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Stevie G "Stevie G" (Manchester, England)

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Alone in the Dark (PS3)
Alone in the Dark (PS3)
Offered by FUN-N-MORE
Price: 39.90

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not So Alone In The Park, 19 April 2009
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
The PS3 release of Alone In The Dark (sub titled Inferno) is supposedly an improvement over the earlier release on consoles, with flaws ironed out and critiscisms worked on. Despite a handful of innovative ideas, the execution still leaves much to be desired.
The visuals are disappointingly poor, and highlight how long this was in development. Graphics are rough and jagged, and characters display a waxy complexion. Yet AITD has plenty of atmosphere. The apocalypse is conveyed well by the games environments. Collapsed buildings and strewn corpses add to the feeling of sudden and devastating carnage.

Inventory items are stored in Edward Carnbys coat, which is accessed in real-time. It has very limited space, so re-arranging and discarding items will take more time than necessary. Combining items is also tricky, and needs performing in the correct order to register. This leads to a frustrating case of trial and error, especially when first playing. Items like blood packs, which can be used to distract enemies, are fiddly to use. This leads to no experimentation, favouring guns and violence over more thoughtful approaches. The sluggish controls dont help. AITD can be played in both 1st and 3rd person perspectives, but neither mode is particularly fun. Specific actions are better performed in a certain mode, so its soon a matter of convenience, rather than personal preference.
The games many set pieces are well designed and imaginatively presented, but emphasise how linear the game is. The Central Park sections even have invisible trigger points. Vehicle sections are slightly awkward, breaking into a car is fun the first few times, trying to hotwire or find the keys, but the driving feels like a sub standard rally game.

Puzzles are formed out of obstacles in the environment, possibly the games strongest aspect. Redistributing weight on a bus teetering over a cliff is one highlight. Hooking an electrical cable out of water demonstrates how the puzzles are both logical and realistic.
Another innovative feature is how injuries are displayed physically on Carnby's body. Minor injuries can be sprayed back to health, but more serious wounds require bandaging before a timer counts down. It's a novel approach, and makes a change from the standard health bar.

AITD's story is presented in a similar style to TV shows like Lost and 24, with the game split into Chapters. Each chapter ends on a cliff-hanger, and a 'previously on' section recaps events so far. However, the narrative struggles to entertain, and lacks the characterisation of its inspirations. Carnby himself is dislikeable, and his amnesia feels like an amateur plot device. However, the explosive set pieces keep things moving along.
Also, every chapter is available to play outright, so the game can be played out of sequence. Presumably this is to remove sticking points, but ruins any sense of achievement once the credits roll.

Ultimately Alone In The Dark : Inferno is a game crippled by its own ambition, with most ideas feeling like a compromise.

The Office - An American Workplace - Complete Season 3 [DVD]
The Office - An American Workplace - Complete Season 3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Steve Carell
Price: 10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Genius! More than a cheap American copy!, 10 April 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The previous season of American workplace managed to differentiate itself from the Gervais original. Season 3 is even funnier, and consistently brilliant throughout. Elements of the British version remain (the merging of branches happens this season). However, plot lines are handled with confidence and skill, and don't rely on scene for scene plagiarism (like the pilot of Season 1).

More emphasis is placed on character development. Themed episodes still occur, but the employees of Dunder Mifflin are explored with greater depth. Michael Scott is played to perfection by Steve Carell, whose cringe worthy and politically incorrect remarks are comedy gold! Dwight however, steals the show, especially during the 'talking heads'. The humour is primarily physical, with subtleties and body language coming second.

The Coup, Negotiation & Safety Training are some memorable episodes. Season 4 is set up nicely by the finale, and can't come soon enough.

Resident Evil 5 - Limited Edition (PS3)
Resident Evil 5 - Limited Edition (PS3)
Offered by sicodaddy
Price: 64.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Controls you cant forget, 15 Mar 2009
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
On the surface it seemed Resident Evil 5 had made some big changes, with a focus on co-op play and a move to Africa. Early rumours of how the blistering heat would cause hallucinations haven't made the final game; instead the end product sticks to the formula that made Resident Evil 4 a success. This is no bad thing, but games have moved on, controls in particular.

This is my only issue. Admittedly they have always been awkward and clunky; advocates argue that reduced mobility creates fear and tense situations. Yet the franchise has moved away from its horror roots into action territory, so the controls should have improved accordingly. Not being able to move and shoot could have ruined this, and makes combat harsh in places. Especially as the inventory screen is now managed in real time, which can only aggravate matters. To fully enjoy this, Resi's twisted logic must be embraced, and its control scheme accepted. Obviously that will be easier for some than others.

The rest of the game is excellent. Chris Redfield now works for the BSAA, preventing the sale of Umbrellas biological weapons on the black market. Chris has become disillusioned, wondering if it's all worthwhile. Without giving too much away, it soon becomes a personal mission, and provides a gripping subplot for series die-hards. Sheva is more than a pretty face, and the co-op element works better than expected. She rarely misses, and her AI is surprisingly competent too.

The town Chris and Sheva arrive at quickly erupts into a violent battleground. Graphics are astounding, in fact it's difficult to criticise the presentation. Crowds are more numerous and in these early stages, combat becomes a matter of crowd control, incapacitating the highest risk zombies whilst keeping the crowds at bay. Those who kicked up such a fuss over Resi 5's apparent racism will find much to complain about. The town populations are mixed race, but this is made irrelevant by the Marshlands level, where Chris and Sheva exterminate tribes of spear throwing, grass skirt wearing Majini. The imagery is morally dubious, but taken in the context of the story, couldn't be deemed racist at all.

Weapons can be upgraded in areas of firepower, capacity, reload speed and % of citical shot. Treasures are hidden on enemies and throughout levels, which can be sold to purchase these upgrades, ammunition and supplies. Its a deep, comprehensive system, and a logical replacement for Resident Evil 4's traders, who always seemed at odds with the rest of the game world. An infinite ammo option can be purchased for fully upgraded weapons. This will take a while to attain, but adds massively to replayability, and makes those S ranks much easier to achieve.

There are some nice extras to round off this package. 30 BSAA emblems are hidden throughout the game, and are fiendishly difficult to locate. Library files flesh out the story, and contain detailed notes on the BSAA, Majini and Chris Redfield (12 in total). Figurines can be obtained for every character, and a Mercenaries game is unlocked once the credits roll. Scores can be uploaded to global leaderboards, and online play is very smooth.
This special edition contains a bonus disc with a making of documentary, and a trailer for CGI film, Resident Evil : Degeneration.
Mainly a retread, this can feel like a HD makeover of Resi 4; but that's good enough for me.

Killzone 2 (PS3)
Killzone 2 (PS3)
Offered by b68solutions
Price: 6.89

48 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full Campaign Review, 28 Feb 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Killzone 2 (PS3) (Video Game)
Exclusive titles come under the most intense scrutiny. If this were a multi-format release, the majority of players would admire what Guerilla has achieved here. Similarly, if PS3's immediate future didnt rest soley with Killzone 2, expectations would be more realistic. Admittedly the developers havent helped their situation.
The now infamous 2005 video lodged Killzone 2 high on wish lists. Whilst the visuals don't match that remarkable CGI film, it comes respectably close. It is the most attractive game on PS3, and aside from shelling out thousands on a PC capable of running Crysis, it's the prettiest shooter ever made.

The biggest surprise is the fact there's some real substance behind those stunning good looks. Killzone 2 takes the full bodied realism approach to the next level; it feels slow at first, but everything moves deliberately, with weight and purpose. Throwing a grenade, reloading and even movement takes longer than usual. It lends Killzone 2 an element of tension usually absent from shooters, and is much better for it.
The cover system works like a dream; differentiating itself from similar set ups, but remaining intuitive and relaible. Although controls can't be specifically mapped, theres a wide selction of schemes available. Alt 2 moves the gun sight to L1, which is far more instinctive, as Call of Duty addicts will agree.
Movie clips are done with the in-game engine, and are spectacularly directed. Its also impressive that Guerilla has managed to squeeze some new ideas out of the exhausted space marines concept. Somehow, Alpha squads story feels involving and (in places) unpredictable.
Variations in combat are brilliantly done. Controlling an exo-skeleton is a real highlight. Manning a battle cannon to defend the ISA fleet is also superbly handled, both visually and mechanically. Subtle touches, like rotating the loading screen picture, make presentation top notch. Six-axis controls for planting C4, and turning cranks, are also brilliant innovations.

But Killzone 2 isnt perfect. Headshots rarely count, and when overwhelmed, proves frustrating. The game also jerks violently when loading the next section. The optimum HD display is only 720p, which was surprising to find no 1080 options. Not that the visuals need improving. Only being able to carry one weapon (as well as a pistol), can also lead to unintentionally difficult moments. Yet makes combat brutally realistic.
Minor flaws however. This feels like the most exciting, genre defining shooter since Call of Duty 4. It really is that good.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 17, 2009 6:12 PM GMT

Destroy All Humans: Path of the Furon (PS3)
Destroy All Humans: Path of the Furon (PS3)
Price: 17.99

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfinished mess, but has it moments, 26 Feb 2009
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Next-gen Destroy All Humans plays exactly like the last, the visuals are even PS2 standard. But there is fun to be had, especially if you find anal probes amusing. The plot sees Crypto coming out of semi-retirement to harvest human DNA. He has become settled on Earth, founding his own casino: Space Dust, and generally forgetting his mission to destroy all humans. The path of the Furon needs mastering for Crypto to reach enlightenment (hence the title).

The opening section of Paradiso has a Las Vegas theme. Immediately the visuals are horrifyingly poor; jagged edges, poor collision detection and clunky controls all add to the feeling this has been released unfinished. The next level, Sunnywood is even more appalling on the eyes.
Sound can be awful, with characters repeating the same dialogue constantly, often occuring well after the subtitles appear on screen. Characters also walk through solid objects, and each other, which is never acceptable.
Physics are a mess, despite a large section of the game being based on this. An early odd job requires Crypto to roll a meteorite to the destination. This becomes utterly infuriating when it violently rolls the opposite way. For the umpteenth time, and for no logical reason other than this element is utterly broken.

Crypto can use his flying saucer to travel around the map. Controls are marginally better, with the abducto ray providing some variation on harvesting DNA. However, the saucer can only land in approved 'landing zones', which makes navigation unnecessarily trying. The saucer and ray guns can be upgraded via the games archaic shop system, but affects gameplay little.
Of Cryptos powers, the body snatching mechanic should be more diverse, and actually limits Cryptos abilities. It serves as a stealth mode, with capabilites limited to mind reading other humans. The ability to carjack vehicles would have given a quicker pace to travelling.

In spite of this, there are some amusing moments.
An infiltration mission requires Crypto to body snatch a mafia don, who has to discover the password 'corned beef sandwich'! A dating game, where one of the contestants is being kept against their will, typifies the dark humour.
Yet most of the missions are badly designed and require no thought whatsoever. Brainless and ugly, but occasionally fun.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 13, 2009 11:27 AM BST

Street Fighter IV (PS3)
Street Fighter IV (PS3)
Offered by Global Xpress
Price: 13.99

13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And The Fight Continues!, 21 Feb 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
A mighty sequel, and a perfect example of how to update a classic franchise for the current generation. Everything, from the cheesey title music to the fighters announcements, brings back nostalgia.
The visuals make Stret Fighter 4 stand out, whilst retaining the feel of the series. The cel shaded look is outstanding, and the animations really bring the characters to life. Classic fighters are immediately recognisable, with some beautifully done exaggerations (like Guiles hair). New additions to the roster all appear to bring something new. El Fuerte for example, plays like no-one in the series history. ameplay is accessible from the start, as the core fighting moves have been revised. Its now easier to perform 2-3 hit combos on the fly. Rather than ruining balance, it prevents button bashing, even from new players. This lower entry level helps to encourage complete mastery of your chosen character and their abilites.

The frighteningly good, elite Street Fighters have also returned. A session online revealed that even on release day, some players are impossibly good. Winning just a handful of fights, online brawling is a humbling experience, even during these early days. The option to play a ranked battle, or one just for fun, will make online suitability and pairing easier. There's also a fight request system (which can be turned off), that allow invitations to be sent whilst playing.
Single player alone has some impressive modes. Arcade seems virtually untouched, with a nonsense story explaining each fighters involvement in this tournament. Challenge mode is a nice addition; a series of tasks, with categories like survival and time attck. A typical challenge would be: defeat 12 characters in a row, within 250 seconds, with 5 second bonus for each one defeated. Extremely addictive, and as they only last minutes, add massively to that 'one more go' factor.
A near flawless brawler.

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe (PS3)
Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe (PS3)
Offered by S6 entertainment
Price: 9.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get Over Here!, 17 Feb 2009
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This sounded like a disaster in the making; but MK Vs DC Universe is actually rather good.
Single player options include Arcade mode, essentially classic MK. The structure has barely changed since Mortal Kombat 3, but the option to fight against MK, DC, or mixed characters adds some longevity and variety.

Story mode is the newest addition, and theres a plot for both the MK & DC universes. This involves a series of fights based around how and why these worlds are colliding. The plot is pure hokum, involving combat rage and dark energy, but the writing is of a high standard for videogames, and makes some effort to explain whats going on. Both plots are interlinked, which is a nice touch.
Kombo Challenge and Practice mode are for honing those fatalities. Its murderously difficult to complete the Kombo Challenges, which should keep kompletionists busy.

20 characters are available, 10 from each stable, and theres a large selection of environments to brawl in. Fighters get bloodied and clothes ripped; it must have taken some persuading to give Superman a bloddy nose, but it works. Its also impressive how the character models are similar in style and ability, and not the strange mish mash it could have been. Controls are fairly sluggish though, and was left wishing they were a fraction more responsive.

Quantum of Solace (PS3)
Quantum of Solace (PS3)
Offered by JosephGaming
Price: 19.00

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Call of Duty : 007, 13 Feb 2009
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
With the success of the Craig era, Quantum of Solace had more promise than any of the EA releases. Unlikely to match GoldenEye, but with the Modern Warfare engine acting as the foundation, quality was virtually guaranteed.

For the majority, single player delivers and recreates the films well, yet other times it feels like nothing more than an onslaught of enemies, wave after wave of mindless cannon fodder. With none of the subtlety of the films, attempts to variate gameplay are tried and tested. Hand to hand combat works well, but QTE sections are about as average as they come. Even the hacking mini-game lacks a sense of achievement. Levels are overly linear. But trophies for completing the game on different settings, and meeting level specific criteria, means they have some longevity. Levels are short, but for the majority, well paced. Plentiful checkpoints ensure no section lasts longer than it should. Yet some stages do have the tendency to end rather suddenly.
There are moments, one during the Opera House, where photographing the targets would have provided a welcome break from shooting. Instead, its done via cut-scene, which feels rushed. Many levels also take liberties with the storyline, but as far as movie licences go, its execution is above average.

With GoldenEyes impact all those generations ago, it would seem logical for Treyarch to include a split-screen multiplayer mode. Motorstorm: Pacific Rift managed this recently, and why should multiplayer be limited to online play? Unfortunately there's no such luck here.
Instead its remarkably like Call of Duty, with similar 'EVERYTHING'. This must have sounded foolproof on paper, but it feels like a botched job. World at Wars blatant copying of Modern Warfare can be forgiven to a point, they are the same franchise after all. Here it just feels lazy, and gives Quantum of Solace no identity of its own. Yet it remains fun to play.

Graphics are functional, but exceptionally bland in places. Big on-screen button prompts dont help the aesthetics either. Its difficult to believe this is the Modern Warfare engine at times. Non interactive scenery is much prettier however, as the Train and Casino Royale levels prove. Yet Daniel Craig is one of the few things actually rendered well in-game. When using cover, the view switches to a 3rd person perspective, working far better than anything else. In fact, its the only area where Quantum of Soalce manages to differentiate itself.

The finest Bond game since GoldenEye, but is that really saying much?

F.E.A.R. (PS3)
F.E.A.R. (PS3)
Offered by Trade-N-Go Gaming
Price: 34.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The very worst version. Sorry fanboys!, 8 Feb 2009
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: F.E.A.R. (PS3) (Video Game)
With the sequel just around the corner, it seemed like a good time to revisit this. Its been 2 years since the PS3 version, but 4 long years since its first release. Time hasn't done it any favours, neither has a shoddy conversion from Day 1 studios. The fact this was a launch game still doesent fully explain the difference in quality.

Painful load times and jagged textures don't create the fear. It would be completely unreasonable to expect this to compete with more recent games, but I certainly thought (at the very least) it would compete with the original.
The HD makeover gives a very smeared impression, similar to upscaling PS2 games. Lighting is fairly moody. The game is set almost exclusively in office environments, the term corrider shooter was invented for this. Levels are realistic in their design, but repetition does set in. This makes it easy to get lost or travel repeatedly in circles.

Combat has always been one of F.E.A.R's stronger aspects. The Slow-Mo feature is shamelessly lifted from Max Payne, but works exceptionally in a 1st person viewpoint. The Shotgun is also one of the most brutal in any game, tearing bodies in half with ease.
Stomach this shoddy conversion, and theres still plenty to enjoy from F.E.A.R. Otherwise, play it on the PC, or even the 360.
A flawed classic, on PS3 its just flawed.

Prince of Persia (PS3)
Prince of Persia (PS3)
Offered by JosephGaming
Price: 11.00

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Prince you know, 12 Jan 2009
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
A series re-invention that wasnt really necessary. The Sands of Time trilogy are absolute classics, so changing the formula this drastically was always going to be a gamble.
It appears Ubisoft Montreal have tried to distance this entry as much as possible. Aside from switching the visuals to a cel shaded, cartoon style, the characters are also completely new. The 'Prince' is one in nickname only, and opens the game searching for his missing donkey. Here he runs into a princess named Elika, and becomes embroiled in a plot to unleash an ancient evil upon the land.
The prince is painted as a loveable rogue, but comes across as goofy and childish, with some truly awful dialogue. In motion, he's more memorable, even if the controls are blatantly lifted from Assassins Creed. This does take some adjustment, and like that game, you never get the feeling of being totally in control of whats happening on screen. Jumps dont even have to be timed well. There is a nice selection of new moves however, including a ceiling run, and a grip fall ability, which allows the prince to freefall down most vertical surfaces.

Amongst the many changes, the Sands of Time mechanic has been removed. In its place is an unlimited lives system, as Elika rescues you after every fail. This removes much of the challenge; and appreciation of the tight level design is lost somewhat by the stop start gameplay. Furthermore, watching the same rescue cut scene gets boring fast. Another overhaul is the combat system. This release has opted for a cinematic approach, with sweeping views and a more dramatic feel. Multiple enemy battles are out, replaced by a one on one system. Yet, more often than not these become battles of attrition, with poor skills only prolonging the battle. Rather than deepening the system, combat feels simplified, and with much less variety. Boss battles are also shamelessly recycled. Failure at anything just prompts Elika to rescue you. Once again. This hand holding approach is sure to split opinions, but it can all become tedious, especially with the inclusion of QTE's.
More repetition sets in elsewhere. Each section of the open-world map has to be 'healed'. This involves travelling there, defeating a monster, then hammering a QTE until the land is healthy again. This causes light seeds to appear, which need collecting in order to advance to new sections of the map. Repeat until credits roll.

Prince of Persia is a solid adventure game, and may be enjoyed more by newcomers to the series. But the script is less intriguing than Assassins Creed, and the action isnt as successfully implemented as Uncharted.
Overall, a disappointing entry for a classic franchise.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 11, 2009 9:40 PM GMT

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