Grapple Feast—Maybe Not

Arup Das        Print Edition: March 2012

WWE 12 (for PS3)
Price: Rs 2,699
BAG IT OR JUNK IT? While engaging, it is ultimately the same old game.

WWE 12
WWE 12 is easily the best game in wrestling as far as graphics are concerned. And then just as you have stated this, you are shocked by the sloppy graphics accompanying the wrestler's entrance. The letdown leaves you scarred. But putting that aside, this game has over 60 wrestlers starting from the legendary Randy Orton to the popular The Rock.

There are amazing customisation options to create your own wrestler-you get to decide his gender, physique, facial features, ring attire, audience reaction and even create storylines and entrance videos. Your players can have their signature moves too. The match schedule too is highly flexible, from quick one-off matches to multiplayer modes against artificial intelligence. But beware: the AI is a bit frustrating because your opponent either becomes a helpless punching bag or a player who anticipates your every move. One of the best additions is that you must beat your opponent for some time in order to unlock powerful moves.

As soon as your opponent has weakened, you get free access to unleash your powerful moves to completely knock them out cold. The game play feels solid and gives a meaning to your fight-plus a bit of strategy comes into place as well. The Road to Wrestlemania has been tweaked. Unlike previous editions, in this single-player mode you are not allowed to choose your superstar. In WWE 12, you play three assigned superstars: the villain, the outsider and the hero.

It has three lengthy chapters which ensure you end up gaming for 10-12 hours. You can avoid the various chapters, including the first that has Sheamus as the villain, and stick to the WWE Universe game. WWE 12 has acquired the bling factor or sorts with the number of star wrestlers added but when it comes to playing the game, well, it is fairly predictable and ultimately quite ordinary.

Harry Graduates With Honours

LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 5-7 (for Xbox 360)
Price: Rs 1,999

BAG IT OR JUNK IT? The kids should have a lot of fun with magic.

The young magician is back in his Lego avatar in the final instalment based on J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books 5-7. This children's game captures Hogsmead village, Privit Drive, Diagon Alley to Gringotts in absolute perfection, if in Lego form. Adding to the realism are scenes from some iconic battles-like the final showdown between the Ministry of Magic and Voldemort.

There are 24 game levels and after completing the mission you return to Hogwarts to attend 16 lessons on spells, advance duelling skills, etc. Undoubtedly duelling is one of the best additions to the game. To win, players must quickly select the right spell (based on the colour of the enemy's half-circle) and engage in a back-and-forth spell collision. This is fun, but also overused.

Speaking of new abilities, there is Weasley's Wizard Wheezes boxes, of use to Weasley family members only. These usually contain barrier-destroying fireworks or suction-cup shoes to allow players to walk up walls. A new Aguamenti spell allows gamers to shoot water from their wand to put out fires.

There are six co-op friendly stages, allowing gamers to play out moments from the Potter films. In between missions, you are free to explore Hogwarts and the surrounding grounds. including the Forbidden Forest.Initially you will not be able to access a lot of areas but to complete the game, you have to revisit the stages with additional characters and spells to unlock the secrets.

The soundtrack has been brilliantly transferred from the movies to the game. The audio effects are perfect and emphasise the magical atmosphere. The weak link of this game, if any, is the graphics. As a Lego game, it combines pre-rendered backdrops with polygonal Lego set dressing, making it look a bit old and jaded but it still manages to work.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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