Tag Archive: Playstation 3


Blur Review

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.

7/10

Advertisements

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.

8.5/10

Read the full in-depth review HERE

Developed By: 2K Games
Platform: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Players:1-2 (split-screen)
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.

8/10

Written By Stephen Heller

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. While the lands of Pandora are hostile, they are filled with a rewarding and unique experiences that leave you with a sense of something new, but it’s not always smooth sailing.

Pandora is a desert wasteland, but it manages to bring with it a unique and eye-catching visual style. Not quite cell-shaded but definitely cartoon feel graphics will remind you of similarly styled titles, laying somewhere in between No More Heroes or XIII, and adds an edge that makes the game truly stand out and feel alive. The devil is in the details, and Borderlands is never one to skip on the little things. Some areas of the Pandora map do look alike, but there are enough distinct differences to ensure that the world doesn’t just blend together and become a blur.

It’s not only the setting of Borderlands that makes for a interesting journey, it’s the one of four characters you will making the journey as that will keep the title fresh as each character brings their own abilities and charm into the journey. The Hunter can release a vicious bird of prey, The Soldier can deploy a bad-ass machine-gun turret, The Siren can go into stealth mode and stalk their prey and The Beserker goes bat shit crazy and delivers skull crushing punches to his enemies. These abilities are unlocked early into the piece, but you will continue to upgrade your skills, and you will customize them strategically to suit your playing style.

Upgrading your character’s skill set is one of the most rewarding experiences in Borderlands. It’s simple, kill enemies and complete missions to earn EXP points, this in turn levels you up. Upon completing bonus missions or simply hitting certain levels you will also be granted Skill Points that can be used to upgrade your skill set. Along with improving your skill set and leveling up you will gain weapon proficiency as you use different types of weapons. That’s not to say that a Beserker can’t use a sniper rifle, yet when he has better ability using a rocket launcher why not capitalise on that opportunity?

While leveling up and increasing your skill set is one way that Borderlands constantly rewards you, looting is just as much fun! Cash, guns, ammo and other bits and bobs are dropped by enemies, found in containers, piles of rubbish or given to you as a quest rewards. Borderlands ensures you are never short of new toys, especially when it comes to the weapons of the game. Guns are put into categories such as Pistols, Combat Rifles, Rocket Launcher etc, and each class feels perfectly weighted and distinct. The shooting mechanics are right on the money, everything feels just as it should which makes it fun to blast your opponents down with each and every weapon in the game, and there are an impressive number of them. Each weapon has some variables to take into consideration such base damage, fire rate, accuracy etc and certain weapons have some exciting, unique features. Shotguns that shoot rockets anyone? How about some incendiary guns to set some bad guys on fire? These are just some of the fun ideas that Borderlands throw into the mix with their weapons.

You’ll be quick to utilize the vast abundance of weaponry as you soon realise that 99% of the general population of Pandora is hostile. Enemies are varied and interesting and will be sure to keep you on your toes. There are the human bandits that have shields and guns, Psychos who light themselves on fire and run at you, the dog like Skags who are ready to bite your jugular, Rakks that are giant bat like creatures, the list goes on. You’ll literally encounter hundreds of each enemy type and this goes a long way to keeping the game feeling fresh and full of variety.

You’ll also be quick to notice that Pandora has a whole lot of room to wander around in, so luckily you gain the ability to get into some vehicles and drive around. Some areas are more fun to walk around on two legs, but there is nothing like some vehicular manslaughter to bring a smile to your dial. The problem is that the handling of these vehicles are somewhat touchy, and there are a number of strange physics issues, especially when cashing into rocks and walls. It’s not a deal breaker, but it certainly is an issue.

The other issue Borderlands presents to us is that it’s simply not as much fun to tackle this journey alone as it is with a group of mates. Borderlands performs like a completely different title when played online. The pacing, the frantic combat and the fun factor is all brought to a new high, and once playing multiplayer you simply cannot go back to traversing the lands alone. Thankfully for those who don’t have online access there is a split screen option, and I’d suggest you make good use of it so you can enjoy this game as it was intended to be played.

The driving force of Borderlands is the incentives of leveling up, killing enemies, gathering loot and playing with guns. There are a number of quests that try to put a reason on why you are going to point A, collecting item and taking it to point B but the main reason is to level up. The few friendly characters who do offer quests often have a sense of humor that will stick in your mind long after you’ve left them behind and headed onto the next area. The fact that these characters are few and far between further go to prove that this is meant to be a multiplayer experience, a social experience. For the single player out there, Pandora is a lonely place.

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.

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

8/10


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.


Bioshock is my favourite game of this generation, so I was already pretty damn excited for the second installment, but after seeing the great swag that comes with the Collectors Edition I’m jumping up and down like a school girl.

As announced on The Cult of Rapture the Collectors Edition will cost approximately $99.99USD for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, and $89.99USD for the PC. That’s a fair bit of coin, but you also get a fair bit of swag including…

* BioShock 2
* Vinyl 180g LP featuring the orchestral score from the original BioShock
* CD containing the BioShock 2 orchestral score
* A 164 page 8-inch x 11-inch hardbound artbook chock full of developer commentary
* Three posters featuring vintage ads from Rapture (rolled)

Of course you’ll need a record player to hear that Vinyl glory, but regardless it would make a fitting decoration for any bedroom or den. The collectors edition will ship the same day as the normal version of the game, which is set for a Feb 9th 2010 release. 2K Games have said that this is a single production type deal, so get your pre-orders in early.

Unsure if this will ship to Australia.

Fracture

Original ideas in gaming these days are few and far between, and while it seems every title is claiming to offer us something never seen before, usually I end up being disappointed, like a kid who waits all day to buy a chocolate ice-cream to have a stranger steal said ice-cream, eat it and then crap it back out into their cone. It’s sad, depressing and makes you never want to trust anyone again.

Having said that it’s now time to look at Lucasarts newest game Fracture. Looking at it for a quick overview, it’s simple a run of the mill 3rd person shooter with not much to offer like that one plain cheerleader on the squad who always tries to hard to get somebody’s attention. What is Fracture’s claim to fame? Something they like to call Terrain Deformation (TD) but we’ll get to that in a moment.

So basically you play as Atlantic Alliance soldier Jet Brody, a slightly less manly and wimpy version of Marcus Fenix in the battle against the Pacificans. It’s the 22nd century and the Pacificans started altering DNA to keep up with the changing climate, while the Alliance put a ban on Genetic Engineering and chose to go with Cybernetic Enhancement. The Pacificans get pissed, cry to mum and then decide to say a hearty “Fuck You” and take over the world and have a tea party at the end with jam and scones and whipped cream. Standard story for any futuristic shooter these days

Fracture is a simple 3rd person shooter with some rather interesting weapons. You have your standard machine guns, rocket launchers and the like, but the real fun is to be had tth the TD grenades. You collect a set of grenades that can alter your terrain to your advantage on the battlefield. Let’s say you are getting pwned by a bunch of bad guys and need some cover, throw a TD grenade and boom there is a hill right there in front, giving you the cover you need to regenerate your health, reload and get ready for action. There are a multitude of these weapons that raise or lower terrain, create a gravity pull and the like, and while they are cool to see in action, they aren’t used enough. The puzzles that require TD to complete are simple and predicatble, and I honestly feel if the developers really pushed the boundaries with TD the game would have been much, much more interesting.

AI leaves a bit to be desired. All the enemies look the same, drab colours and not enough variety, and why they aren’t the smartest bunch and aren’t too difficult to dispose of, Fracture makes up in the number of them, they just keep coming and coming wave after wave, and often gameplay ends up being tired and boring, kill bad guys, get to checkpoint, move onto next area, kill bad guys and so forth

Controls are simple and easy once you get a grip on them, and once you have the TD functions down pat you will be out there ripping it up on the battlefield. Graphics are actually quite decent, and the TD effects look breath taking! Audio is also damn solid running through my 7.2 system (only running 5.1 though)

It’s true, Fracture does offer something that gamers haven’t seen in a game before until now, but instead of capitalizing on that idea, it was used in a boring and uninventive way. All in all I actually really like Fracture, it’s fun and while sure it’s run of the mill and not a game that stands out like Bioshock or Little Big Planet, it was a blast for the weekend I completed it. I hope Lucasarts takes some feedback, goes back and releases a sequel that utilizes the potential that this title really did have

6/10

If we were to think of FPS games as beer we’d have a stark comparison. We’d have the high quality german import beers, namely Bioshock, Rainbow Six Vegas and Call Of Duty 4 to drink and enjoy, before we emptied that six pack and moved on to the lukewarm piss your cousin mopped off the toilet floor and put into beer bottles and made his own beer namely Haze.

 

Sure your cousin talks it up but no matter how much sugar he throws in to sweeten the nectar (pun intended) it leaves a horrilbe taste in your mouth and once you have digested in your mind what you have just drank you begin to vomit you guts up like your fourteen year old sister who came home pregnant last July.

 

That’s right Ubisoft have served up another tasty turd compliments of the Hype Train after we were all just starting to forget about that whole Assasin’s Creed thing. He’s in the past, he’s from the future, DNA reconstruction WTF!

 

Haze puts you in the role of Shane Carpenter, fresh out of college and joining the Private Millitary Corporation Mantel. Mantel soldiers are hand forced a drug called Necatar, which enhances their vision and increases their health and strength. For all the good this drug does it sure as hell doesn’t increase brain activity which brings me to my first gripe… CHARACTERS AND VOICE ACTING.

 

Some of my favourite lines

“It’s like taking candy from a cippled baby”

 

And who can forget the timeless battle cry “BOOSH”

 

The NPC’s are uninteresting and do little to forward the story even when they are attempting to, and you end up just hating them by the end of the second or third level. Voice acting, even by the protaginist seems lacking and phoned in, and overall the player tends to not connect with the characters of the game.

 

The story is like a kebab, good idea in theory but horrible the next morning which has you sitting with the porcelain princess for most of the day. Haze’s idea’s were intriguing but due to shitty voice acting and not ever going into anything in great detail, it’s all it is, a good idea that is never explored to even 25% of it’s potential.

 

Graphics are very average, but there are some shining moments. Smoke from fires when in open environments billow out realistically, and looks fantastic, and some of the ligting effects are really done well. It’s not the worst game to look at, but it’s sure as hell not the best either.

 

Got your run of the mill guns here that Charlton Heston would be comfortable handling on his back porch while waiting for Michael Moore, and they all seem pretty weighted and sound fantastic. This is where Haze shines, the sound. Guns and explosions sound, whats the words I’m looking for, FULLY SIC!

 

Mulitplayer, while lacking game modes is a lot of fun. It’s not going to overtake Cod 4 anytime soon but it’s good for a change. Also drop in, drop out 4 player co-op does make the single player worth playing again a second time round with some friends.

 

All in all Ubisoft once again fooled us in thinking this was going to be a gem, and with Free Radical involved we all bought it! Haze is a solid game but it’s not going to wow you, and with it’s terrible voice acting, a story that could have been amazing but was under developed and  average graphics, it’s going to be a game you either love or hate. I personally quite like it, but to keep an objective view I’ll give it the rating it deserves

 

6/10