MOST WANTED 2010 (PART TWO)

So here we are with the second part of what’s upcoming this year. You can find Part One HERE if you want to check it out.

As you can tell it’s a big year for gaming with plenty of great release coming. I’m sure there will be more to add as we hit the E3 expo in June as well.

AGENT

Release: Late 2010

We don’t know much about Agent, other than it’s from the makers of GTA, is a PS3 exclusive (for now) and that it is a spy thriller set during the Cold War. Sounds like a win to me and the Rockstar guys usually come up trumps.

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FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS

Release: Winter 2010

Apparently it’s NOT Fallout 4 but the story continues elements from Fallout 3 and Fallout 2. Set in a desolate Vegas – not hit during the nuclear war but certainly affected by it – little is known of the story or characters at this stage. I’m still making my way through the DLC for the third game, is it too soon for a new Fallout game? Should be excellent regardless.

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DEUS EX 3

Release: TBC 2010

A prequel to the superb original title, Deus Ex 3 looks to update the control/camera system and generally tweak the game into the 21st Century. Cyborg style upgrades will be available as you RPG (RolePlayingGame rather than RocketPropelledGrenade, though the latter may be an option) your way to the truth. It’s been a while since the last game so let’s hope this one lives up to the hype.

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L.A NOIRE

Release: September 2010

Things seem to have got messy during development of this game over the last few years but it appears to be back on track now. It may not be a PS3 exclusive anymore but I still love the look of this and am excited to see which direction they take it in. I’d love to play as a gumshoe in a Philip Marlowe style story 😎

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METAL GEAR SOLID: PEACE WALKER (PSP)

Release: May 2010

Set after Metal Gear 3 and Metal Gear Portable Ops, Peace Walker takes you on a trip to Costa Rica to fight off an unknown military force who are trying to stage a coup. Having played the demo this is up there graphically for a PSP title and I can’t wait to take Snake back into the battlefield.

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RED FACTION: GUERRILLA 2

Release: TBC 2010

I really enjoyed the complete destruction of the first Red Faction: Guerrilla game, which was a departure for the series as it moved from a FPS to a 3rd person viewpoint. The follow up was literally announced a week or two ago so not even a picture so far – but definitely one to watch out for.

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RESIDENT EVIL PORTABLE (PSP)

Release: TBC 2010

The creators say it’s a ‘different’ experience to usual Resident Evil games and we’ve seen nothing on the game so far. Portable could be a disaster but on the other hand if they find a great balance between new style and old style, it could be a fantastic game. Resi Evil 5 wasn’t amazing but was decent enough so hopefully they can pull this off.

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SPEC OPS: THE LINE

Release: Winter 2010

I was initially sceptical of the footage shown for this game as I thought maybe the use of sand was just a gimmick but a positive response from the gaming press that have actually played it have put this in the ‘keep an eye on category.’ Apparently using sand to trap your enemies has never been so much fun 🙂

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INFAMOUS 2 (Rumoured)

Release: Winter 2010 (Unconfirmed)

The story of Cole McGrath took a lot of people by surprise – especially those expecting Activision’s ‘Prototype’ to be the better game (great game but pipped by Infamous). Lots of rumours flying around that a follow up may be released this year, just 18 months after the original game. Hopefully they will continue to build on the excellent first game.

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MEDAL OF HONOR

Release: Winter 2010

Medal Of Honor used to be a standard annual entry on the games calendar but disappeared in recent years. The WW2 formula looked increasingly tired as the versions were released. Now EA are bringing their FPS back and bang up to date – set in Afganistan this could be a great title.

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BRINK

Release: Winter 2010

Another FPS but one with a difference or two. Firstly the ability to create your own avatar and secondly the ability to hold a button while moving towards an object that means the game will intuitively vault, jump or slide under whatever you’re looking at. Could be a great innovation or a hinderence, depending on how it’s implemented. Should be fun either way.

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MAFIA II

Release: Summer 2010

Hopefully this game will live it to the expectation for it – several hands on previews I’ve read have really talked the game up, in terms of gameplay and graphics. Title says it all, obviously the game is full of mob-based shenanigans.

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THE LAST GUARDIAN

Release: Winter 2010 (Unconfirmed)

One of the jewels in Sony’s crown has always been the beautiful ‘Team Ico’ games – the PS2 had Ico and Shadow Of The Colossus and now the PS3 gets The Last Guardian – a seemingly moving tale of a small boy and the mythical creature he discovers (?). Hard to tell exactly how this one will pan out but it will be stunning.

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BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM 2

Release: Autumn 2010

One of the shocks of 2009 – a hero game that was actually really good 😮 It was about time and with Rocksteady having the lunatics taking over not just the asylum but most of Gotham in the sequel, Batman is sure to have his hands full later this year.

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So there we go – I’m sure I’m missed a few as there are just so many coming up and obviously more will be announced at GDC in March and E3 in June.

Gonna be a fantastic year to be a gamer.

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MOST WANTED 2010 (PART 1)

Well it’s that time again when I thought it would be handy to round up what’s on the horizon and what games I’ll be keeping an eye out for in 2010.

RED DEAD REDEMPTION

Release: April 2010

This for me could be one of the stand out titles for 2010. I always held out hope, I mean, a western by the makers of GTA? But the overwhelmingly positive chatter of industry people who’ve played it means this one could fulfil it’s potential.

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ALPHA PROTOCOL

Release: ‘Spring’ 2010

Delayed from last year, which is usually not a good sign, Alpha Protocol is apparently not just being polished but changes are being made to some of the core mechanics. Essentially the chance to become Jason Bourne and choose what areas you specialise in (martial arts/guns/computer hacking etc) mean this could be a really great experience.

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BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

Release: March 2010

I won’t bore everyone again with how much I want to play this game – check out my beta impressions and demo impressions for a more in depth look!

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GOD OF WAR III

Release: March 2010

One of the most highly anticipated games of the year, the third instalment in the God Of War franchise marks Kratos’ debut on the PS3. Everything seen so far looks totally epic and could really push the boundaries in terms of sense of scale.

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MODNATION RACERS

Release: Spring 2010

Luckily I got into the beta for this otherwise it could’ve slipped under my radar. A cross between LittleBigPlanet and Mario Kart, Modnation Racers could be fantastic – as long as the online is smooth and they sort out the (long) load times.

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DEAD RISING 2

Release: September 2010

The original (XBox exclusive) Dead Rising was one of those games that I watched a mate play and thought it looked fun but never actually got to play myself. Looks like they have cranked up both the comedy and the violence in the second installment as your one man army fends off the zombies.

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RESISTANCE 3 (Rumoured)

Release: Late 2010?

While not as strong as Killzone 2 the Resistance series of games are, for me personally, vastly underrated. The third in the series has been rumoured for a while and although we haven’t had anything official everyone seems to think this will be announced at E3 in June – I hope it is as I would relish the chance to take down some more Chimera 😎

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KANE AND LYNCH 2

Release: May/June 2010

I seem to be in a minority with regards to the original Kane and Lynch – while flawed I found it to be an enjoyable, gritty game. The sequel is set in Shanghai and the entire game is played through the eyes of a handheld video camera – giving the game the appearance of a youtube upload. According to early reports this unique style works really well and I can’t wait to try it out.

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SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 4

Release: Summer 2010

I can’t help myself. Despite being burned by terrible Sonic games since the MegaDrive era, I am excited by the prospect of a true sequel rather than another lame spin off. Can Sonic regain the stature he had? Sega need to deliver on this – if this turns sour it could be the blue hedgehog’s swan song.

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JUST CAUSE 2

Release: March 2010

I missed the first game on PS2 due to loads of other games coming out around the same time but having seen the trailers for the second game I can’t wait to play this. Just Cause 2 looks like insane fun – hopefully the accompanying elements (story/graphics/online) will tie together as well.

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DEAD SPACE 2

Release: Q1 2011

I still find it a bit strange for someone who doesn’t like films that make you jump how much I loved Dead Space. 😕 I’m excited to see how the developers have improved the original – rumour is they are aiming for the Aliens franchise. First game/film suspense horror and the sequel more action orientated. Fine with me as long as it works and we get more of the same storyline.

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DEAD NATION

Release: ‘Spring’ 2010

The zombie infection continues, this time with Dead Nation – as this PSN action shooter aims for the head. The idea behind the game is to fight off the zombies in your own country (from the global map) and then venture to other territories to help them out. If it works it could be fantastic.

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MASS EFFECT 1 & 2 COMING TO PS3

Release: Unconfirmed

Yeah, yeah – this may not happen ever, never mind this year but the GTA IV DLC arriving on PS3 has renewed hope that us PS3ers may get a chance to play the awesome Mass Effect games. The one series that causes an envious look in the XBox 360’s direction.

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So that wraps up part one of the most wanted games for 2010 – part two coming shortly!

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Eat Lead: The Return Of Matt Hazard

I liked the idea for this game as soon as I heard it: a self aware computer game character is trapped in a new game by an evil games company CEO and has to fight to survive.

Eat Lead is a game for gamers – with plenty of nods to the frustrations and quirks of various different genres and even specific titles.

Throughout the game you will hear Hazard churn out some funny lines (“A vault over cover button? Can’t I just have a jump button?”) but can the game sustain the joke for a full playthrough?

Sadly Eat Lead turns into a joke itself as it bows down to everything it mocks. Boring repetitive enemies – check, frustrating terribly designed boss battles – check, poor controls – check, glitches – check and, the worst of all, freezing up your console – check (three times!).

At first I thought maybe it was supposed to be this bad – like it was making a point. However there are much better ways of making these points than a deliberately terrible experience.

For example the enemies – I get some of them are supposed to be from Matt’s early games in the 80’s but surely as the game progressed more intelligent enemies could have gradually appeared? As it is half the time they stand there aiming at you but not shooting, or taking cover standing behind something that only comes up to their waist.

And rather than just alluding to the games the enemies came from why not have us play a level from each of his early games at the beginning to get a feel for the character/enemies?

It’s not all bad – the story, while cheesy in places is ok and the other characters are fairly funny send ups of well known game characters.

Unfortunately the story and in jokes simply can’t carry the rest of the game. The most disappointing thing about Eat Lead is that this is actually a decent idea for a game. I imagine this could’ve been a blast in the hands of the right developer/publisher but sadly we have this messy title.

I don’t say this lightly but Terminator Salvation was better than this in gameplay terms and the only thing lifting Eat Lead above that title is the fact that the story was enjoyable and, for quite a bit of the time, funny as well.

One to avoid I’m afraid.

Rating: 4/10

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Heavy Rain – Review (PS3)

NOTE: This review is SPOILER FREE so don’t worry about it affecting your experience with Heavy Rain.

Heavy Rain is the spiritual successor to Fahrenheit, a fantastic PS2 title that unfortunately collapsed in on itself during it’s final third.

It seems it’s creator David Cage has learnt from that experience and has used the lessons to help form the experience that is Heavy Rain.

And I say experience because Heavy Rain is unlike anything I’ve played before.

Telling the story of the Origami Killer, who kidnaps young boys and drowns them in rain water, Heavy Rain sees you controlling four main characters and through their actions – whether everyday stuff like carrying in the shopping or a frantic fight for their life – you get a real feel for the characters.

Another reason you feel an attachment to them is the well documented continuous story element – whereby if one of the characters die the story continues, just without you getting further evidence/clues that the character would’ve uncovered.

You can’t actually ‘lose’ in Heavy Rain. Most games are like mathematics exams – you have to work out how to get from A to B. There are several ‘right’ answers but a lot more ‘wrong’ answers. If you get the question wrong you start from stratch and try to work it through.

In Heavy Rain the story continues from A to B regardless but your input shapes the way the action unfolds. Presumably the killer is the same each time (I’ve only had one playthrough so far) but the eventual outcome will vary depending on how your story was formed. Worst case scenario if you kill off all the main characters you will end up with a shorter story and, possibly, no resolution.

Knowing during every moment that a slip up may result in the character’s death as opposed to just having to retry the section really ramps up the pressure. Imagine Kratos from God Of War dying permanently if you messed up a QTE or died during gameplay 😮 Obviously it’s a different type of game so you can’t compare them directly but it means you care a lot more about making sure no-one gets bumped off.

You interact with your surroundings using the right stick to open doors, sit down, choose what to look at etc. Moving is old skool – R2 is forward whichever direction you’re facing with the left stick changng direction. Pressing L2 brings up a selection of the characters thoughts which can be triggered by the face buttons.

During some cutscenes you’ll be required to take part in QTE events – pressing, holding or tapping various buttons and using the right stick. But Heavy Rain isn’t just a bunch of QTE’s, you will have the freedom to investigate environments and only once did the game (via the character thinking to himself) prompt me to go back and do something before I could leave the scene.

Graphically this game is up there with the best of them and because the camera angles are dictated by the game you’re guaranteed the game will look amazing all the time.

It’s not flawless – I had a few glitches whereby an unrelated character stumbled into view as a cut scene started (presumably as it’s all running on the same engine in real time) and the main character walked right through them.

Friends that have played the game are saying things like ‘this is amazing’ or ‘I’m astounded’ which is pretty high praise from regular gamers. After finishing Heavy Rain I could not stop talking about it with everyone I met – which is quite an achievement without discussing the story 🙂

And I am extremely wary of ruining any part of this experience for anyone that reads this, which is why I haven’t mentioned anything specific storywise.

Heavy Rain is a game that deserves to be played by the masses – I suspect, sadly, that it won’t be but if Sony marketed this right (I’d release a full trailer as you would for a film personally) it could break through.

Some people will hate this game and think it’s boring but for me it’s great to play through a strong story and the mundane moments help build the characters.

It says a lot that as soon as I finished this game I wanted to play through it again straight away. I want to give the characters a slightly different personality, experiment to see what happens and find out how it changes the story.

Heavy Rain is by no means perfect but it brings a whole raft of new ideas and innovation to the table.

At the very least rent this and give it a shot – once I started I couldn’t stop playing it and I hope many more people enjoy it as much as I did.

Rating: 9/10

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Try Before You Buy

One of the great things about the PSN (PlayStation Network) that I feel a lot of people are overlooking is the sheer amount of demos you can get for free.

With every Thursday (or at least 99% of them) bringing new demos to the store I always find it a bit strange that people haven’t been on to download anything.

As well as giving you a chance to try out titles you’re looking forward to (say hi to Alien Vs Predator, Heavy Rain and Battlefield Bad Company 2 last Thursday 😎 ) it’s also an opportunity to try out games in a different style that you wouldn’t normally play/buy.

Sure you might not enjoy those demos but at least then you’ll know to avoid that game. You might even surprise yourself and like something you never though you would.

These demos are completely free and you can keep them on your PS3 hard drive indefinitely (in most cases).

Many of them are up to 15/20 minutes of gameplay and take less than that to download.

The demos stay up on the PSN indefinitely as far as I’m aware and there are plenty of old gems on there.

So anyone reading this that doesn’t currently use the PSN Store for demos get yourself on there and check out some games you’ve heard are great but haven’t played.

EDIT: Since I wrote this piece it’s turned out that we’ve also seen the downside of the demo issue with Alien Vs Predator still unplayable on the PS3. Another demo for Sonic Racing has also apparently thrown up frame rate issues for that title. These sorts of things should’ve been ironed out at Beta stage in my opinion but on the plus side the Battlefield demo is great 🙂

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Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – Demo Impressions

As you may remember from reading my Beta impressions, or indeed my 2009 Game Awards, Battlefield Bad Company 2 is my most wanted game of 2010.

Now that a mulitplayer demo has gone up on the PSN everyone can give it a try. And I suggest they do 🙂

The main difference between this and the Beta (other than the obvious one of bugs having been ironed out) is that rather than a desert based map this one is snowy. And also the weapons seem less plentiful, though that might be because I haven’t ranked up yet.

For me personally the demo is vindication of my preaching to all and sundry of just how good this game is. And we’ve only played multiplayer so far.

DICE could give me the multiplayer maps/objectives with all the other characters as AI and some nonsense backstory and Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s campaign mode would STILL be better than Modern Warfare 2’s weak single player story.

I found a wonderful sniper spot on one part of the map and was racking up the kills before running out of ammo and having to ‘Leeroy Jenkins’ it with just a pistol. 😎

The map proves as diverse as the desert based one and you obviously still have the vehicles as before. This demo showcases the games strengths.

However, this isn’t going to be a game for everyone and if you go steaming in the chances are you will die… a lot. You’ll need to be a bit more stealthy, hiding behind something and running to the next point of cover is a good idea – whereas running down the middle of a road will most likely see you shot in the head.

If you are into first person shooters then this is definitely one for you. I’ll be very surprised if the full game isn’t head and shoulders above all competition – my current multiplayer FPS favourite Killzone 2 included.

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