Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger – Review (PS3)

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The Call Of Juarez games have always been a bit hit and miss. As Giant Bomb’s Patrick Klepek always says, you’re never quite sure which Techland you’re getting… Good Techland or bad Techland.

Thankfully for Gunslinger it seems ‘Good Techland’ were on duty and have delved back into the series’ Western roots.

Gunslinger sees grizzled cowboy legend Silas Greaves in a saloon drinking and sharing stories with those at his table. You relive events as flashbacks and the great thing about this game is that Silas is a pretty unreliable narrator, which gives his audience in the saloon a chance to pick him up on elements of the story they know he is fabricating.

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This means levels can change drastically while you’re playing them, in terms of both design and content, as Silas adjusts his story. It’s a pretty cool idea which works well in the context of the game.

As you progress through the game you can invest in different skill trees for rifle, dual pistols and shotgun respectively. This allows the player to decide what approach they want to take for the majority of the game. Even without much investment the weapons still pack quite a punch and the linear design of the levels means you can, for the most part, use whichever weapons you want to.

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There are lots of boss battles, against real life cowboys like Billy The Kid and Butch Cassidy – though these take place in Silas’ fictional telling rather than true historical events. The developers have included some collectibles that unlock the true story of the people and places in the game, which is a nice touch.

Gunslinger is a download only game and for the price (under £12) this is a really solid and enjoyable game. The story certainly didn’t feel too short and was well written with some nice touches and characterisation. There are extra time attack and dual modes but I found once I’d finished the story I’d just about had my fill of Gunslinging.

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I’d say if you like first person shooters, especially ones with a slightly different hook, then Gunslinger might be worth picking up – especially at it’s low price point. I found it to be an enjoyable romp through the old Wild West.

Rating: 8/10

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Top 100 Single Player PS3 Games: Part 9 (20-11)

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Well it’s Top 20 time – not long to go now until we finally hit the top spot.

If you’ve missed the previous installments, catch up here!

Part One (100-91)

Part Two (90-81)

Part Three (80-71)

Part Four (70-61)

Part Five (60-51)

Part Six (50-41)

Part Seven (40-31)

Part Eight (30-21)

Please bear in mind this list doesn’t take into account multiplayer aspects of games, it’s based solely on single player experience.

Strap yourself in – here we go…

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20. Dead Space 2

Continuing the story of Isaac Clarke, Dead Space 2 picks up three years after the first game was set, with Clarke now finding himself as a citizen on the Sprawl – a huge space station development on one of Saturn’s moons.

Sadly for Clarke he has no knowledge of the last three years and discovers a situation has arisen that only someone with his expertise can deal with.

Visceral continue their great job of creeping you out by NOT throwing stuff at you. I would’ve liked to have seen slightly more of the insanity that featured in NPC’s during the original game but on the whole the Sprawl is definitely somewhere you wouldn’t want to find yourself and this is a game well worth playing through.

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19. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

It has to be said that a lot of people were wondering whether Naughty Dog would be able to improve on the superb ‘Among Thieves,’ a game that walked away with awards for ‘Best Voice Acting,’ ‘Best Graphics,’ ‘Single Player Game Of The Year’ and the biggie – ‘Game Of The Year’ in my end of year round up for 2009.

Where both ‘Drake’s Fortune’ and ‘Among Thieves’ concentrated more on the relationship between Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher, this installment focuses on Nathan and Victor ‘Sully’ Sullivan. As a big fan of Sully that’s a plus in my book.

The plot is great and throws up a few curveballs but nothing like the backstabbing double-crossing of the last game. ‘Drake’s Deception’ is the story of Nate and Sully and it was great to find out more about their relationship.

The gameplay itself isn’t anything new, a mixture of climbing, shooting and solving puzzles but after the success of ‘Among Thieves’ refining, rather than changing, was probably the best route Naughty Dog could’ve taken.

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18. Infamous

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So good it’s the only game this generation I’ve played through twice (seeing it’s rating bumped from 8/10 to 9/10), Infamous is a great game.

You control Cole McGrath, a courier who just happens to be carrying a package containing an electronic bomb when it goes off, devasting the city. Somehow Cole survives and, after coming out of a coma, realises the explosion has given him electrical superpowers.

From there on out the city is your oyster and there is plenty to do as you try to track down the people behind the explosion.

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17. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Brotherhood continues the Assassin’s Creed story with Ezio Auditore in 1499 and Desmond Miles in 2012, picking up exactly where the second game left off.

The changes Ubisoft have made to the game feel subtle but really they have honed this title so much it really doesn’t do much wrong.

There are lots more side mission types and your map will be chock full of things to do if you fancy a change of pace away from the main missions. This is a monster of a game that will keep you entertained for ages.

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16. L.A Noire

L.A Noire takes place in 1940′s L.A, with you taking on the role of Cole Phelps – recently returned from the war and starting out as a cop on the beat.

While a lot of people felt that this would be a 1940′s GTA (much like Red Dead Redemption was a Western version of GTA in many people’s eyes) Team Bondi have crafted a much more linear experience than expected.

The game this most reminds me of is Heavy Rain, stunning captures of the actors and an interesting, if flawed, story. Unfortunately it doesn’t feature the numerous different endings that Heavy Rain does so you don’t ever feel the story is in your hands.

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15. GTA IV

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One the biggest selling games of this generation GTA IV features the fortunes (and lack therof) of Niko Bellic – an immigrant arriving in the US at Liberty City to find empty promises and broken dreams from his cousin Roman.

As you work your way up the criminal ladder you’ll encounter all sort of dodgy characters and befriend even more.

Liberty City is a wonderful, if run down, place and Niko Bellic’s story is one you will enjoy playing through so make sure you pick this game up as soon as possible.

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14. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

I’m not sure if I’ll *ever* finish playing Skyrim. Not because the game is bad – quite the opposite – but because, well… to be honest… I’ve never played anything like it.

The content itself isn’t unique. It’s a first person, middle earth type, Elves and Orcs affair in which you pick from a selection of races and build your character to take into the World.

What Bethesda have done an amazing job on is making Skyrim feel like a blank canvas for your character. It’s this aspect of the game that is like nothing else I’ve ever played. You could have a thrilling, intense gaming experience for tens of, possibly hundreds of, hours without even doing much in the way of the ‘main storyline.’

If you’re looking for a game to sink hours and hours into then Skyrim is perfect for you. The sense that you can go anywhere and do anything is unlike anything else out there. This isn’t a game to play for a quick blast but if you can invest the time you won’t regret it.

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13. Metal Gear Solid 4

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Hideo Kojima’s tale of Solid Snake’s final mission is a brilliant showcase of the Playstation 3′s power.

This is a game that often gives you three or four different ways of approaching things – whether you realise it or not.

Metal Gear Solid 4 rewards those patient enough to stick with it by giving them a great gaming experience, with some memorable boss battles, that they won’t forget.

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12. Killzone 2

Killzone 2′s biggest achievement is, possibly because of the brilliant graphics, sound and AI, that you feel involved and become embedded in the Killzone universal whenever you pick up the pad.

It’s not perfect by any means but at the time it was easily the best first person shooter I’d played and I recommend anyone with a remote interest in this genre to check this out immediately!

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11. Bioshock

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Bioshock has a great story to tell and it does it well with some interesting objectives and brilliantly designed levels.

There are several twists and turns in the plot, most of which are not obvious and it’s no surprise to me that a film version is in the works (although I believe currently suspended due to budget concerns).

Dark worlds like Rapture aren’t to everyone’s tastes but you really would be missing out on an awesome story if you decided not to book a trip to the underwater city.

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So, it’s time for the top 10 – any guesses on what’ll be in there? Any games we’ve already had that would’ve made your own top 10?

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Sparkle – Review (Vita)

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*This piece originally appeared on TheSixthAxis and can be viewed HERE*

10tons games have their 10th anniversary this year and have decided to bring some of their back catalogue titles over to the Vita to celebrate. The first of these is Sparkle, a puzzle game released back in 2007 that tells the story of Crowberry Woods.

The Woods have fallen under the darkness of evil forces. It’s up to you to work your way through the Woods and find what you need to save the forest and its people. To do so you must match coloured orbs in batches of three to progress. You can use the right stick to throw your orbs, but I found it more intuitive to use the touchscreen, tapping wherever you want the orb to land. Rather than the traditional top to bottom orb descent, in Sparkle the orbs flow through a snake-like maze around the screen.

I’ve never really been a fan of this type of game, but having the orbs move in this way freshened things up for me and it definitely adds to the pressure while playing. There are some levels where you will have two sets of orbs both snaking in different directions, which certainly adds to the challenge!

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However, Sparkle isn’t too challenging overall, and it mainly stays on the fun side of things – I think I lost one round in the opening thirty levels before finally running out of lives around level forty-five, and even when you do ‘die’ you are only put back to your last checkpoint. Sitting alongside the main story mode there are also ‘Challenge’ (time trial) and ‘Survival’ modes to keep you playing.

To help you on your way, there are various power-ups you can acquire by chaining together combos. For example, you may be able to change a bunch of orbs to all one colour or send out a blast that makes orbs disappear. In addition to that you’ll also have a permanent upgrade that you can earn via Amulets – these also come with different abilities but they are broader in scope, last the entire round and can only be worn one at a time. These covers things like throwing orbs twice as fast or getting an extra orb slot on your ‘slinger.’

Whilst I enjoyed the gameplay I was a bit disappointed with the story mode overall. To have a vibrant and colourful game during play only to be greeted, for the most part, by text on a dark background between levels didn’t inspire me to continue playing. I felt that even a few hand drawn or animated backgrounds to accompany the text would’ve made a huge difference.

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The other issue here is price, and it’s once again a port that raises the question – how much more will you pay for a game that costs £1.99 on itunes? I feel £1.99 is a fair price for this title so to see it priced at £3.99 was a bit of a surprise. Having said that I suppose it is all down to what you get out of it – if you loved the original and fancied working your way through the trophies on this version then perhaps you’d be happy to pick it up. There is also a free demo up on the store for you to try.

Sparkle is a good puzzle game that I enjoyed playing. I’m not sure it warrants a purchase at £3.99, but fans of the genre should enjoy this and perhaps will be willing to overlook the increased cost to play on the platform of their choice.

Score: 7/10

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Top 100 Single Player PS3 Games: Part 8 (30-21)

I can’t believe we’re almost at the top ten, it seems like quite a while ago now I started compiling this list!

If you’ve missed the previous installments, catch up here!

Part One (100-91)

Part Two (90-81)

Part Three (80-71)

Part Four (70-61)

Part Five (60-51)

Part Six (50-41)

Part Seven (40-31)

Please bear in mind this list doesn’t take into account multiplayer aspects of games, it’s based solely on single player experience.

Let’s get into the Top 30…

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30. Hitman Absolution

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In Hitman Absolution, Agent 47 has gone rogue after carrying out a mission in which he kills his former handler ‘Diana’. As a complex plot unravels you will be tasked with using all of your Hitman skills to track and eliminate targets to get information.

The controls are tight and Agent 47 handles well. I liked the feel of the shooting and felt that they did a good job of making your shots seem like they were landing with a suitable punch.

I can’t recommend Hitman Absolution enough. There are a range of difficulty levels (the higher ones remove instinct etc) so whether you want to get into Hitman or are a long time fan of the series, this game has a lot to offer. It’s not perfect and sometimes a little wonky AI or level design comes into play but this is a great title that you can have a whole heap of fun with.

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29. Portal 2

Portal 2 is essentially a puzzle game – a series of rooms that you have to work your way out of using a gun that shoots portals. Once you have shot two portals you can use them to travel between and (hopefully) escape the room.

The story that runs alongside the puzzles is interesting and while it’s a device to get you through puzzle rooms I found it to be enjoyable, especially considering the small amount characters in the game. It has a great sense of comedy, with a fair few jokes that had me chuckling out loud.

Further down the line you’ll have plenty of other elements thrown into the mix and you’ll need to use everything at your disposal to get out of the rooms. Definitely one to try.

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28. Assassin’s Creed II

Assassin’s Creed II picks up with Desmond Miles after the conclusion of the first game as he escapes with Lucy Stillman from the Abstergo Industries building and finds himself in a safe house with a new Animus, delving into another set of ancestral memories.

This time you’ll be playing as Ezio in Italy in the 1400′s. This is a glorious setting as you move between Tuscany, Florence, Venice and more. The difference in areas is apparent and they have gone to a lot of trouble to make each feel individual.

As well as the main plot missions there are a wealth of side missions and collectibles – this freedom of choice means you never feel railroaded into anything and delivers a wonderful gaming experience.

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27. Bayonetta

Bayonetta is an action adventure game very much in the mould of Devil May Cry and God Of War 3. It’s fast paced and the emphasis is most definitely on Bayonetta – for everything except boss battles you will easily be the most powerful being in the fight.

The combat is astoundingly good. Better in my opinion than God Of War or any similar title. There is just so much you can do, with gun attacks on hand & feet (yep, the heels of her shoes are guns), samurai sword, torture attacks (special moves focusing on one enemy – for example magically creating a guillotine and throwing one enemy into it) and climax moves (where Bayonetta’s hair, which is also her costume, flows upwards and forms itself into a massive demon to beat bigger enemies).

Yes you read that last bit right… her HAIR is her costume that can also turn into giant demons!

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26. Battlefield: Bad Company 2

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The single player campaign of Bad Company 2 is a wonderful blast through several impressive set pieces and the feeling of being in ‘B’ Company really adds to the experience.

That sense of community and closeness to the characters is a big bonus and probably the main reason Battlefield’s campaign stands head and shoulders above Modern Warfare 2.

Clocking in at around 8/9 hours it’s also almost double the length of Infinity Ward’s offering but it occasionally lacks the polish of Call Of Duty – perhaps down to the fact that everything is destructable in the environment. Overall though this is a great single player experience.

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25. Infamous 2

Infamous 2 is a more polished version of the original – if you’re looking for a vastly different game then this isn’t it. But with the first game being so enjoyable why change the formula?

I thought the story was excellent and the characters feel a lot stronger than the original. As before you can upgrade your powers depending on various factors and there are certainly some fun ones in there.

The Karma system returns and for the big choices is as obvious as before but it’s a nice touch to have the choice of approaching a handful of missions as either good or evil, regardless of your current karma level. I must say the final choice of the game had me sitting there for about 5 minutes fighting with myself over what to do.

If you liked the first game you will love this. If you haven’t you don’t need to have played the original (though I’d recommend it) to get the sequel. Infamous 2 was one of the stronger single player games I blasted through that year.

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24. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

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Uncharted maps the journey of Nathan Drake as he tries to find the lost treasure of El Dorado encountering, among other things, rival treasure hunters and mercenaries.

The graphics are unbelievable and the gameplay is well paced and well thought out. The characters and story and really well conceived and Nolan North, who voices Drake, is absolutely spot on with his irreverent humour and wisecracks.

At its heart Uncharted is an action adventure game much in the vein of Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider but, and I say this as a fan of both of these, it is better than either of them.

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23. Killzone 3

Picking up the story directly after the events at the end of the last game, you reprise your role as Tomas ‘Sev’ Sevchenko with the ISA (Interplanetary Strategic Alliance) trying to get off the planet Helghan – only to be met with the full force of the Helghast, who have regrouped following the climax of Killzone 2.

If you’re looking for a game to redefine or revolutionise the first person shooter genre then you are looking in the wrong place. Killzone 3 brings very little to the table in terms of new ideas but most people picking this up won’t be expecting it to.

This game is about taking down the Helghast, even if you are on the back foot. And what a blast it is.

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22. Batman: Arkham Asylum

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With some wonderful voice acting from the cast of the animated series, Batman: Arkham Asylum’s story moves at a good pace and familiar enemies are used to good effect throughout.

With such a vivid setting and a memorable selection of bad guys from Batman’s career it’s no surprise that Arkham Asylum is such a great game.

Despite the odds being stacked against it, Batman: Arkham Asylum is a quality title that has had a lot of care put into making it. I’d recommend this to anyone.

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21. God Of War III

God Of War III picks up exactly where God Of War II ended and the opening is stunning in it’s sheer scale.

The first part of the level sees you fighting enemies on a Titan’s back before you quickly move onto a boss battle that, quite frankly, would appear at the end of most other games. From there on out Kratos’ rampage against the Gods continues at full speed.

Most of the highlights of the game come from the boss battles, unless perhaps you are a fan of puzzle based gameplay – if so you’re well catered for here.

If you’re a fan of the other games in the series or have never tried a God Of War title before then jump straight in and get ready for a bloodbath… this is a game you have to play if you own a PS3 and is one of the best single player experiences out there.

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So another ten games down as we get set to make an assault on the Top 20 – check back next week for the penultimate edition of the Top 100!

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Retro City Rampage – Review (Vita)

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Retro City Rampage is a homage to the games of my youth, those 80’s classics from the 8bit and 16bit era and I found myself smiling while noticing one game reference after another.

The game is viewed from a top-down perspective, barring a few specific sections, and does a great job of capturing the feel of those old titles we used to play on NES and Master System. It even has a fantatsic soundtrack in the ‘chiptune’ style.

You control the aptly named ‘The Player’ as he makes his way around the city of Theftropolis, causing trouble and joining up as a henchman for the city’s evil gang. After stumbling upon a time-travel device you are thrown into the future and need the help of Doc Choc (a parody of Christopher Lloyd’s wonderful Doc Brown from the Back To The Future films) to sort things out.

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The story leaves the city open for you to explore and there is plenty to do beyond the main missions – there are lots of arcade challenges and even different arcade game cabinets to play in the game world.

The game controls fairly well, although at times I did find the handling of the driving tough – especially frustrating when a mission depended on it. I enjoyed all the different weapons and vehicles at your disposal and you can tell a lot of love went into crafting the game.

Retro City Rampage is the work of Brian Provinciano who has almost single-handedly dragged the game through development. It seems apart from the music and some of the pixel art, it’s all down to him – which makes it even more impressive.

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This game is perfect for short bursts on the Vita and you’ll find yourself grabbing 20 minutes whenever you can when you get hooked into the gameplay. However this isn’t a game for everyone – some of the missions retain that old skool, punishing, difficulty so if that’s not your bag then maybe give it a miss.

Overall, Retro City Rampage is an enjoyable romp through the games and films of your childhood (if you’re over 25 or so) and the developer has done a super job of getting the feel just right. The question is do you want to play a game just like the ones from your youth for hours on end?

Rating: 8/10

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Eurogamer Expo 2013 – Round Up

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The Eurogamer Expo grows in size every year and 2013 is no different, with over 70,000 people attending over four days. That is a LOT of people, which also explains why I spent most of the day in queues rather than playing games.

That’s not to say it wasn’t still a blast but by choosing to queue for Titanfall and Battlefield 4 (about 2hrs of queuing between them) we gave up time we could’ve spent queuing for less busy games.

Anyway, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give Titanfall a shot – that and Quantum Break are the only two games of interest to me in the XBox One launch line up (although Titanfall doesn’t arrive until 2014).

So here is my round up of what I got hands on with at the Expo:

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Titanfall

First up was Titanfall, voted by most critics as the best thing at E3 2013. Even while we were queuing I was finding it hard to get overly excited – it’s just Call Of Duty with double jump and mechs. Right? Wrong. The game itself is great fun and it was easy to get straight into the action. Movement felt fluid and wall running was easy. I liked the heft of the weapons and the fact they seem to have taken a leaf out of Resistance‘s book with some of the weapon design. I see no reason this won’t come to PS4 further down the line, with the developer already mentioning that a PS4 version is ‘definitely not out of the question’ so I will be picking this up for sure then. But it’s not worth the price of an XBox One for me just to play this. * ‘TITANFALL’ : GREGHORRORSHOW’S MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE – Eurogamer Expo 2013*

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Battlefield 4

Next up was Battlefield 4 and as a big fan of the series I was looking forward to seeing what improvements had been made. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Battlefield has never been ‘pick up and play’ and I spent the first three or four minutes of the demo sorting out the sensitivity on the sticks etc. I don’t think having to stand so close to the screen and use an XBox pad did me any favours either but I didn’t enjoy the demo. Recoil on the guns felt insanely over the top, I shot a few guys three or four times without killing them and the map looked similar to some of the stuff on BF3. Of course it’s an alpha build and it was only one round so, recoil aside, it could’ve been bad luck. Nevertheless after queuing for so long this one left a bitter taste in my mouth.

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Killzone Shadow Fall

I’d played Shadow Fall previously but that was the single player component so I was excited to try the mutliplayer offering. Shadow Fall delivers a refined Killzone experience and I can see this being my go to shooter on the PS4. The weapons felt great and the game looked fantastic. At one stage I managed to get behind the enemies and brutal melee’d three of them in a row… the stuff of dreams :lol: It felt competitive and it seems there will be even more depth with the new class abilities. * ‘KILLZONE SHADOW FALL′ : GREGHORRORSHOW’S BEST IN SHOW – Eurogamer Expo 2013*

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Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Octodad is a wonderfully absurd game in which you control an octopus trying to maintain his life pretending to be a man. In this demo I was tasked with getting him ready for his wedding and making sure he gets down the aisle in one piece! Octodad’s legs aRE controlled with L2/R2 and the left stick. When you need to switch to his arms you press L1 and then you move the sticks to control his arms, with R1 picking things up. The tricky controls and crazy animation of Octodad make this a very fun game. Definitely recommended.

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Warframe

Warframe has had my interest since it was announced for PS4 as a free-to-play title. At the expo we were sampling co-op mode, which was a horde mode affair with three of us combining to protect an item in the middle of the map. The game is fast paced and moves smoothly – you can aim and shoot with L2/R2 with R1 bringing out your samurai sword for close encounters. L1 allows you to slide on your knees in the same style as Vanquish. I’m not sure how much more effective that was but it sure looked cool :smile: You also have special abilities which are triggered by swiping the touchpad on the DualShock 4. We had no problem dispatching wave after wave of enemies and soon the demo was over. I had a couple of issues where it felt like the camera couldn’t actually keep up with the game but hopefully that will be ironed out by launch.

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Velocity 2x (Vita)

I enjoyed Velocity as a mini on my Vita and I have Velocity Ultra (courtesy of Playstation Plus) but haven’t fired it up yet. So when I saw Futurlab were back with another Velocity title I was hoping they’d mix things up a bit. And they certainly have. As well as the spaceship flying that made up the original title we will now be treated to some platforming goodness as well. The game looks and feels fantastic. It’s easy to control and has a really cool style. This looks set to be a masterpiece on Vita (and PS4) when it arrives next year.

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The Crew

Lastly I played The Crew, Ubisoft’s next gen racing offering, and while half the time I didn’t have a clue what was going on (not helped by the game randomly cutting to a title card in amongst everything) it was great fun. This is a more arcadey racer, with nitrous boosts and drifting the norm. We were given a few minutes to drive around before being entered into a race (individually – we were all in a different race in a different part of the gameworld) and then assigned a target car for the four of us playing to take out. Much crashing and hilarity ensued – if they can polish up the presentation angle of the game this could be a great addition to the racing genre.

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While I didn’t get to play them (as they were on PC and I’m not a PC gamer) I also watched people playing Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number and Volume – both of which will be coming to Vita next year. And both of which looked excellent. Hotline Miami 2 seems to be more of the same which is fine with me and Volume looks like a super interesting take on the stealth genre. Here’s a trailer for that:

So overall it was a good Expo, although the queues seemed to have doubled in size from last year. I suspect next year you might need two days to actually get round and see a decent amount of games. For the most part queuing wasn’t too bad – Titanfall had the nice idea of seating the next batch of people to play in front of a video about the game and Sony‘s booth had content on a big screen that didn’t loop for the entire hour we were queuing.

Did anyone else go this year? Would be good to hear what you played and what you thought of the Expo.

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Top 100 Single Player PS3 Games: Part 7 (40-31)

Well we’re back and into the Top 40 now!

If you’ve missed the previous installments, catch up here!

Part One (100-91)

Part Two (90-81)

Part Three (80-71)

Part Four (70-61)

Part Five (60-51)

Part Six (50-41)

Please bear in mind this list doesn’t take into account multiplayer aspects of games, it’s based solely on single player experience.

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40. Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 is like the evolution of Mercenaries 2 – it excels in many ways and also has the added bonus of the carnage you can create with Rico’s grappling hook, which can hook enemies as well as grappling to walls etc.

With a story featuring rebels and dictators, Just Cause 2 doesn’t tread any new ground in terms of narrative but you probably won’t care as a mountain of explosions gather behind you. As well as the main story missions you’ll need to complete lots of side missions to create as much Chaos as possible.

As an example of how crazy this game is one of the side missions involved me stealing a fighter jet and then using it to shoot down a recently launched SPACE SHUTTLE!

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39. Mirror’s Edge

Mirror’s Edge wowed everyone with it’s crisp, clean graphics and it’s unique first person perspective. The view takes a while to get used to and it had a few really annoying parts where it was difficult to time jumps etc because of the view.

However, Mirror’s Edge is certainly worth playing through as it offers a style of gameplay that is totally unique in the current games market.

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38. Rainbow Six: Vegas

If you like your first person shooters with a bit of brain behind the brawn then Rainbow Six Vegas may be the game for you.

With a good old fashioned SAS vs Terrorists style plot and lots of fun set pieces Rainbow Six Vegas is definitely worth a shot.

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37. Spec Ops: The Line

Once in a while a game will show up out of the blue and knock your socks off. Spec Ops: The Line is one of those games but maybe not for the reasons you might think.

I won’t spoil the story for you here as it is the best thing about the game – this isn’t a title you’ll come out of brimming with joy and with a smile on your face but it really is one of the best stories I’ve played through in the last few years. And while a couple of the twists were a touch obvious, for the most part I didn’t anticipate many of them.

Spec Ops: The Line might not be for everyone and the gameplay might not be anything special but it has a great, interesting story and makes a decent comment on today’s shooter genre.

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36. Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins sees you create a fantasy character to take on an epic journey – starting with your very own prologue. After playing the backstory your character is enlisted to become a Grey Warden – an elite group of fighters whose main role is to destroy the Darkspawn – evil creatures that have begun to overrun the world.

I really enjoyed the storyline of Dragon Age: Origins and it was nice to see characters develop over such a large amount of time – of course I understand that this may be the norm for you regular RPG players but for me it was a nice change of pace.

This is a mammoth game (over 25 hours) but it is certainly worth your time if you’re willing to lose yourself in it.

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35. Borderlands 2

In Borderlands 2 you have a selection of characters to choose from: Salvador (Gunzerker), Zer0 (Assassin), Maya (Siren) or Axton (Commando). Each of the characters brings something different to the playing field and mixing in the variables for shields/weapons/relics etc means that it’s unlikely two people, even playing the same class, will have similar characters.

The story isn’t the best narrative experience out there but it’s funny, well written and does the job it needs to… giving you a reason to travel to different places, kill stuff and pick up loot.

The reason this isn’t higher on the list is that to enjoy it at it’s best you really need to play it online with friends. It can be played alone, and is still a blast, but co-op is where it’s at. Still even on your own this is better than a lot of games out there!

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34. Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs is hugely fun. It’s been a while since I played an open world game so over the top that I had a grin permanently attached while playing (that honour goes to Just Cause 2). The combat feels good, once you get into the rhythm needed for counters you won’t look back and some of the more brutal moves you can learn will make you wince on behalf on your victim. Then there are the environmental kills – activated by using items around you (an electric fan or the protruding nose of a dead swordfish) to impale, maim or just downright kill enemies.

You play as Wei Shen, an undercover cop in Hong Kong trying to bust the triad gangs. The game floats between Wei taking down bad guys as a cop and dishing out some pretty brutal beatings as a triad.

Sleeping Dogs is a fantastic game. It does lack a little bit of polish – there are some jagged edges here and there – but I found it to be an engaging and hugely fun to play game.

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33. Alpha Protocol

Alpha Protocol is a glitchy mess of a game on the whole – bugs, enemies not loading or getting stuck in walls, it’s all here.

And from reading those initial negative points you may be thinking you’ll give Alpha Protocol a miss, that it may be too annoying to play through? Well in my opinion that would be a mistake. And here’s why.

The game Alpha Protocol reminds me of the most? Heavy Rain.

Unlike a game such as God Of War 3 or Mafia II where your character’s destiny is predetermined and you are playing through *their* story, with Alpha Protocol you are creating your own version of Michael Thornton’s life. And if you stick with it and can see past the glitches you’re in for a treat.

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32. Heavenly Sword

Heavenly Sword

Another game that didn’t garner the respect it deserves, primarily because it didn’t live up to the pre-release hype.

If you like God Of War you will like this game as it’s similar in style but it looks gorgeous in HD and I believe did a few bits (combos/blocking etc) better than the first two God Of War games.

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31. Ghostbusters

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Ghostbusters: The Video Game’s plot is essentially the third movie – set in 1991 you’re a rookie who’s been drafted in to help with the ever increasing ghost workload. A huge paranormal blast sets off a chain of events that only one group of guys can deal with…

For me Ghostbusters was a short (5 hour) game that had me chuckling and geeking out despite it’s flaws – it won’t be to everyone’s tastes but it has a good single player storyline.

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So there we go, as we glide into the Top 30 we’ve already had some top titles – anything you were surprised to see on the list already?

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Top 100 Single Player PS3 Games: Part 6 (50-41)

DeusEx HR 8

Wow, I can’t believe we’re already at the Top 50!

If you’ve missed the previous installments, catch up here!

Part One (100-91)

Part Two (90-81)

Part Three (80-71)

Part Four (70-61)

Part Five (60-51)

Please bear in mind this list doesn’t take into account multiplayer aspects of games, it’s based solely on single player experience.

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50. Call Of Duty: Black Ops II

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I’ve really enjoyed the last few campaigns in the Call Of Duty series so when I heard that Black Ops II had the best one yet I was pretty excited to give it a shot. Unfortunately my initial time with the game did not go well. During the opening hour I got trapped in a game breaking glitch and after getting through that my PS3 froze up. I also had some pretty weird instances of character models getting stuck where they shouldn’t be and the game just felt really unpolished.

However beyond those issues, the campaign *is* the best in a Call Of Duty game to date. I know a lot of people just buy the game for the multiplayer but really you should check this story mode out. It flits between the 80’s and 2025 but is far less confusing than previous games. I always had a sense of which character I was controlling, something that hasn’t always been the case in former iterations of the titles.

The story is formed (and endings chosen) as you go through the game and the coolest thing Black Ops II pulls off is that half the time you’re not even aware you’re making a choice or triggering something that will change the story. Very refreshing.

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49. Kane And Lynch

You take control of Adam ‘Kane’ Marcus, a criminal on his way to death row for crimes committed in Venezeula. Kane is busted out of his prison van by a mysterious group called The7 who he worked with previously. They think Kane stole the money from their last job and stashed it somewhere.

If he doesn’t get them the money back in three weeks his wife and daughter will be killed. Kane claims he doesn’t know where it is but he does know who took the cash and will hunt them down. And so begins a thoroughly enjoyable ride into the desperate life of Kane…

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48. Vanquish

From the makers of Bayonetta, Vanquish tells the story of Sam Gideon, a member of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), who is tasked with rescuing a scientist that was working on the O’Neill Cylinder Space Station when it was hijacked by Russia. Russia are holding the USA to ransom, destroying San Francisco and targeting New York next unless the Americans comply with their wishes – total surrender.

Got all that? Right now forget all about it and SHOOT THOSE ROBOTS!

Vanquish is certainly an experience I’d recommend and for a few sessions of a couple of hours each it is a blast to play. It doesn’t quite have the same depth as Bayonetta with regard to the characters but it can hold it’s head high in terms of a single player experience.

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47. Red Faction: Guerrilla

Red Faction: Guerrilla is a bit of an underrated gem. It’s your basic David vs Goliath battle with the Red Faction resistance (you guys) taking on the evil Earth Defence Force who have taken advantage of their position in power on Mars.

But the main part of the game is the destruction. Buildings fall realistically and weakening them structurally can often mean a delayed collapse.

I heartily recommend Red Faction. It’s not massively difficult but it has a good solid story and is insanely fun. You can pick this up for about £15 pre-owned in most places and it will be money well spent.

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46. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

You play as Adam Jensen, who works security at Sarif Industries – a biotechnology firm specialising in human cybernetic enhancement. Adam is severely injured and patched up using new cybernetic augmentations. Adam returns to action 6 months later with Megan and several other colleagues having died in the attack that injured him.

Running and gunning is an option in Deus Ex, it’s just a more risky strategy than taking the non confrontational approach. But that in a nutshell is the beauty of the game. There is almost always a whole host of ways to approach situations – depending on what augmentations you choose.

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45. Mafia II

Mafia II tells the story of Vito Scaletta, a returning war veteran who comes home to find life has changed while he’s been away and soon fins himself mixed up in the world of the Mafia.

This game is an interesting beast, as during a lot of the promo leading up to its release we were led to believe it would be open world (ala GTA) at least in some parts. In reality this is a very linear experience and that has led to some negative feedback.

Personally while that discovery came as a disappointment if you can look beyond it then you will find a strong, solid single player experience with a well crafted and immersive story.

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44. X-COM: Enemy Unknown

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I hadn’t really played many RTS (Real Time Strategy) games before embarking on XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I wasn’t sure if this was one that I would enjoy and really get into – in the end I surprised myself by how involved I got.

You take control of the XCOM Initiative, a coming together of lots of countries to fight together to stop alien invaders. You’ll be destroying enemies, capturing them and using their tech to create fantastical new weapons for your soldiers.

You don’t play this game as you would a third or first person shooter – you only have a set amount of moves per turn and will have to be very careful in planning them. XCOM is a brilliant, and challenging, game.

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43. Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas sees you play as The Courier, a… ahem… courier who has his package stolen, is shot in the head and left for dead in a shallow grave. Saved by a passing robot you end up, not only conscious, but looking for revenge.

In New Vegas there are various groups that you can align with and you can play factions off against each other up to a point but as you get towards the end of the game, you’ll need to decide where your loyalties lie.

Overall Fallout: New Vegas is a very good game. While it doesn’t do a great deal of new stuff it delivers a worthwhile experience that will tide fans of the series over until Fallout 4 arrives.

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42. Resistance 3

Resistance 3

In Resistance 3 you play as Joseph Capelli but a lot has changed since the 2nd game in the series. The humans lost the war. Resistance 3 is about survival. Beaten down and living mainly underground, Capelli and his fellow survivors get on with life as best as possible. These are not just soldiers, there are children and non-fighters as well, just trying to get through each day.

You’re outnumbered and underpowered for the most part but the game’s great controls and wonderful weapon selection make it joy to blast through the levels. There are small victories here and there but as a battle heats up you’ll likely find yourself running away to survive.

Unfortunately the campaign loses it’s way in the last few hours and the final battle/ending was a touch disappointing to me. But make no mistake – despite tailing off towards the end, it had one of the best campaigns I played that year.

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41. Tomb Raider

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Crystal Dynamics delivered on their promise of a reboot for Lara Croft. Gone is the Lara of old with the wonky body shape and in her place is a more realistic Lara, both in terms of appearance and character. As a wannabe archaeologist Lara is not a trained hunter/killer and is still wet behind the ears after coming out of college/university.

The opening few hours are definitely the strongest here – Tomb Raider is at it’s best during tense moments with just one or two enemies. With Lara coming to grips with the fact she’s going to need to do whatever it takes to survive. It’s been talked about a lot but her first kill is handled perfectly.

Tomb Raider is a fantastic game. There are a few annoying difficulty spikes here and there but that’s par for the course in most games. Lots of action packed set pieces and climbing/falling moments raise the bar but it’s the quieter moments in Lara’s journey that really struck a chord with me.

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Another ten games down and more coming soon – stay tuned!

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Hotline Miami – Review (Vita)

Hotline Miami 1

I’d heard only good things about Hotline Miami and was already aware of it’s superb soundtrack before firing the game up. This was a title that had featured heavily on ‘best of 2012′ lists all over the place when it was out on PC last year.

Thankfully the developers also decided to bring the game over to Vita (and PS3 – it’s cross buy so for one price you get both versions) and what a treat for handheld owners this is.

Hotline Miami is a very fast-paced game, where the aim of each chapter is kill everyone in whatever building you are in. Enemies follow patterns but not exclusively so the game isn’t as simple as learning their routes. You’ll need speedy judgement and extremely fast reactions for this game because enemies can take you down in the blink of an eye.

Hotline Miami 2

Let me just stop at this point and say that Hotline Miami is a horrifically violent game. While the art style is very much 8-bit, looking like something I might’ve played on my Megadrive, this is a game in which you inflict brutal violence on people. Inspired by the hyper-violent film Drive, this definitely isn’t one for the easily offended.

The fantastic, bright, vivid colour palette delivers a surreal experience quite unlike anything else I’ve played. Mixed into that is the brilliant music that makes the whole thing feel like a feverish nightmare.

The key to Hotline Miami is accepting death. You will die. Lots. But with each death comes more knowledge of the level layout and the knowledge that ‘yes that guy can shoot me from there.’ Doors will become your friend – open them onto an enemy to knock them out, making them drop their weapon. For a game that looks simplistic Hotline Miami delivers a wonderfully tactical gaming experience.

Hotline Miami 3

The Vita version streamlines a few handy features, allowing you to tap enemies on screen that you want to lock on to and using your finger to look beyond what you can already see on screen.

There were times that I was completely frustrated. Where I could see no way beyond the part I was stuck on. Repeating the same death over and over, or even worse making a sloppy mistake and getting myself killed.

Thankfully the designers eliminated load times within chapters so if (when) you die a quick tap of the X button will immediately restart you. And that is key – especially for a handheld game. This fast restart means you can easily play Hotline Miami for 15 or 20 mins at a time – perfect for bus journeys.

Hotline Miami 4

There is a good story here and some interesting narrative, especially in the back third of the game. With online leaderboards and unlockable weapons and masks (each with different abilities) there is plenty of scope to replay the game. Hotline Miami is a fantastic game, if you’re willing to experience the violence this is a must play.

Rating: 10/10

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Top 100 Single Player PS3 Games: Part 5 (60-51)

MaxPayne3 Main

Well we’re fast approaching the Top 50 and there are still plenty of great games to come.

If you’ve missed the previous installments, catch up here!

Part One (100-91)

Part Two (90-81)

Part Three (80-71)

Part Four (70-61)

Please bear in mind this list doesn’t take into account multiplayer aspects of games, it’s based solely on single player experience.

Let’s kick off Part Five!

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60. Dishonored

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Dishonored puts you in the shoes of Corvo – Royal Protector (Bodyguard) of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin. You arrive back from a trip abroad investigating potential cures for the plague that is ravaging your city, only to find yourself framed for the murder of the Empress and thrown in jail. As you escape, try to clear your name and find Emily, the Empress’ daughter, you’ll take on the role of assassin rather than protector.

Dishonored looked like being one of the freshest, inventive games of the year – unfortunately the design choice of not allowing you to unlock more on your first playthrough hinders things somewhat. It’s a good, solid, rewarding experience but I was just left feeling it could’ve been so much more.

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59. SOCOM 4

In SOCOM 4 you take on the role of Cullen Gray, a Spec Ops Commander and leader of a 5-man NATO special forces squad. Your team is dropped into Malaysia to help deal with the rising threat of both local rebels, the Naga, and a mercenary group called Clawhammer.

While the story is standard Spec Ops fare I found most of the characters likable and it was one of the more enjoyable stories I played through in 2011.

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58. Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 takes place after the conclusion of events in the Mass Effect 2 DLC expansion ‘Arrival’ and now that the Reaper threat is real and imminent Shepard finds herself reinstated and back on active duty.

Your decisions from the previous game carry over and any casualties your crew sustained are also mirrored here. So it’s a similar set up to before as you go about the galaxy recruiting your new crew and trying to do your best to prepare for the upcoming fight against the Reapers.

Whilst the ending proved to be controversial for some (me included for some aspects) this game was definitely still worth playing through.

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57. Max Payne 3

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The third instalment of Max Payne sees Max at rock bottom – drunk and addicted to painkillers while working as low rent security for a wealthy Brazilian family down in South America. As you can imagine things go wrong quickly and Max is left trying to pick up the pieces while fighting his own demons.

Graphically the game looks fantastic, taking in various different areas/scenes as Max’s adventure continues. Some wonderful use of bright colours really makes a difference and reminded me at times of the Uncharted series.

When Max Payne 3 flows it is a wonderful, gritty, dark yet vibrant gaming experience. Unfortunately it doesn’t always flow. I was expecting big things from this game and Rockstar have delivered for the most part but some minor niggles along the way mean Max Payne 3 doesn’t quite hit the heights I’d been hoping for.

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56. Battlefield: Bad Company

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Chock full of explosions and with some really impressive destruction of buildings etc, Battlefield: Bad Company is like a huge big budget Hollywood blockbuster.

It’s a great, mindless blast of a game. Add some memorable characters into the mix and you’ve got yourself a very enjoyable, and playable, package.

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55. Prototype

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In Prototype you take on the role of Alex Mercer as he awakens during his autopsy, wondering what the hell is going on. He quickly escapes, realising he now has various superpowers.

Mercer needs to find out what the hell has happened to him and why New York is infected with a virus that has turned half the population into zombies.

Prototype is definitely a game worth playing despite it’s various faults – it was a blast to play through if a little frustrating at times.

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54. Bioshock 2

Bioshock 2 brings you back 8 years after the events of the first game (1968) to take control of a Big Daddy who has no memory of the last decade and wants to find the Little Sister he was originally paired with.

A sequel to such a unique title was always going to be tricky to pull off. However 2k Marin have done well to recreate the atmosphere of the original game while keeping it different enough that you can tell time has passed.

At the end of the day this is definitely a title that revels in the world created for it by the previous game. You don’t have to have played the original to enjoy this game but you’ll probably get more of it if you have.

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53. Binary Domain

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Set in Tokyo far into the future (2080), Binary Domain tells the story of Sergeant Dan Marshall and his team. They are a ‘Rust Crew’ sent in to investigate and, if needed, eliminate ‘Hollow Children’ – robots that can pass as humans that have been banned by the New Geneva Convention.

Gameplay-wise the game treads familiar ground – it’s a third person action title but with some nice combat ideas. You can dismember the robots to slow them down or disarm them (literally!) and if you can knock their head off they will just attack whatever is closest to them – very handy when faced with large groups of enemies.

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52. Batman: Arkham City

Taking place in a city environment, as opposed to the enclosed Asylum setting of the first game, Arkham City sees Batman facing off against several well known villians. Of course The Joker is the main antagonist here, along with Hugo Strange, but you won’t be short of cameos from familiar faces.

Graphically the game looks great and the atmosphere is nicely set up with ambient noise coming in the form of rain and the chatter of henchmen, among other things.

Arkham City is a really good game. You can tell the developers have tried to think of everything to improve upon the first game and they have delivered a bigger, more open and content packed title. The question is – after Arkham Asylum, was that what you wanted?

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51. The Darkness II

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Jackie Estacado is once again the main character of the game and following the events of the previous title he now finds himself as ‘Don’ of the Franchetti family. The Darkness II is set two years after the last game and Jackie has been doing a great job of keeping the ‘Darkness’ (a hugely powerful supernatural presence) under wraps.

The Darkness II plays like your average first person shooter… right up until the moment your release the Darkness. The power manifests itself as two demon snake-like tentacles. Controlled with L2 and R2 (L2 to grab an enemy, R2 to swipe an attack at them) this means you have twice as much firepower as usual and can hand out some serious beatings to the onslaught of enemy thugs.

The story is well told and I think one of the more interesting campaigns I played last year. I really liked the characters and for me, The Darkness II was a hidden gem in the game releases of 2012. I’d recommend you unleash your inner darkness and give this one a shot.

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So there we go, another 10 down!

As always let me know if you enjoyed (or didn’t!) any of the games in this batch.

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