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Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360)
Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360)
Offered by Talbot Media
Price: £9.99

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A story of lies and broken promises, 8 April 2012
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
MASS EFFECT 3 (Xbox 360)
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After years of wait and anticipation, Mass Effect 3 finally arrived. It would be game of the year, a story of epic proportions, looking down on the competition with a superior and benevolent little smile. It would set a new precedent for story telling in games for years to come.

It would be a tale of shattered promises, shock and confusion and rising outrage. And with good reason.

---

Let me back up a little. If you have somehow missed it so far, there is a veritable storm of public outcry against EA/Bioware and the ending of Mass Effect 3. If you want to know more, it is practically impossible to miss in a Google search. So I shall leave that alone for now. I will also attempt to cover the game from a purely objective and then subjective point of view.

OBJECTIVE
---------

Movement and combat mechanics should come first. They have, without a doubt, improved since Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 1. The hero or heroine, Commander Shepard, can now roll, move into and out of cover with ease, no longer has a stamina bar when running in combat to impede them. Everything feels good in that respect. Combat is no longer an awkward distraction. It is usually genuine fun. So a star for them there.

The missions. This is where things being to unravel at first. To start with, Mass Effect 3 has some very, very good set pieces. I can think of 2-3 big events in game that are truly epic, that bring plot points to closure and give time to some of the series' best characters.
They also exist in stark contrast to the rest of the missions. Gone are the fun side-missions of ME2 and the randomly acquired scanner missions on unknown planets, and LONG gone are days of ME1 with it's hands on exploration in the Mako and fighting pirates and thresher maws on backwater worlds. Now you are relegated to playing fed-ex for meaningless items across the galaxy. All these do are effect the number of 'war assets' the player has for the conclusion of the Single Player.

Space travel and scanning return from ME2, and sadly did not learn any lessons. The fuel mechanic remains to serve as a minor frustration, but scanning no longer has to be done on a planet-by-planet basis. The ship (the Normandy) can now use an area scan to quickly see if planets or objects have anything of value on them. This scanning also triggers the new addition to space; the Reapers. If they catch you, you die. It's that simple, and an unneeded frustration to an already maligned section of gameplay.

Multiplayer, while often criticised, I will say as worth a shot. Now that the combat mechanics are vastly improved it is actually a relatively fun addition. While the gameplay itself earns another star, the multiplayer store does not. You are forced to buy 'random packs' to unlock new characters and weapons, and some of these packs can be purchased with Microsoft Points (or equivalent on other systems). Instead of implementing a straight forward, open-front store like the one featured in Single Player, this instead seems more geared towards extracting money from players for in-game rewards.
And while the multiplayer effects the 'Galactic readiness level' for Single Player, it ultimately makes little difference. As I shall explain.

SUBJECTIVE
---------

Subjectively, Mass Effect 3 is a massive, massive let down, an un-fitting end to what should have been the trilogy of the century, the new Star Wars of the era. As you can find from many of the other online articles, the plot is riddled with inconsistencies, choices from Mass Effect 2, despite developer promises, are sometimes completely ignored. ME3 is a game that feels like it was released a year or two too early, and primarily in the name of profit. The game features on-disc content (From Ashes) that was turned into Day One Downloadable Content. The option to buy multiplayer packs with points is another low-blow.
The ending, however, is the coup de grace, and enough to enrage thousands of gamers and fans world wide. You can hardly miss the outcry. It, ultimately, betrays the entire point of the series as a whole; choice and opinion and free-will. There is so much left un-answered, so many new questions (most of them including swear words and confusion, it seems), and a literal Deus Ex Machina.

CONCLUSION
---------

Mass Effect 3 has become a sensation, for all the wrong reasons. Yes, mechanically, it is a playable and quite enjoyable game. However, the primary draw of the ME games and galaxy was the rich galaxy and story they told, that immersed the player and encouraged them to make their own story. That goes out the window with ME3. The developer response, as well, is disingenuous to the players and the series itself.

I would recommend not buying Mass Effect 3 for a few reasons. Firstly, if you are an existing fan of the series, the ending and plot holes will likely be cause enough for disappointment. If you are a new-comer, then Mass Effect 1 is a better place to start, as the games really come into their own when played in order (until 3, of course). Secondly, and arguably more importantly, EA/Bioware are setting a dangerous precedent, where it is alright to break promises, to charge extra for content already on disc and to ignore the fans and gamers that the entire industry relies on.
Therefore I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this game. Despite what it *should* have been, and that would be GotY 2012, ME3 does not deliver, and nor do it's developers.


Transformers: War for Cybertron (Xbox 360)
Transformers: War for Cybertron (Xbox 360)

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock and Roll Out, 15 July 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
TRANSFORMERS: WAR FOR CYBERTRON REVIEW
--------------------------------------

Well, where to begin? At the beginning, is probably best.

The Story:
---------

Fans of the original G1 Transformers, rejoice. Transformers has finally come home; the story is set before the war on Earth, on Cybertron, shortly after Megatron, self-proclaimed leader of the Decepticons, has kicked off a planet wise civil war, that pits Cybertronian against Cybertroniann. Megatrons Decepticons aim to reforge Cybertron and its people into warriors and soldiers, to bring about their own 'New Order' to the planet, Galaxy and beyond. Standing against them are the Autobots, who are clinging desperately to their more peaceful way of life, and who are suffering for it in comparison to Megatrons more ruthlessly trained forces.

Single Player:
--------------

The Single Player is divided into two campaigns, but both are positioned on the same timeline. Chronologically, the Decepticon campaign comes first, followed by the Autobots.
As the Decepticons, you follow Megatron and his minions as they search for the secrets of 'Dark Energon' aboard an Orbital Station, confront Zeta Prime and try to wrench the Omega Key from his grasp, with the goal of dominating the heart of Cybertron itself.
In the Autobots campaign you take on the role of a field commander by the name of Optimus, and the troops around him, who begin to organise an effective resistance to Megatron, resuce comrades from a Decepticon Prison Centre, and confront some of the most deadly soldiers and weapons Megatron can throw at them.

Multiplayer:
------------

Hit the frontlines in the War for Cybertron as either an Autobot or Decepticon, with an array of weaponary and abilities, along with four distinct classes;

SCOUT: The scout transforms into a fast moving race-style car, armed with built in machine guns. They are best used for stealthy sneak attacks and long range sniping, capable of packing a cloaking field and a target designator, amongst other things. Fast movers and patient hunters will get the most mileage out of these sneaky fighters.

SCIENTIST: At the same time the weakest and also the strongest of the four classes, The Scientists are also arguably the most mobile, with the ability to transform into a highly maneuverable jet, equipped with vehicle-seeking missiles as standard. Still capable in a fire fight, the Scientist real strength lies in being able to patch up their team-mates on the fly, summoning hovering gun-turrets and even camouflaging themselves as an Enemy, only to shoot them in the back a few moments later.

LEADER: Second toughest and the more durable of the support classes, the Leaders transform into ram-capable trucks, armed with direct-fire rockets. Boosting allies with their warcries, blocking shots (but not travel) with a summonable barrier and other tricks make Leaders live up to their names well. They also pack an ammount of firepower unhealthy for any foe to get caught in their crosshairs.

SOLDIER: Rolling in last but by no means least, the Tank is the Soldiers form of choice, equppied with a massive battle cannon and an ability to pull a 180 for quicker manuevering. Those who love dishing out an insane ammount of damage will favour the Soldier, as they pack assault-blasters, miniguns, high power shotguns and rocket launchers as standard. They are also capable of decimating tight knit groups with their Whirlwind melee attack, Hovering in mid-air to rain death from above, summon an ammo beacon to boost damage and replenish allies stocks and even jam enemy abilities with an Energon Sling. Whatever you do, don't tackle a Soldier head on without the struts to back it up.

Gameplay:
---------

I'll get the one bad point out of the way first; the melee attack. Clicking the right stick will cause your transformer to attack an enemy at close range. All fine and dandy, except that the actual animation takes a long time. The actual point of contact is never made very clear, so actually hitting an opponent, especially in multiplayer, is very much at times a case of trial, error and sometimes frustration (This may in part also be due to the inescapable foe of Online; Lag)

That out of the way, the gameplay is incredibly solid. In single player the objectives are labelled clearly, the map layout and design is excellent, the story is well delivered and there are some excellent moments where I deny your jaw not to drop. Needless to say, if you've watched the trailer; Yes, you fight some truly titanic foes.

The vehicle modes handle incredibly solidly; none of the utter frustation that was the movie tie in games, for example.

What else can I say? It looks right, it sounds right, it *feels* right. THIS is the Transformers that spawned a fandom that last to this day. This is the Transfomers that brought Robots in Disguise to the world.
This is Cybertron. This is YOUR war. What are you waiting for?

Till All Are One.


Reise, Reise
Reise, Reise
Price: £8.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reise indeed, 18 April 2010
This review is from: Reise, Reise (MP3 Download)
I don't speak enough German to actually understand the lyrics, but I don't feel handicapped by that in the slightest. Even if you don't know German from Greek or Goonish, it really doesn't matter; this is pure heavy goodness. Reise Reise the song itself is...hells, it gives me goosebumps every time. Moskau too is a truly epic track, but, as others have said, it really is all good.

Danke schune!


Assassin's Creed II XBOX 360
Assassin's Creed II XBOX 360
Offered by 6 Hungry Weasels
Price: £38.97

117 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars II times the awesome, 29 Nov 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
There was a lot of hype concerning Assassins Creed 2. Along with some concerns; was it just more of the same? Would they fix up some of the problem areas? Could you actually swim?

I'm critical of games and movies. Very much so. So believe me when I say 'Get this, and don't look back.'
Assassins Creed was a good game with fun elements and some really great moments, let down by a few flaws and some slightly grating missions.
Its offspring is not only two in number, but twice as good.

*GAMEPLAY*
--------

The most important part for one an all. And the answer from the get go is; Yes. It is far superior to gameplay in Assassins Creed 1. Gone are the rinse-repeat missions, leading up to the actual assasination. Gone are the clunkier elements of the combat system. Experience an evironment where anything and everything can be used to your advantage. Experience combat where its not a matter of if you will defeat your enemies, but in what manner you bring about their inevitable demises.

*Combat*

Combat, first, as that had a few major flaws. The hidden blade is now a proper weapon in its own right. You can attack with it and, glory be, you can BLOCK with it. Counter kills are every bit as lethal and one-shot-kill as they ever were, with less frustration.

Fists too recieve a major upgrade. You can, if your fancy takes you, punch opponents into the floor. Also, while unarmed and grabbing an opponent, you can now lay three hits on them out of a choise of headbutt, knee and punch.
The best part of the upgraded unarmed combat is the ability to disarm guards. This is especially useful on two of the new enemy classes; Brutes and Seekers. These nasties are armed with two handed weapons and spears, respectively, and can be rather lethal. Disarming them not only robs them of their attack power, but also lets you use the special moves that come with the weapons. Also, the counter-kills for those two weapons, though they lose you the weapon, are very, very satisfying.

*Enemies*

The enemies themselves are more varied as well. Gone are the days of Guard 1, Guard 2, Guard 3, Italy sports its own army of foes for you to cut through. The basic armed soldiers are still there, ranging from basic Militia, through to armed Man-At-Arms, to the armoured and painful Elite units. Then come the specialists, all of whom require some extra attention in a fight; Brutes, Seekers and Agiles. These chaps add a whole new dynamic to every fight, as the Brutes and Seekers each have different special moves, and the Agiles are more than capable of outpacing you in free-running.

Not only is the combat more dynamic, but the guards are smarter too. No more blending in with a group of monks, despite being heavily armed. No more sitting on a bench and the guards magically losing sight of you. The seekers use their spears to prod about in haystacks, and guards will check the people on benches. Later on, of course, you pick up some moves that swiftly (and permanantly) put an end to such nosey individuals.

*Blending*

On the subject of blending in, there is a new system involved, notoriety. A bar around the symbol net to your health fills up as you perform illegal or noteworthy actions. When that bar is full, you are now Notorious. Guards will start top take notice of you, and react immediately to any wayward behaviour. They also poke around in haystacks more. By tearing down wanted posters, bribing heralds, or simply killing off the officials who give the orders, you can lower your status back to Incognito.

Blending itself is much easier, and much more believable. Simply stand in the middle of a group of citizens, go with the flow, and you are just another person. Nice and easy.

*Missions*
The missions are all very well done. The beat-up and delivery type missions have now been made sub-missions that you can choose to pick up or leave be as you choose. The actual game quests are much slicker than the clunky feel of the original, and the progression is smooth and seamless.

*Economy*
Thats right, this time around you get pocket money. Money can be aquired in various ways, all of them fairly easy and self-explanatory. You can use money to buy medicine (which you carry with you and use when needed to restore health), new weapons, new armour which adds to your health bar, and other things. No need to be poor but awesome, right? Rich and awesome is a win/win situation.

*STORY*
-------

The story progresses well from the last game, and goes much deeper. Especially if you hunt down all the clues and extras. No more random flag collecting, the collections are all tied neatly into the story. There are only about three or four incident where we are brought back to the present day, rather than the past, and the modenr sequences are all well done and serve a purpose. If you're like me, and really liked the plot laid in AC1, then 2 should have you on the edge of your seat.

*GRAPHICS*
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AC1 was very nice graphically from the get go. 2 has probably improved, but its so slick and smooth that its hard to know where to start. Needless to say, the attention to detail is breathtaking. As someone who has been to Venice, standing in front of the Doges palace was one of those 'ohmigod' moments that make this game so darn good.

So, what are you waiting for? Click buy, already! If you like swash and buckle, sneaking and stabbing, awesome vistas or just pure epic, this game will treat you well.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 7, 2011 7:11 PM GMT


Conker: Live & Reloaded (Xbox)
Conker: Live & Reloaded (Xbox)

4.0 out of 5 stars Conker-er, 21 Oct 2009
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Played through before I reviewed, so, here we go.

It's not quite Bad Fur Day. That's both a good thing and a bad thing.

Bad out of the way first. Less swearing. The rating got toned down to a 16+, with no option to re-enable the f-ing and blinding that made Bad Fur Day rib-crackingly funny.
Good news: Even then, it's not much of a handicap. And the core of the game is still there.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

The game looks absolutely beautiful. Given this is actually an XBox game, it puts some of the stuff on the 360 to shame. The revamped graphics solved the worst problem of the N64 version, which was that it was hard to actually see Conker. No longer. The landscape is fantastic, the characters brilliant, the blood...hmm, the blood.

THE POTTED PLOT:

Conker is a red squirrel, the only one it seems in a world inhabited by small fuzzy animals. Don't let that put you off, this is cutesy with a twist. Babes, booze and guns, guts and gore in spades. Conker starts off with a stinking hangover and, with your help, attempts to get home. Only home is a long, long road when theres so much money to be picked up on the way, so many wacky people out to get you, and not to mention a mythical King trying to turn you into a table leg.
It makes a bit more sense when you play it. And the cutscenes are fantastic.

THE PLAYING:

The tutorial level features a few little quirks for the sake of old timers, which I know made me smile. It also introduces you to the majority of things you'll need.
The first slight sticking point comes up here. Now, bearing in mind at the time of writing I have no XBox live, so I don't know wether this has had any patches or not.

The sticking point numero uno is the B button for using your melee weapon. Usually a 1, 2, 3 press rewards you with a three swing combo. Not all the time. I can and does jam up a bit, which can be annoying, although not impossible to work around. It does make you er on the side of caution, which is also useful.

The one slight quibble I have is that the boys and girls at Rare didn't take the chance to put a few little useful things in, such as a map and hints on where to go next. It can get a bit puzzling as to where you go and when. Given the main part of the game has a central hub, it's not too bad, but it could have been tweaked.

The actual gameplay parts themselves are golden, as they always were. There is the odd occasion where you may well end up throwing the controller around in frustration, with a few little bits that really, really should have had some camera and control tuning, such as the hoverboard race in the Buggah the Nutt level. (Cavemen, lava. Forewarned). That and when you get knocked down you tend to slide, often off the edge of things, or when you get set on fire you run around flailing...annoying when you are on lava flows.

But, although you may end up getting frustrated, it is very satisfying to play a game that, unlike the swathe of more recent ones, actually punishes your mistakes. It's not just "Oops, oh well", it's "Ha, now you're REALLY in trouble, mate!"
(A sentiment shared by the Grim Reaper, who I get the feeling is in on the whole thing)

SUMMATION:

Conker: Live and Reloaded is an old school gem, buffed and polished until it nearly blinds you. While it could have had a few of the rougher edges smoothed down a tad (hence the -1 star) it is still incredbily playable, incredibly satisfying, and a blast to play, with the bonus that the Chapter selection makes replay all the easier and all the more fun.

(And this is missing out the Live component, if anyone still plays it online anymore, since Im without net at the moment. But good luck to ya...now, where's my pint and that gun..?)


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2-Disc) Special Edition [DVD]
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2-Disc) Special Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ Shia LaBeouf
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £13.81

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still Bayformers, but an improvement, 21 Aug 2009
(This review is, as are all reviews, based solely on opinion. I've tried to be objective, to avoid it sounding like 'OMGthissuxlolol' and such, but, to be honest, you'll have to make up your own mind on how good it is =] )

Well, although the first movie had it's moments, it defintely was 'Bayformers' and not much of a reflection of the Transformers of old.

Revenge of the Fallen, however, was a step up. The mass of somewhat pointless sub-plot humans are gone and, although it still feels at times like a movie where the Transformers co-star, it's not quite as bad as the first film.

Opening with the Autobots working alongside Lennox and the newly formed NEST team (this does show Bay's ignorance, however. NEST actually exists in the real world, as an American Nuclean response team) sets off the start rather well. The focus is muce more firmly centered on the Transformers, which is good. However, RotF continues the picking up and throwing away of characters, with little or no actual development. Bay seems to have forgotten that, for a movie to be really good, you need be able to connect with the characters.

Shia does do a very good job as Sam, it has to be said. He's believable. Although personally it get's a bit much with the whole sub-story of being off to college, he plays his part well. Megan Fox as Michela, although flaunted somewhat for her looks, isn't a bad co-star. There is still an over-prevelance of 'hot girls and humour', however, with the humour being rather American/lowbrow; dogs going at it, stereotypes and OTT college scenes. Judy Whitwicky is also something of a sticking point. The scenes with her try to be overtly funny, often failing (at least for me).

To cut a long review short, it is still a fairly decent movie. The action sequences are much, much better than the first film. And Bay manages, despite doing himself no favours for the most part, to pull off some scenes that do absolutely blow your mind. The fight in the forest is one of them, and it really does feel like an iconic, epic fight.

To sum it up, or rather how I feel it goes (It's an opinion after all, as are all reviews =] )

Action:
Very highly rated, pulse-pounding moments and blow your mind battles that feel like the worlds about to end.

Spec ops, the stealthy parts:
The scenes with Ravage and Soundwave are very well done, as is the crashed Decepticon ship.

Canon:
There are some points where Bay absolutely runs roughshod over Transformers past history, and sometimes he embraces it. I'd say (Opinion here) that the scenes where Canon is respected tend to be better than those that run over it somewhat.

Soundtrack:
Wow. Steve Jablonsky not only pulled out all the stops but blew a few fuses for good measure. The Score is epic, and there are times when you think, by rights, your spine should have crawled out of your ears by now at how good it is.

Dogs, guns and girls, inconsistancies and American humour:
For all the good points, sadly, there always feels like there is a let down counter-point. Devastator, flying in the face of Bay saying he would never make any of the combiner teams, was fantastic. Spoiled by the daft comments that Smithers had to say later. The prominance of 'Look, hot girls' is also a tad overdone. There are also a few horribly glaring and, from a production and story point of view, unforgiveable continuity errors. There appears to be TWO of each Constructicon, something that is never explained. Although apparently it's a different robot, what looks amazingly like Blackout from the first movie makes an appearance, as does Demolisher who, if memory and re-watching serves, had his head removed by Primes sword in the first movie. The daft humour is excusable in small ammounts. But not by this much.

So, minus a star for the OTT American styling and humour and minus another for the repeated inconsistancies and being less about plot and more about big action, big guns and big focus on girls looking smouldering. That can work, yes, but this isn't really the movie to try it in.
And, as one last side-note, I would reccomend a 15 rather than a 12A, in all seriousness.


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