GregHorrorShow: Game Awards 2013

GameAwards2013Main

Well what a year it’s been for gaming! With the arrival of new consoles in the Autumn we were left wondering whether the support would still be there for the PS3 and if you needed convincing you only had to look at The Last Of Us, Beyond: Two Souls and Gran Turismo 6 to see there is life in the old dog yet.

As the PS4 didn’t arrive until November 29th (and I didn’t receive mine until early December) nothing for that platform will be eligible for this year’s awards (as they run November to November). Also there were a few games I held off of so I could get the superior PS4 version, namely Assassin’s Creed IV and Battlefield 4, so they also won’t feature.

We start with a new award, that recognizes the fact that I simply can’t play every game within the year. The ‘Missed Gem’ award goes to a game from the previous year that I didn’t play until this year but feel would’ve warranted a mention last time out if I had played it in time.

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MISSED GEM OF 2012

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WINNER: Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead (Season 1)

Everyone has rightfully raved about The Walking Dead. I’m one of them (check out my review) and I can safely say it was a fantastic experience. It’s a point and click adventure game, which wouldn’t normally be my cup of tea but the story here is soooo good. Highly recommended.

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BEST GAME INNOVATION

GameAwards2013Innovation

Winner: Grand Theft Auto V (Multi Character Selection)

GTA V was a trend setter in many ways but one of the most impressive aspects of the game was the way you could switch between the main characters at will. With a button press you would be pulled to an overhead view of the map, moved across to wherever the other character was and then plonked down to them. This in itself isn’t a completely original idea, Driver: San Francisco had a similar mechanic that allowed you to swap between vehicles. The difference here are the little character vignettes when you land with a new character; Franklin pulling his friend away from a fight, Michael finishing a coffee and tossing the cup away or Trevor… well God knows what Trevor will be doing! This small touch gives you a real feeling that the world of GTA V is continuing around you at all times. It’s a very nice mechanic.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Crysis 3 (Multiplayer Highlights)
  • Bioshock Infinite (Skyhooks)
  • Metal Gear Rising (Precision Cutting)

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BEST DLC (CONTENT)

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WINNER: Mass Effect 3: Citadel

The ending of Mass Effect 3 left a bad taste in many people’s mouths, even with the update Bioware released. If that was the case for you, or if you just loved the game/series then give the Citadel DLC a spin. This is the ‘Christmas Special’ of Mass Effect, a set of side missions that see you fighting off enemies, carrying out a heist and planning a party for your crew… Yes, that’s right organizing and hosting a party 🙂 It. Is. Awesome. And great fan service. The Walking Dead: 400 Days also deserves a mention as it carried on with the hard choices of season 1 straight off the bat, even if the characters were new. Soul Sacrifice on Vita was supported with a ridiculous amount of free DLC post launch which was all really cool so make sure you check that out as well.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Battlefield 3 – End Game
  • The Walking Dead – 400 Days
  • Soul Sacrifice – Various Free DLC Packs

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BEST DOWNLOAD ONLY GAME

Hotline Miami 1

WINNER: Hotline Miami (Vita)

Enough people were raving about it on PC last year but 2013 was the year I finally got my hands on Hotline Miami – the super fast, super violent and super challenging top down kill fest. I absolutely loved this game and don’t know anyone who played it that didn’t get hooked. The Vita version looks super crisp and the soundtrack is awesome. Most of the games in this category I played on Vita (though all of these were on PS3 as well) with some great titles like Guacamelee, Thomas Was Alone and Lone Survivor. Another pleasant surprise was Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon – it had Robocop’s gun in it! ROBOCOP’S GUN!! 🙂

RUNNERS UP:

  • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
  • Guacamelee (Vita)
  • Thomas Was Alone (Vita)

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MOST ANTICIPATED GAME OF 2014

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WINNER: Infamous: Second Son

Well, the clear winner for this in my eyes was Cyberpunk 2077 but it turns out that isn’t arriving until 2015 so I had to have a rethink! A new Uncharted has me interested but so little is known about it at this stage, same goes for Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture. The Witcher 3 and The Order: 1886 are definitely on my radar and No Man’s Sky looked awesome at VGX earlier this month. For me, at the moment, it has to be Infamous: Second Son. The game looks so damn good up close (I wasn’t allowed to play it but watched a hands off level playthrough) I could barely believe it. I’m hyped for this one, roll on March.

RUNNERS UP:

  • The Witcher 3
  • The Order: 1886
  • No Man’s Sky

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BEST GAME TRAILER

*Warning Contains Strong Language*

WINNER: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

I’m not sure I need many words here, as someone who grew up in the 1980’s… just watch the Blood Dragon trailer to see why it won 🙂 GTA always has great trailers and the below is no exception, super use of music as well. Love this Last Of Us one, not always a fan of live action stuff but this is clever. And Killzone always looks amazing, Shadow Fall is no different.

RUNNERS UP:

GTA V

Last Of Us

Killzone Shadow Fall

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BEST PS VITA GAME

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WINNER: Persona 4 The Golden

If you’d told me a year ago that a Japanese RPG would win my Vita Game Of The Year in a year when a Killzone title came to Vita, I would’ve called you a liar. I haven’t really ever played a JRPG before but then again Persona 4: The Golden isn’t like other JRPG’s. Like The Walking Dead this is a game all about your relationships with characters (Oh Chie) and P4G grabbed me from the start and didn’t let go. Don’t let the fact Killzone: Mercenary didn’t pick up GOTY deter you from grabbing it if you have a Vita – it’s the best handheld shooter ever made. Soul Sacrifice was another title I might not have played on a home console but it just seems like a great fit on Vita and it’s really fun in short bursts. Tearaway was a beautiful game that put you in a superbly realized papercraft world and utilised all of the best Vita features. A charming game.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Soul Sacrifice
  • Tearaway
  • Killzone: Mercenary

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BEST GRAPHICS

GameAwards2013Graphics

WINNER: Beyond: Two Souls

It was a pretty close run race in this category with four superb looking games. The Last Of Us probably came closest to nabbing this with it’s fully realized, if grim, world and characters but while the animation of Beyond: Two Souls might’ve been off at times, graphically the game was stunning. Especially impressive considering they were using actors that people recognize and could more easily spot any faults. Also the fire/flame effects were majorly impressive. Los Santos in GTA V was such a wonder to look at sometimes I would just stop and admire the view – I can’t wait to see what Rockstar deliver on PS4. And while it was stylized, Bioshock Infinite created a beautiful world in Columbia and then filled it with dark, interesting people. Definitely a world to be explored and experienced.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Bioshock Infinite
  • GTA V
  • The Last Of Us

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BEST STORYLINE

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WINNER: Bioshock Infinite

There have been some great stories to play through this year and again The Last Of Us came very close to taking this award but this year’s winner is Bioshock Infinite. A title that had me guessing throughout and while I thought I had the twist sussed it turned out to be one of many that, by the time the credits rolled, left me reeling. As I uncovered more and more clues while playing through it was satisfying to put the pieces together. I thought Crystal Dynamics did a great job with the Tomb Raider reboot but the story was strongest in those opening few hours and fell away a bit beyond that. Those few hours though… what a ride. DmC was one of my more pleasant surprises this year (all round in fact) and I enjoyed the game’s story of greed and corruption and thought the world they’d created was very fleshed out.

RUNNERS UP:

  • The Last Of Us
  • Tomb Raider
  • DmC

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (SCORE)

GameAwards2013Score

WINNER: Persona 4: The Golden (Vita)

This was a really difficult category to decide on – all four of these are great scores that you should definitely check out. GTA V was the surprise for me as I didn’t expect the score to be so awesome and well suited to the heist aspect of the game. The Last Of Us and Bioshock Infinite were more subtle but packed a big punch when necessary. However the award goes to Persona 4: The Golden for it’s crazy, fun and memorable score, which includes a few songs written for the game that are used during battles. There were plenty of other great scores worth checking out from this year, I’d also recommend Tomb Raider, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Beyond: Two Souls.

RUNNERS UP:

  • GTA V
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • The Last Of Us

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (LICENSED)

Hotline Miami 3

WINNER: Hotline Miami (Vita)

I mentioned Hotline Miami last year because I’d heard the soundtrack but hadn’t played the game. Nothing can quite prepare you for what is one of the most powerful collections of tracks in gaming. The songs here perfectly capture the feel of the game and lend a kind of hypnotic vibe to proceedings. Absolutely brilliant. The Grand Theft Auto games always have stellar licensed material and GTA V is no different, featuring great songs across lots of different radio stations. Bioshock Infinite‘s use of tears to play songs was inspired, especially as it also featured ‘Columbia’ versions of them all in game as well. And Far Cry 3, well that M.I.A use was brilliant and the Skrillex track fitted so well with the mission it was used on – just good solid choices.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Far Cry 3
  • GTA V
  • Bioshock Infinite

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BEST VOICE ACTING

GameAwards2013Voice

WINNER: The Last Of Us

This was another tough category this year as so many games delivered massive performances in terms of acting. The Last Of Us though is a deserving winner, with Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson bringing most to the table with solid support from, among others, Nolan North. Baker delivered another fantastic performance as Booker DeWitt in Bioshock Infinite alongside the excellent Courtnee Draper. Steven Ogg as Trevor gets GTA V a mention just on his own and alongside his other cast members helped to make our stay in Los Santos a memorable one. I suppose when you hire big name actors like Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe you expect big things but as we’ve seen in the past bringing Hollywood to games doesn’t always work out. Luckily for us with Beyond: Two Souls it did this time and Page’s delivery and commitment to the role added real depth to her character Jodie Holmes.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Bioshock Infinite
  • GTA V
  • Beyond: Two Souls

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SINGLE PLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

GameAwards2013Single

WINNER: The Last Of Us

The Last Of Us is one of those games that has to be played to be believed. Titles such as Uncharted 2 and Journey carry the same gravitas and The Last Of Us can be added to that list of games that anyone with a PS3 should play. The journey of Ellie and Joel during the game is astounding and the world is a brutal, beautiful place to (carefully) explore. The Clickers were hideous enemies and the fact they could kill you in one hit just made things worse. Everything works here – the scarcity of ammo/supplies, the confined spaces you’d find yourself in and also little touches like finding the after effects of horrific events and finding out the mini storylines contained within. While GTA V and Persona 4: The Golden are totally different styles of game I stuck almost 60 hours into each of their single player offerings this year, which is a testament to their quality. And while the combat did drag at times in Bioshock Infinite, overall it was just such a great game that you can’t do anything but recommend it.

RUNNERS UP:

  • GTA V
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Persona 4 The Golden (Vita)

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MULTIPLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

GameAwards2013Online

WINNER: GTA Online

It says a lot about the opening 6 months of 2013 that during that time my most played online games were Killzone 3 (2011), Mass Effect 3 (2012) and Battlefield 3 (2011). The one new thing I played in this time was Far Cry 3, which had a nice co-op online mode and handled really well, in terms of feel of weapons etc. Then June hit and The Last Of Us arrived, with it’s new and fresh idea of what multiplayer could be. Run and gun was out, scavenge and hide was in. I had some very tense rounds of this immensely underrated online offering. Killzone: Mercenary offered Vita owners a glimpse of what an FPS title could do online and it was very fun, despite a few issues with spawn point locations. But the award this year goes to GTA Online. Finally released in October it was… well, broken to be honest. But now that it’s (mainly) fixed it is an absolute blast. Whether doing scripted missions or just messing about with friends it has been some of my most memorable online gaming in the last few years.

RUNNERS UP:

  • The Last Of Us
  • Far Cry 3
  • Killzone Mercenary (Vita)

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GAME OF THE YEAR

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WINNER: The Last Of Us

The Last Of Us takes this year’s award – a combination of it’s superlative single player and fantastic online offering is more than enough to justify it’s win. All four nominees are outrageously great games and well worth playing. Bioshock Infinite‘s mix of bright, vibrant colours, stylised graphics and dark, sinister undercurrent make for a compelling game and while Persona 4: The Golden shares some characteristics with Irrational Game’s title it also has a wealth of depth that left me stunned. In GTA V Rockstar have created a living, breathing love/hate letter to L.A that will keep you gripped and amazed both online and offline.

RUNNERS UP:

  • GTA V
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Persona 4 The Golden (Vita)

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So there you have it!

There were plenty of other decent games that didn’t get nominated but I’d still recommend. Titles like Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Rain and Puppeteer to name a few.

It’s also been a good year for Vita owners with titles like Retro City Rampage, Guacamelee, Hotline Miami, Thomas Was Alone, Stealth Inc., Lone Survivor and Spluenky making the jump over, along with exclusives like Persona 4 : The Golden, Soul Sacrifice, Killzone: Mercenary and Tearaway. It was nice to see a Vita game crack the nominees list for Game Of The Year for the first time as well.

So what have you guys been playing? What have I missed? What was your favourite game this year?

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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

Far Cry 3 Main

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

Bulletstorm

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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Far Cry 3 – Review (PS3)

Far Cry 3 Main

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.

With your friends scattered and captured it’s left up to you to try and get everyone together and escape from this hellish nightmare.

Fortunately there are plenty of guns around and lots of armed enemies to take out in the process.

Far Cry 3 3

The setting is beautiful and the developers have done a great job of creating a stunning and believable environment for you to mess around in. And mess around you will because Far Cry 3 is positively loaded with things to do in addition to the story missions.

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. I certainly would’ve liked to have seen it take longer for Brody to turn into a frenzied killing machine after his fantastically timid beginnings but having said that, it does fit in with the story stuff that follows.

Enemy AI is ok on the whole, though it has to be said it’s at its best when unscripted emergent events happen – like wild animals rushing in and attacking you and your enemies. Some of those moments were superb and gave the game a real feeling of vitality and freshness.

Far Cry 3 1

The missions were good overall and I felt that Far Cry 3 was well paced, aside from a few instances and one particular ‘boss’ battle that felt a little out of place. Mainly due to it’s length rather than it’s place in the story.

Having everything in first person gives the game a nice feel, especially when driving a vehicle. And it says a lot that for the most part I avoided using the fast travel system and would just drive wherever I needed to go.

On your travels you’ll encounter random enemy patrols or wild animals and for me, these were some of the highlights of my playthrough. Likewise capturing enemy bases was always fun and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge presented by the radio towers you need to activate to unlock chunks of the map.

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I did feel the story outstayed it’s welcome a little, possibly trimming an hour or two off the campaign might’ve helped but the characters dreamt up by the developers are pretty awesome and it was nice to see some colourful personalities that were fun to interact with.

Unfortunately during an early mission I experienced several game breaking glitches that meant restarting the mission. Whether it was a game crash, an online connection error that froze the game on the pause screen or something else, it meant redoing the same mission 4 times, which was pretty frustrating. The game also locked up on me a few times beyond that and because of Far Cry 3’s lack of manual save options I lost a fair bit of valuable progress.

I found the multiplayer offering to be pretty robust and good fun. There isn’t anything revolutionary here but it’s solid and will offer further hours of gameplay within the universe. There are also a batch of co-op missions that you can tackle with friends which further boosts your potential playtime.

Far Cry 3 4

Overall, 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. I felt a couple of great characters were wasted and I suppose having enjoyed the opening it just highlighted the disappointment by the time the game ended. Added to that were the technical issues that disrupted my playthrough and it made for a slightly disjointed experience.

Rating: 7/10

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Eurogamer Expo 2012

So Friday saw the Eurogamer Expo hit Earls Court in London again. I went along to check out some of the titles we can look forward to playing in the next 6 months or so.

Unfortunately I have to begin by saying, as always, there were a few queues that were just too large to wait in. The biggest were Assassin’s Creed III, Hitman Absolution, Resident Evil 6 and Call Of Duty: Black Ops II.

I guess when time is limited it boiled down to one simple fact; I know I will be playing all of those games. For me they are all titles I am sure to pick up, so queuing for an hour to play them seems like madness!

Anyway, there was plenty of other stuff to play at the Expo, so here we go:

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TOMB RAIDER

Eidos have been doing a lot of work pushing this game recently and highlighting how it’s a reboot of the series in the same vein as the recent Batman films. I know I joked about it previously but if you only have an XBox 360 and haven’t played the Uncharted games then you’ll love this. Sadly for me, while it plays well, Tomb Raider is just a clone of Uncharted. Hopefully the story will lift this above that status.

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DISHONORED

Dishonored is one of those games that is very difficult to judge from playing at an event like this. Set in a steampunk world you play as a wronged man who uses his various skills (possession/slowing down time etc) to get his own back. Unfortunately being dropped into the game at a random point and without much guidance, I promptly forgot all about the powers and just used the crossbow and knife. I enjoyed playing it though and it should be a great game when you get it on your PS3 in the comfort of your own home.

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ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES

While I’m more interested in the story of this game, it was the multiplayer that was hands on today. Setting Marines against Aliens isn’t the most original premise but it was well handled and the one button press to bring up your motion tracker was slick and effective. I did find it a bit tough at times but I think that might also have been down to the fact it was Sega staff controlling the Aliens! 😆

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GOD OF WAR: ASCENSION

In a neat reverse of Colonial Marines I bypassed the single player demo for this (I’ve enjoyed bashing square and triangle for all the previous games so I don’t need to go through that at an Expo) and headed straight for multiplayer. Having little to no interest in this I wasn’t expecting much. What I found however was a fun, engrossing brawler-type of affair. Still not sure how much I’d play this long term but I will certainly dip in after finishing the campaign.

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NEED FOR SPEED: MOST WANTED

I’ve been looking forward to this game (and the accompanying Vita version – absent today) for months. The switch to a more Burnout style open world driving game is welcome and it looks like it’ll be insane fun online. The steering was a bit loose but once you got used to that it was a blast.

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MEDAL OF HONOR: WARFIGHTER

Again, another game I’m more interested in the single player of but we battened down the hatches and got some multiplayer on. This was mostly enjoyable, certainly miles better than the last Medal Of Honor’s terrible online. Warfighter straddles the online gap between Call Of Duty and Battlefield. Perfect for it’s target audience but not one for me. I am looking forward to the campaign though as I thought the last one was pretty good.

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GRID 2

Ah GRID. If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen me squeeing with excitement when they announced this was coming out next year. The original GRID was one of my favourite driving games ever and GRID 2 didn’t disappoint. It looked gorgeous and handled like a dream. Everything I hoped it would be. And certainly the most impressive game I played today.

* ‘GRID 2′ : GREGHORRORSHOW’S BEST IN SHOW – Eurogamer Expo 2012*

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METAL GEAR RISING: REVENGEANCE

As disappointed as I am that Bayonetta 2 isn’t coming to PS3, this game (from the same developer) looks set to more than fill the gap. A mix of Bayonetta and Vanquish, Revengeance is NOT the Metal Gear you know and love. Raiden is the main character rather than Snake and he is a frantic cyborg killing machine. Revengeance has no need for stealth, you just kill everything 🙂 A lack of direction stifled things somewhat but overall most enjoyable.

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FIFA 13 (Vita)

I was hoping to see some pretty big changes in FIFA this year on the Vita. The game available at release was a (good) port of the PS3 FIFA 11 engine. It didn’t feature some of the new AI stuff from FIFA 12 and so I hoped some of those features might make their way into FIFA 13. Sadly from what I could gather in the time I played it seems to be almost the exact same game barring some cosmetic changes. 😦 Still the best football game around for a handheld device but if you already have FIFA for Vita you might be better off sticking with that.

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ASSASSIN’S CREED: LIBERATION (Vita)

I finally got my hands on the forthcoming Vita Assassin’s Creed game and I have to say I was mightily impressed. Graphically the game looks great, although the main character Aveline does have a touch of the ‘crazy eyes’ if you get in too close 🙂 Overall I’m impressed – the animation looked smooth and there was a solid fidelity to the graphics of the environment and a decent draw distance as well. Can’t wait for this now.

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FAR CRY 3

Far Cry 3 had a pretty substantial queue to play it but fortunately when you sat down with the game you were given 10/15 mins to just get on with it. I really enjoyed this and thought it could be a game I’d plough a decent amount of time into. The demo dropped you in the middle of the island and allowed you a fair amount of freedom. I didn’t do a great deal of story stuff – but had an action packed playthrough in which I began crafting my own mini story within the fiction. That’s always a good sign. Did see a few crazy glitches (characters suddenly zooming across the screen/flying etc) but this is early code so hopefully they will be ironed out before release.

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PLAYSTATION ALL STARS: BATTLE ROYALE

I’ve never played Super Smash Brothers, the Nintendo game All Stars (apparently) borrows heavily from. I’d read quite a bit about All Stars and seen some character reveals/trailers but nothing had really interested me that much. I’m not big into fighting games and this looked like it might be too complex for me. However I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the round we played. There is a real depth to the game in terms of moves/control that is there if you want it but alternatively you can just use the face buttons and directions to pull off whatever moves take your fancy. I was almost reluctant to pick up the pad and play it but I walked away impressed & with a smile on my face.

* ‘PLAYSTATION ALL STARS: BATTLE ROYALE’ : GREGHORRORSHOW’S MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE – Eurogamer Expo 2012 *

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LOST PLANET 3

After waiting for what seemed to be an eternity for the guy on the console in front of me to stop playing (seriously – how long can one man die against the same enemy before letting someone else have a go?) I sat down and got some time with Lost Planet 3. Coming across to me as Dead Space in the snow (and without the horror) it certainly wasn’t a bad game. Some of the aesthetic seemed to ripped straight from EA’s game (unless EA stole it from an earlier Lost Planet game?) but I’m still not sure how much fun it was to just hold the trigger and pump the bigger creatures with bullets. Having said that my time was slightly hampered by the fact there was no option to invert the Y Axis on my demo pod :angry:

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So that’s the games and after all that I would like comment on how well run the whole thing was. Having people walk through the crowd while we were queuing to scan our tickets and give out the relevant wristbands was a stroke of genius and genuinely saved about 15 minutes of queuing time compared to last year. When the doors opened at 10am we went straight in. Great stuff.

Overall Eurogamer Expo 2012 was a little muted for me personally. There wasn’t one particular game I was desperate to play – perhaps that is tied to the fact we’re nearing the end of the console cycle? However I enjoyed everything I played and even liked a few titles I might not have otherwise bothered playing.

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Most Wanted 2012

Following on from a fairly muted E3, that only held a few unknown announcements, I thought it’d be worth updated the games I’m keeping an eye on.

The list is pretty large so I’ll start with the ones I’m most excited for:

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1) WATCH DOGS – Release Date TBC

This one blew me away at E3 and was easily the most impressive thing I saw. Just watch the video and this one will explain for itself. Hopefully it’ll look that good and deliver that immersive an experience when the game arrives.

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2) BORDERLANDS 2 – September 2012

The first Borderlands was a great game, which delivered so much more than was expected of it. (Seriously it’s cheap now so check it out!) The sequel looks set to live up to and maybe even exceed what came before – guns galore and exquisite cell shaded graphics combine for a brilliant experience. And it’s 4 player co-op! 🙂

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3) BEYOND – TBC

Heavy Rain was one of my favourite games this generation, so anything new from developer Quantic Dream is always welcome. After showing us a tech demo called ‘Kara‘ earlier this year, Quantic blew the lid off Beyond at E3 – revealing the casting of Ellen Page and showing off the above trailer. Definitely one to watch.

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4) GRAND THEFT AUTO V – TBC

It’s a new Grand Theft Auto – what more do I need to say? 😆 Looks amazing and you can always count on Rockstar to deliver something special. Expect the hype train to begin very shortly.

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5) BIOSHOCK INFINITE – February 2013

This made the last list I did and has now, unfortunately, been pushed back to 2013 so here it is again. The prequel to the original Bioshock title sees you out of the water and up in the sky – check out the footage above to refresh your memory.

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6) THE LAST OF US – 2013

The Last Of Us is the next game from developer Naughty Dog, whose Uncharted franchise has gone from strength to strength. Telling the story of Joel and Ellie, two survivors of global pandemic that have teamed up, this looks like it could be something totally different. A game with a change of pace is always nice and this one looks gritty to boot.

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7) RETRO CITY RAMPAGE (VITA) – Imminent!

Oh yes! 🙂 Can you feel the force of a new title based around all your old favourite 8 Bit titles? There are even nods to newer games thrown in. This looks so good and a perfect fit to the Vita’s pick up and play type gaming. Believe it or not this is the work of ONE MAN! Brian Provinciano take a bow… and then get straight back to work on finishing the game 😆

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8) HITMAN ABSOLUTION – November 2012

I still can’t believe we haven’t had any sort of Hitman title on the PS3 so far! This looks like it could be fantastic. IO have been shaky in the last few years with the Kane and Lynch franchise but hopefully this will be a return to form.

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9) KILLZONE (VITA) – TBC

I love the Killzone universe and having seen the initial potential of a FPS on the Vita with Resistance Burning Skies, I’m hopeful we’ll get a great handheld version of the franchise. We’ve barely seen anything (see above) but I still can’t wait for this. And this time we play as the Helghast… right Studio Cambridge? RIGHT? 😉

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10) ASSASSIN’S CREED III – October 2012

Ezio Auditore has finally taken a bow and Assassin’s Creed heads to a new time period in the third fully fledged game in the series. This time you’re slap bang in the middle of the War of Independence between the US and England. This looks absolutely stunning and the change in main character/setting adds to the excitement.

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11) DISHONORED – October 2012

Steampunk is on the agenda for Dishonored – set in an alternative universe in which steam powered machinery is the norm, the game sees you fighting to clear your name by taking on (and killing) various powerful political figures. It’s all in the first person and the time manipulation mechanic (among others) looks really interesting.

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12) DEAD SPACE 3 – February 2013

I’m still a touch concerned that co-op play may ruin the atmosphere that the Dead Space series has crafted but I’m willing to give it a chance based on how good the last two games were. This time Isaac is tackling the frozen planet Tau Volantis, I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do with some more open environments.

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13) SPLINTER CELL: BLACKLIST – 2013

The last few Splinter Cell games have skipped the PS3 so it’s nice to see Sam Fisher returning to our screens. 3rd Echelon have been disbanded by order of the President. Never fear though, Sam’s set up 4th Echelon in secret 😆 so the adventures can continue. Looks really cool and will be interested to see more on this one.

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14) RESIDENT EVIL 6 – OCTOBER 2012

A lot of people didn’t but I actually enjoyed Resident Evil 5. Sure it wasn’t the best game in the series but it was still decent enough to play through and I liked the different setting. 6 goes back to Resi’s roots a bit and features several stories that cross over. This could be a dark horse for Game Of The Year if they get it right.

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15) ASSASSIN’S CREED: LIBERATION (VITA) – October 2012

Yes it’s *another* Assassin’s Creed game but but there are some differences here – firstly a female lead character (and a realistic, non sexualised one at that 😯 ), secondly a new time period to mess around in and finally the game looks like it’s taking full advantage of the Vita’s power to provide an open world experience on the go. Great stuff.

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So those are my ‘most’ Most Wanted 🙂 But there are still a whole host of other games on the horizon that are worth checking out – here are some more that it’s worth looking out for this year and next:

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16) METAL GEAR RISING: REVENGANCE – 2013

Dropping the ‘Solid’ from it’s title and shifting developers to Platinum Games (who made the totally insane and great Bayonetta) might be the smartest move this title made. Raiden is the star here as you control a CYBORG NINJA with a SAMURAI SWORD. That is all.

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17) SLEEPING DOGS – August 2012

Rescued from the dumpster of Activision, Sleeping Dogs is in fact True Crime Hong Kong – except with a new title and more development time. Influenced by Hong Kong cinema, this looks like a lot of fun.

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18) RAINBOW SIX: PATRIOTS – 2013

For goodness sake Ubisoft give me my Rainbow Six! It’s been 4 years! The two Vegas games were great and I expect this to be just as good – don’t let me down!

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19) TOMB RAIDER – 2013

Finally XBox 360 owners will get to play Uncharted… Oh sorry I meant, look it’s a new Tomb Raider game! 😉 Eidos are giving Lara Croft a reboot ‘Dark Knight’ style and this looks like it could be really good. And it’s some climbing, treasure based action to tide us over until Uncharted 4.

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20) NEED FOR SPEED: MOST WANTED (VITA) – November 2012

The Vita really needs a top draw driving game in my opinion. As it appears there are no plans for a Gran Turismo on the handheld the mantle falls to Criterion (of Burnout fame) who will be bringing Need For Speed to Vita alongside it’s PS3 brother. Should be great.

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21) FAR CRY 3 – September 2012

Unfortunately Far Cry 2 was one of those games that I started but ended up getting lost in a deluge of other great titles. The third instalment certainly looks great, hopefully the gameplay will be smooth as well.

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22) ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES – 2013

Another game that’s been pushed back to next year is Gearbox’s love letter to the film ‘Aliens’. This one could go either way I feel, I’m hoping it veers towards the action based set pieces of the film and does the universe justice.

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23) DUST 514 – TBC

Dust 514 is a free to play FPS that will hit the PSN later this year. It ties in with a PC title called Eve Online – some missions in Dust will be given by people playing the PC game. Interesting idea, will be keeping an eye on how this one does.

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24) CALL OF DUTY BLACK OPS: DECLASSIFIED (VITA) – November 2012

Rumour has it this will be the missions that were made for Black Ops but that didn’t make it into the final game. Sounds cool to me – I enjoyed Black Ops but please Treyach, no poorly implemented exploding barrel sequences this time ok?

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25) PREY 2 – 2013

I don’t know much about the first Prey as I never played it but the trailer for the second game (which you can see here) looks pretty sweet. I’m looking forward to hearing more about this one in the upcoming months.

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So there you go – 25 games to keep on your radar. Anything I’ve missed? What games are you guys most excited about?

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E3 2011: Wrap Up

So E3 has been and gone for another year.

While there wasn’t much in the way of big surprises we got to see plenty of great stuff.

Here are my thoughts on this year’s games:

EA had a great press conference, showing off the expected big guns of Mass Effect 3, Battlefield 3 and FIFA 12. Mass Effect 3 looked great and having just wrapped up the second game I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Same goes for Battlefield 3 – the game looks stunning on PC and it will be interesting to see how close they can get the console versions.

FIFA 12 looks set to be improved greatly by a new physics engine, which essentially means the end of set animations for players. From here on out players will react naturally to where they are hit. If implemented corrected it could be a game changer.

I wasn’t that sure about Need For Speed: The Run which brings QTE’s to the franchise for moments your driver leaves the car. Could be cool if they feature it well – overuse it and it could be the kiss of death for the game. One of the few ‘unknowns’ of the show, Overstrike is the new game from Insomiac Games (makers of the Resistance series) and it looks like lots of fun. Certainly it doesn’t take itself too seriously – check out the trailer below.

Speaking of Insomiac Games, I thought Resistance 3 looked cool. Maybe not as polished as some of the other games but certainly a story I’m interested in seeing continue. DUST514 was another unknown property to me but seems like something different in the shooter market.

Of course Uncharted 3 looked superb and it’s getting to the stage now where I’m considering not watching any more footage for fear of ruining the game for myself! Twisted Metal impressed – while it’ll be a hard sell to the masses, in my opinion, I am definitely on board having loved the original back on the PSOne.

Ubisoft were showing off Assassin’s Creed: Relevations, the final chapter in the Ezio trilogy and while it looks like refinements rather than innovation, I’m cool with that. They also showed a trailer for a new Brothers In Arms title called Furious Four. I thought it looked great, as many others have said it has a touch of the Ingloroius Bastards about it. The only issue I had was the fact that Brothers In Arms games usually take the moral high ground and base themselves on real soldiers experience, so the branding here jars somewhat.

The new Driver title looked like it could be fun but the last few have been fairly poor so I’ll withhold judgement for now. Certainly it was a cool trailer. I also liked the look of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. It reminded me of SOCOM 4, which I enjoyed a lot, so that bodes well. Far Cry 3 returned with a bang, showing off an impressive trailer that really set the scene. Far Cry 2 didn’t grab me as much as I’d hoped so I have my fingers crossed for the third one.

Batman Arkham City had a reveal at the show, that Catwoman would be a playable character. A nice addition and we got to see some more footage of the game in action. It’s shaping up nicely and the open world setting looks amazing. Finally looks like XBox owners will get a slice of the Uncharted action with Tomb Raider, a reboot of the series that shows a more gritty version of Lara Croft finding her feet on a quest for adventure. From what they showed it looks great so I’m interested to check it out.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Bioshock Infinite were both known properties but the new footage shown has raised expectation even higher than before. Deus Ex hits later this year with Bioshock Infinite coming in 2012.

Modern Warfare 3 was also shown and, well, it’s Modern Warfare. No-one is likely to be disappointed with more of the same and it’s understandable with the walk outs the game studio had. I’ll enjoy the campaign and play some multiplayer as I do with each Call Of Duty. Surely this has to be the last outing for this game engine though?

Bethesda’s Skyrim looked stunning and if you like your games based in the olde worlde fantasy setting this will be one you’ll need to pick up. I was also glad to see X-COM make the jump from XBox exclusive to multi-format as I liked the look of that previously. With a 1950’s ‘Twilight Zone’ style setting it’s one to keep an eye on.

It’s been too long since we slipped on the gloves of Agent 47 and IO Interactive are looking to remedy that with Hitman: Absolution. A brief trailer was all that was shown but I can’t wait for this game. On the downloadable game front I thought Payday: The Heist looked like it could be absolutely superb. The idea of running through heists with friends online and it being different each time sounds like a lot of fun.

So there we go – one of the other big parts of E3 was the confirmation of the PS Vita handheld from Sony but I think that deserves it’s own entry so keep your eyes peeled for that sometime this week.

What were your thoughts on E3? Which games surprised you or increased your interest?

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