Author Archive for Rob Bunce

01
Oct
09

Band Hero! Are You Ready To Pop….

As your music correspondent it is my duty to bring you all of the news from this genre, so it is my solemn duty to inform you that yes, ‘Band hero’ is officially on the way.

Now being a rock goddess through and through, I am obviously programmed to despise the idea of band hero. However before I weigh everyone down in my own personal opinions here are some facts.

bandhero_2

Band hero will work similarly to guitar hero 5 with a similar theme of band gameplay, however instead of focusing around the guitar as the key instrument Neversoft claim that this title will be designed with all four instruments in mind. They are also aiming to incorporate more mainstream acts such as Taylor swift,  Lily Allen and the Jackson 5 to make the game more enjoyable for the whole family. For some time now the Gh series has chosen to incorporate guest stars to add to the atmosphere of the games and this game follows suit. So far confirmed guest stars include Taylor Swift and Adam Levine (Maroon 5) with several others still awaiting conormation. The game will have the same multiplayer options as GH5, with the added bonus of being able to change difficulties drop out and even swap instruments at any time during a song. From what I can make out with its mainstream hits and ease of use this game is geared entirely towards party play, which is not for me, but not necessarily a bad thing for everyone. Now, just for you, because I love you all, here is a sneaky look at the confirmed songs so far…..Cries into beloved plastic guitar…

  • The All-American Rejects -Dirty Little Secret
  • Jackson 5 – ABC
  • Don McLean – American Pie
  • KT Tunstall – Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
  • Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn
  • No Doubt – Just a Girl
  • David Bowie – Let’s Dance
  • Taylor Swift – Love Story
  • Taylor Swift – Picture to Burn
  • Taylor Swift – You Belong With Me
  • Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Going Down
  • Fall Out Boy – Thanks for the Memories
  • Lily Allen – Take What You Take
  • Nelly Furtado – Turn Off the Light

And now for my real opinion, my own personal rant if you will. Is it just me or does the above set-list seem more like something out of sing-star than a true GH title? I mean in my opinion the pervious GH games are very accommodating to all instruments, especially the more recent titles, and so why they had to release something like this under the same name truly baffles me. I know they are trying to cater for more mainstream tastes, but in doing so they have lost a great deal of what guitar hero was really about, the tacky, heavy metal, rock god simulating experience. If they were going to release something like this I don’t know why they didn’t distance it from the Gh series all together, even the name ‘Band hero’ doesn’t sound right, so why force it. I would say that this game seems more accommodating to female singers (any girl who has tries in vain to battle through the GH World tour vocalists career will know what I mean) However personally if I want to sing I play sing-star so to me this is not a great selling point. Also, personally I wouldn’t call Taylor swift a ‘Band Hero’. I accept that she is in vogue at the moment, but she hasn’t been around long enough to truly be considered a pop legend therefore to have three tracks and a guest star appearance in this game is quite frankly overkill.

bandhero_1

All in all I don’t think I would dislike his game so much if it wasn’t so strongly affiliated with the Gh series, perhaps if it wasn’t called ‘Band Hero’ I would have a better personal opinion of it. Still, as much as other may love this game I will say that I don’t think I will be becoming a Band Hero myself anytime soon. After all, Gh5 has a set list with some mainstream hits and a big dose of rock as well, and after a thorough play through I can truly say this is my favorite release of 2009. I will try and update you all when I have a chance to play this game, but until then my suggestion is to buy Gh5….and enjoy it.

GuitarGirl24

01
Oct
09

Crackdown 2 Will It Have A Niche Or Be A Full Blown Classic?

For me sandbox games can be big either hits or misses. The GTA series has always been a big hit for me, and possibly the rest of the living, breathing gaming world. True Crime? Was a miss, tried to do what GTA did but take it down some what, which led to clunky game play and just genral rubbish.

Now Crackdown was a game I happened to come across for about 7 quid in my local Gamestation, pre owned. I thought what the hell and gave it a whirl. The idea of super human cops in a sandbox enviroment shooting up the place was awesome, and to my surprise it was executed well. I was quite impressed with the games lack of story line, lets kill things till the game ends. It does make me want to go back for more, and I am still not sure to this day how Real Time worlds managed to pull it off.

With the surprise success of Crackdown (and not because it was just a get out of jail free card for the Halo 3 Beta) Crackdown 2 is on he horizon. So what is this next installment going to offer us sandbox addicts? Lets find out.

Here is a bit of background for you. Crackdown 2 is not made by RealTime Worlds. It is in fact being made by a company called Ruffian Games. Why? Well some guys from RealTime decided to go rogue and have now created their own company, taking Crackdown with them. nice.

Carrying on from Crackdown 1, it seems the city you once cleared of criminals now has something of a new threat. A viral out break that has sent people zombie crazy (This storyline in games never gets old) So the city has gone through some what of a metamorphosis, places have been cordoned off because of riots (weather that will effect the police I have no clue) there will be a lot more derelict and destroyed ares of the city, new building will have appeared, and some familiar sites you knew from crackdown 1 will be there. So it will still be Pacific City, it will have just changed.

crackdown2_1

So how did all this polarva happen? Well on of the shi-gen factories on the first game which you happened to blow up housed this viral disease. So yeah its all your fault. Well done! So the agency was driven back by the outbreak and now you only have control of the Uber tower in the center of the city. A new group known as the Cell now control the city, they are a group that is described as “one that exists on the fringes, piecing together rubble into safe houses while fighting back at the maniacs.” It sounds to me like this story has more of…well a story. So I am pretty excited.

After doing some more reasearch I have found out yet again that this game is about cleansing the city and restoring it. But and this is a big. BUT. The repetition from the last game will be less prevalent, Ruffian Games told game informer a while back that “Your influence in the world has effects across the rest of the city.” Meaning there will be more mission based scenarios. I also found out that the infected humans are not huge fans of bright light, meaning some missions will be set underground to tackle the viral outbreak. But the one thing that really made me smile is that when night falls, the freaks come out, meaning that your in for one hell of a joy ride battling these things above ground at night….Awesome.

The skills are back, I mean it wouldn’t be Crackdown if you couldn’t level up your super soldier. But this time they have been revamped and changed some what, with each skill you will acquire new abilities such as agility will unlock you a dash move, and driving will unlock a nice agency helicopter. Not much has been said about the other abilities, but looking round I hope there is a great fighting move to be unlocked, as the Cell and the infected have been said to be pretty danm difficult to slaughter, especially the higher level infected which I quote “The top level freaks are almost on par with the player-controlled agent.”

crackdown2_2

As with all new games such as this your are going to get a host of new weapons, my particular favorites are the ‘mag’ grenades which are magnetised so expect to stick them to vehicles and the like for some explosive fun, and the UV shot gun which shoots light at the infected. Sounds damn cool.

The game will host 4 player Co op and multi player, so you and three of your mates can take on the new hell hole that is Pacific City together.

This is all sounding great to me, cannot wait till its release, Might go off and play some more Crackdown 1 now.

29
Sep
09

It’s Offical. Super Street Fighter IV, Coming Spring 2010!

Having a look round Capcom-unity.com just now and I stumbled across Some awesome news. You may remeber me posting on facebook and twitter about the rumour of Super Street Fighter IV? Well it’s all true 😀

So what new stuff will we be expecting from this game revamp? Yes its gonna be sold as a seperate disc in shops, but it will come with a nice surprise for any ofyou SFIV owners out there. interestin. It will also have a full roster of twenty five characters. Meaning that you will get a massive 8 new characters to play with. You will get to choose from fan classics such as T-Hawk, and brand new street fighter characters such as themysterious Juri.

ssfiv1

This game also includes, new ultra finishes, an enhanced online battle system and refined Street Fighter IV features.

This is set to be one hell of a title. Can not wait to its release, kinda makes me wanna go play more original Street Fighter IV. Stay tuned for more info as we hear it.

Garv

28
Sep
09

Tokyo Game Show 2009: The News So Far.

One day I would love to go to Japan. Take in te sites, culture and general Japan life. Thats probably a long way off yet, but latest news from Japan is, the Tokyo Game Show is in full swing and brining us some information. So without further a-do, what are the big announcements so far?

Microsoft announces Project Natal Developers:

At TGS this year Microsoft announced the developers that are going to be making some games for the Xbox 360 hands free kit, the developers are as follows:

Activision Blizzard
Bethesda Softworks
CAPCOM
Disney Interactive
Electronic Arts
Konami
MTV Games
Namco Bandai
Sega
Square Enix
THQ Inc.
Ubisoft

Hmmm this could be interesting. Will we see a hands free Metal gear, Rockband, Final Fantasy, Guitar Hero or resident evil? We all know about the PS3 motion controller working with the revised edition of Resident Evil 5. So is Natal going to get he same treatment? Keep your eyes peeled.

Splinter Cell Conviction Gets A Release Date:

All you american gamers out there mark your calendars and get your gaming diaries out, as the new splinter cell is planning to hit US retailers February 23rd. As for UK and EU? well lets jus hope its at least a week after!

Microsoft Ups The Size Of XBLA Games.

Back when the arcade first came out for XBox LIVE there was only a 50 Meg cap on live arcade games that could be sold. That soon changed to 150 Meg as the arcade got more popular. But with recent arcade games such as Shadow Complex and the stand along Command $ Conquer expansion. It has been announced that the XBox LIVE Arcade game size cap is now a whopping 2GB. Might have to get that limited edition 250GB console after all.

PlayStation 3 Motion controller release date confirmed.

Leon is gonna love this! Spring 2010 is when all you PS3 gamers out there ill be able to get your hands on the PlayStation 3 Motion bundle, including Motion wand and PS3 eye camera. Yay for bloody motion controls!

For news stories thats about it. This week I will b giving you highlights fro TGS, with info on Crackdown 2, Dead Rising 2 and Ninety Nine Nights 2 (all the 2’s basically). So check back here for those articles and keep gaming!

Gav!

27
Sep
09

WET Review (X360)

3rd person action games over the years have been pretty hit or miss. A good couple of hits have been, Max  Payne, God Of War and Devil May Cry. Does WET fall in to that category?

hmm.

wet1

You play as a hired gun called Rubi Malone. You are a ruthless, brutal and very skilled woman who loves to get the job done in style. At first you are hired by a Londoner called Trevor Ackers to collect a heart from the black market in order to save Trevor’s dieing father. Someone gets to the deal before you and it’s your job to get back what is rightfully yours/Trevor’s. After a couple of levels you get it back, save Trevor’s dad then skip forward three years.

You are then approached by a guy who claims to be Trevor’s dad three years later. You’re then hired to collect Trevor and bring him to his father. Over a couple more mission you do so and the guy murders Trevor which is a bit weird. You then find out that he isn’t the guy who he said he was and all hell breaks loose. Not a bad story really, simple but effective, I found myself getting a little into it at some points, but it was kind of predictable once it got rolling.

What really swung this game for me when I played the demo was the game play. A lot of people have compared the gameplay to John Woo’s Stranglehold. I haven’t played Stranglehold so I dived into the game relatively fresh-faced. If you didn’t catch up on my demo review, here is the low down. You are armed with a sword and fire arms for combat, you also have abilities such as wall run, slide and jump. If you do these moves coupled with the firing of your weapons you will go into a slow mo mode, kind of reminiscent of Max Payne’s bullet time, where you can aim at you enemies. What I really love about this style of combat system is you could link moves together. For example you can wall run, jump then slide while you were gunning thugs down, and the beauty of this is the gunning in slow motion has a total 360 degree view so you you could shoot pretty much anywhere. The icing on the cake here is you can aim one gun at one enemy and your other gun at another, making for some pretty sweet shooting action.

On top of that you have your sword attacks, they are a nice addition but not exactly Devil May cry. You have the ability to link sword attacks after slides etc for some good chain kills, but for me the sword fighting could have been a little more in-depth.

Depending on how stylishly you kill your enemies you are given style points, which at the end of every level you can upgrade  Rubi’s abilities and weapons. What I though was a bit rubbish about this upgrade system is that some of the moves that you had the opportunity of unlocking were pretty mandatory moves, these should have been there right at your disposal, right from the start, like dodge roll for example, or mid air sword attacks. They could have done so much better with the upgrade system if they gave Rubi the fundamentals at the start then thought of more impressive/inventive moves to unlock.

The level design at the start of the game was pretty good I got pretty into it all. The Levels consist of killing enemies and basic Tomb Raider esqu platforming/scaling of enviroment. There is also some interesting sections where you were put into an open area with enemy spawn door, the idea here is to shut down all the spawn doors and kill all the enemies, again simple but effective. Then there was the rage sections of the level, each of these section started off with Rubi gunning a guy down, getting blood on her face which then triggered off her rage mode. The whole screen would turn black and red, kinda reminiscent of reservoir dogs, and you would play the level in this mode getting scored on kills alone. All these sections sound good in writing, but as your progress through the game, they kind of got predictable and tedious, which is a shame. The game tried to steer away from repetitiveness with levels here you would be riding on top of cars gunning people down, there is also a level where a plane has been blown up and you gunning thugs down while you free-falling through the air. A nice touch but it wasn’t enough to steer away from the repetitiveness of the later levels. They even tried to throw in some Quick time events, but I tell you this now, not trying to spoil the game for anyone here but the use of Quick Time Events in his game are over used and really, really should not be used in some places.

After completing the game you have the opportunity to do challenges, these challenges come in two flavours. Rubi’s boneyard challenges, which consist of speed trials where you have to run and scale the enviroment, while going into slow mo to take out targets, which in turn take seconds off your time. And there is the point challenges, where you pick any level and score the most point possible. Some pretty cool gameplay to keep the game going after you have completed the story.

Visually the game had really good potential, the game was going down the whole ‘as if the game were a film’ route, with screen scratches (which thankfully could be turned off), breaks every now and then which consisted of 70’s american style cinema adverts, and the overall feel of the game was very Quintin Tarrentino/Guy Ritchie. Grimey, dirty street crime with no good manners at all. Kind of like a drunken hobo in that sence. Which would have been great if done properly, instead it felt like a half assed attempt, more work could have gone into it. What I really did notice though was the amount of screen tearing and glitches the game had, there was even one point where the game went out of focus for me. Not good.

wet5

What I really did like about this game was its soundtrack, the songs from the game fit in really well with the whole theme, and there is one from the very beginning of the game that still gets stuck in my head. The voice acting is well done, With Eliza Dushku (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Tru Calling and Doll House) taking the roll of Rubi, she does a great job of voice acting the part but sadly her death cries are pretty rubbish. There are some other famous voices such as Malcolm McDowell (Heros, Doomsday), who plays the voice of the main bad guy, Rupert Pelham.

WET tries to be such a good game, there is apart of me that still wants to really like it, so I might go back for a second helping sometime, but all in all the repetitiveness of the levels, the glitches in the graphics and the overuse of Quick Time Events back this game fall into the Mediocre pile. This game is More…moist, and believe me, thats not in the good way either.

25
Sep
09

The Journey Through The Nine Circles Of Hell!

dantesinf_1

A while back I did a taster post on my first impressions of EA’s Dante’s Inferno. The 3rd person hack and slash game, based on the first part of the classic poem which is known as Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Back then I  had mixed feelings. I mean there is a good collection of Hack and Slash franchises that are out there already. With God Of War, Devil May Cry and even Ninja Gaiden holding their top spots on their proverbial leader board. That said the footage I have seen more of Dante’s Inferno and it looks pretty good, a lot lf thought has gone into it. So here is my little in site into the game, highlighting what you may expect from the  quite an adventurous outing for EA’s attempt at the Hack and Slash genre.

Lets start from the beginning. The original poem of Dante’s Divine Comedy was written back in around the 1300’s by an Italian known as Dante Alighieri. The poem outlined what he thought the christian afterlife was like, it consisted of three parts, Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Heaven). The first part of the poem, Inferno, outlines a character called Dante making his way through the nine circles of hell, being guided by Virgil, who is Dante’s guide throughout Inferno and Purgatorio.

Now I know what you’re thinking, and no, Capcom did not create the original Dante and Vergil. History aside, the makers of Dante’s Inferno have tried to stay loyal to the original poem by using lines from the text itself, so as you may gather the game is narrated by the main character.

The game will have you controlling Dante as he makes his way through the nine circles of hell; Limbo (not Purgatory), Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery. Each circle will be themed accordingly and will have end of circle boss battles. So far only a handful of bosses have been confirmed, with Limbo having King Minos, Lust having the ever so wonderful Cleopatra, Gluttony housing Cerberus, Greed the home of Plutus and in the wrath circle you will be pitted against Phlegyas. All these bosses are beings from the original text.

As it is the Tokyo Game show this week. Dante’s Inferno has ben showing off its Lust circle. Of corse I had to do some reading up about it, and I can safely tell you now that this game is by no means for the faint of heart. Now when we think of Lust its all about erotic nudity which makes all the blokes happy. The kind of Lust in Dante’s inferno however, is grotesque, hellish and somewhat sickening. Cleopatra herself (the Lust Boss) is indeed topless, but having demon tongues protrude from her nipples followed by demon babies – yeah, not the kind of thing to help you sleep at night.

Now there has been some controversy over he gameplay of this game. People who have played it says it plays like God of War, but with a new skin over it. In some ways, this can be good – because you know your probably gonna get some great game play. But in other ways, it’s not gonna be that original and will probably tick off those hardcore God of War fans out there. But that aside, the game play will feature you weilding a huge scythe made out of bones. You will get a healthy dose of Quick Time Events and just plain hack and slash fun. Your buddy Virgil will be setting you puzzles within the circles too, so it’s not just kill kill kill.

To me this game is definitely one I am going to keep my eye on, and when Plus XP hits Eurogamer next month be sure to check out my Hands-On preview of the game.

Garv!

22
Sep
09

Brutal Legend Demo Verdict (X360)

When I first booted up the demo I could not help but smile, from the get go you are introduced by metal awesomeness, you are taken to the start screen which is a cover of a Vinyl EP, you know the retro records you used to play on record players, the menu itself is totally made up of this retro metal EP which I thought was a nice touch. Kind of like the menu layout in Guitar Hero 3 but more metal and using proper filmed footage as apposed to cartoon based graphics. So after gawking at the menu for a minuet or so I got stuck into a new game, the only option that is available as it is the demo.

Brutal legend logo

I just have to say this now before it explodes out of my like some sort of hell demon. Brutal Legend captivates, and utilizes Metal Folk lore, brilliantly everything that has been done in this demo, and indeed the game has been superbly thought out with original metal music in mind, we are not talking Limp Bizkit or Linkin Park here, we are talking Slayer, Motor Head and Judas Priest. Now that I have got that out of my system, the start of the game shows the roadie Eddie Riggs, he is the best roadie alive. He can fix guitars no matter how broken they are, he can build colossal metal themed stage sets single handedly and of corse shred some awesome guitar licks which will most likely melt anyones face around. But he is an old school metal fan who has been lumped with a band that is renowned for 21st century rap metal, and he is sick of it.

To cut a long story short, during a gig he saves one of the stupid band members, who thinks its an awesome idea to climb all over the stage set…fail. Riggs saves him but gets crushed to death by the set in the process. But in true metal fashion, his blood awakens the set he has built in the shape of a huge metal beast, which rips apart the band and transports Eddie to another realm, alive and well. Hell of a way to go I must say.

As a side note. Double Fine, the makers of Brutal Legend, put a neat little feature into the cutscenes. Before Eddie swears his socks off you are given the choice to ‘Hear every single nasty syllable’ or ‘No swearing please’. This also goes for gore, you can either have ‘No Gore please’ or ‘Show Me every Gory Detail’. I think this is a great add on meaning anyone can really play it, even though the game will have an 18 certificate.

Anyway so you awaken in this different dimension, realm, whatever it is. You awaken in a temple and for some reason in doing so you have really hacked off some priest demon guys. So naturally you would find a weapon and start defending yourself. Or in this case pick up the ceremonial axe the priest demons were praying around and hack them all up to bits.

Using the A button to use some pretty heft and pretty darn awesome axe attacks you make mince meat out of these guys no trouble, well I did anyway. The melee system in this game is simple but effective, I found myself quite happy hacking these guys to bits with a mixture of holding and pressing the A button for different attacks. Mind you, the battle system got even better when I picked up Eddie’s guitar.

The guitar is the source to Eddie’s magic power, by pressing the X button you can unleash magic attacks, this mixed with the axe attacks gave me a great opportunity to mix, match and experiment with the magic and melee attacks. Later in the game though I was teamed up with an accomplice to do some demon slaying with. If you press Y nest to your accomplice in battle you both then have the opportunity to do a joint attack for greater damage. Yet another great way of attacking for some mind blowing melee combo attacks.

The game then went on, killing demons and just being the most awesome metal music themed game of this generation. I took a minuet out from slaying demons just to look at my surroundings. As I said before, a lot of though and detail has been put into this game, and the landscapes are just brilliant. The whole look of the game could not be better in my opinion.

Brutal legend screen 1

When I got to about the half way point of the demo I was told to use do a guitar solo. Holding LT down I was taken to a mini menu, Highlighting the solo I was supposed to do and selecting it I was then taken to a fret board with a button sequence going across it. After executing the sequence, Eddie did a massive solo which then summoned up some parts so he could build his huge metal 4 wheeled vehicle, which he then proceeded to construct. It appears throughout the game you can unlock more of these solos, which will do different things, maybe summon attacks will be available? Who knows, can’t wait!

After constructing his new car dubbed ‘The Druid Plough’ I was then driving through hordes of demons, running them down. When I heard about the driving elements in this game I was a little skeptical, seeing as the driving elements in tomb raider for example weren’t the best elements to the game. The driving was surprisingly good and didn’t feel too out of place, even though it’s very simple the level design and the environment just captivated me.

Then it was boss time, not going to spoil it to much here but lets just say it was a great use of the driving element and even though relatively simple pretty inventive.

Brutal Legend is a must play for any hack and slash or indeed metal fan. Jack black does an amazing job as Eddie Riggs, the humor is brilliant and the overall setting is awesome. Even if the driving elements are a little weaker than the fighting elements. Cannot wait for the full game this Rock-tober

-Garv