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    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:20
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    2. Xbox 360 News,
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    Dead Rising
    Publisher: Capcom
    Developer: Capcom
    Genre: Action
    Players: 1
    Reviewed on Xbox 360 by gdf

    Ah, zombies. The shambling, brainless undead. Long hunted down by many a gamer, they have created numerous great games over the years, most notably Capcom's infamous Resident Evil series. Dead Rising is another zombie game from the survival horror masters, but is in an altogether lighter, more humorous tone.

    You play Frank West, a photographer who has hitched a chopper ride into a sleepy American town that has recently been blocked off by the army. Chasing the scoop, you land on a mall and have 72 hours before your lift returns. When you get down to the shop floor, you find survivors of the outbreak barricading themselves in and fighting off zombies using whatever they can find, and when the undead brain munchers break in, you must employ similar tactics. After the initial scrap, you are taken up to the security room, a safe haven from your enemies, and meet all manner of mysterious people. You can try to uncover the outbreak of the scoop, try to save survivors or just kill piles of zombies, the choice is yours!

    To begin with all you have is a camera, a watch and the clothes on your back; however, if you can pick an item up, you can use it in battle. There are literally HUNDREDS of weapons to be found, from novelty masks, to lawnmowers to plastic lightsabers, and almost all of them are useful in some way. Though there is just one attack button, the range of items negates the need for complex combos and each weapon has several different attacks: they can be swung, thrown, made to do a special attack and more, depending on the weapon. Some of the weapons are highly inventive and excellent fun to use and can cut through swathes of enemies. Body parts go flying all over the place and claret pours across the screen as you hack into a crowd with the small chainsaw or bash them up with the sledgehammer. The action is great and there are thousands of zombies to be brutally dispatched in increasingly inventive ways (death by shower head anyone?), so it never gets boring. It's a far cry from Resident Evil: there's no wandering around the same locations for scarce ammo, code guessing, or saving the best guns for the really bad boys; just a huge amount of zombies and an unlimited stock of badass weaponry with which to pwn their sorry hides.

    When you bring up your watch in game a list of missions will appear; some important to the story, most just survivor escorts. Escorting survivors is an absolute ******* as they seem to be willing to hurl themselves into large crowds of zombies and get themselves eaten. After a while you'll get used to it, but it's not usually worth the bother to herd a fat man across the whole mall whilst being pursued by a gaggle of zombified shoppers and psychopathic cultists. There is only one door to the security room and save points are scarce, so trying to take others there could result in the loss of an hour or two's play. Hardly fair. Another complaint is that you are extremely unlikely to complete the game first, or even second, time round as it is hard to keep up with the tight time schedule of story missions. You can, however, choose to restart any time but keep your previously earned abilities and level, something that will come as a relief to those who just kept running out of time after the medication mission on day two and saved an already failed game. We know Capcom like to make their games challenging, but this is a step too far. All of this makes completing the game close to impossible to the casual gamer, who is the market this game should really appeal to.

    Once you do properly get going on story mode you'll have great fun, and the kill count will rack up surprisingly fast. You can, as previously mentioned, gain new abilities and improve your stats and this is done in a clever way. Instead of the usual killing stuff gets exp. points (prestige points in this game, or PP), here you do it by taking photographs. Each photo you take is ranked and counts up target markers or special events, such as the high ranking PP stickers, which can be taken at specific moments. Once your photo is done you get PP for it and certain types of photo get more than others. This system works well, as it is down to player skill, not just awarded for winning a battle or whatever. PP are supplemented by completing missions or successfully escorting those bloody survivors to safety, and when you level up you improve your stats, and get special moves, like the head-busting knee drop, or zombie owning wall pounce.

    After the missions are done you can continue to play, but I can't say much more without ruining it. There are loads of achievements in the game and many can be done with simple tasks like: "walk ten metres over a crowd of zombies"; "hit 30 zombies with a parasol"; ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:20
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    SSX On Tour
    Publisher: EA Games
    Developer: EA BIG
    Genre: Sports
    Players: 1-4
    Reviewed on PSP by gdf

    SSX is the Snowboard series. First appearing on PS2 in 2000, it has grown and changed over the years, dominating the snowboarding corner of the extreme sports genre virtually unchallenged. On Tour is the latest, appearing on the creaky old PS2, Xbox and PSP. After the brilliant predecessor SSX3, many expected this to be the be all and end all of boarding games, and though it is solid and competent, it doesn't quite measure up to this expectation. Some of the magic has been lost and the title is misleading- the whole game takes place on the same mountain- don't expect to be hurtling down the French Alps one minute and snapping your neck on Mt. Everest the next.

    On Tour has made some additions to the franchise; it is the first game to include skiing and there are more challenges to do. Skiing is fun for the first ten minutes but seems to fade when you realise it is exactly the same as boarding. The tricks work in the same way, the characters are the same, the speed is the same, the designs are the same, the levels are the same and the handling is...you guessed it, the same. This poses a problem as all skiing really brings to the game is more challenges, all of which are mirror images of the boarding ones. It is like a driving game claiming to have 50 tracks, but really there are just 25 reversed. Thankfully the handling is good all round anyway, so at least the game isn’t twice as long and a bitch to play at the same time.

    The controls work surprisingly well on the handheld. Cross is crouch/jump, Circle and Square are trick buttons and Triangle is the modifier. To flip you press the D-Pad like in SSX of old. This actually works better than on PS2, where EA's bumming of the right analog has led to a poorly implemented "Trick Stick". On paper this sounds more natural, but series veterans will be put off by the fiddlyness and are better off playing on the portable. Unfortunately, the absence of four shoulder buttons on PSP has led to the boost being mapped to Square, so even a tiny lift off the ground could send your protagonist rolling off a cliff because they tried to do a 180 Stalefish three inches in the air.

    The boarding itself hasn't changed much, which can be seen as a relief. There is little better than bombing down a mountain at 90 miles per hour, trees rushing past and only your pure, concentrated skill stopping you ramming into one. When this game works, it works beautifully. There are times when you will feel nothing else, hear nothing else and see nothing else; undiluted gaming Zen, but given the skill of this particular reviewer, that headfirst tree-rape comes a little too often! On a more serious note, it has to be said that there are too many tracks. Wait...don't criticise me for saying this. SSX3 had three parts to a single mountain, with a few secret routes here and there. You could, with some practice, learn the course inside out and choose your own way down, knowing where to go next. On Tour has loads of separate courses, none of which are particularly memorable, so finding that personal route is hard to achieve. You may recognise a course, but you won't be able to go the same way time and time again, honing your skills to a knife edge. With this lost, it is all too often that the hardened SXX fan will lose on the easiest difficulty for the seventieth just because they didn't know where to go next.

    The visuals in OT are quite impressive, though not outstanding. Motion blur is well done and really adds to that sense of speed as the screen melts in your face. The snow looks really good when it puffs and whooshes out from the board, and you can really feel like Mr Cool cruising down the mountain with a trail of sparkling snow behind you (Sorry if that sounds a bit gay). Character models are fine, but on close inspection can look a bit ropey. The soundtrack is impressive, featuring a raft of great bands. The playlist is customisable too, so if you think a song sucks, you can simply refuse to ever let it piss in your beautiful ears again. The sheer amount of music that has been jammed onto the UMD is amazing, as there is at least an iPod Shuffle's worth of tuneage here.

    This review may have sounded harsh, but that is only because the series has offered so much more in the past. Number three was easily the best snowboard game ever, so On Tour is really a bit of a disappointment. It is by no means a bad game, don't get me wrong. It is solid, fun, and well made. Series newbies will love it and enjoy every last minute, but for those of us who have played the previous titles it is slightly flat. If you are buying SSX on PS2, go for the previous instalment, which can now be found for fewer than ten notes. For PSP owners hankering for some mountainside action there is no other ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:20
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    Metal Gear Acid 2
    Publisher: Konami
    Developer: Kojima Studios
    Genre: Action
    Players: 1
    Reviewed by gdf

    Coming across like a bizzare cross between Advance Wars, Yu-Gi-Oh and the original Metal Gear Solid, Acid 2 is the second MG game on the PSP. Following on from the original Acid (though not plot wise), numerous changes and tweaks have been made and new features added. The basic idea is that you have a deck of cards and each turn you have to use those cards to perform various actions, such as moving, shooting, healing and disguise. At intermisson you can edit your deck and add new cards you have found in game.

    Acid 2 is a very tactical game. You have to decide which cards you will sacrifice for movement most turns as the dedicated movement cards are pretty limited in number. This is where the AW comparisons come in. The areas are split into blocks and you can only move so many at a time, and when you engage in battle the camera zooms into the action. Mostly the gameplay is good enough fun and particularly good for long journeys because of the slow burning nature. There is a surprising amount of skill involved in negotiating the levels and avoiding being spotted, along with fair supplies of luck and strategy.

    Sadly it isn't really Metal Gear. The plot is stand alone and is pretty weak if the truth be told; It is something to do with Snake having amnesia and...snore. In comparison to Solid, the story is really uninvolving and dull, with the famous cutscenes replaced by speechless drawings. There isn't even much movement to watch, just scrolling text, and after a while it becomes easier just to tap square and skip the scenes all together. Fans of MGS will feel disappointed as the plot doesn't fit anywhere into the complex timeline; it could be anything, even a VR training program or Raiden's wet-dream. Surely filling in the backstory of a character like Revolver Ocelot or Vamp (or even Liquid), or covering the events in the period between MGS3 and the 1 would have been preferable, if just to appease MGS fans. Some would argue that the game isn't called Metal Gear Solid, so therefore doesn't need to be part of that series and while this is true to an extent, anything with the name Metal Gear comes with certain expectations of plot and production values and Acid doesn't satisfy in those areas.

    One thing you will notice is the striking visual style. In a departure from the serious look of Acid 1, the game looks like a cartoon. The cel-shading is very nice looking and helps the game feel more fun overall, if only because you are slaughtering characters that look like refugees from Gundam. The colours look quite odd to start with, all black, yellow and purple, and while at first you can be irritated you will soon get used to it. Overall the graphics are one of the best elements and help give the game a distinct identity, unlike the very grey Acid 1.

    Thankfully there are more positives to be found in the gameplay itself. Given the deeply tactical, turn by turn style of play, Acid is one of those "Dip-in-dip-out" games that games journalists seem to clamour for on PSP. Play it for five minutes and get bored? Put the console to sleep and come back in half an hour. Another good thing about the game is that, aside from the first Acid, it is a very unique experience. It isn't quite an RTS, but then it isn't an Action or Card Game either. For tactics fans it is one of the only options on PSP too.

    As mentioned previously, there are numerous changes and tweaks over the original. Forgoing the obvious visuals, the gameplay has been subtly changed to make it a little more friendly. For starters you can now pretty much move as you like, crouching and crawling away. Elsewhere more cards have been added in order to vary the gameplay a little. There are some neat bonus features like the "Solid Eye". Basically a pair of 3d goggles, they let you view movies so they appear to have depth. This is all very well, but sadly the twat who traded the game in forgot to put the goggles in the pack, so when I boughty it I never got them. Crossing my eyes gave me an idea of how it should look, if a slightly blurred, pupil cramping idea...

    In intermission you can buy cards from a shop, either as individual cards or full theme packs (MGS3, for instance, contains things like "The Fury" and "The End"). From there you can organise your deck to include which cards you want, with a minimum limit of 30 cards and a maximum that changes as you progress. Sound in the game is a mixed bag, with some neat effects hampered by the total lack of dialogue. The game will keep you going for a while and it is worth returning to levels to find all the cards or complete them in a different way. Overall MGA 2 is competent enough and well worth a look, especially as you can find it quite cheap ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:20
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    Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6: Vegas
    Publisher: Ubisoft
    Developer: Ubisoft
    Genre: First Person
    Players: 1
    Reviewed on Xbox 360 by gdf

    Rainbow 6 Vegas is somewhat a redemption for French developer/publisher Ubisoft. Two years ago, the Rainbow series took a turn for the worse with the terrible and shamelessly mainstream Lockdown. Hardcore veterans were left cold as numerous compromises were made and the game turned out more like Project Snowblind than a tactical, tough to beat Rainbow game. For its first next-gen outing the series has raised its game cosiderably, managing to please both the old guard and new blood whilst still proving a challenging and absorbing FPS; Vegas is a fantastic game.

    The training is set in Mexico City (possibly a homage to GRAW, another big Clancy franchise?) and lasts for slightly longer than you would probably like. You are introduced to the mechanics of the game and the streamlined command controls prove much more accessible than those of GRAW. So for around three hours (told you it was long) you charge round the impossibly dusty town, tactically pwning those Filthy, Freedom-Hating Wetbacks. So far, so Clancy, and the game continues like that throughout, playing "Rousingly patriotic" music from time to time. America, **** YEAH(!) and so on. Just as you begin to wonder when it will in fact live up to its title and actually go to Vegas, you are whisked away in a chopper and dumped onto the Strip. From here on in it's all good.

    The game feels familiar, reminiscent of Rainbow 3, yet somehow fresher and more accessible whilst retaining its depth. One of the things you'll notice, especially in the casinos, is the variety of ways you can complete the level. There are usually a few routes to each objective and when you reach a room filled with terrorists you can enter in numerous ways. For instance, you could set your men up dangling above a window and move round to a door, using the snake cam to pick out priority targets then giving the order to flash and clear while chucking in a smoke grenade yourself, throwing on your heat goggles and providing covering fire for your teammates as they crash through the glass and into the fray. All of this takes place in the space of around 5 seconds. It really is exhillerating stuff when you pull off a perfectly executed move and have the room cleared before you can say "Fourth of July".

    A new cover system has been implemented and proves far more useful than the old leaning trick. For a start it actually works. Akin to, though not quite as smooth as, the system used in Gears Of War, it manages to let you see round and over the object, blindfire, pinpoint shoot, throw grenades and snipe from your position. How so you ask? This is a first person game, so it must be impossible right? Wrong. The camera cleverly zooms out into a third person view, retaining the crosshair and, magically, not disturbing your play at all. It feels like a natural transition, as if you are still viewing in first person. You'll never notice it, and it is second only to the mighty Gears.

    The firefights themselves are intense as you try to second guess the enemy and outflank the scumbag without letting him do the same to you. Clever use of grenades works much of the time, but not as you would expect. Smoke and flash grenades aren't as impotent as in other games and often work better than a frag or incendiary, as your enemy loses his accuracy and you can pop out to shoot his face off quite easily. Though the game isn't gory, it is extremely violent, with blood splattering up the walls as a foe falls in an excellently mo-capped action. The same can happen to you just as easily however, especially on Realistic mode, as your enemies will go for the headshot and a few hits can be deadly. It isn't quite as punishing as GRAW, as you have a Gears/CoD vision blur thing going on instead of a health bar; just sit for a few seconds and you are good to go.

    The guns are very well thought out, each handling in a different way. There are several categories of weapon too so it's good to mix and match. In the end I plumped for an MP5N Sub-Machinegun fitted with a rifle scope as primary, a pump action Shotgun as secondary and the Raging Bull revolver as my pistol. You can add different scoped and attatchments to your guns which helps you create your own custom weapon set. The graphics in Rainbow are great, Ubisoft's trademark excellent lighting used to good effect throughout. An improvement on GRAW is that the screen is less cluttered with markers and arrows etc. so even when you get a video feed to your cross-com you can see the cation perfectly. The sounds are convincing to say the least, though the music can get repetitive from time to time because of its annoying American patriotism.

    Rainbow 6 Vegas is a stunning return to form for the series ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:20
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    The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
    Publisher: 2K Games
    Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
    Genre: Sports
    Players: 1
    Reviewed on Xbox 360 by gdf

    Where to start? Where on Earth can you begin a review concerning one of the most vast, ludicrously freeform games of all time? Well, you start by rambling on like this, then saying how absolutely immense it is. Yeah, that should do, because Oblivion is something of a phenomenon. Out on 360 and PC for just over a year now, with a PS3 version due soon, developer Bethesda Softworks has tried to reach as many people as possible with their game. This may seem at first like a ploy for more cash, but with such a masterpiece, it most definitely excusable and very correct of them to do so.

    So what makes it so good? Well, for starters, it is the biggest game ever created, bar none. The sheer size is enough to give anyone a headache and to call this "Sandbox" or even "Free Roaming" is an insult to the game. It laughs in the face of even the mighty GTA, and though Oblivion has been surpassed in terms of square miles of game area, the games that have done this were much shorter (Oblivion is at least 100 hours if you stick at it) and usually had some kind of transport faster than a horse. Yes, Oblivion is very much a traditional text based adventure at heart, but is brought to life with great vibrancy. The Medieval esque world draws unashamedly from these ancient games, but can also give credit to LOTR and D&D. Hardcore beards will feel right at home, and will positively savour ludicrous character creation options such as "Nose Bridge Depth".

    The level of freedom is astonishing. It is entirely possible to do whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want. I tend to go for the more murderous, thieving side of things, rather than the goody two shoes complete-every-quest-to-a-tee approach, and who can blame me; being a badass is fun! The game is deeper than the ocean and once the (slightly unconvincing) training level is finished you are thrown out into it. With nothing to keep you afloat. Carrying a dead albatross. Naked. The game really starts there and you can pursue the main quest, indulge in a spot of crime, chat with the locals or just run off into the wilderness. The locations are very well made and the vistas are nothing short of breathtaking. The draw distance is HUGE. On a clear day, you can see for miles and can sometimes spot several villages from one viewpoint. It is these times that the "Go anywhere" element truly comes into play. It is a joy to just pick a spot in the distance and head off for it, unsure of whom or what you will discover or what great treasures you will stumble across. Sometimes stalking a random stranger whets the appetite; Like the look of that guy's dagger? Follow him then stab him in the face when nobody's looking!

    There are a few guilds to join that each have their own quest line. You try to go up the rankings by doing ever more risky missions until you are the guild master. Some will enjoy the Arena Battles or the Fighters Guild knight style missions, others will prefer to complete tasks for the Mages Guild, but for me it has to be the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood. As I said, I'm a sneaky, murderous kind of guy. Anyhow, completing the guild missions is fun, but I wouldn't recommend breaking the rules... (Anyone fancy collecting 20 Dragon Tongue to get back in the Mages Guild?). You can get missions from the public as well, through either talking directly to people or overhearing conversations. These all go in your quest log and can be picked up any time, great for when you get bored of another quest or just wandering about all the time.

    Throughout the game there a few little minigames. The lock picking in particular is entertaining, with convincing (or bribing) people to like you worth an honourable mention. Even in the simplest task there are numerous skills and factors which affect your performance. Buying goods (even though stealing is better) can turn into a guessing game of haggling and bribing in order to get the best deal. As with all RPGs, the devil is in the detail.

    The in game character menu seems daunting at first. It has four sections, each with several sub-sections which are filled with stats or items. After you get used to it, managing your character is a cinch and you can actually enjoy trawling through the list, deciding which items you should drop so you can carry that shiny blade over there. The weapons are a great part of the game. You have to maintain them yourself for maximum performance, but when you are wielding a fully magically charged Glass Warhammer of the Dynamo, that Faded Wraith round the corner doesn't seem nearly as much of a badass. The combat itself is fun and feels much more direct and enjoyable than most other RPGs. The game is a first ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:20
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    Loco Roco
    Publisher: Neversoft Entertainment
    Developer: Activision
    Genre: Sports
    Players: 1-4
    Reviewed by gdf

    Loco Roco, released last summer on Sony's portable, is without a shadow of doubt the happiest game ever made. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise and if you happen to disagree then you really have no soul. It is a game made of Happy, the idea being to roll a happy ball creature around the happy levels on their happy little planet. The plot is a stripped down version of the traditional battle of good versus evil; the planet is being attacked by evil alien invaders called Mojas, and it is up to you and the friendly fluorescent testicle things to save the day.

    The control scheme is simple but effective, doing away with the d-pad and nub and using the R and L buttons to allow the player to rotate the world right and left. You press both at the same time to make your Loco hop, and circle to split it into all its little parts, providing you with the means to get through small spaces. As you progress you will come across red fruits, which you eat to add another ball to your main one. This means the next time you split it, there will be more Locos and you get points at the end of the level for collecting them. You can lose the poor things if you fall on a spike or get sucked up by a Moja and you will be terribly distressed by their little screams as they are separated from the others.

    The levels are packed with fun features and secret areas. Some creatures you meet will help you out, for example giving you a boost up to a higher platform. Other objects are to be found throughout the world, with trampolines and air streams particular highlights. These are all useful and will have you smiling with childish glee. Secret areas often house fruit or Mui Muis, the Locos' friends, and can be fiendishly hard to find. This ensures you will keep coming back to the same levels in order to find all 20 Locos and all the Mui Muis. The game itself is quite short however, with 5 worlds of 8 levels each. Considering the longest time it takes to complete a level is ten minutes, it can be over and done with in a few hours. Bonus games and level editors help, but fail to add much longevity to the game. The length poses a real problem, as though the game has buckets of replay value, it is so damned addictive that you can end up running out of stuff to do in a week.

    Fortunately, this is one of the only weak points of the game, and doesn't detract much from the overall experience. An area it really excels in is the sound. The music fits the backgrounds brilliantly and really contributes to the overall feel of the game; you can't help but grin when you see your Loco sing along to the sprightly tunes. Aside from the music, the visuals are impressive, managing to look cute and sharp at the same time. It all looks like some kind of surreal cartoon, but it is very well done and neat. The graphics make it very accessible; gamers and non-gamers alike will lap it up and rightly so, because it works for everyone: Kids will enjoy the cartoony looks, girls will love the cuteness factor and gamers will play it to death trying to find all the Muis and fruit. It really is one of those "Family" games, but not shit like Buzz.

    Sadly, there is no Multiplayer, but level sharing is available. I would love to have bashed around the world with a mate, but the next best thing is the game sharing, which allows your friend to sample the game on his/her PSP. This is great as it allows you to share the joys and spread the love. The game can be pretty psychedelic at times, which can only be a good thing. There are five colours of Loco to unlock and you find them as you progress. Each has a distinctive look and their own little antenna thing (a la Teletubbies), that wags when you are near something important. Occasionally, your Loco will split up and sing a song to help one of the other creatures feel better, and if that doesn't brighten up your day then your heart is actually made of coal from the fiery pits of Hell. That has been shit out by the devil. Into a...you get the picture.

    Loco Roco is a quality example of how things should be done on the PSP. Originality is the keyword here, and although it isn't the first ball rolling game ever (Check Super Monkey Ball and Katamari Damacy for that) it is one of the best games on the system. It is a perfect fit and highly recommended for all ages. Loco is more what would be expected on the DS, but it proves that cute can be done on any hardware. If Sony don't do a version of this with motion sensitive controls on PS3, then they are seriously screwed in the head. A great 2D platformer.

    Replay Value 3/5 Hampered by a short lifespan.
    Sound 5/5 Well judged and in the right tone. Perfect.
    Graphics 4.5/5 So cute it makes you want to cry tears of joy. ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:19
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    Tekken: Dark Ressurection
    Publisher: Namco Bandai Group
    Developer: Namco
    Genre: Fighting
    Players: 1-4
    Reviewed by gdf

    Tekken, a series seeming to have lost it's way in recent years, has always been a friend of Sony. This hasn't changed for the legendary series' first outing on the Playstation branded handheld. Dark Resurrection was originally a spruced up version of Tekken 5 for the Arcades, but the PSP seemed like a perfect format for the title to be given a commercial release on, and it works a treat. The Namco brawler feels like it has found its true home and somehow, you seem closeer to the action than ever.

    The player feels every kick, punch and special move like they have just been smashed in the face with a rock covered in diamond spikes. The absence of rumble on the portable seemingly makes no difference to the intense fights and you hardly notice its not there. The bouts are fast paced and fun, great for (I hate this phrase) "Gaming on the go" (Eugh), as they come in tiny bitesize chunks and can be done one at a time if you need to keep putting the PSP on sleep. Loading times are very impressive- even for a PS2 game these would be quick- so you can get into action quite quickly. Of course, the Intro movie when you load the game up is great and looks mighty fine on the LCD screen.

    This moves me along to the next point: the visuals. The graphics in Tekken were always fairly impressive, even on PS1, but here the game properly shines. The character models are especially excellent, with curves and smooth lines rather than bumps everywhere. The backgrounds are impressive too, and the small, constrained arenas also look the part, with shattering ground or flying coins (in one level). The PSP has often been susceptible to awful (occasionally game-destroying) ghosting, but that it not in evidence here. Movement is smooth and swift and doesn't seem blurred that strange yellow colour you can get. All in all, I'd go as far as to say this is the best PSP graphics have gotten so far.

    The action itself is instantly gratifying and is finely balanced between button bashing and combo mastery. Combos are usually simple and effective and there is a wide enough variety to satify both extremes. Noobs to the fighting genre will be able to string together a couple of moves and oldies (have their fingers not succumbed to arthritis yet) should go for the ludicrous 10-hit combos and suchlike. There is a training mode for fighters to try out and a combo challenge, where you try to nail each characters' moveset in as quick a time as possible. The action feels right as well, as opponents provide sufficient challenge to those who want it. Bouts can just as easily time out as be over in seconds and there always seems to be a fine-line between victory and loss, though it never looks to be unfair. The PSP's often limited and flawed control layout doesn't seem like a problem either and you always feel in total control of your characters. When you lose it is most definitely your fault.

    Though Arcade provides the main meat of the action, there are a raft of other modes to take into account. Story is fairly self explanatory, and sees you guide a character through their KOIF tournament. Quick Battle is just as simple but very fun, and is great for diving into a fight without fear of losing your ranking, which I'll come back to later. One of the more interesting modes is Dojo, which sees you work through an Island of martial arts training houses to become the champ. Dojo is a lengthy trudge, and can feel a little repetitive at times, but mostly proves quite a fulfilling alternative to arcade. There are also dozens of options to be tampered with, and a rather fun Edit mode, where you spend Gold earned in-game on new costumes for your characters.

    And there are a lot of characters. Two new additions Lili and Dragunov feel useful in a fight, especially the former, whose devastating kicks can whip even the largest opponent. Another commendable part of the game is that the list is well balanced. The big, slow ones aren't always the useless *******s they had been before and the light ones don't feel like a bunch of weak ass pussies. My personal favourites are Jack-5, the superpowered robot, and Lili, the aforementioned newcomer. When you use a character in either Arcade or Dojo they are given a percentage and ranked, so after prolonged play you can see who you are the best with. The system works surprisingly well and makes you really determined to win each round.

    Tekken seems to have found a new lease of life on PSP and proves an excellent companion to the system. Not only are the fights rapid and violent (not MK violent mind), but you feel every blow and look absolutely sumptuous to boot. It is a well balanced game and another good example of "How to port a game to PSP". It seems to ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:19
    1. Categories:
    2. PSP News,
    3. DCEmu Games Reviews

    Killzon: Liberation
    Publisher: SCEA
    Developer: Guerilla
    Genre: Action
    Players: 1
    Reviewed on PSP by gdf

    The original Killzone was released a couple of years ago on the PS2 after an enormous amount of hype, mainly orchestrated by magazines. When it came out it proved a very enjoyable, if unoriginal game, and wasn't quite the "Halo-beater" that it was widely tipped to be. After the implausibly beautiful PS3 trailer for Killzone 2 appeared the hype once again stirred. Over a year on and with no more news concerning it, fans felt lost. Not any more.

    Killzone Liberation is a pint sized version of the shooter that continues the story of the first game. You play as Keller from the first game- on a mission to hunt down the evil Helghast officer General Metrac- but from an altogether different perspective (quite literally). Instead of being in first person, the game's developers Guerilla decided to take the player a step (or twenty) back from the action and have a psuedo top down view a la Metal Gear Solid. Amazingly it seems to have worked and the game proves more fun and rewarding in the new view. The controls are very well adapted to the portable's limited button arrangement and the game maintains the feel of the original. Your man can roll, melee, shoot, grenade, reload, order squadmates, perform context actions, crouch, cover and even strafe thanks to good thinking on the developer's part. It almost feels like Gears of War Mini at some rather excellent parts of the game, especially due to the clever cover system...

    You press R to crouch and if you are behind cover when you do so then you attatch to it. To fire over you press square, and thanks to a laser sight and some subtle auto aiming, blasting enemies is easier than ever; of course this is compensated for by the nails-hard Helghast, who can take more lead than a stack of peiodic tables (I know, that was awful). The system works surprisingly well, and this is good, since without it getting past Level 1 would drive most to suicide. Another life-saver is the strafing, which is activated by pressing L. This makes you lock-on to the nearest enemy and lets you circle round like a little crab with guns-for-claws. It is well implemented and becomes second nature after fifteen minutes' play.

    There are only eight guns in the game and they only become available by progressing in the story, but they are a tight, well balanced lot, all of which have spcific strengths and weakness'. My personal favourite has to be the magnum, a great combination of fire rate, accuracy, power and reload speed. Sadly, only one gun can be carried at a time, which doesn't help when you want a sniper or a bazooka and a shorter range weapon, but have to settle for the most boring one purely because you simply wouldn't be able to progress using just the more powerful or longer range weapons. On a happier note, throwing grenades has been well adapted. You simply press circle to enter grenade mode and tap fire when you want to throw. When in this mode, a set trajectory appears and you move around, locking on to specific targets if necessary.

    One area the controls fall down slightly is in the conrol of the Tanks, a bizzare mixture of shoulder button rotation and weird face button driving. Thankfully these are few and far between enough so as not to disrupt the rest of the game. Another potential sticky area is the VIP escorting, though thankfully this is one game where a) they can take care of themselves and b) they do what you tell them to. This is the kind of thing that puts many next gen games to shame and is a reflection on the excellent AI on show. Enemies will crouch behind cover like you and help each other out, trying to flank your position. Of course this can be put to rights with a few blasts of the shotgun or a lobbed pineapple.

    The action in the game is tense and exciting, especially when you have a teammate in tow. A tap of select brings the pace of the game to a crawl, and you select a position, enemy or your character and they will go there/kill them/follow you. Sadly there aren't nearly enough of these sections as it's a great way of ordering the AI; very streamlined and simple, but effective. Another commendable element of the game is the graphical punch it carries, with some excellent effects and enemy death physics. The visuals are well above par for a portable game and it impressively matches up to the first game on the creaky old PS2.

    Multiplayer is great in Liberation and an online download will be out soon- enabling you to take on the world wirelessly- thus extending it's already decent lifespan. Combined with the story and excellent challenge mode, this could keep the UMD in your PSP for months to come. A warning however; this game is HAAAAARD. The levels are long and arduous and you'll be swearing at the screen more than once ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:19
    1. Categories:
    2. Xbox 360 News,
    3. DCEmu Games Reviews

    Tony Hawk's Project 8
    Publisher: Neversoft Entertainment
    Developer: Activision
    Genre: Sports
    Players: 1-4
    Reviewed on Xbox 360 by gdf

    Over time, it is inevitable that a series will get tired and run out of ideas; especially if it happens to be an annually updated sports game. After a while change is demanded and has to be put in place for the survival and continuation of the franchise, but it can be difficult to make massive overhauls without changing the core experience. This is where the last couple of Hawk games have struggled. 2003's THUG was a natural expansion of the gameplay offered in games 1 to 4 and opened up the world to fans of the series. The sequel, THUG 2, ended up recreating the humour of Jackass with its stupid stunts and rocket powered Segway-riding midgets. After that, it was demanded that the series deviate from this before it became overly tired, but the result was a bit uglier than expected. THAW attempted to be a jack of all trades, but ended as a pathetic loser of most. The skating was put on the back foot as you could nip around the supposedly load free world (loading screens were disguised as suspiciously bland alleys and tunnels linking parts of the world) in a car or BMX; a rather bad idea considering the only consistent name in the series' titles is Tony Hawk, y'know, only the most well known skater on the planet. THAW turned out to be a mini disaster area and there were some doubts over the series' future. Happily, all the wrongs have been righted thanks to THP8, the lastest from Activision.


    From the off it appears a much more skateboardy experience. The environments in the free roaming city are choc full of trick oppourtunities, and much of the joy can be found from simply crusing around, grinding and flipping away. At the beginning of career you create your character, and straight after that it's off to skate. The plot goes like this: Tony is building up a team of the best 8 amatuer skaters he can find (see what they've done there) and he has stopped off in your town. It's up to you to climb from number 200 to the team and this can be done in numerous ways.

    The great thing is that you can go at your own pace and pick and choose what you want to do. There are some missions and competitions which will improve your ranking a good few places and there are also the rather excellent spot challenges, addictive little nuggets of rank boosting fun. They can be activated when you are going about and are just graffitied words on the ground like "grind" or "Jump". The further, higher, or whatever, you go, the better grade you get ("Am", "Pro" or "Sick") and the more rank spots you will gain. the beauty is that even if you fail you can just carry on to your destination or restart quickly. Spot challenges can be tough but great fun at the same time and goals like "break 15 bones" are always welcome.


    This brings me on to the next point of the gameplay: New features. Thankfully, THP8 is bursting at the seams with great new introductions to the series. Most noteworty are the bails, focus mode and the awesome "Nail the trick" er...trick. Bails have been overhauled and you are now able to direct the fall of your skater, bounce him (or her) off the ground and get up quickly. There are some moments of absolute joy when your protagonist goes flying and gets totally smashed up (complete with wince-inducing bone crunch sounds). Focus mode is a more serious but nonetheless useful addition. When the bar at the top left of the screen fills up, you click in the left stick to slow time down, very useful for tricky grinds and manuals or sustaining a combo. To stay in slow motion, you have to keep the bar filled by doing more tricks, so the more skilled you are, the easier a long combo gets. Also, it looks very cool grinding round a level 6 times and landing a million point combo at a snail's pace. The final large addition is the much lauded "Nail the Trick". At any time during play, you click in both sticks to slow time down, but this is different. Instead of keeping control of the skater's body, the camera zooms to his feet, and each stick controls its respective foot. Yet again this is very cool, but good timing and skill are required to land anything more than a one or two trick combo. Most of the time this feature produces some decent points, especially when used as part of a larger combo or in conjunction with focus. These features are great to have and make the skating both more enjoyable and realistic.


    The game's soundtrack is also surprisingly good, with great bands such as Wolfmother, Kasabian and Klaxons all featuring. THP8 also has very tidy visuals and, for a cross-platform title, looks fairly next gen on the 360. Overall, THP8 really takes the series ...
    by Published on August 21st, 2007 22:39

    via Kokatu

    And once again the rumors of 2K's BioShock coming out on the PlayStation 3 are swirling about on the internets, driven by this bit of code found in the PC demo's config.ini file what lists the PS3 as a console.

    -- [Console]

    Console (XBox360, PS3) specific settings

    StreamingDynamicFloatingLimit:

    If this is a positive number, then instead of using the fixed per-level

    limits, the StreamingDynamic resource will use as much memory as is available as long as the total memory allocated by the game is less than
    the specified number. In other words, StreamingDynamic will grow and
    shrink to fit to the available memory instead of being locked to a fixed
    budget StreamingDynamicFloatingLimit=500--

    Well yes, that certainly does appear to be PS3 listed there after the comma. Intriguing, but I'm not sure it is worthy of the end all, be all announcements being made by sites like PlayStation Universe.

    According to a config.ini log taken directly from the source of the BioShock PC demo, it appears once and for all this game is coming to PS3.

    Wishful thinking goes a long way in making tiny facts add up to big truths. For all we know this could be be placeholder code left in from early in the game's development, before the exclusivity was even a factor. It could be overzealous notation on the part of a coder. It could very well mean the game is coming to PS3, but far from a definitive sign. Patience, my PlayStation purist friends. If it comes, it will come. ...
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