Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Impressions on Left 4 Dead 2 (Stephen Gillespie)

Killing zombies is a fun past time and most gamers would leap at the chance for some pure unadulterated zombie murdering. So, unless you live in Australia, Left 4 Dead 2 is probably the game for you. Left 4 Dead 2 manages to keep everything which made the first game a lot of fun and ads even more to that. The biggest and best addition, in my book, being melee weapons. Until now if you wanted to murder a zombie in the Left 4 Dead universe you could shove it or you could shoot it. Both are fun things to do, especially with some awesome limb severing technology which make limb shots just as fun as head shots, but slicing and whacking is even more fun. Of course there are zombie game staples like the always-awesome chainsaw but alongside that are some things which are just awesome and pretty funny.

sadly, you can't do this, best stick to Gears of War

The katana is a fine weapon and when in the right hands can sever heads like, well a katana through somebody’s neck. In Left 4 Dead 2 pretty much anybody’s hands are the right hands, a simple tap of your trigger on the 360 controller or your mouse on the PC will slice some zombie head right off. This is fun to watch and is even more fun when your playing and run into a zombie hoard and just slash madly, the fun just heightens when you slash a boomer, covering yourself with some horrible liquid that zombies just love. When this happens you are pretty dead, so many zombies come to kill just you but you have your trusty katana which may not be that helpful but hell it is damn awesome.

the thing that makes this picture even more awesome, I honestly found it on a website called obamaskatana.com

The katana may be very satisfying but surprisingly the frying pan is even more so. It may not decapitate that much (or at all when I was using it) but it gives a great sound every time you hit a zombie or, if your like me, your team-mates. The saucepan is actually a lot more fun than the katana, there was even a point where I could choose a pan or an axe, I chose a pan. Later I used the axe though, and the axe is awesome too if you like decapitation.
kill it, cook it, eat it. All you need is this!

The last melee weapon I tried was by far the best, the guitar. When you hit it makes awesome guitar sounds and for some awesome reason it decapitates, a magic head severing guitar, it doesn’t get any better than that. Now these added weapons make the game a lot more fun and make Left 4 Dead 2 a worthwhile follow up to the original. However in my opinion some problems remain, the mission structure is still very repetitive and the core gameplay, although really fun, is still pretty shallow. If your looking for an on rails shooter where you can actually control where the person walks you will love this but if your looking for story or any thing else but pure zombie killing action, go elsewhere. Of course though pure zombie killing action is kind of awesome and those crafty special infected spice up the gameplay quite a bit.

ok, I may have gotten a bit carried away with my zombie killing

So if you have a 360 or a PC that can run it and actively enjoy murdering the undead, then check out Left 4 Dead 2 but before you do I have two pro tips for you:

1. Always kill your team-mates!
It makes it much more tense if it’s just you and an actual friend and two dead AI companions if there is no AI then just kill your friends but they may fight back. Killing the AI companions just adds that extra bit of hilarity

2. Always, and I mean always, disturb the witch!
I don’t care how you do it, hitting it with a pan is my preferred way, but nothing annoys your friends more than a ravaging witch on the loose, it makes people mad and it will make you laugh… a lot!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Europe needs to man up! (Stephen Gillespie)

You may thin that is an odd title, but it is very true. Europe needs to man up! Now this is an odd statement but it is founded in pure liquid fact and of course it is to do with video games. So what does Europe need to man up about, well the main reason is Ratchet and Clank. I consider myself to be a Ratchet and Clank fan, I’ve played the two PS3 games and really enjoyed them and I was considering looking into playing the previous PS2 ones. That was until I realised that I didn’t want the European versions. Ratchet and Clank are famous for their innuendo game titles that cause people like me to giggle with childish glee. These games are really funny games and the titles really capture the silly essence of Ratchet and Clank. In many places the second Ratchet and Clank is called Ratchet and Clank- Going Commando. That is a funny name, in Europe however it is simply called Ratchet and Clank 2. Why? Why change the name, we British invented humour and we are part of Europe why can’t we have humorous game titles? Our comedy is full of innuendo and double entendre yet we can’t have a video game with a slightly smutty title, again why? The sad thing is it gets worse, the third Ratchet and Clank game has one of the best titles in video game history. Ratchet and Clank- Up Your Arsenal. That title is so great it got it’s own dedicated sentence space! But what is this game called in Europe? Why Ratchet and Clank 3 of course. That really sucks, Up Your Arsenal is just too great for us apparently.

However I have good news, Europe has manned up as far as Ratchet goes, we have taken to using the American titles, only problem is the titles aren’t as good. Tools of Destruction, that’s not even a double entendre (if it is, I don’t get it) and Quest for Booty- is that the best you can do? We get the not funny and not so funny names but we don’t get the super cool ones. The fault here is of course with insomniac who should name their PS3 games better. Imaginative game titling hasn’t been their strong suit on the PS3 thus far. Resistance: Fall of Man being the closest they’ve got and that just sounds a bit cheesy, it’s a better title than the imaginatively named Resistance 2 however. Really, just Resistance 2, even the first one had a subheading, how long did it take to think of that one insomniac (the irony here is Resistance 2 is a much better game). The third resistance game was accidentally announced recently. Some clever so and so saw a massive bill board sporting its name. The billboard was on a film set and was apparently part of some clever marketing campaign, which was that when people saw said film they would see the Resistance 3 poster and thus the announcement was made. That is a really awesome idea, but then they made the mistake of putting it next to a road! So what was the game called, yeah-just Resistance 3. Instead of giving the games subtitles they just put landmarks in the A of Resistance, which represent where the game was set. Resistance: Fall of Man had Big Ben in the A; signifying it took place in the UK (so the UK and Europe fall to the ‘aliens’ first, oh man up Europe!). Resistance 2 had Golden Gate Bridge (you can figure that one out yourself) and Resistance 3 has…. The statue of liberty. New York? You’re going to do America twice in a row; I wanted the Sydney Opera house.

So to summarise, insomniac needs to get better names and Europe needs to man up. Luckily they are getting back on form, the new Ratchet game is going to be called ‘A Crack in Time’- pretty funny! Plus Europe get that title- however it is no way near as good as the title they decided was too suggestive, Clock Blockers.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Why we love Valve!

Valve are pretty damn awesome! The best thing about them is that they obviously care for the community and that they make awesome games, an example of this care just happened. Because Gordon Freeman won GameSpot's greatest video game character competiton by 55.8% Valve have taken 55.8% off the price of all games including Gordon Freeman. These are fantastic games so check them out, we love you Valve and we love the Freeman!

Music video made of 100% pure WIN


Best music video ever.

ps see how many retro games you can spot, ive spotted at least 5

Monday, 19 October 2009

The verdict on Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (Stephen Gillespie)

It's the moment of truth for Nate, is his game any good?

Uncharted 2, possibly the best PS3 exclusive of the year, is out but is it any good? Hell yes, this is not only the PS3 exclusive of the year but the finest game of the year on any platform. My copy of this game arrived last Wednesday, two days before the official release date, and really the highest praise I can give it is that by late Thursday evening I had finished it. This is not because it is a short game, I got about 9-10 hours out of the sublime single player experience on the normal difficulty but that was just one blast through. The reason why I completed it so quickly was because the gameplay is so addictive; Uncharted 2 is just full of amazing moments that just make you want to keep playing. Every few minutes something so amazing happens or is about to happen and to put the controller down for just a second would just be criminal. The game is not just a cover-based shooter, and an amazing one at that but a fantastic platformer. Nathan Drake’s climbing skills are second only to Altair and Cole McGrath and the platforming sections in Uncharted 2 give it fantastic pacing and keep you playing. It should be noted however that this game is not Assassin’s Creed or inFamous, you play as an acrobatic fellow capable of climbing up walls but it is not every wall. Instead of looking for features on buildings like windows and doors Nathan Drake is happier looking for pointy bricks or obvious footholds. This may not be as deep a climbing mechanic but it fits the game perfectly, this is not an open world game, it is level based and therefore it’s purpose is to keep you moving to the end of the level. So instead of being able to climb up any random building which would make things overly confusing there is usually one main path. The climbing may be simple put planning your ascent is still really fun. You have to look out for ledges and pretty much decide where you’re going before you do it. This makes the climbing a welcome challenge without it becoming to confusing or to linear.

Nathan Drake, midget hater!

Now Uncharted 2 is a cover based shooter but no it is not Gears of War. In Gears of War you play as a fleshy tank in Uncharted you are the agile Nathan Drake and it’s hardly stop and pop because the varied gameplay keeps you moving. You get your usual enemies that you can take out from a distance but then you get enemies that are hard to kill and you need to keep moving to finally fell them. Also the gameplay just keeps changing and keeps getting better. The best example I can think of is the train level. This is one of Uncharted 2’s best moments. You are fighting on a moving train, how cool is that? You jump from carriage to carriage, leap inside, hang off edges to avoid low signs whilst your enemies get some overhanging metal to the face. Also you have to run from helicopters, leap from an exploding carriage shot by the very same helicopter and get in a tank attached to one of the carriages and blow up that damn helicopter alongside some pesky missiles sent your way. That is just one level, and then there’s even more to that level and the ending of that very level is even cooler. That is the essence of Uncharted 2, insane and awesome variety. One minute your gunning down nameless enemies and the next your hanging from a giant statue of a Tibetan ritual dagger, jumping onto massive face sculptures all in order to move some mirrors around in order to get to your next clue to the fabled treasure you seek. Yes it’s another treasure hunt, but come on it’s a treasure hunt that involves jumping from moving truck to moving truck because they keep exploding, that’s one cool treasure hunt. This game really just has so much and everything is just fantastic but really the best bit is the characters. Uncharted 1 had more personality than any game I’ve ever played, the dialogue was superbly executed and every burst of conversation was incredibly natural. This is the same for the second, the characters have some depth to them but mostly they have so much character, which seems obvious but it’s rare in gaming. It is one of the very few games where you watch a cutscene and you think this is actually acting, and damn good acting. The dialogue is snappy and genuinely funny at can get very emotional without ever over doing it.

If you run out of missiles then maybe a hug would tame that damn helicopter!

I mentioned cutscenes second ago so I would like to point out that unlike most games the cutscenes are pretty much just story, all the really cool action you do! You never feel like man that looks so cool but I wish I could do it because you are doing everything, and it looks amazing. The game is just a work of art. It has the finest graphics on the system and the animations are flawless, the hand to hand takedowns are delightfully brutal and every character movement looks spot on. You will constantly find yourself marvelling at the visuals and the best thing is, when Nathan goes swimming he comes out wet, this was in the first game but it’s so awesome it needs mentioning again. Also there is snow in this game and when you roll in it you get snowy, which is so cool.

Trains are awesome!

This game is almost flawless; in fact I only have one complaint. The controls can be unresponsive, apart from that it is perfect in every way. Should you check this out? You need to check this out!

p.s- despite how it looks this game is not just helicopters, infact there may only be two of them. They just look so damn cool and where so awesome, it may sound like I hated them but they were really, really great!



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Saturday, 17 October 2009