Top 100 Single Player PS3 Games: Part 7 (40-31)

Well we’re back and into the Top 40 now!

If you’ve missed the previous installments, catch up here!

Part One (100-91)

Part Two (90-81)

Part Three (80-71)

Part Four (70-61)

Part Five (60-51)

Part Six (50-41)

Please bear in mind this list doesn’t take into account multiplayer aspects of games, it’s based solely on single player experience.

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40. Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 is like the evolution of Mercenaries 2 – it excels in many ways and also has the added bonus of the carnage you can create with Rico’s grappling hook, which can hook enemies as well as grappling to walls etc.

With a story featuring rebels and dictators, Just Cause 2 doesn’t tread any new ground in terms of narrative but you probably won’t care as a mountain of explosions gather behind you. As well as the main story missions you’ll need to complete lots of side missions to create as much Chaos as possible.

As an example of how crazy this game is one of the side missions involved me stealing a fighter jet and then using it to shoot down a recently launched SPACE SHUTTLE!

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39. Mirror’s Edge

Mirror’s Edge wowed everyone with it’s crisp, clean graphics and it’s unique first person perspective. The view takes a while to get used to and it had a few really annoying parts where it was difficult to time jumps etc because of the view.

However, Mirror’s Edge is certainly worth playing through as it offers a style of gameplay that is totally unique in the current games market.

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38. Rainbow Six: Vegas

If you like your first person shooters with a bit of brain behind the brawn then Rainbow Six Vegas may be the game for you.

With a good old fashioned SAS vs Terrorists style plot and lots of fun set pieces Rainbow Six Vegas is definitely worth a shot.

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37. Spec Ops: The Line

Once in a while a game will show up out of the blue and knock your socks off. Spec Ops: The Line is one of those games but maybe not for the reasons you might think.

I won’t spoil the story for you here as it is the best thing about the game – this isn’t a title you’ll come out of brimming with joy and with a smile on your face but it really is one of the best stories I’ve played through in the last few years. And while a couple of the twists were a touch obvious, for the most part I didn’t anticipate many of them.

Spec Ops: The Line might not be for everyone and the gameplay might not be anything special but it has a great, interesting story and makes a decent comment on today’s shooter genre.

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36. Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins sees you create a fantasy character to take on an epic journey – starting with your very own prologue. After playing the backstory your character is enlisted to become a Grey Warden – an elite group of fighters whose main role is to destroy the Darkspawn – evil creatures that have begun to overrun the world.

I really enjoyed the storyline of Dragon Age: Origins and it was nice to see characters develop over such a large amount of time – of course I understand that this may be the norm for you regular RPG players but for me it was a nice change of pace.

This is a mammoth game (over 25 hours) but it is certainly worth your time if you’re willing to lose yourself in it.

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35. Borderlands 2

In Borderlands 2 you have a selection of characters to choose from: Salvador (Gunzerker), Zer0 (Assassin), Maya (Siren) or Axton (Commando). Each of the characters brings something different to the playing field and mixing in the variables for shields/weapons/relics etc means that it’s unlikely two people, even playing the same class, will have similar characters.

The story isn’t the best narrative experience out there but it’s funny, well written and does the job it needs to… giving you a reason to travel to different places, kill stuff and pick up loot.

The reason this isn’t higher on the list is that to enjoy it at it’s best you really need to play it online with friends. It can be played alone, and is still a blast, but co-op is where it’s at. Still even on your own this is better than a lot of games out there!

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34. Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs is hugely fun. It’s been a while since I played an open world game so over the top that I had a grin permanently attached while playing (that honour goes to Just Cause 2). The combat feels good, once you get into the rhythm needed for counters you won’t look back and some of the more brutal moves you can learn will make you wince on behalf on your victim. Then there are the environmental kills – activated by using items around you (an electric fan or the protruding nose of a dead swordfish) to impale, maim or just downright kill enemies.

You play as Wei Shen, an undercover cop in Hong Kong trying to bust the triad gangs. The game floats between Wei taking down bad guys as a cop and dishing out some pretty brutal beatings as a triad.

Sleeping Dogs is a fantastic game. It does lack a little bit of polish – there are some jagged edges here and there – but I found it to be an engaging and hugely fun to play game.

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33. Alpha Protocol

Alpha Protocol is a glitchy mess of a game on the whole – bugs, enemies not loading or getting stuck in walls, it’s all here.

And from reading those initial negative points you may be thinking you’ll give Alpha Protocol a miss, that it may be too annoying to play through? Well in my opinion that would be a mistake. And here’s why.

The game Alpha Protocol reminds me of the most? Heavy Rain.

Unlike a game such as God Of War 3 or Mafia II where your character’s destiny is predetermined and you are playing through *their* story, with Alpha Protocol you are creating your own version of Michael Thornton’s life. And if you stick with it and can see past the glitches you’re in for a treat.

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32. Heavenly Sword

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Another game that didn’t garner the respect it deserves, primarily because it didn’t live up to the pre-release hype.

If you like God Of War you will like this game as it’s similar in style but it looks gorgeous in HD and I believe did a few bits (combos/blocking etc) better than the first two God Of War games.

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31. Ghostbusters

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Ghostbusters: The Video Game’s plot is essentially the third movie – set in 1991 you’re a rookie who’s been drafted in to help with the ever increasing ghost workload. A huge paranormal blast sets off a chain of events that only one group of guys can deal with…

For me Ghostbusters was a short (5 hour) game that had me chuckling and geeking out despite it’s flaws – it won’t be to everyone’s tastes but it has a good single player storyline.

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So there we go, as we glide into the Top 30 we’ve already had some top titles – anything you were surprised to see on the list already?

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The Kids Might Not Be Alright – Will PS4 Improve Parental Restrictions?

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*This piece originally appeared on TheSixthAxis and can be viewed HERE*

Lots of things change when you have children – your sleep patterns, your amount of free time and your stress levels to name but a few. Though gaming is also one of the things that takes a hit when bringing a lovely, small, helpless person into the world.

Now, don’t read me wrong, this isn’t a yet another piece about how to squeeze gaming in as a new parent. Instead, what I wanted to discuss was something that I don’t believe has been mentioned in any of Sony’s pre-release Playstation 4 information so far: what are Sony’s plans for parental control on their new system?

In fact, let me back up a bit there; it’s not so much what are the plans, rather than how will the system be implemented?

Currently, with the PS3, you have a degree of parental control restrictions to make sure your children aren’t viewing inappropriate content. While this should never be a replacement for sitting with your child and monitoring what they are playing, it does mean they are safe from accidentally clicking something they shouldn’t. It’s not just about what they could play though – some splash screens could be considered disturbing for small children (e.g. Dead Nation, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare) so it makes sense to restrict some titles.

Despite the fairly confusing ‘level’ rating system, it does work, requiring the user to input a password to access restricted content. I have no major issue with this part of the system, although it would be nice to know which level equates to which age rating and such, without having to find out on the internet.

My main complaints about the current system are as follows: firstly, these restrictions are system wide, which may be a minor annoyance for me since my children are around the same age, but for those who have children with a bigger age gap it means they are all on the same age gate. Sometimes giving an older sibling a bit more responsibility than the younger one is a good way of showing them you trust them, though I would be unable to do this on the PS3. It’s not a massive complaint but surely one that can be fixed by applying different restrictions to each user rather than across the entire console itself?

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And while there are some provisions in place, in that you can create a sub account for your child, this is more suited to teenagers or older children as you’ll need to provide all their details (date of birth, e-mail address etc.) to get the account set up. Many people don’t want to hand out those details for very young children.

As it stands, with restrictions in place even I would have to put a password in to activate a restricted game. And I wouldn’t have a problem with that if it wasn’t for my second gripe: the awful way the PS3 deals with displaying restricted content. Everything restricted is hidden in a padlock folder with the file name “Parental Control Restricted Content”.

You have no way of knowing what the individual content actually is!

There doesn’t seem to be a way around this, short of creating a folder for every digital game or demo I own. It’s a very ‘all or nothing’ approach that I can’t quite get my head around. Why couldn’t they lock the file and splash screen but leave the name? How did they think people would manage to work out which title was which?

Of course, the PS3 was designed a long time before downloadable games and content were the norm. I expect they didn’t think they’d need too many restrictions beyond the disc-based products we know and love. From what I have seen of the UI on the Playstation 4 so far it looks like they have refined and streamlined a lot of aspects of it; I’m really hoping restrictions are one of them.

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Top 100 Single Player PS3 Games: Part 6 (50-41)

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Wow, I can’t believe we’re already at the Top 50!

If you’ve missed the previous installments, catch up here!

Part One (100-91)

Part Two (90-81)

Part Three (80-71)

Part Four (70-61)

Part Five (60-51)

Please bear in mind this list doesn’t take into account multiplayer aspects of games, it’s based solely on single player experience.

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50. Call Of Duty: Black Ops II

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I’ve really enjoyed the last few campaigns in the Call Of Duty series so when I heard that Black Ops II had the best one yet I was pretty excited to give it a shot. Unfortunately my initial time with the game did not go well. During the opening hour I got trapped in a game breaking glitch and after getting through that my PS3 froze up. I also had some pretty weird instances of character models getting stuck where they shouldn’t be and the game just felt really unpolished.

However beyond those issues, the campaign *is* the best in a Call Of Duty game to date. I know a lot of people just buy the game for the multiplayer but really you should check this story mode out. It flits between the 80’s and 2025 but is far less confusing than previous games. I always had a sense of which character I was controlling, something that hasn’t always been the case in former iterations of the titles.

The story is formed (and endings chosen) as you go through the game and the coolest thing Black Ops II pulls off is that half the time you’re not even aware you’re making a choice or triggering something that will change the story. Very refreshing.

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49. Kane And Lynch

You take control of Adam ‘Kane’ Marcus, a criminal on his way to death row for crimes committed in Venezeula. Kane is busted out of his prison van by a mysterious group called The7 who he worked with previously. They think Kane stole the money from their last job and stashed it somewhere.

If he doesn’t get them the money back in three weeks his wife and daughter will be killed. Kane claims he doesn’t know where it is but he does know who took the cash and will hunt them down. And so begins a thoroughly enjoyable ride into the desperate life of Kane…

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48. Vanquish

From the makers of Bayonetta, Vanquish tells the story of Sam Gideon, a member of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), who is tasked with rescuing a scientist that was working on the O’Neill Cylinder Space Station when it was hijacked by Russia. Russia are holding the USA to ransom, destroying San Francisco and targeting New York next unless the Americans comply with their wishes – total surrender.

Got all that? Right now forget all about it and SHOOT THOSE ROBOTS!

Vanquish is certainly an experience I’d recommend and for a few sessions of a couple of hours each it is a blast to play. It doesn’t quite have the same depth as Bayonetta with regard to the characters but it can hold it’s head high in terms of a single player experience.

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47. Red Faction: Guerrilla

Red Faction: Guerrilla is a bit of an underrated gem. It’s your basic David vs Goliath battle with the Red Faction resistance (you guys) taking on the evil Earth Defence Force who have taken advantage of their position in power on Mars.

But the main part of the game is the destruction. Buildings fall realistically and weakening them structurally can often mean a delayed collapse.

I heartily recommend Red Faction. It’s not massively difficult but it has a good solid story and is insanely fun. You can pick this up for about £15 pre-owned in most places and it will be money well spent.

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46. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

You play as Adam Jensen, who works security at Sarif Industries – a biotechnology firm specialising in human cybernetic enhancement. Adam is severely injured and patched up using new cybernetic augmentations. Adam returns to action 6 months later with Megan and several other colleagues having died in the attack that injured him.

Running and gunning is an option in Deus Ex, it’s just a more risky strategy than taking the non confrontational approach. But that in a nutshell is the beauty of the game. There is almost always a whole host of ways to approach situations – depending on what augmentations you choose.

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45. Mafia II

Mafia II tells the story of Vito Scaletta, a returning war veteran who comes home to find life has changed while he’s been away and soon fins himself mixed up in the world of the Mafia.

This game is an interesting beast, as during a lot of the promo leading up to its release we were led to believe it would be open world (ala GTA) at least in some parts. In reality this is a very linear experience and that has led to some negative feedback.

Personally while that discovery came as a disappointment if you can look beyond it then you will find a strong, solid single player experience with a well crafted and immersive story.

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44. X-COM: Enemy Unknown

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I hadn’t really played many RTS (Real Time Strategy) games before embarking on XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I wasn’t sure if this was one that I would enjoy and really get into – in the end I surprised myself by how involved I got.

You take control of the XCOM Initiative, a coming together of lots of countries to fight together to stop alien invaders. You’ll be destroying enemies, capturing them and using their tech to create fantastical new weapons for your soldiers.

You don’t play this game as you would a third or first person shooter – you only have a set amount of moves per turn and will have to be very careful in planning them. XCOM is a brilliant, and challenging, game.

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43. Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas sees you play as The Courier, a… ahem… courier who has his package stolen, is shot in the head and left for dead in a shallow grave. Saved by a passing robot you end up, not only conscious, but looking for revenge.

In New Vegas there are various groups that you can align with and you can play factions off against each other up to a point but as you get towards the end of the game, you’ll need to decide where your loyalties lie.

Overall Fallout: New Vegas is a very good game. While it doesn’t do a great deal of new stuff it delivers a worthwhile experience that will tide fans of the series over until Fallout 4 arrives.

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42. Resistance 3

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In Resistance 3 you play as Joseph Capelli but a lot has changed since the 2nd game in the series. The humans lost the war. Resistance 3 is about survival. Beaten down and living mainly underground, Capelli and his fellow survivors get on with life as best as possible. These are not just soldiers, there are children and non-fighters as well, just trying to get through each day.

You’re outnumbered and underpowered for the most part but the game’s great controls and wonderful weapon selection make it joy to blast through the levels. There are small victories here and there but as a battle heats up you’ll likely find yourself running away to survive.

Unfortunately the campaign loses it’s way in the last few hours and the final battle/ending was a touch disappointing to me. But make no mistake – despite tailing off towards the end, it had one of the best campaigns I played that year.

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41. Tomb Raider

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Crystal Dynamics delivered on their promise of a reboot for Lara Croft. Gone is the Lara of old with the wonky body shape and in her place is a more realistic Lara, both in terms of appearance and character. As a wannabe archaeologist Lara is not a trained hunter/killer and is still wet behind the ears after coming out of college/university.

The opening few hours are definitely the strongest here – Tomb Raider is at it’s best during tense moments with just one or two enemies. With Lara coming to grips with the fact she’s going to need to do whatever it takes to survive. It’s been talked about a lot but her first kill is handled perfectly.

Tomb Raider is a fantastic game. There are a few annoying difficulty spikes here and there but that’s par for the course in most games. Lots of action packed set pieces and climbing/falling moments raise the bar but it’s the quieter moments in Lara’s journey that really struck a chord with me.

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Another ten games down and more coming soon – stay tuned!

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Hotline Miami – Review (Vita)

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I’d heard only good things about Hotline Miami and was already aware of it’s superb soundtrack before firing the game up. This was a title that had featured heavily on ‘best of 2012’ lists all over the place when it was out on PC last year.

Thankfully the developers also decided to bring the game over to Vita (and PS3 – it’s cross buy so for one price you get both versions) and what a treat for handheld owners this is.

Hotline Miami is a very fast-paced game, where the aim of each chapter is kill everyone in whatever building you are in. Enemies follow patterns but not exclusively so the game isn’t as simple as learning their routes. You’ll need speedy judgement and extremely fast reactions for this game because enemies can take you down in the blink of an eye.

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Let me just stop at this point and say that Hotline Miami is a horrifically violent game. While the art style is very much 8-bit, looking like something I might’ve played on my Megadrive, this is a game in which you inflict brutal violence on people. Inspired by the hyper-violent film Drive, this definitely isn’t one for the easily offended.

The fantastic, bright, vivid colour palette delivers a surreal experience quite unlike anything else I’ve played. Mixed into that is the brilliant music that makes the whole thing feel like a feverish nightmare.

The key to Hotline Miami is accepting death. You will die. Lots. But with each death comes more knowledge of the level layout and the knowledge that ‘yes that guy can shoot me from there.’ Doors will become your friend – open them onto an enemy to knock them out, making them drop their weapon. For a game that looks simplistic Hotline Miami delivers a wonderfully tactical gaming experience.

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The Vita version streamlines a few handy features, allowing you to tap enemies on screen that you want to lock on to and using your finger to look beyond what you can already see on screen.

There were times that I was completely frustrated. Where I could see no way beyond the part I was stuck on. Repeating the same death over and over, or even worse making a sloppy mistake and getting myself killed.

Thankfully the designers eliminated load times within chapters so if (when) you die a quick tap of the X button will immediately restart you. And that is key – especially for a handheld game. This fast restart means you can easily play Hotline Miami for 15 or 20 mins at a time – perfect for bus journeys.

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There is a good story here and some interesting narrative, especially in the back third of the game. With online leaderboards and unlockable weapons and masks (each with different abilities) there is plenty of scope to replay the game. Hotline Miami is a fantastic game, if you’re willing to experience the violence this is a must play.

Rating: 10/10

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Top 100 Single Player PS3 Games: Part 5 (60-51)

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Well we’re fast approaching the Top 50 and there are still plenty of great games to come.

If you’ve missed the previous installments, catch up here!

Part One (100-91)

Part Two (90-81)

Part Three (80-71)

Part Four (70-61)

Please bear in mind this list doesn’t take into account multiplayer aspects of games, it’s based solely on single player experience.

Let’s kick off Part Five!

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60. Dishonored

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Dishonored puts you in the shoes of Corvo – Royal Protector (Bodyguard) of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin. You arrive back from a trip abroad investigating potential cures for the plague that is ravaging your city, only to find yourself framed for the murder of the Empress and thrown in jail. As you escape, try to clear your name and find Emily, the Empress’ daughter, you’ll take on the role of assassin rather than protector.

Dishonored looked like being one of the freshest, inventive games of the year – unfortunately the design choice of not allowing you to unlock more on your first playthrough hinders things somewhat. It’s a good, solid, rewarding experience but I was just left feeling it could’ve been so much more.

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59. SOCOM 4

In SOCOM 4 you take on the role of Cullen Gray, a Spec Ops Commander and leader of a 5-man NATO special forces squad. Your team is dropped into Malaysia to help deal with the rising threat of both local rebels, the Naga, and a mercenary group called Clawhammer.

While the story is standard Spec Ops fare I found most of the characters likable and it was one of the more enjoyable stories I played through in 2011.

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58. Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 takes place after the conclusion of events in the Mass Effect 2 DLC expansion ‘Arrival’ and now that the Reaper threat is real and imminent Shepard finds herself reinstated and back on active duty.

Your decisions from the previous game carry over and any casualties your crew sustained are also mirrored here. So it’s a similar set up to before as you go about the galaxy recruiting your new crew and trying to do your best to prepare for the upcoming fight against the Reapers.

Whilst the ending proved to be controversial for some (me included for some aspects) this game was definitely still worth playing through.

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57. Max Payne 3

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The third instalment of Max Payne sees Max at rock bottom – drunk and addicted to painkillers while working as low rent security for a wealthy Brazilian family down in South America. As you can imagine things go wrong quickly and Max is left trying to pick up the pieces while fighting his own demons.

Graphically the game looks fantastic, taking in various different areas/scenes as Max’s adventure continues. Some wonderful use of bright colours really makes a difference and reminded me at times of the Uncharted series.

When Max Payne 3 flows it is a wonderful, gritty, dark yet vibrant gaming experience. Unfortunately it doesn’t always flow. I was expecting big things from this game and Rockstar have delivered for the most part but some minor niggles along the way mean Max Payne 3 doesn’t quite hit the heights I’d been hoping for.

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56. Battlefield: Bad Company

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

It’s a great, mindless blast of a game. Add some memorable characters into the mix and you’ve got yourself a very enjoyable, and playable, package.

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55. Prototype

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In Prototype you take on the role of Alex Mercer as he awakens during his autopsy, wondering what the hell is going on. He quickly escapes, realising he now has various superpowers.

Mercer needs to find out what the hell has happened to him and why New York is infected with a virus that has turned half the population into zombies.

Prototype is definitely a game worth playing despite it’s various faults – it was a blast to play through if a little frustrating at times.

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54. Bioshock 2

Bioshock 2 brings you back 8 years after the events of the first game (1968) to take control of a Big Daddy who has no memory of the last decade and wants to find the Little Sister he was originally paired with.

A sequel to such a unique title was always going to be tricky to pull off. However 2k Marin have done well to recreate the atmosphere of the original game while keeping it different enough that you can tell time has passed.

At the end of the day this is definitely a title that revels in the world created for it by the previous game. You don’t have to have played the original to enjoy this game but you’ll probably get more of it if you have.

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53. Binary Domain

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Set in Tokyo far into the future (2080), Binary Domain tells the story of Sergeant Dan Marshall and his team. They are a ‘Rust Crew’ sent in to investigate and, if needed, eliminate ‘Hollow Children’ – robots that can pass as humans that have been banned by the New Geneva Convention.

Gameplay-wise the game treads familiar ground – it’s a third person action title but with some nice combat ideas. You can dismember the robots to slow them down or disarm them (literally!) and if you can knock their head off they will just attack whatever is closest to them – very handy when faced with large groups of enemies.

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52. Batman: Arkham City

Taking place in a city environment, as opposed to the enclosed Asylum setting of the first game, Arkham City sees Batman facing off against several well known villians. Of course The Joker is the main antagonist here, along with Hugo Strange, but you won’t be short of cameos from familiar faces.

Graphically the game looks great and the atmosphere is nicely set up with ambient noise coming in the form of rain and the chatter of henchmen, among other things.

Arkham City is a really good game. You can tell the developers have tried to think of everything to improve upon the first game and they have delivered a bigger, more open and content packed title. The question is – after Arkham Asylum, was that what you wanted?

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51. The Darkness II

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Jackie Estacado is once again the main character of the game and following the events of the previous title he now finds himself as ‘Don’ of the Franchetti family. The Darkness II is set two years after the last game and Jackie has been doing a great job of keeping the ‘Darkness’ (a hugely powerful supernatural presence) under wraps.

The Darkness II plays like your average first person shooter… right up until the moment your release the Darkness. The power manifests itself as two demon snake-like tentacles. Controlled with L2 and R2 (L2 to grab an enemy, R2 to swipe an attack at them) this means you have twice as much firepower as usual and can hand out some serious beatings to the onslaught of enemy thugs.

The story is well told and I think one of the more interesting campaigns I played last year. I really liked the characters and for me, The Darkness II was a hidden gem in the game releases of 2012. I’d recommend you unleash your inner darkness and give this one a shot.

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So there we go, another 10 down!

As always let me know if you enjoyed (or didn’t!) any of the games in this batch.

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Top 100 Single Player PS3 Games: Part 4 (70-61)

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Another round of games coming up – at the end of this batch we’ll have already got through 40 games!

If you’ve missed the previous installments, catch up here!

Part One (100-91)

Part Two (90-81)

Part Three (80-71)

Please bear in mind this list doesn’t take into account multiplayer aspects of games, it’s based solely on single player experience.

Let’s go!

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70. Army Of Two

Salem and Rios are guns for hire – private contractors that go in and sort out the crap that the army or whoever can’t deal (or can’t be seen dealing) with.

There is convoluted conspiracy theory plotline but to be perfectly honest the story isn’t really the main attraction here – it’s all about the carnage.

Army of Two is like playing an ultra violent cartoon and overall I would say this game is a fun 5 or 6 hour blast. While it does become repetitive at times it makes no excuses – in fact Army Of Two is likely to hand you a rocket launcher, spawn 20 new enemies and tell you to ‘get the f**k on with it.’

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69. The Saboteur

The game takes place in and around Paris in the 1940′s with the Nazis occupying the majority of the city and it’s surrounding areas. You control Sean Devlin, an Irishman, who gets involved with the French resistance following a traumatic experience at the hands of the Gestapo.

The Saboteur is a game that I feel should be played but if you are looking for a high quality experience, this isn’t it. The odd bug here and there and a general unfinished feeling hamper the gameplay but if you’re willing to give it a shot The Saboteur is worth a playthrough.

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68. Resident Evil 5

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For all it’s faults Resident Evil 5, taken as a whole, is a brilliant game and one that I would recommend. Graphically it’s stunning and while it isn’t a hugely difficult game you’ll enjoy playing through and unravelling the story.

It survives the huge expectation of following Resident Evil 4… just. This is a game that everyone should play as Resi came to the current generation of consoles.

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67. Call Of Duty: Black Ops

With each iteration Call Of Duty has refined and improved upon it’s single player experience. Black Ops sees you taking on the role of Alex Mason in several covert ops set in 1960′s.

Those of you looking for a realistic interpretation of the special forces would probably be better served by Medal Of Honor (see below) or if you fancy something older Rainbow Six Vegas (keep an eye out further down the list) because this is Hollywood war plain and simple. Fun and over the top.

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66. Medal Of Honor

The Medal Of Honor series has been around for decades and had usually focused on conflicts in World War II. However when EA announced it was rebooting the franchise we discovered players were heading to modern day (well, 2002) Afghanistan.

The gameplay itself is generally good and while missions were mainly brief, there were some good set ups and set pieces to get stuck into.

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65. LittleBigPlanet2

LittleBigPlanet 2 is the sequel to the hugely successful user creation based original. There has been a fairly big improvement graphically and several new materials have been added into the mix, all of which look great.

The single player experience is decent enough and while some of the new puzzle ideas are clever there wasn’t much that really taxed me. Definitely worth checking out as this is one of the most charming games I’ve played.

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64. Stacking

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Stacking is the story of Charlie Blackmore – the smallest in a set of matryoshka dolls (Russian dolls that fit one inside the other). Each member of his family is kidnapped as slaves by the evil Baron and it is up to Charlie to get them back.

The genius of the game is that you can jump into various other matryoshka dolls (as long as they are the next size up to your current doll) and use their unique skills, such as belching, screaming and even breakdancing, to solve puzzles and free your family.

Double Fine have crafted a charming game here and while I am not a fan of puzzle based games usually, Stacking is a title that deserves to be played by as big an audience as possible.

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63. Crysis 2

Crysis 2 takes place in New York in 2023. The city has been overrun by aliens and a military group ‘CELL’ has been drafted in to try and police the anarchy that has erupted.

You end up wearing a Nanosuit, which allows you to use abilities – such as stealth or armour for a short period of time. As the game goes on you’ll be fighting both CELL and the aliens that have landed.

You have a lot of choice with regards to how you approach the game in Crysis 2, if it had been reigned in a little bit this could have been a classic – as it is it’s an enjoyable and solid shooter campaign.

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62. Singularity

Singularity tells the story of Captain Nathaniel Renko, a military investigator sent as part of a squad to check out a weird electromagnetic surge originating in Russia.

Singularity is similar to Bioshock in that you have one hand wielding a weapon and the other using a power. Rather than plasmids, in this case it’s the TMD (Time Manipulation Device) which allows you to age or revitalise items (such as broken staircases/bridges etc) or even people if you wish.

Overall, Singularity is a good game. I hit some serious bugs during my first attempt at playing it but that didn’t discourage me enough to put me off the game and I’m glad of that. This is a competent shooter with a decent story and some really nice plot moments.

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61. Assassin’s Creed III

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I felt the opening few hours of Assassin’s Creed III were great. Unfortunately once you get to the main crux of it, the game struggles under the weight of being a fully fledged ‘numbered’ Creed title.

However character movement looks fluid and believable for the most part and the naval combat, while fairly limited, was also fantastic and great fun. I also enjoyed the hunting missions and some of the Homestead/side missions.

Sadly the story stuff is the weak link here, a lot of the missions felt like too much of a slog and some of them just weren’t very interesting. Assassin’s Creed III is a mixed bag really – while the game makes some good forward steps it is let down by a plodding story that has one of the most disappointing characters in the series. Assassin’s Creed III is a good game, it just doesn’t compare to the adventures of Ezio Auditore.

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Well, another set of games comes to a close – have you played any of the games we’ve featured so far? Anything that you were surprised wasn’t higher?.

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Killzone: Mercenary – Review (Vita)

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What is it about Killzone games and showcasing a system’s graphical power? Killzone 2 and 3 showed how good the PS3 could look and Killzone Shadowfall seems to be making a case for the PS4. In amongst all this comes Killzone Mercenary for the PS Vita, Sony’s handheld machine.

Not only are Vita owners crying out for a big budget game (I love the indie stuff but we do need a batch of bigger budget titles as well) but the history of the FPS genre on Vita is chequered, to say the least. I ploughed quite a bit of time into Resistance: Burning Skies and Call Of Duty: Black Ops Declassified’s online offerings but they weren’t fantastic.

So have Guerrilla Cambridge managed to deliver on the promise of a big budget, graphical powerhouse that plays like its big brothers?

A definitive ‘yes’ is the answer.

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Killzone Mercenary gives you a big, set piece filled campaign mode, broken up into individual missions with handheld gaming in mind. The missions themselves vary in length – some were 20/25 minutes, whereas some edged towards the hour mark. I was playing on the hardest setting though, so your mileage may vary if you’re playing on lower settings.

One thing a lot of people noted in their previews was that you have a lot of choice in how to approach missions – quite often there may be two or three different ways through an area. For the main game you can play however you like and attempt to rescue a situation that has spun out of control.

However there are also three other versions of each mission: Precision (Quick), Covert (Sneaky) and Demolition (Loud!). While these add specific fail states (i.e Stealth through the lab etc.), it’s not just as simple as replaying every level the same way with a couple of different conditions – some of these objectives will take you to totally different areas of the level that you might have missed on your first playthrough.

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The game controls like the PS3 versions of Killzone, which is a good thing in my book. The weapons have a nice heft to them and they feel different enough to warrant switching them out if you need a change. To do that you’ll have to visit Blackjack. He’s the in-game black market dealer for weapons and the like. You’ll need to use in-game cash to purchase a weapon or van-guard ability before being able to use it. You can then chop and change (for a price) during missions at arms dealer crates scattered across the level.

The campaign itself was thoroughly enjoyable, this time positioning you as a merc rather than ISA grunt. So while you will still be fighting the Helghast you’ll also have missions where you’re facing off against the ISA. It certainly felt strange killing the ISA in a story driven context but it did give the game a fresh direction, which was good.

I played through the entire campaign, then went through again doing each mission on the covert settings and am now on my third playthrough as demolition. I don’t remember the last time I played a campaign more than twice? In fact, I’m not sure if I ever have since the Mega Drive days? Which tells you a lot about Mercenary but also about how much I love the Killzone universe 🙂

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Multiplayer will be the big draw for most people though and I’m pleased to say Guerrilla Cambridge have managed to squeeze an impressive online offering into the package. The action here is 4v4, with 6 maps of differing size and there is a fair bit of variety within the levels. Each of them have their own nooks and crannies, as well as lots of verticality.

This means you can get the drop on your enemies if you know the maps well enough and gives the game a lot of replayability. You level up across single and multiplayer so if you’re not within reach of a wi-fi signal playing the single player stuff offline will net you in-game cash to spend and anything unlocked via Blackjack is available both off and online.

Some people have reported trouble connecting to games in the online beta but I haven’t had any problems so far and I expect the final game to be more refined so hopefully that won’t be an issue.

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Overall, Killzone Mercenary is a fantastic offering for long suffering Vita FPS fans. There is a substantial campaign here with lots of replayability but, crucially, broken up into manageable level sizes. Online the game holds up – of course it’s not quite as big as the PS3 offerings – but there is a lot of fun to be had here. I am a huge Killzone fan but I believe even with no knowledge of the other games Mercenary is a top quality title that everyone can (and should) enjoy.

Rating: 10/10

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