All posts by Brendan Griffiths

Max Payne 3 staggers into Uncharted territory

Max Payne 3New York, New York. The city so nice they named it twice. Except poor old Max Payne doesn’t seem to agree if these screenshots are anything to go by.

After the moderate success of the recent movie which used New York for some great noir elements it’s surprising to see Rockstar ditch the Big Apple for this sunny, possibly South American setting. Continue reading Max Payne 3 staggers into Uncharted territory

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Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway (Review)

After countless WWII games this squad-based shooter this is the best representation of the constant harrowing fear and panic of the battlefield. Relying on a slower, more thought out tactical approach than Medal of Honor et al, the gameplay is infinitely more rewarding with some missions taking over an hour.

The story of the game follows on from the last PS2 game but don’t worry about it too much if you missed it as it’s easy to pick up (you may be tempted to raid the dusty PS2 shelves after this though). The scale and ambition is on a par with Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers with spectacular action and real emotion between the soldiers. You’re in the middle of the infamously botched Operation Market-Garden where instead of the war being over by Christmas, the allies received a major ass-kicking. Most missions involve taking out the giant 88 guns, liberating Eindhoven or simply staying alive against seemingly impossible odds. Continue reading Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway (Review)

The Bourne Conspiracy (Review)

There’s no doubt whatsoever that the Bourne films are absolutely stunning. The reinvention (Bourneification) of James Bond through Casino Royale would not have been were it not for Bourne bringing the spy / action genre back with such unflinching force. So it’s a little disappointing that this game is not based on the films, instead it’s apparently more based on the original books by Robert Ludlum.

This was probably due to Matt Damon apparently not wanting to get involved with the project because he didn’t like the violent content. Wait…what? Mr Damon, you shoved a biro up someone’s hand and have spent three films smashing the fuck out of people. We’ll assume the cheque didn’t have enough zeros on it then.

Don’t be fooled by the new subtitle of ‘Conspiracy’, this is not a compilation of all three titles; this only covers The Bourne Identity. Having read the book though it’s obvious the developers have ignored it and ripped off the film instead, tweaking the odd familiar action set-piece a little (for the worse). There are also ‘memory’ missions from before Bourne went for his midnight swim off the coast of Marseilles. I’m guessing they’re written in invisible ink and between the lines in the book. They have done well to get the same awesome music from the films, which really pumps up the action. Continue reading The Bourne Conspiracy (Review)

Burnout Paradise: Big Surf Island Expansion Pack (Review)

Construction yard

The brand new island just off the Eastern coast of the old map is finally here. An early surprise is that it’s only £9.99 on the PSN ($12.99 or 1000 MS Points), I was expecting at least £15. I mean look at how much they’ve been charging for some of the DLC cars!

Thankfully the new island is fully integrated into the existing Burnout map with no loading screens, which is an impressive feat given the already considerable size. The island itself is about the size of the Downtown area, but has a mix of business district skysrapers, beaches, waterfronts, building sites (with some insane jumps and hoop sections), winding drift roads, and a mountainous dirt track. Continue reading Burnout Paradise: Big Surf Island Expansion Pack (Review)

James Bond: Quantum of Solace (Review)

Compared to Casino Royale, the Quantum of Solace film was a big let down, so there’s not much hope for the game of the film right? Movie tie-ins are usually average at best.

So it’s a big surprise to find out that the game is actually rather good. Actually it’s very good. The missions take scenes from the last two bond films, not just Quantum. But not in order, as the game plays through Quantum to after the desert sinkhole shootout, then through Casino Royale, then finishing with the remainder of the second film. Yep me neither. Continue reading James Bond: Quantum of Solace (Review)

Twelve Sky 2 (Preview)

This is another free-to-play MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) from Aeria games who are also working on Luminary.

Twelve Sky 2 is set amidst a seemingly everlasting war over territorial dominance between three factions in ancient China. These factions have been dicing each other up for years, but they may have to team up because of the emergence of an old common enemy, if the extended trailer is anything to go by. Don’t worry if you’ve not played the first game as this has a brand new story.

Jinong

This setting is something different from the usual Warcraft and Dawn of War type games as it’s humans-only on the playable character roster but you will get to fight against monsters and weird creatures. It makes a nice change to see ancient China in a something that’s not a button-masher beat-em’-up like Dynasty Warriors. Continue reading Twelve Sky 2 (Preview)

Project Trico Trailer Revealed

*Recently re-named The Last Guardian.
*Make sure to click the HD option on the video after pressing ‘play’ to get rid of the smudgy picture. Works on standard definition monitors too.

Well, I don’t think anyone expected that. Outrageously stunning and a perfect example of a fantastic change of pace to radically alter the tone of the whole spectacle. But what else would you expect from Team Ico but the unexpected?

I don’t know what was more surprising, the creature itself initially (should we be scared, amused, confused?), or the flood of relief that hits as you realise it’s not intended as a fearsome creature as it picks up the boy, presumably his young master, and lovingly nuzzles him. Continue reading Project Trico Trailer Revealed

Burnout’s Big Surf Island Date Revealed

Construction yardWell the date’s finally here. Pack your bags (think up a good excuse to skive work) because June 11th we’re all heading off to Big Surf Island with Burnout Paradise.

We’ve all tried getting a peak from the car park roof across the water to see what’s going on and the recent videos from Criterion have ramped up the excitement considerably over the last few weeks. Continue reading Burnout’s Big Surf Island Date Revealed

inFamous (Preview / Demo review)

inFamousWith the full game release just around the corner, it’s time to check out the hype with a look at the PSN demo of this electrically-charged open world action game based in a city after a huge explosion leaves it in chaos. On the plus-side it gave you electric super powers and the decision to be naughty or nice. Continue reading inFamous (Preview / Demo review)

‘Beyond Good & Evil 2’ gameplay video. Maybe.

This is possibly a leaked video from Ubisoft, showing actual gameplay from Beyond Good & Evil 2.

It’s already drawn comparisons with Assassin’s Creed and Mirror’s Edge. But even at this early stage it looks like it handles itself much better than the former, with fluid animations and a Bourne film style frantic-looking chase camera.

However, for many it looks a little too good. Is this more Killzone 2 style ‘target footage’ that Ubisoft plan on getting the final game to look like? Either way, if the game itself is half as good as the original it will be stunning.

Speaking of which, if you haven’t played it, you can get it for under a fiver on eBay. So go on, you’ll thank us.

And thanks to Kotaku who were one of the first sites to put the video up.

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‘Rag Doll Kung Fu’ free on US PSN Store!

Sony have teamed up with Sprint to give away their PSN download only game, Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic, on the US PSN Store. You better be quick though as it’s only for one week.

No doubt people that have already forked out $9.99 / £7.99 will be annoyed as hell, but if you’ve not got the game already, you may as well try it out. It’s free! Trophies are supported too!

It’s a pretty shallow game on your own and it doesn’t have any online multiplayer options but does feature offline multiplayer for you and up to three of your mates you actually see in person; which makes a nice change considering the fun party games out there without the option, yes you Crash Commando.

Again, the European store is left outside in the rain with its face pushed up against the warm glass of the other regions stores, but we’ll hold off the moaning for now and suggest you set yourselves up a US account and bag it. Have a look here for a useful guide on how to do this. Note you’ll need a different e-mail address from your European account.

On the UK PSN Store this week, Bionic Commando Rearmed has been reduced from £6.99 to £3.99 and Bejeweled 2 has finally been released over here for a mildly annoying £6.29.

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Final Fantasy VII Hits PSN Store

Final Fantasy VII has finally been put on the PSN Store for PS3 and PSP! Unfortunately the most celebrated RPG of them all is only currently available on the Japan or Hong Kong stores.
 
Even though the Hong Kong store is in English it is listed as the Japanese version of the game. The game’s full title is Final Fantasy VII International, which indicates a few extra features, but also an unlikely European release as we never get the ‘International’ FF games.
 
The game costs ¥1500 / HK$118 or about £10 to us. Not bad seeing as used PS1 copies on eBay are going for at least £20.
 
Sony seriously dropped the ball not giving us Metal Gear Solid on the store, hopefully they’ll realise what a huge European following FFVII has and sort it out. Oh and we wouldn’t mind that Blu-ray of Advent Children with the FFXIII demo either.

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Prince of Persia: Epilogue (review)

Prepare for a moody Elika when she wakes up. Not an end-of-the-world morning person apparently.
After that ending (FIRST GAME SPOILER: The Prince releases Ahriman to resurrect Elika) of the first game last year it’s a relief we don’t have to wait a year or two for more. If you didn’t already know, this isn’t a full-blown sequel to last year’s best adventure game, it’s more of a segue before the bound-to-be-announced-soon sequel. Unless of course, Ubisoft is planning on slowly drip-feeding us one downloadable episode at a time? Continue reading Prince of Persia: Epilogue (review)

BlackSite: Area 51 (Review)

blacksite-area-51nsgThis is the pseudo-sequel to 2005s Area 51, but you’re not at a disadvantage if you haven’t played it. The early missions of this first-person -shooter take place in Iraq a few years before the events at Area 51. As an army grunt your character is under the impression this is a standard mission. Half an hour later, knee deep in aliens this is obviously not the case.

The graphics here are reasonable and the outdoor environments are brightly lit with clear detail. However towards the end of this segment there is a section with some horrific slowdown as the frame-rate nosedives and you’ll think the game is about to crash. Fortunately it doesn’t happen again throughout the rest of the game.

Continue reading BlackSite: Area 51 (Review)

Game Over For Old Video Games Age Ratings System

'I can't believe nobody's noticed we're playing Manhunt!'

Brendan Griffiths looks at the future of video games age ratings.

Video games age classifications are to be given the same treatment as cinema films and DVDs. This is a result of the Byron Review, commissioned by Gordon Brown, who has been quoted as saying that he is not interested in censoring the industry. Continue reading Game Over For Old Video Games Age Ratings System