Monday, 28 February 2011

Bulletstorm review.

Well, it's finally here. After months of drip feeding us previews via the gaming press and promo vids on Youtube, Bulletstorm, the latest game from Developers "People can fly" and Epic games has at long last reached my grubby mitts. So if you're playing it already, or you're just waiting to be convinced about the game that little bit more, read on and see what you think.

The story:

Grayson Hunt is a git. A real arse of a man. Drunken and foul mouthed. He's the kind of guy that would willingly spend all night buying you beers, just so he could play hide the sausage with your missus while you're passed out. Leading a ragtag group of space pirates formed after he left a secretive government unit called "Dead Echo", he and his maurading pirate team stumble across their old commander in his gigantic battleship. Instead of fleeing, Gray has the fantastic idea of blowing his ship to kingdom come, which instead results in his ship and team crash landing on a nearby planet, leaving him with one broken ship, one half-dead team mate called Ishi, and a slight headache. After grabbing some power cells to do some cybernetic repair work to his friend, and finding an energy leash in the process, Gray learns that members of his old unit are on the same planet, and if he can reach them, he can get to an escape pod and get off planet. But nothing is ever that easy....

What I liked:

Firstly, I want to start the review by saying what Bulletstorm isn't. I thought that from the preview videos and news on the game it was going to be a whole lot more of a Serious Sam, comedy-style game. Now don't get me wrong, it's a funny game....hilarious in places, but the tone of the game is actually fairly serious, something that I didn't get at all from pre-release news on the game. Not saying it's all "Call of duty" serious or anything like that, it's just that it does have a well strung together, actually very interesting plot. This is helped by the characters. Grey, who looks like Hugh Jackman at a Gear of War cosplay party, is such an absolute dick it's extremely hard not to love him. Growling, moaning and swearing at almost anything that moves, his constant chatter and interaction with other characters, the torrent of foul language coming out of his mouth is akin to Peter Capaldi in the thick of it. And the swearing....oh, the swearing. There are such vivid combinations of swear words you can only think that they came up with them by sticking every swear word known to man in a hat, picking them out and putting them together to form the colourful stuff that literally seeps out of every conversation.....Dicktits is one of the milder ones in the game. Ishi, your companion, is another great character. Injured almost as soon as the game begins, he's reconstructed with bionic parts, and an interesting part of the story is that he has a constant battle within himself, as he has to fight for the chip taking over what's left of his human side. Gameplay is fast, frenetic and balls out amazing. The game is set up for as much experimentation as you can imagine. You can just play like a traditional shooter, but that's missing the point. It's skillshots where the game is at. It takes a while to get used to, and the system is helped by a handy menu, giving you lists of skillshots to do with each weapon, some fairly easy, some finger-bustingly hard. But the results are brilliant. Slinging people around with the leash, booting them off onto a nearby spiky cactus, shooting them with drill bits so they impale into walls, still spinning with the action of the drill, ripping helmets off mini-bosses and then booting their head off, sniping them with radio controlled bullets, it's literally a playground, admittedly an extremely violent one. Levels are varied, with on rails scenes which see you on the back of trucks, blowing away others while being pursued by what looks like a wheel that's loosened itself from Gods's fucking massive. The game literally never lets up. The sound is great, level design, if a little linear, is also almost perfect. You can walk into an area and immediately you see opportunities all over the place to cause untold amounts of suffering to anyone that comes in your way. Weapons deliver, and you have never had weapons that feel so good than you do in this game....I never....EVER want to use a shotgun in a game again unless it's as powerful as the one in the trigger and blam...the top half of the enemy is gone! Boss battles are great, if a little formulaic, and on the whole I cannot recommend the game enough. I haven't even tried the online modes, but from what it looks like take the 4-player "horde" format from Gears, mix it with Bulletstorm and instead of going for kills, you go for points. Even without this mode you really should play this game.

What I loathed:

Hardly anything. Graphically it's great, although a little rough around the edges. Some of the characters faces, Ishi in particular, aren't really up to scratch. A few times in the game you'll die through no real fault of your own, as in certain levels you'll get a countdown timer to escape a certain situation and it's not entirely clear where you have to go. You'll either do it first time or spend a couple of goes running into dead ends and failing. Almost all of the weapons are amazing, except for the fuck-balling Sniper rifle. When you shoot a bullet it flys in slo-mo towards your target, and every single fucking time, when it gets near your target tries to dodge it. You have an aftertouch effect, so you can curve your bullet into the bad guy....but come every single time? Can't I just blow someones head off without them seeing me? Admittedly, later on you get an explosive bullet that can blow them up if they are anywhere near the bullet, but all the enemy dodging just put me off using the usless bloody thing!

The verdict:

Bulletstorm has come out of nowhere and completely took me by surprise. It's fun, loud, the characters are great, it's surprisingly very well put together story-wise and the skillshot system is a work of borderline genius. I have a few niggles about the game, but it's nothing that breaks it. Bulletstorm is a shot in the arm for first person shooters, and it's one of the greatest new IP's in years. If you have any love for first person shooters and gaming in general, seek out this game at your nearest convenience!

Rating: 9/10

(Xbox 360 version reviewed. Also available on PS3/PC)

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Marvel vs Capcom 3 review

Well, it's been out for over a week now, but as always with my reviews, I give them at least a good several hours worth of play before giving my thoughts.

Marvel vs Capcom 3 is the latest installment of Capcom's flashy fighting series. Pitting 3 person teams made up from characters from the vast canon of the Marvel comics and Capcom games, you battle your way through a series of colossal battles until you meet the obligatory end boss, who is hell bent in ripping you a new one.

So what's it like? Does it stand up to the two previous games, or is it simply a button masher that isn't worth bothering with? Let's have a peek!

The Story:

Well, it's quite simple. Everyone is fighting until some huge big disaster occurs....some big flaming mass appears in the sky and everyone wants to find out what it is. There is probably a bit more to it than that, but to be honest it doesn't make itself known!

What I liked:

First of all, it's a new Marvel vs Capcom game. Being a huge fan of both comics and Capcom games, the game dishes out fan service from every pore. Some of the new character additions to the series are brilliant. Dante, Chris Redfield, Deadpool, Arthur the Knight, Wesker, Phoenix....they are all animated brilliantly and play fantastically. Characters such as Deadpool really excel with how they have been handled, from their animations to moves, which in one case with Deadpool sees him literally jump up, rip the energy bar from the top of the screen and whack your opponent into oblivion! Amazing. The fighting stages are also brilliant, ranging from a float parade held at the Daily Bugle, to fights within the labs from Resident Evil and a run-through stage from Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts. The controls are fairly straight forward, with buttons for weak, medium and heavy attacks, and a new dedicated "launch" button, where, funnily enough, you launch your opponent into the air where you can follow it up with an ariel battering of your choosing! Another new addition is the "X-factor". No no....nothing to do with the entertainment choice of the brain dead, in this mode your simply hit all four face buttons and it supercharges you up to do extra damage for a set amount of time, which when hit at the right time can turn the tide of battle into your favour. Online modes are set up well. You can jump into a lobby for up to eight people and play a kind of winner stays on type mode, which is nice, even though it's a bit boring watching energy bars go down in other peoples fights while you wait to get in on the action. There is a great practice mode, where you can cripple your fingers to death practicing the button combinations and learning combo attacks. With fantastic, if a little zingy at times graphics, and a great soundtrack, I've had a great deal of fun playing it. However....

What I loathed:

AAARRRRGGGHHH!!! I know it's the staple of fighting games. From the early days of the various SNK fighting games, the last boss has always been a complete bastard. From Geese Howard to Omega Rugal, from Streetfighter's Seth to Dead or Alive's's a tradition that the end boss should be hard. But prepare yourself for frustration like you have never had before....ladies and gents....I give you Galactus in MVC3. He's a fucking joke. Seriously. Almost game breaking. Even before you get to fight him he chucks out two characters he's summoned that you have to deal with. These guys, who like Dural from The Virtua fighter games are silver, give you a good shoeing until you get rid of them, and then the devourer of worlds himself turns up to finish you off. you can pull off super after super, bring out your biggest moves, and he doesn't even flinch. He just sits there soaking up your moves and with one punch kills your character. Whatever you do doesn't seem to effect's the equivalent of a human trying to knock out the statue of Liberty! Totally ridiculous. It's just so frustrating. Why Capcom....why? Why did you have to make the last boss cheaper than a Lidl carrier bag? It literally makes me want to throw my controller out of the window....and I hate to admit (and I don't give a flying bag of balls if you laugh) I have yet to beat him. 30+ attempts and nothing.

The verdict?

Marvel vs Capcom 3 if a fun game. Fans of both series will love the fan service, the easy to get in to but quite deep if you want it gameplay, and the flashy moves and over the top gameplay never fails to raise a smile. Some of the new characters are welcome additions, and online is working well as of this time. But the end of level boss literally takes all the enjoyment you had up until when you meet with him and the game takes that enjoyment, buts it in a blender and mixes it with shit! And then makes you eat it!

Rating: 7/10

(Xbox 360 version reviewed. Also available on PS3)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

A couple of days hiatus.......

Hey guys, just a wee message.

As the post suggests i'll be taking a couple of days out. Just got to catch up on some dreaded college work, give my PC an overhaul and go and assassinate's in my contract and I just can't get out of it.

If any members of the People's front of Libya are reading this...that was a joke. Don't come and drag me out of my bed later on!

But don't you worry I'll be back on Friday with some more fantastic Gamefreak stuff, amongst which will be, spread over the weekend, reviews of Marvel vs Capcom 3, Killzone 3, Bulletstorm and Hard Corps: Uprising. More video reviews will be upcoming, some current, and some of an older variety to please us retro lovers out there.....including a lovely piece i'm putting together about my Sharp Super Famicom TV.

So guys....have a great couple of days gaming. By all means drop me any messages of anything you may want me to, hints and tips, my thoughts on "X"....whatever you would like. I'm starting to build up some great friends and readers from here and Twitter, so lets see if we can grow this lil community.

Here's a few vids of what i'll be covering later this week.


Hard Corps: Uprising

Marvel vs Capcom 3

Killzone 3

Looking good eh?

See you in a couple of days guys.

Monday, 21 February 2011

"Great Scott.........!"

It's not often you get something for free these days, but today is one of them.

Telltale games have an offer on their site at the moment....well, I say an're basically obliged to do it!

You can pop along and download the first episode of their multi-part "Back to the future" adventure game. For don't pay a penny.

If you haven't already, just follow this link to the page, click on checkout, register your details and get downloading. I can confirm it's for all regions, not just the States (all the prices are in dollars, so it threw me initially).

So what are you waiting for? Download it NOW!!

Have a look at this trailer to see if it piques your interest. It should....Back to the future is amazing!

And if you have downloaded it, as always, let me know your thoughts.

You're welcome.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Gamefreak's first video test.

Hey guys, thanks for looking in on me again. Hope your weekend is a great one.

As previously mentioned, i'm going to start doing some video-related stuff. I don't say "Content", as that makes me sound like some kind of corporate industry it's "stuff".

Anyhoo. I've just uploaded a quick video tester. Just to see how the quality comes over. It's nowhere near what the final product will be, audio wise at least. It was just me basically stuttering over a video whilst trying to juggle various programs in the background. I'll be doing allsorts of video stuff, gameplay videos, achievement guides, just some featuring commentary on the industry as a whole....and a few other ideas I have in mind.

So anyway. To the video. Please have a little look at it and let me know what you think. I'm recording footage on a HD PVR, recording sound through Audacity, and combining the two in windows movie maker. If you have any little hints and tips for me (that requires spending little or NO MONEY) then please give me your thoughts, either here, on the Facebook page or via twitter. I will be setting up a specific gamefreak youtube channel....i'm just showing you this as a test.

So please, have a look and give me some feedback. IT'S NOT A FUCKING REVIEW, so don't go calling me out for not ending in a hyper-combo finish....

Any SENSIBLE comments are of course welcome.

Friday, 18 February 2011

R.I.P Bizarre Creations. 1994-2011



*blows nose*

*inspects hanky*

It's all just....too.....much.....*sniff*

I can't talk....just....just watch the video.....

*Wipes away tears*

*looks longingly at copy of PGR4*


I'll.....i'll miss you.......

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Dead Island of the best things i've ever seen!

Wow. Just wow.....

The new promo trailer for the upcoming game "Dead Island" is doing the rounds....and what a trailer.

It's seriously THE best trailer for a game i've ever had the pleasure of watching.

Dead Island is a game by Techland, developers of the Call of Juarez series. No real concrete details have been released as of yet, but what we do know is that it's a multiplayer game set on a gorgeous holiday island. Of course, something happens that turns the inhabitants into mindless flesh eating pus bags, and you and your fellow survivors have to survive! Apparently it's set in a 1st person perspective, it's going to have 4-player co-op, with drop in/drop out gameplay, and even though there will be guns they are rare, your most common weapons being everyday items you find.

The official website for the game is currently under construction, but my radar has been firmly set to find out anything I can about this game. Left 4 dead meets Holiday Reps long as I can kill those reps you can sign me up!

Have a look at this staggeringly good trailer.

I've watched it 5 times already and it gets better and better each time.

More details as they are released. But come on....have you ever seen a game trailer that makes you want a game as much as this? If you say yes....YOU'RE LYING!!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Dara O'Briain, the media and video games.

Video gamers. What are they like eh? You....yes you.

The media have always struggled with videogames and how they should be portrayed. Most media outlets actually struggle to get any facts right, relying on "sources" for most of their stories....if those sources are from phone hacks or just made up bollocks, you can stick it in your news report AS FACT, because we all know...."no-one reveals their sources!".

But when it comes to videogames there is a problem.

On the whole, videogames and the people that play them are regarded as psychopathic violence loving weirdos. We would rather sit alone in our bedrooms with the lights out blowing peoples brians out with shotguns, murdering prostitutes and ram-raiding children's nurseries for 12 hours a night rather than interacting with "real" people, reading a book or sitting around getting into a political debate. We shun the outside world and escape into imaginary realms where anything and everything is possible. Not one of us has a girlfriend, and the thought of actually seeing a real life human breast is something that would cause the average gamer to explode in a pent-up jizz explosion.

Sometimes we don't do ourselves any favours. For gamers of a certain age, you'll remember the time when the rumours were doing the rounds about the "nude cheat" for the first Tomb Raider game. Yes you bloody do.....don't fib about it now that you're all "grown up!". Magazines and burgeoning game websites were awash with button presses, tips and methods so you could play the game as Lara Croft in the buff. And gamers were almost literally falling over themselves to do it. Now, why the hell you would want to see polygonal tits and some badly remdered low-res bush escapes me, but we couldn't get enough. And even now with the advent of "mature" titles like Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain, we are still doing the same. Gamers the world over tried to replicate a glitch in the game that allowed one of the main characters, Madison, to appear as nature intended.

So of course the media picks up on things like this, splashes it on web pages so they can point their holier-than-thou fingers and have a good old sneer at us geeky virgins. And you know, why shouldn't they? I mean, tits in a game....who wants to see those eh? Especially a game with "mature" themes. I want my mature stories told me in the most bland, as unrealistic as possible way, not with all aspects of human life that death, nudity, emotion or connection with a character.

But no. The only time you ever, EVER see a positive story regarding videogames in the national media is when some fat woman manages to stop eating for 5 minutes and jumps on Wii fit, with the result being some of that access blubber is lost by simply moving about a bit. It's also bigger news if that once huge sweaty mass turns out be to half attractive afterwards!

So it's always good when videogames get a good hearing. When someone comes out and says he's a proud videogamer. I'm not saying that they shout it from the hilltops and rush out to get a tattoo of Sonic the Hedgehog emblazoned in their arse.....just the little bit of delight when someone who's well respected in their field comes out and simply says "I play videogames".

Step forward Dara O'Briain.

Dara is a funny guy. I'll admit he's not in my top 5 comedians of all time, but he is consistently funny, and far funnier than that boz-eyed Russell Howard twat on Mock the week. But he's a gamer too, and when he combines his humour with the subject of videogames it's quite a show.

If you didn't see it, here's Dara as features in Charlie Brooker's "Gameswipe", discussing games and making a very good point about Gears of War.

A building with 3 hallways......EXACTLY! IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!!!

Dara appeared in the BBC breakfast show earlier this week, where he gave a good showing (you should be able to find the Breakfast episode from Tuesday in Iplayer....I can't however). Dara made some valid points, although the host of BBC breakfast, Bill Turnbull, does his best to sneer at Dara whenever he has anything like a point about the argument. I can't embed it, but look at this link to see a snippet from the show.


Videogames? Art? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Coming from a man that's an amalgamation of every news presenter ever that rich. He's the art equivalent of a papier mache John Stapleton.

But this goes to highlight my point. Look at the biggest entertainment releases in recent years and they are games (discounting Avatar). Games sell umpteen trillions, and i'd probably hazard a guess that the vast majority of gamers are in the 25-35 yr old bracket. The Nintendo Wii has been selling at a weekly rate of millions, with even the Queen taking part in Wii sports competitions, probably, and it's still seen and portrayed as a childish, fruitless pursuit that stunts your brain and has as much social benefit as being a serial killer.

Even bastion of fair news reporting "Russia today" get's in on the act, when the recent terrorist bombing at an airport in Moscow was compared with the "No Russian" level in Activision's Modern Warfare 2!

Of course it was an easy comparison to make, a terrorist attack motivated by political means and an attack BY RUSSIANS in a "fictional" Russian airport. Devoid of context about the game, where the whole airport scene was a orchestrated as a prelude to war with the United States, it's just a mindless connection because the game features an airport. Of course they didn't report that side of the game, or indeed, like me on my first playthrough, you can get through all of the sections featuring civilians without firing a bullet whatsoever! But of course, you never let facts and context get in the way of a great story.

So the media, be that printed, online or televised, still has a long long way to go before it accepts that gaming is a hobby that millions enjoy. It still likes to paint gamers as sad, sexually redundant beings an inch away from becoming a serial killer. And you know what, I actually don't think we should try to convince them otherwise.

Celebs like Dara and Charlie Brooker are great. They are gamers through and through. They make no excuses for their hobby, and indeed shout their virtues from the hills. But I do believe that we as gamers should actually stop to try and convince the non-gaming public that "games are art". All it achieves is the same effect of shouting at a deaf dog as he's shitting in the corner. We as gamers should just carry on, indulging ourselves in the hobby that we love so well. We don't need to convince others to join us. If you like games, you bloody enjoy them, don't spend fruitless hours telling others why they really should play Shadow of the Colossus.

For more of Dara on games, pop over to Computer and Video games where they have some segments of a great little interview with Dara about gaming. He doesn't half make some great points.

So gamers. Enjoy your hobby. Tell people about it. Don't be embarrassed. Gaming is a more productive hobby than any other "normal" activities, such as watching Big Brother, X-Factor, or anything else that normal people consider to be socially acceptable. If you listen to them, you'll believe that sitting at your house with a few friends, a few drinks and a four-player session on Rock Band is more damaging than sitting hunched over your computer monitor at three in the morning, watching people sleep in the big brother house.

And I know which i'd rather be doing.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Secret Xbox blockbuster on the way.....


Official Xbox magazine are officially prick-teasers. There they are, in all of their official glory, playing games before everyone else and getting insider information from un-sharing gits in the gaming community.

Teased by them at the moment is an announcement about a big named franchised coming to the Xbox 360. The ad is posted just there *points to the left* and in case your eyes don't work (or the text is tiny) the scribble says:

"You WILL buy this magazine. One of the best games ever made is reborn on Xbox 360. Get the full story, only in OXM".


Apparently they have been waiting to announce the game for months, but the dev has asked them to hold on for little while longer until everything is hunky dory with the game.

Speculation is rife, with rumours flying about on several forums, from Final Fantasy VII (like that will ever fucking happen) to a new installment of Rainbow six.

You can see the original announcement on the Computer and Videogames website here.

Now here's the thing. Someone in the C&VG forum underneath the article has guessed correctly. OXM editor Jon Hicks, as well as essentially confirming that it's not an Xbox exclusive, they just have an exclusive reveal in the magazine, says: "It has been correctly identified in the CVG comments thread, though. I'm impressed - although I still can't reveal which one of the guesses are right."

Have a look at the link above and see what you can make out.

I'm going for Syndicate. Fuck please be Syndicate!

Any ideas? Any thoughts? Any wishes? What would you want it to be?

Your thoughts as always, are welcome.

Get guessing!!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Halo: Reach Defiant map pack details.

That's right, there is a new Halo: Reach map pack on the way.

Released next month, the second map pack for Halo: Reach will feature 3 maps and achievements for a total of 150 gamerscore, for the bargain price of 800 msp.

The map pack has been co-created by MS and Certain Affinity, headed up by ex Bungie staffer Max Hoberman. Before you all cry into your Cornflakes shrieking "WTF!! No Bungie???".....they were also responsible for a couple of maps on Halo 2, as well as maps for Call of duty: World at war and Black ops respectively. So it seems like they are in good hands.

The maps, all captured in the video below, look pretty cool and graphically quite tidy. Map 1 is "Condemned", set in an orbital space station in orbit above planet Reach (not the beating up tramps in subways Condemned). Map 2 is called "Unearthed", which take place in a large titamium mine, and map 3 is called "Highlands", where you fight off wave after wave of ginger-haired, blue faced, sweaty sword wielding haggis munchers armed with nothing more than a battered Mars bar. Just teasing, it's set at a secret military facility in the wodds...although my idea sounds better in my head.

I really should start playing Reach more. I bloody love Firefight, but I haven't really touched any of the other modes. If anyone feels like getting some games going drop me a gamertag in the comments section and i'll add ya.

Anyway Spartans...gear up and watch the vid.

I'll see you on the battlefield soldiers.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Crysis 2 multiplayer progression video.

Gamfreak here guys and gals, hope you're having a fantastic weekend.

I've just had a peek at this new multiplayer video for Crysis 2, which shows the different abilities that your suit can perform in the game, as well as showing the different "perks" that you can augment your suit with depending on your play style. It seems that there are specific perks that unlock and compliment the way that you play, so if you're a balls-out run and gunner you can get extra abilities to make you reload faster, increase your rate of fire etc. Or indeed if you're more of the stealthy, sneaky underhanded type there are abilities for you too.

It looks pretty great to be honest. It could make for some fantastic team games.

Some of you are maybe already playing it, as it's just stating to leak out from various gaming sites that the PC version of the game has already been leaked, and is being downloaded by Jack Sparrow-types the world over. Sad news.....

Anyway.....feast your eyes on this beauty!

What do you think? Do you think this will take some of the dominance of COD: Black ops, or will it crash and burn?

You thoughts, as always, are welcome.

Crysis 2 is due for release on 25th March, 2011.

Available on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

R.I.P Guitar Hero. My time with the game.

Well well. Gamers, journalists and most other people familiar with the name are waking up in a slight state of shock today.

Yesterday, Activision announced that along with the quite interesting-looking True Crime update, they have cancelled Guitar Hero. Development on the new game has been stopped, and there are no plans at the moment to make a new installment.

A statement from the company simply states "...due to continued declines in the music genre, the company will disband Activision Publishing's Guitar Hero business unit and discontinue development on its Guitar Hero game for 2011,".

The signs were there when the game released that the formula was starting to stagnate at an alarming pace, when first-month sales announced that the last installment "Warriors of Rock", compared with sales of up to 500,000 units in the first week of GH: World tour, only sold 86,000 units.

Guitar Hero has almost become synonymous with gaming. Almost everyone, even if they haven't played it, has heard of the game. Tournaments still happen all over the world, and at it's height it was everywhere, even featuring in top satirical animation swear fest "South Park".

So.....from total global domination to being thrown on the rubbish heap. Where did it all go wrong for Guitar Hero? Here's my take on the story.

Guitar Hero (PS2)

First release in 2005, I didn't hear about the first Guitar Hero until I saw a review in GamesTM magazine. They reviewed the import US version and were gushing over it. It sounded amazing, but I wanted to get my hands on it. Having played in a few bands, I liked the sound of the game, thrashing away in little plastic guitars to various bands sounded like a great laugh. It was a long wait until the game came out....months....long, boring months. But finally, the UK release date was announced and my pre-orders went in. Popped to Gamestation on the morning of release and picked up my order. They didn't actually have any guitars sold separately, so I just bought two versions of the game (I really did). I took my purchases home, and waited for my friend to finish work, as He knew I was getting the game and wanted to play. Packing my PS2 and newly acquired plastic Gibsons into his car we shot round to his house, set it all up and started to play. My love affair with the game started that very day.

Guitar Hero became a staple form of entertainment at my house. Anyone who came round had to sit and play the game. I actually can't imagine how many hours me and my friends put into the game, we played day, night, whenever we could. So much so that we organised a Guitar Hero tournament at a local pub in the city centre. I actually threw a sicky at work so I could just sit for a couple of days and take down anyone who dared to score higher than me in a song. And what songs......the first game features arguably THE best tracklist of any other Guitar Hero release. There was something for everyone. The highlight song for us though, the one that we constantly tried to better each other on was "Bark at the moon" by Ozzy Osbourne....we nailed that song. Throw in QOTSA, David Bowie, Megadeth....if there wasn't at least 2 songs that someone liked they were mental. And then the news came along that Guitar Hero 2 was being made.

Guitar Hero 2

Guitar Hero 2 first launched on the PS2, and then when I heard it was coming out on the fairly new at the time Xbox 360 console I traded it in for the new versions when that came out. It took the components of the first game and expanded them. An arguably very strong setlist compared with the first game, some more slightly complicated song charts, the ability to play in co-op, either as rhythm and lead guitars or the option to play bass guitar. And my addiction to the game was confirmed. No other game took up as much of my time as was never out of the CD tray. Now for the first time new song packs were available to download for the game, including some of the best songs from the Guitar Hero 1. The usual aural emanations that were released from my house was "Hanger 18"by Megadeth overdubbed with the clatter of the strum bars moving at a blinding speed. I was a Guitar Hero in my head. And then things started to go slightly wrong.

Guitar Hero 3.

With the news that Harmonix had gone and Neversoft were taking over the development, I was quietly confident. Seeing previews of the game it looked pretty cool, as it was going to feature "Real" Guitar heroes, such as Slash from GNR and Tom Morello from Rage against the Machine. I once more did my usual ritual of booking the day off work, went down and picked up the game with the new wireless guitar and got settled down at home.

I was struggling. It seemed like Guitar sounded like Guitar Hero...but something was wrong. There was a little bit of soul missing, something that I still can't really put my finger on today. The track list was good, but on the higher difficulties the charting of the songs was just way off. There were far too many notes. It seemed like a difficulty increase just for the sake of making the experience longer. And the boss I fucking loathed the boss battles. They were hard, irritating and they took me out of the game. I didn't need some shitty tacked on story, I just wanted to rock out. Again, DLC came out at a drip....drip.....drip rate....and I found myself playing it for the sake of playing. I needed something else....and it wasn't Neversoft and Guitar Hero that gave it to me. It was former Guitar Hero developers Harmonix. That's another story, but when Guitar Hero world tour was announced, and it was doing just what the recently released Rock Band pioneered, releasing with a drum kit, Mike and support for Guitar and Bass, I thought this was the shot in the arm that Guitar Hero needed. I was to be proven very disappointed.

Guitar Hero: World Tour.

This was when the affair between me and Guitar Hero ended. Something unfortunate had happened between GH3 and the release of this game......Rock Band. Rock band had got out of the gate first with the whole band experience, and when this game was released it did just seem to smell a bit of " too......I can do the band thing".....and so it did. Sporting arguably THE WORST tracklist in a Guitar Hero game so far, I just went through the motions. The love, the spirit and the urge to play the game had gone. My heart had been taken by another. I tried in desperation to make it work....i'd invite others to play, i'd sit and literally force myself to go through the modes, but even with an alarming rendition of Ozzy as a character in the game it couldn't bring me to love it. Reluctantly, with a heavy heart and a sense of loss, I traded the game in. Guitar Hero was no longer on my radar.

I'd purposely dodged the other releases....apart from "Rock the 80's" which after playing through a couple of times was again traded in. Guitar Hero Aerosmith, Val Halen, Metallica....I wasn't interested in any of them. Guitar Hero 5 came and went, with the absolutely fucking dumb idea to let anyone play any instrument they wanted.....4 guitars, 4 drummers.....yeah...that sounded fun. I kept my ear to the ground and at times I felt almost glee that Guitar Hero was dropping...not only in sales but also in fan rebellion....people were starting to dislike it. My new woman, Rock Band, was all I needed. She gave me a new game in Rock Band 2, the constant release of new songs every week meant I always had something new to play, and when Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock was announced, with their new "changing fascia" guitar I felt justified in my decision to end the relationship, even more so when we hooked up a couple of times at a friends to play the newer versions.....Guitar Hero just didn't cut it any more.

So. The end of an era. I was pretty sad when I heard the news that Activision had cancelled the game. I know it sounds stupid, but yesterday I did actually feel that someone I knew had died. I guess it's just down to the memories. I've spent so much time playing the game, so many late nights spend with friends, a few beers and rocking out until the wee hours. It's not surprising that in a way i'm slightly torn.....but, the writing was on the cards. The instant uptake of the game, the popularity it gathers with the first few releases, it was obvious that Activision would see it as a money making gold mine. But the constant, tireless whoring out of the game was never going to give it justice. Games create a following because they are good games, and the time that you spend with them is a very enjoyable experience. The Guitar Hero phenomenon was just of those games that comes along every so often and overtakes everything.....Pokemon, World of Warcraft, Call of duty.....sometimes a game leaps out of the world of the nerd and becomes something that's on everyone's lips. Just as Playstation became synonymous with gaming in the late 90's, Guitar Hero also rose to the giddy heights of becoming an everyday term for people interested in games everywhere.

Apparently the door hasn't been completely shut. I can imagine in a couple of years time, maybe released on the next batch of consoles, that the grave of Guitar Hero will be robbed, the corpse re-animated and brought back to life.

I can't help but think however.........let this one rest in peace.

R.I.P Guitar Hero. 2005-2011

New LA noire "Orientation" trailer.

A new trailer for Rockstar's latest game is doing the rounds.

This one is dubbed "Orientation", and as well as showing some more of the absolutely fantastic facial technology going on, it shows some more of the gameplay. We get to see some Driving, gun fights, fist fights and some more detail of how interrogation works in game.

I'm blabbing enough. Just get down there *points down* and watch this video. It's staggeringly good!

I'm calling this game of the year 2011 already.

L.A Noire is released on 20th May, 2011 on both the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

My Rock band dreams have come true.....

Holy shit on 8-foot high stilts.....I actually, seriously cannot contain myself. I feel like screwing everyone sensless, cleaning their house and cooking their mum a lovely cake.

It's still not 100% confirmed, and knowing my luck i'll have an horrific incident where i need my fingers amputated, but awesome Harmonix-loving website have managed to get their hands on a lovely image that shows an early preview of next weeks Rock Band DLC if it's to be believed.

You can check out their website and screenshot of the DLC right here.

And if you're too lazy to click on the is the list of next weeks fucking so-good-i've-cum DLC:

  • Animotion – Obsession
  • B.O.B. feat Hayley Williams – Airplanes
  • Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart
  • The Human League – Don’t You Want Me
  • Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
  • Meatloaf – Paradise By The Dashboard Light
  • Stevie Nicks – Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
Fucking hell. I'm still actually reeling in shock. Bonnie tyler? The Human League? And MOTHER FUCKING MEATLOAF!! CAN YOU READ???? MEAT-FUCKING-LOAF!


I'm off for a wee cry possibly a wank too.

The Darkness 2 creeps out of the dark!

Holy sheeeeet!

Grumblings are coming from various websites that 2K games have announced The Darkness 2, the follow up game to the 2007 cult hit. I actually can't find the official source for the story, apart from this little announcement (i'm no Sherlock) so I can only go by what others are saying.

It's all essentially sounding similar. If you never played the first game, and shame on you if you haven't, it's a criminally underrated game that you need to seek out right now. Playing as Antonio Banderas...I mean...Jackie Estacado, you play as a member of the mob who, through no fault of his own, becomes symbiotically attached to a demon known as the Darkness....which takes the form of toothy, black tentacles that ooze out of your back that have a penchant for killing, impaling and generally giving anyone they meet a very bad day. These creatures are empowered by darkness, so to give them more strength and extra powers you have to skulk in the shadows, shooting out lights with your pistols and hiding in toilets until your fiendish friends are powered up enough to start dismembering thugs with slimy black glee. They are also responsible for some of the best voice acting, in a game....EVER...thanks to Mike Patton from Faith no more.

Details are sketchy on the essentially sounds like the same game, and for me warning bells are already ringing as it's been let slip that Starbreeze, devs of the original game and the equally fantastic Riddick games have nothing to do with the sequel. Instead, development duties have been handed over to Digital Extremes, the devs behind Unreal Tournament and....Dark Sector......hhhmmmmm.

I must admit i'm a bit of a Starbreeze whore, so i'm not holding out for anything special. But if they manage to nail what made the first game so unique then you can count me in.

So. Not long to wait. But with Battlefield 3, a possible Halo Remake and the usual yearly installment of Call of Duty all coming out around the same time as this game will it suffer as a result?

Of course it fucking will. But hey....a good game is a good game. So colour me interested!

In case you missed the first game, here's a little taster of just what you missed out on.

If you're can get the game, brand new, from about £8.00 right here!

Battlefied 3 details explode!

Hold onto your controllers guys.....details about the fantastically amazing multiplayer destruction-fest Battlefield 3 have started to dribble out onto the web.

Due in "fall 2011", the latest game in the series is sounding great. Game informer, in their latest issue, have put out a variety of details which were cobbled together by some helpful nerds on the NeoGAF forums, which website Computer & Video games nicked, which I blatantly stole from them. Here's a summery of what they have to say:

  • Aiming for CY Q4 2011 release
  • Concept for BF3 has been in the works for years, waiting on proper tech to seamlessly come together
  • Frosbite 2.0 is the culmination of this tech, entirely re-written
  • Lighting sounds neat, one "probe" contains more lighting information than an entire BFBC2 level.
  • Level destruction is going to be "believable" but basically everything is destructible.
  • Character animations powered by ANT, what EA Sports uses.
  • AI characters and multiplayer characters have different animation sets
  • No more "gliding" animations that look off, animation realism is a focus
  • Captured their own war audios (bullets, tanks, helicopters, etc) at different distances to ensure realism
  • Better audio cues for certain actions, more easily able to listen for threats
  • Plan on better, more immediate post release content
  • More unlocks than BFBC2
  • Dice trying to find a good balance between customization of your character and not having "pink rabbit hat(s)"
  • 4 classes
  • Will talk about squads "later"
  • Looking into a theater mode but can't talk about it
  • Will have co-op
  • There will be a kill-cam but it can be turned off
  • BF3's team is almost twice as big as the team for BFBC2
  • They want the pacing of the single player mode to be balanced, with highs and lows. Makes the comparison to a song vs a guitar solo.
  • Part of the single player mode takes place in Sulaymaniyah - Iraqi Kurdistan.
  • "F***" will be used often, so M rated for sure
  • There will be an earthquake in a level. The destruction sounds very impressive. 7 story building collapses, looks very well done
  • Significant narrative that goes with the SP mode
  • More than one setting, you're not in the middle east for the whole game
  • PC version is lead version
  • Why 64 players for PC only? No complains from the console crowd.
  • No mod tools at release. Maybe none down the line either. Frosbite 2.0 is complex and mods tools would have to be dumbed down, so does Dice really want to put their time to that or would it be better spent elsewhere?
  • Original story, not based on Bad Company at all. all sounds great. But they need to include the "pink bunny hats".....nothing says warfare more than a bunny hat in my book.

Colour me impressed. Battlefield is my favoured multiplayer title, i've always preferred it over the screaming K/D ratio obsessed toss-bags in the Call of Duty games. Jumping into a squad with some other good players and taking out objectives stands head and shoulders over the "lone gunner" approach that seems to happen whenever I jump into a COD game.

I'm not going to start going on about if it's going to be a "Call of Duty killer" it already is in my book. I just want the bloody!

If you haven't seen it, feast your eye-holes on this teaser. It shows nothing really, but hey.....

Friday, 4 February 2011

Is the Halo HD remake on it's way?

Mmmm....looks like the rumours are gathering pace.

The initial rumours dripped out in November of last year. Trade mag MCV put out a piece that Halo development studio 343 Industries were apparently working on a HD remake of the first Halo game, running on the Halo Reach engine.

And now from website Joystiq, another announcement about the game.

Developed by the strangely monikered studio "Sabre interactive"....sounds painful....the game is not just the original game with a HD coat on, oh no. This one will have certain assets updated...i'm guessing character models and textures, and updated controls to put the game more in line with the sequels. Co-op support, 1080p resolution and 3D support is also expected to make it into the game.

A tentative release date of November 15, 2011 has been proposed. This will bring it in line with the 10th anniversary of the original games release.

So what can we take of this news? Sounds plausable I guess. I wouldn't imagine it would harm MS to get this game out of the door, as it's probably going to sell a squillion copies within the first hour it's on the shelves. But with two sources for the same rumour, it's sounding quite likely.

If it happens, and anyone from 343 Industries is reading this.....PLEASE sort out the fucking god-awful Library levels....there is no way I want to do all that bollocks again.

Until this is confirmed....entertain yourself with another Halo's great!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Killzone 3 multiplayer demo thoughts.

Well, lucky for us UK residents, the highly anticipated multiplayer beta for Killzone 3 is now available to download from the Playstation network. So let's have a quick look at what's on offer.

Firstly the game modes. There is "guerrilla warfare", which supports up to sixteen players, the awesome "warzone" with it's constantly changing objectives and "operations" which are missions based on catching/killing different mission types. There is also the bot mode, where you can fight against computer controlled bots.....self explanatory really.

Nothing much has changed class wise. in the demo you start off just being able to pick a certain class, and though battles you earn points for kills etc to unlock different weapon types and perks. The usual engineer, medic are all in there.

The demo is pretty much Killzone. Nothing really has changed. After playing COD/Battlefield for the past several months I haven't touched Killzone in an age, so returning to the game took some adjustment. I'd forgotten just how sluggish the controls can be.....trying to get a bead on your enemy with the gun was like an anorexic trying to hold a two-stone iron bar level. However, after upping the sensitivity a bit and getting a few games under my belt it all came flooding much so in my second game I was the highest scoring member on my team! That's a first for me and Killzone! The game is also compatible with Playstation Move, so if you want to can waggle along to your hearts content.

The map, with the "must have been up all night trying to come up with a name for it" name Frozen dam, is a great little map. Set in a snow-laden industrial zone there are a tonne of choke points, with lots of high level walkways and rooms to rack up the kills. It's not that big, but it's deceptive as it feels bigger than it actually is thanks to the lower cellar type areas and the huge multi-leveled walkway in the main open area. Within a few games you start to recognise certain areas and instantly find a few favourite points to camp out in.

Unfortunatly I only got to have a few games on the one mode, Guerrilla Warfare. I attempted to get into the others, but after several blank screens and in one instance a wait of around twenty minutes trying to get into the game I gave up. But seeing as how it's just more Killzone I don't think i'm missing anything spectacular. Although i'll try again later because if i'm missing out on bloody jetpacks i'll be pissed.

So that's the demo. It's Killzone through and through, so if you're not a fan, it won't convert you. However, based on this map (and I can't wait to see the other maps....mmmmm, jetpacks) it looks like it will be another solid multiplayer game for the PS3.

And you just can't beat hearing Ray Winstone barking objective orders at you.....

For more details, have a look at the game's website right here.

Killzone 3 is released on 25th February, 2011.

Duty Calls parody.

I love a good piss take. I find nothing more delighting than sitting with close friends, mocking them on all sorts of things, from their receding hairlines and still living with their parents, to indeed taking the piss out of myself or just shouting at the dumb fuckers you usually see in any advert. Mockery is great in my book....which is why i'm starting to love Bulletstorm even more.

Just released by the developers of Bulletstorm, People may fly, is this parody of a certain well know multi million selling Activision cash cow.

I don't need to say anything more about it, as I could never to this video justice. Just one thing.....I would actually buy this if it were released.

And technically that's two things....the sound effects of the gun...every game needs a standard weapon that says "boring" every time you shoot it!

Watch and love.....

Vanquish review.

Well, it's been out for a while, so better late than never. I'm sure there's still a few of you that haven't picked this up yet.

Released in October last year, Vanquish is a stylish 3rd person shooter developed by Shinji Mikami, previously of Resident Evil fame and his company Platinum games.

Pre release videos and images drew comparisons with Gears of War, what with it being 3rd person and having a cover system, but with typical Japanese characters stylings and a trillion things happening on screen at once. But the important it any good? Let's go and have a bloody good look then.

The story:

It's a bit of a garbled mess, but in a cool way. Set at some point in the future, mankind has over populated the Earth. The US has made some huge space station to collect solar energy, but those sneaky Russians, led be a Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear look-a-like, overtakes control of the satellite, blows San Francisco off the face of the planet and threatens that the US should step down, otherwise New York is left. A group is formed to take on the Red menace, led by big, burly and bearded man mountain Colonel Robert Burns and aided with a tonne of cannon fodder and a lone soldier with an experimental battle-suit, Chain smoking Sam Gideon. Taking the role of Sam, you have to blow your way through the robotic menace and destroy the space station.

What I liked:

Basically.....everything. The team at Platinum Games have created a title that is effortlessly cool. And I do mean cool. You could use this game to chill your beer! Taking control of Sam, you can play several different ways. Controls are standard fare, right trigger to fire, left trigger to aim. You duck into cover with X, grenade with Yand select a choice of up to four weapon types with the d-pad etc etc. right bumper is for reload, and left is to activate your suit power, which is almost like a sprint, except you slide around on your knees in the style of an amputee with rockets on your stumps! While out of cover, hitting X sees you perform dodge-style rolls, and when combining this with the aim trigger the world enters a slo-mo bullet time type thing where you can slowly pick apart groups of enemies, or in more extreme cases shoot actual missiles out of the sky! It takes a while to master, but once it clicks instead of just simply shooting an enemy until it goes dead, you'll slide into cover, leap over it, click slo-mo, kill a legion of troops, land into more cover and light up a's like Gear of War ballet edition. Some levels are outstanding, memorable fights include a high speed monorail chase that flips around like fighting on a rollercoaster, a huge walking robotic spider that once you think you have beaten it transforms into a giant walking Iron giant, and a fight in zero gravity. Your transforming gun is a great addition, and there are varieties of weapons to pick up, from usual assault rifles and rocket launchers to disc launching rifles and lock on multiple lasers. Sound effects are awesome, the soundtrack is great, and the character voices are some of the most funny i've ever hear in a marks go to Colonel Burns, who can't say a simple phrase without shouting it as loud and gruff as possible....think Brian Blessed smoking 40 Marlboro a day and you're about there. He's also responsible for one of the greatest lines in video game history....."Thank god i'm an Athiest!".

What I loathed:

Hardly anything. If I had to say anything bad about it i'd be lying. The only thing I could maybe mark it down on is more of a fault with me than the game. It's slight confusing at first, getting used to dodging enemy attacks to enter bullet time, or getting used to activating it manually. Finding enemy attack patterns takes a while too, but once you have them you'll be cutting down the enemies in no time. It can be a bit busy, and at certain times it can be tough when you have 30 bad guys, giant robots and 3 lumbering huge beasts to try and take down all at once, and one friend who watched me play through a couple of sections actually felt sick from how busy the screen was......but then again he is a pussy.

The verdict?

Vanquish is a fantastic game. I haven't actually sat with a game in a long time that I enjoyed every single aspect of, from the controls to the characters and some fantastic levels. It's effortlessly cool, it looks great and I sat there smiling every single time I picked up the pad to play. You can pick it up for under £20, and as far as i'm concerned it's one of the best games of last year. Or this year if you bought it late like me.....

Rating: 9/10

(Xbox 360 version reviewed. Also available on PS3)

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean teaser.

Oh dear.......

Even though it was announced last November that this game was coming out, the first teaser trailer for TT games latest brick-infested collect-em-up Lego: Pirates of the Caribbean has been released to the gaming public.

Due for release in May this year, the game is scheduled be released along side the new Pirates movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides. It's going to be released on every console in the known universe, and it'll probably be shit.

Not dross from TT games end. They always seem to inject a but of humour into their games, and no doubt pirates will follow in the way that the Star Wars/Batman games did. I just hate the pirates films though. The first one was a laugh, but the second and third films in the series disappeared up their own scurvy-ridden arseholes.

Here's the teaser.


Anyway. Don't bother getting in touch telling me if you're interested in the game. I simply posted this to have a slight moan.....

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

How the hell did this game never happen??

Not only a case of "how the hell did this game never happen?", but how the hell did I never hear of it.

Chatting with a reader via email, we were talking about games that were previewed but never made. I was chucking out names like Starfox 2 etc, and he blurted out "Did you see that Dirty Harry game? That looked awesome!"

After choking on my tea as I read this, I immediately jumped onto Youtube and lo and behold.....there was the trailer.

According to online bullshit fact sheet Wikipedia, the game was indeed on. Developed by The Collective, inc and published by Warner Bros, the game was going to follow on from events that happened in the film, and indeed have the awesome setting of San Francisco in the 70's.

No talk of what kind of form the game would take was, but i'd imagine it would be some kind of GTA style kill-em-up. The only thing that was hinted at was how you would play the game. Taking the character straight from the films, Harry Callahan would walk the fine line between cop and psychopath, almost like a San Fran traffic warden. Take it too easy on the scum sucking bad guys and they wouldn't see you as a threat. Go all "mental" on them and expect a drubbing down from the police chief.

It all sounded pretty standard fare. But alas, The collective, inc went under due to "trouble", and the game was canned. A fucking disgrace! Why? Have a look at this bloody video and give your eyes a good old wank!

It looked like it nailed the atmosphere of the films...and indeed the grizzled, world-weary look of the dirty one himself.

I'm going to spend the next year bombarding Rockstar to get on the case and MAKE THIS GAME HAPPEN!!! If anyone can do it's them.

Join know it makes sense.