GregHorrorShow Game Awards 2010

Well it’s that time of year again and 2010 has seen some immense games roll around – as well as continued support via DLC for some of 2009 biggest titles.

Sadly I didn’t have time to play every game that was released so if I’ve missed anything worth checking out shout me in the comments and if it’s not already in my ‘to play’ pile I’ll get it added.

Right, let’s go!

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BEST GAME INNOVATION

WINNER: Destruction 2.0 (Battlefield Bad Company 2)

This was a tough one to call this year but I definitely think Destruction 2.0 is something that has helped put Battlefield head and shoulders above most other shooters out there. Enemy hiding in a house? Just blow the wall up in front of them and it’ll leave a nice big hole to shoot them through. Or just blow the building up completely and have it crush them to death.

RUNNERS UP:

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (Online Assassination Multiplayer)

Modnation Racers (Easy Track Creation)

Playstation Move

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BEST DLC (CONTENT)

WINNER: Undead Nightmare (Red Dead Redemption)

 

No question of the winner here – with around 6 hours of single player and the fantastic Undead Overrun & Land Grab online modes, Undead Nightmare packs a lot of bang for your buck. This is one of the more comprehensive DLC packs out there and if you liked Red Dead Redemption then this is a must have. Props to Uncharted and Battlefield though – two strong modes added there but Undead takes this one.

RUNNERS UP:

Heavy Rain: The Taxidermist

Uncharted 2 Seige

Battlefield: Onslaught

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DOWNLOADABLE GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Dead Nation

I honestly didn’t see anything taking this award away from the excellent Joe Danger and then Housemarque’s Dead Nation arrived at the beginning of December. Dripping in HD visuals comes a twin stick shooter that makes you think about your every move. When to use the SMG and how much Shotgun ammo to conserve become regular questions. Your score gets added to total score for your country and you can keep a tab on which country is the best at fighting the Zombie invasion. Very cool indeed.

RUNNERS UP:

Joe Danger

Shank

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

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MOST ANTICIPATED GAME OF 2011

WINNER: Killzone 3

Wow, this was a tough call – it had to be Killzone 3 or Uncharted 3. I’m sure Uncharted 3 will be awesome but having played Killzone 3 I can’t wait for this to arrive in February. Continuing the story from the second game and adding substantially to the multiplayer, I think this could be a game of the year contender.

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BEST GAME TRAILER

WINNER: L.A Noire

The standard of trailers has been so high this year I’ve decided to pop the runners up on here as well for you to have a look at. L.A Noire takes the crown though and man, those Rockstar guys know how to make a trailer! Another contender for most anticipated, L.A Noire sees you take on the role of Cole Phelps, a detective in 1940’s America. Great stuff and the trailer really captures that feeling of the time.

RUNNERS UP:

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Spec Ops The Line

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – Vietnam

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PSP GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to pick up God Of War: Ghost Of Sparta yet so that hasn’t made the cut. I’m sure it would’ve been a close call regardless as Metal Gear also oozes quality and is such a deep game that there is always something different to do. Whether it’s going on missions or recruiting more soldiers for your army, Peace Walker will keep you entertained for hours. My play through clocked in at 16 hrs, which puts a fair few PS3 titles to shame.

RUNNER UP:

Half Minute Hero

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BEST SPORTS GAME

WINNER: FIFA 11

FIFA 11 is more of a refinement than anything else but it’s amazing the difference the changes make. While FIFA continues to dominate it’s interesting that PES gets a nomination this year – it shows that the series has made great strides this year to try and close the gap.

RUNNERS UP:

Formula 1 2010

Modnation Racers

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011

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BEST GRAPHICS

WINNER: Heavy Rain

No doubt on this one as Quantic Dream’s stunning thriller has some of the best motion capture and facial animation ever seen in a game. Whether it was evading masked men as Madison, talking down a robber in a shop with Shelby or shouting ‘JASON!’ repeatedly in a mall as Ethan, Heavy Rain looked gorgeous. Gran Turismo 5 certainly deserves a heads up in this category as when it all comes together it looks stunning however Heavy Rain was far more consistent.

RUNNERS UP:

God Of War 3

Red Dead Redemption

Gran Turismo 5

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BEST STORYLINE

WINNER: Red Dead Redemption

Unexpected. Not a word you’ll often type when talking about the story of a game but that’s what you get with Red Dead. John Marston’s story of gunslinger gone good who is brought in by the government against his will to track down his old gang trundles along at a pace and has plenty of stand out moments but it’s the final third of the game that stands out as some of the best I’ve played in a game. Not to mention the ending, which is one of the most impressive I’ve ever experienced in a game. Genius. 😎

RUNNERS UP:

God of War III

Mafia II

Heavy Rain

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (SCORE)

WINNER: God Of War III

The final part of Kratos’ epic trilogy hit PS3 owners with everything it had back in March and as usual Gerard K Marino’s score didn’t disappoint. Dipping and soaring in the right places this was the perfect accompaniment to the on screen carnage. The score really does push the story on and is definitely well suited to Kratos’ character.

RUNNERS UP:

Heavy Rain

Red Dead Redemption

Bioshock 2

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (LICENSED)

WINNER: Mafia II

The music in Mafia II is a huge part of what makes you feel like you are actually back in that era. I remember the first car I got into had “At The Hop” by Danny and The Juniors playing. It was one of the coolest things I’d had happen in a game for ages. A wonderful selection of old tracks that are well worth checking out in their own right but that combined with gameplay help make for a memorable experience.

RUNNERS UP:

Bioshock 2

FIFA 11

Call Of Duty: Black Ops

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BEST VOICE ACTING

WINNER: Red Dead Redemption

Rockstar usually deliver on the voice front with the GTA titles and Red Dead Redemption certainly doesn’t disappoint. Every character feels well rounded and has a voice to suit them perfectly. Even the supporting cast: Bonnie McFarland, Seth, Irish and, of course, West Dickens. This was a strong category this year with Mafia II in particular impressing but with such strength in depth it has to be Red Dead Redemption.

RUNNERS UP:

God Of War III

Mafia II

Heavy Rain

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SINGLE PLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption tells a well crafted story in a beautifully rendered environment. There is so much to do and see that I still don’t feel like I have fully explored the world of the wild west. Rockstar have created a varied and expansive playground with enough going on to keep even the most hardcore of gamers entertained for hours and hours.

RUNNERS UP:

Heavy Rain

Mafia II

Alpha Protocol

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MULTIPLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Battlefield: Bad Company 2

It was nice for me personally that my most anticipated game of 2010 lived up to expectations and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 nailed team based multiplayer like no other game I’ve ever played. The sense of satisfaction at winning a tense round of Rush and the feeling of being part of a bigger team is hard to beat. With the upcoming Vietnam expansion pack this game will only get better and better.

RUNNERS UP:

Modnation Racers

Red Dead Redemption

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

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GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Red Dead Redemption

There could really only be one choice this year, with Rockstar’s Western epic taking the title of Game Of The Year. With a brilliant single player campaign and an ever improving multiplayer mode, Red Dead Redemption is a title that will keep you entertained and provide you with plenty of value for money. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 comes a close second as that has been my most played multiplayer title but overall Red Dead pips it.

RUNNERS UP:

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Heavy Rain

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

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So there we go. Another year of gaming done and dusted with Red Dead Redemption taking home an unprecedented FIVE awards!

Some great games didn’t even make the nominations – that’s how tough it’s been to make decisions.

The likes of MAG, Bayonetta, Just Cause 2 and Vanquish unfortunately didn’t make the grade but goes to show how strong the line up of game releases has been in 2010.

So what games would you guys have given awards this year?

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GregHorrorShow TV Awards 2010

I spent months at the back end of last year and early this year moaning that there is nothing good on TV anymore.

Well that changed (thankfully) as 2010 went on and I spent the year with loads of great shows to watch.

There were a few disappointments (Ghost Whisperer didn’t get going until the last two or three episodes) but on the whole it’s been a great year for me on TV stuff.

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BEST NEW SHOW

WINNER: The Walking Dead

There were plenty of contenders for this one but the show that blew me away was The Walking Dead. A zombie show that’s not immediately about finding a cure but about finding your loved ones. Strong acting and a sense of tension throughout make this a must watch. In the wrong hands this could’ve been a flashy ‘McG-style’ affair but it’s under played and subtle – which makes it a lot more powerful.

RUNNERS UP:

Haven

The Middle

Nikita

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BEST COMEDY SHOW

WINNER: The Middle

The Middle came out of nowhere for me as I’d heard nothing about it but it’s become a real favourite over the last few months. The madcap tales of the Heck family are in the same vein as Malcolm In The Middle and the characterisation is superb. Each with their own little traits as a group there is a great chemistry. If it wasn’t for this show I wouldn’t spend so much time whispering Brick-style down to my chest. *whispers* To my chest. 😆

RUNNERS UP:

Miranda

Raising Hope

The Trip

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BEST FACTUAL SHOW

WINNER: An Idiot Abroad

How much of it was staged we’ll never know but regardless Karl Pilkington’s trips to the seven wonders of the World were priceless. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant really did send him to the lesser seen side of the wonders. Apart from the comedy genius that gave us it was really interesting to actually see that type of thing. The stuff they don’t show you usually. Like him being at the Taj Mahal and saying ‘look it’s beautiful but just over there they are burning dead bodies.’ A nice insight into the areas surrounding the seven wonders.

RUNNERS UP:

E Edible Adventure

Hairy Bikers Cook Off

The Football League Show

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BEST SOUNDTRACK

WINNER: Glee

 

Whether you love it or hate it, Glee has brought some innovative music uses onto our screens and has given Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ a new lease of life with a younger generation. Some of the mash ups on the show work really well and obviously the guys & girls are talented singers so Glee gets this years soundtrack award.

RUNNERS UP:

Castle

The Middle

Raising Hope

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Actor Of The Year

WINNER: Philip Glenister – ‘DCI Gene Hunt’ (Ashes To Ashes)

Philip Glenister takes Actor of The Year for a second successive year and if you want to know why watch the finale of the last series of Ashes To Ashes. The moment *that* truth is revealed his acting is second to none. Any of the runners up could’ve won this on a different year but Glenister set the bar very high indeed.

RUNNERS UP:

Andrew Lincoln – ‘Rick Grimes’ (Walking Dead)

Nathan Fillion – ‘Richard Castle’ (Castle)

Stephen Moyer – ‘Bill Compton’ (True Blood)

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Actress Of The Year

WINNER: Jane Lynch – ‘Sue Sylvester’ (Glee)

 

The runners up for this award are all amazing actresses who do a great job week in week out. But Jane Lynch almost single-handedly carries Glee every episode. Her vitriolic outbursts as Sue Sylvester are television gold. Sylvester is a poisonous, horrible character but Lynch gives her the smallest of chinks in her armour and that is enough to give her some likeability.

RUNNERS UP:

Joanna Kelly – ‘Myka Bering’ (Warehouse 13)

Stana Katic – ‘Kate Beckett’ (Castle)

Maggie Q – ‘Nikita’ (Nikita)

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TV SHOW OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Warehouse 13

This was a two way fight between Castle and Warehouse 13, with the latter just about taking it. Warehouse 13’s kooky kind of comedy/drama is a refreshing change to the serious dramas around and the dynamic of the characters relationship took on the look of a family which really helped develop things. A few stand out epsiodes (‘Around The Bend’ and ‘Reset’ in particular) made sure I stayed hooked and by the end of the season I was left wanted more.

RUNNERS UP:

Castle

Walking Dead

Glee

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Hopefully 2011 will be just as good. With a guilty pleasure of mine, Primeval, returning and with new seasons of Warehouse 13, Castle and The Middle guaranteed I’m pretty optimistic.

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GregHorrorShow: The Films of 2010

I was actually quite surprised by the lack of films I’ve seen this year but having a baby (and another small child) means time is limited and a lot of it goes into games and TV.

However I have seen a few great films, some of which were on DVD but obviously didn’t get mentioned last year by me.

So here you go my recommended films from the ones I got to check out:

  • Machete
  • Monsters
  • Kick Ass
  • Toy Story 3
  • West Is West
  • The Hurt Locker (DVD)
  • Inglourious Basterds (DVD)
  • Anvil (DVD)
  • Sherlock Holmes (DVD)
  • Green Zone (DVD)

Plenty of great stuff in there but my film of the year has to be Kick Ass. What a great film featuring some wonderful performances from it’s actors, with Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz impressing.

Of course Machete makes the grade and if you liked the ‘fake’ Grindhouse you’ll love this one – Danny Trejo is at his best as the machete wielding Mexican.

Monsters was a fantastic small budget film. Shot for about ÂŁ250k it’s a love story set against the backdrop of an alien invasion – it’s not as stupid as it sounds.

If you’re into music you should definitely check out Anvil – it’s the touching story of an old metal band still looking for that elusive breakthrough. There were plenty of war films this year with two of the better ones I saw being Green Zone and The Hurt Locker. The Hurt Locker in particular showed a different side to the conflict and the struggles of the soldiers on the ground.

Close runner up for film of the year was Inglourious Basterds, with some brilliant performances and a return to form for Quentin Tarantino.

Sherlock Holmes was throwaway fun and for the kids (and the grown ups) Toy Story 3 rounded out the trilogy superbly.

So there we go – there were lots of films I wanted to see but never got a chance to (Scott Pilgrim, The Expendables and The Town to name but a few) so let me know what you guys would recommend in the comments.

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GregHorrorShow: The Music of 2010

So it’s time for the musical instalment of my look back at the year.

I’ve broken this down into tracks and albums, with recommendations for each – in no particular order:

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ALBUMS

 

  • Ellie Goulding – ‘Lights’
  • Laura Marling – ‘I Speak Because I Can’
  • Kanye West – ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’
  • The Courteeners – ‘Falcon’
  • Johnny Flynn – ‘Been Listening’
  • Red Dead Redemption OST
  • Mumford And Sons – ‘Sigh No More’
  • Detroit Social Club – ‘Existence’

Lots of great albums this year, with Laura Marling and Ellie Goulding being stand outs for me – along of course with the Red Dead Redemption soundtrack. Kanye West makes a late appearance with what could be, in my opinion, his best album yet ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.’ The Courteeners and Detroit Social Club bring a little UK swagger to proceedings, it’s been a great year for UK music overall.

 

TRACKS

 

  • Katy B – ‘Katy On A Mission’
  • Eminem Feat. Pink – ‘Won’t Back Down’
  • Jose Gonzalez – ‘Far Away’
  • B.o.B Feat. Hayley Williams – ‘Airplanes’
  • Blood Red Shoes – ‘Don’t Ask’
  • Ellie Goulding – ‘Starry Eyed’ (Jakwob Remix)
  • Taio Cruz – ‘Dynamite’
  • Jamie Woon – ‘Night Air’
  • Metric – ‘Help, I’m Alive’
  • Mumford And Sons – ‘Little Lion Man’
  • Fan Death – ‘Phantom Sensation’
  • Interpol – ‘Barricade’
  • Crystal Castles Feat. Robert Smith – ‘Not In Love’
  • Johnny Flynn – ‘Barnacled Warship’
  • Chase and Status Feat. Liam Bailey – ‘Blind Faith’
  • Detroit Social Club – ‘Kiss The Sun’ 

Again some great stuff out this year but my track of the year has to be Katy B ‘Katy On A Mission.’ Totally reminds me of my younger days listening to dance music and this track presses all the right buttons for me. I’m a Paramore fan anyway so with Hayley Williams featuring on B.o.B’s ‘Airplanes‘ I was always likely to give that a spin.

Eminem was back on form and his track ‘Won’t Back Down’ with Pink was the highlight of his album for me.

Best remix has to go to Jakwob for his huge mix on Ellie Goulding’s ‘Starry Eyed.’ Incidentally Ellie was the best gig I’ve seen this year – at Shepherd’s Bush Empire she put on a great show.

Taio Cruz wouldn’t normally be my first choice but ‘Dynamite’ is a great tune. I know I’m late on Metric as that was last year but I heard it in 2010 and if you haven’t heard any of their stuff check them out – a vastly underated band.

Fan Death could be one to watch, ‘Phantom Sensation’ is a brilliant little track. A touch of genius from Crystal Cstles to get Robert Smith involved – consequently ‘Not In Love’ comes off as a stunning tune.

‘Blind Faith’ by Chase and Status, with the vocal talents of Liam Bailey, is a haunting track with a great sound and likewise ‘Night Air’ by Jamie Woon delivers something different.

Overall a strong mix of genres and tracks have meant 2010 has been another brilliant year for music.

I’ve put together as many of these tracks as possible on Spotify, so if you have that then head over HERE to have a listen through.

Roll on 2011!

So there we go some tunes for you to check out, as usual throw any recommendations you have my way in the comments.

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GregHorrorShow: The Books Of 2010

I decided to structure things a little differently this year with regards to my end of year round ups.

Games and TV will be getting the full awards treatment but for Books, Films and Music I think an overall list of my favourites would be better suited as, unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to dedicate to them as much as I’d have liked.

So to kick off the awards season here are ten books, in no particular order, I’d recommend that I read this year:

Zombie Survival Guide – Max Brooks

Max Brooks brings us this handbook to help out in the event of a Zombie apocalypse. It’s written as a serious guide, which lends it a surreal but fairly scary feel.

Playing through Dead Nation and watching The Walking Dead have made me glad I own a copy of this… y’know just in case 😉

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Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers is the latest book from New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell here puts forward a compelling argument for children born at the ‘wrong’ time of year being overlooked as less intelligent than their counterparts, when really it’s a lack of maturity that is the problem.

He discusses the knock on effect this can have. Interesting stuff.

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Homicide: A Year On The Streets – David Simon

This is one hell of a book, both in terms of size and tone.

The ficitonalised account of a real life journalist’s year as part of the Baltimore Police Department’s homicide unit. Harrowing and depressing at times – the life of a murder detective has never been so laid bare. One of the best books I’ve ever read. A must read.

FULL REVIEW

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The Strain – Guillermo Del Toro

The book begins with a plane landing at JFK Airport then shutting down completely on the runway and this is a novel that doesn’t let up from the start.

Upon investigation every passenger is dead with no sign of struggle. Creepy much?

The book follows Dr. Eph Goodweather of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) as he tries to work out what the hell is going on.

FULL REVIEW

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Gentlemen Of The Road – Michael Chabon

The story of an African and a German, both Jewish, who are road travelling bandits around the year 950AD stands alone in both tone and good old fashioned story telling.

Gentlemen Of The Road is the kind of book I’d expect my father or grandfather to have read as a child – it’s written in a very traditional style and this certainly lends some character to the proceedings.

FULL REVIEW

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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

Set in Sweden and telling the story of Mikael Blomkvist, a publisher at Millenium magazine, and Lisbeth Salander, a private investigator, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a great piece of storytelling.

The pacing is superb and Stieg Larsson creates some wonderfully believable characters. Not just the main characters either – the entire supporting cast seems to be very well thought out.

There is plenty going on here alongside the good old fashioned murder mystery. Once this book got going I could not put it down.

FULL REVIEW

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Gone Tomorrow – Lee Child

Lee Child’s writing style is wonderfully laid back and easy to read – I always find his books a great experience and ‘Gone Tomorrow’ is no different.

Telling the story of Reacher’s direct involvement in a political/government plot, ‘Gone Tomorrow’ opens in spectacular style and rarely lets up.

FULL REVIEW

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By The Light Of The Moon – Dean Koontz

I’m a big fan of Dean Koontz and for me this supernatural thriller is up there with his best work.

Telling the story of Dylan O’Conner and his brother Shep, Koontz explores an interesting path of deception and intrigue. The characters are thrown in at the deep end along with the reader and it’s great to be along for the ride.

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Dead Space Martyr – B.K Evenson

A prequel to the video game Dead Space was something I was always likely to pick up having loved the game.

This didn’t disappoint as Evenson immersed us in the world of Dead Space and created a great set of characters around an existing universe. In fact some of the characters come direct from the game’s folklore.

If you liked the game you should pick this up, definitely a great read and Evenson does a brilliant job of giving everything that Dead Space ‘feel.’

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The Way Of Shadows – Brent Weeks

I stumbled across this in the bookstore and thought it looked quite cool. I think it helped that I was fresh off the back of playing Assassin’s Creed II so was in the right frame of mind.

I finally got round to reading it earlier in the year and thoroughly enjoyed it. The origin story of a young street rat who is desperate to train as an assassin and the tale of what happens when he gets what he wished for.

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So there you go – a few recommendations for you.

Let me know what you’ve read this year in the comments, I’m always looking for new books to read!

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MOST WANTED 2011

I’d already been planning another Most Wanted article over the last month or so but eventually it became apparent that I might as well hold off until after the VGA’s (Video Game Awards) as a lot of big titles are announced there.

It’s a long list and I’ve provided footage where possible. Grab yourself a tea/coffee/beer (delete as appropriate) and get comfortable. 🙂

To see the videos below in HD just click the little YouTube button on the bottom right of the video.

So here we go, GregHorrorShow’s Most Wanted for 2011 – in no order whatsoever… oh alright! the first two are my *most* most wanted…

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KILLZONE 3

Having been fortunate enough to take part in the multiplayer beta and having had a single player hands on at the Eurogamer Expo, I simply cannot wait for Killzone 3. Continuing the story of the second game you now find yourself on Helghan and wanting to get the hell off the planet. The already great multiplayer has been tweaked superbly and although everything I’ve played has been Alpha Code (i.e unfinished) it looks stunning.

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UNCHARTED 3: DRAKE’S DECEPTION

Wow. It was kind of on the cards as Naughty Dog had already done water and snow but setting the third instalment of Nathan Drake’s treasure hunting adventures in the desert is a great idea. The high production values of the single player in Uncharted 2 will hopefully be met (and exceeded) and with the continued support and investment in the second game’s multiplayer (over a year after the game came out) I expect it to excel there as well. My only concern is will the hype kill it? I hope not.

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HOMEFRONT

One of the more interesting takes on the FPS genre, Homefront takes place in an alternate reality 2024 where North and South Korea have unified to invade first China and then several other countries, including the USA. You play as a resistance member desperately trying to get rid of the opposing forces. The twist with this game is that you will be playing as a prisoner in your own country and the developers have promised some familiar places with some unfamiliar appearances. Very promising.

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RAGE

Rage for me is a bit of a mystery. The game looks gorgeous but the majority of footage I’ve seen hasn’t quite sold me. Taking place in a Borderlands-esque post apocalyptic wasteland the game feature vehicular combat as well as first person action. This just about makes the Most Wanted list as one to watch.

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HITMAN 5

Not a great deal is known about this one, other than it’s been outed several times by people working on it. No release date currently might imply a likely 2012 release but it could squeeze into the end of 2011 so it makes the list. I loved ‘Hitman: Blood Money’ so to see Agent 47 carrying out well planned assassinations in HD would be a pleasure. Hopefully with more powerful hardware behind it we’ll see an improvement in the enemy AI as well as the graphics.

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DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION

I really enjoyed Deus Ex back on the PS2 – it was a brilliantly crafted universe and Square Enix are taking us back to it, albeit to a time before the original game. What isn’t there to like about augmented cyborgs? Seriously though I’m hoping this can be as engrossing and thought provoking as the previous Deus Ex games.

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MASS EFFECT 2 & 3

Well I called it earlier in the year (although I expected the first two games) so it’s no surprise to see Mass Effect 2 on this list now that it’s been officially confirmed as hitting early in 2011. Essentially a space set sci-fi adventure in which your choices shape the story. To this day it remains the only XBox 360 exclusive that I don’t think has a counterpart on the PS3, so it’s a welcome addition to the line up. Bioware have also announced that the third game will also be coming to PS3 so that’s another one to look forward to!

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BRINK

Having actually played this and enjoyed it my concerns about the gameplay have all but disappeared. Now I’m more worried about whether it’s good enough to get more than a few hours of game time in what promises to be a packed year for shooters. Teamwork is the name of the game here as both sides battle to secure various objectives.

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L.A NOIRE

Simply stunning. Now THAT is a trailer! L.A Noire is shaping up to be something special. The facial animation is so good apparently you’ll be looking for facial ‘tells’ to work out if the person you’re interviewing is telling the truth. You play as a 1940’s police detective trying to crack cases. Can’t wait for this 😎

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SOCOM: SPECIAL FORCES

I wasn’t really that fussed about SOCOM after playing the appalling SOCOM Confrontation but getting some hands on time at the Eurogamer Expo with the new game changed my mind completely. Similarly to Zipper’s other game M.A.G, this isn’t the best game graphically but it was definitely a fun experience. There is a rumoured 4 player co-op mode which would be great if true.

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DEAD SPACE 2

Isaac Clarke returns in the sequel to one of my favourite PS3 games ever. Full of atmosphere and with plenty of shocks Dead Space came out of leftfield to surprise everyone. It was often what they didn’t show you in the first game that freaked you out and I’m hoping the story is as strong as the first game, which still sparks animated conversations about what actually went down on the Ishimura.

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MOTORSTORM APOCALYPSE

Another one I was fortunate enough to play at Eurogamer, Motorstorm Apocalypse played really well and seemed to build on what other driving games like Split/Second have done with destructible environments. Tower blocks and huge buildings collapse around you creating different routes around the track. Motorstorm games are always fun and look great, I’m expecting more of the same.

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GHOST RECON: FUTURE SOLDIER

I haven’t really played any of the previous Ghost Recon games as they seemed a little tactics heavy. However having seen the trailer and footage of this game I think it might be the title to turn me onto the series. Set a few years into the future you have a chance to use the latest warfare tech on the planet, hopefully it’ll be as cool as it sounds.

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BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY

Batman: Arkham Asylum was expected to fail by pretty much everyone but turned out to be so good I nominated it for 4 awards in my end of year blog. That it didn’t win one shows you the quality of the products that came to the market last year. Fluid combat and a real sense of power made this a must play and the sequel promises more of the same but with even more classic Batman enemies and the chance to take the fight to the streets of Gotham.

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INFAMOUS 2

Another of my favourite games last year told the story of Cole, a reluctant superhero, that gave you the option of playing as a good guy or a bad guy. Much fun both ways – it’s the only game this generation I’ve finished twice – and the sequel looks like even more of a blast with new power abilities and more insight into the story of the first game. I’ll be looking forward to lightning up some baddies come 2011. 🙂

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RESISTANCE 3

The Resistance series has been a continued improvement from the original PS3 launch title to the bigger and better sequel and now finally what looks to be a triple A title. Taking a much darker tone Resistance 3 sees the Chimera in control and your resistance being just that. Bands of human survivors bunching together to take on enemies as they make their way across the country. Sounds great. Bleak, but great.

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TWISTED METAL

 

The Twisted Metal series has come a long way since the PSOne days. Making its current generation debut next year it’ll see all manner of vehicles and crazy drivers causing chaos on the roads. Sweet Tooth (above) returns as do several other fan favourites. Hopefully this will live up to the legacy of the previous titles, which were great. The original was a top multiplayer title so with the boom in online gaming I think this will be an interesting proposition for gamers when it’s released.

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So there you have it. And that’s not even including other great titles like LittleBigPlanet2, Dirt 3 and the Mortal Kombat reboot.

Quite a list and I’m sure I’ve missed some stuff off – feel free to highlight anything that’s missing that you are looking forward to in the comments below.

Will any of you be picking some of these titles up? Are any of them a must buy for you?

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Call Of Duty: Black Ops – Review (PS3)

Last years Call Of Duty game was a bit of a fun mess with regards to the single player campaign but early reviews of Black Ops seemed to indicate that Treyarch had tightened up the story in the latest instalment. So is Black Ops a better gaming experience?

The answer is undoubtedly yes.

Firstly let’s take a look at the single player portion of the game. You take control of Alex Mason for the majority of the time, with a few cameo levels in which you control other characters. Certainly there felt like a lot less switching of characters than in Modern Warfare 2 and when you started each mission it clearly stated who you were before it began.

Those of you looking for a realistic interpretation of the special forces would probably be better served by Medal Of Honor (or if you fancy something older Rainbow Six Vegas) because this is Hollywood war plain and simple.

The set pieces are great, with lots going on around you but at times there can be too much happening and it’s tough to know what you are supposed to be doing.

Often the game design is flawed with regards to waypoints etc. One example is the infamous Vietnam level – I’ll save you all some time by explaining, as this took me almost an hour to stumble across 😮

Essentially you need to make your way down a hill that has a few barricades for protection on. Your colleagues lead the charge and as you follow them down a waypoint marker appears at the bottom of the hill in the trench. So you would presume you need to get to the marker, like you do in the rest of the game. Your buddies are shouting out about ‘improvising’ and you’re faced with an infinite amount of oncoming enemies.

Hey wait! Didn’t they mention that the barrels have napalm in them? Ok no problem I’ll just shoot the barrels… No? Ah cool, I’ll use one of these grenade launchers to blow the barrels up… No? To trigger the next scene and end this madness you’re expected to run up to the barrels and press square to stick a mine on it, slice it with a knife and roll it down the hill. The effect is very cool but I was past caring.

Why on earth didn’t they put the markers on the barrels rather than the trench? Why not make the dialogue clearer? Have them actually say ‘Mason, we need to roll these barrels down onto them!’ Having them say ‘We need to improvise’ just doesn’t cut it – damn, I did improvise. I tried everything I could think of to get down to that marker in the trench. It’s just shoddy and not expected of such a huge title.

That’s not the only problem but I’m not going to list the issues. Needless to say at times Black Ops was frustrating as hell and it soured the single player experience for me.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it and it is a step up from Modern Warfare 2 but really those are school boy errors, without which this could’ve been an even better game.

Also as a side note I found the shenanigans after the end credits veered too close to bad taste for my liking. Just felt like it didn’t need to be in there with those characters.

On the multiplayer front Treyarch seems to have taken Modern Warfare’s huge offering and trimmed it down. Losing the fat and keeping the best bits while also improving it in their own way.

Sure I’m still getting my ass handed to me but I’m having fun while doing it and I certainly feel more competitive than I ever did in Modern Warfare 2.

Also you earn points per round which can be used to unlock weapons, rather than weapons being tied to your level/rank. This is much better as it lets the more casual gamers pick and choose their weapons more easily.

There is no doubt that the Call Of Duty franchise goes from strength to strength with Black Ops taking $650m in its opening week. More importantly than that though is the improvement in the game itself. While I still prefer both the single and multiplayer of Battlefield and Killzone, Black Ops is edging towards that territory. Treyarch have done a great job despite some fundamental flaws and the ball is now firmly in Infinity Ward’s court to see what they can come up with for Modern Warfare 3.

Black Ops is as close to a 9/10 as you can be without getting one. And the reason it doesn’t get one is solely the bad design in places. Without those frustrations this would’ve easily ranked higher but the breakdown that bad design causes in the campaign mode can’t be overlooked.

Rating: 8/10

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