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    by Published on February 18th, 2010 11:56


    Publisher/Developer: Team17
    Release: 16/12/2009
    Genre: Top Down Shooter / Shoot em up
    Players: Single-player, Co-op
    Age Rating: ESRB: Teen


    I never had an Amiga back in the day, I had always been confined to Gameboy, Nes and Snes in the early 90s, so games like the original Alien Breed passed me by. But what I gathered from any Amiga owners I knew, was that it was quite good. Essentially a top down shooter, it had a dark appeal, and clear to all was the influence of the then recently released Aliens film.

    But it was far from a non-official cash in on the Aliens franchise, the top down shooter was a popular genre of the late 80s/early 90s, with Gauntlet and Smash TV proving very popular with their simple game mechanics and graphical style able to allow many enemies on screen at once. The top down viewpoint permitted enemies to attack the player from all sides of the screen, leading to some frantic shooting action. Since you viewed the action from above, players had more freedom of movement than say, a side scrolling shooter where your only movement is forward and back.


    Whilst Gauntlet and Smash TV were simply chaotic frag fests, Alien Breed took a more subtle approch, with haunting visuals, and adopting enhanced game mechanics like many rooms interlinked with creepy coridoors, and keycard collection, as well as thick enough narrative to keep your objectives in sight (namely - shoot everything that moves). The game would change from quiet, nervous wandering around, from suddenly having Various types of Alien coming at you in their droves.


    This remake/re-imaginging of the long neglected franchise follows suite, and essentially consists of the player wandering around in the dark collecting keycard, re-activating generators and opening doors, intersparsed with bouts of frantic hordes of aliens coming out of the walls and floors for several minutes at a time.


    One early section has you re-ignite some computer system, which, once activated, take a couple of minutes to boot up and allow access to the next section through the locked door. Of course, you know once you hit the switch and the the door-open timer starts counting down, you're in for some chop. So begins the running and the screaming.


    The Unreal3 engine gets a fair bit of use these days, in games like Gears of War 1 and 2, and Batman Arkham Asylum, and in Alien Breed Evolution it shows how the aging engine can still work great with remakes and XBL Arcade games.

    The action is viewed from a semi-top-down-semi-isometric perspective, and you can rotate the camera through 8 angles (up, down, left, right and the diagonals), which is handy if the scenery blocks your view, but it can be disorientating. Fortunately the levels are fairly intuitively laid out.

    Left stick is your movement, and right stick points your character in the desired direction, making it possible to strafe and circle, unlike the original 90s version, where strafing was the ramblings of a madman. Pointing the right stick in a direction not only aims, but also shines your torch out, which is essential as large portions of this game are played in near complete darkness. It's fantastic when you whip the aim round and your torch catches the greasy head of an alien scuttling towards you. Catch em with a shotgun blast to the face quick! In larger battles you'll have many aliens coming at you from all angles, and whipping around to shoot from all angles is something you'll be doing alot if you want to survive.


    I played on hard difficulty, and ammo quickly becomes scarce, leaving you to rely on your infinate pistol - which is not ideal. You learn to conserve ammo, and use melee on smaller beasts instead. But the tension and atmosphere is enhanced tenfold when you have to carefully balance your ammo types. It makes your shotgun more fun to use if you save it up for one of those moments when you get surrounded, the control scheme is quick enough so that turning around to blast your hot lead in multiple directions is a breeze. It's these moments where the game shines.

    It's definately frightening, and there's an element of survival horror. But it's mostly hot and heavy blasting action. I didn't get a chance to do co-op, but as a single player experience this stands up on it's own.


    The main gripe is the camera movement and distance. It's often too close to you, which is fine for showing off the graphics, but lousy for seeing the fast approaching horde offscreen. It's a big problem in a game like this, and a zoomed out camera would have been better for moments of intense fighting, also, as mentioned, being able to rotate the camera is a solution to the player being obscured behind objects ...
    by Published on February 10th, 2010 06:23

    If you haven't noticed already or didnt know, DCEmu Reviews and DCEmu Games Reviews are on the following social networks and sites:



    Be sure you're subscribed and following because we'll be having a contest specifically for these sites. So you don't want to miss out! ...
    by Published on February 3rd, 2010 00:45

    Roaring Lucky Lunar New Year Sale starting now! Nearly 5000 discounts and the chance to win cool prizes!


    Kung Hei Fat Choi! It's Lunar New Year again! Some of you may be wondering what this Lunar or Chinese New Year is about: The Traditional Chinese Calendar is based on Moon cycles and starts a few weeks after the western New Year. This festival is the most important, and joyoys time in Chinese societies. People buy new clothes, sweep their house and children get red pockets.

    Every lunar year is represented by an animal. Last year, it was the ox that represents hard work, and this year is the year of the tiger, promising adventures and dynamic. These big cats are natural leaders, we certainly hope that they'll lead everybody to a happy and prosperous year.

    To welcome the Tiger, Play-Asia.com will start into the New year with the Roaring Lucky Lunar New Year Sale, with thousands of brilliant bargains and a chance to win awesome prizes.

    Look for the goodies left on your Christmas wish list, there's a good chance that they're now available at a lower price. We have carefully reviewed our inventory and the result is a total of around 5,000 in-stock items, we have around 2000 games, 200 console accessories, 400 toys, 200 books, 800 music CDs and around 1000 movies.

    But this is not all! Like we've done with our sales in the past, you will again have the chance to win fantastic prizes such as consoles, games and store credits. So what are you waiting for?

    And this is how it works:

    Now Tiger will guide you to where the Sales and the Lucky Draw are. The cheerful big cat will stop by the bargained products between February 2nd and February 11th, snap up the goodies and there you go, entered into the Lucky Draw. The more you buy, the more you save and the higher your chances of winning our prizes.

    The winners of the 30 main prizes will be announced in this news post during the last week of February 2010 and will also be notified by e-mail.

    Yet, be aware. Some products are restocked regularly, so the tiger comes back time and time again, yet for limited versions, such as toys and music, once the tiger leaves (out of stock) he never returns. Set your priorities and plan your shopping strategies.

    Prizes:



    (*) The "game of your choice" is only valid for any game priced up to a maximum of US$ 70 per title. Winning choices may be limited to countries where shipping restrictions apply. Prizes cannot be redeemed as cash. ...
    by Published on January 27th, 2010 11:05


    Platform: PC
    Developer: Telltale Games
    Publisher: LucasArts

    Ratings


    ERSB




    Tales of Monkey Island: Bringing Point-and-Click back.

    Before people read this, I must confess a personal bias. I personally loved all the other Monkey Island games and the prospect of reviewing a game that was to continue such a favoured series was hugely appealing to me. I will try and keep this review unbiased but on a last note before I begin, if you haven’t played the other Monkey Island games and you enjoy this title, it’s definitely worth the purchase.

    Tales of Monkey Island is the newest instalment of the immensely popular Point-and-Click adventure series from Lucas Arts. You play as Guybrush Threepwood, a “mighty pirate”, who prefers to use his head instead of his cutlass to solve any of life’s difficulties. In previous instalments of the series we have learned that he has a steady and persistent cast, for example, his wife Elaine Threepwood, a pirate far more at home with violence, the Voodoo Lady, Guybrush’s guide in this world (and the next) and the fearsome LeChuck, Guybrush’s nemesis. Tales of Monkey Island has entered a new realm of distribution however, offering the game in five chapters, all downloadable straight to your PC. In each of these chapters, Guybrush must face mind stretching puzzles and use whatever is available to him to proceed along his quest.


    The gameplay is simplistic with the cursor lighting up as you roll over interactive objects and their names popping up to identify them and movement is controlled by holding the left mouse button down and dragging it in the direction you want Guybrush to walk in. This takes a little while to get used to but becomes second nature very quickly. Then you have the inventory of the items which you steal, borrow, pillage, earn and find throughout the game to aid you in your quest. The only other interaction you control is how you hold a conversation. This simplistic system is just what the game needs as, with every other game in the series, the best part about Monkey Island is the humour and wit. This is exactly the kind of game that you can use to just whittle away hours from a tough day with little input from you. The series is famed for the classic one-liners that is sprouted by the characters, with Guybrush taking center stage as one of the most likable character to be created in the digital realm. The only thing that worries me about this is that some of the jokes are derived from the previous instalments and this may take away some of the charm for newcomers to the series.


    The graphics are simply beautiful with the world captured in the playful style that the story is portrayed in and they reflect the idea that the game is something to be enjoyed at your pleasure rather than mind-blowing special effects to keep your adrenaline high. The characters all have very definite styles and while the lip synching is nowhere near perfect (or even close for that matter) we can get definite bursts of identifiable emotion when they are portrayed.


    The audio in the game is one of my favourite aspects. The cast have been excellently selected to compliment the physical nature and personality of their respective characters. Dominic Armato (Guybrush) in particular does an amazing job portraying the Caribbean’s most endearing pirate. The music, while sometimes over the top, does the job of getting the scene’s temperament just right. In the frequent scenes of battle between Guybrush and LeChuck, we get ominous tones which still have a playful air to them, cementing the idea that the game is still just out to make you laugh.


    The chapters can be purchased separately or altogether as a pack and from my experience, it took me about 3 hours to complete a chapter, apart from chapter four which, in my mind was the trickiest. Which leads me to the one flaw I found with this game. Once again, alot of the puzzles will make sense when you sit down and really think about it but some of them are simply bizarre and unless you’re somewhat used to the tricks that LucasArts like to use in these games, I can’t see people figuring them out themselves. That said, it did feel slightly easier than the earlier games but I still would expect a newcomer to be searching for a walkthrough by chapter two.

    Finishing up here, I still think the Monkey Island series are a solid gaming experience that everyone should try at least once. I know the humour might not appeal to everyone but for the life of me I can’t think who. Best thing about this game is you can buy the first chapter on it’s own if you want to try it. And I’d recommend you all do that.

    ...
    by Published on January 3rd, 2010 01:42

    Wiiwaa is a new interactive video game which uses a small stuffed animal as the game’s controller.

    The game is design by Zoink Games exclusively for the Nintendo Wii. The game utilizes the wii’s motion-sensing controller implanted inside a stuffed puppet of the game’s main character. The user shakes and bounces the puppet around, as the on-screen version mimics the same actions. The puppet can be thrown, slingshot and moved in a variety of other ways all of which are acted out on screen.

    This idea is ideal for children, giving them a way to connect the game to reality and also encouraging more physical activity than simply thumb movements.


    Source: designboom / Wiiwaa ...
    by Published on December 7th, 2009 00:34


    Ju-On: The Grudge
    Release Date: 10/30/2009 (Europe)
    Platform: Wii
    Number of Players: 1-2
    Genre: Fright Simulator
    Publisher: Rising Star Games
    Developer: Feelplus
    Region: Europe




    Overview: Experience genuine terror from one of Japan’s horror masters, Takeshi Shimizu, in the first ever videogame offering of JU-ON: The Grudge.

    The gaming environment is based heavily on the film version of the Grudge and using the Wii Remote as a flashlight, players explore haunted areas such as an abandoned warehouse, a dimly lit hospital and a mannequin factory, all whilst trying to remain in control of their nerves. The game is developed with heavy involvement from Shimizu-san - JU-ON: The Grudge is as close as you can get to actually being in the twisted world of The Grudge.

    The aim of the game is to remain as calm as possible, the more a player flinches and jumps at the terrifying events unfolding around them, the worse their score becomes. A great game for groups of friends, JU-ON: The Grudge is a battle of nerves as well as serious laughs as each player takes their turn to frighten themselves silly. The developers have taken care to make sure that this game is as realistic as possible and many of the sound effects were recorded at existing ruined facilities and buildings to recreate the true horror of the experience.

    The Wii Remote is also used as various different devices throughout the game, giving a realistic take on specific movements such as opening doors. At the end of the game scores can be compared with your friends and family to find out who truly is the most scared!

    Released in time for Halloween, why not invite your friends round and see which one you can scare the most?

    And remember, this game should be played with the lights off!

    Gameplay: Ju-On: The Grudge is dubbed a "Fright Simulator" and is suppose to be a Haunted House Simulator (as per North American cover shot). Ju-On begins with a definition of the term "juon", defining it as a curse born from one who dies tragically that affects and kills all who come into contact with it.

    In this game, you start off by selecting your gender as well as your star sign. Once you have selected your character, you begin the game with a dog, Ivy, wandering into a rundown factory. After noticing your pet hasnt returned, you proceed into the factory in search for 'man's best friend' armed with a flashlight. If you're the type to never open the manual and just jump right in, like myself, I suggest you open the manual before playing the game to familiarize yourself with the controls since there are no tutorials in the beginning.


    Immediately, you encounter your first scare when you press B. As stated above, B is used to move forward and you only move forward at a slow pace and only that pace. On the bottom left of the screen, you'll see your three (3) battery meter for your flashlight. Like real life flashlights or any electronics, when in use, the battery depletes. This is essentially your life. Dont worry, you'll be able to find batteries in dark rooms along with keys to open locked doors. You would think that the character would move a little faster to find her pet dog before the flashlight dies but you're limited to an extremely slow walking pace. If the battery dies before the game is completed, you will need to start from the beginning. Yes, the beginning. There are no checkpoints at any time in the game.


    The further you get, the scares become predictable and expected. They usually happen around the same areas, same situations and same way.

    In the game, there is a 'curse'. If you encounter a 'curse', it chases you around for a few seconds and the only way to evade it is to perform a series of actions with the Wiimote. These actions such as waving the controller, are displayed on screen with arrows appearing at the edge of the screen and you have to move the controller in the direction specificed to help you escape from the 'curse'. If the arrow turns green, it means you passed. If the arrow turns red and you do not want it to turn red because that means you have failed which results in death and you will have to repeat it all over again.


    A second player can join in but they arent there to help but more of scaring the first player which slows the player down. They have to wait 15 seconds before they can do another scare tactic.

    Controls: To give you a quick rundown of the controls, the B button is used to move forward, DOWN on the d-pad moves your character backwards and the A button is used to interact with doors and items. And the most important part is moving your Wiimote. This is used to direct the light from the flashlight and to direct your character. As you creep further into the game, you realize the controls isnt really that good. Moving the flashlight is not as responsive and can be a bit frustrating at times trying to get your character to move in the direction you want it to move.

    When something scary is about to happen, you are taken ...
    by Published on November 18th, 2009 15:01


    Publisher: Codemasters
    Developer: Codemasters
    Release:
    NA: October 6, 2009
    EU: October 8, 2009
    AUS: October 15, 2009
    UK: October 9, 2009
    Genre: Military Sim / FPS
    Players: Single-player, Single-co-op, Multiplayer, Multiplayer-Co-op
    Age Rating:
    BBFC: 15
    ESRB: M
    PEGI: 18
    USK: 16

    Billed as an infantry sim, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, makes many claims about it's size, it's realism and it's hardcore difficulty. This is a game I had been looking forward to, I always wade in on the hardest difficulty of any game I have right away. I hadn't played the first Operation Flashpoint game, but I damn sure liked the sound of bullets causing you to bleed out, super hard enemies who spot you a mile off and the need for finely honed military tactics to complete missions.


    I was beginning to wonder if the days of hardcore PC only shooters were dead and gone. Halo and Call of Duty and their kind have given us '30 seconds of fun' gameplay, regenerative health, and all the other console/casual devices we've grown used to. So the PC fps games of the late 90s and early 00s didn't really make the transition to consoles at the time, mainly because consoles of that era didn't have the power to compete with PCs. But now that the performance divide between PC and console narrows, we see more and more multi-console-PC releases, often to the detriment of PC versions, and earning the malign of PC owners.


    But for those of us who aren't rich enough to keep up with the latest PC hardware, PC games on consoles is very much welcome for the most part. Bohemia Interactive's original Operation Flashpoint was praised by PC gaming mags and websites the world over, however a fallout resulted in Codemasters becoming both developer and publisher of the 'sequel', Dragon Rising.

    It shows. What I mean is, this game was developed and published by Codemasters, and it shows heavy signs of design by committee. You can almost tell the parts of the game where some one higher up the food chain at Codemaster decided that being able to put blurb facts on the back of the box took frontseat to a rounded gaming experience.


    Let's take the bit of blurb on the back of the gamebox, a 220 km2 open world battlefield. That's all well and good but none, NONE of the missions in the game make much use of this fact, and as of yet there is not free roam mode. Maybe I'm missing something as a mostly console gamer (nowadays), but what is the point of a 220km2 open world environment, when each of the game's 11 or so missions require you to follow orders within a set area. Roaming around outside your mission area usually results in failure. Though I have to admit, it's great to have the option to approach a mission from any angle, but it really feels like there's a lot of wasted space. I'm told there will be a free roam mode added with DLC, but I'm focussing on the release version of the game here.


    50 vehicles are your to command! Yet 95% of your time will be spent running. Vehicles are largely irrelevant to most tasks, save for a few missions. They'll either draw too much attention and get you shot, or be so uncontrollable and useless that you're better off on foot.

    Ok so far I've gone in angry. Maybe not angry as such, more, annoyed disappointment, but there are some excellent features in the game, graphics aren't something I usually focus on, but I'd like to mention that missions start at a certain time of day, and, from there, they occurr in real time. This means that, when you begin mission 2 for example, at 5:30am, it is initially dark. Take more than half an hour on this mission and you'll notice the Sun rises, and the map gets brighter, negating the protection and stealth that darkness afforded you, and beautifully lighting up the trees and grass. Then you see a badly textured low poly bush and the immersion suffers a bit, or you notice how the fire effects and explosions look like they were created with MS Paint.


    When the gameplay works it works well. I really enjoyed a lot of the missions, in both the stealth and firefight sections. Getting your guys (and occasionally gals) in position, forming a tight wedge and ordering return fire only. For a time it's exactly what the doctor ordered. But, there are numerous bugs in this title at launch, and although a patch is promised to update the sometimes great, sometimes erratic AI behaviour, it's pretty poor form to have this many glaring errors at launch.


    Two things about this game in particular really bugged me. First, the collision deteciton. I was in a building, looking out a window - standing up - not crouching - aiming my gun out the window, with the muzzle pointing right at an enemy. As I opened fire, ...
    by Published on November 16th, 2009 16:15

    Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank
    Publisher : Sony Online Entertainment
    Dev: Pop Cap Games
    Price: £6.99


    Another game from the Playstation Network, Heavy Weapon has all the feel of those side scrolling action games of the Commodore 64 and Nintendo (guess what consoles I had as a kid!), rolling along shooting everything in sight, and simply because of the tank, Metal Slug, but Metal Slug this is not!

    There are several modes, campaign, survival, boss battle, and online, rankings too.


    A very basic set up, use the left analogue stick to move your tank left and right to dodge bullets and use the right analogue stick to aim (pointing it in whatever direction will fire in that direction, no buttons used). We also have the X/O button for your chosen special weapon (rockets etc) and R2 will detotnate any nukes you have, they'll destroy pretty much everything on the screen, except for end bosses – they'll take a good bit of health off them. Then there's the Super Laser, collect four pieces to get this weapon which will destroy anything in it's path (never actually had it during a boss battle but I'm pretty sure it would FUBAR it!). They only problem with this weapon is that it lasts for so little time after taking a good while to actually get.


    Ok getting on to the game the little cut scene story at the start reminds me very much of a DS game, static pictures in a comic book fashion, the world is doomed and the tank is the only hope. Each level is a section of the map made to look like America and each level new enemies are add, getting a little trickier every level (the dive bombing planes are very tricky I found). Difficulty wise the game had a nice learning curve to it, I found myself breezing through the first two levels, ge ting to understand the Super Laser, nukes and your friendly helicopter (it tells you not to shoot it, so naturally I tried to destroy it, I think the bloody thing is indestructible, what's the point!). By level three however it hit the fan and I found myself dying a few times.

    This is when I discovered my problem with the game, I was all set to write a decent review on it, I thought I was enjoying it after all, but after losing my lives and having to start the level all over again I found it a chore, it's the same thing over and over again, there's no massive variety of weapons – I loved games like U.N. Squadron and R Type because they kept things fresh with loads of weapons and bad guys, this just does not have that– yes there are different weapons, but none of them enhanced the game for me, it felt no different from what I had in level 1. I found myself playing on in this game simply because I had to finish this review. And as for the bosses, save you nukes (you won't need them during the level) crack them all off on the boss then fire away til they're dead, simple as.


    During the level itself, it's easy enough picking off planes and trucks when there's not too many on the screen, and when it does get busy just keep rotating the right analogue stick very quickly, it seems to do the job just fine – and where's the fun in that!

    Overall this game this game feel much more suited to the likes of an iphone app or a quick PC game, I don't even feel it's up to the standard of several other games on the Playstation network (Trash Panic being a particular favorite of mine), when you can buy PS3 games for £15 or even less sometimes, £6.99 just does not seem worth it.

    **I was going to give this game a 1.5, until I accidentally played this game with Hulk Hogan's 'Real American' playing off my laptop (I was doing research for my job, alright!) it gave me a good chuckle! There I give it a:



    2/5 – by no means the best PSN game out there ...
    by Published on October 12th, 2009 16:21


    Platform: PC, XBox 360
    Developer: TimeGate Studios
    Publisher: SouthPeak Games

    Ratings:

    PEGI:









    ESRB:



    Section 8 is a sci-fi first person shooter powered by the Unreal Engine. The first noticeable thing when you start this game is the odd organisation of the menu. Now normally in a game you would have Campaign followed by Multiplayer. In section 8 you have Multiplayer then Instant Action then Corde's Story? This tells you straight away that, first and foremost, this is a multiplayer game. Your campaign (Corde's Story) is essentially training for the multiplayer.

    Once playing the actual game you'll notice that it's pretty. It's very pretty. The armour looks awesome, the spaceships looks amazing, the detail is great. It's what you'd expect from a game built upon the Unreal Engine. Therein lies the first problem, even if you don't bother reading the box within minutes of play you'll recognise this as an Unreal game. The environments, the textures, the objects, the playstyle. They all scream UNREAL at the top of their lungs. Now this isn't a bad thing, the Unreal games are excellent and the engine is a fantastic product, but given what else has been done with the Unreal Engine, like Bioshock, it isn't wrong to expect something a bit more original.

    The Campaign itself is a series of missions in the style of Unreal Assault maps. You drop in at one location and have to go to another location killing off continuously spawning nameless enemies while capturing points or destroying objects. You are limited in the area you can explore by a red border on the minimap. Entering this border will shut down your system in 5 seconds, in other words, kill you. But death isn't a big deal in this game, you die, you click, you spawn in orbit again and free fall to your spawn point before crashing into the ground and you're ready to go. During this time the game continued on without you, just like a game of Unreal Tournament would.

    The story is unimportant and forgettable. You're with one military group fighting another military group and trying to kill a defector who turned from your group to theirs. You're not given much information on who anyone is or why you're fighting. Even when members of your team get killed off, you just don't care. There's no real bond between the player and the characters formed and the game doesn't try to make them. This leads to a very bland story where you're more interested in gunning things than why you're gunning them.
    The game advertises it as being able to 'Fully Customise your armour and weapons for tactical advantages'. What this means in practice is that when you go to a weapon drop pod you can choose what two weapons you carry into battle. Your choices are Assault Rifle, Shotgun, Rocket Launcher, Pistol or Sniper Rifle. You can also choose your secondary items such as a mortar, a knife, a repair kit etc. As for the armour customising you have 10 points to split among a bunch of skills. These skills are things like +5% damage to your weapons, -10% recoil, +12% armour or bonuses to your repair and shield recharge speed. These Give you a degree of control on your playstyle. However in the heat of battle you'll find that the difference between these is so insignificant you might as well have not bothered.


    Little of how combat works is actually explained to you. Given that this is an FPS it should be straightforward, but sometimes you'll find your shots ignore the enemies shield and hurt him directly for huge damage. Other times you'll find no matter how many bullets you pump into him you can't dent him. Even the Sniper rifle is little more than an inconvenience to enemies, its advantage is clearly in the range not the ability to head shot people. Given the unclear nature of combat you'll find yourself using an Assault Rifle and Rocket Launcher for most situations.

    The real meat of this game is in the multiplayer, for which there is only one gameplay mode. A strange victory point collection game, you get points for killing your opponents and capturing and holding points. You gain money as you complete these tasks which allows you to buy items such as a mech suit, a tank or various anti-tank/personnel/air weapons. These help with defending a point and give you a bit of control over how you defend. Xbox 360 owners will be disappointed to learn that there is no split-screen multiplayer in this game. So you can't play with your friends on the same console, it's online multiplayer only.


    A couple of interesting things Section 8 brings to the table is a lock on. When you right click to aim if you press E you'll lock onto whoever is in your sights and for the next few seconds you can fire without worrying about tracking ...
    by Published on October 9th, 2009 10:31


    Developer: SNK Playmore
    Publisher: Ignition Entertainment
    Release: September 25, 2009
    Genre: Fighting
    Platforms: Xbox 360 (version tested), PS3
    Players: 2
    Age Rating: ESRB: T (Teen) / PEGI: 12+
    Price: £39.99

    The King of Fighters XII is a completely hand drawn 2D fighter. The match ups let you choose 3 fighters, Then you choose the order they play, which means you will be playing head games with your opponent trying to get the advantage before the fight begins. This is definitely one of the strong points of the King of Fighters as it forces you to try a bit of variety in your fighting style and means you won’t get bored with your friend that always uses the same fighter. You all know who you are.
    One of the first things that came to my attention about The King of Fighters XII is how much of a gaming marmite experience it is. After a good few hours on it there were some of us that just couldn’t get enough and there were others who kept whinging to put on Street Fighter.


    Visually King of Fighters XII is absolutely beautiful. In this day and age it is so refreshing to see a totally 2D hand drawn game, particularly when in high definition. The animation is very fluent however could maybe use an extra few frames on certain character moves. I also loved how explosive and powerful the effects were without cluttering the screen up and making you begin foaming at the mouth.


    Despite all the positive points just there I do have one thing I would like to nit pick on, which is how pixely the characters appear when the camera is zoomed in. By no means does this make the game ugly, however I just wish they had put the sprites in at a higher resolution.

    King of Fighters XII really has evolved the series. One of the main things you will notice is how much more responsive it feels to pull off moves when compared to older versions of the series which should allow all you combo fiends out there to do some nice juggles.
    As standard to the series, all the characters are equipped with their own unique super move. Some have more than one.


    The first of two new editions to the series is the ‘guard attack’. This move feels like an extension to the parrying system in ‘Mark of the wolves’ or ‘3rd Strike’, but more so like the focus attack in ‘Street Fighter IV’. Basically upon the moment of impact executing the guard attack will successfully counter the move sending your opponent flat on their face.

    The second new edition and my personal favourite is the ‘critical counter’. It’s not always so easy to pull off but when you do… MY GOD! Never have I felt so satisfied in a fighting game. The first thing you will hear is an almighty thud and then you will notice your opponents character stunned, now your basically free to unleash a combo of fury on your opponent. What makes this so satisfying is the fact the move isn’t predetermined. It allows you to do any move you want and constantly combo and if you really want to show off you can follow up with your super move at the end of it.


    One thing you may notice about King of Fighters XII is the severe reduction of fighters in the game when compared to others in the series. There are 22 in total and personally I think for a rebirth of the series that’s plenty for now and also lets SNK keep track of balancing issues a bit better.
    What I’m not so impressed about is the lack of levels to fight in. I counted only six! I admit they all look great but you can only laugh at fat French women for so long. Its issues like this that made the game feel somewhat like a location test rather than a final release. But giving the benefit of the doubt I do believe in quality over quantity.


    While I’m still in my bitching mode I would like to say a big wtf to loading times between "lounds"! Sorry, I mean rounds (engrish announcer). Serious, I really can’t understand the need for this. Could everything not have been loaded before the first round so there’s no break up in the in the flow? I haven’t tried installing to my hard drive yet but I hope this solves the problem.

    King of Fighters XII also lets you play online via Xbox Live. Online play allows you to create or join a room with multiple opponents. When playing a person with a reasonable connection the game play is mostly fine, however when playing a person with a poor connection the game doesn't typically lag out like other fighters it literally runs in slow motion. But as most fighting game fans know, playing online is never a good thing, good connection or not, it will never respond just quite as fast as you need it to. Face to face is always the best option and makes the fight much more personal.

    To round it up King of Fighters XII is an absolutely ...

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