Infamous: Second Son (2014, PS4 exclusive) – 6/10 open-world superhero fantasy action game review

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Cast / crew

Infamous: Second Son (2014)

Seven years after the death of Cole McGrath, the problem of conduits didn’t go away but, thanks to the D.U.P. finding and imprisoning all the new conduits (now labeled bio-terrorists), things seem to be under control. One day during a D.U.P. prisoner transfer, three bio-terrorists escape and one of them comes into touch with Delsin Rowe. Literally. Rowe responds by absorbing some of the conduit’s smoke powers and heroically passing out.

6/10

How important is atmosphere? Ask Infamous: Second Son which, without it, is just a shopping list with game systems that feel well-designed but just aren’t engrossing, a muted echo of a city that doesn’t feel big enough, and a meaningless morality system that is embarrassingly unconvincing. The combat is only moderately engaging. There’s effort to keep you on your toes but it fails to be fun by being more disorienting than anything. Infamous: Second Son never asks the player to do anything; you just follow the markers on your map and your stupid moral choices are stupid and transparently meaningless and change only the game’s coda. So, without best-in-class combat, you have nothing to engage your brain. On the plus side, the Good run-through cut-scenes with your brother are excellent; fun, convincing and snappy with neither party doing anything particularly unbelievable. (On an Evil run-through they’re the same and, so, shockingly unbelievable; don’t play this on Evil.) The Good coda is quite touching. Second Son‘s major calling card is, however, the graphics. They are fantastically crisp and intricate with the effects work on Delsin’s powers routinely wonderful. Pulling the neon out of a sign is gorgeous and you never tire of seeing it.

This game contains strong fantasy violence, unpleasant scenes, adult dialogue, sensuality, bad language

Classified 18+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for adults who have reached the age of 18 or over..

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012, PS3) – 6/10 open-world action racing game review

Cast / crew

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012)

6/10

This feels like a game made by talented, but bored, developers though the more I think about it and the more you play it, the worse the game becomes. Police chases are thrilling but awful as they incessantly spawn what feels like hundreds of police cars everywhere you go and they don’t need to be able to see you or have seen you to know where you are. Handling is heart-pumping but lumpen and inaccurate meaning that threading through traffic is consistently far harder than it should be. This is yet another open-world game that expects you to map-read at 150mph (earlier open-world Need for Speed games do not make this irritating choice; it also spoils Midnight Club: Los Angeles). And this is an open-world game where you spend a lot of time waiting for events to load. Isn’t one of the selling features of an open-world supposed to be "no loading times"? I’ve yet to see one; perhaps that will be something that the eighth generation of consoles will finally deliver. But this? This is only Most Wanted until you play it.

This game contains

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Haze (2008) – 6/10 PS3-exclusive science-fiction first-person shooter game review

Cast / crew
Bertie Carvel: Shane
Rupert Evans: Duvall
Carlos Riera: Merino
Chad Ellis: Teare
Mikey O’Conner: Pshy
Martin T. Sherman: Watchstrap
Creative Director: Derek Littlewood
Lead Programmer: Mark Tully

Haze (2008)

Sent in to assassinate a terrorist leader who wears a coat made of human skin, your gung-ho awesomeness simply cannot conceive of defeat thanks to the use of advanced military hardware that can cloak the bodies of the slain and a drug called Nectar that boosts human performance and abilities. But this battle will not turn out the way you expect.

6/10

Commercially and critically this was perceived as something of an unmitigated disaster but it’s not (and sales of about 900,000 isn’t terrible by any means). I found the ugly box art off-putting while the demo’s notably un-HD graphics were received with horror (ironically hazy with a tiny draw distance; even worse than Halo 3). Even so, the game itself plays great, has an interesting story arc and ticks all the feature boxes with full campaign split-screen co-op up to online multiplayer with all the toys, vehicles and weapons you would like. However, Haze is one of those games that will be alternately really awful and really cool. For example, there’s a section where you’re supposed to drive into a large clearing in your car and engage in vehicular combat with the enemy. But the ramp into the area is broken (deliberately; not a bug) and, because I couldn’t see this, my car dribbled over the edge and got stuck when I just drove up the ramp instead of flooring it. So the battle became man versus vehicle. A bit unfair, a bit rubbish. Yet then I managed to cleanly shoot an enemy driver and gunner and commandeer their vehicle and my guy even tipped the dead driver out the door. Then the AI buddy climbed into the back and manhandled the dead gunner out of the way. Brilliant! Then a minute or so later, the game forgot to draw the floor and hard-locked the PS3. Hmm.

This game contains sexual swear words and fictional substance abuse and graphic violence.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

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007: Blood Stone (2010) – 6/10 third-person / driving action James Bond game review

Cast / crew
Daniel Craig: James Bond 007
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Ian Fleming
Joss Stone: Nicole Hunter
Judi Dench: M
Stunt Coordinator: Benjamin Cooke
Music: Richard Jacques
Writer: Bruce Feirstein

007: Blood Stone (2010)

Bond is assigned to rescue missing professor Malcolm Tedworth

6/10

This is a good-looking, generally smooth-playing action and driving game but, as with most Bond games (and the Uncharted games, interestingly), there are simply too many goons to take down. Each level goes on for too long because of it and the proliferation of henchmen to de-hench reduces the irresistible forward-momentum a Bond game should have. Nevertheless, Blood Stone does have it’s moments which generally come from getting yourself out of trouble with a melee takedown followed by a quick Focus Aim shot. I think the holders of the Bond license should produce a game with a lot less shooting in it; perhaps structured more like a Bioware-lite action adventure rather than a duck hunt where somebody else eats the succulent bird during a cut scene and tells you how tasty it was.

This game contains strong melee violence, some mild graphic violence, gun violence.

Classified 16+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 16 or over..
Classified Violence by PEGI. Game contains depictions of violence.

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R:Racing Evolution (2003, PS2 and Gamecube) – 6/10 racing game review

Cast / crew
Project Director: Hideo Teramoto

R:Racing Evolution (2003)

After rushing an injured racer and his manager to hospital, ambulance driver Rena Hayami finds herself being offered the chance to become a professional racing driver. She accepts but finds that the life of a driver can be more challenging than expected both on and off the track.

6/10

Good and extensive, if generally too easy, racing game with cute cleavage-heavy asian CG babes and reference-quality surround sound implementation. Once the agreeable career mode is complete, however, the game becomes increasingly less desirable to play due to a misjduged lack of challenge (but not to a lack of content, this game would take ages to finish). That said, it’s nice to see a racing game with a decent entry level of difficulty. Too many racing games are too hard for many people even on Easy (if there is an Easy level, a lot of racing games don’t have selectable difficulty).

This game contains mild swear words and excessive cleavage, mild female nudity.

Classified 12+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 12 or over.
Classified Bad Language by PEGI. Game contains bad language.

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James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game (2009, PS3) – 6/10 movie action game review

Cast / crew
Lead Game Designer: Benoit MacOn

James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game (2009)

6/10

This is a worthwhile video game prequel tie-in to the movie with a surprising amount to do (action and collection goals) and a combat system that offers a couple of goodies (special powers and a range of weapons all with generous ammo). The first ride on the Banshee is very nice with James Horner’s music and the spectacular scenery combining perfectly. The two runs through the game as a Na’vi and a human are also, surprisingly, not through recycled scenery. They use different environments and require different tactical approaches. As a human, you’re essentially indestructible and unstoppable as long as you don’t get numerically overwhelmed. As a Na’vi, you can be mown down in a matter of seconds at any time. It makes an intriguing difference.

Classified 12+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 12 or over.
Classified Violence by PEGI. Game contains depictions of violence.
Classified Bad Language by PEGI. Game contains bad language.

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Dragon Age: Origins – Witch Hunt (2010) – fantasy action role-playing game DLC review

Cast / crew
Lead Designer: Ferret Baudoin
Technical Designer: Mark Barazzuol
Technical Designer: Jason Hill
Technical Designer: Kaelin Lavallee
Technical Designer: David Sims
Cinematic Designer: Ryan Ebenger
Cinematic Designer: Michelle Pettit-Mee
Writer: Sheryl Chee
Writer: David Gaider
Writer: Jennifer Brandes Hepler
Lead Producer: Fernando Melo
Producer: Heather Rabatich

Dragon Age: Origins Witch Hunt (2010)

Morrigan left following the Archdemon’s defeat (just like she said she would) but after hearing reports of a witch matching her description leaving her mark on various communities across Ferelden, the Warden seeks to catch up with her and find out if she needs help… or stopping.

6/10

It’s enough; a bite-size DLC with a couple of new characters, a couple of hours of gameplay and a couple of moments with Morrigan. The climax is a bit weak with a big boss battle as a combat high contrasting poorly with the unsatisfying conversation with Morrigan. Perhaps it was in character for her to keep her cards close to her ample chest but it doesn’t make for a great punctuation point for the conclusion of a DLC. Still, glad to be back in Ferelden.

This Dragon Age: Origins game contains mild swear words and strong, gory violence with an hilarious option to leave you peppered with gravity resistant blood splatters that are way too big.

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