Sleeping Dogs – Review (PS3)

Sleeping Dogs had a troubled development – starting life as a new game in the ‘True Crime’ series before being abandoned by Activision and picked up, sans title, by Square Enix. Initial footage looked promising but could developers United Front (makers of Modnation Racers) deliver a great, open world experience?

The short answer is yes and I’ll go into more detail on why…

Firstly Sleeping Dogs is hugely fun. It’s been a while since I played an open world game so over the top that I had a grin permanently attached while playing (that honour goes to Just Cause 2). While the game does have some serious moments, which I thought were handled quite well, this is a title in which you drive the narrative forward by hijacking cars from an already moving vehicle or beating up numerous enemies with some kickass kung fu.

The combat feels good, once you get into the rhythm needed for counters you won’t look back and some of the more brutal moves you can learn will make you wince on behalf on your victim. Then there are the environmental kills – activated by using items around you (an electric fan or the protruding nose of a dead swordfish) to impale, maim or just downright kill enemies.

You play as Wei Shen, an undercover cop in Hong Kong trying to bust the triad gangs. This gives you a nice game mechanic in terms of mission type. You can do side missions for the cops or the triads, which will raise your XP in each area and grant you new moves for fighting or disarming enemies. There are also a third set of missions that you do for just random folks on the street that raises your ‘Face’ meter. This gives you a damage bonus in combat and also unlocks different outfits for Wei Shen.

The game floats between Wei taking down bad guys as a cop and dishing out some pretty brutal beatings as a triad. Occasionally things felt a little forced in one direction or the other but in general the game gives you enough to do so if you want to take a break from the story you easily can.

The voice acting is top notch, with great performances from Tom Wilkinson, Lucy Liu, Emma Stone and Will Yun Lee, who plays Wei Shen. Shen’s voice acting is really well done and even the smaller characters are convincing.

There is no online as such but the game automatically compares various stats with your friends and will remind you what needs to be beaten as you do different activities.

Something that struck me as out of the ordinary for a game of this style was that you don’t get a gun (or encounter many armed enemies) until you’re about 2 or 3 hours into the game. This grants Sleeping Dogs a refreshing feel as you rely on the hand to hand combat for the early sections of the game. Even when you do get a gun you’ll often find yourself sticking with hand to hand, especially against big groups of enemies.

Overall, Sleeping Dogs is a fantastic game. It does lack a little bit of polish – there are some jagged edges here and there – but I found it to be an engaging and hugely fun to play game. Square Enix did a great job of picking this game up off the dumpster and releasing a really strong title. If you like open world games this is the perfect title to tide you over while the world waits to find out when we will finally get our hands on Grand Theft Auto V.

Rating: 9/10

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PS VITA ROUND UP

Well it’s been a few months since the release of the Playstation Vita handheld console and while there is a break in game releases (Resistance Burning Skies hits later this month, while Mortal Kombat will be out by the time you read this) I thought it would be worth going over my thoughts on the device and doing a round up of ‘mini’ game reviews.

Firstly the device itself – ‘Wow’ is probably the most apt description. You genuinely have to play one to see just how amazing the screen is. Screenshots just don’t do the thing justice.

The analogue sticks work a treat – not as responsive as the PS3 ones but bearing in mind they are on a handheld they do what’s required of them.

You have a whole host of non-game stuff as well, Twitter/Facebook/Skype are all supported. Netflix is rumoured to be on the way, along with plenty of other social stuff I’m sure. Near is the one I use the most as it tells you (less interestingly) who is playing what nearby and (more interestingly) is a way to pick up in-game goods or challenges from your friends.

I went for the Wi-Fi model and have had no problems with it. I’m always somewhere with Wi-Fi when gaming online and in a worst case scenario I can tether to my HTC and use that as a Wi-Fi hotspot. I personally don’t see the benefit of 3G at the moment.

And so onto the games!

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MOTORSTORM RC (Download Only)

When I heard about this game and realised it was a cross between Micro Machines and Super Off Road I was stoked. I had no idea just how addictive it would become. The fact you’re constantly reminded of your friend’s times and compared to them means there is great incentive for ‘just one more lap’. The fact you get the PS3 and Vita version for the princely sum of £4.79 just adds to the value of the title.

Rating: 9/10

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UNIT 13

It makes me sad that Sony shuttered the company behind this game but I can understand why – their last few games have been competent but not polished. Unit 13 is no different. A third person shooter focusing on score based, bite-sized missions is a wise move on Vita and this is a great game. Unfortunately it’s hampered by a fairly serious issue – every now and again the game will ‘brick’ your Vita, requiring a hard reset. Very annoying. However the fact that despite that I persisted with Unit 13, aced every mission, earned myself a platinum trophy and loved playing it hopefully gives an indication of how highly I rate it.

Rating: 9/10

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UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS

The poster child for the Vita. Great graphics and great gameplay. The proper voice acting and motion capture, just like the PS3 games. Bend Studios have previous – the Syphon Filter and Resistance games on PSP they did were some of the highlights of the handheld’s output – and they have done a fantastic job on this. The only issue I had was with the pacing in the first half. It was far too ‘stop start’ for my liking, with minimal interaction before triggering another cut scene. That improves greatly in the back end of the game and the second half was a blast.

Rating: 9/10

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FIFA SOCCER

FIFA on the go? Yes please! Whilst this is based more on PS3’s FIFA 11 than FIFA 12 this is still the best football game on a handheld by miles. Essentially the full game in the palm of your hand, this boasts the career mode and plenty more beside. The gameplay is just as good (though based on FIFA 11 remember) and the graphics are pretty good, despite some dodgy stuttering in the opening cut scenes. Looking forward to the refined FIFA that will no doubt appear when FIFA 13 turns up. Cross platform play/saves? Don’t rule it out.

Rating: 8/10

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RAYMAN ORIGINS

I’m not generally a big fan of platforming games but Rayman Origins is a wonderful title. Visually stunning and with some inventive game mechanics this is a must have for people that enjoy this genre. I’d certainly recommend non-platform fans to at least give it a try as well.

Rating: 8/10

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VIRTUA TENNIS 4

Probably one of the best looking games on the Vita at launch, Virtua Tennis 4 is everything you’d expect from it’s console big brother. Smooth controls, wacky training mini-games and an indepth career mode mean you’ll be playing this one for a long time.

Rating 7/10

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SUPER STARDUST DELTA (Download Only)

I hadn’t played any of the previous Stardust games on PS3, despite their great reputation. But at just under £7 this seemed like a steal. You control a small ship and must avoid enemies while destroying rock/ice formations as they land on your planet. It’s a twin stick shooter with some great graphics and a competitive leaderboard 😉

Rating: 7/10

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MODNATION RACERS: ROAD TRIP

As much as I enjoyed the PS3 version of Modnation Racers I feel United Front Games have dropped the ball somewhat with the Vita version. The game looks fine and actually controls a little better than the PS3 one but the fact that you can’t set times offline and have them uploaded when you’re next online (like Motorstorm RC, Super Stardust Delta et al) is a real shame. For someone like me who is mainly offline that really makes me less inclined to play it.

Rating: 6/10

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F1 2011

Formula 1 for the Vita is a bit of a mixed bag – when in full flow on a wide open track the game is great. However when you’re at lower speeds or there are a lot of other cars around the graphics take a big hit. It’s a shame as this seems like it might just be a port of the PSP title upscaled, rather than being linked more to the PS3 version. There is a robust career mode which should keep you entertained but I can’t help feeling you might be better off waiting for the next F1 Vita game, which hopefully may make more of the console’s abilities.

Rating: 6/10

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LUMINES

As part of the recurring theme for a lot of these games, Lumines is a game I wouldn’t normally play at home but, like Super Stardust Delta, really seems to suit portable gaming. It’s a music-based puzzle game that requires a great deal of thought if you’re to do well. As someone who isn’t into puzzle games I found this challenging – challenging but fun.

Rating: 7/10

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HUSTLE KINGS (Download Only)

A port of the PS3 version of the game (buying either version gets you both, which is cool) Hustle Kings is a nice pool game with lots of different modes and some interesting features. I hadn’t played the PS3 version but after trying the Vita demo I grabbed this as a title that is great to play when I only have 10 mins spare.

Rating: 7/10

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EVERYBODY’S GOLF

I thoroughly enjoyed Everybody’s Golf on my PSP a few years back but once all the courses were done there wasn’t much in the way of replayability. Thankfully as well as a great set of single player events the Vita version takes advantage of the devices online capabilities to give you daily online tournaments to take part in. Getting involved in these will see you rise (and fall) in the World rankings – addictive!

Rating: 9/10

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WIPEOUT 2048

Wipeout 2048 is one of those games that you can use to show off how gorgeous the screen is on your Vita. The sense of speed is impressive and this is Wipeout as you know it, although as it’s set in the early days of the Wipeout universe it might be the first time you’ve seen these ships race on grass 😆 You can connect and race against people that playing the Vita or PS3 version and I can confirm there are no issues on that front – it works as described. The killer here unfortunately are the load times. Apparently these are being patched but it just takes too long to get into a race. It’s a big issue, especially for a handheld game where your time might be limited.

Rating: 8/10

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So anyone else out there with a Vita? What do you think of these games so far? What else is on your radar for the device?

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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

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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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Modnation Racers – Review (PS3)

As much as I enjoyed a few rounds of Mario Kart in my youth I am not a massive fan of kart racing games, so having played the great beta I was keen to see if Modnation Racers could live up to the hype.

As I mentioned in my beta impressions the game is being sold on the customisation aspect of your driver and kart – not to mention the tracks themselves.

It is extremely easy to get yourself a created mod (driver) and kart, despite there being so much choice. United Front have done a great job on making everything feel accessible and it’s the kind of system that is simple to use but has real depth if you want to be a bit more serious about your designs.

                                                                                            My Mod rolls in style 😆 in the HorrorMobile

Alternatively there is also a random option for those who aren’t fussed what they look like.

The track editor is superb – allowing anyone to create a half decent track in around 5 minutes. Yes you read that right, 5 minutes 😮 Obviously you can go more in depth – my first creation took around an hour and I guess you can tweak the track as much as you feel it needs before unleashing it on the public.

*Shameless Plug* My first attempt at a track is entitled GregHorrorShow Arena if any of you out there fancy taking a spin round it. If you do let me know what you think or what could be improved.

                                                                                               My created track in all it’s glory.

So with that part of the game out of the way, let’s move on to the racing. Because without a decent racing mechanic the rest is kind of pointless.

Thankfully Modnation Racers stands head and shoulders above anything I’ve played since Mario Kart.

But this isn’t just a simple rip off of the Italian plumber’s kart game – Modnation adds a whole new layer of tactical depth to proceedings.

First the similarities – you race karts which can pick up weapons and speed up by driving over boost pads.

Where Modnation really comes into it’s own is with the boost bar. By drifting, slipstreaming, overtaking or doing massive jumps off ramps you build up your boost meter.

Holding L1 will propel you forward until the bar runs out as you’d expect but there is a whole lot more to the boost meter than that.

Broken down into sections, with at least one section full you can flick the right stick towards an opponent alongside you to sideswipe them – stopping them immediately for a few seconds and causing them to lose whatever weapon they were carrying. At certain points on some courses a tap of R1 will drain a little of your boost but will open a shortcut on the track ahead and finally (and probably most importantly) if you hear the incoming beep of someone else’s weapon approaching, holding circle will give you a shield until the boost meter drains.

So this isn’t a case of picking up weapons and then building boost to get as far in front as possible. You will need to judge when and where to use your boost meter and what to actually use it for.

You can play quick races or time trials and there is also the option for up to 4 player split screen locally if you want to go old skool.

The single player career mode is great fun and the accompanying mini cut scenes are fairly funny. Essentially career is a really nice tutorial of how to race before you get yourself online for the real action.

Online you’ll be able to compete in Hot Lap (a daily event: literally whoever is quickest at a lap wins, it’s you against everyone else in the online world) online races/series or even just challenge people straight from the lobby for some 1v1 action.

I’ve encountered no lag or any real problems other than a shortage of other drivers. I’ve only had a maximum of 6 (out of 12) so far with the average being 4 which is really disappointing. It’s still a lot of fun but I did think more people would be playing this. The problem probably also isn’t helped by the fact you can only race against people from your own territories (so PAL for me) although this may be patched in the future.

Other than that my only real complaint is that the load times in general are pretty long but at least they have put a percentage indicator on them now so I know the game hasn’t crashed 🙂

If the online had been better supported by the community I would’ve been tempted to give Modnation Racers full marks but I just feel I haven’t fully experienced the online side of things (through no fault of my own).

As it stands this is still one of the best racing experiences out there – it’s a lot more tactical than you may realise from just looking at the cute screenshots. Pick this up, even if it’s just a rent as this is a game you will have a whole lot of fun with.

Rating 9/10

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MOST WANTED 2010 (PART 1)

Well it’s that time again when I thought it would be handy to round up what’s on the horizon and what games I’ll be keeping an eye out for in 2010.

RED DEAD REDEMPTION

Release: April 2010

This for me could be one of the stand out titles for 2010. I always held out hope, I mean, a western by the makers of GTA? But the overwhelmingly positive chatter of industry people who’ve played it means this one could fulfil it’s potential.

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ALPHA PROTOCOL

Release: ‘Spring’ 2010

Delayed from last year, which is usually not a good sign, Alpha Protocol is apparently not just being polished but changes are being made to some of the core mechanics. Essentially the chance to become Jason Bourne and choose what areas you specialise in (martial arts/guns/computer hacking etc) mean this could be a really great experience.

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BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2

Release: March 2010

I won’t bore everyone again with how much I want to play this game – check out my beta impressions and demo impressions for a more in depth look!

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GOD OF WAR III

Release: March 2010

One of the most highly anticipated games of the year, the third instalment in the God Of War franchise marks Kratos’ debut on the PS3. Everything seen so far looks totally epic and could really push the boundaries in terms of sense of scale.

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MODNATION RACERS

Release: Spring 2010

Luckily I got into the beta for this otherwise it could’ve slipped under my radar. A cross between LittleBigPlanet and Mario Kart, Modnation Racers could be fantastic – as long as the online is smooth and they sort out the (long) load times.

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DEAD RISING 2

Release: September 2010

The original (XBox exclusive) Dead Rising was one of those games that I watched a mate play and thought it looked fun but never actually got to play myself. Looks like they have cranked up both the comedy and the violence in the second installment as your one man army fends off the zombies.

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RESISTANCE 3 (Rumoured)

Release: Late 2010?

While not as strong as Killzone 2 the Resistance series of games are, for me personally, vastly underrated. The third in the series has been rumoured for a while and although we haven’t had anything official everyone seems to think this will be announced at E3 in June – I hope it is as I would relish the chance to take down some more Chimera 😎

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KANE AND LYNCH 2

Release: May/June 2010

I seem to be in a minority with regards to the original Kane and Lynch – while flawed I found it to be an enjoyable, gritty game. The sequel is set in Shanghai and the entire game is played through the eyes of a handheld video camera – giving the game the appearance of a youtube upload. According to early reports this unique style works really well and I can’t wait to try it out.

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SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 4

Release: Summer 2010

I can’t help myself. Despite being burned by terrible Sonic games since the MegaDrive era, I am excited by the prospect of a true sequel rather than another lame spin off. Can Sonic regain the stature he had? Sega need to deliver on this – if this turns sour it could be the blue hedgehog’s swan song.

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JUST CAUSE 2

Release: March 2010

I missed the first game on PS2 due to loads of other games coming out around the same time but having seen the trailers for the second game I can’t wait to play this. Just Cause 2 looks like insane fun – hopefully the accompanying elements (story/graphics/online) will tie together as well.

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DEAD SPACE 2

Release: Q1 2011

I still find it a bit strange for someone who doesn’t like films that make you jump how much I loved Dead Space. 😕 I’m excited to see how the developers have improved the original – rumour is they are aiming for the Aliens franchise. First game/film suspense horror and the sequel more action orientated. Fine with me as long as it works and we get more of the same storyline.

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DEAD NATION

Release: ‘Spring’ 2010

The zombie infection continues, this time with Dead Nation – as this PSN action shooter aims for the head. The idea behind the game is to fight off the zombies in your own country (from the global map) and then venture to other territories to help them out. If it works it could be fantastic.

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MASS EFFECT 1 & 2 COMING TO PS3

Release: Unconfirmed

Yeah, yeah – this may not happen ever, never mind this year but the GTA IV DLC arriving on PS3 has renewed hope that us PS3ers may get a chance to play the awesome Mass Effect games. The one series that causes an envious look in the XBox 360’s direction.

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So that wraps up part one of the most wanted games for 2010 – part two coming shortly!

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Modnation Racers Closed Beta – Impressions

As I write this I’ve just finished a race in my custom made car that contained my custom made driver. It’s unlikely anyone else in the world has either the exact same driver or car. 😎

This is the big appeal of Modnation Racers for me – the complete customisation of the experience. Whether it’s car, driver or even tracks you are in control.

LittleBigPlanet meets Mario Kart: it’s the laziest and yet most accurate way to describe Modnation Racers.

You will create yourself a driver and car from a blank canvas. It sounds daunting but you could do that in 10 minutes because of the easy to use interface. You probably won’t though because once you start you feel an investment in them and before you know it an hour has passed. 😆

For the beta you don’t have access to all the items in the ‘creation station’ (the place where the genius happens) but for now you won’t need them. For example, 8 sets of eyes are enough to choose from, let alone the 260 that will be in the main game.

The track editor is superb – effectively letting you drive around an open space creating the track layout behind you. It’s so easy to use when you get used to the menu layout that it’s possible to put together a great track in about 15/20 minutes.

Once you are set up you’ll be able to challenge people to a race if you see them driving round the lobby areas or head into the time trial or main races.

The main races feature weapons, all of which seem to be fairly well balanced, and it really adds a depth to the racing action.

Let’s not beat about the bush – Modnation Racers is the best kart racing game since Mario Kart… having said that there isn’t much of a challenge in that area.

It’ll be interesting to see how the feedback from the beta shapes the final product but for me this is so much fun and so expressive that it will be a definite purchase.

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