Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Super Metroid

The lights are off and only the gentle glow of the science lab monitors stop the room from falling into total darkness. Across the floor lie the bodies of dead scientists. The computer systems seem to be active still and supporting the only life in the room. Captive in a glass chamber in the middle of the lab is the very last Metroid.

“The last Metroid is in captivity.. The galaxy is at peace.”

The opening sequence to Super Metroid sets a haunting and very atmospheric scene. The chilling 16bit music accompanies the creative colour pallets and beautifully drawn sprites. One of the most amazing features of this game is that its haunting atmosphere will continue throughout the entirety of your adventure and the standard will NEVER drop. You are Samus Aran, a mute bounty hunter with nerves of steel, the agility of a monkey, the gadgets of a military agent and the brute firepower of a small army. This is videogame sci-fi at its very best!

After a brief history of Metroid games and an intro in which Ridley, the head honcho of the space pirates, steals the Metroid. We then aid Samus in escaping an exploding space station and chase the evil alien down to the planet Zebes. As we approach the rain is pouring down and thunder rolls across the sky. Our beautifully formed, completely silent space ship drops from the heavens and lands, hovering perfectly, feet from the ground. The roof hatch opens and Samus Aran emerges. You run for cover in a nearby cave and find a door, which leads into the depths of the planet.  The next few hours invite you to explore this vast world and discover its inhabitants. Some are friend and some are foe, but all of them have something to teach you about how the game works and how you must learn to survive in it’s, often hostile, environment. 

The mechanics of this game are tight. The running, jumping, shooting basics are so pixel perfect that the game feels great to play leaving only yourself to blame when something goes wrong. The map is a complex maze of chambers and tunnels all interlinking and offering the player glimpses of what’s yet to come, but only when you have gained the ability to do so. Your arsenal of weapons and gadgets constantly improve as you journey deeper & deeper through the various locations of Zebes. There are a lot of power-ups to collect in this game, not all of them essential, but all of them rewarding. [I have still never collected 100% items; although my last play through was 98% so hopefully next time I will find that illusive last piece.] The style and graphics are outstanding as the world shifts from area to area and the creatures evolve with it. Then, to top it all off is one of the most atmospheric sound tracks I have ever heard in a game with some quality and high production sound effects piled on top.

This is, with out a doubt, my favourite ever videogame. I haven’t even mentioned the boss fights, or what’s so fucking cool about the power-ups and new abilities. This is because Super Metroid is a game of exploration and discovery. It’s finding these things out for yourself that makes it so damn cool. There is a LOT to see in this game. It’s possible, with a few tricks, to finish it in under an hour. But, on a first play through, its not uncommon for people to clock up over 10 hours and still keep exploring. If you have never played Super Metroid, then you owe it to yourself as a gamer to do so. If you have played Super Metroid, then you might enjoy taking this opportunity to stop playing 2011 blockbusters and return to one of the most exciting videogame worlds ever created.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

You, me and the PSN hack..

As James Brown would say “Lets get on the good foot.” I fucking LOVE videogames. I always have. No other medium gives me so many emotions and allows me to interact with it at the same time. I have visited atmospheric worlds and met characters that will stay with me for life. I have marvelled at stunning graphics and found myself absorbed by dynamic audio. I have sat for hours mastering game play mechanics and control techniques. I am also the perfect age to have matured with the videogame industry. I started getting sucked in during the 80’s and by the 90’s I was a gamer. We’re now in 2011 and I consider myself a videogame veteran. Over the years I have played on many, MANY systems. Probably at least had a go on most of them at some point. Over the past few generations I have become a fan of Playstation. I loved my Amiga more than anything and I lost months of my life on my Super Nintendo. But, the Playstation  really pulled me in. While my friends were starting to grow out of videogames I was getting pulled in deeper and deeper. It was games like Wipeout, Ridge Racer, Tekken, Soul Reaver, Tony Hawk, Parappa the Rapper, FFVII, MGS, Gran Turismo and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night that ignited my senses. I loved every passing moment of my Playstation. [Even when I had to balance the console on its side so that it would read discs.] Later on I bought a Playstation 2 and got married to Rockstar Games. Well, I proposed but I’m yet to get a definite response. The Xbox had now been released and many of my fellow gamers had migrated to the more powerful machine. But, I knew were my allegiances were. My dedication to this little Japanese box of wonder was running strong. This generation has seen the arrival of the Xbox360 and the Playstation 3, two of the most amazing consoles to have ever graced the gaming community. Obviously, I chose the Playstation 3 as my main system, but I do own both as the exclusive games are too good to miss. Having read this and seeing as its written on a blog dedicated to videogames you’ll understand that videogame culture spills into my lifestyle.


I would really appreciate it if people stopped rubbing it in my face about Sony fucking up and the shit hitting the fan. I imagine it’s not just me going through this either. I would put money on most Playstation fans getting a hard time from Xbox fans about this. You talk to me as if I have some control over what Sony do. You’re gleeful at the possibility of Sony stopping production and the Playstation brand dying. Although Nintendo are about to enter the HD market, currently Microsoft and Sony are at the forefront. Imagine if Sony Playstation does disappear from the market place. Microsoft would have no direct competition and could feasibly increase their prices higher and higher. Having both brands in competition is good for us as gamers. Anyway, I don’t care for multimillion-pound corporate industries. I feel the same as most rational people about this. I am sad for the customers and angry at both Sony and the fucking dicks who did the hack. Sony has acted irresponsibly. They should have security measures in place to stop these kinds of terrorist acts and when the shit did hit the fan, well then Sony should have immediately made customers aware so that we could take appropriate action. I personally think that the hackers should be feeling the hate from gamers in this situation, as they are the cause of this. Most hacking attempts are a big-dick contest, greed, or an anti-establishment statement and their irresponsible actions have fucked over millions of innocent gamers. People need to stop throwing childish insults and rubbing salt in the wounds of Playstation gamers about this. We are all pretty badly affected and nobody yet knows what the future will be for the brand and its followers.

People who play Playstation consoles fucking love videogames, just like the people who play Xbox consoles. I don’t want to defend a round table of millionaires and I don’t want you to throw insults at me as if I do! This is where I could rant about fanboys being the football hooligans of the community. Or, about them being bullies. But, you have heard it all before so I won’t bother.

I guess that this was my vent and nothing more. I’d be considered an Idealist because I’m the kind of person who wishes that gamers would stand together in these situations and not belittle each other. After all..

All I want to do is play great videogames.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Portal 2

We all expected a tight script. The first game had a tight script. We all expected intelligent wit. After all, the first game was full of intelligent wit. I don’t want to sound repetitive here, but we all expected amazingly constructed puzzles inside a wonderfully atmospheric world, a game with ultra-tight mechanics that never crumbled under pressure. This is because Portal 1 had all of these features. See, Portal 2 had a pretty hard act to follow. The small, but perfectly formed Portal 1 captured the hearts of many for being so damn good. Portal 2 is outstandingly good and pretty much better in every possible way. If you want to know why, then go and get the orange box and play Portal 1..

..it was pretty good, huh!? Having read my first incredibly well constructed paragraph you are now aware that the sequel to that masterpiece you just played is even fucking better! I know.. I couldn’t believe it either.

Its longer and offers a glimpse into what the hell might have been going down over at the Aperture Science Laboratories. I’m not going to ruin anything about this special game. What I will talk about is the sound design. Nobody else seems to be talking about the sound design!? It is, without a doubt, the unsung hero of the game. Not the conversation, but the music and sound effects. From the booming of the environment that surrounds you, to the little vocal touches of the machinery, every moment of the game is accompanied with superb sound design. Then, there is the electronica that accompanies the games toys and mechanics. The simple glitch notes and synthesizer chords are a perfect ambience to the gameplay and atmosphere. But, as you near the conclusion of a puzzle, when you have multiple mechanics active and running in sync, then the audio comes alive with all of the audio layers working together to create stunning electronic sound-scapes.

Portal 2 is a game that offers an intelligent alternative to the violent face of videogaming. Its not going to be for everybody. But, for the people who do allow themselves to be drawn into Valve’s world will be offered a hugely entertaining experience.  

*I didn’t mention the co-op as I haven’t decided whom I want to play through it with yet. I’ll get back to you in the future

Friday, 25 March 2011

Killzone 3 [and 2]

Killzone 3.. What a fucking disappointment. No.. wait.. Let me start again.

Killzone 3.. What a fucking disappointment. Ahh shit, did it again!

Killzone 2.. What a fucking great game! With its stunning, explosive visuals and its always loud, always offensive sound design, Killzone 2 is an in your face, bite the curb, shooter. Lets get down to it..

Playing Killzone 2 is exhilarating. Every step you take makes you feel like a fucking badass in heavy armor, loaded to the teeth with weapons. Heavy weapons. Loud heavy weapons with enough fire power to kill a herd of stampeding monkeys. These monkeys are the Helghast. The British speaking, anime-nazi inspired, cheeky dicks who have the nerve to try and  protect their own damn planet from the invading ISA. Ahh, the ISA.. Loud, obnoxious, American grunts. I think the game had a story, but I wasn't paying any attention to it and if you play Killzone 2 you won't either. This game is all about shooting baddies. Every kill in Killzone 2 feels like another thunderous step towards victory. I can't express how good killing bad dudes feels in this game... but let me try... 

You feel the weight of your armor on your back as you stamp through the mud towards the broken cover in front of you. The sound of the war around you is ringing in your ears as bullets rip through the air inches from your face. *SLAM* your body smashes against the brick wall that separates you from a handful of bloodthirsty Helghast. You can hear them shouting commands to one another, trying to flank your position. You realise that you have seconds to act before your going to be riddled with enemy bullets. Its you or them.. Now, you have to act right NOW! You make your move. Your head pops out from cover and you stare the filthy bastards right in the eye. You can feel the weight of your rifle as you try to lock in on an enemies face. "fuuuuuuuuuuuuccckk...." screams the soon to be deceased anglo-nazi as you squeeze the trigger.  *BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG* your rifle fires with the force of the gods making direct contact with your foes body and recoiling up to his head. Guts and brains spill everywhere as the remaining Helghast dive for cover giving you merely seconds to recompose yourself for the next kill...

Yeah, every single kill in Killzone 2 feels just like that. Theres nothing much more to the game. But, thats all you need. Its brilliant!

Back to Killzone 3. The huge improvement over the last game is the variety of locations. The snowy mountains, the jungles, the junkyards and the battlefields. Also, the game now offers visceral and violently brutal melee combat system that feels great, if and when the fucker works properly. The big problem though is all the whiney Call of Duty wankers. Instead of spending time with Killzone 2 to get used to the controls, they spent their time on the internet crying and bitching about them. Unfortunately, they are the same idiots who will be buying Call of Duty 53 this year, which makes them the financial income for FPS game developers. Due to this Guerilla [the developer] decided to make the game more accessible for these people.. and this is probably the biggest problem with Killzone 3. It's lost its identity. Without the amazing feeling of the last game it has nothing. The graphics, set-pieces, characters, locations and style of Killzone 2 and 3 are pretty much identical. But, without the individuality and character in the controls it becomes a weak, run-of-the-mill shooter. 

So, if you want to play a ballsy shooter buy Killzone 2 because its better than Killzone 3.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack In Time

I'm a Lombax with guns.. lots of guns.. BIG guns! I can turn enemies into dust in seconds. I can fill those filthy little fuckers with ripper blades, trap them in nets and electrocute them, or freeze them and shotgun them in the face. I have a rocket launcher and a plasma ray-gun that can obliterate them. In my pocket I carry Tesla coils and a sniper laser. These are just the basics. I can also throw enemies into a fit of dance-fever with my Groovitron, Summon dark creatures from the Rift and if all else fails theres always trusty old Mr. Zurkon. Before I move on, Mr. Zurkon is quite possibly the best fucking weapon EVER! 

"Mr. Zurkon does NOT come in peace."

Oh, I forgot to mention, not only am I the baddest mother fucker in the galaxy, but i also have a robot buddy, rocket shoes and a spaceship! 

This game is pretty special though. I can't help but think its a true gift to gamers and should NOT be missed. Our world seems preoccupied with realism, modern warfare, serious conflicts and awfully fucking foul mouthed soldiers. What your all missing is this absolute gem of a game. Its production values are through the roof, not with realism, but with some of the most beautiful, colourful and creative alien planets to grace the HD generation. Its full of genuinely funny characters and one-liners. The enemies are exciting to fight and your weapons are even more exciting to use. The game is split between three play-styles. One half is an 'if it moves kill it' type game. All the [upgradable]  weapons at your disposal with plenty of dick enemies to destroy. The second half is a puzzle/platforming game with some seriously clever puzzles. Not too taxing and a pleasure to solve. The third... ummmm, half?! is a space combat game [like starwing] which allows you to travel from planet to planet and shoot shit up.

I don't think I need to say anymore really. Its a fucking brilliant game, with fucking brilliant graphics and fucking brilliant characters. Its a decent length, has a pretty decent tale to tell and thoroughly entertaining throughout. Do yourself a favour and stop being a Call of Duty dick. Go and buy Ratchet & Clank future: A Crack in Time.

Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2. A space epic in which dudes get shot, burnt & tossed. Bitches get charmed, laid & slapped.. and YOUR the cause of it all!

Your a space dude, not any space dude, but commander Shepard! Apparently your the big dick around these parts. I didn't play Mass Effect 1 and didn't bother watching the backstory, so I missed a whole heap of shit. I spent the opening hours of the game pretending I had amnesia. It made things fairly interesting not knowing people that knew me and easily being able to shatter their hopes and dreams with the press of a single conversation button. On the subject of conversations, this game has a LOT of them. In fact, I would go as far as to say that this game is one long fucking conversation with bits of shooting, burning and tossing in between. If your not the kind of person who wants to get immersed in a tale, then this game isn't for you. The shooting/burning/tossing is good, but without the loooooong conversations its nothing. 

I actually liked this game. No.. I REALLY FUCKING LIKED this game. It sucked me in so deep that I lost a couple of weeks of my sad existence of a real life. The story is fucking great and the atmosphere is always amazing. You could be visiting a prison planet to fuck shit up just to satisfy some psycho bitch you want on your crew, even though you dont like her one bit and hope that she dies later on. What about snooping around a billionaires penthouse just looking for something to steal, or keeping your eyes peeled for the next victim you can set fire to. You could be wandering through a forest feeling incredibly suspicious about the not-quite-right locals, who your sure are going to try and eat you, or bum you at any moment. Or, when you've had a few drinks in the nightclub and your aimlessly wandering around verbally assaulting people just to try and start a fight. Wait.. I forgot about that nightclub. They need to hire new door staff. Theres always a queue outside, but the club is always fucking empty. Perhaps, if they let some more punters in, then the club would have a better atmosphere and I wouldn't need to spend my visits stumbling around picking fights with oversized aliens who are obviously going to smash my fucking head right in!? 

This game has a stupid amount of locations to visit and each one is just as interesting and spectacular as the last. But, each location is actually very limiting in where you can go. In fact they are pretty much corridors, but somehow the game deceives you into thinking that you are in a small part of a huge environment. This is what Mass Effect 2 does and it does it brilliantly. You always think that you are in a fucking huge universe making important decisions and every time you tell somebody to get bent, or make friends with a dickhead because you feel that they're just misunderstood, the whole universe seems effected and can turn on you. 

Outside of the fuuucckkkiiiinnnggg loooooonnnngggg conversations is the action, which is solid shooting, burning, tossing fun. You can choose to upgrade your entire crew with abilities and have complete control over everything during the fights. Its a 3rd person, over-the-shoulder deal with a pause ability to choreograph the outcome of your battles. Your cast of characters are all of the alien, humanoid, mutant variety each with severe mental issues [although mostly interesting] that your going to have to deal with during the course of the game. The game plays out in a talk, travel, action, talk, travel, action kinda way and somehow manages to always keep things interesting.

If you want a lengthy & quality production videogame [I tried to do everything I could and clocked in at 37 hours], with plenty of action, your into sci-fi and have power-mongering tendencies, then this is the game for you. Buy it!

also, you can have sex with the women!

50 Cent: Blood on The Sand

'50 Cent: versus the Middle East' uses more "mother fuckers" and more "niggaz" than any other game I can think of. It even has a 'taunt' button, which allows you to fire off a "Fuck off!", or a "Fucking die, nigga!" at will. This alone makes 50 Cent worth playing. 

While performing a rap gig in the middle east somebody misplaces 10 million dollars of Fiddys money. To apologize for this the gig organizers offer Fiddy a jewell encrusted skull as compensation. This skull belongs to somebody else, who then steals it back. So, Fiddy goes on a murderous rampage across the middle east to get back the skull [that doesn't belong to him anyway].

Many middle easterners, dressed like terrorists will die over the next 5-ish hours of gameplay.

The gameplay is pretty shit. The graphics are pretty shit. The story is fucking stupid. The music is non-stop 50 Cent pumping through the speakers and the language used is over the mother fucking top at all times.. But, somehow the game is VERY fun.

See, the game has a combo meter and score system. Theres something intriguingly satisfying about running from terrorist to terrorist shooting, swearing, punching, shooting, swearing, killing, stabbing, blowing up, swearing, shooting again and stabbing some more without stopping for time to rap. The "bing bing bing" noise tallying up your blood money score is like a little voice inside your head relentlessly encouraging you to go faster and kill, stab, punch and swear just one more time. The action is broken up by awfully scripted and nonsensical cutscenes, which are just as childishly funny as the rest of the game.

We laughed a lot while playing this game. Its stupid, ignorant, childish, needlessly violent and standard at best. It has the 'so bad its good' characteristic and for this reason alone [and the swear button] I would suggest playing it.

But, dont buy it! Steal it and call the shop keeper a mother fucker while you punch and stab him in the face.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

There are many heroes on the market, but this particular one decided to blow all of his dead dads cash on gadgets, weapons and armor. He then physically trained himself for many years and has now dedicated his life to punching bad dudes in the face. Batman is a bad mother fucker and this game proves it!

The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum and unleashed, not only the thug-like goons, but also a plethora of mentally challenged [yet very appealing] super villains. You'll spend most of your game either sneaking, or strutting around and smashing the shit out of large gangs of inferior inmates. You do have plenty of cool gadgets to use [including x-ray vision], but punching people in the face seems to work just fine. The Super Villains are a highlight for the game. All visually interesting with great dialog they offer fun encounters [mostly involving you punching them in the face] and all do a great job of making the batman universe seem 'cool'. The Asylum itself is a pretty vivid place to explore and the visuals are definitely a treat to look at.

The game is way better than any of the Batman films have managed to be and has some really interesting story lines, set pieces and twists. Also, that dickhead Christian Bale isn't in it, which is a bonus. 

Its cheap to buy now, so no excuses!

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is a strap your balls to your head and fucking nail it kinda game. Its very fast and very intense [like good sex]. You get lots of exotic cars from around the world, the kind that we'll never have, and get to drive them like you stole them. Quite often sideways. The filthy cops are all over you, or, you can play as a cop and prematurely end these sneaky little racers lives. These crafty bastards have weapons, but not to fear as the racers have weapons of their own. Heated battles ensue. The visuals are stunning and the weather is unpredictable. I'm gonna say that Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is the best arcade racing game I have played in years.. buy it!