Battlefield: Hardline – Review (PS4)

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The Battlefield series has consistently been one of the better multiplayer shooters out there in terms of gameplay, rivalled only by Killzone which has a more sci-fi tilt. Battlefield games are all about spectacle and while Battlefield 4’s ‘levolution‘ is hideous marketing-speak, the concept of having huge set piece moments erupt around you is a sound one. With Hardline’s setting changing to the police rather than the military, will it lose any of the identity Battlefield has worked so hard to cultivate?

Let’s start with the online. Hardline is just as bombastic as its predecessors at times, with cop cars, motorcycles and helicopters all thrown into the mix for bigger maps. As well as the returning Conquest and Deathmatch modes you have a host of new ideas to play with. Heist sees you trying to break into the opposition vault, and is very reminiscent of Rush from previous titles. Blood Money is more fun, a pile of cash in the middle of the map that both teams fight over and return to their getaway vans… the twist being that each team can also rob the opposition van! This leads to some great back and forth gameplay, a hallmark of the series. Another new mode is Hotwire, which I also greatly enjoyed. Like Conquest you have to capture and hold points on the map, the difference being that each control point is a vehicle you’ll need to keep on the move to accrue points. It leads to some frantic car chases and putting in a few ramshackle ramps lends the mode a Smokey and The Bandit/Dukes Of Hazzard feel.

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Gameplay wise this is the best the shooting has felt for a while (for veterans as well as noobs – there is a generous auto aim function for new players) and there is a pretty good variety of weapons, which you now buy with Heist money rather than unlocking by rank. Vehicle control is fun and the addition of radios in the car makes a huge difference to the immersion – jumping in the car as a criminal to the strains of KRS-One’s ‘Sound Of Da Police’ still hasn’t gotten old! The music selection is fairly good, although I hope if they return to this for future games they increase the track count so you get less repeats.

Moving on to the single player campaign, which is set around a cop called Nick Mendoza. In true cop show fashion, the game opens with you on your way to federal prison and a guard on the bus berating you for being corrupt. Then we jump back in time and you’re back with a badge and a gun. The most intriguing thing for me about Hardline is that you almost always have options. Some levels have multiple paths through and even those that don’t at least offer the choice of stealth or all out attack.

One of my gripes with the game is that the stealth is a little clunky at times and there were occasions when I felt I had been unfairly spotted. The game works with a Far Cry style awareness meter, so at least you know when you’re about to be spotted! I also felt sometimes that the AI was quite poor, often just filing into a room one by one for me to shoot rather than doing anything tactical to flush me out.

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The campaign plays in episodic format so it feels like a TV show, and even lends the ‘Previously On…’ trope that Alone In The Dark used to keep you update on what happened in the last few episodes. I liked that this doesn’t play if you go straight into another episode so it wouldn’t get annoying for people ploughing through the game in one sitting. Personally I played it an episode at a time almost exclusively, it was well paced and I had fun with each episode. The game might have become slightly repetitive if you were playing it in longer sessions.

Graphically for the most part the game looks good, especially in single player, but in multiplayer sometimes the distant skylines seem quite sparse compared to other Battlefield games. There are exceptions of course, the burning town in the background of Hollywood Heights is a real highlight. Facial animation and motion capture for the campaign is great and while I never fully believed I was watching real people, it came close on occasion.

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Overall then it’s a pretty good package, but with regards to multiplayer that’s on the basis that you’re done with Battlefield 4 and want more of that Battlefield experience. There are some new modes and the gameplay is improved, so if you’re looking for more then this is the game for you. The campaign is easily the best since Bad Company 2 and while it does have some shortcomings I really enjoyed the way Visceral lent into the cop show vibe.

Rating: 8/10

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MOST WANTED 2014 – PS4 EDITION

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A few weeks ago I took a look at the upcoming slate for PS3 and Vita to give you a taste of the titles you should be keeping an eye out for. Well, as promised, here’s another look at upcoming games – this time focusing on the shiny PS4.

This is a much bigger list with a LOT of titles to talk about – so grab a cup of tea or coffee, settle in and prepare to get hyped about what’s coming up this year (and maybe beyond).

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Infamous: Second Son

I loved the last two Infamous games on PS3. Both were great fun, with good characters and a cool comic art style for cutscenes. Well now that Cole McGrath’s character arc is done, Infamous is moving to the PS4 and we have a new hero/villain in Deslin Rowe – voiced by the ever fantastic Troy Baker (of Bioshock Infinite and Last Of Us fame). Firstly the graphics look stunning – check out the video above. I can confirm it does looks that good, having seen it first hand at a Sony event last year. Secondly we’re promised more fun with moral choices and the decision to be a good guy or a bad guy. Infamous: Second Son is the first *big* PS4 exclusive game release since the console’s launch and it’s shaping up to be a great one. Roll on March!

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Murdered: Soul Suspect

Murdered: Soul Suspect was on my list for PS3 games I was looking forward to, only for Square Enix to confirm a few weeks ago that the game would also be coming to the PS4! Soul Suspect focuses on Detective Ronan O’Connor who must solve his own murder from beyond the grave. As if this wouldn’t be difficult enough he’ll also need to fight off various demonic enemies as well. I’m intrigued to see how this one plays out as I think it’s a really cool idea for a game.

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Galak-Z – The Dimensional

At first glance Galak-Z seems to be another bullet-hell shooter in the mould of old classics like R-Type or the more recent Sine Mora. However there is a lot more going on here than is readily apparently from screenshots. AI plays a bigger role than usual for a game of this type – for example, enemy ships will fall back and radio for assistance if they get the chance. Despite appearances this isn’t a twin stick shooter – Galak-Z controls much more like old arcade games with a button for thrust rather than stick movement (think Asteroids). Add to that a superb cartoon art-style and you have a pretty interesting concept.

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Child Of Light

Child Of Light is another game with an interesting art-style and it sees you taking on the role of Aurora in an RPG with some platforming elements. Aurora is a young girl from Austria in the year 1895 who contracts a mystery illness, falls unconscious and awakes in a fantasy world that she must fight her way out of. I’m not a huge fan of RPG games (aside from Persona 4 Golden) but this game looks beautiful and has the potential to be really fun and challenging.

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Lily Bergamo

Coming from Suda51, the man behind titles like Killer7 and Shadows Of The Damned, Lily Bergamo is a bit of an unknown quantity. We know it’s a Playstation 4 exclusive and that it has a wicked cool look that contrasts colour and black ‘n white. The above is all we’ve seen of it but I can’t wait to find out more – the game is scheduled simply as 2014 so hopefully we will get more info at E3 in June.

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Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Here’s one for the gamers jaded by the recent Assassin’s Creed games – a third person action adventure game set in the Lord Of The Rings universe that seems to be influenced in all the right ways by Ubisoft’s Assassin juggernaut. The video above is lengthy but gives you a great feel for the game, which will be set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. You’re back from the dead as Talion (a ranger) and you are trying to track down whoever killed you (and your family). The trail leads to Mordor and who knows what you’ll find there!

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Helldivers

Helldivers is a top down shooter in which you are part of the Helldivers unit, tasked with battling the alien enemies of mankind. Battlefields are procedurally-generated so you won’t come across the exact same level twice, which should help add to the longevity of the game. Helldivers features a single player campaign and (up to) 4 player co-op content, so this will be a good title to jump into with friends. One of the great features already confirmed is the ability to play cross platform, so whether you have the PS4, PS3 or Vita version you should always have someone to play with! Helldivers is cross-save as well as cross-play so if you’re making good progress on PS4 and want to transfer to your Vita to carry on during your commute to work/lunchtime then you can. This is definitely a title worth keeping an eye on.

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Transistor

Transistor is a turn-based strategy game in which you take control of Red, a singer who has found herself in possession of a sword, the Transistor of the title. Over the last year lots of people have being going missing from Red’s world and she feels this sword may have something to do with it. She now finds herself being pursued by a band of assassins who also want Transistor, an impressive weapon who can talk to Red and help her out along the way. Transistor mixes the ability to move as you wish in real time with the ability to stop time and plan your next attack. When Red’s ability bar is full you can pause the action and set up a succession of moves to take out enemies, which are then played out at super speed. Which is totally badass.

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Watch_Dogs

Ah Watch_Dogs – delayed and pushed back. Doesn’t always bode well (especially after that really terrible trailer was accidentally released looking like a PS2 game) but I have faith in Ubisoft, particularly having played the excellent Assassin’s Creed IV on PS4. In Watch_Dogs you are Aiden Pearce, a man not afraid to use his hacking talents to get what he wants. In a surveillance heavy world you’ll be doing your best to fend off the authorities and complete your mission. Regardless of hold ups and a lack of recent news on the title, the video above still fills me with hope. Come on Ubisoft, make it as awesome as it can be and we’ll all be happy 🙂

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Deep Down

Deep Down was one of the graphical highlights from the PS4’s reveal event and since then we’ve learned some facts that have changed our idea of what this title is. Initially thought to be a single player game it turns out that Deep Down is, wait for it as it’s a bit of a mouthful… a free-to-play fantasy online role-playing game. Got all that? So firstly it’ll be free to play – great news. It will be an online RPG – again, great stuff. Deep Down also had another trick up it’s sleeve. After convincing the world it was going to be a Skyrim-a-like fantasy game it takes places in both that environment *and* also New York in 2094. Well, it certainly won’t be boring!

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Destiny

When the guys behind Halo have a brand new game coming out people tend to take notice. And Destiny is no different. Coming on like a bigger and more social version of Borderlands the game takes place 700 years into the future, after the collapse of what was the golden age of space exploration and colonizing of planets. Now we share Earth with various alien races and as one of the last Guardians you and your team will be asked to investigate and stamp out alien activity. The game is a first person shooter with some role playing aspects and it looks like it’ll be great fun with friends.

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Alien: Isolation

Ok! Ok! Let’s clear the elephant from the room. Aliens: Colonial Marines was one of the lowest ranked games I’ve ever reviewed. This is *not* made by the same people or is it even the same type of game. Replacing Colonial Marines run ‘n gun playstyle with the horror of the original Alien film, Isolation puts you in the shoes of Amanda Ripley – daughter of series stalwart Ellen Ripley. The game is set 15 years after the events of Alien and 42 years before the events of Aliens. You will be investigating your mother’s disappearance and getting hunted by a Xenomorph while you do it. I think this looks pretty cool and at some stage someone will have to make a good Aliens game this century. Right guys? Right?

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Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

Gaming industry legend and MGS creator Hideo Kojima is drip feeding us Metal Gear Solid V – first up is Ground Zeroes, due for release in March. MGS V: Phantom Pain comes after that but it’s likely that will be 2015 at the earliest. Anyway, you know what you’re in for with Metal Gear Solid – crazy, fun, stealth action. Unfortunately, the series veteran voice actor David Hayter has been dropped so Keifer Sutherland is lending his dulcet tones to Snake. If you’re not a fan of MGS this game isn’t likely to get you on board but it looks amazing – check out the graphics in the video above – and I am a fan of the series so I’m really looking forward to this one.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I haven’t played any of the other Witcher games but the developer has reassured newcomers they will be able to get straight into the game regardless (don’t they always!). Hopefully that will be the case as the previous titles are very highly thought of and I haven’t heard many people talking negatively about the series. You will be playing as Geralt Of Rivia, the aforementioned Witcher, as he travels across the world in the concluding part of his story. This game looks amazing and should have the gameplay to back it up as well.

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Mirror’s Edge 2

A collective sigh of relief occurred when a sequel to the wonderful but not commercially successful Mirror’s Edge game was announced. Rumour has it that this will actually be a prequel to DICE’s title and will tell the origin story of Faith, the first game’s protagonist. Not much is known about this one but the first game was really cool and pretty innovative so I’m looking forward to seeing what EA bring to the table this time out.

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Tom Clancy’s The Division

The Division is one of those games that I use to show people how good games on the PS4 can look. With improved graphics and a huge amount of destructability, The Division looks like it’ll be a powerhouse when it hits the new consoles. Based on real world research that estimates a global pandemic would see society fall apart in just 5 days(!), the game takes place after just such an event and you’ll be fighting for survival against other players as well as the game’s AI. It certainly looks like an interesting set up and seems like another title that will be great fun with friends.

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The Order: 1886

The Order: 1886 is one of the games on this list I’m most excited about – graphically it looks amazing and I love the sound of the story. Set in London, in an alternate steampunk-esque universe, The Order: 1886 sees you take on the role of Galahad – one of a handful of knights from an ancient order that are sworn to protect mankind from all kinds of mutants that roam the city. This is a third person action adventure game with an interesting take on QTE events. It is thrilling to have a game set in London, with a stylized Whitechapel recreating the old days of city life.

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No Man’s Sky

Hello Games that made the wonderful Joe Danger titles are a small team. So imagine everyone’s surprise when No Man’s Sky was revealed unexpectedly at the VGX awards late last year. This is a game in which you travel on foot and by spacecraft to explore a procedurally generated world. The idea is when you start the game you will have no information on your surroundings and will need to investigate to find new planets/territories. Sounds really interesting and it has a cool art style.

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DRIVECLUB

DRIVECLUB is a racing game with a difference. The entire game is laced with social aspects that permeate through races as you drive. For me this is a really smart idea and means that as you race for position against other drivers you will also be compared to your friends via PSN. Not in terms of race time or position but more abstract things who took this corner best, or who was fastest in this stretch of track. It should, hopefully, lead to a much more immersive game because even if you’re losing a specific race you can pick up some XP by beating your friends along the way. A reduced version of this game is planned to be released free for Playstation Plus subscribers so keep an eye out!

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Uncharted

I absolutely love the Uncharted series so I was stoked that Naughty Dog announced a new game, which will be exclusive to the PlayStation 4. The trailer above shows us a map of Africa, specifically Madagascar, so if the game takes us there it could be a really interesting setting. Because the voiceover wasn’t Nathan Drake people are undecided as to whether he will actually feature in the game or if we’ll be playing as one of his ancestors in an earlier time frame. I hope it does feature Nate, Elena and Sully (at least!) but I have faith in Naughty Dog and can’t wait for whatever they deliver!

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Cyberpunk 2077

Unfortunately it looks a lot more likely that Cyberpunk 2077 will hit in 2015 but it’s definitely one to keep on your (long term) radar. It’s an RPG title based on a tabletop RPG game and is unsurprisingly set in a dystopian cyberpunk universe. The developers have said the game can be played in first or third person view and will feature a highly customizable main character as well as a varied and interesting game world. Count me in!

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Still with me? Yep, it was a touch on the long side BUT it is a great time to be a gamer and these ‘new’ consoles have kicked off a boom in gaming.

If you haven’t jumped aboard the PS4 train yet this year will give you plenty of gaming reasons to consider it – I think for most people the end of this year will be the tipping point, as great games continue to be revealed.

So is there anything from the list you guys are excited for? Or anything I missed that you’re looking forward to?

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Battlefield 4 – Review (PS4)

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Battlefield 4 has had a lot of problems since it’s release last year – furious gamers not able to connect to the servers or having the game crash whenever they do. Stuttering, laggy, unplayable. There is even a save bug for the campaign. However since I started playing it online (around Christmas) I have had very little problem with it. The occasional bit of lag here and there, yes, but nothing out of the ordinary. I also have never been disconnected from a game or not been able to connect. I don’t doubt people are having problems, I just wanted to flag this up so anyone reading this can take this into account – I’m reviewing the game as I played it and I haven’t had those issues. I’d recommend checking out some other reviews for a more rounded view.

Ok, with that being said let’s get into it. I’ll start with the campaign. Battlefield 4’s single player content is a lot better than the previous game’s offering. Battlefield 3 was painfully average and Battlefield 4 feels like a step up. It is your usual story of the US army, this time facing off against the Chinese. It’s still not the best campaign I’ve ever played but it has some real showstopping moments that showcase the power of the new systems so it’s definitely worth checking out.

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Moving on to the main focus of the game – multiplayer. The switch to PS4 means that for the first time, at least for many of us former PS3’ers, we can enjoy the full 32v32 (instead of 12v12) Battlefield online experience. And it makes a huge difference. The maps are bigger, obviously, but also the sense of scale is massively increased. And it is easier than ever to jump in and get involved.

This isn’t due to any ‘dumbing down’ of the gameplay or mechanics – in fact I’d say it’s possibly the opposite. Shooting feels a lot more similar to Bad Company 2 rather than Battlefield 3. Shooting while moving is a lot more difficult which is great as it adds an ebb and flow to the gunplay. The reason the game is more accessible is simply that DICE have done a great job of giving out more points for doing teamwork.

Spotting enemies and vehicles, healing teammates, dropping ammo for allies and anything remotely team based nets you a lot more points than previously. I recently had one round where I went 1/20 (don’t ask!) but racked up thousands of points and came third in my team (out of 32 players) by assisting my squad and capturing flags.

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You also have the option of taking on the role of Commander, whereby you’re looking at an overview of the map, distributing aid, advising your team and making high value enemy targets. This can also be played on tablet via the Battlefield app so you can get on the battlefield even if you aren’t at home.

Graphically the game is excellent and the horribly named ‘Leveloution’ is superb, bringing some real drama to rounds. Leveloution is essentially a giant showpiece event that changes the landscape of the game map. We’ve had similar stuff before but never on this level and never with this interactivity. In one map a skyscraper has a capture point on the roof but if the building sustains enough damage the whole thing collapses and the capture point now appears down on ground level in the rubble. The feeling of being on that roof, hearing the warning siren for it’s imminent collapse, jumping off the side of the building and parachuting to safety while it collapses cannot be over stated. DICE are masters of stuff like this (remember the base jump in Damavand Peak on Battlefield 3?!) and it adds something to the experience you simply won’t find elsewhere.

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Battlefield 4 on Playstation 4 is a big step up if you’ve only played console Battlefield before, both graphically and in terms of size. There is a decent campaign in the mix here but the glorious multiplayer is where it’s at. However as I said in the opening of the review, a lot of your enjoyment will depend on whether you can actually play the game online due to the issues it has had. Without issues this is a superb offering.

Rating: 9/10

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Top 100 Single Player PS3 Games: Part 10 (The Top 10)

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Well I can’t believe we finally made it – after such a great selection of titles comes the ultimate 10 games to round out the Top 100.

Before we go any further I must mention a few titles that I have played since compiling this list that would take a spot in the Top 100 so I will list those below and add to this as and when new, great titles emerge:

  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • DmC (Devil May Cry)
  • Splinter Cell: Blacklist

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)

Part Seven (40-31)

Part Eight (30-21)

Part Nine (20-11)

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

And now here’s the Top 10!

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10. Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect had always been the one XBox 360 franchise that I’d wanted to play – Gears Of War? Alan Wake? Halo? All good games I’m sure but not tempting to me. Mass Effect? Yes please

I won’t discuss the story at all as I don’t want to spoil anything for people that haven’t played it yet. Needless to say it’s your standard save the universe fair and with the game set in space that’s literally the universe you’ll be saving!

I can safely say Mass Effect 2 is one of the deepest games I’ve played. In much the same way as the Fallout games play out differently for each person, this is a game where your overall story will be the same but the variables between start and end are numerous. It says something that I had minimum frustration and didn’t really get bored at all with a game that clocks in at over 32 hours.

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9. Bioshock Infinite

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Moving the action from Rapture’s underwater city up into the skies above, Infinite is set in Columbia – a floating city that has broken away from the US to become the master of it’s own destiny. This all takes place in 1912 – decades before the events of the original Bioshock.

You play as Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent, who has found himself saddled with financial problems due to his love of gambling. To clear his debt he is tasked with one simple mission. Get to Columbia and bring back a girl called Elizabeth.

Bioshock Infinite is such a well designed game and you can tell a whole lot of care went into the crafting of the world. The opening is fantastic and gives you a little bit of time to explore and take part in the optional tutorial exercises if you want to.

The story here is one of the best this generation and is handled with a soft touch, which makes a refreshing change from being beaten over the head with simple plot points like some other titles do. The last half an hour of Bioshock Infinite is some ride and as the credits rolled I was busy trying to work everything out. Great stuff.

Bioshock Infinite is one of those games that I wanted to start again as soon as I’d finished it. I definitely want to jump back in soon so I can experience it all again and, hopefully, fill in any gaps in the story by grabbing all those audio logs and whatever else I can find.

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8. Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Game

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In The Walking Dead you play as Lee Everett, a university professor on his way to prison for murder. After your car crashes, you meet an 8 year old girl, Clementine, who is alone because her parents are out of town and her babysitter… well I won’t say any more 🙂 . Lee takes her under his wing and they try to get somewhere safe and work out what the hell is going on.

The Walking Dead is a point and click adventure game, which means while you’ll have some freedom of movement you’re limited to small areas and different objects to interact with. Mainly you’ll be talking to the other characters and learning about the group of people you’ve ended up banded together with. And this is where the game shines.

I can’t praise this game enough. It’s a different style of game to what I would usually play and through the excellent characters and writing Telltale have delivered an emotionally charged and superbly crafted story that will likely leave you with a lot more emotional baggage than when you started. Play it. Now.

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7. Journey

I’m not going to discuss any story elements or really any gameplay elements here for fear of spoiling the game for anyone. What I will say is that Journey plays wonderfully and is very easy to control. It’s taxing at times in terms of challenge but this is a game that has been made to be played through to the end.

The game actually did a great job of conveying emotion and, in fact, of making me feel something for the characters and world.

I will leave it at this: Journey is one of the best gaming experiences I’ve had. Ever. Everyone should give this a shot, it may just change the way you look at games.

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6. Fallout 3

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After a tough few hours at the start you will find yourself rewarded greatly for sticking with this awesome FPS / RPG.

The story line sprawls across the world depending on your actions and you’ll find yourself taking a break from main missions to explore the wasteland or help out other characters.

I could go on and on about various things that happened and how cool it was, how great the story was or whatever.

But Fallout 3 is a game that needs to be experienced first hand and your story will no doubt play out differently to mine.

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5. Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain is the spiritual successor to Fahrenheit, a fantastic PS2 title, and it’s creators have used the lessons from that game to help form the experience that is Heavy Rain.

And I say experience because Heavy Rain is unlike anything I’ve played before.

Telling the story of the Origami Killer, who kidnaps young boys and drowns them in rain water, Heavy Rain sees you controlling four main characters and through their actions – whether everyday stuff like carrying in the shopping or a frantic fight for their life – you get a real feel for the characters.

It says a lot that as soon as I finished this game I wanted to play through it again straight away. I want to give the characters a slightly different personality, experiment to see what happens and find out how it changes the story.

Heavy Rain is by no means perfect but it brings a whole raft of new ideas and innovation to the table.

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4. Dead Space

Coming on somewhere between Event Horizon and Aliens, Dead Space is a third person survival horror game.

You take on the role of Isaac Clarke, a ship engineer who finds himself trapped onboard a stricken spaceship infested with an alien outbreak which is threatening to take over the ship.

This was one of the best games I played in the year it was released and it’s use of sound is immense. The fear of the unexpected they create is awesome.

I am not a big fan of horror movies or being made to jump all the time but Dead Space kept on the right side of all that by being unpredictable enough to be enjoyable as a ‘horror’ experience.

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3. The Last Of Us

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Released only a few months ago, The Last Of Us tells the story of Joel and Ellie as they traverse a parasite-infected United States. 20 years ago a fungal infection spread to humans, causing the death of around 60% of mankind.

The people left are doing whatever they can to survive and Joel is tasked with getting Ellie outside the quarantine zone and to a resistance group.

Tense encounters and a lack of ammo make gameplay feel physically draining and added to that is some of the best writing and acting on the PS3.

I truly feel all of the characters are so well fleshed out that it’s hard not to be impressed. The Last Of Us is one of the best games I’ve ever played.

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2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

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Uncharted 2 is a complete gaming package. There is plenty of taking out bad guys, lots of puzzles and some wonderful dialogue.

Naughty Dog really have done a great job on the voice acting and the expressiveness of the character models. It is easily the best I’ve come across (though Heavenly Sword was a close second).

I won’t spoil the story but for those who don’t know, Nathan Drake gets pulled back into that murky world of treasure hunting for hire. I loved the story of this game – with a few twists I saw coming and a few I didn’t.

If you own a PS3 there is no reason not to own this game – if you only have an XBox 360 or Wii then get yourself a PS3 Slim and enjoy one of the most finely crafted games I’ve ever experienced.

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1. Red Dead Redemption

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Red Dead Redemption tells the story of former gang member John Marston and how he is forced onto a quest to track down his old ‘buddies’ on behalf of the US government.

I don’t recall a sandbox game with such a fascinating and well realised world. The way the world around you continues regardless is reminiscent of GTA games but everything here just makes you feel a part of something larger.

The positives are numerous, for one the story, voice acting and characterisation in Red Dead Redemption is fantastic. This is up there with the Uncharted series for me and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

There is so much to do in the world that it is crazy. There are a whole host of side missions to undertake and mini games as well. I’m not a big player of cards but I found myself spending 40/50 minutes at a time playing poker or blackjack. Or horseshoes. Or arm wrestling. The list is huge.

It has been a while since a game had me smiling, eyes wide and with goosebumps on my arms at what was unfolding in front of me but Red Dead Redemption managed it. This for me is the best game I have ever played – not an accolade that I use lightly but one that is fully deserved.

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So there you have it – the end of the road in terms of the Top 100!

What would be your best game of the PS3 generation?

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Eurogamer Expo 2013 – Round Up

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The Eurogamer Expo grows in size every year and 2013 is no different, with over 70,000 people attending over four days. That is a LOT of people, which also explains why I spent most of the day in queues rather than playing games.

That’s not to say it wasn’t still a blast but by choosing to queue for Titanfall and Battlefield 4 (about 2hrs of queuing between them) we gave up time we could’ve spent queuing for less busy games.

Anyway, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give Titanfall a shot – that and Quantum Break are the only two games of interest to me in the XBox One launch line up (although Titanfall doesn’t arrive until 2014).

So here is my round up of what I got hands on with at the Expo:

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Titanfall

First up was Titanfall, voted by most critics as the best thing at E3 2013. Even while we were queuing I was finding it hard to get overly excited – it’s just Call Of Duty with double jump and mechs. Right? Wrong. The game itself is great fun and it was easy to get straight into the action. Movement felt fluid and wall running was easy. I liked the heft of the weapons and the fact they seem to have taken a leaf out of Resistance‘s book with some of the weapon design. I see no reason this won’t come to PS4 further down the line, with the developer already mentioning that a PS4 version is ‘definitely not out of the question’ so I will be picking this up for sure then. But it’s not worth the price of an XBox One for me just to play this. * ‘TITANFALL’ : GREGHORRORSHOW’S MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE – Eurogamer Expo 2013*

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Battlefield 4

Next up was Battlefield 4 and as a big fan of the series I was looking forward to seeing what improvements had been made. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Battlefield has never been ‘pick up and play’ and I spent the first three or four minutes of the demo sorting out the sensitivity on the sticks etc. I don’t think having to stand so close to the screen and use an XBox pad did me any favours either but I didn’t enjoy the demo. Recoil on the guns felt insanely over the top, I shot a few guys three or four times without killing them and the map looked similar to some of the stuff on BF3. Of course it’s an alpha build and it was only one round so, recoil aside, it could’ve been bad luck. Nevertheless after queuing for so long this one left a bitter taste in my mouth.

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Killzone Shadow Fall

I’d played Shadow Fall previously but that was the single player component so I was excited to try the mutliplayer offering. Shadow Fall delivers a refined Killzone experience and I can see this being my go to shooter on the PS4. The weapons felt great and the game looked fantastic. At one stage I managed to get behind the enemies and brutal melee’d three of them in a row… the stuff of dreams 😆 It felt competitive and it seems there will be even more depth with the new class abilities. * ‘KILLZONE SHADOW FALL′ : GREGHORRORSHOW’S BEST IN SHOW – Eurogamer Expo 2013*

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Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Octodad is a wonderfully absurd game in which you control an octopus trying to maintain his life pretending to be a man. In this demo I was tasked with getting him ready for his wedding and making sure he gets down the aisle in one piece! Octodad’s legs aRE controlled with L2/R2 and the left stick. When you need to switch to his arms you press L1 and then you move the sticks to control his arms, with R1 picking things up. The tricky controls and crazy animation of Octodad make this a very fun game. Definitely recommended.

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Warframe

Warframe has had my interest since it was announced for PS4 as a free-to-play title. At the expo we were sampling co-op mode, which was a horde mode affair with three of us combining to protect an item in the middle of the map. The game is fast paced and moves smoothly – you can aim and shoot with L2/R2 with R1 bringing out your samurai sword for close encounters. L1 allows you to slide on your knees in the same style as Vanquish. I’m not sure how much more effective that was but it sure looked cool 🙂 You also have special abilities which are triggered by swiping the touchpad on the DualShock 4. We had no problem dispatching wave after wave of enemies and soon the demo was over. I had a couple of issues where it felt like the camera couldn’t actually keep up with the game but hopefully that will be ironed out by launch.

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Velocity 2x (Vita)

I enjoyed Velocity as a mini on my Vita and I have Velocity Ultra (courtesy of Playstation Plus) but haven’t fired it up yet. So when I saw Futurlab were back with another Velocity title I was hoping they’d mix things up a bit. And they certainly have. As well as the spaceship flying that made up the original title we will now be treated to some platforming goodness as well. The game looks and feels fantastic. It’s easy to control and has a really cool style. This looks set to be a masterpiece on Vita (and PS4) when it arrives next year.

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The Crew

Lastly I played The Crew, Ubisoft’s next gen racing offering, and while half the time I didn’t have a clue what was going on (not helped by the game randomly cutting to a title card in amongst everything) it was great fun. This is a more arcadey racer, with nitrous boosts and drifting the norm. We were given a few minutes to drive around before being entered into a race (individually – we were all in a different race in a different part of the gameworld) and then assigned a target car for the four of us playing to take out. Much crashing and hilarity ensued – if they can polish up the presentation angle of the game this could be a great addition to the racing genre.

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While I didn’t get to play them (as they were on PC and I’m not a PC gamer) I also watched people playing Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number and Volume – both of which will be coming to Vita next year. And both of which looked excellent. Hotline Miami 2 seems to be more of the same which is fine with me and Volume looks like a super interesting take on the stealth genre. Here’s a trailer for that:

So overall it was a good Expo, although the queues seemed to have doubled in size from last year. I suspect next year you might need two days to actually get round and see a decent amount of games. For the most part queuing wasn’t too bad – Titanfall had the nice idea of seating the next batch of people to play in front of a video about the game and Sony‘s booth had content on a big screen that didn’t loop for the entire hour we were queuing.

Did anyone else go this year? Would be good to hear what you played and what you thought of the Expo.

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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 2 (90-81)

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Well, we’re here for the second part already of the Top 100 Single Player games on PS3.

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 begin:

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90. Far Cry 2

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Far Cry 2 was my first experience with the Far Cry series. A first person shooter set in Africa, it puts you on the trail of The Jackal, an arms dealer causing chaos in the region. The game gives you a great deal of freedom to drive around and explore the area, as well as doing main missions to complete the story.

Not content with giving you rebel groups and a harsh environment to deal with, in Far Cry 2 you’ll also have to deal with the fact your character has Malaria and needs to keep taking medication to avoid destabilising attacks.

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89. Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance

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Set 4 years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, Rising sees you take control of Raiden once more – though he has changed somewhat since the Metal Gear Solid 2 days 🙂

Unfortunately, a lack of flexibility killed the game for me. At times I just felt drained and, to be honest, that kind of typifies my experience with Metal Gear Rising. For the majority of the game I was comfortable, in control and having fun. Then I would hit a crazy difficulty spike and just end up frustrated.

My advice, unless you love a hugely challenging experience, would be to just play this through on Easy first time out and enjoy the ride. Rising is a fun and over the top action game, I just didn’t enjoy playing all of it.

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88. Assassin’s Creed

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The original Assassin’s Creed plays a bit like a tech demo that outstays it welcome compared to the games in the series that followed it. However at the time it was like nothing else out there – interesting game mechanics, good characters and a great, historical setting gave us value for money.

The assassinations were the high point of the game but unfortunately these were padded out with lots of repetitive missions to gain intel on targets. Gameplay itself was strong and it was refreshing to play something with well designed sword-play. Not as strong as some of the other Assassin’s Creed games but worth checking out if you can stomach the grind of gathering intel.

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87. Far Cry 3

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Far Cry 3 puts you in the shoes of Jason Brody, a rich kid who is partying with his friends on a tropical paradise island near Bangkok. However, as becomes apparent in the game’s opening, everything is not quite as idyllic as it seems.

The story itself starts strongly, wavers in the middle and finishes well – though it felt like there were different directions Far Cry 3 could’ve gone in that might’ve been better suited to the early story stuff.

After initially being impressed with Far Cry 3 by the end of the game I felt a little let down by the way the story developed. Added to that were the technical issues that disrupted my playthrough and it made for a slightly disjointed experience.

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86. Rainbow Six Vegas 2

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Rainbow Six Vegas 2 was a great follow up title featuring more of the same tactical SWAT style shenanigans. If you like your shooters fast and furious (ala Call Of Duty) then this won’t be for you.

You’ll be taking control of the Rainbow Six teams as they try to stop a terrorist attack and you’ll need all the tactical skills you have to orchestrate the mission and get success. But you also have a few nifty tricks up your sleeves – whether that’s something as simple as a flashbang or a small camera that can be used to see what’s on the other side of a closed door.

Methodical planning and several ways to strike make this a tactical dream. But it’s still a FPS at heart and there are a few frantic firefights waiting for you as you return to the Strip.

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85. Bulletstorm

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Telling the story of Grayson Hunt, a space pirate in the 26th century, who crash lands his crew’s ship on an alien planet following a (failed) drunken attempt at revenge on a huge spaceship. As you try to battle your way off the planet all hell breaks loose, with various factions taking each other on as well as fighting with you.

The game mechanics work well and some of the ways you can dispatch foes have to be seen to be believed. Environmental kills and lots of creative weapons make for a fun, and different, experience.

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84. Need For Speed: The Run

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Need For Speed: The Run is a ‘Cannonball Run’ style chase across the US, minus the wacky characters (sadly). The cars handle well and this is definitely the arcade style of driving. You’ll have great fun power sliding a Porsche through corners as you swerve to avoid oncoming traffic.

The story is much of a muchness and was a bit too serious for my liking. If they’d taken a bit more inspiration from ‘Cannonball Run’ this could’ve been a great title.

Don’t get me wrong, The Run is a fun game and you’ll have a good time playing it for the most part. The load times and odd difficulty spike do have an impact but the biggest issue I had with the game was walking away from it thinking it was one hell of a wasted opportunity to create something a little more unique.

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83. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

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Ghost Recon: Future Solider puts you in the boots of Cedric Ferguson, the Captain of the Ghost Recon squad ‘Hunter.’ After a bomb denotes and wipes out another squad, ‘Predator’, you are assigned the task of finding out who set the bomb off and where it came from.

The gameplay is solid, this is a third person based shooter that also features an iron sight view for those that want it. It reminded me of SOCOM 4 in terms of control and feel but obviously having lots of extra gadgets (active camouflage/UAV’s/Cyborgs etc) makes it a different beast to play through.

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82. Battlefield 3

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Battlefield 3 had been one of my most anticipated games of 2011 and the developers incorporated lots of things from Bad Company to help improve the all round gameplay.

I did thoroughly enjoy the multiplayer aspect of the game. However we’re here to discuss single player games and sadly Battlefield 3’s campaign is a decent, linear shooter that doesn’t really do much to break new ground. Graphically it’s very impressive and it’s not bad to play through but it just doesn’t do enough to stand out from any of the other FPS campaigns out there.

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81. Syndicate

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Syndicate is a first person shooter which is set in 2069. You play as Agent Miles Kilo, one of EuroCorp’s newest members. In the world of Syndicate corporate espionage is where the great power struggles happen. The corporations are the ones running everything and information is vital.

While I didn’t think the game was amazing, it was certainly above average and brought some interesting gameplay ideas forward. It’s a shame the sales were low as I’d actually be up for playing a sequel that was set in that universe and was, perhaps, a bit more refined.

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So that’s part two done and dusted – we’ll be hitting 80 through to 71 next week so come back then 🙂 As always let me know in the comments if you’ve played any of these titles and what you thought of them…

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