Reviews of two new games:
Manifesto score: 90/100
SingStar Country continues the karaoke series with a genre that's been too often overlooked by today's rhythm games.
Rock Band and Guitar Hero pretty much focus on rock music, so e_SDHpSingStar has the market cornered for fans of Brooks & Dunn, Trace Adkins and Kentucky's own Montgomery Gentry (My Town and What Do Ya Think About That? are included).
The game succeeds at offering a good variety. There are the songs of today but also Johnny Cash's A Boy Named Sue and I Walk the Line. (It turns out I sound nothing like Johnny Cash.)
The game also shows the original music videos for the songs (well, not Cash's but the more recent ones), which is a nice addition not seen in Rock Band or Guitar Hero. And even though the team element maybe isn't as exciting as pounding on drums or strumming guitars, the SingStar developers offer duets and other multiplayer modes.
The only unsettling thing to a longtime Rock Band vocalist is that the lyrics pop up instead of scroll, but you get used to it.
Overall, it's a great continuation of a great series that continues to surprise me with its ability to score great songs. (Rock Band still annoys me with its failure to get Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, which just happens to be on SingStar Legends).
I think my one gripe with SingStar Country is its omission of Patsy Cline's Crazy, which is on SingStar Legends. Strange to leave her out.
‘Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2'
Manifesto score: 85/100
D3 Publisher has managed to pull a real feat in the realm of gaming: a good licensed game.
The role-playing game is true to the show and includes virtually every character from the series.
The four-man squads include a nice feature of involving just three members with the fourth ready to be summoned into attack if needed.
One flaw of the game is the relative weakness of the jutsu (magic)-oriented attacks They're decent for healing but poor for damage.
Overall, though, it's a fun game that is perfect for a young fan of the show and still enjoyable, despite some of the cutesy elements, for twenty-somethings who know a little something about the Naruto universe.
Mark Lisanby,Special to the Manifesto