Virtua Tennis has been a favorite of multiplayer fans ever since it launched on the Dreamcast more than a decade ago. Since then it has been ported, updated and released on multiple consoles under multiple names. However, despite attempts to freshen things up, this solid iteration of the game ends up being just that: a solid iteration of a game that we have all played before.
As SEGA's first PSVita title, Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour translates to the small screen admirably. While Virtua Tennis's main competitor, Top Spin, has always attempted to make a more realistic Tennis Sim, Virtua Tennis goes for a more arcade-y feel, allowing players to instantly pick up and play. This dynamic is still apparent in Virtua Tennis 4 and the game is better for it. Players are able to concentrate only on getting to the ball on time, hitting it and setting themselves up for the return volley. This is perfect for smaller screens and playing in small bursts, making it ideal for gaming on the go.
As always in the Virtua Tennis series the controls are quick and responsive. You will lose and it will be frustrating at times (as any good tennis game should be) but it will be because of your own failings and not because of any fault of the controls. The graphics are sharp and crisp and the animations look great on the Vita's screen. Additionally, each opponent feels completely unique, requiring different strategies to beat each one.
As has been tradition since Virtua Tennis 2, this game comes with wacky mini games and a career mode. The career mode is a little frustrating, in an attempt to improve the replay value SEGA decided to make the career mode a zany but more importantly random board game. The frustration factors in when a certain tournament or event is missed because you rolled over it. A more streamlined version with more player-choice would have been preferable. The mini-games are as crazy as ever and range from hitting targets, to hitting a soccer ball pass a goalie, to collecting and leading chicks to their hen house without getting hit by a red ball. Additionally some modes have been added exclusively for this Vita version. Players can take a picture of their own face with the PSVita camera and then convert that into their own created character for the World Tour mode. More interestingly two players can play on one screen using the touchscreen, although more of a novelty, it can be used to kill some time and is a nice addition. The real multiplayer is the online or Vita to Vita version and it works fine, although more variety and options for tournaments would have been nice. Players are also given a few new control schemes, the traditional control scheme, a touchscreen version and a hybrid version that utilizes one stick and touchscreen buttons.
A solid version of a solid series, this is probably the definitive version of Tennis available on any mobile platform. However, for veterans of the series the gameplay elements might be getting a tad stale.
Colonization has a clear goal and focus, and seems to have a straightforward game play, without losing the intensity of the typical strategy games and the classic series. With this remake is a more fun and better plotted game. For the pros, the game takes you back to history, and with the graphics and the good music, the game gives a revolutionary feel. However, even if the manufacture and trading of products is pretty enjoyable and easy, the trade route borders and crossing points are not so clear and user-friendly.
In the Colonization, players must be able to negotiate and trade with different groups, countries and colonists to be able to put together and develop their cities. They have to direct their colony and nation to their main goal and be able to have good choices in recruiting men and having the founding fathers side, in making amends, friendship and trades, and in managing the city.
With this challenge, upon choosing which nation you would take over, you would also choose which governor you would be to lead the settlement. With a different colony, different strengths and additional benefits are in store.
And then the mission is on. You have to choose which region to build your first town. You have to know where the raw materials can be found so that you would be able to endure and expand. You have to think where its best to trade without risking your town to be an easy target. Youd have to have explorers to scout and plot where you could find valuable ruins and treasures, without annoying locals and natives. You would have to be able to explore to know what lies ahead, and know where to settle to next. The neighboring tribes would also let you know what products they need, making trading easier; and the chief of the tribe would also let you know what field they excel in, so that you would be able to send out practitioners to master that expertise. Since youll get the most out of them, it would be best to live with the natives and locals in peace and in harmony.
As soon as you have created a good foundation to start with, and as long as your town gets booming, you can then build up other towns in other places and have these settlements connected until you become stable. When you are able to continue importing and exporting, and you have mapped the New World, and you have enough people and armies, then it would be time to battle. And just always remember that the goal is to declare independence.
Though the game is laid out in a linear play, you can still find out techniques and strategies to make your colony be able to have sweet independence. The visuals and graphics, along with the appropriate music make the game worthwhile, bringing with it the historic and revolutionary ambiance.
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is a refreshing break from all the first person shooters currently flooding the market. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, was a wonderful sequel to Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is a different animal altogether. This game raises the bar for how inclusive and engaging a video game can be. If you loved the first 2 Uncharted titles, you'll be blown away by Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception.
This franchise is known for well crafted storylines, which is a big reason why it's become so popular. Drake's Deception builds and expands on the first two Uncharted titles. The characters are well formed and dialogue is fantastic. While Among Thieves was mostly a continuation of Drake's Fortune, Drake's Deception is an opening of the characters and their world.
The main plot of the game is focused around Nathan "Nate" Drake and Victor "Sully" Sullivan trying to find the legendary Atlantis of the Sands. We are presented with a well crafted background story for Nate and Sully, which plays out in flashbacks. The game has a great mix of action, drama and humor. Just like previous Uncharted titles, Drake's Deception knows how to make key moments memorable by adding strong emphasis on emotion.
It isn't all positive however. The storyline does have some frustrating blunders. For example, the villains in the game are not very well explained, Chloe is now a barely used and mostly irrelevant character, there is no real boss showdown.
Drake's Deception has everything you loved from Among Thieves and Drake's Fortune, except more polished and finesse. The Artificial Intelligence is greatly improved as enemies are now smarter, able to diverge on your position quicker. The weapons system has been updated and improved.
The shooting mechanics and hit detection did seem to take a step backward from the two previous titles. It is now more difficult to take enemies down and head shots don't register with the same regularity.
As is always the case with this series, graphics are amazing! The graphics have greatly improved from the two previous titles. While the game looks a lot like the two previous ones, it's the added detail that makes it so much better. Drake's Deception pushes the cinematic feel that Uncharted has become famous for. When it comes to graphics, Drake's Deception is almost impeccable. It is one of the finest games ever in this regard.
Adding online mode to Uncharted 2 was what propelled this franchise in a new direction. While the online play was not perfect, it did capture the spirit of single player adventure wonderfully. Drake's Deception follows in these footsteps with an exciting multiplayer experience. Online content is similar to Uncharted 2, but runs much smoother. Multiplayer mode is centered around team-based matches of up to 8 players. There are also free-for-all matches that can be played. The biggest change is seen in the maps. Uncharted 3 multiplayer maps try to replicate the cinematic aspect of the campaign. Other progressive aspects of multiplayer are, leveling of characters, a medal system, and perk-like-boosters.
If you're still on the fence about buying a PS3, Drake's Deception might just win you over. It's graphics are known to push the limits on PS3. The storyline is solid with only a few nuisances and gameplay is better than ever. It's no wonder it won PS3's "GAME OF THE YEAR" award in 2011.
Prepare for visually impressive and immersive full scale war as you assume the role of a U.S. Marine in Battlefield 3. Following in the same steps of its predecessors, Battlefield 3 brings back much of the same formula that has made all Battlefield games great, while adding even more dynamic destructible terrain, a grand sense of scale, and a dizzying array of new vehicles and weapons to put you right into the warzone.
Battlefield 3 for Playstation 3 offers, for the first time in a main Battlefield title, a full single player campaign where you play the role of elite U.S. soldiers as you battle across the Middle East, Europe and North America. The campaign offers a big, loud and intense ride short of being a blockbuster action film, with destructible terrain and buildings using the Frostbite 2 technology and an abundance of crazy firefights and explosive sequences. The story, however, falls a little flat and makes little sense in the end while suffering from a lack of strong and present side characters with whom you would development an attachment to. Furthermore, you dont really get to take control of any devastating vehicles, a staple of the Battlefield franchise, except for a short tank sequence and an even less engaging ride-along aboard an F-18 where you are simply a gunner pointing out targets. The campaign doesnt really give you the opportunity to learn how to pilot vehicles in preparation for multiplayer and is generally a short affair, offering an experience that while entertaining does not fully live up to the strengths of the Battlefield franchise.
However, as with most modern shooters, where it really counts is the multiplayer, and Battlefield 3 has made no exception with its competitive mode and newly added two-player co-op mode that features several lengthy and difficult missions. The competitive mode brings back classic Battlefield game types as two teams battle it out on large battlefields with vehicles of every kind littering the map. With the Frostbite 2 technology there is nothing quite as satisfying as blowing apart a building with long range artillery or bombing a street into oblivion from your jet fighter or helicopter. Battlefield 3 also brings back a deep level of customization to the classes you can pick, with a large amount of weapons, attachments, equipment and perks that you can pick and choose in any combination. While you arent able to alter your character aesthetically, you have numerous options to give your soldier a completely unique kit on the battlefield. The only real problem with Battlefield 3 on Playstation 3 is it suffers from the smaller player cap of 24 players opposed to the PC counterpart cap of 64, thus reducing the size of all the maps. However, the multiplayer still stands as a great experience and will surely have you hooked for hours.
If you are looking solely for a single player experience, then Battlefield 3 might not be the game for you. But if you are looking for a fun single player ride and a deep multiplayer experience, then Battlefield 3 for Playstation 3 with its large scope and variety is a clear and safe bet as one of the best modern shooters out there.
Bioshock Infinite is the third instalement in the Bioshock series and although it is not an extension of the story told by the two earlier titles it does have much content that is thematically and conceptually similar.
The story is set in North America in 1912 and most of the action takes place in the 'floating' city of Columbia, whose very name is the personification of American maternalism, and whose location is in stark contrast to that of the city of Rapture which, as devotees of the series will know, is underwater. The city was founded as a Nativist ideal and is governed by The Founders a Nativist and Elitist political grouping. The Vox Populi. or the voice of the people, as the name suggests are a populist grouping who support the poor but are regarded as something of a revolutionary movement. As expected the two sides do not see eye to eye and are in open conflict.
The other problem that the city faces, and perhaps more interesting from a gaming point of view, is the tearing of the spacetime continuum leading to momentary but meaningful glimpses relative to and suggestive of other eras.
So much for the overview. What about the specifics? Well, for one thing, the story, though not overly complex, does contain a great deal of character interaction and knowing references, but in outline deals with the rescue by Booker DeWitt of Elizabeth. However, there is much greater depth and meaning woven around this simple story and the characters themselves and their backgrounds are detailed and complicated.
The dramatic hero is Booker DeWitt, and it is he who the player controls. He is a disgraced former Pinkerton National Detective Agency investigator thrown out for his fondness of drink and gambling, but now working as an independent agent. Elizabeth is a highly educated young lady who has been held against her will for most of her life in Columbia. She is controlled by the game's AI and crucially can manipuulate to some degree the spacetime continuum. Her rescue results in her and Dewitt being pursued by both political factions.
The other main characters are:-
The baddie, Father Zachary Hale Comstock, a religious fanatic and founder of Colunbia and hence the Founders. To make things a little more complicated he claims to be Elizabeth's father as the result of the seven day pregnancy of his wife.
The leader of the Vox Populi and servant to Comstock is Daisy Fitzroy, an African American who came to Columbia to start a new life. Given the political orientation of the city, and the political views of her employer, this would seem to be a pretty stupid move.
Robert and Rosalind Lutece, mistakenly thought to be twins but who turn out be two sides of the same persona, pop up constantly throughout the story and are behind some of the city's technology, but are mostly in a sort of unrealized quantum state. They sort of are and then they sort of aren't.
Then there is Cornelius Slate a former soldier and fighting comrade of DeWitt once a follower of Comstock, who became aware of his underhand dealings and converted to Vox Populi.
There are also many and various enemies in the shape of hard hitting heavies with names like the Handymen, so called because of their immense hands made for throwing things, including their enemies, long distances. Others are the Boys of Silence, the Motorized Patriots and the Siren, each imaginatively designed and with powerful abilities.
But of course all this is of little worth if the game does not play well or the graphic and audio presentation is poor. So how does it fare?
As with previous BioShock titles it is a first person shooter with some degree of role playing, a wise choice given the popularity of the earlier games. DeWitt moves around Columbia mostly on foot or using a grappling hook and rope. The main arterial routes which connect the city's main buildings are composed of a system called the Skyline which is a futuristic type rail line in the sky. He is limited to carrying only two weapons at any one time, but these can consist of many different wisely chosen combinations.
Greater powers such as those of telekinesis and controlled use of electricity can be obtained by collecting 'vigors' found in various locations of Columbia. These are attacking abilities and strengths but defensive and damage limiting capabilities are also on offer. Both rely on collection, purchase or other upgrade methods for their accumulation and again require a conscious choice of combination to optimize their effectiveness for a particular task. Once Elizabeth has been rescued her time warping abilities can be used to open up access to ammunition, health packs and the like, not forgetting the all important Salt on which 'Vigors' rely.
Following the general trend of serious gaming the year by year improvement of visual presentation of BioShock Infinite has resulted in outstanding graphics. The background and incidental music are equal in quality to the graphics the voice acting being particularly fitting.
BioShock fans will certainly buy the game on the strength of previous titles alone, and newcomers, after playing Infinite will want to take a look at BioShock's other offerings.