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3 New from
First off, I haven't played the first one and secondly I am not a puzzle gamer by any stretch of the imagination (although I was strangely addicted to Mario vs Donkey Kong on DS!). However, Portal 2 has got to be one of my all time favourite games and I've played plenty in my lifetime!
It is wonderfully addictive and satisfying - you will get such a sense of achievement when you finally figure out the solution to a puzzle. The brilliant thing is that the answer is not hidden. All it takes is awareness of your surroundings and how the traps work, a bit of lateral thinking, experimentation and good observation. Some levels are more challenging than others but it doesn't take long to figure something out that works. More importantly, it's fun, it's enjoyable and not in the least bit frustrating. The gameplay is all about figuring it out.
I thought that I wouldn't have the patience for games like this but believe me it is addictive and immersive as any other game and you will soon find yourself absorbed in the gameplay and atmosphere. The game pulls you in without you realising. It's such a rare and amazing feat for a developer to create a game like this.
You must experience it for yourself and as I said I'm not a puzzle gamer by nature (shooters and racing is more my thing). But from now on if has Portal written on the box then count me in. All the reviews are correct 9.5/10 (deducted half a point because the graphics wonderful as they are, could be a teeny bit better).
Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising
7 New from
I don't know how or where Codemasters have spent their time developing this game because the graphics are somewhat lacking (flat textures, non-existent details, poor smoke/fire effects etc) and the AI is not polished in the slightest. I'm still waiting to be amazed.
Checkpoints and saves points are often badly placed. On one mission segment towards the end, it gave me about three checkpoints/save points in succession. Whilst I was grateful for them, because you need all the help you can get in this game, I would've liked a few more save points up until that point.
The game can often be very tense but the tension comes mainly from hoping and praying that the AI doesn't muck things up for you, i.e. get everyone all killed or that you'll make it to the finish within time constraints (on some missions). I re-played the end segment of Mission 4 over 20 times until I got it right - only to be told at the end of mission screen that I had failed!! That's because I did not complete the first objective at the very start. I did not know this until I sough help via a very popular on-line games forum, so I had to re-do the whole level again.
However, this morning was good because I managed to complete the last bit of Mission 5, on a whim, before work. I had to re-try it about 4 times and finally nailed it when I was supposed to be flying out the front door! I wasn't even late for work either.
Anyway, this game does have its moments and on-line co-op is perfect for this kind of game. But do not believe the screenshots, honestly it resembles a very good xbox game rather than a new 360 release.
A patch should be on its way to sort out multiplayer errors and hopefully tweak a few single-player gripes too.
I fear that this game will be left behind once MW2 comes out.
Need For Speed: Shift
13 New from
Ok, as said, I'm here to set the record straight once and for all. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THE HANDLING IN THIS GAME! As a racer, it excels in speed and thrills and does provide the racing experience it sets out to do, especially when you get to race the high end machines. It can be very intense at times.
Out of all the racing games I've played, and lets see - the Gran Turismos, the previous NFS, PGR 3 and 4, GRID, Midnight Club Racing, Burnout series, PURE, FUEL, Forza 2 - Shift has been the most fun and satisfying. This is the only game where I've been able to play in cockpit view as first choice - it really works well. It's not as great as they make it out to be, but it's definately the best iteration of this viewpoint.
The career mode has a nice variety of races and game types to dip in and out of and I like the reward system. Gamers like to be rewarded for their efforts. On-line is seamless; I've been able to jump into a lobby very quickly, without any hitches.
The only downside to on-line races is when you get rammed from behind and spin out. In single player you can just hit re-start but you can't very well do that on-line, so it costs you the race. Never mind.
Shift is closest to Grid in terms of racing thrills 'n' spills but I think Shift does have the edge - Shift somehow manages to nail the experience of modern racing.
I love the handling in this game, it seems perfect. I'm either:
(a) a gaming God but doubt it, despite playing games since I was 10 years old handheld, console, pc you name it
(b) some of you have the settings higher than you can truely manage, e.g. Pro settings, no assists
(c) you're just not good at racing games.
Terminator: Salvation (Terminator 4)
4 New from
Something compelled me to buy this game despite the really dreadful reviews from all over the world. Was I disappointed? No - not in the slightest. This game is an action game pure and simple, basically moving from one small area to another fighting waves of enemies.
The fluid and dynamic cover system is a key feature that works well and makes the game fun.
There's nothing ingenious about the game design (except the cool cover system) but take it for what it is and you will enjoy it.
Yes, you do fight the same wave of enemies over and over but I don't have a problem with that personally. The graphics are mostly good, even fantastic in some places, but could've benefited from more polish in some areas.
Although the game is supposed to be short, I still haven't completed it since I started on Friday. Mind you, I haven't tried to beat it in a single sitting, started on Hard difficulty and I have been re-playing some of the levels. I admit, some extra levels would have been welcome. Also, some of the levels would have been really great if the developers used their imagination. There are a few cool moments but mostly the game is straight forward.
Multi-player would have been a fantastic opportunity - they missed the mark badly on that. Skynet vs resistance would've been too cool for words. Maybe next time.
Overall, I got this game with the intention of selling it off or trading it soon afterwards, but you know what? I'm seriously thinking of keeping it. It's like an arcade game, good for when you're in the mood for simple shooting action. I may be in the minority here but it is definitely worth picking up.