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Stevie G "Stevie G" (Manchester, England)

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Wanted: Weapons Of Fate (PS3)
Wanted: Weapons Of Fate (PS3)
Price: £27.44

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wanted A Longer Game, 18 Sept. 2009
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Expectations for movie licences are usually low. Wanted: Weapons of Fate is no different; despite flashes of potential, it's a distinctly average experience. The storyline picks up directly after the movie, following Wesley Gibson as he learns more about his mother. Play also switches to Wesley's father, Cross, for a few levels. In addition, there's some nonsense about intercepting a magical loom of fate.

Essentially, it's another cover-based shooter, with some fancy slow motion and bullet curving abilities. Unlike Gears of War, Wanted encourages rapid movement, chaining cover moves to swiftly dispatch foes. Adrenaline is earned with each kill, and used for special moves. Bullet curving is a nice feature. It's a little fiddly, but satisfying when pulled off. The trajectory of a shot is lined up by pressing R1. This can be adjusted until the reticule turns white, indicating a clear shot. Releasing R1 causes Wesley to shoot, flicking the gun as he fires. It looks very cool, but this feature is never explored further than taking out enemies behind cover. There's no environmental puzzles, or imaginative uses of this feature.
Mercifully, QTE's are given an interesting twist. At certain points, an on-rails section triggers, slow motion activates, and Wesley must dispatch a number of foes within a strict time limit. It's reminiscent of arcade lightgun games, keeping the pace frantic, and makes a refreshing change from button bashing.

Graphically, Weapons of Fate is acceptable, but cut scenes look very underwhelming, due to some poorly rendered character models and texturing. It isn't so noticeable during play. James McAvoy is captured well, but his voice actor is appalling. Frustrating design is everywhere, especially during gun turrret sections. These are unbearably difficult until the mechanics are worked out. Basically, when not firing the turret, the gun shield is raised. This isn't explained at any point, leaving the player to infuriating trial and error approaches. Also, Wesley can't use enemy weapons, meaning his default weapon set is the only choice. Admittedly, it would be difficult to curve shotgun shells, but why not remove special abilites from these weapons, instead of removing them altogether? Bosses all follow a similar pattern, which gets tedious too.

The game is woefully short, totalling 9 levels, some of which are completed in minutes. Even worse, there's no real incentive to play again. Headshot mode and close combat mode are unlockable, as well as extra characters and artwork, but with no multiplayer options this will be completed within hours.

Eat Lead (PS3)
Eat Lead (PS3)
Offered by Korte-EDV Internetmarketing & Vertrieb, Preise inkl. MwSt.
Price: £6.90

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Apparently It's Hazard Time, 11 Sept. 2009
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Eat Lead (PS3) (Video Game)
Eat Lead is an attempt to prove videogames can be funny. It's a satire on the industry, littered with in-jokes. Matt Hazard has been one of gaming's biggest stars since the 8 bit days. Working up from a side scrolling sprite, with 'more firepower than pixels', he's starred in classics like Matt Hazard 3D, and You Only Live 1317 Times. He's featured in nearly every genre, but latest attempts at diversifying the Hazard brand failed miserably. A racer named Hazz Matt Carts and a non violent water-gun shooter called Soak Em forced an early retirement.
Recently, he's given a shot at redemption, by starring in a next-gen shooter. It turns out to be a trap, and Matt's old enemies are released into the game. From the Wafferthinn soldiers to Sonny Tang, Hazard must survive the gauntlet, and get revenge on the person behind it.

Music and presentation have a suitably retro feel. Although character design for Matt Hazard is more Jason Statham than Duke Nukem; a big, bald protagonist, with similarly angry growls. Whilst the plot is refreshingly original, gameplay is the polar opposite. There are also major frame rate issues and system freezes. Controls are functional, but gunplay is sluggish and inconsistent. Considering the entire game is based around shooting, it's a big disappointment. It also features the worst Shotgun in memory.
On the other hand, Eat Leads cover system is very intuitive, including a dash feature, where Hazard locks onto cover and automatically moves to it. The lack of a jump button is highlighted during play. But a sprint button would have been appreciated, as Hazard moves at a leisurely trot. He can't even climb ladders, or crouch, so how he survived 20 years of gaming is a mystery.

The humour isn't side splittingly funny; a Mario knock-off named Captain Carpenter got a chuckle. Final Fantasy also gets it, under the name Penultimate Illusion. But the majority of jokes are subtle observations on gaming trends. Stuttery voice acting is sent up by Bill the Wizard. His cries of foes to the...left, foes to the...right during a sniper mission is reminiscent of the PS1 era. Yet it seems poorly designed for those unaware of the joke. There are humourous remarks on gun turrets: "Why can't I just pick it up and run around with it, that would be much more convenient". And after a boss battle, objectives update to: Taking out the helicopter miraculously unlocked the exit.
There's a nice parody on overloading the player with tasks. Matt complains about having too many, so they are replaced with one simple objective: Shoot everything that moves! Trophies are painfully easy. One is awarded for watching the credits in their entirety, whilst another is achieved by pausing the game. Similar oddball trophies are given for shooting 30 potted plants. Theres a Multiplayer Master trophy, despite no multiplayer options.

The concept of Eat Lead isn't fully explored, giving the impression more could have been done with this unique setup. For example, more genres could have featured, like a side scrolling level, or a 1st person shooter stage, reflecting Hazards long and supposedly varied career. Missions lack variety, and most consist of warehouses or docks. This could have been a homage to the past 20 years of gaming, instead of a hit and miss spoof. A joke that few will get, which isnt even funny.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2010 6:59 PM GMT

Afro Samurai (PS3)
Afro Samurai (PS3)
Offered by MEDIALAND

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A faithful adaption, 6 Sept. 2009
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Afro Samurai (PS3) (Video Game)
Afro Samurai is a tale of retribution. As a young boy, Afro witnesses his father's murder at the hands of Justice, who happens to be the #1 fighter in the world. Consumed by revenge, Afro vows to earn the #2 headband needed to challenge the world's best fighter. However, many covet this headband for themselves. The fusion of traditional Japanese culture and hip hop created a brutally fresh experience, and the game retains much of what made the anime unique. However, it isn't without problems.

The cel shaded graphics are a suitable match to the shows visual style. Characters are immediately recognisable, with some nice texturing bringing them closer to the source material. Generally, the plot feels like deleted scenes from the original quest, but standout moments, like the freefall battle sequence, are beautifully recreated. New characters feature, and certain plot gaps are filled in, as well as flashes to Afros childhood. Yet it can feel disjointed, switching locations without much explanation. In addition, the finer points of the story will be lost on newcomers. Music is supervised by Wu Tangs RZA, and remains of a high standard. Afro & his chatty 'sidekick' Ninja Ninja are still brilliantly voiced by Samuel L Jackson, lending the game humour and attitude. To date, it's possibly the best use of voice acting in videogames.

Nudity, violence, and sexual content are everywhere, battles against topless female ninjas in particular. Combat is highly stylised, visceral and furious, although it treads closely to generic hack and slashers. Afro Samurai has always been bloodthirsty, and the game piles on the gore, including slow motion dismemberments. Strong attacks build up focus moves, where environmental colours wash away, and make decapitations an even grislier sight. Wide sweeping, focus attacks decimate everything on screen, which superbly conveys the raw power of Afro Samurai.

Level design is fairly standard. However, the environments feel surprisingly empty, and barring a few simplistic puzzles, and hidden items, are completely void of interaction. Clumsy platform sections only have a detrimental effect on gameplay. There's a level up system, which doesent seem to do anything. Elsewhere, there are some minor but noticeable frame rate drops, especially during split screen moments. Later bosses are full of cheap moves, and threaten to ruin the experience (Brother No.6!). Animation is jittery in places. The camera is the games biggest problem, forcing the use of inverted controls, and with a complete lack of customisation.

An entertaining and thoroughly gory affair, Afro Samurai is a successful videogame adaptation. Yet newcomers won't find anything to match the depth or sophistication of Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden. Probably one for the fans.

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (PS3)
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (PS3)
Price: £18.01

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars R.I.P Leisure Suit Larry, 27 Aug. 2009
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
After a troubled development, Leisure Suit Larry was never going to be a classic. But the end result is embarrassing, bearing no resemblance to the Al Lowe originals. This latest adventure sees Larry Lovage working a summer job at Laffer Studios, his Uncles film company. There's a plot afoot to ruin the business, so Larry is asked to work undercover and learn the identity of this mole. Along the way, Larry searches for action, adventure and romance.
In reality, this means frustrating fetch quests and tedious missions around the open world of Tinselwood.

Side quests include 100 Larry awards to collect, races handed out from a Stig lookalike, and Dreamscape sequences with references to film genres. There are a total of 3, Wild West, Horror & Bytanic. In addition, a seduction minigame has Larry trying to impress the employee of the moment. Their details are posted on the notice board, then Larry has to find and seduce them, which involves a fetch quest along the way. At points in the game, a director minigame provides the chance to direct a film sequence. The action plays out, while Larry chooses from three possible camera shots, with a higher score for the correct one. Shooting and fighting sections are included too. However, every one feels like a lazy, unfinished idea that amounts to no more than a button bashing exercise. More interaction is needed in the games environments too.
Mission design is frustrating and thoughtless. One requires Larry to find 11 items in 14 minutes scattered on rooftops around the map. Another mission is exactly like an earlier one, this time removing the items placed before. There are times even the games designers know its getting lazy, with Larry muttering "What a tired and contrived plot mechanic". The simple gameplay is made unbearably frustrating by a jerky camera. It's absolutely horrendous, and along with poor collision detection, makes platform sections a nightmare. Timed sections rage inducing. Graphical glitches are everywhere, with objects popping in and out of sight.

Although Box Office Bust has an 18 rating, and unlike previous games, it doesn't feature any graphic nudity. Any fans of the original will be turned off by the shift in gameplay too. Fraternising with the lay-dees was what gained this series cult status. So it's difficult to understand who this game is being made for. There are plenty of risqué references and a good deal of cleavage, but it's rarely funny.
Load times are horrendous for such a simple game. The loading screens display comments like: Button bashing counts as exercise. The game has almost done loading...almost...seriously...just wait a little longer. And, it's a little known fact your average games player spends 45 dog years waiting for loading screens to finish. They don't make it any more enjoyable.

Ironically Box Office Bust manages to alienate even its core audience. The voice talents of Joe from Family Guy (as Damone LeCoque) dont even raise a smile. It's sad as Leisure Suit Larry has the potential for a good game. But it will take a miracle now.

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand (PS3)
50 Cent: Blood on the Sand (PS3)
Offered by Media-Games Germany
Price: £29.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you want it lets go!, 6 Aug. 2009
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Love him or loathe him, 50 Cent is everywhere. This sequel to the million selling Bulletproof is a major improvement. The plot sees 50 and G Unit doing a show in an unnamed Middle Eastern city. Promised $10 million, the money has been stolen when Fiddy goes to collect. The sleazy promoter offers an alternative, a diamond encrusted skull. However, returning to the airport, their convoy is ambushed and the skull is taken. Which sets up an excuse for 50 & G Unit to go on a murderous rampage to reclaim their prize.

Developer Swordfish has borrowed elements from other shooters, the cover mechanic from Gears of War, the scoring system from The Club. Bullet time from Max Payne. Fiddy can choose a partner from G Unit (Young Buck is replaced by DJ Whoo Kid) to help with combat and navigate environmental obstacles. This aspect is remarkably similar to Resident Evil 5, and works just as effectively.
The gratuitously over the top action is structured well by its scoring system. It awards points for chaining kills, use of cover, insults etc, adding layers to the core gameplay. Timed sections unlock ammo such as incendiary and explosive rounds. A typical example would be: kill all reinforcements within 30 seconds. Failure simply causes the game to continue, minus the bonus, which ensures the action is constant and relentless throughout. Counter kills are well presented, and the weapon selection is also complete, with a large and varied choice, accessible via payphones. Hidden extras also increase longevity. Posters and targets are hidden on every level, in addition to loot.

Presentation is also impressive, with some nicely rendered war torn cities for Fiddy to battle through.
Level design is solid, presented as sheer urban warfare, the hood away from the hood. Standout sections include an abandoned shopping mall that's now a heroin factory. A building site surrounding by a busy highway. And a theatre literally burning to the ground. Fans will love the music player, featuring current, classic and exclusive tracks. Play lists can be fully customised too, so annoying tunes (P.I.M.P, Disco Inferno) can be permanently erased. Favourites (What Up Gangsta, Fire) can be selected multiple times. Voice acting is of a very high standard too.

The appeal of Blood on the Sand is inevitably determined by 50 Cent, which shouldn't be the case. The cast have more character than most shooters on the market, and it isn't as self-indulgent as it appears. Actually it's a very solid shooter, regardless of your music tastes.

History Channel: Battle for the Pacific (PS3)
History Channel: Battle for the Pacific (PS3)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars You will follow me, and this is an order!, 1 Aug. 2009
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
History Channel: Battle for the Pacific is a generic World War 2 shooter. It uses TV footage to introduce missions in a similar style to early Call of Duty titles. Whilst the presentation here is good, gameplay is quite the opposite. It brings absolutely nothing new, with repetitive combat and abysmal graphics.
The general theme is the American campaign to take various Pacific islands. However, there's no plot development, with missions ending suddenly. Fellow soldiers have no personalities, repeating the same dialogue endlessly. Draw distance is embarrassingly bad, with objects randomly appearing. One example is a section requiring the defusal of landmines, which pop into view mere feet away.
Level design is also horrendous. The opening level, Wake Island, is a tedious trawl through identical looking trenches. And things don't improve throughout the games incredibly short length. Every mission requires you to follow someone, somewhere. What makes this so frustrating is any variation leads to immediate failure. It also means exploration is impossible. Combat lacks any sense of empowerment. Animation is a joke; enemies all look and move identically. In fact the whole presentation is appalling. Controls cannot be altered, with only one scheme available.

In the saturated market of WW2 shooters, Battle For The Pacific is arguably the most shameless. Using the History Channel as a template, it claims authenticity. With quotes like, `Experience history brought to life', and `Relive epic land battles fought on some of the most brutal and unforgiving battlefields in recorded history'.
Instead, its a shambles, with none of the scale or scope this flimsy marketing would have you believe. A terrible shooter.

Claymore Vol 1 & 2 [DVD]
Claymore Vol 1 & 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hiroyuki Tanaka

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another strong Manga anime, 31 July 2009
This review is from: Claymore Vol 1 & 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Based on the cult Japanese comic strip, Claymore is deeper than its monster hunter premise suggests.
A vicious breed of monsters called Yoma stalk the land. With the ability to transform their appearance, they can infiltrate villages, and feast on human flesh. When camouflaged, they are indistinguishable.
To combat this epidemic, the mysterious corporation engineered the Claymore. These `silver eyed witches' were developed with human and Yoma characteristics, and are feared by both. Sworn to protect humans, Claymores are sent to infected villages, and for a fee, remove the threat. However, the more they destroy, the closer they get to becoming one.

This is Clare's story, but everyone has a history, so characterisation is a major focus. There are many well designed, memorable characters. Teresa of the faint smile and the man in black stand out.
Episodes form part of an overarching plot, with a back story neatly linked, revealing different characters, and expanding the world. It also explores the Claymores relationship with humans, and the consequences of breaking their vow.
The art direction is quite restrained, with fine use of colour. For the majority, action is similarly portrayed, with quick lethal blows confirming how strong the Claymore are.
The story continues on Parts 3 & 4, and Parts 5 & 6 released later in the year.

The Fluffer [DVD] [2002]
The Fluffer [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Scott Gurney
Offered by westworld-
Price: £20.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bum Fluff, 27 July 2009
This review is from: The Fluffer [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Sean has moved to Los Angeles to make it big in the film industry. After receiving the wrong rental tape, he meets Johnny Rebel, a straight man who has become a major star in the gay porn industry. Becoming infatuated with him, Sean applies for a cameraman job at his studio, Men of Janus. He soon performs a request above and beyond the job description, and their ensuing `friendship' creates a strange love triangle with Rebels stripper girlfriend Babylon.

The Fluffer takes a candid look at the adult film industry, rather than resorting to cliché and myth. The directors have sensibly explored the motivations of these characters, including the paths that have led to these career choices. Rebels confused sexuality, and struggle to separate his professional and personal life, makes him a human time bomb.
The subject matter will inevitably marginalize The Fluffer's appeal, but it's entertaining and relevant for viewers of any sexuality.

Mum & Dad [DVD] [2008]
Mum & Dad [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Perry Benson
Offered by 247dvd
Price: £9.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Go on, make Daddy happy!, 26 July 2009
This review is from: Mum & Dad [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Absolutely chilling British horror. Polish Airport cleaner Lena is lured to a co-workers house after missing the bus. She soon discovers the `adoptive' family never want her to leave. Perry Benson (Somers Town) plays Dad, a man with twisted family values, and a tendency for gratuitous violence.
`"In this household, family is everything. You can forget what's outside that wall now. It doesn't exist. From now on, this is your world. Your mum and your dad, you brother and your sister, that's it". Lena must play along with the deranged psychopaths if she hopes to survive.

Mum & Dad differentiates itself with truly surreal imagery. Dad using meat in a foul way, or the unconventional Xmas decorations. The film treads closely to a Saw style torture fest, but there is some subtlety, such as the foot massage scene. Or anecodotes at the kitchen table.
A standout horror from new director Steven Sheil. Equal parts horrific and entertaining.

Golden Axe: Beast Rider (PS3)
Golden Axe: Beast Rider (PS3)
Offered by MICRO LTD
Price: £19.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dogs of the Death Adder, 25 July 2009
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Golden Axe: Beast Rider is a halfhearted franchise revival. Its still a hack and slasher, but a basic and ugly one.
Golden Axes heroine is Tyris. The `storyline' involves the kidnapping of `the last of the great Titans' by the Bogeymen. Which leads Tyris on a quest to rebuild the legendary Golden Axe.
Memories of the originals are hazy, but there some references. Gilius Thunderhead, the axe-wielding dwarf makes a few early appearances, but disappears by the end of each cut scene. This also happens with the entire Sisterhood during the opening ceremony. The gnomes also feature, complete with fast music. Attacking them causes items, health and cash to drop, acting like a bonus section.
Dragon statues act as continues, found during certain levels. Once these are used, death means a restart to the beginning. It's a nice, old school touch, but a checkpoint system would have worked better.

The fundamental change is the inclusion of beasts (hence the title) that can be used in battle. There is an interesting selection. Some have cloaking powers, others can breathe fire. It provides some welcome variation. However, later stages have large numbers of enemies on beasts. As soon as Tyris is knocked off, (which happens far too easily), an enemy will mount your beast too. It's a bit like carjacking in GTA. Creature respawn pads are usually located at the beginning of each level, which forces backtracking. Moreover, if your creature hasn't been killed, nothing will happen. Harsh and frustrating.

The combat system seems deep initially. Coloured attacks correspond to the shoulder buttons. So orange attacks are countered with L1, blue attacks with R1. Yet even during the tutorial stage, the controls feel unresponsive, with a noticeable delay between button prompt and animation. It leads to a button-bashing affair, and ruins the counter attack system.
Levels, or `Challenges', consist of basic puzzles, mixed with repetitive combat. The next section opens once all enemies are killed, or a puzzle is completed. Sometimes it's both!
Spells are included, but drain magic quickly. Recharging pads are scattered, but their general use is limited to emergencies, or when mission specific. It's extremely frustrating to reach a puzzle, need magic to pass, and have to scour the level, looking for an unopened crate or pad.

On the positive side, there's gore everywhere, and even a statistic for limb dismemberments. Loading screen artwork is a nice touch. And the music is above average. However, there is no trophy support, its also prone to split second freezes and graphical glitches. The camera can be very problematic. Levels are painfully linear. Enemies appear from thin air, which is a cheap move. Graphics are also under whelming. In a similar style to Viking: Battle For Asgard, the bright, cartoon-like aesthetic fails to hide an unattractive game.
Golden Axe has a few extras. Trials of Tyris is a selection of battle arenas that feature in the main quest. Challenge mode allows completed levels to be replayed, along with unlocked outfits and blades. But they all suffer the same problems as story mode, and remain almost no fun to play.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 11, 2009 1:08 PM GMT

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