Posts Tagged ‘8’

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Dead Space: Extraction

January 12, 2010

Worst. Boxart. Ever.

Available on – Wii

Visceral Games have also done – Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Dead Space, the upcoming Dante’s Inferno, and Dead Space 2

Not the norm

Lightgun shooters are often fast paced arcade jaunts through curious locations, shooting hundreds of bad guys with little or no consequence besides a score numbering in the thousands and a multiplier of times awesome. Extraction on the other hand, is an emotive story driven first person ‘experience’ in which your shooting prowess moves the journey from one plot point to the next, creating a nail bitingly intense seven hour story with plenty of satisfying shooting.

Anyone who has played Dead Space, or seen the gratuitously sweary ‘Downfall’ anime will know what’s happened, but for the uninitiated a mining operation has discovered a mean, ominous looking ‘marker’ on a planet that some religious types take a keen interest in. Before long an intense case of rabid dementia breaks out amongst the mining crew and eventually they start turning into gribbly space zombies, or ‘Necromorphs’ (sounds rude).

What unfolds is an entertaining plot that sits alongside the anime and full game as a side story of potentially huge importance for anyone looking forward to 2010’s Dead Space 2, playing mostly as McNeill the P-SEC officer (intergalactic FBI) you buddy up with bad ass Gabriel ‘one liner’ Weller and ‘Is she underage?’ Lexine as they attempt to escape the infestation alive. All of the characters present great voice work and convincing progression through the game with some genuinely well scripted events, it makes a welcome change to the usually solitary video game horror scenario.

BLAMMO!

But what’s really important is how entertaining the combat is, dismembering necro’s in Dead Space was fun but Extraction sends far more enemies at you with a remarkable amount of visual prowess for the little white box, and the weapon selection is deliciously visceral and pleasantly diverse whilst the scarce ammo will have you swapping around them depending on situations, slowing enemies down, hurling explosive barrels at them, tearing them up with saw blades, burning them in cleansing fire, and blasting them back with pure force whilst limbs and claret scatter around the grimy, intricately detailed locations. Welding mini games also break up the killing, or cause additional sweat inducing pressure whilst fending off a never-ending wave of opponents.

All guns have two modes which you hold the Wii mote normally or on the side to activate.

It must be said though that whilst the combat is brilliantly brutal it won’t come frequently enough for some people, be prepared to sit back and enjoy some conversation or to plod down a quiet corridor with nothing happening as this is primarily a story driven horror game and far from the arcade action of the more immediate House of the Dead or Ghost Squad.

Challenge rooms on the other hand, unlocked through playing the main game, simply ask you to off waves and waves of the gangly limbed monsters intent on munching your face simply in the name of score. The lack of online leaderboards is a hindrance as to the appeal of this mode, but as a means to simply enjoy the relentless combat the mode is appreciated.

For those willing to give it the time Dead Space: Extraction offers one of the best looking, most satisfying experiences on the Wii, or on any platform for that matter, and a potentially important chapter in one of gaming’s most interesting new franchises. That and Weller is an absolute bad-ass whom you must meet, “man up, sweetheart”.

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Remote waggling is kept to a minimum, with only the glow worm (torch) being a little irritating.

For your consideration: Dead Space: Extraction is now cheap, like £15 cheap, and really shouldn’t be missed. It would also really suck if anything about Dead Space 2 spoils the plot of this game, so go play it now!

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Dragon Age: Origins Review

January 4, 2010

Version reviewed – 360 (with wank controls)

Also available on – PS3, PC

Bioware have also done – Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect.

A long time ago…

Talk to anyone old enough to remember ‘proper’ RPGs (they probably have a beard) and they will wax lyrical about epic five hundred hour quests, compelling characters, thrilling inventory management and pouring over statistics pages longer than Gene Simmon’s tongue. Finding one of these people may be hard now however as Bioware seems to have kidnapped them all to work on Dragon Age: Origins for the past twenty years.

DA is an obese game, it’s belt is about ready to ping off with all the content that’s been rammed into every last byte available, but be warned; it can be a slog if you’re not used to the games DA:O is aping. Sections another game would squeeze into thirty minutes, DA:O stretches into suffocating two or three hour campaigns as you waddle around ancient halls looting every last pot and bookcase, slaying hundreds of dudes, and running out of inventory space.

The game does its best to avoid sections becoming a chore, interesting set pieces are sprinkled refreshingly frequently throughout the dungeon crawls which range from the standard Bioware staring contests (conversations) to some light puzzling and other, slightly off kilter experiences, whilst party members will share genuinely interesting conversation on a whim. Oh and the frequent combat is fun as well, if unfathomably punishing.

Yes, along with the social life threatening length of the game it’s also a punishing affair even on the apparently ‘normal’ difficulty and unless you save frequently a misjudged manoeuvre on your part could mean getting thrown back an hour by a cheeky group of wolves.

Something old, something new.

Whereas frequent checkpoints are something that didn’t sneak in, other modern game elements have, for better or worse. Regenerating health is on such offender and whereas it makes every fight more immediately challenging as the developers have been able to tailor each fight to a fully healed party, traps become negligible thanks to your health returning immediately, rendering what is normally a demanding hazard in these types of RPGs a throwaway annoyance.

But all this critical analysis is froth on the surface because Bioware kidnapped those bearded wise RPG players to make a game to satisfy the very people that enjoy dungeon crawling, loot grabbing, the company of pointy eared folk and dialogue and art stolen from Tolkein’s secret giant tree lair (he doesn’t seem the sort for a volcano).

So if you’re the type who dreams of sprouting a forest from your chin, swigging a ‘flagon’ of ‘mead’, and carving up legions of gribbly demons with a glowing broadsword then tell your friends they won’t see you for a few weeks, Dragon Age is the game for you.

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Recommended version – PC

For your consideration – Bioware have stated that Dragon Age is in for the long haul, they’re talking ten months of DLC and with some out already and the ‘return to Ostagar’ set for a January release they aren’t kidding, and this is only part one of a proposedtrilogy (isn’t everything) so if you like it, it may be the only fantasy RPG series you need for a few years.