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5 New from
I am a few levels in at the moment and feel compelled to review this outstanding game. Premature perhaps without sampling the whole game or, indeed, the multiplayer - but the quality so far strongly suggests I have nothing to worry about.
I straight off the bat am using a Gamecube controller as opposed to Wiimote so I cant comment on the Wiimote control scheme. Needless to say the Cube controller works very well.
Reworking the Goldeneye story is working extremely well. The game is riddled with fantastic touches of genius and a great attention to detail is present throughout. Voice acting, character animations and AI are spot on. Combat is accessible and fluid. Reworkings of classic N64 scenes (the air vent toilet assassination) are still present and accounted for - I am sure there will be more to come.
Bond has a number of silent take down abilities and with the use of the new handy smartphone you can hack turrets and photograph important sensitive information for MI6. Stealth is definitely on the agenda but there are often multiple routes through a level offering a good variety of gameplay styles.
The in game cut scenes are impressive and integrate perfectly with the main action. It truly feels like being part of a Bond movie with the Nightclub level being a particular highlight for me thus far.
I believe the team behind this is the same team who made the excellent Dead Space: Extraction for the Wii. I can wholeheartedly recommend that too. The same level of seemingly limitless skill and care is present in both games. They seem to be one of the few developers who buck the 3rd party trend of making mini game "Comb your horse" monstrosities for the Wii and deserve support for their efforts!
Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow
9 New from
This game really came out of left field. I tried the demo on Xbox Live and was suitably impressed. Then, seeing it come down in price, I went for it. It is consistently impressive throughout the gametime. Its epic scale and lush graphics continuously impress. Gameplay is a great mixture between Prince of Persia platforming & hack n' slash combat. The main driving force for me was pushing to see what could possibly come next and anticpating getting into the Vampire's castle. The art design of the entire game is impeccable. The titan battles being a particular highlight. With a fantastic epilogue sequence I am hoping that there is a sequel in the works. A hidden gem of a game that deserves more attention.
Just Cause 2: Limited Edition
Best sandbox game yet? I think so.
The first thing that hits you in Just Cause 2 is it's beauty. It's truly sublime. The island you have free reign in is meticulously crafted and spans a satisfying range of environments - cities, jungles, snowy mountains etc. A great feature of this environment is that from the local scale (grass, plants) all the way up to what feels like the sub stratosphere, the detail is impeccable and the transitions are almost seamless.
The next thing to hit you is the freedom. A true sense of exploration and discovery awaits you in this title. With access to any vehicle you see (ok, not that new a concept but done very well here) you have a wonderland of fun. Transport is not relegated to vehicular modes either. Your grapple and parachute are a joy to use. Anyone remember Hunter on the Amiga? It had a lot of vehicle access in a free roaming environment and you get the same fresh buzz with Just Cause 2. Fresher than GTA and the reasons for that I can't quite put my finger on. I read a post somewhere where it was compared to Pilotwings on the SNES and N64. I can agree with this. Particularly the N64 version where you would while away hours drifting around and admiring the environment. If you are fortunate enough to remember those feelings then get ready to have them amplified. Also, using the grapple and parachute in the city locales reminded me greatly of the freedom in Spiderman 2 on the original xbox. No bad thing.
The gameplay is also accomplished. Gunplay is accessible and fun and not in any way broken. I recall a review saying that the inability to employ pinpoint accuracy was a flaw. Simply not the case. Headshots are doable, if that's of great importance to you but I would argue you should embrace the kinetic, frantic nature of the combat to fully appreciate the game. The combat options provided by the grapple and it's dual hook use, are many and varied and make combat a delight. The game treads a fine line between making you feel all powerful but also vulnerable in large firefights.
The game is accomplished, detailed and lovingly-crafted. A triumph, really. Although voice acting will not win awards it matters not a jot. This game will also last a very long time.