Monday, 20 December 2010

Review: GTA IV

Fresh of the boat from Eastern Europe you arrive at in Liberty City in the land of the free. You meet up with your brother who has been feeding you lies about how good things are for him. This is how the game starts, shortly after you end up getting in to trouble with thugs and it all spirals out of control. The feeling of disillusionment is much how I felt about this game.

The game looks ok, with a slightly cel-shaded cartoon type look and the soundtrack will depend on which radio station you choose to put on in the car. I will say that the size of the city and the various routes that you can take around the city show a wide variety of buildings and areas that you typically get in a big city.
The thing that really got to me was the controls, while running around on foot the controls were manageable and while in a car they were also ok, but the controls for when you are on a bike or in a helicopter, and it was this last one that really buried the game for me. Two of the missions need a helicopter to complete them and one is the finale. But I found it really difficult to control it. You had to push the left thumb stick forward just enough in order to move forward, but do it too much and the copter goes into a nose dive. Around the same time I was playing Crackdown 2 and the controls for a helicopter in that were so much more concise.

As far as playing the game again I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to get it. Apparently there is a multiplayer element where you can tear up Liberty City with your friends but I can’t see why you would want to with controls that are this bad. Also once the main story is complete the game turns into that really annoying part of the Sims where you have to keep up appearances with your “friends”, but that was part of the Sims that I really didn’t like. As far as toughness goes some of the missions were difficult and not just because of the controls but it does seem to manage a good balance between easy and difficult missions.

Overall I really didn’t like this game bad controls spoiled the game for me, something else that may or may not have spoiled the game for me was that one of the achievements was to complete the game in 30 hours so I might not have got the most out of the game as I was rushing my through the story. 

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Review: Alan Wake

You are a writer on holiday with your wife when she disappears. While searching for her you discover pages of a book that supposedly you’ve written. There is also a terrible dark presence that is hanging around the town hindering your search. That is the introduction to Alan Wake, from there the game plays out as a mini psychological thriller TV series. This game has been a long time coming it’s been almost 5 years since it was first announced at E3 2005.

The story is really enjoyable and really makes you think, the ending is a confusing, overall in it’s entirety the story is a good length and there is no doubt about it that the game does give you the chance to make your own mind up as to what it means. At the time of writing this I have played the first of the DLC, so I do have some extra knowledge however I don’t think I'm going to see any answers any time soon.

Your main weapon is a torch which you need to use in order to get rid of the darkness that surrounds the enemies, then once that's out the way you can unload with your choice of firearm. As a unique method or combat i thought it worked really well. it also makes you think a little more when jumping into the fray.

The game’s soundtrack is really good with a few tracks taken from actual bands that work really well in the game, the orchestral soundtrack as well helps with the building the tension as well as the setting the mood. Although some of the character models are a little ropey in places, on the whole they are good and the cut scenes are superb. The pinnacle though has to be the environmental vista’s you get of the valley that the game is set in.

There is re-playability in this game, the hardest difficulty is only unlocked after the first play through, there are also some collectibles that are only available in the Nightmare difficulty. As far as difficulty goes the game has a good balance. I’ve just finished my Nightmare playthough and it makes you think before you get into it with a group of enemy's.

Overall I really enjoyed this game and I'm slightly disappointed that the game wasn’t as well received as it was hoped, this has meant that the sequel is not necessarily confirmed. Is the game worth a 5 year wait? No I'm not sure if it is, don’t get me wrong the game is good and is really enjoyable but I do wonder what took it so long.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

General Update 13: The Wanderer Returns!

So you may remember I wrote a couple weeks back about how work was crazy busy? well lucky for me at least work has calmed down a bit, however Christmas is just around the corner so that means present buying and card writing and trip planning and preparation. so things may be quiet on the blog front for the next two weeks, but I'm sure that you are used to that by now. 

Christmas will be spent at my dads which should give me a chance to catch up on at least writing my reviews. and hopefully work out a standard for future reviews. I didn't have many games on my list and the only one that I actually know I am getting is Assassins Creed: Brotherhood. The other games on my list were Spiderman Shattered Dimensions, Dead Rising, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Gears of War 2, Neir and Bayonetta.

Last night was the VGA's, The Video Game Awards. these were shown on Spike TV in America, and I did try and live stream the show, however the stream wasn't great and it went off-line about half way through so I only caught the first half. However that worked out well as it meant I got to see two trailers that are worth talking about. The first was one I was hoping for, as Bioware were looking to announce an as yet un-announced game, this turned out to be, as I was hoping, Mass Effect 3. Below is the trailer that was shown.

The second trailer that made me very excited is below and was for Elder Scrolls V.

And finally, this year has been building up to one defining moment in my gaming career and this was realised on Tuesday. That's right I managed to reach 50000 gamer score. It was dragging on and I had had enough of not breaking the 50k, especially as I was only 10g away. So I looked through my achievements and tried to find a nice 10g achievement in the end I had to settle for two fives. The two achievements were Start Of A New Era from Soulcalibur IV as well as The Creator from Trials HD.

As far as what I've been playing it's really been a tidy up of achievements as I'm working through Castlevania Lord of Shadows on the hardest difficulty and working on the trials on each of the level. I also traded in my copy of Borderlands for the Game of the Year edition which has all the DLC included, and while I've completed the Zombie Island of Dr Ned, I'm a little disheartened by the fact that the Mad Moxi's underdome Riot is really for mutliplayer as it's too hard to do on solo.

Right I'm off to bed as I have work in the morning, but hopefully I should finish Castlevania Lord of Shadows to the full 1000g before I head off on my Christmas Trip.