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S. Whiting (Surrey, UK)
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Batman: Arkham Origins (Xbox 360)
Batman: Arkham Origins (Xbox 360)
Offered by Gameline GmbH.
Price: £13.20

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Is it just me? :(, 27 Oct 2013
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I feel really disappointed that I'm having to give this game a below average score... I want to love it so much but I just can't get past what I think are some really awful issues - I'll try to write a balanced review but I'm afraid it's been a pretty negative experience for me :(

I'll start with...

THE POSITIVES:

- The graphics are great, and Batman's new look is (in my opinion) really cool. I like that WB took the opportunity to make the 'Origins' story more fleshed out by changing a few subtle things about Batman and his surroundings.

- Exploring Gotham and the Batcave, and reading up on characters that Batman is meeting for the first time is a great way to add some depth, fans of the previous Arkham games probably won't find this feature to be a surprise, but it's still cool.

- I really enjoyed the story, and some of the interaction between characters is great!

- The new approach to 'detective mode' is fun, though your participation is minimal... Don't expect any real 'Aha!' moments like I found from solving riddles in the other Arkham games. The game does about 90% of the work, and all of the figuring out is done by Batman without your help... Which actually kinda sucks now that I mention it, as I bought the game wanting to 'be' Batman!
Still, it looks good!

- Troy Baker makes a pretty damn good Joker!

- The boss fights, while marred by some of their own issues, are generally approached a lot better than in the other Arkham games, in my opinion - They're all cinematic (in the best possible way), challenging and mostly unique in terms of gameplay - I really found myself looking forward to them rather than dreading the usual 'dodge, batarang, stun, beatdown' approach.

- There are a lot of great *ideas* in Arkham Origins, but sadly in my experience they flopped in execution, or just straight up did not function.
Which takes me on to...

THE NEGATIVES:

- First and foremost, the game is glitchy as all hell, and this was shocking compared to the beautifully polished games by 'Rocksteady'.
I'll list a few of the ones that reaaaally annoyed me:

The Warner Brothers ID system... That was a bad sign the second I saw it, and sure enough, the game couldn't log onto their servers when I first tried to play it, which meant that it never got past the menu screen... First impressions! I mean... Why do that? Why add such a horrendous feature?
In the end I was able to play the game buy disconnecting from XBL, but it was a pretty duff start.

Fast travel: Freezes my game about 50% of the time I use it. After I'd noticed that the game couldn't handle one of it's most FUNDAMENTAL features, I just stopped using it for fear of having to re-start my console for the 100th time... This meant that I was travelling 'the old fashioned way' all the time in-game, and this became pretty tedious at times! Still, it was faster than having the game lock up and me have to re-start.

Texture/content pop-in: I'm not that bothered by little things like texture pop in, especially in games that I know are pushing consoles to the limit by having a tonne of stuff on screen and generally being awesome, but when I was flying around Gotham and suddenly the game fails to load any content whatsoever, that can kinda ruin it for me.
A few times this happened, and Batman flies straight through half-loaded buildings, can't grapple, and then falls through the street when I try to land. Fail.
N.B - I tried to force the game to 're-load' the area by activating fast-travel... Which then froze my game. Double fail.

Predator moves not working: Again, pretty damn fundamental to the Batman experience in this game, if you ask me... The game gives you tutorials for various moves, and I thought it was odd that the 'que' never came up when I positioned myself above an enemy for a 'silent takedown from ledge' - I really missed the move, but then I noticed that the prompt DID appear in one scenario after a whole game of it not happening! Imagine my disappointment when I push 'Y' and... It froze the game.
Also, the 'RB' que has failed to pop up when I'm trying to grapple between vantage points in a predator room, leading to mission failure... Urgh!

I think that's it for the worst glitches! Mostly the game just freezes at every opportunity, especially when entering/exiting buildings or going in and out of cutscenes (one problem that ruined the boss fights for me).

Other issues for me come from a few personal gripes... Like any sane body, WB decided to leave the combat system *almost* totally alone.
I mean, lets be honest, it's probably the best melee combat system in a game by a country mile! Rocksteady nailed it... But WB couldn't help trying to add a few things that for me just made it way less interesting.

Personal gripes include: Where the hell is the 'disarm & destroy' technique!? (It is in the game, but it takes a LONG time to make itself known, which made every encounter with armed enemies rather less fun and made Batman feel significantly less badass than in AC)

Why did WB add an extra animation to the 'stun and jump off of one enemy on to another' attack? This makes it incredibly hard to use, as it's similar to using a ground take-down in the middle of a crowd: You're going to get interrupted! I loved this move :(

I'll leave it here as I don't want to go in to too much boring detail...

To summarise: Arkham Origins is just less immersive and less fun than the previous Arkham Games, not because of anything that can't be fixed, but because of what I perceive to be dumb ideas and poor quality control.
Or is it really just me!? I mean, regarding the glitches I've found a lot of people complaining in forums, but not very many mentions in reviews - I'd be interested in hearing other peoples (constructive) comments on the matter.

I didn't expect this game to be as good as Rocksteady's work - Those guys created this series and have proven that they know exactly how to make a game, but there's no excuse for WB releasing such a glitchy product, it's just a shame. Especially because both previous Arkham games were executed so well in that regard, even before you take actual gameplay in to account.

It's definitely an Arkham game, and at it's core it's great, but several layers of 'Rocksteady' polish are clearly missing. The devil is in the detail, I guess!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2014 3:22 AM BST


Enchanted
Enchanted
Price: £7.98

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, 20 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Enchanted (Audio CD)
Emma's writing, playing and whole approach to music is incredible - I've followed her for some time, and her album 'Enchanted' really is wonderful.
Containing hit singles, beautiful ballads and the best of everything in-between, the album contains a brilliantly diverse selection of songs, but Emma's unique voice and style are always present in abundance.

I would make a list of my favourite tracks but I honestly love them all, and there's something to take you on a journey through every mood!
The artwork for the album is also (I think, personally) the best I've seen, and (incase you need more convincing!) adds an all too rare extra reason to make sure you own a physical copy of the album.

I cannot recommend Emma Stevens and her album enough - An incredible artist, songwriter and musician :)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 28, 2014 7:22 PM BST


Sniper Elite V2 (Xbox 360)
Sniper Elite V2 (Xbox 360)
Offered by Global Xpress
Price: £19.99

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's own worst enemy, 6 May 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I very rarely write reviews for things, unless they're really great or really naff. Unfortunately, this is the latter.

I was really excited about this game as I absolutely loved playing the first one, but this has left me really dissapointed and I regret not waiting for the review scores first (averaging 6/10 at the moment, I think!)
This game's heart is in the right place, but it's let down in some ways that are so fundamental and frustrating that it crippled the whole experience for me :(

First, the good - There are some moments in the game that are really great, and (most of the time) it nails the feeling of being a lone sniper relying on stealth and smarts to win the day.
The way sniping is implemented is awesome - The bullet ballistics and mega gory killcam are a joy to behold! It's just such a shame that the whole thing gets interrupted by pretty much everything else...

The Bad - The game pretends to be open ended and free, but in reality it's insanely linear. Levels are often huge and open, but if you stray off of the track that's intended then you're greeted by occasional map glitches, inconsistent difficulty and omnipotent re-spawning opposition. Which leads me to the worst bit...

Why, oh WHY do enemies re-spawn in this of all games!? There is nothing worse than spending 20 minutes carefully scouting out an area with your binoculars, sneakily killing a patrol with your silenced pistol, using a clap of thunder to mask your shot at a sentry gunner in the distance, moving up so that you're nearly to safety... And then getting spotted by a sentry gunner in the distance. The same one that you just killed. Who magically appeared in a closed off room. And instantly knew where you were. And instantaneously used his magic powers to inform every other enemy where you are, too. Who can now apparently see through walls. And appear in dead end streets that were previously deserted. ARGH.

I guess the AI is the root of most of the problems I had with the game. They're either too stupid (Whole squads screaming 'Take Cover!' While standing still out in the open, all at once) or they possess some sort of futuristic hive-mind and can keep track of you moving behind solid objects, forcing you to engage them in a bland 3rd person shooter until the game gets back to doing what it actually does well - Sniping. Occasionally there's a bit of both and that's about where I got fed up.

This is a game that has amazing potential but doesn't play very well to it's strengths - However, it's still worth trying if you get the chance. The 'Sniper Elite' difficulty setting is by far the best experience, but among all of the realistic bullet ballistics and amazing killcams, you'll still have to put up with hilarious enemy AI, clunky movement and really awkward pacing, making for a clash in quality that is unpredictable and frustrating.

Having this great game ruined by a few stupid features is almost worse than it not being a great game to begin with :(
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 12, 2012 2:58 PM BST


Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (Xbox 360)
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (Xbox 360)
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: £12.48

27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A huge let down..., 11 Oct 2009
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
I've been playing this game for a few days now, since buying it on the release date, and after really sticking at it, completing half of the campaign, and trying out all of the multiplayer features, I couldn't believe how bad it really is.

I'll start with the good points, since there are so few:
The graphics are absolutely awesome, and the lighting effects/atmospheres are really well done.
It is really satisfying pulling off well planned team commands, but unfortunately, this relies heavily on the games AI. More on that later.
That's about it.

As for the negative, it's hard to know where to start.
The game looks very pretty, but feels INCREDIBLY out of date. Things such as game menus, weapon selection screens and objective viewers are just difficult to use, and having to zoom in and click around on your map in order to tell your AI team-mate that, actually, you'd rather he didn't run into a minefield, all while being bombarded with gunfire and mowed down by attack choppers does get a bit frustrating.

The single worst thing about the whole game is the AI. Not only does this game suffer from the usual annoying glitches (team-mates getting stuck in doorways, not noticing when there's an enemy right in front of them, not responding to orders), but on several occasions, my own team has actually shot my character to death while trying to
randomly engage enemies in the area. Annoying.
Playing this game did not make me feel like a US marine squad leader, it made me feel like a babysitter, tasked with looking after 3 (stupid) children with guns.
It's so infuriating to spend 10 minutes scouting out an enemy building with your binoculars before ordering your team to sneak in to attack behind you by crawling through the long grass, just to find that they all stand up for no reason when you're nearly there and blow your cover. I spent most of the 'stealth' missions telling the team to stay back, while I had more success attacking enemies on my own!

Also, the MASSIVE world map was one of the things that the game developer (codemasters) really hyped up. Apparently it will take you 9 hours to run across the map, saying that you can explore this huge land and roam at your leisure through non-linear missions. This annoyed me especially, because this is a lie.
Yes, the map really is huge, and yes, you can travel over the whole thing if you want. But there is NEVER any reason to! 99% of the map is just forest and field with nothing to discover but the odd enemy patrol, and all of the missions are as linear as they come. You are often on a strict time limit to complete objectives, making exploration impossible, and for each mission you are simply dropped off on a different part of the map, which surely renders the massive explorable area completely pointless?

I understand that this game is meant to be difficult (and it is), but that shouldn't make it frustrating. This is meant to be 'as close to war as you'll ever want to get!', but the thing is, it's just not that realistic, either. You can die with one or two bullets to practically anywhere on your body, which IS realistic. What isn't, is that your enemies seem to be able to survive a full magazine to the chest before finally giving in.

I feel really let down and betrayed by the developers after playing this game, since so much of what they said was good about this game is simply not true. The game looks beautiful, but seems as though no effort whatsoever has gone into the actual game play.

Multiplayer is no better, with the amount of AI and atmosphere glitches doubling, and (the worst part) no option to reload a checkpoint! Meaning that, if you all die, you have to start ALL OVER AGAIN!

Avoid this game. I hope that in future the developers realize that after spending so much time hyping up the amazing features in their games, maybe they should actually include some of those features in the product.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2010 2:03 AM GMT


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