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H. A. Winchester (London)

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Max Payne 3 (PS3)
Max Payne 3 (PS3)
Offered by zoverstocks
Price: £5.24

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the return of the king, 21 Jun 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Max Payne 3 (PS3) (Video Game)
Max Payne 3 is an unfortunate departure from what made the series so respected and interesting in the first place, and the game's not better for it.

In Max's long absence he's been tarted up considerably by Rockstar; gone is the grey and black noir of New York, replaced with a cornucopia of colour in Sao Paulo where max now wears fashionable suits well cut suits rather than the distinctive old leather jacket. The changes are obviously an overt push to make Max more appealing to a new generation of players. However, it really doesn't help to frame, or support the plot: Max is now working as a private security guard for people he hates. So, it's surprising as to why he becomes so emotionally invested in retrieving a kidnapped socialite. The plot from here is weakly elaborated and elucidated on, with the principle antagonist changing wildly. I really didn't understand what was going on at most points, which for a game with this many cutscenes is really criminal.

The gameplay is quite good early on, gun battles are tense and exciting bullet ballets when compared to most stale shooters on the market. However, things become a little sour about halfway through the game; enemies become more numerous, and they start wearing body armour. This makes encounters with large packs sterile cover based affairs trying to randomly land a head shot. Shots to the chest do negligible damage. Bullet time helps affairs but its mechanics are slightly different from the previous two games the principle difference being Max no longer gains bullet time from kills made whilst using it. In Max Payne 2, Max could become a bullet spewing ball of pain inflicting massive amounts of damage on his enemies. In Max Payne 3, unless you have a full meter there's no point in even straying out of cover, unless you have a particular fondness for the grisly tableau which frames every death in comic book style. Max's patented shoot dodge also becomes very irritating in the new game especially in confined environments. Any collision with a bit of scenery will cause Max to come out of bullet time without warning, leaving you extremely vulnerable lying on the floor. Max, also stands up so glacially, during which time you're completely unable to return any type of fire you're more likely to be shredded by enemies unless you landed behind some cover. When it works together as it is supposed to the gameplay is unparalleled, although most of the time a army of small annoyances conspire against you to make the game very, very annoying.

If there's one thing Max Payne 3 does better than anyone it's the music. Rockstar understand in game music better than anyone and the Music in Max Payne 3 is peerless, the original soundtrack by Health is always there, always driving you forwards with an understated sense of urgency.

Multiplayer is forgettable. It seems most people have forgotten it already a month after launch there's not too many people playing it.

All in all Max Payne 3 is not quite the triumphant return of one of my gaming protagonists. That said no one should be put off from trying it.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Limited Edition (PC DVD)
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Limited Edition (PC DVD)
Offered by Shop4World
Price: £4.87

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Black and gold..., 11 Sep 2011
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Deus Ex oozes style, it drips with it; unfortunately it's simply a façade to cover up a shallow, and quite simplistic game.

Initial impressions are that great; the game jumps out of the screen and grabs you right into its world, and it's a brilliantly realised world - or, so it seems. The environments are detailed, vibrant, and a (for once) believable dystopian future. The art direction of black and gold blends all three of these into a very attractive climate for a game. It feels deep, it almost seems to simmer with life; it feels real. Yet, by the same measure feels so, unreal.

The denizens of the cities and various office blocks you visit, are for the most part are grim lifeless mannequins, who constantly spout the same nauseating and repeated quips. They do little to improve the insight into the goings on within the game and, they look like horrible wax works to boot. Conversation with important NPCs is more tightly constrained than I am used to in my preferred RPGs, such as the Oblivion franchise. Indeed, Deus Ex is more linear in many respects when compared to more comprehensive RPGs: The skill tree is very slim with only a couple of useful skills to invest in at LIMB clinics during your time free roaming in the game's `hub' environments. The `hubs' are small and claustrophobic, and there are only two of them in the whole game! It seems that the designers realised that this was a slightly pathetic attempt and padded the length of the game by making you trawl through them twice.

Déjà vu is perhaps Deus Ex's biggest problem: Whilst the aforementioned environments are beautiful, but by the tenth time you've snuck through an identical office, populated by the same heavily armed spec ops they start to grate slightly. It's a shame because when the levels diversify away from the norm the flair and creativity shines. Uncanny reoccurrences show up in many other areas, such as the hacking, general layout of the levels, and the mission objectives, which invariably will always either task you with taking a computer, or taking someone out.

The plot has an interesting premise supplemented by some unexpected twists, but unfortunately is hindered by some hammy voice acting especially from David Sarif (your boss). However, the plot is not complimented with anything beyond written literature. There are no videos or audio logs to be found, so you spend ages looking at you PDA reading, rather than simultaneously exploring the environment you find yourself in, and exploring the rich back-story.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a good game, but it forces your hand, as well as holding it at the same time. Play it as a shooter and you'll be bitterly disappointed.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 13, 2011 5:41 PM BST

Crysis 2 (PS3)
Crysis 2 (PS3)
Offered by RAREWAVES
Price: £13.10

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crysis of faith, 17 Aug 2011
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Crysis 2 (PS3) (Video Game)
I'm going to start this review by getting something out of the way, which to many gaming enthusiasts may seem like blasphemy: Crysis's graphics aren't that great - they really not. That's not to say that this is an ugly game, it simply suffers from bland level design on some occasions, and overuses its considerable graphical assets. `What's the problem with that?!' I hear the enthusiasts cry. I'll tell you it makes the game; stutter, bland and dull.

The frame rate takes the biggest hit. The environments are much more open than other corridor shooters that Crysis shares its genre with, but with the amount of detail and visual trickery on screen (even when the action isn't picking up) the frame rate only really reaches about 24fps. Far too slow, and unresponsive for my liking. Other things tarnish Crysis's graphical fidelity too; textures look bland up close, enemies appear in front of you out of thin air, and the game seems to leave artefacts behind things on screen. This appears as a strange wispy trail after everything and I personally found it infuriating.

The game also starts badly. Fighting Cell soldiers for the first couple of levels is tedious and repetitive. The A.I stands still and shoots and are way too good at detecting you from miles away, when behind them and 40 stories up... That is when they're not transfixed on walking into a wall or spinning with gay abandon on the spot. However the game's designers built a way to circumvent these roaming unpredictable headaches. Using the suit's cloaking function to avoid the drab combat you can simply run through the equally drab environments to the end of the level. Things do pick up when you meet the Aliens, they are fast mobile and on the whole fun to fight when they too aren't transfixed on walking into a wall, or spinning with gay abandon. They are also more varied than they're human counterparts. There are the archetypal heavy, medium and light enemies and ones that turn invisible and everything.

Yes, you did read that right; there are Aliens in the game. The fact that they bear no resemblance to the ones from the first game is frankly bizarre and this just sets the tone for things to follow such as the plot that has so many plot holes and inconsistencies that I had no idea what was going on, why the Aliens were invading or even who the main characters were in the game. All I can remember is you spend a surprising amount of time familiarising yourself with the river Hudson for no apparent reason.

Crysis 2 isn't all bad. The music is the best I think I have ever heard in a game and the suit is infinitely more controllable than in the first game.

Crysis 2 was obviously designed with the intention of being the best FPS on the market and, when it all comes together Crysis 2 shines brighter than almost any star out there. All too often though it lets itself down by trying too hard

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (PS3)
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (PS3)
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £9.36

10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An exercise in frustration, 29 May 2010
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
We've all done it. We've all played a platformer where we're misjudged the rational thinking abilities of our protagonist, and rather than jumping where we intended them to they've chosen to fling themselves recklessly into oblivion to end their torment - In Prince of Persia I just wish that mine would have ended too.

Whilst the core jumping and swinging mechanics aren't necessarily bad; they're actually quite good, however the developers have obviously thought that this game is not nearly annoying enough for a platformer: The main divergences from the fantastic original POP: Sands of Time (of which this is a direct sequel) is the Prince now has control water and the ability summon bits of scenery out of thin air which sounds neat at first, but quickly becomes tiresome, mundane and the bane of the game as a single slip of the finger can send the Prince flailing towards oblivion... again. You can reverse time however, which sometimes mitigates some irritation, but if you forget to hold the freeze water button or push the make scenery appear button the Prince once again makes a bold bid for the abyss. The rewinding of time is also a beast to control, which ensures you will be seeing an awful lot of the of the Prince's drab, listless and lifeless rag-doll body

The rest of the game is a by-numbers plaformer/adventure game with very little inspiration or ambition; the story is dull, the graphics profoundly average and slightly banal and the combat is simply woeful.

Indeed, the combat requires its own special citation for just how bad it actually is. The foes are numerous, yet bland with only a handful of types throughout the entire game, and oh; they are humiliatingly easy too.

So, if you're looking for a tedious and unimaginative adventure game look no further, but if you want an exciting and original experience I'd recommend the excellent Mirror's Edge, God of War 3 or Uncharted 2. I have fond memories of the original canonical POP: Sand of Time, sadly however this game's lack of imagination in every aspect of its very existence means that it falls short of a game worthy for a Prince.

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