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God of War Ascension is of yet only released on the PS3 platform and is a third person action adventure game, in reality a bit of a hack and slash. Set in Ancient Greece it is loosely based upon the mythology of those times.
The list of characters reads like a Pantheon of Greek Gods. The main characters are Kratos, from Sparta, a region in ancient Greece, played by the user, who was once the servant of Ares the God of War, Ares. Then we have Orkos the oath keeper and the Furies, Megaera, Tisiphone and Alecto who are collectively the Gods of Honor and the enforcers of punishments. The Delphic Oracle, Aletheia, the twins Castor and Pollux, Zeus, the chief or father of the Gods, Poseidon the God of the Sea, Hades, the God of the Underworld, the Hero the mighty Hercules and the Cyclops Polyphemus along with others also feature but play smaller parts.
At the start of the game there is a short narrative giving the background to the story, but the story of the game begins with Kratos in chains being punished for breaking an oath he made to Ares as explained in the narrative prologue. With the assistance of various Gods, Kratos escapes but the narrative moves backwards to a time before Kratos was cast in chains. The story wanders around the locations of ancient Greece, visiting places such a Delphi and the Island of Delos, which are factual, and several more fictitious ones.
There are plenty of weapons on offer, Kratos has as his main weapon a pair of blades on the end of chains,the Blades of Chaos, whose use should be obvious, but he can also find and use others to be found dotted around the game's locations, but they last only for a limited amount of time and he is limited to owning a single weapon at any one time. The arsenal available to him include a sling, javelin or spear, a club, a sword and a defensive shield, and when weaponless he must resort to unarmed combat. Special abilities also feature such as the use of fire, lightning and magic and others that enhance the power of Kratos's own main weapon, the twin blades.
As well as combat there is also a puzzle solving aspect to the game sometimes involving the use of objects to make the progress of the main character easier or even possible. There is also a platforming element to the game whereby Kratos jumps across chasms and leaps over walls.
Their are also relics to be had which also have some unusual uses. These are an Amulet of Uroborus which can slow down enemy attacks for a limited period. The Oath Stone of Orkos lets Kratos be in two places at the same time and which can function something like an assistant where on pair of hands is not enough. The Eyes of Truth allow Kratos to distinguish reality from the illusions spun by the Furies.
The collection of objects also features in play and these objects are in the form of chests each of which contains Orbs which come in different colors, each colored Orb has its own use. With the use of these health can be topped up, weaponry upgraded and attacks made more intense. The player can also collect Phoenix Feathers and Gorgon Eyes which have their own power giving properties.
The many enemies include some of the entities from Greek Mythology such as the Gorgons, Sirens, Satyrs, Centaurs and Harpies which while not actually Gods did play a large part in the Myths of the time. There are also entities created for the game such as Juggernauts, which are to all intents and purposes Elephants, Wraiths and Manticores as well as hordes of parasitic insects. In a neat twist, under some circumstances, the larger of the creatures can be tamed for a time and ridden in battle against their former allies.
There is also an online multiplayer mode for up to eight players and consisting of four modes. These modes are Team Favor of the Gods, Trial of the Gods, Match of Champions and Capture the Flag.
The 'main' multiplayer mode is Team Favor of the Gods and in this mode two teams which can consist of up to four players per team play against each other as Trojans and Spartans and attempt to amass a predetermined total of points. Match of Champions similar to Team Favor but is not played as a team but can have between four and eight players competing.Trial of the Gods is a two player co-operative mode which is played against the clock and in which the creatures fought increase in strength over time, culminating in a major boss encounter at the end. the Capture the Flag mode The Spartans and Trojans compete to steal each others flags. Those who have played earlier God of War titles will recognize the maps for these modes as being taken from these earlier titles.
While the God of War series is not really regarded as highly as those such as Assassin's Creed, Ascension certainly has a pretty good stab at rivaling them and does not fail completely. The story is a bit out of this world but that's Greek Mythology for you.
Sniper Elite V2 will definitely have you sitting on the edge of your seat from start to finish. This game is refreshing because it is anything but a Call of Duty clone, it is a smart shooter game that requires careful strategy and planning in order to accomplish your goals.
The game allows you to play multiplayer missions or solo missions. The multiplayer missions are best played with a friend versus a complete stranger, because communication between partners is essential for these missions to be a success. The one thing that this game received criticism for was the missions being too brief. Also some people thought there should be better stealth options because it was somewhat difficult to be stealthy at certain points in the plot.
The great thing about this game is that there is more than one way to complete a mission. Another nice touch is the ability to fire a bullet so that it will kill two enemies at once. Another is the use of x-ray vision to show the kill, with the sniper's bullet in slow motion. The advantage of x-ray vision is that it will show you exactly where the bullet hits your enemy, even the vital organs. It's all very gory and there is a lot of tension because there is always some sort of danger lurking around the next corner. The game is of course perfect for those who like the accuracy of the sniper's art.
Another complaint is the fact that enemies often seem to have superhuman vision. They can spot you from unrealistic distances. The enemies also have poor AI, which can make it easy to get past them. What is good about this game is that you are rewarded for having patience. Not many games reward players for their patience.
Overall, this is a great game to add to your collection. You will be thoroughly impressed by the fun you can have with some of the features and you might even learn something in the process. The great thing about history games is they teach you as you play them.
Dishonored is a first person shooter created by Arkane Studios with the publisher being Bethesda Softworks (Yes, they do make more than just Fallout and Elder Scroll games.) The computer that this game was played to completion on has an Intel i7 processor (3.4GHz), 16 Gigs of RAM and an AMD 7970 3GB graphics card. This is to say, all bells and whistles were turned up to the max for the play through of this game. 1080p with 60 frames per second was the goal and it was achieved here.
Rats! No, this is not to say the game is bad as it is quite good, but that, there are rats everywhere. Welcome to the world of Dunwall, a town that has become infested with a rat plague. This plague is central to the story line of the game. The game's main protagonist is named Corvo. At the beginning of the game, you are the bodyguard for the Empress and are subsequently framed for her murder. From there, a very interesting whimsical tale of deceit and double (triple) crossing takes place that keeps the gamer enthralled until the game's end. The game was played with an Xbox 360 controller on the PC with the wireless receiver. Controller lag was negligible.
Technically, this game uses Unreal Engine 3, which is a very common game engine, used in games such as Unreal Tournament, Bioshock and Gears of War on the Xbox 360. However, this is a very modified version of it and it shows artistically in the graphics. This is a beautiful game as small touches such as debris in dilapidated homes and markings on walls add a distinct flair to the look of the game.
Gameplay has been the calling card of the game ever since the first trailer was shown. Imagine using Garrett from the Thief series, jumping around on rooftops, but also imbued with magical powers. Solid Snake and Sam Fisher do not have anything on this brand of stealth. Therefore, jumping from a three story building to do an assassination strikes a chord for the blood lust in us all. You are encouraged to use your environment for the best way to complete a mission as you are not given a large abundance of ammunition. In fact, it's quite scarce in the game so if you were thinking that you could Rambo through a level, think again. The game's story line can and will change depending on how you as the gamer proceed through the game. Are you violent and kill everything in sight? People in the game might not be willing to help you on some of your quests. These are some of the consequences that you face in the game.
As mentioned earlier, the story line follows the pursuits of Corvo after he is framed for the murder of the Empress. As in most cases, there is usually a heir to the throne for the sake of successful succession. In this case, is it the late Empress' daughter Emily. Emily becomes a pawn for many characters in the game as there are numerous people vying for power.
In conclusion, it's good to see that money was well spent here. Great voice actors and actresses such as Susan Sarandon, Carrie Fisher (Princess Lela of Star Wars fame) among many others lead this all-star cast. This is Arkane's first ever game together, but they have shown that they are willing to compete with the best developers out there. With knowledge that this game sold extremely well and this is now a franchise, let's cross our fingers that Dishonored 2 blows us away as much as the first Dishonored has.
The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword for the Wii is an action adventure game and is the sixteenth game in the long franchise. Developed by Nintendo this game is unique as it utilizes the motion features with the Wii in order for gamers to play through the game. This means that you have to have a feel for how to move around as if you were actually swinging at bad guys or aiming your arrow to shoot a monster. Now is the time to get off your feet and start your battle to Hyrule from the forces of evil.
Although this is the most recently released game in the Zelda franchise Skyward Sword takes place as the first Zelda game in the timeline. For all of those Zelda fans who want to learn how the adventure unfolded this is the game to play. In Skyward Sword you get to learn a lot more about the history and roots of The Master Sword and the main antagonist in the Zelda series Ganon. The plot goes into further details surrounding the game's history in general. Not only is the gameplay great, but the story makes this game one of the best Zelda games to date.
Throughout the you have to figure out how a lot of puzzles, which is why the Zelda series has always seen a lot of success. The puzzle and mind boggling aspect keeps gamers thinking at all times and gives you a sense of accomplishment when you figure out complex puzzles. The amount of side quests also make this game very fun and gives you a lot to complete in addition to the regular storyline. If you need a game that is going to keep you entertained for many hours this is it.
The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword was highly received and reputed to be one of the best in the franchise. Before the release of the game a the gaming community was skeptical of Nintendo's ability to keep gamers interested in a Zelda game. The previous game Twilight Princess did not receive as much positive reception as anticipated and as a result people thought Nintendo lost their edge. Yet Nintendo continued to prove people wrong by releasing a game that takes you back to the roots of how Zelda games are played. Even with the addition of the motion mechanics to the game it still feels like a wholesome Zelda game. Skyward Sword received many game of the year awards upon its release. In addition to winning game of the year awards from many reputable organizations it also received best original soundtrack, level design, graphics and story awards. Every long time Zelda fan will appreciate this incarnation of the game as it takes you back to that feeling you got when you played The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. This Zelda game is a must play.
Sly Cooper Thieves in Time, often abbreviated to Sly 4, is a follow on to Honor Among Thieves and takes place in a world once again populated by animal with human characteristics. It continues the story of Sly Cooper the raccoon, who is the latest in a long line of Coopers, a family of professional thieves. His mission in this story is to bring together his gang to repair the Thievius Raccoonius, a book describing the history of the Coopers which has been damaged by a time traveling villain. The player gets to control Sly himself and Sly's ancestors, as well as, to a lesser degree, Murray, Carmelita Fox and Bentley and some of Sly's ancestors, and he has to put their abilities to use to carry out robberies and to discover who was responsible for tampering with the above mentioned book.
The gang travels backwards and forwards in space and time, as do their villainous opponents, to such far flung eras and locations as the American Wild West where they manage engineer the prison break out of Tennessee Kid Cooper who was framed for a bank job. While there they also meet the character Toothpick, a gunslinging armadillo, now the town sheriff, and meet the skunk, the wheeler dealing Cyrille Le Paradox.
In Japan, during its feudal era, they rescue Rioichi Cooper, a Ninja and inventor of sushi, and there they encounter the military genius, the tiger El Jele, who overthrew several small nations in the Far East and auctioned them off. In England during the middle ages they meet Sir Galleth, a Knight of the Order of Coopers and the Black Knight. their travels also take them to Ancient Arabia and as far back as the Ice Age, places and times where they encounter other members of the Cooper family tree.
After much travel and adventure, countless twists and turns, and toing and froing in time, the gang ends up in modern day Paris. While there, Sly and Le paradox, who we first met in the Wild West, and who features often throughout the plot, do battle, ending in the imprisonment of Le Paradox along with most of the other villains. By this time most of Sly's gang have returned to where they came from.
Much of the gameplay is similar to the three previous Sly titles and it is Sly who the user mostly takes control of. There are various physical obstacles to be negotiated and many of Sly's abilities form before are inherited. New to this latest installment are the costumes and equipment which can be earned as the game progresses. These include such things as suits of armor and shields, useful in Medieval England. These costumes, having been earned, can be taken back and used in levels already completed to unlock and reach secret places not visited before. There are also other treasures and disguises such as masks to collect which act as in game currency to purchase upgrades and abilities.
When the game is completed successfully the player is treated to a scene of an Egyptian temple which gives a hint of a possible sequel to Thieves in Time.
Need for Speed The Run is not your typical racing game. It's premise has been done many times in movies, but never in a video game racing title that I'm aware of. Similar to the Cannonball Run series of movies and TV show, Need for Speed: The Run tasks players with being the first to reach New York City from San Francisco in a fast-paced racing adventure you'll find nowhere else.
Jack is strapped for cash and basically forced to enter a race across the country with $25 million dollars on the line and over 200 competitors standing in his way. Thats pretty much the entire plot, which is acceptable for just about any racing game. However, with a game as heavily promoted with Michael Bay cinematic videos as this one, I guess I expected a lot more.
Featuring the Frostbite 2 engine, Need for Speed The Run is a good looking racer. My favorite thing about the look of the game is by far the surrounding environment. There are some really interesting tracks with awe-inspiring views. You'll drive through the barren landscape of Death Valley and across the beautiful mountain tops of Yosemite National Park. You'll breeze past the flashing neon signs that plaster the strip in Las Vegas, and roam through the beautiful forests of Appalachia. You've never raced a track type in any other reality-based racing game that you wont encounter here. The cars are also meticulously recreated here with tremendous attention to detail. The cars don't just look great though, they sound great too. You'll truly feel like you're there for every bone-shattering collision on a crowded New York City street, and every spine-tingling tire screech as you sail around a tight corner on the streets of Chicago.
This game isn't Gran Turismo 5 or Forza 4 so you wont get top of the line physics. What you will get though, is an arcade style racer thats an absolute blast to play. There are 50 events to complete which take place over 10 stages. Each event represents a certain stretch of road between the countries 2 sides. During these stretches your tasks will vary, though not as much as one might hope over the course of 50 events. You might need to pass a certain amount of opponents, fight off the mob as they attempt to destroy your ride, or pass a series of checkpoints within the allotted time. Even the lack of variety doesn't slam the brakes on the fun though. As its the blistering sense of speed that gives you the adrenaline rush needed to see the story through to the end.
You can usually just stick to the racing in a review of this type, but thats not the case here. Black Box has added an almost unheard of element for this type of game, on-foot sequences. Yes, you heard that right. You actually get to stretch your legs and get out from behind the wheel from time to time. These sequences come in the form of quick-time events. Theres nothing groundbreaking here, but its definitely a nice change of pace and helps to break up the monotony.
Final Score 8.5/10
Need for Speed The Run is a one of a kind racing title that will appeal to gamers in general whether their gear heads or not. There's action, drama, suspense and even a bit of comedy. You really can't go wrong here and I highly recommend it to everyone, even if it's just for a weekend rental. Happy Gaming
Disney's Epic Mickey was a huge success upon release, selling 1.2 million copies in just a few short months. Because of this success, Disney, Nintendo and developer Junction Point decided to create a sequel. Epic Mickey: The Power of 2 offers up even more Disney nostalgia, complete with another heart warming story and all of the characters you fell in love with during the first game. The game even adds some new nods to Disney's amazing history.
Sadly, that's where the game's similarities to the first Epic Mickey end. The first Epic Mickey suffered from some minor control problems but it wasn't bad enough to ruin the experience. In Epic Mickey 2, the controls will make you frustrated and angry and detract from the experience significantly.
The idea behind Epic Mickey 2 is that you will travel through the game world not just as Mickey Mouse but also with the assistance of Oswald the Rabbit, a character from the Disney vault who was also featured in the first game. If you have another player to play with you with a second Wii Remote and Nunchuk, this player can assume the role of Oswald and offer at least some degree of intelligence to the character. But if you intend to play the game the same as the original Epic Mickey, as a solo affair, Oswald is not going to be much of a help. His artificial intelligence is almost laughable and he will frequently get in your way and just generally does more to hinder your progress than to help. Sometimes when you get to attack an enemy, Oswald will jump between you and the enemy like he's going to help you, but then he'll just stand there in your way, soaking up your paint brush attacks, effectively shielding the enemy while complaining that you are injuring him.
The combat is still seriously flawed even when Oswald is not getting in your way. The game suffers from some serious collision detection problems. Mickey can take damage when it appears that the enemy is still far enough away from him that the attack should have been avoided. You can appear to have avoided the incoming danger, only to then lose your life anyway, which is incredibly infuriating. Combat can also grow to be tedious. You're essentially doing most of the same moves over and over and even boss fights just feel way to drawn out.
The game's story offers many side quests this time around, but all of the extra quests add a bit of confusion to the game. It's not always crystal clear where you are supposed to go to complete the next main objective to progress the story. Non linear gameplay is usually welcome in most adventure games but in Epic Mickey 2 it sometimes makes you just feel lost.
If you are a hardcore Disney fan, there is enough Disney lore and nostalgia here to suggest at least taking a look. But as a game, the magic isn't there.
Unlike other games whose only purpose is to conquer all enemies, the Shadow Dragon will stimulate the players strategic minds in order to gather intelligence information or find ways in which to free his armies from the enemies. When the game was already available in Europe some hardcore fans of the Fire Emblem commented that the storyline was too shallow compared to other related games, but considering the fact the game is based on a 1990 Famicom, anyone can see that the latest version has made a difference.
The storyline of the game started with the main character named Prince Marth who runs away from the kingdom when he learns that his father has been killed in the battle. The Shadow Dragon follows him and later on becomes his great ally in reclaiming the kingdom. The story is perfect for the gameplay. In the new version of Famicom the grids had been upgraded with latest designs. There are 4 pre-chapters that have also been added and also the famous rock-paper-scissors triangle.
With all the lousy games from Nintendo that disappointed many of their fans, it is a good thing that the Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon game has stepped into the picture. It is one of the best that Nintendo has come up with. The game features a strict and unforgiving nature for the players. Once a players unit or team is defeated he will never get a chance to revive it until the combat is done. It seemed drastic and difficult but it will enable the player to think of different strategies and be wiser to keep all his units alive. The game is an indication that Nintendo can still produce top rated games if they want to.
There are significant additions to the game features. The pre-chapters of the game provide clear instructions and mechanics especially to those who are new players. There are additional units for every level which definitely make for a great fight. It also has multiple and online gaming features and allows voice chat. Online players only caters for up to 5 players which is a bit disappointing. A player can borrow units from other players and can buy special gears in online shops with the money they win in the combat.
The character animation in Shadow Dragon is quite old unlike the Square Enix. The game itself does not have new game designs or unique gameplays but it is a good example of a well refined and equally well designed game that promotes strategies. The publisher has perfectly in maintained the excitement and challenges within the game but has not forgotten to add friendly commands for the new players and fans
Painkiller Hell and Damnation, released for the Xbox 360, was meant as a remake of the original Painkiller, as well as a sequel to it. In the initial game players took on the role of Daniel Garner who had stepped up to the position of heavenly hitman. In traditional first person shooter style inherited from Doom, Quake and Serious Sam, players mowed through hordes of the damned using weapons ranging from the unique to the truly bizarre, all for the express purpose of reuniting Daniel with his wife. He was denied at the end of the first game, and that's where Painkiller Hell and Damnation picks up.
What's the Mission?
Daniel, lamenting his current position, is approached by Death. In exchange for 7,000 souls Death assures Daniel that he will be reunited with his lost love. Daniel, suspicion but between a rock and a hard place, accepts the bargain along with the Soulcatcher gun. With it Daniel goes face first, guns blazing back into Purgatory hoping against hope that this time he comes out ahead on his bargain.
When Daniel's old ally Eve shows up and tells him that Death isn't really on the level, he tries to ignore it. Daniel fights many of the same enemies, as well as many demon lords, that he's already defeated once and collects the souls as asked. When he returns though, Death tells him there's only 6,999 souls; the last soul he needs is Eve's. Daniel refuses and once again is left twisting in the wind. However, he does realize that Eve was correct, and that Daniel isn't really dead... he's been in a coma this whole time! Unfortunately now that Death has gotten back with the other three horsemen of the apocalypse, it's only a matter of time until they invade Earth. So Daniel's going to have to step up and find some allies among those who were, so recently, his enemies.
How Does it Play?
Painkiller Hell and Damnation brings a lot of what modern gaming has to offer to an old title, without sacrificing any of the blood soaked savagery and brutal style that Painkiller was steeped in. So, that said, it feels like a good merger of an old style first person shooter with the great graphics, beautiful physics and sheer responsiveness that games offer in the modern day when it comes to all out shooters.
Painkiller Hell and Damnation is a Frankensteinian throwback to when shooters gave players impossible guns to fight impossible foes. Shooting demons with cannons that fire lightning shurikens or spinning death fans that shop off heads is nothing new to the genre, but it displays a level or irreverent fun that has been lacking in many modern shooters. A great deal of fun with a solid plot that reinvigorates a popular, older title and introduces it to an entire generation of younger gamers, this game is a definite good investment. Particularly for those who've missed all of Painkiller's rip-roaring fun and body counts.
Need for Speed: The Run is not your typical racing game. It's premise has been done many times in movies, but never in a video game racing title that I'm aware of. Similar to the Cannonball Run series of movies and TV show, Need for Speed: The Run tasks players with being the first to reach New York City from San Francisco in a fast-paced racing adventure you'll find nowhere else.
Jack is strapped for cash and basically forced to enter a race across the country with $25 million dollars on the line and over 200 competitors standing in his way. That's pretty much the entire plot, which is acceptable for just about any racing game. However, with a game as heavily promoted with Michael Bay cinematic videos as this one, I guess I expected a lot more.
Featuring the Frostbite 2 engine, Need for Speed: The Run is a good looking racer. My favorite thing about the look of the game is by far the surrounding environment. There are some really interesting tracks with awe-inspiring views. You'll drive through the barren landscape of Death Valley and across the beautiful mountain tops of Yosemite National Park. You'll breeze past the flashing neon signs that plaster the strip in Las Vegas, and roam through the beautiful forests of Appalachia. You've never raced a track type in any other reality-based racing game that you won't encounter here. The cars are also meticulously recreated here with tremendous attention to detail. The cars don't just look great though, they sound great too. You'll truly feel like you're there for every bone-shattering collision on a crowded New York City street, and every spine-tingling tire screech as you sail around a tight corner on the streets of Chicago.
This game isn't Gran Turismo 5 or Forza 4 so you won't get top of the line physics. What you will get though, is an arcade style racer that's an absolute blast to play. There are 50 events to complete which take place over 10 stages. Each event represents a certain stretch of road between the countries 2 sides. During these stretches your tasks will vary, though not as much as one might hope over the course of 50 events. You might need to pass a certain amount of opponents, fight off the mob as they attempt to destroy your ride, or pass a series of checkpoints within the allotted time. Even the lack of variety doesn't slam the brakes on the fun though. As it's the blistering sense of speed that gives you the adrenaline rush needed to see the story through to the end.
You can usually just stick to the racing in a review of this type, but that's not the case here. Black Box has added an almost unheard of element for this type of game, on-foot sequences. Yes, you heard that right. You actually get to stretch your legs and get out from behind the wheel from time to time. These sequences come in the form of quick-time events. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but it's definitely a nice change of pace and helps to break up the monotony.
Final Score 8.5/10
Need for Speed: The Run is a one of a kind racing title that will appeal to gamers in general whether they are gear heads or not. There's action, drama, suspense and even a bit of comedy. You really can't go wrong here and I highly recommend it to everyone, even if it's just for a weekend rental. Happy Gaming!
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