Doodle Review: Crackdown 2

July 13th, 2010 Strident Posted in *Reviews 3 Comments »

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Doodle Review: Red Dead Redemption

June 24th, 2010 Strident Posted in *Reviews 1 Comment »

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Doodle Review: Alpha Protocol

June 13th, 2010 Strident Posted in *Reviews No Comments »

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Overlord II

August 11th, 2009 Strident Posted in *Reviews No Comments »

overlordii_box1The original Overlord game could never be described as a big success. Even its official Xbox.com description refers to it as a “cult hit”. Making a follow up to such a game is always full of difficulties. You don’t want to alienate loyal fans by removing any of the elements that made the first title a success but you also want to change it enough to make it more attractive to a wider audience.

Triumph Studios haven’t perhaps managed to resolve that dilemma as successfully as I’d hoped but they have succeeded in producing a game that’s worth taking a look at, whether you enjoyed or disliked the previous outing.

Set many years after the first game the original Overlord’s Dark Tower has been destroyed, the big guy himself has gone missing and his minions have been left without a leader. Read the rest of this entry »

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Crackdown

July 27th, 2009 Strident Posted in *Reviews 1 Comment »

The CGUK Replay game for July was Crackdown

This was the first time I’d played Crackdown as it came out well before I got a 360.

Crackdown is what I’d call a “Ronseal” game. It does exactly what it says on the box. It doesn’t set out to be particularly big or clever, it just wants you to love it because it’s fun.

It’s a game that you can spend as little or as much time with as you like. At no point do you feel forced to complete what would traditionally be considered the “side missions”; the road and rooftop races, the stunt challenges and orb collection. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lego Battles

July 17th, 2009 Strident Posted in *Reviews 3 Comments »

Forget all the famous conflicts of the 1980s. The most intense and important battles (at least to my ten-year old self) took place on my bedroom carpet. There, on the tastefully-speckled expanse, spacemen Lego took on the mighty mounted knights from the Castle sets. Policeman mini-figures tried their best to arrest plastic Viking hoards. Terrified Lego City folk were crushed beneath the feet of evil giant-headed Sindy dolls. Of course the deadliest foe, the common enemy of all of Legodom, was the evil sucking tube of death… the nozzle of my mum’s vacuum cleaner. Oh, if only those legendary battles could have been captured in a videogame.

Fast forward twenty or so years to 2009 and Lego Battles for the Nintendo DS attempts to bring childhood play sessions like mine to life in digital form. The game might feature the familiar Travellers Tales branding but rest assured it is not merely another iteration of the series that has taken on Star Wars, Batman and Indiana Jones. Lego Battles is actually an RTS, a real time strategy game, based around some of the familiar classic Lego kits. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Knights of the Nine

May 24th, 2009 Strident Posted in *Reviews No Comments »

Cranky Gamer’s Replay game for May was the Oblivion Knights of the Nine DLC…

Playing through The Knights of the Nine content was a really interesting experience for me as it meant revisiting a game that I hadn’t played for well over a year.

Now, there are some games that you can just jump right back into but I don’t think Oblivion is one of them. I’d like to think I was a veteran player, having spent over seventy hours on the game, but I’d forgotten so much… like what spells I had access to, what weapons I used to use, where my house (with my stash of equipment) was and…erm… exactly what it was I’d done to upset the guards in every city in the land. Luckily that last problem was more a case of mistaken identity and , in general, the process of acclimatising was made a little easier having just played Fallout 3. Read the rest of this entry »

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Flower

February 13th, 2009 Strident Posted in *Reviews 4 Comments »

Can a videogame ever be considered art? Well, as leading academics can’t even agree on a definition of what art is who knows? Flower is certainly the artiest game that I’ve ever come across.

My own personal definition of art is any work to which I feel a strong emotional or intellectual connection. Flower fits that description perfectly. Remember that dream of flying you had as a kid? That’s what Flower feels like to me.

You start by blowing off a single petal from a flower. Using the Sixaxis, you gently sweep it round the visually stunning landscapes, colliding with other buds, collecting more blossom as you go, building up a swirling coloured entourage behind you. As you collect more petals, additional flowers bloom and new areas of the land become available. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lord of the Rings: Conquest

February 11th, 2009 Strident Posted in *Reviews 1 Comment »

We’re used to seeing games rushed out to coincide with movie releases. Poor quality, unfinished, shoddy, soulless cash-ins. What I didn’t expect to see was a movie tie-in, released six years after the last film hit the cinema screens, that demonstrates those very same qualities.

Little more than a re-skinned Star Wars: Battlefront, it would be easy to moan about this game from a Tolkien fan’s perspective. It feels like it’s been made by a team who have pieced together their knowledge of Middle Earth from movie trailers. Giving mystic powers, magical swords and invisibility to every random character under the sun turns the whole thing into generic fantasy fare, making it completely unworthy of the license. I don’t know how this ever got approved by the Tolkien Estate.

But my real problem with the game isn’t that it’s not faithful to the books or films, in fact the non-canonical evil timeline is the best thing about the title. My objection is that this is just a bad game – even by last generation’s standards. In my opinion, the old Playstation 2 Lord of the Rings games are better than this title. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spider-Man Web of Shadows

February 10th, 2009 Strident Posted in *Reviews 8 Comments »

The chances are that Spider-Man Web of Shadows will have passed many of you by. Released towards the end of 2008, when we were being snowed under with triple-A titles, this is the spiritual sequel to the rather disappointing Spider-Man 3. Delivered on launch day, my copy has been sitting on the shelf unopened for months while I waded my way through Fable 2 and Fallout 3. When I finally fired up the game I received loads of messages asking what it was like. I guess it’s worth doing a review then, even this late in the day…

Treyarch’s Spider-Man 2 provided the template and set the bar that all other Spidey titles are judged by. Players expect to be able to web-swing their way through a virtual New York, right from the tallest skyscraper all the way down to the city streets. And of course Spider-Man must also be able to do whatever a spider can. Spinning webs any size, catching thieves just like… well, you know the rest. Read the rest of this entry »

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