GregHorrorShow’s Top 30 Multiplayer Maps (Part Two: The Top 15)

Maps Part 2

So we’re back again with some multiplayer goodness – this time heading into the Top 15 maps, really showcasing some of my all time favourite arenas.

If you missed Part One (30-16) check it out here:

And away we go!

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15. FIREBASE GODDESS (Mass Effect 3)

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

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14. TWILIGHT GAP (Destiny)

Destiny has been one of my favourite online shooters of the last few years and Twilight Gap has housed many happy memories for me. The layout is great, with a few parts of the map requiring you to glide across – which of course leaves you open to attack. Finely balanced and with a lot of different entrances/exits, this is a really cool map. Also the capture point at ‘B’ is both enclosed and exposed at the same time… quite a feat of design and something that I have both benefited from and succumbed to in equal measure!

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13. MAWLR GRAVEYARD (Killzone 3)

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

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

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

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11. GRAND BAZAAR (Battlefield 3)

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

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10. BILL’S TOWN (The Last Of Us)

Ah, The Last Of Us – potentially the most underrated multiplayer game ever. As you stealth and stalk your way around the game world, it’s important the maps give you enough options to sneak up on your enemies. Bill’s Town is a great example of this, featuring levels of verticality as well as lots of different entrances to the buildings on the map. The walkway across the map from top floor to top floor is risky but necessary for a quick escape in a pinch. Great stuff.

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9. THARSIS DEPOT (Killzone 2)

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

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8. THE SANCTUARY (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

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

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7. SHORES OF TIME (Destiny)

Undoubtedly my favourite Destiny map, the layout is truly superb – it gives you lots of options for circling round and flanking opponents as well as freedom to traverse the area however you want. That could be through tunnels or across open stretches and the placement of capture points is exquisitely balanced. They are certainly defendable but having three different entrances to each makes it difficult and extremely tense. Add to that the gorgeous, lush look of the level and you have something really cool.

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6. PORT VALDEZ (Battlefield: Bad Company 2)

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

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5. CHECKPOINT (The Last Of Us)

Checkpoint is the map that best showcases the slower, more deliberate gameplay of The Last Of Us. If you get two experienced teams of players it can be a thrilling, tense battle to victory. Alternatively if you don’t know the map it can be extremely punishing! Focused around the checkpoint that the level is named after, which sits in the middle of the area, the level has buildings on either side and well placed resource boxes mean there is a big risk/reward element in trying to get supplies. There are choke points dotted around but more than enough other routes to enable you to circumnavigate your enemies and sneak up on them to take them down unseen.

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

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

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3. CASPIAN BORDER (Battlefield 3)

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

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2. LENTE MISSILE BASE (Killzone 3)

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

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1. RADEC ACADEMY (Killzone 2)

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

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So there we go – not a huge amount of movement right at the top of my list but there have been some really great maps over the last three years.

What have I missed? Drop a comment below or find me on Twitter (@greghorrorshow)

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GregHorrorShow’s Top 30 Multiplayer Maps (Part One: 30-16)

Maps Part 1

It’s been a while since I ran down my favourite multiplayer maps, three years in fact, and I thought it would be a good time to revisit the idea. Having gone through all the games released since the last time I made a list I’ve had to extend the list out from 20 maps to 30.

This extension also means I’ll put these up in two parts as 30 videos is quite a lot for one post! If you have any trouble with the video quality on the clips below just click on the YouTube logo on the video to view them on YouTube direct, which may be smoother.

There were plenty of other maps that I love but didn’t make the cut and I did try to stick to only having two maps per game, which was tougher than you might think!

So without further ado, here we go with Part One…

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30. FRINGE (Call Of Duty: Black Ops III)

I’m not the biggest fan of Call Of Duty’s fast paced online action but I usually get a fair few hours of enjoyment from each new title. It didn’t take long for Fringe to cement its place as my favourite map from Black Ops III. The increased movement and different abilities that the game brings to the series has meant the developers have had to plan accordingly. Several levels of verticality, along with window access to ground floor buildings and the open central area led to plenty of great battles.

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

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

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28. SEASIDE – GLAMORGAN, WALES (Resistance 3)

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

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27. PARACEL STORM (Battlefield 4)

Battlefield 4 didn’t quite live up to expectations in the online department, although I did have a lot of fun with it. One thing it did right though (despite the terrible name they gave it) was the ‘Levolution’ aspect of maps, where a huge event would change the layout of the map while you played. Paracel Storm was a close knit set of tropical islands that had you engaged in both long and short range firefights. It was already a great map but when you heard the siren sound… well, you knew there was trouble afoot. Suddenly the environment would be rocked by a tropical storm – heavy rain and huge crashing waves. As if that wasn’t enough, sometimes a massive navy ship would run aground and smash into one of the islands. Really cool stuff.

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26. SAO PAULO BUS DEPOT (Max Payne 3)

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

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25. RICHMAN MANSION (Grand Theft Auto Online)

A lot of the areas used for battles in Grand Theft Auto Online are small stretches of street or perhaps, an abandoned trainyard. None of them really grabbed me but the close quarters of the mansion map meant you had to stay on your toes. Although it was small in size there were plenty of low walls and alcoves to hide in and I have lots of happy memories of great, intense shootouts on this map. The video above is an example of one of the rare occasions I came out on top… for a while at least!

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24. THE HANGAR (Killzone: Shadow Fall)

The Hangar was a free map that arrived as part of one of the games updates (thank you Guerrilla Games for all the free content! That’s how DLC should work). It soon became a firm favourite, with a huge open area in the middle, corresponding walkways at the side and various alleyways on the lower floor underneath. Clever placement of mission objectives meant that while there were a few chokepoints, they were only clogged while specific missions were in play. Did I mention it also looks glorious?

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23. SYR DARYA UPLINK (MAG)

Sadly MAG is long gone but this was always my favourite of the huge maps on offer in the game. The initial capture points are perfectly placed and having them upstairs means it’s difficult to take but equally as difficult for the enemy if you do manage to secure it. The final point in the warehouse has so many twists and turns that it housed some epic battles for me.

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22. HOTH REBEL BASE (Star Wars: Battlefront)

There has been some grumbling about Star Wars: Battlefront’s lack of maps – different variations on 4 areas at launch – and while I think more environments should’ve featured, what we do have looks absolutely stunning. My pick of the bunch is the Rebel Base on Hoth. Bright white, almost antiseptic, walls inside the base make way to icy caves and pathways. You’ll find yourself fighting among parked spaceships and even using them for cover! While it is narrow in spots there are so many options to traverse the map that it never feels like too much of an issue. Great map design.

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21. GRAY RAMPART (Metal Gear Solid V Online)

Metal Gear Solid Online isn’t a game busting with content. There aren’t a great deal of maps available but what is there, for the most part, is very enjoyable. My pick of the bunch is Gray Rampart, which I’ve found to be super well designed and big enough to host the madness that is Metal Gear Online. There are buildings scattered throughout that give hiding places or somewhere to regroup and plan your next move. Taking place in the shadow of a huge dam, it’s a vast map with lots of ways to get around and just the right amount of open space. Do you chance going over the bridge and getting sniped? Or head underneath to try and sneak around?

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20. OPERATION 925 (Battlefield 3)

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

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19. VALPARAISO (Battlefield: Bad Company 2)

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

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

Call Of Duty’s multiplayer is pretty fun in short bursts and the Highrise map is one of the highlights of the series. Set, essentially, in the upper floor of two buildings and on another building’s rooftop inbetween – this is a close quarters map with plenty of scope for sneaking into the enemies’ tower. One of my favourite tactics was using the lower walkways to get into the opposite tower and launch an attack behind the enemy – that is of course if I could get in without being spotted… easier said than done.

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17. THE PARK (Killzone: Shadow Fall)

Killzone, as a series, has always had superbly designed maps that work vertically on many levels. The Park is another great addition to the collection, adding in a few chokepoints to fight over and capture. If you can keep the enemy from coming through the central corridor on the upper floor (a VERY popular flashpoint) then you can force them to use alternative routes. Having said that, it’s rare for one team to keep hold of that corridor for very long! There is also a cool underground network of tunnels that are very tight but can be used to get across the map of needed.

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

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

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So there we go, the first 15 maps done and with 7 new entries there is plenty of new stuff in the mix. The Top 15 should be up next week hopefully, that also has some new entries so keep an eye out for it.

Have you enjoyed any of the maps above? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@greghorrorshow).

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Dead Space 2 – Review (PS3)

As someone who thoroughly enjoyed the first Dead Space, despite not being a fan of jumpy horror stuff, I was really looking forward to the follow up.

Continuing the story of Isaac Clarke it picks up three years after the first game was set, with Clarke now finding himself as a citizen on the Sprawl – a huge space station development on one of Saturn’s moons.

Sadly for Clarke he has no knowledge of the last three years and discovers a situation has arisen that only someone with his expertise can deal with.

The game itself plays similarly to the original but Visceral have upped the pace slightly, which make sense because not all of the Sprawl is as narrow as the Ishimura was.

Dead Space 2 starts with one of the most impressive openings I’ve seen in a while – I remember feeling the same way about the first game.

As you get to grips with everything that is going on around you there will be twists (some I saw coming and a few I didn’t) and plenty of scares.

Visceral continue their great job of creeping you out by NOT throwing stuff at you – I would’ve liked to have seen slightly more of the insanity that featured in NPC’s during the original game but on the whole the Sprawl is definitely somewhere you wouldn’t want to find yourself.

The combat remains the same, with a few new weapons thrown in. Essentially the aim is to dismember as opposed to going for headshots on enemies.

Playing through the first half to two thirds of this game I was certain Visceral had topped the original, such was the craftsmanship on display. A strong story, coupled with superb graphics and atmosphere had me immersed completely.

Unfortunately it seems the developers threw everything into that part of the game as Dead Space 2 loses steam in a big way – resorting to cheap design in the shape of large open areas where you face off against a much bigger number of enemies. While this is called for on one or two occasions due to the plot, it really does become tiresome and frustrating at other times.

Thankfully it picks up again in the final few chapters and finishes with a flourish.

One of the questions when they announced Dead Space 2 would have multiplayer was ‘does it need it?’

The answer is no.

We’ve seen predominantly single player games include multiplayer in impressive and interesting ways (Uncharted 2 and Assassins Creed: Brotherhood to name two) but Dead Space 2 tries to moves the single player to multiplayer – giving one team the human experience and the other team the necromorph experience. It doesn’t really recreate the feel of the single player.

Let me just clarify – it’s not that this is a bad multiplayer, it just feels unnecessary and I suspect the free 48 hour trial will be more than enough for most people.

As a package Dead Space 2 is a slightly lopsided beast – on the one hand you have a bloated but generally excellent single player and on the other an average multiplayer experience.

Despite the fact the single player loses its way for a spell, with a better implementation of online this could’ve been a 10/10 game.

Rating 9/10

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Street Fighter IV Review (PS3)

So following on from my nostalgia piece on Street Fighter II last week I’ve had some more time with the new game.

And it’s been a mainly positive experience.

Graphically the game looks stunning and whoever made the decision to take the game in this ‘2.5D’ direction deserves some serious props as it makes for a very rewarding game.

The controls are obviously as they have been for years, left analogue stick to move and then face and shoulder buttons for light, medium and hard punch/kick. The spare shoulder buttons are used as for a one button press that is the equivalent of pressing all three punch or kick buttons.

I had to move some of the controls around to make it easier for myself but this was no problem as the game allows you to map the button controls rather than making you choose a particular set up.

The game has several new additions (speaking as someone that has only previously played Street Fighter II) including focus, super combo and ultra combo attacks.

Focus attacks require you to hold down the medium punch and kick buttons to charge an attack for a few seconds before releasing. If you pull the move off your opponent will take a big hit and then fall to their knees, allowing you an extra hit or two on the way down. You can take one hit from your opponent while charging, which actually makes your attack stronger, but any more than that and you’ll be on your ass. It’s a nice strategic mechanic which adds a risk factor to a fairly easy to pull off move.

Both Super and Ultra combos are pulled off by repeating the left stick movement of a special move (ie. Dragon Punch) before hitting punch/kick (Super) or the button for all three punch/kicks together (Ultra).

Again these are familiar enough that people won’t be put off by trying to learn them but require the right amount of skill/timing that it feels like an achievement to pull them off.

On my playthrough with Ken I actually only pulled one Ultra Combo off and in a nice twist it was the finishing blow to the final boss Seth, which was cool 😎

I’m sure as I continue playing and experimenting with new characters I’ll be able to pull off more and more different combos.

The arcade mode is your standard fighter fare. You get a small anime intro explaining your characters motivations etc and then fight through 4 or 5 guys. Beat them and you face your rival (with another intro) and then it’s on to Seth – the much maligned super boss.

Playing on Easy, Seth was still a respectable challenge – I beat him on probably my 3rd or 4th attempt. He has the full set of Street Fighter moves and isn’t afraid to use them.

To be honest I’ve found another of the new characters to be more of a problem – Abel.

This dude is rock hard and has an annoying throw move which he is happy to use back to back for some particularly cheap shots. 😡

Both him and Seth are beatable though and the mode provides a good challenge to tide you over until your mates arrive.

Single-player is an enjoyable experience but multi-player is where the real fun is at. Group of mates, winner stays on – these are the memories you’ll cherish. Even online, in my opinion, cannot compete with the sense of sitting in the same room as the guy you’re sonic booming.

One small niggle is the extended load times before each fight – I often caught myself thinking my PS3 had crashed they sometimes go on so long!

With a bunch of new characters and all the old favourites making a welcome return Street Fighter IV firmly throws down the gauntlet to all fighting games of this generation.

And I just can’t see any of the other contenders being better than this.

Rating: 8/10

WWE LEGENDS OF WRESTLEMANIA – Demo Impressions

Ok confession time – during the early 90’s I went through a men in spandex phase. 😀 Not in the way you’re thinking though I suspect…

If the names Ted DiBiase, Jim Duggan and Bret Hart get the hairs on the back of your neck tickled then this is the game for you.

WWE Legends Of Wrestlemania looks to get back to the nostalgic days of WWF and I have to say from the initial impressions it looks like they have done an amazing job capturing the spirit of the time.

Recently the Smackdown Vs Raw wrestling games have been disappointing. As I stopped watching wrestling in the 90’s I had no idea who most of the wrestlers were (praise the lord for Hulk Hogan) and the gameplay itself was clunky and overly difficult.

In Legends Of Wrestlemania you can choose from a straight forward title match of Hogan v Andre The Giant or a ‘Relive’ feature match between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Essentially the former is just a normal match while the latter is a match in which you must achieve objectives based on how the real match played out. In the full game you will also have the option of changing the outcome of the ‘Relive’ matches, which is pretty cool.

So we fired up Hulk Hogan v Andre The Giant, with The Giant also having Bobby The Brain Heenan as manager.

Progressing through the match lots of pop ups arrived with different moves and how to do this and that. While not complicated the sheer number may be enough to put some people off. However you can play this game as a bit of a button masher if you remember a few basics. Effectively square is punch, if you hold x for a few seconds you’ll perform a body slam or the like and once you’ve worn you opponent down it’s square and x together to activate your special move.

Often when perfoming a big move or finisher you’ll be greeted by a QTE (Quick Time Event) – which means press the corresponding button when it flashes up on screen. It’s a nice system that keeps you on your toes.

This game could be the wrestling title we’ve been crying out for ever since the hideous Legends Of Wrestling, which tried to do the same.

What I loved about WWE legends Of Wrestlemania was it captured the spirit of the old skool wrestling matches. In our match we were going toe to toe with Andre and then we spotted our opening – after a big roundhouse punch it flashed up that our finisher was ready.

Once activated we had a QTE. Circle to throw him against the ropes (yes!), x to deliver the big boot to the face (yay!) And triangle to finish with a leg drop (YAY!!!). I could already hear the strains of “Real American” as I pressed circle to pin. 😎

Only on the two count Andre’s manager lifted his foot onto the ropes and alerted the referee who stopped the count. Classic WWF.

We did win in the end but the moment above, for me, describes why I will be buying this game when it comes out.

If you remember the old days of wrestling and are more concerned with having fun than about the how groundbreaking the game is, then I’d reccomend giving this one a spin at some stage.

Killzone 2 Review (PS3)

The much hyped saviour of PS3 has been in the works for half a decade and the final game has finally emerged – not blinking into the light like a newborn baby but bursting out armed with a pump action shotgun struggling to fight off the weight of expectation.

Following on from the first Playstation 2 game and Killzone Liberation on the PSP, Killzone 2 picks up the story as the ISA (Interplanetary Strategic Alliance) decide to take the fight to the Helghast on their own planet after the Helgans attempted to invade Vekta, the planet the ISA calls home.

And it dumps you pretty much slap bang in the middle of everything, as anyone who’s played the demo will know.

Unfortunately for you and your ISA buddies the Helghast aren’t quite as beaten as your superiors would have you believe.

So is Killzone 2 as good as, the pretty much universal, top scores it’s received? 😕

Let’s start with the graphics. Yes this is the best looking game I’ve seen – the way the light falls and the smoke effects following explosions are fantastic. The whole game looks amazing and in particular the deaths of the Helghast stick long in the mind with their brilliant motion capture stumbles, slumping to the floor as their legs give way. There are quite a few different animations as well so it doesn’t get too repetitive.

Which brings me on to the sound. The score is superb, wratcheting up the tension as you try and blast your way through another fire fight.

One of the things that got me was the cries of your fallen comrades. You can revive teammates when they fall with a tap of circle next to them. It helps with the feeling of panic as you’re penned in by enemy fire and across from you your buddy is on the floor crying ‘help me! Medic! Please! Help me!’  😦

As well as that the Helghast themselves had some brilliant death groans – and some particularily gruesome screams if you set them on fire. They don’t die instantly from the flamethrower, instead failing around for 8 or 10 seconds desperately trying to put themselves out.:eek: The Helghans also had some good dialogue. It was nice to hear them shout ‘grenade’ as it’s usually just your own side who let you know about incomings!

Which brings me on nicely to the enemy AI. This is easily the most advanced AI I’ve encountered. From the simple (scattering out of the way when a grenade is thrown at them rather than just sitting there waiting for it to go off as usual) to the difficult (flanking you, flushing you out) it’s all done so well that it leads to some genuinely tense fireplay. You’ll need to keep them penned in with cover fire otherwise these guys will actually come and find you – and kill you probably.

The Helghast are not sitting ducks whatsoever. You feel like you earn each kill and the sense of achievement is excellent after a tight skrimish in enclosed conditions. 😎

You also care what happens to your colleagues – I often found myself exacted revenge for fallen buddies, whether it was a main colleague or one of the many army back ups from the bigger gun fights.

The singleplayer campaign is short but sweet – clocking in at just over 8 and a half hours on medium. I found medium to be more than difficult enough for me but that’s down to personal preference. I’d rather get through a game on medium than get annoyed with it from dying too much on hard. As it was I died plenty on medium!

Multiplayer isn’t ‘live’ yet but there is a singleplayer ‘Skirmish’ mode against up to 15 other ‘bots’ for practice. Very cool mode, with a new objective every 5 minutes. So it’ll be assasination (one team protects the other tries to kill) or capture the flag-esque objectives. After 20 minutes a winning faction – Helghast or ISA is announced and you start again. Obviously it was only against bots but they were pretty leathal on Elite setting.

As I mentioned in my previous first impressions the stutter is still there when loading the next section but after the third or fourth level I kind of stopped noticing. Would’ve been much better if this had run smooth all the way through but it’s a small complaint.

I also found my buddy AI improved as the game progressed which had been a gripe in my initial hands on with the game.

One thing I would’ve found helpful is a little bit of direction. On occasion I found myself without a directional marking and no idea what I was supposed to be doing/killing so a friendly ‘it’s over there’ or ‘get rid of the tank’ would have been nice.

Very small picky things which I suppose goes with the territory when looking at something as hyped as Killzone 2.

I’m not sure whether this game will revolutionize first person shooters – there isn’t much here that develops the genre. However it could be something to revolutionize the PS3 itself as it really showcases what a powerhouse the console is.

Killzone 2’s biggest achievement is, possibly because of the brilliant graphics, sound and AI, that you feel involved and become embedded in the Killzone universal whenever you pick up the pad.

In one particularily frantic battle I ducked into an alcove on the verge of death and a second later a Helghan backed into the entrance. I let off a round into the back of his head and it wasn’t until he fell that I saw he was ISA not Helghast. 😥 It sounds ridiculous but I actually felt my stomach go over a little when I realised what I’d done. That’s how much this game sucks you in.

It’s not perfect by any means but it’s easily the best first person shooter I’ve played and I recommend anyone with a remote interest in this genre to check this out immediately when it’s released on the 27th.

Rating 9/10