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3 New from
This is clearly a very well made game, the graphics, sound and handling of the vehicles are spot on and the difficulty of the career is also bang on, although some of the assists seem completely pointless (auto steer/corner braking/throttle management,) they do make the game accessible to new-comers. Turn these assists off though and put the difficulty up to 6 an you've got a very tricky game indeed - mess up just slightly on one corner and you can fall from 1st to 8th in an instant, which brings me on to the tracks.
In Dirt 1 the tracks were mostly very challenging with narrow roads, huge crests and branches of trees sticking out into the road, just getting to the finish in one piece was quite a challenge and usually ensured a win. In Dirt 3 however, the tracks are really very wide indeed and much much smoother than those in Dirt 1. Because of this the whole feel of the game is different, instead of just trying to get to the finish in one piece your trying to get the right line through every corner and hit every apex, this makes the game feel a bit like PGR, but off road. This I suspect is deliberate by Codemasters to make the game easy to "pick up and play" but it does detract from the essence of rally somewhat. Unfortunately the tracks are also far too short and there aren't nearly enough of them. Some rallys last just over 1min and while Codemasters will tell you there are about 32 stages in the game, theres pretty well 4 rally stages - yes they've reversed them all and put little bits on the end but once you've done one race in each of the 4 areas (Norway, Kenya, Finland and Michigan) you've pretty well done them all.
The track issues however are not enough to stop this game being worth buying, online is fun with new infection, capture the flag and cat & mouse game modes, not to mention the excellent Gymkhana. The career is challenging enough to keep you going for quite some time and can last over 10 hours. You can also upload a video to YouTube, although for some reason you're limited to 30 seconds which makes it a pretty annoying feature.
All in all though this is a beautifully made game, the snow and night races provide something different from any other Dirt game and new arcade modes add a whole new style of driving. Multiplayer overall is a blast if you have a few mates with the game - especially with the team based modes so basically it's worth buying and can be classed as one of the better driving games on the 360.
13 New from
Rockstar over the years have created some of my favourite games I've ever played, the GTA series, Red Dead and now L.A Noire. For any fan of the mentioned games I recommend to get yourself a copy of this truly fantastic game.
You play the part of Cole Phelps, a decorated war hero FROM WWII and 'new guy' to the L.A.P.D. In an era of corruption and greed, it's up to one man to try his best to right the wrongs. I won't go too much into this story in this review, I'll leave that part to you to enjoy as you play through. Once you start playing you wont be able to put the controller down, the game is so immersive. It has a real 'I want to know what happens next' quality to it which has made me play for 4 hours straight at one point.
The graphics are pretty darn good, not the best I've ever seen in a game, but 1947 L.A is recreated with immaculate detail, and the new system implemented by Team Bondi is genuinely a break though for the games industry and I'm kean to see it implemented into future titles. Facial expressions play a big part in the game, it's a massive step forward in technology and at times the characters look as real as their real life counterparts that play them - you will spot the odd "celebrity" playing a part in there from various tv shows.
The sound design is awesome, the soundtrack is one of the best I've witnessed in a game and works towards really capturing the 1940's era. The sound effects in game are also detailed, and realistic.
Gameplay is fun, I was expecting more shoot outs, and the pace may be a little slow in parts but once it gets going there is plenty on offer. Searching crime scenes is rewarding and the interrogation system is both unique and challenging. Driving is tight, and enjoyable although if you choose to, there is a lot of it. Good thing is, if you don't fancy taking the wheel to every location, you can let your partner drive you, acting like a 'fast travel'.
Overall I say this title is excellent, I've been looking forward to it for some time and it certainly hasn't let me down. There are a few slight negatives but they're easily forgiven. In my experience of past Rockstar games there tends to be slight glitches - and there are slight glitches with this game but not enough to hinder your enjoyment. The facial expression technology is an exciting new instalment which makes this game extremely unique and could easily be in contention for Game Of The Year.
Operation Flashpoint: Red River
8 New from
The series, Operation Flashpoint has been around since the mid-1990s but it was only back in 2009 that Operation Flashpoint became prominent. Red River's (like its predecessor, Dragon Rising) enemy is once again at China in which the US Marines enter a country called Tajikistan to flush out insurgents so that they can stop attacks within Afghanistan. However China has misgivings about the US entering into another country so it demands the US to leave. When the US refused to do so, China enters the battle which brings to an interesting situation. Well that's what the game is about in a nutshell.
However, I never really cared about the plot. All I got from the game is trying to get from point A and point B and hopefully survive without getting shot. This is not any ordinary FPS game, first of all, the game is squad-based - as a result, you have to command a squad to eliminate enemies whilst trying to stay away from enemy fire. Now this might be like a Ghost Recon style of play, but it's a bit easier than Ghost Recon. Whereas getting shot in Ghost Recon is quite catastrophic, getting shot during Red River is not as life threatening. However this does not mean the game is as easy as Call of Duty or Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Leading a gun-ho all guns blazing style of play will certainly get you and your squad mates killed instantaneously. Heroism is not viewed highly in this game but using tactics is highly regarded.
Basically the game uses a squad-based interface in which you can issue a number of orders using the left-stick to navigate. But sometimes if you're not familiar with it quickly then you'll probably end up getting stuck with issuing orders or simply issuing wrong orders which would mean getting your squad killed. Where you're not fighting, you end up sitting on the back of a truck with Staff Sergeant Knox who shouts out expletives and comparisons which you might find amusing at first, but after a while, you will find it annoying - even the most staunch supporter of swears will get tired of his ramblings. It might try to simulate a real-life situation of war where action on the front line is sometimes hard to find, but the long distances of travel might bore people who want action straight away.
Also different to traditional FPS is the ammo and injury that you receive. This is where going trigger happy in COD or Battlefield will not work in Red River. Once you run out of ammo, if you can't find an ammo stash then you're stuck at relying on your teammates to do the killing for you. If you find yourself getting injured then you must patch yourself up quickly, even during a firefight. Failure to do so will result in you bleeding to death, and if you die your whole squad seems to fall apart as well.
You can play this game as a single player where the AI in the game is quite well done bar a few niggling glitches which hopefully will be patched soon, or you can play cooperatively as well in which you can lead four human players in achieving the objective. This can be fun as you can chat about other stuff rather than telling AI players to suppress fire there or go here. Another plus are the visuals of Tajikistan which can be quite awe-inspiring in regards to the mountains and especially the sky, however, close up visuals are extremely dated and ugly which is a shame.
Overall with its different style of play, Red River can be an intuitive and challenging game to play, but its traveling times and squad-base play may be a turn-off for players who prefer a gun-ho heroic style of play. Only buy it if you get a kick on planning and seeing your plans flourish!
2 New from
Portal was new, different and very entertaining, but that's just about everything it was. Portal 2 is all that, but also delivers an engaging story, colourful and memorable characters (I'm in space!) and even more of the cheery/dark humour that made its predecessor so unique.
I thought the games learning curve was very smooth, which is very nice since its gameplay can get very complex at times. I remember that I had a much harder time playing through some of the original Portal's levels, and that usually ended with frustration rather than perseverance. This time the puzzles are not easier, but they are better thought out and designed. Most are challeging and very satisfying to solve.
The main story is not that long, but offers just enough depth to suck you in without disturbing you from your task and from the simple pleasure of watching and listening to your robotic friends/foes. Portal lacked that depth and that made it definitely less enjoyable, but Portal 2 offers a really nice balance.
Humour still plays an important part of the interactions between characters. GLaDOS doesn't pack as much punch, but Wheatley, Cave Johnson and some other minor characters more than make up for it. It has been a while since any game made me laugh this much. The writers really put a lot of work and creativity in the dialogue, and for that I'm grateful - hats off to Valve.
The visuals are standard (using the original engine) but unlike some other games, it doesn't affect the game in any way. Portal 2 is the kind of game that does not need sophisticated visuals or music to be good. It's gameplay is so effective and intuitive that you won't even notice what it lacks in visual style. There are also some discreet jokes that pop up throughout the single player (a great Half-Life reference earns you an achievement) plus the environment contributes well to set the tone of the game.
Co-operative testing is a big novelty and is just as enjoyable as the single player mode. Of course, it doesn't benefit as much from the story and the humour, but the new challenges and experiences it offers are so entertaining that you will have just as much fun (if not more) playing with a buddy.
Portal 2 has an interesting replay value. I had a lot of fun hunting down achievements, and co-op with a mate will make you crave for more. There has also been an official announcement from Valve that FREE downloadable content will be coming to Xbox Live soon, can't go wrong there can you?
Portal 2 is more than a game; it's an experience. It can't even be defined as a genre. It is unique, and for that it deserves to be played by everyone.
Crysis 2: Limited Edition
3 New from
First off, the graphics in this game are nothing short of incredible. They are hands down the best I have seen on consoles, and better than quite a few PC games as well. Considering the age of the 360 in particular, this is quite an achievement. In addition to the graphics, the city itself is gorgeous and highly varied throughout the main story.
Next, the gameplay. Too many shooters today more or less copy the same mechanics that Call Of Duty 4 succesful, not that its a bad thing, but it gets old fast. Crysis 2 introduces fun and exiting gameplay to the FPS genre in the form of the nanosuit; The nanosuit has three main functions, stealth, armor, and power. Each of these allows for many different play styles and tactics when engaging the challenging enemy AI.
It is worth mentioning that a few reviewers have been somewhat unimpressed with the AI, claiming it is unintelligent and glitchy. Across the whole campaign I noticed only one AI glitch, and it was somewhat minor. I played the game on Soldier the first time through, and was consistently challenged by the AI, which reacted intelligently to virtually every tactic I used against it. Unlike many modern shooters, the enemies of Crysis 2 move freely around the environment in response to your actions, and act as a team to bring you down.
The sound effects in this game are top notch, and they are accompanied by an incredible original score by Hans Zimmer (the guy that did Inception's soundtrack). The overall presentation of this game is simply superb, and overwhelmed me enough that I had to stop playing several times just to take it all in.
The multiplayer combines the interesting tactical options of the nanosuit with unpredictable fellow players to make an engaging experience. There are a few balances that need to be made, but overall it kept me coming back for more thanks to the vast array of suit and weapon customization options.
Sure, there may be a few slight issues regarding bugs, but none of these even slightly hindered the rest game's incredible aspects for me. The campaign easily has to be the best I have played since the original Halo, and lasted nearly 12 hours.
13 New from
I am severely disappointed by this game, the back story is great which lead me to believe the story in the game would be great, sadly it was very lacking. Not only is the story some what uninteresting once the game gets started the campaign ends right when it seems like the game is getting good. It took me less than 4 hours to complete this game and that includes the time it took me to collect 30 out of the 61 collectibles. I now know why this game was delayed by THQ it was because if it was put next to any of the other releases in the past few weeks most people would laugh in disgust at the poor quality that this game oozes from the 1st mission to the 7th....... that's right....... 7 whole missions - 2 of which are extremely quick to complete.
The designers made claims before it was released that were just completely inaccurate. First, a statement was made that this will not be a game where you just mow down hundreds of enemies and in turn you become numb to it. Well that is exactly what you do. The creative director stated that you will be using whatever weapons you can find like hunting rifles that you find in Wal Mart, again not true, you use primarily M4's and the like, the closest you come to using a civilian weapon is a shotgun or a pistol. Another claim was that it would be strategically motivated when in reality, each mission is extremely linear - in one mission where you fly a helicopter you're told you are "Leaving Mission" with a 10 second countdown clock if you mistakenly cross an invisible barrier.
The graphics are extremely dated and seem like they belong in the era of the very first games for the 360. The people who designed this game have nothing to be proud of as they took an excellent concept for a game and turn it into total garbage.
So then I thought the multiplayer would be fun, so I attempted to get into a match only to wait half an hour in a lobby with about 6 mates for nothing to happen. I left and noticed a message that basically said "Our dedicated servers have crashed, but don't worry we are working real hard to try to fix them". In reality it claimed that they were just bringing more servers online to handle the traffic. So basically THQ released a game that's main claim to fame I guess was it's multiplayer and then forgot to have enough infrastructure to support the game on it's release date.
I am sorry if this review is all over the place, but as I am so annoyed by all the ruined potential this game had it is hard for me to focus on all of the short comings this game has. To sum it up Homefront is a total let down and as you can beat the campaign of SEVEN WHOLE MISSIONS in like 4 hours. Multiplayer servers are still down a week after release. All I have to say is that THQ should be ashamed of themselves for this total failure of a game, to overhype such drivel is a con on the consumer parting with their money - hard earned money might I add.
Call Of Duty: Black Ops
4 New from
For me, this is is the first Call Of Duty game that hasn't lasted the year up until the next installment - the multiplayer is too frustrating and tedious (spawn killing, spawning randomly) to go the distance until next November. So unfortunately it's traded in. Shame really, as the Campaign was actually really good, I enjoyed the story with twists and turns including a flashback back to the end of WWII.But the multiplayer lets it down. Being able to buy your weapons and attachments that you actually want is a massive bonus and being able to customise your badge etc is a treat. Noob tubing has been dumbed down from MW2 but unfortunately other issues replace this, especially spawning. Spawning randomly shouldn't happen, what is the point in killin someone only to have them spawn right behind you to get you back? It's like Treyarch are giving the people you've killed a chance to get you back - like an even stevens - that's no fun at all. Another issue is with the weapons - no they aren't out of date, but the likes of the FAMAS (which I always used in MW2) has been completely changed from a 3 bullet burst to a jittering pain in the backside.At the end of the day it's worth buying when the price comes down, especially for the campaign because as well as the story being brilliant, it actually takes a while to complete - it isn't a rush job - unfortunately the Multiplayer suffers because of this.
Kinect: Your Shape - Fitness Evolved
2 New from
Forget Kinect Sports, Adventures etc - this is what Kinect is all about, this is what a person like me who finds the gym repetitive and boring wants in exercise. This is what people who haven't got the time/can't be bothered to go the gym, go for a jog or afford a treadmill in the house.
I got this yesterday, I was on it for a solid 2 hours last night and I was absolutely knackered - and I only burned off 300 odd calories! You can choose how you want to work out, be it cardio or toning etc. But also there are a few mini games to work off the fat such smashing blocks on the screen using boxing techniques.
For those that are skeptical to whether it will actually keep you fit/lose weight, rest assured you will be sweating by about 10 minutes. It doesn't just throw you into the thick of it however, it does allow you to ease yourself into each routine which gradually gets more strenuous as time passes. You can either set up a fitness regime with a "personal trainer" or if you don't want to be told what to do, you can simply pick any activity you want - it's that simple.
Another clever thing about this game is that Achievements are linked to burning off calories - so you will get an Achievement for burning off 100, 200 300, 600 calories etc.... so there's motivation there to gain them.
There is a section where you can use dumbells so it's worth buying a couple for this, and there is also a section for women who have recently given birth. This is a big bonus because currently my wife is pregnant and she said it'll come in handy post birth.
I highly recommend this for anyone who's like me who would love to work out and do some exercise, but hasn't got the motivation to plug in some earphones and jog on a treadmill or work on a cross trainer - because this isn't boring, it actually makes exercising fun and interesting and before you know it, an hour's exercise has passed and you feel great about yourself in mind and body.
Peanuts Men's Do You Tweet T-Shirt (Grey)
This t-shirt is surprisingly a good quality material - I've washed it once since I got it last week and the print hasn't faded, which I thought it would considering it was only a favour. The material is quite thin so will show a few curves off if a bit weighty and the arm sleeves are a tight fit, rather than a loose fit (Medium size) - but I prefer it like that, it looks nice
Definitley recommend at a fiver, because if it's not to your liking, at least it didn't cost a bomb.
Kinect Including Kinect: Adventures!
I was only visiting a mate at the weekend only to find he had bought Kinect - I was never going to get into this with it being the casual gamer aspect of gaming, it didn't appeal to me at all, but I ended up playing on it all night, it's a massive surprise.
It's so responsive, it kind of works the same as in films where an actor simulates a CGI character it tracks every slight movement of your body, it's such a good piece of technology.
Anyway, ended up buying it myself but with Sports and Dance Central and I have not been off it with the missus, Black Ops has started to collect dust - it's such good fun. The only issue is that you get the best results if you're 6ft away from the TV so make sure you have a decent sized room!