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10 New from
It's great to see development studios being so innovative, especially one as well known as DICE. Mirror's Edge is a great game and will hopefully show others that being innovative isn't necesarily as big a risk as it could be, especially in the current knock off after knock off state that the gaming industry is getting into.
The graphics are incredible and actually seeing vibrant colours being used in a game once again is a refreshing change from the usual grey tone. The 1st person perspective makes sense from a gameplay point of view though there is alot of bobbing, shaking and swaying going on which wound up giving me a headache after only a few hours (one of the first games where this has actually happened).
As for the story I didn't find it to be all that interesting and it unfortunately ended up being a little too short too. There are a lot of points during it too where it just becomes so frustrating constantly dying over and over again... it makes you feel as if the dev's purposely did this to lengthen the game. There are also certain points along the story where it forces you into combat, though this mixes up the game it can get a little annoying as Faith (the character you play) can't take a lot of damage. The ending to the game actually made me think "is that it?".
After my disappointment at the story I found the Speed Run and Time Trial modes which is the point at which you realise these were what the game was made for. I can see myself spending hours upon hours just perfecting routes on levels and downloading other peoples runs off of Live to find new ways I would've missed. Not to mention trying to beat those same people ;) The game is all about proper timing and keeping a steady momentum going - achieving a quick time on a perfect run can be very very rewarding. The fact that you can string together different moves along with the timing and momentum factor really makes the game a lot more deep then it originally seems which will only benefit the game more in the long run.
Mirror's Edge is definitaly one of those games you'll want to keep in your collection if not for it's innovation then it's addictive Time Trial mode which will keep sucking you back in just to shave that tenth of a second off your highest time.
2 New from
I've been waiting on this Fallout for a long time and now that it's arrived I can say that it has, kind of, been worth the wait.
The main storyline, if you focus solely on it, will not last a long time. But Fallout 3 is a huge game with tons of things to see and do - it wasn't intended for you to just do the main quest and nothing else. Keeping on the subject of the main quest however the ending is terrible. You can tell the last 2 or so parts of it were rushed and the ending itself doesn't make much sense if you have Fawkes with you... which, since you get Fawkes near the end of the main storyline anyway, is just silly. This added with the fact that you cannot play the game after the main quest is complete were, in my opinion, the two major downfalls of the game. It's stupid to not be able to play after the main quest on such an open world game like this and unless you save with seperate saves you can find yourself stumped.
Bethesda have done an amazing job optimizing the Gamebyro engine (the same engine they used with Oblivion). Not only does Fallout 3 look better but it also runs better than Oblivion and load times have been significantly reduced. Though unfortunately it still seems to suffer from the odd freeze or crash here and there. The NPC's have alot more varied animations and their interactions with each other have been much improved. The animations however are still fairly bad, though Bethesda have never been good at animating to begin with. I was hoping they would at least add a forward strafing animation this time so it doesn't look like your gliding sideways in 3rd person, but no dice. Likewise aiming in 3rd person can still be a hassle (seems like the crosshair is off center too compared to where your bullets actually land) though it's much easier than it was with Oblivion.
VATS, the games answer to Fallout's AP / turn based combat, is fun to use. It's not necesarily turned based per se but you can see they tried to give it that feel (with pauses here and there between gun shots). You'd think after 100 times using it it would start to become a chore, something painful you had to watch to kill some guy, but surprisingly I still find it amusing even on my 3rd playthrough. The over dramatic deaths that sometimes occur coupled with the over-the-top gore and cinematic angles of the action keep each and every VATS use interesting.
Unlike Oblivion Fallout 3 doesn't have alot of quests, however each is a lot more fleshed out and often has multiple endings. Some of these quests can even take upwards of an hour to complete. The random 'dungeons' scattered throughout the wasteland have also had the same kind of attention as these side quests. Each dungeon area is unique and often has it's only little backstory to it, it's not just a copy paste area with some random enemies dotted around.
The dark humor and cultural references that were in the original Fallout (and slightly overused in Fallout 2) are also present in Fallout 3. Though some of the humor seems a bit forced. It was fun to run across a certain guy who is very similar to Oblivions legendary 'Adoring Fan' though :)
If your the kind of player that enjoys running around exploring the world then you will get your moneys worth, and more, with Fallout 3. However if you need direction or a 'reason' to play then I doubt you'll find this game as enjoyable. Bethesda has planned DLC on the way for Fallout 3 so new content is certainly coming, here's hoping they release a construction set so the game can really start to shine.
7 New from
EA have been releasing some, surprisingly, very good games this year and Dead Space is one of them. It was unfortunate that there wasn't much hype surrounding it's release as it's definitely one of those games that deserved it and it may cost it a well deserved Game of the Year. Thankfully though it's seemed to have been successful enough that EA are now working on a sequel.
As for the game itself the graphics are outstanding, just the right amount of grittiness and gore to give that unnerving feeling. The tight over the shoulder 3rd person view is spot on and definitely makes you feel as if your in their with Isaac experiencing everything he is experiencing which I don't think they would have been able to achieve with a 1st person perspective. The fact that there is no menu system (as in, pops up a new window and takes you out the game) while browsing your inventory or the map keeps you right in there without ever bringing you out of the experience, it's all real time as well so can get fairly frantic if your trying to sort your inventory during a fight (thankfully there's a quick-heal button ;)). I've played the game through 3 times now and have not once encountered a single crash or slow down, the game is very stable and even on my average computer the FPS never drops. There are also no loading screens at all from start to finish... The only one you'll see is when you start up a new game or load a save.
As for the sounds they are all extremely well done. Your engineering tools (which become improvised weapons) all have very loud deep noises which give them that powerful 'umph' feeling when firing them and since the main focus of taking down enemies is dismemberment it fits very well. The enemies themselves have some incredibly freaky sounds, theres a certain enemy which constantly wails out in pain until you kill it - hearing these with headsets on is at the same time as scary as it is awesome.
The games story is very well done. There are a lot of video, text and audio logs scattered throughout areas of the ship which add a lot of depth to the story and really suck you into it. You even begin to find yourself following others characters 'mini-stories' through these logs. The manga video (Dead Space: Downfall) that was done as a prequel to the games events provides some very sweet back story and is well worth a watch.
My only gripe with the game is that the boss fights were a bit too easy which overall made them feel fairly cheap. The gameplay in between these fights however more than makes up for it.
Dead Space is well worth a purchase.