Archive for the 'Preview' Category


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.”


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.


Gran Turismo PSP. Will it be a compliment to the franchise?

Gran Turismo…now there’s a game I haven’t played in a long time.  The last time I had the joy of playing it was back in 2002 round my next door neighbour’s. It wasn’t my first racing game (Mario kart 64, a game that will live in infamy!) but it was the first one that really grabbed my attention and said “Look at me; I’m a beautiful sexy racing game! Play me big boy…you know you want to…” which is to say I wanted it bad. But, being the poor kid that I was, getting a copy for myself was off the cards. Now as a student…things haven’t changed so much. But! Now I get to look forward to its next incarnation: Gran Turismo PSP.


Now, the poor lads over at Polyphony Digital have been working hard to get GT’s next incarnation working well. After GT4 was released way back in 2005, there were problems with actually getting the damn thing to play, even if you had the shiny new slimline PS2. So, nearly 5 years on, several new and sexy cars later, what does the next instalment of the franchise have to offer the petrol heads and the Morris minors?

On first impressions it looks like…well…a PSP racer. Of course, there’s only so much you can do with the graphical capability of this little hand held. I think if this had been released a few years earlier it wouldn’t look as solid as it does, especially with the number of cars on the road. So, with that taken into account, the visuals are very good, only taking a slight downgrade from GT2. So I think Polyphony Digital have done a good job that front.


Perhaps the most interesting and potentially enjoyable feature on offer is the Ad-hoc multiplayer races.  With up to four players this could be an excellent uses of the PSP’s networking capability for gaming on the go. The pop in, pop out, race game play is something I can see myself getting into. Like many PSP titles the game looks to be the sort that is enjoyed in brief bursts rather than prolonged game play. But wait! Dredging up some memories from my past reminds me of the fun that was had racing a geared up mini. So surely this next incarnation of GT will have plenty of things to tinker with and tune up, right?

Well…no, not really. It seems that particular part of the classic GT games has been left out of its PSP incarnation…oh dear, so no nitro powered mini. But! We do have the largest number of vehicles in a GT game, 800 to be precise. From your average banger to the beautiful Bugatti, you’d be hard pressed not to be impressed with the sheer number of cars for you to put round the track.

So no modifications, but more cars than you can shake a gear stick at. A mixed bag so far, but what else can we look forward to? Well, you have a standard 45 tracks for you to get stuck into, a decent number for you to try your multitude of cars and mates mettle on.  The staple time trial, single race and drift race are there but no career mode for some reason. I have to say, reading up on this has given me more than a few reservations about this title. But, all in all, it looks to be a very competent game, but not one which is going to grab casual or hardcore gamers by the scruff of the neck and make them play it.

– That Bloke In The Beanie


The Journey Through The Nine Circles Of Hell!


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.



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



Professor Layton Is On Another Adventure

DS puzzle fans are in for a treat again, as Professor Layton’s next adventure is just around the corner for us gamers in the UK.

When I first looked at the graphics of Professor Layton. I could not help but think ‘Tin Tin’. To me the professor looks like a shorter version of Tin Tin  just with a hat, it also appears they have replaced Tin Tin’s dog with a small boy. Anyway that aside the Professor Layton games have been mighty successful for the DS. So we welcome the new game with open arms.


I say new… More like hand me down. The game has been out in Japan for about a year or so now. The first Professor Layton game came out for us here in the UK when Japan were just getting their mitts on Pandora’s Box. But having said that, its good we have the oppotunity to get the game…eventually.

The game starts with the Professor getting a letter from a dear friend, about Pandora’s box. This box when opened has a nasty habit of killing people. So the Professor and his companion go and pay his friend a visit, only to find him murdered, and the only clue they have is a blank train ticket, to start their quest to find out what this box is all about.

In true Professor Layton style there this is a mystery story chock full of puzzles. 150 puzzles to be exact. all ranging from maze type puzzles to number teasers. It looks as though there is enough to get all the cogs in your brain really whirring. Pah who needs brain training? The beauty though, is that the puzzles aren’t always to do with the main quest.  They can be brought up by random villagers or just ques in the enviroment, which to me sounds pretty good but maybe could get a bit tedious? I don’t know, in all honesty I haven’t played the first game.

As well as the one off puzzles you find from people and around the map, you will get on going puzzles throughout the game. For example there is a camera you must put together, and you’re going to find components for it as you progress through the game. This is a great way of keeping the brain constantly thinking throughout the game in my opinion.

playton 3

The other great thing about this game is that it isn’t secluded just to one village. In Pandora’s Box you are transported to all sorts of different villages and environments for you to explore. Meaning there will be a whole host of new and different characters and enviroments to encounter on your quest. Giving the gamer just that little bit more sence of freedom.

Even though the story seems a little morbid to start off with. I can tell you the Professor Layton Pandora’s box takes a light hearted spin on it, and gives puzzle junkies, just the fix they have been looking for.

Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box will be out this next Friday the 25th of September here in the UK for the Nintendo DS.



Do You Have The Need? The Need For Speed?

The Need For Speed franchise has been going for  a fair while now, even though I am not much of a racing gamer myself (besides Burnout Paradise), I was once bitten by the Need For Speed bug back on the original XBox, with the first game which was Need For Speed: Underground. Believe it or not I actually enjoyed a game where you drove Kev cars with dust bins for exhaust pipes and with so many lights blinking around the bodywork they would make a christmas tree envious.


Since then though Need For Speed has gone through seven other titles, and its eighth is just one drag race away from release, so best to check your Nitro canisters are full and your paint job is nice and shiny, because Need For Speed: Shift is coming.

As this is the eighth game of the series, what does this game have that the other seven didn’t? Well it seems that Shift has gone a slightly different route from the other Need For Speed games. This time around instead of racing the back streets of some night time urban metropolis, you are going to be racing on proper racing tracks. Some of these tracks you will be familiar with if you’re a bit of a racing nut, because they are proper American and European racing circuits. Those plus a couple of tracks the guys at Slightly Mad Studios have made up and thrown in for fun. But all you loyal Need For Speed fans out there, don’t fret, because there will be some city circuits thrown in as well.

This game boasts that its built by racers, for racers. That statement says to me that, this title is going down the more driver simulated road, than its arcade racer predecessors. Looking further into this idea of mine, I have actually found out that I am not far wrong at all. The game physics model is based on that of the Ferrari Project, Eero Piitulainen of Richard Burns Rally has gone and developed a new tire physics model, and to top it all of a lot has gone into handling development to make it even easier to control your desired racer with the game controller.

The key selling point of every Need For Speed game has defiantly not been missed out, and thats the cars. In Shift the cars will be separated into classes, ranging from your bog standard normal chug along, such as the Golf GTI, to big time track racers like the Aston Martin DBR9.


That is cool and all but will you be able to customise them Need For Speed style? The answer to that my gaming friends is a big resounding yes. I mean common, would it really be Need For Speed without the customisation? The customisation this time round promises to be more in-depth than ever. It’s all down to the performance mods, of corse the aesthetic side of things will still be there but it all comes down to modding the mechanics of your four wheeled racing beast, each thing you mod or tweak will affect aspects such as alignment, aerodynamics, tires, brakes, differential, and gears. But what about the all important nitrous? It will be able to be tuned but somewhat differently to the previous games. How? well you’re going to have to find ot when the game’s released next week.

So with classic Need For Speed customisation, coupled with the more simulated car racing, this looks to me quite an interesting game. This may actually be the first time I am tempted by a Need For Speed game since Underground.

Need For Speed: Shift comes out the 18th of September for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.