Saturday, 6 December 2008

Cat killed by GTA 4?

Two boys have accused of beating and killing a cat by hanging it with a game controller on a tree. What's been suggested is that the kids did this because they played GTA IV. Despite admitting to this, the boys can't be convicted of any crime because of state law.

Will this ever stop?!

Article by: William Stephen

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3

Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 is set in the future. And the future means cleavage exaggerating military uniforms. Viva la revolution!!

The game starts as an insane Tim Curry entices his General into an experimental Time Machine that sends them back in time and knocks off poor old Albert Einstein. This is meant to ensure that much of the technology used by allied forced to defeat the Soviets never get invented. However, lesson 1 in the laws of science fiction tells you over and over not to mess with the fabric of the space/time continuum, and sure enough, an alternative future results. One where the Soviets stayed together (not just for the sake of the kids) but bizarrely the allies are no weaker as a result. That said, picking holes in a plot so unashamedly over-the-top is like two bald men fighting over a comb, but I digress. The surprise you discover soon into the game, is that without Einstein's existence, the allies didn't have the technology to beat the Japanese either, and the Empire of the Rising Son has, well, risen complete with ownership of Pearl Harbour.

You take control of all three factions, each with a unique storyline and outcome. The accents change but the premise remains largely the same. You are a rookie commander who works his way up by completing missions, and capturing the hearts of the gorgeous intelligence officers who brief you in HD cut scenes before each mission. The latter are played by a buxom looking Gemma Atkinson (my you've grown), stunning former Bond girl Ivana Miličević and some plain looking Japanese woman who claims to be a former MIss Teen USA, but compared to the other two looks like as rough as the proverbial badgers arse.

The missions grow in difficulty as you progress, but the road to victory is always the same; build a base, build mines for credits, build up your military and destroy the enemy targets. I haven't always been a fan of the C&C series, particularly on consoles where I find they don't sit quite right. But try as I might not to like this game, it proved impossible not to be engrossed in the mayhem. In gaming, there aren't that many feelings that can top the moment your 30-deep cavalry come into view on screen to assist your battered comrades. You find yourself getting quite worked up.

The units themselves are easy to get to grips with, and it doesn't take long before you learn their strengths and weaknesses. The Allied vehicle infantry is weaker than the Empire's for example, but excels in the aircraft department over the other two. But perhaps the best feature of this version, is that you can choose to play each mission in co-op play. You can also take the battle to Xbox LIVE for 3 missions of co-op scrimmage.

The game is definitely worth a shout, if only for the cut scenes that also feature George Takei, a gorgeous Jenny McCarthy, former Bond villain Jonathan Pryce and UFC legend Randy Cotoure.

Review by: Mark Richards

Banjo Kazooie is now available on the Xbox Live Arcade

One day I will kill you big bear, and then I will be the famous one.

The title pretty much says it all but for those of you who weren't born during or before the nineties Banjo Kazooie was a rather good game of the decade, being one of the first 3D platforming games and second in command of the genre on the N64 behind Mario 64.

It's not aged so well compared to all our modern luxuries in our current games, but for those of you with a pair of rose tinted glasses to spare, give the demo a whirl and remember the good old days of console FPS games being limited to 4 player split screen death-match.

Actually, scratch that. Just focus on the good platforming stuff. Try not to wince at the 1200 MS points price though.

You can read more about this story here.

Article by: Edwin Jones

Monday, 1 December 2008

RROD Finished?

According to, the new set of 360s, nicknamed Jasper, theoretically solve the problem that causes the dreaded red rings of death.

"The biggest improvement made to the Jasper model is that it uses a smaller 65-nanometer graphics chip, which will consume less power than previous Xbox 360 chips and fit more securely in its motherboard socket. That means it's far less likely to overheat and come lose from the motherboard"

To help with the New Xbox Experience, internal memory has been added to the Jasper 360's. This means even arcade consoles will be able to use the New Xbox Experience without a hard drive.

Let's not get our hopes up too much yet though. It's been 3 years and there are still countless complaints of RROD, so let's wait a few months and see what happens.

Article by: William Stephen

There are far too many games to play this Xmas

I’ll admit it ok. I’m spoilt. I’m really spoilt these days. There was once upon a time though when I was only allowed two games a year. I’d get one for my birthday and one for Christmas. Nowadays I can pretty much do what the fuck I want ‘cos I’m old enough damn it.

In the days of the 16bit era with my two games a year limit enforcement rule I would have to be really selective on what games I wanted. You see if I bought a stinker I was pretty much stuck with it for about 6 months until Xmas or my Birthday next came up (whichever came first). Nowadays though I am too cash happy and will get anything that takes my fancy.

Now generally, that’s ok but this festive period even I have too many games to play. And when you’re working full time you don’t always get the time to play them either, meaning that my collection just builds up and up like figures in Nintendo’s bank account. I have a large back catalogue of games to play which will probably take me until next Xmas to get through.

I have a ridiculous amount of games to play fully that came out this year, including Fallout 3, Far Cry 2, Little Big Planet, Gears of War 2, Fable 2, Left4Dead, Dead Space, Mirror’s Edge, Saints Row 2, Banjo and Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, Mortal Combat Vs DC, Lego Batman, Guitar Hero World Tour, CoD5, and numerous others I’ve probably forgotten to put down. How much is that? Over £500 worth surely? Sheesh.

It’s not me though. I was forced to buy all of these games at gunpoint. Honest. Or maybe I just can’t help myself, I see a new title and I can’t help but want to add it to my collection. It’s like people who buy books to show off their ‘library’ only to find out that they can’t actually read. I can read. And I can play games. Maybe it’s all because of the way I was tormented as a child? I could only get a couple of games a year and now I’m out to rebel. Or maybe the real criminals in all of this are the publishers, with all the awesome game promote-ry ways. They know mugs like me will pick up any half decent title that comes into our view. But where were these clean shirts during the summer when I was crying out to the gaming god for some new titles? Oh that’s right, we got Haze. Thanks. It was like getting an awesome cake for your birthday made to look like one of your favourite things only for it to be made of dog shit and full of disease infected needles. But as well as torturing us, they were out planning on screwing us over at Xmas. Crazy publishers. Hey, I’ve got an idea, why don’t we all release our titles at the same time over Xmas and fight over the public’s cash during an economic crisis. Brilliant.

If you’re smart enough, you can get one or two of your choices for Xmas, but wait for anything else that interests you in the sales, or best yet Summer time next year. When no doubt there will be fuck all new games on the shelves.

Publishers eh, they’re a crazy bunch. Now I’m off to buy some new games.

Article by: Wesley Lock

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Gears of War 2 Review - Xbox 360

Editor's Note: Here we go. It's taken a while, but with this review we are coming to the end of the glut of the Christmas review season and on to better pastures. Bring on 2009! Ahem.

Gears of War 2. Perhaps the most important title of the season for Microsoft and the Xbox, if not the whole market in general. This is the Halo 3 or Half Life 2 of 2008. Does it live up to hype? The answer is: yes, but some of you are still going to hate it.

Gears 2 is a very, very good game. If you have played the original Gears of War, you know what to expect. Insanely beautiful graphics, the best ever seen on the modern consoles. Brutal, gory gameplay with more gibs than anything you have ever seen - hell, you can chainsaw people in half. Co-operative play which puts its rivals to shame and more action than the lovechild of Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger could produce.

The game takes all these expectations and knocks them up to 11 instead of a mere 10. The graphics look even better than before, with more detail and they are much crisper. They actually make the graphics of the original Gears look a bit poor in comparison and this isn't a Playstation 4 or PC game. The co-op is even better as well - not only can you join any game in progress with a friend, but now when you leave said game (as long as you are not the host) the other player doesn't have to get booted back to the main menu screen. You also BOTH get achievements when playing a co-op session, instead of whoever is playing as Dom getting them. The action is insane as in certain parts of the game you will be fighting HUNDREDS of locust at once whilst wondering how the hell the Unreal 3 engine is doing this and still making everything so pretty. You finally get to take on brumaks and be prepared, you are going to have to kill a lot of them.

You finally get to kill these bastards. It is about damned time I say.

Multiplayer has also been enhanced. The adversarial modes are very similar to how you remember them but you can now have 10 players instead of 8, the maps look cleaner (some of the older ones have be touched up to look new and different, and you can download these for free,) and the net code has been touched up a lot, especially with the recent patch. You get a few new modes as well. You even can use bots if you want to. Despite all this the adversarial multiplayer is still very similar to what we played in Gears of War 1, so if you grew bored of that there is little here to entertain you. This is where Horde mode comes in. You and 4 friends choose a multiplayer map and take on waves upon waves of Locust in an attempt to hold out for 50 rounds. It's great fun and let's you bring more than 3 buddies into a co-op experience. It is a really fresh take on multiplayer and it is something that like the co-op of the original gears should be copied by every other game out there. COD 5 has already done this partially with its Nazi Zombies mode and it is all the better for it.

You also get things that weren't there or just weren't very good in the original with Gears of War 2, namely a plot. In the first game you were shuffled from fight to fight with very little explanation as to why. 'There is a train with a nuke on it now?' 'What happened to the Brumak?' 'What's going on?' are questions you won't have to ask in this game. Dom's search for his wife becomes a crucial part of the story as opposed to one offhanded reference in one cut scene and a random tattoo on his arm. Marcus reveals more about his past and his father. New characters are introduces such as Dizzy the hillbilly and Tai the New Zealand native who are just as memorable and unique as the regular Delta Squad beefcakes. Sure, they have been drinking steroids like a ADD child downs cola with everybody else in the game, but they still shine though the stereotype. I almost cried at one point and for an action game, that is some damned fine storytelling. It's almost, but not quite up to the levels of the original Halo in terms of narrative.

The levels are also bigger, more detailed and more varied. You won't be stuck in dingy greys and browns all the time, but they do still take up a large part of things. This is Gears of War after all. Some of the new environments are even more mind blowingly beautiful than before which is amazing considering the beauty of the first game. The game is also much longer than the first one, which is nice. New weapons are abound in the form of a Flamethrower, a new kind of pistol as well as a few heavy weapons such as a huge machine gun which needs to be set up on a surface to fire properly called a grinder and a mortar canon. At times, you are wondering if they are planning to turn this game into an RTS like Ensemble are doing with Halo with all this sweet stuff. Heck, the tank driving level makes you want them to be making it RIGHT NOW.

Flamethrowers are here, and they are awesome.

It's not all roses and dismemberment though. The game has its problems like any other. Firstly and most prominent is the fact that this game is evolution rather than revolution - existing ideas have been improved upon and new ones have been added but the core gameplay remains the same. This is more Resident Evil 2 than Resident Evil 4. If you didn't like the first game or just grew bored of it, there is a good chance you will not like Gears of War 2 much at all. Whilst co-op is awesome and obviously designed to work well with 2 players as sections have you covering each other and working together, you wonder why it isn't 4 player. Halo 3 had four player co-op. COD 5 has four player co-op. There are always four members of Delta squad if not more, so why does Gears 2 not have 4 player co-op? There is no answer for that one.

The ending is also rather lame. There isn't so much a boss battle as a shooter on rails which you cannot lose. Compared to the ending of the first Gears, it's a bit tame. The ending also ends up asking more questions than you had answered so you still don't know who the Locust really are or what's going on and we are 2 games into the franchise already. The ending makes Gears 3 a certainty that Epic are probably working on right now. It isn't as lame as the ending of Halo 2 with the fight you didn't even get to play in Halo 3, but it's still not as awesome as you want it to be.

So, how can we grade gears? Basically, this is Gears of War 2.0 - it's as bigger, better and more badass as Epic said it would be, and we weren't really expecting them to do anything other than improve the franchise and gameplay. We weren't promised a new moon, just a bigger and brighter one and this game delivers that. If you love action games or just Gears of War 1, this game is a must have. For the few of you who didn't like the original this game is not for you. Move along but remember to ask yourself why so many people love this game and also ask yourself why you don't like chainsawing people from their bottom first up to their head. There must be something wrong with you.

Review by: Edwin Jones