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The second page to MLC's 2013 game verdicts.



GRID 2

A five-year hiatus, one warm welcome back to the grid.

Grid 2 Artwork

GAMEOPEDIA WIKI GOLD AWARD


Developer(s): Codemasters Racing

Publisher: Codemasters


Played on: PlayStation 3

Also available on: XBOX 360 and PC


It's been many a year since Codies were last on our screens with a spiritual successor to the ever-popular Race Driver series. After all, they've been rather pre-occupied with the DiRT series, and the recent acquisition of the official Formula 1 license. They've all been great games, but the biggest fans amongst Codemasters' rally of supporters were dying to see a follow up to GRID; a massive, sprawling racer with huge options in team management, vehicle customization, and realism on the field. And whilst some of the realism in GRID 2 has been switched out in favour of a slightly more 'arcadey' feel, this really isn't a bad point. 2008 - 2013, the GRID franchise lives on.


The game's premise begins almost immediately with your first races, and your introduction to the different events criteria and the WSR (World Series Racing), a newly-formed competitive racing league with the ultimate ambition of making it big, across the globe. Backed by ESPN and fronted by you yourself, earn a whole garage of cars through face-off events, of which are two-player head-to-head racing on narrow and dangerous roads and cliffsides, as well as eliminator races, where the one driver in last place is eliminated after a set time, until there is only one person remaining in the race. Add to this the sprint races, circuit races, and the intriguing but disappointing overtake mode, where your objective is to chain points together by passing pace cars (Ford SVT-150 Raptors) and making it to the finish line with minimal collisions and vehicle damage. You can also test drive acquired motors, as well as pick your reward upon finishing a series and earning the other at a later time through a vehicle challenge event.


GRID 2 PIC

Speeding through the narrow paths of Pebble Beach Drive doesn't get old.

In terms of challenge, there really is quite a lot to look at here. Perfect for newcomers, and great for hardened racers, GRID 2 invites racers of old and new and pits them against suitable opponents. Tier 1 vehicles ease drivers into the idea of the WSR whilst testing their abilities simultaneously. Promo events also bring something new to the table, as the introduction of LiveRoutes means that every turn is unexpected - the track dynamically changes as you race, potentially giving you a whole tour of a city. This completes the circle as car damage can be tweaked to full in order to make every slight impact a drastic change to car performance - and possibly other cars, too. The full roster of highly detailed, high performance cars is staggering. You'll be making your way up from Nissan Silvia Spec-Aero R (S15)s and Ford Focus STs to Ariel Atom 500 V8s and BAC Monos, all the way up to Koenigsegg Agera Rs and Bugatti Veyron Super Sports. You can flash them up with bright liveries and a wealth of sponsors, plus the small details like metallic, gloss and matte paint for each little stripe on the car. And unless you're a driver that's keen on trading paint, then you'll have to be patient when cornering and overtaking - ever successful move is hugely rewarding and satisfying, and will earn you and your team fans and supporters in the hundreds of thousands.


Track variety, however, isn't really there. You are aware that you're driving around the same tracks whilst playing through a whole continent - granted there are LiveRoutes, checkpoint, and sprint variations, but this doesn't really do anything to extend replayability. This is the only thing that I feel Codemasters could and should have done better with; all of those tracks from the F1 games would have been a great addition, if they were to touch up on the appearances and lighting on each track, with numerous layouts. Luckily, the superb physics and handling save this downside from being more of a major problem. Every single car handles like a dream, and encourages the player to treasure each car. Each car is unique, with their own attributes and specialities, meaning that it's vital to pick the right sort of car for the right occassion. You'll be taking those cars across the globe in an attempt to make the WSR known to every corner of the planet. Once you've done that, the league will expand at such a rapid pace, bringing new events and drivers to the table, as well as stronger and more dedicated events. Every lap will count and every finishing position in every round will count towards your number of new fans and championship points.


Multiplayer components are notoriously risky when it comes to Codies' work, what with the severe lack of penalties which should really be penalising the dirty drivers but don't really act at all. Apart from this, the car customization features and cash-earning are far more fleshed out than that of singleplayer. Add to this the splitscreen, and you'll be having a great time - but bear in mind that every mode allows you to earn cars in different ways, aside from splitscreen. And though I so thoroughly enjoyed the customization system in singleplayer, the multiplayer absolutely trounces it in terms of upgrades, and the fact that you can upgrade your cars into the next tier of racing, removing non-essential parts to make for a true racing machine that is both nimble, and surprisingly powerful. And with singleplayer, there could have been a heck of a lot more tracks than there is - the visuals and details only just let you forgive the game for doing so.


GRID 2 PIC 5

Every single car is beautifully realized.

To summarize, GRID 2 is a highly addictive racer that is both deep and fleshed out, even in places where Gran Turismo and Forza may not be, and whatever the case, Codemasters have certainly made their mark in the racing, as if they hadn't done already, but this just gets the point across. Interior view is absent, but if you're a true fan of racers, and if you're really involved in the game, it'll become hard to concern yourself with the slight flaws. Simply put: stunning.


Me Love Cars - Founder of Motopedia, Gameopedia, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Wiki, Gran Turismo Wiki and TV and Film Wiki. 12:39, June 5, 2013 (UTC)



Positives +

Great visuals and astounding true-to-life physics.

Exceptional vehicle customization.

Highly detailed tracks...



Negatives -

... Which sometimes become repetitive due to the lack of them.

Unfair multiplayer penalty system which normally brings down the best drivers.



Graphics: 94%

Lifespan: 80%

Gameplay: 90%

Features: 87%

Innovation: 85%

Plot: 88%



JUDGEMENT:

91%

GRID 2 is a pure racer with true depth, and one that shouldn't be missed; even by the most casual of racing game fanatics.

The Last of Us

Naughty Dog are back with a post-apocalyptic, genre-defining survival game.

GAMEOPEDIA WIKI CRYSTAL AWARD


TLOU

Developer(s): Naughty Dog

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment


Only available on: PlayStation 3



With a generation of brilliant gaming coming to a fair end, and another just beginning, Naughty Dog have decided to disregard the costabulary and launch one of the most anticipated titles of 2013, The Last of Us. Set in a post-apocalyptic America, where black market worker Joel must smuggle some very precious cargo across the country after an ever-growing and rapidly-spreading mutant infection. The cargo is a 14-year-old girl named Ellie, of whom Joel and his wife Tess have been tasked of returning safely home. Unfortunately, the journey won't be easy, and crafting useful items from worthless scrap metal and such is a vital element in your survival. Fortunately, the witty banter is great at spurring you on, and although the comedy of Uncharted has been somewhat swapped out for a darker experience, it's still great and varied dialogue that brings together the game, acting as the icing on the cake.


On your way to liberation, you'll encounter the sub-plot of a faction war that is boiling over between the Hunters and the Fireflies. These groups are very bitterly against each other, vying for overall control of districts across the country, whether it be singleplayer or multiplayer. And what starts out as a simple escort mission soon becomes a sore fight for survival. Combined with a superb constant twist of events that'll have you on the edge of your seat, but simultaneously glued to your sofa, the story to the game is one of the most iconic and spectacular of its generation. Granted it's not a particularly happy one, but every priceless moment of scavenging for comic books that dazzle and amaze a very indoor-only girl to the tiny of fragments of a villain's skull that scatter across the infected ground as you blast away at them with a hand-crafted killing machine, will ensure that you'll be at the game for hours and hours on end without any sign of letting up; something that the game also very much refuses to do.


TLOU ATTACKS

It's not nice being the food at a dinner party. Pleasure knowing you.

You'll be journeying from the gleeming parks of Lincoln, to the stand-out capitol building, to the towering city of Pittsburgh. Getting around isn't the easiest of tasks, but the means of which you can venture through these desserted, yet thriving locations, are far from boring. As Ellie "puts it out there" early on, she can't swim. And thus, you'll need slabs of wood or metal to carry her across an overly green or bogged down, flooded road so that you can carry on your 'fruitful endeavors' across the infected land of the free and the home of the brave. In terms of longevity, The Last of Us features some pretty swell gunplay that makes every single weapon feel like a tool that could easily kill. And that's a good thing, because you'll become tired of the games that require you to unload a whole magazine of bullets into an enemy, but this post-apocalyptic survival gem does quite the contrary, making each kill and every loot pickup a heck of a lot more satisfying. This is the same for the title's multiplayer modes, as scavenging for precious resources are something that both factions, the Hunters and the Fireflies, are literally killing each other to gain the very little they have left. It's exceptionally fun, and every in-game twelve weeks is a different story, each one playing out differently depending on your performances in online matches. There aren't a large range of maps, but each time you play a game, it's bound to turn out differently to the first. And this all relies on your class loadout and the choice you make on which one to pick. Ten loadout points allow you to hand pick your weapons, attachments and perks, much like Call of Duty: Black Ops II's 'pick ten' system. It caters to your every battle hardened whim, and every single choice, right down to whether you have a suppressor on your weapon or not, can and will drastically turn the tides of the fight. And although you can bring your friends into the game to turn up the fun-o-meter to eleven, so to speak, you'll find that the singleplayer modes are more of a way of showing off what the game can really do with visuals, gameplay, and shear scope. This is all down to the constant, flowing movement of the game without loading times, only beautifully scripted cutscenes. Granted there's a bit of a wait at the start, but you can't be forced to hate on a game that takes its time to load up one of the most awe-inspiring worlds that just won't let you down in any sense. You could be swimming through the dusty, murky water of the underground, or strolling through an as yet undisturbed parkside that even Ellie can't get enough of.


In terms of story and depth, The Last of Us never fails to get you increasingly attached to the characters. You'll always have that sympathy for Joel after a shock beginning to the game, that lovable naive humour that Ellie luggs around with her, or Tess' "I'm not having any more of your s**t" attitude. And because of this very emotional connection to the cast, you'll find it hard to leave your PS3 alone, as all factors combined equals a dazzling beauty that most-all others only dare of being able to write and produce. But what really tops it off - the minor details that make it all complete - are the sound effects. The Lakeside multiplayer map will have you trudging through the dense snow of a frosty mountain village, where every step you take leaves an impression and a pleasing *crunch* noise as you try your best to survive, right down to the splash of puddles and the soggy backpacks that will emerge from making your way through a bogged-down America - not forgetting Joel's occassional tug on those backpack cords, which is somehow very cool. And coming back to the story front of things, there's a little bit of a plot twist nearer the end of the game which shall remain a secret for those who are still playing, and this really reshapes the premise of the game without taking it completely off-course. In fact, it was exactly the right thing to do. More info on each character is revealed and combat only becomes more fun. You can drive blades into enemies' stomachs or necks, as well as winding them by unloading a shell (or the stock of your weapon) into a villain with enough force to finish them off and loot the body. Every single round counts, and every little scrap for crafting is enough to get you by for as much as half an hour to an hour. You can blend metal and nails with explosives to pack a powerful smoke or nail bomb which can be planted or thrown for different effects, and crafting shivs is handy for those harder-to-get-to rooms and buildings, in which you can use to bust the lock; you will be handsomely rewarded for having one ready. With this, upgrades to very rarely found workbenches give your weapons that edge in combat, with more holsters, reload upgrades, etc - it's a truly immersive experience.


TLOU ENVIRONMENTS

The Last of Us' graphics are undeniably beautiful - you'll even lose hours eyeing the glory.

Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson lend their incredible voice talents to the game, making each line of dialogue feel true and realistic, even with Ellie cracking out the jokebook occassionally to try and make Joel laugh and lighten up the mood. Naturally, she fails, and actually delivers a joke that is so bad, it's good. Each move, each tense situation is reflected in Joel and Ellie's banter. Sneak past the floaters with ease or face having your throat ripped out (physical melee is useless, people)! Instead, to add variety to the game, you'll need to sneak past them (as they are blind) or risk getting a horde of them coming at you by using a rusty blade to bump him off. Alternatively, you can concern yourself more with the humans gone mad men threat...


As we get to the end of the game, the plot can only thicken and the game can only get better. For all PlayStation gamers, this is an essential title that produces some of the best stories and environments I have ever seen in a video game. It's technically unmatched in terms of visuals, gameplay, and all-out variety and scope. If you want a great title to wave off the current generation of games, Naughty Dog's The Last of Us is simply the best you can get. Simply breathtaking.


Me Love Cars - Founder of Motopedia, Gameopedia, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Wiki, Gran Turismo Wiki and TV and Film Wiki. 19:11, June 21, 2013 (UTC)



Positives +


Unmatched visual prowess.

A deeply enthralling and entertaining story.

Addictive gameplay.

Astounding voice acting and cutscenes.



Negatives -


There are none. There are simply none.




Graphics: 97%

Lifespan: 90%

Gameplay: 93%

Features: 90%

Innovation: 98%

Plot: 98%



JUDGEMENT:

100%

The Last of Us is simply incredible with no noticeable flaws or problems, with a story that will you suck you in from the beginning - to put it simply, a must-own for any gamer.

Saints Row IV

The Saints are back in this surprisingly refreshing third-person action title.


SR IV - Wallpaper

Developer(s): Volition

Publisher: Deep Silver


Played on: PlayStation 3

Also available on: XBOX 360 and PC


Words just cannot describe the shear insanity of Volition's latest venture into Steelport with the 3rd Street Saints. You'd think that robbing a Stilwater bank in Saints Row: The Third would be enough, but this just takes it to a whole new level, and then some. Saints Row IV does a mighty fine job keeping things fresh without completely altering the premise of the franchise's previous outing. Five years after the "Save Shaundi" ending of the third entry, the game sees you assume the role of The President of the United States. In a very flashy Armageddon-themed opener with the sound of Aerosmith playing out in the background, you are tasked with defusing an active nuclear warhead... mid-air.


It's a great way of opening up the game and kick-starts the action right off the bat, and sets you up perfectly for the remainder of the game, where your job as P.O.T.U.S. seems scuppered when an evil alien race called the Zin Empire invade the White House during a press issue. All of your closest homies are abducted and placed in an alternate reality where they are trapped. Your job, as the highest authority on the planet, is to save your homies, save Steelport, and ultimately liberate planet Earth. And in a surprising upside to usual, Saints Row IV's storyline is exceptional fun, with nicely-staged and at times, tense missions. You are placed in a virtual Steelport with nothing to help you but the power of technology and knowhow. You'll slowly free your crew and re-assume control of your world and triumph where others would else fail. And in terms of story, it certainly doesn't flop. As well as being brilliantly paced, it does well to play out certain missions before moving onto another major event. It sure isn't short of side missions, with the game brimming with extra content and activities to do when you're simply charging around the city at 200 miles an hour.


Saints Row IV Screen

Dropping the bass from a gun? Yes please!


Whether it's collecting data clusters in the simulation to uncovering a clever little backstory with audio logs dotted around the city, the game strongly encourages a lot of effort aside from the main plot, including a set of challanges and rewards that feel perfectly balanced between being slightly challenging and fun. And there's a plethora of them at that, even stretching out to acquiring outfits of your beloved Saints buds. On top of this, a substantial amount of added verticality to Steelport mean that you're not short of things to get on with, even with upgraded superpowers. The only way this changes is when you're doing missions outside the simulation, where you actually feel as if you're on a leash. Superpowers are virtually non-existent throughout the real-world missions, and combat feels all-too slow compared to the freedom of the sim. Still, the witty banter that goes on between the main characters is worth every second, as you'll feel quite lonely within the sim if you don't have your in-game radio on. Speaking of which, the music tracks are good, varied and memorable, even with the old "hey, I remember that one!" from time to time as Outkast or Aerosmith plays, and with a very suitable roster of live hosts inbetween, it livens up an otherwise dull game to listen to. On the graphics front, Saints Row IV is no gem. You'll start off the game with a very bland-looking simulation and only when you complete the main story can you really change that. Still, with the odd firefight or flashpoint lighting up very select districts of Steelport, it is still possible to enjoy the colours, albeit rarely.


The vehicle customization we all grew to love over the series is rendered nigh-on redundant with all the super-human goings on in the game. Vehicles feel a heck of a lot slower as a result, even when you've completely decked out your choice of cars, bikes, trucks, or vans. It's nice that it's still there, but one can't help but feel there could have been a little bit more love put into such a prominent, or rather once prominent, part of the series. And what with this developing hatred for the contantly static and flickering virtual Steelport, it's hard to see what you're doing when you're tuning and modifying a car.


If you were to look at it in retrospective, Saints Row IV brings something new to the table where even Grand Theft Auto or Just Cause couldn't match up to - madness. It's the most bonkers, yet utterly different game of the past few years, and I love it.


Saints Row IV - Screen 2

The Zin have turned Steelport into a hellish virtual world. And a bland one, at that.


Me Love Cars - Founder of Motopedia, Gameopedia, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Wiki, Gran Turismo Wiki and TV and Film Wiki. 20:15, August 29, 2013 (UTC)



Positives +


Extremely fun campaign and missions.

Superpowers!

Great weapon customization.

Great soundtrack.



Negatives -


Limited real-world missions.

Slightly out-dated graphics.

Boring colour pallet and civilian NPC designs.




Graphics: 76%

Lifespan: 85%

Gameplay: 88%

Features: 86%

Innovation: 80%

Plot: 90%



JUDGEMENT:

85%

Saints Row IV is a spectacle. Sure, it has its flaws, but what it offers, not just in story, but in content, is second to none.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Espionage, sabotage, covert ops and all-out war ensue in the best action game of the year.

Splinter Cell BL


Developer(s): Ubisoft Toronto

Publisher: Ubisoft


Played on: PlayStation 3

Also available on: XBOX 360 and PC


It's not often that you come across a corker of an action title with everything you could possibly want; stealth, action, great gunplay, decent visuals, and an engaging storyline. But with the magic of Tom Clancy's writing expertise on hand, Splinter Cell: Blacklist doesn't fail at bringing one of the most memorable pieces of narrative to current gen systems. As it stands, the franchise has been extremely successful, not to forget other such Tom Clancy-written series such as EndWarRainbow Six, H.A.W.X. and a thriving line of thriller novels - Blacklist certainly does not buck this trend.


You follow the eventful live of super spy Sam Fisher, a newly appointed 4th Echelon Operative that, with the help of an elite team of agents, aims to stop a series of escalating terrorist attacks that are being targeted throughout America. These attacks are known collectively as 'The Blacklist'. As a covert operative, you are tasked with extracting vital information from the enemy and their equipment in several ways. You can either go in loud with a heavier weapon and a powerful pistol, or take a more delicate path with silenced equipment and lighter long arm weapons, as well as an array of expensive and tactical gadgets that can both help and hinder your missions. As well as this, you can take your ops online with a friend, as well as locally with split-screen modes offering just as much as the singleplayer experience. Whatever your preference, you'll be longing to defeat the evil Sadiq, a brutal villain (with an English accent!) hell bent on getting what he wants through a series of powerful attacks. You'll be dealing with his whole army, ranging from light infantry to heavily-armed brutes that will require the edge on tactical gameplay, gunplay and flanking in order to get the upper hand. There's so much in the way of strategy, too. Multiple routes of play makes every single session new in its on right. Special execution moves also allow you to map and eliminate up to three targets at once for a slow-motion, blood-filled massacre that can ease up a sticky situation.


Splinter Cell BL Screen

If things get ugly, go loud!


Spies Vs. Mercs plays the role of the game's multiplayer suite in this instance. In numerous game modes, up to 8 players are pitted against each other in two teams with the aim of outsmarting the opposition, sabotaging an objective and ultimately come out trumps. As with the solo campaign, players are granted a huge arsenal of weaponry that can be specially tailored to your playstyle, giving the game a whole new approach, especially for the picky buggers in us all. On the contrary, maps are limited, meaning that you may be visiting a certain location a bit too often than you'd like. This does deduct from the game's overall longevity, but the interesting concept of third person spies versus first person mercenaries does intrigue and differ from your usual multiplayer components. There's a lot to get done and to challenge your friends with, certainly not being limited, and players are rewarded accordingly and generously. Doubling back to the singleplayer on the Paladin jumbo jet (the 4th Echelon headquarters) you'll even find a wealth of bits and bobs to get stuck into, from recon data dotted around the plane to witty and funny banter between characters. You can also upgrade your headquarters that brings with them new upgrades that can give you an extra kick across all modes.


Overall, Splinter Cell: Blacklist gives players a lot that other top titles fail to provide. A fun, fluent and addictive action game that all should deserve to play.


Splinter Cell BL Screen 2

But keep it discreet if you can.

Me Love Cars - Founder of Motopedia, Gameopedia, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Wiki, Gran Turismo Wiki and TV and Film Wiki. 20:53, September 29, 2013 (UTC)



Positives +


Great gunplay.

Brilliant dialogue and voice acting.

Varied environments...



Negatives -


... Excluding multiplayer.

Sluggish loading times.




Graphics: 80%

Lifespan: 85%

Gameplay: 92%

Features: 86%

Innovation: 80%

Plot: 86%



JUDGEMENT:

88%

A great action game with some brilliant and differing gameplay options that few other titles provide.

Rayman Legends

Ubisoft Montpellier go crazy with imagination in this incredible platformer.

Rayman Legends Artwork

GAMEOPEDIA WIKI GOLD AWARD


Developer(s): Ubisoft Montpellier

Publisher: Ubisoft


Played on: PlayStation 3

Also available on: XBOX 360, PC, Nintendo Wii and PS Vita.


It's rare to see such a colourful platformer on home consoles anymore, what with the Super Mario series being property of Nintendo and the market very much focused on shooters. However, a certain colourful and limbless character choosing to delve into an eternal slumber in the Glade of Dreams is Rayman. Him, along with his merry crew of hilarious sidekicks are ready to kick arse and take names once again as their world may be changing forever. Set one hundred years after the events of Origins, the game's prequel, it's time for you to take charge and drive the evil forces out of your life forever. An array of characters are at your disposal and hundreds of levels await.


Rayman Legends defines the platforming genre of this generation by bringing a superb amount of content to the table. Every stage is brimming with secrets and collectibles that certainly don't come easy. As with its predecessor, the game is notoriously tricky at points, which is hardly a bad thing, and meaning that replaying levels is essential to fully earning everything the game has to offer. Set in an extremely artsy-craftsy Glade, you can freely leap into paintings (one portrait representing each world) and start levels at the flick of your analog stick. From the off, you'll be chucked into a vibrant vision of cartoon hell. What really maintains your common platforming elements transpires into something that is both simple, yet challenging at the same time, without then becoming frustrating. The visuals keep you enchanted in the world, and the challenge makes the game addictive with a little "just one more go" added in for safe measure. Obviously the one more go will end up being two hours in the end, and that's what makes the game special. Not only does the game offer a lot, but there are plenty of levels to tend to every playstyle. Timed stages bring a fast-paced element to the game, whilst other daily and weekly challenges offer Lum collections (the game's currency) in which you must catch a certain amount of Lums as quickly as possible - integrated into leaderboards online so that you may race your friends and advance through bronze, silver, gold and platinum rankings. Meanwhile, for those lacking in competitive spirit or nostalgia-ridden, forty of the levels from Origins have made it back as revamped stages for pure enjoyment. Unlock these from specially-collected lucky tickets that are acquired from performing well enough in new levels; a wicked incentive, especially for long-time fans. And in the long term, you can always double back to find those cheeky Teensies that lurk in those hard to reach places. Crafty (and adorable) buggers, them.


Rayman Legends Screen

Your buddies can be very handy in co-op, but keep them close!

It would have been great if this deluge of top-end titles we're only just getting now came earlier on in the console generation, because they're ultimately filling large voids that have been distinctly redundant in past times, but still bids the years farewell as we move onto the next generation of high-tech consoles and handhelds; a suitable curtain call. And as a gamer, it's hard to keep track of all these releases being fired at us in such quick turns. And it's not over yet, because there's still a good three months of the year yet to come.


But for Rayman Legends, a title produced with such mastery is hard to forget. We've had a lot of forgettable AAA titles in recent years, too. Some of which run on budgets even bigger than that of this series, but the game impresses on so many levels that it's easy to get swept away in the world of Rayman for hours. And as the credits rolled, and got kicked out of place by my dastardly deeds (no, seriously - you can literally play with words here) I felt thoroughly entertained. What the new consoles have to offer, I do not know. But with new IPs taking on the game engine here, I'm sure the remnants of a classic series will live on forever.


Rayman Legends Screen 2

Some levels require quick thinking and know-how. Things can easily go south.


Me Love Cars - Founder of Motopedia, Gameopedia, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Wiki, Gran Turismo Wiki and TV and Film Wiki. 20:38, September 29, 2013 (UTC)



Positives +


Beautiful visuals.

Top notch gameplay on so many levels.

Hilariously entertaining.

Credits kicking! Yay!



Negatives -


Crushingly difficult for the younger audience.




Graphics: 95%

Lifespan: 90%

Gameplay: 92%

Features: 90%

Innovation: 94%

Plot: 92%



JUDGEMENT:

93%

Rayman Legends is pure brilliance. Level by level I was entirely compelled by a truly unique universe.

Killzone: Mercenary

Guerilla Cambridge bring the pain in the Vita's first true FPS.

KZ Cover


Developer(s): Guerilla Games Cambridge

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment


Only available on: PlayStation Vita



Finding a proper portable shooter can be a royal pain in the arse. Luckily with Killzone: Mercenary, you won't have to look very far. That is if you're looking for a handheld FPS with a full singleplayer campaign, top notch four-a-side multiplayer, endless customization and challenges. The UK-based studio (just down the road from me) have successfully delivered a shooter that pushes Sony's portable device to its absolute limits.


The fun thing about Mercenary is that you feel like you're playing Killzone 3 in the palm of your hands, which is exactly what the devs had in mind. No matter how you look at it, the game is a console-tier shooter with very little to suggest otherwise. The game takes place on the planet Helghan, colony to the evil race of murderous supervillains that have made their mark over the console series over the years. Set between the events of Killzone 2 and Killzone 3Mercenary bridges the gap with an entirely new story about a contract killer named Arran Danner - a ruthless mercenary in the work for money and money only. You set out on a series of increasingly contracts that turns into a galatic war between humans and helghast. You're going to have to fight to survive, and get payed handsomely to move forward. Fortunately, you can do this in style with the hidden technology that beholds the PS Vita. The visuals are mind blowing; too much to comprehend (in a positive way) as a matter of fact. Bullets light up the map like LED lights in the night sky as the Helghan sun beams in from interstellar space. Gunplay is intuitive and addictive, whilst remaining balanced and incredibly satisfying when popping higgy heads. The game runs fluently with little to no graphical hiccups, and the frame rate feels smooth and enjoyable.


KZ Merc SC SHOT

The game runs off the same engine as its most recent console counterpart.


The story aspect of the game is unlike anything you've seen on a portable device. It's rewarding, challenging, and respects you (with extra cash) for more inventive kills, that's other than straight up plugging an enemy with a clip of bullets from a rifle. The cash you earn from these contracts can then be spent on a vast array of weaponry from medium to long range assault rifles to short range shotgun revolvers. All of which cumulate to more weapons to that of Killzone 3, merging the best weaponry from all three main console titles. Then there's armour tailored to each and every playstyle, with explosives, triggered bombs and technology that could really get the upper hand on your enemies. The same cash and rewards transfer over to multiplayer, where you can take the fight online with up to eight players bidding for control of the map, whether it be a take on the classic modes or Mercenary Warfare, an all-out free for all where the highest-earning mercenary gets top honours. Headshots get you extra points, whilst surprise melee attacks (long-time fans will recognize them as 'brutal melee' and used by swiping the Vita screen in the designated directions) which will earn you an extortionate amount of extra cash to spend. And with all this equipment comes a loyal dealer - Blackjack. A hardened Russian merchant with enough experience in the black market to nab you some great firepower for sizeable battles across Helghan.


Killzone: Mercenary is a hugely addictive action title and the first true FPS to drop for the Vita. It even picks off some of this generation's console first-person shooters from the later years. It's what really defines a market that's currently wide open for handheld gaming, and Guerilla Games have had first dibs.


KZ Merc SC SHOT 2

The visuals are truly stunning. It even puts some of its console competitors to shame.


Me Love Cars - Founder of Motopedia, Gameopedia, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Wiki, Gran Turismo Wiki and TV and Film Wiki. 21:42, October 14, 2013 (UTC)




Positives +


Great game engine and graphics to boot.

Addictive gameplay.

Fun and brutal close quarters combat.

Exciting game economy that is balanced and fair.




Negatives -


Short story mode.

Limited multiplayer maps.




Graphics: 90%

Lifespan: 82%

Gameplay: 85%

Features: 86%

Innovation: 80%

Plot: 80%



JUDGEMENT:

86%

A nearly flawless shooter for the slightly neglected handheld device that finally shows critics what the PS Vita is capable of. A must buy.

Grand Theft Auto V

The best thing to happen to gaming since gaming itself.

GAMEOPEDIA WIKI CRYSTAL AWARD


GTA V Art Piece

Developer(s): Rockstar North

Publisher: Rockstar Games


Played on: PlayStation 3

Also available on: XBOX 360


If you think Grand Theft Auto is all about stabbing hookers in an alleyway and running away with little to no cash in hand, you are wrong. The element of a story-driven game has come exceptionally far over the years and Grand Theft Auto V provides just that and much more. Rockstar's unbelievable success with the series thus far is incomprehensible, with millions upon millions of sales worldwide to date, making it quite easily one of the most popular franchises of all time. And with the fifth installment releasing during the mad rush of media articles covering the immediate reign of next-generation consoles, one might consider it tricky to ever focus on current platform titles again. But what with Naughty Dog's hugely acclaimed The Last of Us (the wiki's first 100% score) releasing in June of this year, and recent launch of Warner Brothers Montreal's Batman: Arkham Origins, a lot of attention has been briefly drawn away to look at what the final few months of this console generation can offer up before its curtain call. What can be said is that these last few months have been some of the best ever for gaming.


Michael. Franklin. Trevor. These are the three characters of whom's lives you'll be experiencing during the game in the brightly lit, heavily polluted city of Los Santos and country escape Blaine County. With hours of story content available to drag you in and keep you going for the Winter months, open-world gaming just got a whole lot bigger. Liberty City (the setting of Grand Theft Auto IV) doesn't even come close to the sprawling freedom available to players in Grand Theft Auto V. Because as if a huge city of towering concrete structures and wealthy endeavours wasn't enough, you've then got the rundown, crime-ridden side of town and the industrial area, but you've also got the more-money-for-sense Vinewood Hills and the humid open desert plains of Sandy Shores - all of which give the player unprecedented amounts of freedom to drive, fly, walk, run, kill, and hunt. And if that still doesn't whet your appetite, you may want to consider getting checked up by a practician.


GTA V Shot

Exploring the game world is relaxing and leisurely.


In the long run, you'll be introduced to all of the aformentioned protagonists and more as you play as the wealthy and depressed family man Michael, a former bank robber with a bounty on his head and hunger for more crimes fixes almost ten years after he fell under the radar and became incognito. Franklin, the cool and collected character trying to make a living in the depreciated part of town with only crimes to his name and friends who can't help themselves. And Trevor, an old friend of Michael's who took a turn for the worse after his supposed death. Turned psychopath and murderer with a killer sense of humour, crossing his path on a cold night would bring nothing but bad things. You can watch the story of this motley crew of criminals develop during the game and witness the trials and tribulations of family life as Michael, Franklin and Trevor.


Vehicle customization is exceptional, too. Rims, roofs, bonnets, bumpers, canards, windows, tints, spoilers, engines, turbos, transmissions, suspensions... the list goes on and on and a sense of achievement is felt when your vehicle is attracting attention in the city (civilians even take photos on their phones). And it doesn't get any better when you deck out your arsenal of weaponry with the vast array of attachments and specs available, then go and wreak havoc upon a group of unsuspecting gang members. To put it quite simply, there's detail around every corner and exploring the game in itself can take days.


Overall, Rockstar North have carried on their streak of extraordinary titles and the swan song of this console generation is purely fantastic. A compelling story meets brilliant visuals and addictive, fluent gameplay. A masterpiece.

GTA V Shot 2

The visuals of the game aren't so much as stunning... they're quite simply epic.





Me Love Cars - Founder of Motopedia, Gameopedia, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Wiki, Gran Turismo Wiki and TV and Film Wiki. 21:16, October 28, 2013 (UTC)




Positives +


Excellent visuals.

Well written, grasping story.

Next level in exploration.

Personalization.




Negatives -


Error 404 - cons not found.




Graphics: 97%

Lifespan: 96%

Gameplay: 96%

Features: 98%

Innovation: 97%

Plot: 95%




JUDGEMENT:

100%

A gem of this console generation that will surely never be forgotten in the world of gaming, and quite honestly flawless.

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