Manhunt 2 – Review (PSP)

Manhunt2

I enjoyed the original Manhunt on PS2, it was one of those games I never finished but I saw friends playing it and finishing it. I thought the storyline and the way they handled the subject matter was excellent.

What with all the uproar over the sequel (see here for more on that) I was expecting this to be the most gruesome, gory game I’d ever played.

In a sense it was but I can’t help feeling that Rockstar bottled it a bit by adding the weird negative film effect over each kill – often making it difficult to see what’s going on.

I suppose I can kind of see the thinking behind it and while I have no real desire to see those kills in glorious technicolor anyway, it meant I felt a little cheated at times.

The gameplay itself is similar to the original with a few improvements in that you can now carry out executions with guns and also while dropping down on an enemy from above.

Manhunt2 2

The AI is fairly poor on enemies, whether this is due to the limitations of the PSP I don’t know. However it does mean that often it’s a case of just running round the corner into shadows and seeing your enemy not bother to come look for you – even though you’re in a tight enclosed space with no means of escape.

Manhunt 2 is an advert for why the PSP needs a second analogue stick – or at the very least why all games should adopt the Syphon Filter/Resistance face button scheme.

The camera is horrible, often leaving you needing to switch to the cumbersome first person view to work out what on earth is going on.

It was frustrating and led to numerous undeserved deaths – where I was spotted while trying to turn round to look at something else.

Manhunt 2 isn’t a terrible game by any means and perhaps I was expecting too much from it – having had it recommended by friends and having liked the first game.

Manhunt2 3

The story is a good one and the conclusion a nice touch – especially with the bonus mission which is essentially an alternate ending.

Another problem was repetition – once you got a gun the game became one firefight after another, which soon grew tiresome, though the gun based executions were pretty good.

Overall I can’t shake the feeling of disappointment and I’ve been left with a sense that Manhunt 2 might have been an opportunity missed. However the decent storyline means it’s worth a go, just prepare to be frustrated by one thing or another on your journey through.

Rating: 6/10

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Games Dropping Off The Radar…

Radar

Looking through the release schedules a few days ago I noticed a few games I was quite looking forward to have slipped or are still down as having a release date of ‘TBA.’

Always disappointing to see games fall away so I thought I’d see what the latest is on a few of these projects:

 

Hei$t

Hei$t

I really liked what I had heard about Hei$t, a game in which you not only carry out the heists but plan them as well.

Wikipedia lists this as for release in September but we’ve seen nothing of it – no new trailers or game info for months and months, so I’m presuming that date is incorrect.

On the plus side it’s still listed on Codemasters site so fingers crossed after it’s development hell it will actually make it out.

STATUS: Faint outline on the radar

 

I Am Alive

I Am Alive

There has been pretty much nothing on this since last years jaw dropping trailer (see below) and that is never a good sign.

Despite rumours of a cancellation for PS3 last week (which were denied officially by Ubisoft) the game appears to be on track for a Q2 release next year.

If we still haven’t seen anything by Christmas I’ll be concerned but Ubisoft have a decent track record so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

STATUS: On the radar but off course

 

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens Colonial Marines

Colonial Marines has been bugged by rumours of cancellation throughout the project and has been overtaken by Aliens Vs Predators (which is due out early next year).

I’m hoping that maybe Colonial Marines is loads better than A Vs P and Sega (who make both) don’t want to show off Marines until the other game is out… I can dream can’t I? 😆

STATUS: Faint outline on the radar

 

DC Universe Online

DC Universe Online

Making a console MMO is always going to be a challenge and a project the size of DC Online – especially one with so many recognizable characters – is always likely to run into difficulty somewhere along the line.

This game gives you the chance to create your own superhero/villian and fight alongside the good guys or the bad guys from DC comics. I know a lot of peeps who are excited about this one.

Originally expected Q4 of 2009 it seems DC Universe Online has been pushed back to Q2 2010 – hopefully the delay will give them extra time to polish the experience.

STATUS: On the radar and heading straight for us (in 2010)

 

L.A Noire

LA Noire

This game has been floating round since 2004 and it seems 5 years might just be enough development time.

Set in the 1940’s L.A Noire is a detective story in which the player must solve various crimes.

Team Bondi have, according to Wikipedia, confirmed that the game is in the final stages and it’s hoped the game will arrive in 2010.

This is a Rockstar product so I expect it’ll be excellent but the extremely long development time leave me wondering…

STATUS: On the radar but off course

 

The Outsider

The Outsider

I thought this title had lots of promise when I first heard about it.

Basically you play as an (ex?) CIA agent on the run from the government. Player choice is huge and effectively the story is set up depending on your actions.

Everything points to this being in development and there’s no reason to suspect it will be dropped.

However with no info released on it for ages and no release date even announced, I suspect we’re looking at least Q3 2010 before we get our hands on The Outsider.

STATUS: Faint outline on the radar

 

So there we go, all is not lost even if a few of these games are off course for the time being…

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

“When Choosing Between Two Evils, I Always Like To Try The One I’ve Never Tried Before…”

EvilInfamous1

Well I have just done something in gaming that I have not done since my Sega Mega Drive days.

Completed a game a second time.

In this day and age, with the continued spread of Trophyitis and a veritible banquet of trophies for replaying a game, I often feel like I’m in the minority in that once I finish a game that’s it for me.

Obviously I’ll play multiplayer but not really single player.

Some games with alternate endings, like GTA IV for example, I have loaded up the penultimate mission and just played through the last mission to get the different ending.

I think I’m going back to Sonic The Hedgehog when I try to remember the last game I completed then started over.

InfamousSonic

But that all changed with the arrival Infamous – a game I wasn’t even that fussed about initially but is now a strong contender for my game of the year.

It’s the first game in a long time that I was up for replaying literally as the credits were rolling at the end of my first playthrough.

The final decision you make in the game locks you as good or evil so the only way to fully experience Infamous is to play it all the way through as good and then again as evil.

I always try and do whatever I think I would do when confronted with a karmic choice in gaming – I rescued every Little Sister I found in Bioshock 🙂 – and my first playthrough of Infamous was great. The people of the city loved me, taking photos etc.

But being evil was a lot more fun.

EvilInfamous2

I didn’t have to worry about anything at all. Running down the street? People in the way? Just melee attack them as you plough through them. Eventually no-one got in the way as they were all so scared of me they ran off screaming as soon as they saw me.

Cole’s powers were better when he was evil – a lot more destructive and explosive.

There were a few missions that were a chore just as much as the first time I played it but overall it was a great experience to see Empire City from both sides of the moral standpoint.

The overall story didn’t change but lots of details and character interaction did, which was awesome 😎

EvilInfamous3

It was quite nice to have this to fall back on during the notoriously quiet summer months for gaming.

Infamous made it in at number 50 in my Top 100 Games List and that was based on one playthrough.

It would be higher now and given how much enjoyment I got out of replaying it, mixed with the fact the differences in the storyline were really impressive (though subtle) I am upgrading Infamous from an 8/10 to a new rating:

9/10

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 20-11

Dead Space

We’ve made it down to the Top 20!!

A quick recap on how I decided who came where:

I thought, as so many games mean so many different things to me, I should come up with a fair way to judge them.

This is what I came up with:

Time Spent Playing

Storyline

Difficulty

Fun

Ground Breaking?

A few provisos before we hit the next ten games…

Firstly this is my list of my Top 100 games. I certainly don’t expect you guys to agree with it (though hopefully you’ll agree with some of the choices 🙂 ) and would welcome any comments.

Secondly, I’m not planning on putting the scores or totals up, just listing the games in the order they came out in.

Lastly, I never owned a Nintendo or Microsoft console so my experiences on these games were limited to friend’s houses etc – bite me 😆

So here’s number 20!

 

20. GOD OF WAR: CHAINS OF OLYMPUS (PSP)

God Of War (PSP)

Quite simply the best PSP game out there. This hack n slash is a prequel to the previous two God Of War titles (on PS2) and sees Kratos halfway through his service to the Gods. The thing that impressed most about this title were the graphics – for a PSP game they were brilliant. The development team really squeezed everything they could out of the hardware. As usual with these titles the story was great and it was brilliant to step back into the character of Kratos. It was short, 5 hours or so, but I’d rather play an amazing 5 hour game than a mediocre 8 hour one.

 

19. GUITAR HERO (Playstation 2)

GuitarHero

I remember first playing this and being blown away. This soon became an office favourite and with the arrival of the second game it was cemented as lunchtime fodder. I’m sticking with the first game here though as it was groundbreaking and, despite the fact most of them are cover versions, I prefer the tracklist. Bark At The Moon? Cowboys From Hell? They really found a great mix of tracks and the joy at nailing songs 100% is very satisfying. Activating ‘star power’ by tilting you guitar upwards? Absolute genius! 😎

 

18. MORTAL KOMBAT (Sega Mega Drive)

Mortal Kombat

I still remember the date clearly: September 13th 1993 – ‘Mortal Monday.’ The day Mortal Kombat was released on the Sega Mega Drive. We arranged to go to a mates after school as he was getting a copy (no idea if his parents knew what they were buying him?). We were only 13 but that didn’t stop us. We played it and played it and played it. With the aid of a move list from a game magazine (this was pre-internet for me folks) we got stuck in. I think we all nearly wet ourselves with joy when the first fatality struck. Scorpion burning someone to death. Never mind video nasties – with this we could beat the hell out of each other and then finish the match in style. Sub Zero pulling someone’s spine out? Ouch. Particularily gruesome but this wasn’t just about the shock value – Mortal Kombat was a well designed beat ’em up that threatened the crown of Street Fighter II for some time.

 

17. GOD OF WAR II (Playstation 2)

GodOfWar2

God Of War II followed the events of the first game, set a while afterwards. It was the sequel we’d all wanted. The first game was epic and the follow up didn’t disappoint with plenty more carnage and lots of new enemies. The battles seemed even bigger than before. The descent into hell is such a great sequence and overall this is a game that is reminiscant of a Hollywood blockbuster but doesn’t suffer for it. With the third installment coming soon, I’d recommend anyone who hasn’t played this to give it a whirl.

 

16. GOD OF WAR (Playstation 2)

GodOfWar

Coincidentally both PS2 God Of War games came in right next to each other, with the original just pipping the follow up. Both these games really pushed the PS2 in terms of graphics and running on the machine. Some of the epic landscapes and battles were like nothing I’d ever seen. And while QTE’s (Quick Time Event) are common now, they weren’t back then and God Of War used them superbly. The beginning of the game set everything up perfectly. Kratos commits suicide by jumping off a cliff. What a way to start a game! 😎 The combat was awesome and the use of Greek mythology was well handled – a must play.

 

15. UNCHARTED: DRAKE’S FORTUNE (Playstation 3)

Uncharted

One of my favourite PS3 games. Forget the dodgy demo and get stuck in from the start. The tale of Nathan Drake hunting the treasure of El Dorado is fantastic. The game uses all the tricks possible and you really feel a part of it. The cover and shooting mechanic work well and the puzzles are just the right side of annoying. The production values are really high and the voice acting is briliant. On the easier difficulty settings this is a perfect game for someone who doesn’t play much to enjoy and on the harder settings it’s a real challenge for the hardcore gamers. Uncharted is like an Indiana Jones film, in my opinion this is the game Tomb Raider wanted to be.

 

14. PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 5 (Playstation 2)

ProEv5

We knew it’d be in here somewhere and I’ve plumped for PES 5 as my favourite in the series. This version had just the right mix – the AI was clever but not too clever, the shooting was excellent and it felt a lot like hard work (for the right reasons) to bag a great goal. The series as a whole has been great for me (PES 2008 on PS3 pushed it’s luck though) and the hours I’ve ploughed into Master Leagues, Become A Legend Mode and playing with friends has to be the majority of my gaming time. Here’s hoping PES 2010 can regain some of the magic they had with those last few games on the PS2.

 

13. METAL GEAR SOLID 3: SNAKE EATER

MetalGearSolid3

We wondered where Hideo Kojima would go with the series after Metal Gear Solid 2 and we were pleasantly surprised to find out the third game would be a prequel, set way back in 1964. It follows the exploits of Naked Snake (the man Solid Snake was cloned from – don’t ask 🙂 ). This setting and the fact the action took place in jungle areas meant that players had to get used to whole new way of playing. Less gadgets more foraging for food and laying basic traps/camoflage. Featuring some legendary boss battles: The End, The Fury and of course The Boss. Not my favourite in the series but a great game nonetheless.

 

12. DEAD SPACE (Playstation 3)

Dead-Space

This is one of my favourite games ever. Check out my full review for an indepth look. The story of Dead Space is so cool that I love discussing it with others who have played it. No spoilers here so I’m not going to talk about the story more than I need to! Graphically the game shone in HD – for some of the bits outside the spaceship I actually stopped what I was doing to take it all in. The makers could’ve gone for the jugular with jumps and shocks (of which there are some) but chose the braver and more impressive route of creating a real sense of tension and unease. There were plenty of times I’ve have preferred a shock than something that completely creeped me out. The dismemberment combat – going against everything you’ve ever been taught in games (ie headshot = kill) – leaves you panicking: “Yes! Headshot!… It’s…. it’s still coming at me WITH NO HEAD.” *crys like a baby* If you can stomach games of this genre this is up there as one of the best. I’m looking forward to the sequel already…

 

11. METAL GEAR SOLID 2: SONS OF LIBERTY

MetalGear2

Ah the return of Solid Snake… for about two levels before we switch to whiny ass Raiden. After the success of Metal Gear Solid on the PSOne everyone was clambering for the follow up and while it teased us with Snake what we actually got was a new ‘hero’ that pretty much everyone hated. Raiden was a blonde haired fop compared the Snake’s Kurt Russellesque character. However it says a lot about Metal Gear Solid 2 that even with a badly chosen lead character the game was still excellent. Although the story was somewhat confusing this was the first game to feature Vamp as well as some other great boss battles. It sure felt great to be back in the MGS universe.

 

And now we get to the Top 10! Games 10-6 up next!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Step Brothers – Review (Film)

StepBrothers2

I love Will Ferrell. I’m gonna throw that out there right now. 🙂

Anchorman, Elf, Stranger Than Fiction, Old School, Talledaga Nights, Kicking And Screaming, Blades Of Glory, Semi Pro… the list goes on and on. 😎

So I was hyped to see Step Brothers and strapped myself in for some Ferrell mayhem.

I enjoyed this film and it was funny but I think it really suffered as I’d seen Role Models the previous week and Step Brothers cannot hold a candle to it, I’m afraid.

Will Ferrell and John C Reilly play two grown men, each still living with a parent – and when those parents get it together, the two become Step Brothers.

StepBrothers

I can tell you now if you’re not a fan of Ferrell’s loud delivery you will not like this film – fortunately for me hearing him swear, or say odd funny phrases, at the top of his voice doesn’t get tired. 😆

And most of the laughs come from the rivalry between the two main characters as they learn to accept each other.

One thing that might’ve been overlooked by some people is that Ferrell and Reilly really do act like kids – I mean they are pretty much 8 years old (but with more bad language).

The plot was predictable but the gags were fairly funny and Step Brothers certainly raised some laughs however this isn’t one of his better films in my opinion.

I’d say this is up there with Kicking & Screaming, Blades Of Glory and Talledaga Nights but nowhere near the genius of Anchorman, Elf or Semi Pro.

Rating: 7/10

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

World War Z by Max Brooks – Review (Book)

WWZ Cover

I remember seeing World War Z in a bookshop a while back and thinking it looked quite cool. Since then several people have recommended it and a friend offered me his copy, which I gladly accepted.

Max Brooks paints us a world where a Zombie virus struck and almost annihilated mankind.

What’s really interesting about this book though is that it’s set 10 years after the outbreak, with some cases still being reported, and the story is told almost in a documentary style through a set of ‘talking heads.’

We get to see the ‘war’ unfold through the eyes of many, via their individual stories.

WWZ1

Concept Art by Dan LuVisis

Civilians, US army, Chinese army, various government advisors – all get a say in what happened. Who do they blame? What really happened?

This is a worldwide war and Brooks does a great job of making sure World War Z isn’t too US centric. It’s nice to see a lot of other countries featured and Brooks himself admitted he wanted to “…maybe give my fellow Americans a window into the political and cultural workings of other nations.” (eatmybrains.com interview)

The ‘interviews’ are so realistic in tone and each one so different in characterisation that it’s a real feat of writing that makes you believe you’re reading about something that actually happened.

There are a few mentions of familiar things (Starbucks/Iron Maiden etc) to keep one foot in reality but it’s the stories that really make this book.

The tales of despair, hope and denial flow and some of the reactions from people, particularily in government positions leave a lot to be desired – but fundamentally (and quite disappointingly) those reactions are how I imagine most governments would react when faced with that threat.

There are plenty of things in World War Z that you can point to as a ‘social commentary’ on various matters and while that is certainly interesting I preferred to just read it and enjoy the stories.

I couldn’t put this down once I’d started it and it is an amazing read – even if you’re not into the whole Zombie thing.

Rating: 9/10

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Dirt 2 Demo Impressions (PS3)

I liked Colin McRae’s Dirt. It was a really impressive driving game but the thing that held it back for me was that it was all rally. That and the fact that online multiplayer was essentially a bunch a time trials 😦

Then came Race Driver: Grid and blew me away. It’s been an office favourite for a long time and although we are all quite appalling at it we continue in the vain hope of getting our team to the top.

So I am looking forward to Dirt 2 as it appears to be a very nice mix of the two games.

The demo showcases two races (I was ok on the Baja race one but sucked at the Morrocan rally stage 😆 ) and I have to say the graphics are really impressive.

But graphics don’t make a game and I’m pleased to report the handling of the cars seems to have been fine tuned very well. However you’re only given one car to choose from in each race so it’s difficult to tell how different each one will handle.

Dirt 2 now uses Grid’s excellent ‘rewind’ system, allowing you to rewind the action by 4 or 5 seconds and try to get that corner right second time around. You only get four per race and that is a nicely balanced amount.

There’s not much else to comment on really – the menus are another stand out feature which have been made pretty interesting.

Dirt 2 is the kind of the game that if you liked the previous racers from Codemasters is a no brainer and it should draw in plenty of racing fans who are looking for some car action with a bit more bite than the sometime staid Gran Turismo.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine