GregHorrorShow’s Guide To Gaming – Part 4: The Parent Edition

Guide Vol 4 Parents Main

So your kids are getting bigger, becoming small people with personalities and tastes of their own 🙂 All of a sudden they are asking about games… all their friends are playing games… can we get a console… can I play on the iPad… and so on and so forth. There is a hell of a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding out there with regards to games so we are going to discuss some of the stigmas around games and bust a few myths while we are at it.

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PEGI RATINGS

Guide Vol 4 Parents Ratings

So first things first, the most basic of all the information I have to share but also the most commonly misinterpreted. Most games aren’t made for children. That’s the best thing to get your head around. The average age of gamers is now 31. Unless it’s a game aimed at children, presume this was intended for adults to play. PEGI (Pan European Game Information) are the game equivalent of the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) for films. The age rating on the box of a game is the same as it would be for Film or TV. It is NOT a guide to the ability of your child like a puzzle or board game. These ratings are content based, not skill based. I once overheard a lady in a shop who had made this mistake and was considering buying her 10 year old son a copy of an 18+ rated game because ‘he is really good at games.’ Thankfully the shop assistant explained. So always check these ratings before allowing your child to play a game. Of course there is nothing to stop you allowing your child to play a higher rated game if you feel they are mature enough to handle it, that’s your call – my 4 year old daughter often played Skylanders with her bigger sister which was rated as 7+ and we had no issues. However, it should be a decision you make rather than just getting whatever game they ask for.

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PLAY TIME

Guide Vol 4 Parents Time

Gaming is no different to any other medium; a child should not be sitting down and playing their console all day. To be honest, adults shouldn’t be doing that but they are old enough to look after themselves! I wouldn’t recommend a child sits and watches TV all day, or just sits in a room reading a book all day. I’d also strongly advise against having a console in their bedroom so you can keep an eye on what they are playing but again that’s a personal parental decision. Most things in moderation are ok and gaming is no different. Make sure you explain to them what time you’re allowing (45 mins or an hour etc.) and then stick to it. You should allow a little leeway; say 5 minutes to get to a suitable stopping point. Most games now auto-save very regularly so don’t let them fob you off with tales of having to get to a save point. If they insist try googling the game to see if doesn’t have auto-save, just in case.

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IPAD / TABLET GAMING

Guide Vol 4 Parents IPad

My area of expertise is console gaming and I don’t have a lot of experience with iPad/Tablet games so my main advice is to be super vigilant. On consoles you would need to have a credit card linked to your PlayStation or XBox to buy anything. On phones it’s a lot easier for kids to accidentally rack up costs (often without realising it). Sadly the mobile gaming space is full of titles made with the aim of getting you to pay money. Beware of Free To Play titles, they are specifically designed to prey on people susceptible to gambling/addiction by making the game ramp up in difficulty or locking things behind a timer – “Wait two days to play again or just pay 79p to jump straight back in.” These games can be very dangerous to the wrong personalities (adults included) and can often be as bad as fruit machines. Best thing to do would be to check around online and see which games are rated highly for kids. Having said that even that can’t protect you from the stream of ads running alongside the game… a well-known kids app called Talking Tom (with a cute speaking cat you interact with) hit the headlines for running hard-core porn video ads in the game while children were playing. This thing is mainly avoidable on consoles as most products don’t have random ads running in the background.

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CONSOLES

So you’ve been beaten into submission and now you’re looking to get a console! But which one? Well fortunately you only really have three choices and two of them are very similar.

Nintendo Wii-U

Guide Vol 4 Parents Wii U

Nintendo are often kid’s first game experiences as they are very family friendly. Games like Mario Kart, Donkey Kong and Legend Of Zelda have great heritage and with new titles like Splatoon, they are still delivering solid kids content. The only issue you may have here is that a lot of other companies have stopped making games for it so it is mainly just those Nintendo games you’ll be playing.

XBox / Playstation

Guide Vol 4 Parents XB-PS

For younger kids you might be able to get away with giving them the older consoles (XBox 360 and PlayStation 3) which both have a wealth of back catalogue games and, while not quite up to the standard of the latest titles, will be great for playing lots of awesome games. However as they get older and need to keep up with the Jones’s, you’ll be looking more at the XBox One or PlayStation 4. These two are fairly similar and it will probably come down to what your kids friends are playing on. I’ve always preferred PlayStation, which also has the benefit of being market leader and getting the best versions of most games. Also there’s LittleBigPlanet, but more on that later!

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TOYS TO LIFE

Guide Vol 4 Parents Toys

There is a new kid on the block in terms of games for youngsters – Toys To Life. This genre encompasses heavyweights like Skylanders, Disney Infinity and the newly announced Lego Dimensions. These games are played like others with a gamepad but the difference is that they come with a little portal. You pop the toys on top of the portal and then they appear in game for you to control. It’s pretty awesome actually, I would’ve loved this for my He-Man or Ghostbusters back in the day! My (gentle) warning on these games is not the content – they are definitely kid friendly – but more the fact of knowing what you are investing in. These games are full price (usually with a toy or two) and then further toy figures are around £10 each. Some (optional) areas of the game can only be accessed by specific characters and as you can imagine the cost can escalate quickly, especially if your kids have more than one of these titles!

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SUITABLE GAMES

Guide Vol 4 Parents Tearaway

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of games out there that your kids could play. Make sure you research titles before allowing them to play. Here are a few titles that I’d recommend.

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Under 5’s

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  • Joe Danger
  • Super Rub A Dub
  • Katamari
  • Skylanders
  • Disney Infinity
  • Octodad (this is actually really difficult but the kids love the comedy element)

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These games should always be simple and not too complicated so the child doesn’t get too frustrated – I’d strongly recommend Joe Danger (video above) and Katamari from this list as they can be played on a basic level with just one or two buttons. And both are great fun!

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5-12 Years

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  • Skylanders
  • Disney Infinity
  • Minecraft (more on that below)
  • FIFA Soccer
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Various Lego Titles (Batman/Avengers etc.)
  • DriveClub
  • Child Of Light
  • Tearaway

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There are some wonderful games in this list – LittleBigPlanet is shown above but Tearaway is also amazing and for something a little deeper Child Of Light is unbelievably good. These are games that both children and adults can enjoy (together if you’d like!)

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The ‘Teens’ .

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  • Destiny
  • Uncharted
  • Need For Speed
  • Mass Effect
  • Journey

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So included here are a bunch of game series that are higher rated age-wise and deal with violence but with a more sci-fi slant that isn’t going for realism. Another series in this vein is Uncharted, which is more like Indiana Jones than anything else. Also worth noting that Mass Effect contains (non-explicit) sexual content as you can romance a member of your crew, just in case that influences your decision.

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BIG NAMES

Guide Vol 4 Parents Minecraft

And now we come to the big names, the ones the kids will be begging to play.

PLEASE NOTE SOME OF THE VIDEOS BELOW CONTAIN EXTREMELY VIOLENT GRAPHIC CONTENT – I AM EMBEDDING THEM BELOW TO HIGHLIGHT POTENTIAL GAME CONTENT BUT CLICK AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION. .

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Minecraft

Minecraft is great for most children, it encourages building and exploration. Some of the enemies might be too much for very young children but I’d say this one is generally ok for most age groups.

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Call Of Duty

Call Of Duty is a huge franchise in which you play as a soldier killing other people. There are two elements to the game, single player and online. The online multiplayer is where they will likely be playing, in modes where killing the other players is the name of the game (literally, it’s called Deathmatch!). This tends to not be too graphic, although bear in mind you will be shooting and stabbing people. The other issue is online chat, although I’ll go more into that below. The other side of the game is the campaign in which you would play through the story. Known for its shocking violence these can sometimes be tough to watch as an adult – for example an interrogation scene in which you put glass into a man’s mouth and then crush it by punching him in the face. It’s probably most infamous for its ‘No Russian’ that sees you take part in a terrorist attack at an airport, shooting civilians. Footage below so you can see for yourself…

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Assassin’s Creed

The Assassin’s Creed games all take place in different eras of history (1400’s Italy, 1700’s Paris and 1800’s London for example). This means they can give a feel for those places at that time and you can visit recreated landmarks and go inside (Notre Dame was particularly impressive!). However, as the name suggests you will be tasked with killing targets as part of an overall Templar/Assassin storyline. Usually using blades, although guns do feature, this is probably the least graphic of the biggest games but still I wouldn’t really recommend for kids younger than 15, depending on the child of course.

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Mortal Kombat

And now I’m afraid I’m going to be really hypocritical. Let me explain. The original Mortal Kombat came out in 1993, when I was just 13. And we played it for hours at friend’s houses. While not quite as graphically impressive as games nowadays it still allowed you to perform brutal finishing moves on opponents and was, no doubt, not suitable for a 13 year old. Having said that it didn’t seem to do me any harm but I digress… The latest installment of Mortal Kombat is the tenth in the series and the games have leaned even more into the gross-out over the top finishing moves than ever before. As an adult I can differentiate between this type of ‘video-nasty’ horror/violence and real life, knowing that these moves are displayed tongue in cheek. However parents should be aware that although this verges on satire, they are still extremely, graphically, violent. Again, here’s a video showing a few of the moves in the latest game.

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Grand Theft Auto

Ah Grand Theft Auto – the bane of game headlines around the world! First let’s bust a few myths.

‘This game makes you sleep with a prostitute and then kill her to get your money back’

While this is possible in the game it is never requested as part of a mission nor are you asked to do so. The logistics of that statement are correct but this is player agency, you aren’t asked to do this.

‘Playing this game turned this kid into a killer.’

From all of the research I’ve read there has never been a proven link between games and real life killing. I strongly suspect playing GTA all day every day is going to do the player no favours, in the same way sitting and watching video nasties would potentially warp someone’s perception of the real world.

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The Grand Theft Auto games are violent, involve crime and come with a lot of baggage in terms of cultural experience. This means a whole lot of swearing (including the c-word) and possibly the most racial slurs/slang I’ve ever heard in a game. The most recent game also includes a torture scene in which you select which ‘instrument’ (pliers, wrench etc.) to use for most damage. Here’s the scene below, again it’s a tough watch but you should know what you’re letting your children get involved in.

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The irony of all this is that Grand Theft Auto is a superb game. It has furthered the media in so many ways. For all of the above negative points it is unrivaled in creating a lifelike vibrant city with an endless stream of things to do for the player. You can go to the cinema, play golf… even get a haircut or tattoo. The radio stations in the game allow players to discover new types of music and bands they may never have heard before. This game, all of the games in this section are great games. I’ve enjoyed playing them but as an adult. Not a child.

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ONLINE GAMING

Guide Vol 4 Parents Headset

Another thing parents should be aware of is online gaming in general. Gamers are able to communicate with game headsets so that they can talk to other players while in game. This can be a good thing, socially especially, and is a helpful feature when playing with friends. However you need to bear in mind that if your child is using a headset to talk to other gamers they could, literally, be talking to anyone. They could (and sadly probably will) hear abusive phrases thrown around casually. Racist slurs, homophobic slurs. It’s the same as being on the internet – if you let your child visit whatever sites are available and talk to people they don’t know there is a chance they could end up talking with some quite unsavoury characters. This isn’t a reason to panic but try to ensure they understand the dangers and, if possible, only use a headset to talk to people they know.

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So that’s pretty much it, I know it’s a *long* piece but I’ve been asked by enough people that it felt something like this could be helpful to fellow parents who aren’t as aware of games.

If you do have any other questions feel free to drop them in the comments or, of course, e-mail or tweet me. In the meantime feel free to share among fellow parents and anyone who might appreciate a heads up.

The main takeaway should be that games are not made exclusively for children but that they aren’t inherently bad for kids either. Be aware of what they are playing and monitor their progress.

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Top 100 Single Player PS3 Games: Part 1 (100-91)

Rage 1

Ok, so it’s been a bit of an undertaking but with the Playstation 4 on the horizon I thought it would be a good time to re-evaluate my single player games list and extend it out to a Top 100. Games will be coming in batches of 10 to begin with and I look forward to seeing everyone’s thoughts on the games included on the list.

This list doesn’t take into account multiplayer aspects of games, it’s based solely on single player experience.

So let’s get going!

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100. Payday: The Heist

PaydayHeist

We open our list with Payday: The Heist. This is a cracking downloadable game from developers Overkill, in which you take part in a series of thefts/heists involving guns, helicopters and cash.

Made to be played in 4 players in online co-op, Payday can also be played solo with three AI controlled characters. While it’s not half as much fun on your own, Payday is still a solid shooter with some interesting mechanics when playing solo.

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99. Rage

Rage Main

Rage is probably closest in scope to Borderlands but rather than the cell shaded look Gearbox’s title went for, it really goes to town on the graphics front. Sure it’s also a stylised cartoon look but it’s much more realistic looking.

The shooting is solid and some great weapon design means things don’t feel too stale when choosing your armoury. Shots pop nicely, the weapons have a decent weight to them and the recoil is well balanced so that each shot counts.

Rage is an above average shooter that fizzes when at its best, unfortunately there is too much filler in the first half of the game. This means it doesn’t quite hit the lofty expectations most people had for it.

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98. Enslaved: Odyssey To The West

EnslavedMain

Enslaved tells the story of Monkey and Trip as they make their way across a devastated World. After managing to escape from a ‘slaver’ ship Monkey awakes to find Trip has attached a ‘slave headband’ to him and he must do as she commands. If he doesn’t do as she says, goes too far away from Trip or Trip herself dies then the headband will inflict pain or even kill Monkey.

Enslaved is a really good game and definitely an enjoyable third person action adventure. It’s not quite up there with the Uncharted series or Red Dead Redemption but it can hold its own among the others in the genre.

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97. Joe Danger

Joe Danger Guide

Joe Danger is a wonderfully charming PSN title that sees you take on the role of bike stuntman Joe Danger. Out of retirement and looking to recapture his glory days, Joe needs you to guide him through jumps, flips and other obstacles.

Easy to play and great fun. This is also a top title for younger kids who can play with only a few button presses.

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96. God Of War: Ascension

GOWAscension

The latest instalment of God Of War was a prequel rather than a continuation of the Kratos story. Control wise it’s business as usual and you’ll be dismembering figures from Greek myth all over the place.

Unfortunately, while the combat was good it meant that the story didn’t really impress and it felt a bit like filler. Not to mention the utter frustration of the Trial Of Archimedes. An enjoyable game but not Kratos at his best.

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95. Dead Space 3

DeadSpace3 2

Set some time after the events of the second game, Dead Space 3 brings together the usual necromorph threat with a much higher Unitologist presence than before. And they’re armed, military units. Hell at one stage some of the necromorphs have guns!

Taking out the necromorphs still feels satisfying but the human enemies didn’t quite have that quality. I liked the story but I am a sucker for this universe.

Make no mistake, Dead Space 3 is an action game with horror parts added. The balance between horror and action had teetered with the second game but has now tilted fully in favour of run ‘n’ gun action. It isn’t a bad game at all. It’s just not what I really want from a Dead Space game.

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94. Alien V Predator

AvP

Alien V Predator gives you three separate campaigns to play through; Alien, Predator and Marine. Unfortunately the Marine campaign is the best of the bunch, which feels a bit like an opportunity wasted.

The balancing of the species is handled really well, each feeling suitably powerful but having their vulnerabilities. The times when it worked with Alien or Predator it was very satisfying but more often than not the controls/mechanic let it down.

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93. 50 Cent: Blood On The Sand

50BloodOnSand

Despite appearances to the contrary, Blood On The Sand is actually very playable. It’s not too taxing a game, more of a run and gun than a tactical shooter. There are a few frustrating parts but overall the game is fairly well balanced.

A surprise then, one of those rare occasions where a game is actually quite a bit better than you thought it would be. It might not be a world beater but it caters to its audience and is accessible for everyone who plays it.

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92. Crysis 3

Crysis3 2

Crysis 3 is a sci-fi first person shooter that delivers big on graphics but is slightly lacking in terms of story.

You wear a ‘nanosuit’ which delivers different abilities. You can either try to just blast your way through trouble using the armor ability to soak up more damage, use your suit’s super jump ability to get yourself out of a situation or avoid the situation altogether by activating your cloaking ability and sneaking past the enemies.

I liked some of the characterisation and graphically it looked great. It’s just that the rest of it was, well… average. This is a title that would be best suited to a rental as opposed to a purchase.

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91. Dante’s Inferno

DanteInferno

Taking it’s cue from the novel of the same name, but making it clear it’s inspired by rather than true to it, Dante’s Inferno see you play as Dante who upon returning from the Crusades finds an unsavoury fate has befallen his loved one.

The gameplay is very similar to other third person action brawlers, with a light attack, heavy attack and ‘magic’ in the form of Dante’s Holy Cross – which can be used to smite enemies and tortured souls.

Sadly while there are some great ideas in here a lot of the gameplay is lifted almost directly from God Of War. Worth a play through then but if you fancy some hack and slash you’d be better off sticking to God Of War III.

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There we have it then, the opening selection of games – have you played any of these? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments below.

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GregHorrorShow’s Guide To Gaming – Part 3: Titles To Start With (Single Player)

Everybody has to start somewhere and gaming can be one of the tougher pastimes to get started with.

Of course you’ll want to hit up the latest and greatest games. No doubt your buddies will be quick to shower you with games you ‘have to play.’

Often people recommend you games that they love forgetting that you might not have quite the knowledge of the genre or know your way that well around a gamepad.

Below are some titles that I’d say are worth a shot for new players – if you’re completely new to gaming it might be worth sticking them on Easy as well until you find your feet.

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MAFIA II

Mafia II is a well produced, easy to get into, gangster story set in the 1940’s and beyond. It’s a third person action adventure game in the same vein as Grand Theft Auto. However the main reason I suggest this as a starter title is that it is extremely linear. You can just stick to the story without getting bogged down in side quests/open world stuff.

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JOE DANGER

Joe Danger is simple, unadulterated fun. Taking on the role of motorcycle stuntman Joe Danger, you’re tasked with revving your way through various stunts, tricks and races. You go from the left of the screen to the right rather than the world being three dimensional but this is a great game to get yourself familiar with the pad.

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CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 3

The Modern Warfare franchise has been taken to task over the last few years for providing a rip roaring rollercoaster of a ride in it’s single player campaign. The issue most people have with that is that a lot of the game is ‘on-rails’ and linear. Perfect for folks looking to get to grips with their new console.

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MOTORSTORM: PACIFIC RIFT

For me Pacific Rift has been the pinnacle of the Motorstorm series. This is pick up and race at it’s very best. Choosing from a whole host of vehicles: Trucks, Bikes, Jeeps and more, you’ll be landing massive jumps and outpacing the opposition in no time.

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UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES

Nathan Drake is the poster child of the PS3 – all three of his games have been a blast from start to finish. The original game ‘Drake’s Fortune’ suffered from a few issues in terms of difficulty spikes and shooting mechanics. So I’d recommend starting with ‘Among Thieves’ instead. While there can be a lot going on with different buttons etc, the developers do a great job of guiding you through it.

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LITTLEBIGPLANET 2

Another of Sony’s marketing stars is Sackboy, whose adorable little face can be found plastered all over the place. At it’s core this is a sandbox of fun in which you can create levels or whatever you want. Luckily the game also comes with a story mode in which you can make your way through plenty of pre-created levels. Simple but addictive, this is great fun on your own or with a friend as the game supports local co-op.

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HEAVY RAIN

David Cage’s Tour De Force does have the odd hole here and there but overall this is a fantastic gaming experience. Taking control of four characters within the story, you will be doing your best to nail the Origami Killer, who has kidnapped another victim. Not played in the orthodox style of gaming, Heavy Rain will get you used to where the buttons are on the pad in no time.

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DIRT 3

One for the more serious racers out there, Dirt 3 has a touch more realism than the Motorstorm series but is a lot more forgiving than something like Gran Turismo. With a mix of rally racing and some more stunt based stuff, this is a great game to get started with if you’re interested in driving/racing games.

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So there we go, a few suggestions of titles that are worth checking out if you’re new to the world of Playstation or just looking to start playing beyond FIFA and Call Of Duty online.

Will be interested to see what you guys think and what games you would recommend to get people started?

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Joe Danger – Review (PS3)

When I initially saw footage of Joe Danger I thought it looked ok but nothing special. I imagined I’d pick it up at some stage but I wasn’t overly impressed.

I then picked up the trial and thoroughly enjoyed it. So I decided to take the plunge and invest a tenner in my first full downloadable game.

And it was £10 well spent becuase Joe Danger is a fantastic game.

The basic premise of the game is that you’re back out of retirement and looking to make your mark on the stunt world once more.

This involves riding your motorcycle through obstacle courses and stringing together combo moves and stunts. And what fun that is – sure it can be frustrating at times but when you land a huge score and leap to the top of your friends leaderboard it’s a great feeling.

The game keeps a track of you and your friends scores via PSN so you always have competition. The only thing I would’ve liked to have seen would’ve been more notification. As it stands you have to manually check the leaderboards yourself but it would’ve made a big difference if it just came up when you selected a course or popped up a message saying ‘so and so beat your score.’ etc.

This is a great game and well worth your time. You can also play races alongside online buddies but sadly I haven’t been able to take advantage of that aspect of the game yet. Joe Danger also caters for those creative types with level design tools that are fairly straightforward to use.

Overall Joe Danger is one of the best downloadable games I’ve played and will bring you many hours of madcap fun, especially if you have a few friends to compete against.

Rating 8/10

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GregHorrorShow Game Awards 2010

Well it’s that time of year again and 2010 has seen some immense games roll around – as well as continued support via DLC for some of 2009 biggest titles.

Sadly I didn’t have time to play every game that was released so if I’ve missed anything worth checking out shout me in the comments and if it’s not already in my ‘to play’ pile I’ll get it added.

Right, let’s go!

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BEST GAME INNOVATION

WINNER: Destruction 2.0 (Battlefield Bad Company 2)

This was a tough one to call this year but I definitely think Destruction 2.0 is something that has helped put Battlefield head and shoulders above most other shooters out there. Enemy hiding in a house? Just blow the wall up in front of them and it’ll leave a nice big hole to shoot them through. Or just blow the building up completely and have it crush them to death.

RUNNERS UP:

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (Online Assassination Multiplayer)

Modnation Racers (Easy Track Creation)

Playstation Move

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BEST DLC (CONTENT)

WINNER: Undead Nightmare (Red Dead Redemption)

 

No question of the winner here – with around 6 hours of single player and the fantastic Undead Overrun & Land Grab online modes, Undead Nightmare packs a lot of bang for your buck. This is one of the more comprehensive DLC packs out there and if you liked Red Dead Redemption then this is a must have. Props to Uncharted and Battlefield though – two strong modes added there but Undead takes this one.

RUNNERS UP:

Heavy Rain: The Taxidermist

Uncharted 2 Seige

Battlefield: Onslaught

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DOWNLOADABLE GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Dead Nation

I honestly didn’t see anything taking this award away from the excellent Joe Danger and then Housemarque’s Dead Nation arrived at the beginning of December. Dripping in HD visuals comes a twin stick shooter that makes you think about your every move. When to use the SMG and how much Shotgun ammo to conserve become regular questions. Your score gets added to total score for your country and you can keep a tab on which country is the best at fighting the Zombie invasion. Very cool indeed.

RUNNERS UP:

Joe Danger

Shank

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

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MOST ANTICIPATED GAME OF 2011

WINNER: Killzone 3

Wow, this was a tough call – it had to be Killzone 3 or Uncharted 3. I’m sure Uncharted 3 will be awesome but having played Killzone 3 I can’t wait for this to arrive in February. Continuing the story from the second game and adding substantially to the multiplayer, I think this could be a game of the year contender.

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BEST GAME TRAILER

WINNER: L.A Noire

The standard of trailers has been so high this year I’ve decided to pop the runners up on here as well for you to have a look at. L.A Noire takes the crown though and man, those Rockstar guys know how to make a trailer! Another contender for most anticipated, L.A Noire sees you take on the role of Cole Phelps, a detective in 1940’s America. Great stuff and the trailer really captures that feeling of the time.

RUNNERS UP:

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Spec Ops The Line

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – Vietnam

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PSP GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to pick up God Of War: Ghost Of Sparta yet so that hasn’t made the cut. I’m sure it would’ve been a close call regardless as Metal Gear also oozes quality and is such a deep game that there is always something different to do. Whether it’s going on missions or recruiting more soldiers for your army, Peace Walker will keep you entertained for hours. My play through clocked in at 16 hrs, which puts a fair few PS3 titles to shame.

RUNNER UP:

Half Minute Hero

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BEST SPORTS GAME

WINNER: FIFA 11

FIFA 11 is more of a refinement than anything else but it’s amazing the difference the changes make. While FIFA continues to dominate it’s interesting that PES gets a nomination this year – it shows that the series has made great strides this year to try and close the gap.

RUNNERS UP:

Formula 1 2010

Modnation Racers

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011

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BEST GRAPHICS

WINNER: Heavy Rain

No doubt on this one as Quantic Dream’s stunning thriller has some of the best motion capture and facial animation ever seen in a game. Whether it was evading masked men as Madison, talking down a robber in a shop with Shelby or shouting ‘JASON!’ repeatedly in a mall as Ethan, Heavy Rain looked gorgeous. Gran Turismo 5 certainly deserves a heads up in this category as when it all comes together it looks stunning however Heavy Rain was far more consistent.

RUNNERS UP:

God Of War 3

Red Dead Redemption

Gran Turismo 5

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BEST STORYLINE

WINNER: Red Dead Redemption

Unexpected. Not a word you’ll often type when talking about the story of a game but that’s what you get with Red Dead. John Marston’s story of gunslinger gone good who is brought in by the government against his will to track down his old gang trundles along at a pace and has plenty of stand out moments but it’s the final third of the game that stands out as some of the best I’ve played in a game. Not to mention the ending, which is one of the most impressive I’ve ever experienced in a game. Genius. 😎

RUNNERS UP:

God of War III

Mafia II

Heavy Rain

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (SCORE)

WINNER: God Of War III

The final part of Kratos’ epic trilogy hit PS3 owners with everything it had back in March and as usual Gerard K Marino’s score didn’t disappoint. Dipping and soaring in the right places this was the perfect accompaniment to the on screen carnage. The score really does push the story on and is definitely well suited to Kratos’ character.

RUNNERS UP:

Heavy Rain

Red Dead Redemption

Bioshock 2

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (LICENSED)

WINNER: Mafia II

The music in Mafia II is a huge part of what makes you feel like you are actually back in that era. I remember the first car I got into had “At The Hop” by Danny and The Juniors playing. It was one of the coolest things I’d had happen in a game for ages. A wonderful selection of old tracks that are well worth checking out in their own right but that combined with gameplay help make for a memorable experience.

RUNNERS UP:

Bioshock 2

FIFA 11

Call Of Duty: Black Ops

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BEST VOICE ACTING

WINNER: Red Dead Redemption

Rockstar usually deliver on the voice front with the GTA titles and Red Dead Redemption certainly doesn’t disappoint. Every character feels well rounded and has a voice to suit them perfectly. Even the supporting cast: Bonnie McFarland, Seth, Irish and, of course, West Dickens. This was a strong category this year with Mafia II in particular impressing but with such strength in depth it has to be Red Dead Redemption.

RUNNERS UP:

God Of War III

Mafia II

Heavy Rain

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SINGLE PLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption tells a well crafted story in a beautifully rendered environment. There is so much to do and see that I still don’t feel like I have fully explored the world of the wild west. Rockstar have created a varied and expansive playground with enough going on to keep even the most hardcore of gamers entertained for hours and hours.

RUNNERS UP:

Heavy Rain

Mafia II

Alpha Protocol

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MULTIPLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Battlefield: Bad Company 2

It was nice for me personally that my most anticipated game of 2010 lived up to expectations and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 nailed team based multiplayer like no other game I’ve ever played. The sense of satisfaction at winning a tense round of Rush and the feeling of being part of a bigger team is hard to beat. With the upcoming Vietnam expansion pack this game will only get better and better.

RUNNERS UP:

Modnation Racers

Red Dead Redemption

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

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GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Red Dead Redemption

There could really only be one choice this year, with Rockstar’s Western epic taking the title of Game Of The Year. With a brilliant single player campaign and an ever improving multiplayer mode, Red Dead Redemption is a title that will keep you entertained and provide you with plenty of value for money. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 comes a close second as that has been my most played multiplayer title but overall Red Dead pips it.

RUNNERS UP:

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Heavy Rain

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

.

So there we go. Another year of gaming done and dusted with Red Dead Redemption taking home an unprecedented FIVE awards!

Some great games didn’t even make the nominations – that’s how tough it’s been to make decisions.

The likes of MAG, Bayonetta, Just Cause 2 and Vanquish unfortunately didn’t make the grade but goes to show how strong the line up of game releases has been in 2010.

So what games would you guys have given awards this year?

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