Sep 282012
 

I recently downloaded the now public demo for Resident Evil 6 and quickly realized it was split into three different parts, all dealing with a separate character. After deciding I wanted to do a hands-on impression of the demo, I figured the best way to do so would be to separate the three characters and talk about them all individually before diving into my overall impressions of the demo. Below is the outcome of my thought process.

Leon

Leon’s section revolves around him meeting up with a lady while simultaneously having to deal with our president who is bitten and coming closer and closer to the new girl. Leon is having none of that and takes the president out. It is then revealed that Leon doesn’t know who the girl is but they are tied together somehow. That how is left to be discovered later on in the game.

Leon’s gameplay revolved more around some older games in the franchise. Apart from the redesigned UI and ability to move when you aim, Leon’s section is very reminiscent of Resident Evil 4. The problem here is that the new UI and movement detract away from one of the main, if not controversial, staples of the Resident Evil franchise. It doesn’t completely tarnish the experience by any means but it detracts from it greatly, making you feel like you’re playing a whole separate game instead of the new Resident Evil.

Apart from that little complaint, everything within Leon and Helana’s (unknown lady) little section is perfectly competent and feels like more Resident Evil. The visuals get very choppy at times and the cheese within the story can be smelled from a mile away. Like I said, it’s Resident Evil.

Chris

This is where things begin to differ a tad. Chris’ section introduces a whole new style of gameplay, a style very similar to Gears of War. You are Chris Redfield and you are in the military, you’re dropped off at a location, and you must then shoot a bunch of guys with your machine gun. This whole part is the complete opposite of what Resident Evil is about; instead it diverges deeply into the action genre. Diving into the action genre more than horror is a big complaint many had about Resident Evil 5 so why that would return in an even stronger way with Resident Evil 6 is beyond me.

The combat itself is borderline awful. Resident Evil’s mechanics just do not lend themselves well to only combat. Not only is it frustrating  to aim, the guns themselves lack any kind of force or feel that would make you want to continue using them. Every single thing about this section felt flat and lifeless which is an issue that could very well carry over to the retail product. On one positive note, this portion of the game looked much better than Leon’s did. Maybe it was because it was daytime and had no rain, either way, it looked sharp.

 

Jake

Jake Muller is the newest addition to the Resident Evil franchise. Introduced as Wesker’s son, you can see why he’s an integral part of the story. But the story goes deeper in his eyes as Wesker abandoned him while he was just a boy and eventually Jake realized he must take jobs as a mercenary in order to support his aging and ailing mother. He eventually meets up with a lady named Sherry who needs his blood as he could be the key to “saving the world.”

From there, Resident Evil happens. You shoot guys with a pistol, sniper, machine gun, shotgun, etc. as you traverse across a torn apart land leading Sherry beside you the whole way. Jake’s section seems to blend the Chris and Leon sections into one as it shows hints of both horror and pure action sequences. Even if his combat isn’t going to blow anyone away, I definitely find Jake’s story to be very interesting and interest is something the Resident Evil series is beginning to lack.

Overall Impressions

Resident Evil 6 has been garnering a lot of negative press as its release inches closer and closer, some of it warranted and some of it not warranted. I’m beginning to see myself falling in between the positive and negative side as I’m not ready to call Resident Evil 6 an abject failure just yet as it shows promise with an interesting character in Jake and some absolutely gorgeous visuals. Well, when it isn’t dark and raining, of course.

That being said, I just don’t know if the combat can continue to hold up through yet another eight hour experience. I understand puzzles will be thrown in there at random intervals but even those have decreased in quality as the franchise has continued on. Resident Evil 6 still has a lot to prove and we’ll find out if Capcom can pull together one more quality Resident Evil game come October 2nd.

Dec 142011
 

One of the flagship titles for the PS3′s Move controller was a title called ‘Sorcery.’  Virtually overnight, the PlayStation move demo became one of the most anticipated motion control titles.  That was back in E3 2010 and the team behind sorcery has been silent since then… until now.

Sorcery as shown in E3 2010

The PlayStation blog website has published a hands-on feature with the title.  The footage shown shows an older protagonist and bigger more menacing enemies.  The website also interviewed Brian Upton, the design director of the project, who details some of the changes the game has undergone since its unveiling.

The current build of Sorcery

The interview also revealed that Sorcery is “on-track” to be released this spring.  Read the full interview and check out some in-game footage over at PlayStation Blog.

Oct 192011
 

This year’s UK gaming expos have been huge with thousands of attendees and European exclusives coming out of every orifice. Europe’s biggest gaming expo is Eurogamer who had the rights to the first hands-on (in Europe) of a certain highly anticipated game, the game I’m talking about is Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Well Gaming Irresponsibly was there and yes I got a hands on with Skyrim. So without further ado I will let you in on my thoughts of the game.

Both Eurogamer and Bethesda had made one hell of a set up! There were at least 50 TVs showing off the game, 25 Xbox, 25 PS3. As soon as I was allowed into Earls Court London I headed straight to Bethesda’s area and took my seat. Before starting I spoke to one of Bethesda’s representatives and he told me that he managed to spend 3 hours on the demo which “still wasn’t enough time to explore everything”. Unfortunately I was only allowed 30 minutes to play Skyrim so time was short.

I started the demo in a character select screen; I just picked the default character (a Dark Elf) to save time. After a loading screen I appeared in a cave with a few spells, an axe, sword and bow and arrows. While in the cave I checked out the inventory menu and first of all I must say it was so much easier to navigate then Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion’s maze of a menu. Everything just seem to be in the right place and it looked so much better too. Now it was time to exit the cave. Upon exiting the cave my character was blinded by the light but once he regained his sight my mouth dropped. After seeing a number of videos that Todd Howard had recorded a commentary over I knew what I was in for when it came to the scenery and graphics but to see it first hand in 1080p HD was just amazing. Every little detail in the game has been perfected to look as realistic as possible. As I walk down the hill from the cave I could see the wind moving each individual blade of grass, and the snowy mountains in the distance looked awesome to, but my sightseeing came to a halt very quickly as a pack of wolves jumped out at me, so I took out my sword and flame spell to defeat them. The controls for combat are easy, simple and because of that I wasn’t getting discombobulated with multiple button presses. Another awesome thing with combat now is the added mini cut scene when you defeat the last enemy around you, some of them are very brutal but damn they are satisfying- in a non-sick and twisted way-

After making my way down the hill I found myself in a small village called Riverwood. The talk of the town was Dragons; everyone was speculating about the fact that there were sightings of the huge beasts near their town. I didn’t stay in the village long but I did speak to the blacksmith. The dialogue screen doesn’t make you stand still till the conversation is over anymore, so you are free to roam around the room whist talking to someone. After a quick side mission from the blacksmith to make some daggers I headed out of town and up a snowy mountain. Now it was time to get busy, on the way up I came across a number of enemies, some with axes and some with bow and arrows. Using the shield felt a little pointless when arrows were fired at me, no matter what positionI was in I always seemed to get hit by them, whether that was my poor gaming skills coming out or just a tiny flaw in the game I do not know. But the mini cut scenes again were awesome.

Once at the top I discovered Break Falls Barrow and I was greeted by a rather large fella whose first instinct was to breathe fire at me, yes it was time to slay my first Dragon. The scale of these creatures was incredible, the detail and just the way they moved through the skies sent a chill down my spine. The fight did seem very long winded but after a few timed sword blows and the use of my ice spell he was down and his dragon soul was now mine. As I was about to enter Break Falls huge doors i had a tap on my shoulder and my time was up. I was gutted.

Fans of the game will now know that this demo was the one Todd previewed at E3 this year, but even after watching the videos 100s of times playing it yourself is just WOW! With over 300 hours of gameplay you will always find something to do.

If I had to describe this game to you in one word it would be impossible, there is just so much that goes on in Skyrim. I was amazed and gob smacked at the game, I didn’t find any cons but it was only a demo. I am hoping once it is released on 11-11-11 that you guys will be just as overwhelmed as I was and still am.

Oct 022011
 

Admire The Warthog, Up Close And Personal

Racing games are a lot like sports games, you’re guaranteed at least one annually and if they can’t find new ways to change and evolve then they just become dry and stale. Luckily developers have realised this and that is why Forza 4 looks set to be better than most. A new feature set to come with the game is Kinect support, this will not be a Kinect game, but the option to use Microsoft’s newest shiny toy is still there. Racing with Kinect will use head tracking features and an automatic acceleration and braking system. While using the Kinect adds an edge, the best motion tracking feature is Autovista. Autovista allows you to really explore your cars, from the garage you can use motion to look inside and out, on top of and underneath your vehicles, this will include the non-playable Warthog from Halo.

While the Kinect gimmicks are a nice touch, this isn’t the only thing Forza is doing differently. The usual applies setting up the game, choosing which car, track, tires, gearbox and so on, until finally you are on the track. From here everything is new and the same all at once. Forza has once more had the visuals remastered and prettied up, while not a lot of a player’s time will be spent looking around, the environment hasn’t just received the usual touch up and polish, glare now applies. I’ll be honest, I was a bit taken off guard the first time I threw my shiny car round a corner while playing in first person, one of the buildings in the background bounced back a huge dose of sunlight and for a second,  I felt just a little blinded. This is the kind of stuff that makes racing games, there isn’t a lot that can be changed apart from some new visuals, but when something different like this does turn up, it is always good to see.

Looking For Something Better?

Controls are still the run of the mill that we have seen time and time again, you can even still play one handed so long as you select an automatic gear box, that’s not sarcasm, that’s just the truth. So long as you know how to hold down and ease off a couple of triggers while teasing an analog stick, then you can play a racing game even the new ones. Thankfully though, as well as Kinect, there is another way to use Forza. Complete with a new game, there is also another way to play in the form of a whole new controller. The Xbox Wireless Speed Wheel is easily the best way to play the game. Rather than the more awkward feeling from using the Kinect controls or the mind numbingly simple regular controller, this real gives the game new depth. A lot of work has been put into the games visuals so that it looks like you are really driving some of the most amazing cars on the planet so why shouldn’t you enjoy a more realistic feeling too? While the Wheel adds more depth to the gameplay, it does come at a pretty high cost, pretty much the same price as the game but if you are a racing fanatic and want a more realistic feeling, this is the only way you should be playing.

When it comes to how Forza looks as a game, the answer is very well, this is the quintessential racer for those with an Xbox, It comes in as a good all rounder, some people my enjoy the familiarity of racing games, some will be pleased that they have a new, major title to play with their Kinect and those that want something new and more real, can spend the extra on the Wireless Speed Wheel. This is what makes a good game, not something that drops out of the cookie cutter but with a different coloured icing, a game that can mix things up, appeal to all audiences and that is fun to play in more ways than one.

Oct 012011
 

Most superhero games are average at best, a lot of this is due to the fact that most are movie spin offs, which almost always suck. However, one exception to this rule of poor games came in the form of Batman : Arkham Asylum and it has to be said, the sequel is looking to be just as good, if not better, than its predecessor. Not only is the game itself bigger and full of more characters than the original, it keeps the incredibly dark setting and story telling  that makes The Dark Knight look like a My Little Pony Christmas Special.

Starting off, you are immediately introduced to Catwoman as a playable character, whether this will be a constant thing remains to be seen. The Catwoman section re-introduces us to the combat system. The controls remain vastly unchanged, which is a good thing seeing as there was no real issue with what we saw in the first game, not broke, don’t fix it. One thing that has been changed is that when you have finished the early level and take over as the Batman, you already have your gadgets, rather than having to collect everything all over again, the main kit is all there, just waiting to be upgraded rather than collected all over again.

I have already mentioned the game still has a very dark feel, which is mirrored by the visuals, where the early section of the gameplay is set indoors, taking over as Batman lets us truly see what we are in for. As has already been confirmed, to accomidate all of Gothams criminals, it was decided to increase the size of Arkham Asylum, spreading it into its own city and allowing the violent offenders to run amock amongst themselves. This carnage is easily seen, the city looks totally decimated, as though thousands of criminals have been confined to them. The city has it’s tall buildings and bright lights, but there is just something about it, the visuals show you a normal city at a distance, but still manage to capture an eerie feel. Street level is much what you would expect, the vast majority of buildings have been destroyed, old store fronts boarded up and the only buildings of value controlled by armed guards.

The first building you will come to which remains untouched is one of the older buidings, now known as City Hall, the inside appears to be closer to a courthouse, which is exactly what it is being used for. While Catwoman has always tip toed on the edge, not quite hero but also not villan, unfortunately she is being tried by two face, who is not pleased. This is another area where the game excel over its predecessor, most games will have a villain, perhaps an organisation, but there always seems to be one person who you can single out, blame for everything and focus your hatred toward. For Batman this is a bit awkward, the game early on has introduced us to Two-Face and not too much longer after, we see The Joker. Both are fantastically created, with Joker looking just as sick as he is supposed to be, where as Two-Face looks better than his silver screen counter part, the one side of his body looks as if his accident has just occurred, his face is incredibly striking.

There are more rivals of The Batman present and accounted for but they don’t seem as seperate from one another as Joker and Two-Face, Poison Ivy (who seems to be off on her own), The Riddler and Mr. Freeze. Many of these characters were featured in the original game, but not in a full role, mostly as some kind of Easter egg, but this time, they are all contained in one, volitile area, with access to more followers, more resources and bigger and better locations. All of this combined with a longer and bigger game and we finally have a super hero movie that is not only better than other superhero games, but a genuinely good game, worthy of a mention that doesn’t involve slating it as a terrible movie spin off.

Sep 292011
 

Ninja Gaiden is one game we all remember, if you didn’t want to play games like GTA to get your parents pissed off then you played a bit of Ninja Gaiden, violent and gory but with a bit more depth than violent beat em up games such as Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. Despite the series’ latest reincarnation, Ninja Gaiden II, taking the gore fest to a new level by adding a combat system which allowed you to brutally dismember your opponents, Ninja Gaiden 3 is set to explore and create a more in depth story rather than focusing on the gimmick violence the series once thrived on.

While some will be upset at the lack of gore, don’t worry too much, it is still present and accounted for, just not the ability to displace the limbs of your enemies. To begin, you are on top of a building in London, looking down to a street blocked and filled with unknown and unaware terrorists. This being a preview, there is no hint as to why you are there or what the story is. With the confirmation having already come that Ryu’s arm would be in some strange state, after the possession from the earlier title, this is noticeable and a good example for the visuals. The strange fire that seems to emanate is clearly powerful, but it looks fantastic, you can almost feel the energy radiating from it. Moving away from the look of the star of the show, there is a fair amount of detail in the surroundings too. The London skyline is the same as most cities, tall buildings with glittering lights as well as several landmarks, off in the distance.

Having admired the view from above, it was time to get this show on the road, throwing yourself from the building and into the hick of the enemies below. Controls are not overly challenging, sticks to navigate, an pair of attack buttons and a jump button. Enemies are armed to varying degrees, some have only blades for protection but a few have some small arms and assault rifles, with just one or two with some beastly rocket launchers. Team Ninja ahve already stated that the difficulty will not be toned down in order to accommodate casual payers, being a relatively casual Ninja Gaiden player, this is apparent very early on. For the seasoned veteran the game will probably seem relatively easy, but for anyone else it is great to have a challenge. Mixing up the attacks will help to charge up some of Ryu’s inner power, possibly part of his arm possession, which allows you move quicker and hack ‘n’ slash your way through enemies in glorious slow motion.

Enemies will come and go throughout the course of time until eventually it is time to face off against a mechanoid which at first glance looks like a faceless Metagross with a few extra legs. It is the legs that you will want to attack first, this devilish machine is very capable of destroying you in a fairly short space of time. The best bet is to hide out underneath and attack the legs from inside to save being decimated by the machines various rockets. If you decide against trying to kill this hellish Poke’mon, then you can just run on rather than fight it out. The following section gets you used to some of the other stuff that Ryu can do, not just chopping people into small chunks.

This where Ninja Gaiden shows that it isn’t just a one trick pony, there is more to it than carving up the faceless masses like Thanksgiving dinner. Here we get to run and slide beneath varying obstacles as more attackers reign missiles down to the street, fallen arches, trucks and general rubble. Once everything has quietened down, time to climb some walls, relativley conventional and once atop the building we get to see some stealth. Rather than some kind of mini game system which has been implemented with other games, this is just a case of sneaking carefully and quietly, rushing in only as your target begins to twist before being cut down silently and in his prime.

Overall, this looks to be one of those games where if you love Ninja Gaiden, it will be a day one purchase, but if you aren’t experienced with the genre at all, then definitely avoid unless you are after a real challenge. It truly is a beautiful and brilliantly made game but the fact remains that it is for the core players of the series and genre. While it is nice to see a title that refuses to conform to a wider audience, sticking to their guns, it still would have been nice to have tried introducing less experienced players to the game.

Sep 272011
 

Back in the day, if you fancied jumping into a game where you could cause utter carnage throughout a virtual city, you would load up the PC and play some Grand Theft Auto. But, as we grew up so did GTA, becoming more of a serious series, this left a hole that needed to be filled and luckily Saints Row came along and filled the space in us all that craved a bit of mindless and very fun destruction. Over time, some would have expected the series to go the same way as it’s spiritual predecessor, but thankfully, the series has become more and more humorous.

Naturally being in command of a ruthless street gang which now controls almost an entire city, street level crime is well behind The Saint’s, so taking it to the next level, we begin Saint’s Row: The Third with a bank heist. This, as you can probably guess, is not going to be any run of the mill bank job. To begin with, the primary disguise is giant bobble-heads, as you progress through the bank you notice that the game has actually changed very little, the controls are still the same and the visuals, although slightly sharper, are again pretty much unchanged. Moving through the bank, story wise, you will notice that even the guys behind the counter are armed to the teeth and as you move into the office section, security is handled by what can only be described as over dressed hookers. While seduction is key to a lot of things, working the security detail in a large bank can’t be that comfortable in a fairly short dress which attracts a lot of attention to the cleavage.

Once you arrive at the safe there is obviously no point in cracking it when you can just head up to the top floor, blow a hole above it and out to the sky, then have it lifted out of the building via helicopter. By this point, law enforcement appear to have cottoned on to what is going down, or up, and they have decided that scantily clad female officers probably won’t be too much use and have decided to send in the SWAT team instead. Having stolen a safe from the bank and made a daring escape, it is time to get to grips with the rest of the game.

Possibly The Most Serious Thing About The Game An Octopus Gun

Character customisation is still present and accounted for, but this is a staple of the game now.  So once your virtual self is adequately accurate, it’s time to see how the game handles pure carnage out on the streets. The answer to how well the game does this is very well and very over the top, the usual weapons throughout the game are al present and accounted for, multiple hand guns and assault rifles help you in your cause to murder everyone, while explosives are handled by stinger missiles and grenade launchers, meaning having shot everyone you can proceed to level the city and torch every car in sight. But, this being Saints Row, there was always going to be something more impressive, more outrageous than ever before and this is handled by The Penetrator. The Penetrator is a fairly weak melee weapon with nothing interesting about it in the slightest. Except that it is a five-foot long, purple, dildo sword, fancy beating and humiliating someone after stealing there car but before you put a round right between the eyes? Well this is the right tool for the job.

Having finished running around the city and slapping people silly with a giant sex toy, for a little while, it was time to get a real feel for how the game played rather than just that it looks nice. The city environment is almost exactly the same as in previous installments, interactable stores and businesses, it’s like a new, Monopoly style layer has been added with businesses you own generating income every 24 hours. Nothing much to report there and the same applies for vehicles, there is the usual cars with amusing names that you would expect, everything from motorbikes to sports cars to street sweeper trucks. As far as the skies go, once more you will be able ‘borrow’ that Police helicopter which allows you to rain death from above, whether there will be dildo missiles is unconfirmed, but totally possible.

I See Your Octopus Gun, And Raise You A Five Foot Dildo Sword

Once more, it comes down to a choice of what you want from a game, while we all enjoy a good, emotional story there is also times when we want to get away from all the seriousness of the world and the virtual worlds. Saints Row: The Third is a true master of the fun game, nothing too serious, a decent story and plenty of stuff to do, both hilarious and allowing you to be a shrewd business man, downright mayhem was never so much fun and i would have to recommend this to anyone who has even a slight, immature bone left in their body.

Sep 252011
 

When Final Fantasy XIII was released, there where a lot of people that just didn’t think that it was up to scratch, some said it was because of how linear the game had become, removing the amount of exploration, while others pointed towards features such as shops being removed with no adequate replacement, some didn’t like the battle system. It seemed as though no matter where you looked people were tearing the game to pieces, so it came as a shock to many when a sequel was announced, but as time has gone on and more details have come to light, it looks as though Final Fantasy XIII-2 could save the series that many had lost faith in.

The first thing you notice, as with all Final Fantasy games is how amazing everything looks, here is a series which has constantly impressed with its visuals, giving players a perfectly realistic world which is still filled with the unbelievable characters and weapons that make an excellent fantasy game and when it comes to the visuals, the latest offering does not disappoint, staying true to it’s predecessor, everything still has an air of familiarity to it, just with some extra polish. While the game is stunning, there really isn’t much else to be said for it visually, no holes to pick and nothing that catches your eye and makes you wonder why it wasn’t better or even different.

Now that we have the visual aspect over and done with time to look at where the majority of the criticism came from, the way in which FF XIII had strayed from it’s RPG style gameplay and become more linear. Once again you return to Gran Pulse, the point where many said they first started to enjoy the original game, still it remains as stunning as ever, but this time there is far less linear play. In Just a couple of minutes I had easily spoken to ten NPC’s and had picked up two side quests, take that linearity. It isn’t only the interaction which seems to have made the RPG feel more prominent, the areas all seem to be far more explorable, not quite on a level with series such as Elder Scrolls or Fallout, but there is nothing linear about it.

I also got my first look at part of the new Historia Crux system, this system is what allows you to travel freely between time zones but within the same area, not only will this be possible within Gran Pulse, but also areas of Cocoon, with some places having flourished while others have been decimated and renamed because of it. The Gates themselves look magnificent, like a diamond shaped, golden spider web, just waiting to carry you through time and space and show you the secrets of both times gone by and what is yet to come. It certainly looks as though the criticism from previous games has been taken on board and rather than just tweaking the system, Square have totally thrown themselves into creating a new one.

Finally, the moment most will have been waiting for, the battle system. People hated the Final Fantasy XIII battle system, they didn’t like the way it had changed but if I’m honest, i really don’t think it deserved the wrap that it got. Yes it was new and different but a game has to change and evolve in order to stay relevant, new systems and features are what make the industry so varied and incredible, but if you were one of the people that really  hated this new system, then sorry but it remains at the heart of the new game too. My first taste of the updated system came in the form of fighting a giant, seemingly disembodied hand, later found to be that of an invisible giant known as Atlas. As i have said before, rather than totally overhauling the system, the basics of it are still the same but with some new additions, rather than throwing out a bunch of commands, timing is now everything and can severely increase or decrease the amount of damage you can do, for example, attack as the hand was swiping for you and there would be relatively little damage but, catch the beast of guard, just after his own attack when his defenses are lower and you can cause some serious damage. Later on in the game, new features will also become available, including the ability to have following monsters do your bidding in order to unleash special attacks for some serious damage.

Over all, not much has changed, but this is a sequel and while some may have found problems with the original, these have been addressed, the tutorial side of things is taken care of fairly quickly, the battle system has changeable difficulty as well as some other adjustments but, for the most part this is a worthy sequel which has just took an already incredible world and made it more open and interactive. So come the start of the year you will be able to make up your own mind, for those that really didn’t like the features of XIII, steer clear, but, if you wanted a more open experience or just had a few niggles with the original then this will definitely be worth some of your time.

A More Elaborate Gate

Sep 242011
 

Battlefield 3 will hit store shelves on October 28th, 2011.

Battlefield 3 is one of the most anticipated games of this year, while fuel is continuously added to the fire in the argument between Modern Warfare and Battlefield, the fact is that all it means is that we are getting two awesome games in the next few months and it really depends on personal preference. Personally, I will be getting Battlefield and having played a portion of the campaign at Eurogamer Expo, this has only increased my excitement for the AAA first person shooter.

You begin on a hillside, one of a group of soldiers about to push forward into the town with the objective to secure some positions throughout the city. The controls remain pretty unchanged compared to previous Battlefield games, so old players will be happy and new players will be able to get used to them pretty quick. As the order is given to move forward, staying as close to your team is the aim of the game, some small fire is coming in but trying to stray away from the group will lead to almost instant death from the mortar fire decimating the landscape.

Visually, everything from preivious games has been overhauled, every round still seems to be a tracer, meaning that as it screams past you not only can you here the wind, you see the glow as the round zips past and into the ground. Damage still shows up the same too, the red arrow giving you a decent idea of who is trying to get rid of you. Failing the mission through friendly fire is still featured too, rather than just not allowing you to shoot your comrades, you are pretty heavily punished.

As your progress through the level, keeping under cover still remains essential, but destructive environments don’t seem to have as much focus as before, this could be a bit of an issue as it is one of the features from previpous Battlefield games that added to the experience for me. This could just be for this level, or because the game is still, supposedly, unfinished, but the fact of the matter is that all i saw get smashed apart by the fire was a door and a handful of sandbags being shot away from some of the cover points.

The spread of weapons is still the same as we all remember, requiring a well focused scope in order to take down pretty much any character, unless you are right up close. Thankfully, there doesn’t appear to have been the addition of any pointless and irritating features, such as a massive amount of spawn points sending an almost endless supply of enemies until you can reach a certain point.

As with previous entries in the series, there is a sense of team work and coordination, the game makes you think, rather than mindless shoot your way through to a check point or destination. One example of this comes after you have scaled a wall and are faced by an area which the enemies use bright flood lights to make themselves almost invisible, thanks to the fact that the glare really affects the player, another example of Battlefield’s realism. You can move through this area in one of two ways, either push forward through the fire and hope for the best, or be careful and sneak around the far side of the map, this allows you to avoid being blinded and be being in an alley of cover, take out the enemies from multiple directions, mostly without being spotted.

It isn’t all just large outdoor areas, you are eventually told to move through an apartment block, giving the game a chance to show off how close quarter combat should be, it is far easier to get killed in this area as your enemies will not be armed with mid range weapons, but are all sporting some heavy firepower in the form of shotguns. Having breached one door after a fairly quiet corridor, you are knocked backwards by your opponent on the other side, this throws you into bullet time, allowing you to easily dispatch at least two of the enemies before you, but giving a third plenty of time to get down into some cover.

Having moved through the chunks of the city and seeing as much of the game and it’s features as DICE could cram into one demo level, Battlefield 3 seems definitely deserving of the hype, this is a game which is still, floating around the Alpha or Beta stage, but having played the campaign and some of the multiplayer all I can say for it is that the game feels both finished and a job well done. Roll on October.

Sep 212011
 

Skylanders: Spyros Adventure is looking to be, hands down, the single greatest kids game ever. The gaming community has now reached a point where the majority of it’s older players are also parents, which opens up a whole new world of things to do with your kids and Spyro was the game that a lot of people had played on the original Playstation all those years ago.

Recently the Spyro series had become a little bit stale, some of the latest entrants have been a bit dull and boring but Skylanders looks to be a whole new series with Spyro’s Adventure the first of supposedly many entries into the whole series. This time round, rather than just taking control of a handful of playable characters, there are 32 possible playable characters that use eight different elements. Now, this may sound like a lot but it gets better and isn’t the only reason why this game is great for kids. As well as being a multiplatform game, the way that the game stores your save makes it possible for you to use your save across different platforms. The thinking behind this is a great addition, few young kids will have multiple consoles so, if one has a Wii but there friend has PS3, then they can still load there characters and saves on each others console. This will be something truly revolutionary.

The multiplatfom save feature is just one of the ways in which the system allows players to select a character, each game will come with a Portal, this can be plugged into the console or computer and then the character is loaded through a solid figure. Now, knowing that kids are the most destructive creatures in the world, Activision claim they have submerged, frozen and even thrown these little figures off buildings to make sure that they are ready to be unleasehed on small children. The game itself is shipped with three main characters to use which allow you to complete the game but, as you will have noticed by now, i said that there was 32 characters across eight elements. Characters will be avaliable for purchase seperatly, think of it as a child friendly DLC, except you wont have to wait for months until it is released and the kids can play with the figures, not just on the console, another addition to the game is that each character comes with an online code, enter it on the website and yo will be able to access mini games through the browser.

The Portal Which Allows Multiplatform Saves

Now that we have looked at the technical side of Skylanders, how does the game play? The answer is very, very well. The environment is everything that you would expect from the series, bright and colourful, with plenty of magical stuff going on. Gems can be collected as you progress, keeping a currency system running through the game. As well as a bright and shiny environment, the game has plenty of interesting NPC’s kicking about. Playing through the first level you get the usual tutorial style stuff, how to jump, how to move this obstacle and so on but then you reach the point where you have to change the character.

With eight different elements, each obviously has a variety of abilities so if you reach a door that needs water, then you have to load up a water character, as soon as the figure hits the portal, it is there, on the screen looking back at you, doing a little jig. No loading screens, not cutscene, just a couple of seconds of dancing character and you are playing again. Hopefully, later on in the game, you will be able to switch these characters on the fly to do some awesome, combination attacks, co op is also taken care off, with room on the portal for more than one character, this means it is the kind of game you could play with your kids and means that they can take a personalised character, say for example Spyro in a top hat and monacle, and they can play with their personal Spyro over at a friends house.

A Promise The Game Looks Set To Keep

All the staples of a Spyro game are there, Spyro himself  looks great in HD, copious amounts of playable characters, colorful environments and of course, the bad guy. He’s introduced as some kind of evil wizard, surrounded by red lights and fire upon his first appearance and i can almost guarantee you are going to spend a lot of time having to listen to this guy. Not only did playing it help me imagine what this game would be like for kids, but there was so many consoles set up that you could hear people playing it with their kids already, it’s not that it looks like a ground breaking, awesome, nostalgic game, it is the fact that it allows people to share an interest with their children and it is something that kids will love. A lot of people give Activision a bad wrap but, it certainly looks like to me, that they have managed to create the perfect kids gaming experience.

Sep 182011
 

Gears of War 3 is so close you can almost touch it, we have seen the insides of the Epic Edition, we’ve seen Ice-T unbox the console and in just a couple of days time we will finally be able to finish the story. I finally got my hands on the final hurrah for the series just the other day in some good old fashioned Team Deathmatch and the final multiplayer product is truly amazing.

With new addition Beast mode being on the top of everyone’s first to play list at the moment, we seem to have forgotten about the regular multiplayer but as quality goes, Gears of War 3 delivers. The controls remain unchanged from previous outings, but with the name change from Warzone to Team Deathmatch, the way the game plays has remained the same. Teams are still Cog and Locust and it is still possible to switch weapon load outs after each death. Scoring works with each team having twenty lives or respawns. Once these twenty have been used up, then it becomes a last chance fight for survival.

Once at the screen, you zone out and concentrate purely on what is going on within the game, attention to detail was obviously incredibly important, despite no destructible environment, the city looks suitably destroyed already. Burning vehicles were scattered throughout the street, providing some handy cover once outside the safety of some of the buildings. Indoors are just as intricate as the shattered world outside, the lobby shows no trace of who the building was once occupied by, it’s just your standard generic lobby. But, just because the whole place isn’t covered with signs of it’s former doesn’t meant that the game particularly lacks anything, in fact, far from it.

Perfect For Any Trophy Case

After getting over just how amazing everything looks, as well as how smoothly everything seems to run, you get down to the real nitty-gritty of the game. The map, although beautiful, it was relatively small and encouraged far more close quarters action, this is what Gears is all about, rather than having a larger map which is all about moving and hunting for cover, you get forced together and are forced to work with what the game gives you. There is very little room for improvisation. Staying outside of cover for too long results in the same issue it always has before, punishment, instant and vicious punishment from the opposing team. Damage counters remain the same, the cog logo gradually becoming more and more defined until finally, you are down, bleeding out with no cover and only the slim chance that a team mate can finish what you started.

This game is amazing. There is no real need to look into the campaign here because we all know that it will be just as epic as previous outings, if not more so thanks to the fact that it was written by the writer of some of the Gears novels. I have complete faith in this game, not just because of the team behind it, but because of the experience that it gives you. Gears of War easily out classes almost every game on the market, or set to hit shelves any time soon and while it will be sad to see it go, at least it’s going out with style.

Now, although there is no real fault with this game the slow pace is still something that I’m not a huge fan of, but i can appreciate why it plays this way. when you look deep down into Gears of War 3, it really doesn’t have faults. Yes, some of us don’t like the way the characters moved, we like to be able to rush around more than we have to think. But that doesn’t take away from the game at all, if anything it makes it better. Epic have doe exactly what there name suggests and what every game developer should be purely focused on. When you have a successful series going, you mix things up, but you don’t cave to criticism, you don’t change it to compete with the blockbusters. They sat down, made a game that appealed to a lot of people and now, two games later and closing the series, they have made a Gears of War game which is perfect. Not the perfect game, but the perfect Gears of War.

Perfection?

Sep 142011
 

While attending the GameFly Fall Preview Event is Los Angeles, Gaming Irresponsibly had a chance to get hands on with StarHawk, PlayStation’s upcoming exclusive third-person shooter developed by LightBox Interactive. StarHawk is the next iteration in the series that brought you WarHawk, a highly underrated game made by Incognito Entertainment. While the developers may have changed, we can attest that StarHawk has become better than it’s predecessor.

When the demo begins, you play as a human trying to fend off waves of alien attacks as you piece together some technology in order to obtain Rift Energy. Rift Energy is the driving force of the universe, it is very powerful and very dangerous. For the first mission, you will be required to built an energy extractor of sorts, on the open rift to begin compiling Rift Energy and expel all of the waves of attackers by defending your base.

When you begin, you are asked to secure the exposed rift area by killing all the necessary enemies before building the rift extractor. After killing all the enemies in the area, you are instructed to construct an extractor on the exposed rift, so that you may proceed with obtaining said energy. After building the rift, you head towards a satellite in order to begin sending and recieving signals (this is key to gaining soldiers to help you fight, also, it is key to continue playing the demo because you can’t proceed otherwise.) Once you build a few turrets, get some fighters, and defend a few waves of incoming aliens, you begin constructing a mech. This mech is very ‘Transformer’ like and also converts into a jet. Here you are asked to destroy an opposing mech, and thus ending the mission and the demo.

Let’s begin with the most important part of any game, the gameplay. WarHawk was a great game, the controls always felt a little off, no matter how long one played. Well, with StarHawk, that is not the case. The controls were spot on, and very easy to master after just a few moments of playing. It did take a little bit of time to get used to the controls, but once we did, we felt like we had been playing for years. The third-person action from an individual human’s perspective in WarHawk never seemed to match up to flying in jets, or driving in vehicles; not anymore. StarHawk does a great job of making in fun and playable for anyone who chooses to be on their feet a little more. The aiming is more precise and the controls just feel tighter overall. The controls are more fluid and switching between man and machine has never been easier. The covering mechanic seemed a little irrelevant than most other games containing that feature, but nothing to be worried about, since you don’t really need to cover (if you are that bad ass).

Some other features that stood out were the one-on-one battles whilst playing in human form. The action was face paced, and when something great was achieved, the slow-motion camera, showing you melee an enemy in the face, made running up to a swarm of aliens clearly worthwhile. The graphics were stunning (we expect nothing less form a PS3 exclusive and the visual masterpiece of the artistic design of the demo planet was breathtaking. The blurry, slow-motion action sequences where you run up and smash an alien face is where you can really see the beauty in a game created to utilize large-scale battles on huge maps. This kind of attention to detail can be seen throughout the demo, and has us excited to get our hands on some more StarHawk.

Overall, the demo was fabulous. The controls were great, and playability was at a maximum. We are interested to see what the multiplayer is like, and if it can also top that of WarHawk. The fact that you don’t need a fancy jet, or a huge tank to enjoy playing this game is a huge plus. The close-quarters combat is amazing and the slow-motion battle sequences will leave you in awe. Playing as a mech is just as exhilarating, with the ability to transform form bipedal to jet form with a push of a button. The graphics are beautiful and the attention to detail is overwhelmingly surprising. For those fans of the WarHawk series, get ready for StarHawk, definitely a step up from its older brother.