Reviews

  • 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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  • It’s been a tough few months for PC ports and it’s not just because PC versions are arriving later than their console counterparts. Admittedly, it’s bad enough when someone comes late to the party, worse though is that they are drunk and downright unforgivable when they proceed to pee on the carpet. So once in a while when someone is late but comes with flowers, chocolates and a smile you can’t help but forgive and forget. Mirror’s Edge reminds you how a port should be handled; it takes all the strengths of the target system and builds upon it. I won’t go into gameplay details because most of what was said in the console review here still holds true. What makes the game work (better) on the PC is the improved AI, tighter controls, gorgeous visuals and some worthwhile extra content. [singlepic id=683 w=450 h=253 float=center]

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  • Indie games are like art films – you like the concept, but you would rather spend time on the dhishum dhisum. Yet, over the last couple of years, indie games have been making headway with the mainstream audience. Two good examples are Braid and World of Goo – they won universal critical acclaim, wowed gamers everywhere, won awards, and most importantly, sold like crazy. Xbox LIVE Arcade, PSN and Wii Shop are great distribution systems for these games and make them easily accessible for us. The first big indie hit of 2009 is Twisted Pixel’s The Maw on the XBLA, a puzzle game set in an alien world. The story is simple; an alien is captured in a spaceship. In the spaceship are many creatures, including a purple blob which some say is the most dangerous creature in the world. The ship crash-lands and it is up to the alien (the player) and the Maw to take the story to its completion. On the way are numerous creatures and traps and battles which have to be traversed to take the Maw to its final destination. [singlepic id=681 w=450 h=253 float=center]

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  • Starting with this review, we’re quite drastically changing the format for IndianVideoGamer reviews in order to bring more community involvement into them. We’ve assembled some of the best writers from the IVG community to form the IndianVideoGamer Reviewers Club, and henceforth, if this system works, all our reviews will present multiple points of view on a game. We also aim to make our reviews more crisp, brief and more personal; each reviewer will put his own personal views across and focus on aspects of the game that stood out for him. Here’s our much delayed review of Prince of Persia. Do let us know what you think of our new approach to game reviews. Reviewer: Vikram Dussa Platform: PlayStation 3 Ubisoft has delivered an amazing game in Prince of Persia. The art style is fresh and the graphics look beautiful. The platforming is great, though a bit dumbed down, and it will attract the non-masochistic types like myself. The combat is not so varied and depends more on combos. But this will in no way hinder your combat experience and you will end up looking forward to fighting the enemy again. The beautiful Elika eliminates the need for irritating “game…

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  • How do you reinvigorate a franchise that’s well past its prime? Add a few gimmicks to make it more appealing to the mainstream and you can be sure that the game will be lapped up by the casuals, if nothing else. This is exactly what Midway has done with the latest offering in their long-running Mortal Kombat series. Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe marks the coming together of two big franchises, as the warriors from Mortal Kombat take on the comic book superheroes and super villains from the DC Universe. This coming together of two big brands is nothing new to gaming. Capcom pulled it off spectacularly in their cult classic 2D beat ‘em up Marvel vs Capcom, which has fans foaming at the mouth even today at a mere mention of the game. Then you have the Kingdom Hearts series, Square’s mega successful action RPG series that had appearances from classic Disney characters. But things are a bit different here. On one hand, you have comic book superheroes, who aren’t exactly known for their killing ways and then you have Mortal Kombat, a series renowned for its extreme gore. This mismatch of worlds feels like a disaster waiting to…

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  • Single-player Preview By Kailash Karkera Killzone is one of those unlucky franchises that has always made gaming headlines for all the wrong reasons. The original title was billed as Sony’s answer to HALO and rode on tremendous pre-release hype before it fell flat on in its face on release. The sequel, Killzone 2 also made a controversial debut when Sony tried to pass of a CIVG target render as actual gameplay footage for its then upcoming PlayStation 3. Ever since that infamous trailer, Amsterdam based developers, Guerilla Games, have been under tremendous pressure to deliver, and having played a big chunk of the single player campaign recently, I can safely say that Killzone 2 has all the makings of a fine, fine shooter. If the game’s second half is as good as its first, then Killzone 2 has a great chance to deliver on all the promises the developers made half a decade ago. [singlepic=493,450,253,center]

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  • With its alternate take on world politics and war, hilarious B-movie style presentation and lightning fast gameplay, the Red Alert series has always been a rather unique branch of the Command & Conquer universe. The first two games developed by the now defunct Westwood Studios are now RTS classics. So when EA announced the next title in the series, RTS fans couldn’t have been happier. It’s been almost 8 years since the last game in the series hit shelves and we couldn’t wait to get back into action, comrade! Red Alert 3, now developed in-house by EA, features pretty much all of the series’ trademarks and instantly feels familiar right from the menu screens to the thumping background music. As expected, the story is totally over the top material. The Soviets travel back in time and assassinate Einstein in order to stop the Allies from becoming a super power thanks to his research. However, the results are not quite what the Soviets would have expected. The Allies are subdued a little but a new threat emerges from the east. Due to the halt in the Allies’ advancement, the Empire of the Rising Sun (the game’s third playable faction) have become…

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  • When Crystal Dynamics were handed the Tomb Raider franchise after Angel of Darkness, I doubt even the most fanatical Lara fans were troubled. The franchise was at rock bottom, how worse could it be? Fans had lost faith and critics had written it off as a series that died with the PS1. Crystal Dynamics, therefore, had a lot to prove and, in Legend, they delivered a Tomb Raider game that could finally stand up to the originals as a worthy sequel. Anniversary was a reminder of why the series was (and is) iconic. But with their reputation firmly made, I always figured Underworld was where Crystal Dynamics would begin to build up the series again. So how did it turn out? [singlepic=461,450,253,center]

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  • It is amusing to me that in the annals of video gaming, racing games based on actual world series events don’t do very well critically or commercially. If you take a look at the top selling racing games across generations, they have usually been fictional amalgamations of a variety of racing classes encompassing a wide range of vehicles. And it’s not that bestsellers are arcade games that eschew the true sim experience in favour of fun and easy to access gameplay, as can be testified by the roaring success of the Gran Turismo and the Forza Motorsport series. Even in an arcade tilted series like Need for Speed, most critics hail Porsche Unleashed as the one of the best games in the series. [singlepic=450,450,253,center]

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  • Midway’s TNA Impact is the first video game based on the Total Nonstop Action pro-wrestling promotion. And just like it had a tough act to follow when it debut on TV in 2002 with the well established WWE juggernaut dominating the scene, TNA Impact the video game too will have to match up to THQ’s long-running WWE franchise, now called Smackdown! vs RAW (SvR). Being such similar games. comparisons between TNA Impact and SvR are inevitable, but for the sake of this review, I will leave the head-to-heads aside and try to focus on TNA Impact as it stands by itself. Considering that TNA Impact is Midway’s first wrestling game in a really long time, the controls are surprisingly tight and responsive. The developers have been stressing the importance of having the game running at 60 fps in order to ensure that button presses are registered instantly. And they do, giving you gameplay that, although simple, is fast, competitive, and quite fun. [singlepic=431,450,253,center]

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  • Zombies and video games have always been a close knit couple taking after the other successful and hugely overdone pairing, zombies and movies. From seminal classics like Resident Evil and House of the Dead to low budget fare like Zombie Shooter, gamers have been killing zombies for years. When it was announced that Valve, the hugely successful developer behind Half-Life and Team Fortress, was doing its own take on the zombie blending genre – Left 4 Dead, the gaming community was both shocked and thrilled at the prospect of a genre title from the AAA developer. Lets not forget – Valve has had plenty of experience with zombie killing considering that half of the enemies you faced in the Half-Life series were zombified scientists and soldiers, thanks to the dreaded head crabs. Now that the object of our anticipation is in our hands, how smooth is the final blend? [singlepic=407,450,253,center]

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  • Review: Fallout 3

    Living in today’s world amidst the threat of economic crisis, depleting oil reserves, terrorism, global warming and the possibility of a worldwide catastrophe that could change the entire world as we know it, it’s hard not to imagine what would it would be like if something truly bad were to happen to our little planet. I’m sure pretty much all of us (especially being gamers) have imagined what it would be like to survive a nuclear holocaust or a zombie apocalypse or an economic meltdown. Fallout 3 lets you experience what it would be like to live in a world totally ravaged by nuclear war. The year is 2277, 200 years after a global nuclear war has devastated the entire world. Only a few survivors remain scattered across the globe along with others who have spent their entire lives underground in “Vaults”, large nuclear shelters with all the basic needs for human survival, safe from the harmful radiation and dangers of the outside world. The game takes place in a post apocalyptic version of Washington DC. The world of Fallout is futuristic (complete with laser rifles and robots), yet strangely stuck in a retro 1950s American style. The washed out…

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  • A couple of weeks ago, we got the opportunity to visit Milestone and spend some quality time with the latest entry in Capcom’s survival horror series – Resident Evil. The build we played was the same one that was presented at this year’s Tokyo Game Show. The demo featured two short levels and also gave us the first glimpse into the newly introduced co-op mode. As you may know, one of the biggest changes in Resident Evil 5 is the inclusion of co-op. For the first time in the Resident Evil series (Outbreak doesn’t count), you can play through the campaign co-operatively. The second character introduced is Sheva. The campaign can be played either online, split-screen or via system link. In case you don’t have anyone to play with, the game will take control of the second character. The friendly AI that controls Sheva does a wonderful job; she’ll constantly heal you, provide you with different items (ammo included) and most importantly, she can hold her own when surrounded by enemies. [singlepic=388,450,253,center]

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  • As a fan of racing games, I am offended by Need for Speed: Undercover. Having seen games such as Burnout Paradise, Grid, and Pure this year, a substandard effort such as this barely deserves a second thought. However, Undercover is the latest installment in the most recognised racing game franchise, and by that virtue itself, it is a game that demands every gamer’s attention. So while every new Need for Speed game is worth your attention, is this one worth your time? Short answer – No. Undercover is a technical mess, but we’ll come to that later. With this game, Black Box have attempted to make the player feel like the star of an action movie, complete with live-action cutscenes with supposedly Hollywood-level production values and “professional” actors, including the star of the game – Maggie Q. She’s even on the cover; and here I was thinking I’m the star. [singlepic=197,450,253,center]

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  • Despite the success of the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2, Sony never really had a shooter that they could call their own. Killzone was supposed to fill that void but it could never live up to its potential. It was PlayStation 3 launch title Resistance: Fall of Man that gave Sony its first big in-house ‘Triple A’ shooter. Resistance was set in an alternate 1950’s timeline where World War II never happened and humanity faced a far greater threat against a force known as the Chimera. Resistance was a solid launch title that went on to sell 3 million copies worldwide. Two years later, developers Insomniac are back with their latest and much more ambitious offering – Resistance 2. Featuring a single player campaign spanning across the United States, an eight-player co-operative campaign with its own separate story and a 60-player online multiplayer, Resistance 2 is all set to deliver the definitive shooter experience for PS3 owners this holiday season. [singlepic=376,450,253,center]

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  • It’s finally here – the much anticipated New Xbox Experience (NXE). For the remaining few who were too lazy to sign up for the preview programme, a message at 3:30 pm on Wednesday informed that an Xbox LIVE update was available. So is this something which will make you happy? What are the nice features? Read on to find more: After a short update, the console restarted and the first thing that you see is the new ‘Working’ icon, and a message that the new update was being download. The download is about 120 mb and took 12 minutes. A new flashy video introduces you to the exciting world of the Xbox. It reminded me of Spore a bit, where game colonies seem to spring all over the world and the camera zooms out to display the green X. [singlepic=367,center]

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  • Mirror’s Edge is set in a rather sterile-looking nanny state sometime in the near future, where crime is minimal, but so are its citizens’ social and civil rights. Those that speak against the government are cast to the edge of society; their social liberties taken away, their phones tapped, and always under the watchful eye of the totalitarian authorities. These outcasts are therefore forced to rely on more primitive forms of communication to stay under the radar. That is where Faith, the game’s lead character, comes in. Faith is a courier, or a runner as they are referred to in the game, whose parents were persecuted for rebelling against the government and whose sister is framed for murdering a mayoral candidate, a crime for which Faith too is under suspicion. [singlepic=140,450,276,center] While in most games a premise like this would set the tone for vengeful gunfights and exaggerated boss battles, in Mirror’s Edge, the story is where similarities with every other game end. Running is what Faith does best, and a lot of the game involves her evading the authorities rather than confronting them. In fact, you very often have an option to do either, and the beauty of the…

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  • MotorStorm, while a commendable first effort on a new platform, was far from the killer app Sony hoped it would be. The lack of an offline multiplayer option, repetitive track environments, unstable frame rates and small niggles like long load times ensured that it fell short of being the PS3’s first must-buy racing game. But being one of the better games in a shockingly scarce PS3 launch line-up ensured that the game sold well, paving the way for an inevitable sequel. A lot has changed since the first game. The game’s developer, Evolution, was acquired by Sony, bringing hope that technical know-how from other first-party studios would help them overcome the flaws from the first game. And as with any sequel, the aim was to better the first game in every aspect. [singlepic=348,450,253,center] With that in mind, MotorStorm Pacific Rift now moves away from the deserts and canyons to a tropical island filled with beautiful yet treacherous terrain ideally suited to MotorStorm’s aggressive, in-your-face approach to off-road racing. A major complaint from the first game was the monotonous nature of the tracks, and Evolution seem to have taken that criticism to heart when creating Pacific Rift.

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  • Sony’s much hyped futuristic shooter, Killzone 2 made its first Indian playable debut at the recently concluded Mumbai leg of Playstation Experience. Having been part of the ongoing closed beta, I was eager to try out the single player level and I’m glad to say that I walked away pretty impressed with what Guerilla Games have cooked up so far. Let’s clear a few things straight away; Killzone 2 is not going to change the way you play first-person shooters. It’s not a revolutionary game some people expected it to be; far from it. In fact, it’s as generic as current-gen shooters go, be it the bald space marines, the dual weapon system, regenerating health and so on. But there is something about the game that sets it apart; there’s something about Killzone 2 that’ll make you say “WOW”. [singlepic=342,450,253,center]

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  • Review: Dead Space

    Dead Space is a brand new IP from EA’s Redwood Shores studio, and a stunning new entry into survival horror genre, a genre that has over the past few years become stale with repetitive scare tactics and more action-oriented gameplay. Dead Space doesn’t bring anything spectacularly new to the table like some of the hallmark survival horror games did a few years ago, but it still manages to give you that refreshing experience you’d generally expect from a new IP. [singlepic=320,450,253,center] Dead Space obviously gets its inspiration from a bunch of sci-fi horror movies like Aliens, The Thing, Night of the Dead and Event Horizon. The premise here is simple; you play maintenance engineer Isaac Clarke (the name should strike a chord amongst science fiction readers), sent on a simple mission to repair communications on a space mining ship called the USG Ishimura upon receiving an emergency call. Once you board the ship though, it quickly becomes apparent that fixing communications is the least of your problems. You’re almost immediately separated from your crew and left to fend for yourself against Necromorphs, former crew of the Ishimura, turned into vicious zombie-like creatures and ready to tear you limb from limb…

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  • When you have the opportunity to review one of the most anticipated video games of the year, especially one that is a sequel to one of the highest rated games of this generation and a personal favourite, its pretty hard to stay objective. But the job demands objectivity, so this reviewer will do his best. For the sake of the sorry lot of you who haven’t played Gears of War yet, I won’t reveal plot details, but suffice to say that in Gears of War 2 the story picks up where the first game left off. You play Marcus Fenix, member of Delta Squad, an elite section of the human armed forces of the planet Sera, tasked with taking the fight to the heart of vicious, beastly Locusts, who have decimated the human population on Sera and have driven mankind to the brink of extinction. Once again, the player is taken on a rollercoaster ride through the destroyed landscapes of the surface of Sera, vast caverns beneath the surface and strongholds of the Locust. [singlepic=281,450,253,center]

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  • Review: Pure

    Pure is a game that doesn’t take itself seriously and neither should those who play it. It’s not very challenging and the game modes are limited, but it is unadulterated fun through and through.

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  • As Insomniac prepares Resistance 2 for its big November launch, we get a chance to play the recently released public beta, which consists of both the co-operative and competitive modes. Resistance 2 is the ambitious sequel to PlayStation 3’s launch title Resistance: Fall of Man with features like 60-player online multiplayer and 8-player co-op campaign, among other things. Veterans of the first game will immediately notice that Insomniac have slowed down the pace of the game. Gone are the days when Resistance was known as a twitch shooter. Instead, Resistance 2 is much slower with a bigger impetus on close quarters shooting, while still maintaining the scale the first game was known for. Other changes made are the balancing of some of the weapons. The Bullseye from the first game feels more powerful, whereas the Army Carbine and the Auger are definitely underpowered. [singlepic=235,400,222,center] Insomniac have also introduced a few new gameplay elements, one of them being the new berserker system, where players gain special power ups once their meter fills up. These power ups can be anything ranging from weapons inflicting double damage to players themselves taking only a fraction of the damage from incoming bullets. The other big…

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  • Review: FIFA 09

    For fans of football games, the mantra has always been – FIFA for presentation and licenses, PES for gameplay. Now, with FIFA upping the ante with more fluid gameplay, it is getting uncomfortably close to matching Konami’s cult hit in that department, and with all other aspects stacked in its favour, it comes out ahead as an overall package.

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