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Mark Andrew (UK)

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Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z - Special Edition (Xbox 360)
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z - Special Edition (Xbox 360)
Offered by RCDISCS - (All items Brand New and Sealed)
Price: £7.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Complicated by poor design in places, 24 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Initially had some high hopes for this game. That was my mistake though. Anyway, this is a kind of spin off from Ninja Gaiden, despite retaining the title. I am unsure how this really fits into the series, given it`s rather quirky and profane theme.
So you play Yaiba, a recently resurrected Ninja who has been fitted out with some rather handy Cyborg improvements. Ryu Hayabusa killed you and now you want revenge.

If only things were simple but alas no. A Zombie outbreak has taken control of Russia and Yaiba is sent in to kill Hayabusa who is also having a sojourn in the Mother Country. The story line is rather terrible so do not expect anything other than A to B storyboarding and constant use of profanity, as a means to get it straight that the game does not take itself seriously.

The combat is at odds with itself but satisfies the need for Zombie slaying. You will attack with your blade, quick attacks, your fists, heavy guard breakers, and your flail which serves as a crowd control weapon. Not so unlike Belmont's combat cross from Lords of shadow.
You can daze foes and pull off some decent finishers, teleport around and even counter attacks. Yeah so it does play like a Gaiden game but then......things start to go pear shaped.

You come to realise that the counter move has a mind of it's own, meaning it is random. Believe me I know my counters for the Gaiden series and this one is terrible. Even worse, the enemies give you notice that they are about to attack and hitting the block button just before their blow lands never seems to work.

The game eventually starts showering the player with sub boss types. These appear all over ensuring you are constantly under seige, taking damage and when you really need to pull off just one decent counter strike.....yep it fails and you may spend quite some time at the load screen. The flow of play is hassled by poor enemy placement and the fact that skill is overwhelmed by enemy numbers. I feel that in some ways button mashing is the key to victory and that should not be the way for a Gaiden game.

One element of the game that does show some promise is the chemical reaction system. You can grab Zombies and disarm the sub boss types to gain additional weapons that you can use so many times before they break. If you hit a flaming Zombie with electricity it starts off a fire storm. These are AOE attacks that can help clear a room. Now these attacks are good but...the camera will often pan out while the screen is literally alight with explosions and chaos. This means that you will lose sight of Yaiba and it becomes a game of where is Wally. I am not kidding, I do not recall any video game that literally loses the player chracter. Poor design there and frustrating....and just try countering in the middle and.....if you suffer from anger issues this game may just send you on a shotgun killing spree.

Frustrating in many places but satisfying in a few.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 9, 2015 3:19 PM GMT

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (Xbox 360)
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £7.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of bite, 3 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bottom line....this is a very enjoyable romp that completes the Lords of shadow series. I have read many negative reviews so far and am somewhat puzzled by them. I adored the first LOS game and I enjoyed this game just as much.

One point I will make in regards to the combat: it is still brutal and satisfying. Mess up, fail to dodge or counter at the precise moment and you are going to suffer. That was a gripe I had over the first game....no matter how good you were some enemy attacks would break your combo, despite the fact they should have been pushed back or stunned.

Well, being Dracula has it's perks and eventually you get an ability that allows you to dodge pretty much any attack. This ensures that your combo attacks are not abruptly broken by the tougher enemies. Very important for the later game when magical attacks are used frequently.

Also, you can now carry healing potions and a few other items that can aid you in combat. Again, these help later game if you are struggling with the change in enemies.

This is an essential purchase for Lords of shadow fans. Prior to release I played LOS and then Mirror of fate just to freshen my memory on the story.

Alien - Out of the Shadows (Book 1) (Alien Trilogy 1)
Alien - Out of the Shadows (Book 1) (Alien Trilogy 1)
by Tim Lebbon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.98

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In space no one can hear you.....VERY MILD SPOILER, 16 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Recently there was a rather ugly situation involving Sega\Gearbox and a video game called Colonial Marines. During the events of that story, considered series canon, somebody managed to dig up Dwayne Hicks and pen the doomed Cpl. back into the series.
It was in bad taste, style and execution.

When I saw that Ellen RIpley was involved with this story, some decades after the movie Alien but prior to Aliens, I got slightly nervous at the prospect. Lets face it, the series has been more than a little diluted over the years. Film makers, authors, artists...have all prodded and poked at the Xeno lore with mixed results.

If you want a storyline that touches upon the spirit of the first movie then yeah, this is a good read. Tim Lebbon weaves a tale that keeps the standard formula intact. People on planet. People find something that is not very nice. People get a multi legged creature stuck on their face.....yeah, you heard the man and you know the drill.

Then we have the Ripley twist. It's clear that the author was limited with his tool set. Set prior to Aliens this tale can only end one way. But whether you are willing to accept just how Ripley has no knowledge of this particular adventure is going to make or break the experience. I can live with it. Some will not.

Digging into Ripley's past also offers a new perspective on her character but it sometimes cancels out the other members of the cast. She is the focal point of the story and despite the other characters showing promise you never get too attached.

I read this book in two sittings. I will certainly buy the next of the series come July.

Overall decent but I don't know whether Ripley should have been simply left to slumber.

Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360)
Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360)
Offered by Gameseek
Price: £21.99

20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Planes, trains and......Stevie Winwood!, 18 Sept. 2013
Cruising through Vinewood hills during a rain storm, listening to Stevie Winwood blast out "Higher Love", it's one of those magical moments in gaming. At least it was to me. You see, despite GTA V featuring three protagonists, all with their own life affairs and missions, the game never intrudes on the players' personal experiences.

Rockstar ensure, through a masterclass of production quality, that the game is constantly fresh and engaging. During the early chapters you will be somewhat overwhelmed by the scope of Los Santos and it's inhabitants. The City is alive, it's verbal, and it teems with activities.

GTA 4 was good but it wasn't better than San Andreas. I say that because SA had more to do in between missions, giving the player more of an opportunity to indulge in the world. GTA V takes the graphical polish of 4, adds extra polish, takes the core aspect of what made SA great and cooks it into a masterpiece.

Skydiving, Scuba-diving, golf, tennis, car racing, bounty hunting..........I mean that's an impressive list of just some of the stuff you can do. And whatever you decide to do, the game is smooth and responsive. I tried some of the tennis, expecting Rockstar to trip up slightly in their quest to add so much delicious content. But alas, the tennis mini-game is extremely enjoyable and addictive. I'm not even a fan of tennis but hell, I like this.

So you'll explore Los Santos, switch between the protagonist's, take on side missions and face an endless torrent of stuff to do. But at the core of the game are the Heists.
You'll put together a crew, case joints and locations of value, execute the plan and it's all about stealing as much loots as possible and escaping. When choosing the crew each member will have different stats. Basically if you want a really good marksman watching your back then he/she will want a bigger cut. Yeah, you see where this is going.....the members that are not very efficient will take a smaller cut. Be warned though, as I found out, Heists can go wrong if you skimp on the finer details. The game won't end but you won't receive nearly as much money.
Heists can be approached in two ways: Stealthy or aggressive. It's nice to have options that don't involve killing every one in sight.

Money feels really important this time round. It's not thrown at you like in previous games of the series. You can use the internet in-game to purchase cars, planes....tanks. All of these luxuries have a value and the money you earn has uses. Play the stock market, invest a fortune and lose a bigger one. Basically you can opt for more legitimate means of earning the green stuff. Don't get me wrong, GTA V is a game that focuses on career criminals. You have to get your hands dirty. Just not all the time.

This is a short review (of sorts). It's hard to rate a game like this. GTA V will be a different experience for everyone. It is big and it is beautiful.

Do I think it's the best game ever? 170 Million was the cost of production and you can see the quality on show in almost every detail.
Yes, it is the best game ever of it's kind. Rockstar have just raised the bar to a new level.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2013 8:07 PM BST

Resident Evil Revelations (Xbox 360)
Resident Evil Revelations (Xbox 360)
Price: £10.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good Resi experience, 20 Aug. 2013
I'm just going to come right out and say it: I love Resident Evil 6. Lot's of people did not and Capcom even went on record to say that it was slightly "bloated". In other words it tried to do too much.

Revelations, on the other hand, has been better received and classed as one of the better Resident Evil titles. I originally played this on the 3DS and it was great to get a port for the 360.

I remember rushing down to my nearest Electronics Boutique for the release of Resident Evil on the PSone. It was, at the time, one of the best games I'd ever played.....for survival horror. Nowadays the term is thrown around and ultimately people have different views on what survival horror actually is.

In my book Resident Evil Revelations is an action game with horror elements. Due to the fact that ammunition (on normal difficulty) never really becomes a problem (unless you've been getting shooting lessons from Stevie Wonder) and weapons can be upgraded to deliver extreme damage it always feels like the player has the upper hand. I think Capcom has a tough job supplying it's market with what we, as fickle gamers, expect from our Zombie games.

Of course, like the times, the enemies in the Resi universe are shifting. Revelations introduces the Ooze. Gangly mutations with sharp limbs and large tongues. There are genuine moments of "I may have just filled my underwear" as the creatures slide out of vents behind you, and appear at unexpected times. They grab you, try to drink your blood and it's a case of wiggling the analogue stick to shake them off. Get surrounded and it's back to the continue screen. As in all the Resi games you'll adopt a playstyle that allows you to shoot, dodge and melee attack your enemies. It all comes together in the end.

Revelations features something of a mixed campaign. The main tell is Jill Valentine and her partner, Parker, as they explore the murky decks of a cruise vessel called the Queen Zegobia. Jills' mission is to locate the ever, beefy, Chris Redfield. Obviously things do not go as planned and the games episodic nature plants you into the boots of different characters at key points. It's an interesting way of telling the story as you get to visit snowy mountains and even a City locale. But, as Jills' quest is the main one, when you jump back to her you open up new areas of the ship and can explore them freely. It's not un-common in the Resi games to backtrack into previous areas to unlock doors that were previously off-limits.

You'll hunt high and low for weapon upgrades, extra herbs and ammunition. This is Resident Evil at it's best...allowing the player to move steadily through the world with a sense of unease and wonder, as to what's behind a now usable door.

All in all this is must-buy for fans of the main series.

Beyond the main campaign mode lies the Raid mode. Similar to Mercenaries but actually more satisfying as the clock isn't on a countdown. You can select sections from the main game, choose your character, and then go against leveled enemies. The thing is you will find yourself grinding and grinding, earning coin and weapon parts to boost your arsenal.
Think of it like a dungeon crawl. This mode can be played co-op but no split screen. Internet only.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 10, 2014 9:13 PM GMT

Painkiller Hell and Damnation - Collector's Edition
Painkiller Hell and Damnation - Collector's Edition

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple, bloody fun!, 1 July 2013
Simplicity can be refreshing: Painkiller proves this with it's old-skool take on the FPS. Tons of enemies, great weapons and a simple, yet plausible narrative that see's the player tasked with fighting his way through Hell itself.

If you like Doom and Serious Sam then Painkiller should be an automatic purchase. It's a charming title that relies on trigger clenching, putting more complex strategy aside in favor of the biggest gun wins. Yep, that's right. Grab that all powerful Chaingun/Rocket launcher combo and it's lights out for the bad-guys. Of course there are other weapons too that will tickle your fancy. The thing is when you pick up a new tool-of-death it is not just one weapon, oh no. The guns in Painkiller offer two different attacks. Like the Shotgun Freezer: Primary fire unleashes standard cartridges, while the secondary fire will stop your enemies dead with a freeze attack.

While repetition is the order of the day, running through large environments killing demons, skeletons, witches and plenty of other grotesque creations, the game is very fast paced and fluid. Different enemies will bring new challenges to the table, such as the Knights whom fire a crossbow. Harmless individually but get a handful of them and it becomes tricky, especially while you have a horde of undead soldiers charging at you.

The Tarot system allows you to equip Tarot cards (like perks) in between levels. The cards are unlocked by fulfilling in-level conditions such as: Gib 123 enemies. Once unlocked the card can be equipped by using gold. Currency can be obtained by smashing environmental objects like crates, chests and urns.
Several cards can be used at once. Some are active all the time, others need to be activated by the X button. Want to slow down time? Endure more damage? This is an example of just a couple of the cards' effects.

If you do not want to tackle the game alone then online co-op is optional. Multiplayer game modes such as survival and deathmatch also make an appearance. There is plenty of things to like about the game given it's bargain price at the moment.

Brainless fun with buckets of blood, varying difficulty modes and a neat Tarot system. Harkens back to the old-skool day shooters like Doom.

Buy it!

Metro Last Light (Xbox 360)
Metro Last Light (Xbox 360)
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £4.95

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Last Light proves itself as a AAA contender, 26 May 2013
So perhaps you missed Metro 2033? Maybe you played it and delved into the ruins of post apocalyptic Moscow and the deep, dark and infested tunnels of the metro system beneath the surface? I suppose it doesn't really matter because even though Last Light continues on from the first game you can instantly dive into this offering and enjoy a very unique experience.

In not so many words you are Artyom: a survivor and now a ranger. You live beneath the radiated surface of Russia, inhabiting the metro tunnels with your comrades and fellow survivors. The tunnels offer safety and refuge from the blighted surface above but the deep, eerily silent underground is home to it's own monsters....and quite a few Germans too.

The story sees our hero tasked with locating a Dark One. For those not familiar with Metro or it's lore; the Dark Ones used to inhabit Russia until Artyom launched a few warheads at their nest at the end of the last game. Basically these creatures are tall, long of limb and very alien looking. When news reaches Artyom that one of the Dark Ones survived he sets out to find it...and eliminate it, despite his own conflicting emotions and guilt of pretty much wiping them out. So the journey begins.

Graphically the game is wonderful and the lighting effects really make for some atmospheric exploration. Skulking through the pitch black with your flashlight and a petrol lighter really change the dynamics of your location. The tunnels take on a new menace and the shadows and reflections are really effective. Although you'll visit the wind-swept, rain drenched and highly radiated surface the most satisfying jaunt of the game is navigating the metro system. You'll come across Nazi's (bad guys), mutants that are afraid of the light and some very ghostly apparitions. I cannot really call Last Light survival horror but it certainly plays on your emotions and nerves. You have to understand that Artyoms' world is very realized and drawn out. From conversations between NPC's to the hidden notes and story-related items you find: you become immersed in the adventure and it is a terribly grim world where the true monsters are not always the arachnid horrors that lurk in the dark.

You can carry three weapons, knives, grenades and you have some special kit too. There are no perks, no leveling up and nothing to distract you from the fact that ammunition is currency in the metro world. Despite only having a moderate gun selection each weapon can be modified, adding that custom-twang that we gamers so love nowadays. Grab an AK; stick a night-vision sight on it, a silencer and all of a sudden you are a predator. Light plays two roles in this game.
Facing off against Human foes means destroying light sources, sneaking in for stealth kills and basically taking out a lot of bad guys with the grace of a fully trained killer. Of course you can simply run around blowing people away with a shotgun and causing as much havoc as you see fit: but really that isn't what Last Light is about.
In other areas of the game you'll be relying on the light to keep you safe. Some of the monsters you face will back off if you cast your flashlight in their direction. Given that your batteries need to be recharged and generators need to be switched on to light areas up - you'll find the tension racks up to high levels as you fumble around in the dark listening intently for the sound of multi-legged horrors with sharp fangs.

Even though Metro is something of a linear game there are still side areas waiting to be explored. It's during these moments outside of following your goals that Artyom comes across another kind of terror.
I need to just clarify that this game does not use jumpy bits to scare you. Oh no. The developers have gone beyond that and added "don't blink or you'll miss it" moments.
For example you are scavenging for ammo and weapons. Quite common considering the higher difficulty settings severely reduce supplies and every bullet counts. Remember that.
So you are wandering through some burnt out buildings and ruined offices when suddenly you catch a flicker of movement just at the edge of your vision. You look but there is nothing there. But take a step back, look again and you'll see a shadowy outline of a person. Yes a ghostly shadow is standing right infront of you and to be honest if you add a combination of excellent game sound and effects, deserted locations filled with the dead and a flashlight for company these encounters will make your spine tingle. Very effective.

The more you accustom yourself to Last Light the more these encounters and their meaning become background scenery. Bad things have happened and perhaps the ghosts of the past still feel the need to haunt the ruined Earth that they once loved? Either way you'll accept the world and how things are.

There are so many great things about Last Light that will grab the attention of the mature audience. This is not COD and it certainly is not a typical run and gun experience. It's a very touching tale that will sit with you long after the end credits have rolled.

It's such a step up from the last game and hard to fault. Currently the game is £29.99 and worth every penny. If you want something more than a typical FPS affair then this game is a must play. It deserves to sit alongside the likes of Bioshock for the simple fact that it's world and politics are fully realized and believable. I hope I never live to see a nuclear war......
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 3, 2013 12:20 AM BST

Dead Island Riptide (Xbox 360)
Dead Island Riptide (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £8.88

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fresh serving of Zombie soup, 28 April 2013
While in no-way perfect the Dead Island series continues with Riptide; and it's a hearty sequel that actually does better than the first game.

Literally starting where the last game finished, Riptide quickly re-introduces Sam B, Purna, Logan and Xian. This time the military have them and it's not long before all hell breaks loose. John Morgan, a former soldier, enters the formula as the 5th playable character. His skills focus on hand to hand combat and he is perhaps the easiest character to start the game with, unless you plan on importing a Dead Island save file and character.

So it's back to paradise and the Zombie Horde....and a healthy core gameplay of looting, leveling up and crafting a myriad of deadly weapons to fight the undead with. It's a satisfying blend of elements that bake themselves right into the world and environment. There a million and one things to pick up and not one of them sits idle in your inventory for too long. Blue-prints are found often and they can help modify your old baseball bat into something more colorful....stick nails into it, wrap it in barb wire? Yep and those are going to hurt and deal out a lot of damage. One weapon I crafted was a liquid flame shovel...I kid you not. I found a shovel and modded it up, thanks to the liquid flame mod, and now it sets the undead alight which temporarily sets in motion a nice animation of them flailing their arms around wildly and screaming! BBQ Zombie anyone?

It's hard not to feel satisfied by the Zombie bashing. You approach a group of walkers, lay into them with fists, weapons and special moves and because every limb can be sliced and dice, even broken, you get a good feel from your chosen implement of destruction.
Everytime you level up the Horde levels up too. This keeps the game balanced and no matter what you are taking into a fight - you still need to be cauitious. Zombie spawn points keep areas topped up so their is always a threat of danger. Bigger, tougher Zombies begin to show up that count as mini boss fights - these guys will literally wipe you out in a heartbeat so as good as you are at taking down the basic foes; the bigger guys will give you a run for your money.

New to Riptide is the team-system. In your initial base camp you have a group of survivors. These guys hand you quests, buy and sell items and offer information. Basically the more you do for them (and you can do this as often as you like) the better they become in a fight which leads on to the next new gameplay mechanic - base defense. At set points during the adventure you and your fellow survivors will have to fend off a large Zombie assault. You can build fences, lay mines and even set up sentry guns. But if one survivor dies then it's game over which adds a healthy level of tension to the game during these stages. Really good.

The Motor-Boat, found early into the story, adds a new vehicle to the mix and is used quite a lot if you don't fancy wading, waist deep, through flooded areas. A new Zombie type: the drowner is usually found laying face down in the many water ways that litter Palanai. Although they are easy to fight it is not good to get surrounded. Your movement in water is severely hindered so their are no quick getaways and death is usually not far away.

Many main-stream reviewers have slammed Riptide. What a load of rotten-flesh! As far as console owners go the Dead Island series is pretty unique and the closest thing out there is Dead Rising. You get hundreds of quests, a sandbox environment and hours of fun....basically value for your money.
Okay it can be rough in places but the game never tries to hide it. Quests get repetitive but really what else can you do during a Zombie apocalypse? Its inevitable that you'll be fetching things, saving people and fighting a lot (I mean a lot) of the undead.

A great sequel and great value for money.

Oh and I almost forgot - the game supports co-op of 4 players. So buy it and get online with your mates!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 29, 2013 11:40 AM BST

Defiance (Xbox 360)
Defiance (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £2.93

61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never played a game like it...., 3 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Defiance (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
(please note : Defiance is a MMO so internet access is mandatory - no net - no play)

I'm not a PC gamer. I have not played WOW or anything even remotely like it. For many good years I have co-existed with consoles and I intend to keep going that way until the day I can no longer play games.

Obviously, as some of you may fathom out, I have not completed Defiance. In-fact there are a million things I have still to do in the game. I thought I'd review my experience so far and hopefully it may help you decide if you like it.

The game will demand that you install it. Then the game will apply patches, as is normal on day one. This can take a while....well up to 30 minutes. Just be prepared and have at least 10GB hard-disk space available.

So, jumping into the game, we get a cut-scene and then it's off to the good old character creation screen. Options are moderate and there is a fine-tuning system for getting the face of your character to a level you are happy with. It will ask you for a character name: So long as no other player has picked the same name (kind of like the XBOX profile system) you can call your guy/gal whatever you want. I simply opted to use my Xbox name for easiness.

You pick a class which basically amounts to what weapons and outfit you begin the game with. All weapons in the game are accessible, so no class restrictions. The more you use a weapon = the more proficient you become in it's use.

When you first drop into the game a number of things are going to strike you, making you instantly aware of them.

Graphics. While not perfect they are standard, perhaps a little rugged here and there. Now this is forgivable given the scope of the game. Because the second thing that is gonna hit you is all the people standing about. Yes they are real people like yeh and meh. Defiance is one big player inhabited world. The first half hour talks you through the game basics with a action orientated tutorial. You'll grasp the need-to-know stuff straight away and as the game is 3rd person....it's going to feel pretty natural to a lot of you guys.

In regards to your fellow human gamers it's pretty easy to talk with them, interact and so on. A couple of button presses will pull up a list of nearby players - you can quick text them or even request voice chat. Your chosen avatar can also display emotes (greet, dance, cheer).

The in-game map is littered with mission points, side quest icons....it's like a GTA map with all the current activities marked up. It's up to you if you follow the plot-line or go off exploring. Now if some of you are not really into chatting with other players, making friends and clans then the game still functions as a SP game (in a fashion). Me, I keep myself to myself but if I take on a quest and there are other players in the area then most of the time they run along to help out and even share in some of the spoils. Which is fair.

If players are all actively doing the same quest and you are nearby; then the objective is still completed even if another guy kills the boss, for instance, or picks up the required supplies. Every player takes credit for being in that area - it's highlighted on the map with a big yellow circle. I assume this means action zone so players know that they are participating correctly.

The thing is Defiance is rough around the edges, as I said earlier but there is so much going on in the world that you will not care. My character has a cloaking device and a sniper rifle. Every time I level up I improve my stealth and critical damage. This is all mapped out on skill trees, you pick perks and equip them etc etc.

I guess you could say this is like a 3rd person Borderlands. There are vehicles (I have a bike) to make travel faster and quite a selection from what I have seen other players using. Cars and larger carriers were passengers can be taken on-board.

The shooting mechanic works, there is no sticky cover but you can crouch and roll, throw grenades and all the normal stuff.

Enemy AI is basic. They also respawn frequently, given the nature of the game. No one can say "hey! you stole my kill" because if said person waits a bit longer then he/she will have plenty to shoot at.

There are competitive modes of play. You can challenge people or teams to a fight; in which case you transported to multiplayer zone where you can fight it out.

I have not tried all modes but there is something for everyone here in one way or another.

Sorry if this review is a bit naff - I have not had a large amount of time - but 5 stars for the bigger picture and the way it all fits together. A must play for many of you.....although you may not know that yet.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 23, 2014 9:42 PM GMT

Gears of War: Judgement (Xbox 360)
Gears of War: Judgement (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £4.18

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm not a Gears fan really but I picked this up on impulse, 1 April 2013
I picked this up at my local Tesco on impulse (sorry Amazon). I've recently completed Army of Two Devils Cartel so was looking for some more third person/co-op action to satisfy my needs.

Now funnily enough I have played all of the Gears of war games....but the series never really grabbed me as a must-buy. Since Gears 3 though perhaps the way I look and play games has changed? For one I like having little side goals, things to collect and a decent arsenal of weapons to choose from. Judgement has these things in the way of de-classified missions, dog tags to find and more weapons than a US armory.

Of course there is the multiplayer portion of the game to chew into, which has always been something of a winner with the Gears fans. I'll admit that I have not indulged this as of yet. I'm a bit wary actually based on my experience with Gears 3. Oh my god it was terrible. For some reason I always found myself as one of the last people alive and the pressure felt too much - what with my team mates watching every move I made, in hope of me doing a Rambo and killing the enemy team single handed. No such luck. I died in ways that were, perhaps, even comical and for this I was always switching on my 360 and finding hate mail: Sell the game they would say or please do not ever, ever, ever come online again. I kid you not.

Moving on Judgement stars Baird instead of the usual Mr. Fenix. Along for the ride is another familiar face: the Cole-train! The format for the game is slightly different from it's normal set-up. The story is told through a series of flash-backs...Baird and co are on trial for a presumed war-crime of sorts and you play out the story. All the while attempting to prove your innocence. It's not a bad story but I was not completely gripped by it and really it was a little obvious of how things would turn out. There is a saving grace though if you like the idea of playing each member of the team. Starting as Baird for the initial missions you go from member to member of the foursome, each giving their account of the events that led to their current situation.

During a mission/flashback you are presented with the de-classified sub-mission. These side-quests will seek to change the normal flow of events by introducing a handicap into the mix. For example: One de-classified brief is to clear a mission in under 4minutes before Hammerfall strikes obliterate the area. That makes things slightly more interesting and a lot more challenging. The good thing is if you want to tackle the game in it's normal pacing then you do not have to take on the de-classified missions. Obviously there are benefits for completing these.....you earn stars more quickly, which in-turn improves your mission score. Stars earn prizes and you will want to collect them all. Your star meter fills up slowly based on how many enemies you kill. Better kills, such as headshots, CQC executions and flourishes of skill make that meter fill up faster. Get through a section without going down to the dirt and that too is an award in itself, as you are not penalized for having to be revived - which depletes the overall star rating.

The core combat experience seems to be more or less the same as Gears 3. Wander through areas, taking in the scenery and then come under attack from hordes of bad guys....Locusts the bane of the career soldier. Dash into cover, throw grenades, use suppressive fire so your team can get closer to their targets and flank them. It's all extremely satisfying. And you know something; I love the Lancer with it's underbarrel chainsaw, and the Long-shot sniper rifle. These are my fav weapons. But battlegrounds are often littered with weapons so you can change and adjust on the fly, giving no reason not to try out every possible combination. Bigger enemies absorb bullets so grenades and launchers are best used against these larger foes. You do not want them getting in close as melee attacks can be devastating, especially on the harder difficulty settings.

In some areas of the game you have locations that need to be defended at all costs. This is a good excuse for the game to launch waves of Locusts at you; usually you get a minute or so to prepare for the invasion. It's with this small window of time that you will set up Sentry guns (which can be placed anywhere), place grenade traps and search for the best location that affords cover and a quick escape route should you get over run. I like these areas as it's one big bullet storm of carnage and explosions. You have slow moving enemies and then faster ones that can sprint through your defenses, lunging straight for your throat. This ensures that you mix up your tactics accordingly, keeping you and your team mates on their toes.

While not exactly the same as the other games in the series....I really enjoyed my time on Judgement and will make another play-through to find the dog tags I missed and attempt to get all the stars. Maybe I have enjoyed it so much because I've never had a great urge to play the games, so my expectations are not as high as the die-hard Cogs out there.
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