February 17, 2011, 12:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized



November 7, 2010, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Previews

Back in November, I attended the annual EA Winter Showcase – a big, shiny expo for the biggest of the giant publisher’s upcoming titles.

Like a mini-E3 just for EA stuff, the showcase offered time with a load of exciting new games, as well as some not-so-exciting ones. But we’ll graciously avoid discussing them (*cough* Rango “cough*).

Off the back of the whole shindig I did a few previews and rather than put them in separate posts, I’m collating them all here. Links and preview excerpts for Bulletstorm, Dead Space 2, Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam, Battlefield Play4Free, Crysis 2 and Fight Night Champion can be found after the jump.

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Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Preview
October 22, 2010, 12:11 pm
Filed under: Previews | Tags:

“My name is Desmond Miles, and this is my story.”

Forget Altair and Ezio for a minute, Assassin’s Creed has always been about Desmond. With the secrets of a centuries old war locked within his genetic memory, the cocky bartender is at the very epicenter of it all. Without Desmond Miles, Assassin’s Creed simply wouldn’t exist.

It’s fitting then that as the series has progressed, Desmond has played a bigger and bigger role in the gameplay itself. Little more than a participant of interactive cut-scenes in the first game, in Brotherhood he’s taking centre stage for entire levels.

Based on the opening couple of hours we sampled recently, we’re gonna be seeing a lot more of the hoodied secret assassin. But before that, Brotherhood has to reacquaint us with a whole bunch of mechanics, a load of backstory, and a certain florally-accented Italian chap.

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Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 Review
October 22, 2010, 11:18 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags:

We all know how it works by now. Successful sports titles settle on a blueprint, then eke out teeny-tiny changes year after year while trying to convince you they’ve re-invented the wheel. It’s just the way the world works.

As such, it’s usually pretty difficult for the champion of a particular virtual sport to fall from grace. For every incremental improvement the underdog makes, the title-holder is always one step ahead. Unless something dramatic happens, the status quo remains.

In the case of football games, Pro Evolution Soccer was that champion. For around a decade, the Konami-developed title trumped arch-rival FIFA in the gameplay stakes. Always the more sophisticated choice, PES’ substance continually outgunned FIFA’s style.

Then something dramatic happened. In 2008 FIFA stormed to the top of the league, leaving PES to stagnate in mid-table respectability. Indeed, the reversal of fates has been so profound you wonder if PES can ever regain its crown.

By now all this is a familiar story. But it bears repeating. The two series have long been defined in relation to each other, and PES’ fall from grace is remarkable. With such a rich heritage, and such expectation, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 arrives with a lot of baggage.

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F1 2010 Review
October 22, 2010, 11:14 am
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It’s been a while since a Formula One title last ripped around a HD track. It’s fair to say we all needed the break. Under Sony’s stewardship the genre had stagnated, culminating in 2007’s F1Championship Edition, an efficient yet ultimately pedestrian effort. It was time for a change.

And that’s exactly what Codemasters have set about doing. With the license safely snaffled up in their leather driving-gloved hands, the makers of GRID and DiRT locked themselves away in the garage to bring about F1’s gaming resurgence. They’ve just about nailed it.

F1 2010 emerges from the pits a powerful beast, its bodywork glistening and its engine growling menacingly. Put simply, it’s a good game. But just as with any new constructor emerging into the sport, there’s room for improvement.

Thankfully, Codemasters have got the most important thing absolutely right. F1 2010 wonderfully conveys the sensation of being strapped in to the seat of a snarling, super-powered F1 car.

By their very nature, F1 cars are an entirely different kettle of horses to the machines featured in other racers. They’re lighter than a packet of 10 Marlboroughs, for a start, with some of the twitchiest, most sensitive handling you’re likely to encounter. Zipping through corners and chicanes you’ll feel as if you’re barely taming the brute force beneath you, with a spin-out or a visit to the gravel traps just a inelegant thumb-flick away.

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 Preview
October 22, 2010, 11:03 am
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Wrestling’s a funny thing, isn’t it? Large, oiled up men in skimpy shorts rubbing themselves all over each other, then pretending to be kicked in the balls. Or equally oiled up ladies with boobs made of pure muscle, grappling in bikinis. It’s bizarre.

Yet it’s huge. Indescribably massive. An odd concoction of dance, athletics, gymnastics and piss-poor soap acting, it’s incredibly popular. Squillions of people watch it. Yup, squillions.

It’s also presumably an odd sport for games developers to get their heads around. Give them a boxing title and they’ll concentrate on making those punches look like they’re really connecting. Or give them a shooter and they’ll try and make it look like you buried a bullet in that bloke’s skull.

But with wrestling, which is deliberately bad acting anyway, what should they do? Try and make it look like what the wrestlers are trying to make it look like, which doesn’t actually look like what it looks like?

While I ponder all that nonsense, let’s go through all the basics.

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Enslaved Preview
October 22, 2010, 10:50 am
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You shouldn’t read this preview. Really. Play the game when it comes out, sure, but please try not to read too much about it. Even the smallest details will spoil the experience. So thanks for clicking, we appreciate it, but you can close the window now. Thanks.

Still here? Ok, but don’t say we didn’t warn you

Our reluctance to share the our experiences with Enslaved: Odyssey to the West comes from the fact that the story is just so good we want you to discover it for yourself. We played a sizeable chunk of the game at Namco Bandai HQ recently and we’re already hooked. Honestly, we don’t remember a time when a videogame narrative had us so intrigued.

So let’s start with the stuff you probably already know. Enslaved takes place on a distant future Earth, many years after a mysterious robot invasion has driven all but tiny pockets of humanity. Since then the cities have been reclaimed by nature. Vines dangle from collapsed concrete flyovers, lush grass carpets the cracked pavement, and thick, twisting tree trunks sprout from the tip of half-toppled skyscrapers.

Crashing into this oddly beautiful graveyard come Monkey and Trip, escapees from a passing slave ship. Trip, or Tripitaka to give her full name, is an ecological-minded yet tech savvy young woman, used to living her wits. You, meanwhile, are Monkey, a hulking brute of a man more used to expressing himself with violence than sitting down and discussing things over a nice cup of tea.

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