Tuesday, 28 April 2009

This week I 'ave mostly been playing...

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom hourglass (DS).

Now I'm no game reviewer or gaming authority, but as Hesiod once said 'I knows what I likes', and I likes Phantom Hourglass. A whole lot. Not only would this make my top 5 DS games but very probably my all time top 5 games. Without question the best use of the touch screen and the DS unit as a whole I've ever experienced and so much fun! Some of the puzzles, while not too taxing, are as cunning as a fox who's just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University. Anyone not convinced by the value of a DS should be shown this. The use of the boomerang, the mouse-bomb and late on in the game the grappling hook showcase the touchscreen fantastically and help make it the enjoyable experience it is. Though I'm aware I may be coming across like a little girl at a Jonas Brothers concert, I can't help but gush over this game. The characters, good and evil, are awesome and the artwork is top drawer and fits in with the feel of the game.

Feeling as though I had slightly lost touch with Zelda and Link over the past few years this, game has rekindled my admiration for their adventures and I look forward to the future.


Friday, 17 April 2009

You thought we wouldn't notice..

Since it's release I've been both amused and a little depressed with the idea that Resident Evil 5 is so desperately playing catch-up with Gears of War. Ironic, that a series so heavily reliant upon ideas forged in Resident Evil 4, should now be miles ahead of its one-time mentor. This serves as the perfect example to how the Japanese have totally fucked up this generation: Western software and to a smaller extent western hardware both rule the roost.

As if more evidence were needed, I thought I'd share this with you - the navigation pages for the Resident Evil 5 homepage and for the Gears of War homepage:

Notice the similarity? And let's not forget that Gears' multiplayer is included in the retail price. Up yours Capcunt/Cuntcom, I love watching you lose.

via youthoughtwewouldntnotice

The Faux Bot

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Hands-on with Red Faction: Guerrilla

Long-term readers may have noticed a distinct absence of the old Hype Pipe lately and I personally have missed writing them. Whilst I loved gushing though, it has to be said that the feature had an inherent problem in so much that I was creaming my boy shorts over games that I was yet to play. On a few occasions this left me disappointed, and also embarrassed due to my fanboyish ramblings being broadcast and me having to effectively go back on my previous statements. So, what have I learned? Nothing! RED FACTIONGUERRILLA FUCKING ZOMG!! IT@S AWESOME!!!

Just kidding, I have of course, played the demo and more than likely, before most of you. I don't mean to brag, but for the first time, I can happily jizz away my fanboy syrup, knowing that I'm not simply blowing hot air, but actually recommending a game ahead of it's release, with first hand experience -almost like a proper website! This my friends, is the closest I may ever get to a review code/promo copy. A landmark moment indeed.

Having no prior experience with the other Red Faction games, it's surprising that this would even register with me. After all, I'm ridiculously hard to please and there are more than enough third person shooters on the market. I can only put it down to Guerrilla having the combination of communism, propaganda and blowing shit up.

For the record, even in the painfully short demo, you really can blow a lot of shit up. Everything, to be more accurate. Imagine the most satisfying physics since Half Life 2, then imagine that you can pilot a giant mining robot and that you have a load of remote charges and a big fuck-off hammer. There are some bad guys with guns on a bridge: BOOM! There's a big fence in your way: BOOM! There's some dudes in a truck: KABLAMMO! Then I drove another truck into a barracks and made it crumple like a house of cards.

I honestly wouldn't care if this game was completely lacking in direction or purpose because figuring out the best way to take down structures and using the physics as a weapon is some of the best fun you can have with your pants on- not driving Italian sports cars, as some sexy saleswomen may have you believe. So the fact that Red Faction: Guerrilla is clearly huge and brimming over with objectives, side quests and key destruction targets just makes it all the better. Whilst the mission in the demo is fairly straightforward, the amount of possibilities for it's completion are seemingly infinite. Of the 3 times I played through it before writing this, each played out differently, with me eventually realising that gun or no gun, no-one is going to mess with some guy in a huge truck who seems to have a death wish.

The visuals are a bit on the dull side, but this is an acceptable side-effect of the game being set on Mars. Thankfully the visuals are boosted by the art design which is awash with bold communist reds and soviet-inspired constructivist propaganda posters. The character design is painfully cliched in so much as once again you will be filling the boots of another gravel-voiced space marine type, who is reassuringly short-haired and comes complete with stubble, just in case there actually was any confusion over his sexuality.

The full game will obviously test the replayability to it's limit and the true test will be if the physics remain as enjoyable over the course of a full playthrough. I have every confidence though and I can't wait to see what else they ask me to destroy. I wholeheartedly recommend that you get the demo for yourself, all you need is a code: it's as easy as registering with THQ.

The Faux Bot

Sunday, 12 April 2009

'Rose Ball' Anyone?

There's something very special about making your own games within a game, isn't there? As one of the proud creators of GTA IV's 'King of The Castle Mode' I can give a resounding yes! Below is a clip of 'Rose Ball' which sees two players face up in Street Fighter 4, both playing as Rose and both with minimum health. One serves Rose's projectile move and then both must perform soul reflects with perfect timing to get a rally going. This is genius really, isn't it? Who fancies a round? Y'all know my gamertag!

The Faux Bot

Ewwww, you got Halo in my Bioshock

I don't know what is really going on here, but it looks like some cheeky bastards have decided to have a Bioshock sequel and make into a full-on action game. I can't say I'm impressed. It's like they've re-made Bioshock especially for retards who bought it because of it's critical acclaim and then bitched because there wasn't enough run-and-gun.

In an effort to make Bioshcok 2 even more bog-standard, the game will also feature a multiplayer mode. If this gets co-op too then it really is going to be a shitfest. Half the reason I enjoyed Bioshock so much was because it was unique; it didn't try to awkwardly crowbar in a cover system, co-op or multiplayer, but instead showed confidence in it's ability as a single-player narrative experience.

I have to go on record and start being a miserable nay-saying fanboy from hereon in. I won't be buying this. Fuckers.

The Faux Bot

Friday, 10 April 2009

This week I 'ave mostly been playing...

Frontlines: Fuel of war and the Peggle demo.

Peggle is a game that seems to have the depth of a learners swimming pool but is as addictive as cocaine. I really can't explain it. It works OK as an arcade game but seems to be designed to be visually appealing for the under 3s- blue horses and things of that nature, shoot the little ball into other little balls or 'pegs' for points. The name is stupid, who decided they were pegs? They just look like little balls to me, I suggest a much better name for the game might be 'Shoot my balls'. It is addictive in nature but so are so many other games that would be more worth my money. This falls into a position somewhere below 'play with the cat' in my list of things to do.

Frontlines is a middle of the road game for me. I enjoyed capturing points on the map aspect but as a whole it never really grabbed my full attention. I've completed one play through and none of the plot really stuck, just point, shoot and move. One aspect I did enjoy though is the multiplayer. Lots of players running around jumping into vehicles blowing each other up and fighting for positions- the vehicle use making it a bit different from other multiplayers of this type I've played. Good fun, but I'm glad it was borrowed and not bought.


Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Good Times: Henry Hatsworth & The Puzzling Adventure

Today I had a bit of a personal breakthrough. I was feeling as though I had just become a completely negative bastard who could find no enjoyment in any games. Today I realised that this may have been because I adored Fallout 3 so much. Not that I consciously compared every game to Bethesda's masterwork, it was more that nothing could give me that much enjoyment. Fable 2 tried and failed miserably, Street Fighter 4 is a wonderful distraction but lacks the immersion I require and Resident Evil 5 is just a bit too disappointing for me. This happens to me every spring it seems, as if somehow I anticipate the onset of the dreaded 'summer lull'. Last year, I retreated to my ever-plucky DS, this year, I have done the same and in doing so, have discovered Herny Hatsworth and his delightfully Puzzling Adventure.
Henry is some sort of turn of the century toff explorer who goes looking for a fabled golden suit, once worn by the legendary 'Gentleman'. Only a particular brand of chap can inhabit this suit and dear old Henry considers himself worthy enough to justify embarking on the aforementioned puzzling adventure.

Henry is adorable with his Rare-inspired jumbled toff language and monocle. His simple one-button combat arsenal and pop gun makes him a joy to control as you adventure with him through dark jungle ruins and graveyards to name but a few of the charmingly rendered locations. The presentation is endearing enough to hold my interest so far, but in an unusual turn for myself, this game captivates me not with it's style, but it's substance.

Henry Hatsworth is essentially, two games in one. On the top screen you have a fairly straightforward action platformer replete with boss battles, collectibles and power ups. What makes all of these elements far more interesting is what takes place on the bottom screen. Below the combat you will find a block-sliding puzzle game that could quite easily be just another Columns/Puyo-Puyo/Tetris knock-off if it wasn't so well integrated into the platformer. Defeated enemies re-appear as puzzle blocks and power ups that must be finished off by combining them into chains of three. The blocks move up the bottom screen, towards the top with uncleared enemy blocks threatening to re-appear by poking their heads over the bottom edge of the top screen. This is a delightfully cute touch that encourages you to shift your attention to the other half of your game (done by pushing the Y button). This pauses the action in the top screen, making sure that you don't take any damage from oncoming enemies.

You have two power gauges to manage; the first dictates the time you can spend in the puzzle mode and is refilled by defeating enemies. The other makes you more powerful and when full, will give you 'Tea Time' which sees Henry getting a super-powered steampunk mecha suit that causes havoc on the top screen. This is refilled by clearing puzzle blocks and forming chains.

I like cups of tea, I like steampunk mecha Suits, I like toff adventurers and I love the way that this game wonderfully blends two genres together to breath new life into both. This game is getting me through a rough patch on my gaming road so I urge all of you DS owners to check it out. Switching between the two game styles becomes a skill in itself as the difficulty accelerates, seeing you switch into the puzzle mode at the end of some brilliantly executed combos and when done right will make you feel like some sort of God. Henry, I take my Hat(sworth) off to you. *heh*

The Faux Bot