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Why A Next-Gen Captain America Game Could Work

Captain AmericaThe world of Marvel has become so expansive and influential that we are used to seeing the world’s favourite heroes just about everywhere we look: in television commercials, in children’s toys and fresh takes on graphic novels, and of course, in the theatres. The success of Marvel films has been unprecedented, to the point that each new year’s biggest headline film tends to be the next upcoming Marvel release. And yet for all of this success, the comic titan’s most prolific modern heroes, The Avengers, have struggled to gain footing on popular video game platforms.

This isn’t to say that Marvel as a whole has been unsuccessful. In particular, several Spider-Man games have done quite well on major consoles, and the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 2 game, based on the spring film of the same name and set to be featured on all major consoles (including next-gen) is already generating a great deal of excitement. The Avengers, however, have met their only real success in gaming on the fringes of the video game world, without a true breakthrough on major consoles.

Oddly enough, the online casino community houses a number of the most noteworthy Avengers games we’ve seen to date, as it’s a common practice for Internet slot and jackpot games to feature popular film and character themes in order to generate activity. The Avengers are naturally common choices for this sort of use. At the Betfair online casino, there are games devoted to each individual Avenger (at least from the film). Iron Man is the face of multiple slot offerings and there’s one game specifically devoted to The Avengers film. But at the end of the day, these games are essentially cinematic experiences that only use the artwork and names from Avengers tales.

The app market, too, has a fairly extensive selection of Avengers titles available for download, and some are quite enjoyable gaming experiences. These games tend to be more closely related to the action and adventure of the films and comics. Given the capabilities of modern smartphones to portray bold and beautiful graphics, they look quite nice, too. The most recent example is Marvel: Avengers Alliance, which available for iOS and Android. In this title, players can enjoy recruiting a team of Avengers (and other Marvel heroes) to battle iconic villains. Yet the bottom line is this game, like pretty much every other Avengers-themed app experience, is simply limited in scope. It’s satisfying, but brief.

So why don’t Avengers games tend to catch on when made for major consoles? One theory is that everything is simply too grand and the heroes perhaps too gifted to make for interesting gameplay. Whereas Spider-Man is grounded and forced to rely on web-slinging (wonderful in most games) and hand-to-hand combat, the likes of Iron Man and Thor can simply fly with free range in all directions and fight, essentially, with superpowers. Hulk can’t technically fly, but watch The Avengers and he pretty much does the same thing. It’s all rather difficult to translate to gaming form. Think about popular action gaming franchises: Call Of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, and dating back even franchises like Prince Of Persia, or even Super Mario! People prefer heroes who walk, run, and jump, and who fight with handheld tools… at least when it comes to gaming.

And this is why Captain America stands to be an exception. The leader of the Avengers is still in some ways the most human of the bunch (unless Tony Stark comes out of his suit), and his movement and combat style is far more similar to what gamers are used to. But this isn’t the only reason that a fresh Captain America game might do very well on major consoles. Here are a few more.

It’s done well in the past—It may be essentially forgotten for many gamers, but Captain America: Super Solider was actually arguably the best non-Spider-Man Marvel game we’ve yet seen. The game scored a 60 on Metacritic, which is by no means great, but it’s something to build on for the franchise.

Captain America deals with humans—Iron Man’s associates dabble in high-tech suits and military weaponry. Thor’s are gods. Hulk has none. But Captain America deals with soldiers and agents, which extends his own humanity and makes for a more playable game for the same reasons that the Captain himself is more appealing to action gamers.

The new film is a hit—Captain America: The Winter Soldier has earned shockingly strong reviews, establishing itself as one of the greatest Marvel films. That’s certainly some momentum to build on should Marvel wish to take another stab at major console gaming!
The likeliest course of action is probably for Marvel to continue releasing app games and allowing arcade sites to use its characters’ likenesses while a next-gen console game for all of the Avengers seems possible. But given the factors above and the popularity of the new film, a big and bold Captain America game may actually be quite successful should they give it a try.

Fifa 14 Review

Fifa made the jump to next-gen consoles and is generally regarded as continuing in the recent good strong of games in the series. Fifa 14 on the PS4 while solid is perhaps understated and the game appears to be tired now. Here is a look at Fifa 14 on the PS4.

Fifa 14 on the PS4 could be mistaken for Fifa 14 on the PS3. You could even go as far as saying it is largely the same as Fifa 13 on the PS3. Because while the graphics have improved and the lighting has gotten better, the gameplay has not changed between Fifa 13 or the different console versions of Fifa 14. The game sure packs a lot of content and playing options for your buck. Yet as is the case most years, Fifa 14 is the same game different skin.

For those that have not played Fifa before, it is a football simulation game in which you can play football directly. I would say Fifa is an easy to play and hard to master game. It certainly has more variety and depth than the Pro Evo series despite the PES games being arguably superior in gameplay. There are a variety of modes available such as be a pro, co-op and so forth. The main draw of Fifa is undoubtedly Ultimate Team which is one of the best game modes around.

Now with this version and the Xbox One version Fifa runs on the ‘ignite’ engine which is said to enhance gameplay dramatically. This is where EA and games like Fifa lose faith. The differences mainly come in animation rather than gameplay design or mechanics. The stadium animations are largely stoic and pointless. A lot on reddit pointed out that Gran Turismo 6 had bad stadium animation yet Fifa 14 on the PS4 has equally bad animations.

The game in my opinion fails to be a definitive improvement from last year’s game which incidentally was a very good Fifa arguably the best yet. Fifa 14 stays in the same spot and has improved graphics to boot yet the gameplay still remains a very much love/hate affair. Goals can be well crafted or the game can through up harsh decisions to stop you from scoring. The offside rule is ridiculous in this game. If the foot of the attacker is even slightly out of line and I mean slightly, flag goes up.

The same goes for defending. The a.i is generally terrible on your team and runs to make up lost ground, lost balls are generally all in vain. Its frustrating when you gently tap pass and the ball goes miles when you only wanted it to go so far. The same goes for headers and crosses. I just think that the game is the same from what I experienced from the PS3 demo and the PS4 version isn’t a huge stump up.

Granted as far as a game goes, it is deep in content. Ultimate Team is a game in its own right but with career modes and various online modes, there is hours of enjoyment to be had. It is a shame that flaws that have crept under the surface in previous games have also carried on into the next-gen version. The ignite engine is also not exactly next generation either. It could work on current consoles albeit with a little added effort.

Alas what we have for next-gen owners is a PS3/360 Fifa prettied up slightly for new console owners. The flaws that have persisted from previous games are made obvious because of added expectations. Fifa 14 is not a suitable game to demonstrate what the PS4 or Xbox One can do. It is a solid football game mostly but you will have a hard time with it and that is something I do not say lightly.

What Is Good?

+Ultimate Team is a very good game mode and continues to be a game changer for football games.

+Lots of things to do-hours of content.

+Better lighting which makes the pitch and grounds stand out more.

 

What Is Bad?

-Team mate a.i is so inconsistent. A lot of games are left to chance and the controller mapping, input latency is frustrating.

-Graphics are not a major improvement and the ‘ignite’ engine fails to impress.

-No major improvements in gameplay from Fifa 13.

Fifa 14 on the next-gen consoles is a generally fun, solid and barnstorming frustrating experience. Some will love it, have a good time with the game while others will have a bad time with it. Despite putting much time into it, I both enjoyed and disliked the game. What I got the feeling was I was playing the same game from last year or I was playing a game on the PS3, not PS4. For that, Fifa 14 pays the price. With added expectation and added capability, Fifa 14 should rise above the samey-ish game to being better and well rounded. 7/10.

Best Games That Never Got Finished

We are all guilty of starting something particularly games without finishing. Truth be told it is sometimes the best games that don’t get finished for a variety of reasons. I find that some of these games are brilliant yes but lack in other areas such as ‘fun’and are easy to get into. These are games that if there was a gaming equivalent of Oscars, they would win plenty of them. Here are the 10 games that are fantastic yet I have not finished.

10. Croc: Legend Of The Gobbos (1997): This along with Rayman and the original Crash Bandicoot came at a time where platform games where difficult. Croc was the pick of the bunch and is one of the best platform games I have played due to its characterisation, level variety and expert design. For each death, it was your fault rather than the game. Everything needed to be precise from the precise moment you jump or precise moment you strike, Croc was all about precision.

A difficult game all the same and one in which we may never see again. But a game that was fun and enjoyable. Each level could be replayed and the delights of the game would still be retained. Highly recommended that you get this.

9. Ape Escape 2 (2002): One of my all time favourite platform games Ape Escape 2 was a huge improvement over the already excellent Ape Escape. It had a huge amount of depth and variety in which made the game as good as the likes of Crash Bandicoot amongst other platform games. This is the only game on this list where I reached the end but never got past the last boss. The last boss from this game as much as I can remember was infuriating for my younger self.

I hope Sony consider Ape Escape once more. The last game in the series was awful. Here is hoping for a fully fledged 4th entry into the series. Highly recommended and extremely fun.

8. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002): I have not always been the biggest fan of Grand Theft Auto and the latest GTA certainly did much to win me over after a series of in my opinion below par games. It is Vice City that remains the best in the series and also one that I did not finish. Why? The game was fun enough without playing the story. I used to enjoy being chase by the police and activating cheats such as flying car and being able to drive on water.

Its a shame that GTA became more mature. I hope that GTA will someday go back and be immature in at least one of its games in the future as a nostalgic nod looking back to the best game in the series.

7. Earthbound (1994): Earthbound is a game which while a Japanese RPG is far more advanced than its age suggests. Its maturity and complexity was probably too advanced for me when I played it 6 years ago. I regret it because Earthbound is steeped in depth and quality. Earthbound even from my short time from the game had one of the best scripts I have ever seen in any game. The writing in Earthbound is matched by the likes of Fallout 3.

This game can be easily emulated or if you have access to a 3DS/ WiiU, then you can get this from the Wii store. A peerless game and one in which that has bundles of complexity and depth. Highly recommended.

6. Chrono Trigger (1995): Probably one of the best JRPGs ever made only slightly better than the peerless Earthbound. Of all the games on this list, Chrono Trigger is perhaps one in which that I should have completed. The game bears many similarities to the likes of Final Fantasy and also Dragon Quest. The central theme of the game is time travel and the story upto the point I have reached in the game is beautifully told.

The battle system is great and the game also stands up really well even nearly 20 years after release. A unique Japanese RPG, a game in which almost anyone could grow to admire. Highly recommended.

5. Elder Scrolls IV:Oblivion (2007): As much as I like the Elder Scrolls series including Skyrim, in my opinion Oblivion is the better game. It is mainly better because it revolutionised the genre before Skyrim did. Yet this is only game on this list which is seriously flawed. Oblivion has multiple things going for it. It has the pretence for an epic story and also had a great opening sequence of escorting a King voice by Patrick Stewart through a prison.

But, the levelling system in the game is dire. Maximising stats through menial tasks I can put up with. Enemies that level up with you though is just annoying. Skyrim fixed these problems and I will finish Skyrim one day. But Oblivion I will not finish and its a shame because the story for the game is one that looked interesting, Just pretend that Skyrim is Oblivion.

4. Bioshock (2007): Bioshock in many ways is an underwater Half Life. It is a superb game but the way it is structured and built, its almost too reminiscent of Half Life. It is also a dark game and not very fun to play. It wants to take you to the depths of the secret underwater metropolis that is Rapture. Along with Bioshock, I have yet to finish the other two games also though I have yet to start them.

The main reason why I have yet to finish the game is mainly because of the challenge of playing without using Vita chambers. I like challenge and difficulty in games. Aspiring to finish a challenging game is what makes gaming in my opinion. I may have to rethink that strategy in order to finish the game as it looks every bit as good as other games in its genre.

3. Mass Effect (2012): For the past few years for some reason I have been anti Mass Effect. The main reason for this was the simply terrible demo for Mass Effect 2 on the PS3. It was mainly just a shooting section and it wasn’t all that. When the Christmas sale was up recently, Mass Effect was on for around £3. So I thought why not. I am glad that I took the plunge even if the PS3 port did nothing to enhance a 4 year old game.

From where I am now, the characterisation and depth of this game is second to none. Its like playing Star Wars in many ways. I also have the other two games so I will eventually and belatedly complete the trilogy. As an RPG fan, the first is excellent. I have my reservations of the other two but the first is great.

2. Resident Evil 4 (2005): This is a game in which I should have completed long ago. Resident Evil 4 is nothing short of a masterpiece. It is eerily chilling and despite the action orientation, the game still manages to send chills down the spine with its murky European setting and also its excellent soundtrack. I began playing this game at the same time as Resident Evil 5. Resident Evil 5 while nowhere near as good is arguably more fun. Its a shame that I completed 5 over 4 but I will remedy this I hope.

Another thing about Resident Evil 4 is it is a challenging game unlike the far easier sequel. I have recently got the HD version sitting on my PS3 so hopefully it won’t be long before I finish RE4. Really recommend this game and it gave birth to games such as Gears of War as well as Uncharted.

1. The Orange Box (2007): The Orange Box is not a game as such-its 5 in one. Yes 5 games for the price of one and these are not just any ordinary games either. 3 of the 5 games are Half Life 2 and the two Half Life 2 episodes. The other two games are only just Portal and Team Fortress 2 just to complete the collection. The package by far represents the best value for money on any platform ever. The only collection that comes close is the MGS Collection released last year.

Half Life 2 is a brilliant game and games like Bioshock take a lot of in inspiration from it. Portal is also an ingenious game that requires thinking and is a unique puzzle game. I am ashamed not to have completed either Portal or Half Life 2. Both are great games and I would have to say among the very best games I have ever played. Half Life 2 particularly with its superb setting and mysterious story.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Review

Final Fantasy XIV released in 2010 to absolute dire reviews. Square Enix made a public apology, pulled the game and re-released it last year in September for PC and PS3. Ahead of the PS4 beta this week, I have decided to review the PS3 version of the game as that is the only version I have. It is the first paid-for MMO I have ever played..

Final Fantasy 14 has had a torrid history. From making Sqaure Enix lose millions, many wondered whether the re-release would see the light of day. It did happen and it even managed to traverse across to the PS3 also. As an avid Final Fantasy fan, I never managed to play Final Fantasy XI which was also an MMO so XIV is the first. Its an interesting MMO and not one in which people should dismiss so quickly. After all, it runs on the PS3 which is something.

You begin by choosing a character and its class. I choose a human-like breed as a Gladiator because getting in close and wielding swords is the way RPG’s are meant to be played.  The options available are quite expansive to begin with which is nice for those with multiple playing styles. Depending on your class and race, you start in different areas. I started in Thanalan and the city is quite nicely designed. It looks quite alright on the PS3.

If you have played either Final Fantasy XII, Dragon Age: Origins or Sacred, the gameplay here is similar. You issue commands to your character to carry out rather than actively hack and slash your way to success. The targeting system isn’t always great especially when you are trying to deselect an enemy and select another-on the PS3 controller it is hard work. But to its credit, the game does handle very well on the controller and the triggers are expertly assigned as hot-keys which is always good.

Graphically, the game does take a hit on the PS3. There is a lot of jarring and I doubt the game hits 30 frames per second. The draw distance is also very poor. I have to be within a specific distance to see other characters or enemies which is slightly annoying. But it runs on the console and that is no mean feat. There is also very little lag. I have experienced no network errors or anything out of place as of yet.

There is so much to do in this game whether joining others in forming a company to raid dungeons or to just plod along do the main scenario and the tonne of side quests along the way. It has an interesting random time event feature in which an event will appear on your map in which it calls out all players to take down a beast. These are called FATE’s and they are generally challenging especially if attempted alone.

There is much love and fandom to the FF series here. A lot of touches are brought from the quite simply fantastic Final Fantasy 12 as the devs behind that also developed this. Everything one expects from an FF game can find it here and for the most part it sings. The PS3 version is the inferior version but those that purchase this version will get the other 2 for free on PC and PS4. Subscriptions can last for 2 or so months which can cost in the region of £17 which is much better than the Elder Scrolls deal of £10 per month.

The login process for the game especially on console is as bad as the setup for when Metal Gear Online was around for MGS4. It takes to long and the initial download to nearly 4 hours to complete. You have to go through various sites in order to renew which is also annoying. Why isn’t it tied with the PSN is anyone’s guess as PC players play in the same servers as console players. After the setup though, the game can be enjoyed and it is worth it.

So for about £10 and then however many times you wish to subscribe, Final Fantasy 14 packs so much content that is updated regularly that hundreds of hours could be dedicated to the game. So far, I have put in roughly 30 and I still have so much to do. I look forward to seeing the game grow and seeing more interesting content fall its way.

What is Good?

+So much content even by MMO standards.

+Gameplay is solid and mostly fun.

+Cross platform play between PS3, PS4 and PC gamers.

+Quests and things to do are added regularly.

+Decent price for an MMO and cheaper than the upcoming Elder Scrolls.

 

What is Bad?

-Though to its credit it runs on the PS3, it isn’t pretty.

-Long winded sign up process.

-Some minor flaws with quests and battling.

Final Fantasy XIV is an excellent game one in which where the devs of the game truly care about and devote much effort to. Its regularly updated with new quests and alterations to what is an accomplished game. The PS3 version of the game is the weaker version due to its graphical capability. That being said, the game works on the PS3 and that should be applauded. The game is bigger than any RPG I have played. Even the likes of Skyrim are no match in scale.

The score I am going to give isn’t necessarily proper representation of the game. The devs work hard on this game updating it every week or other week. It could be a different beast entirely later this year or next. For now, it is a game that if you can stump up the cash, you will be repaid with hours of solid fun.  8.5/10

 

Favourite Films

Last week, I listed my all time favourite games. Now it is time for favourite films. Film is far more subjective than most mediums out there so my list will be different to yours. I could agree on best films made with people but for favourites, its knowing what you like and love no matter what its flaws are. Here are my favourite films-what’s yours?

10.  Crank 2: High Voltage (2009): The first film on my list is a supercharged action film starring Jason Statham. It is not the best film I have ever seen and to many, it is quite bad. But, its such a fun film to watch with plenty to look out for including over the top action, parody and one hell of a soundtrack. I watched this in my teens and I must have watched this film dozens of times over. It is relentlessly entertaining and quite funny also.

If you are into action, over the top stunts and a film that resembles the chaotic nature of a videogame-Crank 2 is certainly a film to satisfy and blaze all of the senses.

9. Heat (1995): Heat is arguably one of the best crime films ever made and certainly one of my favourites. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro star as characters on the opposite sides of the law. Despite their opposites, they are both in fact very similar characters. The film has a cat and mouse edge to it with the developments in the film made on fine lines. It also boasts one of the best shoot-outs in Cinema history.

Films recently such as The Town have copied the template set by Heat extensively. That is a testament as to just how good this film is. Brilliantly acted, scripted with great grounded visual effects and sound-Heat is a brilliant crime drama. I recommend this film to everyone and anyone.

8. Hard Boiled (1992): I am a big fan of action films. I like over the top action and I also have quite the passion for Far-Eastern cutlure. Hard Boiled is a crime action film based in Hong Kong that stars Chow-Yun Fat and is directed by John Woo. There is not much I can say about this film other than it is balls out insane and over the top. This film can be even more over the top than Crank which is not to be taken lightly.

It is cheesy at points but at the same time its narrative shines through and is a poignant film through all of the action. Its visual effects and sound design even 22 years on is second to none. Violent, epic and fun-Hard Boiled is a very good action film despite its awkward script. Highly recommended.

7. Lord Of The Rings : The Two Towers (2002): LOTR is the best film trilogy ever made. The films are all suitably well acted, scripted and beautifully shot. It is the second film that is my favourite in the series and is among my favourite films. The scale of the second compared to the first is shot up immensely with beautiful action sequences and a truly wonderful exploration of Gollum. While the first third of the film is muddled, the rest is sublime.

It is the final hour of the film which really captivates with a truly memorable battle sequence in which only the final act of the final film in the trilogy came anywhere near matching. If you have not already, watch LOTR trilogy.

6. The Terminator (1984): The Terminator is a film well suited to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s attributes as an actor. Big, stiff and monotic-The Terminator is an excellent film with great pacing and grounded action. You should know the film by now and despite the second film being seen as superior, it is the first that is my favourite. The raw sense of action and pursuit from The Terminator is brilliantly realised.

One of the most underrated elements is the use of sound design which is top-notch in the film while also the soundtrack is quite fitting and captures the essence of the film perfectly. Very easy to watch and uses tension extremely well-The Terminator is a great action sci-fi film.

5. The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008): This is not to be confused with Clint Eastwood in anyway. The Good, The Bad, The Weird is an Oriental ‘Western’ film set in 30′s Korea and Manchuria. The film uses 3 central different characters all deliciously portrayed. Its unique given that its a Western stylised film set in the East. It also combines quirky Korean humour with some excellent set pieces and a nice plot.

Its action is great though and the film is brilliantly shot accomplishing what it needs to. Extremely fun, enjoyable and funny-The Good, The Bad, The Weird is highly recommended.

4. Oldboy (2003): Probably the best Korean film ever made and Oldboy shines as a dark passage into the depths of Human depravity. The film chronicles the life of a man kidnapped for over 15 years then released without explanation. Yet, his release is soon part of a greater plan in which his captor has devised. Choi-Min-Sink is on fire in this film and should have been at least nominated for an Oscar his performance was that good.

The film has a very evenly paced plot with complex characters and also complex sequences in which the audience are unfolding the pieces without the film unfolding it for you. Violent, dark and uncompromising-Oldboy is a superb film one in which everyone should watch.

3. Drive (2011): What a film we have here. Drive is a measure of how you can always introduce new life into a stoic genre. Driving/action films are somewhat generic despite the efforts of Fast and Furious. It is Drive though that combined a controlled well paced narrative with complex characters and shocking violence. With its uplifting sequences comes its descent into Human capabilities.

For every good uplifting drive there is a scene of extreme violence. This works very well due to the fact that Ryan Gosling is mostly muted. He is every bit as good as he is bad and he talks through his face rather than what he says. An unbelievable triumph in film making and a complete masterpiece.

2. Battle Royale (2000): The Hunger Games as good as it is borrows a lot and owes a lot to Battle Royale. Battle Royale despite its slightly awkward script at times is one of the best films ever made because of its complexity. On the surface, it is a violent film for teens in which kids kill kids. Go deeper and its a film about the balance between the teenage groups and adults while exploring relationships. I have never seen a film that gets so much right as it does here.

The complexity of relationships the characters have is perfect representation of the troubled relationships teenagers have universally. Its fascinating and also a deep relevant film. Yes it is controversial only because it used teenagers as the device to tell this story. It would not work with Adults nor Children. Teenagers are the most complex people out there and this film tells a perfectly layered story.

It also delivers thumping action sequences and dramatic exchanges. Battle Royale is a film that I hold in high regard not because of what it represents but because how it does so.

1. The Dark Knight (2008): The Dark Knight is not the typical comic-book movie we see on our screens every year. Before we were bombarded by Marvel, The Dark Knight released in 2008 and I have to say with every watch comes a deeper understanding. The Dark Knight is one of the best films ever made for doing things much like Battle Royale did. At the centre of the film is not Batman but instead the Joker.

The Joker is representative of a character in which will go to many lengths to disturb the peace but also to show the true colours of society. He is not a typical criminal. He is complex, logical and manic. The film delves deep into his character and much of it follows his moves or what he could do next. As well as that, we have brilliant action sequences, writing, visual effects and performances. As much as Christian Bale did a good job, the film will be forever remembered for Heath Ledger in one of the best acting performances ever.

The Dark Knight is a masterpiece for everyone to enjoy. Youths can enjoy the good nature of the film while mature viewers can see the depths the film explores and the characterisation of the film. It is my favourite film because it does everything so nearly perfectly and also, like every good film-each time you watch it you discover something new about the film.

Favourite Games List

We all have our favourite games. From casual gamers such as my fiancée, her favourite game is Crash Team Racing which is undoubtedly one of the best karting games ever made. Then there are gamers like myself where I play pretty much everything. This is opinion and this does not mean that my selection of games are better than others-they are my favourite games. Comment your favourite games on Facebook/Twitter or on this very post. Lets begin:

 10.  Crash Team Racing: As I mentioned, me and my fiancée regularly play Crash Team Racing. Why? Because it is so fun and timeless. Even now its mechanics are better than in games such as LBP Karting or even Mario Kart to a certain extent. Its graphics remain sharp, colourful and age has only helped its colours shine more brightly. The game also happens to be really good when played splitscreen and game developers should look to games like this that are still played via splitscreen.

Its a ridiculously fun game that I love and won’t get bored of playing. Like the best games, each time you play it brings something new to experience and see. Like beating your partner at something never gets boring (though I am fairly certain she would say the same). CTR is on PS1 or on the PSN for those that have a PSP, PS3 or PS Vita. Or like me have all 4.

9. Fallout 3: The point in which I got bored of Fallout 3 is when I completed everything-all the DLC, quests and levelled to max level. That point was over 80 hours of my time. Fallout 3 is my favourite western RPG. Unlike Oblivion, Skyrim, Mass Effect, Fallout 3 is an extremely visceral game with a sharp dark tone coupled with dark humour and complete freedom. It is far more likeable than Oblivion/Skyrim due to a more engaging setting and story.

Its also really fun to play. I remember one sunny February afternoon, the PSN was down. I started playing this at 10 in the morning. The next time I looked at the clock, it was 9 at night. Fallout 3 is perhaps more focused than Skyrim therefore making it harder to recommend to anyone and everyone. Still, nuclear apocalypse RPG? Its on PS3/360 and PC.

8. Guitar Hero 2: Despite playing the technically superior Guitar Hero 3 first, Guitar Hero 2 became instantly far more appealing. The gameplay is much more fair and the songs are superb. The game is really fun to play instead of its sequel. Songs from Avenged Sevenfold to Gun’s ‘N’ Roses, GH2 has so much variety and freshness every time you play a song. The main draw of its sequel was unfortunately Dragonforce despite having a superb Metallica track as well as a few others.

GH2 is on PS2 and Xbox 360. Its great fun and no more do you have to pretend to air guitar. It is also perhaps slightly more challenging than GH3 with songs like Free Bird and Jordan. Have fun!

7. Burnout 3: Takedown: Never have I played a game as intense as this. Burnout 3 to this day remains a visceral arcadey type racing game which still stands tall today being graphically sharp and intense. The major feature of this game is the ability to perform takedowns where you can ram your car into others and take them of the road. Its best mode is without doubt Road Rage where you try to take out other racers while keeping yourself going.

It is a wonderful game and it is a shame that its sequels never matched the intensity or the freshness of this. Burnout Revenge was nearly as good but Burnout Paradise and Dominator were both lacklustre. Burnout Legends on the PSP was as close as it gets to being anywhere near as good as Burnout 3. Burnout 3 is available on PS2 and Xbox.

6. Ridge Racer: Type 4: Way back in 1999, I came into gaming rather late. Most of my friends at that age had a PS1 since they were like 5/6. I got mine when I was 8. I still got to play most of the excellent PS1 games that were around but my first PS1 game was this beauty. Ridge Racer: Type 4 is the best Ridge Racer game and probably the best arcade racing game ever made. While it retains its stupid drift mechanic, its as close to Gran Turismo as any other arcade racer could get.

It has a lovely soundtrack and a brilliant mini game of racing against stupendously fast cars as a reward for beating the game. It looks dated now but the vibrancy and sharpness of the game is still there. Ever since, I have played multiple Ridge Racer games and only Ridge Racer on the PSP comes anywhere near to being as good as Type 4. This only appeared on PS1 but is now on the PSN store for PS3, PSP and PS Vita owners to enjoy.

5. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune: This was my first PS3 game alongside MGS4. For some reason despite MGS being a superior game and one of the best I have ever played, Uncharted is just so much more fun and engaging. It is like playing an interactive Indiana Jones movie or something similar. Playing as treasure hunter Nathan Drake, you hunt for El Dorado and find yourself caught in the web of those following trying to get to the treasure first.

While its sequels have certainly upped the ante, the original remains the most challenging and also the most focused. The attention to detail here is phenomenal and the dialogue is fantastic. Its still a lovely looking game even today some 6 years after release. Uncharted is exclusive to the PS3 but is rather cheap and is money very well spent.

4. Warhawk: Growing up with mostly single player games, I have come to dislike multiplayer only games-except Warhawk. Warhawk is a fantastic multiplayer game which is extremely fun and doubly challenging. Imagine Battlefield in third-person without boats and you have a game pretty close to Warhawk. It was one of the first games my best friend showed me on the PS3 and it made me realise the jump between PS2 to PS3.

Its intense fun that often is all about skill rather than persistence. It will be a very sad day when the servers close but I hope it is part of the recently announced Playstation Now programme. The game is PS3 only but I do recommend anyone that is a fan of multiplayer games to check this out.

3. Pokemon Gold: Many a time I have gotten in a discussion as to which generation of Pokemon games is better Red/Blue/Green/Yellow or Gold/Silver/Crystal. I prefer Gold to any other Pokemon game and it stands as my favourite too. It distances itself away from the anime and becomes more focused, fun to play. There is double the content and general battling is much more fun.

Playing the game as a 9 year old, my personal highlight was the penultimate battle against Ash, the hero of the first Pokemon games. Easy to play with lots of depth and plenty of replay value, I recommend anyone to play Pokemon Gold. Get it on emulator, Gameboy or the recent DS fancy updgraded version.

2. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty: I don’t know why I did but the very first MGS I played was the second. Strange as I came into the MGS saga as Raiden, not Snake. However despite my mistake, MGS2 even with its controversial character choice is such a great fun game to play. The realism in the game is quite something too. You take out a soldier with a radio to advance, what happens when he does not check in? More Russian dudes come swarming in.

It isn’t the realism of the game that makes MGS2. It is a combined effort of story, gameplay and perhaps its lasting themes. There is so much depth to this game that each time I play it I discover something new or some sort of epiphany. It is not the best MGS but it certainly is my favourite. MGS2 can be found on PS2 or PC. You can find the recent HD version which is the best version of the game on PS3/360 which also comes with MGS3 and Peace Walker-bargain.

1. Final Fantasy VII: Final Fantasy VII came at a time when I was very young and into dark fantasy. Despite being only 8 at the time of playing, I came to fully appreciate the game for its mature themes, its sweeping story and fantastic soundtrack. The game follows Cloud, an ex elite Soldier now fighting on the other side of the law for eco-terrorists AVALANCHE. What begins as a fight against the corporation that rules with a mighty fist over the world soon begins in a fight for survival.

It is certainly the best game I have played. Every time I boot it up, it gives me great warmth in playing. From the cinematic turn-based battles to the beautiful cutscenes, I would recommend anyone to check out FF7. It has depth, a wonderfully woven story and perhaps one of the best soundtracks to any game ever. It is on Steam for like £8 or you can find a PS1 version.

Gran Turismo 6 Review

One of the last AAA exclusives comes to the PS3 and its a shame to many that it has not yet made its way to the PS4. Despite the rise of Forza, it is clear that Gran Turismo is the king of realistic driving games, a crown which it looks to retain.

Gran Turismo is sometimes seen as a racing game. I think this is a mistake. Gran Turismo is not and I stress about racing. The game is about driving and a journey through various cycles in a Driver’s career. From driving in an Amateur League to racing in the Le Mans, the journey is worth it. Each Gran Turismo has captured this essence perfectly and it has this over its competitors. For my money, Gran Turismo 6 is a measured improvement over GT5 yet still has some niggling faults.

Lets begin with presentation and GT6 is beautiful. It is measurably far better looking than GT5. It has little-to no pop in and the textures stay solid throughout. The game is also in 1080i which is really impressive considering some next-gen games have not even hit that yet. There is no longer the obvious noticeable differences between premium and standard cars-the cars all look lovely and I have to say the lighting is stunning throughout. The only flaw graphically that anyone could take notice of is the crowds and character modelling which borderline laughable.

The handling model in GT6 is well documented and received to be the best of its kind. I agree with this. In every racing/driving game I have ever played, the handling model and attention to detail in GT6 is astonishing. It has been light years ahead and is still better than every other game out there. I felt with Forza that the handling system is flawed at high speeds. In GT6, the game manages to be consistent and realistic with its handling.

GT6 is also best played with a steering wheel for good measure. Every driving option can be customised in any car to help gain key advantages on the track. Its a wonderful system and is near enough flawless. The same cannot be said about the a.i in the game. Many times I would overtake a car only for that car to fishtail me resulting in me being disqualified. It has improved slightly since GT5 but it is still flawed and annoying.

There are interesting additions to the game such as the Moon driving segments. This is hit and miss mostly but I enjoyed it.  I would be interested in how GT6 replicated the handling of lunar modules. Also making its way into GT6 is the Goodwill Festival. This is also very enjoyable and easy to pick up type of event. In fact, most of the extra tasks and races are enjoyable. There is one event in which you have to drive over 2 miles on the Nurburgring  with only 1 litre of petrol.

There is online and seasonal events. The online is okayish-plagued by connections to hosts and the randomness of lag. I for one think Gran Turismo should not support online. It is always about the one driver rather than about competitiveness or racing. Seasonal events are a welcome addition. They rewards players with plenty of credits and can be challenging to boot also.

Gran Turismo 6 is a very enjoyable seamless driving game. Its racing is mostly substandard fare. However, its driving is still phenomenal and near enough close to the real driving experience. Forza has made gains in recent years to catch Gran Turismo but there have been 4 Forza games in the past 7 years while there have only been two Gran Turismo games (excluding GT PSP). When I look at the two, I see Gran Turismo as the love letter to driving enthusiasts. Think of GT as Top Gear and Forza as Formula 1.

While one has the flashier tone and aesthetic, the other has a passion for its field and extreme attention to detail. Gran Turismo despite its flaws still has the edge of Forza as well as other games of its kind.

What is good?

+Lovely lighting and graphics especially for a PS3 game.

+The driving handling is the best in any game ever.

+So much content and things to do. Will serve a gamer for months at least.

+Improved in nearly every way since GT5.

 

What is Bad?

-Poor a.i at worst and mediocre at best.

-Online is somewhat misguided.

-Bad character modelling and crowd presentations.

-Lacks some of the features in GT5 such as Track Editor, GT TV, special events.

Gran Turismo 6 is a love letter to driving enthusiasts. It is not perfect but is a careful measured improvement over Gran Turismo 5 in nearly every way. The release of the PS4 and Xbox One has diminished the appeal of GT6. I can assure you and any fan of Gran Turismo to stick with your PS3 a little while longer-Gran Turismo is back and it delivers.

Depending on how you look at Gran Turismo, you could either very well love its passion or loathe its racing essence. Despite its racing focus, the game does far better in making driving a reality. With effort and attention to detail found throughout the game, I found myself enjoying this game so much. It is one of the best games of its kind perhaps only bettered by earlier instalments of Gran Turismo. The damaging flaws aside, the game excels in the face of its flaws and delivers a robust driving experience. 9/10

Battlefield 4 Review

This review is taken from the PS4 version. Battlefield 4 has had a really rough ride since release. Hampered by bugs, rushed servers-the game has taken a real battering. Is it worth your money?

Battlefield 4 is a love-hate game. There is plenty to admire and plenty to dislike. The multiplayer in this game (when working) is fantastic. The game should be applauded for being on all systems yet compared to Battlefield 3, there is no difference in the PS3/360 versions. Games like Battlefield 4 do much to make me feel like I am in a real scenario being suppressed by bullet spray. And it also makes me angry for pointless single-player.

Lets begin there and the single player in Battlefield is pretty much redundant anyway. The campaign here is better than the one in the third campaign. I enjoyed the mission variety as well as having missions scored as they were in Black Ops 2. But the story is rather poor. Its a decent globe-trotting adventure with the best mission by far being the second one in China. Yet, there is no characterisation. Your character is mute all the time. He is supposed to be the leader of the squad yet does not speak at all not even in mini-cutscenes.

Why is this in games? Why bother having a main character that is mute? Unless of course it is Gordon Freeman who was of course badass. But in a military shooter-could have done with at the very least barking orders to his squad. It will take roughly 5-10 hours to complete and is easier than Battlefield 3. Yet if I were you and if you were looking for a decent single-player shooter, you are most definitely better served elsewhere.

Moving onto the multiplayer now and 64 player matches is at last on consoles. Now I have to go on record here and say that my experience with Battlefield 4 has not been hampered by the many bugs that have been plaguing others. The only bug I have experienced came with my single player save in which I had to start the game again.

Maps are well designed, shooting has been improved slightly. No longer will recoil be harsh on your weapons. The destruction elements are improved from Battlefield 3. But, Battlefield 4 despite its many improvements is no better than Battlefield 3. In fact its worse in every department.

Battlefield 3 (excluding single player) had a superb co-op mode and deep multiplayer. The co-op missions were really good and some required intricate teamwork. No co-op in Battlefield 4. The multiplayer-while only limited to 32 players on console had a superb range of maps that were very well designed and felt ahead of its time. Battlfield 4 even with 64 players has very little differences in quality.

Battlefield 4 feels like a reskin and a compressed version of Battlefield 3. The lack of co-op is annoying as I enjoyed the missions in the third game. The expansion-China Rising is poor in comparison to the excellent Back To Karkand maps on Battlefield 3. Better graphics does not make a better game. I applaud the fact that this now has 64 player matches but to be honest-it never ever feels that way. You could go back and play Battlefield 3, play rush on a big map and still see the same amount of action.

I was really hyped for Battlefield 4. It is so far disappointing. We do have the expansions to come so that could help change the ways in which the game is played. But for me, Battlefield 3 had so much content and effort put into the game. Yes, it had a rubbish single player but everything else about the game sung. Even the graphics on consoles while poor mostly stood tall at the time. This alongside Call Of Duty really needs to rethink its strategy. However, its all about the $$ so the games as long as they perform will not get drastic changes any time soon.

What is Good?

+Solid multiplayer-on par with Killzone on the PS4.

+Having scores in single player missions makes the campaign somewhat more lively.

+Graphically stunning-cannot fault that whatsoever.

What Is Bad?

-64 players does not feel any more large scale. Previous gen games handled 60 or more players better than this.

-Lame single player story. Extremely generic and bland.

-No co-op.

-Has the essence of being a re-skinned Battlefield 3.

-Is worse than Battlefield 3.

Not much has changed in Battlefield 4 from the third even with the console improvements. I think the game was rooted in PS3/360 development and then upgraded slightly for the newer console versions. Yes it has beautiful graphics and yes its multiplayer is great-mostly. But, it is so similar to the third game with less content. I would recommend Battlefield 3 over this any day of the week. Battlefield 3 on ultra-high settings on a good PC will not look too different to Battlefield 4. Its a beautiful game with much style but no substance and little originality.

Verdict: The fact that the sequel feels like a re-skin disappoints on so many levels. It is poor practice in gaming and I dislike the fact that this happens with mainly shooters. The Assassin Creed series manages to do a release every year and still be really high on quality being original each time. Yet, for all of my criticism of Battlefield 4, the multiplayer is the only redeeming feature of this game. It is as good as Battlefield 3 and will probably get better. That is the reason I bought it and that is the reason you did too. I am being very generous with a 6.5/10.

 

MAG-what happened?

MAG (Massive Action Game) was released in 2010 to be an ambitious massive multiplayer shooter on the PS3 capable of supporting 256 players in a single game. The game, developed by Zipper Interactive of SOCOM fame, had massive potential and could have been something very special. Skip forward 4 years and the game has shut its doors for good. What happened?

MAG is a game which appealed to me instantly. I played the beta with two of my best friends and we were instantly engaged with the game. The level design, map design and the whole team ethic was instantly unique. I went on to purchase the game in full and I have to say, MAG is one of the most disappointing games I have ever played. It isn’t bad or terrible at all. It is actually mostly solid. But what I expected and how the game executed its ideas were so frustrating.

You pick a faction and fight for that faction. The three factions available are Sver, Valor and Raven-each representing a different arc of Militia. You can also pick a class. I picked Sniper while Commando, Direct Assault and Support were also available. At first, the full game was a mess. Lag, a really really poor unlock system and terrible hit detection made for some frustrating games. Multiple times even last week I would be engaging someone at close range and he would melee me not even near me and it would count as a kill.

Sure, I will just shoot you in the head and you can pull out a knife from 10 feet away and kill me. Thankfully, the unlock system was fixed. Originally, as you gained levels you gained better weapons and the weapons in MAG are not balanced. The first Sniper rifle that players start with might as well shoot peas at enemies. The new system didn’t change much but improved capability. You could enhance your performance stats rather than get a good weapon straight away.

Graphically, the game was okay. It was solid mostly but in games with not even 256 player, it would become jagged and screen tearing would become obvious. Most areas were well designed with clever choke points, sniping points etc. The spawn system was awful. If at some point you decide to parachute in, it was pointless as snipers on the opposing team would kill you as soon as you spawned in mid air.

To its credit, people did mostly work together. If I was downed, nearly 7 times out of 10 someone would revive me. And most people played for objectives like detonating charges and capturing points. However, some of those games involved vehicles which were terrible. Hit detection was terrible if not worse in vehicles. It would take absolute pin point accuracy to get a kill in a Tank-you would have to hit a soldier with the shell rather than impact the surrounding area.

My final complaint is that games with 256 players were extremely awkward. Why? Because the game always optimised players to feel like you were in small skirmishes. Instead of gaining the sense that this is army against army, the game played out like a 8 vs 8 standard shooter. Even Battlefield did a better sense of this than MAG did and it had far fewer players with bigger maps.

MAG was a game that developed a hardcore fanbase. I played the game on and off until last week. The game had so much potential to be something special. But it was developed by an inconsistent team which put out cult classic Recoil and then the dire SOCOM: Confrontation. It was not a bad or terrible game. It was certainly one of the most ambitious games ever put on a gaming console for sure. However like many, it was let-down by its technical faults.

Poor hit detection, lag-the game really suffered from this even until its last days where soldiers from a distance away would be able to melee me in one hit while I was shooting them in the face. As you know, I had a lot of sentiment for Resistance which will be shutting down soon. I do not have that sentiment in anyway for MAG. I bought into its ambition and for the past 4 years every so often I thought-come on, reach your potential. Sadly it never did.  

Playback: Resistance 2

With the new consoles here, it is a sad time for games that are on the wane. Sony have a habit every year as does other companies to shutter the online services for ageing games. Motorstorm: Pacific Rift was one of the first major games to shut in 2012. Now, the poor SOCOM games and the average MAG shut yesterday. The Resistance trilogy and Gran Turismo 5 will shut its online in March. Time for a look back at one of the best shooters to appear on the PS3.

Comparisons are rife between the Resistance trilogy and Halo on the Xbox. Resistance is a series that punched well above its weight considering what it did. The first Resistance was a slow moving shooter which to its credit had a great backdrop and online. Resistance 3 instead had a brilliant story-truly gripping and fun to play. But its online, reduced from 60 players in the second game to just 16 and no separate co-op.

Resistance 2 is the most consistent game in the trilogy offering a solid lengthy campaign that even on the easiest difficulty will take 10 hours+. It also had a deep Co-op campaign separate to the story which again could take well over 30 hours to fulfill. And then there was the multiplayer-60 players and a notorious Trophy for achieving 10,000 kills. I am saddened that Resistance 2 has to shut its online servers.

The game came to me not long after I had gotten a PS3 back in 2008. It captured my imagination instantly with breathtaking set-pieces. There is one part in the game where you are on top of a building in Chicago trying to take down a massive beast. The beast grabs you and throws you into another building. Great stuff. The online also offered something considerably different from other games at that time.

Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was the go-to game for most. But Resistance offered a more classic, slower and rewarding multiplayer experience. What was also enjoyable was the style of the game. The Resistance trilogy is set in the 1950′s-so the classical style, vehicles, weapons etc were mostly represented really well.

After completing the game fully recently, I realised that the co-operative is without doubt the main draw to the game. These games are 8 player missions in which the team has to complete 3 main objectives and down some titanic Chimera. Each player can choose a class-Medic, Soldier and Spec-Ops. The many matches of co-op required me to think about the team rather than myself. Only a select few games do this really well such as Payday and The Last Of Us.

It is a shame-games like these deserve to be recognised for their brilliance. Resistance 2 was the first true great multiplayer shooter on the PS3 and is up there with Killzone 2. Anyone that does indeed have a PS3 I would recommend picking up the Resistance trilogy even if you cannot go online-play the stories and grab a buddy for co-op splitscreen.