Review: Ninja Gaiden II

Developer – Team Ninja
Publisher – Microsoft Game Studios
Available On – XBOX 360
Reviewed On – XBOX 360

Violence, looks, speed, and violence. It was a very impressive package to be presented with all in the first level of Ninja Gaiden II. Right from the start the quick moving and unrelenting action started and didn’t let go. A few missions in and one begins to familiarise themselves with the combat, timing and abilities of the most recent incarnation of Ryu Hayabusa. While I have experience with a few odd past Ninja Gaiden titles, I had heard of the notorious difficulty of the past Ninja Gaiden XBOX title yet not having played it I gritted myself and prepared for Ninja Gaiden II.

As I mentioned Ninja Gaiden II throws a lot at you right from the start. The graphics are initially extremely impressive with everything having a smooth glossy sheen with not a jaggy in sight. The action is immediately intense and very fast flowing with little introductions leaving the player to decipher most of Continue reading Review: Ninja Gaiden II

Review: Battlefield: Bad Company

Developer – DICE
Publisher – Electronic Arts
Available On – XBOX 360, PS3
Reviewed On – XBOX 360

The Battlefield series has returned to home consoles stronger than ever. Not only does this next Battlefield installment provide a satisfying and expansive online community similar to it’s PC versions, but it also adds several nice engine upgrades, a big graphical overhaul and a short but fun single player campaign. Continue reading Review: Battlefield: Bad Company

Review: Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution (XBOX 360)

Developer – Firaxis
Publisher – 2K Games
Available On – XBOX 360, PS3, DS/Wii (Later)

I’m not much of a strategist these days but there’s two things that piked my interest in Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution (Civ Rev).

1. Most console strategy games are horrible.

2. Sid Meier’s strategy games are great.

So with these two conflicts solidly implanted in my mind, it was with much intrigue that I have spent the last few weeks exploring Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution on the XBOX 360.
Continue reading Review: Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution (XBOX 360)

Review: Haze (PS3)

Free Radical is an interesting developer for two reasons. The first point of interest is that the company was founded by several former employees of Rare. Back on the Nintendo 64, Rare redefined the first person shooter with Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. Free Radical went on to create their own first person shooter series called Time Splitters, which was praised for its fast paced multiplayer action. Free Radical also created Second Sight, a fantastic game which combined the stealth genre with psychic powers.

The other interesting thing about Free Radical is you could always tell their games apart by their signature art style with subtly caricatured characters. Free Radical has now made their foray into the next generation of consoles with Haze – another first person shooter. While Haze unfortunately lacks Free Radicals iconic art style, it still has ties to Second Sight for having a story filled with conspiracies, corruption and corporations.

Continue reading Review: Haze (PS3)

Review: Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword (NDS)

Developer – Team Ninja

Publisher – Tecmo

Available On – Nintendo DS

The Ninja Gaiden games have some diverse roots. To date, our black clad Dragon Ninja Ryu Hayabusa originated on the arcade and has appeared on the NES, SNES, Master System, Game Gear and lots more and now Dragon Sword – our DS title. Continue reading Review: Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword (NDS)

Review: Battle Of The Bands (Wii)

Developer – Planet Moon Studios
Publisher – THQ
Available On – Wii

It’s hard to discuss a game like Battle Of The Bands (BOTB) and not compare it to the likes of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, the market dominators in music games both now also available on the Wii. Though after a brief session with BOTB one realises such comparisons are inappropriate, BOTB does not attempt to emulate any form of real life instrument and instead employs a very light hearted approach to some simplistic arcade command timing against re-mixed versions of popular licensed music. Continue reading Review: Battle Of The Bands (Wii)

Review: DragonBall Z Burst Limit (XBOX 360)

Developer – Dimps
Publisher – Namco Bandai / Atari
Available On – XBOX 360, PS3

With Dragon Ball first airing throughout Japan in 1986 it’s not surprising to find a slew of video game releases throughout the years based on one of the most popular manga and anime series ever. DragonBall Z (DBZ) games, more specifically, have been pumping out on a regular basis since the SEGA Mega Drive days. Now we have Burst Limit, DBZ’s first foray into the next-gen realm of HD graphics and online play in what feels like a continuation on the old series as well as an introduction to a new era of DBZ games.

If you’ve played DBZ titles from series such as Budokai or Tenkaichi, you’ll of course be quite familiar with the play style of Burst Limit. A mix of strength and speed, the variety of projectile and melee attack combinations across each character hosts good versatility in combat necessitating fast reaction times against contextual thinking. Continue reading Review: DragonBall Z Burst Limit (XBOX 360)

Review: Iron Man (XBOX 360)

Developer – Secret Level (XBOX 360, PS3);
Artificial Mind And Movement (Wii, PS2, PSP, DS, PC)
Publisher – SEGA
Available on – Everything!

Creating an enjoyable Iron Man video game shouldn’t be too difficult. Somehow the concept of a man in a flying metal suit with regenerating projectiles sounds like one that would work for a game. Others may have noticed this, as while Iron Man has this game all to himself he has appeared many times before along other Marvel heroes and in many CAPCOM fighting mash-ups.

So Iron Man should be a great game, after all, it’s Iron Man. Perhaps if a development studio were given a backlog of Marvel comics and told to make it happen, something more substantial could have come into fruition. Unfortunately what has happened, is yet another popular franchise has spawned a hugely successful film resorting in a mass spew of poorly rushed and underdeveloped video games to cash in on the market while it’s there. Continue reading Review: Iron Man (XBOX 360)

Review: Penny Arcade Adventures – On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness Episode One (PC)

Developer – Hothead Games
Publisher – Online Distribution
Available On – PC, XBOX 360 (XBOX Live)

Throw some good humour into a game and you’ve instantly added a whole lot of charm and replayability. Couple this with solid game design and entertaining characters and you’ve got Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-slick Precipice Of Darkness Episode One (here in known as OTRSPOD). Not just an excessively long title, OTRSPOD is a short yet content filled role playing adventure and the first of a four part episodic series. Continue reading Review: Penny Arcade Adventures – On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness Episode One (PC)

Retro Review: Grand Theft Auto III (PC)

This review was originally written for GamerAU’s retro section.

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Developer – Rockstar North
Publisher – Rockstar Games
Available on – PS2, XBOX, PC

Grand Theft Auto III is one of the greatest and most impactive video games in the industry to date. Fortunately my job here is to explain how and why this came about, as I know arguing otherwise would be most futile and pointless. Continue reading Retro Review: Grand Theft Auto III (PC)