Saturday, 22 November 2008

Need for Speed: Undercover Review - (PS3)

This game is shite. The graphics are abysmal, the “storyline” sucks, the music is crap. And what gets me is the in-game advertising. I realise most of EA’s games are packed with more product placement than you can shake a stick at, but this is ridiculous. For example, the T-Mobile challenges. What the hell has a mobile phone operator got to do with it? I refuse to pay £40 for a game full of adverts.

It seems no effort what so ever has gone into making this a decent game. I really mean that. I have a 40″ 1080p HD TV that does justice to a lot of games (Even old Xbox games played through the SCART look pretty good on it) and this game looks terrible. I realise its a multi-platform release, but jeez, make it look good on at least ONE console!

There is nothing innovative about this game. It adds nothing to the NfS franchise. Its just the same game as the last Need for Speed with some more shit adverts in there.

I can’t even say the cars look good. The city looks shite. Get more than one car on the screen and the frame rate drops by what seems like up to 40%!

The only saving grace the game has is the selection of cars. EA have included some real boy-racer cars, the Ford Cossy is in there. The ability to fine tune your motors is also interesting, although would probably be better used on a real racing game. And no, I don’t class any of the Need for Speed games as a real racing game; they’ve never been about the racing, always about either the cars or the product placement. If you really want a racing game (why would you when you could be playing CoD:5?), go buy Project Gotham or Gran Turismo: Prologue (which, incidentally, are about half the price of NfS: Undercover and about 300 times better).

Unless you are collecting the games from the Need for Speed franchise, don’t bother with this one. If you are looking for a decent racing game, again, don’t bother with Need for Speed: Undercover. It truly is another fine example of anti-innovation. Come on EA, give us something worth playing. Don’t just reinvent the wheel. Don’t get me wrong, some of the challenges are quite entertaining but still not worth buying the game for.

If you have £40 to burn or just want to spunk some cash, send it my way. In return, you’ll receive a bag of shit. Probably dog shit. Which is what you’ll get if you buy this game anyway.

Review by: Kai Gohegan

Friday, 21 November 2008

Wrath of the Lich King sells like very hot cakes...

Hello there!

Sorry for all of the reviews recently, but at this time of year so many are coming out all at once it is hard to miss them and we have to focus coverage. Still, everybody likes news so here is some.

If you didn't already know, World of Warcraft is the world's biggest and best selling MMORPG. It's huge. It has more members than certain countries have people, including Scotland. You might have heard that an expansion came out recently, Wrath of the Lich King. The thing you might not know is this - it sold 2.8 million copies in 24 hours. That's more than Gears 2, for an expansion pack. Holy smoke.

Whilst people may say the economy is turning for the worse or that PC games are dying off, they should read this and start whistling another tune. Blizzard could own half of Africa with all this money they rake in. One wonders how much money they can get before they do start doing silly but interesting things with it. Hell, they could probably bail out the Icelandic banks just for kicks.
You can read more about this story, here.

Article by: Edwin Jones

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Facebreaker Review - (Xbox 360/PS3)

Editor's Note: This may be a bit old compared to the very big and very new games coming out, but Guru Larry (of Game Network and Xleague fame if you have Sky) is always a very funny guy to read. Enjoy!

Boxings been a bit of a hit or miss sport when it comes to video games hasn’t it? The amount of actual “good” boxing titles could be counted on the fingers of a boxer’s glove. So the amount of hype Facebreaker was getting I thought it was gonna be good!

Looking at this games unique style in the build up these past few months, I was like “hell yeah, this is gonna be like Ready 2 Rumble III” a sequel I’ve been holding my breath for years to hear news of, (Not literally of course, as I’d be dead by now) but I was genuinely looking forward to this. But boy was I in for a haymaker to where the sun don’t shine…

My main problem with Facebreaker is there’s no bloomin’ substance in it. The game has as much depth as a saucer of milk. I know not to expect Final Fantasy VII in terms of depth, but it’s just high punch, low punch, block and a pointless throw button which does no damage whatsoever. There’s no combos or special moves at all in the game, you just mash the high and low punch buttons like a mad loony, praying that half of them connect.

You’ll also be needing a heck of a lot of self-control in single player mode as the A.I. is a complete and utter cheating bar-stool, constantly blocking, or more infuriating reversing every other punch you throw at him/her/it and you just stand there hammering on the buttons, praying that something gets through whilst the computer beats the seven shades of poo out of you in the corner.

Worst of all out of sheer stupidity defiance that I could eventually actually win a match, I discovered there’s a game killing glitch where you’ll automatically reverse any punch an opponent throws at you just by hammering block and punch at the same time constantly!!! They literally can do nothing about it!!! AND IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO BEAT HALF OF THE BLEEDIN’ OPPONENTS!!! When your only option is to resort to glitching to win a game, it’s a terribly programmed product.

Multiplayer is a lot better, for the sole reason it’s more fair against a human than some psychic A.I that knows what punch your gonna throw before even you do, and you can actually get your punch bar high enough to perform a “Facebreaker” (the games equivalent of Mortal Kombat’s Fatalities), but even then you’ll only play the game for a few matches before either turning it off due to boredom, or you’ve tired yourself out pummelling the buttons, usually a combination of the two…

There are some interesting bonuses to this game, like the fact you can create your own characters using the 360 Vision Camera or the PSEye, or even download photos off the web if you’re too scummy to buy one. You can upload your own creations to EA’s servers so complete strangers can beat up an avatar of your Mum online. You can even download other people’s creations for free too, but to be honest they’re a bit crap as 98% of the selection online seems to be variations of Adolf Hitler or Michael Jackson. (I’m not kidding!)

It’s an okay feature, but extremely limited due the fact you can’t really choose much in the way of clothing, bar the colour of your gloves and trunks, and the fact you can’t change the actual size of the characters head to the proportion of the largely grotesque frames you get to place them on, thus leaves everyone looking like a pinhead on every character bar the default boxer, Ice.

Overall, it’s an overly simplistic arcade style boxing game with cheating A.I..

If they’d have stuck some actual Mortal Kombat-Esque special moves (I.E. forward, forward, high punch Etc) or better yet, just bloomin’ ripped off Ready 2 Rumble like they should have done in the first place, (they needn’t have worried about accusations of plagiarism, gamers are stupid. I can’t even remember what happened in a game six minutes ago, let alone one released from six years back) than this would have been a pretty awesome fighter, especially online. In all due honesty, if you REALLY want an arcade boxing game that much, you’re better off taking the £40 you would have paid for this and spend it on a second-hand dreamcast and a copy of Ready 2 Rumble instead.

Review by: "Guru" Larry Bundy Jr

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Xbox 360 Dashboard Update, First Thoughts

After just downloading and browsing through it, the update looks pretty damn good. Finally after years you can do private chat groups online of up to 8 people through a xbox.

The avatar system is essentially copying the miis but at least you can choose what they wear as well, and there does seem to be more options of customisation available. I was expecting to be alot of lag between pages since everyone is downloading it, but its running very smoothly, and much faster than the old dashboard.

Being able to download stuff off the marketplace while in a game is a very handy feature, and this can also be done while on the xbox website, perfect if your at work and have your 360 on at home and want to download that latest demo. They have also allowed people to add points to their balance on the website as well, which comes very handy indeed, as I found it a pain in the neck to change credit card details in the past.

From what I can tell you'll be able to use your avatar as your gamertag picture but it seems to be lagging right now, but mine should be up for the world to see soon!

Edit: or now!!!

Article by: William Stephen

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Call of Duty: World at War Review - (Xbox 360)

I know what you are thinking: Why did the Call of Duty franchise go back to WW2? Well, I don’t know. I suppose the games roots are in the second World War. I didn’t mind because I have always been interested in the history of the war and the Call of Duty series has usually been fairly historically accurate. I got my copy of the game on Thursday with my early morning post. I opened it as soon as it arrived at 13:05 hours (Yes, I DID say early morning post, but we all know what a fine service Royal Mail provide!). I hastily ram the disk into my 360 and press start.

Thursday, 13:06 hrs: I will say that I was not disappointed. The graphics are good. The sound is good. And the music is good. Yes, I said the music was good. In fact, its so good I nearly didn’t realise it had changed. I first realised when I was flaming some Japanese soldiers and could hear rock music.

Thursday, 17:30 hrs:What? That’s it? No. There must be some mistake. There must be a second disk. Nope. Nothing. That really was the end of the game. 4 hours of game play. Wow. Well, after consoling myself with a cigarette and a cup of tea, I switch to multi-player mode.

Thursday, 17:55 hrs:I’m still in multi-player mode. Am I enjoying the multi-player experience CoD:WAW provides? I don’t know, because I haven’t played yet. I cannot get online. It keeps saying Checking Match Quality. I assume something must be wrong with my net connection. Nope. I do the usual Test Xbox Live Connection from the system blade. Nothing wrong there. Hmm. I checked online and it appears a lot of people are having the same issues. I’ll keep trying to get online…

Friday: Nope, still can’t get online.

Saturday: Still nothing.

Sunday:Finally managed to get online. Its quite good actually. I managed to play for 10 minutes and then get booted off. I try to connect again for another 30 minutes and still no luck. Bollocks to this.

Until they release a patch to fix the Xbox Live issues, the only way to extend the life of this game is to 1. Play through the game on veteran and 2. Collect all the offline achievements.

The game is an excellent extension to the CoD series. It’s shorter than CoD:4 (at least it feelsshorter) but the storyline is good; the Russian campaign is fantastic and the ending is as good as any war film. A few new weapons are introduced in the game, the best (and funniest?) by far is the flame thrower. I don’t know if you can bring the flame thrower into multi-player because I only managed to play for about 10 minutes online. Following on from CoD:3, this game reintroduces vehicles into the multi-player mode, which should prove interesting.

Go and buy this game. If you have enjoyed the other games in the CoD series, you will not be disappointed. Once the Xbox Live problems are solved I will post an updated review because I don’t think we will see the best aspect of the game until we get online.

Review by: Kai Gohegan

Editor's Note: Xbox Live seems to be suffering outages globally and not just in this game. This does not seem to be the fault of Activision or this game itself. We will have more news about this issue soon but please E-Mail us if you experience anything strange yourself.

I guess it's back to system link and SP for us all eh?


2nd Editor's Note: Live is back online and has been for a while, so I will add some comments about the Multiplayer. Co-op is fantastic. 4 Players taking on most of the levels ruins the story and tension but can be funny as hell, especially as you can unlock challenges which rank you up in versus online modes. The regular multiplayer is basically COD 4 with WW2 weapons, a few new perks and a pack of angry dogs instead of the helicopter death squad. It's still just as addictive and following your dogs into the lair of the enemy and watching as they tear them to pieces is awesome. It's fun, but no points for originality here.

Another new MP option is enabled once you finish the game, Nazi Zombies. This will probably offend a few people (as will the INCREDIBLY harsh SP storyline) but games are meant to be fun first, and anything else second. You and three friends can hold off the undead in a small farmhouse spending the points you make on new weapons until you die. It's very similar to the Horde mode in GOW2, which is no bad thing.

The game is fun, but really nothing new. If you like WW2 and fancy taking a shot at the Japanese instead of the Germans (their suicidal tendencies make them very different to fight) as well as enjoying some co-op, this game is for you. If you are tired of the gameplay of COD or WW2 in general, avoid. This game remains a silver, but it really earns that score.