Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Gamefreak looks at Call of duty Elite.....good idea or Activision cash-cow?

Hey guys, hope you're having a fantastic day.

Unless you have only just woken up, you have probably heard that in November this year, scheduled for release alongside Modern Warfare 3, the new subscription-based service for Call of Duty will launch. This is a new service, which tracks your stats, favourite weapons, where you get killed/kill other people on maps, maybe some bonus content. Basically all the stuff that Bungie.net has been doing for Halo for the past few years, only this time you pay a monthly fee.

No pricing structure has been announced, but Activision says it will be "comparable" to other similar services out there. So free then if they take a leaf out of Bungie's book.

Here's a wee video containing my thoughts.



So what do you think? Are you going to plump up for the same kind of service that Halo fans have been enjoying for years...for FREE? Or are you going to tell Kotick where to go and stick it?

Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Gamefreak's L.A Noire review.

Hey guys, thanks for tuning in. Apologies for not really doing anything with the blog in the last week, i've been busy entertaining friends, liberating the middle east and chewing my way through L.A Noire, the latest offering from Team Bondi in conjunction with Rockstar games. The game has been in development for over 5 years, and has apparently even seen a change in platform. So is it any good? Continue dear reader, and i'll spew my thoughts out over this very page.

The story:

Cole Phelps is a man with a troubled past. After witnessing atrocious scenes of murder, carnage and general all round nastyness in World War 2, he has returned to Los Angeles where he has become an officer of the law. As well as being all "bright lights, big city" Los Angeles also has a dark side, a seedy undercurrent of murder, crime and corruption, where people get screwed over, shot and stabbed as a matter of fact, and where getting a handjob down a dark alley is as normal as a morning coffee. We join Phelps as he rises through the ranks, from a patrolman all the way through to homicide detective, as he tries to make sense of the crime that permiates through the city.

What I liked:

Firstly, the setting is amazing. Constructed of thousands of real life photographs of 1947 Los Angeles, the developers have really gone to town on the city. People walking around, cars clogging up the roads, trams shooting about everywhere, it really is a convincing living breathing world to explore. It's fun just shooting to a new case in your car, sirens blaring out and when you get chase missions where you have to apprehend another car and your partner is leaning out of the window trying to shoot out their tyres you really do feel like you're in a James Cagney movie. Of course, what EVERYONE is going on about are the faces, and initially they are extremely impressive. The animation really is the best facial animation ever seen in a game, and I wouldn't be surprised if devs the world over are trying to get their hands on something similar....you can pretty much guarantee the next GTA game will be the same. Cole Phelps, the character you play, is in my eyes very well acted by Aaron Staton, and the cast in general is fantastic. I'n not going to pick out anyone special as i'd be here all fucking day, the cast is that big. But rest assured is you watch any US TV shows you'll spot some familiar faces. The game itself basically breaks down like this; Drive to the scene of a crime, look around for clues and all things dodgy, find witnesses/suspects, interrogate them about what you have found and get making with the arrests. That's a very simplistic overview, as later in the game you have so many suspects, clues, locations to visit etc it takes you a fair old whack just to get through one crime. I'm not going to go into details of the cases, but if you think it's all just about tracking a serial killer you're very wrong. The story twists, turns and basically involves everyone and anyone in the city, from cops to politicians, to planning developers to gasmen, and members of your old marine unit from the war. It's an absolutely fascinating tale and I for one was hooked right from the start and apart from the odd blast on Rock band 3 i've played nothing else in the past week. Musically there are old songs from the era, as well as real adverts, some of the ones about the health benefits of smoking are unintentional comedy gold. You find characters that you love, some you hate, and a few you want to see die a horrible fucking death. It's hard to really go into major detail about the game without spoiling a part of it, so I won't. I feel it's a game you have to experience yourself. The setting, the game world, the missions, the characters and the facial animation really do suck you in until you finish the game, and with hopefully more cases on the way with DLC, think of L.A Noire as an interactive HBO drama series, each case being an episode. That's what I think the game manages to do more than anything else....it really is the bridge between gaming and TV/film......and it basically tells Heavy Rain to get fucked!

What I loathed:

Here's where I get controversial. The graphics, while on the whole are very well done can jar in places. The immaculate heads attached onto polygonal bodies mostly work, but at certain times it has the effect of sticking a real photo of a face onto a Lego man. When it works it works well, but at times it grates, especially with the stretched polygon necks and the mouths. Mouths are notorious to get right, and while the lip-synching is bang on the mouth full of blocky teeth still shows that you're playing a game. In certain scenes textures arrive late in the backgrounds, peoples hand appear through windscreens of their cars and they sink into the floor like they are walking in quicksand. In one scene where I was questioning someone indoors it took around 5 seconds for the fucking walls to actually appear in the scene, and i'm not sure is this is a problem with the game or just the system I was playing on (Xbox 360 version). With it being a "GTA style sandbox" game there actually isn't that much sandbox to play in. There are hidden cars and landmarks to find, and newspapers dotted around that fill in some of the backstory, but essentially you just drive from story to story, the city just linking up the various characters and storylines. Both the shooting and hand to hand mechanics, whilst solid enough, are very simplistic, and the only real faliure in the game comes from not getting interrogation questions right rather than any of the actual missions being difficult.

The verdict:

L.A Noire is a gaming achievement. Not in the actual game itself, which taking the questioning and clue gathering out of it is outdone by GTA and indeed it's nearest comparible game, Mafia 2. The game blends almost seamless facial animation to a story that grips you from the very start and never lets go. Think of the game as an interactive TV series rather than a GTA beater and you won't be upset. Despite the flaws, it's a game I cannot recommend highly enough, and i'm excited at the prospect of more cases for the game and also seeing where the technology goes next.

Rating: 8/10

L.A Noire is available now for the PS3 and Xbox 360 (Xbox version reviewed).


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Reveal Trailer



Well, i'm probably a few days late to the party, but here is the mew trailer for COD: Modern Warfare 3, due for release In November. I'm sure we will see a whole lot more fo the game when E3 arrives in a couple of weeks, but feat your eyes. Looks good, but also a bit Michael Bay as well, which I guess the others did too, but hey, i'm being bitchy this morning!

Let me know your thoughts.

COG Modern Warfare 3 is due for release on November 8th, 2011.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Gamefreak's take on Gotham City imposters. It's not nice....



Did you get excited at the news of the new Batman "Themed" FPS, Gotham City Imposters? Nah, me neither. Here's my thoughts on the matter. There....the video up there! *points up*

You can find the game's official site right about here. There's nothing really on it at the moment, but you could see that as a good thing.

Downloadable title, probably on PC, XBox 360 and PS3, arriving at some point in the future.

Let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Dead Island Teaser "Part 1: Tragedy Hits Paradise"



Here;s the first footage on the in-game engine and how it will look in the upcoming sure to be a hit, Dead Island. It all looks very nice, if a little COD Black ops in some of the levels. It's looking very good.

Is it just me that looks at the zombies in bikinis and thinks "yeah....I probably would"?

Ok....I guess it is then.

Dead island is scheduled for release later this year for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

Take a look at the game's official site right here!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Gamefreak previews Bangai-O-HD XBLA



Hey peeps, Tony here. Just a very quick video for you today, this is a peek and the recently released Treasure HD shooter-from-beyond-the-stars Bangai-O. Never played it, it's fucking mental, and i'll have a review coming up as soon as i've played enough to either slag it off or praise it from the heavens.

It's available for 800msp from Xbox live.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Gamefreak revisits Fight Club (Xbox version reviewed) I am Jack's lack of ideas in gaming....

(Thanks to Tom for suggesting this as a reader review.....the kick to the balls is in the post).

Hey guys, thanks for checking out this revisits section, this time looking at the fighting game Fight Club, released in 2004 by Vivendi Universal games. The film was an attack on material goals, telling men to take back their manhood that the soulless, corporate environment we live in has sucked out of us. The game forgot all of this, and gave us a fighting game that's as basic, generic and banal as they come. To become a member of fight club, you had to adhere to 8 rules. To make a fighting game there are also rules. So let's see what rules this game needed:

RULE 1.

Get the basic fighting engine correct. You need to get some flashy moves in there, you need to make it feel like very punch is splitting skin and smashing bones. Fighting games, such as Tekken, Virtua fighter, Soul Calibur managed to combine the feeling of impact with style and over the top moves. The combat in fight Club is as flashy as a brown sofa. The moves available to the various characters are boring, unimaginative and as dialed in as they come. IK+ on the Spectrum had more variety in the moves lists.

RULE 2.

Make a half decent story mode. You don't play fighting games for the story. Most fighting games revolve around some kind of fighting tournament, and really, come on, do you really know what the fuck is going on in the Tekken games? No, it doesn't matter. But you need some kind of basic narrative to make the single player game fun to play and to make it seem like you're making some kind of progression. They didn't even try in Fight Club. They basically repackaged the same story as the film. Try to join Fight Club, Chase Tyler, he's a mental case, the end. Why not have it as you run your own Fight Club? Make some kind of mini game aspect where you overlook the various clubs that spring up over the country. I don't know, as i'm no game designer, but in my fucking sleep I could make a better story! PISS!!!

RULE 3.

Include memorable characters. Heihachi Mishima, Paul Phoenix, Akira, Sarah Bryant, Ryu, Yoshimitsu, Iori, Blanka, Scorpion, Zangief, Nina Williams, Terry Bogard...all names that when mentioned you instantly get an image of that character in your head. All characters that HAVE character, instantly recognisable and all fan favourites. What do we have in Fight Club??? Raymond. The mechanic. Lou. All completely minor characters that had minor-if-not-non-existent parts in the film. When it gets to the point that Meatloaf sporting planet sized tits is the most memorable character in the game you know you have problems.

RULE 4.

Be congruent. Nothing in the gaming world does my head in more than games that aren't congruent. Tekken. Flashy, over the top. Virtua Fighter. Skilled, deep and a game where patience is a virtue. Streetfighter. Easy to play, hard to master. All games are congruent within their own worlds. Fight Club has nothing to do with the ideas presented in the book or film. Non of the vandalism, non of the messages blasting conformity and mindless materialism, it's just an excuse to have some fights. Why not involve the crowd instead of having them sit back in the distance watching the fight? Is it so hard to have me fall into the baying mob watching the fight and have them throw me back into the arena to continue with pummeling the shit out of my opponent as they did in the film? For fucks sake, Pit Fighter had that feature and that game is as old as they come! TOSS!

RULE 5.

No shirts....no shoes. They couldn't even get one of the rules from the book and the film correct! A few of the characters wear vests and hats!! Fucking shambolic.....

RULE 6.

Don't give us Fred Durst as a secret character.

RULE 7.

See rule 6.

RULE 8.

And the 8th and final rule......watch the videos below and hear more of my thoughts and see the game in action.

Part 1.



And here's part 2.



So that's Fight Club. A pile of shit of EPIC PROPORTIONS!!! It's not the worst fighting game to ever be made, but it's right down there.

Of course, please let me know your thoughts. Or indeed if there is a game that you want to see me cover, let me know and i'll see what I can do.

Live Action Nazi Zombies



Very, very well done. -10pts for lack of Danny Trejo.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Gamefreak revisits The Getaway (PS2) Read and watch, OR THE KID DIES!!

Hey guys, Tony here again, bringing you the first of some long delayed pieces, the first of which is another in the series of "Gamefreak revisits". It's also one of the games that a lovely reader, Oldboy666 has asked me to look at, so I hope you appreciate me putting myself through this tripe.

Released in 2002, The Getaway was a sandbox style GTA-em-up that came hot on the heels of Rockstar's 2001 epic, GTA 3. Team Soho obviously saw a gap in the market for a UK themed GTA game, and so got underway with creating this game, a mix of GTA and Lock, Stock and two smoking barrels.

The big selling point for the game at the time was London. Team Soho painfully recreated 20 square miles of London, and as impressive as it was back then, it still hold up today. The city is well populated with miserable fuckers who wouldn't give you the steam off their piss, the taxi's drive like there are no other cars on the roads, and it's all grey and miserable, so 10/10 for getting London spot on! A good friend of mine who live in London played it with me at the time and he could actually drive from a random location to his office, so I guess they have to be applauded.

The game follows the exploits of one Mark Hammond, a reformed criminal with a dodgy past and an even dodgier chin. Mark's wife is gunned down, his child kidnapped by a gravel-voiced crime lord and he's forced to play a game of "Simon says", except a kind of violent, kill everyone Simon says. He must kill members of his old gang, break out accomplices of his new found friends, take on the Triads and Jamaican Yardies and dodge the long arm of the law. Or filth. Or rozzers. Or narks. Titheads, WHATEVER you want to call them. After churning through the banal dross that is Marky boys missions, you then play as a member of the flying squad, Frank Carter, who ghosts the story laid out by Mark in a slightly shite Pulp-fiction style way. Their stories cross basically.

Controls are shit. Mark runs about like he's shat himself, the bad guys walk around with all the character and AI of a shop window dummy, the cars have all the control and handling styles of a concrete bumper car and the music and sound effects, whilst well done, just don't really fit with what's happening on screen.

I'm not going to go on too much about it, as I rant about the game in the videos below. The biggest heap of shit in the game is the way you regenerate health. With the whole idea of getting rid of the HUD in the game and having what's happening on screen inform you of where you are at we run into problems. I'm all for an intuitive way of looking at informing the player, but the way they did it here is as effective as using a Forklift truck to perform open heart surgery. When Mark or Frank is shot up to shit, limping and bloody from their wounds, simply place them near a wall and they will lean against it, breath heavily and channel Wolverine....their wounds will heal. And not just that, the blood gets soaked out of the very fabric of their clothes and back into their bodies, where they rise again like some kind of Cockney Christ. It's no more fucking dumb an idea as picking up a simple health pack. Literally one of the most stupid things i've ever seen in my 30+ years of playing games.......absolutely retarded. Mind you, it's almost worth playing the game just to hear the unintentional comedy gold that is the voice acting. Look at the videos and you'll see what I mean.

Anyway....i'm waffling. Check out part one right here:




And here's part two:




So that's the Getaway. Bad controls, boring generic story, shoddy design decisions and a game that on the whole is kind of worth playing, in a way that you know....it's kind of worth sawing your own foreskin off with a rusty saw for sake of cleanliness, but you wouldn't choose to do it. It's kind of worth playing the Getaway for the comedy value and the fantastic recreation of England's favourite capital of ignorant people and tramps, but you'll never get those hours of you life back.

That being said, and I can't believe i'm saying this, if you want to see another mission or two let me know and i'll record one for you. Thanks to Oldboy666 for the suggestion, and of course if you want me to cover a game, any game, just let me know.

Be kind though.....



The Getaway is available on PS2 from any local charity shop or car boot sale for 50p.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

I'm still here......

Yes my friends, i'm still alive. I'm juggling some writing, reviews, previews, Gamefreak revisits sections.....these games don't play and film themselves you know. I just left the blog for a few days while the thunder about PSN and Bin Laden died down, but rest assured, some fantastic things are coming. 4 reader request reviews, more video playthroughs, a revisit of the epic bag of cockney toss that was the Getaway, more XBLA games....i'm struggling to find the time.

Thank you for all of your emails, tweets and requests for me to review your favourite, and not so favourite games. Watch this space.....