Archive for the ‘RPG’ Category

After months of saying “No, I’m not going to review Killzone because everyone is” I got handed a copy of the Killzone demo and hence this review.

Let me first say this, I have never played any of the Killzone games, I found them to be either juvenile or games that juveniles would play. And me not being a juvenile I thought that this game would not get a fair review, so I went into this review with the clear and indefinite thoughts that I would not enjoy it.

The last first person shooter I played was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and even when I played COD I never played it for too long because I found it fairly boring. I can safely say that Killzone doesn’t have this effect on me, yes you read right, doesn’t. “But you said you were going to hate Killzone 3” I said I was going to try to, but playing this game made me realise what I possibly have been missing in life.

Killzone 3 Screenshot

With graphics that are this good, it;s hard to wonder why I didn't review it before now

The gameplay was fantastic, took me a while to get used to it, but my god when I did get the hang of it, It was awesome. The graphics are absolutely amazing, graphics that, in my opinion would give LA: Noire a run for their money.  And whilst the in-game graphics rival anything in its field, the cut scene graphics are out of this world. I cannot actually give the graphics its comeuppance because they are just a delight to look at. The control system, whilst not easy to just pick up and learn along the way, has buttons for everything. I mean seriously there is probably a button to make my tea; I just haven’t found it yet. Some may be put off by the thought of too many buttons, but after playing it (And dying quite a bit I must admit) for fifteen minutes you understand how it all works.  It also has compatibility with the move controller, unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to review that, but you can almost guarantee that it’ll be similar to every other shoot ‘em up game that uses the PS Move (There’s also a 3D version, but knowing my love for everything 3D why don’t we skip past that).  The game also comes with a co-op mode, which I’m quite sure may get people to stay in on a Saturday night and have a Killzone party. If I had friends I too would probably do that.

Killzone 3 Inlay / Cover Art

Killzone is available now on Playstation 3 Only

Obviously the game does have a rating of 18 which is understandable considering all the blood and gore that is complimentary in the game. Not to mention the fact that your killing….things with big guns and you actually get complimented on your shooting by your “Partner” (I can’t see many parents saying well done to their son or daughter for shooting someone in the head with a big machine gun can you).

If there was going to be a con it was that the control system, at first is very sensitive and has too many buttons and actions then are genuinely needed. That’s it, I can’t think of any other cons, this game is absolute genius, and I’m not a person who is known for playing games like this, that have “teh big guns”

So for what has to be the first time since starting to review games, I can fairly say that I was wrong to criticise this game. Whilst the storyline seems rather farfetched, the gameplay, and even to a certain extent the control system, more than make up for it. So if this game is criticised for being juvenile, then I too must be a juvenile. Just makes me sad that I haven’t played the first two, but I am happy in the knowledge that if I want too they are going for really cheap on the regular auction sites. This will be going on my shopping list, definitely.

Score: 9/10

Review done whilst riding a black swan by: parkergordon

Buy Killzone 3 – Move Compatible (PS3) from Amazon.co.uk

Buy Killzone 3 in 3D with Dual Shock 3 (Jungle Green) Wireless Controller – Move Compatible (PS3) from Amazon.co.uk

The Gears of War series and I have a strange relationship. I was badgered into buying the first two by an ex, mainly so we could play in the Xbox online. Now I did enjoy playing the games, but I didn’t get as into it as most of its fans. I barely played the online multiplayer, since every time I did I took two steps and was shot in the head from behind. So I had a tendency to RageQuit, and avoided the online mode like a growling bulldog. When I pre ordered the third game (again, persuaded by an ex) I received a code to try the multiplayer beta for a limited time. I thought, ‘it would be a waste to not use it, and it might make for a good review’ so I decided to keep it and jump right in. Do I regret it? Let’s find out…

Gears of War 3 Screenshot

Gears of War 3 promises to be one of this years best selling games

Upon starting the game, I had a quick browse at the multiplayer options. At first, you only get access to four characters. Two of those are the COGs (the good guys); Marcus and Dom, two guys who couldn’t be any more butch if they had testosterone for sweat. The other two are Locust, the bad ‘Guys’. I use the term loosely, as I cannot tell them apart.  You can also choose what two weapons you wish to take with you on your quest to perforate anything made of flesh. Your primary weapon can be either the trusty lancer (assault rifle with a chainsaw on the end… Not over the top at all), the hammerburst (A machine gun that fires as fast as you can pull the trigger), and a new addition to the weapon roster; the retro lancer. The different between this gun and the lancer used in the previous games is the retro version has no chainsaw attachment. Instead it’s equipped with a bayonet, meaning you charge forward and impale your target. The secondary weapon is your spread shot gun. This can be the gnasher (from the first two games) or the newcomer, the sawed off shotgun; an incredibly powerful but slow gun.

I’ve used all these and they all handle very differently. This is good as you can cater your weapons set to suit your own play style or tactics. As a rule of thumb, if you’re new to the Gears series, I recommend using the default lancer/gnasher setup. The lancer has a good rate of fire and accuracy, and the gnasher holds 8 rounds per clip, so you can unload a few shots if you need to be up close and personal. More advanced players are better adept with the hammerburst and retro lancer. The retro lancer is stronger than the regular gun, but the bullets are less accurate, and charging with the bayonet is a big risk since there’s a chance your adversary can empty a clip into your face before you even graze him. The sawed off is the hardest to use, as you need to be so close to the enemy you can see the whites of their eyes.  Additionally, there is an option to customise the look of your weapons; instead of everyone using guns that look similar, you can apply skins to change the visuals. For example, my lancer has the Gears logo painted on, and I’ve seen other players using lancers with a flame skin. It might not seem much, but imagine this; slicing someone with a lancer is all well and good, but picture slicing someone open with a lime green or a hot pink lancer. To me, that brings a chuckle or two.

Once I had a play around with the menu, I opted for the team deathmatch game, to see what Gears3 will be like. While waiting to jump into a game, I was anxious, since my experience with the last two Gears played out like this:

“OK, I’m ready. Let’s do it”

*Takes 3 steps forward*

*BOOM!*

*Shotgun from behind… Dead*

“OH YOU SON OF A-”

*RageQuit*

This happened a lot. Even when I kept close to another player and tried some strategy, I just couldn’t manage a single game. This time, though, I ran for cover, and started to find the nearest enemy. I popped a couple of shots in before my character was killed. I thought about quitting there, but I carried on regardless. Second attempt went a bit better; I managed to down an opponent, and even killed them. From then on, I scored a good number of kills before I was blown to bits by a sawed off. I wasn’t so disgruntled, since I did manage to score a few points, so I kept going. It wasn’t until the third round, however, that I had an epiphany… I was having fun playing online. I… enjoyed it. This came as a huge shock to me, and even when I was stabbed by a retro lancer, I laughed it off. I was having too much fun to care. Now, when I scored a kill, I didn’t think ‘Oh thank God for that’ I thought ‘Oh Hell yeah!’.  I even gave myself a pat on the back when I snuck up on someone and impaled them on a retro lancer. RageQuit is now a thing of the past.

The beta handles very well. For a multiplayer game that’s still in development, I saw no problems at all. My character moved and handled smoother than the previous two games, and there was never a hint of lag anywhere. They’ve kept the controls from the previous titles, which is great, as the layout was always simple to memorise and become accustomed to.  What I found surprising was another new feature; the ability to share ammo with other players. All you do is aim at a teammate and press the Y button. This is handy in cases like playing Horde, or if you don’t have time to scavenge for ammunition.

Gears of War 3 Cover Art

Gears of War 3 is available for the X-Box 360 only from the 20th of September

So far, there’s only been 4 maps available to try online; Checkout, Thrashball, Trenches andOldTown. Each map is completely unique, in terms of looks and layout, and all have a different style of play. Checkout is set in a ruined shopping centre, with debris littering the floor, and opportunities for cover everywhere. This one is quite confined, as the debris covers most of the map. There’s little chance to move about, so you will end up going toe to toe with an enemy frequently. The gnasher here is your best friend. Thrashball takes place in a stadium for the fictional sport… well, Thrashball. Sports equipment and other objects are turned into walls for COGs and Locust to hide behind. This is more of an open map, which can see the opposing teams on either side of the map taking part in an old fashioned shootout. This is my favourite map, as there’s little place to hide from the mayhem. OldTownis based in an old town (surprisingly).  It’s a broken market town, with the main square in the centre, and alleys on either side, for flanking opportunities. This is the biggest of the maps I think, so finding the enemy will be difficult, particularly if they’re down to their last few guys.  Trenches drops you in a mining outpost, littered with mine carts.  The gimmick of this map is the siren that sounds off at random times. When you hear it, ten seconds later a thick layer of dust settles rendering visibility to nil for a brief period of time. Also, on the hill in the lower centre of the map, there is an incredibly powerful sniper rifle, called the Longshot. It’s basically a Barrett M82 which has been given the Gears workout. One shot will obliterate anything. No bodies collapsing; they just burst like a watermelon. Smarter players will seize this gun and stay hidden, taking potshots at everyone. This is the only map that has the opportunity for someone to ‘camp’; staying in one spot and taking out the enemy from a distance. I hate campers, and I’m glad the method can only be achieved in one out of the four maps.

The beta gives you three games to try out; team deathmatch, king of the hill and capture the leader. I’ve played the first two, and I can say both play out very differently. Team deathmatch is a new addition to the Gears franchise, and each team has a pool of lives. When a player is killed and respawned, that team loses a life. Once they are depleted, it can get quite tense when both sides are down to their last few teammates. It soon turns into something from theAlamo, and if the weaker team wins, it gives you a real sense of victory. Not many games can pull that off, and I play this mode the most. King of the hill is a points building mode. Teams must seek out and capture floating rings that appear in different locations. After a certain amount of time the ring moves somewhere else and must be recaptured. This mode focuses on defence and tactics, since I’ve seen teams bunch up on threes to defend rings. Team deathmatch can see you in a full on assault, but king of the hill sees you planning a surprise attack or an ambush. They’re really varied modes, and I was surprised to see that. My impression of online gaming was everyone either shoots everything that moves, or just camps somewhere, no matter what type of mode they are playing. But Gears makes you think about problem solving.

Now guns and grenades are all good, but most of the time they just make your target drop to their knees and crawl around. In the previous games your character crawled around until they bled out and died, or if someone revived them. This time, it’s a little different. When you fall to the floor, you can mash the A button to crawl away and find a team mate to give you a pick me up, or if you’re really lucky, you revive yourself and carry on. Kind of a Monty Python ‘Tis but a scratch’ deal. This must be because players were getting annoyed about bleeding out with no means to get back up. It means the game can last longer, and in turn, be more about fun. That doesn’t mean you have to leave an enemy bleeding on the floor, you can ‘put them out of their misery’… with executions. They vary depending on what weapon you have equipped, and how long you press a certain button. Tapping the Y button delivers a satisfying curb stomp to the victims head. It might be wrong to enjoy it, but it is a lot of fun. Holding down the Y button lets you carry out a more brutal execution. The retro lancer makes you stab the jugular, and gnasher is used like a golf club, and the head is a golf ball, and so on. It’s only a small feature, but it’s worth mentioning for its humour factor.

In conclusion, I am thoroughly engrossed in this game; more than I though I would be. It doesn’t feel as serious as the other two, and it’s much easier to handle. I cannot wait for the full game to be released.  A full review of that will follow.

Score: 10/10

Review carved into a Locust’s chest by: Satchel

P.S. One more thing I must want to add… Carmine must die. Those who have read the Gears of War website will know what I mean when I voice this opinion.

Pre-order Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360) from Amazon.co.uk

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

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

It has taken a lot of willpower to write this review, if I’m honest. Not because I didn’t want to write it, but because I was engrossed in a particular game I found on the Xbox Live Arcade. A game where I go, “Alright a quick five minutes” and find myself still playing 6 hours later. And what game is the culprit? Torchlight. Well you’d already know that if you read the title, but I digress.

It’s essentially a 3D adventure game, with RPG elements thrown into the mix. You start the game in the mining town of Torchlight, and travel deeper and deeper into the mines, completing quests and strengthening your character. In this world, there is a supernatural mineral found in the earth, called Ember. It’s this Ember that gives people and objects their magical abilities.  However, Ember is like a double edged sword; while it can imbue magic, it also has a corrupting influence.  And this is when you enter the scene. I don’t want to give too much away for fear of spoiling the plot.

Torchlight available for PC and now X-Box 360

Torchlight available for PC and now X-Box 360

You choose from a selection of three different characters, each with their own strengths; the Destroyer, a melee specialist, capable of delivering deadly attacks to his enemies, the Alchemist, the master of magic, and a lover of steampunk, and the Vanquisher, the token female of the trio, and an expert in ranged weapons. Like most RPGs with character classes, you choose the one that suits your style; whether you prefer to pick off enemies from a distance, or get stuck right in, swords blazing. There is some strategy when it comes to suiting up your warrior, as while there is a huge array of weapons and armour to find and buy, sometimes just buying the sword with the highest attack is not the best tactic. While one weapon might have 50 attack power, and the other one has 45, the latter might also have extra enhancements.  This can range from additional poison damage, to extra mana, or a boost to character stats. So it pays to think ahead and customise your combatant to fit your fighting style. Other RPG elements include applying skill points to your statistics, and using points to learn new skills.  While players new to the RPG world may think this is all too complicated, I can say it’s really easy to get used to; you only have four stats to enhance. These are Strength (how hard can you punch a critter in the face), Defence (how well you can take a punch in the face), Magic (how powerful your spells are when they hit a critter in the face) and Dexterity (how effectively you can shoot a critter in the face).  Keep those four high enough and you’ll be smooth sailing.

The controls are nice and simple; one attack button, 4 buttons to assign your skills to, and an interact button. That’s it. So even the newest of newbies can battle hordes of zombies without having to remember complicated button commands. Your mapped abilities are even displayed on the bottom of the screen, so you always remember what skills you have at your disposal.

For an Xbox Arcade game the graphics are not bad; the individuals are all modelled like a cartoon, with over the top body proportions. This includes huge muscular chests, Popeye like forearms, and for the vanquisher, nice big… hair. The environment is nicely rendered. The bold colours and details in the levels give it that dark and foreboding atmosphere, like you’re unsure what’s going to come next. This atmosphere is also enhanced with the background music. It’s not over the top; it has subtle tones that give this impression that anything can appear and fly right at you.

Screenshot from Torchlight

Torchlight recieved rave reviews when released in 2009 on PC. Can it emulate those reviews in 2011 on XBLA?

One addition I liked in this game is the option of what pet you want to take with you on your adventure. You have a choice of a dog, a lynx or a dragon (an Xbox exclusive). These creatures will follow you round, dealing damage to your enemies, and acting as a pack horse for your extra items. If your inventory is full, just swap some junk over to your pet to lighten the load. What makes the pet invaluable is their ability to return to town at your command. If you have a surplus of items or weapons you need to sell, you’re not forced to backtrack to the exit, sell your gear, and then trundle all the way to the dungeon. You just load your pet with the excess baggage, and command them to return to the village while you carry on exploring, returning to your side a minute later. I have been very thankful for this feature, as I loathe walking miles and miles back to the nearest town just to pawn a few daggers. It breaks the flow of your exploration. I wish to go forward, not forward a bit, then go back again.

If I have to mark it down, it would have to be the lack of a multiplayer feature. The experience would be better if you had a friend or two accompanying you on your quest, each with a different character, to enrich the journey. Now I have to say many people have complained about this too, and Runic Game have said they are going to include the multiplayer in the sequel, so I can’t really give them too much negativity.  Another thing is something called “Unidentified Items”. Now as I said some weapons will have extra features, like poison attack, or a resistance to a particular element. Sometimes when you pick up an item it is shown to be unidentified, meaning the character doesn’t know the objects abilities, and therefore you can’t equip it. To find out you need to buy or find an identity scroll.  This annoys me, as I either have too many unidentified items, and no scrolls, or when I do identify it, the item is too weak to use. So this renders the process redundant.

Torchlight really is a simple yet addictive game; customising your character, completing quests, exploring deeper and deeper underground to uncover the mysteries of Ember, it draws you in, and holds on. If I had to liken it to another game, I would say it’s like Borderlands; the customisation features are very similar, so fans of that game will enjoy this. If you plan on playing this game, I advise you never to think, “Oh just a couple of minutes while I have nothing to do” because those minutes will build up. Torchlight may be a pick up and play type of game, but it could also be a pick up and don’t put down game too.

Score: 9/10

Review forged with the help of Thor’s hammer by: Satchel