PS3 in August – Gamescom, BioShock Infinite, Mass Effect 2
August marked the end of the summer shutdown with the release of Kane & Lynch 2, Madden NFL 2011, Mafia II and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. They managed to keep us entertained for a while, but in the end our minds kept drifting to the future.
Can you blame us when we had Gamescom 2010 to steal our attention? Europe’s biggest game event was awesome this year thanks to a number of great announcements: Resistance 3, Ratchet & Clank All 4 One, Mass Effect 2 and Virtua Tennis 4. We also got news of big updates for Play TV and it was announced that UK users will soon be able to access ITV Player from their XMB. However, possibly the biggest story of the month happened away from Gamescom – BioShock Infinite was revealed to the world.
August reaffirmed our belief that there hasn’t been a better time to own a PlayStation 3, but didn’t you know that already?
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days
August wasn’t without its disappointments, particularly with regards to some of the the big releases. The game hyped the most was IO Interactive’s third-person shooter, Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. We must confess, we were initially swept away by the hype and forgot how sterile the gameplay was in the original and how horrid the characters were. The best cure for this dose of amnesia was to actually play Dog Days. You see, a few hours was enough to make all those disappointing memories come flooding back.
Dog Days sees the duo reunited once again, this time to cause havoc in Shanghai. IO Interactive have actually improved the game in several areas: the controls and cover system (despite being a little cumbersome) have been vastly improved from Dead Men, and we also enjoyed the variety of weapons on offer. The neat mock documentary feel was pretty awesome as well. They achieved this by having you play the game as if from the viewpoint of a handheld camera. It really heightened the gritty atmosphere, something Dog Days has in abundance.
Nevertheless, the game suffers from the same major issue as Dead Men did, namely a depressing lack of variety. It forced us to engage in one mind-numbing gun battle after another, and the writing and dialogue were hardly inspiring either. It would have been easier to overlook these issues had we been able to engage with the lead characters but Kane & Lynch are truly detestable characters.
The overwhelming feeling while playing Dog Days was one of frustration. We started off impressed by the high-end production values and impressive gunplay, but In the end we felt that enough attempts weren’t being made to engage us. We soon found ourselves bored stiff. Check out the full review here.
While critics appear to be united in their disapproval of Kane & Lynch 2, they have found themselves divided on the subject of Mafia II. Some have enjoyed it while others have lamented its linear gameplay. It’s true, while 2k Czech have beautifully recreated a 40s and 50s American city for you to drive around in, there is actually very little for you to do away from the main story. But is this really a problem?
Throughout its development, Mafia II has been carrying the burden of being an alternative to Grand Theft Auto IV, a weight most games would crumble under. It seems an unfair comparison to us because once you get past the superficial likenesses (open world, organised crime theme) you start to see two very different games. While Rockstar wanted to make Liberty City a place with endless opportunities to have spontaneous fun, 2K Czech have focussed on creating an exciting narrative. This shouldn’t be used as a stick to beat them with.
For the most part they have succeeded in matching their aims. Yes, the game does regularly descend into clichés about the Mafia world – and the gameplay is also rife with clichés – but we found ourselves being very entertained. There is a feeling that 2K Czech have missed an opportunity here but they have still created a very solid game.
It shouldn’t be compared to Grand Theft Auto IV as it’s certainly not in the same league and neither did it try to be. Nevertheless, if we must compare the two games, 2K Czech can at least proudly say that Mafia II has considerably better gun battles (an area which Rockstar have always struggled with). Echo307 is currently working on the definitive review and it should arrive any day now. Keep your eyes peeled.
Madden NFL 2011
With this next game we knew what we were getting into. We always feel in safe territory with Madden NFL. As is the case with the majority of sports games, this yearly update doesn’t offer many radical changes. What EA Sports have done though is go through the game with a fine comb tidying up the gameplay and the graphics, animations and audio. The result is better NFL experience than any of the competitors can muster.
The one radical addition is GameFlow. It’s a way of playing that puts you in the “helmet of the quarterback”. You focus solely on playing while your coach dishes out the tactics from the touchline. Many people find NFL to be an impenetrable sport – seeing the sheer number of plays can leave most minds frazzled – but thanks to GameFlow Madden NFL 2011 is much more accessible to rookies than any previous Madden game. Veterans will also enjoy the chance to role-play.
Die-hard fans will pick up Madden NFL 2011 in their droves as they do every year and they won’t be disappointed. As for everyone else: GameFlow will hopefully encourage new gamers to try it out and anyone who hasn’t bought Madden NFL for a few years will be pleased with the improvements made from the yearly tuning. If you did play Madden NFL 10 and felt indifferent to it, it’s unlikely anything here will excite you.
Check out DolphGB’s in-depth review here.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Some of August’s biggest titles didn’t have much hype, in fact, some came in from under the radar. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a good example of one such game. Following on the coat-tails of the hugely popular film (of the same name), you could easily dismiss the game as a lazy tie-in, but you’d be wrong to do so.
Scott Pilgrim the game is an HD-retro-roar. Viewed in an old-fashioned 8-bit NES style using the super-powered technology of the PlayStation 3. The result is a visually striking game with awesome arcade beat’em up action. Scott Pilgrim sits proudly next to classics like Final Fight.
It follows the story of the comics fairly closely: you play as Scott Pilgrim fighting for the right to date Ramona Flowers, by defeating all seven of her evil ex boyfriends. It is a ridiculously silly plot but it’s perfectly suited to a video game. Scott Pilgrim is also a perfect nostalgic trip with references to anime and classic games throughout. The music is also brilliant.
At £7.99/$9.99, Scott Pilgrim is a bargain which should be missed by anyone looking for something a little retro. Although be warned, it is very hard so make sure you’re up to the challenge.
Head over to PS3 Attitude TV for a comprehensive video review of the game. PS3 Attitude TV is our brand new sister website that we launched during August. We’re very proud of it so far and we hope you’re enjoying all the videos. It’s going to grow much bigger and, as ever, we’ll continue to improve the quality. Make sure you pop over and have a look around if you haven’t done so already.
August also featured Europe’s biggest gaming event, with 254,000 visitors showing up in Cologne Germany, to experience Gamescom 2010. Sony had a strong showing this year with Move taking centre stage. We also had two new games announced from Insomniac Games (yes, two games) and we also had a very big announcement from BioWare with regards to one of their major franchises. We also had news of an old favourite returning (with Move compatibility), upgrades to Play TV and announcements of new channels arriving for users around the world.
On the lead up to Gamescom Insomniac made it clear that they would be demonstrating a new game, stirring up lots of debate on what it would be. Would it be a new Ratchet & Clank or Resistance game? The word from David Kaye (the voice of Clank and Nathan Hale, from Ratchet & Clank and Resistance) was that he had been in the studio doing voice work for Clank and that he hadn’t heard anything about Resistance for a while. Mystery solved, right? Well, no. Insomniac had other plans. They hit us with a double whammy of Resistance 3 and Ratchet & Clank All 4 One.
Ratchet & Clank All 4 One adds a new twist to the franchise by adding four player co-op. The latest entry in the Ratchet series has our favourite Lombax teaming up with Clank, Qwark, and Dr. Nefarious. Four player co-op sounds perfect for Ratchet & Clank so we can’t see this failing. Visually it is very appealing, but you wouldn’t expect anything less, would you? Check out the trailer here.
We didn’t see any gameplay footage of Resistance 3, instead we got a live action trailer. The trailer suggests Insomniac are going down a dark and brutal route with the sequel; humans still appear to be getting ravaged by the Chimera. The creepy trailer also left us hoping for a Resistance film, make it happen.Very little is known right now but we’ll let you know more about it as soon as we find out ourselves.
It was an exciting show for Insomniac, and their announcements quash those fears that they are no longer committed to the PlayStation 3. Some started to doubt their commitment when they revealed their ambitions to develop a multi-platform title, but it was never their intention to stop supporting the PlayStation platform. Both Ratchet & Clank and Resistance are exclusive Sony owned franchises so only PlayStation owners will be able to enjoy them.
We wonder if these games will be supporting any of Sony’s new tech. They both could work really well with Move and 3D.
One game that will be using Move and 3D is Virtua Tennis 4. SEGA’s popular tennis sim is set for a 2011 release and we’re being promised a more “immersive, true to life tennis experience than ever before”. It’s the usual spiel but Virtua Tennis 4 does really sound like a perfect fit for Move and 3D compatibility. Graphically it isn’t very impressive but we have rarely been impressed by the graphics in other Virtua Tennis games; SEGA have always made the visuals secondary to gameplay. More on this game as the news comes in.
The biggest announcement at Gamescom (for me personally, at least) was that of Mass Effect 2 coming to the PlayStation 3. A truly extraordinary game that has delighted both Xbox 360 and PC gamers since its release back in January. It had me abandoning my PlayStation 3 for my PC (I know, I know) and I loved every minute of it. I’m just delighted that other PlayStation 3 owners will now get the chance to play it as there are no others like this on the PlayStation 3. If you would like to know more about Mass Effect 2 and why you should be excited, read this article.
The news that the Xbox 360 won’t be the only console to play Mass Effect 2 may have been the biggest news story at Gamescom, but it probably wasn’t the biggest announcement of the month. That award goes to Irrational Games for their unveiling of BioShock Infinite.
The announcement of the third BioShock game was a real crowd pleaser and it also surprised quite a few people. The game had been kept under wraps so well that we had no idea what to expect. Then again, nothing could have preperared us for what we saw during its debut trailer. Infinite will see the BioShock series leave Rapture behind for the first time to instead take up residence in Columbia, a majestic floating city in the sky. For Irrational, this was the only choice to make as Rapture had run its course. However, the name BioShock has become so synonymous with Rapture that it will take some time for us to get used to this new world.
Probably the most surprising thing about Columbia is how bright and colourful it is. It’s nothing like the dank and drab Rapture. It’s truly remarkable and hugely appealing; more fantasy than science fiction. The gameplay should also see massive changes with creator Ken Levine promising “60 miles per hour” combat and “scenes where you’re fighting 15 enemies at once”. Irrational have a great track record of creating unique gaming experiences and we expect them to carry on this glorious trend with Infinite. Have a look back at our first impressions.
August has been an exciting month for PlayStation 3 gamers despite many of the new releases failing to live up to their hype. Just reading about all the great games we’ve got to look forward to has been enough. As well as all the games mentioned above, August brought us knew details and footage on Dragon Age 2, Killzone 3, LittleBigPlanet 2, Batman: Arkham City, Crysis 2, Medal of Honor and many more. The PlayStation 3 already has an impressive library but it’s clearly going to get much bigger and better.
September will be another big month with the release of PlayStation Move just around the corner. It will open up the console to new markets while also giving us traditional gamers a chance to experience games in a new light, which can only be a healthy thing. One game that we will be able to re-imagine is MAG, announced at Gamescom as being Move compatible.
If you’re worried or unsure about how much Move will set you back up, we have written a lengthy article which covers all the likely costs. Check it out.
In the meantime. Have a very moving September. Sorry, bad pun.
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