Uncharted 2 – Multiplayer Beta Impressions

Uncharted 2 Beta 2

Well I’ve just had an hour or so playing the online beta for Uncharted 2 – effectively a demo for the online section of the game – and I am extremely impressed.

Firstly let me just say I was struck by a problem that is often apparent in multiplayer betas, the fact that it seems to take 3 or 4 minutes of searching before you can join a game. I’m sure that this will be ironed out for the full product though.

Other than that I can’t think of a negative to report back πŸ˜€

After a few rounds the controls felt natural and intuitive, especially the climbing and vaulting mechanic. The cover system is well implemented – a tap of circle will see you take cover against the nearest wall.

Graphically the game is superb and the layout design of the levels feels brilliant – with several levels of verticality in each there are plenty of options.

There are all sorts of game modes – one I played was like ‘Capture And Hold’ in Killzone 2, which was good fun but other than that I only seemed to be able to get a game in one of the various iterations of Deathmatch.

Uncharted 2 Beta

There was one punishing version called Elimination that was superb – literally one life. You die, you’re out until the end of the round. Harsh but challenging for the harder gamers amongst us.

There are co-op online missions as well, which I believe will support up to 4 players.

It’s been a while since I’ve been blown away by a demo of a game but Uncharted 2 certainly fits the bill. I can’t wait to get this and play alongside my mates.

Download it for free from the PSN Store now and enjoy what just could be the Playstation 3’s jewel in the crown.

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Paul Blart: Mall Cop – Review (Film)

Paul Blart

The problem with this film is it’s essentially a children’s film dressed up as something it’s not.

It seems like whoever was making it couldn’t decide what market they were going for and hedged their bets.

Kevin James (King Of Queens, Hitch) stars as Paul Blart, a ‘security officer’ at his local mall whose hypoglycaemia is stopping him from joining the real police force.

He lives with his mother and his daughter and has no interest in dating until he meets Amy (Jayma Mays) at the mall one day and the two strike up a friendship.

Paul Blart 2

Paul Blart had some genuinely funny moments but the majority of jokes revolve around how fat Blart is, which is fine as a source of comedy but did become tedious after a while.

The fact is it got stuck in the middle of being an out and out kids film and something more adult.

For example the scene where he was drunk was obviously more adult oriented and yet the actual battle with the bad guys in the mall was almost Home Alone-esque.

I would rather it went down the kids route to be honest, maybe bringing Amy and his daughter into it more.

Paul Blart 3

One thing I did notice was the film had a very positive message regarding bullying. There were several characters who picked on or abused Blart and he refused to bow down to them and ended up showing them who the real man was by sticking to his guns and doing the right thing.

This was one of those films you wouldn’t turn off if it was on TV but I suspect a lot of people won’t be going out of their way to see it… and I don’t blame them.

Rating: 5/10

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Film: Winter 2009 Preview

Sherlock Holmes (Main)

Well, with Winter pretty much here I thought I’d get a couple of preview articles in showcasing stuff I’m looking forward to that is coming up soon.

Films up first with games to follow next week…

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ZOMBIELAND

Zombieland

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin

UK Release Date: 9th October

Man this looks great! I seem to have been reading/watching/playing quite a bit of Zombie stuff recently which is all good and Zombieland looks to continue the trend.

It tells the story of a world overrun with Zombies and withΒ very fewΒ survivors. Zombieland focuses on four of these survivors who have to work together to keep themselves alive.

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FANTASTIC MR. FOX

FantasticMrFox

Starring: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Scwartzman, Bill Murray, Michael Gambon

UK Release Date: 23rd October

Ok, ok, I’ve never read the book but the Roald Dahl novels I have read were mainly great and the trailer looks amazing.

The cast is brilliant and this story of Mr. Fox and his friends fight against the farmer neighbours who want Fox out of the way.

Directed by the excellent Wes Anderson this is a film I look forward to checking out.

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EXTRACT

Extract

Starring: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Ben Affleck

UK Release Date: TBC

I had heard nothing about this film until I caught the trailer a few months back and I think it looks really interesting.

Jason Bateman plays Joel Reynold – owner of an extract factory – who appears to have it all but is so desperate for love he is willing to trick his wife into cheating on him just so he can cheat on her…

Confusing? Yes but it’s the mundane day to day of the factory that looks to shine through so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this one.

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SHERLOCK HOLMES

Β Sherlock Holmes

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams

UK Release Date: 26th December

Guy Ritchie’s ‘reimagining’ of the legendary Sherlock Holmes might usually be something that would rile me and the fact that I don’t really rate Jude Law should’ve seen this thrown aside long ago.

But the trailer below is funny and actually does make me want to see the film. Of course it’s nothing like Holmes is supposed to be, however maybe that is the charm of it.

Hoping this will be surprisingly good and if Downey Jr is on form it could happen.

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ARMOURED

Armoured

Starring: Colombus Short, Matt Dillon, Laurence Fishburne, Jean Reno, Milo Ventimiglia

UK Release Date: 10th January 2010

The story of an armoured truck guard who is persuaded to take part in a $42m robbery on their own cargo.

Sounds like a tense thriller with some action loaded in for good measure. I do like a heist film! πŸ™‚

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WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

WhereTheWildThingsAre

Starring: Catherine Keener, Max Records, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, James Gandolfini

UK Release Date: 11th December

Spike Jonze’s latest film looks visually stunning.

The film tells the story of a boy called Max who is sent to his room for misbehaving. While there his imagination runs wild, transporting him into a fantasy world.

Definitely one to check out when it’s released.

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NINJA ASSASSIN

Ninja Assassin

Starring: Rain, Naomie Harris, Sung Kang, Rick Yune.

UK Release Date: 27th November

What isn’t there to be excited about with a film called Ninja Assassin? The story of a ninja who turns his back on the clan that raised him and the fall out stemming from that.

Hopefully might be the assassin film I was hoping Bangkok Dangerous might’ve been.

Β 

So there you have it, anything I’ve missed? Or films you’re looking forward to that I should know about?

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Wet – Review (PS3)

Wet

I’d been eager to play Wet since the initial trailers surfaced and finally got my hands on the game when it was released earlier this month.

It takes on the style of Tarantino / Rodriguez’s Grindhouse films – a sort of knowing nod to the original genre, with a scratchy film reel effect over the action which adds to the feel of the game.

Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse, Buffy The Vampire Slayer) lends her voice to main character Rubi – an assassin who is highly skilled with guns, swords and even crossbows 😎

With Rubi’s heightened ninja-like senses time slows down whenever she is firing her weapon while in the air or sliding on her knees. As I said in my Demo Impressions blog, this leads to some superbly satisfying gunplay whereby it’s possible to take out three or four enemies at a time with the gun and then finish the combo by taking down another with the sword. πŸ™‚

Wet 2

Overall the presentation in Wet is wonderful, Bethesda really have nailed a stylish feel and the voice acting is strong – helped by the memorable (yet cliched) characters.

The main problem I found with the game was the camera and control system. The basic controls were fine but often Rubi wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted her to do – sometimes when attempting a wall run she’d just back flip off the wall. Sounds like a little thing but when it results in death and a horribly long restart it became frustrating.

And when I say horribly long restart I don’t mean load times. For some insane reason you could often go through a lengthy gun fight move onto the next section and die then have to do both sections again.

At times the camera would swing wildly, leaving you with no idea of where you were about to jump or what you were aiming at.

Wet 3

That’s really it for the bad stuff and none of that was frustrating enough to not make me want to play the game.

Having said that the finale of The Opera House chapter almost beat me. It was 1.30am. I’d been trying to beat this boss / spawn door room for an hour. I was almost ready to quit 😦 but my gaming pride wouldn’t let me and eventually I made it through.

The levels are well designed and you do get a variety of internal and external locations so it never feels too samey. Graphically the game doesn’t stand up against a lot of next gen games but it’s better than Fallout 3 and several others – it’s certainly not really an issue.

Wet 4

The highlight of the game, graphically at least, is the awesome ‘Rage Mode’ – a Sin City style section, where the screen goes red and enemies appear white. In these sections enemies are easier to kill as Rubi is more powerful and it’s possible to rack up huge chain kills – 31 being my personal best 😎

There are also a few car chase sections, with the twist being that Rubi ‘car surfs’ as opposed to drives. A mixture of shooting at the other guys in the cars and quick time events to avoid obstacles/move vehicles, this was also great fun and really cool.

So Wet is a fairly diverse game. I suspect casual gamers who pick this up may find it a little too difficult control-wise to really get into but for your average gamer the controls are mastered fairly quickly.

For all the annoyances and frustrations that you’ll have when playing this game it is definitely still worth playing.

Wet 5

It depends if you’re willing to give a game with flawed camera/controls a shot or if you’d rather just pass on it. Personally I’d rather play a slightly broken but extremely fun game. (Hiya Kane and Lynch :smile:)

At one point, as I got towards the end of the game, I ran along the side of a parked truck firing in slow motion, shot a far off enemy manning a Gatling Gun in the head, flipped off the truck and killed two more enemies on the ground and then, while coming down to land, slashed a remaining enemy with my sword to kill him. It. Was. Cool. 😎

Rating: 7/10

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Battlefield: Bad Company – Review (PS3)

BadCompanyMain

Battlefield: Bad Company is one of those games that got lost upon release – one I started and then never got round to playing again (mainly due to the fact that my brother and Dad had it off me for so long – yes Jonny I’m looking at you :smile:).

Basically your character, Preston Marlowe, gets sent to Bad Company – a rag tag army squad of misfits that are sent in as cannon fodder in military operations.

This game was a near perfect playthrough after the desolate, lonely (yet amazing) story of Fallout 3. Here you’re accompanied by your three squad mates at all times – except for the obligatory ‘you’re on your own for a bit mission’ late in the game.

BadCompany2

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

The missions themselves were quite lengthy, around 45 minutes to an hour each, so you really felt immersed in the world.

Graphically the game was good, with some great textures and a believable world. One of the few issues I had though was that all the bad guy goons only had about three character skins between them.

Gameplay wise it was business as usual for FPS action. Take out everyone and get to various markers/blow stuff up. There were a few vehicle sections that were quite cool.

BadCompany3

I did dip into the online but I think it’s pretty much only the hardcore left playing it and so I died plenty of times as enemies waited at the spawn point to shoot you on sight 😦

Overall Battlefield: Bad Company is 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.

Rating: 7/10

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Wanted – Review (Film)

Wanted - Film

Having already played the game, set right after events in the film, I had some idea about Wanted’s plot and what to expect from it.

I wasn’t expecting it to be this much fun though.

Wesley (James McAvoy) is stuck in a dead end job, a dead end relationship and feels like his life is pretty much as good as it’s gonna get.

That is until he meets Fox (Angelina Jolie) who takes him to a fraternity of assassins headed up by Sloan (Morgan Freeman), who tells him he needs to join as it’s his destiny.

The action comes thick and fast – the assassins are highly trained in all sorts of weapon skills, including the famous ‘curving’ of bullets that the film is known for.

Wanted - Film 2

The film proceeds at breakneck speed with only the odd let up to point out a plot point. As well as gun fights there are car chases and some fairly brutal hand to hand combat.

Wanted is a fun film that doesn’t take itself to seriously and if you’re looking for some mindless action then this is a great title to check out.

Rating: 7/10

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Metal Slug Anthology – Review (PSP)

Metal Slug Anthology

I remember playing Metal Slug in the arcades at various times in my life. Inevitably it would be one go, realisation of how hardcore it was and then find something else to play. πŸ˜†

Fortunately for me the anthology has been released for PSP and I can get stuck in knowing I don’t have to put more money in when I die.

And die I did… lots.

First of all let me just say this is a really sweet package – 7 Metal Slug games on one UMD and the pacing of the levels makes this perfect for on the move gaming.

There are a few issues. The most major is some heavy slow down in the last two games, something I didn’t expect from a PSP title. It’s not enough to ruin the experience but is certainly very annoying.

Secondly, unless you love Metal Slug you probably won’t want to play through these in one go. It took me near enough a year to go through these as I did them one a month so I didn’t get bored.

And that isn’t a slight on the gameplay per se. Just that repeatedly pressing square over 7 entire games back to back wouldn’t float my boat.

The games themselves are full of weird and wonderful characters. You play as one of the Peregrine Falcon (PF) Squad – trying to stop the takeover of the world. Whether that’s against a dictator or alien lifeforms depends on what game you’re up to πŸ˜†

Metal Slug Anthology (2)

For me that was where this game kind of cleaned up – it’s so charming and quite unlike anything else I’ve ever played.

Not only do they have these crazy storylines of Mummies, Aliens or Zombies but they mix it up by letting you become infected in some instances. So rather than just dying as per usual if a Zombie kills you it reanimates you with the slow walk and everything 😎

All of the games take the same layout, with a big boss battle at the end of each level spicing things up.

Metal Slug isn’t a taxing game as you have unlimited continues and I feel it should applauded for that. You have the option to just set yourself a limit (say 5 continues) and then get on with it and see how far you get but it was great to experience these rich comical stories all the way through to the end.

The main thing about it was that, although repetitive in nature, Metal Slug Anthology was a really fun set of games and holds a lot of value for PSP owners.

Rating: 8/10

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I Love You, Man – Review (Film)

I Love You Man   2

Paul Rudd is fast becoming one of my favourite actors.

Films such as Role Models, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Anchorman and even old skool classic Clueless have seen him cement the kind of reputation that I will base seeing a film on.

His run of great films continues with ‘I Love You, Man’ – the most accurate description of which was the term ‘Bromance’ that was coined by someone when the movie hit screens earlier this year.

This film is essentially a love story. Man looks for companion, takes them on dates until he finds one then gets to know them better. Except both characters are men πŸ˜†

I Love You Man

Peter Klaven (Rudd) gets engaged to his girlfriend and then realises he doesn’t have a male friend who can be his best man.

He sets about trying to find a friend he can ask before he gets married and after some memorable encounters ends up befriending Sydney Fyfe (Jason Segel).

The film plays out around their new found friendship but is treated like a love story of sorts, which just adds to the comedy value.

I won’t spoil anything here but as you can imagine there are plenty of laughs in the various situations they end up in and the way that their relationship takes off.

The two leading men have such a great chemistry that you can’t help but love them despite their faults.

I Love You, Man is a great film that plays on our pre-conceived notions of rom-com movies and flips them 180 degrees.

Well recommended.

Rating: 9/10

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PES 2010 Demo Impressions (PS3)

PES 2010

As I’ve mentioned in plenty of previous blogs FIFA was the football game of choice for me from the release of FIFA International Soccer on the Mega Drive in 1994 right through to FIFA 2001 on the PS2 in 2000.

Then I discovered Pro Evolution Soccer and a near decade long relationship with the beautiful virtual game began.

But as I discussed previously (here) PES is a series that has been in decline since the switch to next gen consoles.

PES 2009 wasn’t a bad game as such – it was just annoying that the niggly issues hadn’t been resolved over time.

And having played the rather good FIFA 10 Demo I was prepared to switch back to EA’s juggernaut.

PES 2010 Gameplay 1

As I downloaded the PES 2010 demo last night I had a flicker of hope. That I would fire it up and Konami will have revamped the game engine or the controls… perhaps that’s why we’ve seen nothing of the game? Could Konami have just been waiting to blow us away!

The answer in a word was ‘no.’

Shooting appears to have lost it’s sting with shots seeming weaker than before.

The passing is terrible. Several times it passed the ball to the wrong player, especially on through balls – often trying to pass it to the far sided winger as opposed to the player running through. 😑

Having no control over throws or goal kicks is a little thing but being able to kick/throw as hard/soft as I want is something I’ve wanted in PES for ages. I don’t always want a goal kick to go all the way to the front man! πŸ˜•

Graphics are very good. Certainly as good if not a touch better than FIFA. Sadly that doesn’t stretch to any new animations – still the same ones from PES 2008 which is disappointing. 😦

PES 2010 Gameplay 2

The referees are appalling compared to FIFA – no play on’s even when I was through on goal and several players sent off for small challenges. Frustrating. 😑

That old PES favourite of inexplicable defending reared it’s ugly head. My defender, instead of leaving a ball for my outcoming keeper decided to flick it past him for their forward to score – without me pressing a button πŸ˜₯ Several of these crazy moments occurred.

They didn’t even bother having commentary on the demo – so I suspect that’ll be more of the same again.

The CPU scored several cheap goals. One of the things I’ve noticed in FIFA is that I haven’t once felt cheated by a goal. Annoyed yes, but not cheated. Tonight I felt robbed by a few of the goals that came out of nowhere. A break away, plenty of defenders back but the forward still gets through, his shot hits a defender, he has another shot – it’s palmed by the keeper straight to their other forward who runs the ball into the goal. 😑 Same old PES. 😦

PES 2010 Gameplay 3

And that’s pretty much it.

Played 5 games, which I would say is enough to give it a chance.

It’s just a (very) pretty version of PES 2009 and for my money FIFA plays a better game.

The lack of control in PES is disturbing. At least when a through ball or pass is intercepted in FIFA I know it’s my own fault.

I’m afraid after a long period of injury time the referee has blown the final whistle on the 2010 football contest… it’s finished 1-0 to FIFA 10.

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50 Cent: Blood On The Sand – Review (PS3)

50Cent

I’m not a 50 Cent fan, like a few of his tracks but never bought an album or anything. So wasn’t sure what to make of Blood On The Sand – especially as his previous game, Bulletproof, was widely condemned as poor.

The story of Blood On The Sand is one of the most ridiculous I’ve ever heard but I suppose is in keeping with the hip hop/rap fantasy these guys peddle.

Fiddy performs a concert in the Middle East but the promoter claims not to have the agreed fee afterwards. Luckily he has a rare diamond encrusted skull instead which Fiddy accepts. Then they get ambushed and the skull is stolen by a militia group. You are then tasked with killing lots of people to retrieve the skull. Yes, really. πŸ˜•

50Cent 2

While all this is of course pure nonsense, the game itself is actually very playable. A pleasant surprise, as I was expecting something akin to Terminator Salvation with rappers shouting.

I got rappers shouting (there is even a taunt button for Fiddy to use) but the gameplay here was more similar to The Bourne Conspiracy – it even features (more violent) takedowns.

The main story mode clocks in at around 6/7 hours which, although a touch short, isn’t too bad.

It’s not too taxing a game, more of a run and gun than a tactical shooter. There are a few frustrating parts but overall the game is fairly well balanced.

50Cent 3

Blood On The Sand is not something I’ll ever play again or really recommend to friends. It was a good laugh and if you’re stuck for something to play this is worth a rent.

A surprise then, one of those rare occasions where a game is actually quite a bit better than you thought it would be. It might not be a world beater but it caters to it’s audience and is accessible for everyone who plays it.

Rating: 6/10

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