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Batman: Arkham Asylum
10 New from
Great game going off the demo, and going to be a big hit.
The dark Gothic atmosphere of the latter films and comic books has been captured beautifully. The visuals and sound are top notch in capturing the feel, Batman looks fearsome - heavily muscled, elegant and swift in his movement yet powerful. Arkham asylum captures a beautiful blend of old fashioned Gothic asylum with modern maximum security psychiatric unit - you get the feel the place is old but has been heavily updated to cater for Gotham city's most violent and psychotic criminals.
Cutscenes are honestly a pleasure to watch the graphics and voice acting is as good as I've seen, the only slight let down is the face animation of non main characters like guards when seen in cut-scenes close up - they lack the detail and character of say the joker or batman, but hey who cares!
The game play itself though is the core of the game and an absolute pleasure. The camera is over the shoulder and a little close which takes a bit of getting use to but once you do you'll feel like you really are Batman. The combat is fantastic, you really get the essence of Batman being a martial arts master in the game; groups of muscled hench men will surround you, by simply tapping a button and pushing in the direction off one you can unleash a series of masterful kicks, punches and martial arts splendour, push towards one of the other enemies instantly and you can string your attacks together - Batman will automatically flip, spin and strike his opponents in such style that you'll just sit back and say wow! You'll be treated to up close slow motion camera cuts of him striking final devastating, bone crushing final blows mid combat which only adds to the highly stylized action.
In fact the variety in which you can do it makes it all the more fun, if you want you can simply stand there for a while parrying the attacks of your enemies, catching kicks that come from behind and back fisting your enemies backwards, blocking punches and quickly striking them and pushing them away in a movie like fashion, almost taunting them with Batman's incredible hand to hand combat skills.
Your also encouraged to observe the area via a detective mode which changes your vision, this mode is useful when you want to stalk and pick off groups off heavily armed opponents where open combat would be suicidal. You can perform a veriety of silent attacks and slowly take down groups of enemies - at one point in the game the Joker came in on the PA system to tell the least remaining henchman that i had picked off all his buddies and i was hunting him, at which point he began creeping round clearly terrified looking for me, he even fired at steam coming suddenly from a vent because it startled him all the while cursing and talking to himself - it really makes you feel like the feared dark knight as you stalk these criminals who clearly have a pre defined fear of the ultimate vigilante. Even more impressive was that this was not a scripted thing that happens every time you play the game, i played through the demo several times and there is great variety in how these things happen, often triggered by your specific actions.
All in all i have never had the pleasure to play something that so captures the feel of batman so well - I hope there's more to come of these games in this style, it really captures the feel that DC created in their darker comics and i will definitely be buying this one - try the demo, its great!
PES 2009: Pro Evolution Soccer
I have owned and played every PES they ever did. For me the best in series was PES5 and the worse was last years 2008.....until now that is because 2009 is the new champion of the series!
The graphics off 2008 return but updated and improved, but gone is the horrible passing and feel of the game. this time the game flows much better with a much more refined pace, improved passing (alot like pes5 passing) and vastly improved ball physics which now mean you can play better long passes as the ball can be drifter better and wont always run away so easy.
In the last PES the ball seemed to be difficult to weight correctly, in this one the ball reacts with the most realism ever. On top of that the AI is the best yet, in 2008 it was horrible always robbing the centre back and scoring was a thing of regular ease. In this version you'll sit back and admire the opposition moves and goals on the higher dificulties.
If your a PES fan then this ones the best yet, forget 2008s blip this is it!
If your a fifa fan then watch out cos PES is back!
Brothers In Arms 3: Hell's Highway
6 New from
Those of you familiar with the first BIA games will be familiar with its unique tactical game play and characters.
The real-life squad tactics return as you assume the role of Sergeant Matt Baker a squad leader of the 101st airborne in a recon detachment.
The game boasts much improved graphics on its predecessors and the same well refined game mechanics. The presentation and story telling is very Band of Brothers so if you enjoyed HBOs fantastic series you will positively love this game.
You get treated to some fantastic cut scenes which build the characters and story and also in game there are some awesome cinematic moments as the camera cuts in for some slow motion high impact displays of grenades throwing bodies skyward and well placed head shots.
Thy game physics are very good particularly on the enemy troops when you kill them, it looks very good and also the destructible cover adds a great touch.
Its not a game where you rush around jumping up and down shooting like crazy so all you unreal tournament uber leet junkies need not bother!
The games pacing is very deliberate and requires you to incorporate the real life WW2 tactical doctrine of finding your enemy fixing them with suppressing fire and flanking and finishing them, of course there is flexibility with that and all situations have numerous ways to approach them.
While the AI is generally very good on both sides with the Germans using the same aforementioned tactics against you and your troops acting intelligently and making kills along side you there are times when the AI just breaks the immersion totally with stupid pathfinding issues - you may move to some cover safely order a squad up next to you and for some god unknown reason the squad decides to take a suicidal route which involves running round the long way in the open in front of a German MG42! frustrating when it costs you men.
That said its a very good game, i only give 5 stars to games i think are incredible which i anticipate Farcry 2 & Fallout 3 will be the likes of HL2 were so don't be put of by my 4star rating it just means there are games which are and will be better, but all that said this is a good buy.
I will raise one other point of concern though - there is growing talk in the community of lots of crash bugs, mainly they seem to affect ati card players and as one myself i can tell you i am getting alot of them even blue screen system crashes - gearbox reassure us though that the problem is known and a patch is coming!
PS - my system more than meets reccomended specs
Go Diego Go! Safari Rescue
4 New from
Bought this for our 3 year old daughter who is a big diego fan but was a little worried she may not be able to play it....how wrong was i! After a little tuition she was soon a master of the controls which are really forgiving and cleverly interactive.
Diego encourages the player to use the remote to mimic movements and get them really involved in the game, everything from scaling ladders to shaking trees!
Really highly recommended for young kids!
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
1 New from
OK before i go anywhere with this i want to say that clear sky is a good game - it could be a great game if the edges weren't so rough and the bugs such monsters.
If you were a fan of the original then theres lots to like, firstly the graphics have been improved alot and now there is enhanced environmental lighting which really adds to the atmosphere - watching gun fights in the pitch black pouring rain while thunder and lightning briefly lights the spooky landscape is something to behold! - but your gonna need a beefy system to run this game maxed out.
Much of the good stuff returns, the a-life system still makes the game world as dynamic and alive as in any game, no scripted linear approach here, instead a fully explorable, living environment which feels very real. In this game things happen whether your there to witness it or not. in one instance i went to see a group of guys i met earlier in the game only to find their bodies sprawled out around their camp, amidst them the bodies of mutants they had gunned down - obviously they ahd been overrun and the echos of the battle fought were there to be seen - genius a-life system.
The game now focuses alot of attention on the various factions and their rivalries which were touched upon in the original game. this time you can join up to factions and get involved in attack and defeend missions joining squads in battles against your enemies attempting to take hard points on the map, the balance can change all the time and it for the most part feels pretty dynamic and interesting.
the story is not as strong as in the original but some of the translation and interface has been cleaned up so its a bit easier to get a grip of whats going on.
the Atmosphere is for me more or less as strong as before, the shift in focus to squad combat and human conflicts means that some for the survival horror style so many loved has been overlooked somewhat.
The big problem with this game though is the bugs - i can say i have never played a supposedly finished released product that was so badly finished before. I bought this game, patched to the latest patch and within two hours game play ahd suffered four inexplicable crash to desktops and found that i couldnt move form one area to another - the show stopping travel bug - to think such things could exist in a retail release let alone and retail release after multiple patches is criminal. On top of that there are a lot of small bugs which mess up missions for you where triggers clearly don't work and objectives cant be completed.
Crysis warhead is vastly superior from a technical standpoint to anything around and is released at 14.99 with non of the issues here at 17.99
If they wanted to release this so badly unfinished then a price of 9.99 might have made me feel more understanding and patient.
despite the infuriating technical issues and the rough edges of the game design which again stink of a rushed effort its hard for me to dislike this unique atmospheric game. It has so much atmosphere, it feels futuristic yet with so much old soviet era architecture and equipment it feels like some sort of cult Russian horror flick.
The sounds are a bit tinny in places but the blood chilling howls in the nigh are a great immersive touch.
If you liked the original you will probably like being back in the zone, unfortunately its not gonna hook anyone who didn't get the original and it also is guilty of missing a great opportunity to fore fill the potential that this imaginative, dark, moody game has.
still very good despite the failings - but stalker could have been the best ever
Assassin's Creed: Director's Cut Edition
This game is one of the best looking and best animated ever, it looks and feels fantastic. The sword fights are great and give you a real feel of being a balde master as you fight of groups of soldiers dispatching them with film like moves before scalling walls and jumping off rooftops to escape.
The only drag is the game does start to get repetetive, same old intelligence gathering mini-games which dont do the game justice but that saidn for the money this is a fantastic buy and a great game
ARMA: Armed Assault - Gold Edition
2 New from
This game has a huge modding community behind it which has now started realeasing some really good materials.
You need 2 gig ram though because the game is played on a huge life size island and with graphics at highest settings it can bog down.
The game focuses on life like tactical gameplay and has a slower more realistic pace.
this game is for real tactical buffs - the old school gamers who prefer their kicks the way Ghost recon and rainbow six used to be - tactics heavy. So be warned this is not anything like Battlefield 2 or call of duty its simulation style but if thats your cup of tea then your in for some great fun.
Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
10 New from
This game brings all the action & drama the the call of duty series is famous for right into the modern era.
Yes the action is highly scripted but it has to be said that the single player campaign on this game is fantastic.
the multiplayer is fast and furious if thats your style and has lots of customization options and unlockables to keep youi hooked.
i should also mention that they have updated the game engine and it looks really good, the animations in single player when you shoot people are great - great entertainment.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2
8 New from
If you never bought rainbow six vegas 1 then this is a good game to buy. If like me you did then your gonna feel ripped of.
In fact i would say its one of the most outragous attempts to pass a game of as a sequel ever. The core gameplay is identicle, so are the visuals, even the setting is exactly the same - on top of that the story is the same story form the first game, it runs alongside the original story all that changes is what charecter you play!
Everything from the first game is recycled into this one, its really quiet shocking.
As a game on its own ots pretty good, if you disregard that its supposed to be a sequal to R6V 1 and that it in no way improves on that game then its a decent action game, but largly forgettable in the long run and in the grand old scene of action games this definalty will not stand the test of time or go down as a classic.
However if like me you remember the 'real' rainbow six games for PC like rouge spear and raven shield that were real tactical simulators where you could plan the entry for multiple teams in a true to life style then your not gonna see this game or its predecesors as nothing more than cheap efforts and reworking a classic game into a console friendly shooter, they stripped down all that was good slapped in console style gameplay mechanics and then slapped the famous and loved brand name on it.
Saddly the real Rainbow six is dead, it died with Raven shield R.I.P. beloved - what has come since is ok to me, maybe it would be alot better if i hadnt known much better.
On its own its an ok game, but when you consider the history of the brand, it really only signals the end of an era in pc gaming and a sad sign of the way games are now being developeded.
Gears Of War
1 New from
This is a really good and visualy stylish action game which feels atmospheric form first to last.
It utilizes a cover sytem and basicly you and your squad of hard ass, muscled rouges are amougst the last scraps of resistance humainty has against a monster race that rose form the ground.
The combat system is good, cover and shoot tactics coupled with basic squad commands make the action fast paced and accesible at all times. Theres an impressive physics system and the graphics which ooze with post apocalyptic, futuristic style are as good as there is in a game right now - its a fantasticly realised vision of a war torn future world.
The games very violent which adds to its very deliberate visual style, blood splatters everywhere, even on the camera and limbs are often torn from their owners, cut scenes using the in game engine are great to look at & voice acting is strong.
The only let down is the windows live side of things which is annoying to set up and limits the online content unless you pay extra which after forking out for the game in the first place is in my eyes a horrible insight to the way the gaming world may go.
That said the online action is ggod fun and well paced - theres nothing better than sawing someone in half with the saw bayonette attatched to the futuristic rifles.
A really good action game, if it was a hollywood action blockbuster movie it would be on a big budget!
Like i said great action, stylish effects and graphics, maybe not steeped in depth and the combat while largly good fun can become slightly repetetive in the latter stages of the game - all that siad though you dont watch action films to see incredible multi layered story lines you watch them for jaw dropping action. Its the same here the games not got all that impressive a story, in fact you often wonder exactly what the hells goin on, whats the story behind the story? who are the locust exactly? etc. etc. but in the end all that really matters is that you shoot anything that shoots you!
Added bonus is the extra game content added since the xbox version which actually tells abit more of the story as the xbox version was even more un-revealing of the elements of the story.
All in all a good action game, one of the better ones of the last couple of years - but its not an all time great, just a very good game.