Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013, PS4) – 7/10 near-future military first-person shooter game review

AmazonBuy Call of Duty: Ghosts at Amazon

Cast / crew

Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013)

America gets upset when someone else on the planet wants to hold Armageddon-level super-weaponry. After using a legendary covert-ops unit called Ghosts to push unstable forces into a super-attack on America, they gleefully grab the pretext for war they engineered and start wading into South America shooting everyone who looks at them funny.

7/10

I find it intriguing that with one breath contemporary critics gush over experience games with little interactivity like Dear Esther while condemning Call of Duty: Ghosts’ single player for having not enough interactivity. If an indie developer made a game about carrying a dog through a battlefield, critics would explode into unanimous applause. While it is certainly a mechanical touristy jog through spectacular and pretty (PS4 version reviewed) but limited environments, Ghosts’ single player is still a polished, slick, easy-to-play and fun shooter and entertainingly stupid. It’s not emotionally involving, you have no idea who you are, who your teammates are, who you are shooting and why but then no Infinity Ward game has ever achieved that. The problem is that the alternate virtually-on-rails shooting, actually-on-rails shooting and quick time events are frequently ill-disguised and you don’t ever get let off the leash. Ironically, there’s a playable super-dog in the game (Riley, I remember his name!) and, as him, you do get let off the leash for almost several minutes. The single player does what it’s always done. If you want more freeform action, there’s the multiplayer which is as good as ever. Except they’ve removed the excellent, but presumably not played very much, Spec Ops mode.

This game contains strong violence, gory and unpleasant scenes, frequent sexual swear words in closing song

Classified 18 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over.

Links

Vanquish (2010) – 9/10 awesome third-person shooter game review

AmazonBuy Vanquish at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director: Shinji Mikami
Producer: Atsushi Inaba
Art Director: Naoki Katakai
Conceptual Designer: Shinji Usui
Character Designer: Makoto Tsuchibayashi
Story Writer: Hiroki Kato

Vanquish (2010)

After wild over-population brings Earth to it’s knees, the US and Russia are at loggerheads. The tide is turned when a US Space Laser is hijacked by robot Russian forces and destroys San Francisco and war becomes the only option.

9/10

There is a case for this being the best third-person shooter ever made. Platinum Games and Shinji Mikami’s Vanquish is a constantly awesome third-person shooter that is widely regarded as a commercial disappointment despite selling about 1 million copies. The second-to-second gameplay is remarkably fun and rewarding. Some of this is down to wonderful enemies always responding when attacked. I know it seems odd that this is not always the case but even some celebrated big-budget games (such as Bioshock, if memory serves) see a blood spurt as an acceptable substitution for an action cancel (where your action, shooting them somewhere, cancels their action). Even better is that, especially on the larger regular enemies, shooting them in different places (arm, leg, back, head, gun, huge fuel tank) has different results and tactical outcomes. Weapon upgrades are juggled brilliantly; simple but with hidden depth. Special mention for some satisyfing trophies. Several are awarded for achieving some cool and / or challenging objectives during gameplay and individual trophies rewarding progress through the game on harder difficulties (instead of just one at the end). That said, even though it’s a difficult Platinum trophy, it’s not a difficult game, even on Hard.

This game contains sexual swear words, strong violence, unpleasant and extremely gory cut scenes

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

Links

Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator 6 (2013, PS3 exclusive) – 9/10 driving game review

AmazonBuy Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator 6 aka GT6 at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director and Producer: Kazunori Yamauchi

Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator 6 aka GT6 (2013)

9/10

Whether coaxing an unwanted Prius into 1st, manhandling a Stratos, marveling at the grip on a Mazda Roadster Touring Car or experiencing cornering speeds that seem beyond human comprehension in the Red Bull X-Series, GT6‘s driving experience is sublime. Every car is a joy to drive and this trumps every shortcoming the game has. On easier difficulties the AI let you win by ostentatiously slowing down (though I’m they removed this from Seasonal Events), the sound is highly variable, the track editor still doesn’t exist eight months after release, none of the career races feature standing starts or qualifying or racing exactly, the ultimate endurance races have been cut short by about 23 1/2 hours and they shouldn’t have wasted processing power on the worthless damage modelling. On the plus side, the graphics are astonishing for PS3, the lighting is wonderfully improved over GT5, the dynamic weather and time of the day is exemplary, the photo mode is as engrossing as ever, the track list is unmatched in quality with a superlative selection of original tracks backing up the old real-life stalwarts (Grid: Autosport is close), the car list is unmatched in quantity, hundreds of the car models are unmatched in quality and the (Dualshock) driving experience is totally unmatched: exquisite, an unending treat, a masterclass in response and communication.

Classified 3+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 3 or over.

Links