Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – Review (PS3)

 

I’ve been waiting for months to get my hands on this game. Having loved the beta and demo I was keen to experience the full set of features in the final title.

I enjoyed the first Bad Company – it’s irreverent humour shone through and while the story was fairly standard the characters were well designed and it was a lot of fun.

The same rag tag bunch of soldiers return for the sequel – you play as Preston Marlowe again, accompanied by Sweetwater, Haggard and, of course, Sarge 😎

The single player campaign 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.

While the enemies initial spawn points are often the same, the AI behaviour varies so if you retry a section you will know roughly where the enemies will come from but not what they are going to do.

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.

The destructability of the world is a big factor here as well – you can’t just run into a building and pop up in the window firing shots at enemies with no repercussions – bullets whizz through the walls and a rocket or tank attack will soon take out whatever cover you have. It adds a whole new spin on your thinking regarding taking cover.

I found I cared enough about the characters and was suitably immersed in their world to feel a pang of emotion here and there during the campaign. Quite a rare experience in a (non-RPG) FPS and something I hadn’t had since Killzone 2 back in February 2009.

The multiplayer kicks you off with four classes (assault, engineer, medic and recon) allowing for people to find a class they are happy with or mix it up. You unlock more weapons/gadgets per class with your overall score giving you your rank.

The maps are fantastic and very well designed. Especially the ‘rush’ mode ones, where you have to plant charges at two sets of areas in 3 or 4 different bases. These are my favourite match types with some real epic battles so far.

You also have ‘conquest’, essentially capture and hold, along with ‘squad rush’ and ‘squad deathmatch.’ In the latter two, rather than just two sides, four squads of four face off against each other.

Then there are the vehicles: Tanks, Helicopters, Quads, Boats – it all adds a huge dimension to the gameplay and thankfully don’t feel too overpowered.

Again destructability comes into play massively in multiplayer. Buildings crumble around you under attack and the sense of panic as you hear the foundations creak while you desperately try to sprint away is awesome.

D.I.C.E have done a great job of balancing weapons out in my opinion. Seemingly the more powerful weapons you unlock have less bullets per clip but do more damage.

The unlock system itself is excellent, giving you a wealth of guns and gadgets to unlock – eventually everyone will find a favourite.

Over the last year or so Killzone 2 has been the FPS of choice between me and my friends. Does Battlefield do enough to muscle in?

It’s a resounding yes from me – while Killzone is different enough that I know I’ll still play it occasionally, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is the best FPS I have ever played.

The single-player is solid and enjoyable, with the multiplayer wiping the floor with anything out there on the PS3 at the moment. If you have any interest in a more realistic FPS as opposed to ‘twitch’ shooters then you should check this out immediately.

Rating: 10/10

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plat•i•num [plat-n-uhm, plat-nuhm]

“1. Chemistry. a heavy, grayish-white, highly malleable and ductile metallic element, resistant to most chemicals, practically unoxidizable except in the presence of bases, and fusible only at extremely high temperatures.

2. a light, metallic gray with very slight bluish tinge when compared with silver.

3. achievement awarded for 100% trophy completion within a game on the Playstation 3 console system.”

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I’ve spoken many times about Trophies and the lengths some people will go to for a ‘ping’ in the top right hand corner of the screen.

I have a healthy Trophy score, which has occurred mostly naturally – I admit picking up a few trophies having known in advance what is required – but I have no inclination to go over old games for the sake of a few trophies.

Don’t get me wrong I have no problem with people going for trophies, it just doesn’t interest me personally.

But recently something has been bugging me. As many of you will know I would class myself as a fairly serious gamer and I noticed a few weeks ago when looking through my trophy collection that my highest trophy percentage for a game is Terminator Salvation. (81% Trophy Completion)

That’s right, the lowest scored game in the history of this site. The most boring PS3 title I’ve ever finished appears to be my most played and completed game 😥

In terms of general playthroughs the closest was Assassin’s Creed II (71%), with most other titles coming in around 40-50%.

As I started my 2nd playthrough of Heavy Rain in an attempt to unlock a certain ending (I’m staying vague in case I give ANYTHING away :lol:) I was using the help of a guide to make sure I did it correctly and suddenly realised something.

Playing through most of the chapters again using the conditions I needed and getting a different result to my original playthrough in most of them was actually gonna inadvertently net me a heap of trophies.

Could this finally be the game to rid me of the shame of Terminator Salvation? I must also add at this point that my ‘haul’ from Terminator was via one 4 hour playthrough on EASY in which you got a gold trophy for finishing each level 😮

After completing the ending I was looking for in Heavy Rain I decided I’d enjoyed it so much that I wanted to see all the possible endings and find out what could’ve happened. Again I grabbed the guide and, checking the way to do it, realised that if it went as planned I would then only be a handful of trophies short of a platinum :wow:

And while I’m not that into Trophies there was no way I’d let myself not get a platinum by that small amount. Especially when even those last trophies would let me see new scenes/outcomes.

And so there it is – my first ever Platinum Trophy (and probably my last).

You see, Heavy Rain’s Trophies were based around content, not skill. This Platinum isn’t for gaming skill (although I did have to ace some of the quick time events) but having the patience to experience all there is within Heavy Rain.

And I’m glad I took the time to have the complete Heavy Rain experience, firstly because the game and all it’s outcomes were very cool and secondly because Quantic Dream’s ambitious project washed away the embarrassment of having one of the worst games I’ve ever played at the top of my list. 🙂

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Motion Control Spreads To HD

Well GDC (Game Developer Conference) always throws up a few interesting announcements and tech demos – the latest of which was Sony’s “Move.”

Essentially a more precise and HD supported Wii remote, “Move” is Sony’s attempt to muscle in on the ground that Nintendo have been occupying for the last few years.

Have a look at the video below to see it in action:

Personally this will be a novelty item for me. Like the EyeToy and EyePet – not something I’ll play often but when friends are over or my daughter wants to play something I’ll stick them on.

I’m not a fan of motion control being the sole means of control in a game and I’m glad to hear that Sony said in a lot of cases the controller will still be an option instead of motion.

That being said if a studio can find a great way to implement it I’m all for it. Killzone 2’s setting charges with the SixAxis was weak but didn’t take you out of the experience too much and Heavenly Sword’s arrow/cannonball system was clever but too frustrating. More positively, Heavy Rain recently included some great motion control stuff so all is not lost.

Heavy Rain’s use of motion control was a big part of the gameplay

I think being able to use controller and motion is a good solution for gamers like me that don’t want to jump wholesale into motion.

Take Natal on XBox for example, in which there is no controller and your hand motions etc are used to select stuff. Now I don’t doubt it’ll sell well and seems to be an impressive piece of tech but I don’t want to play like that.

The idea of having to physically carry out the actions I want to do in real life so that Natal can register them in game isn’t my idea of fun. Actually scratch that, it would be fun but at a party or with friends. The majority of my gaming time is spent alone (in terms of my actual location) and I just don’t see myself playing that way.

So we have the usual array of sports games and motion stuff – I particularly liked ‘Shoot’ (see below video) which is a ‘House Of The Dead’ style romp through various themed levels and looks like it could be a real giggle.

Sadly from my perspective that was the only title that looked like I might play it.

Support from existing titles such as LittleBigPlanet and SOCOM was good to see, although the latter appeared to confirm my fears on motion in ‘hardcore’ games.

SOCOM is a tactical army based shooter – why would you need to control it with motion? Fair play to Zipper for getting it done and it’s not terrible by any means (see below video) but I just can’t take it seriously.

I guess it all just feels superfluous. Like the Wii, Natal and Move are all bringing a little something extra to the table but nothing groundbreaking.

Where is motion control’s ‘killer app’?

It’s a big question and maybe with the release of Natal and Move bringing some much needed competition to Nintendo we’ll get to see some innovative motion titles forcing their way through in the next few years.

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MAG – Review (PS3)

 

MAG (or Massive Action Game to give the game it’s full title) is an online only first person shooter where the aim isn’t simply killing the opposition but to beat them in warfare.

Essentially there is a giant war going on between three factions SVER (my choice :cool:), VALOUR and RAVEN. Each faction has it’s own weapons/abilities and every battle you play through affects the picture of control in the overall war.

It’s an interesting concept – essentially a never ending online war which will, no doubt, swing between the factions as time passes.

Likewise the concept of levelling up/ranks is also innovative. With the bigger battles featuring 128 v 128 online players the sides are organised into squads of 8. Once you level up enough you can take control of a squad and eventually handle several squads at once.

MAG is a game that requires your time. This isn’t like Modern Warfare 2 where you can level up and unlocks lots of stuff in a short time frame – you do unlock things in MAG but it’s much slower paced.

And the stroke of genius that keeps you coming back is that you don’t get all the game modes to start with. If you want to take part in the biggest battles you’ll need to accrue the necessary level.

This also combats the potential problem of having a lot of trash talking idiots involved. Most of those guys won’t want to put in 7/8 hours just to unlock the biggest games.

The actual gameplay is good, I still prefer Battlefield BC2, and once you start getting into the mindset of sticking with your squad and doing objectives it is a rewarding experience.

A few gripes though, firstly body armour is a bit excessive – sometimes an entire round to the body isn’t enough to kill someone – and the combat knife seems ridiculously overpowered. It’s usually a one hit kill and when you combine the above it can be frustrating to unload a clip into an oncoming enemy which not only doesn’t kill them but they then kill you in one hit with the knife.

I’ve yet to experience any lag but have lost the connection to the server a few times but I suppose is inevitable when dealing with this many players online?

Overall MAG is a great accompaniment to Modern Warfare 2 or Battlefield BC 2 – I don’t think it will be my FPS of choice but it offers something different and is a change of pace to other FPS games. For that reason I can see myself investing time in MAG.

Rating: 7/10

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The GregHorrorShow Rating System

I was looking through some of the ratings I have given out over the last few months and thought maybe it would be worth just letting you guys know the meaning behind the numbers.

My rating system works in a similar fashion to most other numerical rating systems 😆 but as well as incorporating how good a game is the rating is also a guide to whether I’d recommend you to play it:

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1

APPALLING – the one point is for the poor people who had to make the game/film.

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2

VERY BAD – do not even try this.

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3

POOR – not worth your time or effort

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4

BELOW AVERAGE – don’t bother unless you need the trophies (btw if you feel you need the trophies please also see Trophyitis to find out if you have the condition :smile:)

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5

AVERAGE – worth a rent if you’re interested in the game/film

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6

ABOVE AVERAGE – worth a rent

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7

GOOD – you should play/watch it

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8

VERY GOOD – definitely worth a playthrough/watch

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9

SUPERB – you should definitely purchase this game/film

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10

THE GREGHORRORSHOW PLATINUM SEAL OF APPROVAL™ – go and buy it now!

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So there you go – the formula behind the system is explained!

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Just Cause 2 – Demo Impressions

Wow, what a fantastically fun demo.

I was expecting Just Cause 2 to be a laugh based on the various trailers/footage I’d seen but the demo is the most mindless fun I’ve had since Red Faction: Guerrilla.

You get half an hour to run around causing carnage, with a few optional missions to keep you busy as well.

Being honest though you probably might not bother with the missions, after the short tutorial you’ll be off looking to make trouble.

The controls take a few minutes to get down but it soons feels natural enough and the ability to chain together movements – grapple/parachute – is brilliant.

Graphically the game isn’t amazing in cut scenes but the in game stuff is great.

My only concern with this game is whether the mission structure will work or if it will get repetitive. Hopefully not but it’s always a concern in a title like this.

Just Cause 2 isn’t going for realism and you will find yourself grappling between cars at the touch of a button. Enemies are knocked off their feet by your killer shot in an Indiana Jones type death.

There is a whole lot to see, do and blow up in this demo alone, get it downloaded now and see what you think.

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Yakuza 3 – Demo Impressions (PS3)

 

Having already played a couple of hours of the first Yazuka game back on PS2 I had an inkling of what to expect from this demo.

I suspect if you went into it with no knowledge you may find Yakuza 3 to be completely insane.

Basically the game puts you in control of Kazuma – one of the chairman of a family in the Japanese mafia.

The demo drops you into the story at an unspecified point – to be honest I didn’t have a clue what was going on and the lengthy in game discussions didn’t make much sense without context.

I enjoyed the demo and found the combat, in particular, to be very strong. Your standard light, heavy and grapple attacks are supplemented by a wonderful option to pick up various bits of random scenery (traffic cones/bicycles etc) that can be used as a weapon.

There was also the opportunity to indulge in some karaoke with a female companion via a series of button related rhythm mini games. It was a bit weird but shows the variation the game holds.

It took a while to get used to the controls and camera angle in places but overall this was good fun and I’d certainly say to people try the demo to see if you’re interested.

I’m not sure how much impact the story has from the first two games (as in whether or not you’d need to play them) but this could be a nice title to pick up when the game release schedule slows down in the summer. I probably won’t be buying this upon release but I may be tempted further down the line.

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