Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom (2010, PS3) – 8/10 fantasy action game review

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Cast / crew
Director: Yoshiki Okamoto

Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom (2010)

At the urging of the forest animals, a thief makes his way into the castle in Q’umarkaj with the aim of finding out what’s causing the darkness that is devastating their habitat. Inside he finds a giant creature imprisoned and weakened and it’s clear that, whatever the darkness is, this Majin is the key to clearing it. However, the Majin, Teotl, cannot do it alone: he’ll need a friend.

8/10

Just let the title screen sit and play the attract sequence. That trailer and, especially, the main musical theme is entirely wonderful: uplifting, heroic and full of promise, inspiration and hope. It sets up the mood of the game perfectly which is warm and charming as you befriend a giant, somewhat clumsy, creature named Teotl with whom you will thoroughly enjoy this adventure. One of the main ways this is achieved is because each of you can only be healed by the other. A lovely moment that is replayed delightfully is when you pick fruit to boost and restore Teotl’s power, you can hear Teotl excitingly burble in salivating anticipation. Developer Game Republic and publisher Namco Bandai must have been tremendously disappointed with sales, not just because they were about half what was expected but because this is a good, fun, original, accessible and unusual game. Everyone did a good job and still too few bought it.

This game contains extreme fantasy violence

Classified 12+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 12 or over.

Links

Captain America: Super Soldier (2011,360) – 7/10 superhero action game review

Cast / crew
Game Director: Brandon Gill
Art Director: Barret Chapman
Audio Director: Alex MacFarlane
Technical Director: Darwin Chau
Lead Cinematic Animator: Rob Willock
Lead Gameplay Animator and Designer: Jeff King

Captain America: Super Soldier (2011)

As Dr. Anim Zola improves his understanding of human mortality through experimenting on prisoners-of-war, Captain America resolves to go in and punch him in the evil until he stops.

7/10

Successfully taking design inspiration from Batman: Arkham Asylum, this is a fun, highly playable and satisfying superhero movie game. Even without your special shield moves (which are too slow to deploy) the combat is rewarding to play throughout. The structure of the game provides an ever-expanding and constantly interesting 1940’s stronghold / science-fiction arena and taking the super-powered Captain through them picking up collectibles and leaving a trail of broken henchmen is a great balance of action and non-action. Technically, the frame rate doesn’t feel smooth but it loads surprisingly quickly, nothing is broken and it doesn’t affect playability. It winds up to a great speech by the Captain before a surprisingly not-irritating triple-boss battle during a boss battle, leaving us with a good memory of a good game.

This game contains strong bloodless violence

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.

Dirt 3 (2011) – 8/10 multi-surface racing game review

Cast / crew
Executive Producer: Clive Moody
Senior Producer: Darren Campion
Art Director: Nathan Fisher
Lead Programmer: Andrew Dennison
Design Manager: Matthew Horsman
Project Planner: Richard Todd
Associate Producer: Toby Evan-Jones

DiRT 3 (2011)

Multi-surface racing against the clock and other drivers.

8/10

With handling even better than Dirt 2 and class-leading graphics, saying this is better than it’s only competitor – Milestone’s WRC‘s 2010 and 2011 – is giving it feint praise. An uninvolving Career mode (the original DiRT used a pyramid progression much more enticingly – the point of a pyramid is to get to the top, literally the point) means that it takes a while for the fun and satisfying driving experience to get it’s pleasure hooks into you. I didn’t like the Gymkhana events at all but the related at-your-leisure Battersea Compound Missions are a nice change-of-pace.

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.

Links

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.

Links

This blog is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes (2009, Fantasy Action Platform Adventure, PC Games for Windows Live) – 4/10 game review

Cast / crew
Producer: John Whiston
Lead Designer: Chris Palu
Lead Programmer: James Podesta
Lead Level Designer: Peter Grogan
Lead Engine Programmer: Glenn Watson
Writer (Screenplay): Steven Melching
Writer (Screenplay): Chris Palu
Writer (Screenplay): Matt Emery
Writer (Screenplay): Richard ‘Rik’ Lagarto
Matt Lanter: Anakin Skywalker
Ashley Eckstein: Ahsoka Tano
James Arnold Taylor: Obi-Wan Kenobi / Plo Koon
Dee Bradley Baker: Clone Troopers / Captain Rex / Clone Commanders / Sergeant Kano
Tom Kane: Narrator / C-3PO / Yoda

Star Wars: Clone Wars, The: Republic Heroes (2009)

As the Clone Wars continue, Anakin and his padawan Ahsoka discover a powerful prototype weapon is being hawked to the highest bidder by Kul Teska. As they alert others and make their way to Teska himself, other forces are also making plans to relieve Teska of his prize.

4/10

This is a game which opens with Yoda lying to you by telling you that a Jedi can’t fall accidentally to his death and will always land on platforms he is jumping to. Regrettably, the exact opposite is true. Every time you press the jump button, you have no idea if you are going to land where you should or, far too often, plummet impotently to your doom. As a result, the game has no flow. The same is true of the attack button but at least that doesn’t kill you. You just keep swiping ridiculously at the air around droids as if you’re trying to burst their ear drums or something. If the jump mechanics had been more predictable, this would be a good game. It looks fine, sounds fine, there’s enough to do, Cad Bane looks unexpectedly cool and it even has a sense of humour. But, as it is, it’s far too often irritating to play.

This game contains extended fantasy lightsaber mecha violence.

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.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (2002, Stealth Espionage Action, Windows) – 9/10 game review

Cast / crew
Senior Producer: Mathieu Ferland
Senior Producer: Reid Schneider
Original Creator: Fran├žois Coulon
Writer: J.T. Petty
Lead Game Designer: Nathan Wolff
Creative Director: Fran├žois Coulon
Michael Ironside: Sam Fisher

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (2002)

9/10

Occasionally obscure level design never undermines the total super-awesomeness that is Sam Fisher, the player. Splinter Cell consistently makes you feel like an amazing super-covert super-operative while still allowing you to be very vulnerable to bullets (unlike most games). Bullets hurt. On Normal, getting into a firefight is a to-be-avoided, near-death adrenalin bath. When you survive, it is always genuinely amazing and intoxicating. Usually, the action is far more considered and, remarkably, a similar level of satisfaction is obtained by successfully achieving your objectives without exposing yourself to the frequently game-ending danger of a gunfight. This is a complete classic.

This game contains none in game, sexual swear words in closing song (!) and melee and gun violence.

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.
Classified Violence by PEGI. Game contains depictions of violence.