Monday, 19 April 2010

Hellish Weekend

Another weekend gone and what a nice weekend it was weather-wise. The past week has been a bit jumbled as I’ve been trying out my new games. I started Dante’s Inferno, and then tried Darksiders for a bit. Saturday night I completed Dante’s Inferno. Sunday I completed it again after playing through on a new game+ (a new game with my stats from the first play through). Sunday afternoon I tried out Red Faction Guerrilla and I like it, it’s a bit like Borderlands crossed with The Saboteur, I also had a jam on Lego Rock Band. As I’ve yet to try Half Life, I think that will be next, might give that a go tonight.

That’s all I’ve been up to so what about there in the real world? Well if you remember a few weeks ago I posted about a viral website, which was for a game that as yet still remains unknown. As the first message was decoded it was found to mention April Week 2, this turns out was April 9th, when the website was updated. People have already worked out the latest message, which, after a slight spelling mistake lead to a local papers wanted section, which gave a, at first glance, random set of letters with a message “you can find me at the cheeping River. It’s near the Cheering Viper.” It was worked out that the clue for the cipher came from the last sentence. And once the message was decoded gave out co-ordinates for several important land marks, including the white house, the CIA headquarters and NORAD. For more details on the exact details of the latest update check out Move Viral.

But does this actually help us? In Short, No. we are a little closer to working out who though as Bethesda has come forward and publically said that this site is nothing to do with them which leaves COD and Singularity. If I find more information I will up date.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Review: Bioshock 2

In Bioshock 2 we return to the deep sea dystopia and this time play as a Big Daddy, one of the first Big Daddy’s in fact. The emotional bond between yourself and your little sister means that unless you find her you will slip into a coma due to one of the fail safe mechanisms created to keep you in check. This is how your adventure starts, many of the game mechanics that existed in the Bioshock are back including the Big Daddy’s you’re used to; the plasmids and gene tonics as well as some old and some new weapons, which you can now dual wield with plasmids.

The story was enjoyable, and the references to the original game are there if you are willing to look for them. There are some twists to the story that while the events themselves aren’t that predictable the timings are. However the visuals and soundtrack are much the same as the first with the 50’s/60’s art deco style in disrepair throughout. The locations despite being new to the player feel the same as in the first game and that’s pretty much how the game entire game feels.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the game is bad, but it does feel like slipping into the same old cardigan and slippers that we’re used to and not in the good way. The locations and some of the tasks are really familiar. However some things have changed, the weapon system now lets you use your plasmids and weapons at the same time meaning you’re not wasting time swapping out your Electrobolt plasmid for your solid slug shotgun just in time to blow off a Big Daddy’s helmet before he skewers you on his arm drill. You can zap and blast to your hearts content. The hacking mini game is better this time round instead of playing the pipes mini game you have to stop a waving pin in the middle of the “safe” zone, and the game isn’t paused while doing this, so you need to keep your wits about you.

Overall I would say get Bioshock 2 if you enjoyed the first one, if you’ve not played the first one then I would say play that rather than head straight in with this sequel. I personally would have liked a little more of a new feel to the game but enjoyed what was on offer, and those changes that have been made do help.

I have tried the multi player and found it really enjoyable. It’s your basic online multiplayer games, capture the flag, domination, last person standing and all out war that you’re used to if you play games like COD etc, however each has a Bioshock twist. The flags are sisters and you play as normal splicers. There is a back story for each of the characters that you can choose, and you level up according to how well you do in the games. You don’t get experience points but ADAM instead, with higher levels unlocking more plasmids, gene tonics and weapons as well as masks and melee weapons as well.

The thing the multiplayer was missing for me was my friends, but I think that can be said about any multiplayer game like this. My favourite thing about this mode was that all the locations and weapons in this mode were from the first game. So you could be running around the farmers Market with the cross bow, or through arcadia, or be camped up in Eve’s garden waiting for an unsuspecting victim.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Review: The Last Remnant

The Last Remnant was the second Xbox 360 exclusive from Square-Enix. It follows the story of Rush Sykes and his search for his sister who was kidnapped from their home. In his search he meets the Marquis of Athlum, Lord David, pronounced Daveed, and his generals.

The most noticeable thing about this game was the battle system. In a break from tradition you didn’t control your main character you controlled their union or team of up to 5 people. You didn’t have control over each members actions rather gave them a broad idea, for example use magic attacks called mystic arts, or combat attacks called combat arts. Each member then used a corresponding action depending on how many Action Points the union had.

The story was enough to keep me playing, I just got stuck on a side quest so had to start again, I explain why in the next paragraph. The battles may seem complicated but they can be picked up really quickly and give you something a bit more to think about. The graphics can get a little heavy when you have a lot of characters/enemies on the battle field, but it’s generally not too bad.

My biggest annoyance with this game was the levelling up system. You don’t get experience from each monster you kill, instead your skills level up depending on the use of them. Now the game tells you to try and get as many monsters into a battle as possible to increase your battle rank, however what you really need to do is avoid battles as much as possible as your stat upgrades come from fighting monsters that are stronger than you.  It took me most of a play through to find this out and then started again following the tips I had found on how to do better.

Overall I enjoyed the Last Remnant once I was playing properly. The storyline is strong and the game play is decent. If you want something a bit different to your turn-based JRPG’s then give Last Remnant a go. As a little nugget of gaming gold the voice actor who plays Rush was one of the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Weekend in Rapture

After last week’s poor attempt at a gaming weekend I was determined to make up for it, and as I had purchased Bioshock 2 it was only fair that I worked on that, which I did and completed. I hope to try and get the review up shortly, but I’ll have to do the Last Remnant review first. I also tried the multiplayer as well in the hopes of trying to get all the achievements, and I’ve got to say I actually enjoyed it. Sunday I started again on hard to wrap up the last of the solo achievements and I’m already halfway through again.

On Friday I also placed an order with, as they currently have a sale on. I’ve kinda splashed out some new some old; it’s a bit of a balance. I’ve ordered Dante’s Inferno, Red Faction: GuerillaThe Orange Box and Darksiders. Incidentally that’s also the planned play order as well, although I may have to try each one first! They’ve been dispatched today but I’m hoping to get another night on Bioshock 2 in the hope of finishing on hard before I start the new games. We’ll see though as I don’t fancy taking on 4 big daddy’s and then a big sister especially as I have low ammunition.

I’ve also joined Twitter so feel free to follow me, I’ll update there to let everyone know when new blog posts are done, I’ll also aim to update with game progress as well. My Twitter name is @Gamerpraggers. I’m hopefully going to try and put a feed up on this blog so you can see my tweets if you don’t end up following me.

UPDATE: I've now completed Bioshock 2 on hard, wohoo go me. It wasn't as bas as I thought it would be but I'm glad I had already completed it with our using the Vita-Chambers. The other Solo achievement I had to get was all of the Power to the people stations, I got that one as well. So now I'm all ready for my new games!  

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Review: Iron Man

Being a Big Marvel Fan and a fan of the film I was excited about getting this game, despite it getting really bad reviews. I enjoyed playing the game, it was fairly short in that I finished it in about a week. It then took me another week to get the rest of the achievements.

The game loosely follows the movie although much like Xmen Origins: Wolverine it adds a bit more story so I'm not really sure you can call it a movie tie in. It starts with Tony Stark escaping from capture and then getting the suit up and running and apart from the final boss that's all the game and the movie have in common. The other missions are following Tony as he takes on the people using his weapons and destroying them.

The controls do take a little getting used to, I found the flying most difficult. but the fact that you can "re-route" power to various different areas to improve different aspects was a good one. So you could fly faster if trying to avoid a target or increase your melee attacks, or your repulsers or to your armour.

I had hoped to do the game in one play through unfortunately starting on hard was too hard for me. However by playing through on easy first I was able to unlock all the extra suits which you can then use in the missions. Including one suit that has a shield which I didn't work out how to use until the second to last mission, this made a lot of difference. 

The achievements weren't too difficult, the hardest one to get was the playing through on hard, but then that's not too surprising. Overall I liked the game, it was easy enough to get into, and I would recommend this game to anyone who likes either marvel or the film.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Review: The Saboteur

Pandemic, the developers of The Saboteur, were one of the unlucky companies that has had to shut it's doors, and in this case before their product had even shipped to stores. I liked the look of the game from what little I had seen, and when I had it as one of the choices in my elite bundle it was difficult not to choose it.

I'm glad that I did take the chance and pick this game as I really enjoyed playing it. The game is set in Nazi occupied Paris, you play as the Irish rogue Sean Devlin, a mechanic caught up in the occupation after a visit to a motor sport race in Germany. You then join the French resistance and help in liberating Paris from the Nazis. 

In my opinion the game plays like Assassin's Creed crossed with GTA. you can run from roof top to roof top and then fall to the floor and then blast a Nazi in the face with a shotgun.

Overall the game works really well, but there were a couple of things that bugged me with it though. The game gives you "free-play events" which are much like the races and delivery tasks in Assassin's Creed 2 however I did feel that there were too many of these. Also during the game when you died you're spawned at the closest hideout, unfortunately once the main story is finished you only spawn at the first one.

I did like the awards system that allowed you to unlock other abilities and weapons and cars. Speaking of cars you can collect cars and take them back to a resistance garage and you could then keep them, I felt this could have worked with the weapons as well. I also liked the artistic style that had areas that haven't been liberated were in black and white, while areas that have been liberated were in colour.

Overall I recommend this game if you liked Assassins Creed or GTA, although I personally didn't like GTA IV, otherwise try it if you looking for something new.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


While reading some of my news updates I saw one that I left, and I now wish I hadn’t. The title on the RSS feed was “A Mystery USB Drive Arrived Today”. I assumed that this was to do with the recent update that is coming to the Xbox to allow USB drives to be used as additional storage. However upon ready this story it would appear that it’s a viral marketing campaign, much like the Bioshock 2 something in the sea website, for a new game that has yet to be revealed. A USB drive was sent to various gaming sites, such as IGN and Joystiq as well as some COD fan sites, in a plain manila envelope with no return address, however there was a post mark from Maryland, America.

The drive contained 2 items. An audio file with a man’s voice reading out a quote, "What we wish, we readily believe, and what we ourselves think, we imagine others think also", as well as "Don't believe everything you see." followed by this sequence of letters:
The other item was a text document with the following words in “Cryptography; Isotope; Philanthropy; Hydrogen; Ember; Rebirth”.

The Quote was by Julius Caesar and applying a Caesar cipher, with a shift of three, to the letter sequence reveals it to spell WWWGKNOVA6COM which does in fact lead to a website, with a television set which can be tuned using the dial. The set appears to repeat a message, a quote and then “NOVASIX” repeated along with various images.

Some clever bod, over at has found that the quote is from Francis Bacon, and he like Caesar has a cipher named after him. Bacon’s cipher uses different type faces to hide a message in plain sight, like some robots I know of ;). In the case of this message the “NOVASIX” is spelt by two voices, one male and one female. With the bacon cipher the repeated spelling of “NOVASIX” becomes “April Week Two”

So what does this mean? There are several opinions on which game this might mean, the first is that it’s for the new Fallout Game, Fallout: New Vegas, with the nuclear references it’s possibly and with Maryland being the home of Bethesda it’s defiantly possible. However others seem to think that it might be a reference to the new Call of Duty title this year. The text in the text file seems to contain a Google analytics code use by Activision. But there is a third possibility, and it’s a game that I’ve been looking forward to since I first read about it, and that is Singularity. However it may also be something completely different. I guess we’ll have to wait and see but I will be watching the website and I will update if I hear anything else.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Easter Bank Holiday Weekend

So with a 4 day bank holiday weekend you would have thought that for someone like me that would mean long sessions on the Xbox and plenty of gaming, and you would be right. However that wasn't the way it turned out it all started so well . . .

 . . . Thursday night I managed to get to the final boss, so Friday I spent most of the day grinding on Last Remnant in preparation for that fight. I also had one other achievement that I needed to get as well, Guru of the Mystic, which was going to need a lot of patience for. By Friday evening I was almost ready for the final boss. 

Saturday once I had woken up I tried to finish off the last couple of things to be ready for the final boss however it was going to take along time for that, I needed a character to gain a lot more money but there was no easy way for this to happen, so I decided that I would leave it for the time being and I would go and have a crack at the final boss and if he still wiped the floor with me I would try and continue getting this character to learn a special move. 

I was also ready for the final task on the Guru of the Mystic achievement which could be taken care of en-route to the final boss fight, and was. So I was all set everything was in place did I do it? No, I got well and truly whipped. Same goes for the second and third tries, which included a slight reshuffle on my tactics but still no joy. In the end I combined my 4 teams into 2 super teams, one for combat the other for healing, and ended up handing the final boss his ass on a plate, in two turns. 

After a good few sighs of relief I put the game away, it was a hard slog and the grinding was getting boring after a while. I then had to decide what I was going to play next, which is Bioshock 2. I didn't get a chance to play it as I was heading to the cinema with my girlfriend to see Kick-Ass, which is a really good film. We then had dinner after the film before coming home and starting Bioshock 2.

Sunday everything started going wrong, I woke up early with back pain but this soon changed to a pain across my chest which I couldn't shake, and with being in pain concentrating on a game was out of the question. So Sunday was pretty much written off, however I was feeling better in the evening. Today, Monday, I played some more Bioshock, but the pain has returned so I've left the Xbox off this evening.

So yeah not the gaming productive weekend I had hoped for, but I have now finished Last remnant which is a load off my mind. It does now bring the total of games I've maxed out on gamer score up to 23. I hope you had a good Easter weekend as well.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

A[long time coming] Look To The Future. . .

So I read or heard somewhere recently that this year Microsoft has got a big name game every month this year, doing a quick search I found the quote on the OXM site. "Starting in January we have like a triple A exclusive title pretty much every month for the first half of the year," Aaron Greenberg. He then went on to say "You've got Mass Effect 2, you've got Splinter Cell, you've got Alan Wake, you've got Crackdown've [also] got things like Fable 3 and Halo: Reach coming later that year. Those are just the exclusives." So I thought I’d reflect on this and give my opinion on some of the hottest games I'm looking forward to this year. So let’s jump straight in with . . .

Mass Effect 2
The much anticipated sequel is set 2 years after the original and follows the exploits of Commander Shepard and his preparation for the invasion of the reapers. Mass Effect 2 is out now, and as I’ve already mentioned I’ve actually completed it as well. My review will be uploaded shortly.

Alan Wake
I'm really looking forward to this game, I saw a clip of the game play in the E3 2009 Keynote speech, and it looked fantastic. So what is it? It’s a horror survival game where you play Alan Wake a writer who’s having some trouble with his craft, and decides there is no time like the present to take some time off with his wife. While away he realises he is actually in one of his stories. That’s the setup and I’ve got to say I’m hooked already, it’s also an XBOX 360 exclusive.

Crackdown 2
This was another game that was announced at last years E3 event and at the time i hadn't played the original. However I picked up the original on the cheap after a friend also recommended it to me and I was very impressed. It's a good game with an interesting story which I really enjoyed playing. More details have been released now and I'm really excited to see how they have improved on the original.

Fable 3
Lionhead studio's biggest franchise is set to follow up with Fable III later on this year. With details emerging that there will  be no health bar opting instead for a more Call of Duty/Mass Effect display where the screen will convey your health, a lack of experience points meaning your "level" will be derived from your interactions with the NPC's (Non-Player Characters). I've also heard that there is no fighting in the first 1 hour of game play. The story it's self is set 50 years after the events of Fable II

There is a lot of hype surrounding this game probably due to it being the last proper Halo Game. I say that because Bungie is handing over the Halo name to Microsoft owned 343 studios. While details are scarce the multiplayer Beta will be launched on May 3rd with invitations included in last years Halo 3:ODST.