Brutal Legend – Review (PS3)

After being impressed with the demo I was looking forward to playing Brutal Legend.

I like Jack Black and the music tracklist for the game looked great – Brutal Legend truly is a homage to the Metal genre.

The game tells the story of Eddie Riggs (Black), a roadie who finds himself in a mystical metal filled world and becomes embroiled in a battle to save it’s inhabitants.

I really enjoyed Brutal Legend, it’s mix of hack n slash and RTS (Real Time Strategy) didn’t quite do it for me but the story and voice acting carried me through it.

The main problem seems to be that the game couldn’t decide what it wanted to be – personally I found the driving, exploration and hack n slash sections to suit the music and story better than the RTS bits.

However that also may be because I’m relatively inexperienced with RTS games.

During the big RTS battles I’d often know what I was supposed to be doing but just couldn’t find the right combo of ‘soldiers’ – even then most of the time the battle would just end with a victory without me having any idea what had triggered the win.

I guess this game might be a good way to find out if you might like the genre or not.

The universe created by Tim Schafer is a vivid one that evokes old album covers and even features Lemmy and Ozzy Osbourne as characters.

The world is fun to play around in and the mix of axe and guitar attacks make the game a giggle at times. In particular the ‘facemelter’ solo always brought a smile to my face.

Overall I think Brutal Legend suffers from the indecision of it’s creators, or perhaps the grand ideas they had for the game as a mix of genres that just didn’t come off.

It’s a shame as there is a good story and a great game world there to be explored but it’s hampered by the somewhat clumsy RTS parts.

Rating: 6/10

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GregHorrorShow Game Awards 2009

2009 has, in my opinion, been one of the best years ever to be a gamer.

With so many great games arriving and with plenty of 2008’s hits (Bioshock/Fallout 3/GTA IV/Metal Gear Solid 4 etc) falling in price it’s a great time to own a PS3.

Throw the PSP resurgence into the mix and it adds up to one brilliant era for games.

Anyway, now onto the main event! The awards you’ve been waiting for…

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BEST DLC (Downloadable Content)

WINNER: Fallout 3 – Expansion Packs

 

Offering hours and hours more gameplay and an extended level cap to boot, the various DLC packs for Fallout 3 were well above anything else that arrived this year. Getting back into the Capital Wasteland never felt so good. 🙂

RUNNERS UP:

Killzone 2 – Maps

LittleBigPlanet – Various Costumes

Batman – Play as Joker Challenge Maps

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BEST GAME INNOVATION

WINNER: Killzone 2 (Changing Game Modes Within A Consistent Online Match)

Killzone brought the noise in more ways than one but the changing game types within one online game was pretty sweet. Meaning that just as you’d be capturing the flag (speaker) the game could switch to deathmatch (Body Count) or whatever which in turn means that no two rounds are ever the same – genius.

RUNNERS UP:

InFamous (Karma System Working Within Empire City)

Prototype (Running Up Buildings)

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Deathstreaks)

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BEST TRAILER

WINNER: Assassin’s Creed II

There were lots of amazing trailers in 2009 but for me the most impressive both visually and with respect to what the gameplay promised, was Assassin’s Creed II. A fantastic game that saw you playing through the 1400’s in Italy, the trailer showed off exactly what the game had to offer.

RUNNERS UP:

Uncharted 2

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

God Of War 3

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MOST ANTICIPATED GAME OF 2010:

WINNER: Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Heavy Rain was nailed on for this and while it’s still one of my most anticipated games of next year, playing through the beta of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has swayed me in favour of DICE’s first person shooter. With vehicles as well as guns this one looks set to rock it come March 2010.

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (SCORE)

WINNER: Killzone 2 (Joris De Man)

There have been plenty of great scores in the games of 2009 but Killzone 2’s is awesome. ‘Helgan Forever’, the main theme, will live long in the memory – mainly due to the fact that it is a fantastic, stirring, piece of music. Brilliant throughout the game, Joris De Man’s score is a great companion to a stunning game. 

RUNNERS UP:

Uncharted 2

Infamous

Prototype

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (LICENSED)

WINNER: Dirt 2

With a soundtrack featuring the might of Elbow, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Subways, Black Tide, Ladyhawke and Queens Of The Stone Age, Dirt 2 takes pole position in the soundtrack stakes. With a nice variety of styles it says a lot when you don’t get bored of the tracks after hearing them a few times and the inventive use of music through the menus and loading screens was a great touch.

RUNNERS UP:

Motorstorm: Arctic Edge (PSP)

Wet

Brutal Legend

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BEST VOICE ACTING

WINNER: Uncharted 2

Well, what can you say about the voice acting of Uncharted 2. It has to be one of the very best performances ever given in a game. I listened to an interview in which the cast compared the experience to theatre as they were all in the same room together for all of the voicing/motion capture and boy does it show. The chemistry between all the actors involved is apparent throughout and some of the ad libbed stuff is stunning.

RUNNERS UP:

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Wet

Batman: Arkham Ayslum

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BEST GRAPHICS

WINNER: Uncharted 2

Killzone 2 ran Uncharted 2 very, very close for this award but in the end Naughty Dog takes it on the variety of stunning locations they manage to fit into the game – especially the areas with some of the most realistic snow I’ve ever seen. The character models are superb and the animation is extremely well done. 

RUNNERS UP:

Killzone 2

Dirt 2

Batman: Arkham Asylum

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BEST SPORTS GAME

WINNER: FIFA 10

If you’d told me 18 months ago FIFA would be winning an award on my blog I would’ve thought you were insane. In tandom with the decline of PES, FIFA has risen to former glories and is now the definitive football (soccer) game. This game actually makes you think about the build up play well in advance and, even more importantly, lets you have full control over the action on the pitch.

RUNNERS UP:

Fight Night Round 4

Dirt 2

Madden 10

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BEST PSP GAME

WINNER: GTA Chinatown Wars

There have been some great titles for the PSP this year but GTA Chinatown Wars pips them all at the post for sheer volume. There is so much to do in Liberty City and while the missions are bite sized there are plenty of them to get stuck into. A cast of colourful characters (as usual) helps matters and this is a fitting entry into the GTA universe. 

RUNNERS UP:

Assassin’s Creed Bloodlines

Resistance: Retribution

LittleBigPlanet

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BEST STORYLINE

WINNER: InFamous

 

Infamous was a surprise hit for me as I was looking forward to Prototype a lot more. However Cole McGrath’s story of dealing with superpowers and finding out how the explosion happened was so great I played the game twice. With a few twists I didn’t see coming this game boasts a really great story. Uncharted 2 ran this close as it had a brilliant story but Infamous just pips it at the post.

RUNNERS UP:

Wet

Assassin’s Creed II

Uncharted 2

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SINGLE PLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Uncharted 2

Undoubtedly the best single player game for some time, Uncharted 2 makes you feel like the star of the best action movie ever. This is one of those games where all the pieces come together so well it’s a completely seamless experience. Brilliant.

RUNNERS UP:

Infamous

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Assassin’s Creed II

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MULTIPLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Killzone 2

Is there a more satisfying sound that the ping of a kill on Killzone 2? 🙂 Giving the players more weight made the game feel heavier but seemingly fairer than a ‘twitch’ shooter like Modern Warfare 2. Killzone 2 is certainly the game I spent most time online with this year – clocking up in excess of 100 hours, which is a first for me. Great online fun.

RUNNERS UP:

Dirt 2

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Uncharted 2

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GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Uncharted 2

Naughty Dog’s excellent Uncharted 2 is no surprise as game of the year. Having already seen it take the gong at Spike’s VGA Awards I am following suit and giving Uncharted 2 the Game Of The Year Award for 2009. A fantastic, deep gaming experience with a great multiplayer added to boot. Seriously I’d like to speak to someone who played this and didn’t like it. As a whole Uncharted 2 is the best game in years and a very worthy winner.

RUNNERS UP:

InFamous

Assassin’s Creed II

Killzone 2

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Wow, still struggling to believe we’re nearly done with 2009!

It says a lot about this year that a title as great as Batman: Arkham Asylum can be nominated for 4 awards and not win one. Quality titles abound.

It’s been an amazing year for gaming and the quality looks set to continue into 2010 with a host of great releases.

Let me know what your highlights were for 2009!

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EA – A Serious Return To Form

Electronic Arts was a powerhouse of great gaming during my formative gaming years. Classics such as Road Rash, Desert Strike, FIFA, the Mutant League series, PGA Tour Golf and James Pond to name a few, were always innovative and a delight to play.

But somehow over time EA became the ‘bad guy’ – the heartless corporation who were happy to churn out yearly updates of average games, often with little or no improvement.

Suddenly we had Burnout, Need For Speed, Harry Potter, SSX, the Def Jam fighting games 😡 and a host of annual sports updates. The difference being that these games (possibly excluding a few Burnout titles) were just not that great.

They started buying smaller, rival studios and created big rifts in the industry by often closing the studios down and taking their best talent.

And then all of a sudden things changed a few years ago – as well as the usual updates they announced two games which turned people’s impressions of EA on their head: Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge.

Two games which were highly polished, innovative, produced to an extremely high level… and were original ideas. Not a sequel or prequal – or even a film tie in. Just cleverly made great games.

Now I’m the first to admit that maybe Mirror’s Edge had it’s faults but that isn’t the issue here – what I’m talking about is EA’s willingness to take a shot at launching a new brand, based on something no-one had tried before.

Brutal Legend is another fine example – while the game appears to have tanked at retail, which is a shame, EA backed it all the way with marketing and promo. Not all of their new ideas come off so to speak.

The other shift was that the year updates, sporting especially, got good again. The Fight Night series was a serious return to form, culminating in Round 4’s superb simulation of the sport. Likewise FIFA – which has now overtaken long standing champion PES as the best football game around.

With Rock Band they are looking to take on Activision (the new ‘bad guys’ apparently) and Guitar Hero, a battle which will rage for years to come.

The standard of games forthcoming as well looks really positive with Army Of Two: 40th Day, Dante’s Inferno, Mass Effect 2 (not for us PS3 folks… yet :wink:) and Battlefield Bad Company 2 (the Beta of which is truly stunning) all arriving in the first quarter of 2010!

When I think back to 5 or 6 years ago it seems insane that EA of all people would be pushing the envelope and delivering top quality, fresh and innovative titles – long may it continue!

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Games – Winter 2009 Preview

AssassinsCreedMain

So, following on from the Winter 2009 Film preview last week – here’s the gaming edition of things to look out for…

 

THE SABOTEUR (PS3)

The Saboteur

Release Date: 8th December

Developer: Pandemic Games

Publisher: EA

The more I see of this War era game the more I like the look of it.

You play as one man resistance Sean Devlin as he tries to destroy the Nazis. We’ve been told there is a personal revenge story in there as well.

My favourite thing about this game is the way that the occupied parts of Paris are black & white and the parts you’ve liberated have the colour come back to them. Looks cool.

 

MODERN WARFARE 2 (PS3)

ModernWarfare2

Release Date: 10th November

Developer: Infinity Ward

Publisher: Activision

Don’t really need to say much about this one I suspect. 😆 This has to be one of the most hyped games of recent years.

I’m looking forward to playing this but I’m not as excited about the multiplayer as everyone else seems to be 😕

The clips I’ve seen look good but not amazing – hopefully it will be as great as everyone else thinks!

 

GTA: CHINATOWN WARS (PSP)

GTA Chinatown

Release Date: 23rd October

Developer: Rockstar

Publisher: Rockstar

After success on the Nintendo DS Rockstar is bringing Chinatown Wars to the PSP.

A cell shaded and fairly stylised game with an aerial viewpoint, Chinatown Wars is set in the same Liberty City we know from GTA IV.

As well as performing standard missions you have the chance to boost your income by peddling one of six kinds of drugs. Nice 😮

However I’m reliably informed this isn’t as sinister as it sounds and it is actually a deep and tactical part of the game.

Rockstar always comes up trumps and this scored high ciritically on the DS so there’s no reason to think it won’t be as good on PSP.

 

UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES (PS3)

Uncharted 2

Release Date: TBC October

Developer: Naughty Dog

Publisher: Sony

After the visually stunning and superbly written first game there is no doubt that for me personally, Uncharted 2 is the most anticipated game of 2009.

Continuing Nathan Drake’s story with new allies and enemies, among the old favourites of course, Uncharted 2 will have you travelling all over the world as the story unfolds.

Added to all this is a new multiplayer mode that will take the Uncharted universe online for the first time! 😎 Check out my initial impressions of that here.

Geoff Keighley, the well respected host of GameTrailers.com has recently tweeted that Unchated 2 is ‘one of the best games of this generation.’ I expect nothing less.

 

BRUTAL LEGEND (PS3)

Brutal Legend

Release Date: 15th October

Developer: Double Fine Productions

Publisher: EA

In Brutal Legend you control Eddie Riggs, a roadie who ends up transported to a world inspired by Heavy Metal album covers. Do I need to continue? 🙂

Well if you need more then the idea of the game is to help the people of this world break free of the tyranny of a bunch of supernatural overlords.

Not 100% sold on the multiplayer but this is still a game I’m defintely looking forward to.

The soundtrack looks great with over 100 tracks personally selected by Tim Scafer, the games creator. Jack Black voices Eddie Riggs and there are roles for Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy among others.

Only downer for me on this that they have ditched Dio (& his tracks) and got Tim Curry to voice his character instead. No Dio? 😦

 

BLUR (PS3)

Blur

Release Date: 6th November

Developer: Bizarre Creations

Publisher: Activision

I’ve included Blur in this list as lots of people are hyped about it and the game itself looks, graphically, great.

For me Split/Second, Disney’s racing offering, looks the better option for vehicular combat – however after the whole Prototype/Infamous debacle left me with egg on my face, I’m not ruling Blur out.

Essentially a hybrid of Mario Kart and Twisted Metal, Blur gives you powerful cars with powerful weapons.

You can win races by speed or by taking out the opposition – there is nothing new here but it looks like it could be fun.

 

ASSASSIN’S CREED II (PS3)

Assassins Creed II

Release Date: 20th November

Developer: Ubisoft

Publisher: Ubisoft

The first Assassin’s Creed took me a while to get into but once I did I was immersed fully.

Yes it was limited in places but the engaging storyline, great graphics and cool features were enough for me.

Ubisoft are upping their game for the second installment, this time featuring lots of new gadgets and more ways of getting information on targets (rather than just the three methods of the first game).

We take on the role of role of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, an assassin who is presumably another decendant of Desmond Miles.

Set in Venice in the 15th Century, the game features some beautiful locales for us to cause mischief in.

Can’t wait for this one.

 

DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS (PS3)

Dragon Age Origins

Release Date: 11th November

Developer: Bioware

Publisher: EA

I’ve never been a massive fan of fantasy RPG’s like Baldur’s Gate or Dungeons & Dragons (which is surprising considering my obsession with the Fighting Fantasy series of books and games like Hero Quest when I was a kid).

I have seen my wife play Baldur’s Gate and some of Oblivion: Elder Scrolls so I kind of know the ‘standards’ of these games.

Dragon Age: Origins caught my eye with a few great trailers and having looked at it a bit more I’m quite intrigued.

They have the (almost obligitaory) karma system but I like the idea of the origins part – where you’ll control the character early on in their life and shape their outlook.

Kind of like an extended version of the great Vault sequence in Fallout 3.

Might be worth a try.

 

So there you go. One of the games I was really excited about was the spy based RPG ‘Alpha Protocol’ (Sega) but that has now been pushed back to June 2010 so a longer wait ensues.

However, judging by the games above we haveplenty to get through in the meantime! 😎

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Brutal Legend – Demo Impressions (PS3)

BrutalLegend

Well I finally got my hands on the Brutal Legend demo, a few weeks after the crazy decision to release it only to people who had pre-ordered the game 😕

And I have to say I was most impressed.

The first thing I noticed was how fun the game was – from the opening cut scene right through to the end of the demo.

Sure, if you hate Jack Black you might not enjoy the game so much but Eddie Riggs (his character) comes across as your everyday guy… just trapped within this strange fantastical land. 🙂

It’s a fairly standard hack and slash at heart with X triggering an axe attack but it’s with the guitar that Eddie shines.

BrutalLegend2

Square sees you bust out your guitar and each note makes lighting strike an opponent. There is also the opportunity to unlock relics by playing a guitar solo – essentially a mini version of Guitar Hero but good fun nonetheless.

Occasionally the controls and camera weren’t great, especially when driving the car but everything felt solid enough that I imagine it won’t be a major problem.

Brutal Legend is one of those games I’ve been in two minds about – especially with regard to the multiplayer aspect – but having played the demo I would certainly like to see what other rock mayhem Eddie Riggs’ journey has to offer.

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