Hamsterball PSN Release Date

March 23, 2010 by Susan Taylor  
Filed under Playstation

TikGames, have announced its action-packed, critter racing game Hamsterball for the PlayStation 3 Network will be available for download this Thursday (25th March) for $9.99 in North America. We have not heard any information about it being released outside of NA, but watch this space for more information!

In Hamsterball, players take control of a hamster-in-a-ball as they run the most frenzied race of their lives! The clock is ticking and EVERYTHING is out to stop them – with crazy obstacles around every turn, unexpected twists and dramatic drops, each level will immerse and challenge players in new and inventive ways! Gamers can race solo, play split-screen against a friend, or battle up to six buddies in Sumo Mode to determine whose hamster is “King of the Hill.” With over 50 levels and three different game modes, Hamsterball is sure to provide hours of non-stop, critter-racing action.

Dark Void – New Video Released!

January 8, 2010 by Susan Taylor  
Filed under News, PC, Playstation, Xbox

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Capcom have let loose new footage showing just how amazing their upcoming sci-fi game, Dark Void, is going to be. Due for release on January 19th 2010 worlwide, this epic adventure will available on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.

Dark Void is a sci-fi action-adventure game that combines an adrenaline-fuelled blend of aerial and ground-pounding combat. Set in a parallel universe called “The Void,” players take on the role of Will, a pilot dropped into incredible circumstances within the mysterious Void. This unlikely hero soon finds himself swept into a desperate struggle for survival, joining forces with a rebel human group called The Survivors. Trapped in the Void, these resistance fighters are battling to hold off a mysterious alien race that plans to threaten Earth.

Lost Planet 2 – Seven new screenshots!

January 8, 2010 by Susan Taylor  
Filed under News, Playstation, Xbox

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Capcom today released seven new screenshots showcasing their upcoming sequel, Lost Planet 2. The game picks up 10 years since the events of the original adventure and will be available in 2010, although no specific release date has been released.

A demo is already available for download on the PSN Network and via Xbox Live Arcade.

Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper

January 7, 2010 by Susan Taylor  
Filed under PC, Reviews, Xbox 360

Overview

 

Title: Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper

Release Date: 26th May 2009 (PC) / 26th Nov 2009 (EU Xbox 360) / TBA (NA Xbox 360)

Developer/Publisher: Frogwares / Focus Home Interactive

Genre: Adventure

Platform[s]: Microsoft Windows (PC), Xbox 360

**Please note: I am reviewing the Xbox 360 version of this game**

Storyline

 

The year is 1888, the location is the East End of London. An evil madman is running loose around Whitechapel, preying on women of the night and murdering them in cold blood, mutilating their corpses in the process. The police are turning over every stone in the area, but the elusive Jack the Ripper keeps slipping through their grasp. It is up to the famous Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, Dr. John Watson, to unmask the fiend and put an end to his dastardly deeds.

Gameplay

 

Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper can be played in either first-person mode or third-person mode. I will admit that I groaned upon starting the game and being faced with this hellish, zoomed out third-person view that I knew would see me repeatedly talking into walls and missing doorways by metres. I internally jumped for joy  when the option came up, through a handy tooltip, that by pressing X the camera would change to first-person mode. Phew! I played the whole game in this view and would definitely recommend it, but it is all down to personal preference and I am impressed that Frogwares put some thought into how people like to play their games.

Unlike other games within the crime genre, Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper steps outside of the point-and-click domain and offers up a nifty little adventure game which sees the player taking control of both main characters and wandering down the streets of London seeking out clues. Throughout the game you will face different tasks and challenges which requires you to play as either Sherlock Holmes himself or as Dr. Watson.

A Sherlock Holmes game would not be complete without puzzles and you will not be left disappointed. You will come across skill puzzles and a lot of logic ones; from fixing a broken pipe to cracking a safe by translating Yiddish to English, from learning how perfumes break down to mastering a rather trick sliding puzzle! I found these puzzles to be very entertaining and some of them requiring me to sit back and really give the objective a good think before attempting to tackle it. No doubt there is an extensive walkthrough online for those who find the puzzles a tad too difficult.

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One of the most interesting factors about Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper is the way the developers chose to handle the gruesome reality of the murders. For those who are not away of the truth behind this game, Jack the Ripper was an evil murderer who took great pleasure in mutilating his victims in the most gruesome manner – This included abdominal/genital and progressive facial mutilation and even the removal of internal organs (a kidney, more than one uterus and even a heart). Frogwares rightly decided to keep in the gory details behind each murder and even allows the player to inspect each crime scene in detail. The smart decision on their behalf was not to present the victims in a vulgar manner, but to have Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson inspect detailed “chalk drawn” images of the poor women, which can be inspected quite closely.

As this is a Sherlock Holmes game, there is a lot of deducing to be had! Holmes likes to be thorough in his investigations and throughout his home at Baker Street you will find the place getting more and more overwhelmed with timelines to put together, storyboards to complete regarding each murder and even a board for possible motives! This game really has it all!

Graphics

 

The visual side of this game, while not overly impressive, does not lack in a way that would cause someone to shudder in despair. While the characters are quite wooden-looking, especially when it came to their speech, the environments definitely make up for this. While walking the streets of Whitechapel, you definitely get the feel of London in the late 1800’s.

Not to mention the eery feeling creeping up the back of your neck as you wander down a dark back alley all by yourself..

Audio

 

The musical score of Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper is very well suited to the time era and overall theme being portrayed, lots of piano and violin scores. I found the music certainly adds to the ambiance of the game.

I am definitely on the fence when regarding the voices of the characters themselves. While I realise that Sherlock Holmes is a man of science and thus holds a rather cold exterior, the voice behind the character is very monotonous and he shows absolutely zero emotion throughout the entirety of the game, even when he is clearly upset. Watson, on the other hand, was voiced rather well and I found his character to be very likable in the game. Although, his puking scene was a little overplayed. Learn from this Frogwares!

The other voices in the game were quite typically Upper Class vs Cockney, with a bit of Yiddish accent thrown in. I found some of these to be quite believable, whereas otherwise were totally cringeworthy. Especially the man outside the brothel, yeesh! Grow a pair of balls man!

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Overall & Replayability

I scored this game quite high as it was a real breath of fresh air when compared to other games within this genre. You weren’t confined within X rooms with just a point-and-click action as your only means of playing the game. I enjoyed the fact that Frogware mixed fact (being Jack the Ripper tale) in with fiction (being Sherlock Holmes) and found the two complimented each other extremely well. As a huge Jack the Ripper buff I was very excited to see how the writers interpreted the tale of England’s most notorious serial killer and was pleasantly surprised to find just how well they had researched the history into it.

I would recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of the crime genre, likes point-and-click games or is a fan of Sherlock Holmes or even Jack the Ripper.

If only there was going to be a sequel.. Sigh!

CSI: Deadly Intent

November 16, 2009 by Susan Taylor  
Filed under Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PC, Reviews, Xbox 360

Overview

Title: CSI: Deadly Intent

Release date: PC/Xbox 360 – Oct 13th DS/Wii – Oct 20th

Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS

Genre: Point-and-click Adventure

Developers/Publishers: Telltale Games / Ubisoft

**Please note: I am reviewing the Xbox 360 version of this game**

Storyline

It’s time to pick up your bottle of Luminol once again and show the team of CSI Las Vegas what you are made of. As with the previous CSI games, you are the new kid on the block, but this time you are no longer a rookie. As a seasoned investigator, each case sees you working alongside one of the main characters  from Season 9 of the hit TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; Nick Stokes, Greg Sanders, Catherine Willows, Riley Adams and Robert Langdon. There are five cases that need to be cracked and it is up to you to get your hands dirty, work out who is lying through their teeth and put the criminals behind bars.

Gameplay

It will not take you long to realise that the gameplay has not changed much (if at all) since the first CSI game as Telltale Games have continued down the rather limited route of the “point and click” genre. From the first person perspective, you will be investigating crime scenes, examining the evidence in two separate labs, getting warrants at Jim Brass’ office, hearing about your victims at the morgue and giving suspects  the third degree in the interrogation room.

So expect to click, click, and click some more as you move between locations, review case files in your inventory, search for clues, use the lab equipment to examine and enhance your evidence and initiate conversations with your team, witness and suspects.

Graphics

I was not expecting much from the graphics and I am glad I kept my expectations low. While there is an increase in the quality of the graphics over the last few games, it is not a significant improvement and looks very out of place compared to other next gen games.

Environments are very basic, the character models are very outdated, although I will say that the main characters do look similar to the actors they are supposed to portray from the TV show.

Audio

The soundtrack seems to have been recycled from the previous game, with very few minor changes to the songs themselves. The music does fit in with the TV show however and fans of the show will enjoy the soundtrack.

The voice acting is good though and it should be; Telltale Games have got the cast from the show on board to voice their game counterparts. I was a little more impressed with the emotions displayed in the game compared to the previous games, the witnesses/suspects actually sound like they mean what they are saying.

Overall & Replayability

This is a rather short game (I completed it in under 8hrs, with 100% achievements obtained) and would only recommend renting this game if you are a fan of the series and/or the point-and-click detective genre. Having said that, it is not a bad game by any means and I could not put the controller down once I started the game.

‘We Sing’ Debut Trailer

October 23, 2009 by Susan Taylor  
Filed under News, Nintendo

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Nordic Games has just released the debut trailer for their upcoming singing game We Sing. Coming exclusively to the Nintendo Wii across Europe and Australia on November 13th, We Sing is the first karaoke game to feature simultaneous four-player participation!

The trailer shows the various game modes interlaced with some gameplay footage.  Game modes shown include; Solo, Versus, Group Battle, First to 5000 and Pass the Mic.

It’s a Rock Band Halloween

October 23, 2009 by Susan Taylor  
Filed under News, Nintendo

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Harmonix and MTV Games today announced their spookiest DLC packs yet, all of which will be available to download via the Rock Band Music Store next week, just in time for Halloween. Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii owners can pick these up on October 27th and Playstation 3 owners can grab them on October 29th.

These tracks will be available for purchase as a Rob Zombie pack, a Wolfmother Pack and as individual tracks on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 system and as individual tracks on Wii.

The track listing is a good one and is the perfect addition to any Halloween parties you may be holding this year!

• Rob Zombie – Burn
• Rob Zombie – Dragula
• Rob Zombie – Superbeast
• Wolfmother – New Moon Rising
• Wolfmother – Pilgrim
• Wolfmother – Sundial
• Wolfmother – White Unicorn
• Wolfmother – Woman
• Liz Phair – Rock Me
• Morningwood – Best of Me
• Morningwood – Sugarbaby

Army of Two: The 40th Day – New Video & Screenshots Released!

October 23, 2009 by Susan Taylor  
Filed under News, Playstation, Xbox

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Army of Two: The 40th Day is the sequel to the hit third person shooter, Army of Two. Set in Shanghai, China the game focuses on the Army of Two fighting their way through the city as they try to uncover the secret of the 40th Day. The game is looking very snazzy indeed and we have six new screenshots to share with you all and an exciting video previewing the “Extraction” multiplayer mode for the game.

You don’t have too long to wait to get your hands on this game, it is set for release on the 15th of January 2010 (Jan 8th for Europe) and is coming to the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PSP.

Roll on January 2010!

10 New Prison Break Screenshots

October 23, 2009 by Susan Taylor  
Filed under News, PC, Playstation, Xbox

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Prison Break: The Conspiracy is an upcoming game by Zootfly, based on the hit TV series Prison Break. It will be available on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. The game was originally due for release earlier this year, but due to The Company closing down it was put on  “indefinite hiatus” until a new publisher was found.

If the screenshots below are anything to go by, this is going to be one game I’m glad that made it to the shelves.

Panzer General: Allied Assault

October 22, 2009 by Susan Taylor  
Filed under Reviews, Xbox Live Arcade

Overview

Title: Panzer General: Allied Assault

Release Date: 21st October 2009

Genre: Strategy/Card Game

Platform: Xbox Live Arcade

Developer/Publisher: Petroglyph Games / Ubisoft

Storyline

Panzer General Allied Assault follows the last two years of World War II. It is June 1944 and America has joined the Allies in the war against Germany. It is up to you to gather your troops and march across the battlefields to defeat your opponent. You will take the beaches of Normandy, fight for victory in the Battle of the Bulge and seek to take control of strategic German cities in Operation Lumberjack.

Gameplay

If you loved Magic: The Gathering, than this is the next game for you to buy. Panzer is a strategical card game played on top of a board game setting. The object of the game is to commander a large unit of troops across the board to defeat your enemy. As this is a strategy game you really need to concentrate on thinking tactically, as one wrong move could cost you the lives of your men.

There are three game types for you to choose from – Campaign, Skirmish and Multiplayer. The campaign is your basic singleplayer mode as you work through the story of the war up to it’s end. Skirmish gives you control over what map you play, which faction and side you play on and even the objectives for the game. Multiplayer is what it says on the tin, online gameplay with others.

It is clear from the start that Petroglyph Games have put a lot of thought into how they would set up Panzer. With an in-depth “How to Play” system and a tutorial that is very easy to understand, this game can be easily picked up and enjoyed by gamers who are new to this genre. I personally found  Magic: The Gathering, to be a bit overwhelming, but Panzer has given me the chance to get my teeth into a decent card-based strategy game that has clear and concise instructions on how it is meant to be played.

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“Prestige” is the currency of the game, which is can be earned by taking over neutral/enemy tiles (which is rewarded to you at the end of your turn) and destroying enemy units. Prestige is used to buy new cards to add to your hand. You are given four new cards at the beginning of each turn and may hold as many cards in your hand as you like, but you cannot purchase new cards once you are holding ten. There are two types of cards that you can hold, Ability Cards (Action and Combat) and Unit Cards.

Unit Cards hold the key to game, without access to your troops you would have no chance in beating your foe. Units range from light infantry to heavy artillery. Each card has important information about your Unit; it’s health, defense, attack and any special support bonuses they offer the rest of your troops.

Action Cards can only be used during your main turn and not during combat. They require you to select a specific target on the board depending on it’s action. For example, you may want to call in a bombardment to destroy an enemy unit that has taken hold of a town you need.

Combat Cards can only be used during combat and never your main turn. You can use as little or as many combat cards as you please during combat, just thinking carefully about your choices.

Before each game you are given a mission briefing and objectives that need completing. Most games have more than one objective, but you do not have to complete them all to win the round. In fact, all you need to do is complete ONE objective to win.

The game begins with each person setting up their units onto the board and each player takes a turn to begin moving their troops across the map to achieve their goals. Combat arises when a unit is adjacent to an enemy and the decision is made to attack that enemy. This is where you can now use your combat cards to influence how the battle goes. Panzer has a very useful combat display at the top of the screen that shows the health, attack and defense values for the two units locked in combat. This game also goes one step further and shows you the potential values if you use X, Y or Z combat card.  So instead of a unit being able to retreat, you can select the correct card to use and the display will update to “Unit Will Die.”

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Once your combat card selection is done, you are then given a chance to sacrifice any card from your hand to further increase your attack or defense values. You may think you have the upper hand in combat with an attack of 20 versus your enemy’s defense of 10 and health of 5 – But if your enemy then sacrifice a card which increases it’s defense to 15 and you’ve not increased your attack power, than you have wasted a whole turn as you will not damage your enemy at all! So think wisely and seal their defeat by picking the right card to sacrifice in the moment of need.

Don’t think it’s over yet, there is one last aspect to combat that can be the make or break of your attack and that is the die roll. Once you’ve played your combat cards and sacrificed a card a single die is rolled, with a range from -2 to +3, which is then added/removed from the attack value. I was all prepared for a unit to die, but with the roll of the die my enemy’s attack value was decreased by 3 points and my men lived to see another battle.

Another great aspect of this game’s combat system is the supporting unit structure. For example, if you have a group of Paratroopers trying to destroy an enemy tank (which would be impossible to do alone), any of your units that are within range (tanks, artillery etc) are able to take part in the combat and increases the attack value, working in your favour. This means that placing your units around the board randomly is a bad idea – You need to think tactically!

Once you have successfully destroy an enemy unit, you are given the choice to either gain a certain amount of Prestige or to take that amount from your opponent. You are also faced with the decision of advancing forwards onto the tile where you enemy just stood. Sometimes it is in your advantage to move onwards and take it over, but if your enemy wasn’t defeated and merely retreated back than you may be in for some trouble.

There is a section for you to customise your deck (which feeds the hand you hold), but the system itself is quite confusing and Panzer has lost a few points from me here. As you progress through the Campaign you unlock new cards to use and, if you’re anything like me, you want to give those new cards a test-run on the battlefield… Good luck finding them!

Graphics

As this game is an Arcade game, don’t go expecting mind-blowing graphics with top-notch cinematics, because there aren’t any. None of this take away from the game itself as, to be fair, Panzer is a board game and I don’t think you could really make the game look anymore like a board ‘n card game than it already does.

Each map is based on famous battles and battlefields from World War II and although they aren’t exactly picture-perfect, they are interesting nonetheless and the terrain tiles match the terrain of that location. Panzer is a very colourful 3D game which doesn’t have cringe-worthy pixel in sight.

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Audio

The musical score is very similar to what you would hear in other movies and games based around World War II, big brassy sounds and notes that inspire you to battle onwards to victory!

Sounds effects include troops shouting commands such as “Return fire!”, the sound of the waves, a seagull flying above, planes overheard and the sound of gunfire off in the distance. It’s the small details like this that really get you into a game and I am glad great attention was paid to this.

Overall Score & Replayability

Panzer General: Allied Assault is a highly addictive game if you’re the type of gamer who loves a) card games b) strategy games and c) World War II games. With a very steep learning curve, even the novices of this genre can pick this up for 800MS points and enjoy the pleasures of taking down their foe through their mind alone. Be sure to try out the multiplayer side of Panzer as well, especially if you’re an achievement whore looking to get a few new points to their name!

It is a shame that this game can be fully completed in a very short amount of time and has very little replayability within the single player mode and unless new maps are released (highly unlikely) than even the multiplayer mode will soon grow repetitive and tiresome.

That being said, if you’re looking for a nice little game to get addicted to for the meantime, definitely give this game a go.

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