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N. Edmonds "Zampano" (UK)

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Game of Thrones (PS3)
Game of Thrones (PS3)
Offered by LT Lighting
Price: £29.99

18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Dark....Wings....Dark....Words", 16 Jun 2012
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Game of Thrones (PS3) (Video Game)
Game of Thrones RPG.

I expected this game to at least live up to my basic expectations of a modern RPG. Sadly, however, it is wholly lacking in every single aspect:

1. Combat

Combat uses an "active pause" and Skill Select Wheel very similar to Dragon Age Origins: Collectors Edition (PS3) Dragon Age 2 (PS3)(1 or 2) or Mass Effect 2 for Sony PS3. From this wheel you choose one of a range of skills, which will enter a skill queue of up to 3 skills. A tried and tested mechanism, there's not much at fault with the actual UI execution, but (and it's a large one) where combat fails is in the animations and repetitions. In Dragon Age 2 (or 1) use of a Fire Skill typically results in an over-the-top blaze of fire on the screen which ignites your enemies (and your companions in certain modes), a physical effect of the skill you have just used. In GOT, when Alester throws his Wildfire Flask, or uses several of his other flame skills, the effect is nothing more than a debuff icon beneath the opponents bar. While this would be forgiven in some games, in a RPG that imitates Dragon Age (or many others) so clearly, it simply serves to highlight the lack of finesse with which this game has been constructed.

Effects are not the only annoyance with combat. Many of the Skills you use, and indeed your basic attacks, utilise the same animation, which mean that watching combat is a tiresome and dull experience. There are some tactical elements to combat (Different weapons are useful for different armour types for instance) but once you're halfway through the game, you'll simply find yourself using the same skills, in the same order, to dispatch every group of foes.

2. Script/Voice Acting

While the script itself is good, most of the voice-acting is atrocious. Often, it sounds as if the phrases are computer generated, from a list of pre-recorded words, rather than actually recorded as sentences. Jeor Mormont, for instance, speaks with such a slow pace that I simply found myself skipping most of his dialogue (and many others later in the game). Having played games such as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3) and listened to every second of the dialogue and watched every cutscene, it again is an indication that there is something not right with the game. Aside from the slow pacing, or regurgitated lines, the voice acting itself for many of the minor characters is the worst I have ever heard. The voices simply do not fit the characters, or are acted/spoken in such a manner that it breaks any connection between character and voice.

3. Graphics

A tricky aspect to judge; In terms of scenery, the game has an average graphical quality. It doesn't have the artistic style of Dragon Age, nor the realistic style of something like The Witcher, but sits somewhere in between. Most of the cities you visit look very similar, and while set-pieces like The Wall do look impressive from afar, it is up close that you can really tell that they haven't been rendered particularly well. But there are moments in the game where it feels like you are playing a PS2 again, rather than a PS3.

4. Storyline
The one good-point in a list of so many failings. The story of Mors and Alester (the two protagonists of the story) is interesting, and the further you get into the game the more intriguing it becomes. This is marred by the voice-acting/script, as noted above, which means following the story is somewhat of a chore, but it's worth the effort if you enjoy the work of GRR Martin (I doubt anyone who doesn't would buy this game).

If Cyanide really have been developing this for 7+ years, maybe it started life as a PS2 game and that is the reason for its failings (though even Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (PS) on PS1 had better combat and voice acting). Overall, this game should have been kept back for at least a few more years, to polish off the voice acting and combat system and introduce some new animations. If you're a fan of the series (books or show) then I'd recommend you leave this until you can pick it up for less than £10.00. If you're not, then this game has absolutely nothing to offer you.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Limited Edition (PS3)
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Limited Edition (PS3)
Offered by IDSS
Price: £3.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A Matter of Choices, 29 Oct 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
The original Deus Ex remains one of my favourite games for reasons I cannot entirely pinpoint. Human Revolution has many of the same features, much of the freedom and intelligence of the original, yet the "spark" of Deus Ex seems to be missing. While it is certainly a fantastic, and fascinating, game there are several moments where you seem forced to take a certain augmentation, or forced to perform a certain action rather than actually making a choice.

While the moments where there is a lack of choice are sparse, they do impair the game as a whole. The boss battles, while well designed and "fun" (and frustrating!), are the most obvious aspect of the game where you are forced down a certain path. Not only because you have to fight them, but because certain augmentations are beyond highly beneficial, and almost necessary, for certain bosses.

The ending(s) is/are also somewhat disappointing as when you get to Panacea, and fight your way through to the final scenes, it seems that nothing you have done in the game has affected the ending whatsoever. Essentially, the last hour or so of the game eradicates all feeling that choice has been relevant, that you've played the game "your way" by offering you the same endings (up to 4) no matter whether you have stealthily crept through the game, been aggressive to people, or been supportive. The ending could have been much improved by not offering you a choice of "button to press" but basing the end on the decisions, choices, actions you had performed in the rest of the game.

Overall an enjoyable game, with the opportunity for freedom of gameplay, but one too limited in real, meaningful, choice compared to the original Deus Ex.

Batman: Arkham City (PS3)
Batman: Arkham City (PS3)
Offered by Gameline GmbH.
Price: £9.94

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Knight Triumphant, 29 Oct 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Having enjoyed Arkham Asylum I expected great things of Arkham City, and I was not disappointed. The sense of character is still there so that it feels like a Batman game, and the control system and gadgets enable you to have a sense of "Being Batman". The combat is simple, and yet the new multiple counters, increased variation in enemy type/equipment and additional actions, add a more tactical element to the combat so that it is always best to plan, while swooping down upon the enemy or watching them from above, before entering combat.

My one criticism is that the main story does feel somewhat short, with only around 10 hours or so of game-play, but this criticism is outweighed by the sheer range of side missions, challenges, and additional content in the game. The Riddler Challenges from Arkham Asylum return, but there are new, challenging, ways to collect Riddler Trophies and discover his secrets.

A near perfect game; enjoyable, addictive, re-playable, and endlessly surprising.

The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria (PC)
The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria (PC)
Offered by clickforgamesltd
Price: £14.14

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drums in the Deep, 27 Nov 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Volume II of the Lord of the Rings Online adds content for levels 50-60. But, many aspects of the game have been changed that have an effect on every level. The most noticeable will be the new stats, where ratings have replaced fixed percentages. While many glance at these and shout "nerf" the reality is that the new system is more flexible, intuitive, and enjoyable.

Along with the revised stats you have the Legendary Weapon system. Volume II, Book 1 of the Epic quest line introduces these to you (and you won't get to set foot inside the dark depths of Moria until you have progressed through this Book) and quickly sets you up on levelling and personalising your new weapon. While the system is complicated (there is a lot of information available on the Codemasters website) it is something that needs to be experienced and played with to come to understand the true power and unique design of the system. Legendary weapons don't merely customise your weapon, but your whole character and class - allowing you to add stats and "legacies" (bonuses to existing skills or types of skill) that you want to focus on.

The most thrilling aspect, however, is of course Moria itself. Following the Epic Book you get a picture of the story of Moria, both in the past and in the present, and of the evil that now creeps in the dark places beneath the mountains. The mines are huge, both vertically and horizontally, comprising numerous areas; from dark, dank caverns, to illuminated gardens, flame and smoke filled forge rooms, and orc infested nightmares. The landscape is a constant joy, and often a huge suprise. Simply exploring Moria would take many many long hours, but within the walls there are also hundreds of quests, a spattering of instances, and a raid.

Alongside the sheer beauty and marvel of the design, there sits a soundtrack that is arguably on par with Howard Shore's renditions for the LOTR movies. There is a sense of wonder, dread, fear and peril as you wander through the most dangerous regions of Moria with the music ominously leading you forward towards the Drums...drums in the deep.

Mines of Moria takes the Lord of the Rings online to another level. It raises the game both in difficulty and challenge, and in content and design, and is the first of many expansions to come (we hope). And the expansion is, of course, not the end of the content as Turbine have proven to add new content, areas, ideas constantly throughout the year in Book updates (PAtches named after the Epic Quest Book number).

A must buy for any Tolkien enthusiast who is looking for an MMO. A very worthy consideration for anyone else.

"The Road I speak of leads to the Mines of Moria," said Gandalf. Only Gimli lifted up his head; a smouldering fire was in his eyes. On all the others a dread fell at the mention of that name. Even to the hobbits it was a legend of vague fear"
J.R.R. Tolkien, A Journey in the Dark, The Lord of the Rings.

The Matrix: Online (PC)
The Matrix: Online (PC)
Offered by GeeksWholesaler
Price: £19.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Matrix Online: Reloaded, 3 Oct 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Since it's launch 18+ months ago The Matrix Online (MxO) has gone through many trials and tribulations. It has moved from the smaller development lounge of Monolith over to the multi-game platform of Sony Online Entertainment.

At first this seemed like a terrible thing to everyone. Monolith had given us Live events, interaction with the movie characters and easy communications tools to allow out of game and in game contact. SOE cut most of these in the transition.

However SOE have not let us down. Since the transision there have been numerous updates to the game adding new content (PAndoras Box, Archived missions, Construct quest) and completly revising the combat system with CR2.0. The combat, which varies wildly from a Hacker (Wizard class) to Kung Fu Grandmaster and all in between, is now fluid and concise. It works. There is no other game out there that comes close to the intricacy and general "coolness" of Interlock.

The game still has problems, certainly, Lag is one of the most iritating but it is not as bad as some make out. You can avoid the worst of it and counter much of it with a good computer and internet connection. And ther are less Live Events, which is unfortunate. But the bugs and the minor problems (that are so often emphasised by those that dislike the game) do not detract from the overall enjoyment of The Matrix Online.

The game looks good, flows well and has plenty of content for the casual gamer. For the more hardcore MMO player it has one of the richest Roleplaying communites around and a healthy and dedicated PvP server. If you want something that isn't about Elves and Goblins flipping pancakes...or something or other...then try The Matrix Online.

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