Megamind is one of this year's most successful family movies featuring an entertaining premise and some really big names voicing characters. The tie-in videogame features neither of these things. Is this enough to dismiss it entirely? Certainly not. Megamind is a surprisingly entertaining action platformer featuring inventive puzzles and imaginative weapons. Although not without its flaws, you could certainly do a lot worse than this if looking for something to entertain your children.
Continue reading: Megamind: Ultimate Showdown, Review Sony PS3
I was never into wrestling as a child. Even in the golden era of Hulk Hogans and Hitman Harts I found all the costumes and soap opera spats slightly farcical and vaguely embarrassing. Plenty of my friends fell under the spell however, spending hours recreating fights with the action figures, even finding excuses to take their plastic combatants round to the rich kid's house as his parents had bought him the official wrestling ring toy set which emitted realistic (muffled) crowd sounds and commentary at the press of a button. These days computer games are the new action figures and in this arena WWE games have always struggled to compete against other, more exciting fighting games. Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 hopes to readdress the balance by providing an unparalleled level of choice of game modes, match customizability and with an impressive roster of baby oiled brutes and beauties with which to do battle.
Continue reading: WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2010, Review PS3
Bringing a collection of arcade favourites and an all new FPS mode together on one disc, Time Crisis: Razing Storm attempts to capture all the joy and excitement of the undisputed "king of arcade on-rails shooters" into your living room. Included are faithful recreations of the original Time Crisis 4 arcade game, Deadstorm Pirates and the more recent Razing Storm, each with their own unique styles and gameplay components. On top of this is the all new first person shooter based around the events in the Razing Storm arcade game, unfortunately it is this component that lets the collection down, sitting uncomfortably somewhere between an on-rails shooter and a more modern FPS. Still, with a huge wealth of content and PlayStation Move compatibility, there is plenty here to get excited about.
Continue reading: Time Crisis: Razing Storm, Review Sony PS3
Remember when games were tough? When you'd spend hours trying to master the split second timing to complete a jump on Manic Miner or days building up your skills and knowledge of a dizzy egg game so that you could get closer to completing it? No? Don't remember? Well not to worry as Namco have finally made the decision to bring the brutally brilliant Demon's Souls to the UK, so now we can all relive the sanity wrecking difficulty of old school gaming but along with the glitzy graphics of the PlayStation 3. Demon's Souls is a thunderously audacious game that demands a lot from the modern player, but those patient and brave enough to take it on will be rewarded with a gaming experience unlike any other available. But be warned, it won't make it easy for you.
Continue reading: Demon's Soul, Review Sony PS3
By the beard of Zeus! Perseus is on the PS3! A movie tie-in of epic proportions, Clash of the Titans mines the ever reliable depths of Greek mythology to bring a cornucopia of classical creatures to life and then swiftly to death. Encompassing a basic combat system that tries to emulate the hack-n-slash excitement of fellow Grecian Kratos, but falls short by lacking enough variety to make it more than casually engaging, Clash of the Titans is an entertaining but repetitive romp that'll certainly keep fans of the film happy.
Continue reading: Clash of the Titans, Review Sony PS3
The undeniable success of Beatles Rock Band and Metallica Guitar Hero has shown that rhythm action games that celebrate the works of one band can be fun, entertaining and profitable. I mean, who wouldn't want to breeze through a rendition of 'Here Comes the Sun' with a few friends or to rip it up with a run through of the heavy metal stormer 'Battery' with some boozed up buddies. So when Activision announced they were bringing out a Guitar Hero dedicated to Van Halen, I couldn't help but wonder why?
Do people even listen to Van Halen anymore? Their brand of stadium filling 80s 'cock-rock' seems about as irrelevant to today's musical climate as you can get. Even at their heyday they only had a handful of decent tunes, surely not enough to dedicate an entire game to on the already bloated Guitar Hero franchise. So why does this game exist at all? Can there really be enough die-hard Van Halen fans in the world to financially support this release? Even with the vast amounts of non-Halen filler songs that litter this game (tenuously chosen by the young 17 year old Wolfgang Van Halen and consisting mainly of awful pop-punk and middle of the road American rock) it is hard to imagine anyone caring enough to pay full whack for what, content wise, would have been better suited as a download pack rather than a full release.
Continue reading: Van Halen Guitar Hero, Review Sony PS3
Review of MAG on Sony PS3
MAG, standing for Massive Action Game, is a game based around a single, very impressive idea. 256 players online, fighting at any one time. This sounds genuinely fantastic- a console has never seen this number of players going at the same time, and it shows a lot of ambition to even attempt it.It goes against what has been somewhat of a paradigm shift in the industry over the past few years, what with Microsoft announcing Natal and Nintendo's continued success with the Wii, it seems like bigger is no longer better; people don't care about polygon counts quite as much as they used to. The AAA titles, the Modern Warfares and the Halos are no longer judged on frame rates or even length, they're judged on script, on gameplay, on replayability.
Continue reading: MAG, Review PS3
Read Daniel Howard's Review of Lego Rock Band. Reviewed on Sony PS3.
I've never understood the recent trend for 'legoifying' popular franchises. We've had Star Wars Lego games, Indiana Jones Lego game and soon Harry Potter will succumb to the Danish blocks, and it has always seemed to me to be an exercise in combining two great things together to make something rather mediocre, if briefly entertaining. But I guess until the popularity for Lego branded video games ends and the money stops coming in, we're gonna see a lot more of them. Cue Lego Rock Band, a game that attempts to combine the 'fun for all the family' ethic and iconic aesthetic of the Lego brand with the hugely successful rhythm action of Rock Band but ultimately (you guessed it) creates something not quite as good as either.
As a rhythm action game it plays pretty much identically to its more mature cousin, allowing up to 4 players to strum, bash and wail their way through a varied medley of well known (and lesser known) songs. To do this, a cavalcade of colourful blocks fall down a fret board and players must tap and strum the same coloured buttons when the blocks hits the bottom. It's a beautifully simple idea and one I'm sure most people are familiar with due to the meteoric success of Rock Band and its nemesis Guitar Hero. The winning formula remains the same here although somehow feels a lot less satisfying than its predecessors. Button patterns generally seem to correspond less to the audio you are hearing and feel slightly unresponsive at times (even after a calibration), which sullies the 'rock star' feeling found in other games. The visuals also fall too far on the side of cutesy to ever be described as spectacular, giving the whole experience a much tamer feel than the similar titles. Though I guess for a family oriented title, it's to be expected.
Ultimately however, the relative success and failure of any Rock Band game is always going to come down to the actual songs chosen by the creators for you to play. If no one likes the songs, no one is going to want to play the game. Here the selection is limited to forty five 'family friendly' tunes and to be fair it's a pretty mixed bag. There are some absolute classics (Let's Dance by David Bowie anyone?) and some real stinkers (KT Tunstall) as well as a worrying prevalence of pop-punk and middle of the road rock which, although not appealing to me, will definitely appeal to younger players and stays well within the acceptability of mum and dad. Not all the songs are actually great to play on the guitar however, a lot of the more modern songs are pretty repetitive, especially on lower difficulty levels, and the songs I wanted to play never really felt as good as I thought they would in theory. The addition of a 'super easy' difficult level also opens the game open to the younger market as successful completion of the songs only requires a few abstractly timed strums and no button presses. But bear in mind however that expert still remains extremely difficult.
Keeping in theme with the rest of the franchise, Lego Rock Band is choc-a-block with customizability options, unlocks, upgrades and collectables. You can customize your own rock den, tour bus and the appearance of every band member in your motley crew (no pun intended, they've no place in a family game). Unlocking new instruments as well as artist likenesses such as Iggy Pop and David Bowie add a nice collectable element and make for a good step for introducing your youngsters into 'real music'.
It worries me how much I sound like my dad in this review, but I think that's the point. As a game for adults who are fans of Rock Band and want to play it with their kids in a more accessible way, it succeeds hands down. As a game to be played on its own for its own merits, it is just above average due its limited scope and small set list. Quite simply, it's not as much fun as real Lego or real Rock Band
6.5 out of 10
Read our Sony Playstation 3 Review of New Horror Shooter F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
Continue reading: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, Review PS3
Read our review of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots on the Sony PS3
Continue reading: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Review, PS3
Dark Sector is a first person shooter that lands you in the role of `Hayden Tenno' a secret, yet elite, agent operative sent out into the Eastern Bloc in the wake of the Cold War. Unfortunately this mission seems to have been a one way trip as a dark secret has been swept under the old Cold War rug. You are attacked by a mysterious enemy having neutralised a diseased member of previously deployed unit. However, death does not come and you awaken alone and altered. Whatever the mysterious assailant has infected you with, it has mutated to give you inhuman skills and abilities. Throughout the game these powers get stronger and Tenno must learn to assimilate them, not only to survive, but to avenge his abandoning.
You start with a brief yet good looking cut scene and move into a prologue that lets you get to grips with the controls. The learning curve is just about right, with the basics given in prompts and other features (such as picking up ammo and reloading) left to you to work out for yourself. Learning by doing as they say. The controls, specifically the camera and first person, over-the-shoulder view initially seem overly sensitive but you will quickly get to grips with this and once you have done, the controls seem pretty tight and smooth. A plus, in my eyes at least, is that the initial cut scene doesn't explain every single aspect of what is going on. Quite the opposite, you are not treated like a recently lobotomised squirrel instead you are left to figure out what is going on and therefore the plot is left to develop like any decent feature film, giving you more of a chance of being hooked.
Once infected you are left to fend off many a mutated creature and random Russian soldiers. (Pesky Russians, its always them.) Dark Sector is brilliantly gory and thoroughly deserving of its 18+ rating. The main reason for this resolves around the source of your attack. Once infected, your primary weapon is the `Glaive', a three pronged boomerang type blade which is razor sharp. The camera zooms in on the Glaive as soon as it is thrown which allows you to control the direction of its attack as it lops of heads, limbs, extremities and anything else it finds in its path. What follows is bloody, very bloody. However, its not all good. The Glaive is controlled by the PS3 pad motion sensor, which is inaccurate at best. This can be quite frustrating at best and completely anger inducing annoying at worst. Worst still, I persevered with this before realising after a good couple of hours in that you could change this control to the d-pad. That pretty much hacked me off too. You might say that is my own fault for not paying attention to detail. don't. Whilst you have a vast area of weaponry to choose from, I can't see any reason to use them once in possession of the Glaive. This weaponry can only be carried in small numbers, say two guns and a handful of grenades, which may be realistic but certainly isn't fun.
The graphics and sound are good and definitely what we have come to expect from the PS3 as a rule. The title looks well and the sounds & score add to the suspense of the game, but nothing here is ground breaking or new. You can apply this to the game-play as well. This is, in general, a run of the mill first person suspense shooter, with a cool boomerang knife weapon thrown in to mix things up a little within a standard plot structure that features inhuman creatures and those damn pesky Russians.
7.5 out of 10
Army of Two does exactly what it says on the tin. You are part of a two-man cell acting on behalf of the private sector military, guns for hire if you will. You begin the title as you finish your army career in the US Rangers before being picked up by the corporate militia as mercenaries available to the highest bidder. You can choose to play as either Tyson Rios or Elliott Salem as you are sent to many of the World's hotspots to search and destroy or rescue targets. It soon appears that plans are afoot to discredit the armed forces in order for private security firms to provide protection to the world. This mirrors certain real world accusations, `Blackwater' immediately springs to mind and it is to EA's credit that they create such a topical and believable storyline.
Continue reading: Army of Two - Review PS3, Ea Games
In Burnout Paradise we see an evolutionary step on the Burnout franchise. In place of your standard linear pre defined races, we see `Paradise City', a sprawling urban conurbation just waiting for you to explore it. Think Grand Theft Auto if it was solely about the cars and not the random maiming.
Rather than collecting medals are we saw in previous Burnout titles, the aim of the game is to complete various tasks in order to build up your current driving license before advancing to the next license in due course. Paradise City itself is split up into eight separate sectors of roads, shortcuts, underpasses, bridges and rail tracks and could take a fair while to explore in its entirety. This said, it is worth doing as if you enter into a task or struggle to read the map properly, it is quite easy to make a wrong turning or end of embedded in bridge support. Task over. Your tasks will vary from `Showtime' [a variation of `Crash Mode' from previous Burnout incarnations] which entails you stringing together stunts, jumps and crashes over any course you find and can blast your way through; `Marked Man' [See a variation of Pursuit mode previously] where you attempt to get from point 'a' to point `b' whilst other vehicles do their utmost to derail you; standard races; `Road rage' see you attempting to create as much carnage as possible before your own vehicle and a few others too. You are also responsible for unlocking your own new vehicles, not in the normal manner via attaining a certain level of competition, but by seeing the car drive past you, chasing it and destroying it. This is thoroughly fun and has you changing from wandering nomad to bloodthirsty predator in a split second. If you are one crash away from wiping out or out of nitro, then pop into the repair shop or gas station for a tune up-slash-refill which will have you as good as new.
So how well do the in-games fit into the free roaming environment? Being hyper critical and a fan of previous Burnout titles, whilst the level of destruction is satisfying you don't get the multi car pile ups that you used to get particularly in Crash mode. The pile ups are mainly gone but the linking of stunts and crashes is highly appealing. Maybe I am being slightly nostalgic then, but perhaps there was room for both? On top of this, because the city is theoretically split into three vertical levels [the top level may include highways, bridges, etc whilst the middle tier may be street level, whilst the lower tier could be subways or the like] it can be rather difficult to make head-nor-tail of the map, specifically at high speed. Speaking of high speed, we are talking `uber' velocity with 60 frames per second which is almost flawlessly incorporated into online gaming as well. Having digressed, my last beef is that you will have to wait for any event you start to finish before you can restart it again. This can be particularly frustrating id you wipe out half way through a race meaning that you have little to no chance of winning and you have to travel a couple of miles back to the start line.
Negatives aside, let's have some more things to be positive about. Though about as a appealing as all DJ's, Paradise City's `DJ Attomica' joins you on your car stereo, however in a nice change from the norm he actually gives you some useful hints on gameplay and finding your way around. The online facility is excellent not only because it maintain the frame-rate, not because you can custom race a fair few of your friends online, not because you can also compare stats with your mate, but mainly because the integration of your off-line game and online game is seamless. If you turn on your t'internet connection the stats and links to `friends' online is automatic. As the game is free-roaming, you can challenge and be challenged at any time.
Burnout Paradise has a raw intensity to it that will get your pulse racing, the graphics are top notch and the selection of tunes for your radio, are not annoying as in similar titles. For these reasons as well as for all those mentioned earlier, Burnout Paradise makes it into the slowly growing bang of `must have' PS3 titles.
8.5 out of 10
Ninja Gaiden Sigma
Ninja Gaiden Sigma is the third instalment of this series and the first on the new generation platforms. You generally control the lead character of Ryu who is tasked with retrieving the stolen Dark Dragon Blade by his clan of neighbourhood Ninja's. Your task is to jump, hack, prod and slice your way through nineteen different missions in order to return the blade to its rightful owners.
The best part of the title by far is the fluidity and responsiveness of Ryu. You can jump, hang and slice as if in real time and the characters responses are almost in sync. As you progress through the game you can acquire new weapons moves and as well as upgrading current weapons and techniques. You can run up walls, leap great heights and traverse cheeky overhangs. The all around depth of movements are excellent. Never is this more apparent (and the complexity you will not quite appreciate up until this point.) than when the character you control is no longer Ryu, but the Valkyrie-esque Rachel. The plus points, a scantily clad and heavily endowed woman with a mind of her own, could also be limiting as perhaps that is why our other halves have an instant reluctance to pick up a joypad [she certainly made some derogatory comment, but it might have been about me... Nah, it must have been Rachel.] One thing I do know is that she is bloody cumbersome and about as reactive as clay and this really slams home how responsive Ryu is. One major criticism of mine is that for a ninja game, it is all hack, slice, jump. There is a distinctive lack of stealth to the proceeding which I generally would expect of Ninja's.
In term of game progression, Ryu will collect different coloured orbs having slain his enemies and the colour will reflect the level of currency or health. Slaying enemies can be achieved via differing moves that you pick from your main weapon [these can be your ninja blades or something similar such as nun-chucks or, initially at least, the Dragon Blade], you can also use the legendary Shuriken [Ninja death stars to the non-initiated] or finally your `ninpo'. Magic if you will. This could be fireballs, lightening bolts, tornado's and the like but they are controlled by shaking the six-axis which actually proves to be a pain in the backside. The amount or orbs you collect directly affect the upgrades that you afford and convenient placed mystical shops.
So what about game modes I hear you mutter? I've just told you about it. There is no multi-player action and the online facility consists of a mere scoreboard. HD? Yes, the game accommodates 1080dpi and whilst you can tell it doesn't hit the spot square on and is most apparent in the cut scenes rather than the interactive action.
Even I am getting bored with how repetitive my reviews are sounding these days. I think what I am waiting for is a title that picks me, chucks me against a wall, slaps me round the chops and says "here you go, here's what all the fuss was about." Ninja Gaiden Sigma is a good game, has excellent playability, decent longevity, looks well and has a very good frame rate. But it is still only slightly a slightly better experience than the previous generation consoles in almost every area from playability to graphics. This just isn't filling me with enthusiasm about what titles are around the corner. I have seen many different opinions that gush about this title and it makes me wonder whether I am just too cynical and the game is the best thing since sliced bread (really, couldn't whoever came up with this phrase think of a better invention than sliced bread?) and that I just cannot see it. Of course the alternative is that they just want the other side of the fence to believe otherwise. I'll let you decide as this Sony/Microsoft feud between consumers is boring me now.
7.5 out of 10
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007
Review PlayStation 3
Tiger makes his debut on the PS3 with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007 which has already appeared on the last generation machines. The PS3 version is quite different to the PS2 version however it's almost identical to the Xbox 360 version though, which in this case is a good thing. The create a player feature is very good, visually the game looks great and there is a new aiming system which makes Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007 more challenging.
From popping the disc into the PS3 you will immediately notice the presentation is very slick. You have many options to start with but you are encouraged to create your own golfer straight away. The create-a-golfer mode makes it very easy for you to create a look a like of yourself or whoever else you want to model your golfer on. My effort wasn't based on anyone specifically, but I ended up with a monstrous abomination of a golfer that gives me nightmares.
Your created golfer will have about as much talent and skill as a Tigers day old socks, so it is up to you to train them and develop their skills on the training course. Your golfer has eight attributes; power, power boost, ball striking, driving accuracy, putting, recovery, approach and spin. All can be improved by completing the short mini games where you will face another golfer in a putting competition for example. If you are thinking about training your golfer to max attributes before sending him out to the real world you will have to think again, your attributes are now limited to your experience. To gain experience you will have to play matches, ultimately the capping system only slows your progression through the game.
The team tour which was featured in the PS2 version has now been replaced with the Tiger Challenge mode. Here you will play against fictitious golfers moving on to PGA professionals and eventually Tiger himself. One irritating thing you will notice from the first game is that you can't skip your opponents shot which makes rounds last far longer than you would like. You can skip the preamble up to the shot and then you can fast forward the shot itself.
Once you have completed some training, beaten a few of the players in the Tiger Woods Challenge you may feel like more of a challenge in a PGA Tour Season which offers more of a challenge than ever before. Unless you have completed some training and Tiger Challenge games your player really wont have a chance in hell of getting anywhere in the four day tournaments. It would have been nice to select the length of the tournament but it's not to be.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007 game play is quite different to the other games in the series. The swing uses the same tried and tested method of pulling back and then pushing forward on the analogue stick. You can draw or fade the shot by moving the stick down to the left and up to the right and visa versa. The right stick is used to decide where you want to hit the ball, low down to add loft and backspin or higher up to keep the ball low and add top spin. If you feel you might need a little extra power to make a shot you can press the L1 or X button during the swing, to add some spin you tap the same buttons quickly in conjunction with the directional stick for the spin direction.
One of the biggest changes is the new True Aiming system which replaces the cursor which would show exactly where you ball would land with a circle that covers a far larger area. If you take a good shot the ball will land somewhere within the circle. If you miss-hit the ball you will end up in some serious trouble. Apart from making Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 more difficult the true aiming system makes it far more realistic.
The controls for the putting are virtually the same as they are for the driving game. You put with the left analogue stick and can add a touch more power by hitting the top of the ball or a touch softer by hitting the bottom of the ball. You will notice that the put cam has now gone and been replaced with a grid system laid over the green. White dots move down the lines at different speeds showing the speed and lie of the green. Without the putting cam long puts are quite difficult and require careful reading of the green, but long puts are still possible, you won't be able to do them on every hole now. If you really can't do without the put cam you can bring it back in the game options or it is on as default on the easy game difficulty setting.
As you would expect on a next generation system the golf courses look much better than ever before. Some of the best bits in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 are the small touches of detail like the birds flying over head or spectators falling to the ground as they get hit by the ball in a bodged shot. The grass could look better, but on the whole it's pretty good. The spectators are ok, but most are blatantly stuck to the ground and don't make any effort to get out of the way of your ball.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 sounds pretty good too, although there isn't much to get excited about. The crowds are lively enough and sound realistic, especially when you make a great shot. The commentary is good but again nothing to write home about, although their comments and observations are generally accurate. The ambient noises for me are the one which add character to the game, such as the aircraft flying over head and the birds chirping in the background; on some courses you hear the sea.
The changes made on the PS3 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 have definitely been made for the better and also make the game more realistic and challenging in the process. Graphically everything looks better than it ever has done, but you would expect that from the next gen consoles, but not everything looks as super slick a shiny, there are ugly warts that pop out from time to time.
That said I have to say Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 on the PlayStation 3 (Xbox 360) is the best golf game on the market.
8 out of 10
Icon represents the third instalment in EA's Def Jam fighting series and attempts to move in a slightly different direction than its predecessors. That fact the original titles - specifically New York - were increasingly well received against the odds, means that this is a bold move by EA.
Continue reading: Def Jam: Icon, Review PS3, EA Games
Fight Night Round 3
Review PlayStation 3
For anyone who has yet to be introduced to the Fight Night series, it is the only simulation style boxing game on the market. Driven by the Total Punch Control system this uses the left analogue stick for punching and the right for movement. You can throw jabs by tapping the stick forwards to the left or right depending on which fist you want to use. Hooks are thrown by moving the stick in a quarter circular between 9 and 12 or 12 and 3 o'clock positions. An uppercut requires a third of a circular movement. For more powerful punches like the haymaker and KO punches you will need to move the stick even further around.
The impact punches, which are the most powerful in the game like the haymaker and KO punches will drain your opponent's energy immediately enabling you to go for a quick knockdown. There is also a stun punch which triggers a mini game in which the view is reversed, you are seeing through the eyes of the opponent as you pummel him in the head. All these punches are difficult to pull off mainly because these punches have a long windup time which is easily countered or blocked by the opponent. This is a good thing though as winning a bout would be more a question of who could pull the impact punch first, as it is, it keeps the game well balanced.
Winning a game can come down to the simple matter of throwing more punches than your opponent. It helps tremendously if you defend yourself once in a while. You can block and parry punches using the R1 button while the right analogue stick is used to control which areas of the head or body you want to cover. A successful block or parry enables you to quickly come back at your opponent with a barrage of punches. It's very easy to suddenly switch from a defensive position and launch an attack in this way. If you need a bit of a rest soaking up a kicking you can press the L1 button to hold your ground and avoid punches or you can lean on your opponent to get your breath back.
Fight Night Round 3 has all of the mini games from past episodes such as the pre match training and cut man in the ring between rounds. Each of these are optional but if you do choose to take part you will have to choose from one of three workouts depending on which area of your game you want to sharpen. They consist of the punch bag, weights and a combo dummy. All the games are about timing and pattern recognition and you won't have a problem meeting the required level to benefit. Once you are in the ring you can play the cut man mini game. A small icon will appear at the bottom of the screen, you have to move the analogue stick in time with the icon to heal your fighter. If you do the job badly he won't be able to see properly or the ref may stop the fight because of the unattended cuts.
The PlayStation 3 has a new mode called "get in the ring"; this is essentially the same as the instant play mode but you will see from the boxer's eyes, a first person perspective. You see everything your boxer is seeing, if you get battered with a load of punches in the face you vision will become blurry around the edges as your boxers face begins to swell. Once you are used to the new view you should be able to duck, dive, bob and weave with ease. If you really like the new perspective you can play all the other modes in the same view.
The career mode returns but not with a couple of changes. Basically all the structure from previous games has been removed. You no longer get a rating within the top 50 when you go pro, now you just have a popularity meter, once it's full you will qualify for a special sponsored or title fight. The basic structure of the game is still there however you will sign contracts one by one, train in one of three mini games as mentioned above and then fight. As the structured progression has been removed you never really feel like you are going anywhere, whereas you should feel like you're striving to become the champion.
Fight Night Round 3 is a great looking game, its all about the fighter models. There are no meters of any kind these days and for good reason, you can see from your opponent's expressions how tiered, battered and bruised he is, you will know when he is ready to drop. The close up replays of knock outs are incredible as you see the face skew and shock waves run away from the glove, fantastic visuals. The detail the PS3 gives is incredible but the backgrounds are a bit too "cardboard cut out" like, it's unfortunate because it dulls the games high sheen elsewhere.
Basically Fight Night Round 3 comes with no surprises, well maybe one which is the first person perspective but the core of the game hasn't changed. While the first person perspective it a great addition to the game it doesn't really improve the game at all. Hopefully the first person view will make it back in forthcoming versions as I thought it stepped things up a level and came even closer to what you see on the TV. However, if you own Fight Night Round 3 on 360 it is probably not enough to warrant purchasing it again on the PS3. If you don't have a copy of the game elsewhere you should definitely pick it up, especially if you're a boxing fan or even just slightly interested for that matter.
8.5 out of 10
Continue reading: Fight Night Round 3, Review PlayStation 3, EA Sports
Call of Duty 3
For the launch of the 360 we had Call of Duty 2, a little bit later and for the PS3 launch we have Call of Duty 3. CoD3 takes you through some of the more traumatic battles of World War II during the Normandy breakout campaign for the liberation of Paris. The real question that I was asking myself before I picked up the title was whether I would find anything new here and would it be a worthy upgrade or more of a case of "same old, same old"?
Getting in to the game you will find an experience pretty much akin to the usual Call of Duty environment. The single player campaign mode has you fighting missions from the Normandy breakout campaign with its usual mix of missions and sub missions. There is the odd addition to the game play with the SIXAXIS "tilt" being incorporated to shake of the enemy in hand-to-hand combat or to drive vehicles, and button sequences being introduced in certain situations to reach your goal rather than the usual button mashing. All of which provides new elements to the title and adds to the diversity, whilst reducing the chance of repetitiveness. CoD3 retains no tangible life bar and no vibration feature which means that you have to rely on the visuals to decipher how much of a pounding you are taking. Initially the screen will shake, followed by an impairing of the vision, before a state of a shock takes over (dreadfully impaired vision and a ringing of the ears), finally followed by death. It is up to you at which state you run for cover, but I wouldn't recommend waiting for the latter.
The first thing that you almost form a subconscious opinion these days is how well the title looks. CoD3 is showcased in a 720p HD resolution and does a good job of recreating authentic WWII buildings (be they intact or more akin to rubble), clothes and weapons. Indeed the weapons are as weather-beaten as the troops, which looks well and adds to the authenticity and immersion of the game. As you would expect on a next gen' release extra attention had been paid to details such as explosions, drifting smoke and generally the way that the action affects the environment.
There are a couple of 'buts', however. Firstly something that only becomes really apparent in death. The colours and textures when you really concentrate on them are not as impressive close up as they initially appear to be. It is not something that makes itself apparent early as there is so much going on at once you are just concentrating on dodging bullets. When taking a deep breath after taking some lead to the head however, a few discrepancies relating to shading, lighting (mainly relating to shadows) and colour accuracy and vibrancy will become apparent. Secondly, the frame rate is not as smooth as it might be. It doesn't necessarily hamper the game but you just get the feeling its fighting itself to keep up. I was trying to convince myself that it was just me, but the exclusion of a split screen offline multiplayer would back this theory up.
Moving on to the sound, this is a strong feature for CoD3. Solid voice acting (each character speaking in an authentic accent and language) is coupled with a strong narrative and authentic explosions and gunfire. The sound is all about how well the player gets immersed in the experience and, trust me, if you turn the sound off anyone in the vicinity will think that they are walking in to no mans land.
The online multiplayer option caters for up to 24 gamers where you can choose from a number varying infantry classes from medic to heavy assault whilst getting involved in a number of different games that include team support and capture the flag amongst others.
I am well ware I have focussed on a couple of visual glitches and I think it fair that I mention that the graphics look very well for a title where there is so much going on, on screen, all at once. There is just a nagging voice at the back of my mind that keeps telling me that a bit more time in development would have ironed these slight flaws out. This is backed up by the odd 'bug' in the game, from getting blocked in doorways to slight framing issues that tip you off to a forthcoming enemy ambush.
All in all, CoD3 is an impressive title in itself but one that could have benefited from extra development time to be truly worth a purchase if you own other Call of Duty titles. Whether this is down to rushing out for the PS3 launch is not for me to say but certain elements do point this way. If you haven't found Call of Duty as yet, then this comes highly recommended.
7.5 out of 10
Full Auto 2: Battlelines
Continue reading: Full Auto 2 Battlelines, Review PS3, Sony Entertainment
Resistance Fall of Man
Insomniac games, the people behind the brilliant Ratchet & Clank, deliver the first hard-core FPS title for Sony's shiny new PS3 console.
People love First person shooters and every games console worth its salt has to have key FPS titles within its arsenal. Inevitably there will be the Call of Duty titles, Ubi Soft's classy Rainbow six and many others available on the PS3, in time, but I must say I'm pleased with Sony having the balls to lead with a completely new FPS on their long awaited new machine.
Resistance Fall of Man isn't the most original game ever. In fact it takes little bits from most FPS titles of note and uses the familiar Half Life/War of the Worlds scenario for its storyline. Now if a game is derivative in its makeup then it better play well and the good news is that Resistance Fall of Man does!! In fact it plays great!
You play as Nathan Hale's and in Resistance Fall of Man Nathan has the thankless task of dealing with the Chimera. The Chimera is an alien race that has come to earth to kick butt and dominate - same old, same old. The Chimera are easy to hate as they are really ugly spider headed mothers. Beyond this simple fact I found myself skating over the finer details of the plot. The plot is explained to you through tasty looking cut scenes using the games quality 3d engine and through a female colleague who keeps popping up. Like I said because of the unknown nature of the alien invaders all you need to know is that they're ugly and need some serious blasting.
Resistance Fall of Man controls are similar to any other FPS title. You move and aim with the analogue sticks and use the left and right triggers for unleashing your weapons. When it comes to health there is a natty little button config that helps you heal Nathan in the heat of the battle. How your health system works in general is a little different to most systems. In the best known FPS titles your health is generally replenished between levels. This is not the case with Resistance Fall of Man. This way of dealing with health gives a different slant on the levels, instead of seeing the game as 10 separate levels you get more of a flowing feel from level to level as you carry your injuries through.
The motion sensor in the PS3 controller gets assigned as a handy little feature in this game. You can shake your controller to wriggle free of the grip of Chimera assailants or for rolling on the floor to put yourself out when on fire.
The thing that makes Resistance Fall of Man a great FPS is the level of quality produced in the key areas of the game-play. The weaponry is fantastic the guns have a real boom to them and you can carry as many weapons as you like. We are not talking AK47 rifle and hand grenades here - we are talking futuristic weaponry all the way. From homing beacons that will direct your bullets round corners towards your enemy to the Auger rifle which can shoot through anything, including structures. The enemy AI is well worked, I would go as far to say some of the more important Chimera are clever. Your enemy uses available cover well and digs in wherever possible. Their hedgehog grenades are damaging and as the game transpires you learn to respect your enemy. The fighting mainly takes place on open ground at mid to long range although you do get the odd bit of claustrophobic corridor combat too. There is a bit of vehicle action thrown in too.
Apart from the campaign mode there is a very good multi-player mode available. You can play various maps from various parts of the campaign mode. The usual modes Deathmatch/Capture the flag style s are all in there. Some maps play 8 player games, some 16 player games but the mode you will want is the amazing 40 player mode. On the 40 player mode the game-play is chaotic and with some of the weapons that are available you will have some real humdinger battles. The multi-player mode is going to keep this game at the top of your games pile for months to come.
Graphically Resistance Fall of Man Review is great. The fact that the game is set in England makes a nice change and the diversity in landscape is very decent. The characters all look excellent and the feeling of being in a war is believable. The sound is also great and if you use Dolby 5.1 you will be ducking to avoid the bullets as they wiz past your ear.
Overall Resistance Fall of Man Review isn't breaking out into any new ground but the old ground that it covers it does with an aplomb that will have you coming back to this game again and again. The campaign is very entertaining and will teach you everything you need to know for the multi-player rounds and the multi-player game will keep you smiling for a long, long time.
8 out of 10
Continue reading: Resistance Fall of Man, Review PS3, Sony Entertainment
World Championship Snooker 2007
Continue reading: World Championship Snooker 2007, Review PS3, Sony Entertainment
Genji was originally released on the PS2, it was intended to be Sony's answer to Capcom's Onimusha, a hack and slash samurai action adventure which featured very nice graphics and simple game play. Genji didn't quite hit the spot on the PS2 and Onimusha remained the samurai action adventure game of choice.
The game play in Genji Days of the Blade again boils down to hacking and slashing away at large numbers of demonic type beings and solving the odd puzzle along the way. The puzzles don't work quite as well as they should, you will find yourself lost at times and wondering where you have to go and what you should be doing. Blame lies mainly with a crappy map system which doesn't give you any ideas as to where to go and you can also miss things due to the fixed camera angle.
Combat is solid, but a touch repetitive at times. Its very easy to put together attack combinations and you can easily change your direction mid attack which is essential when you're swarmed with enemies. As you progress through the game the standard opponents gradually become stronger, so the challenge becomes stiffer as you progress. The boss fights will break up the relative monotony of hacking and slashing, even though some of them are far too easy, others will put up a fight.
As you progress through the game you will be introduced to new characters which you will be able to play. The character you start the game with is Yoshitsune who is the best all rounder, his attacks are fast, fluid and almost constant. Benkei is a slow sluggish character who fights with a club, smashing multiple enemies aside with one swing. Shizuka is a female character who despite being small she makes up with her long range grappling weapon and finally there is Lord Buson who uses a spear weapon. Once you have met all the characters you won't necessarily be able to have the choice of all four character for every area of the game, some parts will limit your choice. You will find each character has his or her own skill set but when you have the choice you will probably stick with Yoshitsune due to his well rounded fighting style. Each character has his or her own health bar, you must make sure none of them die or its game over. You can however switch players to take advantage of their health or if another is close to dying.
If you are not keen on a fighter because of his or her style or weapon you will be able to find new weapons as you progress through the game. Each new weapon usually gives your character an entirely new and different move set. While you may prefer one weapon over the other, unfortunately the overall effect and advantages of each new weapon are very small making the tactical advantage negligible. You are also able to upgrade your health to beef up your character as you progress through the game. To get a health power up you have to keep and eye on your characters trinket, when a power up is in the near vicinity it will start to glow. Then you have to search around to find it.
The fixed camera is one of Genji's biggest problems. At times you will have to walk towards the camera, which in normal circumstances would be fine, but when there are enemies immediately out of sight and you are walking into them without knowing, it is a problem. The mini map in the top right of the screen is your best bet to avoid these mishaps. When enemies are close they will appear as dots and will act as an early warning system in these circumstances.
However it's the bad level design which is Genji's real Achilles heal. While the game looks lovely, behind the scenes it's very boring and linear. As the mini map shows the game is made up of a number of rooms and corridors, everything is very flat. The surroundings are often there just for looks, very little is interactive. The only exceptions are barrels and crates which you will fine spattered around levels. Other than this you will find very specific areas which the game designers want you to smash through using Benkei's strength and power. Other than that the surrounding are little more than very nice wall paper.
Possibly the best features Genji has to offer are its looks. The further you progress the more you will be rewarded with beautiful visuals. The movement of weapons is aided visually by subtle motion blur while the characters have a great amount of detail on show, coupled with the animation this makes the characters themselves probably the best looking subjects in the game. The surrounding scenery at times is also very pleasing to the eye. Although beautiful, the graphics aren't going to blow you away and you will see some rough edges here and there. When you get a huge number of enemies onscreen at once you will also see the frame rate drop weather your playing in 720p or in low def it doesn't seem to make a difference.
Even with a small selection of games available at launch Genji Days of the Blade shouldn't be on your shopping list. It looks like the developers have put all their time into making the visuals more pleasing for the PS3 launch rather than actually dealing with the game play's failings. What we have here is a good looking, very repetitive and relatively short hack and slash adventure.
6 out of 10