Tag Archive: Gaming Reviews


Just Cause 2 – PC Review

Avalanche Studios caught the eye way back in September 2006 when they released Just Cause to the action & adventure genre. Now some years on and further developments to the Avalanche Engine, Just Cause 2 is set to pick up the pieces from the trail of devastating destruction that agent Rico Rodriguez had left behind.

The 3rd person action takes place on the island of Panau, a rather picturesque holiday destination it would seem. However the presence of the wandering militia does raise the suspicions of the under-lying discontentment of the local population.

Rico’s mission involves the search of an agent gone ‘bad’, a former commanding officer by the name of Tom Sheldon – once a friend & mentor. Sheldon’s crime involved the theft of top-secret intelligence and millions in Agency cash. Once found Rico has been ordered to perform an execution.

Rico can be controlled via traditional mouse and keyboard or by using an Xbox controller if you are more adept to that method of control. Key configurations are similar across all vehicles although you may need to get to grips with aircraft control, this in turn rewards you with some amazing views as you fly undeterred across Panau.

Rico is presented with a stunning variety of Agency weaponry and vehicles as well as the default parachute & grappling hook which are an important feature of the game. Dotted around Panau are various resources that include weapon, vehicle and armour parts. These in turn may be used to upgrade equipment to further enhance their capabilities. Cash boxes provide the finances to purchase resources from the black market and enable you to call up your guy-in-the-sky to air drop equipment as and when needed. You can even call for extraction if things get a little too hot.

The great thing with Just Cause 2 is the fluidity of travel, the shackles of linear play have been broken – assignments can be picked at although there are some missions that need to be fulfilled to further unlock the on-going storyline and island areas.
Grab a plane and the skies are the limits, it’s quite amazing how high you can go and the stunning views eliminate feelings of giddiness at altitude – still feeling brave? Jump out and free fall, you can almost feel your face folding in as you soar towards the ground, making sure to pull the rip cord and glide in on your Agency issued parachute. Vehicles can be stolen GTA style and driven to destruction.

One of the games fun features as found in a variety of action games is the ‘destruction’ element. There are a lot of objects in Panau that can be demolished – Dictatorship statue causing offence? Simple, attach one end of your grappling hook to the irritating article and the other end to a suitable vehicle (please don’t try the Tuk Tuk!), steady acceleration and in a cloud of dust the statue lies shattered earning some respectful ‘chaos’ points.

Chaos is the system to describe your trail of destruction on Panau; chaos scores unlock further missions and resources. However with chaos comes ‘heat’; this verb is the measurement in which the local militia take an active interest in you and I don’t mean they’re looking for an autograph! Eventually the situation will cool down and you can then roam Panau without the need to constantly engage in gun battles. There are also the faction groups in Panau to take into consideration, choose a faction, please them and they’ll offer you some assistance during skirmishes.

Some of the delightful experiences of the game include the vastness of the map and the scenic visuals. Score an achievement by standing on the peak of one of Panau’s highest mountains or feel the danger of placing explosives on the top of a massive smoking rocket, on a countdown to orbit.
There isn’t a place in the Just Cause 2 universe that Rico can’t get to using his forearm grappling hook – once mastered you can perform all sorts of tricks, offences and darn right foolish manoeuvres from catching a ride under a helicopter to dragging some unfortunate official behind a speeding truck, it’s all down to your imagination and zealous.

There are plenty of graphic & sound configurations to best suit your system, however I did find the Avalanche engine to be most forgiving and graphic quality can be pushed further than most games without the penalty of sluggish performance.
The environment is stunning and the detail exceptional, leaving you to wonder how this could all be possible; we can only thank Avalanche 2.0 for this experience.
One graphical highlight of the game is the water, amazingly realistic that you’d almost want to dip your toes into this crystal clear liquid. Even Rico comes out glistening with water in the tropical sunshine. Another element in this mix of delights is the day/night aspect with fantastic visuals of from dawn to dusk.
The audio fits this genre perfectly, shut your eyes and you’d be lulled into thinking you were watching a Jason Bourne film. Explosions crack from all angles, bullets ricochet and the pulsating soundtrack adjusts to the temperament of the situation.

In conclusion Just Cause 2 is a worthy addition to anyone’s collection. It offers long hours of game time, non-linear play and enough interesting mission elements to pursue as well as fifty available achievements. The game is committed to single player action only which is completely fair.
You may have to donate a little patience in the games controls when it comes to mastering the vehicles, steering wise the cars are not quite up to Forza level! However, overall the negatives are very slight and do not deter from a truly enjoyable game experience indeed.

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News: Final Fantasy XIV Releases in September?

Final Fantasy XIV Releases in September

 Square Enix have finally got round to announcing when Final Fantasy XIV will be released. This may come as a shock if you own a PS3 as the game will not be released untill March 2011. But lucky PC owners will get their hands on Square Enix’s MMO September of this year.

In a recent press release from Hiromichi Tanaka said “This September, players around the world will join together to explore the fascinating and exciting realm of Eorzea,” he also went on to say “We’re presenting players with a new style of online gameplay, that we know will please avid fans of online games, but welcome more casual gamers as well with the variety of gameplay and story-driven content.”

There is a beta due out at the end of the month but it is unknown yet if it is going to be exclusive to PC or if PS3 owners are going to get another slap in the face. But one thing is certainly true, if you are a PS3 owner and a massive fan of the Final Fantasy Franchise you will be made to suffer until March 2011.

But it’s not all bad new because the Limited Edition seems to have some seriously cool goodies like a guest pass, which will allow you to invite your friends to play for free for a limited edition also free 30 day gameplay will be in this fantastic box and must  be worth buying.

Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4

Not another Lego game!

Have TT Games made another Lego masterpiece? Or is it time to put away the Lego set for good? When I heard that they were making a Lego Harry Potter I thought to myself, Oh no not another Lego game. I was hoping that this wasn’t going to be a “re skinning” of the previous Lego games. And when the disk arrived on my desk I was pleasantly surprised. Yes there are still many things that the die-hard Lego gamers will be used to, but the seems to be more for everyone in this release. Masterpeace? No, but its worth going out and getting that’s for sure.

 
If you have seen many or all of the Harry Potter films you will end up in fits of laughter. The skill and effort that has gone into these cut scenes is truly brilliant. There are many “famous” sences from Harry Potter that you will all recognizes and the “nutters” at TT Games have put their crazy twist on them. Resulting in many hours laughing at the TV thinking to yourself am I actually playing a game.
 
Now we move onto the gameplay. There are a few things that I feel need to be addressed. First, I would like to see a camera that you can rotate 360 degrees. As sometimes there are certain things that you have to do or look for, and having the ability to spin all the way around your character would be a massive help. But it seems that the camera hasn’t really changed at all so it must be me being a “moaning myrtle”. Also I think this game will be more challenging than normal to anyone who has not played previous Lego titles as sometimes there are not many clean instructions on what you should be doing.
 
There are certainly many features to talk about in this game, there are some stunning environments and very cleaver use of famous spells that will keep you playing this for many hours.
 
As for the story I don’t think many people who buy this won’t know whats going on or whats to be expected. The game stays true to what has happened in the books and film. There is without a doubt that the designers from TT Games have spent many hours making the game look and feel like it should and the effort that they have put into Hogwarts alone shows you that they have gone to great lengths to insure that no fan or any player will be unhappy with the look of feel of this game.
 
Combat has not been a big selling point for any Lego game. Thankfully in Lego Harry Potter you don’t get into many fights. And you won’t mind not fighting too much because you will spend most of your time running through the level collecting the House Shield pieces or cleaning up some books with your spells. I am happy to say that you will have a lots of hours playing this game as I myself have now lost this title to my Girlfriend who has not stopped playing it since she has got it.
 
Lego Harry Potter also benefits from an improved co-op. Instead of arguing on which way to go with your co-op partner. We now see a split screen enabling you and your partner to go off and explore with out starting a “tug of war” with the camera. Also it seems that the tuition fees at Hogwarts are worth quite a bit as we also so see smarter AI players that are more use to you than in previous Lego games.
 
There are a few things to iron out but then that’s normal with any game and with great graphics and a well-known story line you can’t really go wrong. This game with have a massive lasting appeal on you and you wont put it down for weeks. This game is not just for the fans that’s for sure. I hope you all enjoy playing this title and I will be looking out for Lego Harry Potter Years 5 – 7  as I cant see why they wouldn’t make a follow-up to this great title. Looks like we are going to have to keep the Lego out for a bit longer, it’s not time to store it away yet.
 
8/10

News: Kane & Lynch 2 Demo, did you get your token?

KANE & LYNCH 2: DOG DAYS – EXCLUSIVE DEMO

Today Square Enix announced that the exclusive demo for Kane & Lynch 2 is available. The demo is available to anyone who managed to pick up some tokens for this exclusive release. The demo will include 1 Story mode single player level – The restaurant. Also we will be treated to a Multi-player – Financial District – available in 3 innovative multiplayer modes and in Arcade Mode:

  • Fragile Alliance for up to 8 players
  • Undercover Cop for up to 8 players
  • Cops & Robbers:  team-based mode for 12 players
  • Arcade Mode – single player

Also members of the development team will be playing online from Thursday to Monday at 7-9pm. (Which is what we are looking forward to).

Keep a look out for our write-up on this exclusive demo.

News: Neil Dawson joins Gaming Till Disconnected

Neil Dawson has now joined us as a reviewer. We are delighted to have him join us and we look forward to reading his debut review (No pressure Neil). Here is a little bit about Neil (In his own words).

“Hi my name is Neil aka Loslobas in the gaming world! I have been playing video games since the age of 6, at the time Atari unveiled their new 2600 home games console – so you could say I’ve been around a bit!

“I have enjoyed everything that the gaming world has served up since. Currently I own an Xbox 360, a PC, a Wii console and a DSi. I manage to juggle my game time with my hectic family life! My three kids are up-and-coming gamesters and will surely follow in the gamer/geek footsteps of their Dad!”

Check back here soon for Neil’s debut review, and if you think you could do this please email us stone6596@hotmail.com

I won't be going down to the woods today!

Naughty Bear has been rated 12 by PEGI and when you play it you will think that it surely deserves a higher rating. Now I have talked to many people who think that Naughty Bear is going to run into problems. Many people are saying that there will be some very angry parents that are not happy about the content of the game.

Poor old Naughty Bear, he has not be a very a good bear. And that’s why he wasnt invited to the Birthday Party, And this has made Naughty Bear angry! Naughty Bear is a seriously violent game, and with you being the outcast of bear island its time to kill some bears. The main aim of the game is to earn as many points as possible and to be as creative as possible the more outrageous the kill the more points you get. Points also unlock other parts of the level and is sometimes the only way to advance.   

 How can you be creative when killing teddy bears, I hear you ask. well this is the fun part of the game. You are able to set traps, sabotage things like pay phones and cars and watch the bears go up to the item you have sabotaged and then wham! Hit them with a golf cub or knife them straight through the tummy as they try to fix the broken item. It’s not all stab up teddy bears. You can also earn points by getting bears to kill themselves by driving them insane.

That's got to hurt!

The most fun I have with the game is when you are causing trouble, one of the bears might ring the bear police or drive off to get help. Unless you destroy all means of contact with the outside ie Cars, Phones & Kill anyone who gets in the speedboat. Also a good point is to watch out for Army Bears & Ninja Bears these might give you problems at times but it’s all good fun.

Now it might seem like fun coming up with as many ways as possible to kill teddy bears, but Naughty Bear has its down sides. The main problem I have is when I decide to smash a window and go through it, the camera seems to get stuck and its kinda a let down. Also a strong sense of, I have done this in the last level creeps up on you as much of the game is you repeating yourself.  This is fine if your just out to think up the most craziest way to kill all the bears and get the highest score on that level.

That used to happen to me when I was at school!

Online play is meant to be quite entertaining with up to 64 players online at one time. Unfortunately at the time of writing this I was unable to play online. So I will leave this decision to you, but saying that it’s just going to be one massive level of “nutters” trying the most craziest way to kill a bear; and why not!

I think Naughty Bear is set to sell quite a few copy’s but I feel that this game will be quickly replaced by anything that is released shortly after this title. Its great fun and parents should not buy this for your children (If in doubt check out the PEGI rating). And I feel that if 505 decide to make a Naughty Bear 2 they will have an award-winning game on their hands. They is just a few things to sort out first. This game ticks all the boxes for me, but this review is posted for everyone so I am unable to be biased.

7/10

Skate 3

It’s time to break out your skateboard once again as EA returns with their highly popular title Skate. Skate 3 tries and gives you that “real” feeling when playing, like being able to team up with some AI players and be able to start your own brand. And the aim of the game is to get noticed and to make a succesful skateboarding brand. There are several ways to achieve this but the main way to get noticed is bored sales, which you achieve through doing crazy tricks and “killing” spots. But don’t worry if this does not interest you because Black Box have made sure that most of the challenges can be played online.

Most of the fun for me is making silly videos and uploading them, and then downloading and rating my friends silly videos this feature is called skate.feed. I think it really allows people of a serious and not so serious nature to show their creative sides. It’s like YouTube for your Skate 3, but remember it’s not just videos you can also upload images & skate parks for others to play and enjoy. 

The park creator hasn’t changed much since Skate 2 and if I am honest the park creator doesn’t really appeal to me. It seems that Skate needs to put some more attractive features in this creator. It is simply more fun to play the main campaign and the only reason I re visited the park creator is to grab a few achievement points.

Also other new features that should be mentioned are the new easy difficulty setting, and the High or Low camera setting. Now if you have ever played Tony Hawks you would know that the camera position is high but Skate allows you to keep the camera how you might have been used to. But if I am honest with you using the default on Skate 3 will be much more comfortable and you wont even notice that you have been playing with the camera on low. The low setting really is the choice, it makes grinding and setting up other tricks much easier.

I think the main reason people will want to buy this because it’s such a breath of fresh air in a world gone mad. I say a world gone mad because Tony Hawks has dominated since the Playstation days. And the guys at Black Box must have caused an upset with this great and no doubt popular release.

So the question is, Skate 3 or Tony Hawks? well quite simply Skate! Tony Hawks has had its day and Skate 3 has made me want to start playing skateboarding games again. And I really feel that EA are onto a winner here and that Tony Hawks will soon be a thing of the past, and Skate 3 will be hitting the shelfs for a few more years.

8/10

News: Assassins Creed Brotherhood at the World Cup!

It looks like Ubisoft have gone mad, well football mad. It seems that there are plans to promote Assassins Creed Brotherhood at this years world cup. We can’t tell you too much, except to keep your eyes open during the following matches:

Sat 26th June, 19.30
USA vs Ghana

Mon 28th June, 19.30
Brazil vs Chile/Spain

It is certainly a good move by Ubisoft, the world cup certainly gets a lot of attention, so why not start a promotional campaign while its on. I for one would like to know if its going to be a full-blown advert during and match or just a few billboards on the side of the pitch.

News: Microsoft Kinect Priced Leaked!

It would appear that the gaming world had sprung a massive leak! And Microsoft seem to be the focus of this, as Project Natal’s official name was leaked the night before Microsoft’s E3 Presentation. It seems that once again Microsoft has been a victim of “dodgy plumbing” with the Kinect price being leaked. The leak in fact came from Microsoft’s Online Store, who have priced Kinect at $150, other online retailers have also priced Kinect around $150.

What do you get with Kinect?

Kinect Camera

Power Cable

Manual

Wi-Fi Cable

The hope that Britain’s gaming industry would enjoy a 20% tax break were dashed by government chancellor George Osborne’s budget. The tax break was conceived by Labour during their last term of office to aid UK game developers in their ability to seek investment, to encourage companies to set up studios in the UK and to allow them to better take risks in todays competitive market.

The fact that this is coming after the Conservatives promised to honour the tax break made the announcement all the more bitter to swallow. Dr Richard Wilson, Chief Executive of TIGA, the UK’s trade association for videogame developers, called the move a “betrayal” by the government and that it would “cost the industry millions of pounds in investments”, not to mention losing the UK’s high position in the world market.

ELSPA, the body that represents the UK’s publishing houses, told Gamespot that it was important that without the tax breaks, the games industry and the government must still work together to ensure that policies – which include addressing better access to R&D initiatives – would still be followed.

TIGA is still intent on continuing their campaigning for tax relief for the industry, with support from both Labour and the SNP, in spite of this most unfavorable news.

BBC newspage of the story
Gamespot newspage of the story
TIGA’s website