Sunday, October 31, 2010

Grand Theft Auto IV : Episodes from Liberty City Review

Grand Theft Auto IV : Episodes from Liberty City Review
By Rita S

Grand Theft Auto or GTA IV was another addition to the majorly popular series made by Rockstar Games. There was so much to do in GTA IV and to this very day we are still going back to that game for a nice bit of free roam or whatever online multiplayer game tickled your fancy. Later on down the track Rockstar released another two brand spanking new episodes in GTA IV – Episodes from Liberty City which are titled; ‘The Lost and the Damned’ and ‘The Ballad of Gay Tony’.

Both episodes are once again in Liberty City (Obviously) and are placed alongside the original GTA IV storyline. The episodes are downloadable via Xbox Live Marketplace or available on disk and do NOT require GTA IV to function.

Both episodes adapt the exact same core elements of gameplay and controls so all of us GTA elders can adapt easily to the game or right away. For those whom have not played this game before it will give you a run through of the controls so you don’t have to stress at all. If you want to get into detail within the game then it does help if you have played GTA just before as there are subtle connections between GTA IV and the two episodes. Clearly it is not essential to know the links between the two but they are there just incase you did.

If you want to go from old to new then start with the Lost and the Damned which was released eight months before The Ballad of Gay Tony. In The Lost and the Damned you gain the role of Johnny Klebitz, you are a highly regarded member of the Lost biker gang and you often conflict with the leader Billy Grey. Johnny Klebitz sees no real need to go to war with the gang’s rivals titled The Angels of Death. Having said that, when in conflict, you do most of the killing... Can the Lost biker gang survive?

All the weapons that were in GTA IV are in both episodes but there are the addition of some new weapons to this episode that include; grenade launchers, pipe bombs and shotguns. As you are a gang of bikers most of the combat is done from your bike which was not a feature of GTA IV.

Another feature that has been incorporated into both episodes is a checkpoint system for each mission. Some of the missions are quite tedious and take quite some time to complete as they can involve riding to locations that are far away before your real mission gets underway. It’s nice to know that a game developer has addressed a key issue in a game, in GTA IV you could get to the last point of a mission but it would feel like it was all for nothing thanks you a cop killing you with a single bullet and having to repeat the mission all over again resulting in rage quitting. With these episodes if you die you only have to start over from the last checkpoint you successfully completed, thank-goodness!

Between the two episodes The Ballad of Gay Tony has many more different missions rather than The Lost and the Damned which is much alike GTA IV. You get to ride around with your gang members and some missions you will have to collect people, for much of the time you will feel like you are playing as Niko Bellic (The main character of GTA IV for those who don’t know). Don’t get me wrong though, both episodes are very fun, very fun indeed.

If you have played GTA previously then you may notice that Klebitz and Bellic cross paths occasionally, it’s nice to see a mutual connection between two characters. The Ballad of Gay Tony does an even more superior job of referencing characters between the two games both in cut scenes and missions. Luis Lopez, the role you play as in The Ballad of Gay Tony is somehow different from the other two characters I have mentioned. Lopez is a full time assistant to Tony Prince whom is better known as Gay Tony. Tony adds glitz and glam to the game with a chain of nightclubs. Players will have a battle on their hands with the contending devotion to both family and friends, in the episode players will learn who is true, fake and that everyone has a cost to you no matter how big or small. Lopez can be rented out to kill and does some drug dealing also and just like him there are a few new added features that will have players drooling.

Parachutes are the most prominent feature of The Ballad of Gay Tony, although there aren’t heaps of missions that will use them but when they are used gosh its fun! As a matter of fact, it’s fair to say that some of the missions that use them are the best missions that you will experience in this episode. There are specific controls that are used to control your gliding Lopez which are easy enough to handle and in some missions you will find that you need to land on targets such as moving vehicles. Other than that you will encounter many mini-game activities such as a drinking game or you can try your luck at dancing which will then involve getting lucky with a lady in the bathroom. If you want more then try your luck at the driving range or even compete in the cage fighting championship, the main point is, there are never dull moments in these episodes. In The Lost and the Damned there are also a multitude of minigames such as arm wrestling, hi-lo card games and air hockey.  

Once you feel like a break from the storylines there are online multiplayer modes for us to indulge in. The Lost and the Damned has seven modes and has the usual deathmatch, team deathmatch and race. Besides that, there are some much more interesting one of my favourites is Chopper vs. Chopper; in this mode one player rides a bike to a checkpoint where the other player controls a helicopter with a gun and has to shoot them down before arriving at the checkpoint. Another few fun modes are Witness Protection, in this mode one player is a bus driver and a team of police must protect him from being killed by a group of bikers. Club Business will also have you glued to your screen for ages, in this mode you and seven others become a biker gang and complete missions cooperatively.

In the Ballad of Gay Tony it only has four online game modes which are just enhanced versions of GTA IV, in deathmatch and team deathmatch you get such weaponry such as sticky bombs, shotguns with explosive rounds and sniper rifles. In race mode and GTA race mode they feature new street race modes also each player can drive a tank, which adds to a joyful time.

Summary: Both episodes are amazing to play whether you are new to GTA or not. Rockstar upped the ante of all that you can do in each episode. Both offer a very different story and are both worth giving a shot, not to mention that the stories and the characters are memorable more so than GTA IV. The online multiplayer modes tie the episodes up nicely for a very enjoyable gaming session overall. They are really worth the money if you want to get back into the amazing GTA. The only downfall is that the graphics of GTA are just starting to look a little past their use by date but it’s easily overlooked. Now we can fall in love with Liberty City all over again.

Rating: 9.5 / 10

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just waiting for tomorrow.

Thankyou for the people that have voted on what blog they wish to see up next. Its leaning towards GTA: Episodes of Liberty City at the moment but I'm going to wait one more night to see if there is any more votes coming my way. First thing tomorrow morning i shall be working hard on writing up my review of whatever game has the most votes; so yes, tomorrows post will be a review. Beyond that i am going to dust off my collection of old school games and actually review one, so that shall be a time warp situation for myself.

Until next time,


Friday, October 29, 2010

Help me?! ...Please.

I'm going to be writing another review very shortly, could do with some help deciding on a game to review. I've managed to narrow it down to a couple of games sooo... what shall i review out of; Super Mario Galaxy, Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City or Battlefield Bad Company 2. I'll get around to reviewing all of them but what would you prefer to see up first?

Thankyou for helping me out!

Happy gaming,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What I've realised about gaming...

So, after a very hot day (now that the REAL hot Aussie weather has decided to make its way back to us for another year) i find myself blogging... as a matter of a fact I’m multitasking, playing Reach and blogging all at once (GO ME!).

The reason i decided to write this post is because i feel proud that I did so well in a game of Halo just then but without getting all psychological on you, isn't the feeling of doing good in a game just amazing?! I know it’s sort of odd to say that and I think many people don't even realise the self satisfaction whether it be a multi-kill in a deathmatch game or beating an extremely annoying boss level. It seems any kind of well doing in a game makes us feel as happy as a ...ummm... fluffy little marshmallow, or the alike of course.

What I’m getting at is that those of us who love gaming seem to be at our happiest element when we are gaming... and its true if you actually think about it (YAY for gaming!). Alas, if we play games that exasperate us into a rage quit, well... clearly that will have some kind of negative effect... of which, some people will throw their gaming console of choice out their window, there are just clearly positive and negative effects of gaming, no in-between.

Beware of gaming, it causes harsh emotional effects.

I'll be off to bed now, thankyou for reading and goodnight.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So this is the interlude... Or something...

Well, I'd like to thank everyone so far that has been reading my blog... I didn't think that it would do this well at this point in time but there have been many views so I must be doing something right. I'd hoped to write review blogs way more frequently but life factors often get in the way (Unfortunately).

Besides that, it’s been quite eventful on the gaming front lately. We have had Halo Reach released and are now satisfied with the amazing online multiplayer glory and my god its fun. I’ve been playing it for hours and hours and I am still loving it (Only hating the snipers!) I also started up my xbox the other day put in the Halo disk waited for the glory-ness to load and to my great pleasure there is now Living Dead as an actual playlist, how exciting! For those who enjoy Griffball we will be seeing that come as a playlist over the Christmas holidays. Also if you are thinking about getting some points to get something then save them! Halo Reach will have a map pack released on the 30th of November which will include three new maps for 800 Microsoft points. I love the community forge creations, especially the race maps many of which are very enjoyable indeed, and if you make them... thankyou!!!

The latest edition to my game collection has been Fallout: New Vegas. I so happy that I've got this game to be honest... There has been so many mixed emotions about this game that I've noticed on many forums and it is all due to the bugs lurking in the game, I guess I'm one of the fortunate few that have not had many issues or personal complains with the game. There are still a few bugs present in the game; I have found a mutant bug floating in the air and it didn’t have wings and that was since the released patch over the weekend, there will be other patches released over time as more bugs are noticed.

Vegas would have to be my favourite game at the moment, there is something so mystical about it you see... it has the most simple concept, walk around, kill stuff, open boxes and talk to people but you just keep wanting more. It’s such an ‘I want to escape from my life’ kind of game.

I think I love gaming too much... way too much for a girl at least, haha. I’ll have a new review up real soon. Hit me up with a comment if you have any games you’d like to see me review, I'm all up for suggestions and I will go to any measures to review the game whether I have to rent it or something I’ll do my best (I promise) and I have a few platforms (Xbox360, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii and PC)

So I'm now signing off on this blog with a goodnight to you all around the world. Remember, the virtual world is the best world.

Bye bye... for now J


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fallout New Vegas Review

Fallout Vegas Review
By Rita S


'Welcome to Vegas, New Vegas' The year is 2281, this is the aftermath of a nuclear war... So we now finally have Fallout New Vegas to enjoy, this is the most wanted game of 2010 and gosh, it has been worth the wait! Bethesda Softworks and Obsidian Entertainment have given us a new world to explore since their last game, Fallout 3. In Fallout 3 you were immersed into a character of your own choice right from birth down to your final, most last choice in life. The world in Fallout 3 was huge and completely detailed with much to do other than the main storyline; almost everyone that played Fallout 3 had loved the game so much and it was easy to see why...

Now it’s time for Fallout: New Vegas and please note this game is not linked to Fallout 3 in any way or any of the other Fallout games so therefore you can still play this game even if you are new to Fallout. For some, the game may start a bit slow which seems to be a trend in many games lately but for those who are new to the game and its controls it eases you into the game slowly which is better rather than just being dropped into the deep end.

Overview of a part of the storyline: Your character is a courier with a parcel which gets stolen by an unknown gang. You are then shot in the head and left to die in a shallow grave in Mojave. Intervention starts with a cute cowboy-like robot named Victor finds you barely clinging to life and therefore takes you to a doctor. Gamers will survive this brush with death and will have amnesia, a thirst for revenge and an ultimatum to find out why and who accomplished this malicious attack.

There are so many main storylines and missions to complete with this game and to be honest there is more than one main storyline, and for some gamers this may all seem a little confusing but for others this should be no problem as long as you pay attention to dialogue and cut scenes. The storyline is very much compelling; you are a courier as stated and have lost the package that you was to deliver. By the blow to the head you have no recollection of the past so; why were you attacked? What was in the parcel that was so important?

As stated, there are many more main storylines so you have yet to see what the war is all about from the headline statement of the New Vegas trailer ‘War... War never dies’ you will find out about the importance of the casinos and the Hoover Dam. Just as a rule of thumb or so to speak there are a few factions that run New Vegas or at least all do in some way or another... The largest group you will encounter is the NCR – New California Republic (They do what they can to keep the peace but do so by force in whatever means are necessary) and then there is the Caesar’s Legion (they like to dictate and are slavers) these are the two that are most focused on but there are other factions also seen in the game that are much smaller and lesser heard of. You will have the choice to become a member of a faction or you can choose to go against them all. Just remember, there is no right or wrong with what you choose.

If you think there has been a graphic upgrade since Fallout 3 then think again, the same engine has been used for Vegas but having said that, it seems much more refined now than ever. Gameplay wise is very much the same as Fallout 3 however there is now the Companion Wheel which makes it much easier for your character to communicate with followers as well as being able to heal them when in combat, this is a nice feature to be able to use in the game and it helps sometimes when companions lag behind you... if only they would listen better.

There is a slight American Wild West theme in the Mojave Wasteland but rather than in Fallout 3 and its dull colour scheme we can now be exposed to a bit more colour (Yippeeeee!!) You will encounter bottles upon bottles of Sarsaparilla in the game in which will have you dashing to your fridge for a nice icy cold beverage. Workbenches are a new feature where you can make special ammo, tonics and just recycle junk to make various useful things, although it may seem pointless its rather fun to search for materials to be able to make something practical. Other than that you will meet an array of people and casino mini-games to play and not to mention robots that have the personalities of cowboys.

Vegas now has the choice of Hardcore mode, it can be switched on or off at any time. So what is this mode??? Well, hardcore is much more lifelike, there are such things to consider like dehydration and hunger as well as ammo having weight. So to keep well and alive you obviously have to eat and drink to survive and carry ammo around sparingly. It’s really a feature to look forward to but it’s only recommended for the experienced so if you don’t want to go the extra mile when playing the game simply don’t turn the mode on.

Summary: Is this game worth is? YES! OH GOSH YES! x1000000000000. But there might be some little niggles that might annoy SOME gamers such as the slow starting of the game, the same graphics or maybe they won’t like the characters as much as Fallout 3. Having said that, the storyline of Vegas compared to Fallout 3 has a much bigger and deeper meaning, this game will teach us the effects of a war and how it can harm so many beings even in a small town. If you enjoyed Fallout 3 then there is no doubt that you will love this game. There are so many hidden things to look for and if you rush through the main story alone you will get about 20 hours out of the game, do side missions and look for other hidden treasures and expect to play for another 150 hours. This game will keep you entertained for so very long and that is hard to find with any game. Obsidian and Bethesda have created a true gem here.  

I am using the Xbox360 version of the game for this review and there is some glitching going on currently with some mutant insects that are either getting stuck or floating in midair, yet they don’t have wings... BUT never fear!!! There will be a patch soon enough to fix issues.

Overall Rating: 9.5 / 10

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Sims 3 Review

The Sims 3 Review
By Rita S

‘Commas nala’ means ‘hello’ in the great Simmish language. If you have begun to read this, then chances are that you have either played or known of The Sims, the greatest life simulation game on the PC platform of all time.

In 2000 Electronic Arts released the very first version of The Sims; ever since, Will Wright the developer or god-like creator of this game went on to make the Sims 2 which was released in 2004. Its latest edition Sims 3, which was released in 2009. In the first week alone of The Sims 3 release it sold a major 1.4 million copies, the game had once again gone global and it had fans all around the world glued to the screens of their PC playing the ultimate living ‘doll house’.

The Sims 3 contains many elements from its predecessors or so to speak but does also have a funky fresh new outlook for the third edition so those who have been exposed to The Sims previously will feel like a welcomed guest. For those who have not played this amazing life simulation before, never fear!! The game will give you guiders as you play... which of course is very handy. If you are a newcomer to the Sims this is a life simulation game. You control a household of people that you create and they are called Sims. Sims work much the same as us, they need to eat, drain their bladder, sleep, make friends, find a job just amongst many factors of life. In this game you become someone like God and control their actions as you please. It goes further than that though, you can make your Sims fit by training them at the gym or fat by eating too much food; you can get your Sims pregnant and have a houseful of kids... the possibilities are endless. Much like life again you can find adult Sims jobs and earn their form of currency which is known as Simoleans with this money they can buy new furnishings or groceries. Your Sims are just like real life people doing real life things and that is the most attractive thing about this entire game, this by all means will keep you at your computer easily for hours.

For the gamers who have some experience with The Sims there are a whole list of new features but obviously the biggest and most noticed will of course be the simplicity of being able to move around your virtual town. In previous Sim games you could not do this so you felt a bit left out from the rest of the community. Being able to move around the town lets you watch your sim drive, walk or bike to work, the movies, or to go to a stranger’s house and randomly introduce themselves.

Having an open town unlocks a whole new range of community aspects to explore in The Sims 3. There are many public parks and beaches to be explored and to socialise with other Sims, you can find a new friend or the love of your life. If you feel more adventurous though you could get your Sim to head down to the local cemetery and meet with some see-through pals. There are just so many ways to socialise this time around, maybe more so then in real life. Other than your Sim venturing out other Sims may call you, or if your Sim has the knack for fixing then someone may ask you over to fix a broken appliance and for your troubles they will give you some cash. Honestly, this game has really stepped up a level since The Sims 2 and it’s very exciting to see.

In The Sims 3 many things that your Sim does or the way that it reacts to social situations will depend on how you create your Sim. The new feature that decides this is the social traits, you have to pick only five from a list of many and these determine so many things so... you guessed it, choose carefully!! Some examples are; friendly, insane, kleptomaniac, neurotic and so many others. So for example depending on what you choose you can either have someone that is happy but a neat freak so if they go into a messy environment then they stress and get very unhappy. Or you can have someone that likes to be a sleazy Sim and sleep with everyone in the district, the choice is yours. Other than having to spend so many hours just deciding on the personality alone there are sooooo very many customisation tools to create your Sims. You now get to do anything you want to your Sim for example one very new feature is to change the colour of their hair style into two colours so they look like they have dyed in streaks. There are also slide bars to get the perfect skin colour to customise a certain facial feature. The next big feature you will notice is when you add some clothing, there is a tool called ‘Create a Style’ this tool lets you choose all the colours for your Sims clothing, it’s very much needed in this game and you’ll be happy to use it. Expect to pay a long amount of time on this; there is much to do to perfect your Sims, very much indeed.

When you design your dream home you can expect to pay triple the time that you put into creating your Sims until you bought a pre-made house. There are many different styles of paint wallpaper, flooring and furniture and on top of that the ‘Create a Style’ tool can also be used, once you get stuck into the colour customisation you feel like an interior designer... If only you got paid to create your Sim’s houses. From a plain house to a multi floor mansion, you will build it.

Once your house is all finished and your Sims move in you are in for a jolly good time. You can either take control or just sit back and watch and let your Sim do its own thing and they do a good job of it too. Sims will dedicate their life to the personality traits you have dedicated to them. Watching social encounters will have you in stiches at times such as trying to get a smooch from a love interest and he or her may push you away, making an unfit Sim go to the gym and watching them fear the gym equipment or Cheating on your husband or wife Sim. There is so much entertainment lurking in every reaction and interaction, this is all why The Sims is so fun to play.

There are so many more things to experience in The Sims and this game is just like no other, it’s an experience all of its own kind and I’ve only touched the surface of the gameplay in The Sims 3, it is so amazing.

Now, if there is so much good then where are the bad bits? Well there is one major downfall if you want to play this game then you need a really good graphics card and more RAM then you can poke a stick at. Also, you will need to have a rather large hard drive, for most people with modern computers that won’t be a problem though. If you don’t have the right specs to play this game then either it won’t work at all or you can expect some random crashing due to memory leakage or the game just decides to lock up your PC so then you have to restart which means you lose all your unsaved work so remember, SAVE OFTEN! The bad thing is the game can choke up a bit from time to time because it is so big and it’s a shame because sometimes you have to get your Sim to run from large crowds of Sims that are on the screen as most of the time that is what causes the game to crash. Just incase you want to know the specifications that you need in order for your PC or MAC to run this game I will list them below...

Sims 3 Specifications for PC:
PC operating system: Windows XP service pack 2 or Windows Vista (Service Pack 1)
CPU: (XP) 2.0 GHz processor or equivalent (VISTA) 2.4 GHz processor or equivalent.
RAM: (XP) 1 GB RAM (VISTA) 1.5 GB of RAM
HARD DRIVE: 6.1 GB of hard disk space with an additional 1 GB of RAM for saved games and custom content.
VIDEO: 128 MB video card with support for pixel shader 2.0

Sims 3 Specifications for MAC:
PC operating system: Mac OS X 10.5.7 Leopard or higher
CPU: Intel Core Duo Processor
HARD DRIVE: 6.1 GB of hard disk space with an additional 1 GB of RAM for saved games and custom content.
VIDEO: ATI X 1600 or Nvidia 7300 GT with 128 MB of video ram or Intel integrated GMA X3100

Summary: The Sims 3 is a whole new virtual world waiting just for you to explore it. EA have once again done a marvellous job of putting this game together and have topped all of the previous Sims games. Keeping all the old features but adding so many new features in gives it a whole new outlook. Social interactions are much more lifelike and are a hoot to watch; the game will not disappoint old fans and will welcome all newcomers. The game will never get boring and if you are looking for something that will keep you hooked all day, then look no further. It’s a tad disappointing that the game can crash randomly from time to time but it’s easily forgiven with all the things that you can do in this game. This is life simulation that will never be beaten thank you to EA.

Please note that the Sims 3 will very soon be available on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and DS. Whether the game is very much the same as PC or not is yet to be known.

Overall Rating: 9 / 10

Monday, October 4, 2010

Red Dead Redemption Review

Red Dead Redemption Review
By Rita S

This is the Wild West! Rockstar games have been highly successful over the years with Grand Theft Auto and this game is highly loved by countless fans all over the world. Critics have not been able to say too many bad things about the Grand Theft Auto games and it’s thrilling to see Rockstar take a leap into the unknown to see if they can pull off something so triumphant yet again. So now as the curtain closes on Liberty City we now take a giant step to the Wild West and take on the name of a new hero. This is Red Dead Redemption.

 An overview of the storyline - Red Dead Redemption is set in the western times (obviously) and is about a past lawbreaker by the name of John Marston. John is on a mission to ensure the safety of his family from a meticulous form of government. To do this he has to hunt down the members of his former gang for a swapping of his family’s freedom.

Rockstar have done an amazing job of putting this game together and making it feel so real at the same time, much more so than Grand Theft Auto. The storyline is much of what you would expect from a western game or more so of a western movie. The character bonds are superb and for everyone there will be some memorable characters that you are most likely to never forget. It’s a nice touch how some of the characters felt like they had come from Liberty City, Vice City or San Andreas... It’s a plus for diehard fans to have something in this game alike Grand Theft. Having said that for all the people that are new to playing a game from Rockstar, it’s a whole new slice of cake or so to speak; therefore it shall not matter whether you have played Grand Theft before or not.

The storyline of this game is somewhat conventional in places but that is not an issue as the storyline fits together nicely without being over intricate. To be honest this game is like no other, in the end you feel like you are playing an interactive western movie rather than a video game. If you picture the Wild West in your mind, chances are it will be very much like this game and that is one of the most addictive parts about it, it seems so real and true to the western times. The graphics in Red Dead Redemption are amazing and it has an astounding eco system for you to experience firsthand, from wild coyotes to an array of wild birds you will experience them for sure when they try to attack. If you kill them you can acquire parts of the animal for a purpose such as the skin and even sell it for a nice bit of cash. The only let down is that there are a few buggy bits in Red Dead but these are being fixed in due course.

Each town you experience in Red Dead Redemption is vastly different from the next which gives the player a bit of a different experience for the storyline missions. There is the typical western town of Armadillo to the calming Chuparosa, Rockstar have covered all the bases. All the voicing of the characters are amazing, each character actually suits their voice unlike some games along with the western music and perfect sound effects it all adds to Rockstar’s spectacular gaming design.

The storyline of this game will take a good day to complete but that is nearly impossible as there are so many other things to take a look at in the game. Instead of the cars in Grand Theft there are now many different breeds of horses to ride which can either be purchased or captured in the wild. Riding a horse is generally the easiest method of transporting yourself from one town to the next however there are stage coaches that work like taxies or you can also catch a train. There are fame and honour metres and throughout the game you get many opportunities to build these up, they are fairly self explanatory when you play the game, you do good deeds then good things happen. Do bad things, well you may have guessed it... bad things happen. What is good is that there are so many different types of side missions from helping someone out to find something or to track down a crim from a wanted poster and surrender them dead or alive to the Sherriff.

In this game, which will give many gamers a sigh of relief is that there are many more checkpoints in missions, so therefore for once the rage quitting percentage should drop heavily. For those who have played Grand Theft the controls are virtually the same with some minor adjustments but for some reason they can seem a bit clunky at times. The most difficult thing in this game is to ride horseback whilst trying to shoot someone down and for those who have trouble aiming then it might prove to be a bit difficult completing such missions. Also as the area is quite vast sometimes you have to spend twenty minutes travel time and although its showing a sense of reality it can become a tad frustrating. With that said, there are some fast travel options but sometimes they are not to the destination that you wish to go to and also you have to earn fast travel, which can be quite tedious.

The multiplayer in Red Dead Redemption is rather fun to play and once you get into a game it becomes all too hard to put the controller down. There are many different online multiplayer game modes to choose from. One game type is ‘Free Roam’ in this game type you occupy a simplified version of the map in single player and you can do as you wish with up to sixteen people, it makes for a fun gaming session but it doesn’t stop there! You can act upon some side missions such as death match and in this game it does have a ranking system so you can aim to be the best if you want to. Many people also form gangs and have shootouts on a vast stretch of map and as stated it is really hard to put the controller down once you start, believe me.

Whether you are newbie to a game from Rockstar or are a diehard fan, Red Dead Redemption has everything you could want in a Western game. The game has so much replay value in the storyline yet the multiplayer is crammed with western action. Overall this game has taken Grand Theft Auto and adapted it to be even better; the strange thing is that it has worked so well when many thought it wouldn’t. The storyline is gripping and effortless to follow and is mixed with a vast landscape of discoveries and other things to do but it not once detracts from the main story. Although the controls can get a little annoying at times you never really take the time to complain about it too much as all the fun and brainpower is put into playing the game itself. It’s something different for sure but Rockstar has really let us have something that will help us fulfil our wildest dreams of being a gunslinger in the Wild West.

Rating: 9 / 10

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Halo Reach Review

Halo Reach Review
By Rita S

Bungie has done it again! Following the blockbuster of Halo 3 we are now blessed with the prequel, Halo Reach. The action packed game has had the biggest challenge of satisfying fans throughout the world and yet that challenge has been fulfilled by the highly acclaimed Bungie franchise. Reach had sold more copies in the first twenty-four hours of its official release than any other blockbuster game that has been released this year, thus far.

The main focus point of Halo Reach is the Noble Team which is constructed of Spartans (Spartans are a sophisticated soldier in a near unbreakable iron suit of armour just for all you Halo Newbies). In the entire adventure you play as Noble Six and you step in to take over the position of the old Noble Six whom is dead. In the entire campaign you get to also play as the Spartan that you create, the same armour and colour and that even goes for the movie clips also (Your Spartan becomes a movie star, YAY!).

The campaign starts off to a slow and timid beginning with many movie clips which for some can have them screaming at the television just wanting to shoot something. Having said that the graphics are a major improvement from Halo 3 and you then get to bask in awe as you see the realistic scenery unfolding around your character. The storyline does play with emotions much more this time around rather than previous Halo games where feelings of characters weren’t so comprehensible and sometimes we could feel a tad bit lost in translation, Bungie have really put in the hard yards to make the story come from the heart for this final installation. Compared to the past Halo games the missions are much more thrilling and battles are in much vaster areas with more enemies to ‘take out’. There are many subtle new added features however they to not detract from the previous games. Some of the missions you will encounter are bringing support systems back online to support your fellow soldiers to defending bases and areas with a brand new added spacecraft.

An overview of the storyline – Suspicious movement from Elites of the covenant has led them to Reach to inspect an artefact. As the Noble Team you assist Dr. Catherine Halsey to follow through with her data research which is hoped to help attain the artefact before the Elites do. It is thought that if the covenant were to retrieve the artefact first then that would be the sheer end of all mankind.

As a part of the Noble Team you do feel quite empowered in the campaign but a massive let down is the poor introduction of all the supposedly known main characters. There seems to be no real bond throughout the game, it seems better in a game if you can bond with every single character in some way. Furthermore you are not always told why you are headed for a certain location nor if it has anything to do with the actual main story plot. Having said that, none of the issues really are a bad thing about the game overall. When you play Reach you genuinely feel like you have been a part of an epic battle, a part of a special universe where you do matter.

As for the gameplay there has not been that many changes, there have been more adjustments to live up to the modern user interface of gameplay. The covenant enemies look much stronger and some look much different from the previous Halo games, overall they are much more violent and frightening than ever. In the battlefield now there are many more exciting opportunities to kill whether it be a headshot or to sneak up on an enemy and assassinate them in the new stylish way of going to a mini cut scene and looking like a true pro without having to do much. In Reach you become your own master of killing, it tends to become your own fine art in the end, for once in a shooting game you get to become creative.

The biggest part of Halo is its online multiplayer, everyone loves a good pawning session from time to time and Reach has provided every fan with that big time! There are many new features within this, mixed in with the old favourite matchmaking modes. There are many more new game types that will have you hooked for hours... once you know how they all work. The new additions to matchmaking also add in the customisation of your Spartan, the customisation of your Noble Six all depends on you and as stated earlier, it will look the same in the campaign as to what you created initially so therefore you can end up spending a good hour or so on creation alone. A large addition to Reach is credits which are acquired after playing each online multiplayer game, mainly. Credits act as like a form of money in a way to be able to unlock new looking armour. Not only that but there are other customisations such as death effects for when you are killed in matchmaking, one of which is a birthday party effect which makes an amusing noise and shoots out confetti as you die... IT IS THE MOST ANNOYING THING. Let us hope that not many people think that it is a good idea to use that effect.

Another new major matchmaking addition that stands out is Firefight. The aim of the game is to kill waves of computer controlled enemies in the time that you have, there is no real objective in the standard Firefight other than to kill all that you can but its serious fun and something totally different to do when you don’t want to battle against human players OR play campaign. The downfall of matchmaking is mostly the current thirteen maps, most of them seem to resemble many of the maps in previous halo games which in a way makes sense as it’s the ending of Halo but it would have been better if the maps had been more unique, at least we will have the upcoming map packs to really sink our bullets into rather than teeth.

There are so many new matchmaking modes and to be honest they really need to be experienced to enjoy their full exciting understanding and to appreciate how far the Halo franchise has come in terms of its online multiplayer, it’s really impressive how it is all put together without losing its original Halo finesse.

Finally we come to the well awaited Forge. The map editor will not be the biggest part of Halo Reach but now it is much better for the community of fans that enjoy making their maps. Forge World makes up the new Forge itself. It’s a massive step up from the Halo 3 Forge, creativity is now a virtue in forge and it’s rewarding to be able to create maps so fast. At our fingertips are three new physics modes which make a major difference to making – Normal, fixed and phased. Normal mode is the same as Halo 3. Fixed will make a object stay in the air where you place it. Phased will let you infiltrate other objects as well as be pushed into cliffs or ground. The possibilities are virtually endless in this upgraded version of Forge. It’s a whole new experience, exquisite to be exact.

Halo Reach has so much going for it and so there is not much to niggle about. The campaign is much more addictive compared to all the previous Halo campaigns, it adds in new features without totally outing all the favourite old features therefore it pleases almost everyone and sidetracked from the lack of character development. The online multiplayer has struck a bullseye in every way, its’ just been tweaked and the weapons are looking much more classy but all its achieving is a growth on what was already perfect. We have now been given more choices with new game modes and customisation for our Spartans. Forge is now the best map editor and gives every fan the opportunity to really create this time around. This is honestly one of the best series that has ever been released and everything new about it just fits so well. Bungie has done so well pulling it off, this is the best ending you will find to a worldwide known series. I thank Bungie for this gaming creation; it’s the most fun and addictive game play. Well done!!     

Stars’ Overall Rating: 9.5 / 10

My First Post...


Im making a blog entirely devoted to game reviews. I'm not going to be able to make a review on every game but i'll make some for recent games on the consoles i own. Check back soon for my first review.