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General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Sat 17th Nov '07 7:39PM
4213 Posts
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7th Apr '03
Scarface The World Is Yours - Wii 6/10
As the name suggests “The Word is Yours” is a game based on the classic gangster movie Scarface, but offers an intelligent alternative to the normal movie tie in.

[FILM SPOILERS]
The game starts with you controlling Tony Montana through the final scene of the movie complete with his “Leetal friend” but with his fate in your hands you can prevent his climactic demise. What you can't prevent is the destruction of his empire at the hands of the law and rival gangs.
[/FILM SPOILERS]

Back on the street without a penny to his name Tony immediately sets to getting his empire back the only way he knows how. Selling cocaine and killing people. As you progress you can buy all the trappings of a crime lord and tart up your mansion.
The gameplay is what you might uncharitably refer to as a Grand Theft Auto clone with a couple of twists.

Control is as you would expect for a GTA alike with the advantage of the ability to free aim with the Wiimote. An extra mechanic added to the game is Tony's rage which is added to by good aiming, daring stunts, and taunting your enemies. When it maxes out you can enter rage mode moving the camera into first person, making you invincible and giving you a health boost for every person you kill.
Every time you negotiate you have to do a test based around holding down a button and releasing it at the right moment like an old skool golf game. It's a shame the Wii motion controls couldn't have been introduced here.

Playing as Tony you roam around the four districts of Miami getting your turf back in one of three ways: Selling drugs to make money, Wiping out rival gangs to reduce the competition and Buying legitimate businesses to use as fronts.

Clearing out gangs is as simple as driving around till you spot some toughs then gunning them down. Once their leader is dead they will scatter and you have to make sure you kill all of them or they will come back a bit later. Why they have to be exterminated and won't join your gang is not explained..

To do drug deals you phone your contact at any time who sets you up. You always have to do some kind of random mission which involves collecting something, dropping something off or doing someone in to set up the deal. Depending on how big your operation is you progress through making deals with street dealers for a few grams, to distributing through your warehouses to front businesses, finally running your own shipping from Cuba bringing it in by the Kg. This part of the game works really well.

Buying front businesses is the way you progress through the story arc. This involves running some kind of mission for the owner and then handing over the readies. Every so often this results in some kind of set up or story trigger that sees you wiping out a rival gang leader.
This is where the game falls down for me. Only one mission is available at a time and though some of them are great fun some of them are marred with poor mechanics making them virtually impossible to complete. This would be fine if you could pick and choose but the linearity forces you play dreadful missions again and again.

It's a shame some of the missions are so flawed as the actor playing Tony (Hand picked by Al Pacino no less) is excellent and has something to say for every occasion and the graphics are good considering it is a PS2 port, but as it is I can't recommend it.
    

Dregan
a flim flam is as good as a shim sham sam
Mon 19th Nov '07 11:24AM
843 Posts
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13th Apr '04
Halo 3 7/10
Halo 3 is like marrying the most popular girl in school, except now she's got silicone-enhanced breasts, pouts so often she's got lips like wrestling leeches and still has a shelf full of teddy bears in her room. Oh, and she's dyed her hair.

That's the single-player side at least. If you've played Halo 2, you've essentially played Halo 3 with only marginally less pretty graphics. The story's fairly predictable, and some excellent set-pieces aside there's not a lot new.

The multiplayer and co-op, however, is like looking up your childhood sweetheart, realising after all these years she's always been the one for you, and then finding out

You know what, I can't be bothered. Halo 3 was ok. If you like Halo, you'll like this, if you don't you won't. Review over. I'm tired.
    

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Sat 19th Jan '08 12:04AM
4213 Posts
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7th Apr '03
Links Crossbow Training 8/10
Links Crossbow Training is the pack in game with the Wii Zapper peripheral for the Wii.
The Zapper is a plastic shell resembling a submachine gun into which the Wiimote and the Nunchuck clip which costs a pretty darn reasonable £19 for the shell and the game.
Links crossbow training is a game based on the successful Zelda franchise and uses the game engine and graphics from Twilight Princess meaning the graphics are very good for a budget title.
Each level contains three stages falling into three categories static target shooting, defending your position from advancing enemies where you can rotate your view by moving the Wiimote to the extents of the screen and an FPS like mode where you can move Link arround with the Nunchuck stick.
Gaining points across the three stages of a level wins you medals which are required to move onto the next level.
The game mechanics are pretty simple. Levels are timed and you can never die (hits just reduce your score) Ammo is always unlimited, but there is a multiplier that increases on each consecutive shot so accuracy is the key to getting a good score.
Some people have complained that the game is slightly easier without using the Zapper shell, but for me this is missing the point, after all a driving game might be easier with a joypad, but using a wheel is more imersive.
There are several games to be released that are compatible with the Zapper including the excellent Umbrella Chronicles and House of the Dead and for the budget price you can't really go wrong.
    

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Sun 20th Jan '08 8:53PM
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7th Apr '03
Umbrella Chronices - Wii 8/10
Umbrella Chronicles is the latest game in the successful Resident Evil franchise and a Wii exclusive. Rather than taking the story in a new direction Umbrella lets you play through various key scenes from the previous 4 games.
The gameplay is somewhat of a departure from the norm as rather than the traditional 3rd person survival game umbrella is a rails shooter in the vein of Virtua Cop, or House Of The Dead.
At first the rails shooter format seems incongruous with the franchise. The unique aspect of the Resi has always been the need to horde ammo and use it sparingly which would make for a pretty rubbish shoot em up.
Umbrella gets around this in a clever way. Ammunition for your pistol is unlimited, but is pretty much useless against tougher enemies and ammo for heavy weapons is in limited supply and has to be used with care.
At the start of each level you can choose a weapon to take in addition to your pistol and plenty more can be collected along the way. All the Resi favs are here including the sub machine gun, shotgun and grenade launcher all of which have unique advantages and weaknesses.
The game boasts three difficulty levels and even easy is a challenging in places so rest assured there is plenty here for the core gamer to get their teeth into.
The game is also one of a small handful of games currently available that work with the Wii Zapper and this is the control method that I most enjoyed. As with all the best rails shooters it also supports 2 player simultaneous play which is great fun.
Recommended.
    

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Sun 10th Feb '08 3:20AM
4213 Posts
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7th Apr '03
Eledees / Elebits - Wii 7/10
Okay so here is the plot: All the electricity in the world is supplied by little critters called Eledees (Elebits in the US for no discernible reason) they have gone a bit bonkers and hidden so random small kid grabs his scientist dads gravity gun and goes on a rampage.
Got all that?
Good now forget it all because that's just a typically insane manga plot contrivance to justify this rather bonkers physics sandbox game from Konami.

In essence Eledees is rather like Portal in that it plays like a first person shooter, but the object of the game is to mess about with physics using your fancy ray gun.

The goal of a level of Eledees is to collect a certain number of the power providing critters in a given time. Eledees will hide from you so you have to flush them out by lifting and shifting objects with your anti gravity capture gun before sucking them up to collect power. As you capture more critters power is generated activating household appliances which you can use to create a different type of Eledee which powers up your gun to be able to lift heavier objects.
The fun of the game comes from the sheer distruction you can wreak on the locations. You start off picking up small objects like books but as the level progresses you will soon be flinging around tables, beds and wardrobes in every schoolboys fantasy of beroom destruction.
The levels are well stocked with objects which gives a real sense of fun in throwing things arround even if the physics are a bit dodge.

There are a few things that let the game down. The graphics are plain, the voice acting and plot are shoddy and opening doors is completely hit and miss, but these flaws don't stop the game being a good deal of fun.

It's a great game for kids, or to rent for the weekend (as I did), but I am glad I didn't buy it.
    

Emo Squid
sanctus, sanctus, sanctus
Thu 3rd Apr '08 2:21PM
624 Posts
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23rd Feb '07
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64) 10/10
Just rediscovered this game (again). Hello Zelda, goodbye life.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6261546.stm
Second opinion by Diziet on 3rd Apr '08 10/10
the video game equivalent of crack cocaine.
Second opinion by Emo Squid on 3rd Apr '08 10/10
"greatest game of all time" Electronic Gaming Monthly, IGN and Edge.
Average Rating 10

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Mon 7th Apr '08 4:39PM
4678 Posts
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7th Apr '03
Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings (DS) 10/10
Superb graphics, definitely the best I've ever seen on the DS - actually enough to make you hold it at arms length and marvel at the prettiness of the cutscenes. The gameplay is RTS-Lite-Lite, which basically means you can build new units and (later on) upgrade them by up to 5 levels each, but no new buildings. This makes sense on the DS, as it means the levels can be small but numerous, and you don't end up spending all your time scrolling about looking for your units. Rather than create groups on the fly, each new unit must be assigned to one of the already existing leaders, which can be selected instantly by touching their tab. The units can then be ordered to move or attack by a tap of the screen. Dragbox selection and cycling through groups is also quick and intuitive, making the actual gameplay interface fast and easy to use.

Outside of the battle scenes, you'll be piloting your airship around an overworld map, collecting materials to craft new weapons, armour and accessories, and looking for 'auracite' crystals with which to unlock new unit types (called 'Espers'). These are unlocked via a rotating tree-wheel device, an interesting - and baffling at first - take on the 'skill tree' idea. These unlocked espers can then be assigned to the 5 unit-type slots available to take into the game. At first you'll only be able to equip level one espers but as you buy higher level espers these slots will improve in capability.

The story is standard Final Fantasy nonsense, enjoyable enough if oversentimental and kawaii. Apparently the characters are the same as in Final Fatasy 12, but one year later. It's slightly confusing if you haven't played FFXII but certainly not enough to spoil the game.

An amusing feature is the ship's logbook, in which your crew enter their thoughts and indulge in an occasional flame war with each other. Main missions advance the storyline, but, interestingly, the side-missions also contain story elements, which is refreshing. These missions are available by speaking to characters, revisiting old conquests, or consulting the job vacancies, so there's plenty to be getting on with apart from charging through to the finish.

You can buy it for less than sixteen quid, and when you consider there's at least 30 hours of gameplay here, that's pretty good value for money. A lot of people claim Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is the best new DS game around, but I think this is by far the superior RPG (even though it's at least half RTS).
  

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Thu 24th Apr '08 5:52PM
4213 Posts
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7th Apr '03
Gran Turismo 5 Prolog (PS3) 9/10
Much as thoughts of Blu-Ray and Linux media centres were the main considerations when I bought my PS3 I must confess that one of the things foremost in my mind was Gran Turismo 5 Prolog. The reviews on the web have been fairly mixed so I thought I would stick my oar in and let you know my thoughts. I'm going to assume that people are at least vaguely aware of the franchise rather than bang you over the head with the details.
The main criticism of GT5 is that it is a demo masquerading as a retail product however you shouldn't take that to mean that the game is in some way flaky or part finished, far from it in fact. GT5 is simply put the most impressive demonstration of what the Playstation 3 hardware can do. The graphics are simply jaw dropingly mistake it for a photograph good and you can find yourself sitting and watching your replays just to drink in the gorgeous visuals. The menu system and interface are similarly polished and have a slick interface overlaid with a pic of your current car parked outside a famous racing venue.
All that would be for naught if the game play wasn't up to scratch, but it doesn't disappoint in this respect either. The cars handle wonderfully and even when playing with the rumbleless Sixaxis controller you feel completely in tune with your car. The characteristics of the vehicles are spot on to the point where you can really tell the difference between different rear wheel drive supercars. The Ford GT feels like a big muscle car brute always up for some leery overstear while the NSX feels like a precision instrument. The computer AI is much improved. They don't all drive like racing line hugging automatons and it is nice to see them kick up some sand on a misjudged corner, or get out of shape while trying to outbrake a rival. So far so good, but where is it that the game is letting its self down and earning the ire of reviewers?
Well first and foremost it is the lack of content. The game features 60 cars which is a pretty reasonable number, but only 6 tracks. These include a rally, a street circuit and a couple of F1 circuits and all of the courses have two variants so the tracks are pretty limited, but it is the nature of Gran Turismo that you can happily spend all day happy playing one course trying to shave a few precious milliseconds off your best time.
For me the biggest spoiler is the way that they have tried to string out the events. The event races are split into A, B & C with an S class for tuned cars unlocked when you complete the main game. Each class contains ten challenges which may be a race, a time trial or a special challenge as a result a hardcore GT veteran could probably steam through the main game in a few hours. The spanner in the works is that quite a few of the challenges require you to buy a certain car. This is ok when it is something like a £9K Suzuki for one of the cat C events, but when you have to buy a £450K Ferrari F40 to complete one of the class S challenges and winning a 5 lap cat A race nets you £20K you can see that you end up replaying a lot of races you have already completed just to buy a car you don't want to compete in one race. This is compounded by the fact that you can't play the B races until you have at least a bronze in all the C races and so on.
Online racing is a very enjoyable and simple experience, but does suffer from some irritating jerkiness from time to time and a slightly weird policy of making cars that drive erratically temporarily ghosts to avoid ruining the races of others. I was very pleased to see that you can still win cash from online racing, but disappointed that this is not the case when playing in arcade or two player split screen modes.
Having been playing the game pretty solidly for the past week or so I take on board the criticisms levelled at it, but the fact remains that at £19 (or free with a new PS3) it is still the most realistic racing game you can buy and has the best graphics of pretty much any console game out.
    

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Wed 30th Apr '08 1:35PM
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7th Apr '03
Transformers Risk 8/10
Actually a fair bit divergent from normal Risk this game seems to have been designed with kids in mind as it has several features designed to shorten the game length. There are a maximum of four teams and each has a 'boss' Transformer who has special strength and powers such as jumping directly to any occupied territory. The game is limited to six rounds of play and there are no missions so the winner is simply the player with the most territory at the end. Personally I like to ignore this rule and just play for world domination.
Also there are transforming territories which can do things like change the usable borders or create extra armies for the occupying team.
All in all it's risk with bells on and is very enjoyable. To many ardent Risk fans it will be a step too far from the original but if you give it a try I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
    

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Thu 1st May '08 12:38PM
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7th Apr '03
The Simpsons Game - PS3 6/10
The Simpsons game is a generic 3D platformer based on the show of the same name. In this respect it is pretty much like any licensed tie in game you have ever played however what makes it stand out from the crowd is that the game design and script has been aided by the Simpsons script writing team and voiced by the full cast. Like any good episode of the show it doesn't get too hung up on plot. It starts with Bart finding a copy of the instruction manual for the game you are playing and realising that he is in a game. Discovering they now have access to special moves they set about writing the towns wrongs. The town acts as a portal to the rest of the game with entrances to buildings triggering the start of levels which play out like episodes of the show and are usually loosely based on classic episodes for example the land of chocolate or the time when evil dolphins took over the city. Upon entering a level you take control of two family members who you can switch between at will (the other will help you out and be controlled by AI) You can drop in and out of two player at anytime, by simply attaching another controller. The levels are bog standard 3D platformer fare and are dogged by all the same camera problems and impossible to judge jumps to a sudden death that plagued the first generation of 3D console games 15 years ago. This really is unforgivable in this day and age, but the game has two saving graces. The first is that each family member has abilities that allow you to progress through the level (Marge can convince people to join an angry mob Lisa can use Buddhist meditation to move objects) and switching between characters to solve problems is quite fun and ads some depth to gameplay especially as the list of moves increases with time. The second is just how damn funny the game is. The characters continually crack wise about what they are doing as do all the bit part characters (including comic book guy who make sarky comments whenever you engage in a gaming cliché like exploding barrels). This is especially good in the later levels where they break out of the game and start playing others. The Medal of Honour parody where you have to steal the white flags from all the French people so they can't surrender is particularly good. The game also features its usual roster of cameo appearances including Will Wright who flies around on a diamond telling you that all game that don't have Sim in the title are dumb. Unfortunately the humour can't disguise the fact that the game mechanics are poor and you could complete the game in about 6 hours if you were going for it.
I got the game from Love Film, but I know if I had paid full price I would have been seriously disappointed. It is pretty much the definition of a rental game.
The score refers to renting or getting it second-hand. Knock a couple of points of if you buy it retail.
    

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Mon 26th May '08 10:33PM
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7th Apr '03
Drakes Fortune - PS3 9/10
Drakes Fortune is a big budget PS3 exclusive from Naughty Dog. The game is a bit of a departure for the studio who are famous for the Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter franchises.
In the game you play the role of Nate Drake a modern day treasure hunter who believes he is the descendant of Sir Frances Drake and possesses his lost treasure map. In the process of following it he ends up on a remote island off the coast of South America accompanied by Elena Fisher a TV producer he conned into financing his trip and pursued by bloodthirsty pirates. If there was a main reference point for the plot you would have to say the 1930s boys own comic style of Indiana Jones.

The gameplay is essentially a cross between Tomb Raider and Gears of War most levels have you either climbing around dangerous jungle environments using a very cool climbing and traversing mechanic or taking on Gangs of Pirates in a cover based shoot out.
The graphics are truly excellent. As a PS3 exclusive they have been free to devote all their time to wringing every last drop of power out of the Cell processor and the results are all over the screen. In the making of disc the producers talk about how every game is noirish and gothic these days so they have taken a conscious decision that the graphics in this game should be hyper real lush jungle.
One thing that sets the game apart is the quality of the animation and voice acting. Extensive use has been made of motion capture with the voice actors performing the cut scenes which consequently are excellent.
A huge amount of effort has clearly gone into animating Drake, he come across as a real guy rather than a super man who stumbles when he lands and fights like a brawler rather than a ninja.
The only things I can find fault in are the puzzle elements which are quite dumb and usually involve shooting the old mainstay the explosive barrel and the fact that enemies spawn as you walk into a scene which renders the interesting stealth mechanic slightly pointless.
Other than that I would give this game an unreserved thumbs up as the best third person shooter I've played since Resident Evil 4.
    

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Tue 27th May '08 10:42AM
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7th Apr '03
Grand Theft Auto IV - PS3 10/10
After 3.5 years of development it's finally here. So does it live up to the hype?

In a word: Yes, yes, yes, and yes. This game has been improved so far beyond Vice City and San Andreas that it feels completely different. In terms of size it's actually smaller than San Andreas, but the level of detail and enterable buildings means there's just as much exploring to be done. Also, it's entirely city-based, so the endless deserts and mountains of San Andreas have gone.

The driving itself feels much more akin to Mafia than the old GTA3 games. There is a huge sense of momentum when piloting these big, heavy cars, and swinging them round tight corners is now much more challenging. The gameplay feels much more cinematic and the missions feel much less clearly delineated - often you'll receive a phone call which leads on to the second part of a mission of which you completed the first part some time ago.

The graphics are beautiful, as was to be expected, with the PS3 rendering some beautiful sunrises over a re-imagined Liberty City, this time based on New York. While not comparing to the likes of e.g. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (see General's review above), the cars look realistic and the locations are highly believable, if a little on the grimy and depressing side - but hey, this is meant to be New York.

The plot concerns you, Niko Bellic, arriving in America on the advice of your cousin Roman, who has painted an unrealistic picture of fast cars, loose women and the 'land of opportunity'. In fact, when Niko arrives, Roman is deply in debt to various unsavoury characters and is living in a tiny flat trying to make ends meet with his taxi job and trying to keep his gambling addiction under control. It's up to you to make a new life for yourself in the US whilst helping Roman deal with the consequences of his chaotic lifestyle.

The characters you'll meet throughout the game are hilariously voiced and motion-captured in the same style as we've come to expect from the franchise. You'll meet shark-testosterone-injecting Brucie, whose enthusiasm for life is only spoiled by the occasional bout of 'roid rage, a trendy student from the Bronx who lives in a world of coffee shops and idealism, and a 'Streets Warrior', avowed to reclaim the streets for the kids whilst being filmed at every possibly publicity opportunity. Every character is beautifully fleshed out and endlessly entertaining. Other characters are available for you to befriend, and each one of these friends opens up a new ability - for example, give Little Malcolm, the hilariously unintelligble rasta, a call once he's on side and he'll pull up somewhere in the vicinity with a cheery cry of 'Ras Clart' and a car bootful of cheap weaponry to sell you. Girlfriends have been similarly revamped, with the quality of dates affected by the venue you choose, and your behaviour on the way there or back.

Included amongst the venues is a Comedy Club, at which you can watch stand-up routines by Ricky Gervais and Kitt Williams, whoever that is. Also of note is the 19 radio stations on offer, and even working television sets in which you can watch Wil Wheaton of ST:TNG fame in the hilarious 'Republican Space Rangers' cartoon, 'Vapid Cunts', a parody of the Paris Hilton celebrity lifestyle, as well as lots of other full-featured hilarious content.

Procedural missions are now much more varied and less irritating. For example, instead of Vigilante missions, you can now use a stolen police car to hack into the Crime Database, and track down the city's most wanted criminals, each one of which has their own scenario and location. Similarly, Little Malcolm will offer you courier jobs delivering drugs. Roman will offer you taxi missions, or you can go and check your email to pick up car-theft commissions from the inimitable Brucie. All of these are individual missions which can be completed one-at-a-time, which makes the whole game a lot less frustrating than previous incarnations.

The combat system takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you have done this it's by far the most rewarding and fun control system of any GTA game. You now have the ability to take cover behind obstacles, run into cover, shoot from cover and even blind-fire from behind cover in desperate situations. The right thumbstick is also used for manual aiming and adding finesse to your aiming, e.g. aiming slightly upwards as you take aim in order to go for the headshot. All of this means that combat never becomes easy or boring, as each situation is now filled with tactical choices.

In short, every aspect of the GTA experience has been overhauled from the ground up. Even the pedestrians walking along the road now have hundreds of conversations and lots of actions they may perform. You can now be thrown through the window in a high speed crash, leading to amusing procedural ragdoll animations as your character bounces painfully off a wall and down a flight of stairs. If you have played any previous GTA games, you will be amazed by the technical improvements in every aspect of the game. The care the producers have taken over this game is evidenced by the fact they had to hire a private detective to track down the relatives of the author of one of the songs in the soundtrack in order to license the song for the game.

It would be unfair not to try to cover the down sides of the game, few though they are. Although there are many more radio stations than previously, they do seem to repeat faster. Where Vice City had around four hours of content on each radio station, this feels like around half that amount. Likewise, those of you hoping Amy Sheckenhauser would return will be disappointed (Although Lazlow makes a welcome comeback). At times it can feel like there is no time to do missions between all the incoming requests and procedural missions to get done, but fortunately the game has a 'sleep mode' which allows you to stop story-based misison events from occuring so that you can pootle about to your hearts content. Instead of secret packages to collect, there are 200 pigeons around Liberty city to be killed, and you won't get any sort of reward until you've completed all 200! The official strategy guide is invaluable in completing these missions as it lists locations, describes how best to approach, and even has photos of each pigeon's location. Otherwise, the strategy guide is useful for pickups and incredibly comprehensive in terms of main missions, but contains little else. You'll probably be able to get by with online / gamefaqs.com guides unless you want to get all the pigeons.

Overall, stunning in every way. Hugely addictive and playable, and way, way better than you were probably expecting. This game alone is worth buying a PS3 for, as I did. The game has now been given the highest average review of any game ever released. It grossed over half a billion dollars in the first week alone, and there is good reason for this. If anything has a chance to oust The Sims from the 'best seller of all time' spot, this is it.

  

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Mon 2nd Jun '08 8:53AM
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7th Apr '03
Donkey Kong: Jungle Climber - DS 9/10
Due to the lacklustre reviews I only bothered loading this up several months after I got it. It's the most fun I've ever had with a platformer! The control system is what makes it - it's unlike anything else I've played. The two shoulder buttons are used to attach your hands to hand-holds. If both are attached, you'll stay put. If only one is attached, you will rotate around it. If you let go you'll fly off in the direction you're moving in and hopefully towards the next hand-hold. By releasing the buttons briefly and alternately you'll clamber in whatever direction you like. This sounds bizarre but once you get the hang of it you'll be swinging around the levels without ever touching the ground, trying to collect all the secret goodies and treasure. Mindless fun at it's absolute best. I would have given this a 10 but I can't bring myself to award full marks to a platform game
  

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Tue 3rd Jun '08 11:40AM
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7th Apr '03
Geometry Wars - Retro Evolved - DS 9/10
The first time you play this game you wonder what all the fuss is about. Then you realise you just earned a ton of currency with which to unlock new planets and assitants, and you only need to do the same amount again to afford an assitant that will shoot things for you! Before you know it you've earned half a million credits ('geoms') and spending huge sums of them on unlocking the fanciest assitant crafts and the craziest new levels to try your hand at.

Additionally, each assistant craft levels up over time as you use them to gain geoms. Eventually they become very good at their own specialty, leading to complex tactical decisions about which one to take along with you for each planet. Do you take the one that collects geoms for you, thus allowing huge scores and the completion of medals, or do you take something with firepower or defensive capabilities? Or do you risk taking along a fledgling craft in the hope of levelling them up to be of use in later levels?

Compulsive, addictive, perfectly balanced, synapse-melting shooty fun. Highly addictive!
  

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Tue 17th Jun '08 11:32AM
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7th Apr '03
Pain (PS3) 9/10
This game costs a fiver from the Playstation online store. This represents incredible value, and will be even better once the June update is released.

There are several gameplay modes, although all use the same basic gameplay mechanic. You are standing in a large catapult in front of a section of city filled with junk. Your task is to launch yourself bodily at the city and cause as much damage in the ensuing explosions, chaos and chain reactions as possible!

There are tons of medals and secret bits to unlock. The only downside is the current list of locations, i.e. only one. Hopefully this will be addressed shortly as there are regular content downloads available. New characters can be purchased very cheaply but they're not in any way needed.

Gameplay modes are:

Paindemonium - A sandbox mode which lets you play around to your heart's content. 1p and 2p.
Mime Toss - grab a mime as you hurtle through the air and try to hurl him through sheets of plate glass windows. Zut Alors! 1p only.
Bowling - probably the least entertaining mode, 2p only - use yourself to knock down the pins (or mimes) while your opponent explodes scenery around you to block your path.
Fun With Explosives - the city is filled with explosive crates! Bounce from explosion to explosion caausing as much chaos as possible! 1p or 2p.

Although the game sounds like a crazy 3-d console version of Peggle, there is a lot more skill involved, as you can use the d-pad to give yourself a little boost after hitting something. This requires extremely quick thinking and fast reflexes to make best tactical use of your position and the objects and explosives lying around you.
  

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Fri 20th Jun '08 1:38PM
4678 Posts
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7th Apr '03
Call of Duty 4 (PS3) 10/10
Boom.. headshot!

Sublime, beautiful, intense, terrifying, and thoroughly playable. And that's just the single-player mode! Go online to earn new weapons and upgrades, unlock challenges and game modes and to work your way up to the ranks of the elite. There are a dozen different games to choose from and it ships with more than enough maps to keep you in multiplayer action for ages. The gameplay feels like it's been tested and tweaked to near-perfection, as it's very hard to find fault with any aspect of it. If you've never tried an online shooter, by the twitch gameplay and the ridiculously high levels of skill displayed by seemingly everyone else online, but after 2-3 evenings I was placing halfway up the field most times. The running speed (your character, not the game!) seems to be slightly slower than some other shooters I've seen, which helps keep the gameplay down to comprehendible speeds.
Second opinion by General on 3rd Sep '08 5/10
I know this is supposed to be the best game of all time or something, but I just don't get it.
There seems to be lots of shouting and loads of people who all look exactly the same run around and sometimes when you shoot them it turns out it was one of your own men and you have to restart and then someone throws a grenade at you and they tell you to throw it back and it doesn't work and you have to restart and then you walk into a room and you keep getting shot, but you don't know from where so you aimlessly spin around in circles , but at this point the screen has gone all red so you can't see them anymore so they either shoot you again and you have to restart or they decide not to and after a while you seem to get better from being shot and carry on as before.
As you can tell from this my bad review is essentially on the grounds that I appear to be shit at it and after two hours of play was still only just past the training mission and had died 50 or 60 times. Perhaps with more playing I would find it more enjoyable, but as far as I can tell if you aren't a die hard FPS enthusiast it feels very much like a combination of pulling out your teeth while banging your head against the wall.
Second opinion by Xander on 21st Sep '09 8/10
Great fun but the stand alone game is far too short. Somehow doesn't have as much soal as the WWII set Call of Duty games.
  Average Rating 7.67

Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Wed 13th Aug '08 1:40PM
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8th Aug '06
Orbiter (PC) 9/10
A freeware space simulator that knocks the pants of any other available realistic space sims. It's designed as a space-flight simulator, and thus offers no plot or objectives. Just get up and fly around the solar system with an incredibly realistic physics engine. Get into orbit with the shuttle, or plan multiple planet encounters slingshot your way around the solar system.

The bare game comes with a few craft, both realistic (the space shuttle Atlantis) and futuristic. A very active mod community is around to supply you with pretty much any addon that you could want - navigational aids, historical craft such as the Apollo series of Saturn V rockets, complete with functional control panels and guidance computer, fictional craft such as the firefly or millennium falcon and a plethora of planets, asteroids and other solar systems to explore.

If you're into space, then I'd really recommend giving it a try. I tried it and loved it so much that I now develop addons for it!

The current release is 2 years old, so will run on very old and limping hardware, but additional textures are available from the mod community to make it much more pretty. The next release is currently in beta and due to be around sometime soonish.

A great game for just having fun, or for learning about space flight and orbital mechanics.

http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/orbit.html
  

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Wed 3rd Sep '08 9:28PM
4213 Posts
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7th Apr '03
Bionic Commando Rearmed - PS3, XBOX 9/10
When I was, but a young whelp I was a huge fan of arcade games and living near to the coast I would often head to Felixstowe pier and shovel some 10p pieces into the array of video games.
As you might imagine I soon grew familiar with all my favorites and longed for the more exotic games which could be played on my all too rare trips to Clacton and other far flung locations. As a result games such as Splatterhouse, Aliens and Parodius have been close to my heart since I was a nipper but Bionic Commando was the true prize. On my first trip the machine was there for the playing, but on subsequent visits it always seemed to be broken down. I tried buying the game for my Amstrad CPC, but horror of horrors the tape wouldn't load no matter how hard I tried. Why amI telling you this?
Why, because Capcom in their infinite wisdom have chosen to remake the game in HD for the current generation of consoles.
Bionic Commando Rearmed contains all of the content that made the original game kick ass but with pin sharp HD visuals and a remixed soundtrack which is so good it's been selling pretty well on iTunes.
For those of you not familiar with thegame you play the titular Bionic chappy who must traverse a level filled with baddies armed with a pea shootery gun and a fancy extending bionic arm . This comes in handy as the level tends to be full of platforms and spikes and out hero cannot jump. The game is a classic rock hard old school platform shooter which demands real skill and concentration. As an addition to the regular modes the game offers some super trickey challenge levels in which you have to traverse crazy trap rooms.
At £6.99 you can't really go wrong with this game which as already eaten a big chunk of my free time in the last week.
Second opinion by Demian on 4th Sep '08 7/10
I only bought this cos I saw General was playing it and wanted to join him for some online action. However, it turns out the multiplayer modes are local only (i.e. one PS3, 2 pads).

Still, pretty fun game!
    Average Rating 8

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Wed 1st Oct '08 6:45PM
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7th Apr '03
Soggy Biscuit 0/10
Less a game than a public schoolboy rite of passage. And it's grim. no, really. It's grim. Despite having never played it myself I am very happy to give it a solid zero.

(you probably don't want to google this at work)
    

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Wed 12th Nov '08 10:07AM
4678 Posts
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7th Apr '03
Far Cry 2 (PC) 9.5/10
This is the prettiest game ever made for the PC. Visceral, terrifying and thought-provoking, and a strange new advance called The Director ensures that every game is different. For example, on starting the game there is no way to predict where you will be, who your initial contacts will be, and whether your ultimate target, an arms dealer know as The Jackal, is even aware of you or where you are. This technology is also used to influence all missions further down the line, with the outcomes of previous missions affecting the plot, and not just in an 'A or B' sense. For example, save and befriend a particular buddy and he/she will offer you new options to expand the scope of missions, and will be available to rescue you should you succumb to a hail of bullets. If the character should die in the process, this has further impact on the remaining storyline and available missions.

The story is set in Africa, with 50 sq km in which you are free to roam and explore as you like. There are no 'invisible walls' which normally prevent you from choosing your own path in a game such as this. There are 40 hours of main storyline missio ns and a similar amount of optional side missions to complete. During your stay you will also need to battle the effects of malaria, which cause confusion, disorientation and loss of consciousness. This can only be remedied by keeping yourself supplied with malaria pills, and these need to be obtained from underground shops and contacts which you discover and meet as you go. But again, each of these elements is influenced by other parts of the game. For example, get too enthusiastic about a fight, maybe by deciding to ignite an entire village with flamethrowers, molotov cocktails and mortars, and you may find you've accidentally killed one of your contacts!

In short, there is no way to predict the plot of the game, and the amount of permutations of people, alliances and events must be near infinite.

Ultimately the game is a FPS, but a fine one at that. New weapons can be purchased at the various arms dealers, and weapon upgrades are also available to improve accuracy, recoil or reliability. Every weapon degrades over time, with the most degraded weapons looking rusty and dented, allowing you to easily assess whether it's worth chucking out your badly-battered sniper rifle for the shiny new flamethrower. Pretty much every part of the game is flammable, leading to much hilarity. For example, I was trying to clear out a patrol point from enemies but they didn't seem interested in coming out to fight, so I just started a forest fire outside and watched them run screaming from the building as it caught fire around them

Lots of other features aid immersivity. For example, the map screen is not the usual 'pause and work out what to do' system, you actually hold the map out at arms length whilst continuing to orient yourself and move around. The GPS attached to the map also lets you locate briefcases containing diamonds, the only worthwhile local currency. The vehicles are fun to drive, and many have mounted guns to switch to a quick battle before continuing on your journey. If your vehicle is damaged in the process, simply jump out, pop the hood and use your wrench to repair the engine.

Should you get badly wounded, hitting the 'restore health' key can be quite traumatic, so far I have watched myself cauterize wounds with bundles of matches, pull a branch out of my thigh, gouge bullets from wounds with a knife, and remove rusty nails from inbetween my fingers! This, along with the sometimes x-rated language, makes this definitely NOT a game for the kids.

Overall, an utter joy. Half a mark deducted due to the ridiculous amount of PC power you'll need to run this at anything approaching full visuals. Quad Core Extreme will be needed for full graphics options at anything above 1024x768 resolution. That said, my Quad Core running at 1024x768 with all graphics on 'high' rather than 'very high' still looks absolutely amazing, although I am using an Nvidia 9800GTX which helps a lot. Fortunately a benchmarking tool comes with the game which allows you to test out various combinations of graphics settings until you find one that gives you a decent framerate. However, I wouldn't bother trying to run this unless you have at least a dual core processor and a pretty decent graphics card.
Second opinion by Xander on 21st Sep '09 2/10
Really sucked on PS3 anyway. I just can't stand a game where you have to drive miles in it to get to the actual mission! What is the point?
  Average Rating 5.75

Xander
The panda is the evolutionary equivalent of living off benefits.
Sun 4th Jan '09 10:16PM
169 Posts
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16th Jul '08
Fallout 3 (PS3) 9/10
Is a RPG set in an alternative future where a 1950's America with flying cars etc goes to war with China and nuclear war breaks out. Our game begins 200 yrs after the war and you get to direct your character through the Wasteland a post apocalyptic Washington DC.

It has all the sterotypes of a post nuke war America but that helps the appeal. Bottle caps are the main currency. Characters and missions are exciting and you get options on how you wish to behave. You can for instance be as evil as you like or be good. How you play it effects how things turn out.

It's a very bloody game (you can go canibal if you want) and has plenty of swearing. Unlike the violence the swearing feels oddly out of place but for some reason swearing doesn't seem to work in SF anyway.

If you enjoy exploring doing mini quests and building up your character this game is for you. If that is not your cup of tea avoid.
Second opinion by General on 6th May '09 10/10
I'm hopelessly addicted.
One of the best games I've ever played!
 Average Rating 9.5

HuMpO
Daddy Mack
Sat 11th Apr '09 1:25AM
27 Posts
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22nd Mar '09
DOFUS - Internet PC Game. 7/10
Some Good Fun. Like To Chill On Here At The Min As I Have Internet Probz And Cant Play Wow. Its Good Just To Chill Out On And Have A Mess Around With Mates.

www.dofus.com For Anyone Interested Get Me Via PM For Server And Names
 

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Tue 14th Apr '09 1:00AM
4213 Posts
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7th Apr '03
The Darkness - PS3 6.5/10
The Darkness is a FPS based on the comic book of the same name.
You play Mafia hitman Jackie Estacado who has wronged loopy Don Paulie Franchetti. Paulie has clearly picked the wrong hitman to whack as Jackie suffers from a family curse called the darkness which gives him demonic powers of the rending people limb from limb with scary black tentacles variety giving him a unique advantage in the extracting bloody revenge stakes.
The upshot of this is that at the touch of a button you can manifest two glowing eyed demon snakes out of your shoulders which provide you with a regenerating shield and a number of additional abilities which you gain throughout the course of the game.
The twist is that Jackie's powers only work in darkness providing the main game play mechanic that differentiates it from other games in the genre.
In the light your snakes burn up and disappear draining your darkness power which can be regained by drawing in darkness in a shady spot or more entertainingly geting your snakey buds to chow down on a fallen foes heart. As a result you will spend quite a lot of your time shooting out street lights as you progress. This is an interesting concept but it does grow somewhat tiresome as there are an awful lot of them and you need to do it wherever you are or be left defenceless when baddies show up (without the darkness engaged Jackie will die from a couple of gun shots and heals very slowly) combine that with the need to trek around all your vanquished foes and collect their hearts and there is a definite grinding element to the game.
Aside from the shield the darkness powers are a bit of a mixed bag. The first level gives you the ability to send out a snake to collect items in tight spots and do some stealth killing but suffers from a control scheme so horrible you will avoid it at all costs. The second level gives you the demon arm which is a spiffy tentacle which gives you one shot kills on anyone nearby and lets you chuck objects and smash lights with gay abandon. The third level gives you darkness guns which are very cool but useless as they drain your darkness power to use them so letting rip with them in a big shootout leaves you shieldless in 20 seconds. The final level is black hole which essentially is a smart bomb which sucks in everything in its way. If you think that might make the game a bit unbalanced you would be right. From half way through the game when you get black hole power you can win any battle by opening a black hole on a group of enemies running to a dark corner to recharge the darkness then simply rinse and repeat. This highlights one of the main problems of the game namely that it gets progressively easier as it goes along. I found the first set piece battle before getting darkness powers very hard but as the enemies are the same all the way through the game I breezed through the final chapter without really breaking a sweat.
This game cries out for a mid game adjustable difficulty level as I would have happily played the first level on easy and the last on hard.
My final gripe is that there are a few tack on Grand Theft Auto open city side missions which don't add anything to the game and involve a lot of dull walking from one end of the city to the other which is exacerbated by the fact that Jackie moves very slowly and the game suffers from long load times.
I've been pretty hard on the game so far so lets dwell on some of its good points. The graphics look fantastic with atmospheric Gothic design and a very grimy real looking New York even when the action heats up there is little skipping or slowdown. The script is generally good and the voice acting is superb as is the sound design. The plot is engaging enough that I played to the end when the game play had started to grate though I can only imagine that at the planning meeting for the game the creators established that the most popular game themes are world war (a scene is set in WWI), horror, and gangsters and upon reaching a deadlock decided to make a game which was all three at the same time.
It's also fun to be the monster in the dark knowing that you're a total bad ass who can eviscerate your opponents in any number of gory ways.
All in all it's an ok game to while a way a few hours on if you can get it at a discount or rent it as I did, but there are enough flaws that you kind of wish that they would do a really awesome sequel.
    

Xander
The panda is the evolutionary equivalent of living off benefits.
Mon 21st Sep '09 6:08PM
169 Posts
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16th Jul '08
Bioshock 9/10
As a shooter it's a great concept. You get two types of weaponry, your conventional guns and your 'plasmids' which are special powers such as sending swarms of bees at your enemies. Other cool toys include electricity from your finger tips and flames.

The game starts off very scarily as you arive at Rapture via a plane crash. The game gives you some very scarry shock moments.

If there is a downer it's that things get very repetative about half way through the game. The enemies are not very imaginative after a while and killing yet another 'Big Daddy' feels like a chore.

The concept is good as you mine 'Adam' the energy that powers and allows 'Plasmid' upgrades. It makes for a unique experience in shooters.
 

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Thu 8th Jul '10 10:41PM
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7th Apr '03
Infamous - PS3 8/10
I recently completed Infamous on the PS3 and got to thinking that it was an awesome game with a few flaws which is the most interesting kind of game to review. Couple that with the fact that it is featured in Sony’s new Playstation Plus promotion and Infamous 2 is on the way and I figured it was ripe for some comments.
I guess if you are reading this you probably have an idea of the plot, but for those of you that don’t you play the part of Cole a courier who has suffered the inconvenience of having the package he was delivering explode destroying half the city and equipping him with super powers. He awakens some time later in a city which has been quarantined by the government and taken over by violent super powered gangs. The city is roughly based on Manhattan and is split into three islands which become available as the game progresses. Playing as our hero you must kick vast amounts of ass in a third person, open world, shooter, come parkour influenced platformer where you complete story missions and optional side missions indicated by flags on the map. “Wait a darned minute” you quite rightly say. Isn’t that like just about every other game I’ve played for the last five years?
Well pretty much, but there’s a twist. Cole has power over electricity but he doesn’t generate it himself he is instead reliant on the power grid of the city for his powers. Initially armed with a peashooter lightning bolt charging yourself up from overhead power lines, generators and streetlights heals you and grants you access to all manner of additional powers such as lightning grenades and force fields. The only thing that stands in your way of a baddy zapping party time is the unfortunate fact that most of the cities grid has been knocked out in the explosion. Arriving on an island for the first time you are presented with violent gangs on every street corner and no power to juice yourself up with. Many of the main quests revolve around restoring the cities infrastructure by locating fixing substations. This is a very cool element of play as the increasing power in the grid provides a very natural way to grant the player new and awesome powers like surfing on power lines or gliding on static which are usually required from that point on to complete missions. The side quests tackle the gang side of the equation. Each mission is given to you by a needy member of the public and completing it marks that area of the map as your territory meaning enemies are less likely to appear there. This is a cool game mechanic, but has one obvious downside. When you get to a new location you are well and truly under the cosh with bullets coming from rooftops all around and few opportunities to recharge, but as you complete missions you become stronger, face less opposition and are never more than a few meters away from life giving power meaning on medium difficulty you can pretty much just stand in the open wailing on your enemies and slurping up street lights as soon as you get shot. This means that the difficulty level is somewhat uneven and even worse once you have completed the game there are so few enemies around it becomes difficult to even find enough targets to practice trophy winning “stunt” kills on. This is made up for by the fact that it is undoubtedly fun to be Cole. You feel pretty bad ass at the start, but by the end once you have unlocked all the powers and upgraded them with the XP you earn for most actions you are a one man army. Tossing people around like rag dolls and blowing up cars and petrol stations with gay abandon. Moving through the city also feels great. You need to get up high to get around without being sniped and the parkour come power line surfing mechanic makes you feel like a cross between Spiderman and Silver Surfer. Unusually for a third person game the camera is nearly always where you want it and jumping into an abyss by mistake is a rarity. The control scheme feels natural and the only real downer is that the combination of a Gears Of War-esque cover mechanic and acrobatic platforming means that often when you are racing away from a hand grenade you will inexplicably stick to a wall and meet a messy death.
The side missions should be singled out for special praise they feel like a part of the core experience rather than a tack on and encompass: Taking prisoners to jail, treasure hunts, rooftop races, protecting citizens, solving murders, deactivating surveillance devices and fixing trains. So much better than the go to place x, shoot 5 guys and collect Maguffin y, repeat until coma that many games think is acceptable.
So far I haven’t touched on the morality mechanic that gives Infamous it’s title and that’s with good reason as I feel it adds pretty much nothing to the game. Blowing up half the city has made Cole public enemy number one and you can choose to use your powers either to change the mind of the populace and become a hero or punish those who rejected you and become Infamous. This mostly manifests it’s self as nothing more than morality based quick time events where you press “X” for good or “O” for bad action, you don’t even have to work it out for your self as a handy red blue chart appears on screen. In addition to this various actions like killing or healing members of the public has a cumulative effect. It would be cool if the decisions were worth a moment of your time, but once you have taken your first good or bad step you would have to be an idiot not to take the same course with every successive action. Extremes of status grant new powers so trying to act in a “realistic” fashion and alternating means you miss out on all the optional powers. This means that far from being a complex game of morality it is simply a linear game that you can play through twice should you wish to. The net result of your morality choice is a handful of mutually exclusive good or bad side missions on each island and two optional powers one of which I didn’t ever use and the other of which is fairly similar regardless of which side you get it from. At several points the game gives the illusion that your actions are having a significant impact on the plot, but on a second play through you will discover that regardless of the decision the game contrives to provide virtually the same outcome.
The final moan is that the game crashed a couple of times and you may find your self sinking through more complex terrain due to some dodgy collision detection.
When it comes down to it Infamous is a lot of fun and I enjoyed playing it all the way to the end though it didn’t offer enough for me to want to start again with an evil play through.
If they can fix the few annoyances that stopped this from being a true world class game then Infamous 2 is going to be an absolute riot.
    

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