Archive for April, 2011

(Caution: May Contain Slight Spoilers)

If you’ve been living under a rock recently, or if you’ve been doing something productive, rather than play video games, then you’ll know about a new sequel to a very popular title. A title that won several awards, and was credited as one of the most influential games of the first decade of the 21st century. And the name of this title? Well, Portal of course. That little puzzle game that came bundled in The Orange Box proved so popular it’s managed to get its own sequel; Portal 2.  With so much hype generated this title is worth a look. So let’s dive into the blue portal, and fly out the orange one, and see if lightning can strike twice.

Portal 2 Screenshot

How does Portal 2 measure up to the original Portal?

Portal 2 is set after the events of the first game. It doesn’t tell you how long after though. You wake up in a seemingly normal looking hotel room, with an announcer’s voice asking you to perform simple tasks, like look up down, stare at art, and listen to music. You are then told to go back to sleep. 5 seconds later you wake up to the same room… which now looks like a bomb site. Looking around you are then introduced to your only friend; Wheatley. He’s a tiny robotic sphere with a single eye, dangling from a ceiling rail, and is kind of a guide and an assistant to help you get through Aperture Science.  This is where your adventure begins. What I like about the storytelling, and the pacing is that there’s no narrator telling you the tale, or an internal monologue spelling everything out for you; you find out by exploring, by thinking for yourself. By allowing the player to think for themselves, they become more immersed in the experience, and enjoy it more when plot twists occur.  One good example is returning to the chamber where you destroyed GLaDOS. When I saw her crumpled mass all over the floor, I just thought, ‘Wow… I did all this?’ while my mouth was open. And when you see her slowly revived, I was swearing (a lot) in my head, and getting quite intimidated. If the game spelled out what you should be feeling, I bet the scene wouldn’t be as effective.

If you played the first Portal, you’ll be instantly used to the gameplay in the second game; it’s the same basic mechanic. For those who are confused about how portals work here’s a quick explanation. Chell, the main character (you) has the use of a ‘portal gun’. It can fire two portals of different colours; blue and orange. These are link to each other, so you can enter one portal, and exit the other. So if you were to shoot a portal at the floor, and one on a nearby wall, you can jump into the floor and appear by the wall. The first game really tested your intelligence, challenging you to use these portals to reach the exit. The second game does that just as well, but it also ramps up the difficulty by introducing extra items to use. The weighted cubes return, but you also need to make use of lasers, coloured goo (which can either bounce you higher, make you run faster, or allow portals to be placed anywhere), gravity fields and light bridges. These challenges cause you to think so far out of the box it’s in another room. In another house.

Portal 2 Cover Art

Portal 2 is available now on Playstation 3, X-Box 360 and PC/Mac

What I liked about Portal is the emotions it invoked. One particularly notable section was when Chell discovered an opening behind some panels. Inside was drawings and pictures from other test subjects who had failed. When looking around, I honestly got the feeling like I shouldn’t be there; like I was outside of the game. And that was a genuine thought as the game didn’t need to explain to you that you didn’t need to be there. When I played Portal 2 I was wondering if they would do something similar. Wandering through all the levels I was beginning to wonder if they’d do anything like in Portal. By the time I reached what I thought was the end, the game carried on to a new section of the game. After a particular scene, it made me think the game should’ve ended; I should have beaten the game. But I was made to traverse even more obstacles. Usually that would be a negative, but the way the story played out means it became a good pivoting moment in the plot.

Even if you manage to beat the solo campaign (and I mean barely beat) there’s the multiplayer cooperative mode to try. This time you don’t play as Chell, but two robots who must work together to complete GLaDOS’ tests. These robots are known as Atlas (because his blue body is the shape of a globe) andPeabody(the orange bot with the thin torso).  They both have a portal gun each, and both shoot two different portals; Atlas can fire blue and purple portals, whilePeabodyuses Red and yellow.  Neither can talk, so can’t tell the other partner what needs to be done to solve the puzzle. Instead, they make use of aPingtool, which allows either robot to indicate where the attention should be drawn to. Usually in a co op campaign both players can just talk to each other, but this use of the ping tool is quite clever; it means players must think more about how to communicate their ideas and work together. Portal 2’s co op is not about rushing ahead of your partner blindly; it’s about taking the time to look at your surroundings, formulate a plan, and exercise perfect teamwork. It makes a nice change to usual online gaming, which is run ahead and shout at anyone who isn’t as good as you.  I had a partner to help me with the co op mode, and asked for his opinion on the game. ‘Connorsts94’ says that the Co op is well thought out, and it provides quite a challenge having to place 4 portals correctly. He also enjoyed the solo mode’s story and humour, which is just like the first Portal.

Special mention should be made to the two biggest characters in the game: GLaDOS and Wheatley. The voice acting is brilliant in this game, especially Wheatley. He is played by Stephen Merchant, which came as a huge surprise to me… as I thought he was hilarious. I usually avoided him for his association with Ricky Gervais, but Merchant’s voice acting was top notch. GLaDOS is, as usual, excellent in her acting skills. She retains the wit from the first game, while showing even more emotion when it’s needed (you’ll see why when you play the game).

If I did have to mark it down, it would be the levels of frustration that appear when you get stuck on a particular puzzle. There will be times you’ll wander round the entire section, and become angrier and angrier with each second. And on some occasions, when I found the solution at a distance and in a hard to miss spot, I found myself shouting, “Oh come on!”. Sometimes you feel like you’ve achieved something solving the puzzles, other times you just feel glad you got past the level after 2 hours of running through portals.

At the end of the day though, I really enjoyed playing Portal 2. It’s clever, challenging, and makes for a great game to immerse yourself in. Is it better than Portal 1? Oh yes, but don’t count out the first game. This is one game that’s worth the hype.

Score: 10/10

Review found on a desk at Black Mesa by: Satchel

Thanks to Connorsts94 for putting up with my dim attempts to solve the co op levels.

Buy Portal 2 (Xbox 360) from Amazon.co.uk

Buy Portal 2 (PS3) from Amazon.co.uk

Earlier on in the week I mentioned about the PlayStation Network being hit by what Sony called an ‘External Intrusion on our systems’ and I also mentioned how Sony didn’t respond to questions over personal security. We here at Gaming Bytes learned late last night that in actual fact the ‘external intrusion’ could be more costly to gamers than had first been thought. Sony revealed that their systems were breached to the max, and that personal information, including, but not limited to credit card information has ‘potentially’ been stolen.

The entertainment and media giant has listed what it says is possible compromised personal data (List taken from the BBC website)

  • Name
  • Address (city, state/province, zip or postal code)
  • Country
  • E-mail address
  • Date of birth
  • PlayStation Network/Qriocity passwords and login
  • Handle/PSN online ID

Now you may say ‘Well hold on a moment, Sony hasn’t written anything about credit card information.’ Well spotted, but what Nick Caplin (Head of Communications for Sony Europe) said after this is extraordinary – ‘While there is no evidence that credit card data was taken at this time, we cannot rule out the possibility.’

Firewall Image

Identity theft happens every two seconds, and is the fastest growing crime in the US. Sony's just helping the statistics

I don’t know about you but that doesn’t fill me with confidence. Anything that is classed as ‘compromised personal data’ is just that – compromised personal data. And I am not a very happy bunny that Sony ‘let’ this happen. I am also not a lawyer but I do know about the Data Protection Act and if Sony haven’t broken this then they have a good set of lawyers

The Data Protection Act 1998 clearly states in Principle number seven that

‘Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.’

Without going into detail, if proven that data was stored here in the UK then the ICO (That’s the Information Commissioner’s Office to you and me) can impose fines of up to £500,000 for the lack of protections Sony has offered its users. Not to mention the possibility of the countless legal suits presented against them, if it is proven that credit card information was stolen and then used.

Not to mention that this is a PR nightmare, many users may now switch to Sony’s rival the X-Box 360. Not to mention that some of the big gaming companies (Such as Sega) have backed this company and will almost certainly have a company card stored on record with Sony to pay for their demos appearing on the PS Store etc. Not to mention future developers may turn their back on Sony just because of how much bad press attention this getting.

X-Box Live Logo

'X-Box Live is just as vulnerable as the PSN' said one expert

So, is there any way to protect myself, well the short answer is no. If your email address and PSN account uses the same password, then it may be an idea to change your email address password. If someone has your credit card details it may just be a case of checking your statements every month and make sure that you know what you’re spending month in month out. Also Sony has mentioned that the possibility is there for scam emails and phone calls. If dubious don’t read/answer them, and if possible don’t give them time of day. But in all honesty these are things that you should be doing on a day to day basis (And I know something about disaster management and internet security)

But my X-Box fan boys don’t get too smug, as reports are coming in that Microsoft are upgrading their hardware, and experts claim that the X-Box Live service is just as vulnerable as the PSN so don’t just order that parade yet.

It does seem though, however you try to paint it that this Is indeed a dark day for Sony, and whilst Sony try to plug this vulnerability issue the PSN and Qricocity services remain unavailable and for an inconclusive amount of time.

Sounds like the title of a game, but I promise you Sony fans aren’t taking this lightly. But firstly a message from the editor.

‘One of the things that were pointed out when we asked you all to answer our poll (Situated here) is that we should update the blog more often, so here’s your second update in two days (Don’t worry I won’t be making a habit of this). Enjoy your gaming’

The Playstation Network blackout has now reached its 5th day and with every hour that passes by Sony is losing business, users, gamers and possibly most importantly trust in their brand.

Yes, I am aware that unlike the 360 the PSN is a free service, but with that being one of the main reasons I bought a PS3, I’m now starting to wonder if it shouldn’t have been one of my main focuses when choosing to purchase a PS3.

The PlayStation Network Logo

The PSN blackout started on Wednesday evening and has yet to be resolved

So with many people wondering just when this service will be resumed, how are people choosing to spend their extended weekends? With three main releases this week (In the shape of MK9, Socom 4 and of course Portal 2) a lot of gamers I know are more than annoyed and angered at Sony. Knowing fully well that most people would have used this extended weekend to possible start their way onto global glory on MK9 or one of the other big games that have been released in the last couple of weeks, people may start to wonder if Sony will have this issue fixed by next weekends extended weekend, so that people who don’t give a rats ass about the Royal wedding don’t have to watch it. And with Microsoft fans eagerly laughing at the less fortunate PS3 fans/owners it would seem as though, for the time being, Microsoft has got some bragging rights.

And let’s not forget the games companies and developers. Certain companies (Most recently Sega) have decided to release pre-release demos exclusively for the PS3. This is not going to make these companies happy at all, and who knows this might even make them reconsider their decision. And who’s looking out for the small guys? Some small developers pay an excessive amount of money to have their games hosted on the PSN, and they’re losing money with every second that Sony leaves the PSN out of commission. But possibly the most annoying thing is Sony have yet to answer anyone’s questions.

Mortal Kombat 9 available on PS3 and Xbox 360

You won't be playing any Mortal Kombat 9 online this weekend. Who knows if it'll be fixed by next weekend.

According to IGN Sony haven’t even released a statement saying whether people credit card details have been exposed to this ‘Security leak’. Makes me glad that I use pre-paid cards for DLC etc. I mean you would have thought a giant company such as Sony would like to reassure their members with a statement saying ‘Don’t worry, everything’s under control’ but instead they have chosen the much more risky angle of not answering anything. The only thing that Sony has said is ‘An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services.’ So what can I do about this?

Unfortunate as it is, there’s nothing much you can do, except maybe dust off that old SNES, Master System etc. and play some of the classics…….Unless you own a 360.

We will keep you posted of any other advancements but for the times being what’s your opinion? Should Sony answer some rather obvious questions? Is there going to be any form of compensation for the downtime? (i.e. a free PS One classic game) Or should people stop complaining and realise that this is a free service, and as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for? Your views please.

BBC Report – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13169518

Those of you who know me know my views on the 3DS and those that don’t know me please read my Nintendo 3DS Preview Post Now we’re all caught up to date, who wants a review of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the 3DS.

Link vs. Robin Hood Comparison

Seriously!! Link meet Robin, Robin this is LInk

Firstly, I feel as though it would benefit us all if we took a look at the original and told our readers who don’t know about Zelda what the game is all about. You play the role of Link – a hero who looks strangely like Robin Hood. You travel around a kingdom called Hyrule in a sacred attempt to defeat a guy called Ganondorf who is attempting to find a relic known as a Triforce. (Keeping up) The triforce has the power to grant its owners’ wishes and Link is seriously against this. And all of this because you are the chosen one who gets woken up by a damn fairy, referred to as Navi. (Still keeping up) So with your trusty fairy, (Did I just say trusty fairy) you navigate caves, search through dungeons, get eaten by a big whale (No, I’m not joking) all in your attempts to stop this guy (Ganondorf) from petty theft. The ocarina plays a major part in the game, as you have to play it to go back and forwards in time, and other things such as summon your horse (If memory serves me well)

So why would you want this and not the original, here’s my review. This is not a re-working, so anyone who questions my reviewing abilities can go and stand on a very busy motorway. Although they have updated the graphics and they have included two new ‘never before seen’ modes for those who want something a little different from the original (Although why would you want to change the original) The extra modes (At least according to Game) are Master Quest and Boss Challenge. The Master Quest mode though just seems rather useless as the only differences are that the land of Hyrule is mirrored (A rather boring novelty in most games) puzzles appear harder and you have to think about them (Isn’t that why they are called puzzles) items and enemies will appear in different locations and enemies will prove more difficult to beat (Has anyone even attempted beating Ganondorf on the N64, he was difficult to begin with) The Boss Challenge mode, does what it says on the tin and offers the player the ability to ‘face any of the previous Bosses they have defeated once again, or, the option to face and confront them one-by-one, all in a continuous battle.’ This made me, once again wonder if Nintendo are just taking your money for the re-release of a game, as this mode seems mundane, and I wonder just how many people would use it.

Graphics / Screenshots of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 3DS

Is it me or are these graphics just not as impressive as expected

Now knowing that my reviews and previews for anything Nintendo get scrutinised quite a bit it would make sense for me to tell you the other features, in case someone points out that I haven’t. Well I’ll tell you some of the main new features. The first main feature is that it’s all in ‘glorious’ 3D, and I used the quotation marks because I know a lot of my fellow gamers see this feature as a novelty, and other people see this as a nauseous experience. (Their words, not mine) The original control scheme has gone out of the window to be ‘improved’ by an all new and intuitive system. Now I played the original and I am happy to report that I understood how to play the game and completed it. I can’t see how you can improve the control scheme, although I know that the 3DS doesn’t have as many buttons as the N64 and this is probably why they have had to redesign the controls. The only other major feature is that you get to use the built-in gyro sensor to look around your world by moving the 3DS. As far as I can see that feature is the only feature that I would class as a feature, it is a good idea and a great use of the gyro sensor (If it works properly).

This review seems very biased, and I don’t like to swear in my reviews so you fill in this blank space ______ you. I am not biased towards any console, manufacturer or religion, I loved the original version of this, I feel as though the N64 was one of the most undervalued consoles of its time and this is one of the best games on that console.

Zelda: Ocarina of Time Cover Art

Is the updated features and functionality going to make this a legend?

So should you buy it? Well the game RRP’s for £39.99 so a quick search on Amazon (Actually does do a quick search on amazon too) and you can buy both the Nintendo 64 and the original game for £30. So, personally I would buy that and here’s why. The original is always best (Godfather 1, Saw 1, Halloween1 etc.) so why would you go and buy a re-working that isn’t even a re-working.  You would get the chance to own one of the most under-rated consoles of all time. Also, you would get to play some of the greatest games of all time (Zelda, Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, Mario Kart, Super Mario 64 the list really is endless)

OK, that’s great, but I already own an N64 and Zelda, so do I buy this? No you don’t, you keep the £39.99 and buy an extra-large mallet to hit yourself over the head for the suggestion of buying this. The improvements, if you can call them that are minimal and boring, not to mention that the 3D effect causes nausea, headaches and a free visit to your local chemist for something to counter act the nausea and headaches (Not to mention the trip to the hardware store for the extra-large mallet).

So to finish my review, the original gets a score of around the 9.9999995 mark. (Or would if I was reviewing it) But I’m not so…….

Score:  5/10

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of  Time will be available to buy from the 17th of June 2011

Review carefully drafted whilst watching scrubs and making reference to it in this review by: parkergordon

Pre-order The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 3DS) from Amazon.co.uk

Buy Nintendo 64 Console – Grey from Amazon.co.uk

Buy Zelda : The Ocarina Of Time (N64) from Amazon.co.uk

Whilst the rest of the world are going Portal crazy we thought we’d be different and instead review Vitua Tennis 4 World Tour (Don’t worry, a Portal 2 review will be coming soon…….ish)

Now similarly to my Tiger Woods Golfing review, I haven’t played a tennis game for absolutely ages, so when I got the chance to try out virtua tennis 4 world tour I was happy to oblige. The first thing I noticed is how much the game seems to have evolved, whilst at the same time remain accessible for those who are quite casual as well as hardcore gamers. Even one of the levels of difficulty is a casual setting which is a big plus, if you’re like me and do a 9 to 5 Monday to Friday job.

Virtua Tennis 4 Cover Art

Virtua Tennis 4 available for PS3, X-Box 360 and Nintendo Wii from April 29th

So how has this game evolved exactly well firstly it’s got quite a good create a player mode (Which you start off doing) and probably has more features then I can care about (Why would I care how far apart my eyes are as an instance) Secondly there’s a story mode, a fairly good one at that. You start off playing in Japan and are meant to work your way around the globe to become champion. Whilst doing that you have a variety of ‘events’ or ‘training sessions’ to go to and of course there’s the mandatory ‘autograph signings’ to endure/enjoy on your way. All in all the story mode seems to have it down to a tee (Oh no wait that’s golf).  Also available on the full version (Still waiting for that call from Sega offering me a game on the full version) will be the ability to use the PS Move which, despite flagging sales reports this week, still has a major part to play in Sony’s future. If done correctly this could finally be a reason for me to buy a PS Move, if done like the Wii maybe not (Unfortunately early reviews of this seem to say that it’s closer to Wii Sports than anything wildly different) And with game modes like World Tour, Arcade, Exhibition, Practice, Party (Not playable so unreviewable) Motion Play and the expected Network modes there’s plenty there for people to shake a stick (Or racket) at. But  this all seems a fairly alien concept to me, especially since the last time I played a tennis game Anna Kournakova was still a tennis sensation. But I like it because it actually gives the game some merit, and if your change the difficulty after beating the game, gives it some replay value.

These are all excellent points, but remember when I said it has evolved in some areas and not in others, here’s the other;  the controls seem very stiff and it doesn’t seem to matter how fast you press the buttons or not. In real life if you swing too early you have the possibility of missing it and if you swing too late then the ball boy is picking the ball up off the ground.  It can seem like an eternity to go through the story mode especially since you have to use so called ‘Tokens’ to move through the game, which can be annoying if you wanted to sign some autographs but couldn’t ‘cos your tokens don’t/won’t let you. The opposition seem dumbfounded at times, looking around gormlessly for the ball that had zipped past them two hours ago. However, this may be because I was playing on casual, although a lot of other reviewers have the same opinion. The controls are very similar to the games I played back in the late 90’s press this button, aim it overs there, run over there, get ready for return etc. But of course how can you change the controls radically without getting some critical acclaim from someone.

The graphics however are quite spot on, on more than one occasion I thought my girlfriend had sat on the remote and I was somehow watching Wimbledon in the Spring.

Virtua Tennis 4 Screenshot

Looking at this it's easily clear how good the garphics are

There will no doubt be those of you who say well tennis is boring to watch, why would I want to play it? Well cricket is boring to watch but Brian Lara Cricket was a very playable game, and so is this. I can actually imagine myself playing it on casual and then switching the difficulty level up and trying to beat Nadal on the pro difficulty. I used to get bored of tennis games with great ease but this one made me want to play so much more than any of them ever used to, and that playability is something lacking in most video games these days.

So to sum up, this game offers a lot for its money (Or will do on its impending release) not to mention the online abilities that are sure to be another reason to hone your skill and play this game again and again. Even the seriousness of some of the flaws that it has can be made up because the game impresses you on so many other levels and in so many other places (Gameplay for example)

Even the demo (Available on the PSN for all members now) allows you to play for a fair amount of time (Enough to make you realise if you want the game or not) and possibly even more interesting, allows you to keep your save game data, and will transfer it into the full game if you buy it.

I have to say I am very impressed with Sega’s new breed of tennis games, and with the lead development team being shifted back to Sega’s Japan division, it’s easy to see the difference (Not that I’m saying Sega of America or Sega of Europe couldn’t hack it).

So, should you but it?? Should I buy it?? Are you going to buy Portal?? Or did you just stumble upon this on your downtime whilst playing Portal?? The answer to all four questions is probably yes. I mean I think I will buy it, If you like tennis you should probably buy it, if you’re going to buy Portal then this review is possibly of no use to you, and if you are reading this on your downtime away from portal well then you probably can’t even see the words ‘cos you’ve been on portal all day.

The Virtua Tennis 4 World Tour demo is available now on PS3 only. The game is due for release on the 29th of April for all major consoles.

Score: 8/10

Made from the finest Columbian lighter fluid by: parkergordon

Pre Order Virtua Tennis 4 (PS3) from Amazon.co.uk

Pre Order Virtua Tennis 4 (Nintendo Wii) from Amazon.co.uk

What is a sandbox game? It’s a game where you are free to do as you wish within the gaming world. Some examples include Grand Theft Auto, Prototype, and Assassin’s Creed to some extent. These games do also provide you with story missions when you’re done clowning around, but there’s one that takes the ‘sandbox’ element, and does away with any story. This is MineCraft; a downloadable PC game, that seems to be growing rapidly in popularity, with only one goal; use your imagination.

Mario Minecraft Screenshot

It really does seem as though you can just about build anything - Image courtesy of http://www.techeblog.com

The plot of MineCraft is as follows; you’re a guy in an unknown world… and that’s it. You have no story, and no reason to be there. You’re just dropped in a world, and you do what you want, how you want to do it. This means that essentially you can make up your own story, to give yourself motivation to explore.  So what do you actually do in this world? You start off with no items, meaning you must travel the land collecting as many resources as you can.  These include wood, stone, coal, gravel, and so on. When you collect these objects, you have the chance to craft them into tools, which will assist you on your adventure. You can craft a wide range of implements, including axes, picks, hoes, swords, and much more. You don’t just collect stone and wood to make tools; you have the ability to also build whatever you want within this world. The only limit is your imagination. Want a castle to live in? Go ahead. Feel like making rails for a mine cart? Nothing is stopping you. Fancy building a statue of Pac Man for all to bask in his glory? The world is your oyster.

Anyone who has played first person shooters on the PC will instantly know how to control the character. For those who do not, do not worry. The controls are not complicated at all; you use the W A S and D keys to move, and the mouse to look around. You click the left mouse button to interact (e.g. pick up items), and the right mouse button to drop anything you are holding. This means anyone can instantly jump in and start your quest to play around doing whatever you want.

I have to say, the graphics in this game are quite unique. Everything is made of cubes of different colours, to indicate the different materials. It’s like looking at an 8-bit game close up. Even your character is made of cubes and cuboids.  That’s not to say the graphics are bad; everything is distinguishable and clear, meaning you won’t get confused as to what you are looking at. It has a simplistic charm to it, more so when you see a blocky cow or sheep leap past you, mooing or baaing away without a care in the world… until you kill it for its hide.

Minecraft Wallpaper

The world certainly seems to be your oyster in Minecraft for PC

It may seem like a relaxing game, but do not be fooled. There is a day and night cycle, and the night time is your worst enemy. When it gets dark, the monsters come out to play. If you are out in the open at night, then zombies, skeletons, and spiders charge at you to turn your flesh into a cube sandwich.  There’s even an enemy that explodes when you get too close to it. It would be menacing, if it didn’t look like a giant green shaft. Knowing of these dangers, I found myself wandering underground with a real sense of caution and paranoia, as I didn’t want to end up spattered all over the place because of a green shaft.

I tried very hard to find a negative point in this game, but I couldn’t. The only thing that annoyed me was when the game slowed down for no reason. That isn’t the fault of the game; I blame my laptop for the fact it’s on it’s last legs.

I played this game after watching a few videos about it, and I thought, “This game cant be this addictive can it?”.  I have to say, though, that I was proved wrong; it’s a really immersive game. The sense of freedom, the open world, the opportunity to set yourself goals, rather than being told what to do, makes this game fun and enjoyable.  This game is only in beta form at the moment, but that means there will be a number of updates created all the time. I recommend anyone to at least give MineCraft a look. You might be surprised with it.

Score: 9/10

Review crafted from gravel and cows hide by: Satchel

Like many children of the 80’s I loved Ghostbusters and vaguely recall running around the playground at school with my backpack on pretending I was in fact Dr. Egon Spengler (Because of the glasses). So with memories of those days in my head I turned on the new Ghostbusters PSN downloadable arcade game Sanctum of Slime.

The first thing to remember and this is something I had to remind myself over and over again is that this is an arcade game. Graphics weren’t going to be awesome, gameplay wasn’t going to be amazing, and there were bound to be things wrong with it.

The first thing to say about this game is that it is a top down shooter, no first person or third person malarkey going on here.  You play as, what can only be described as a tribute act as opposed to the original crew from the movies, which is fine for those who haven’t seen the movies. And basically you have to rid the world of ghost.

Ghostbusters Sanctum of Slime Screenshot

Possibly the most impressive part of the game is getting to drive the Ecto-1

Now, my first criticism is that you don’t get to play as the fab four (Not the Beatles) but instead you get to play as their understudies. This immediately made me think that Atari, who produced the game, weren’t going to be able to make this game as enjoyable as all the previous Ghostbusters games before this. The gameplay is rather monotonous and easy, you move with on stick, whilst with the other you aim your weapon. There is also a choice of weapons, there is of course the proton blaster, theirs some weird yellow frequency unity thingy-ma-bob and various other weapons and upgrades as you go along your merry way.

Secondly, the production value looks cheap, and it’s presented in a comic book style fashion, which is great if you’re into the comics, but personally this for me isn’t a selling point, and nor is it the 50’s. People want more than just a bunch of text on the screen, and sadly that is part of this game that is lacking.

Thirdly, the AI is pretty terrible, in the earlier stages they are quite valuable, as they can heal someone quicker than a human can. But in my view, they rarely use the right weapon (Weapons are coded to correspond with the nasties you have to destroy) they always try and heal you when clearly they don’t have the time, and I’m pretty sure, on more than one occasion they got themselves cornered, which meant inevitably they’d die.

Ghostbusters Sanctum of Slime

Ghostbusters Sanctum of Slime is available now on PS3, X-Box 360 and PC

And lastly, we move on to the multiplayer which is just plain buggy at best, and at worst impossible to play. On the PC you can only play local multiplayer, which is fine if you have loads of mates who have copies of this game and fancy a LAN party, but for those who like playing your games online, you have to purchase a PS3 or a 360. Possibly the worst thing is that you can’t join a game that’s going on, and if you drop out you only have the AI to help you, which after a while, become so useless you just wish that he wasn’t part of your team.

Plus points – you get to drive the Ecto-1 (I haven’t gotten this far, but screenshots from elsewhere prove that you do) and that’s pretty much it. Oh no wait a minute, there is one other plus point, go to the main menu and you will hear Ray Parker Jnrs classic, but I’d rather buy the tune from I-Tunes, because a) It’d be cheaper and b) Less annoying then this game inevitably gets.

Throw into the mix the lousy sound effects, the terrible, unrealistic gameplay (I mean for gods sakes have Atari actually watched the movies, you cannot cross the streams!!) and the unresponsiveness of some of the weapons, and I cannot actually advise anyone to purchase this.

The only reason it’s getting such a high score is because of my love for Ghostbusters.

Score: 6.5 / 10

Review written in the back seat of the Ecto-1 by: parkergordon