Reviews

  • 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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  • With Tap Tap Revenge on Apple’s new Touch-based devices, Tapulous has pulled what Activision did by releasing Guitar Hero on PS2 back in 2005. Instead of using a guitar, however, this is a rhythm-based game relying on a touch screen for inputs. Built on the success and proven formula of Tap Tap Revenge, Tapulous has gone one step further with Tap Tap Revenge: Coldplay Edition, incorporating 11 tracks including hits ranging from Yellow and Speed of Sound to the more recent Viva La Vida and Lovers in Japan. It’s one of the rare games on the platform, where two players can play together on the same device. [singlepic id=1029 w=200 float=left]Tap Tap Coldplay is exactly like Tapulous’s other games – Tap Tap Revenge, Tap Tap Dance, Tap Tap Revenge NiN etc. The concept of the game remains the same; music plays in the background, while notes stream down the screen and pass through three bars/markers, which the user must tap. The game makes impressive use of the multi-touch technology built into the device. The music notes come from three sides, which can be simultaneously or one after another. So as soon as the player has finished tapping one note, he/she…

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  • Games based on superheroes are always hit or a miss, well more like always miss, and it’s even worse when it comes to games based on movies based on superheroes. For every Spider-Man 2, there’s a Superman Returns or Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Now I would have easily dismissed X-Men Origins: Wolverine as another crappy movie tie-in (much like last year’s Iron-Man and Hulk games) had it not been developed by Raven Software. It’s evident from the X-Men Legends series and Marvel Ultimate Alliance that Raven knows how to make a good superhero game. While X-Men Origins: Wolverine may not be a groundbreaking title, it’s still the best game featuring everyone’s favourite adamantium-laced mutant antihero as the lead character. The game is loosely based on the movie of the same name and the story is told via cut-scenes, which are mostly flashbacks which take place during a mission Wolverine is on in the African jungles as a part of William Stryker’s team. The narrative keeps shifting from Wolverine’s current mission in Africa to past and future events. Needless to say, the story feels somewhat disjointed and jumps around a lot. It’s not too bad but don’t expect…

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  • Bionic Commando is the long-awaited reincarnation of the classic side-scrolling platform shooter from Capcom, which was recently recreated as Bionic Commando Rearmed for Xbox LIVE and PSN. Developed by Swedish studio Grin, best known for the PC versions of Tom Clancy’s GRAW titles, Bionic Commando has received a complete overhaul, and now takes on a 3D third-person perspective. And it’s not a remake either; it follows the exploits of Nathan ‘RAD’ Spencer, the protagonist from Rearmed. Before I get to the gameplay and other aspects of the game, let me get the story out of the way. Bionic Commandos are soldiers who once fought for the good guys (the government), and were instrumental in helping them defeat the bad guys (terrorists). Soon after the good guys won, they turned their backs on their bionic saviors. They lost faith in the bionic commandos and labeled them freaks. The government started rounding up these soldiers; some were killed, some escaped, few were captured. [singlepic id=885 w=450 float=center]

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  • Let’s pre-empt the first question. It’s a tower defence game. For those unfamiliar with the genre of tower defence, it’s a lot like a real-time strategy game. Only instead of a large map, you have a single area that you have to defend. The bad guys (in this case zombies) start approaching from one end of the area and their objective is to make it to the other end (kinda like golf). Your objective is to stop them by putting obstacles and weapons in the way (again kinda like golf, i.e if golf had landmines in the sand traps). It sounds like a relatively simple concept, but like any good RTS, it gets infinitely complicated once you hit the ground. In this case, most of the gameplay happens in the garden of your house. With the zombies pouring in from the road (on the right of the screen) and trying to get into your house (on the left of the screen), it’s up to you to build up the defences and stop them. Since each level is played out on a single screen area, the placement of your defences matters a lot. Put a ranged offensive weapon (in this case…

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  • The Red Faction name needs no introduction; it revolutionised environmental destructibility and it is one of the best known first-person shooting franchises of this decade. For the third game in the series, Red Faction Guerrilla, developers Volition (Saints Row, The Punisher) have shaken things up a bit. While the destructibility, powered by the GeoMod 2.0 engine, still remains its USP, Guerrilla moves to a third-person perspective with open-world gameplay. While the new approach may have raised a few eyebrows initially, the game’s demo, which is now available for download on Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network, shows that Guerrilla is on course to be a fitting sequel to a fine series. If you’re worried that the demo may not be worth your bandwidth, rest easy; the Red Faction Guerrilla demo gives you enough to get a feel of what the game has to offer. This is one of those demos that you will definitely want to play over and over again. [singlepic id=875 w=450 h=253, float=center]

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  • Welcome ladies, gentlemen and trolls to another edition of the IVG Preview. Today, we’re going to show you something that’s a refreshing concept, great to look at, but unfortunately not too good to play. So much so, that I could just end my preview here because all you lazy people would do is scroll to the final verdict and conclusion anyway. However our brave leader HundredSpoofScam would have my head surgically removed from the rest of my body leading to my Damnation, which is ironically, the name of the game on preview today. Goodness, gracious me, what were the odds? Set in an alternate universe, where the American Civil War left both warring sides decimated, it’s left to a small group of rebels to fight off Prescott Standard Industries (PSI), led by a wealthy industrialist, who wants to conquer the land in one fell swoop. You don the role of Hamilton Rourke, a veteran of the war and now a member of the resistance. You’re accompanied by a few seemingly interesting characters all with their own motivations to get involved in taking the fight to the PSI. Without spoiling much of the story, suffice to say it appears to be…

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  • Here’s the thing about first person shooters; if you can think of a setting where someone has held a gun or shot stuff, chances are a video game has been made on it. So in an oversaturated genre when (rarely) you get to see something different from all the usual stuff, your mind tends to oversell it to you. But if you are aware of this fact, then you could also end up underrating what is essentially a good game. Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is certainly unique enough in its setting and arsenal to warrant a look. Let’s see if we can walk the middle path and find out if it is something you should keep an eye on. Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood (henceforth referred to as CoJ2 in this article because of my amazing lethargy in typing large game names) is a prequel to the sleeper hit Call of Juarez (at least I assume it must have been a sleeper hit because most people that played the first one seem to recall is fondly). Set 20 years before the events of the first game, CoJ2 tells the story of the McCall brothers – Ray and…

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  • Hanuman: Boy Warrior key art

    Hanuman: Boy Warrior is the first PlayStation game to be developed in India, but it doesn't really show India's game development talent in the best light.

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  • Wheelman is one of those games that, in the first sitting, you’ll play it for 3-4 hours straight, but once you take that disc out of your console, you won’t really feel like putting it back in. The fact that you’ll play it for a few hours at a stretch means that it’s not a bad game, but it also has little to keep you coming back for more. The game promises much – car chases, explosive set pieces, gunplay, vehicular combat and Vin Diesel – and that would seem like a winning combination, but the end result is far from it. The game star’s Vin Diesel, who plays Milo Burik, a CIA agent sent to Barcelona, Spain, supposedly to bring down the powerful Catalan underworld with his elite driving skills. While there are gun combat segments in the game, well, they suck, and most of the missions rely mainly on driving. And since you’re in the car most of the time, the developers (Vin Diesel’s own Tigon Studios) have added vehicular combat to make things more interesting. First of all, there is the airjack maneuver, which is like a carjack, but in Wheelman, you can jump out of your…

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  • FOGUG Studios today announced that their first game has gone gold. Entitled Console Wars, the game puts you in the role of a prepubescent adolescent teenager in the world of Forum. With no social life, no real-life friends and plenty of time to spare, you argue the fine nuances of video game consoles (that you are yet to own). The game features both multi-player and single-player modes with open-world features that the developers at FOGUG claim would put GTA4 to shame. “You start off in Console Wars by customising your character. What we’ve managed to do is have several shades of pale, accurately rendered keeping in mind that the character is, well, a nerd with no life and has probably never ever been in the sunlight. Some other neat things are that you can choose your faction. Apart from the obvious PSFag, Xbot and Wiitard options, we’ve added the PCpissant, Retrowhore, Segatasanshiro and Arcadeass factions as well so you can wage your war in glaringly realistic detail”, said Abhijit Banerjee, lead designer of Console Wars. [singlepic id=799 float=center]

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  • By Utkarsh W Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Ninja Blade is not a poor-man’s Ninja Gaiden. It might look very similar to the titular action title at first but plays rather differently. Ninja Blade doesn’t want to punish you by making you perform long elaborate combos or fight an extremely challenging boss with a sliver of health remaining. Instead it makes you want to feel like a badass ninja, who can do everything from riding a motorcycle vertically up a building to stopping a crashing airplane with nothing but his elite ninja skills. You play Ken Ogawa, a highly trained modern-day ninja, who happens to wear a rather laughable superhero mask. Ken is a member of a special military ninja unit, which is sent to eliminate the source of a parasitic infestation that has broken out in the city of Tokyo. The game starts with a pretty slick intro video, which wouldn’t seem out of place in a Resident Evil game. While the story might seem like throwaway material at first, it does evolve quite well as the game progresses. It’s far from being great, but isn’t too shabby either. But you wouldn’t be playing a…

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  • Let’s start at the end. You know the final paragraph of the review, where I try to boil the whole thing down to three sentences and try to answer the question – “Is the game worth buying?” Only this time instead of an ending with an answer, let’s start with a question. How deep you are into the Halo mythos? Because Halo Wars is neck deep in it. Set almost two decades before the events of the first Halo game, Halo Wars follows the crew of human warship Spirit of Fire as they race to stop the Covenant from uncovering a forerunner technology that could wipe out the humans quickly. The story is told through some of the most impressive pre-rendered cut scenes I have seen in a very long time and it’s an engaging tale full of the usual Halo twists and turns with some memorable characters. Presentation is top notch through and through and the game has a superb musical score and excellent voice acting to add to the top quality story telling. The single player campaign is spread over 15 chapters and will last you about 8 to 9 hours on normal difficulty. [singlepic id=771 w=450 h=253…

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  • With Street Fighter IV and Resident Evil 5 already released and well-received this year, Capcom will be hoping to keep the momentum going with the May release of Bionic Commando. For those who didn’t get a chance to play the original side-scroller, Capcom had released the brilliant Bionic Commando Rearmed on Xbox LIVE and PSN last year. But long before the release of Rearmed, Sweden-based studio Grin was already deep into development of a true next-gen Bionic Commando game. A lot has changed in Bionic Commando’s next-gen debut. While Rearmed proved that there is still an audience for a side-scrolling 2D action game, the new Bionic Commando adopts a 3D third-person perspective. Lad, the protagonist from the original, is now replaced by the more laid back Natahan ‘RAD’ Spencer. The first game was heavy on platforming despite the lack of a jump option. Instead, Lad’s bionic arm did all the traversing for him. And while the new game adds the option to jump, a bulk of the platforming is still heavily reliant on the bionic arm. [singlepic id=761 w=450 h=253 float=center] Bionic Commando: Now more beefy for next-gen

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  • Resident Evil 5 marks the debut of Capcom’s long-running survival horror series on the HD generation of consoles. Resident Evil 5 has a lot to live up to, not only is it one of the most anticipated titles of the year, but it’s also a direct sequel to Resident Evil 4, a game that redefined the third person action genre 4 years ago. Let me clear one thing first. Despite being billed as a survival horror game, RE5 is neither about survival nor a can it be classified as a horror game. The game is anything but scary and even labelling it as a horror game is an insult to the genre. The abundance of items that are scattered throughout the levels and the ones you can collect from fallen foes makes surviving this African adventure a relatively simple affair. To Capcom’s credit though, they never resolve to using tricks like monsters jumping around corners or other such cheap scares to make the game feel scary. Resident Evil 5 is an action game from start to finish and that’s putting it mildly. [singlepic id=755 w=450 h=254 float=center] “The game is anything but scary”

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  • The real-time strategy genre hasn’t really seen much innovation over the last decade or so, at least until recent titles such as Company of Heroes and World in Conflict, which defied genre conventions and actually created a new sub-genre of strategy games. Relic Entertainment’s Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II takes it even further by bringing in elements from the RPG genre and removing most of the conventional RTS mechanics. While the first Dawn of War game was a fast-paced strategy game, it still retained many of the classic RTS elements like base building, resource management and tech trees. Dawn of War II, however, feels like a totally new game altogether. From the moment you start off with the campaign, it’s pretty clear that the game does not play like a standard RTS. There is absolutely no base building or resource management involved in the campaign mode. Instead, the gameplay revolves around managing a group of units broken into multiple squads along with the Force Commander unit, who also happens to be the main character. Each squad is specialised at a particular area of combat so you have the heavy weapon wielding Devastators, who can lay down heavy fire and…

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  • Street Fighter is a name that a surprisingly large number of urban, non-gaming Indians in their late-teens and twenties are familiar with. Whether or not you were a gamer, if you happened to visit a video game parlour when they seemed to be springing up everywhere in the 90s, chances are you tried a bout or two of Street Fighter II. Over a decade later, there are those who went on to play every Street Fighter sequel/remake/rehash ever since, and those who just left it at that one time at the arcades. And the great thing about Street Fighter IV is that even if you haven’t played a Street Fighter game in 15 years, it will be instantly familiar to you, while pushing the envelope just enough to make it feel fresh. Staying true to its roots, while still innovating enough to qualify as “next-gen” is perhaps the biggest challenge to bringing a franchise that’s been around for decades on current-gen consoles. Street Fighter IV manages this balancing act to near perfection by retaining the classic Street Fighter presentation and not blindly following common trends in the fighting genre, but at the same time adding more depth to the gameplay…

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  • By Utkarsh W In 2000, Pandemic Studios came out with a pretty enjoyable Star Wars game called Star Wars Battlefront, featuring some of the epic battles from the movies. You could play as a standard issue soldier or even take control of one of the Star Wars heroes every once in a while. Now take the same concept and apply it to Tolkien’s (or rather Peter Jackson’s) The Lord of the Rings and you’ll get The Lord of the Rings: Conquest. Based around some of the most memorable battles from the books and the movie trilogy, the game puts you in the shoes of a no name soldier during the War of the Ring, while also giving you the opportunity to play as a hero character. Sounds fun, eh? Not really, because the game isn’t half as fun as it promises to be. [singlepic id=696 float=center] The game is primarily a multiplayer focused affair complete with a “tacked on” single player campaign. While the single player might look appealing in the beginning, you’ll soon realise that it lacks any kind of coherence or depth. You can play as the good factions in the War of the Ring campaign or wreak…

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  • Review: Killzone 2

    Reviewer: Kailash Karkera Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you probably know about a little shooter named Killzone 2. As Sony struggles with PS3 sales, it begins the year with the launch of what might be the biggest project to come out of the platform maker’s stable since The Getaway. So we have Killzone 2, Sony’s great big hope for 2009, which they hope will turn the fortunes of its much criticised console. And now without wasting your time anymore, I’ll get to the point. Killzone 2 is an incredible title. Not only is it the best looking game ever made, it is also hands down one of the best gaming experiences currently available on the PS3. One reason why Killzone 2 works is because the developers never resolve to using gimmicks around the core gameplay. You won’t get any fancy powers like controlling time, nor will your character get super human powers midway through the game. Its hook lies in the two things – the absolutely stunning audio-visual presentation and intense gun combat; and on both counts, Killzone 2 delivers an unmatched experience. [singlepic id=606 w=450 h=253 float=center]

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