (punch, block, grapple buttons), so I was happy about that.
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The graphics are kind of lame.  I mean, they look really nice, but King Kong Bundy was not all muscle.  THQ said they wanted to model the characters after the action figures.  That’s not really cool as far as I’m concerned.  I’m playing the best of the WWF, not the best of Matel, or Hasbro, or whatever.  Not that I didn’t enjoy the toys, I just want acurate representations of the people I’m selecting.
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The characters are awesome and fun to play with.  Most, if not all, are available from minute one, which is nice if you just want to play with a friend.  Each player is in some way linked into a WrestleMania match that you play through as part of the Relive, Rewrite, or Redefine Tour mode.  Every match has its own highlight video of the match and the events leading up to it.  It’s pretty cool to see some stuff that you forgot about years ago but couldn’t stop talking about when you were 10.
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For example, I was playing it with my cousin and we were watching the Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant highlights and we both couldn’t help but laugh when Andre turns on the Hulk.  I asked my cousin if he remembered all that happening, and he said “Yeah.  I remember being really mad about it, too. I was pissed.”
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There are two kinds of people in the world.  People like my cousin who will laugh and remember what it was like to believe in and rally behind these fake characters on TV, and then there are people like my roommate who will mock you endlessly as you laugh and cheer and celebrate every victory as you play through the game.  So make sure you’re the former before you go out and drop some coin on this awesome game.
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Oh, a couple other things to note.  Making your own character is something you should clear a weekend for.  The depth is stunning.  Every single move, down to the standard punch, can be customized with a gigantic list of pre-established moves.  They have all the right clothes to recreate some classics that aren’t in the game, like Doink the Clown and Goldust,  or you can just make your own wrestler all together.  Making your own can be fun, but it is also very temping to make a “little person” or a girl, or something weird.  You can seriously make a gorilla if you had the time and you wanted to…which I did, unfortunately.
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Seriously though, you’ve been warned, it’s very addictive the first time you get in there.  I decided to create a wrestler at about 1 in the morning after I had played for about three hours.  I didn’t get to bed until mighty late.  It was worth it.
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Another thing, the whole game revolves around unlocking points by doing certain things in the game.  Most of the things actually happened in the match, so it’s pretty cool.  Unfortunately, the game uses a lot of quick time events for these moments.  I didn’t mind this so much because it kind of makes sense, I mean, real wrestling requires reflexes and timing, so do the QTEs.  Also, I can’t think of another way to make these things happen in the match without actually just having a movie in it’s place.  At least this way I have some control.  I only mention this as an issue because it is for some people.
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So, in closing, it’s a good game.  I give it a 3:45 am.  It has a lot of features that’ll keep you coming back for a while, but not a lot of replay.  Also, it can be a little redundant.
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And that’s the bottom line, because Joe Cold says so.
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(Rating scale: 1 am-5 am.  5 am being the best game ever and 1 am being a snoozer.)