I have to be honest, this is my first time playing a Castlevania game. Have known about the series but never really looked into until I played a demo of it at last years Eurogamer Expo in September and was hooked by the combat and great visuals the demo showcased. After that demo I looked into the series and was fascinated by the story and its dark overtones but with combat which seemed to be the highlight of the game going by most reviews and player opinions on forums. When I was given the chance to review the game I jumped at it and wanted to see if the sequel lived up to not only the fun I had with the demo back in September, but also improve upon the criticisms of the first Lords of Shadow game.
Published by Konami and developed by Mercury Steam Studio, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is a third person action game, sequel to the 2010 original Lords of Shadow and continues from those events included in its DLC which sees the lead character Gabriel Belmont having now taken on the name Dracula, after 1000 years he awakens to discover most of his powers have been stolen and that the forces of Satan are preparing for his return. As Gabriel/Dracula you must regain your lost powers and work with another character from the first game, Zobek, to stop Satan from returning to the Earth.
The opening to the game is the same level that is used in the recent demo available on the Xbox Store and serves as both an excellent introduction to the dark world of Lord of Shadows 2 but also serves as one of the best game tutorials I have encountered in gaming. Often Tutorials can be » Continue Reading.
Another week and another racing game put through its paces. Last week Need for Speed: Rivals proofed to be strong on the Xbox One as a top contender, but what of Forza Motorsport 5, the king of racing games? Well it finally arrived back with the launch of the Xbox One and judging by all the hype Turn10 and Microsoft generated, it sure had better be good and far exceeding than anything that has preceded it. Was all the noise in the build up to release day just PR hype or is this game as good as they say? Ladies and gentlemen, buckle your seat belts and start your engines, this is going to be a fun ride.
If like me you are a follower of the franchise, you’ll be well aware that this is undoubtedly the best racing simulator around (forget about Forza Horizon – it’s not included), it’s that much better than F1 (no, really it is). Forza Motorsport 5 features in excess of over 200 cars, a petrol heads dream and we are talking some serious motors here from classic muscle cars to icon classics and of course the new McLaren P1, which not only looked drop dead gorgeous but handled like a dream… albeit a simulated dream. Other worthy mentions in terms of vehicles include the classic McLaren M23, Ferrari 312T2 and the modern day Lotus E21 as driven by Kimi Raikkonen in the 2013 F1 Season.
Visually as you would expect Forza Motorsport 5 is polished, it has all the bells and whistles and is exceptional to behold. Especially good is the Forzavista mode which we did have a taste of in Forza 4, basically you can have a good look around the cars opening doors and » Continue Reading.
The guys and gals over at SteelSeries have been busy crafting their latest creation, the brand new H Wireless Gaming Headset. Not only is it a beauty but it’s also rammed full of features. The headset itself is beautifully packaged with a circuit board effect adorning the box which is printed in a spot varnish for added beauty to those that appreciate graphic design. The unit is slightly more heavyweight than the 7XBs and the quality and build is far better (not that the 7XB wasn’t any good). The headset features the same super comfy ear cups and retractable mic although this time round SteelSeries have made the cups fully rotate so you can rest them around your neck – handy for when you take a break from gaming and the mic is slightly longer and sits closer to your mouth. It always felt a bit strange with how the 7XB’s mic sat so far away.
I had fallen in love with SteelSeries after reviewing the Spectrum 7XB and even though it was only a stereo headset that connected to the Xbox via a 3.5mm jack and RCA splitter, the comfort and sound it created was exquisite. All the controls were located on the ear cups meaning you had to remember what all the different beeps and tones meant when selecting the correct EQ setting – now that’s a thing of the past.
The H Wireless’ transmitter has an OLED display that tells you exactly what menu you are in or EQ setting you have selected. The menus can be controlled with a spin wheel which is located on the ear cup, you can then tweak the currently selected menu item and cycle through menus by depressing the wheel. If you press the headset’s power button you can » Continue Reading.
Back with a bang and a vengeance, Call of Duty has launched alongside the Xbox One this week. For the first time in its history the same game is available on both a current and a next-gen console in the same year from the same development team. Call of Duty 2 was Infinity Ward’s launch title for the Xbox 360, whilst Treyarch developed Call of Duty 2: The Big Red One for Xbox Original (dare we say Xbox 1); eight years on the same core mechanics of the popular franchise has made its debut for 2013 with Call of Duty: Ghosts. Available now from the Xbox One games store and at retailers in the Xbox One launch markets.
Call of Duty: Ghosts on Xbox One feels upon first impressions like a complete refresh to the franchise; it is as if some of the futuristic and modern elements have been stripped bare from the game to give you a completely new start for the newer consoles. Gone are the big dramatic moments and over-the-top action sequences in favour for a subtle sci-fi themed story based around a tight knit family unit and the star of the game himself ‘Riley’, the well trained military dog who is quite handy at ripping the throat from unsuspecting near-by enemies! We’re sure you’ve heard of the famous canine addition to the game in the build up to release in the media, and in the game he has many uses. You can tag an enemy for him to grab, control his movements with an attached spy cam and have him as a handy companion in multiplayer through the Guard Dog KillStreak.
If you haven’t yet experienced Call of Duty: Ghosts because you are ‘still’ awaiting the arrival of your Xbox One, by » Continue Reading.
When I was a younger, fitter more idealistic teenager I watched an episode of the hit American TV Show One Tree Hill and decided I would have liked to have played basketball and even fooled myself into thinking I might have been good at it. If my performance in NBA 2K14 from developer Visual Concepts and publisher 2K Sports is anything to go by, I couldn’t have been more wrong. But even though the jury is out on whether my personal performance in the NBA is one to be proud of, the courtroom have agreed 2K14 is a smash hit.
Another franchise under the 2K Sports umbrella and one that stands out for quality and putting fans right where they want to be, in the middle of the action. It seems however that for next-generation 2K have hit the reset button and gone at it from scratch. You’d forgive the team behind them game to have simply given the next-generation title a visual upgrade from its 360/PS3 version, but they have gone all out in creating what is still a tightly finished and complex game, yet something all together different. For NBA 2K14, 2K have ripped back the skin on several of its biggest modes. In some cases, this has resulted in considerable improvement, but not in all.
Let’s get started with the visuals. 2K have gone all out for Xbox One and NBA 2K14. Body models are extremely detailed and realistic and more so than any other sports title I have played to date. It’s been reported that 2K scanned 80% of all the players faces in the NBA to achieve an incredible level of detail. I did notice a distinct difference in the quality between the popular and less popular » Continue Reading.
Developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K. Enemy Within is 2012′s XCom Enemy Unknown but incorporating the original DLC Slingshot, Second Wave and Elite Soldier Pack DLC. This version also contains the new Expansion pack Enemy Within creating the most definitive version of XCom on consoles right now and follows on from the summer release of its prequel title ‘The Bureau’.
XCom is a turn based strategy series that dates back to its original game in 1995, which puts the player in the role of Commander of the XCom elite fighting force defending the Earth from the threat of an alien invasion. What makes XCom Enemy Within stand out from the crowd is the vast amount of micro management available in the role of Commander. As the player, you are responsible for choosing where you place your base of operations from which all missions will be launched from. You will then need to customise and choose what facilities to create in the base in order to support the on going fight against the alien threat by picking the right research labs, workshops and information gathering satellite networking sites that will help best arm, train and prepare your soldiers for combat against an increasingly dangerous and well equipped enemy. Resource management is also key to building a strong base foundation as everything you build will require the right materials and staff to conduct the research for and to then build the facilities and weapons, upgrades and tools to be used.
Before that can all be used, the micro management continues with the fighting force you assemble and send into battle. Each soldier will earn XP and level up depending on how successful they are in missions and if the mission itself is a success. As each soldier » Continue Reading.
Irrational Games already had an absolute winner with the experience of Bioshock Infinite alone. Their first piece of single player DLC was always going to be a big seller, and many clamouring for their DLC after buying the season pass, it was time. All Irrational games had to do to make the general public giddy with excitement, was mention one word. One name rather, Rapture. So what with the game taking its glorious return to the where it all began, it was time to see if it could live up to the name, and to the expectations of the many who hold Bioshock in the highest regard.
So onto the content itself. Burial At Sea is set just before Rapture becomes the underwater haven that we know it as today, Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth are back together again for the adventure of a lifetime. Their mission is to find a missing young girl known only as ‘Sally’. Booker is well established in this implied alternate timeline in Rapture. He’s known as a bit a sleuth, a private detective that takes on any contract. Elizabeth is more of a mystery, much as she is in the single player campaign. Elizabeth has been given a wonderful fifties makeover. Complete with an elegantly fiendish looking outfit and cigarette. There are some characters and cameos you may recognise, but when I saw them I was pleasantly surprised. So I shan’t be ruining it for any of you fine folk.
Gameplay offers much of the same in the way of weapons and vigors. The return of splicers does add to the excitement somewhat. Not that it changes much of the gameplay, it’s just feels good to dive right in at these bastards again. Ammunition is quite scarce » Continue Reading.
Developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix, Deus Ex Human Revolution was released on Xbox 360 back in 2011. For me and many others, it was a strong contender for game of the year and was a refreshing return to the classic style of allowing the player to control how they chose to play the game by not limiting the choices in gameplay style and giving the level of freedom of movement in order to explore the world presented in the game. This Director’s Cut is a release of the original game with its DLC ‘The Missing Link’ now incorporated into the story instead of being a separate add on and the issues found with the original game in terms of boss battles now tweaked and improved on.
Human Revolution is set in the year 2027, 25 years before the events of the original Deus Ex game released back in 2000. Multinational Companies have grown powerful, even stronger then World Governments. Advances in science have allowed human cybernetic augmentations with Sarif Industries the leading Biotechnology Corporation in the World. In fear of the potential threat of protests against the use of augmentation by political movement Humanity Front, Sarif Industries hire ex swat member Adam Jensen as Head of Security.
The opening to the game leads the player into the role of Adam Jensen who escorts Megan Reed, (Head of Research for Sarif Industries) through the research labs giving the player a look into the biotechnology being looked into including a military project Typhoon system, on route to a meeting with David Sarif (founder and leader of the corporation). Terrorist’s attack and Adam finds himself battling through the facility never coming in direct contact, but able to see the attackers who are all all augmented » Continue Reading.
Final Exam is a 2D/3D (2.5D?) side-scrolling beat ‘em up much like the classic Streets of Rage developed by Mighty Rocket Studio. I don’t really have much to say about this release. It’s kind of barebones. I mean, reviews are usually supposed to be a cavalcade of humorous anecdotes about the writer’s experience, but my experience with this game was far from noteworthy. It wasn’t even bad, I happen to think that the game is fun. It’s just not very memorable or all that interesting.
Final exam is a game with very little plot. It starts with four friends on their way to their old high-school’s alumni ball, when all of a sudden *BLAMMO*, their car crashes when they avoid the silhouette of a giant beast. The game quickly throws you into a tutorial where you learn to battle aliens with a plank of wood, a gun, and some grenades. The plot is presented in true comic-book style. As you can see, the story isn’t very engaging. Nor is it meant to be. The game is simply supposed to be a fun romp you can play with your friends.
The combat in the game is quite well done, linear as it may be. Mashing X will initiate 3 hit combos, holding up and X will launch aliens in the air for bigger combos a la Devil May Cry, and holding down and X will smash them into the floor. There are guns in the game, you aim with the right stick and press the right trigger to fire. This is how aiming works in all side-scrollers like Serious Sam Double D XXL and Contra. This is of course before you consider upgrades that are unlockable in the game.
The characters have the » Continue Reading.
The archaeological wise-cracking adventurer has been a staple of the entertainment industry since George Lucas’ vision came to life in Raiders of the Lost Ark. We’ve seen the trend come and go, well in recent years it’s been back with a bang. The Uncharted series making waves over on the Playstation, and Tomb Raider surprisingly rebooting with one of the outright games of the year. Nordic Games decided to have a crack at the genre, and man did they ever fail. Deadfall Adventures just might be one of the worst games this year, even worse than the Activision Walking Dead. Oh, how much I loathed this game, let me count the ways.
You play as James Lee Quatermain, grandson of legendary adventurer Allen Quatermain. Quatermain decides to aid the US government in the retrieval of a powerful artefact. James spends the majority of the start of the game speaking of his grand pappy’s ‘ridiculous tales’ of mummies and supernatural artefacts. Boy is he about to have a rude awakening. He shortly finds that these tales are in fact not quite as ridiculous as they first seemed. So from being a brash douche that couldn’t care less about the power behind the artefacts he was sent to obtain, he quickly becomes intrigued about such things and decides to carry on with the adventure. What with this being a game set in the 1940’s, it of course includes what has become a staple in this genre, Nazis! As if it wasn’t already a cheap Indiana Jones knockoff. The swastika on the armbands has been replaced with a funky black X, however. Full disclosure here, the story is nothing spectacular. Actually, it’s not even good…like, at all.
I’ve never heard voice acting as bad I’ve » Continue Reading.