Eurogamer ’11 – Metal Gear Solid HD Collection MGS2/MGS3/Peace Walker

December 8, 2011 at 3:38 am | Posted in Articles, Eurogamer Expo, Events, Preview, XboxLiveAddicts | Leave a comment
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With all the HD remakes coming out at the end of this year, it was surprising to see only a handful of HD remakes playable at Eurogamer. With only the Shadow of Colossus/Ico collection and Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater/Peace Walker, it was a little empty on the re-release side.

If anything that definitely made me want to get in on the HD remake action, having not played Ico and Shadows of Colossus before, I turned to more familiar ground, the Metal Gear Solid series.

That said, I never actually got to play Snake Eater when it originally came out. Nor Peace Walker. But I used to play Metal Gear back in the day, so that definitely counts. Right?


Eurogamer ’11 – Silent Hill Downpour

December 8, 2011 at 2:58 am | Posted in Articles, Eurogamer Expo, Events, Preview, XboxLiveAddicts | Leave a comment
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Silent Hill returns again, bringing the messed up and disturbed by the bucket load once again. Who’s ready for the spooks?

This time around we take control of an escaped convict given a ‘second chance’ when his prison transport vehicle comes off the road, leaving our character stranded inside the town of Silent Hill. The game will focus around the southern part of the town, previously unvisited by any of the previous titles.

Silent Hill Homecoming Review

August 13, 2009 at 1:28 am | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Link to Review

Its time to bring the horror back home…

Were you ever afraid of the dark? The bumps, noises, creeks send shivers down your spine? In real life, its nothing to be worried about, but setting foot in Silent Hill? Well, get ready to fear the dark again…

Alex Shepard, a soldier wounded in battle has returned from hospital back home to rejoin his family in the town of Shepards Glen, all is far from well the moment he steps foot in town, and he soon learns that his true battle has only just begun.

In search of both his father and his brother Joshua, Alex searches the town of Shepards Glen in search for answers only to find that something a lot more deeper and evil is going on, which will in turn, lead him to the infamous town of Silent Hill, just across the lake from his home.

Silent Hill has always had a distinct game play style throughout the series, something quite close to that of the original Resident Evils, in the sense of exploration and puzzle solving were the main benefactors followed by combat usually favouring melee over ranged weaponry in order to keep the sense of survival horror to the cauldron of what makes Silent Hill as good as it is.

Hells not a pretty sight and hides some dark secrets…

This time round, the developers Team Silent handed the reigns over to Double Helix Games which first took a stab at SH with the PSP addition Origins, to ensure Silent Hill stayed as classic and as favourable as always composer Akira Yamaoka most famous for his work with SH assumed producer role to make sure nothings lost in the dev switch.

The games a little more combat based now this time round, with a more action style health bar and a newly implemented dodge button we see combat become a little more calculated and timed rather than just trying to beat your demons into a pulp as soon as possible, this makes confrontations all that more dangerous and all that more dangerous in atmosphere.

Confronting enemies has its pro’s and cons. In some areas it is possible to completely avoid combat to save either ammo and/or health. Attacking can be quite slow, and timing when to dodge can also be difficult as with each enemy, they attack and move faster than you. Its also possible to get stuck whilst fighting where they will constantly continue attacking you, giving you no window to counter, nor an opportunity to dodge any attacks which can be very frustrating when your wasting health just because your stuck and cant do anything about it, if your not on your guard you can also be treated to some rather gruesome deaths involving a lot of blood and usually some separation of limbs.

Having said that, melee is still the preferred choice of beating your way through the nightmares you’ll come across 3 melee weapon types and 3 ranged weapon types being your standard Pistol, Shotgun and Rifle. The melee weapons, your knife, steel pipe and axe will also play parts in making your way through certain obstacles like jammed doors and boarded up areas, each are upgraded a few times, but if you don’t find them on your travels you can completely miss them, so keep a look out, that goes for your guns too, and the ammo, which is scarce!

The game continues with its dark and sinister story plots, including creatures and diverse and nightmare invoking confrontations with creatures you’ll have to get up close and personal with in the game.

To keep your hunting skills toned, you’ll also have to keep an eye out for Polaroid pictures, children’s drawings and health serums, whilst the serums increase your health permanently, the pictures will explain some of the stories deeper plots.

Welcome to the grand hotel, heres your room key and heres your flashlight…

Whilst not pushing the barrier out for all current gen video games, the game certainly does take what the generation is capable of and really putting it to brilliant use. From the misty streets of Shepards Glen, the bloody halls of Achemilla Hospital or the devilish mechanical tone of your descents in hell, the game keeps up a full blown experience of horror and psychological thrills continuously from start to finish.

Points can be made about the uncomfortable looking mouth movements of cut scenes whilst talking, and perhaps the flashlight which really doesn’t light very much around you but it really can be overlooked compared to what the rest of the game brings.

Something film fans may also notice is certain things including the appearance of the Nurses and the visuals of the ‘ripping’ of the world as you transcend into hell are very much familiar to that in the scenes of the movie. The ‘ripping’ is an awesome thing to watch happen to the environment around you and when you first bump into your first Nurse or even any enemy, be sure to check out the real time damage you cause on their bodies whilst fighting.

It’s also worth noting that the visuals are what caused our EU delay of almost 6 months. If your not familiar with Silent Hill games, there definitely not shy from going all out on the gore, seeing areas pasted in blood is the least of your worries the most notable from this game would be the drill scene, a frantic and tense cut scene in the game, to say the least.

Dolls always were a little creepy…

With Akira Yamaoka as a composer, who really need to worry about sound? The game has a continuous atmosphere throughout the game which only play greater on the music and sounds generated for this game, the noises of creatures, the sounds of the environments, and the occasional industrial style music to get tension running when faced with enemies all work beautifully to create an intense experience throughout almost making you inch through the game step by step…because you don’t want to find out what’s making that eerie noise round the corner from you.

The game has 5 endings in tradition including the famous UFO endings, however the requirements for reaching this endings aren’t as complex as previous outings, meaning to achieve them all, all you need is 2 well placed game saves, which clearly removes a bit of replay ability depending on how much of a fan you are…or how scared you are.

Not saying the game is overly easy however, the puzzles will keep you stumped for a fair amount of time, and if you don’t pay attention to your health item usage you may find yourself in trouble later on.

Combat is pretty simple, but don’t let up, or they’ll rip you up…

Achievement side the game is disappointingly unshy about dishing out the points, with only 32; a majority of them are just for finding one of something or killing something once. Unlockables within the game include new weapons and lots of different costumes to play through with.

A fantastic game to add to the Silent Hill series, yet another dark compelling story that keeps the twists coming from beginning to end and as always one that always makes you think. Whilst it lacks replay ability with nothing rather than the 5 endings and 2 difficulties, the only sad thing about it is fans have to wait now for even more instalments of such a great series. Definately one of the scariest games we’ll see this year.

Rating 9.1

Published by: Konami
Developed by: Double Helix Games
Release Date: September 30, 2008
Genre: Adventure /Survival Horror

Ace Combat 6 Fires of Liberation

August 10, 2009 at 9:35 pm | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Take flight and dance with the angels…

Pretty much the longest running flight game in the industry, and probably the most popular, the guys at Namco brings it to next gen with their latest installment, load up your weapons and take evasive action! Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation is blasting onto your 360 in an explosive blur of action!

After a shower of meteors falling from the sky, the land of Estovakia was left in ruin and soon fell into a nationwide civil war, after a few years, the nation was overtaken by a government group known as ‘The Generals’ shortly after this, they saw it fit to invade neighboring country Emmersia. At the beginning of these attacks, Melissa, a wife of an Emmersian Fighter pilot overlooks the attack from her home, fearing for her husband and child’s safety and sets out to find them.

You play as the fighter pilot known by the call sign Talisman, leader of the two man team Garuda, with your wingman Shamrock you make part of the Emmersia Air Force and alongside them all, you take on the fight to push the Estovakian forces back to take back your country.

With a large amount of aircraft at your disposal each unlock able as you progress through the game you wont feel out-gunned as you fight enemy aircraft, ground units and even building structures throughout your missions. The style of play is like its predecessors in where you set up before the mission, start and can refuel and fix up your craft by going off the allotted battlefield to land on an air strip, they’ve also added these inside the main battlefield, whether you chose to make the extra trip, or risk being shot down mid-landing is up to you.

The games difficulty can be a bit on and off at times. Some missions you’ll find extremely hard to do, and then the one after it will be really easy then the next will be even harder.

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Chillin’ out, maxin’ out, coolin’ out…

The missions usually consist of a main mission which can be completed by finishing the objective(s) in each level. These vary from taking down Air targets, Ground targets or a mixture of both, some may rely on your skills as a pilot as you may need to navigate round objects or accomplish impossible feats with your aircraft including flying at high speeds through caves and tunnels underground.

Controlling your aircraft is fairly easy, with triggers controlling your speed and the A and B buttons firing navigating your aircraft can be quite easy, which helps as whilst flying you can feel the resistance and G’s in each heavy turn and barrel roll you take.

Unfortunately, unlike its previous releases they had a 2 player split screen mode, in AC6 this has been removed but replaced with the online features. These online games modes like Team Battle and Battle Royale are your standard type Death matches only with BR being a FFA version, both are capable of holding 16 players with rooms that can be started on un-even teams to allow people to join mid way. Other modes include Siege Battle, an attacking and defending game with teams, and Co-op battle where you can bring your friends in to take part in co-op objectives.

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Showing off the guns…

With this, your also able to mask your voice to sound like the air-craft communications radio. This is quite cool, adds no other feature other than just making you sound really cool. However a down side to the multiplayer is no ranked style of placing people in rooms. This is a problem due to the fact that people who have finished the game on higher difficulties have access to more advanced and secret aircraft which when unlocked are also available in online. This means that the more experience with have a drastically huge advantage over the new-comers to the game who are just starting with the game and playing online.

To be able to hear trailing missiles and bullets shoot past your aircraft really does make you think ‘Wow that one was close!’ Even if you watched it narrowly miss you, just the sound of it literally buzzing past your ear really takes you into the cockpit. Likewise when flying past enemies you’ve just shot down, flying past closely really shakes the sound up so not only did you narrowly avoid being blown up, but you almost took yourself out crashing into a wreckage.

The game isn’t accompanied by much music besides the cut-scenes though hearing your squadron break formation in surround sound does indeed sound just great.

Flying over countryside and urban areas alike never looked so good. The photo-realistic scenery makes a beautiful backdrop for your attacks with air and ground targets alike. Something that has been greatly improved on is your aircraft looks and weapons. In previous games, the skies would look very clean and empty except for your forces and enemies, however now, smoke from your missiles and air from your aircraft moving through the air all make an imprint in the sky, and will stay there for a long period of time, this makes the battles feel a lot more alive, and the idea of things constantly going on, you can also use this to track your missiles through the air easier.

As well as this, the bright sun flare, weather and the now added thickness in clouds and explosions really bring even just flying around the area to life and a lot more challenging to play through. Small detail in the aircrafts also shows out really well. Something new is that damage briefly shows by a small flame on your hull which doesn’t always last for long.

Reduced: 90% of original size [ 800 x 450 ] – Click to view full image

These guys aren’t your typical red arrows…

Though for those of you who enjoy aviation and how it works, whilst pulling the high G maneuvers you’ll see how each part of your plane moves, from rudders to the wings, each part is as accurate as real life.

The single player spans over 15 missions, each which can last a good 45 minutes to an hour. The difficulty in even the easier settings will keep you trying and trying on some of the harder levels, and if its too easy for you, there’s 5 difficulties for you to unlock, 2 which are unlock able.

Whilst playing through the single player, there’s also medals to collect, which are awarded for how you play, and you’re also able to spend the money you earn from missions on more aircraft and paint-jobs for them.

Online has a lot of modes to try out, and play around with as well as the online achievements to keep you going through them.

A great game

to move into Next gen grounds with the Ace Combat series. Though definitely one for the AC fans, and those who prefer a modern approach to the likes of Blazing Angels. Can this game with all the added new features and gameplay be to enough attract new fans to the genre?

Rating: 7.3

Published by: Namco
Developed by: Project Aces
Genre: Flight Action
Features: Xbox Live

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