Jordan’s Top Ten Games For 2008

With 2008 well wrapped up and done it’s clear to see it was quite a year. After the stellar line-up of ’07 few were expecting ’08 to pack as much of a punch as it certainly did, shaping up in my opinion as a step above 2007 with many huge releases still being played into the new year.

Some big titles are already out and on the horizon for 2009 so it’s time to get down to the essentials of ’08 and make sure nothing is missed before the New Year consumes us all.

The following is a list of my favourite games released in 2008. Despite trying, my mere mortal self was not able to play every single game released last year. Unfortunately until I learn to complete multiple titles at once or invent some form of game skill enhancing bio-augmentation this will be the case, so take the following as only my personal picks for the best ten games of last year.

10. Gears of War 2
XBOX 360

For me Gears of War 2 is a multiplayer experience. Not having Continue reading Jordan’s Top Ten Games For 2008

Review: Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars (DS)

Developer – Rockstar Leeds
Publisher – Rockstar Games
Available On – Nintendo DS

Grand Theft Auto has hit the DS in Chinatown Wars, and Rockstar’s first title on the Nintendo handheld could very well be the best it’s seen. Chinatown Wars is a competent and expansive Grand Theft Auto experience not only re-creating the recognisable Liberty City in a whole new pseudo-3D world but also bringing a series of improvements and additions with it in the most mature title on the DS.

This time around it’s spoilt rich kid Huang Lee who finds himself face-down in the gutter of a city filled with more corruption, violence and deceit than ever before. Things turn sour right on arrival, as Huang Continue reading Review: Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars (DS)

Review: Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned

Developer – Rockstar North
Publisher – Rockstar Games
Available On – XBOX 360 via Live Marketplace or retail redemption.
Reviewed On – XBOX 360

Sayonara the Slavs and strap on a leather jacket, it’s time to hit the streets of Liberty City in Rockstar’s first downloadable expansion for Grand Theft Auto IV – The Lost and Damned. Starring the biker gang ‘The Lost’ first seen in the original adventure, The Lost and Damned isn’t limited to the enthralling new story included but also adds new content such as multiplayer modes, weapons, music, reworked physics and much more.

Anti-hero and familiar face Johnny Klebitz stars Continue reading Review: Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned

Review: Saints Row 2

Developer – Volition
Publisher – THQ
Available On – XBOX 360, Playstation 3, PC
Reviewed On – XBOX 360

It’s hard to review or discuss a title like Saints Row 2 and not compare it to the likes of Grand Theft Auto IV. On the surface they seem near identical, both molding gameplay genres together to create a surreal blend of third person driving and shooting action. They both tell a tale of gangs and guns through the eyes of a hardened criminal, looking to fight his way through city filled with violence and corruption. They even both have a similar city setting, allowing player freedom to pick and choose quest paths through a sprawling urban landscape. The game feels oddly familiar, but when one delves deeper into Saints Row 2 the numerous additions and changes to the genre become more apparent alongside a seemingly intentional contrast to the realistic maturity of Grand Theft Auto IV. Never taking itself too seriously, Saints Row 2 is a refreshing take on the genre that continually entertains with a blend of immature action-based fun alongside a well developed and exciting story.

Following on from Saints Row, Continue reading Review: Saints Row 2

Review: Mirror’s Edge

Mirror's Edge

Developer – EA Digital Illusions CE
Publisher – Electronic Arts
Available On – PC, XBOX 360, Playstation 3
Reviewed On – XBOX 360

Bounding into stores in acrobatic style this holiday season is the most unique title to be found from the gaming fiesta of ’08, Mirror’s Edge. Scaling heights in creativity and atmosphere Mirror’s Edge is definitely a refreshing title that tries something new and stands out amongst the rest, coming to us straight from EA’s Digital Illusions CE, famous for their recurring first person shooter Battlefield franchise. Mirror’s Edge may retain the first person aspect of the Battlefield series but with a focus on weaponless combat and environmental navigation the similarities end there. Ingenuity and absorbing art design polish the experience of playing as the spunky new Asian acrobat Faith but it doesn’t stop her from frequently slipping up and spoiling what could have been a much smoother affair.

Don't look down, or up.

Set in a futuristic city shadowed by skyscrapers and the oppression of an overpowered Government, our heroine Faith lives the daily life of delivering secret messages from rooftop Continue reading Review: Mirror’s Edge

Review: Fallout 3

Developer – Bethesda Softworks
Publisher – Bethesda Softworks
Available On – XBOX 360, Playstation 3, PC.
Reviewed On – XBOX 360.
Official Site

Of all my planned holiday locations for this Christmas, a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. wasn’t on the list. I’ve never even been overseas. Claiming this is now difficult, having survived the wastelands of Bethesda’s Fallout 3. Continuing a stellar series of role playing games, Bethesda have managed to build even more on a popular franchise, delivering on every expectation and despite a few bugs along the way the overall experience is immeasurable in grandeur, a role playing adventure like no other that adapts and takes form as the player progresses and continually rewards those who explore and discover the exciting world.

Juxtaposing 1950’s culture and fashion within a futuristic sci-fi environment, Fallout 3 retains many key concepts of the series Continue reading Review: Fallout 3

Review: Dead Space

Dead Space

Developer – EA Redwood Shores
Publisher – Electronic Arts
Available On – XBOX 360, Playstation 3, PC
Reviewed On – XBOX 360

Space; it certainly isn’t living. While it’s not dead either it’s about to get a lot more of the latter with Electronic Art’s latest space-based action horror title Dead Space. Mashing elements of third person survival horror against fast paced action, Dead Space combines the best traits of some well known series to tell a horrific tale of discovery and survival set within the bowels of a recovered mining space ship, the Ishimura.

Dead Space 1

While “Resident Evil in space” is often an unfortunately accurate summary for the most part of Dead Space, one must look at the continual enhancements and refinements of the third person survival horror genre presented within. The audio package is top notch and well realised, utilised to the full potential that clear and appropriate sound effects can have in establishing an atmosphere in horror Continue reading Review: Dead Space

Review: Midnight Club: Los Angeles

mcla_cover

Developer: Rockstar San Diego
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Available on: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Reviewed on: PlayStation 3

Before I get into reviewing Midnight Club: Los Angeles, I feel I should state my views on the racing genre: I’m not a big fan of it. That said, I have had some fun with a few racing titles, such as Gran Turismo 3, Need For Speed: Underground  and V8 Supercars. But the earliest racing game I can recall playing is Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge back on the Amiga. That game was released in 1990 and eighteen years later concept is still exactly the same: go around in circles really fast. The genre has evolved about as much as a Vogon and yet has an unhealthy tendency to produce endless sequels. We’re up to seven Burnout games, Gran Turismo 5 is on the horizon (ignoring all the Prologue and Concept spin-offs) and at the time of writing there are fifteen Need For Speed games. Midnight Club: Los Angeles is the fourth game in the series, not counting the “remix” edition of Midnight Club 3. Given the ad finitum nature of the genre I haven’t been excited about a racing game since Burnout 3 when I discovered what a stroke of genius it was to break up the tedium of going around in circles really fast with the ability to smash opponents and enjoy it in slow motion in all its beautiful destruction. Continue reading Review: Midnight Club: Los Angeles

Call Of Duty: World At War BETA Multiplayer Preview

Previewed On: XBOX 360 / PC

Treyarch are taking players back to World War II in Call Of Duty: World At War (CoD: WaW) and despite a return to one of the most common and reused settings for a first person shooter ever the numerous changes and additions prove it’s not just any old return to form.

As much as many never want to see World War II from a first person perspective again from first play of World At War the collaboration of the CoD 4 engine against the Pacific rim environments create a new and exciting experience be it an essentially familiar game. The perks and experience system of CoD 4 multiplayer are included and expanded upon with players gaining XP and unlocking new weapons in the same manner as before with a large range of selectable perks new and old.

Largely diverse and interesting maps serve as great battlefields Continue reading Call Of Duty: World At War BETA Multiplayer Preview

Review: Star Wars The Force Unleashed

Developer – LucasArts (PS3, 360) – Krome Studios (Wii, PS2, PSP) – n-Space (NDS) – Universomo (Mobile Phone, N-Gage)
Publisher – LucasArtsTHQ Wireless
Available On – XBOX 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, NDS, iPhone, iTouch, N-Gage
Reviewed On – XBOX 360

Please note this review is for the PS3 and 360 versions developed by LucasArts. Alternate versions on other consoles are coming from different developers that could provide a significantly different experience.

The Force Unleashed is the first Star Wars game in a long time to bring enough ingenuitive promise in both technical prowess and illustrative narration to stand out among all the others. Star Wars games are continually following one after another so with Lucasarts focusing a lot of attention on the technical capabilities of The Force Unleashed (TFU) and the incorporated engines, it all shows to great merit. The Force Unleashed while based on Lucasarts’ own proprietary software utilises several external components such as NaturalMotion’s Euphoria AI system (last seen in Grand Theft Auto IV), the Digital Molecular Matter engine from Pixelux for destructive environment capabilities, while body physics are excessively emphasised via the Havok physics engine.

A lot of big names that mean little to many, Lucasarts have definitely put a lot of time and effort Continue reading Review: Star Wars The Force Unleashed