New trailer for Bioshock Infinte arrives on the internet.
Tag Archive: Microsoft
Bizarre Creations have made a name for themselves behind the excellent Project Gotham Series that blended realistic racing with a touch of arcade fun and did it well. Their follow up title is the action packed Blur, an arcade racer that will have players racing realistic cars while using power-ups to dominate their opposition. Fun, frantic and badass; but is Blur worth the price of admission?
The single-player Career is no easy feat, featuring some truly brutal A.I which can be a little off putting when you are trying to learn the basic mechanics of the game. Learning how the power-ups function and perfecting your drifting skills are a hard task to accomplish as Blur just throws your in the deep end of the action, providing you with small tutorial videos along the way as you begin new events.
If you are after a simulated racing experience you need not look here. More often than not you will find yourself fighting to survive as your opponent will launch a multitude of attacks and defenses against you. While it is easy enough to evade your attackers on the smaller races, when you have a full grid of 20 things turn into utter chaos. It’s fast, it’s furious, and it’s unrelenting. Power-ups are varied and a lot of fun, you’ll have the option of using missile attacks to phasers, shields, mines, boost and more. The great feature is each weapon has an alternate use for example; find yourself coming into a corner too hot and you have a boost power-up? Simply use the alternate fire mode and rather than boost it slows you down mega quick. It’s these little quirks that will eventually mean the difference between surviving and dominating.
The single-player career will have you racing in a number of events from standard racing with power-ups, to checkpoint racing, to destruction events all in order to unlock new cars and progress to the higher classes. You win “lights” by placing in events, and by hitting certain fan targets. The more impressive you are, the more fans you win. Simple enough premise and one that works to the titles advantage.
While racing around pulling off sweet moves, blasting your opponents with a multitude of weaponry and seeing that fan counter ticking over is satisfying at first, after extended playtime with Blur it begins to grow tired and weak. The game does well to throw you in the deep end and just leave you there, but sooner than later you learn how to traverse the waters and you will find yourself wishing there was more to discover.
Blur is a decent looking game. While it may lack a little in the details when compared to other racers out there, it’s easy on the eye and more importantly runs at a consistent frame-rate even when faced with some truly chaotic scenes. Matched up with a great sound from each and every car, Blur hits the right notes when it comes to audio and visual presentation.
Multiplayer is a blast with a small group of friends; nothing can quite beat that feeling you get when you smash your best friend with a perfectly placed flurry of bolt attacks, yet much like the single player the experience becomes messy and chaotic with a full grid of 20. Thankfully this can be evened out with a series of fun team based races and battle modes, which is by far the most rewarding and exciting way to play Blur online. Along with the online components the developers have thrown in a 4 player split screen option which is handy for those with friends around who want to get in on the action.
The Final Verdict
Blur had all the right ingredients to be a great game; frantic pacing, chaotic battle, wide and varied suite of multiplayer options, smooth frame rate backed up by great audio. The fact of the matter is there is nothing wrong with Blur, it just fails to give the gamer a reason to keep coming back for more. Fun with friends, fun for an hour or so every now and then, but it won’t keep you playing for much longer than that.
I’ve started up a gaming podcast/video blog with a friend for his website DigitalWound.com and this is the first episode. It’s low budget but it’s a whole lot of fun, and you can expect a significant upgrade after July when it will have HD Audio and Video.
This first episode covers the upcoming update for Aion, news of Playstation charging for their online services and J Allard leaving Microsoft. We also do video reviews of Bizarre Creations “Blur” and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
So the second trailer featuring over the top cheesy live-action for the upcoming F.E.A.R 3 is here. Who knows what Warner Bros is thinking with all this B-Grade action, but some of the gameplay segments of the trailer show of some of the telekinetic powers that Paxton Fettel will have on offer. What little gameplay that has been on display so far seems to be more of what we would expect from a title in the F.E.A.R series, which isn’t necessary a bad thing.
Since its first release on PC’s in 2002, the Battlefield brand has be the epitome of engaging multipalyer combat in the eyes of gamers across the globe. Since then the game has also branched off into console territory, 2008 seeing the release of Battlefield: Bad Company; the first Battlefield game not to see a PC release, and to include a single player, story driven campaign. Two years later Swedish developer DICE are at it again, this time dropping Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on all major platforms, bringing the ever popular series back to its rightful home on the PC. Featuring some of the best multiplayer combat going around right now, and a solid yet slightly lacking single-player experience to boot, is BC2 worth strapping on those combat boots and going to war?
The single player campaign follows B-Company as they travel across the globe in desperate search of a mythical weapon that is capable of devastating destruction which cannot fall into the hands of the Russians. While the story is not exactly a strong point of the campaign, you will get the chance to travel through a series of gorgeous environments, ranging from frozen mountains tops to a jungle paradise. It’s the amazing amount of details of these locations that will immediately stand to attention as you begin fighting your way through the campaign. The developers have really pushed the graphics this time round, offering photorealistic vistas that seem to have a sense of depth that simply needs to be seen to be believed.
It’s not just the amazing views or the luscious environments that make BC2 a great looking game. The Frostbite Engine certainly has come a long way since the first Bad Company, improving almost every facet of the games look and physics. Fully destructible environments return, send enough rockets at any structure and simply watch it crumble as a result. Destroying a building with a group of enemy soldiers never gets tiring, and other than looking bad ass, knowing you can destroy everything and anything will change how you play the game.
The last Bad Company game was the first to have a story driven single player campaign, and as a result it had a little trouble finding its feet in the process. The experience is much better this time round, now featuring a more cinematic experience. The dialogue is less over the top while retaining a healthy amount of humour, the level design is smarter and as a whole the experience is far more compelling than the last title. Having said that though, there are some problems with the presentation and pacing of the campaign that makes it fall short. Your supporting cast of soldiers in B-Company are one dimensional, bulletproof machines who are only good for their cheesy one-liners. It’s hard to make an emotional connection with them, especially when they receive a ‘nade to the face only to get back up with no trouble and all and keep fighting. The constant action; while being extremely fun, also breaks immersion in the story. You tend to feel like you are a one man army, going from a stealthy insertion into a full on fire fight, riding a turrent on a helicopter and calling in an airstrike all in a matter of minutes. It’s fun and exciting, but ultimately takes you away from the story.
As expected the mechanics in BC 2 are nothing shy of perfect. All the guns feel correctly weighted and sound just as they should, the vehicles handle smoothly and make traversing the battlefield both a thrill and a pleasure. Instead of the instant respawns and health injections from the last outing, BC 2 implements standard checkpoints and regenerating health mechanic that makes the game flow much better and feel more realisitc. While you supporting cast are hard to connect to, they certainly do a great job helping you out in the many fire fights you will encounter. They act like real soldiers in a battle, holding down an attack allowing you to flank your enemies or take some cover and get your heath back. Other games will simply drop you into a squad of ineffective knuckleheads, but BC 2 stands up with it’s fantastic AI.
All said and done the campaign is a fun, albeit short lived experience clocking in at the 5-6 hour mark. There is a collectible weapon system that may entice some of you to go back for multiple play throughs, but by and large this isn’t the sort of campaign that will keep calling you back time and time again.
While the single-player experience falls a little short, to most of you it simply won’t matter at all. Gamers buy a Battlefield game for an amazing multiplayer experience, and BC 2 is no exception. Offering one of the best online experience out there, BC 2 if full of large-scale battles, large and varied maps, diverse squad management and team based game play that simply cannot be matched. There is simply nothing more satisfying than working with your squad mates to take down an enemy position and rush a base.
BC 2 employs a terrific squad management system that really ups the ante. When on the spawn screen simply clicking the squad management button brings up a tab that will let you join an existing squad or create a new one. Four members in each squad may not seem like enough, but when you are running a combination of medic, some assault and a recon covering your rear you will find that it can be a deadly tool. Added advantage to being in a squad is if you are waiting to respawn and one of your squad members is still alive, simply click on their name and you will respawn right there next to them. This is a vital strategy that can change the outcome of a fire fight literally in seconds. The layout of the maps demand a focus on team based strategies, and the squad mechanic is a perfect way to enforce that idea.
The destructible environments are a whole different kind of monster when jumping online, adding a whole new layer of strategy and depth to the multiplayer experience. You will need to learn to adapt and work through the environments to survive. You enemies are holding up on a tower sniping out a whole division? A few strategically placed C4 charges and some explosions later on will soon bring an end to your enemies and their vantage point. Not only does it look cool, but it certainly brings a whole new strategic spin to things.
BC 2 offers a series of game-modes and maps will have something to offer everyone, no matter what type of gamer you are. Rush is an attack and defend mode that is played across expansive maps, features a entourage of vehicles and will ensure an edge of your seat experience as you edge through a base onto the next, or hold off your enemies for just a bit longer for the big win. Squad Deathmatch games is your average frantic team deathmatch mode which is much more close quarter combat. If you want to kick it old school the classic Battlefield Conquest mode has been included, which has teams fighting to control specific control points by raising and lowering flags. There truly is something for everyone in BC 2.
For those who are worried about making the switch from Modern Warfare 2 don’t fret, BC 2 features an impressive reward scheme that will feel right at home to those who have been playing the other modern warfare games out there. BC 2 will allow you to level up each class individually along with your overall rank, unlocking new weapons and gadgets along the way to flesh out your arsenal. You will also get even more rewards to completing small challenges, winning battles or simply pwning your opposition. The levelling system is rewarding and will leave you with a sense of accomplishment after all your hard work.
Finally which version should you go with? If you have a good enough rig you’ll want to get the PC version. Those with high-end graphics cards will enjoy better visuals and smoother frame rates than those with the PS3 or Xbox 360 version. Possibly the most important feature though is the ability to browse servers to discover the exact game you want. The last reason why the PC version is better, you’ll enjoy 32 players in game, as opposed to the 24 offered on both consoles.
The Final Verdict
While the single-player campaign certainly is an explosive no holds barred adventure, it almost feels like a bonus game mode to the expansive and impressive multiplayer component of the game. Bad Company 2 does a great job of engaging the player with it’s rewarding online experience, continually getting you back to rank up just one more time. Varied game play along with excellent squad management is the key to epic team based battles. Back this up with realistic weaponry, great sounds and gorgeous visuals, and you have one hell of a ride.
TellTale games have come along in leaps and bounds in the past few years. In 2006 they released the critically acclaimed Sam & Max Season 1, the dynamic duo’s first outing in over ten years. Since then they have released a second season, along with other successful series such as Strongbad’s Cool Game For Attractive People and the new Tales of Monkey Island. Well now TellTale are at it again, this month releasing the first episode of the new season, Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse.
Episode 1: The Penal Zone puts a tick in all the right boxes; Super-intelligent Space Gorilla on a quest for toys that can bend reality, check; weird and wonderful apparitions that are equally hilarious as they are frightening, check; a prophecy that foretells the end of the world, naturally involving Max, check. For fans of the duo’s beginnings as a comic book, their first outing in the video game realm “Hit The Road”, or the cartoon series, this episode feels the most like Sam & Max. It’s wacky, it’s out there, and it feels more comfortable in it’s universe than Season One or Two did.
Having said that, there isn’t as much story in this episode as expected, yet it manages to setup the story well enough that you will be hanging out for the next episode to drop. The story focuses around the villain “Skuk’ka’pe” who has come down to earth to collect some reality altering toys, among other reasons. The episode starts out with a vision of the end of the episode, a technique often seen in a lot of movies (See: Tarrantino), but your actions throughout the episode change the outcome, which leaves plenty of surprises in store.
While the puzzle element in previous seasons has been great, Season 3 has some truly inventive puzzles to be solve. This is due to Max and his new crazy supernatural abilities, mainly the teleport power. At first you might seem stumped, but as you move through and become comfortable with these abilities, you will soon find abstract ways around some seemingly impossible obstacles. It may seem gimmicky but I assure you it’s an integral part to the story, and it is implemented rather well.
Along with the new gameplay style come the new interface scheme that was implemented with Tales of Monkey Island. Now instead of the standard point and click mechanics, you can now use the WSAD keys, or even plug in a gamepad. While it will make it seem more like a console port than enhance gameplay (this season is launching on consoles), but it certainly isn’t a game breaker. Other elements have been improved, a new pointer which for those of you who have played “Hit the Road” will recognise, along with highlighting objects a green colour so they are easier to define from the environment when clicking around.
Sam & Max have always been known for their wacky sense of humour, and the first episode of the third season certainly hits the funny bone more than a few times. There are some genuinely laugh out loud moments, and some terrific sight gags that will leave a smile on your face. The one liners this time around are sharp, witty and will stick out for days after you finish the episode, “I’m glad to see that Earthlings are still so charmingly racist” is just one of the many that sticks out in my mind.
But while the story and humour is solid, it’s not fantastic. Skunk’ka’pe is the only character that seems to drive the story forward, and while there is plenty of time to catch up with old friends Bosco, Agent Superball and the rest of the cast we’ve grown to love, it all seems a little redundant as you simply await for the next encounter with the damn dirty space ape. It can wear a little thin, it’s not bad, gamers just expect a little more.
The graphics are right on the money, and feature some fantastic design elements. Skun’ka’pe arrives on the block in a space ship that is both ridiculous and terrifying at the same time. Animation is smooth and fluid and everything looks just like it should. Backed up with some of the strongest voice acting in the business, this episode is top notch in both the graphic and audio sectors, just like all the episodes that have come before it.
The Final Verdict
The Penal Zone is a solid intro into the new season that sets the player up for what is coming ahead. While the story can seem a bit thin at times, the new interface along with the implementation of some great new gameplay features make this a delight to play through. For hardcore Sam & Max fans this is a must play, as it really feels like the first true Sam & Max game since “Hit The Road” from the 90’s.
Read the full in-depth review HERE
Developed By: 2K Games
Platform: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Online: 4 Player Co-Op
What It’s All About:
Welcome to Pandora, a bandit-ridden wasteland that draws the attention of off-world scavengers for one reason: The Vault. The Vault is a mysterious structure that is believed to hold the most powerful and wealthiest treasures in the universe, and everyone from scavengers to fortune seeking global corporations wants to get their hands inside. This is the setting you will find yourself wading through with Gearbox’s latest title Borderlands, a FPS meets RPG.
What It Did Right:
- Great character development
- Unique art design
- Reward system
- Fantastic Gunplay
What Brings It Down:
- Vehicle Control
- Lonely, anti-social single player experience
- Cock slap of an ending
The Final Verdict:
Borderlands succeeds as a perfectly balanced combination of the RPG and FPS genres. Along with it’s unique gameplay style, it boasts an art design that makes Pandora come alive and will keep calling you back to the bandit ridden wastelands. With satisfying character development and an impressive arsenal of weapons, this game will keep you busy for a long time. There are a few places that the game could be improved, especially when it comes to the anti-social and lonely nature of it’s single player experience. All in all, Borderlands is a great title that is well worth checking out.
2008 saw the release of Left 4 Dead, the hectic team based survival horror from Valve, the development team behind the Half-Life series. It had a way to make you rely on your team members for survival like no other game could. A year later the sequel is here, a quick turn around for any sequel in the gaming world, more-so surprising from a developer that is renowned for their lengthy development schedules.
While many fans cried out in a boycott, stating this was more of an expansion back than a full blown sequel, after a few hours with Left 4 Dead 2 it instantly proves itself worthy as a new addition to the franchise as opposed to a glorified expansion pack. Fixing and tweaking many of the first titles downfalls and adding in new components creates a title that is bursting at the seams with rich, zombie slaying gameplay.
For those of you who haven’t had an experience with the first game, Left 4 Dead 2 places you in the middle of a Zombie apocalypse. You fill the role of one of the four survivors who try to blast your way through hordes of “infected” in an attempt to get to the end of the map. This time round the game is set in the southeast regions of America, and the new cast of characters carry humor, charm and wit in spades. Hearing stories about particular Nascar drivers, and stories about hilarious accidents while hundreds of zombies are honing in on your position gives the characters more of the spotlight that the first title was lacking.
The improvements are so rich in-fact you will find going back to the original game is a pure disappointment. L4D2 features five new interesting campaigns, that have you fighting your way through far more invigorating environments than it’s predecessor. The situations you find yourself in simply give you more to do, which keeps things feeling fresh as opposed to run and gun to the safe house feeling the first game tended to have. All five campaigns can also be played in the Versus game mode right off the bat, no waiting around for Valve to release DLC to unlock that ability this time. As a result the game feels like a full package, where the first game tended to feel a little hollow.
L4D2 is team based gameplay at it’s finest. It is paramount to communicate and work together as a team to achieve success, more-so than any other game you’re likely to play this generation. You will need to rely on your team mates to keep you informed of where they are, when finding health, ammo or weapons, or when there is a world of hurt about to come raining down, and you will have to return the favour. The catch is that no level will play the same thanks to Valve’s AI which they call “The Director”. The Director changes up the location of enemies, weapons and difficulty each and every time you play. It manages to encourage repeat play as you will never know exactly how it will pan out, and manages to provide a challenge every time, regardless of your experience and skill.
Difficulty will play a big part in your experience with L4D2 which offers some of the most challenging gameplay you’re likely to see. Normal is a good entry point as you grasp the concept and learn what weapons work in what situations, while Expert requires the very best in reaction time, communication and overall skills. To make it even harder L4D2 introduces realism mode, removing hints and glows on items such as health and weapons from the HUD. This means your communication with your team member needs to be top notch, otherwise you are going to find yourself high and dry and left for dead.
If you are anti-social or just don’t feel like playing online there are Bots included who can go through the five campaigns with you. They also jump in on the action if a player drops out, and while they do make accurate shots and do their best to help out, it’s far more entertaining with with human players. The bots are largely unreliable. There were a few situations where I went down and needed to be revived, the bots came and took out the zombies and then ran away again without helping me up, leaving me there to die. It’s functional, but to play L4D2 as intended you really do need to play with fellow gamers.
If the campaigns aren’t challenging enough for you Versus mode is sure to get the blood pumping. Versus pits four players as “survivors” and another four players control special infected enemies such as Tanks, Boomers etc. With the addition of new Special Infected in Spitters, Jockeys and Chargers, the Versus gameplay is now far more interesting and fleshed out. Spitters have the ability to spit out acid, Jockeys ride the survivors controlling their movements and Chargers are like mini tanks, charging at their enemies and pummeling them. It keeps gameplay varied and with the 4v4 action things can become quite tense and unpredictable.
What makes L4D2 so successful is the tension and overall stress it will cause you. It get’s your heart racing, and you will find your attention fixated on the screen at all times, constantly reassessing the situation and making decisions you hope will pay off. Each campaign features pivotal moments that will stand out in your mind well and truly after you complete them, whether it be frantically filling a car full of gas in Dead Centre, or dealing with the storms and winds in Hard Rain. If you are a fan of the first game, you are going to go ga-ga for L4D2.
It’s not just the new characters, the fantastic and varied environments or gameplay situations that make L4D2 a far better package, it’s the little things that make the game so much more entertaining and varied. A bigger range of guns, the inclusion of explosive and incendiary ammo pickups but most importantly, and the most fun, the inclusion of melee weapons.
That’s right ladies and gents, you can now slice and dice, whack and smack and shred your way through each campaign with a delightful assortment of melee weapons. There are the conventional melee weapons for a horror film setting, there’s the machete and the katana and of course a chainsaw, but then there are some unexpected ones such as a cricket bat (paddle bat for the Yanks) electric guitar or a frying pan. In all there are a number to choose from and you will have a blast regardless of your choice. There is nothing quite like the feeling of facing off a bunch of infected and smashing their heads off with a well timed swing from the old cricket bat, you can’t help but have a smile come across you face, disturbing as that thought may be.
Along with new weapons come new perks as well. Along with your pain-pills and your medipacks you know have access to adrenalin shots which give you that little pick me up when the odds are against you, making you faster and stronger for a short period of time. Add this with the new defibrillator pack to bring slain survivors back from the dead, and you have some great new additions to the gameplay.
Now it’s time to address the heavy censorship applied to the Australian release of the game. Due to the fact that in Australia we don’t have an R18+ rating for video-games, the original cut that rest of the world received was refused classification by the OFLC board. While violence doesn’t make a game, in a game like L4D2 it certainly adds to the authenticity of the situation. The lack of blood, bodies on the floor or dismemberment makes the game really seem lacking. I’d highly advise you to get an uncut version of the game, if you want more info on how to do that, check out my article on this website.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Despite the quick turn around between releases Left 4 Dead 2 is a far more complete, rich and rewarding gameplay experience, improving in almost every aspect it ventures. This is team based gameplay at it’s finest, and the amount of tension and stress this game can cause you is a true testament to Valve. They have created one thrilling and immersive game here. For those who enjoyed the first game then you will fall in love with the sequel, yet if the first Left 4 Dead didn’t rev your engine, chances are this game will do nothing to change that. Overall, one of the most thrilling games this year.
GAMEPLAY: 9.1/10 – Gameplay has been improved in each and every facet over the original.
GRAPHICS: 8.8/10 – The graphics are fairly decent but it isn’t the greatest looking game on the market. Enemies are detailed and animations are fluent. The daylight environments add a little something that the first game was lacking.
AUDIO: 9.0/10 – The weapons sound full and punchy, the voice acting is top notch, campy but it suits, and differentiating groans from different zombies comes together is a great sound package.
VALUE: 9.2/10 – The AI Director makes each campaign play different each time. Add this to the versus mode and the new scavenger mode and you have a pretty decent bang for buck. Hopes for further campaigns via DLC.
2008 saw the release of No More Heroes for the Nintendo Wii, a bold game from the Suda51 team. While other developers were releasing party games and shovelware, Suda51 brought us a game that had a bit of everything, retro appeal, pop culture references, and more importantly a game that was made for teenagers and adults.
Unfortunate for many hardcore gamers out there who steer clear of the Wii’s kiddie appeal you all missed out on what really was a unique title that truly needs to be played to understand and appreciate it.
Rumours have been circulating for a while now that Suda51 wanted to bring the next installment of the series to HD consoles such as the Xbox 360 and the PS3, but those rumours have some substance now with the announcement of No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise, a prettier version of the Wii original launching for the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Texture quality has been ramped up, more pixels crammed in and advanced lighting techniques will make this play like a dream on the more powerful consoles. Launch date has been stated as 25th of Feb 2010 in Japan, but still waiting for a North American and European release date to be confirmed.
The question is will they censor it like they did for the Wii version in Australia. While American and Japanese audience members had sprays of blood across the screen due to Australia’s harsh censorship laws we only saw black squares as enemies were killed. While this was in no way detrimental to the overall experience of the gameplay, the fact the OFLC is so in inconsistent when it comes to these matters, I wouldn’t be surprised if the gore is re-instated on the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions.