Archive for March, 2011

Now I admit I haven’t played a golf game since the early days of the Tiger Woods PGA series, but surely not that much has changed right? I mean golf is golf at the end of the day right? Wrong.

In the past, golf games stuck to a very simple approach that meant that even if you didn’t like the game you could pick up the controller and just play whenever you had a casual minute or two. Playing this game for almost half an hour I think I would have needed all day to like it, and it just didn’t happen.

Tiger Woods PGA 12 : The Masters Cover Art

Notice how small the words 'Tiger Woods PGA 12' are. I wonder why!?

So let’s look at what’s new in this year’s version. Well first things first, there is no Tiger Woods on the front cover. Whether this is due to Tigers ‘off-field’ shenanigans, or because EA felt the need to take the game in a separate direction we’ll never know, but either way he’s slipped off the cover. Even the games name (Tiger Woods PGA 2012) is now in small letters at the bottom of the game case, rather than emblazoned on the front in giant letters. Of course that doesn’t change the way the game plays so let’s take a look into that.

There is only one word to describe the gameplay and that is awful. They seem to have spent way too much time, effort and probably money capturing the license so that players can play the Hallowed Grounds of Augusta National Golf Club’ and take a ‘run at capturing the distinctive Green Jacket.’ And if I may steal a line from Happy Gilmore ‘Gold Jacket, Green Jacket, who gives a shit’.

The gameplay makes you use the left stick (Playstation 3) or the Playstation Move to take aim and set your power. After about 20 minutes of trying to get this right (Using the Playstation 3 controller) I gave up and I think I got maybe two, three shots that were perfect. This new version also has a caddie for you to be friends with. Aside from the fact that he is a right royal annoyance, he also suggests shots that you may like to take, and his judgement is terrible. You’re better off hiring the labour party to calculate your shots than this guy.  This game made me more frustrated than I have ever been at playing a game and has very few redeeming features.

Tiger Woods Screenshot

Tiger Woods doesn't have Tiger Blood. Neither is he winning

The only thing I can think of is that if you are a seasoned veteran of this game you may just have the time to play it and enjoy it. But if you were like me and just wanted a couple of holes of golf after work, then your better of dusting off that old Playstation 1 system and buying a very cheap version of one of the first PGA tour games.

Saying that though, the graphics are very polished and do look very authentic, at more than one point I actually thought I was watching a video, but this feature alone will not make the game any better. And the ‘Broadcast Presentation’ is quite a nice feature too and makes it feel as though you’re watching it on TV, and in all honesty you are better off watching it on TV.

So to sum up, unless you have all day to hone your skills (Doley, student, stay at home mum, drug addict, lazy sod) then you won’t and can’t possibly enjoy this game. And unless someone tells me otherwise, you will most likely be using this game, the best way possible, as a coaster within 30-45 minutes.

This game will be available to buy from April 1st 2011 on Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii and X-Box 360.

Score: 3/10

Review done during a Charlie Sheen promotion stunt by: parkergordon

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If you remember in my first ever review, I thought the Dynasty Warriors series never really offered anything new, and that it was rehashing the same things with better graphics. Well, after scouring the internet, I found the official site to Dynasty Warriors 7, and it seems I am not the only one who thought that; KOEI may have actually listened to gamers, as DW7 looks to have been given the much needed enhancements.

Dynasty Warriors 7

For the first time in the history of the game Dynasty Warriors now has a Story Mode

You are all aware the game is set during the Three Kingdoms era (based on the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms). Well now they’ve extended it to include the Jin Dynasty, which came after the wars between Wei, Wu and Shu. This means they have added a new kingdom: Jin. This I’m looking forward to, since I wanted more settings than just the same plots done again and again. And the player gets to find out what happens after the fall of the Three Kingdoms, when Sima Yi (the cunning Wei strategist) takes over and starts the Jin Dynasty. Another kingdom means more characters, meaning more methods of decimating thousands of lowly soldiers (joy).

Reading further into the site, KOEI claim that cut scenes blend seamlessly into the gameplay. So you could be watching a scene where a character charges through a forest, stops by the enemy camp, and you can now start the mayhem straight away. No more blackouts that take you away from the experience.

Dynasty Warriors 7 Case Artwork

Dynasty Warriors 7 will be available on the PS3 and the X-Box 360 from the 8th April

According to the site, characters can use a wide variety of weapons; from swords, to spears, to axes, for example. You can additionally equip two weapons, and switch between them on the fly to deal greater damage, a technique known as a “switch attack”. Now this is pretty good, as you now have a much bigger move set at your disposal, but I liked how the characters had their own weapons; like Sima Yi had his claws, Xiahou Dun has the mace, and Zhuge Liang uses a fan. I’m on the fence with this feature, so I won’t make any judgements until I see the game.

One of the biggest additions is Conquest Mode. This looks promising, as you can travel through ancient China, battling for dominance. It allows you to visit cities, recruit new allies, create new weapons, and so on. This is what DW was lacking I felt; just to have the chance to travel the country, and visit towns, as well as taking part in epic battles is what might add more enjoyment to the game.

I do enjoy the series, but I have never been one to look forward to their release, mostly because I know there wasn’t going to be anything new. But after reading up on the 7th game, I am now quite excited. The full review will come when the game is released, on the 8th of April.

Stay tuned, Gamers.

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With all the graphical power contained within a PS3 and Xbox, you’d think games today would have nothing but 3D graphics, and shun anything 2D related. But there are games that stick to the 2D illustrative and make it work, particularly with a good storyline and gameplay. One example of this is BalzBlue: Calamity Trigger.

It’s essentially a 2D beat-‘em-up, similar to Street Fighter and King of Fighters; distinguishable characters, over the top moves, and very technical fighting. The controls are simple enough to learn; with the usual light, medium and heavy attacks, plus a ‘drive’ attack. It’s basically an extra attack to combine with the normal moves. And of course you have your over the top special moves, and a fatality-esque “Astral Heat” moves. So fans of Street Fighter will be able to get used to the control scheme. As a player of such games (net very good but good enough to know the gameplay) I would think a relative newcomer would find the controls a bit difficult at first to handle. Additionally, the movement can feel a bit stiff at time, and the moves don’t seem to flow into each other. Marvel vs Capcom 3 managed to make the controls feel fluent and fast pace, but BlazBlue sometimes feels rigid, which is a shame because I enjoy the over the top combat presented.

BlazBlue Cover Art for X-Box 360

BlazBlue Cover Art for X-Box 360 (Also available for PS3)

The premise is about a character called Ragna the Bloodedge travelling to the fictitious city of Kagutsuchi to destroy the government known as the Librarium. The Librarium know of Ragna, given the nickname of “Grim Reaper”, and his intentions, so put the highest bounty ever on his head, to entice warriors from all over to capture him. Now usually I ignore the storyline in a fighting game, as they never go into too much detail, but BlazBlue includes a story mode, so they delve deeper into the world and story of each character. The story mode plays very much like a typical anime, with cheesy voice acting, and random spells of humour mixed in with the drama. My one concern is the cut scenes are usually just an image, and the dialogue played over the top. I would have liked an actual cut scene in between battles, like a clip of the characters acting out the situation. Apart from that I do like the story and the acting, since I am a fan of anime myself.

Graphically, it’s sublime. Each character looks vibrant and unique, the stages are nicely rendered, and the animation flows beautifully. If the controls were as seamless as the graphics, I would have awarded an extra point.

Screenshot from BlazBlue

What does BlazBlue have that Street Fighter doesn't?

Now I was about to rate this game a 7/10, but I kept playing the story mode for a bit, and stumbles a cut scene hidden away in the “Tips” section of the story mode. It was titled “Teach me Ms. Litchi”, Litchi being one of the characters in the game. Soon as I played it I was greeted with another character, Taokaka, saying, “Teach Me Boobie Lady!”. Soon as I head that I literally burst out laughing. Maybe it was the childish side of my brain, but the surprise of it caught me off guard. The scene is basically Litchi being asked to train Taokaka to be a vigilante. The silliness of it reminds me of the humour of anime, which persuaded me to grant it an extra point.

All in all, this is a strong and enjoyable fighter, which offers a nice challenge that keeps you hooked. The one thing I found sad is that you end up choosing characters not because you like the look of them (like Marvel vs Capcom 3) but because you can control them easier compared to the rest of the roster. Apart from that, I do recommend you give this game a look.

Score: 8/10

Review won in a game of Battleships by: Satchel

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Blood, fighting, gore, fatalities and finishers! Yes, you are right Mortal Kombat 9 is almost here. I used to love the Mortal Kombat (MK) games when I was younger, I rarely can sit and play a game for hours on end but with the MK games and Tekken games I found myself glued to the television.

Mortal Kombat 9 available on PS3 and Xbox 360

Blood, Guts, Gore, it must be Mortal Kombat 9

For those who don’t know anything about Mortal Kombat, where on earth have you been? It is basically a fighting game you can choose to play single player mode and work your way through the different stages and battle different characters with your chosen character, or you can do challenges in the challenge tower, do some training or just go and battle others online. In 2 player mode you can fight against each other, team together against others or go and play online.

A warning this game is not for the faint hearted there is plenty of violence, blood and gore, so much so at the moment there are currently no plans to release it in Australia as it has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board.

Mortal Kombat 9 X-Ray Blow

When you take a devastating hit in MK9, you get a sort of X-Ray view of things.

If you are not too sure about this game why not download the demo? In the demo mode you can play as Mileena, Jonny Cage, Sub-Zero or Scorpion (these are the only characters you can play as and the only characters you can battle against). Don’t be misled by the demo you get all excited when you beat the demo characters and you see your next battle is against Goro but instead of getting that battle you get a trailer for the game.
The demo is currently available on the playstation network for free but those who play xbox will have another week or two to wait for it to become available. Fear not although the demos are available at different times the game itself will be available from the same date for both consoles.

I have really enjoyed playing this game and like previous Mortal Kombat games I can see myself spending hours playing it. I have enjoyed this game so much I am actually having difficulty finding any faults with it!
I will happily recommend this game to anyone who loves fighting games (well not young kids as i think it is a bit too gory for them – hence the 18 classification). You can just pick this game up and play it for as long or as little time you like.

This game will be available to buy from April 21st 2011 on Playstation 3 and X-Box 360.

Score: 9/10

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You’re on a break, you want a quick game to play, something to challenge the mind, which you can easily jump into.  Well there are plenty of games that can do that… But what if you wanted to play as some adorable characters, while solving challenging puzzles? Well then you’ll love ilomilo (all lowercase); the Xbox version of Sackboy.

Ilomilo: The X-Box answer to Little Big Planet?

Ilomilo: The X-Box answer to Little Big Planet?

The main premise of the game centres around two characters; ilo and milo.  The two cutest characters I have ever seen.  Now I’m the kind of guy that likes brutal fighting games, deep RPGs, and insane shooters.  But when I laid eyes on those two little guys my heart melted. They are distinguished by their colour, one is red and one is blue (I can’t remember which one is which). The story is they meet up everyday at the park and enjoy apple tea together. However, everyday they meet up, it seems to get harder and harder, as the path appears to have been rearranged, including the roads. This is where the player is needed.

You take control of ilo & milo, switching between the two at will, and move them round the block path so they cam meet up again. This is done by either picking up blocks to make a bridge, or moving blockades to clear a path. You also make use of red carpets that allow you to move along a different axis. While you can only move along the X and Y axis (walking forwards, backwards, left and right), these red carpets carry you to the Z axis, so you’re basically moving up and down a wall. So it makes you think from a more 3D perspective, which is quite ingenious. If that didn’t make any sense, play the game and you’ll see what I mean.

Ilmilo Screenshot

Ilmilo available for X-Box 360 and Windows Phone Only

Graphics wise, the design and colour is all vibrant, cute, and very relaxing; there are no overly intense colours or effects that’ll get you worked up like a fighting or a racing game. The levels themselves all have the patched up, knitted look, which further adds to the game’s charm. I find this kind of design refreshing, as sometimes you need a calming image, to give yourself a break once in a while.

The difficulty, however, can get a little too much on the bewildering side, but luckily not in any sort of excess.  If you were to take a spectrum of difficulty for puzzlers; stupidly easy on one side, brain crushingly difficult on the other end, and perfect balance in the middle, ilomilo would sit in-between balanced and difficult.

This is a game that somehow charms you into giving it a look; the worlds are rich with artistic flair, the two characters are lovable, without them having to do anything, and the puzzles offer a fair and stimulating challenge. When you see ilo and milo do their little dance after completing a level, you know you’ve earned it

Score: 8/10

Review found next to the Triforce of Power by: Satchel


After being left quite bored of new releases recently I found myself on the Playstation store looking for things to keep me entertained and that’s when I noticed that once again one of the greatest (If not the greatest) film trilogy of all time is back on our PC monitors and other gaming paraphernalia.

Screenshot of Back to the Future: The Video Game for PC/PS3/I-Pad and Mac

The Infamous DeLorean DMC-12

So a small download later (around 400Mb if playing on PC) and I was playing episode 1. If like me you’re a shrewd investor you will want to download the demo first.

On first play you find yourself with the Doc in an abandoned mall parking lot faced with the awesome DeLorean and Einstein (the dog, not the pot smoking inventor of apples or whatever)ready to travel back in time. Everything looks normal the DeLorean gets up to 88 mph and said dog and car go back in time.

You stand there and you think wow a dog has travelled back in time, but what’s this there’s a problem. Einstein doesn’t return and the Doc goes invisible and BANG it’s a dream you wake up and guess what you’re late. But not for school this time, your late and are meant to be helping your dad sell off all of Docs possessions from his clock shop.

I won’t go into anymore detail of the episode for two reasons 1) I’m only slightly further ahead than this and 2) I imagine some people are already at home saying stop it don’t tell me anymore; so I won’t instead I’ll review the gameplay.

Back to the Future: The Video Game

Back to the Future: The Video Game - Featuring our favourites Marty McFly and The Doc

The graphics look very good, however Marty looks a little like he’s made out of plastic. The camera angles are rather poor and if you don’t like them you can’t change them. The gameplay itself is quite intuitive, but very simple one click stuff, obviously appealing to a different type of gamer than me (Or does it?) If you don’t know/haven’t seen the movies you may be lost with the plot of who they are and why Marty and Biff don’t get along etc. But the biggest and possibly the worst thing about this game (Depending upon if you own a PC, PS3, 360 or Wii) is that it is only available to PC/Mac and PS3 owners. (And I-Pad if you’re going to be pedantic)

But saying all of this I was drawn into the game, and after around 5 minutes (Which is just about what you get in the demo) I was finding myself wanting to play some more, and have downloaded the first episode for the PC, which brings me nicely round to the plus sides of the game.

They have managed to get the actor of Doc (Christopher Lloyd) which adds some authenticity to the game. They (Telltale Games) also have written this game with the co-creator and writer Bob Gale. So as far as authenticity goes you’ve got it all there. (Apart from Michael J. Fox) Other plus sides are that you meet up with old favourites (or not) from the movies such as Biff, the Browns and all the rest of the McFlys and Tannens.

So is this game worth the £15.99 (For five episodes) price tag. Well that is hard to answer, whilst the game is quite fun, it lacks any real longevity. I can’t see you playing this game over and over again, there’s no multiplayer mode and the price might put some people off. (It is for all intents and purposes an arcade game) And not to mention, as I said earlier on, if you haven’t seen the movie it may be hard to get your head around the characters and the concept. This really is a game you have to try before you buy. (Which really sucks ‘cos the demo really is very short)

In closing try and get a mate to buy it, try it on his PS3 and then think whether it’s worth it or not.

Episode one available to download for the PC from PS3 owners can get it from the PS3 store. X-Box gamers can get it by going to the high street and buying a PS3.

Score: 7/10 (Or 8/10 if you love the Back to the Future movies)

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Everyone knows about the matryoshka doll; the wooden Russian dolls that can be placed inside each other. Nice little ornament, but hasn’t many uses, apart from shelf space. That hasn’t stopped Double Fine (creator of such games like Psychonauts and Brütal Legend) from making a game about them. And that game is Stacking.

Screenshot taken from the X-Box 360 version of Stacking

Screenshot taken from the X-Box 360 version of Stacking

Stacking is set during the Industrial Age; everything was steam-powered, soot covered 95% of the world… And the human race evolved in to matryoshka dolls. What… You never read about that part of history? Yes, in this game, everyone is a Russian doll, each a different size. You play as Charlie Blackmore, the smallest doll in the whole game. Being the smallest doll has to put a damper on this kid’s self-esteem; there are babies in prams bigger than he is. The Blackmore family all work as chimney sweeps to make ends meet. When the father mysteriously vanishes, the children are forced to work to pay off the debts. Of course, Charlie is left behind with his mother because he is too small. Again, this can’t help his self esteem. Charlie learns that his brothers and sisters are being held against their will and forced into child labour by the Industrialist Baron, so ventures onward to rescue them.

What makes the story telling in this game captivating is how it’s told. The cut scenes play out like a silent movie; the characters act, followed by a text with what they just said, and the emotion of the scene is indicated with the musical accompaniment. Well with your face painted on it’s going to be rather difficult to pull of a facial expression. I like this way of story telling, as its simplicity is very effective. The simplest ideas usually work best; look at Pac-Man, Pong, and Super Mario.

Stacking for X-Box 360 and Playstation 3

Stacking for X-Box 360 and Playstation 3

The game is essentially a 3D puzzler, so no swords or robots this time. In order to progress further, you need to solve various conundrums dotted around each level. To solve them, you make use of Charlie’s unique ability to ‘stack’ into other characters, take control of them, and use their abilities to decipher the puzzles. These abilities include moving people out the way. Opening vents, punching things, and passing flatulence (classy eh?). Even if you do complete a puzzle, there are multiple solutions to find out. So just clearing each conundrum once won’t get you 100%. For example, to get past an obstacle like a guard, you could seduce him, lead him away, and stack into him, allowing you to open the door. Alternatively, stack into a mechanic to wrench open a grate to enter the vent. Each solution to each puzzle is unique and offers a balanced challenge; challenges are not too difficult that you eat the controller out of rage, or too easy that the game feels patronising. Even when you figure out the solutions and reach the end, you can still aim for 100% with hi-jinks; little challenges that make use of a character’s ability to cause a bit of mayhem, from punching a number of people, to scaring them, or playing tag.

One thing that I find a small let down is the length of the game; it’s quite a short game, and after you finish it, there’s nothing else to do but wander around aimlessly. That wouldn’t be so bad, but it fells like there should be more to the game, like more things to do to kill time. And giving the high price of the game (1200 points on the XBLA) it seems there should be extra content on offer.

I have to conclude that Stacking is a very enjoyable game, though the length and the lack of replay value have much to be desired. If they release some extra DLC I may let this slide.

Score: 7/10

Review carved from soap by: Satchel

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