OXCGN’s Review Portal is indexed for your navigation in chronological order since conception (latest reviews appear first).
Simply click the review title to jump to the complete review.
If you find a broken link, mistake or discrepancy, please do let us know by emailing us.
For the multitude of hands-on previews of upcoming games that we did during E3 2012, please check our E3 2012 page.
Please note that as of April 2012, we have dropped our online handles from reviews and have implemented our actual names instead. All reviews from that point forward will reflect this change.
You can also find all our Steal It! for 360 reviews HERE, from when we were 360 exclusive.
NOTICE: This page is horrendously out of date, but we’re working on it as we migrate our site over to a new host. Don’t worry, we still actually review things.
Happy reading from the OXCGN team.
by Nicholas Capozzoli
Papo Y Yo is an aspirational video game.
It aspires to things that few games have been able to realize well: an overtly personal story, thoughtful treatment of troubling topics, cathartic release.
By and large, it achieves all such goals, a truly impressive feat. But its achievements vie for your attention with the consequences of low production values.
by Nicholas Laborde
It’s safe to say that Dishonored is one of the most unique titles releasing in 2012.
The best way of describing it would be the atmosphere, mood and tone of Thief, combined with everything that made the Deus Ex franchise great: a plethora of gameplay styles, and multiple approaches to every situation.
Nearly a decade later, Doom is back in the ultimate package: Doom 3: BFG Edition.
by Daniel Geikowski
A drug deal goes sour. The police close in. After an action-packed pursuit along the waterfront, you’re cornered and taken in.
Sleeping Dogs, the new open world game from United Front Games and Square Enix, gets your attention from the beginning like a knee to the face.
Taking place in Hong Kong, the game revolves around Wei Shen, an undercover police officer tasked with infiltrating one of the city’s most feared triads, the Sun On Yee.
by Chris Fox
One of the most enjoyable activities in the video game space is destruction and destruction is the order of the day in this enjoyable little arcade title.
Goblin infested towers stretch arrogantly skyward and need to be literally knocked down a peg or two.
Step forward your avatar. It’s your job to take down these structures with a variety of airborne wrecking balls.
by David Faulk
Darksiders 2 is the sequel to THQ and Vigil’s mildly successful game Darksiders, which was released in early 2010.
It takes place during the events of the first game, with the most powerful of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, Death, riding to clear the sullied name of his brother, War.
Instead of taking place solely on Earth, Darksiders 2 takes Death all around the outer realms, from Angelic Outposts to the Land of the Dead, and practically everywhere in between
by Nicholas Capozzoli
The great tragedy of Sound Shapes is that the very concepts which make it worth a look ultimately prevent it from ever achieving a deep measure of success.
Queasy Games‘ latest is hamstrung by its own underpinnings, which wed a clever, music-based level creation tool to a middling, inconsistent platformer.
Sound Shapes is inspired, but its levels are more fun to create than they are to play.
by Nicholas Laborde
Rarely do you find a franchise more influential than Doom.
The king of video game violence controversy and one of the first modern first person shooters, Doom blew the doors off of what we thought was possible in a video game.
Nearly a decade later, Doom is back in the ultimate package: Doom 3: BFG Edition.
by Chris Fox
Zombies. I love them. You love them.
But just like any thing that we like, too much of it can get as sickly and unbearable as any thing else.
Zombies in games, movies and any other form of geek media have been done to death (no pun intended), so what fresh meat can DeadLight bring to the table?
Well, it turns out a fair amount.
by Caleb Maxted
From Funcom, the creators of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, comes The Secret World, an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) set in the modern-day, with exciting gameplay that will capture your attention for many hours on end.
If you enjoy thrashing zombies with or without your friends and having a choice from hundreds of special abilities, then look no further than The Secret World.
by Nicholas Capozzoli
A few years ago I heard a radio broadcast of Joe Rogan describing what it was like to take Dimethyltryptamine, a potent psychedelic.
Having never taken my own mind-altering adventures past good ol’ beer, I sat, enraptured, listening to the effusive description flow forth from the ex-Fear Factor host.
by Kid Gamer
Whenever I think of puzzle games I think Tetris (boring!) but this game impressed me a lot.
Professor Pym and the Secret of Steam from developer Naoplay is what I would call a puzzle platformer.
From jumping off walls to a moving wheel and then on to another, or missing your jump and drowning in toxic steam, this game has all the elements and more that a puzzle platformer game needs on smartphones.
by Arthur Kotsopoulos
EA Australia put on a thematic PC LAN night highlighting their upcoming shooter Medal of Honor: Warfighter and generously invited OXCGN along. The promised fun, coupled with beer and pizza, is something we don’t ever resist!
The multiplayer code we got our hands on was the same as the E3 I was at, however EA Australia put this together for Australians who may have missed out and I’d jump at any chance to play the game again anyway.
by Arthur Kotsopoulos
Perfect World Entertainment had an extremely successful E3 this year, with Neverwinter and RaiderZ their two Free to Play (F2P) MMO RPGs receiving wide-spread applause from gamers and critics.
I was lucky enough to have the chance to check out both games (you can check out my Neverwinter preview here).
Today I’m going to talk about RaiderZ, the other Free to Play MMORPG that MAEIT Entertainment, best known for GunZ/ The Duel, have cooked up.
by Chris Fox
Of all the HD re-releases announced recently, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is one that stirred a special kind of excitement in certain gamers.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD promises to mash up the best elements of the previous games all wrapped up in glorious 1080p visuals.
Thankfully, it delivers on this promise. Mostly.
by Kent Sobey
Square Enix brings cutesy samurai slashing action to Kinect in the form of Mini Ninjas Adventures.
The Mini Ninjas franchise takes a different direction this time around and has the player take sole control of Hiro, the mini-est Ninja.
Through the “wonder” that is motion control, you must slash, shoot and magic your way through worlds of evil doers to prove that mini can also equal mighty.
by Kent Sobey
Duels of The Planeswalkers, the XBLA iteration of the massively popular ‘Magic the Gathering’ strategy card game, was originally released in 2009. Shortly after that, in 2012, a follow up was released called, you guessed it, Duels of The Planeswalkers 2012, and now another follow up 2013 has been released.
I haven’t ever been much of a Magic the Gathering fan so I’m not going to sit here and try to compare it to the previous releases; instead, I’ll just tell you what I thought of this as an individual game.
by Aaron Keiser
Wondering whether or not to buy the new Skyrim DLC or not?
Let me be the first to tell you that it was (and is) more than I was hoping for, and is overall one of the best DLCs for any Elder Scrolls game that I’ve played.
And it was worth absolutely every penny.
by Kent Sobey
I’ve done the unthinkable by writing this review now.
Why, you ask?
Well because I haven’t actually finished the game yet. I can hear you all judging me and thinking how can a reviewer write about a game before they’ve actually finished it? [Ed: Yes, why Kent...]
Well, you don’t get to judge me, at least not until you’ve tried to play Steel Battalion Heavy Armor
by Chris Fox
Ever since I heard that Spec Ops: The Line was a war game with a heavy focus on narrative I have been incredibly eager to play it.
Does Spec Ops live up to the promise of a game with a truly rich and engulfing story or do we have yet another generic war shooter on our hands?
To find out, we must journey to Dubai with Captain Walker and his team to see if Spec Ops walks the line or crosses it.
by Nicholas Capozzoli
Let me preface this piece by saying that I’m thoroughly impressed by what I’ve seen of Assassin’s Creed 3. In fact, I gave it “Game of the Show” honors for E3.
But do you recall the debut trailer for the original Assassin’s Creed, unveiled back at E3 2006?
by Kent Sobey
Now, the obligatory video game has reared its head, but can it keep up with its brothers?
Instead, you don the roles of either Mors Westford, a ranger of the Nights Watch stationed at Castle Black, or Alester Sarwyke, a Red Priest born into a noble family.
by Chris Fox
Split! is a cover-based shooter for iOS from Touchy Interactive.
It’s not a cover-based shooter in the way you might imagine, though. It’s a top-down lateral thinking puzzler in which you command two prison escapees (Red and Blue) as they dodge and take out guards in their bid for freedom.
With an interesting and original take on the puzzle formula, Split! brings hair-tearingly tough and strategic challenges to your chosen iDevice.
by Alex Baldwin
Dragon’s Dogma confuses me for many reasons.
Some are small questions, such as whether to classify Capcom’s latest as a JRPG for the fact that it was developed in Japan, or a western RPG for the setting and gameplay that owes its styling to the likes of Tolkein and The Elder Scrolls.
However, most of the confusion comes from how I could possible assign a rating to a game that innovates the genre more than any other RPG in recent years, yet is so deeply flawed in the basics.
Dragon’s Dogma swings back and forth between providing both an immensely absorbing and intensely frustrating experience on a regular basis, but let’s start from the beginning.
Not to be confused with XCOM the First Person Shooter developed by 2K Marin, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is the Real Time Turn-Based RPG strategy game developed by Firaxis, the company behind the Sid Meier franchise.
You may have read countless other previews regarding Enemy Unknown and have learned that the previewer has experienced the original titles in the franchise.
I’m about to break from the norm as I’ve never played the original XCOM games, so if you continue to read after this what you’ll get is the insight from an open and fresh gamer’s mind.
by Nicholas Laborde:
Ever since the massive success of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007, the World War Two genre has, for the most part, disappeared.
While I personally had no problem with the setting, many gamers that were active in that era will recall that there was a massive market infestation of them, until Modern Warfare proved that we could move on, and successfully, too.
Sniper Elite V2 pays no attention to this, and is the sequel/remake to its fairly well-esteemed predecessor Sniper Elite.
by Arthur Kotsopoulos:
THQ Australia held a pre-E3 showcase event highlighting their current line up of upcoming titles with never before seen gameplay footage for the lucky “elite” of the Australian media.
Sitting in front of a projector screen, we were told that the video showcase would run for 40 minutes, 20 minutes for a Company of Heroes 2 gameplay footage with developer commentary and 20 minutes for Metro: Last Light consisting of a never before seen level showcasing the games exploration and less action orientated gameplay. But we’ll get to that in a later article.
For now it’s back to the eastern front of World War 2 with Real Time Strategy title Company of Heroes 2.
by Sam Warhurst:
While I normally wouldn’t sit down to play a single player Role Playing Game (RPG), being more of a social gamer and playing online multiplayer games, Risen 2 certainly attracted me at first sight.
What gamer wouldn’t be interested in plentiful pirates, mythical monsters, attractive saucy wenches and adventure on the high seas?
The swashbuckling sequel to the 2009 release of the medieval original Risen, which was not classified and so not released in Australia, Risen 2 has been released on PC and will be released on August 3rd for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
by Nicholas Laborde:
It’s been over five long years since we last saw Ubisoft Red Storm dish out the second part of the Ghost Recon next-gen console adaptation known as Advanced Warfighter.
Both titles were visually stunning, had tight gameplay, offered textbook Clancy action and story, and were well-executed in their overall presentation.
In the time since GRAW concluded, the Call of Duty franchise has soared to momentous heights and consequently claimed a vice grip on the shooter market.
by Nicholas Laborde:
Remedy knows how to combine multiple elements into a seamless package, while topping it off with some of the best writing in the industry.
The lack of their presence in Max Payne 3 is disturbing, and until I played the game, I was extremely apprehensive.
Rockstar somehow managed to do the impossible: carry the everlasting legacy of Max into the future, and at that, under the reigns of a completely different team.
When one thinks of Battleship, the first thing that comes to mind is a grid-based game which largely involves a lot of guessing.
Well, Double Helix games decided to go in a different direction with their video game interpretation of ‘Battleship’, based on the recently released movie.
When I put the game into my Xbox the last thing I expected was a first person shooter but guess what, that’s exactly what it is.
Starhawk, the game’s de facto sequel, has been a long time coming. While I moved on from Warhawk, developing a taste for the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield, its servers still remained populated, a testament to both the quality of the old game’s offering, and its dissimilarity to anything else on the market.
To build upon that legacy, Starhawk needed to bring something new to the table while retaining Warhawk‘s unique charms. I couldn’t be happier to say that it does so spectacularly. Starhawk offers the best multiplayer gameplay to be found on the PlayStation 3.
In my non-comparative review of Prototype I praised it for its enjoyable gameplay which was fluid with the freedom to roam the city as you wished.
This pushed it past its clichéd storyline and cheesy dialogue.
Prototype 2 is set once again in the most over used city in gaming, New York, which has seen yet another outbreak of the Mercer Virus, setting up the premise for the rest of the game.
Editor: We at OXCGN decided that it was more in keeping with the target market of Kinect Star Wars to get our guest ‘Kid Gamer’, a tween who held a game controller before he learned to walk, to do this review.
I have to admit that since getting my own Kinect over Christmas for my own children and non-gamer guests, I’ve had a load of simple but pure fun swashbuckling and kicking hombres in Puss In Boots and swinging my arms around wildly in the must-have Kinect Fruit Ninja.
Whilst many titles wait until you’re well into the game to show their ugly side, The Witcher 2 doesn’t exactly follow protocol; in the game’s prologue you’ll come face to face with the horrible side of porting a PC game onto console.
From magically getting hit in thin air to enemies running around oblivious to your existence, you’ll become extremely frustrated with the game, which could sway you into thinking that you’ve made one of the worst purchases of your life.
However you’ll soon be proven wrong.
It may have only just been released onto Xbox Live Arcade, but in the five years since Polytron announced Fez it has already picked up a myriad of art, design and ‘best in show’ awards, not to mention being featured heavily in last year’s Indie Game: The Movie.
Fez sits snugly alongside the likes of Journey, Flower, Braid and Limbo – the indie darlings of the industry, which prove that the simple, abstract and beautiful can find success in an industry characterised (fairly or not) by guns and explosions.
The gaming world is up to its eyes in two things: zombies and shooters.
A market that has alarmingly disappeared in the past five years is that of the tactical shooter; i..e, those which are not about running and gunning with the best perks and over-powered weapons.
I’m talking about games that require skill, planning and tact.
Trials Evolution is the hotly anticipated sequel to Trials HD, an Xbox Live Arcade exclusive that refined the always popular Motorcross formula back in 2009.
Developer RedLynx have built on their solid foundations to bring us the most viscerally enjoyable single and multiplayer experience to be found on XBLA or anywhere else.
Trials Evolution doesn’t just overtake it’s predecessor, it leaves it behind in the dust.
I’m going to try something a little unconventional, and review Mass Effect 3 in terms of an emotional investment, rather than just a standard review outlining the features and usual criteria like ‘graphics’, ‘sound’, etc ; we all already know this is a AAA quality title in those categories.
Commander Shepard‘s near-five year journey has finally drawn to a close, and I’m proud to say that it’s a worthy, triumphant endgame- and no, the controversial ending does not change that.
Closure is the product of a three man design group, with the game’s design, art, and audio each being handled by an individual.
In this case, the small size of the development team seems to have been to Closure’s benefit, and has resulted in a focused puzzle game that uses each of its facets to assert an ingenious, cohesive design.
For any fan of Gears of War the prospect of new DLC is an exciting one indeed.
The Forces of Nature map pack certainly adds a few things that make it worth looking at. Included in the bundle are 5 new maps, four new character skins and a whopping 250 gamerscore points to add to your tally.
As the DLC’s name suggests, there are a few surprises from the weather in each map that add a little excitement but unfortunately not a whole lot of change to the actual game play.
It’s hard to ignore the overarching influence that Aliens (1986) has had on media, especially video games.
OXCGN attended an international press event for Gearbox’s upcoming Aliens: Colonial Marines, a canonical sequel to the film.
At the beginning of the presentation, CEO of Gearbox Randy Pitchford opened with this: “We’ve been stealing from Aliens our entire lives.”
SEGA teamed up with Gearbox to rock downtown Dallas, but was the game looking truly great, or was it “how do I get out of this chickens**t outfit”, or even worse, “game over, man” ?
Tower Defence games are very popular with gamers and non-gamers alike.
They are available on every popular platform, from PC to the Xbox 360 to smartphones. They consist of waves of enemies moving on a set path to a destination and your job as the player is to stop them from reaching it by building different types of towers.
Anomaly Warzone Earth, developed by 11 Bit Studios, reverses this whole concept as it is advertised as a Tower Offense game.
But what is a Tower Offense game and does it work?
Editor: Let’s face it, a hardcore gamer doing a review of a Disney inspired Kinect game is like a hard-core metal rock fan reviewing popular young pop artist Justin Bieber’s latest album.
So we at OXCGN decided that it was more in keeping with the target market of Kinect Rush to get our guest ‘Kid Gamer’, a tween who held a game controller before he learned to walk, to do this review.
Shoot Many Robots is an old school, side scrolling ‘schmup’ brought to you by Demiurge Studios and Ubisoft.
In this downloadable platformer, you are tasked with the shooting of many robots.
Unfortunately the shooting of said robots isn’t enjoyable. At all. There is very little fun at all to be had with this title.
Who would have though that mass robot genocide could be so dull?
Journey is unlike anything I have experienced before. Ever.
Not just as a game or as any piece of media, art or entertainment.
Journey is a once in a life time venture. Forget about levels and forget about head-shots.
But most importantly, forget about everything that makes a “game”. That Game Company have completely rewritten the rule book. Again.
Now we find ourselves in 2012 and THQ Australia have once again invited OXCGN to get their hands stained with blood in Darksiders II.
Having to travel all the way to Darling Point, Sydney, I arrived late at my destination and found myself standing outside what looked like a castle, which was a fitting setting for Darksiders II.
Since I arrived a little tardily, my console needed to be set up so I thought it would be a good time to chat with the producer from Vigil Games, Jay Fitzloff.
Few shooters can say they have the track record of Counter-Strike.
It predates nearly all of what today’s shooter market comprises, still has active communities even on the oldest of versions, and will likely never falter in its longevity.
Valve has a track record as excellent as the CS franchise, and they’ve teamed up with developer Hidden Path to bring us the next generation of Counter-Strike.
Binary Domain is a third-person, cover-based cyborg shoot-em’ up brought to us by the good people at SEGA CS1, the developers who helm the underrated Yakuza franchise.
This deviation from their regular format takes us to Japan circa the not too distant future.
Sergeant Dan Marshall and his Rust Crew buddies are on a mission to take down the mysterious Amada corporation and their super evil robots, or, “Scrap Heads” as our hero affectionately refers to them.
After more than five years in production – including a change in developers in 2010 – the latest post-apocalyptic game has staggered onto the 360 with little fanfare.
Originally slated for retail release, takeover developers Ubisoft Shanghai made the bold decision in 2011 to downscale, making it an XBLA release only.
Weighing in at a hefty 1.7 gigabytes, I Am Alive is far from bite-sized; and it’s a reasonably meaty single-player experience, although its jarring introduction fails to impress.
In a fitting fashion it seems that Remedy have taken the Season 2 route of Twin Peaks with Alan Wake’s American Nightmare and have given the player a more action-oriented DLC package that features less witty dialogue and mystery than its initial title in the franchise.
In the 5-7 hours that you’ll be playing American Nightmare you’ll notice an array of differences, from new ‘Taken’ to have to deal with as well as new weapons to fight the forces of darkness with.
An alert informs me that my best score on Denali is no longer strong enough to keep me in the money.
I’m at risk of losing the cash I’ve committed to that Global Event, and there are only a couple minutes left to salvage it.
I drop in, promptly launching off a 200’ cliff in a series of acrobatic flips and spins that could rival Red Bull’s most dramatic footage.
Try and try as you may, you can’t keep The Darkness at bay.
Well, it’s been 2 years since Jackie managed to subdue The Darkness and start to rebuild his life but it’s back, and this time it’s looking to take over completely.
Two years it’s been since it ruined his life, his girlfriend died and he went on a killing spree to get even.
I’m going to cut right to the chase and link you to my hands-on article with Kingdoms of Amalur only because in doing so it allows me to spend this review talking about everything else in this humongous title by Big Huge Games and 38 Studios.
I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning after having been extremely disappointed with Lionhead Studios‘ Fable III.
From the extremely laggy combat and movement to the overly short storyline, what Fable 3 had done wrong Amalur does right.
It’s clear from the opening cutscene that Syndicate follows some well-trod ground.
Set in a cyberpunk dystopia where a handful of megacorporations vie for global dominance and control over a suped-up internet, it’s Neuromancer-type fare through and through.
Don’t begrudge developer Starbreeze that, however. Though the themes may be familiar, they’re still surprisingly unexplored within gaming, and rife with interesting design opportunities.
Eager to hit Nintendo where it hurts most, Sony has launched the PlayStation Vita with both new IP and familiar faces, most notably being Uncharted: Golden Abyss.
It’s not made by Naughty Dog, and it’s near-impossible to believe that Sony Bend have matched so perfectly the story and formula we all know and love.
Golden Abyss embodies much of the AAA excellence we expect from the Uncharted franchise, but in handheld form.
Nearly a year ago, fellow OXCGN writer Alex Baldwin and I teamed up for a dual review-debate on the Nintendo 3DS, discussing its pros, cons, hardware, and everything related to the system itself.
This time around, I have obtained the PlayStation Vita a week before him with the First Edition Bundle, and I’ve been left to my own thoughts, compared to Alex, who only has his jealousy. (ED: Now let’s all get along boys!)
After having extensive time with the system, I am proud to say that the PlayStation Vita ushers in a new era of handheld gaming, even going so far as to say that it sets an example for the next generation of consoles.
Hot off the tail of the Australian Open, EA, looking to keep the tennis fever running, have released Grand Slam Tennis 2, featuring legends of the sport as well as current top players in the circuit.
Giving the player the ability to take Hewitt all the way to winning the Australian Open crushing Novaks dream of having a perfect calender year winning all 4 majors, Grand Slam Tennis 2 establishes itself in-between the Top Spin and Virtual Tennis franchises.
Grand Slam Tennis 2 implements the game play style of Virtua Tennis yet maintaining that sim-like Top Spin feeling with attributes taking effect on player abilities.
It’s been a long time since a tennis game has been released with any emphasis on single and multiplayer, and Grand Slam Tennis 2 seems to hit a few unforced errors in doing so.
Sharpen the edge on your machete and fire up the ol’ chainsaw, because Shank is back for another bloody romp.
Developer Klei is building off a solid foundation, as the original Shank was an enjoyable game with just a few marginal flaws.
So have they kept up that pace with the game’s sequel?
Well, the old adage “If you enjoyed the first…” certainly applies here; Shank 2‘s core experience remains largely unchanged from the initial offering: the mood, art style, and basic gameplay mechanics all return.
After having a sudden burst of StarCraft 2 fever this past week (nineteen hours so far), I received a magical invitation from the gaming gods: Diablo III beckoned, and I answered the call.
What I found was a gem that managed to impress me, a feat no Blizzard title has managed to accomplish up to this point.
You may find that in the preview below, many basic concepts are elaborated upon. This is on purpose, to educate others such as myself that aren’t as familiar with the game and others of its type.
Last week saw the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s first package in the Season of Content only available to premium subscribers of Modern Warfare 3’s ELITE.
This package dropped two new maps down to us: Piazza and Liberation.
So what are they like?
Much like Hollywood and their need to remake every single ‘classic’ movie within the last two decades, the gaming industry follows a somewhat similar route by re-releasing titles that not only defined a genre but cemented itself as a classic in the gaming industry.
With Halo reaching the 10 year mark since being released, Microsoft/343 Studios has released Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition both in its classic Xbox graphical and revamped Halo Reach graphical glory, allowing gamers old and new to experience a console-defining shooter.
Rockstar however, instead of releasing a game that was already available across every platform, has decided to go the route of releasing GTAIII on mobile and tablets (Check out Rockstars official supported devices website to see if your device made the cut).
This allows an already amazing company to allow people who wouldn’t own a console to experience a game that has been a staple in the open sandbox genre.
But does it translate well enough to smartphones/tablets?
by Shadow Wave:
Forza Motorsport 4 has roared onto the Xbox 360 and into the hands of many eager motor-heads out there, ready and waiting to burn some rubber out on the virtual tarmac of the plentiful courses Forza 4 has to offer. But is the new model worth the on-road cost?
Ask any motoring enthusiast and most will say they love the sound of a big motor. [ED Though their neighbours, woken way too early to that sound, may not! (Yes I speak from experience.)]
Sadly, racing games of the past have struggled to truly capture the true sound of each specific engine only to replace it with an ‘it’s close enough’ mildly boring engine noise to make it seem real enough to satisfy the majority.
Forza 4 kicks this in the ass, and blesses the racing game genre with the most realistic and violently loud engine audio effects I’ve ever heard in the digital world. And you know what? It completely changes the game; just make sure to turn off the lousy electronica soundtrack in the options menu.
Sometimes, in the midst of the madness that is the Fall release season, (Spring-Summer for all you Aussie gamers) a game can stand out among the fray. Tribes: Ascend is the newest, multiplayer-only iteration in the esteemed Tribes franchise.
Tackled by a new developer, Hi-Rez Studios, and going free-to-play, devoted fans have every right to be apprehensive about what some may view as a bad business decision.
Fans and newcomers alike will be pleased to hear that Tribes: Ascend not only impresses despite the pedigree of its background, but due to the simple fact that the game provides a fun factor rarely seen in a modern multiplayer game.
It’s never an easy task for a different developer to bring out a sequel to a game that received high praise when it was originally released. Especially when the wait has been so long.
The Darkness was released way back in 2007, yet somehow Digital Extreme have managed to craft The Darkness II into something not quite the same, but still uniquely from its world.
2K Australia invited OXCGN down to the Flinders on Flinder St., just off Sydney’s infamous Oxford Street, where they had set up 4 consoles for everyone to test out the newly unveiled Vendetta Campaign Mode.
It’s hard to pin down exactly what sort of racing game Need for Speed is anymore.
Donning many guises over the past decade, EA’s premier racing series has moved between subgenres on an almost yearly basis with titles in open-world street racing (Underground, Most Wanted, Carbon, Undercover), semi-simulation (Shift, ProStreet), cops and robbers linear chases (Hot Pursuit) and even massively multiplayer online (World). This year’s The Run is a bit of a hybrid.
With a reported longer 3-year development, The Run has all the indicators of a game vying to bring the franchise back into mainstream popularity with a new format, new engine (DICE’s Frostbite 2) and an exclusive deal with Porsche.
But is it enough to compete in what has been arguably the most crowded holiday game lineup ever, or even best prior Burnout developer Criterion’s quite excellent Hot Pursuit last year?
There once was a time where games were solely about the gameplay. Yes, although a crazy notion, some call those days the epitome of the shooter genre.
We didn’t need angsty cyber punks in World War I trench coats or a super soldier in military squads to make us enjoy a character. Environments? Unnecessary. Visuals? Not that important. Only three things were necessary: guns, ammo, and enemies.
Serious Sam 3: BFE is a not-so-serious throwback to these days, and every single moment of it is something to be savored.
Back in the original PlayStation days when gamers were getting all gooey-eyed at those fancy new-fangled 3D platformers like Super Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot, a new 2D platformer was released that reveled in its missing dimension.
The armless French Rayman appeared on the scene with some of the most beautiful sprites and animation ever seen in a game, which contrasted wildly with the hard-edged low-poly characters model prancing about in Sony and Nintendo’s more well-known franchises.
After two well-received 3D sequels, endless ports of the second game (Rayman 2: The Great Escape, aka Rayman DS, aka Rayman 3D) and the spin-off Rabbids series, he’s back and in curiously familiar circumstances.
A Rabbids mini-game collection on Kinect is so obvious it’s a wonder Ubisoft didn’t push for it as a launch title over a year ago, much the way Rayman Raving Rabbids was a close-to-launch release for the 360 console.
The manic, beady-eyed, near-toothless little creatures and their WarioWare-like party games were decent fun back in 2006, so it makes sense for a similar Kinect offering to be an even more enjoyable experience?
Right? Not quite, it seems.
Jumping straight into a ‘quick game’ session to see what the Rabbids had to offer resulted in manoeuvring around cumbersome menus (it uses the same ‘swipe’ gesture as seen in other Kinect games such as Dance Central, though nowhere near as precise) and watching a trivial cutscene of hordes of the white critters running around a city before getting to the actual game.
I know I’m going to shock some of you with this statement: I enjoyed Goldeneye Reloaded MORE than Modern Warfare 3. There I said it, and I stick by it.
Activision’s newest James Bond game may not beat Modern Warfare 3 for scale, drama, or cinematics, but for actual gameplay it reinforces the argument that not all modern First Person Shooters need to be serious warfare games. There is still a lot of room for quality escapist Bond fun where there is challenge to achieve extra objectives and sometimes multiple pathways to finishing a level.
Modern Warfare 3‘s single player campaign is a dramatic intense interactive experience; Goldeneye Reloaded is a game. It would be easy for a gamer to be a bit cynical of Goldeneye Reloaded.
Volition have always stressed that whilst Saints Row is a sandbox title it differs from the GTA series in every way shape and form. With the release of Saints Row: The Third (SR:3) these differences couldn’t be more obvious.
From escorting tigers in low riders, collecting blow up dolls, going Top Gun in VTOL’s and blazing through Tron-like tunnels, Saints Row: The Third is a game which exemplifies fun from start to finish.
To ensure that Saints Row always stays fresh and continues to shock and awe, Volition use the story as a catalyst to introduce new characters, weapons and crazy scenarios.
by Allegionary and KidGamer:
With this year’s release season seeing games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, both serious shooters, it is time to take a break and have a look at a not so serious and not so publicised game, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3.
This time of year is also the social season for gaming so a traditional arcade game with local multiplayer like Marvel vs Capcom 3 fits right into the family holiday season.
Games aren’t just for hardcore gamers and journalists and publishers now try to target as many demographics as possible. Therefore for this game it was decided to interview a ‘kid gamer’ to see what he thought about its prospects of being a game for the whole family over the Christmas holidays.
2010 saw the release of Dead Rising 2, a sequel that took many by surprise due to the fact Dead Rising‘s star, Frank West, was missing. Players were greeted by Chuck Greene, a typical American pretty boy surviving the zombie apocalypse. Oh, and his adorable daughter Katie, who has been infected with the zombie virus.
It didn’t take place in a typical mall, it didn’t revolve around taking photos, and essentially had you catering to the whim of your daughter. Thankfully, the gameplay remained intact to provide hours upon hours of merciless undead slaughter.
The plot consisted of Chuck attempting to uncover the conspiracy behind the infection, and get out alive… all while keeping his precious next of kin alive. A year later, Capcom has thrown not another true sequel at us, but a redo of the second game, this time featuring the original hero. Is it worth your time, or is it just a cheap cash-in?
Assassin’s Creed is one of the AAA series that has dominated and diversified this generation of gaming. Beginning in 2007 with Assassin’s Creed, players became Desmond Miles as he was held captive by the power-hungry corporation Abstergo who turned out to be New World Templars.
He was forced to relive his memories in a genetic time machine called the Animus. Going back to the 1100s, Desmond took on the persona of his early ancestor Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad and overthrew a Templar plot, only to leave us hanging at the very end.
Two years later, Desmond broke free of the Templars in Assassin’s Creed 2, and became fully synchronized with his 15th century Italian ancestor Ezio Auditore da Firenze. The modern-day Assassins outsmarted the Templars yet again with the upgraded Animus 2.0, and Desmond lived out the early days of Ezio’s involvement within the Brotherhood, ultimately thwarting the plot of Pope Alexander VI.
I’m not going to lie: I’m a fangirl of Hideo Kojima.
If I lived near Kojima Productions, I would most likely stalk him and figure out how his mind works. In my opinion, he is the closest thing we will get to a modern Homer (no, not the Simpsons one). Don’t let my words sway you, though; if you’re a frequent reader, you know I don’t say something is good simply upon pedigree.
Metal Gear as a whole is a series that causes me to use a word that, as a critic, I really shouldn’t: masterpiece. The Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection is an agglomeration of masterpieces, and if you haven’t experienced them prior, it’s a deal that makes The Orange Box pale in comparison.
If I was asked to name one of the PlayStation 3‘s flagship franchises that would come to define both the platform and this generation as a whole, the obvious answer would be the Uncharted series.
Boasting a bold, adventurous gameplay style, a breathtaking visual display that increases exponentially with each iteration, a story that everyone can enjoy, and over the top action, Uncharted is one of many series that have come to represent this generation console gaming.
Uncharted 2 as far as I’m concerned is a masterpiece.
Uncharted 3 isn’t a generational leap from the first title to the second, but it’s still a highly commendable title that fans – and even newcomers – will still enjoy.
Call of Duty is one of those series that has taken the gaming world by storm, and is undoubtedly one of the biggest, most recognizable names out there in gaming.
Ever since the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007, the series has had a massive exponential growth with each iteration… from a business perspective.
From a gamer and long-time fan’s perspective, though, there is absolutely zero growth. As someone who has been playing Call of Duty since the original title on PC in 2003, I feel it my duty to weigh in on Modern Warfare 3 the way it should be looked at: from the perspective of someone who has been there, done that more times than most.
For what’s already a sub-genre of action games, first-person shooters come in a lot of different flavours.
We have the sci-fi Halos, Resistances, Killzones and Half-Lifes; the run-n-gun Serious Sams; the tactical Rainbow Sixes and Ghost Recons; the RPG-like Bioshocks, Chronicles of Riddicks and Deus Exes; and the booming popularity of the war shooter with Medal of Honor and Call of Duty.
Battlefield 3 belongs to this last group, but goes a bit further to the point where it can be classified as a massively-multiplayer shooter (at least on PC) with numerous smaller gunfights taking place across a massive battlefield indoors, outdoors, on land and in the air all initiated by the social Battlelog system.
Never in my life have I been a comic book fan, and the same goes for their heroes. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy media related to these valiant costumed men and women, but at the end of the day, I enjoy them for what they are: entertainment.
Batman: Arkham Asylum drew me in as an action-adventure title with stealth elements, vaguely reminiscent of the glory days of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Engaging gameplay, tons of gadgets, and the simple fact that I could sneak through most of the game was vastly appealing; at the core, I didn’t care that it was about Batman.
Batman: Arkham City is the direct sequel to Arkham Asylum, and it’s an impeccable successor to a nearly impeccable game, building upon everything that you know and love about the original.
Football (or soccer to outsiders): the game of spectacular shots, terrific tackles and the diving divas (with the new player impact system players were on the ground a lot more than usual).
FIFA 12 is developed and published by EA and advertises its new features right at the beginning of the game so you can’t miss them. However are these features really necessary or were they just useless and tacked on?
The main new feature that is noticeable as soon as you start playing a game is the player impact engine. It is a new physics engine that is supposed to make the game seem more realistic.
id Software is a name in this industry that will never fade.
Considering that id’s Technical Director (because he’s too awesome to hold one single title for a long period of time) John Carmack pioneered three-dimensional gaming with Wolfenstein 3D, and later went on to create DOOM and Quake, it’s hard to ignore id’s pedigree and contributions.
It’s been seven long years since DOOM 3 rocked our lives [with its black screens], and id is back in their typical style with RAGE. The ‘classic’ FPS meets the modern age. The enemies terrify me to my very core. id has returned with their standard of unrivaled intensity.
What’s a lonesome courier to do when he suddenly finds himself loaded for bear with a small army’s worth of warring equipment? Naturally, he takes a cocktail of hard drugs, and goes on a murderous rampage on the Vegas strip. At least, that’s how I chose to utilize the new cache of items that can be found in the two latest sets of downloadable content for Fallout: New Vegas: Courier’s Stash and Gun Runners’ Arsenal.
The former combines the four item packs that could be earned as pre-order bonuses into one comprehensive set, and the latter adds an impressive number of new weapons, ammunition, and modifications. Courier’s Stash will run you $1.99, and Gun Runners’ Arsenal is a little pricier, at $3.99. But don’t be fooled, the discrepancy between the two downloads is greater than these numbers would suggest.
by exterminat :
In most cases, the end of a revered trilogy is a most sad occasion. Tears are shed, fun is remembered, sentimental words are exchanged, and an entrancing story is put to rest.
Gears of War 3 does all of the aforementioned, but in one of the most polished, visceral, enveloping ways possible. It’s a title everyone with an Xbox 360 should own, regardless if they are a fan or not of the prior iterations.
First and foremost in Gears of War 3 is the storyline. The series has traveled a nearly unfathomable distance from the original title’s narrative, encompassing a board game, three complete novels, and having their author subsequently create the third iteration’s storyline.
by exterminat :
Enter the battlefield. Sprint for your life. Lose comrades in an artillery shelling. Move to a building. Fire off a burst into the path of your aggressors.
Take a rifle shot in the arm. You have no bandages left. In the presence of your helpless comrades, you bleed out and die. Such is life (and death) in Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad. Players won’t actually be killing, but instead, will be dying in the world’s newest iteration of top-class death simulation.
And you’ll enjoy every second of it.
For those who aren’t familiar with their history, Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad takes place throughout most of the Battle of Stalingrad, a vicious clash between Soviet and Nazi troops; the Soviets would not retreat, because they would not give up their city, and the Nazis could not surrender, because they were morbidly afraid of what the enemy would do to them if they fell into their hands.
by exterminat :
The Resistance franchise has always had one specific qualm: identity crisis. From the lack of pacing in the first title, to the complete linearity and near-blandness of the second title, Resistance has always attempted to be something fantastic, but at the end of the day it ended up average.
Thankfully, Resistance 3 is the Resistance that it’s been striving all these years to be, and it’s a title you won’t want to miss. My only complaint is that it’s the conclusion to one of my favorite trilogies.
If you haven’t completed Resistance 2, which you probably have by this point, I would like to inform you that major portions of the plot are discussed in order to explain Resistance 3′s story, but have no fear – there are NO Resistance 3 spoilers here, ladies and gents.
by exterminat :
Zombies are far too synonymous with modern gaming and current culture. Whether it be DLC expansions, full-featured zombie modes, or dedicated titles, we’re experiencing an over saturation of the undead.
Hot on the heels of this, developer Techland brings us Dead Island, a title that has experienced a lengthy, rocky and perilous development cycle over the course of many years. Bringing a different style of gameplay to the table, Dead Island offers the potential to be one of the better undead slaughter simulators… unfortunately, it’s not quite paradise.
by exterminat :
In the year 2000, conspiracies began to die down. Tensions were starting to ease after the Y2K computer crashing rumors subsided, and in a world pre-9/11 and post-Cold War, we had nothing to fear… or so it seemed.
That is, of course, until Deus Ex released and with it, a reminder to gamers far and wide that conspiracies are probably still all around us, later confirmed by real, unfortunate events that still shape our world today.
The brainchild of Warren Spector and Ion Storm, Deus Ex offered a successful blending of multiple genres executed in such a way that gamers had never seen before, instantly propelling itself into the annals of video game history as a true ‘classic’.
Widely recognised as the Kinect game that all ‘core’ gamers were waiting for, Child Of Eden didn’t quite live up to Ubisoft’s sales expectations.
The bonus of writing a posthumous review is that commercial success and critical observations have already played out. Child Of Eden was received very well, but it didn’t exactly fly off the shelves.
Landing in at 83rd in the NPD sales data of June was not only a blow to the publisher and developers, but it didn’t bode well for future risky outings on the Kinect platform. It wasn’t like CoE was pushed blindly, though; the game is a follow-up to creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s earlier, ground-breaking title Rez – a title that even saw release on Xbox Live Arcade a few years ago and did quite well.
From finger swiping to arm flailing, Halfbrick Studios’ Fruit Ninja has undergone a fitting evolution that no other game originally developed for iOS can boast. Having the honoured distinction of being the first Kinect-enabled Xbox Live Arcade title, Fruit Ninja Kinect has more pressure to deliver the goods than most downloadable titles.
Can slashing randomised produce with your arms be as fun as kicking back with an iPhone and just making your index finger tired? Actually, it’s not just as fun, it’s even better.
From Shadow Planet Productions (Fuelcell Games/Gagne International) comes the eponymously titled Puzzle-Shmup, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.
With a visually striking artistic style and some enjoyably original mechanics, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet brings it’s own uniqueness to this year’s XBLA Summer of Arcade.
The plot, ahh yes, the plot… I’d love to explain the plot of the game at this point, but in truth there doesn’t seem to be much of one. At all.
World War I is a topic that gaming has generally avoided. Not because of the brutality of war, the unrelenting fight those brave men fought, or the atrocities that come with conflict.
It’s an avoided subject because it’s something that gaming has extreme trouble making entertaining, simply because of how similar the entire war was. Stay in your trench. Survive bombardment. Fight off the charge. When the enemy retreats, take their trench. If failure, retreat.
Wash, rinse and repeat. Thankfully, Tim Schafer’s genius studio Double Fine has created their own alternate take on the war, Trenched, and it’s a gem in no man’s land.
Playing god in a video game is hardly anything new.
In the most basic sense, you’re playing god every time you pick up a controller or make use of a mouse and keyboard as it’s your actions controlling the movements on screen.
But the traditional ‘god’ gaming experience – one where the player is a vague figure looking down on all of life’s glory – has been a tough genre for any developer to attempt, since scope and design is always going to be marginalized to make sure the ‘game’ aspect is basic and enjoyable.
Fallout 3 set an extremely difficult precedent to follow in the world of post-release downloadable content. Not only did it provide extremely solid, quality content on a regular basis for nearly a year after release, but every single piece was an actual contribution to the game; they were not just a rehashed area with new quests, or an arena to fight enemies in.
New Vegas, on the other hand, hasn’t exactly hit the nail on the head so far with its iterations of post-release content… it’s been missing the nail and hitting its fingers. Thankfully, Old World Blues is the first one to really impress, and even outranks some of the best from Fallout 3 in my book.
It was difficult to imagine a character more manic and schizophrenic than Twisted Pixel’s ‘Splosion Man – the fiery nutbag who graced XBLA with his presence back in 2009. The original game wasn’t quite a masterpiece, but it had bursts of charm and laugh-out-loud moments.
The first appearance of the ‘Donuts’ song still no doubt sits in a special place in the memories of Live Arcade gamers. The gameplay itself was very innovative for a one-button affair, and there was no shortage of frustratingly difficult spots to test one’s patience.
‘Splosion Man was a superb idea that had the potential for plenty of scope. As a sequel, Ms ‘Splosion Man expands and refines the original in a variety of ways.
The Nintendo 3DS is a wonderful piece of technology, and the first slew of ‘real’ games for the portable are finally starting to arrive.
A few weeks ago, we got The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, a system seller of sorts to much of the fanbase. Finally, we get our first taste of delicious zombie blood with Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D in love-or-hate glasses-free 3D.
The question is: is it 3Do or 3Don’t? Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is, as the name implies, based upon the bonus unlockable mode featured in the past two Resident Evil titles (4 and 5) and consists of this mode alone.
Whilst the movie is still far from being revived and though Kevin Tancharoen’s mini web series received less than stellar responses, Mortal Kombat has been brought back to its roots by Netherrealm Studios, the newly formed company under Ed Boon and Warner Bros (WB) replacing Midway. With the earlier iteration titled Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, fans of the beloved franchise cried foul.
The game was nowhere near the same caliber as previous MK games, with stale game play and fatalities that were pretty lame and looked like regular combo moves. That, however, has changed with Mortal Kombat under Netherrealm Studios.
“In life you’re either the hunter or the hunted” So says one of the protagonists, and sure enough that’s what this game is all about- hunting. But not the kind where you just hunt puny animals like rabbits but the big dangerous kind where you take on terrible monsters intent on ripping you to shreds.
Hunted: The Demon’s Forge is developed by inXile Entertainment and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is a dark fantasy action game that has been called the medieval Gears of War.
But does it live up to this claim? Or does it degenerate into a certain E3 trailer’s definition of insanity?
Hunted: The Demon’s Forge’s story is not one to draw you into playing this game for hours straight as it mainly has you hunting a group of people. However you don’t want to kill them, but rescue them.
I love explosions. I really do!
Games where you can demolish buildings and foes alike in fiery displays of power and destruction are games that I always have and will more than likely continue to enjoy.
That is precisely why when gifted with the review of Red Faction: Armageddon, I was thrilled and decidedly ecstatic about the concept of blowing up buildings, terrain and enemies all at the same time.
Is it a worthy successor to Guerrilla, or the same game with a new coat of paint?
by Allegionary & dkpatriarch:
Is there a historic organisation as mysterious and tailor made for gaming as The Templars? We’ve seen them as the bad guys in Assassin’s Creed and Ridley Scott‘s stunning film, Kingdom of Heaven, but most sources see them as victims of their own success.
One of this-gen’s Templar games, and the first off the mark this year, is The First Templar, a co-op action adventure game by developers Haemimont Games, and published by Kalypso Media, which sees a couple of medieval Templars and a declared female heretic search for the Holy Grail.
The First Templar is more a medieval Indiana Jones, with a search around the Mediterranean and lots of traps, than Assassin’s Creed, though ironically one of the group of enemies you face are the Hashishin (the real name of the Assassins).
Rockstar’s new L.A. Noire takes place in 1947 Los Angeles, California, post-World War II. A returning ‘hero’ of sorts, Cole Phelps, is the focal point of this wild tale of grit and gallantry.
Phelps fought on Okinawa from early 1945, which saw him lead a campaign there and was returned home after being wounded during combat. During his time there, his actions earned him the Silver Star, one of the United States’ highest military honors (during that time, the second highest honor available, whereas today it is the third highest).
Returning home to Los Angeles, Phelps decided to join the Los Angeles Police Department as a ‘rookie cop’, and that’s where our story really begins. He suffers from various flashbacks to his time on Okinawa throughout the game, giving you a sort of backstory on what has happened to Phelps prior to him returning home, and at times, from events earlier in his life. All of which helps you understand Cole Phelps better, helping you get a better grasp on what has happened, and where it might affect him.
From swinging on vines to duelling the Kraken, all the adventure of the Pirates of the Caribbean series is in this game. Disney’s Lego Pirates of the Caribbean is a great new game that lets you relive the excitement of the series with your favourite juvenile pastime, Lego.
Lego Pirates of the Caribbean is developed by Traveller’s Tales and published by Disney. It is an action oriented co-op game like all the other ones in the Lego series. In this one you collect studs in all four movies (Four, you say? There is only three! However this game includes the new movie, On Stranger Tides).
You work your way through the story of each of the movies but there is a twist in this game. Some of the scenes have been changed to suit the Lego environment where nobody speaks.
Sometimes, a game can become quite famous (or infamous) for a few specific reasons. Such as Doom, which became world famous because of its highly controversy storyline and technological breakthroughs at the time. Things which set it apart from other games around at that time, much like Ubisoft’s Outland is doing here.
Bungie‘s Halo also became world famous because of its blend of deep and involved storyline, along with First Person Shooter gameplay, heralding itself as the first major console shooter back in 2001 as a platform release game for the 1st-Gen Xbox.
Then, there’s Super Meat Boy, which was famous because the difficulty that it unleashed on the player was simply unheard of at the time, proving itself to be extremely challenging for both novice and expert alike (which gained itself a name, and perhaps an unpleasant name at that).
Believe it or not, Virtua Tennis 4 is not actually the fourth Virtua Tennis game. It is actually the fifth and follows the last one which was released in 2009. The game is broken down into a few areas, the World Tour, Arcade and Exhibition modes and if you feel like a bit of fun, you can play the Mini-Games – some of which are very strange.
The world tour takes place on a map of the world – who would have though? Much like a board game, you get random travel cards. Each ‘travel card‘ takes you a certain distance between 1 and 4 spaces. You can carry up to 3 travel cards at a time and you have an extra 2 slots available for cards that you buy at the ‘Management Office’.
You can also get ‘Energy Recovery Cards’ or a card that switches up all your other cards and give you another three randomly selected ones. But be careful when you use them though, because they use up a complete day of your time period and you only have a limited number of days to get to the Final for each of the four continents you play in.
In this generation it’s a daunting task to plan on working on a sequel to a certain game that surprisingly received more than positive reviews and sold quite well. It’s a no brainer when it was announced Need for Speed would have three new titles in the franchise, and NFS: Shift 1 was the cream of the crop that stood out of the three.
Sure it wasn’t anywhere near as complex as Microsoft’s Forza Motorsport 3 or Sony’s Gran Tursimo 5, but it was a great ‘fun’ racing game nevertheless.
Yes it was somewhat confusing at first, as it wasn’t exactly an arcade racer, yet at the same time, it wasn’t a SIM racer either, but caught in the either somewhere in between. Somehow NFS: Shift 1 did manage to set itself apart from the rest of the racing crowd and restore faith in EA’s NFS franchise.
Modern society thrives around technology. The simple fact that so much entertainment and technology is released on a consistent basis justifies the presence of reviews and their direct effect on consumer purchases … and in the games industry, a direct effect on the people from which they come.
Every so often, a radical new idea comes out that people don’t truly grasp or understand. It becomes a topic of popular interest, and in some cases, hype forms around this breath of fresh air. But when this idea gets in the trenches with the general public, the simple fact that it dared to be different offsets many purchases and warrants much hate.
Brink, developed by Splash Damage and published by Bethesda Softworks, is a misunderstood bundle of fun that is not getting the acclaim it truly deserves due to ignorant reviewers and misconstrued interpretations.
Moving from PC to consoles for a sequel is always a risky proposition, especially when the original was a showcase title for gamers with graphics card installations that cost more than the average personal computer.
There’s always the sense that developers must be ‘dumbing down’ the game somewhat and pandering to a broader audience.
Far Cry 2 wasn’t a resounding success on consoles, but it proved to be an ambitious open world adventure far deeper than any regular FPS already released on the 360 or PS3. Crysis 2 has arrived with some lofty expectations and what it does different is clearly what will set it apart from the horde of franchise shooters.
First up I’d like to say that this game might not technically be a steal as The Sims 3 was developed for consoles but at the moment The Sims Medieval is not for consoles.
Have you ever wanted to rule a kingdom, run a store or slay great beastly bears? Well in The Sims Medieval, all this and more is possible in this open world of humour, fun and… village stocks.
The Sims Medieval is a life simulation game based in the medieval ages and is developed and published by EA games.
This particular Sims game is somewhat different from the other Sims games in that the menial tasks like going to the toilet and performing tasks to get certain attributes up have been removed for the better, as it now focuses on only two attributes: hunger and energy.
Though the Smackdown vs Raw series from THQ has been the premiere WWE video game experience for several years now, they are largely simulations of Vince McMahon’s product and the controls can be a little daunting to newcomers, especially kids.
If the brand’s action figure sales are anything to go by, an even more over-the-top, stylized fantasy version of the WWE universe is close to being just as popular – and WWE All-Stars fits the bill perfectly.
One thing that WWE has no trouble in taking advantage of is their legacy – which now extends back over 27 years to the first Wrestlemania. A cable channel in the US runs ‘greatest hits’ collections of matches from the past and the company’s Hall Of Fame induction ceremony celebrates revered past superstars each year on the eve of Wrestlemania.
Every so often in our life, a piece of entertainment releases that completely blows the doors off established tradition. It may defy all boundaries, going past a barrier that may not be strictly physical. It may do something in a way that was never conceived before.
It may tap the emotions in a way we never thought that medium could. Portal is one of the titles in the long list of revolutionary entertainment that completely rocked our world.
The title presented not a first-person shooter, but the first in a still-untapped genre: First-Person Puzzler. It was an experience all its own. Players donned Chell, a test subject for the mysterious Aperture Science corporation. The goal was simple: use strange portals that defied the laws of physics to complete “test” chambers, with the ultimate goal of receiving precious cake as a reward for your hard scientific work.
Mass Effect 2 was OXCGN’s very own game of the year in 2010. It is quite possibly one of the greatest “light” RPGs of this generation, enveloping both role-playing and action fans alike.
A semi-consistent stream of DLC has been released, eventually culminating in the final piece that will link Mass Effect 2 to Mass Effect 3: Arrival. Disappointingly, it feels very insignificant. The premise of Arrival is that an entire Reaper invasion is imminent.
In fact, imminent is an understatement. The Reapers, on their current unaltered course, will arrive very soon.
For years now poker nuts have had to make do with the now somewhat dated Texas Hold ‘Em XBLA title that was released close to the console’s launch.
When Microsoft’s Avatar update came to the dashboard late in 2009 it made sense for there to be a revamped poker experience on the Marketplace to capitalise on the social experience of Avatars sitting across the table from one another.
Full House Poker is here to answer that call with welcoming arms.
Ever since World War Two, media regarding the conflict (and most others) has, for the most part, been in the favor of the red, white and blue. Glorious America. Land of the free, home of the brave.
Any time you say something bad about America in [local] mainstream media? You’ll more than likely be criticized, and possibly called a terrorist. In that sense, THQ and Kaos Studios’ Homefront screams of terrorism and anti-Americanism. Disappointingly, this occupation has little innovation.
The story of Homefront has been hyping itself on the fact that it was written by the man behind Red Dawn and Apocalypse Now, John Milus. And hype, for that matter, is extremely limited in scope when you have such an “emotionally huge” story that can only tap the emotions of ONE country. I doubt Lithuanians care if the United States got invaded.
The blight is over. The Hero of Fereldon saved the kingdom from the terrors of the darkspawn, but while that heroic adventure was taking place a refugee named Hawke, who is one of the survivors from the terrible day at Lothering, has taken refuge in the city of political struggles, Kirkwall. Dragon Age II is an epic Role-Playing Game (RPG) made by the truly great RPG creators, Bioware.
Bioware and their publisher EA (Electronic Arts) have given us many great RPGs like Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect and this game sits alongside them as one of the greats of the genre, in most ways. You play Hawke, who, as you get towards the end of the almost-linear story, becomes the Champion of Kirkwall.
With the resurgence in popularity of fighting games as well as the countless Marvel films that continue to hit the silver screen, the time is more than ripe for the first new Marvel vs. Capcom installment in more than a decade. As anyone familiar with the franchise would already know, MvC3 is a team-based fighter where it’s always 3-on-3.
This means that not only do players need to master multiple fighters, they need to ascertain which trio work best together and, more importantly, in which order to utilise them.
Simply starting a round with your best fighter and moving onto the next once they’ve been defeated isn’t going to get you anywhere. Careful timing by pressing the LB and RB buttons and swapping over fighters to let one that’s low in health have some recovery time is key to getting far in this game, both online and in Arcade mode.
by exterminat :
Mainstream multiplayer gaming, particularly within the ranks of Call of Duty (and similar titles), has led to what we call the “dudebro” generation. A “dudebro” is your generic fratboy gamer, particularly those who play nothing but Call of Duty, Halo and Gears of War.
Typically, they know diddly-squat about culture, and the books they have read basically consist of such enlightening titles as Green Eggs and Ham and about the first ten pages of the first Halo novel. They usually begin or end each of their sentences with “dude” or “bro” and filled with such wonderious filler words such as “like” – “you know – like”. Bulletstorm is a game made by dudebros and for dudebros.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is a fantastic title, embodying some of the best traits of this console generation. Whether it be completely dynamic fights, open-ended exploration, larger-than-life building scaling and traversal, intense multiplayer or simply walking around and stealing money, Brotherhood shows some of the best in gaming.
Free multiplayer DLC has become synonymous with Brotherhood, with two full multiplayer pieces available that add new modes and maps for absolutely free.
Today, though, that changes. The Da Vinci Disappearance is the first piece of paid downloadable content for the title, adding a hefty single-player experience and tons of new content for multiplayer.
by Shadow Wave:
De Blob has come back for a double rainbow! Blue Tongue’s sequel has this time moved from the lonely Wii corner and embraced every console’s disc tray besides the PC, in an aggressive way to boost its popularity.
Will De Blob bring colourful happiness to your screens? I personally found the original De Blob to be a very tough game to evaluate and review. It screams ‘classic platform/adventure’ reminding us that Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts was not what most of us had hoped it would be.
But De Blob never quite reaches that premier level that RARE used to be so capable of reaching. I’m not sure why but I even had memories coming back of Glover from the Nintendo 64.
by AXIS of Reality & exterminat:
ED: We love other platform exclusives- especially those of us lucky enough to own the other platforms. However we know there are those who prefer to keep to their 360, so we often ask if a big exclusive would have been great on the 360. Not if it is realistic or not that the game would appear on it…just if 360 owners would have liked to ‘steal’ it.
This time though we have two staff members take a look and debate the worth of Killzone 3 on PS3. It is often touted as the best exclusive shooter franchise on Sony’s platform- but is it more hype than reality? Read the animated discussion below.
Speaking of Killzone and debates, this week we will also feature a gamer debate between myself and Nicholas: Be it resolved that Killzone isn’t ‘beautiful’.
Every now and again, a title comes along that isn’t very large, but packs a punch of creativity that will leave you breathless. The wonderfully strange Tim Schafer and his fantastic team at Double Fine Productions have produced yet another signature “What?” title, in the form of Stacking which hit the PSN and XBLA last week. We take a look at the XBLA version.
This time, though, it was not another monstrosity from Schafer’s mind; he only supervised. But that’s not to say Double Fine Productions created any sort of “normal” game in any way, shape or form. Far from it in fact. At one point in our lives, we’ve all encountered those peculiar little Russian stacking dolls. They’re strange, made of wood, and look like something that belongs on your grandmother’s shelf.
by Shadow Wave:
Visceral Games brand new flagship title, Dead Space 2 has finally been released to slice up the usually quiet January period. Be prepared to watch every possible limb be torn, ripped, cut or shot off of the evil Necromorphs who have once again made their way back into the protagonist: Isaac Clarke‘s life.
Oh Isaac is insane and has a voice now, so expect to see some more Doom 3-esque horror sequences that don’t revolve around enemies jumping out from the dark to scare the pants off you. With that being said, don’t expect to be losing your pants at all in this game (well maybe once or twice).
It’s rare gems like Dead Space on the iPhone 4 that really amaze and spark great interest in someone like myself. When a title that is so graphically visceral on its console counter parts can offer almost the same level of detail and immersion on a mobile device, it’s pretty impressive.
Okay, so I lied: it doesn’t offer the ‘exact gaming experience’ as its console counterparts, but for a game on a mobile device that is mainly used to call, message and browse the internet, it certainly is a looker. Developed by Iron Monkey Studios, Dead Space on the iPhone 4 is not only graphically impressive with its lighting, character models, and environment, but is also fluid and easy with its innovative control scheme.
It’s been a long time coming but NBA Jam for your iPhone is finally here!
Now I know I’m only 20 years old but I have had the privilege of experiencing NBA Jam Tournament edition on a good old fashioned arcade machine courtesy of my TAFE here in North Sydney. I can safely say that many hours both during and outside of class time were spent in the gaming dungeon slamming away the competition.
When I heard that NBA Jam was being released for consoles with updated graphics and using the current roster of NBA athletes, I was very excited. And better yet now that it’s been released for the iPhone 4, anytime and anywhere I can sit down and get my boomshakala happening while negotiating the urban sprawl we call Sydney on the various modes of public transport.
When a game such as Square Enix‘s MindJack slips quietly onto shelves with little or no fanfare (not to mention hardly any preview coverage in the press), it usually falls into one of two categories: sleeper hit that doesn’t attract huge review scores but gains a loyal following and modest sales, or unmitigated disaster destined for the bargain bins before the next quarter.
Unfortunately, MindJack steers dangerously close to the latter. The core concept of the game revolves around the ability to ‘hack’ into the minds of agents, civilians, enemies and even the odd piece of machinery. This is a somewhat novel and unique approach to go with and it could easily be said that one of MindJack’s redeeming features is that it’s ambitious and trying something new. If only the execution was on par with the ideas presented to us.
After eagerly awaiting the new map packs for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and being sorely disappointed both times I am please to say that this is not the case with the First Strike DLC for Black Ops.
The Map pack consists of 4 new multiplayer maps and 1 Zombie mode map. Not being a huge Zombie mode player I will get to that last and will list the other maps in order from my least favourite to my favourite.
Every so often in our lives, a piece of entertainment is released that completely blows the doors off of what we thought was possible. Whether it be a revolution in tempo, story telling, special effects or quality, these events do not occur often. But when they do, the world is taken by storm.
Today, I am reviewing what will be known to hundreds of generations as THE hallmark of interactive entertainment: Duty Calls: The Calm Before The Storm. You should already know from the title that the game KNOWS it will create a storm.
From the first time I saw the game and chose to download the meager 759mb file (for the perfect price – FREE!) I knew it was going to be something special.
Run to a platform. Jump across a chasm. Jump across another chasm, but swing across by leaping and grabbing a movable piece of geometry.
These are actions instilled in to us since the beginning of time (by beginning of time, I mean the 80s) and have been a fundamental part of every single platforming game since the conception of the genre.
In 2008, a small company called Media Molecule dared to change this formula and rejuvenate the slowly-dying genre by introducing their first title, LittleBigPlanet. It featured a curious motto. “Play. Create. Share.”
Few times in my life have I ever called a game the “essence of perfection.” Even fewer are the times I have given a perfect score (none, by the way, prior to Brotherhood). But of course, Ubisoft Montreal once again blew me away with the newest iteration in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, the single-player part of the game scoring a perfect ten out of ten from me.
If you think I got excited over the campaign mode, you can’t even begin to imagine my excitement when I discovered that Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood’s multiplayer mode was developed by Ubisoft Annecy.
Why, you may ask, am I flipping out over this? Let me tell you why. They made Spies versus Mercenaries in the Splinter Cell series.
Tron has always seemed tailor-made for constant video game exploitation After all, the original Disney film from 1982 was created alongside the arcade and home console revolution of the late 70’s/early 80’s, before the industry crashed in 1983.
Apart from an appearance in Kingdom Hearts 2 and a PC-only first person shooter (Tron 2.0) earlier last decade, there hasn’t been much Tron to be seen in the gaming landscape.
As expected, Disney Interactive have jumped right on the release of the new film blockbuster Tron: Legacy and Vancouver development house Propaganda Games have created Tron: Evolution – a prequel of sorts to the movie.
We live in a day and age of such instant gratification that expansion packs are slowly becoming obsolete, being replaced with fast-access DLC and add-ons via microtransactions. An attribution to the decline of the expansion pack is our advances in broadband; at this point in time, most people can connect to the internet and download what they need, compared to five years ago.
But that was no obstacle for DICE, because they’ve set out to conquer the shooter world yet again with a $15 downloadable title that’s sure to keep you busy for an unnecessarily long time. If you haven’t figured it out yet, this expansion to Battlefield: Bad Company 2 takes place in Vietnam during the infamous Vietnam War. Very few games have dared to venture into this dark period of history, partly due to the fact that it simply is very difficult to do a game based on the conflict.
by Shadow Wave:
Let me begin by saying that, before I played this game I had never experienced a Sonic in any form except for Smash Brothers Brawl. Episode 1 instantly feels like a classic arcade game when it boots up, from the nasty sound track to the typical sounds of menu navigation. I selected the new game option, and immediately I appeared in the game world.
No tutorial, no information, no story. And boy, this game is a struggle to get used to, especially for me who has grown up with the Mario side of side scrollers. I began to very slowly move across the screen, eventually Sonic began to run and then his legs turned into a motion blur mess and Sonic was flying through the level. So fast I couldn’t even see what the hell was going on.
Blood, guts and skull crushing punches would be the best way to describe the newest instalment of Namco-Bandai Games; Splatterhouse. A recreation of their classic, side scrolling, arcade game with an unhealthy focus on the blood-n-gore. The whole game is built around the blood. You collect blood to level up your abilities and you bleed out enemies to open doors. The blood covers every surface including your screen. If like me you love gore and mayhem then I would definitely recommend Splatterhouse.
Splatterhouse begins with you bleeding out on the floor of West Mansion, being insulted the sadistic looking ‘Terror Mask‘. The mask turns out to be a demon that possesses and transforms you into the hulking monster that you control throughout the game.
When Hungarian development house Zen Studios released the original Pinball FX in early 2007, it seemed the title was the perfect platform for ongoing DLC. While the extra tables that did eventually come out were very good (Rocky & Bullwinkle in particular), they dribbled onto the Live Marketplace so sporadically, that players were left wondering whether Zen were even continuing with work on content.
It’s clear now however that they were busily ‘flicking’ away and putting together Pinball FX 2 – a game that is not just a sequel, but a pleasing upgrade to the original. Pinball FX 2 is unique in that the core game itself is a free download. If the purchaser has owned the original and bought any extra DLC content for that, then they’re automatically ported into FX 2 and receive an upgrade in both physics and graphics.
James Bond is about fast cars, weaponised helicopters, silenced guns and rocket launchers, and so it is in James Bond: Blood Stone, MI6′s 007′s new adventure on X360 and PS3. Blood Stone is developed by Bizarre Creations and published by Activision. Bizarre Creations are reportedly in real trouble, as Activision is now considering selling the company due to low Blur sales, but other companies are circling with hopes of taking their staff, meaning that this could be Bizarre’s final game.
James Bond: Blood Stone‘s storyline is much like the other games and movies in the franchise. An evil company creates a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) that has the potential to destroy the entire world. The WMD for this game is some sort of biological weapon. James Bond, as usual, is tasked by ‘M’ to eliminate the threat.
This console generation has seen a good amount (but not nearly as much as last gen) of new intellectual properties. Undoubtedly, one of the biggest masterstrokes of the last generation (at least for the beginning of the series) was Prince of Persia.
I vividly recall friends conversing with me about it right when the first game, The Sands of Time, came out. Bear in mind, this was in 2003.
The internet was still getting popular in the Southern United States (broadband wasn’t readily available here until late 2006, and wasn’t pushed until late 2007), and the internet in general was nowhere near the point of rivaling print media as it does now.
Costume Quest will have you craving candy from start to finish. You start this Xbox Live Arcade game as either Wren or Reynold, a couple of twins who are forced by their parents to trick-or-treat together. Shortly after you pick your character (either Wren or Reynold) your sibling is kidnapped by a seemingly sugar starved monster, after which it becomes obvious that the evil Dorsilla the witch is behind the monsters invading your world with a nefarious plan to steal all of the candy.
You quickly make a friend by defeating the school bully at a race with your first costume (a robot) and do various other rather simple ‘quests’ which serve as training for the game.
Another year, another Smackdown Vs Raw title from the team at Yukes, but this one however raises some eyebrows and continues to baffle many of its most hard cores gamers, including myself. Regardless of how good last year’s iteration may have been, each year it’s never the same, as there is always some options that never make it into the final cut. In Smackdown V’s Raw 2011′s case, rather than make the game easier for the casual gamer, the team at Yukes actually made it a great deal more difficult.
Whilst the general core gameplay is still present, certain options that were once there have just disappeared altogether and make you question what the guys at Yukes were thinking when they decided to leave them out.
by Shadow Wave:
Enslaved: Odyssey To The West is one of those tough games to review. While playing through this platform/adventure game you can constantly see the idea that the developers, Ninja Theory, had behind their vision of an event or gameplay sequence. But sadly more often than not Enslaved lets you down. It is, however, by no means a bad game.
Enslaved puts you in the shoes of ‘Monkey’ (played by Andy Serkis) a Tarzan like man who grew up alone roaming the wilderness of post apocalyptic Earth. Skynet… uhh I mean the ‘Mechs‘ rose up and seemingly seized control of Earth, wiping out cities such as New York hundreds of years ago causing most of the cities’ rubble to develop a nice healthy layer of vegetation over it.
Undoubtedly, Activision’s biggest pool of cash lies within the World of Warcraft (thanks to the company being joined with Blizzard) and Call of Duty properties. The Call of Duty series has had a yearly iteration (by a coincidence almost, early on) ever since the first game of the series in 2003. Luckily, for the most part, each addition to the series did something significantly new or notable.
Call of Duty (2003) had tons of friendly AI fighting alongside you in combat, which was a new thing at the time. Call of Duty: United Offensive (2004) set the bar for what a PC expansion pack should be, and was the first work by Gray Matter (now known as Treyarch) on the series.
Japanese development house Platinum Games have followed up 2009′s over-the-top action outing Bayonetta with a third-person shooter that, if you can believe it, is even more of an overload on the senses. It’s the final game from legendary creator Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil, Devil May Cry) while associated with Platinum, as he has since left to form a new studio.
Taking place in the nearish future, Vanquish is a story of complications between the United States and their enemy, the Russians, as both nations attempt to alleviate Earth’s dwindling resources by using space stations to harvest energy from the Sun.
In a move that makes the pettiness behind the Cold War seem laughable, Russia’s dictator and the game’s leading villain – Victor Zaitsev – encourages his forces to take control of an American space station, point it at San Francisco and blow it up with a ray of pure solar energy!
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the spectacle that was E3 2009 and try to remember one Steven Spielberg who so elegantly walked onto the stage and summed up Microsoft’s Kinect (Project Natal as it was known then) in one simple sentence,
“It’s not about reinventing the wheel; it’s about no wheel at all.”
Coming from the man who brought us such great movies as the Indiana Jones trilogy, Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, and Jurassic Park, just to name a few, was all I needed to be convinced that Kinect was not only going to be Microsoft’s entrance into the casual gaming market but also a chance to bring something new to the table, driving innovation as well as competition.
At the time it scared and still scares to a large degree, the hardcore gamers due to the fact that this represents a shift in Microsoft’s gaming priorities and the fact that there isn’t much there in terms of games that would interest them, well, at least not yet. But for the whole family it certainly is appealing.
At E3 2005, Sony unveiled many trailers for PS3 titles. Sony became infamous for passing them off as in-game gameplay, but they turned out to all be CG. Killzone 2 was one of those games; Guerrilla tried to cover it up later on by saying it was a “target” video, versus an actual marketing trailer.
Killzone 2 released on February 27, 2009, and surprised many (including myself) that it looked so similar to the trailer, and that a sequel to a title that was in the lowly gaming ranks of Superman 64 could turn out to be so excellent.
As we always do with my various looks at titles of late, let’s fast-track forward to the year 2010 once more, and take a closer look at the latest iteration of the franchise, Killzone 3. But more specifically, the closed beta for the game. Plus let’s all remember, that the beta is still only in Alpha code, so nothing is final (as with all beta testing) and any discrepancies that may show up will no doubt be ironed out by release date in 2011.
Albion is full of sparkling treasure and filthy pollution, shimmering lakes and foul factories, heroic leaders and tyrannical monarchs. This is the world of Fable 3 and in this game you decide to either heroically save Albion or let it fall into darkness…
Fable 3 is developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Microsoft and is an innovative third installment in the Fable series. Fable 1 and 2 both had their own unique features and Fable 3 is no different.
The main difference is that in Fable 3 you get to be King of Albion. You start as a prince or princess who is the son or daughter of Fable 2‘s hero, in an industrialised Albion. Right at the start of the game you are confronted with a hard decision.
Placing Michael Jordan on the cover of their yearly release is something 2K Sports would only really ever be able to do once, so it needs to be as close to perfect as possible. When the cover announcement was first announced this past June, it seemed almost too bold a move.
How can a basketball game be an all-out tribute to ‘His Airness’ as well as continue to be the most revered current NBA simulator on consoles? Wouldn’t the Jordan aspect perhaps be suited for a separate game altogether?
After first placing the disc in, it seems apparent that this is ‘Jordan: The Game’; the player is thrown straight into a classic recreation of a game from the 1991 NBA Playoffs. It’s Lakers versus Bulls; Magic Johnson versus Michael Jordan. Does it get more utterly definitive than that?
I must start this review by saying how hard it is to actually review this game. There is no plot to speak of, the graphics look like they are from the 80s and the music is awful. That being said, it was still fun to play which is why it is difficult to review. I am torn between rating the tangible elements of the game and the overall experience.
To begin with, not much has changed from the classic Space Invaders that we all know and love. There are a few new guns and some new bad guys but the game still feels the same as it used to. This may be exactly what some people are looking for and may be somewhat disappointing for other people. I fit into the disappointed group.
A prevalent fixation in modern pop-culture is that of zombies. Zombies. The Undead. The Walking Dead. The Living Dead. Whatever you want to call them, they’ve always been a common feature of video games. More recently, however, they have become a hackneyed icon.
From the past few years, let’s name a few games that primarily focused on the undead: Dead Rising 1 and 2, Resident Evil 5, Silent Hill Homecoming, Nation Red, Burn Zombie Burn, Dead Space, and Left 4 Dead 1 and 2.
by Shadow Wave:
The campaign continues the Starcraft story of the Terran, Protoss and Zerg. Wings of Liberty focuses solely on telling the narrative of the Terran, while the other races’ campaigns will come in future expansions or episodes to the game in the years to come.
The campaign is split into two separate game play sequences, the main one of course is the RTS gameplay we know and love. But in between missions you play as the protagonist Jim Raynor in a kind of point-n-click style where you get to explore his ship, talk to crew members, purchase upgrades and plan your upcoming missions. This is where most of the story unfolds.
Frequent cut scenes will occur while you are venturing on your ship. Generally after each mission someone will have something to say or something dramatic will happen. Sadly some of these cut scenes are quite taxing on your PC hardware and are a little buggy.
In my Medal of Honor review recently, I pointed out how we’re seeing a myriad of reboots lately. Well, in 2008, a reboot of some significance was released, and it was called Fallout 3. Never in my life have I seen more people pick up a title and not realize that there was a number on the end of it, denoting the fact that it was not a new series or IP.
Most of the audience who partook in Fallout 3 had never heard of the series before, essentially leading Bethesda to establish a massive new player base. And since each iteration in the Fallout series is its own unique story, the game might as well have been called The Fallout Reboot (or even just Fallout, as with the current trend).
I can’t help but notice that we’re seeing a lot of reboots in modern times. And it’s not just limited to our own industry; from gaming’s Wolfenstein, to the infamous Star Trek, we’re seeing reboots very commonly occurring these days due to the lower inclination of developers to start something new (but really, is it more work to reboot a series almost half a century old, or make something new?).
Medal of Honor is one of these titles falling into that category. Except that instead of trying to iterate once more what they had been doing since 1999, they decided to follow suit with the Modern Warfare trend, and start semi-anew. Thus, we have Medal of Honor (which I have an annoying tendency to call Medal of Honor 2010, because I hate the trend of rebooting with just the brand name.)
Another day, another pack of zombies that must be dealt with by any means necessary. I love this job.
Seriously if you’re a zombie fan what’s NOT to love about Dead Rising 2. Sure, some of the conventional methods of combining two weapons to make one are a bit far fetched, but Chuck Greene moves at an agonizingly slow pace and there are more zombies on screen than what you know to do with at times, but for a title that doesn’t try to break new ground, it’s one gory offering of pure mayhem and fun
The story follows Captain Smiley, who you play as, and his attached sidekick, Star – who is literally just a star. Star is a loud mouth who is rather abrasive and doesn’t seem to like Captain Smiley very much.
You start with your own comic called ‘The adventures of Captain Smiley’ and it is quickly revealed that your arch nemesis is a seemingly ‘cool’ guy named ‘Brad’. The first chapter revolves around combating Brad and his robotic henchwomen (and his ‘Bradcopter’ equipped with ‘Brad Missiles’).
You start with a tiny group of settlers and dreams of a global empire. How you get there is up to you. Do you grab pointy sticks and conquer your neighbors? Do you rapidly expand to control strategic resources in the hillsides?
Do you come to the aid of neighboring city states when they are being bullied by your rivals? Do you construct libraries and universities to learn the secrets of space travel? In Civilization you chronicle the story of your own empire.
Civilization is known as a 4X game. The Xs stand for the general tactics used to win the game, namely to explore the map, expand to new territory, exploit raw materials and exterminate the opposition. Its turn-based gameplay emphasizes strategy over twitch reflexes.
It must be disconcerting to be an XBLA title released the week before a big arcade promotion. Microsoft spend marketing dollars on informing gamers they need to check out all of October’s ‘Game Feast’ titles, while a game like Blade Kitten is dumped onto the service with no fanfare of any kind.
There’s the feeling that Microsoft are getting a few final dregs on the release schedule out of the way before getting to the important games. Although it isn’t a stellar experience, Blade Kitten is good enough to deserve to be treated a little better.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that there are already enough (or too many) Sonic games available through the Live Arcade Marketplace. However, now that the most of the Mega Drive and Genesis classics have been exhausted, it’s time to move to the next level.
Sonic Adventure was the centerpiece launch title for Sega’s Dreamcast when it was released in September 1999; it was no doubt the game disc most early adopters inserted first and most definitely the demonstration game to play in front of friends as the owner desperately tried to tell themselves they’d invested in a long-term machine and those poor suckers with Playstations were living in the past.
We live in a day and age where DLC is quite a hot topic. Developers lock content onto game files and expect us to pay for it, we are expected to pay outrageous amounts for old content, and many things of that nature (previously discussed in the Lack of Focus article).
Rockstar is one of the few companies out there that actually understands what the term Downloadable Content means. Grand Theft Auto IV set the bar for what DLC should be, and Rockstar has succeeded yet again with the second add-on to Red Dead Redemption, Liars and Cheats.
I had been looking forward to this game from the moment I saw the Queen Of The World in Sydney Harbour with the Sydney Opera House in the background.
Yes, a rendered shot of course, but the sheer size of the Queen Of The World and the story really lit a fire in me more than most other games on offer at the time, and still. While I do like a good shooter, I’m also a great fan of the early Remedy Games Max Payne series.
R.U.S.E. is a real time strategy game that gives the player fast-paced action when playing multiplayer that keeps you on your toes. If you don’t pay attention for one second, that could be the difference between a win and a loss.
R.U.S.E. is set during World War II where you are a general that commands the troops from behind the front line. R.U.S.E. is developed by Eugen Systems and published by Ubisoft.
Strategy is a main part of the game and the tactics required are different from normal real-time strategy games so I will review this game a bit differently.
by AXIS of Reality:
Halo Reach is both is both a joy and a burden. Obviously a new Halo game is a reason to celebrate, with the core Halo games consistently maintaining a benchmark level of quality shared by few. However, there is a downside for me. The more Halo games we get, the harder they become to review.
Should I be taking it from a Halo virgin’s perspective, or an experienced player? Should it be compared with the previous games, or viewed alone? Is more of the same a good or bad thing? Does multiplayer outweigh the campaign, or vice versa? Well I’ve chosen a compromise. Individually reviewed and scored within this article are the following:
For those without a finger on the pulse of pop culture, Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game is based on the recent film of the same name which relates back to the rather excellent Oni Press series of graphic novels by artist Bryan O’Malley.
The comics were always full of video game references both obvious and vague, so a Scott Pilgrim game feels like a natural evolution of the brand moving into a new realm of media. But is that reason enough?
Rugby League Live is a game full of big hits, amazing tries and nail-biting matches but does this game belong in the big league or the reserves? Rugby League Live, produced by Australian developer Big Ant Studios for the 360 and PS3, has been released just in time for the Australian Rugby League finals. But was this game rushed and should it have been polished in the off season? Let’s take a look.
The game is by Big Ant Studios and Tru Blu games, with the original studio responsible for the Xbox, PS2, and recent Wii rugby league games, Sidhe, relegated to providing back-up work. Rugby League Live does use some aspects from the earlier Rugby League series but the developer has changed the game so it does feel different.
To be honest the only Castlevania game I ever played was Castlevania 64 back in the days on the good old Nintendo 64 when I was a child. Venturing through the mist of the first few levels brought fear to my body even though I was playing the game in the broad daylight.
So forgive me for saying that come Castlevania HD I was expecting no shortage of zombies, vampires, bats and frustrating gaming moments where all hope is lost and my controller just gets flung towards the TV, hoping this short burst of fury will somehow give me the strength to defeats the forces of evil.
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is the successor to the 2007 third person shooter from Eidos Interactive (Square Enix), Kane and Lynch: Dead Men. The two degenerates Kane and Lynch are back, but now they’re older, they’re tired and they’re in it for that fabled ‘one last job’ as they say.
It all begins as Lynch (James Seth Lynch) calls Kane (Adam “Kane” Marcus) to China to help him out with a big job with a lovely big fat final payout; just a simple bit of ‘gun-running’ from China to Africa. All they have to do is meet up with their contact and they are set for a nice big fat payday.
It’s interesting to note that out of the 300+ titles released on the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace since 2005, not one can be placed into the category of ‘water racer’ or anything near it. Hydro Thunder Hurricane has splashed down to fill that void nicely and not only will it satiate fans of aquatic mayhem, it’s simply a darn fine racing title in its own right.
Many Dreamcast owners would have fond memories of 1999′s original Hydro Thunder title – which was on the level (and in some ways better) than Nintendo’s Wave Race 64. Putting powerboats in the place of jet-skis or any other small, versatile watercraft might sound dull on paper, but when the boat engines produced speeds just as fast in scintillating, classic arcade fashion, it didn’t matter.
After the success of 2009′s The Secret Of Monkey Island: Special Edition on Xbox Live Arcade, it’s only fitting that the original’s follow-up be treated to the same spit and polish.
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge sees the enigmatic Guybrush Threepwood return to a world full of dastardly deeds, hidden treasures and involving puzzles. In the beginning of this new tale, Guy finds himself in a bit of a bother as he dangles between life and death and has to journey back in his mind to tell the story of how it all started to go downhill.
by Shadow Wave:
Quite simply, Limbo will most likely be one of the most talked about Arcade games of the year. It’s one of those games that tries to do something quite similar to other games of its genre but puts its own twist on it. And the twist is great.
Limbo is a side scrolling platformer made by PlayDead Studios, with its primary focus on solving physics based puzzles to progress through the eerie world of Limbo.
Although it’s been just three years between release dates of the original and this sequel, a decade has passed in Pacific City and if you thought that everything turned out all peachy after The Agency cleaned up the previous gang wars at the conclusion of 2007′s Crackdown then you’re in for a shock.
Times are grim. Everything is a shell of its former self. The entire original Pacific City is intact in Crackdown 2 and ready to be revisited, but it’s a decaying, run-down mess of a city – like a nightmare alternate reality of the first game.
It seems to be a prerequisite for all new arcade racing games to use phrases in their press releases such as ‘adrenaline-filled’, ‘high-octane’ and ‘non-stop thrills’, as if the product they’re selling you is on par with the most explosive of blockbuster Hollywood films.
Some of these racing games deliver moments that live up to these descriptions, but most feel vaguely familiar, so that players feel like they’re playing a sequel to the last thrilling racer – just with updated graphics. Split/Second: Velocity not only delivers on the marketing quotes, it’s a completely visceral experience that at times borders on sensory overload.
Alpha Protocol is a Role-Playing Game (RPG) that has veered away from the normal fantasy and science fiction genres. It is an espionage RPG and was developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Sega. But is Michael Thorton as good as James Bond?
Michael Thorton is the protagonist in the game. He is a new recruit into a mysterious agency called Alpha Protocol.
Alpha Protocol is a secret organization that doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the United States government. That means that they can do covert missions all around the world without the United States being blamed (in theory anyway).
Snoopy: Flying Ace is the spiritual successor to the 1983 Atari 2600 hit Snoopy & The Red Baron. This time, rather than sitting atop his trusty kennel and shooting down oncoming planes, Snoopy is manning the aircraft himself and putting a new spin on the term ‘dogfighting’.
The Peanuts license is something that is no stranger to video games, but it’s also something that hasn’t been exploited and done to death over the years.
It’s been a year since UFC Undisputed 2009 hit stores and like the sport it represents, it smashed both the competition and fans out of the octagon. With its brutal fighting, its complicated and frustrating ground game and the tedious menu system, will YUKES raise the bar once more with Undisputed 2010?
A roster that features 100+ fighters in the UFC today, a control scheme that whilst still complicated, is a lot simpler than its predecessor, plus a hit detection that works this time around with no air punch knockouts and a much more realistic representation of the sport means an evolution in the game.
It’s not a fully immersive role-playing game, nor is it a stylised action romp.
Nier is a muddled concoction of ideas that don’t quite coalesce. There are moments where brightness shines through, and one begins to think they’ve misjudged the game, but these occurrences are rare and fleeting. Another title published recently by Square Enix – Final Fantasy XIII – knows full well what kind of a paradigm-shifting beast it is, whereas Nier seems to be suffering from a slight identity crisis.
by Chief Jimbolaya:
Red Dead Redemption is the most complete realization of the Wild West ever expressed in a video game.
The easiest way to describe Red Dead Redemption is “Grand Theft Auto” on horseback. With Rockstar behind both games, it is no surprise that the mechanics and structure of both games is similar.
In the single-player game, players navigate an expansive map that covers numerous biomes representing the American West and Mexico, from the Great Plains to rocky deserts.
This varied environment, and freedom to explore it, lends a great deal of magic to Red Dead Redemption. The scenery is breathtaking, diverse and immense. It takes 10 minutes to traverse the landscape from corner to corner on horseback.
Have you ever wanted to work with a thief in one of their heists?
How many movies make it look slick and cool and we’d all like to be rich, right? In Mass Effect 2: Kasumi Stolen Memory you can do just that- well pretend anyway.
Kasumi Stolen Memory is a downloadable expansion pack for Mass Effect 2 that was released on April 6 this year and costs 560 Microsoft Points. Mass Effect 2 is developed by Bioware and was published by Electronic Arts (EA) on January 28 2010.
Serious Sam HD is a first person shooter that is not at all like the current gen crop. It does not require you to take cover or work out a strategy to defeat a large group of enemies.
It only requires your skills at blowing enemies into oblivion with your double-barrelled shotgun, which, perhaps surprisingly, is actually refreshing.
Serious Sam HD is developed by Croteam and published by Majesco Entertainment (Xbox Live Arcade version). The first two Serious Sam games were released in 2002, which are the games that have been remade into the two Serious Sam HD encounters on XBLA. The game that is being reviewed here is Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter.
by AXIS of Reality:
So. Alan Wake. The story of the game’s development is almost as interesting as the game itself – a twisting tale of extended production, major design changes, exclusivity deals, removal of the PC version and numerous E3 showings that each displayed a seemingly different game.
Developer Remedy has certainly been through the wringer in bring their ambitious vision to our screens, from being one of the first games announced for the 360 to releasing when most other games are already on their second or third iteration on the current generation.
by Shadow Wave:
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands sounds like a risky purchase.
It’s been released a little too conveniently close to the upcoming Prince of Persia (PoP) film, it’s had nowhere near the publicity that the previous Prince of Persia games had been given, and on top of that the logo for the game (besides the usual awesome ‘Prince of Persia’ text), is slapped with a standard ‘Arial Black’ serif font, which isn’t exactly eye catching nor does it indicate that it’s a polished game.
But Ubisoft were the developers and they don’t usually release trashy games, so I took the plunge.
by Chief Jimbolaya:
Tropico 3 takes a lighthearted, and frankly, quite educational, look at the Cold War through a unique lens: that of a dictator of a small Caribbean island. And as such, you are on the front lines of the tension, as the Soviet Union and United States try to woo and intimidate you for influence. In America, we see the Cold War as the global struggle to preserve our way of life by stopping the spread of Communism. It was very black and white.
But Tropico 3 wasn’t made by Americans. It was made by a Bulgarian developer, and distributed through a German publisher. As such, the point of view in the game, that of a leader being manipulated by both superpowers, is especially poignant.
Many veteran gamers would have fond memories of the late 80’s After Burner arcade machines with their tilting cockpit hydraulics and frenetic jet fighter physics. The game was rejuvenated in 2006 with a new entry titled After Burner Climax; and it’s this version that has made its way onto the Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace.
Climax is the series’ fourth instalment overall and it retains the tone of the original by being an unapologetic arcade experience that’s completely devoid of any kind of simulation aspects.
by Chief Jimbolaya
Bioshock 2 is a great game that still doesn’t manage to entirely crawl out from the shadow of its predecessor. While it perfectly replicates the role-playing, superpower-fueled shooter gameplay that made the original game revolutionary, the story does not have the same M. Night Shyamalan narrative twist that made it genius.
Bioshock is one of the few game franchises where the setting is the star. The underwater city of Rapture is beautifully implausible, constructed in an imaginative art deco style reminiscent of the work of Hugh Ferriss, whose perspective drawings of New York buildings in the early 20th Century inspired legions of architects
It is with great pleasure that I announce Rebellion‘s Alien vs Predator is officially one of, if not the most, visceral games to ever grace my console. The amount of signature kills in this game for both the Predator and the Alien is enough to make anyone squirm in their seats, even the hardnosed teenagers in the 14-17 year age bracket.
Which begs the question- why are teenagers of this age range even allowed to play such a game that contains such violence displayed on human beings (and how did the game get un-banned in Australia when you compare it to other banned titles)?
Japanese development company Tri-Ace haven’t really hit their stride yet with this generation of consoles.
The fourth installment in the Star Ocean series, released early in 2009, was an ambitious sci-fi odyssey that failed to live up to the lofty expectations gamers held for the franchise, while their new IP a year before that – Infinite Undiscovery – was about as vague and bland as its title suggested.
So it’s with well-guarded high hopes that JRPG fans have approached Resonance Of Fate – another entirely new creation that drops traditional weapons and magic in place of firearms.
Sonic and SEGA All Stars Racing (with Banjo-Kazooie) is a game published by SEGA and made by Sumo Digital. It is an arcade racing game that features characters like Sonic, Samba De Amigo and even the N64 classic and now Xbox Live Arcade characters Banjo-Kazooie.
Sonic and SEGA All Stars Racing is a game just like Mario Kart, but is it better than Nintendo’s popular arcade racing original?
by AXIS of Reality:
It’s a simple truth. Our pockets are stuffed to the brim with wallets, smartphones, mp3 players, Pokewalkers (you know you do), assorted coins, maybe even a pen or notepad for the charmingly old fashioned amongst you.
Our portable plastic gaming fixes are far more likely to reside in backpacks or handbags, but it isn’t until now that this has been admitted.
So in the absence of a true Microsoft handheld, how does Nintendo‘s latest and largest effort rank up – the DSi XL? Let’s start with the obvious, shall we?
by Chief Jimbolaya:
Metro 2033, based on the novel of the same name by Dmitry Glukhovsky, is a survival horror first person shooter that sees you as Artyom, the young protagonist gallivanting about post-apocalyptic Moscow trying to save his city from a dangerous new threat – The dark ones.
The people of Moscow have been pushed underground into the Metro (subway) system, due to the fact that the air on the surface is now unbreathable without a gas mask, and to make things worse, it is also populated by a plethora of mutants of various species, each of which has its own set of abilities.
Artyom, a strapping young lad, is given the small responsibility of saving the metro systems; luckily for him, the task comes with on the job training.
Final Fantasy XIII is a loooooooooong game that is best experienced in large chunks of play. Before you purchase it—and you will not be able to complete it during a rental period—be sure to speak with your loved ones and pre-explain your social disengagement for a couple of weeks. [Ed:- Which is why OXCGN likes to do their reviews over time – as it requires effort, not speed to give a ‘good’ review.
The original Final Fantasy came out in 1987. It was released by Square while on the verge of bankruptcy, which explains the title. But it wasn’t Square’s “final fantasy,” after all. The game became the oft-replicated genre-defining role-playing game, and the franchise went on to release 13 core games and even more spin-offs over the past 23 years, selling more than 92 million copies worldwide.
During that time, the Final Fantasy franchise has developed some devoted fans, not all of whom will be pleased with the changes in the latest iteration.
by I Commentator I:
I have fond memories of Tom Clancy’s: Splinter Cell being released in 2002. It was like nothing I had ever played before. It featured George Clooney Sam Fisher as a member of 3rd echelon, a stealth operative who travelled around the world, interrogating and killing evil terrorists and dictators whose names I could not pronounce.
What made it great though was just how different it was from anything I had played before. It wasn’t simply about shooting through a level killing anyone in your way, but about doing it unnoticed. Not only that, but you were also judged on how well you avoided casualties as well.
I still remember how great I found it grabbing an enemy whilst he was urinating, dragging him into the shadows and knocking him out. Needless to say, I was hooked on stealth games
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is the latest installment of DICE’s Battlefield series, and a direct sequel to… you guessed it, Bad Company. Since 2002 with the release of Battlefield 1942 on the PC, the franchise has revolutionized multiplayer gaming with the addition of progressive stat tracking and large-scale battles occurring simultaneously on land, air and sea.
In Bad Company 2, up to 24 people can play one of several flavours of multiplayer. Rush mode has one team defending several objectives while the attacking team tries to destroy them using only 75 lives.
In Conquest mode two teams fight over control of several strategic points on the map. Squad Deathmatch is more traditional and needs no explanation.
Like its predecessor, Mass Effect 2 is a game that is so good the only real fault to find in it are squandered opportunities to make it even better.
Technically, it is superior to its predecessor on nearly every level. However, in streamlining the game to enhance the role of combat, BioWare missed out on some of the majesty of aimlessly roaming the galaxy looking for adventure.
If you finished the original game, you can import your character into Mass Effect 2. In addition to your character’s likeness, certain key decisions made in the first game are persistent in Mass Effect 2.
The Saboteur merges successful aspects of several open-world games, most notably Assassin’s Creed and Grand Theft Auto, although the effort is hampered by minor control issues and ho-hum graphics.
But while technical issues weigh heavy on the game, the engaging three-act story set in dreary Nazi-occupied Paris creates a new approach to the Second World War in video games. One that rescues the game from its failings.
The Saboteur is Pandemic Studios’ last game. Electronic Arts announced the development studio’s closure last November, just weeks before The Saboteur’s release. In its ten-year run, Pandemic Studios was responsible for games like Star Wars: Battlefronts, Mercenaries and Destroy All Humans!.
It was slightly surprising when an announcement was made that 2006’s Just Cause – a game that came towards the end of the Xbox/PS2 cycle but also managed to make an upscaled appearance on the 360 – was going to get a sequel.
The original single-player sandbox adventure title (developed by Sweden’s Avalanche Studios) sold a good amount and scored moderately well in reviews, but there was just something unremarkable about it.
Dante’s Inferno is an arcade-style action game that works only because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I mean, one of the early enemy types is the unbaptised baby…
The game is loosely based off the first cantica of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem The Divine Comedy, where the poet is escorted by the Roman poet Virgil through the nine circles of Hell.
How do you follow up a game that seemed to be a once-in-a-console-generation experience that near-perfectly blended design, narrative and gameplay?
One would assume that the same team that worked on 2007’s Bioshock (Irrational Games, formerly 2K Boston) should be the team embarking on expanding the sequel and innovating on what had already been created.
by AXIS of Reality:
The last 6 months have been a bumpy ride for war shooters. First Infinity Ward announces that Modern Warfare 2 will not support mods or dedicated server prompting boycotts and petitions by PC gamers as well as a general sense of malice by gamers, then the game launches to record-breaking sales.
DICE pushes back by announcing their full support of PC gamers with Bad Company 2 while positioning it to be a direct competitor for the same target audience.
Perhaps one of the most exhaustive and detailed Forza 3 DLC reviews on the net . . .
Another month, and more DLC from the guys at Turn 10. This time the long awaited Jalopnik Car Pack, first of a series of packs coming from Turn 10 and Jalopnik through their collaboration within Forza 3, and hopefully beyond (Forza 4 anyone??).
by I Commentator I:
Guitar Hero; Van Halen joins the ranks of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and Guitar Hero: Metallica as the next Guitar Hero installment that focuses on a particular band.
Having played all the renditions of both Guitar Hero and Rockband on the Xbox 360, it is hard to mask my initial disappointment at Van Halen.
Video games that tie into major film releases targeted at kids are a dime-a-dozen, but a video game aimed at kids based on a surreal movie not necessarily aimed at kids? Now things get interesting!
One wonders what the development team at Washington’s Griptonite Games must have thought when Warner Bros. handed them some rough art design sketches and a brief story synopsis for the upcoming film adaption by director Spike Jonze.
by I Commentator I:
Army of Two, released in March 2008, and developed by EA Montreal, promised to be an original co-op based 3rd person shooter which set players as guns for hire, exploring the world of private mercenaries.
Army of Two the 40th Day continues the story of Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem, several years after the first. Set in Shanghai, Rios and Salem must escape the city whilst completing missions along the way.
Anyone that follows this site and has read anything related to Forza 2 or Forza 3 knows that the game is a passionate one for me.
I could be like many ‘fanboys’ and agree that the tracks are terrific just to be in the game. Or I could say heaps of great things about the developers Turn 10 for adding the 2 best tracks in the world, that were not in the last game by the way, into their new game.
But I’m not a fanboy, and I’m not one to praise something that does not deliver what the end user wants, and needs to in order to deliver a satisfactory result.
by AXIS of Reality:
By now you’ve read all the glowing reviews of Mass Effect 2, seen the praise showered on it and perhaps even played it yourself. I’m not going to tell you again what countless other reviewers have said. If you want read love letters to Bioware you can see the reviews from almost every other site on Metacritic.
Instead, I thought I’d try something different: I’m going to play the critic, dealing in criticism and nothing else. Don’t get me wrong, Mass Effect 2 is a masterpiece of narrative, character design and gameplay, but like any game it’s not perfect.
Heroes are meant to live forever aren’t they? In this game I (playing the hero protagonist) seemed to die more than in any other game that I have ever played.
Alien Breed: Evolution is a game where you are not an invincible hero but an ordinary soldier who has the amazingly convenient ability to revive- a lot.
Alien Breed is a series that has stood the test of time. It has not been seen since the late 1990′s but now it makes a comeback into the digital age of high-definition and huge flat screens.
The first Alien Breed game was released in 1991 and it was for the Amiga, which is an old version of the PC. It is a gaming legend that has been reborn on the Xbox 360 through the downloadable Xbox Live Arcade medium.
by I Commentator I:
Stoked, of the “stoked rider” videogame series by Bongfish Interactive Entertainment (Published by Destineer games), promised to revolutionize the snowboarding genre – but does it deliver?
Popularized in the late 90’s, Snowboarding games have come a long way since the likes of the popular 1080° snowboarding or SSX. Whilst games such as those had a strong arcade feel, the snowboarding genre of today is focusing more and more on realism.
Stoked sets out to do this in a number of ways through a mix of including a handful of real life snowboarding pros, real sponsors and more interestingly – the “real weather experience”.
Bayonetta seems to be quite the rage at the moment, and it needs to be in good form as well in order to take on the likes of THQ’s Darksiders, which was also released on the same day.
Both are action games, both feature gigantic enemies, both have a battle between Heaven & Hell but both seem to have faults in different areas.
Bayonetta seems to be the hardcore ‘action’ game when compared to Darksiders, in that it features more over-the-top action variety across the board. Brought to life by Hideki Kamiya (from the original Devil May Cry game) of Platinum Games, Bayonetta sets to not revolutionise the genre, but to expand it and add flavour.
So here’s my review of Forza 3’s Detroit Autoweek Show DLC Pack which was released on January 12th (US). All 10 cars are covered in this review, the pack is available from XboxLive for just 400 msp, and as far as I’m concerned, these are well worth the few dollars they ask for them.
I place the cars in order of ‘my personal preferences’ with regards to which car would be the best, through to the least most desirable. Not that any are, but you get the idea.
I always look for something a little bit different in my car choices within the game, and don’t always pick the biggest or the most popular. So just grit your teeth and bare with it. Better still, have your say in the comments box below at the end of the review – so long as you abide the TOU and COC, everything is fine.
by I Commentator I:
City building and management games have always been more prominently played on the PC as opposed to consoles, as the speed and intricate controls often have made it hard to play such a game without the accuracy of a mouse.
Tropico 3, developed by Kalypso Media and released on both the PC (Sept 09) and the Xbox 360 (moved from Oct 09 to 1st Qtr 2010), is set to fix that void. An easy build interface, forgiving controls and most importantly the ability to pause time and set building construction all make this game possible to be enjoyed by both console and PC gamers alike.
by Axis Of Reality:
I’ll make this clear from the beginning: I’ve already seen the movie Avatar twice (once in 3D, once in 2D). I thoroughly enjoyed it both times, as despite the already well-trodden story the world is superbly realized and characters engaging.
Thanks to this I can review the game from the perspective of the game’s target audience: a fan of the film who wants another way to dive into the beautiful world of Pandora.
And to tell you the truth I was definitely looking forward to it on Xbox 360. The PC demo was a lot of fun and fellow OXCGN members have given me good reports from what they played at E3.
With 2009 having now ended we look to 2010 and see what games to excite us are on their way to make us want to spend what money we have left after Christmas.
Darksiders follows a member of the mythological Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Conquest, War, Famine, and Death) who ride to Earth during the end of the world and bringing on a war between the forces of Heaven, Hell and the mankind to see who will come out victorious as the superior race.
Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising is not your typical run-and-gun shooter, which I found out the hard way. Yes I knew it was a tactical military shooter but my God I wasn’t expecting it to be this hard! But the reward of changing how I played paid off.
I’ve played my fair share of simulator games, from Forza 2/3, to Gran Tursimo 3, to Microsoft’s Flight Simulator and so forth but Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising (which we’ll call Operation Flashpoint 2) was my first venture into the world of tactical military shooters.
And boy did I cop the short end of the stick!
Well I downloaded these as soon as they became available, and took each for a spin. All are excellent examples of modern motor technology, beautifully rendered and detailed, as you’d expect for Forza 3 vehicles.
Don’t let anyone put you off by making comments that the game looks like Forza 2, it’s a far cry from that, and you’ll see that as soon as a car is displayed both on screen and in-game.
I decided to run each one on the Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe for 2 laps to see how each handled and responded. Oh, and I found my dream car, the Sir Sterling Moss SLR 2010 McLaren . . hmmm.
by AXIS of Reality:
Assassin’s Creed II has been out for over two weeks now. From speaking to numerous gamers, many people are still sitting on the fence unsure of whether Ubisoft Montreal’s sequel is really worth buying after the original was initially flooded with positive reviews until a slightly sour aftertaste sunk in.
This article is for anyone in that position. You can take the lateness of this review as a good thing for several reasons, and find out why Ezio’s adventure is a perfect example of how a sequel should be done.
A brief comparison of the 360 and PS3 versions is also provided at the end of the article to help multiplatform owners get the best version.
BioWare has developed some of the best role-playing games of all time. Its catalog includes some of the best titles in the genre, such as Baldur’s Gate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect.
Dragon Age: Origins does not stray too far from the formulas pioneered in those games. The player builds a character, recruits party members with varied skills and undertakes an epic quest with multiple potential outcomes depending on the player’s reaction to different moral dilemmas.
Dragon Age: Origins is set in the territory of Ferelden, a land of humans, elves and dwarves. The nobles of Ferelden are at the brink of civil war even while evil beasts called Darkspawn are invading in a periodic attack called a “blight.”
It’s an ever growing sport in which the millions around the world tune in to see their favorite entertainer do those death-defying high flying maneuvers off the top turnbuckle and land that sweet groan-inducing finishing move.
It’s a sport that kids and grown-ups can sit back, relax and enjoy the B-Grade soap opera melodramatics and entertaining wrestling matches.
What’s better is that if you’re sick of watching it you can just pick up the official game based off the franchise and mash up any superstar in the current roster and pit them against each other in any of the available matches in Smackdown vs Raw 2010.
It only took 24 hours for Activision to sell 4.7 million copies of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in North America and the United Kingdom. The video game publisher estimated first-day sales in excess of $310 million.
That is a little more than $215,000 per minute, or $3,529 per second.
So Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 made a lot of money, but is it any fun to play? Yes, it is a lot of fun to play, if you play online. It will keep you up into the wee hours of the morning. It will have you daydreaming at work. It will strain your relationship
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a monster as a pet?
In The Maw you can do just that. Twisted Pixel has created this Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) game so that people can have a pet monster which you must guide through many different challenges, but is it worth the 800 Microsoft Points?
The Maw is a game that is all about a monster called The Maw meeting an alien called Frank. You play as Frank, who frees The Maw from its captors, the Bounty Hunters. Frank leads The Maw through a number of levels with an electronic leash.
FIFA 09 undoubtedly showed off exactly what a sports title representing the beautiful game should be all about: fluidity, great visuals, the enthusiasm of the crowd and the realism of the sport.
A year later we now have the latest iteration in the franchise, FIFA 10, and just when you think it can’t be done it’s improved in almost all areas from its predecessor and is an even more realistic representation of football.
Well it seems that another year has almost gone by and Activision/Neversoft have provided gamers with yet another entry in the ever-growing Guitar Hero franchise.
With the latest iteration–Guitar Hero 5–features a diverse track list of 92 songs and some new nifty features while continuing to be challenging yet accessible to the casual gamer.
Off the get go, the first thing you’ll notice is that Guitar Hero 5’s presentation is toned down and more musical in the sense that, unlike Guitar Hero: Metallica, it isn’t all out metal artwork and vinyls. With amplifiers everywhere, you feel that Guitar Hero 5’s emphasis is more band-orientated than Guitar Hero:World Tour.
If you could go back in time, would you attempt to change history for personal enrichment or to prevent atrocities?
Or would to restrain yourself in order to preserve the causality that leads to your existence, or in fear of unleashing a worse future by preventing mankind from learning from its mistakes?
That is the question at the heart of Darkest of Days, a new game from Phantom EFX of Cedar Falls, Iowa. The game represents Phantom’s first entry in the first-person shooter genre and its first appearance on the Xbox 360.
WET’s protagonist Rubi might be the love child of Max Payne and Laura Croft. She is a sexy, acrobatic and violent female mercenary out for revenge. Except Rubi doesn’t need wussy health packs to restore energy.
No, she takes a swig of whisky, throws the bottle in the air and shoots it.
WET is evocative of the work of Quentin Tarantino, specifically Kill Bill. The story, penned by 24 writer Duppy Demitrius, is thick with stylized violence, adrenaline-pumping action sequences and over-the-top characters.
Well Halo 3: ODST has finally hit stores worldwide and boy what a lead up it has been.
With the Real life Warthog dropping in Sydney for gamers to see and feel, Midnight launches around EB and special offers all throughout the Xbox Community, it seems that ODST has been much more well received instead of being labeled a hyped up meh game.
Coming in a 2 disc format with Disc 1 containing the main ODST campaign and Co-Op Firefight, with Disc 2 containing all 24 maps for Halo 3 Online Multiplayer side of the game it seems there is enough content within the game to satisfy any gamer.
Rewinding several years many people were excited by the prospect of Halo: Chronicles, the ill-fated Peter Jackson project to be developed in conjunction with the Halo film.
After funding fell through for the movie, it’s widely known the production team weren’t prepared to just part ways and pretend it never happened; instead the team moved onto making District 9 which was released recently to critical acclaim.
What isn’t commonly known is that Halo: Chronicles was put in an identical situation. With Halo: Reach under development since Halo 3, when Chronicles was dropped alongside the film what was there to do for a full team in Bungie that wasn’t needed yet in Reach’s development but about a year and a half free time?
Marvel vs Capcom 2 returns to the Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) as one of the true classic fighting games. Now sporting an online mode, the question is does Capcom’s classic fighter still have the legs to be a fighting powerhouse in today’s saturated market of fighter games?
The game has three possible modes of play with an arcade mode, training mode and score attack mode. Arcade mode consists of the classic play where you and two other characters from the Capcom or Marvel universe pit it out against each other.
Training mode is the perfect way to master the complex moves that the game entails, whilst score attack mode allows you to battle the computer controlled characters for high scores.
The Beatles: Rock Band is nothing short of a masterpiece. Beatles fans span decades and this accessible yet challenging game bridges the generational divide. There is something for everybody to love in this game.
The band’s original fans will get a kick out of seeing The Beatles perform in the Cavern Club or on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Younger fans will love finally seeing Beatles songs released on the interactive Rock Band format.
Parents can play with children to expose them to their favorite band, and children can play with parents to expose them to video games.
Red Faction: Guerrilla, the third game in the franchise, hit the shelves just after E3 2009 and exceeded all expectations with its change to an open world 3rd person perspective and plenty of destruction.
Now Volition have released their latest item, #1 of their 3 part series, Demons Of The Badlands.
Moving away from the linear semi-corridor shooter it once was on previous generations of consoles, Red Faction: Guerrilla offered much more in terms of visuals and destruction, boasting what has to be the most impressive destruction engine I have seen, the Geo-Mod 2.0.
by AXIS of Reality
I’m sure a lot of you already reading this have Batman: Arkham Asylum by now on your console of choice (PC gamers need to wait another few weeks).
I’m also sure there are a lot of you out there who have held off on Batman, for a number of reasons: maybe you’re not a Batman fan, maybe you’re saving for other big hitters like Halo ODST and Uncharted 2, or maybe you’re just sitting on the fence waiting to see what people really think when the hype has died down.
Throughout the history of video games, few enemies have made more appearances or better targets than Nazis.
It is not implausible to estimate at least a trillion digital Nazis have met bloody ends on gaming systems worldwide since Wolfenstein 3D kick started the first-person-shooter genre 17 years ago.
While the latest re-imagining of the franchise is nowhere near as revolutionary as the original, it sticks close to the proven formula and delivers a fun, adrenaline-filled Nazi extermination experience.
by Shadow Wave:
If you’re like me, in moments of extreme boredom you have resorted to playing an online flash game. Dirt Bike; one of the many flash games was my game of choice. Where you simply controlled a 2d dirt bike and guided it over an obstacle course, which was extremely addictive and fun and sometimes very frustrating.
Trials HD, developed by RedLynx takes that awesomeness and times’ it by 10, bringing HD graphics, physics, level creators, frustration and fun to the Xbox 360 console as a fully fledged arcade title. This is a game that everyone can enjoy if they give it a go as its so simple to play.
It’s mid-August, which can mean only one thing… Madden is here! This year’s iteration features the best graphics ever seen in a football (gridiron in Australia) game, with a large emphasis on realism.
The single best addition to the series is the full utilization of the Pro-Tak system, which procedurally animates tackling. Up to nine players can gang tackle the ball carrier, while offensive players can add to the chaos by pushing the ball carrier to gain an extra inch up field.
In the epic battle of Pirates vs. Ninjas, I have always been a pirate person. I just feel a rapport with the swashbuckling, treasure hording scoundrels, but with From Software’s release of Ninja Blade I have begun to question certain aspects of this timeless battle.
Namely, why don’t pirates get to battle gargantuan mutant spiders? To give you a basic grounding in the Ninja Blade story, evil parasites, known as ‘Alpha-Worms’ have, in the past, infected a small town in Africa, either killing the inhabitants, or transforming them into hideous creatures known as carriers
by Shadow Wave:
In a shooter game-scape dominated by modern warfare commandos, zombies and space marines it’s refreshing to return to the Wild West.
Prepare to swashbuckle, manipulate and insult your way through Guybrush Threepwood’s very first pirate adventure, brought back to life as a high definition remake! This game is a treasure worth the wait.
In a shooter game-scape dominated by modern warfare commandos, zombies and space marines it’s refreshing to return to the Wild West.
The Western has made a few forays into video games but this gen seemed largely absent.
With Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption delayed and the steampunk Western Damnation a failure, Ubisoft’s second Call of Juarez (subtitled Bound In Blood) has the cowboy field to itself. But is this one ”yee haw”, or just a great big “neighhhh”.
Twisted Pixel has decided to treat us with a simple game with ‘Splosion Man. They have taken a simple side-scrolling concept, a simple plot and one of the most simplistic button control system since the NES days – mixed it all together and have managed to produce a fantastic edition to the XBLA range.
The first thing that jumps to mind when playing this was another XBLA title available, N+. However ‘Splosion Man sees you play the role of a science experiment loose in the lab trying to take down the creators themselves while also trying to make his escape from the lab.
It’s been a long wait since the release of Fight Night Round 3 and I can say right now that the wait has been well worth it.
Featuring 40+ of some of the best boxers in the world from the past and present in their prime, a massive graphical upgrade and a new control scheme layout, Fight Night Round 4 is the re-invigoration of not only the franchise but the sport in games.
Many in today’s gaming scene complain about spending their money on games which just don’t deliver, especially in the Xbox Live Arcade category.
Spending 1200 MSP (Microsoft Points) on a downloadable game which offers only a few hours of gameplay and no replayability or 1600 MSP on a game which offers less just seems like a waste when you could use it on a full release AAA title.
Tales of Vesperia was released back in the middle of 2008 for all regions apart from Australia and Europe. Yet after constant delays, it has finally made it to our shores to a quiet reception.
So it’s with great relief to say that Tales of Vesperia (the tenth title in the series and first to appear on the Xbox 360 console) is an impressive game and a long time coming for JRPG fans around Australia.
Starting from the game’s opening cut scene, the first thing you will notice about the game is its ultra impressive art direction. The game obviously takes ideas from popular anime and manga material from Japan and expands upon it to produce a living, breathing 3D world.
With a name like Damnation some might wonder if the game is based on some sort of hell… either for the developer in making the game, the gamer playing it, or perhaps both.
Codemasters and Blue Omega have certainly set their sights high with this new IP that aspires to create an open acrobatic vertical gaming experience that mixes a Wild West look with a steampunk flavour.
Now this review is not going to go into the history of Magic: The Gathering.
Most people have heard of this card game in the last ten or so years and I am certainly not going to be talking about the various rule changes, card changes and general mechanics of the game as Magic: The Gathering – Duels Of The Planeswalkers has been released for people that either previously played the game, are currently playing the game or those that are interested in starting.
I love games where I can pretty much destroy the scenery by either jumping on it or punching it to pieces (anyone who has teamed up with me in Fable II knows what I mean).
Bionic Commando has delivered a game that not only allows you to ‘wreck up the place’ but it also allows you to shift certain parts of the map if you just don’t feel like hunting after bad guys.
Alex Mercer is a man out for revenge and answers, and, like many anti-heroes of our time, nothing stands in his way of completing his objective.
Waking up from the dead on the surgery table, almost being cut under the knife, Alex is unleashed on New York city with a plethora of powers at his disposal and questions needing answering.
Too many 360 owners upon first glance see the game in a sense as the R18+ version of Crackdown, except with a lot more powers at your disposal and more freedom. Whilst the main story-line missions are very linear in terms of progression you are free to scour the city and do as you please
by Endgamez (Guest Contributor)
Star Ocean:The Last Hope’s story begins in the aftermath of WWIII. Our great and illustrious leaders have basically done the expected and kicked the hell out of each other. Not content with simply trading a few punches, they kick off a nuclear exchange that quickly spans the globe and makes life kinda like Parramatta (inside Aussie joke)
by AXIS of Reality
Well, the first game of the month is here. With so many big name games hitting Aussie shelves in June, after playing it for a week it’s a surprise to learn that the first of them may possibly be the best. I also got the chance to visually compare both 360 and PS3 versions of the game, but more on that later.
Red Faction: Guerrilla is the very loose sequel to the previous-gen Red Faction 1 and Red Faction 2 first-person shooters. The name change should be a clue that this isn’t a direct follow-on or prettied up expansion – Red Faction: Guerrilla is something new for the series, and all the better for it.
With UFC becoming one of the fastest growing sports in the industry today it was no hard decision to cash in and make a UFC game to appeal to its massive number of fans.
With YUKE’s Future Media Creators having a plethora, and I mean plethora, of Smackdown/Raw wrestling games under it’s belt, it was an easy choice to have them helm the task.
Creating an authentic yet imperfect representation of the fierce sport that is UFC 2009: Undisputed, Yukes have changed things around compared to the SvR franchise and made the whole feel and look of the game fresh and different from that of wrestling titles.
by Shadow Wave
Banjo and Kazooie are back in Banjo Tooie, just months after the original game made its debut on Xbox Live Arcade.
Rare once again have brought the Nintendo 64 classic sequel back into the limelight to perhaps give those younger gamers and fans a chance to have a taste at the Banjo-Kazooie franchise for the first time, while enabling us older gamers to experience that warm nostalgia feeling.
Does this sequel deliver? Or does it fall off its broomstick?
While Banjo Tooie improves over the original in most ways, I believe it took a few things too far, making a few parts of the game much more frustrating than they should be. However, even though there are some minor issues, Banjo-Tooie in the end represents one of the best value for money games currently on Xbox Live Arcade.
Ahh another day and another game developed and published by none other than the infamous EA (Electronic Arts). The Godfather II, developed by EA’s Redwood Shores division, is based upon Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather II, a crime family movie which follows the Corleone family directly where they left off from the events of The Godfather.
Perhaps ‘based upon’ isn’t really the expression to use here so I’ll use ‘loosely based on’ instead, as while it may be called The Godfather II, the game really only features the characters, the setting and the rival families and does not follow the same path in storyline as the movie.
by Shadow Wave:
Five years ago Starbreeze Studios gave us a gift; that gift was Escape from Butcher Bay. The game pushed the boundaries of the original Xbox in terms of graphics, presentation and innovation and gave hope that games based on movies could work after all. It was truly one of the star games the Xbox had to give.
Butcher Bay Prison, which Riddick was forced to escape, was captured so well as a believable environment that it made players (those that handn’t been…) imagine what prison could truly be like. From the graffiti on the wall to the impressive lighting effects, it all looked great (for a prison, that is).
by GrathiusXR: & XboxOZ360
Come fly with me, come fly…well unfortunately you wouldn’t want to do so because then you’ll be in for a less than average thrill ride. And it’s not because I’m a sucky wingman either…
HAWX (High Altitude Warfare Experimental) is a game by Ubisoft and part of their infamous Tom Clancy franchise which over the years has provided some great games. You know the ones I’m talking about… Rainbow Six Vegas, Splinter Cell, GRAW 1 & 2, EndWar etc..
OZ: I’m a Sim nut. Hmm, that doesn’t sound right, now does it. Let’s put that a different way.
I enjoy simulation ‘games’ be it on four wheels or in the air far above the tarmac miles below. I have some ’serious’ hours invested in these genres with over 400 hrs in Forza 2, played Ace Combat through 6 times, I think Race Pro is great (except for some niggles here and there), and enjoy wasting hours upon hours staring at the screen as I clip 100th of second off track times, or trying to get through an entire game in the one aircraft on all missions.
But hey, that’s just me. So when I heard about HAWX and that Ubisoft had hatched HAWX as part of the Tom Clancy franchise, my little heart did some serious pounding, and for an old bugger, sometimes that ’s not so good.
New model. Original Parts.
That’s the tag line for Vin Diesel’s sequel film Fast & Furious, currently on film screens at the same time as his driving video game Wheelman has been released. And, strangely enough, the tag line applies to the game as much as the film.
You see Vin Diesel’s Wheelman may be a new game from his very own studio Tigon, but it uses parts from original best sellers of the various driving genres like Burnout, Driver, and the GTAs. The question is if Wheelman has got good tread to compete with big hitters GTAIV and Saint’s Row, or does it run on crappy bald tires (spelt “tyres” here in Oz)?
by SithLordJim (Guest reviewer from The Grape Vie
Outside of actual gameplay, there are several factors I find you can look at to determine whether a game was bad or not. If writing about the game was more enjoyable than actually playing it, it’s probably a bad game.
If you suddenly become acutely aware of every tiny mess around your home that demands your immediate attention, its probably bad.
And if you find yourself day-dreaming about introducing the broken remnants of the game’s disc to the flesh of it’s creator, it seems safe to assume the game is not a great game. EA’s Battleship only managed to hit two out of three, but whether that’s due to it not being available on disc for Xbox360, or because its not quite that bad is a matter of perspective.
I don’t pretend to know why Uno is so popular.
It could be the colours, the accessibility of the poker-lite play or, in the case of the original XBLA release, maybe it’s just the promise of naked strangers over Xbox Live on your screen?
But it’s testament to the original’s XBLA success that its sequel was reserved for an announcement at Microsoft’s Keynote at E3 ‘08. Because as much as some would rather not admit, Uno is probably a title that you’ve continued to play long after you left other titles by the wayside. It still ranks consistently in the Top 10 of Major Nelson’s weekly Xbox Live activity lists.
I had my reservations with Hasbro’s Family Game Night when I originally heard about this Live Arcade game. It is hard enough getting the kids (and myself!) off the console and back to the table with the family with some old fashioned board game fun and what is presented here is intended to do just that.
However personal feelings aside, I am here to review the individual title, Connect Four which is a downloadable component intended to be played through the free Family Game Night Title.
Since the excellent Ninja Gaiden 2, gaming has been bereft of hardcore slice and dice titles. And yet in the absence of the master, The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai’s release is something that would surely make even Tomonobu Itagaki grin ear to bloody ear.
Personally, I suspect that somehow Dishwasher is Itagaki’s long lost love child. The great developer, who arguably one year on can still lay claim to the best action gameplay engine, must have been doing something post-Tecmo besides maintaining his effortless sex, drugs and rock n’ roll chic.
by AXIS of Reality
Explosions. Fun, aren’t they? While during this console generation, many action games have gotten far more tactical and precise. There’s at least one that remembers the sheer joy of fire, smoke and Havok-powered ragdolls flying through the air. Is it any suprise it’s coming from the same studio as Saint’s Row 2?
Note: Red Faction: Guerilla Demo is ONLY available to customers who per-order through selected stores until 23rd April, when it will be freely available through XboxLIVE and PSN.
Another month and another RTS hits the consoles, this time it’s Stormrise from The Creative Assembly (the team behind Total War).
This one is an RTS game based in the future where humanity pretty much tried to control Global Warming but in typical fashion it all went wrong.
Centuries later and the humans that were left outside during the disaster left to die evolved into a mutant race known as The Sai and the humans in the cryogenic underground facilities known as The Echelon have awoken to reclaim Earth and rebuild it as it once was.
The Wrestling of the 80’s carries some fond memories for me. Some of the best gimmicks, matches and feuds took place back then.
Every month I would race down to the local video store to see if the latest Coliseum Video hosted by Lord Alfred Hayes, focusing on what was then known as the World Wrestling Federation, was out. I remember spending hours in front of the television with my sister cheering for the likes of Hulk Hogan, The Rockers and Brutus Beefcake.
I am proud to say that I never grew out of Wrestling and followed it throughout its transition to what sports entertainment is today.
I was looking forward to reviewing this game because I don’t like hip-hop rap gangsta music or the attitude behind the whole urban ghetto thing and I figured this game would be a laugh to poke fun at. After all, games and 50 Cent don’t really seem likely to mix well, and his last game, 50 Cent: Bulletproof, seemed to demonstrate that.
What I got was something that perplexed me.
Rarely have I felt so much in two minds or so surprised by a game as I was with this one. The game is published by THQ and made by Swordfish Studios, who released Cold Winter last gen. They have made a 3rd person shooter that borrows aspects from other shooters and throws out anything that gets in the way of exhilarating fun. How could a game with so many self-destructive qualities actually keep me so entertained?
by Shadow Wave
The long wait is finally over and Resident Evil 5 is finally out around the globe! But has Capcom’s latest entry in their popular horror franchise lived up to its huge hype or is the undead series mutating too much from its origins to be true survival horror fun?
Essentially while it’s hard to identify the game’s genre as ’survival horror’ anymore, Resident Evil 5 certainly does tell a great story and gives the player hours of great action gameplay. Maybe ’survival action’ would be a better description now.
Purists of the pre-Resident Evil 4 era will probably see this change in focus as meaning the franchise is running downhill instead of shuffling on like it should. Meanwhile, the new Gears Of War ‘run, cover, and shoot’ action crowd may find the game’s more slow and precise aim and shoot scheme too archaic for a this gen game. Most players, though, are in for a treat.
It’s the reserved feeling for gaming’s truly elite franchises…
“The immediate emotional reaction to a gamer’s nostalgia reborn; the shared consciousness with all those fans over all those years; and the overwhelming sense that the king of fighters is back with a vengeance.”
That Street Fighter IV manages to overcome these burdens is remarkable. That it actively embraces them and then exceeds them makes the finished product all the more astonishing.
It’s with trepidation when you first fire the thing up, followed by the shock at how goddamn cool it looks even when juxtaposed with perhaps the cheesiest video game theme song ever.
With GTA:IV we came, we saw, we conquered, and to be honest got bored of it pretty quickly, so how will the latest downloadable content hold up? (Check out OXCGN’s Walkthrough)
The Lost and Damned (TLAD) is Rockstar & Microsoft’s exclusive add-on that allows you to play a whole new chapter in the GTA:IV Liberty City universe. You take on the role of Johnny Klebitz, biker and stand in leader for the bike gang “The Lost and Damned” due to the regular leader, Billy Grey, being thrown into jail. (Ed- So it’s much like real-life Melbourne then…).
Things seem peaceful as Johnny ‘K’ has managed to maintain peace with bitter gang rivals “The Angels of Death”; that is until the former head and founder of the club Billy Grey returns from his stint in prison. Immediately he resumes his former post and sets about returning things to the way they were, and essentially all of Johnny’s hard work is thrown out the window.
Here is another game that I have added to the ever growing pile of mediocre Xbox Live Arcade games that I seem to be accumulating at a rapid pace.
While I haven’t had the opportunity to download everything that Live Arcade offers, I believe games such as Castle Crashers and Street Fighter II have raised the bar for all other challengers to compete.
Not an easy task, but one that could have been achievable if the buyer was getting value for money.
by AXIS of Reality
Let me start off by saying this review is almost a curse. Over the past few weeks as the reviews of Killzone 2 flooded the internet, sites were loved or loathed based on the number at the end of their article and accusations of ‘fanboism’ were thrown thick and fast. (check out or Killzone 2 Aust Launch day)
Unfortunately this is the fate of many major exclusive releases for the 360 or PS3. Despite not actually having played the full game internet trolls declared sites that awarded an 8/10 or lower for Killzone 2 flatout wrong or biased towards the Xbox 360.
by Sutton Dagger
Reviewing a compilation disk is certainly a different task to reviewing a new release title. Graphics advance, sound gets more detailed and gameplay is refined over time, so how does one categorise and assign a score to these classic games in the ‘next gen’ era?
Essentially the present criteria of graphics, sound and gameplay are applied less stringently, with the collection of games being analysed instead according to funfactor and value for money. With this in mind, the SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection is a must buy for old school, SEGA fans.
Fundamentally Real Time Strategy Games (RTS’s) don’t work best on a console mainly due to the constraints of the controller. While on the PC it would take a mere few seconds to do most things, on a console it could take double or sometimes triple the time. In the world of an RTS, this delay means defeat.
Why? Because your opponent has most likely already created an army, tech’d up his units and has a sturdy base defence that would take a while to get through. In Halo Wars this is absolutely not the case. Built from the ground up for the Xbox 360 by Ensemble Studios, it features a control scheme that everyone should take note of, for RTS’s on consoles the bar has been raised.
Being an ardent Halo (check out our Halo 3 review) fan I have been patiently awaiting the release of the new Mythic Map Pack that Bungie have been cooking for the better part of the last six months. I’ve been teased with the weekly updates hinting on the layout and design of the maps and was overjoyed when they were finally revealed.
So you can imagine my excitement when I got my hands on an early code so I can write these impressions. After giving them a good bash it would be simple for me to just say BUY THEM, but I am going to put a little more effort into it than that.
By AXIS of Reality
FEAR 2 received a lot of unintentional publicity early in production as developer Monolith split with the publisher of FEAR 1, Vivendi.
While this happens frequently as studios switch publishers, in this case Vivendi still maintained ownership rights to the name FEAR despite the work already started by Monolith of a sequel, hastily renamed Project Origin.
While that’s all done and sorted with the FEAR name being returned to Monolith to make FEAR 2: Project Origin, since then there’s been little notice taken of FEAR 2 alongside juggernauts (which incidentally are also sequels) like Gears of War 2, Halo Wars and Killzone 2. Now that’s it’s quietly snuck in before the heavyweights, how does Project Origin stack up?
Race Pro had a lot to live up to. Maybe not in Halo or Gears of War proportions, but for motorsport enthusiasts around the world, this game could single-handedly evolve the console racing genre forever. And for those motorsport enthusiasts reading, don’t worry. It does.
Traditionally, console racing games have thrown around the “simulation” tag far too frequently in the past. We’ve seen it claimed by many franchises; Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo to name the most poignant two.
And whilst they might of taken the genre by the scruff of the neck, it’s hardly fair to call them simulations – especially when compared with the likes of Simbin’s own GTR series, or the massively popular rFactor on the PC.
I couldn’t have timed my completion of Fallout 3 any better. The day of completion also saw the day of Operation: Anchorage, the first of the three downloadable content packs announced to be released over the next three months. Fallout 3 was a big game set in a big world but is Operation Anchorage enough to entice someone back to the game?
A Yes or No answer would be a nice way to sum things up but the DLC really opens up a mixed bag of feelings. Anything to add to this rich and complex world that has been created is a bonus for any Fallout fan however some may feel short-changed upon completion.
It’s hard to comprehend that games like these are still being made; I feel this kind of genre died long ago with the Carmen San Diego games. Interpol: The Trail of Dr. Chaos is the latest outing in this genre and one arcade game that needed a lot more spit and polish before release.
You are an Interpol agent, hot on the trail of Dr. Chaos and his crew, going from country to country searching through pictures of cluttered junk that might help you in your quest to catch the criminals. It sounds intriguing on paper, but the execution is poorly delivered
With under a month before Halo Wars hits shelves all around the world many are hanging out to try the demo before considering buying the game. Normally anything with ‘Halo’ on it would be a given to sell well, but with Halo Wars there is a sense of cautiousness from the gaming public.
This is because Halo Wars isn’t a first person shooter (FPS) like previous Halo games, it’s a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game. Gamers know the RTS genre’s reputation on consoles. Very few have ever worked much less been successful.
The original Skate for the Xbox 360 was an extremely innovative skating title that not only challenged Tony Hawk’s franchise, but totally obliterated it for realism and gameplay. Now the second title, Skate 2, has been released by the seemingly doomed EA Black Box studio.
The title sees you mysteriously shipped off to jail and returning five years later to find San Vanelona with a whole new and complete facelift. A company named Mongo Corp. has given the whole town a new architectural design, leaving many skating spots where it is only up to the imagination of the skater to discover whether they are in fact deemed skateable.
by JL Flett
Batman has become the latest multi-million dollar franchise to turn to the Lego video game market to earn a few more bucks. Lego Batman: The Video Game brings characters from the Batman movies and the original DC comics to life in a twisted yet fun game that suits people of any age (unless you’re afraid of clowns).
This game is a real treat for those die-hard Batman fans as it is a great culmination of the better known recent characters and also classics such as Nightwing. The quirky character features, such as Ivy’s poison kiss and Penguin’s explosive penguin minions which he stores under his hat, give the game a whole extra dimension to explore and enjoy.
by Sith Lord Jim:
There are a lot of average games out there, but Lord of the Rings: Conquest is not one of them. I had heard a lot of negative stuff before playing this game. So it was with a large amount of dread for the task ahead of me, that I popped the disc in the tray.
A few hours in I wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about. Sure the game had its issues, and I was getting sick of falling over, but really it wasn’t that bad. Maybe it would even become fun once I got the hang of it, I reasoned..
Sonic is the immortal gaming icon who cannot die, it would seem. His latest outings have been poor but he has been kept alive by both his fame and the party Olympic and tennis games that feature his blue spiky hide.
Now we have a new fully ‘Sonic’ game called Unleashed and the question is will it revive past glory, or will it sink the hedgehog closer toward inglorious termination. The answer is…well, yes he’ll survive, but if he wants to be a star again, he’ll have to reinvent himself. And I don’t mean with a new haircut.
Now before I begin with this review I need to make a few things clear to the reader. I am approaching this as a gamer and certainly not as a singer. So keep this in mind:
1) I do not sing. I don’t sing in the shower, in the car, doing any form of work and especially not around friends or family (and strangers for that matter).
2) I have never played a home karaoke or been invited to a party where there was a set-up and I have stayed clear from Singstar on both PS2 and PS3.
Having first heard of Rise of the Argonauts early in 2008, I was somewhat intrigued as to when I was going to be able to play out one of the most well known stories in Greek mythology. It was then somewhat disappointing to find out the game had been pushed back to an undetermined date in 2009.
Then, almost as if on a whim, Atari released Rise of The Argonauts a week before Christmas, which isn’t the best time to release a new IP, let alone one that had not had a great deal of pre-release PR push. All of a sudden the game pops out of nowhere on shelves in stores and I sit perplexed, thinking to myself . . . “what the hell is going on” ?
Oh well, a last minute Christmas present then….but was it a keeper, or a Boxing Day return?
by Shadow Wave
Gameloft’s latest iPhone title: Hero of Sparta has been inspired from Sony’s God of War series, this game delivers everything that you love about God of War in the palm of your hand on your iPhone.
This amazing game is the first to truly prove that the iPhone is a serious competitor in the portable gaming market.
hero-of-spartaYou play as King Argos who has been shipwrecked on a beach, but before he leaves, he must complete a task for a God on the Island and receive his reward. Argos must battle through many levels, slaughtering countless beasts straight from Greek mythology on his epic journey.
One topic of conversation that always seems to come up after watching a zombie film is ‘how would you survive the outbreak?’.
Whether it be from your classic zombies (Romero style: slow and mindless) to your modern day zombie (run really fast, make a lot of noise) everybody has a different ‘imaginary’ survival plan.
So, with the popularity of the zombie film genre these days it only made sense that developers were going to try their hand at bringing them across to the gaming platforms. And they have, big time.
Have a look at this list of zombie games. With the recent Alone In The Dark and an upcoming title from the popular Resident Evil franchise, can Left 4 Dead bring something new to the outbreak of zombie games? Does it have its own ’survival plan’?
With the launch of the New Xbox Experience (“NXE”) came a lot of excitement, some derision, and a whole bunch of freaks, geeks and celebrities on my friends list.
Riding on the coat tails of Microsoft’s largely successful console relaunch is Kingdom of Keflings, the first XBLA title to have full Avatar integration, from the strategically minded developers Ninja Bee (Band of Bugs, Outpost Kaloki and Cloning Clyde).
From the title screen it’s pretty clear the audience the developers are targeting. Relaxing, uplifting music; pleasant, colourful visuals; and a simple premise to draw that audience in.
Much like the recent Batman or James Bond films, Ubisoft Montreal is seeking to follow this Hollywood trend of reinvention and re-boot the Prince of Persia series again. The original 3D reinvention, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, was hailed by the critics but oddly didn’t sell as well as it should have. Nevertheless, it is now viewed as a classic.
The inevitable sequel, Prince of Persia: Two Thrones, followed and much like many sequels seemed to fail to live up to the first game. Then, again as in many trilogies, The Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within also didn’t fully live up to expectations.
It’s brutal, violent and still holds that MK charisma
Well its been a long wait for the first next-gen Mortal Kombat (MK) game, and for many fans like myself the announcement of MK vs DC Universe was something of a surprise and shock. Our beloved MK characters battling the heroes and villains of DC? What did this mean for the brutal+violent Mortal Kombat?
It meant a more toned down version of what we had come to love over the past decade. Less graphic/gory fatalities by every MK character and the inclusion of a proper, more believable storyline.
War, war never changes… had Bethesda not picked up the Fallout IP, chances are the much loved post apocalyptic war games would never have changed and remained unfinished at its most brilliant, that being Fallout 2.
Fallout 3 takes place 30 years after Fallout 2 and has changed substantially in both the way that the game is played and also in the setting. The nuclear war that tarnished the world began when the earth finally ran out of vital resources, with America, China and Russia all becoming involved in trying to secure the depleting resources of the world which lay in Alaska.
“Unit five, move to target”.
“Unit seven, attack hostile two”.
“Umm mate, you’ve got a package”.
What? Startled, I turn my head from the command sit-rep view on my HD TV to the doorway, which I forgot had been left open due to the Spring Australian heat.
A rather amused delivery guy is there staring at me talking intently at the TV through my headphones. I’m not able to adapt from Colonel ‘me’ to just plain ‘me’ quickly enough and I end up trying to get out of my chair while dropping the controller at the same time, but forgetting that the headphones on my head are attached to the controller.
I look even more foolish as I drag the controller off the chair onto the floor, then when I try to tear the headphones from my head, only end up breaking them. The delivery guy is now laughing. Shit.
by Sutton Dagger
The pedigree of titles Square Enix have developed is incredible. They and their separate entities are considered the premier Japanese Role Playing Game (JRPG) developers on the market. So with great anticipation I booted up my copy of The Last Remnant, but what ensued can only be described as the ‘fall from grace’ of Square Enix.
In terms of the story, The Last Remnant is certainly capable of holding its own against other recently released JRPG’s. The young protagonist, Rush Sykes, is your typical melodramatic male teen, furiously devoted to those he loves, especially his sister.
To be honest before I gave this game a try I had to look up and see if Shaun White was an actual person and not just added to a snowboard game to give it a sense of individuality.
After all I didn’t know who Tony Hawk was until a sea of video games came out!
While I am not a snowboarder (though we do have skiing here in Oz) nor a skater, having played them in the past I thought was enough for me to take a look at what Mr. White has brought to the 360.
by Shadow Wave
Celebrating the release of Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, RARE has given the franchise’s decade old fans a gift to rejoice over, a port of the original Banjo Kazooie for Xbox Live Arcade.
The story throws you into the backpack of Banjo and Kazooie as they venture through Gruntilda’s Lair to find Banjo’s ‘cute and nice’ sister, to stop the ugly witch from stealing her good looks!
Banjo Kazooie has similar elements in common with Super Mario 64, it adheres to the platforming genre of collecting items.
In the credits of the new Banjo-Kazooie, with designer names rolling, side kick Kazooie makes a self depreciating wisecrack directed at Rare that for elements of online forums is regarded as gospel….
“All the real talent left years ago”.
It’s a sad and misinformed myth that carries far more weight and supposed “truth” than it ought to.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is a singular, mighty salvo that refutes that.
As if the Xbox 360 didn’t have enough first person shooters. Then comes along Mirror’s Edge, an ambitious title by DICE, that isn’t your typical run and gun FPS. Rather, it tries to reinvigorate and re-energise a genre flogged to death like an abused overworked lame horse.
Rather than focusing on the core concept of shooting, the game instead features fast paced running, jumping, balancing and climbing gameplay. What makes Mirror’s Edge unique is the way that DICE have managed to make a first person shooter fun, even if you don’t fire a weapon.
As an avid FIFA fan it’s hard to comprehend that there is another game available that represents the beautiful game which has been touted to triumph over FIFA numerous times over the past couple of years.
Konamis Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 is the next game in the series that have been heralded as the premiere football games since the days of the Playstation 2.
We’ve had alien invasions, attacks from monsters underground, zombie infestations, and world-domination plots all threaten to destroy modern civilization unless we save it.
Games designed to stoke our hero complexes tend to fill us with warm fuzzy feelings of accomplishment and enjoyment.
Legendary brings a new and promising idea to this theme by mixing Greek mythology and Da Vinci Code-like secret societies. It all sounds great, but will it be like Spark’s other great idea game Turning Point: Fall Of Liberty and fail to live up to its initial concept? In short, will the game really be legendary?
After nine installments in the Smackdown series, THQ-YUKE’s has delivered the tenth in the series and wrestling fans can rest easy knowing they have finally achieved a solid wrestling title for their collection.
The game itself looks good. Very good. Some wrestlers look a lot better than others however overall once they are all throwing each other around the ring, take a step back and look at the actual detail they have put into the whole wrestling experience.
From facial expressions, wrestler mannerisms to even the detailed crowds in the huge arenas they have done a fantastic job.
by Sith Lord Jim
I was a very big fan of Epic’s Gears of War, but even I can say that it had quite a few things wrong with it. The biggest of these problems was the storyline, it was not conveyed very well, and left the gamer more confused than anything.
Then there were all the multiplayer problems like glitches, and host powers making the player who was host way more deadly than anyone else. Gears 1 was not a perfect game, but it was damn good fun.
Gears of War 2 attempts to alleviate those issues, and for the most part it really has improved on a formula I thought would be hard to top.
Dead Space: A review about Outer Space and Aliens, perhaps 2 of the most overused concepts in video game history.
They are concepts that are almost always poorly executed, always cliched, and always over the top in every way.
Yet somehow EA Redwood have managed to take these 2 concepts, mix them together and craft a truly unbelievable experience.
by Sith Lord Jim
I must admit I was skeptical when Ubisoft’s Clint Hocking told us that Farcry 2 would be the new benchmark for first person shooters. I stand corrected.
This year has been full of stellar releases, but Farcry 2 eats them all for breakfast. I am not saying it is without its flaws, but its going to be one hell of a tough act to follow.
In Farcry 2 you play as a mercenary hired to kill an arms dealer, the Jackal, who has been dealing arms to both sides of a conflict in Africa. You arrive in the country and get malaria. So your character has to balance his illness with his search for the Jackal.
by Shadow Wave
Lionhead Studio’s second attempt at the Fable franchise has finally been released.
Fable 2 takes place 500 years after the events of Fable 1, and throws you into the shoes of a new character who also must save the world, this time with your trusty side-kick “dog” by your side.
So, the big question is, does Fable 2 live up to its hype?
BlackRock Studios, the studio formerly known as Climax Racing, are best known for the plethora of ATV games developed for the original Xbox and PS2.
Now they have entered the next gen with their latest entry, PURE. This latest ATV game is an adrenaline pumping, trick popping and high flying ATV game that has plenty fun to offer.
Pure isn’t about the story, the girl, nor the money, it’s just about the racing and winning. When you start up the first thing that happens is you are taken through a quick tutorial to get you up to speed with the controls in PURE.
by Sith Lord Jim
People have been constantly asking me whether Saints Row 2 is better than Grand Theft Auto 4. It’s a question I hate. To me it is just like asking whether Burnout Paradise or Forza 2 is better, they may have similarities, but they are vastly different games.
Yet if I had to answer the question I would really have to say that both do some things better than each other. A better question would be which title did I have more fun with, and the answer to that my friends, would be Saints Row 2 by a landslide.
It seems that with every new FIFA game that EA churn out each year they always know how to not only keep fans of the game happy, but also make it easier for new-comers of the sport to get in on the action.
With the introduction of new gameplay physics that are sure to rattle the cages of many, slightly improved graphics, new games modes, and features FIFA 09 has set the bar for football sim games.
Lately I’ve been playing way too many gung-ho run and gun shooters and even Rainbow Six didn’t punish me as much as Hell’s Highway for my failures to properly command.
Even though my squad mates would mysteriously (thankfully) resurrect themselves for the next mission, I still felt very much responsible each time I sent them to cover that was paper thin or on an impatient but futile charge at the enemy only to watch them crumple to the ground, dead or writhing in pain.
I was responsible, not some triggered event controlled by the game. And amazingly, I didn’t like feeling responsible for the demise of my play soldiers.
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is the sequel to Pandemic’s 2005 release, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction. It is now 3 years on and here we are with another healthy fix of carpet bombs, turret-mounted jeeps, and a bad ass Swede sporting a Mohawk that’s the envy of every heavy metal fan around the world.
World in Flames takes place in the beautiful land of Venezuela, and although you may be quite tempted to simply drive around and take in the sights, there are actually bigger fish to fry. Greeted by an old friend, Blanco, Mattias is introduced to Venezuelan millionaire, Ramon Solano, who has asked Mattias for his services in rescuing his close friend, and Venezuelan Army General, Carmona.
by Sith Lord Jim
Viva Piñata Trouble in Paradise is one of those games that if you are a male, you will spend the entire time your playing it hoping that nobody walks into the room.
Yes it is one of those things that males world-wide will be hesitant to admit that they enjoyed. Yet at the same time is something that is damn near impossible to not enjoy.
If you have played the original Viva Piñata then you will know the drill here. Create a garden, meet the requirements for piñatas to live in your garden, and level up as you accomplish tasks. It’s all quite childish on the surface, but below the childish exterior is a game with a ton of depth, and addictively fun gameplay.
An exceptional RPG available for the 1st-Gen Xbox is now readily available as an Xbox Original via Xbox 360 Marketplace, for 1200 MSP.
BioWare’s Jade Empire is an RPG of epic proportions and a game that any serious fan of the genre must experience at some stage or another, as while it may not be the best, it surely is one of the more interesting and engaging additions to the genre.
The King’s 4 hot daughters have been kidnapped and who else better to rescue them than the King’s most trusted Knights. That’s all there is to know with The Behemoth’s Castle Crashers, and you couldn’t ask for a more straight forward plot.
The Behemoth have added their own unique twist to this side-scrolling game which definitely makes it a worthy purchase for any gamer looking to use their points on Xbox Live or buy more to get this. The Red knight, Green knight, Blue knight or Orange knight are yours to choose from before starting the campaign and from there it’s game on.
by Sith Lord Jim
I was at no point prior to playing Too Human at all optimistic about it in any way shape or form. It wasn’t like I was looking at it with a “glass half empty” sort of view either.
It was more of a “the glass is completely empty and there’s a clown trying to stab me in the neck” with it sort of thing.
So I guess it is reasonable to say that I had managed to not get caught up in all the positive hype that this title had generated during it’s massive development time.
by Sutton Dagger
Sometimes you really have to wonder what is going through developer’s minds while they are creating some games. One also must wonder at the state a mind would have to be in to decide that sitting there pressing “A” 100 times is going to be a good time for all.
It is of course quite possible that they were suffering from severe sleep deprivation after working 72+ hours straight on the actual Fable 2 game or something like that. Regardless what is really a fantastic marketing concept falls very short of being an entertaining game.
by Sutton Dagger
How do you begin to critique an experience like Braid, based on puzzle/platforming elements, yet with far more profound connotations? At its’ core, Braid is a puzzle/platforming game and has no hesitation in paying homage to its’ roots (“Im sorry, but the Princess is in another castle”, is a classic line your all familiar with).
The gameplay handles like you would expect from a traditional 2D platformer, you are able to move both left and right, whilst jumping up to, or descending down to higher/lower levels respectively. Though there is certainly more to Braid than this simple premise, for those who wish to explore such avenues.
In 2003, PAM and Microsoft Game Studios launched Topspin, a game which revolutionized the way in which tennis games would be created in the future.
It was marked as being both a commercial and critical success for its uncanny ability to appeal to the masses and breath new life into the tennis genre.
“You know what?” mutters Edward Carnby (the protagonist of the game) after blowing up a vampire-bat-creating-blob, “I’m dreaming of a beer”. Believe me, so was I.
“`If I had drunk enough beer I might have started belting out old ‘80s songs, like the one by Heart that goes “And the night goes by so very slow, but I hope it won’t end though, alone…” only I’d change the lyrics to “And the game goes by so very slow, but I hope it will end soon though… moan.” On the other hand, if I had been drunk maybe I’d have enjoyed myself more with this game.
Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 is the sequel to the classic title Mercs. It is a top down shooter developed by Backbone Entertainment and published by CAPCOM.
With multiple shooters on XBLA can this be the one to top the rest?
The previous two titles of the series (Commando and Mercs) were great games of the shooting genre in general, and were instantly fantastic games to play.
Dragon Ball Z has been an incredibly popular anime franchise for well over a decade, originally derived from the manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama.
The DBZ phenomenon has infiltrated movies, figurines and of course, video games. Burst Limit is the first ‘next gen’ DBZ game, but does it offer more than the previous DBZ iterations?
by Jamie-Lee Flett
Indiana Jones was everyone’s favourite archaeologist of the 80s; you could always rely on him to use his sweet skills to escape from his latest life-or-death situation to save the day.
Upon the release of the latest Indiana Jones film the brilliant duo, Lucas Arts and Traveller’s Tales have now turned the adventures of Indy and his friends into a great game which reinvents the trilogy so that children of this generation can connect with the classic hero.
by Sith Lord Jim
Bad Company does many things that are new for the Battlefield series. The two largest of these is the inclusion of a single player campaign with a storyline (BF:MC does not really count storyline-wise.) and the destructability of the environment.
Yet even with these major additions BF:BC manages to retain that Battlefield feeling that fans of the series will know and love. These additions rather than destroying the series manage to feel like a natural progression for the series.
I mention this as its always nice to see a series moving forward rather than constantly trying to “get back to it’s roots”
I have a new theory about the fall of the Roman Empire. Forget the fact that the Empire had expanded too far to be defendable, that the population had too many different cultures with its own agendas, that the army was made up of too many mercenaries, or that Roman society was only a consumer society, corrupt and morally bankrupt, too dependent on slaves and its living necessities from its vulnerable outer provinces instead of from itself.
by Shadow Wave
Splinter Cell Chaos Theory has finally hit Xbox Live Originals for downloading onto your Xbox 360’s. With it weighing in at just over 5 gigabyte to download, it has been majorly off- putting for many people. So this review hopefully will persuade you to change your mind, as it’s truly a brilliant game.
Splinter Cell Chaos Theory once again puts us in the shoes of Sam Fisher, the ageing stealth soldier, working for the government’s Third Echelon division
The original Ninja Gaiden was actually released as a reasonably straightforward arcade game in 1988, before it made the jump to consoles on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) later that same year.
It immediately gained a reputation as a fiercely difficult action and platforming game which also showcased the first use of cinematic cut scenes to tell a story on a console.
With time a lot has changed across Ninja Gaiden’s many iterations; the stories make even less sense; platforming has become a shadow of its former self; the game has become a noted graphical and animation showcase; and combat has evolved into arguably the finest engine the industry has ever seen.
The very first thing you do in Race Driver: GRID is enter your name, country and nickname and bang, you’re straight away seated in a Dodge Viper SRT-10 going 200kph down the sun soaked, spectator filled city streets of San Francisco on a mission to win.
This is how Codemasters’s Race Driver: GRID starts off, throwing the gamer straight into the action without the need of any tutorial on the controls or basic playing techniques of the racing at hand.
by Shadow Wave
Soon as Metal Gear Solid is booted up to the main menu you suddenly just know in yourself that this is going to be brilliant.
The menu consists of Solid Snake our favourite young hero, who has now aged close to his end, visiting the grave of the Boss.
The menu’s presentation reeks of pure quality and thus, before you even start the game your adrenaline is pumping for excitement.
For those who are unfamiliar with N+ it’s roots go back to the original PC flash game N that debuted in 2005 and has been freely available ever since. N+ is the Xbox Live Arcade version.
In a nutshell N+ is a bigger, badder ninja with a couple of new tricks (and fresh threads), that believes he should charge for his services. Yes you can play N for free on PC, but if you want to hang with the fresh ninja on the 360 block, he wants 800 MS points for the pleasure.
When originally released in 2001 Tetsuya Mizuguchi, inspired by modern abstract art, wanted to push the idea of technology and art through the medium of videogames.
His template was an on rails shooter with simple conventional controls and an improbable story about a hacker who enters the virtual world to restore an artificial intelligence which is humanity’s last hope.
But the purpose of this was merely a platform from which he could convey the unique experience of synesthesia.
by Sutton Dagger
With a plethora of Xbox Live Arcade games available you would think that every genre would have been covered, well for those strategy fans among us there was still a gaping hole in the XBLA line-up, until now.
Commanders: Attack of the Genos is a turn-based strategy game developed by SouthEnd Interactive and Published by Sierra Online.
I still remember my excitement as a kid when I first sat in the boat on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. I must have waited four or five times to ride it again and again.
Then I grew up. When I last went several years ago the ride seemed to have lost its gloss, the special effects weren’t magical anymore, and the excitement I had felt so strongly turned to profound disappointment.
What takes next to no mathematical skill, appears in the puzzle section of almost every print media out today and drives everyone mad? That’s right, it’s Sudoku!
And this week Absolutist has brought their own iteration of this classic mind bender to XBLA. So grab a coffee, tuck yourself in and get into Buku Sudoku.
Who couldn’t watch a Bourne movie and imagine playing it as a video game? The fast pace, fantastic ‘who am I’ storyline, brutal combat, and shaky cam are tailor made for a game.
Luckily High Moon Studios and Sierra agreed, and went about making The Bourne Conspiracy. The problem is that most movie-to-game conversions are abysmal cash-ins that only make you think of what could have been.
So, is Conspiracy another crappy tie-in or is it a genuine “bourne again” movie-to-game experience?
by Shadow Wave
Following the events of the original game, The Longest Journey on the PC, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey adds a new main character and tries to leave behind the point and click game play and replace it with general 3rd person controls, combat and simpler puzzles to attract a larger audience.
While the new game play doesn’t quite work as well, the game still maintains a superb story.
Back in 2006 on the eve of the original Xbox’s demise, renowned developer Criterion of Burnout fame released a naked, high energy homage to the FPS genre.
It was a slickly produced Eastern Bloc romp, juiced up on steroids and widespread collateral damage that became as guilty a pleasure as any action movie from the 1980’s. Courtesy of Microsoft’s Xbox Originals this game has now been re-released as a 1200MP download.
The Mayans were one of the Earth’s great civilizations during their time period on Earth.
Tiqal is a puzzle game that bases its main story line on a young warrior who is on a quest for glory and who along the way gains special power-ups from pleasing Mayan gods.
Now before you get all excited, remember this is a puzzle game, so don’t expect a gory hack-and-slash cannibalistic game based on the Mayan civilization.
It’s like the old glove that fits, that bike you rode when you were a child or even those shoes that have been worn in just right.
Ubisoft’s next addition to the Rainbow Six IP is everything you’ve come to expect from the series and although the similarities take away from some of the “new game feeling”, the extras sure make up for it!
by Grathius XR
From the moment you put the disc in your Xbox 360 you better strap yourself to your chair or couch, because this is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride.
Burnout Paradise the latest instalement in the Burnout franchise has seen a hefty overhaul.
With updated graphics taking advantage of the 360’s potential, an open city to do as you please with many ways to win a race instead of set races and routes and an online that is to crash for.
by Shadow Wave
To celebrate the release of Dreamfall: The Longest Journey on Xbox Originals, we thought we would turn the back the clock to the year 2000, and review the first game of the series PC original version, The Longest Journey.
As this game is truly a masterpiece created by Funcom. The full review of Dreamfall: Longest Journey will follow in Part 2.
Waking up at 8am on Wednesday the 23rd to discover on my front porch a box containing my ordered GTA: IV Special Edition sitting there, was a sight to behold.
I thought to myself is it April 29th already? No it can’t be. Just like any other gamer I ripped open the box and took the Special Edition and checked out the lockbox, key ring, duffle bag, soundtrack and the most anticipated game of the year Grand Theft Auto IV.
Triggerheart Exelica was to say the least a very, very late bloomer, released in Japanese arcades in 2006 and the Dreamcast in 2007, it finally made its way across in 2008 to the Xbox 360.
For an arcade and inferior console port, can it hold its own on a far more superior console?
by Sith Lord Jim
To be honest straight up, I have never really enjoyed or managed to really get into what became of the Grand Theft Auto series from 2 onwards.
I found the frustration that came from the poor controls, horrible aiming system, lack of any sort of narrative depth, and unlike-able characters far outweighed any joy I could derive from mindlessly killing pedestrians.
by Shadow Wave
Digital Extremes attempt at a 3rd person shooter had an interesting and unique goal. When it was first announced its graphics looked amazing and sound effects and violence was something to get excited about.
Years later and its finally out. But is it a good game? Well if you like repetitive combat and a story that’s like reading every 10 pages of a book, it will be!
The brain training genre has surprisingly taken off at a frantic rate recently thanks to Nintendo’s consoles. Even more surprising if you have yet to play one of these titles, is that they are actually fun.
Brain Challenge is Gameloft’s foray into this genre and the first of its kind for the Xbox360.
Treasure’s Ikaruga has moved from the Dreamcast and Gamecube onto the Xbox Live Arcade.
The transition has added a few new additions, such as online co-op, leaderboards, and replays, to what was already a solid title.
by Shadow Wave
Monolith’s sequel to one of the most popular 360 Launch titles, Condemned, is back. It’s back with all the gore, atmosphere, and scares we’ve come to expect from the franchise that will force you to jump and cringe at every corner, door and opening.
The game tries to improve over the issues in the first game, such as the combat and crime scene investigation.
Yet still provide the scary atmosphere and freakish events that made the first game what it was, but, is this sequel better or worse in the end ? You be the judge.
I love “what if” scenarios. From science fiction to conspiracy thrillers, “what if” makes life more exciting because “what is” is often so mundane.
Turing Point: Fall of Liberty, from Spark and Codemasters, presents a captivating “what if” story revolving around an alternate history where Winston Churchill, instead of surviving being hit by a taxi, dies and the United Kingdom subsequently falls to Nazi forces in World War 2.
In the 1950s the Nazis attack the United States and the game begins. So, is the game a ‘turning point’ in the first person war shooter genre, or does it commit video game atrocities?
In a day and age where sports games such as NHL 08, NBA 2K08, FIFA08 and others feature not only great game-play and a realistic feel offering authentic team jerseys, players and team names, there has been one game that has managed to stay up the top in terms of game-play and great fun with-out featuring the full authentic entourage, Pro Evolution Soccer.
Not having had the privilege of playing any of the first Katamari games I was unsure in what to expect with Namco Bandai’s latest, Beautiful Katamari.
In a way this could be viewed as an advantage, I’m approaching the game somewhat fresh and without bias, the downside being – if I was a great fan of Japanese adventure/arcade games surely I would have played one of the previous Katamari’s …
Halo 3 nailed it, Gears of War executed it, and heck even Crackdown did it. Did exactly what you say?
Feature the ability to plough through the campaign with a friend over Xbox Live and even on the same Xbox 360. EA’s Army of Two was built from the ground up to ensure the player gets the most thrilling, intense action packed co-op experience and while it might have sounded good on paper, it has not been implemented all that well.
The Xbox 360 is home to many First Person Shooters that have set the bar high in terms of intensity, game play, graphics, and overall design.
While the latter of them dominating the online community and offline and offering similar end results, Kaos Studios sought to add and give the gamer a difference experience to your usual FPS.
I love shooters. It’s just that there are so many of them on the 360.
This means that I’ve been there done that so many times that even Call of Duty 4 doesn’t seem that innovative. And Conflict: Denied Ops is no Call of Duty 4. Far from it.
Still, it is very easy to compare all shooters to COD4 and dismiss any that aren’t as exciting or have the same production values.
by Shadow Wave
Whenever you buy a movie or television based on game, you stop and pause before handing your cash over. You think will it be worth it? Am I wasting my money?
Well, Lost: Via Domus is the latest game to raise these questions.
And it manages to pull it off just enough to make it worth a purchase and thanks to its lowered price point of RRP $79.95 the decision to buy or not might be made easier.
With the recent explosion in popularity of all things Texas Hold ‘em, it’s refreshing to experience a Poker related game outside of the 100’s of tournament clones around today.
Void Star Creations’ Poker Smash is a welcomed addition to Xbox LIVE Arcade and one that has definitely proved a smash!
by Sutton Dagger
The Microsoft Xbox 360 has a spectacular line up of games from many different genres, feel like a FPS title, no problem. Maybe a sports game, or perhaps your into the RTS experience.
That’s all well and good but where are the Japanese role playing games you ask? We have Blue Dragon and Eternal Sonata but their is something still missing, a JRPG which stands out from the rest.
Will we ever find that diamond in the rough? Will Lost Odyssey fill that void? Lets find out shall we.
by Shadow Wave
Capcom’s fourth Devil May Cry game is finally out on Xbox 360 and PS3. Does it live up to the quality of the first and third game? Or does it fall down into the pits of hell like the second game?
Well the game certainly is great, but it does have some major issues which cripple the player with the moments of “why?” or “not again!”
The game brings new life to genre with a additional character named Nero; who has a demonic arm that lets him do many cool things which players have never experienced from playing as Dante.
With the new good inclusion, also comes repetition, and a lot of it. Want to know more?
by Sith Lord Jim
The last entry into the Turok series, Turok Evolution, was the epitome of overhyped trash. It was quite possibly the worst game on the original Xbox.
So it was understandable that it was with a substantial amount of dread, that I first put Turok into my 360 disc tray. I soon joyfully discovered that this latest entry in to the series elevates itself to the realms of mediocrity.
by Sith Lord Jim
Hype can be a horrible thing. It causes you to see the full potential of a title, free of flaws. The potential causes us to expect games that are merely good to be so much more than that.
Then we get the final version with all its problems and we end up comparing the final game to the game we expected to be playing. In the end hype makes every flaw that much more painfully obvious.
Unfortunately hype, potential, and flaws are all things Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed has in spades.
I’m inside an underwater city at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. In one hand I hold a grenade launcher, while the other hand is a genetically mutated mess – sometimes on fire, sometimes as cold as ice.
Above me floats midair some sort of miniature helicopter, equipped with a machine gun, ready to respond to any threat. Oh – did I mention it’s 1960?
by Shadow Wave
Area 51 is probably one of the larger mysteries on the planet, with so many rumors and questions surrounding it. Are UFOs real? What do Aliens really look like? Where is this place? What do aliens look like?
All questions that can provoke a developer to create a world where it does exist and make up their own unique game. Well this game is as bad as something that could be hidden in Area 51.
I have found great enjoyment playing games like Oblivion and Two Worlds – RPG’s that are both in depth and fun to play, relying greatly on “realistic fantasy” as I call it. But I’ve discovered something new.
Something different. A genre that stems from the minds of Anime and Manga artists, a genre that sets itself apart from the rest through the use of colourful cartoon-like animations, simply funny humour and mouths that don’t quite seem to match to the words spoken…
This is what it is to be JRPG.
The rattle of gunfire echoes in the distance, static from the radio at your side buzzes quietly, it’s pitch black and you hear footsteps come to the door.
With a flick of your wrist, your vision turns green, silently lighting up your target and with a squeeze of the trigger his hapless corpse lies still. It’s the same old game you’ve come to love but it’s not WWII anymore…
by Aaron Dove
The success that Guitar Hero has enjoyed over the last year has brought rhythm gaming to the forefront of the industry.
So when news spread that when original Guitar Hero developer Harmonix had parted ways with Activision in favour of developing Rock Band, no doubt there were many who may have been sweating at the possible demise of the much beloved franchise.
But never fear for Neversoft is here and has provided us with a follow up that stays true to the original formula. There are also some noteworthy additions to the franchise that fall on both sides of the coin, but in the end it is Guitar Hero and that is all the faithful wanted.
September 25th, Finish the Fight, Believe – these are all terms that we have had in our vocabulary at one stage or another in the past 12 months.
This just goes to show Microsoft’s marketing muscle when it comes to their flagship title for the Xbox 360, Bungie’s Halo 3. Whether you liked it or not, almost everyone on this planet has been touched in one way or another by this massive campaign.
Is Halo 3 just another cog in Microsoft’s hype machine, or has Bungie come out with one of the best games we’ve seen to hit the Xbox 360 this year?
by Sith Lord Jim
Kane swears at Lynch. Lynch swears at everyone. Gamer swears at Kane and Lynch as they realize that once again one of their henchmen is embedded in a wall. Welcome to the rather frustrating experience that is playing Kane and Lynch. This one isn’t for the kiddies.
Years on, there is only one remaining Xbox game on my shelf – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
It’s lasted through countless purges of my collection and has done so because it is probably the best Star Wars branded game released to this date, let alone one of the best Role Playing Games that I’ve ever come across.
It is then no surprise that Bioware’s Mass Effect is following in the fairly large footsteps of it’s long lost cousin, and rightly so.
I’ve locked myself in my bedroom, asked for a voluntary ban at the local and have booked myself into a classy rehab retreat… Sound familiar? No it’s not drugs or alcohol. Not even close… Smoking? Nope.
It’s the latest addition to my Xbox Live Arcade library – Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords and I’ve already written to it’s developer, Infinite Interactive to demand the addition of warning labels to every game. This game is addictive, unnaturally addictive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…