Infamous 2 – Review (PS3)

The original Infamous wasn’t without it’s problems but ended up being one of my favourite single player games on the PS3.

Having only heard good things about the follow up I was excited to step back into the shoes of Cole McGrath.

Cole was just your everyday, run of the mill, package courier at the start of the first game before a series of events saw him take on electrical superpowers.

So at the start of this game Cole is fully powered up and preparing to take on The Beast, a huge multi-storey enemy who is wreaking havoc on the east coast of the USA.

The first thing I noticed about the game was how fluid Cole’s movement is. Dodging feels a lot more natural and taking cover is quick and efficient (for the most part).

The game itself is a more polished version of the original – if you’re looking for a vastly different game then this isn’t it. But with the first game being so enjoyable why change the formula?

My one gripe with Infamous 2 is, at times, the positioning of enemies all around you. While no doubt more realistic than other games it can be tough when surrounded to survive, even with the powers Cole has.

The Karma system returns and for the big choices is as obvious as before but it’s a nice touch to have the choice of approaching a handful of missions as either good or evil, regardless of your current karma level. I must say the final choice of the game had me sitting there for about 5 minutes fighting with myself over what to do.

I thought the story was excellent and the characters feel a lot stronger than the original. As before you can upgrade your powers depending on various factors and there are certainly some fun ones in there.

There is also the ability to create your own missions, using the assets from the game, that you can upload and let others play. These appear as green missions icons on your map and while some are fun, a lot of them are fairly poor. Thankfully you can switch them to ‘recommended by the game developer’ or even turn them off completely.

If you liked the first game you will love this. If you haven’t, you don’t need to have played the original (though I’d recommend it) to get the sequel. One of the stronger single player games I’ve blasted through this year.

Rating: 9/10

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‘The Fall’ by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro – Review (Book)

The Fall is the second part of the Strain trilogy and picks up almost immediately where The Strain left off.

Eph Goodweather, the former head of the Centre for Disease Control, now heads up a small band of survivors that made it through the initial virus. They face an even tougher battle as the vampiric attackers have taken over, causing panic and killing thousands along the way.

Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro do a great job of showing the struggle that the survivors face and the fact that the majority of people don’t believe the problem is anything worse than youths rioting (which is the government line).

The Fall continues the strong writing of the first book and in many ways surpasses it. Whilst it is gruesome in places, the story it tells is most definitely one worth checking out.

Now I’m left hanging on for the final part of the trilogy, which is expected next year.

Rating: 9/10

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Back To The Future (Episode 1) – Review (PS3)

When I first heard a new Back To The Future game was on the way I was overjoyed as I love the film series. That joy was tempered when I discovered it was to be a ‘point and click’ adventure game.

I’m just not a fan of the genre. It has pretty much passed me by for the most part and what I did play wasn’t great.

However I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Firstly I think a big part of my enjoyment was tied directly to the films so if you don’t have that frame of reference I’m not sure I’d recommend this game to you,

Taking place in an alternate timeline to the first film, we find the test run of the DeLorean doesn’t go as expected. Six months later it’s 1986 and we take control of Marty, who is trying to come to terms with the fact that Doc is still lost in time somewhere.

This is a traditional point and click adventure in which you interact with your environment to solve puzzles and uncover the story by talking to other characters.

Telltale Games are well known for the quality of their titles in this genre and the production values here are pretty high. Christopher Lloyd is on board to voice Doc Brown and A.J Loscasio does a great job as Marty McFly in the absence of Michael J. Fox.

While I haven’t gotten much enjoyment out of these types of games in the past, I thoroughly enjoyed Back To The Future. This is part 1 of 5 and clocks in at around the 2 hour mark.

If you like point and click games or Back To The Future then I’d strongly recommend picking this up – if you’re unsure I believe there is a demo up on the PSN, give it a try.

Rating: 7/10

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Most Wanted 2011/12

While we currently sit in the traditional summer games void, it won’t be long until things start ramping up.

So I thought it was time to take a look at what titles are coming along in the near future and what games have caught my eye.

Kicking things off in just over 3 weeks (August 26th) is Deus Ex: Human Revolution…

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DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION

The original Deus Ex was a great game and while I missed the other titles in the series it finally arrives on next gen consoles in the form of Human Revolution – a prequel to the first game. You take on the role of Adam Jensen and will be using a mix of stealth and more direct measures to take the fight to Sarif Industries… your former employers. With augmentation upgrades aplenty and lots of scope for choosing how to approach situations this is definitely one to watch.

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UNCHARTED 3: DRAKE’S DECEPTION

While we had a (most enjoyable) bit of time with the multiplayer beta, the single player of Uncharted has always been it’s selling point. This entry in the series is no different. If you haven’t already, check out the trailer above for an idea of what Drake will be facing this time around as he sets off on another adventure with Sully in tow. With a hugely improved multiplayer and proven track record of single player excellence, Uncharted 3 is a must buy for every PS3 owner this November.

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RAGE

Rage has been on the radar for a while now and this post apocalyptic slice of fiction is shaping up quite nicely. It’s a first person shooter with some third person driving thrown in for good measure. It’s running a new game engine called id Tech 5 which allows it to shine graphically. It’ll be interesting to see if this one can live up to the hype – at the moment the gaming community seems to be evenly split between optimism and pessimism.

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HITMAN ABSOLUTION

It seems like an age ago that we last stepped into the shoes of Agent 47 and carried out some well prepared sneaky assassinations/got caught and shot the place up ( delete as appropriate 😆 ). Last time out was on the PS2 and so the balding hitman is preparing to make his PS3 bow. From the trailer above it seems Agent 47 is more deadly than ever.

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GHOST RECON: FUTURE SOLDIER

Future Soldier caught a lot of flak at E3 after what was deemed a lacklustre demo and the game has been pushed back once again. For me personally I liked the look of it. It didn’t blow me away but it reminded me of SOCOM, a solid game I thoroughly enjoyed – so this is one I’ll be keeping an eye on.

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BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY

Arkham Asylum was such a great game that any follow up would have to bear close scrutiny but it appears, based on the opinions of people that have seen it in action, that Arkham City has pulled it off. Moving the action to a bigger, city setting and giving the player a lot more freedom means that this could be a massive step forward for the series. Rocksteady have also added a cast of villains this time, as well as Catwoman and the rumoured Robin as allies to Batman.

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TWISTED METAL

NB. This footage is filmed off of a TV so obviously the game itself will look a lot cleaner in reality.

Twisted Metal is one of those franchises that people either love or hate. I’m in the love camp, having spent hours playing the original on PSOne back in the day. This game looks pretty dark and the sinister vibe gives it a nice edge but this is all about the driving. Some of the arenas look huge and if the online take up is decent Twisted Metal could be absolutely awesome.

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RESISTANCE 3

Another of Sony’s flagship brands, Resistance 3 may not have the graphical prowess of a Killzone or Uncharted but it makes up for it where it counts… gameplay. The insane but well designed weaponry lends itself perfectly to an alternative time line, in which an alien invasion has seen Earth overrun by a species called the Chimera. If you haven’t played the first two games they are currently available as a double pack – well worth investing in to catch up on the story.

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MASS EFFECT 3

Mass Effect 2 was a stellar title and has to be among the front runners for Game Of The Year. Telling the story of Commander Shepard, the game had an overall story arc but you were in control of the character’s main actions and decisions. Decisions which could skew the game in a number of ways. Mass Effect 3 looks to continue this space set drama and with the invasion of Earth as the back drop, it looks like it could be one not to miss.

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BIOSHOCK INFINITE

After creating the original Bioshock, Ken Levine and his team set to work on the prequel – handing duties on Bioshock 2 to a group of the 2k studios (who did a decent job in my opinion). Bioshock Infinite is that game. With the other Bioshock games set underwater in the city of Rapture, Infinite takes to the skies and the flying city of Columbia. You play as Booker DeWitt, an agent sent to rescue Elizabeth – a mysterious girl with special powers who is being held against her will. This won so many awards at E3 I suspect Irrational Games may need a new office building just to house them all.

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BATTLEFIELD 3

Not sure what more needs to said about Battlefield 3. It looks stunning on PS3, it has a single player campaign and the multiplayer boasts a heap of improvements over Bad Company 2. Widely regarded as the game that could break Call Of Duty’s annual dominance (it won’t – but I suspect it’ll put a healthy dent into it), Battlefield 3 is shaping up to be the best first person shooter on the market.

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OVERSTRIKE

Overstrike comes from the makers of the Resistance series (see above) and looks like a whole heap of fun. Hopefully they can transfer the fun weapons from Resistance into this world and it seems co-op will play a big part as well. Overstrike looks to have a good sense of humour and it’ll be nice to have a game lighter in tone to get stuck into.

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PAYDAY: THE HEIST

This is a PSN download title that has really impressed me. Sure it looks a little rough around the edges in places but a co-op game where you have the opportunity to do a bit of planning for the heist beforehand? Hell yeah! Little touches like being able to tell hostages to get down or tying them up to restrain them seems cool so hopefully Payday: The Heist won’t disappoint.

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UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS (PS VITA)

I can’t wait for the Vita to arrive (although it seems I’ll have to, as the confirmation arrived today that 2012 will be the release date for Europe) and I think the above video speaks for itself. Check out those graphics! Thankfully the touch based stuff can be avoided by just using the control stick and X so we aren’t being railroaded into all that. The game is a prequel to the original Uncharted game and I am very interested to fill in some back story on all the characters and universe.

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ASSASSIN’S CREED: REVELATIONS

A lot of people are beginning to suffer Assassin’s Creed burnout, what with Revelations being the third game in three years. I’m looking forward to seeing Ezio’s trilogy come to a close and finding out how that leaves the franchise. It’s certainly time for a different assassin but one last swan song is the least Ezio deserves. It looks like Ubisoft are tightening up the multiplayer as well, so Revelations could end up being a very attractive package indeed.

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ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM

I’m not big into my fantasy games, although I enjoyed Dragon Age: Origins, but Skyrim is a game that makes you sit up and take notice. A vast world to explore and rumours of hundreds of hours of gameplay have many RPG fans drooling already. It’s not a day one purchase for me but it’s definitely a game I’m looking forward to trying out.

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DUST 514

I haven’t heard of EVE Online – the PC game that this title ties into – but the trailer above caught my eye and I think this could be a decent little shooter. Early days as the above is all we have to go on but this is one I’ll be watching keenly. Hopefully we’ll have some more info soon.

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STARHAWK

Unfortunately Warhawk completely passed me by as I wasn’t online when it came out and none of my friends owned it, so it sank into the abyss. Which is a shame as by all accounts it’s a great game. Starhawk is the follow up and promises more multiplayer mayhem (as well as a single player campaign, which is a first for the series). They have added in some elements of tower defense. I’m intrigued to see how this ends up playing.

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ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES

Ah Colonial Marines. Promised so many times and *finally* it appears you may be on the horizon. Gearbox is a great games studio with a good rep, which means this could be the stand out Aliens title we have all been waiting for. As you’d expect you’re a bunch of marines investigating a potential problem which turns out to be alien based. The pressure is on and I’m hopeful Gearbox can deliver.

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So there we go – have I missed anything else that you guys are looking forward to?

Let me know!

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