New trailer for Bioshock Infinte arrives on the internet.
Tag Archive: Xbox
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.
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.
The hype and excitement surrounding the pending release of Batman: Arkham Asylum has been getting a lot of coverage across the globe. Praise is being sung by the critics, fans are chomping at the bit to get their hands on the game this Thursday. To get you through the next few days, why not revisit some of Batman’s Greatest Video Gaming Moments from the years gone past?
Batman: The Video Game
Released on the Nintendo Entertainment System 1989
In the early days the NES was filled with colourful platformers such as Ice Climber, Super Mario and the like, but Batman: The Video Game was a different kettle of fish. Praised for it’s dark graphics, it’s fantastic attention to detail, fluid animations not to mention one of the most kick ass NES soundtracks ever, it still stands the test of time as not only one of the best Batman games, but one of the best platformers of the NES generation. With a variety of weapons, classic cinematics, five stages based on locations from the Burton film, and a show down with The Joker himself, what more could a Batman fan ask for?
The Adventures of Batman & Robin
Released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System 1994
A sequel to the NES title was released to little fanfare, some gameboy titles came and went, but Konami’s The Adventures of Batman & Robin revived the series with it’s stunning graphics and gripping gameplay. Based on the ever popular animated series, the game takes place over 8 stages with a boss fight at each one, with such favourites as The Joker, Catwoman, Two-Face and many more. Backed up with some amazing features at the time including Mode 7, Reflections on the floor, and a large arsenal of weapons, this is truly a standout title in the Batman series.
Released on the Sony Playstation 2 2001
Ubisoft tried their hand at making a Batman game that fans would love, and they did a decent job with an interesting story the furthered the series. Featuring third person platforming, combat and some sweet Batmobile sequences, Batman Vengeance deserves a mention for truly telling a story. The voice acting is top notch, and features the ever famous Mark Hamill reprising his role from the animated series as The Joker.
Lego Batman: The Video Game
Released on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii 2008
Everyone loves playing games in the Lego universe. After the massive successes of the Star Wars Lego and Indiana Jones Lego series, Lego Batman was released using the tested formula of bringing a certain charm to our favourite stories. With heavy weight Danny Elfman providing the score for the game (he did the music on Burton’s original Batman movie) and with the ability to play as not only Batman, but the villains in the series, it’s hard to ignore the importance of this title re-invigorating the Batman series in the minds of gamers.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
To Be Released 3rd of September 2009
Will Arkham Asylum make it on this list when it’s released this coming Thursday? Guess you’ll have to wait until I release my review later this week.
TellTale return a month later as promised with another serving of everyone’s favourite claymation duo in Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures: The Last Resort. While it goes forward in leaps and bounds over the last episode, the story tends to get a little lost among the large cast, despite the episode being played out within the confines of a handful of rooms.
This episode see’s Wallace’s plans to visit the beach shot down by bad weather, so he has this fantastic idea to open up a beach resort in their own basement. Building beach resorts in your basements, albeit fun, is not cheap so the loveable duo open their house up to customers to help pay the costs. The episode can be split up into three gameplay components, the beginning will have you collecting items for the resort, the second will have you keeping the paying customers happy and finally a ridiculous mystery needs to be solved, which ensure hilarity.
The Final Verdict
Telltale has stepped out with another great episode for their new series, yet it seems to be lacking what the first episode had to offer. Stuck in only a few rooms, and with minimal interaction between Wallace & Gromit, who seem to take a backseat to the supporting cast, it seems a little lacking. Regardless it’s well worth the price of admission and a must have for fans or adventure gamers alike!
Wallace and Gromit Episode 2: The Last Resort is available from http://www.telltalegames.com/wallaceandgromit or the STEAM store. It will launch on Xbox Live in the next few weeks
Full review can be found here with screenshots/in depth review points and scores
The year 1988 saw the release of Capcom’s Bionic Commando on the revolutionary Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) to both critical and commercial success. It was innovative for platform/action titles in the fact that you couldn’t jump, and you needed to make use of a Bionic arm to swing your way across ledges and destroy enemies in certain ways. It stood aside from other games in similar genres and has stood the test of time. That was over twenty years ago, does the same premise offer enough to stand ahead of the pack in the current generation?
2009’s Bionic Commando takes place ten years after the events of the NES title and places the gamer back into the shoes of Bionic Soldier Nathan “Rad” Spencer. In the course of these ten years, Bionic Soldiers have been outlawed in the military and society and have either slipped through the cracks or have had their bionic augmentations removed, or worse, executed. The game jumps right into the action as we witness the detonation that obliterates Ascension City, destroying buildings, streets and of course the main population. Spencer – who has been imprisoned due to the outlaw on Bionic Soldiers is released – is sent into the combat zone to discover who is responsible for such an act.
What sets the scene for a potentially sound storyline is let down by pure B-Grade cheesiness with some of the dialogue and cutscenes. Regardless of these shortcomings, voice acting work is delivered superbly through all the characters with the stand out being our hero Spencer who is voiced by Mike Patton of Faith No More fame. Characters are brought into the story to connect it back to the original title, yet more often than not they feel forced rather than detrimental to the story progression. Overlooking all this, Bionic offers some interesting plot twists. It’s not the amazing story some might find in other games, but it’s certainly strong enough to keep you compelled to continue the adventure.
What set the first title apart from the rest was the implementation of the Bionic arm and GRIN have excelled at making the arm an integral feature of the gameplay mechanics and not just a tacked on gimmick. Spencer has been separated from his arm since his incarceration, meaning he needs to remember all of his abilities, which are taught to you along the way via checkpoints and training exercises. It’s easy to learn, but takes a little to master which is a tie back to the original game. There is a sense of accomplishment when you chain together a series of precision placed swings followed by a zip kick.
The targeting reticle turns blue when Spencer is able to use the arm to grip onto something and once you have mastered the art you will be firing off your pistol before swinging via a ledge onto a platform and then taking a moment to assess your next move. Having said that the ability to swing and grapple your way across Asscension City isn’t all roses. Falling to your doom, landing in deep water or hitting some nasty radiated spots will result in you respawing at a checkpoint, minus all the equipment you have collected along the way. This will be frustrating for some, but for fans of the original title (or last years Re-armed remake) it will be familiar territory.
The arm is used for much more than swinging around like a not so friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. Spencer has an arsenal of attacks ranging from the effecting light or heavy punches, zip kicks which will have you attaching your arm to an enemies chest and then retracting it to kick them in the chest, kiting enemies into the air and throwing objects such as cars, blocks of concrete and even trains! All the attacks work seamlessly with the controls being accessed with some careful timing and some quick button presses.
In addition to these awesomely cool Bionic Arm attacks you will also gain access to weapons throughout your journey. Spencer is armed with a standard issue pistol which is accurate and deadly, but through weapons drops in the field you will come across grenades, shotguns, sniper rifles and the like. Unfortunately while these weapons are fun, ammo is so sparse for said weapons that the fun is short lived. It’s not a deal breaker as the arm attacks more than make up for it, but it would be wise to conserve your ammunition for when you need it.
Bionic Commando provides us with a seemingly huge concrete jungle to frolic through yet due to it’s linear gameplay it doesn’t offer enough opportunity to go exploring. Once you have passed through a section of the game there is no going back, so if you are wanting to collect all the collectable items and the like, you better check, and then check again before you move onto the next point. It’s sadly disappointing as Asscension City offers a terrific landscape to explore, yet we are constricted to the contraints of a linear pathway. It doesn’t ruin the experience as such, but it makes you wonder what we are missing out on, or what a less linear path would have provided us with.
Multiplayer is a rather forgettable experience. Featuring sixteen maps to fight with up to seven other opponents on, you’ll soon put it down after a few rounds. It’s not ground breaking, it’s no engaging, it’s not fun, it’s just there. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with it, it features your standard Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes, it’s just not at all compelling like the single player experience. It’s a fun time waster, but we won’t see it hitting Call of Duty or Halo online status anytime soon.
Graphically Bionic Commando is up there with the best. Assension City is littered with papers blowing in the wind, dust and particles from fallen buildings, and fantastic lighting effects at the sun sets down across the town. The game camera is rarely ever annoying and feels just right, and little features like dust covering the camera as buildings fall is a nice touch. Character models are a bit cartoonish, but that’s the setting of the game. It’s not a mega realistic title ala Gears Of War. The game manages to keep a consistent frame-rate, which is emperical to the swinging element of the title. Lagging as you were swinging at fast pace through the city would totally ruin the experience. The only time you will even notice the tiniest bit of frame-rate dip will be during some of the larger battle sequences, but it’s not enough to even really notice that often.
The city feels like it’s actually a city, not just a landscape created for the game. Buildings look tattered and used, everything is coated in dust after the explosion, buildings, the ground, cars and transport literally are crumbling all around you. My one gripe is the blatant advertising that is present throughout the city. Pepsi, nVidia, Alienware and other signs from companies litter the city, and while it has been seen before, in this pertiular title it really takes away from the experience.
As I mentioned before the voice acting is top notch, and Mike Patton provides yet another memorable character in the video game realm (See: The Darkness). Musically the title will strike a chord with veterans who will recognize some of those eight bit sounds jazzed up a little during the musical score that just suits the title perfectly.
The Final Verdict
So has twenty years been too long for Bionic Commando to have any relevance in the modern day video game world? Capcom have proved that an old classic can be turned into something modern day. While the story isn’t taken to it’s full potential and the title is extremely linear, Bionic Commando offers enough innovative, and stylish gameplay mechanics to make it worth your while.
Full Review can be read here
Criterion Games have truly gone above and beyond to support and evolve the Burnout Paradise universe. We’ve seen bug fixes and tweaks, right up to game changing elements such as Day/Night cycles and of course, the introduction of Motorbikes to the speed frenzied streets of Paradise City.
With the introduction of Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box for PS3, Xbox360 and PC we see the next change in the Burnout franchise, Party Mode. The Ultimate Box includes not only the previous free DLC on the disc, but also includes the Party Pack DLC. For those of you who already own the game, Criterion are asking a mere 800MS Points/$14.95 respectively. Is it worth the price of admission?
What the Party Pack brings to Burnout is a fun filled, pass the controller type scenario for up to 8 of your buddies to face off in a number of challenges. These vary from events such as longest time into oncoming traffic, the fastest time through a checkpoint race, or even as simple as landing a barrel roll. Throw in some great music, a bunch of mates and even some drinks and you are set for a night of furious competition, many laughs and a dangerous amount of sledging.
The presentation of the Party Mode is slick, and offers a real friendly, pick up and play feel that won’t scare the non-gamers off. Using the PSEye or the Xbox Vision you can take snapshots of each player which will display in the corner as they race off to complete the objective.
The only criticism I have with the Party Pack is the challenges run out to easy. With a party of 8 and a full length game of 8 challenges you will find yourself repeating the same conditions and areas over and over again. Sure it’s still fun, but would have liked to see some more variation in there.
So is the Party Pack DLC worth the coin? If you have some mates who come round and don’t cringe at the idea of playing some games and having a few drinks or just relaxing (depending on your age) then it will find a spot on the shelf right in between Rock Band and Singstar. It offers a great experience that can be enjoyed by everyone! If you mainly rock it solo, then you aren’t going to gain a lot from having the party pack