Demo: Batman: Arkham Asylum

August 8, 2009

The arrival of this demo yesterday was a nice surprise.  It’s on Xbox Live (and can be downloaded by going here), PC (download from Fileshack here) and the PlayStation Store (which I can’t directly link to).  I played the PS3 version.

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I was interested in the demo because the game has been built up into a Big Thing, which seemed to take everybody by surprise (including its publisher, who delayed the game seemingly to make sure it could live up to the hype).  It has potential to not just be a big, AAA release, but the game that finally does the Batman character justice in all his aspects (his refusal to kill, his intelligence and detective skills, his combat prowess, his gadgets and stealth), as well as telling a good story.  Some of the pre-release hype has even compared it to Bioshock in terms of its atmosphere, which is a lot of praise/pressure to place upon a game ahead of release.

So, based upon the hype and personal expectations I was hoping to find that this game is an atmospheric fighting game with smooth, satisfying combat, decent stealth gameplay that isn’t too punishing for failure, and does justice to the potential of the Batman character.  Can it live up to those expectations? Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Saints Row 2

June 21, 2009

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About:

Released on: Xbox 360 (version reviewed), PlayStation 3, PC

Developed By: Volition

Who Also Developed: The original Saint’s Row, the Red Faction games (including the recent Red Faction: Guerilla)

Published By: THQ

Players: One local, two in online co-op and more in online multiplayer modes.

Demo Available: No

Additional Content: Two premium DLC packs continuing the story, for PS3 and 360 (not PC).  One additional free pack with extra clothing and tattoos for PS3 and 360 (not PC).

Ben’s Progress: Game completed on the normal difficulty. 13 of 50 achievements earned (non-DLC).

Note: I don’t play online much, and haven’t tried any of the online features of Saints Row 2.

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Wednesday’s Play – Modern Warfare

June 21, 2009

I took a break from Valkyria Chronicles and played some more Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, completing four more missions.  Read on for details.

Call of Duty4: Modern Warfare

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We’re back with the USMC for the day’s first mission.  The pre-mission briefing sets the scene, with Al-Asad’s forces being driven back to the palace.  The marines are accompanying the tank you had to defend earlier, War Pig, and the briefing shows it in wireframe form, detailing its cost and vital statistics, but stops before it all gets a bit too gun-porny.

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Sunday’s Play – Even More Old Modern Warfare

June 10, 2009

I found a bit more time for gaming today, sinking another couple of hours into Call of Duty 4 and completing three missions.  Read on for details.

Call of Duty 4

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The fourth mission of the game, still playing as Jackson with the USMC, has your squad heading to help out a tank that has been disabled and is under assault.  Proceeding through the city at night, you’re ambushed.  The squad enters a building and you’re sent upstairs with an ally, Roycewicz, to clear the upper levels.  Halfway upstairs Roycewicz is attacked, but I immediately stabbed the attacker and saved him.  This unlocked an achievement, which I guess means he can die there if you don’t save him, and made for a nice little surprise.

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Saturday’s Play – More Old Modern Warfare

June 10, 2009

I only found time for a little more Call of Duty 4, completing one additional mission.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

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The next level (the third), has the US storming into a city in a big helicopter squadron, on a mission that the SAS’ informant of the previous mission said was doomed to fail (it will be interesting seeing how closely the two campaigns intertwine as the game continues).   I was expecting at least one of the helicopters to get shot down – that seems to almost be a mandatory inclusion for POV military helicopter rides in games – but none did, and everyone gets down safely.

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Today’s Play: Modern Overlord Warfare

June 5, 2009

Today I started a relatively old game that I’d still not played, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and a new game that I don’t yet have, Overlord 2 (I played the demo).  Click through for details.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

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I’ve had CoD4 for a while now but not played it, I think in part because the game has become so heavily associated with its strong multiplayer component that I’d overlooked its potential as a single-player game.  With the Modern Warfare 2 developers apparently thinking the game can stand on its own and dropping the Call of Duty part of its name, as well as having an excellent trailer at the Microsoft E3 press conference, it seemed like a good time to give it a try.

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E3 2009 Assessment: Microsoft Conference

June 5, 2009
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The future of gaming?

In my pre-E3 assessment for the 360 I broke the console’s strengths and weaknesses down into three categories: Hardware, Software (Hardcore) and Software (Casual).  With their press conference out of the way (which should cover all their significant announcements) I’m going to take a look at each of those categories again and see how Microsoft fared (in my opinion).  After that is an assessment of each individual item revealed/shown, and my verdict on the conference as a whole.  Click through for details.

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