Ace Combat Assault Horizon

January 15, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Posted in Articles, Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews, XboxLiveAddicts | Leave a comment
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Now, most readers will know that back at Eurogamer Expo 2011, Ace Combat Assault Horizon didn’t exactly leave a good taste in my mouth after. In honesty, the visuals didn’t look up to scratch and the game play itself didn’t seem to really mimic that of previous Ace Combat titles. So is there gold on the horizon? Or a flaming wreck of fighter jet bits?

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Eurogamer ’11 – Ridge Racer Unbounded

December 8, 2011 at 3:15 am | Posted in Articles, Eurogamer Expo, Events, Preview, XboxLiveAddicts | 2 Comments
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Ridge Racer Unbounded definitely made a lasting impression on me at Eurogamer, sadly they weren’t impressions of good things, or fun for that matter. The build was clearly an early alpha build, instantly meaning that a lot of the bugs or issues should be taken on the chin. A lot of people at the show probably aren’t aware of the state of the build, which has probably done more damage than good, but I continued to play through the demo at hand.

Old Ridge Racer fans will be sad to know that Unbounded has definitely left its roots behind in the smoke. Fans of such games like Split/Second and Burnout Paradise should probably prepare to be impressed…and then let down again.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

December 8, 2011 at 1:47 am | Posted in Articles, Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews, XboxLiveAddicts | Leave a comment
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Click here to see review

Possibly one of the most overlooked games of 2010. Namco Bandai’s Enslaved: Odyssey to the West fell under many a radar in the thunderclap of top video games which came out last year. So with a little down time before 2011 picks up, is Enslaved worth looking into?

The story loosely follows that of one of the four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature ‘Journey to the West’, however like most ‘modern renditions’ it uses the names and general story to use as more of a bass line for something a little different rather than following the original story word for word.

The game is set in the future following an apocalyptic war between humans. The remainders of the population around the world live in the ruins and safe areas under the constant fear of being kidnapped by mysterious slaver ships, but major cities and areas are still filled with mechs left abandoned after the war. After a pair of prisoners escape a slaver ship in an explosive decent into New York. Our character Monkee finds himself under the orders of fellow escapee Trip, with the use of a slaver headband. The two must embark on a journey to the west to find Trips home and safety from the slavers and mechanical creatures that now roam the earth.

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For those who haven’t played the Playstation 3 exclusive title Uncharted, then this reference is rather moot. But Enslaveds game play, especially on the adventure side of this action/adventure title, is very similar to Uncharteds in its sense of scale, level design and simple ‘one button traversing’. Meaning, as long as you’re pushing in the right direction, tapping just the one button will generally get you across everywhere. It’s a nice way to get you to see the environment, but it’s adventure sequences aren’t always as demanding as they should be. If you cant see where you should be climbing to, its a simple task of pushing the stick until Monkee reaches out, making it painfully easy and numbingly linear Monkee cant even jump off things if he‘s not actually supposed to, often raising the question, why bother have these large set pieces if we’re to be baby sat throughout it all.

If Uncharted was the perfect number 5 on a Adventure controls scale, the perfect balance between using all your techniques, physics and skills to traverse the world. Enslaved is probably at the bottom end of the scale. With simple, but relatively effortless adventuring. For those who want a full scale to work with. Yes, that damn Lara Croft gets the top spot. Any of the original TR titles will do. With her running, jumping. HOLDING DOWN THE BUTTONS TO GRAB. ‘Damnit Lara why wont you go where I‘m pressing!!!’ You all know what I’m talking about.

Monkee is incredibly well behaved in this sense. Thank Fu…

Combat is limited to your staff and just generally whacking the hell out of things. Early on you get the ability to fire energy rounds from your staff which can either stun or kill. Monkee is fully upgradeable from the start with the Tech Orbs which you find along the way being the payment for the upgrades. There are a few issues surrounding the upgrade system, like Tech Orbs are hidden around the entire game, but are also a collectable. Meaning, you can only get a certain amount of tech orbs from each level, guaranteeing you wont be able to fully upgrade yourself in one play through. The second issue is that the upgrading system is rather unbalanced as you’re able to upgrade Monkee with health regeneration right from the start, making the majority of Enslaveds harder combat sections a little easy just as long as you’ve given yourself maximum health and other regen perks early on.

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Surprisingly, Enslaved is an incredible feat on the eyes. When you read the story synopsis and see those words ‘Post-apocalyptic world’ you’d expect endless seas of sand. And a million different shades of beige and boring. Yet Enslaved is the exact opposite. After plummeting from the sky at the beginning of the game, we’re thrown into New York City. Ravaged by time and nature, the decaying buildings, wrapped in wildlife and plants, bring a great new look to New York, later levels leave the city and whilst going into wastelands, the barren deserts are filed with junk, scrapped mechs and vehicles, still coated in bright and alluring colours. Its provides for some stunning settings and more importantly, a whole new palette of colour to the term Post Apocalypse. Fallout, I hope you’re reading this.

With voice acting from Andy Serkis and Lindsey Shaw, the characters come across really well, they’re hard not to like but can be a little confusing at times, with Monkee often coming across as dark and mysterious and then sometimes just sounding like he’s been spending his early life as Mowgli where his strengths and emotions can often conflict. Trip (despite now being a female rather than a male monk from the original story) also has some strange moments, like why bothering with continuing to order Monkee around with the slave headband when Monkee seems to happily oblige from the get go.

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Enslaveds story travels across 15 chapters. The chapters are of a good length and can be quite challenging at times. Being a single player experience, to get the most from it, you’ll want to try and finish the game perhaps a second time on the hardest difficulty. There are Tech Orbs and Masks to collect hidden in the levels, and combat and health upgrades to max out on the way. Single Player downloadable content is also available as a prequel with a character introduced around the mid point in the game. The content also comes with new achievements.

With more blockbuster titles on the way in the near future, Enslaved is a good adventure game to pick up, with the fact its been out for a fair amount of time. The general price for sale will be more than reasonable for a game which will give you not only something fantastic to look at, but a well rounded story and adventure for you to get yourself involved with.

7.0

Tekken 6

December 16, 2009 at 2:35 am | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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See full review here

The daddy of beat em up is back in its sixth installment, the game promises a lot, but does it pack the full punch?

The beat-em up platform is a desolate area. With no new IPs in the genre, the golden oldies have made their comeback in the new generation of consoles. Dead or Alive, Soul Calibur, and Street Fighter have returned swinging and a kicking and its time for the iron fist of fighting. Tekken, to make its sixth impact on the world like a haymaker to Santa’s face! Is the sixth installment ready to take the crown with full force? Or is it just Tekken the piss?

Back in the day, Tekken was my game. It was one of the first titles I’d ever played in the beat em up platform, and the series soothed all my side fighter needs. It wasn’t until the launch of the Playstation 2 that I ventured into other means, including titles like Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance, Bloody Roar 3 (bout time that was revamped I say), and Dead or Alive 2. After that, Tekken faded out for me with the dull and confusing Tekken Tag.

When it comes to fighting games, both back then and now I’d like to call myself a ‘middleweight’ I didn’t know the massive combos but I’d still give a damn good fight to those who did. I always had a good bearing on the games unlike some of the lightweights you may encounter. This meant when even playing the computer, some bouts Id sail on through, and others would need some going at. It was a rewarding difficulty and position to be in. But after the launch of the next gen consoles I feel something changed. The games had something to prove. And now, they had the means to do it.

So, the story so far eh? Well…Once upon a time, there was a lad called…Hei…actually. To be perfectly fair. Despite number 6 being claimed as the title to tie up and bring the story more fully out and really make it understandable, after unlocking a few ‘ending’ videos. The stories for most characters are just as obscure as they always have been with yet more cryptic, head scratching FMV’s. From what the general jist is, Jin Kazama has hosted a sixth Iron Fist tournament. As usual, the winner gains control of Mishima Zaibatsu, along side all this, Jin, heading Mishima Zaibatsu has gone to war with the G Corporation, secretly headed by that of Kazuma himself. Like normal, its all just as crazy and hard to understand, but who cares its Tekken…oh you do care? Ack, my bad.

The main focus around Tekken 6 single player is the Scenario Campaign mode. Whilst a heavy revamp of the old Tekken Force Mode first seen in Tekken 3, the game takes this sort of style and greatly expands it into a story campaign. We follow the character Lars, as he leads a rebellion of Tekken Force soldiers to fight back against the Mishima Zaibatsu, he meets a girl named Alisa and we go from there.

Most of the levels are fairly short, with about 10-15 minutes in each level. They’re linear point A to B style layouts and it’s literally punch your way through. And the end of each level we’ll bump into a familiar Tekken faces that we’ll end up needing to defeat. Once defeated, there able to play in the Arena mode. Arena mode is the Arcade mode but shortened. This 4 stage mode gives us the prologue story and ending to each character in which you’ll combat 2 contestants, Jin Kazama and finally Azazel, which…I’ll go into later. Whilst the Arena isn’t compulsory, if you want to try to squeeze ANY form of storyline from the game, it’s where you’ll have to spend a little time. Otherwise, you can continue with Lars scenario campaign as you please.

Fortunately if the scenario mode isn’t for you, the old classic arcade mode is still around along with plenty of offline modes to enjoy against the A.I. or with a friend. Survival, time attack and team battles all make a more than welcome appearance. This is best to hone your skills; to take on your mates in a quick button whack frenzy to become king of your sofa!

Now let’s talk about Azazel. Azazel is the main reason why you probably won’t want this game much longer after you encounter him. Azazel is the new big boss, similar to True Orge. These days, fighting normal humans isn’t good enough, so they decided to keep up with the Tekken story randomness by adding in this fella. Much like True Orge and just as unwelcome to be there. Azazel is a pain. Attacks on him are ineffective unless he’s about to start a combo. Where as your attacks are useless as quite a lot of the time you’d do more damage to tell him that his outfit looked way to 12th Century. As a character he fills half the screen, meaning his attacks are massive and almost always unavoidable. And his attacks are as fluent and take around the same amount a standard grab attack. Maybe I’m not that hot at beat em ups anymore as much as the next guy. But I know what’s fun to play and what’s rewarding. Azazel isn’t. That joyous feeling you get for K.Oing him for the last time as actually your blood returning to your body from your face.

Now the world of Tekken has moved online, so now you can get the chance to actually come fist to face with those guys who used to get the high scores in the arcades and set their winning title as ‘ass’. They were a genius in their own mind, I assure you.

There’s limited things to do regarding online, besides beat people up. The lobbies are rather restrictive and it’s basically just standard versus, with a few changeable variables like how many to a room and how many rounds. Sadly, no Team Battles or anything like that comes online. Sadly.

What tore me apart about this game was how it looks. In arcade and normal game play, the characters, and arenas look beautifully created, whilst not making the processors work to push the boundaries of visuals, Tekken takes what’s available and makes what is more than great looking to play with and enjoy. But then the Scenario mode, a part of the game you’ll be spending a fair bit of time in, seems to have been knocked down a few pegs. With manageable graphics and the often addition of 2D walls and barriers this part of the game, wont be treating your eyes to anything spectacular, its one of those visual downgrades you’ll come to grow to and just get used to.

The Scenario mode is quite long, not to mention there’s the arcade and arena modes that require a good dragging through as each character. But something’s lacking again. It feels like developers are getting a little lazy on the rewards side. No unlockable costumes (you can dress them up yourself but who wants to do that?) no mini games, there’s not much in the rewarding sense this time round. Unlike that of Tekken 3. Lets bowl! Or not in this case.

With beat em ups becoming more of a smaller community to cater too, the game definitely stands up to those who are already massive fans of the franchise. Meaning it difficult for those who want the game for something a little fun and different to be kicked to the side lines in a hurl of fists and fury. It’s disheartening, but for those who will stick with it, you’ll find the game your after. Just don’t expect your mates to be as good when the come over. Unless they button bash. In which case, there not really your friends.

7.4

See footage on my coverage of Eurogamer Expo 09

Eurogamer 09 Preview – Tekken 6

November 3, 2009 at 3:51 am | Posted in Articles, Eurogamer Expo, Events, Reviews, XboxLiveAddicts | Leave a comment
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Link

For those who love its, it’s a hell of a lot more of what Tekken makes Tekken, whilst still not crying out to my want for a more fast paced Tekken without the strain of learning the 350 million button combos it comes to a relief when the game has great visuals packed with just more of what makes it good, and of course, better than the last!

After a little more time with the game, I learned that Tekkens single player has taken a leaf from Dead Or Alives A.I. difficulty book and your enemies will definitely carry some heavy blows before you walk away from a match…IF you walk away.

As well as that, I got some hands on time with the new Campaign Scenario mode, similar to the Tekken Force mode featured first in Tekken, sadly the graphics in the game seem to have stayed the same since the campaigns first appearance with a lot of 2D backgrounds and objects, along with characters and general combat is rather confusing when it comes to things like just locking onto enemies and trying to beat the living crap out of them.

Eurogamer Tekken 6 Footage 1

Eurogamer Tekken 6 Footage 2

Eurogamer Tekken 6 Footage 3

 

Post Eurogamer 09

November 3, 2009 at 3:45 am | Posted in Articles, Events, Update posts | Leave a comment
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What a weekend!

After attending both days of the London leg of Eurogamer Expo 09 Im A. Totally knackered. and B. Looking forward to tons of new games on thier way very shortly!

I got my hands on tons of new games to come soon and even replayed a few old ones, but the events been great fun. Met new people. Had a good laugh with some of the staff, and even met the boss in the flesh. Got to speak to a few devs and Im also aware of the effects of Sambuca on an empty stomach. (Nothing gross dont worry!)

Ill be using this post as a link hub to all the features I write up for Eurogamer, as well as a link to the video featuring me on Inside Xbox! Thats right, myself and Corporal Kitty had a bit of a chin wag with SuperKaylo on the Friday, so keep an eye out for more stuff to come!

Previews:

Army of Two: The 40th Day

Assassins Creed II

Avatar/3D Games

Lost Planet 2

Plain Sight

SAW

Split/Second

Tekken 6

 

Pictures/Vids and more to come!

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