Reviews

  • Three of EA’s top upcoming releases were on display at the publisher’s India showcase in Mumbai a few days ago. We’ve already brought you our impressions on FIFA 10 and Need for Speed: Shift, but easily the most fun of them all was Tim Schafer’s Brutal Legend. To those who’ve been sleeping on Brutal Legend, wake up! This is a game you are not going to want to miss. [singlepic id=1328 w=450 float=center]

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  • Over the past few weeks, I’ve been playing quite a few racing games. Grid, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift, GTR2, rFactor, Initial D – they’re all very different from one another and together they cover pretty much every kind of car racing game there is. So when I played Need for Speed: Shift and found that it was unlike any other racing game I’ve ever played, I knew that it was the game at fault, and not me. [singlepic id=1279 w=450 float=center]

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  • As I start writing this I am still trying to figure out which part of my brain Shadow Complex appealed so much to. Different games tickle different parts of you, something like Halo caresses the part of you that wants to get some mindless killing done. Whereas something like Braid shows some much needed love to the quiet, thinking part of you. So where do I fit Shadow Complex? The closest I can come to is the part of your head that’s always curious, that wants to know what happens next; the explorer in you that’s always eager to look at new territory, or the kid in you that wants to get his hands on the next cool toy. [singlepic id=1310 w=450 float=center]

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  • G.I. Joe has always had a special place for me. As a child, I owned most of the toys, watched every single episode of the animated show and read the entire Marvel comic series. It was just a matter of time until Hollywood decided to adapt it into a live-action movie. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra hit theaters recently in India and with the movie comes the inevitable video game adaptation. While there have been a couple of decent movie-based games this year (Ghostbusters, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), most of them have been entirely forgettable attempts at cashing in on a movie’s release. Unfortunately, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra falls deep into the latter category. [singlepic id=1301 w=450 float=center]

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  • No one expected too many sweeping changes in FIFA 10, but in typical EA Sports style, improvements over the proven formula of FIFA 09 were expected to be incremental and minor. So imagine my surprise when I found that FIFA 10 is quite a lot different from its predecessor, and many of the bigger changes do contribute to making it a better game. [singlepic id=1294 w=450 float=center]

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  • Your new IP is a smashing success. Your company has been bought by the world’s second largest videogame publisher. The sequel to your new IP is hotly anticipated and due for release within the next year. You have another new IP that is due to be released on multiple platforms. What do you do? Spend all available time and resources in polishing the to-be-released sequel and ensuring consistent multiplatform quality of the new IP? In the case of Bioware, you succumb to the will of your new master and develop an offshoot for the iPhone in an effort to drum up publicity for the sequel to 2007’s seminal Xbox 360 RPG, Mass Effect, while quickly raking in the dough that fans will undoubtedly pay for anything with the Mass Effect name. [singlepic id=1270 float=center]

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  • It feels a little strange to be writing a preview for a game that’s going to be in stores within a week. But we were invited over to the Microsoft office to try out Ashes Cricket 2009, and of course we obliged. No one was able to confirm to me whether or not this was the final build, but this close to release, I’m going to assume that it was. For those who haven’t had the opportunity to play the demo on Xbox LIVE or have, but are still on the fence about whether or not to pick it up, hopefully this will help you out. [singlepic id=1222 w=450 float=center]

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  • If you draw a blank when the name Harry Potter is mentioned, you probably are a muggle in the truest sense of the word. The last decade has seen J.K. Rowling’s brainwave on a train from Manchester to London grow into a multi-million dollar franchise, and has firmly placed the author amidst unparalleled fame and stardom (not to mention, made her truckloads of money!) [singlepic id=1236 w=450 float=center]

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  • First of all, give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far into the review. Sports games (that aren’t FIFA) aren’t very popular in these parts, so games like the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series are pretty much outcasts here. Like Test cricket, golf doesn’t make for an ideal spectator sport. But just because the sport itself doesn’t evoke excitement from the average gamer, it doesn’t mean that a video game based on it can’t do so. I’m here to tell you why it can, and why Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 in particular does. [singlepic id=1206 w=450 float=center]

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  • The PSP is seeing a bit of a resurgence in 2009 thanks to renewed support from third-party publishers, with several big ticket franchises making their way to Sony’s handheld; the first of them being Rock Band. Activision tasted much success with Guitar Hero: On Tour on the DS, and EA hopes to achieve the same with Rock Band on the PSP. But while Guitar Hero on the DS came with a nifty peripheral controller, Rock Band: Unplugged is the first game from either Rock Band or Guitar Hero franchises to be released without an instrument peripheral, instead relying on the PSP’s D-pad and face buttons to play the game. [singlepic id=1201 w=450 float=center]

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  • ‘God exists. He’s Japanese and his name is Hideo Kojima’. These were my exact thoughts when I finished playing Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. With the release of MGS4, Hideo Kojima had not only set a new benchmark in gaming, but had left a craving in the minds of gamers, who were mesmerised by its brilliance. From the gorgeous cut-scenes, to the story and characters, Metal Gear Solid 4 is a game every gamer needs to play. [singlepic id=1189 w=450 float=center]

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  • Boxing is one of those sports that pretty much everyone has a passing interest in, but most people wouldn’t want to watch more than a highlights package of it on SportsCenter. Everyone can relate to the systematic bludgeoning of an individual using fists as the weapon of choice, but treat them to round after three-minute round of ear muffs, strategic jabs and ducking and weaving, and they start to lose interest. But that is the reality of boxing. It isn’t all knockouts and chomping on earlobes, but often a tactical and strategic wearing down of the opponent. And if you’re able to embrace this reality, you’re in for quite a ride in Fight Night Round 4. FNR3 was in many ways the first true next-generation console title. Released in 2006, it can still hold its own amongst the best looking games around, and the visuals were backed up by solid, innovative gameplay. [singlepic id=1176 w=450 float=center]

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  • It’s high noon. The wind blows from the east, howling softly in your ears as tumbleweeds roll across the dusty empty streets. You see your enemy in the distance, his eyes fixed on you, his hand getting ever so close to his holster and the six-shooter in it. You keep your hand close, but not too close to your own. Sweat trickles across your brow as you hear your heartbeat getting louder and stronger with every beat. The bell could chime any moment now and you realise that a split-second will be the difference between who walks away on his feet this day. [singlepic id=1161 w=450 float=center] Adrenaline kicks in, everything else becomes a blur. It’s just you, your enemy and your trusty six-shooter. The bell chimes, time comes to a standstill, and in one swift movement you draw your gun and pull the trigger. The gunshot echoes through the town while you pray it was your gun that made it. Slowly time starts moving again and your vision begins to clear. You’re still standing. You were quick and your enemy is dead.

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  • Prototype is a game where you’ll never feel like you’re completely in control. It’s a rollercoaster ride, screaming across your mind at top speed with no intention of letting up. The best you can do is hold on to your hat.

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  • Fuel was first revealed as an Xbox 360 tech demo, then titled Grand Raid Offroad, way back in 2005. It is said to have been in development long before that, but never came to fruition as Asobo Studio’s grand vision was too much for the limited hardware capabilities of the previous-gen consoles. But with hardware to match and a publisher with a strong racing pedigree to back it up, one of the most ambitious racing games in recent memory is finally here. In case you haven’t been following the events in the lead-up to the release of Fuel, it was recently inducted into the Guinness World Records as the biggest console game ever. Fuel is an open-world racing game that plays out over a landscape the size of a small country. It’s as big as Trinidad and Tobago and bigger than Hong Kong and Singapore combined; and it’s all there for you to drive on. But the only way you will ever really be able to understand its massive scale is to get behind the wheel and just drive. [singlepic id=1131 w=450 float=center]

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  • We’ve had quite a few shooters involving bald space marines shooting alien scum, and most of them look, feel and play in the same fashion. It’s quite a shame that developers have not been able to figure out that environments with hues of brown and grey are getting quite boring. The original Lost Planet was different in that way, though it started out as just another Third Person Shooter. The snowy locales and aliens with glowing body parts set it apart from the others at least by the virtue of visuals, if not gameplay. And it was a success; selling over a million copies across the three platforms it was released for. So it comes as no surprise that Capcom chose to revisit the winning formula for a second time, only this time, there are a few surprises for us. Lost Planet 2 takes place on the planet of E.D.N. III some ten years after the events of the first game. It seems that much has changed over this time period as we look at environments much more varied than the snowy landscapes of the first game. Tropical forests are now a vital part of the scenery, though why and…

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  • Fans of the Ghostbusters franchise would remember the 1980s movies with a broad smile on their faces. The films introduced some of the most memorable characters to grace the silver screen – the tech wizard Egon, the eccentric mad scientist Peter, the relatively sane Ray and the down-to-Earth Winston – who formed the original ghostbusting quartet and embraced fame for their quirky quotes and strange career choice – that of hunting ghosts. With some colourful ghosts and interesting side characters and villains, such as the 200-foot Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (made up entirely of, you guessed it, marshmallow), thrown in, the movies more than earned their legendary status. Fortunately, Ghostbusters: The Video Game sticks to the same formulae. Written by the original writers, the game feeds on the same familiar universe created by the movies and features the same star cast lending voices to the main characters. Add some locations lifted straight off the original material and a few recognisable un-dead faces, and the game seemingly manages to strike all the right chords. [singlepic id=1122 w=450 float=center]

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  • There is this bit in Misery, where Stephen King talks about the “gotta” factor in storytelling. It’s the art of telling a story in a way that makes your audience invest more time in it because they “gotta” know what happens next. It’s the reason you stick around commercial breaks to watch TV, it’s the reason you forget about food to finish a book, and it’s the reason why I am awake at 4 am and playing The Sims 3 instead of being fast asleep. Its strange that for a game that has no story (except what you make, I guess) The Sims 3 has the “gotta” factor nailed down better than any video game since Diablo. You know you have been playing way too long, but you just gotta develop that one more skill, fulfill one more need, get one more promotion etc. It’s the gaming equivalent of crack cocaine. [singlepic id=1094 w=450 float=center] Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family The concept of the game is simple enough. You create a Sim (or more than one if you are so inclined), give them personality traits that you like, drop them in a house in…

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  • Volition surprised many when Red Faction Guerrilla was first announced. In a departure from the first two titles in the Red Faction series, which were first-person shooters, in Guerrilla, you play from a third-person perspective, and while the previous games were more linear, this one adopts an open-world approach. So they’ve pretty much flipped the script for this latest iteration, which is a bit of a risk. But does the risk pay off? The key selling point of Red Faction has always been the destructible environments. It did it as an FPS with the Geo Mod engine and it does it again, and even better, in its third-person shooter avatar with Geo Mod 2. But the fear was always that Guerrilla would end up as a one-trick pony, wowing everyone with the level of destructibility, but unable to match it in other aspects of the game. Unfortunately, that fear has been realised, and I’ll explain why a little later in the review. [singlepic id=1089 w=450 float=center]

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  • The sequel to one of the most highly rated games of the PS3, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, seems to be revving up for quite an impressive late 2009 release, as is evident from the mind blowing game-play footage shown at E3. However, the creative devils at Naughty Dog have blessed some of us mere mortals with a chance to get our hands on the zany adventurer a lot earlier, meaning at this very instance, in the form of the Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (UC2) multiplayer beta. Hallelujah! The beta offers a full spectrum of the various multiplayer modes offered by UC2, which include co-operative play and two competitive modes – Deathmatch and Plunder. Before reviewing each mode, it would be unfair not to mention the fact that the game looks simply spectacular. The previous iteration of Uncharted was absolutely stunning and it seems like there is no stone being left unturned to make sure that the sequel is anything but the definition of the word ‘gorgeous’. The character models are top-notch and the animations are as varied as those of the first game. The world of UC2 beta consists of colourful levels reminiscent of the by-lanes of Old Delhi and Kolkata,…

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  • Alright fellow gamers, without spending too much time on describing the pre-release hype surrounding this game, let me get straight to the point – inFamous rocks! There. You may continue to read the rest of my (rather lengthy) review or go out and buy the game, if you haven’t already. And if you don’t have a PlayStation 3, consider getting one because you just got one more reason to buy it. For the uninitiated, inFamous is an open-world sandbox action game from Sucker Punch Productions featuring a protagonist with super powers. Yes, it’s been done before in games like Crackdown, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and various Spider-Man games. But what separates inFamous from other similar games is its overall execution and presentation. Right off the bat, the game pulls you into its gritty urban comic book style and doesn’t let up until the final cut-scene. The atmosphere is straight out of a graphic novel on the lines of Mark Millar’s Wanted or Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. It’s the classic superhero origin and coming-of-age story but with a twist. [singlepic id=999 w=450 float=center]

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  • Grand Theft Auto is a series that has revolutionised the action/adventure genre. Over the years we’ve seen the series grow from the first ever Grand Theft Auto game to GTA4, and the team at Rockstar have set an example in showing us how a series should develop. In the previous instalment, we saw the entry of the series into the next generation of consoles. Playing as Niko Belic, gamers were reintroduced to Liberty City. Modeled after New York, Liberty City was a living, breathing city. The sheer level of detail in the game was at times difficult to fathom. After the success of GTA4, one would have figured that Rockstar would take a break from the series. But our prayers and their profits convinced them to work on another GTA game; this time however taking a whole new turn. Say hello to Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the Nintendo DS. Yes, for the DS. [singlepic id=1060 w-200 float=left]Chinatown Wars is the story of Huang Lee, who comes to Liberty City to avenge his father’s (a triad boss) mysterious death and deliver the symbolic family sword to his uncle. Things don’t turn out as easy as Huang had imagined. He…

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  • To those new to UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), this isn’t wrestling and it isn’t boxing, although elements of both are incorporated. UFC is one of the most popular brands of Mixed Martial Arts or MMA, a no-holds barred style of fighting that incorporates various fighting disciplines, including wrestling, kick-boxing, Judo, Jujitsu, and Muay Thai. The THQ-Yukes partnership that has been bringing us WWE Smackdown! vs RAW titles on an annual basis for years will now do the same each year with UFC, starting with UFC 2009: Undisputed. Despite what you may think, UFC 2009 plays nothing like Yukes’ WWE games. If you do want to draw comparisons, however, Fight Night Round 3 would be a more appropriate subject. That’s a good thing because they’ve been pretty much running the Smackdown! vs RAW franchise into the ground, and I hope they don’t do the same with UFC as the years pass, because they really have done a fine job with UFC 2009. [singlepic id=1053 w=450 float=center]

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  • I imagine its rather tough being around Mr. Richard B. Riddick. It’s bad enough that you will get stabbed, shot, beaten, run over by a mech, thrown into rotating blades etc. Worse is that the man is incapable of holding a normal conversation. Any dialogue is only, and only answered with an over the top macho one-liner. You would think that this would start to grate after 14 hours of gameplay, but Vin Diesel’s gravely, film noir voice somehow manages to make it sound fresh every time. So towards the end when a particular bad guy proclaims, “I am the baddest motherf**ker in the universe”, you can’t help but grin when Riddick quips back, “I’ll make sure they tattoo that on your corpse.” I guess in a way that’s what the game is like too; there is a part of you that feels that the game is repeating itself at times, but it’s so much fun that you don’t really care. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning. The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is a combination of two games – the 2004 Xbox cult classic Escape from Butcher Bay and the new…

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