Tag Archive: STEAM


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

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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


Left 4 Dead 2 is out in Australia, but unfortunately to absolutely absurd censorship laws it was refused classification. The version of the game released here is lacking basically all gore, bodies disappear when they hit the ground, and the melee weapons don’t cause any form of dismemberment. If you are like the majority of the Australian Gaming community you are outraged by this and want to get your hands on an uncensored copy of the game. FEAR NOT! Here are two simple ways to do just that!

PC GAMERS
1> Open up your browser and go to the following link http://store.steampowered.com/?cc=uk
2> Purchase the game from the UK STEAM store. Input your credit card details and address, make sure you change your country to Australia in this section.
3> Enjoy your uncensored version of Left 4 Dead 2 🙂

For all you Xbox 360 gamers out there, http://www.playasia.com is your friend. The Asia release is region free, and I think the USA version is also.


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.

OVERALL: 9.2/10

Killing Floor Review

KF2

It seems Zombie Shooters are back in fashion this season, going hand in hand with tight situations, big guns and tension at an elite level. We’ve already seen what kind of tension can be brought out of this situation with Vavle’s smash hit Left 4 Dead, but Tripwire Interactive has tossed their hat into the ring with their latest FPS Horror title Killing Floor.

Killing Floor is set in London where the city is overrun by flesh consuming “specimens” courtesy of a biotech firms experiments. These frightening creatures have decimated the city and have killed a majority of the public. You will be filling the shoes of one of six survivors, either a soldier or police officer, as you fight for your lives and try to clean the streets of this evil one at a time. Each of the characters has a short profile trying to explain their story, but it feels forced and doesn’t contribute to the gameplay whatsoever.

The Final Verdict

It may lack that style and flair that Valve’s Left 4 Dead had, but it makes up for it in content. Killing Floor is an excellent online experience, offering a co-op experience that is just as good, just as terrifying and with more classes of enemies than its competitor. If you are sick of Left 4 Dead this is the game for you, it has enough gameplay options to keep it fresh on your hard drive for years to come.

9/10

In-depth review with scores can be found here

Best $10 Ever Spent?

$10 will buy you a lot these days, a pack of cigarettes, a large meal from McDonald’s, and depending on what part of town you live on it can probably get you a filthy street urchant to perform acts you’ve only seen on a scandleous video of a celebrity in a hotel room somewhere in Paris? What do all these things have in common? They all leave bad tastes in your mouth (or hers, even his if you’re into that kind of thing) and the same usually applies for games that only cost $10.

Trials 2 would be the exception to this rule. Trials 2 is this fun little game that has you riding a bike through courses that the Crusty Demons would be too shit scared to attmept, all while employing a realistic physics engine and online stat tracking worldwide. Each course slowly gets harder and harder and it’s one of those games that you can sit down to play for 15 minutes, and before you know it you have to get dressed to go to work as you haven’t been to bed yet.

Graphically it’s simple yet what it does have is done well. The flames, lighting and shadows are fantastic, sound effects are good and controls are simple. My favourite feature is the stats tracking and team competitions. Basically everyone who is playing trials 2 has an account, and every track they pass their time is recorded and placed on the worldwide rankings. This is great, I can see that while I’m not totally the best at number 1, I’m not the worst at 10424. But what you can do through the power of a friends list is create a TEAM to represent, and all of a sudden you are racing for your teams glory!

All in all want to spend a good $10 that doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth? Trials 2 is the way to go. Available for purchase through STEAM