GregHorrorShow’s Top 20 Multiplayer Maps

Maps Main

I was looking back through some old blogs a couple of weeks ago and stumbled across my Top 10 Multiplayer Maps feature – I could not believe that was published way back in 2010!

Since then we’ve had lots of great online games featuring some superb level design – so here’s an update, with the 10 now 20:

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20. SAO PAULO BUS DEPOT (Max Payne 3)


Max Payne 3’s gritty, dark universe comes through in the multiplayer as well as the single player and Sao Paulo’s Bus Depot is a prime example. Run down and seemingly abandoned, the design of the map is fantastic. There are so many different ways in (and out) of the depot itself, as well as vertical levels, that you’re never far from trouble. Perfect for settling those Vendetta’s 🙂

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19. SYR DARYA UPLINK (MAG)

I haven’t played MAG for far too long but this was always my favourite of the huge maps on offer in the game. The initial capture points are perfectly placed and having them upstairs means it’s difficult to take but equally as difficult for the enemy if you do manage to secure it. The final point in the warehouse has so many twists and turns that it housed some epic battles for me.

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18. COURTYARD (Resistance Burning Skies)

BurningSkies Maps

Sadly because of the lack of video for Vita games I don’t have footage for this one – but it’s probably the map I enjoyed most throughout my time with the Burning Skies multiplayer. Set in and around a two storey building, including the street it’s on, Courtyard is a mixture of up-close indoor gunfights and some longer range firefights on the street and surrounding areas. Perfectly designed for smaller 4v4 online battles.

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17. OPERATION 925 (Battlefield 3)

The Close Quarters DLC for Battlefield 3 is among the best DLC I’ve ever played. And the map design of the levels is the main reason for this. Operation 925 contains a host of destroyable walls/glass which means no-where is safe to hide! The video above is an excellent look around the level. As well as the two levels of the building you also have the underground car park to contend with, which opens out nicely after the tight corridors leading to it.

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16. VALPARAISO (Battlefield: Bad Company 2)

With plenty of hills to fight up/down on, this is a wonderfully varied map boasting four differently styled bases that will keep you entertained for ages. The mixture of jungle environments just within this map is a testament to how well made it is – you’ll start in dense jungle before breaking into the open for a while until eventually you’ll find yourself in another dense jungle setting for an enclosed final base.

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15. SEASIDE – GLAMORGAN, WALES (Resistance 3)

I still maintain that Resistance 3 was a hugely underrated game and that extends to the online. Glamorgan’s mix of small one floor barns/buildings makes for a strong map and while the bridge in the centre can be a choke point, the fact that you can also go around the sides means it never becomes too much of an issue. Raised platforms at each end also offer the opportunity for sniper fire but it’s when up-close and personal that the map thrives.

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14. HIGHRISE (Call Of Duty:Modern Warfare2)

I’m not a massive fan of Call Of Duty but the multiplayer is pretty fun in short bursts and the Highrise map is one of the highlights of the series. Set, essentially, in the upper floor of two buildings and on another building’s rooftop inbetween – this is a close quarters map with plenty of scope for sneaking into the enemies’ tower. One of my favourite tactics was using the lower walkways to get into the opposite tower and launch an attack behind the enemy – that is of course if I could get in without being spotted… easier said than done.

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13. LONDON UNDERGROUND (Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception)

Like almost all Uncharted online maps London Underground is based upon a single player campaign level. And this one runs the full gambit. Three vertical levels of fun and a speeding train that passes through the level, killing anyone in it’s path. Fortunately Naughty Dog also put some of the objectives on the tracks or near where the train passes, just to add to the chaos! This is a really well designed map with lots of entrances/exits to all rooms, meaning you’ll need to stay focussed to keep hold of objectives.

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12. FIREBASE GODDESS (Mass Effect 3)

Another multiplayer that I really need to spend some more time with is Mass Effect 3. Firebase Goddess is a great map with lots of ins-and-outs and a cool exterior section showing the destruction that has occurred at the base. With the play in Mass Effect 3 being horde-based the numerous entrances make for some tense moments and you’ll need a good squad of players to hold down locations and complete objectives on this one!

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11. DRONE (Call Of Duty: Black Ops II)

I’ve found that my taste in Call Of Duty games tend to favour the Black Ops side of things rather than the Modern Warfare series. In terms of multiplayer I’d say Drone is my favourite of any Call Of Duty map. Tightly designed with plenty of ways in (and out) of buildings, you’ll need to keep a constant eye in all directions to avoid enemies flanking you. The main room with the slide doors will have you second guessing yourself – everytime you hear the ‘swoosh’ of the door opening you have milliseconds to decide… friend or foe?

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10. MAWLR GRAVEYARD (Killzone 3)

Killzone 3 has a lot of maps that revolve around a specific feature and MAWLR Graveyard is no different. The central route through the map means going through the path of a metal crusher – activated by a button on a raised platform. It’s very satisfying to spot a group of enemy soldiers making a run for it, hit the button and watch the kills stack up. But you also have other ways around, with two rooms on each side for close quarters action – which are linked by an underground tunnel. Fantastic stuff.

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9. CASTEL GANDOLFO (Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood)

The majority of levels in the Assassin’s Creed series have been effective but nothing special in my opinion. However Castel Gandolfo (a real province in Italy) is a fantastically made map that generates an amazing amount of tension during games. Set across two floors of the building, including some of the exterior as well, it’s crowded enough to lose your pursuers but not so busy that you can’t get a good chase on. Great placement of Trap Doors’ adds a further edge to proceedings.

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8. GRAND BAZAAR (Battlefield 3)

Battlefield 3 has given us some of the biggest maps ever seen on a console shooter and Grand Bazaar is a stunning example of how good design can enhance the player’s experience. Basically an alleyway with lots of entrances/exits and the ability to flank around both sides, this is a map that makes it easy to get caught up in the choke-point of the alley but gives you the option of stepping back from the carnage and making a dash via a different route to try and claim a flag. It’s this freedom of choice that makes Grand Bazaar such a strong map.

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7. THARSIS DEPOT (Killzone 2)

Set on the same refinery as the single player mission, Tharsis Depot is full of steel and has an elogated bottleneck between the bases down one side of the map. Co-incidentally that is also where one team has to defend in search and destroy – which usually leads to all kinds of chaos. With two floors to choose from there are plenty of ways to surprise your enemies and I am a HUGE fan of holding down the corridor just off the main room in the middle to shotgun any enemies that come my way.

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6. THE SANCTUARY (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

This map is my personal favourite from Uncharted 2. Whether it’s plunder, elimination, deathmatch or whatever – The Sanctuary almost always throws up a great match. The underground tunnels are a fantastic addition in that they effectively add a third layer to proceedings and the risk/reward of positioning the Hammer on the exposed ledge is a stroke of genius. In fact you can also climb to the top of the tower in each base, above the main rooftops so technically The Sanctuary has FOUR levels to play with. A monster of a multiplayer map considering how compact it is.

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5. PORT VALDEZ (Battlefield: Bad Company 2)

This was one of the maps from the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 beta and it is still one of my favourite maps on the game. The balance between defence and attack (in Rush mode) in terms of positioning of buildings etc is truly superb. The last few bases of this massive map are fantastic and you really do have to consider your tactics. Making a run for it is all well good but you can almost guarantee a host of snipers will have their sights trained on the entrance of whichever base you’re at. A really well designed map, especially considering the size and amount of bases in it.

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4. CHATEAU (Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception)

Chateau is one of those maps that creates it’s own centrepiece as the game progresses. At the start of the round the roof is set on fire and soon enough the rooms in the upstairs of the building catch alight, the floor crumbles as it burns and flames lick the walls. It is some truly stunning stuff. And that’s to say nothing of the zipline from a hole in the top floor down to the adjacent garden or the downstairs room with overturned furniture that can be used as makeshift cover. A well designed map full of character.

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3. CASPIAN BORDER (Battlefield 3)

There are so many great maps in Battlefield 3 that I could probably do a Top 10 list just based on that title alone but the one that stands out above the rest for me is Caspian Border. Finely placed objectives and a wonderful mix of high and low positions mean sheer fun. The four main areas are far enough apart that it makes sense to grab a vehicle but if you find yourself stranded it isn’t too far to run. Add jets and helicopters into the mix and you have a recipe for some seriously amazing mutilplayer action. Outstanding.

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2. LENTE MISSILE BASE (Killzone 3)

This is a map that I simply love playing on. The way Lente Missile Base spans so many levels is brilliant and, of course, the fact that missiles actually take off from the basement (and you can get killed if you’re foolish enough to be down there) make this one of Killzone 3’s best experiences. Like some of the other centre-pieces in the game’s online offering there is a switch you can push to cancel the missile launch. It’s the little touches like that which really give the level a touch of character. From tense fights in the main tower through to open battles in the courtyard and below to tight skirmishes in the tunnels under the base, there is always something going on in this map.

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1 RADEC ACADEMY (Killzone 2)

Yep *still* the daddy of all multiplayer maps, Radec Academy is a superbly designed map with both open areas and some really tight corridors/stairways which leads to some intense firefights. The positioning of the search and destroy targets (for both teams) is inspired – essentially requiring you to hold a room that has three or four different entrances. Meanwhile there is the opportunity to snipe from the balcony overlooking the square – but you’ll have be quick to take those chances as people don’t hang around… unless you’re lucky enough to find an unsuspecting soul taking stock in one of the doorways opposite. Then of course you have the tunnels that run between each base and the building at the back of the map which can get quite crowded if a speaker spawns down there. Overall for me personally, it’s tough to think of what more they could’ve done to improve Radec Academy…

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And there you have it – an updated list featuring the latest and greatest multiplayer maps… well certainly the ones I enjoy playing the most.

Because it’s such a divisive subject and because of the sheer number of maps out there across a huge amount of games, I fully expect you guys to have lots of maps that you love and feel should’ve been on the list.

So light up the comments and let me know which of the above are your favourites and which maps you’d add to the list!

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GregHorrorShow’s Top 10 Multiplayer Maps

 

With the increase of online gaming, and the fact that almost everything released now comes with an online component, the design of multiplayer maps has never been more important.

So I’ve got together a list of the best 10 multiplayer maps out there – the fact that 8 of the 10 maps come from just 4 titles goes to show the excellent work that those designers are doing.

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10. VISTA (Red Faction: Guerrilla)

(Apologies for the poor quality of the video this is literally the ONLY video anywhere I could find)

We start our round up, funnily enough, with a map that is actually played offline in local multiplayer.

‘Wrecking Crew’ mode in Red Faction: Guerrilla tasks each player with causing the most damage to the buildings in the area within 1 minute.

The mode is as fun as its sounds and all the maps are pretty well designed but Vista’s mix of the namesake tower and large scale buildings mean this is the most requested map whenever we play.

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9. HIGHRISE (Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2)

I’m not a massive fan of MW2 but the multiplayer is pretty fun in short bursts and the Highrise map is one of the highlights.

Set, essentially, in the upper floor of two buildings and on another building’s rooftop inbetween – this is a close quarters map with plenty of scope for sneaking into the enemies’ tower.

One of my favourite tactics was using the lower walkways to get into the opposite tower and launch an attack behind the enemy – that is of course if I could get in without being spotted… easier said than done 😆

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8. ROOFTOPS (Resistance: Fall Of Man)

Another roof based map but this time set in the alternate sci-fi universe of Resistance.

Apart from the futuristic weapons this has one major difference from the other games on this list. There are several air cannons on the ground that you can walk over and be boosted skywards and back onto the rooftops.

Unlike Highrise (above) you won’t die if you fall off the building giving you the option of staying up high on the roof and shooting from distance or getting down on the streets & alleyways for a more intense firefight.

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7. INVASION (Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2)

Easily my favourite Call Of Duty map, I have had a fair few successful rounds in this small deserted town in Afghanistan.

With plenty of buildings to search and/or hide out in Invasion has just the right mix of open and enclosed areas.

It’s also big enough to have quite a bit of freedom of movement and also has a few different routes to various parts of the map so it’s best not to stay in one place too long.

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6. THE FORT (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

This is one of those few occasions where a DLC map (free I might add) turns out to be better than some of the maps the game shipped with.

The Fort is based on a level from the single player of the original Uncharted and it says a lot that this level is fantastic whether you’re playing the standard modes or co-op.

The amount of places you can get to in an attempt to outwit your enemies is great – whether you’re up above the open part of the map or underground near the tombs battling it out (or trying to get the rocket launcher :smile:) you can be sure you’ll be using as much of this brilliant map as possible.

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5. THARSIS DEPOT (Killzone 2)

It’s got to the stage, having played over a year’s worth of Killzone (not literally :lol:) that myself and my mates have a few favourite maps to play on.

One of these is Tharsis Depot – big enough to accomodate a full 16 v 16 but at the same time small enough that even 2 v 2 doesn’t feel too spaced out.

Set on the same refinery as the single player mission, Tharsis Depot is full of steel and has an elogated bottleneck between the bases down one side of the map. Co-incidentally 🙂 that is also where one team has to defend in search and destroy – which usually leads to all kinds of chaos.

With two floors to choose from there are plenty of ways to surprise your enemies and I am a HUGE fan of waiting around in the corridor just off the main room in the middle to shotgun any enemies that come my way 😎

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4. PORT VALDEZ (Battlefield: Bad Company 2)

This was one of the maps from the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 beta and it is still one of my favourite maps on the game.

The balance between defence and attack (in Rush mode) in terms of positioning of buildings etc is truly superb.

The last few bases of this massive map are fantastic and you really do have to consider your tactics. Making a run for it is all well good but you can almost guarantee a host of snipers will have their sights trained on the entrance of whichever base you’re at.

A really well designed map, especially considering the size and amount of bases in it.

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3. THE SANCTUARY (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

This map is my personal favourite from Uncharted 2. Whether it’s plunder, elimination, deathmatch or whatever – The Sanctuary almost always throws up a great match.

The underground tunnels are a fantastic addition in that they effectively add a third layer to proceedings and the risk/reward of positioning the Hammer on the exposed ledge is a stroke of genius.

In fact you can also climb to the top of the tower in each base, above the main rooftops so technically The Sanctuary has FOUR levels to play with. 😮

A monster of a multiplayer map considering how compact it is.

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2. VALPARAISO (Battlefield: Bad Company 2)

As with most of the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 maps Valparaiso has plenty of scope for both long range attacks and also close quarter battles.

It’s even possible to trek up to the top of the massive lighthouse to the side of the map for sniping opportunities – though heaven help you if you get spotted in there as you will be swiftly dealt with 😆

With plenty of hills to fight up/down on, this is a wonderfully varied map boasting four differently styled bases that will keep you entertained for ages.

The mixture of jungle environments just within this map is a testament to how well made it is – you’ll start in dense jungle before breaking into the open for a while until eventually you’ll find yourself in another dense jungle setting for an enclosed final base.

Most definitely my favourite multiplayer map for a long time but even then Valparaiso doesn’t take the number 1 slot…

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1. RADEC ACADEMY (Killzone 2)

Yep, the daddy of all multiplayer maps 😎

Radec Academy is a superbly designed map with both open areas and some really tight corridor and stairway areas which lead to some intense firefights.

The positioning of the search and destroy targets (for both teams) is inspired – essentially requiring you to hold a room that has three or four different entrances.

Meanwhile there is the opportunity to snipe from the balcony overlooking the square – but you’ll have be quick to take those chances as people don’t hang around… unless you’re lucky enough to find an unsuspecting soul taking stock in one of the doorways opposite 😎

Then of course you have the tunnels that run between each base and the building at the back of the map which can get quite crowded if a speaker spawns down there.

Overall for me personally, it’s tough to think of what more they could’ve done to improve Radec Academy – I sincerely hope it makes an appearance in the multiplayer mode of Killzone 3… whenever that appears.

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So there you go – my top picks for multiplayer action. Let me know via the comments if you agree? Maybe I’ve missed some out or perhaps you prefer a different map from those games?

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Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – Review (PS3)

 

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

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

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

The single player campaign is a wonderful blast through several impressive set pieces and the feeling of being in ‘B’ Company really adds to the experience.

That sense of community and closeness to the characters is a big bonus and probably the main reason Battlefield’s campaign stands head and shoulders above Modern Warfare 2.

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

Clocking in at around 8/9 hours it’s also almost double the length of Infinity Ward’s offering but it occasionally lacks the polish of Call Of Duty – perhaps down to the fact that everything is destructable in the environment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 10/10

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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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Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – Review (PS3)

For the first time in a long while I have not been sucked into the hype for a big triple A game.

I just wasn’t excited about Modern Warfare at all – a mixture of not getting on with the first title and a general disappointment from the multiplayer footage I’d seen.

Upon firing up the single player mode I was struck by how good the graphics were and after a quick run through the training camp I was on my way.

The campaign mode sees you take on the role of several characters and while the story is full of big set pieces, the lack of depth in any of the characters you control leads to a sense of confusion at times.

This is also one of the games biggest weaknesses – without any sort of attachment to any of the characters it was difficult to care about what was going on as I worked my way through set piece after set piece.

The set pieces themselves were great when they worked but on the whole were another weakness in my opinion.

Take the snow mobile ride. Now I know someone who did it in one flowing attempt and thought it was amazing. It took me 3 or 4 goes to nail it – on one occasion failing right on the last jump as I wasn’t going quick enough – and was just a disappointing pain in the ass. 😦

I just feel sections like that should be very hard to mess up, not knocking into one tree kills you (as realistic as that is).

Overall the single player is a bit of an enjoyable mess, with a story that is all over the place.

But no-one is going to be buying Modern Warfare 2 for the campaign mode… it’s all about the multiplayer.

And it’s a pretty good experience.

It’s been patched 4 times in the opening two weeks after release which I think may be a record – and it certainly struggles at times.

I’ve been kicked off because ‘the server is full’, disconnected from lobbies, been unable to party up, got stuck in doorways, had the cpu move for me when I was trying to stay still and had general connection issues.

Having said all that the actual gameplay is polished, and while it took a while to get used to the speed of moving (having been used to the slower Killzone 2), Modern Warfare 2 is fantastic fun online.

They have incorporated some features from other games and improved their own stuff from the previous installment.

The best thing for me are the Deathstreaks, where instead of being rewarded for killing opponents you get a bonus for dying. Very helpful if you’re having a bad round or just starting out. 🙂

Modern Warfare 2 is a vast multiplayer experience, with a ton of unlocks and perks to get over time. It’s a rich and deep set of abilities and weapons, which will keep you busy for a while to come.

As an overall package though Modern Warfare 2 is a lopsided beast.

The single player lacks any depth and would be no great loss to skip and the multiplayer, while fun and engaging, is extremely glitchy and suffers from connection problems.

Better than I thought then but not quite the second coming everyone was raving about.

Rating: 8/10

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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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