Killing the Pain: Hell and Damnation is loosed on console


Title: Painkiller: Hell and Damnation
The Farm 51
Nordic Games
Release Date:
April 5th, 2013 (PS3 and XBOX360 versions),
October 31st 2012 (PC)
Between 4 and 6 hours

New weapon

-Repetitive, old levels
-Dull graphics
-Very little violence
-Cliché storyline
-Pathetically short
-Voice actors seem out of their depth
-One: the average IQ of your opponents

Less Entertaining Than: Painkiller

More Entertaining Than: Bonking a hammer over your head

Rating (out of 10): 2

In Summary: To call Painkiller: Hell and Damnation entertaining would be like suggesting the act of putting a red hot iron down your trousers, or running a cheese grater over your genitals, were genuinely smart things to do.

The original Painkiller and the first mission pack that spawned from it, Battle out of Hell, which Hell and Damnation is very loosely based upon were originally designed by People Can Fly and distributed by Dreamcatcher. Sometimes when a new developer takes the seams one must question whether or not they will pay homage to the previous titles by making a game deserving of the franchise. Sometimes, much like Halo 4, the developers can surprise you by constructing a stunningly gorgeous game with a breathtaking storyline, fantastic action sequences and an alarmingly entertaining experience. Painkiller: Hell and Damnation is not one of these games, and is in fact the reason why many new developers are looked at so skeptically when taking command of a fantastic franchise and by the end of the game, the only thing requiring a painkiller, or ten, will be you, the player, after having to endure such a soporifically torturous experience.

The story picks up after the events of the last mission pack, with Daniel Garner returning to the graveyard where he originally began his pilgrimage back in 2003. Having been denied the right to see his beloved wife Catherine in Heaven, he is stuck in the hellish land that he has set to ruin over the past few titles. All of a sudden, Eve, who had betrayed Daniel back in Battle out of Hell, and who Daniel is unable to entirely trust throughout this campaign warns him that ‘he is coming’, the ominous ‘he’ being Death.

Although Hell and Damnation is, I guess, supposed to be a brand new storyline, it uses old levels to tell its tale, with a very loose, cliché and predictable storyline playing out during the cinematics that infrequently occur over the course of the campaign. On that note, you are basically forced to fight through areas and enemies that you would have already cleansed and punished previously.

Right from the very beginning you can see the differences between the previous Painkiller titles and this new addition. Fans of the original franchise may remember that the cinematic moments were utterly sublime, the graphics being beyond fathomable, with the characters, whether they be humanoid or demonic looking so utterly realistic that the movie experience these cinematic scenes brought to the game aided in absorbing the player further into the compelling story. True, Painkiller has always been a brainless action shooter, but there was a story worth telling none the same during the cinematic sequences and it is a shame that such cannot be said for Hell and Damnation.

The graphics of the cinematic cut scenes in this game are the same visuals that will be presented to the player during the levels. Now, I will be the first to admit that the graphics of the original series were a little dull and dark, but on top of this I might remind the player that the games were using an older engine. With the use of the Unreal 3 Engine to power this particular game, one may assume that the graphics would be near astounding, with titles the likes of Gears of War 3, Bioshock Infinite and Mass Effect 3, just to name a few, being powered by this graphically gorgeous engine. Now, even though Painkiller is indeed set in purgatorial realms and hellish domains, one might assume that the engine would make the environments more beautiful than they were in previous titles. Wrong! If anything, the graphics are incredibly off putting, dull and hazy, and make the graphics of the original game continue to look fresh and lively today when in comparison.

On occasion, for instance in the level Cathedral, the bright colourations of some of the environments and castle features are a welcome change. They are not stunning per se and are in no way up to the standard of today, but are still much more engrossing than the usual grays and blacks that the game seems to more often than not rely upon. At times, such as in the level Opera House, the environment is so black that it is literally pitch, and by pitch, well, you’ll see for yourself if you decide to suffer through such a level; at times you will be unable to see an inch in front of you, let alone the enemies attempting to rid you of your health. A torch would have been supportive in such a level, which actually is used later on in the Orphanage level, which, ironically, was an unnecessary attachment.


Moving on, upon Death entering the cinematic, if you are anything like me you will be a bit at a loss as to who you are looking at. I mean, how would Death appear to you? Would this terrifying reaper be a skeletal monster with a sheath and a horse of like comparison? In Hell and Damnation, the designers obviously opted for a unique look to the harvester of souls, and with that, have basically turned him into an aquatic terror. Death basically looks like a chubby octopus with some green algae hanging from his shoulders.

In fact, a number of the characters in the game look as though they spent the hiatus between the last Painkiller and this one down at the local McDonalds, where they refused to leave, instead opting to eat their fill and then some. Eve herself, who later appears in corporeal form once more, who was originally a babe of unimaginable beauty, has decided to cover up with a few additional layers of skin. Now, I have no problem with a woman, who, unlike most models these days, actually decides to eat, so before you start sending in your hate mail and stipulating that I am a vulgar bastard, please, allow me to finish. Eve (this is the Eve FYI, who happened to have a thing with Adam at one time) is the kind of individual you would imagine to be quite special. I mean, women are naturally beautiful, so it would be natural that Eve be beautiful too, which was reflective in the previous games, but not in this one. Her hair; her face; her choice of attire; even her voice, all of this is completely different and you will in no way recognise her character.

That is the other factor you will notice. The original voice actors do not return to voice the characters, and so a bunch of new individuals have been hired on. The biggest difference here is Jon St. John who voices Daniel Garner. When it comes to voicing Duke Nukem, I would want nobody else but Mr. John to voice the character because he does an unfathomably brilliant job portraying such an action hero. As Daniel Garner though, Mr. John seems out of his depth, his deep voice being unable to convey the emotional power that was originally orchestrated in the prior titles, and it sometimes seems disturbingly humorous to have such an actor portraying a broken and defeated character. If you want someone to be taken seriously, one should hire an actor who can portray a serious part. Mr. John does a terrific job at articulating humorous one liners and other such comedic dialogue, but in Painkiller, he seems about as wooden as a tree stump.

Now, Death has not magically appeared in front of Daniel out of the goodness of his heart – he has a proposition for him. If Daniel gives to him 7,000 souls, Death will grant him his wish to finally rise up to Heaven and be with his wife. Upon this deal being struck, Death grants Daniel a new weapon, which is the only new feature of the game. Like every other weapon in the Painkiller universe it is a two in one kind of deal; the primary fire is the buzz saw, which launches a relatively strong saw blade in the direction of your target at a rather slow speed. The secondary fire is much more entertaining, and is the soul snatcher, that will rip soul’s right out from your opponents and give them to you. Additionally, you are able to aim the gun in the direction of a soul that has erupted out from the body of a fallen opponent and drag it into your character.

Old weapons, from both Painkiller and Battle out of Hell make a welcome return to the game, including, but not limited to the Chaingun Rocket Launcher, the Battle Rifle Flame Thrower and the Stakegun Grenade Launcher. On top of this, you not only begin the game with the brand new weapon that Death provides to you, but with the Painkiller device and the Shotgun Freeze Ray.

Much like in the previous Painkiller games, the goal is to go from level to level defeating the terrific amount of enemies that come in their droves to stop you. As usual, after collecting a certain number of souls, Daniel will enter demon mode, where you, the player, will be able, for a temporary period of time, to eradicate enemies with but a single shot. The enemies however are as brainless as they come, and if you can find more incompetent AI anywhere, I am almost certain that Hell and Damnation will beat that by an extra few per cent. Enemies flock towards you as though wanting to be eradicated, with no flight complex and no way to defend themselves against your attacks. On several occasions I came across enemies that ran into walls and became stuck; enemies who became stuck in corners; enemies who became stuck on the corpses of other enemies; enemies who decided to kill other enemies; the list of the blatant disregard of AI in this game is overwhelmingly never ending. On top of this, since a majority of your enemies can be eradicated with but a single shot on many an occasion, and since more of them only come equipped with melee attacks rather than long range weaponry, a lot of combatants will be annihilated before they are even able to touch you.

To make the game easier, as with previous titles, Tarot cards can be collected by completing certain objectives during the map; use only this particular weapon to vanquish the hordes of Hell; find every gold coin; find every secret area; complete the level in under a certain time constraint, etc. Due to the shortness of the game, in some levels one will discover there are in fact two cards that can be unlocked, each of which has a unique objective that needs to be completed.
Once more, the gold that is collected is used to power the cards, each one costing a certain amount to be used during a map. Each card can only be used once per map, although, like the last games, the ability to use more than one at the same time empowers Daniel considerably. Although the act of attempting to acquire the cards, along with the ability to use them can add some much needed entertainment to one’s experience, the Tarot cards are not essentially necessary, and one can efficaciously complete the game without any undue assistance.

Of course, with 7,000 souls to collect and a mass of opponents to destroy, you might imagine that, much like the previous titles in the series that Hell and Damnation will be incredibly violent; wrong again! The reason why there was such a considerably lengthy delay between the PC version and that which is on console is due to a German classifier, who stated that the game was unnecessarily evil in its violence. It is at this moment that I could make a vulgar and rather racial joke about this, but I will avoid the urge. I however did have a go at the PC version after playing the one on XBOX, and really, there is not much difference in the amount of blood and gore; both versions have very little of it. In previous Painkiller’s you almost needed to bring a towel to wipe the gore from your screen as it oozed across every surface of the environment, but in this particular game you see a quick spray of red from the bodies of those that are blown to smithereens and nothing else. Classified MA in Australia for Strong Horror Violence and Blood and Gore, if a game is going to have such a classification attached to it, then I will very much appreciate seeing all of this supposed ‘blood and gore’. Now, I am not necessarily a Satanist, but I prefer my games to have a bit of arterial red in them, and Hell and Damnation more often than not refuses to bathe the player in the bright red bodily ooze of fallen opponents.

All of the opponents you face moreover are replicas of those that you would have fought during the original campaigns, with a few changes here and there. Often when playing through a level, different opponents than the ones you remember initially fighting will appear, but the change is barely worth noting. Some minor alterations have additionally been implemented with some of the combatants, including providing the skelebones with arms and a blade to wield in each, and reducing the Skeletore, who was a terrific 8 foot tall badass with a double barreled shotgun in the original Painkiller, being strong, dangerous, and capable of using other enemies as demonic shields, to a four foot delinquent incapable of inciting fear into an ant, let alone the player.

Additionally, a couple of the original Boss monsters return for the slaughter, including the Necrogiant and Alastair. In the case of Alastair, like with the Skeletore, the developers decided to ‘improve’ upon the original design, so instead of the boss being a gigantic fire breathing monstrosity who would make even Godzilla wet his pants, they have sent him off to Jenny Craig, where they not only took off some of his muscle, but much of his height as well. The end result is this flimsy, 6 foot tall creature with goat legs, the body of a hairy chimp, two bat wings and the face of a gorilla; not exactly a fire breathing dragon now, is it?

Moving on, the levels you will fight through are from the original Painkiller game, and the mission pack, Battle out of Hell. Players may remember that Painkiller came with 24 levels, and Battle out of Hell was equipped with 10, and so it is blatantly obvious that 20 of them have apparently disappeared into the ether in this particular campaign comprised of 14 levels. You begin the game in the Graveyard level, as the player would have in the first game, and will continue on through other known maps the likes of the train station and the theme park. Other fun maps, the likes of the Military Base, the Tower of Babel, the Town, the Labs and Dead City are not included, and so, if you are anything like me, you are going to be adversely disappointed by the game’s content.

An interesting new addition to the levels though are the Boss monsters, who reign over these lands, and sometimes you see then moving about the environments in the background. When you begin the game in the Graveyard, you might suddenly experience a moment of pause as you look up to see the Necrogiant walking about the place, and later still, you may see him interact with the world by shoving his huge hand through the ceiling of a building you happen to be standing in.

Throughout the game, from the cinematics to moments during the levels themselves, random hints are provided as to what the ending will be comprised of, and the developers do not disappoint by leaving it wide open for a sequel. The ending, although rather unlikely, makes it seem as though brand spanking new content is just waiting around the corner to be explored in any potential new games that are to be made in this new franchise, I must wonder – why would anyone want to persist in this experience?

On that note, all of this combined makes for a very short game, and if you are in anyway interested in purchasing this particular title, I would recommend that you perhaps borrow it from your local video store and complete it over the course of a night, for I cannot imagine anyone wanting to experience this campaign twice.

If the developers of Painkiller: Hell and Damnation should feel anything after having completed this project, it is shame. Painkiller has been an abundantly popular series over the years, and what this game does is take everything that made the series entertaining to play and completely ruin the enjoyment for everyone. I would be seriously surprised if this dreadful excuse for a sequel manages to spawn another, and if it does, I only hope the developers do a better job than they did this time around. If Farm 51 want my opinion, it is this; if you want to create an appalling, pathetic excuse for a video game, I ain’t going to stop you; I do however recommend that you do not destroy a perfectly good franchise in the process.


An Infinite amount of entertainment awaits in Columbia – Part II


This is a continuation from my previous post which I wrote after playing the Bioshock Infinite campaign for five hours. This particular post concludes the last with my final thoughts after successfully completing the game on the afternoon of March 29th. My original thoughts explored in the original post still reign true, and can be found at this link here ( where I talk about the graphics, working alongside Elizabeth, the game play and the differences between the previous Bioshock titles and Infinite.

Title: Bioshock Infinite
Developer: Irrational Games
Publisher: 2K
Release Date: March 26th
Platforms: PC, PS3, XBOX360
Game Length: Between 15 and 18 hours

More Entertaining Than: Singularity

Less Entertaining Than: Half Life 2

-outstanding graphics
-powerful weapons and abilities
-Skyhook is fun to utilise
-entertaining action sequences
-interactive characters
-powerful themes

-Complicated storyline
-Major game play differences in
contrast to former Bioshock titles
-No multiplayer features

Rating (out of 10): 8

Bioshock Infinite is quite unlike its predecessors as I previously explored. The ability to work alongside a fellow character, Elizabeth, the young woman you are sent to the city of Columbia to extract is a gaming element that was never established in prior titles. Her ability to restock your supplies of health, salt and ammunition when you are running low is something that makes the game all the more easier, and her ability to interact with the environment is something that very few games today actually explore.

The ability to work alongside a fellow character in the game on occasion allows for emotional interactions between Elizabeth and Dewitt, which includes comforting Elizabeth when she is emotionally distraught and discussing ideas of race and religion. Of course, this seriousness is additionally in contrast with the playful banter that exists between the characters, which includes, but is not limited to, Elizabeth contemplating what it would look like for Dewitt to hop onto a merry-go-round.

Unlike in previous Bioshock titles, the emotional connection your character, Booker Dewitt, has to Elizabeth is not quite as powerfully moving throughout the game as it was with the original two. In the original Bioshock, over the course of the game you discover that your connection to the city stems from your character having been born in Rapture, and in Bioshock 2, your connection to Eleanor Lamb stems from you being her Big Daddy protector, Alpha, assigned to watch over her until death.

However, that is not to say that Bioshock Infinite is not shocking or daring in its nature. Unlike in the previous games in the franchise, Bioshock Infinite’s storyline is concerned with some incredibly powerful themes the likes of racism, war, religion and violence. You may not be moved to tears, but a part of you will inevitably bear the brunt of such an evocative storyline that dares to bring to light themes from the past that continue to haunt humanity to this very day.

In Bioshock Infinite, Elizabeth is initially a job to your character. Your goal is to acquire her, and send her back to New York to wipe away a ‘debt’ that is shrouded in fog for a majority of the storyline. It is over the course of the game that Elizabeth becomes something more than just an ordinary job, but a means to an end, and your character, Dewitt, is essentially her bodyguard and protector. Elizabeth needs Dewitt to get off Columbia. Dewitt needs Elizabeth to wipe his conscience clean.

What I didn’t explain however in the last post is Elizabeth’s special ability. It is found over the course of the title that Elizabeth is able to open up rifts (think Singularity), but, instead of these rifts being linked to one specific time and one alternate world, they are linked to many; to alternate versions of the past, present and future. Hence, this explains how a floating city in the sky could be successfully developed in the late 1890’s.

It becomes mandatory over the course of the storyline to explore some of the worlds hidden behind the rifts, and suffer the dire ramifications that come from deciding to go through one particular worm hole and into another.

Confused? Well, friend, you should be, because Bioshock Infinite’s storyline is not as clean cut as the former two games in the franchise. The previous games did not require much thought to sufficiently understand the storyline, unlike Infinite, which starts out relatively sane, and then becomes quite the opposite.

Upon initiating missions that require the use of rifts, and having to go through other rifts inside other worlds, to say that your brain will become bent out of shape at attempting to fathom what on Earth is going on will be beyond an understatement.

Safe to say there are answers to the many questions that you will no doubt generate as the game slowly descends further into what some may view as utter madness, however the answers come incredibly slowly, so patience is key in deciphering the storyline. Over time, you will come to adjust to the oddities the game presents to you. The amazing action oriented scenes are enough to satisfy you throughout the game and keep your eyes fixed on the screen and your trigger finger at the ready.

Much like in former Bioshock titles where one needed to adjust their combat styles to eliminate certain enemies, the same can be said for Infinite. There are aptly named ‘Firemen’, who blast rounds of fire at you, and are immune to the power, and thus need to be dispatched by alternate means; ‘the crow’, who is much unlike the comic book character, who uses crows not just as an attacking power, but as way to disappear, and thus the player will need to find a way to break the defences of this particular enemy and keep them from moving about the map so quickly; and there are robotic enemies that are designed to preserve the religious integrity of the city who are weak from behind.

Moreover, there are no Big Daddies in the game, but there is what is known as the Song Bird, which is a colossal winged giant that is assigned to keep Elizabeth from leaving the city of Columbia. However, again, much unlike previous games where Big Daddies played a crucial role, in Infinite, the Song Bird very rarely appears, and half the time you will probably forget he even exists at all, which is an insult to his character for he is an amazingly powerful being that deserved a far greater role that what he is provided.

Unlike in Bioshock predecessors, there is no specialised ammunition to use, so one simply has to make do with what they have. There are additionally no Power to the People stations where weapons can be upgraded, and instead upgrades need to be bought from vending machines, many of which come at exorbitant prices. The ability to hold several thousands of dollars in your wallet does make this substantially easier though, with these particular upgrades increasingly the damage, range and aim of all weapons.

The weapons however do not look quite as spectacular as they once did, with the likes of the shotgun and machinegun looking rather drab in contrast with the colourful designs that were allocated in the two previous titles. The ability, as mentioned in my last post, to carry only two weapons is considerably unsatisfying considering the player could carry every weapon in the game in former titles. This presents the player with a choice, and a very significant one. Ammunition is sometimes difficult to come by, and it is often mandatory to swap weapons over. Over time, whether you are carrying the weapon or not, Dewitt is able to store all of the ammunition he comes across, so by the time you have swapped back for a weapon you were previously using you might well be fully stocked again for your next battle.

Former weapons the likes of the spear gun have been replaced with a sniper rifle and a carbine, the grenade launcher from the original Bioshock has been replaced with an RPG, and the machinegun from Bioshock 2 has spawned several weapons, including a burst rifle and a Gatling gun of sorts.

Upgrades can additionally be purchased for your abilities, which will more often than not cost over a thousand dollars. Old favourite abilities, the likes of the fire ball and lightning are available, along with a few new ones. These include the ability to toss out an army of crows to chase your opponents around and there is a drag ability, which is used to bring your enemies closer. There’s one particular ability that I liked which allowed you to send a shockwave across the ground that would toss any organic enemy caught in its radius up into the air for a short period of time, thus removing their defences whilst they were in the air, making it easier to eliminate them.

Battles are genuinely not that difficult due to Elizabeth’s ability to keep you fully stocked, and on the few occasions when she is not around you feel it as you become overwhelmed by opponents. Previous Bioshock games had considerably difficult fight scenes, but Infinite has opted for scenarios that you will be able to efficaciously beat. They do make up for it though by having a truly difficult conclusion that will put all of your skills accumulated over the course of the game to the test.

On the rare occasion that you will die, instead of being resurrected at a Biosphere much like in Bioshock 1 and 2, you instead either; are brought back to life through adrenaline and CPR at the hands of Elizabeth, or instead come waltzing out from a rift with a good portion of your health restored. No matter how you are brought back, in addition, your enemies will have additionally being partially revived.

Moving back to the game’s complicated storyline, by the end of Bioshcok Infinite, you will have received a vast number of answers to the many questions that will have been weighing upon you, but even then that is not enough to quench your thirst for knowledge. Although you have the answers, the solution to how the answers were conceived still eludes you, and the game seems to contradict itself and only complicate things further.

Unlike in Bioshock, where at the end the game moved me to tears, and Bioshock 2, where I cried like a baby for a full forty minutes after I completed the campaign, Bioshock Infinite will probably not cause you to cry, but the revelations that are revealed are considerably shocking to behold.

Winner of 80 plus gaming awards and hailed by Time as a game worth looking out for, Bioshock Infinite has been built up considerably on all fronts, and yet, I get the intense feeling that the game itself is overrated, and that the game’s success will be unable to mirror the success of either its PR department or that of the many critics that have hailed it as a game worth playing. There have been a number of other fantastic titles that have come out over the years that have received not even half the publicity that Infinite has garnered, and yet, they were far superior to what Irrational has developed.

If Irrational continue to develop Bioshock games in the future, I only ask that they don’t cause my mind to blow up with such strenuous confusion. If 2K could develop a brilliant campaign that was easily understandable, I cannot see why Irrational are unable to do so.

The Nuts and Bolts of Gears of War Judgment


Developer: Epic Games/People Can Fly
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date: 18th March (US) 19th March (Everywhere Else)

Duration: approximately 6 hours

More Entertaining Than: Gears of War







Less Entertaining Than: Gears of War 3







-gorgeously stunning visuals
-fanciful new equipment
-fun and challenging choice avenues

-unbelievably short
-repetitive action oriented scenarios
-stereotypically predictable storyline

Rating (out of 10): 8

Gears of War Judgment is a brainless action shooter that will entertain you as often as it disappoints you.

I won’t lie. The first Gears of War game did nothing for me. I found the graphics to be unfathomably dull and lifeless, I felt the story lacked any substance and the action scenes put me to sleep.

The sequels though, well, they were completely the opposite. If Gears of War bored me to tears, then the following two sequels left me feeling incredibly content with their frequently thrilling action scenes, dazzling graphics and emotionally powerful storylines that pushed the franchise in a brand new and stunningly beautiful direction.

That is probably what makes Gears of War Judgment, that is a prequel to the events of the original Gears game so disappointing, for much of what made me enjoy the previous two games is entirely absent from this particular title entirely.

Judgment is proof that even though a game comes equipped with beautiful graphics, doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to enthrall you. Right from the very beginning you are able to stare in wonder at the gorgeously beautiful environments and sigh at how everything looks as stunning as an oil painting.

The game starts off at the end, with the members of Kilo squad, led by known Gears character Damon Baird, who is a Lieutenant during this particular campaign, being placed on trial for war crimes.

The trail is led by Colonel Loomis, who is the stereotypical high ranking militarian Gears leader, in that he is a complete arsehole, and is out to crucify Kilo squad because of his very own entrenched beliefs.

Over the course of the trail, each of the members of the team provide testimonies on the events which led to their capture by the COG, through which the player takes control of the characters as they narrate what transpired.

Although at first this seemed a little off putting, this is done surprisingly well, and is probably one of the most fun aspects of the game, for the player doesn’t just simply take control of one character over the course of the storyline, but all four.

‘Private, what do you see?’
‘Grubs sir, lots of ‘em!’

Throughout the game you work in a team, and never are you separated from the other members of Kilo.

After initially beginning as Baird, you are then provided the opportunity to play as Sofia Hendrick, who is without a doubt the most entertaining character in all of Kilo, and through her character, you will probably have the most fun. Voiced by the always entertaining Ali Hillis, Sofia is the stereotypically gorgeous Gears woman, with an unbelievably fabulous body and – sorry, what I mean to say is that Sofia is a by the book cadet who fights with honor and courage. She is well mannered, and not only is she the heart and soul of the group, being able to put the others in their place by notifying them when they are doing wrong, she is also the one character who expresses the most entertaining one liners.

The issue with playing as Sofia, is that her campaign is the shortest, and no doubt has something to do with what Epic games said back in February; how they personally believe that female characters in the Gears universe are basically not worth focusing on because gamers will not be interested in them. Basically, Epic made the point that women are boring. But in a game like Judgment, Epic officially contradict themselves. Sofia; the only woman in the game, is probably the most un-boring aspect of the entire campaign and thus deserved a far more influential and inspired role.

The next character you play is Paduk, who is in fact not associated with the Gears, but is their rival enemy. Initially fighting them in battle, the emergence of the Grubs has caused him to join sides with Damon and follow him into battle, for he knows that if they do not end the Locust, then there will be no more wars for any of them to fight, for everyone will be extinct. Paduk speaks in a deep Russian accent and is quite the honorable character. He stands by his beliefs and does not change for anyone, and thus is an incredibly inspiring trait to have in a character. A good friend to Damon, he is an exceptional soldier and is truly dependable for whatever situation you are going into.

Lastly, you have the opportunity to play as legendary Gears character Cole Train. In Gears of War 3, I was honored to have the privilege to play as Cole, even if the time I spent controlling his character was limited, it was incredibly fun. That is probably why it is so disappointing to see such a stellar character reduced to such a pathetically small role. Cole has the least to say throughout the game, and his usually entertaining self has been exchanged for a more subtle character. A character like Cole deserves a far larger role than that which Epic designated for him during the game, and they should damn well know it too.

If Epic does anything especially well with the characters, it is without a doubt the fact that players will be incredibly depressed as they play through the game. Male gamers will feel as though they are not muscular enough (as all of the male characters make even Vin Diesel look positively skinny) and all the women gamers will not think they are skinny enough. Basically, if you have issues with your body, avoid this game at all costs!

Furthermore, although you are able to experience the game through the eyes of different characters, the game offers nothing stunning via story. You learn very little about each character and the connections between the each of them seem to start and end with their general loathing of the Locus horde. As previously mentioned, the last two Gears games provided great emotional storylines, and yet very little is found in this game; even the banter between the characters seems to have been reduced in exchange for more action.

Epic does however manage to redeem itself here with the introduction of declassified missions. The game is separated into small sections, each of which ends with a quick cinematic. At the beginning of each section, the player is able to click on a glowing red Gears symbol on a wall that will open up and provide an additional aspect to that particular section. If the player chooses to play with this added bonus to the section, the character will testify to this during their court proceedings. This element of choice is incredibly fun, the challenges including, but not limited to; time based assaults; alternate and additional enemy units and weapons; player visibility; player healing, etc.

Although these are often incredibly short, there are so many of them throughout the game that you will more than likely have the opportunity to experience something more than once as you progress.

Not only do declassified missions provide you with additional challenges, but with more stars. During the campaign, you acquire points for killing the bad guys, and lose points every time you go down and need reviving. Each section provides you with the opportunity to earn three stars, and you are easily able to do this with the declassified mission active more often than you can without it, making it a mandatory fixture to the game if you wish to acquire as many stars as possible.

Although stars will only provide beneficial traits to those who especially enjoy the multiplayer aspect of the game, they will additionally unlock ‘Aftermath’, which is an additional game that takes place in Gears of War 3, that will provide an additional hour of game play. I will go back and talk about this later in the review.

There is never anything else to do in Gears of War Judgment except kill grubs.

Moving back to the action, that is all Gears of War Judgment is; one action scene after another, many of which seemingly become repetitive over time. There are after all only so many ways that you can kill a Locust, and since there are literally hundreds of thousands of them throughout the game, you are likely to become a little bored along the way, regardless of how entertaining killing them can be.

The environments however will provide you with some added differences to the scenery, as you fight your way through abandoned homes, desolated streets and even a Normandy Beach Head reenactment. However, after a while even the environments themselves on occasion seem to blend together and you get the distinct feeling of déjà vu.

None of the scenes are separated by vehicular assaults or anything else, and you always find yourself on foot rather than using any other tactic. Players will be happy to learn however that old favorite weapons, the likes of the scorcher, retro lancer and sawed off shotgun are featured during the game, along with a few new ones including the Booshka grenade launcher (which is nothing special I might add and does a better job at killing you than it does at killing your targets) and the Markza sniper rifle, which is incredibly fun to use, although you seem to spend more time reloading it than you do firing. Additionally, a retro version of this weapon is available than has an even smaller magazine.

A trip wire crossbow is found in the game as well, which will allow you to set traps for your enemies (I like to call this puppy the Trip Shot, but that’s just me) and gun turrets that come in many different flavors are also available which are very fun to use in the field, the player being able to openly move them whenever or wherever they are needed most.

These two pieces of equipment especially come in handy when you are required to hold off waves of enemies. On several occasions you are forced to defend an area against wave after wave after wave of enemy opponents, which is no doubt a ploy by the developer to make the game longer else it would only have gone for half the length. Enemies will more often than not keep coming from the same direction, which again makes the scenes brainless and easy to exploit to your own advantage, regardless as to how many Locusts there are or how much firepower they are wielding.

On top of this, one new enemy, the Rager, is an impeccably fun combatant to face. Although initially appearing as a skinny little thing that looks truly pathetic, after being shot a couple times the  creature goes berserk, much like the brutes in the Halo games, but to a far more alarming extent. These guys become about twice as big as they once were, become covered in heavy armor and go red in the face, chasing you around roaring at the top of their lungs, a single swipe having the power to knock you right on your arse – safe to say, these guys are as challenging to fight as they are entertaining to watch.

Epic concludes their new Gears game with a boss battle that ends as quickly as it begins.

However, the Rager does nothing to make up for the final pitifully weak boss battle. The goal of the game is to bring an end to Karn’s assault, Karn being the warlord of this particular army. Paduk speaks of how powerful Karn is; how he has swept through many cities, completely eradicating them, however, when you fight him at the end, you feel incredibly disappointed to find that Karn is very underwhelming. Basically, a stereotypical Locust bad guy on a really big bug, Karn offers nothing spectacular to the mix and the battle with him is reminiscent of something you might have played through before.

Moving back to the Aftermath game which is unlocked after earning forty stars, this particular game takes place 24 hours before the imulsion cure is implemented in Gears of War 3. During this campaign, Baird, Cole, Carmine and Paduk fight their way through a ravaged Locust occupied area to find a way to transport an excess amount of troops towards the final stage of the game.

Although this game is attached to Judgment the graphics do not look quite as refined, and are more reminiscent of Gears of war 3, which now seems a little outdated when in comparison to the graphics of today. Additionally, the areas you fight through are rather bland and don’t offer anything new environmentally speaking.

On top of this, Aftermath fails to offer any new in game concepts, and seems to repeat a number of the fun experiences that players would have gone through in previous Gears games. Much like the Lost Missions in Doom 3 BFG, Aftermath is an explanation to something that needed no storytelling, and so has the constant feeling that it is considerably pointless.

What is worth a mention however, is that even though Aftermath comes up with a couple plot narratives, it fails to build on them, and thus leaves you with more questions than answers; questions you would not have had if Epic had not decided to make this unnecessary installment.

By the conclusion of Aftermath, it proves only one thing; Epic appears to be running short on ideas for the Gears of War franchise. Although there is plenty of action to go around, gamers in general are an incredibly mature bunch, and after experiencing many games with in-depth storylines would be after something a lot more dazzling than what Epic is providing them with this incredibly short addition to an unbelievably popular franchise. At times Judgment feels as though it was developed purely to make Epic a couple extra bucks, and to remind gamers that they are still alive. If they continue to make games like this though, I must question; for how much longer?


Say Goodbye to the crew of the Normandy SR-2 in the final Mass Effect 3 DLC – Citadel!


DLC Title: Citadel (Parts 1 & 2)
Developer: Bioware
Cost: 1200 Microsoft Credits
Size: 4GB
Length: approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes

-incredibly entertaining
-hilarious banter and one liners
-terrific boss encounter
-challenging opponents
-many great twists and turns
-the return of all fabulous Mass Effect characters
-Wrex is back! YAY!

-stealth scenarios give you the heeby jeeby’s
-little health and ammunition during fight scenes

Rating: (out of ten) 9

Blogger’s Note – Over the course of this review, I will often refer to Commander Shepard as a ‘she’ because I more often than not play through the Mass Effect campaigns as a female protagonist.

What are the best Mass Effect DLC’s you can think of off the top of your head? Lair of the Shadow Broker? Stolen Memory? Well, almost certainly, Citadel will soon join those ranks as well.

If Citadel is anything, it is a reminder to all the fans of the franchise of what made Mass Effect so amazing. Perfectly orchestrated and well designed, Citadel is a story of team work and love, but most importantly, it is about the strength of friendship, and what separates Shepard from the many opponents that she faces.

‘Few people know what Shepard’s been through – I’d like to think I’ve come pretty close’
-Admiral David Anderson

Mass Effect often focuses on the battles that Shepard and her team members are forced to face and the strength of the loyalty that combines them and makes their team so efficient. Often this is shown through some rather morose and dire scenes of battle, so it is a welcome relief to see the honorable members of the crew being who they are in a more playful, enjoyable environment.

Citadel begins with a message from Admiral Hackett to your e-mail, requesting you to bring the Normandy into port on the Citadel so the old girl can be looked after by some mechanics as to ensure she is operating at proficient levels. The second and more prominent reason for this invitation though is for some active shore leave, so that all the crew can officially recharge their batteries before the final showdown.

Upon arrival, Anderson welcomes Shepard to his humble abode on the giant space station via extranet link, notifying her that his place is now hers for the taking. Immediately you have the option to explore your new residence, and can delve into the history that is Anderson’s past by listening to the many recordings scattered around his now former residence.

gorgeously atmospheric

gorgeously atmospheric


in-door gardens, fire-places, water features and plenty of places to explore make Shepard's new residence one helluva place to visit!

in-door gardens, fire-places, water features and plenty of places to explore make Shepard’s new residence one helluva place to visit!


...and yes, I play as Fem Shepard...

…and yes, I play as Fem Shepard…

You could very easy look over the three bedrooms, many bathrooms and other amazing features that the apartment comes equipped with over and over again, but eventually you will need to reply to your new message from Joker, who invites Shepard down to a revered Sushi restaurant to discuss some important news with her.

As soon as you arrive at the Silver Sun Strip, you'll never want to leave

As soon as you arrive at the Silver Sun Strip, you’ll never want to leave

Making your way through some of the Citadel’s more attractive locations is incredibly fun, with the graphically stunning environments, realistic sounds and fun conversations to listen in on easily bringing this beautiful location to life.

'the best restaurant on the Citadel' is what they call this place - and everybody blames you when it gets attacked

‘the best restaurant on the Citadel’ is what they call this place – and everybody blames you when it gets attacked

‘Only had to save the universe twice to get a table’ announces Joker upon your arrival to such a luxurious restaurant. This line however is only one of several that are quite humorous, for unlike much of the Mass Effect titles, the writers of Citadel were apparently not without a sense of humour. ‘What do we know about these mercs?’ asks Liara over the comm. when the shit hits the fan, and Shepard’s reply is ‘they have guns and they don’t like me’, and after incidentally setting off a security system, Garus questions ‘was that an alarm?’, to which Shepard replies ‘thought I’d make things a little more interesting’, and again when antagonising the leader of the mercenary band, Shepard threatens ‘the last guy who trash talked me was a few kilometers taller than you.’

After Joker’s one liner, it is then that he asks ‘what did you want to talk to me about?’ Apparently, he was NOT the one who sent you the e-mail, and one it seems was sent from you to him. Someone has hacked your account, and has forced you to this location for a reason, which Mira Brooks, an Alliance employee who spends her days sitting behind a desk quickly rushes over to tell you.

Mira Brooks is not the stereotypical heroine, and so it is quite humorous to watch someone who obviously does not belong in an action oriented environment attempt to not only fraternise with arse kicking legends, but attempt to navigate through such hostile environments. She is an incredibly awkward young woman, and often says something totally un-heroic, the likes of ‘might throw up a little bit now if that’s okay with everyone?’

Brrooks contemplates on whether everyone's opinion of her will suddenly drop if she runs for her life

Brooks contemplates on whether everyone’s opinion of her will suddenly drop if she runs for her life

Long story short, Brooks rushes over to explain ‘someone is trying to kill you’, and funnily enough, this time it ain’t Cerberus, nor is it the Reapers. This is a brand new enemy who has an unbelievably large, and well armed mercenary band who are well prepared to inflict maximum casualties to ensure the successful promulgation of their endeavors.

As soon as Brooks enters the Sushi restaurant however, everything goes horribly wrong when that same enemy mentioned in the above paragraph? Well, they happen to stroll in as well, and after shooting up the place, Shepard finds herself blasting out through the glass floor, through an aquarium filled with fish and onto a docking level below.

The graphics during this scene, with the pieces of broken glass and the droplets of water coating the commander’s hair is terrifically effective, and immediately helps to pave the way for the other scenes that will, as always, capture your attention with the vivid imagery.

‘That pain you feel – that’s me kicking your ass!’
-Commander Shepard

It is now that the fighting officially begins, however, the initial battle sequences are not quite as enjoyable as what players would have participated in during previous downloadable games. Armed with only a silenced pistol (which is considerably effective actually), no health packs and very little ammunition, you are forced to covertly make your way through a docking structure teeming with opponents in the hopes of eventually locating your team members who are contacting you over the comms and notifying you of their willingness to help eradicate the new found threat.

These few areas where stealth is a necessary component to the fighting (else you will alert a mass of bad guys to your location (they don’t call it MASS Effect for nothing!)) are very much unlike what you would have previously experienced in other Mass Effect missions, where they are predominantly action oriented. In my opinion, the stealth sequences temporarily reduce the sheer amount of fun that the player could have enjoyed from the mission, and is a very peculiar addition to the storyline. It would be like going to a strip club, only to watch the women put their clothes on – very peculiar indeed.

Eventually though you are lucky enough to meet up with the stunningly gorgeous Liara and the always entertaining Wrex (who is bored of general Council business for which he was brought onto the station to consult upon), whose opening scene is so mesmerizing you will want to play the mission all over again just to witness this moment once more!

Liara proves how effective her communication skills are - and later, Wrex gives you a weapon that you will never want to part with!

Liara proves how effective her communication skills are – and later, Wrex gives you a weapon that you will never want to part with!

From now on the experience is more often  than not filled with explosions, gun battles and tactical supremacy, and in-between the action you find yourself talking with your team at your apartment in regards to what must be done next.

Shepard and her partner in crime Garus at the 'cool secret hideout' discuss how they hope 'the bad guys don't look through a window' and discover them.

Shepard and her partner in crime Garus at the ‘cool secret hideout’ discuss how they hope ‘the bad guys don’t look through a window’ and discover them.

One great aspect of this particular mission is the challenging opponents. Much like in Omega, which introduced a number of powerful new villains, Citadel packs a whopping punch with the artillery that they dare to throw at you. Known only as CAT 6, who are former members of the Alliance militarian division who have been dishonorably discharged for one reason or another, each member of the team is well protected by shields. The Heavy is especially well armored with a shield that makes that which some of the Cerberus units carry around with them appear like nothing more than flimsy pieces of tissue paper. These particular shields are immune even to Disrupter ammo, and so attempting to take these guys out becomes quite a hefty challenge, especially when they come at you in packs.

If that is not enough, these guys don’t just throw grenades when from afar – no, they throw several at once, which makes avoiding them all the more difficult for they are able to spread their explosive ordinance out.

On top of this, another new opponent is the Disruption Drone, which is a little holographic guy who flies around anonymously, before chasing after you, its goal being to get close enough before it discharges a massive EMP bomb which neutralises your shields.

new and old friends unite to bring an alternate flavor to the fight!

new and old friends unite to bring an alternate flavor to the fight!


Forget about following the yellow brick road - follow the little blue cord. During the second stage of the mission, you crash a party in order to discover who your opponent is. To do this, you must covertly infiltrate through the massive building whilst avoiding the many security parameters. Fun times!

Forget about following the yellow brick road – follow the little blue cord. During the second stage of the mission, you crash a party in order to discover who your opponent is. To do this, you must covertly infiltrate through a massive building whilst avoiding the many security parameters. Fun times!

Moreover, unlike the other missions that you have previously experienced, in this particular DLC, everyone is involved, and by everyone, I mean EVERYONE! True, you still run about with two team members to carry you all the way through the mission, however, the rest of your team split up into two – Hammerhead and Mako, and make their way through the facility along with you, providing advantageous fire support.

‘That’s why I love hanging out with you guys. Why shoot something once, when you can shoot it forty six more times?’
-Urdnot Wrex

whilst fighting through the Citadel, you can discover video logs on the history of the universe and battles long forgotten...

whilst fighting through the Citadel, you can discover video logs on the history of the universe and battles long forgotten…


...and learn about more coverups at the hands of the Council in regards to the Reapers

…and learn about more coverups at the hands of the Council in regards to the Reapers

After the mission is complete, and the final boss, who is an unfathomably challenging and very entertaining opponent has been eliminated (and you will never guess where this final, breathtaking scene takes place!), the DLC is not yet over, for celebrations are to be enjoyed. Joker has already begun sending out invitations to members of the crew, and you are able to continue doing this – you can invite some, or, like me, invite every single team member who is able to attend.

With shore leave having been interrupted, now is the time for you and your team to officially have some time off from the strenuous fighting that continuously occurs. Before the party happens, you are able to run around the Silver Sun Strip, which is a beautifully elegant and fun loving location on the Citadel. You can play games at the arcade, gamble at the casino and fight in the areans at the Armax Arcade, and can even do so alongside fellow team members who later become unlocked as you continue through the scenarios that may remind notorious gamers of the Firefight mode in the Halo games.

In the Armax arenas you can choose what opponents you fight against, the enemy classes that will spawn in the map, the possible bonus points, and much more!

In the Armax arenas you can choose what opponents you fight against, the enemy classes that will spawn in the map, the possible bonus points, and much more!

Additionally, you will receive messages from the crew, each of whom wishes to spend some time with you. These segments are unfathomably pleasurable, and include meeting Blasto the Jellyfish whilst on the set for the eighth feature film in the franchise with a morose Javik; helping Garus flirt with a foxy Turain woman at the local bar; meeting Jack’s new pet; and hearing about the adventures that Grunt and his Krogan pals have been up to on the Citadel – all of which has left C-Sec in a very bad mood.

Rarely does Miranda venture out in Mass Effect 3. But she finds the time during the mission to tell you how disappointed she is that you destroyed her favorite Sushi restaurant.

Rarely does Miranda venture out in Mass Effect 3. But she finds the time during the mission to tell you how disappointed she is that you destroyed her favorite Sushi restaurant.


Garus discovers he ain't quite the ladies man he once thought he was

Garus discovers he ain’t quite the ladies man he once thought he was

All of this is both hilariously funny and very moving as you experience time off with each of your friends on board the Normandy, before proceeding to buy the necessities for your soiree. Again, this is especially entertaining, for during the event you are able to move from one group to another as they discuss what has happened and their general thoughts, opinions and feelings. The conversations are very fun to take part in, and so too are much of the other occurrences that later transpire, with the adorably cute kleptomaniac Kasumi appearing every so often to either say or do something incredibly fun to watch. Furthermore, you are able to consult Glyph, the resident host, and either tone down the festivities, or, if you are anything like me, tone them up, until many of your crew become highly intoxicated on booze and begin to go about doing some pretty outlandishly hilarious things. Moreover, with two Krogan running about your apartment, you have to wonder if your residence will even be in one piece after the night’s festivities have ended.

The party has only just started. But, just you wait. In a few scenes time, many will have armed themselves with guns in a drunken stupor to see who is superior, biotics will be levitating their friends, and EDI will question what Operative Traynor meant when she said she found her voice so attractive and wanted to, what? She wanted to do what to her? Wow! Hot Stuff!

The party has only just started. But, just you wait. In a few scenes time, many will have armed themselves with guns in a drunken stupor to see who is superior, biotics will be levitating their friends, and EDI will question what Operative Traynor meant when she said she found her voice so attractive and wanted to, what? She wanted to do what to her? Wow! Hot Stuff!


Don't look now, but everyone is about to side with Estevez...and ask Joker to participate in a shooting competition - whilst drunk out of his mind!

Don’t look now, but everyone is about to side with Estevez…and ask Joker to participate in a shooting competition!

However, much like the franchise itself, the fun eventually comes to an end, even if you do not wish it to. Whatever the case, it has been a fabulous 7 years of Mass Effect, and if this particular DLC does anything, it proves that there is still a lot of life left in the series, and although it is doubtful we will ever see these amazing characters again in future Mass Effect games, Citadel allows us to say goodbye to some of the most memorable characters ever conceived in video game history.

A terrific end to a terrific franchise? Certainly, that is what Citadel is, and on that note, I officially change my ‘9’ in my overall rating of the DLC, to a ‘10’, for Citadel is much like the entirety of the Mass Effect series; undoubtedly fabulous.

Kiss your Majesty goodbye in the new Halo 4 DLC!

Map Pack: Majestic

Size: approximately 400 megabytes

Levels: 4

Release Date: 25th of February in the Northern hemisphere, 26th in the South


This medium sized map has unbelievably detailed graphics which efficaciously cause the city to come to life in mythic detail. To further accentuate the overall feel of the city under dire threat, Covenant forces have attacked in full, with capital ships visible in the background decimating buildings left and right. Huge fires cover the horizon, with mushroom clouds of smoke gliding across the air. Human civilian transports rush into the battlefield to pick up stranded refugees, before moving out as quickly as they arrived, with two Broadswords located just outside the map, ready to help reinforce the depleting numbers of hardened marines battling for the safety of the planet.


Within the realm of the map, the word ‘evacuate’ moves across computerised screens in bold yellow letters, furthering the idea in the mind of the player that the city is under massive threat. But so too are you, the player, within the multiplayer map. There are many tight corners and corridors across the map which will inevitably cause one too many close calls and tight fight sequences to take place. Explosive ordinances are left lying about the map, which can advantageously assist players in dispatching weakened opposition. The lack of any good vantage point, with the exception of two separate corners prevents those who would normally prefer to camp out the inability to acquire those perfect head shots from the view of a sniper scope.

Landfall is one of those rare few maps that is great for any occasion, whether you are into hardcore deathmatch or team based games the likes of capture the flag.


For its name, Monolith is not quite as gargantuan as one might have initially believed upon seeing its title; in reality it is a moderately sized map that is suited to almost any specific game type.

Reminiscent of previous maps in the Halo 4 game the likes of Erosion and Impact, this particular map is located within an asteroid field, with two specific bases located at either end, even the rocky surface of the ground you fight upon changing colours to alert you to which base you happen to be stumbling into. The walls and general feel of the entire map is reflective of a forerunner facility long abandoned and left forgotten in the vast blackness of outer space, repurposed now for the means of terminating battling Spartans.

Unlike other maps, upon entry into the game, vast quantities of ordinances appear immediately to help accommodate the player lusting for a better weapon than the conventional AR5.

There are a number of jump pads located in front of either base, which can be used to effectively avoid enemies and quickly move from one location to the next without fear of being targeted for assault. Jump pads positioned at the rear of either base are perfect for sneaking up on opposition undetected, which can hinder those attempting to snipe targets making their way towards their base. Although the map offers fantastic vantage points to overlook the surrounding area at either base of operations, the rear jump pads offer your opponent the potential chance of assassinating you just as effortlessly.


For those familiar with the Citadel in Mass Effect, in particular, the second game of the trilogy, Skyline will no doubt make you feel right at home. The distorted sound of the voice over crackling over the communication transmitter beckons you into this futuristic civilisation in the dead of night. Looming over the city from one of the many far corners of the civilised planet, the player is given the spectacular vantage point to see a vast quantity of choppers and other like transport gliding through the air in the distance, whilst other vehicles quickly rush across the freeways below.

The sound of beeping terminals and the flashing of computers further immerses you into this living, breathing civilisation yet to be touched by the malicious hand of the Covenant war machine.

halo 3

This relatively small map which is suited best for accommodating players interested in participating in deathmatches, comes equipped with two floors, the upper providing the player with the unfair advantage of easily targeting the opposition running about on the lower deck. Although stairs can be used to defeat the purpose of the advantages of the players who occupy the top most floor of the structure, jump pads are just as easy as getting this done.

Additionally, for those on the lower floor, you will more often than not feel more like a rat in a maze than a Spartan super soldier, whilst those who overlook the lower floor can quickly jump from one side to the next due to the vast number of objects which stick up that can be used as unconventional bridges to help those on the upper floor track those on the bottom.


This is the only large map accommodating vehicles which comes in this particular DLC. Unfortunately, you the player may feel somewhat cheated, for the map will no doubt remind you of Solace in more ways than one. Unlike the former map mentioned, where at times it was difficult to spot enemies in the vast number of vantage points within the map, Vortex has a more structured feel to it, and is especially great at supporting those wishing to play a team based game the likes of capture the flag.

As previously mentioned, this map supports vehicles, however I did not specify how many; safe to say, if you love Halo vehicles, then this map is for you, because if you can’t find a vehicle in this, you are certainly not looking hard enough. Warthogs are positioned in front of either base and along the sides, with additional Ghosts and Mongooses to support these. In the centre of the map a Warthog with a rocket launcher attachment is up for grabs to either team, whilst the strongest vehicle on the battlefield is the Wraith, hidden away to the side.

The building in the centre positioned over the top of the central Warthog is reminiscent more of Covenant technology than the bases which are representative of historical Forerunner facilities. Here at the central compound, weapon turrets overlook the bases, with the red base in particular being in sight of one of the turrets, which can be used by the opposing team to wipe out the enemy forces as they waltz out from the base and onto the map proper. With this particular building and the sheer size of the map in general, this particular battlefield is a great place to hone those sniper skills of yours upon a long distance rifle being deployed into the map.

For those unfortunate enough not to have a vehicle (for instance, those running about the map with an enemy flag), the few jump pads can be used to increase the distance between Spartans running about the map on foot and those in hot pursuit in vehicles. Of course, the side passages, especially one covered with cacti on the right side (the left when moving out from the red base) are perfect for avoiding vehicular manslaughter and a vast majority of foot traffic in the process as well, with most of the firing taking place in the centre of the map which is essentially a kill zone for any not fast enough to outmanoeuvre stronger combatants.

On a final note, entering enemy bases is relatively easy, and judging by their abnormally small size, acquiring whatever is mandatory for successful completion of the game is just as simple – it’s getting out alive that is the hard part. Safe to say, this is one match worth playing for anyone wishing to participate in a Halo team building exercise.

New York goes native in the legendary final instalment of the Crysis trilogy!

Review of the Crysis 3 campaign

Developer: Crytek
Publisher: EA
Available: as of February 21st (in Europe and Australia) (19th in USA)
Consoles: PC, PS3 and XBOX360


More Entertaining Than: Crysis







Less Entertaining Than: Bioshock







Rating (out of 10): 9

Length: Between 8 and 10 hours

-Gorgeous visuals
-Intense storyline
-Frequent entertaining action sequences
-Powerful weapons
-Advantageously beneficial upgrades

-Disappointingly short
-Easily exploitable AI
-Unchallenging scenarios


Since 2007, Crytek have been dazzling gamers with the Crysis franchise, but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Like Halo, Gears of War and Mass Effect before it, Crysis is a trilogy, and Crysis 3 sees the game come to a close.

Once more you put on the legendary Nano suit and take control over the character Prophet, who effortlessly commands the screen in this relentless action blockbuster.

As always, you go up against the insidious Ceph alien force, whilst additionally facing CELL, the human organisation wishing to use the alien technology to dominate the planet.

Crysis 3 is set over 20 years after the events of the game before it, and is once more set in New York. However, time has not been nice with what is hailed as one of the single most beautiful cities in all the world; CELL have encased the once proud state in a gigantic sphere to separate it from the rest of society, whilst commanding the awesome power of the Ceph from within to seize control of the American capital and force all into enslavement; working to help them further dominate the planet. But, as we all know, utilising alien tech is traditionally never a smart thing to do, and so inevitably everything is bound to go terribly wrong.

Believed to be extinct, the Ceph wait to once more rise up from beneath the Earth to complete their master plan; to send a message out to their own galaxy, and alert their forces to come to planet Earth to bring an end to the human species with one swift act of global extinction.

Prophet knows the plans of the aliens, for when he upgraded his Nano suit with alien technology he managed to connect himself to the Ceph hive mind, and communicate with the villainous leader of the Ceph forces; the Alpha Ceph, who communicated back to him his plan; and how Prophet would fail to stop it from coming to fruition.

After been captured by CELL, who wish to rid Prophet of his suit in exchange for the power it contains, he is saved by his old friend Michael Sykes; known to Prophet as Psycho, a former Nano super soldier. He however has not been so lucky, Psycho’s suit having been torturously ripped from his body, reducing him once more to his humanity.

Because of this, Prophet remains the only soldier wielding the power of the mythical Nano suit; and so is the only human being alive capable of stopping not only CELL, but the horrifying Ceph forces. It is here, that Crysis 3 begins.

Unlike its predecessors, Crysis 3 offers an emotionally in-depth experience. In a few of the cut scenes that separate the action sequences, the sheer intensity of the scenes will really get to you, and they proudly display not only human’s will to survive, but the immense power of humanity’s spirit, and the human heart.

These moments are triumphantly executed with beautiful acting and outstanding visual effects that will ultimately leave you breathless.

Graphically, Crysis 3 is unfathomably superb, and has, hands down, the most gorgeously fabulous visuals of any game released this year. The flawless graphics allow the characters to come to life and the environments you fight through look all the more stunning, drawing you deeper into the storyline and the frequent action sequences.

When not eliminating hordes of enemy opponents, you will most likely be admiring the beautiful effects that Crytek have efficaciously installed into their product.

Psycho returns for the action

Psycho returns for the action

Joining Prophet and Psycho this time round is Psycho’s girlfriend, Claire, who appears much like Ashley Williams/Kaiden Alenko in Mass Effect 2 and 3 after the discovery that Sheperd had briefly forged an alliance with Cerberus; except Crytek further accentuate the animosity. Throughout a majority of the game, Claire sees Prophet as nothing more than a machine, referring to him as an ‘it’ and as ‘hardware’, going so far as to say that he is not even human. She is unbelievably emotionlessly zealous, and I will not be surprised if you come to loath her character as much as she hates yours for a considerable portion of the title.

Another character who joins the team is Resch, who is the former founder of the Hargrave Institute and the designer of the original Nano suit, whose knowledge on its design could very well be unfathomably wealthy.

Moving on, the Ceph have additionally upgraded their ranks, and you will discover that there are not just grunts and heavies roaming about the fields, with a few friends coming to join the war effort to halt your progress. One new opponent is the Incinerator, who uses a terrific flame thrower to heinously devour you in fire. When been fired upon, it borrows its head, its only vulnerable point, into the ground as to keep you from taking it offline, which is a wonderfully unique experience.

Some may recall that in the original Crysis, although the period was short lived, you were given the opportunity to wield an alien weapon. In Crysis 3, this ability is in vogue once more, with some awesome hardware the likes of the Balt Sniper, Incinerator, Reaper Cannon and the predominantly found Pinch Rifle, just to name a few, all been up for grabs.

However, alien tech can only be equipped for a temporary basis, and cannot be fixed into a slot in your inventory. Running on a singular power cell, once all of the energy has been spent, the weapon is rendered redundant, and you return to wielding human weaponry.

An annoying feature of the alien weaponry is that not always does an alien opponent drop a weapon after been eliminated. On many instances I obliterated an alien antagonist, only to find that it failed to drop anything for me to take. Bigger enemies always drop something though, but grunts only provide you with a nice little gift every so often, so don’t be continuously expecting a reward for taking a few of them down.

Alien technology aside though, the human weapons at your disposal are just as entertaining as they always were in previous titles, with the return of the much loved Scar, Feline, Marshal, Jackal (and my personal favourite) the Grendel.

Additionally, the Predator Bow makes an appearance into your inventory, been an addition to the other three weapons that you choose to carry (one primary, one secondary, and explosive ordinances). The bow effectively allows you to fire, whilst remaining concealed in cloak mode, and you can retrieve basic carbon impact arrows from the bodies of your enemies.

The arrow types include, as already mentioned, carbon impact, which is your typical day to day arrow; the super thermite arrow, which will stick to any surface before detonating when an enemy enters its proximity; the airburst frag, which detonates upon impact, and is great for dealing with groups of opponents, and lastly the electric charge arrow, which decimates all technology with an EMP burst that fries anything electronic.

Crysis 3 screen 1 - Prophet the Hunter AU_656x369

All weapons can once more be upgraded, however the system works differently than it has in the past. No longer are the potential upgrades simply beneficial, and on occasion upgrades will limit your weapons as much as they empower them.

For instance, employing a larger magazine will limit the total amount of rounds you can carry for that weapon, whilst attaching a fore grip will limit a weapons’ overall efficiency.

This is additionally the case with some of the upgrades that can be attached to your Nano suit. Unlike in Crysis 2, where you acquired what was essentially needed to upgrade your armour from the bodies of the deceased Ceph, in Crysis 3 you need to discover small packages which each contains a single credit which can be spent towards an upgrade.

Upgrades require between 1 and 3 credits each as to be successfully unlocked, and so you need to choose what it is that you intend to spend your points upon. Unlike in the second game where there were four separate categories to choose from and you could only purchase one from each to use at a time, in Crysis 3, all upgrades can be attached to your armour to make you unbelievably powerful.

However, as previously mentioned, some of the upgrades additionally limit you as much as they benefit your character; for instance, by increasing the potency of your suit’s armour capability, you additionally cause your body to move slower. This is simply one of several examples to be found. Safe to say, you need to make choices as to what you wish to be made stronger, and what you are willing to sacrifice to be all that you must to defeat the alien menace.

Another new addition to the game is the ability to hack enemy turrets, mines, doors and other like devices, which on occasion is a mandatory aspect of the game. Hacking in general is not immensely difficult; you must align the signal wave so that it all connects to the same circuit – honestly, it sounds more difficult than it is. The difficulty can sometimes be that you might be under pressure from enemy fire, and if you fail the hack, your suit’s energy is automatically fried and you must begin again.

Furthermore, the enemy AI is something that the Crysis franchise has always had difficulty delivering. In previous titles one might on occasion find an enemy running into a wall and refusing to budge. Once more, this is one such occurrence that transpired a number of times during the game. If you happen to be on a higher ledge than an enemy, more often than not they will run up to the corner of the building you stand upon and stand there as though waiting to be shot.

Although easy to exploit, the enemy AI also does have its moments. Enemies do take cover and will call in support (they do this unbelievably well) and take notice if members of their team are killed. If they see you, find a body of a deceased member of their team or believe something is wrong, they will immediately begin to make your life a misery by alerting everyone to the presence of an enemy combatant.

Stereotypical enemies are not very powerful and can be dispatched with ease, however, so can your character, even with the legendary Nano suit, and so much of the game is spent ducking in and out of cover.

Because of this, Crysis is not very challenging, and you will often find yourself flying through the campaign, even on the ‘Super Soldier’ difficulty setting.

Many a moment can be easily conquered with the use of the awesome abilities of your Nano suit and the raw firepower of your weapons. If anything, the Predator Bow further increases the effectiveness of your inventory, and even the strongest opponent can be taken down with but a single arrow (on occasion).

When fire power is not working, one can simply run around the opposition, all the way to the next area and continue on from there, avoiding whatever it was they were having difficulty with in the process.

For example, one particular moment that looked particularly gruesome to me was when I had to make my way to Claire’s location and provide her with cover fire. To get there however I had to cross several battlefields rife with unimaginable enemies. Suddenly, I discovered a tank in the corner, and I let loose with the trigger and haltered the enemy rampage with such unbelievable ease that I even surprised myself when even the biggest enemy of all came crashing to the ground with very little struggle.


Due to the game’s ease, it will not take long for you to eventually complete the campaign which you could finish off over the course of a day (yes, even on the highest skill setting). Previous Crysis titles offered considerably challenging scenarios and (especially the second game in the franchise) offered a rather massive campaign. With that said, the general size of the game, and the knowledge that this is the last in the franchise, will leave you feeling a little deprived as you lick your lips after your final battle in the hope for a little more.

However, even though the campaign is ridiculously short for a Crytek game, the ending brings to a close the series and leaves you feeling content with all that you have accomplished, from the original Crysis, to the conclusion of Crysis 3.

All in all, Crytek should be proud of their legendary accomplishment, and someone should most certainly by these guys several rounds of beers.

Image References:

You just crash landed on LV-426 – the most inhospitable planet in the universe…and that’s the good news

A look at Aliens: Colonial Marines thus far

Game: Aliens – Colonial Marines
Developer: Gearbox
Publisher: SEGA/Twentieth Century Fox

More entertaining than: Alien vs. Predator 2: Primal HuntACM

Less Entertaining Than: Left 4 Dead

-Solid action experiences
-Seamless controls
-Challenging environments
-Great weapons and upgrades
-Fun co-operative mode and multiplayer capabilities (especially ‘Survivor’ mode)

-Outdated graphics
-Occasional temperamental AI
-Many multiplayer features limited to the internet

Rating (out of ten): 7

After quite a long wait, Aliens Colonial Marines has now been released on PC, XBOX 360 and PS3 on the 12th of February 2013.

A First Person Shooter with a single player and co-operative campaign, along with additional multiplayer battles, ACM (Aliens Colonial Marines) picks up 18 weeks after the events of James Cameron’s ‘Aliens’. After the beginning of Alien 3, in which Ellen Ripley, Corporal Hicks and Newt were ejected from the USS Sulaco due to an alien occupation, the ship has mysteriously made its way back over the planet LV-426.

After a distress signal is sent from the craft, a squadron of Colonial Marines are sent to investigate the source of the distress call and evaluate the threat. After the original team sent on board the vessel goes dark, Winter, the character who the player takes control over is sent on board the vessel to find out what is going on.

This however, is by far, no means an ordinary situation. With the horrific Xenomorphic menace running about the ship, the marines find themselves in the middle of an all out war. The Aliens are on one side of the field, and the ruthless Weyland-Yutani Corporation is on the other, the marines being caught in-between these two opposing forces in a fight to the death.

The age old Aliens tag-line was ‘in space, no one can hear you scream’. This may be true for ACM, but the saying could be altered to ‘in space, help is only ever a few hundred billion light years away’ because in this battle, the marines – they are very much on their own.

ACM is an incredibly action oriented game, with your finger more often than not being placed firmly on the trigger as you blast your way through an unrelenting amount of enemy forces.

‘Solider’, the average difficulty setting is a good recommendation, as the game is incredibly challenging. Attacks by both the Weyland Corporation and that of the dreaded aliens are unbelievably potent. A single swipe from an alien can decimate your armour and cut through your health like a knife through butter.

Your health is comprised of three bars, and as long as a bar is not completely decimated it will automatically recharge over time. Health packs are scattered about the maps (albeit very rarely) to once more replenish all the health slots that have disappeared. On top of this you are able to collect armour which can provide you with a limited amount of protection. As long as you are wearing armour though, your health will not be affected.

Ammunition too is located about the maps, and can be found in great packs or in small allotments, with human opponents on occasion dropping either magazines or small pieces of armour to help restore what you have lost.

All the aliens drop is acid, and it is recommended that you do not waltz through this.

In game, you can carry a side arm, grenade and two weapons; a primary and a secondary. Over the course of the game you will unlock more weapons as you ascend to higher ranks, and will even have access to upgrades to further empower your weaponry.

Every time you go up another rank (after killing a lot of bad guys) you are given a single skill point that you can put towards an upgrade. There are several upgrades you can purchase, but only one from every area available to you. This can include scopes; extra rounds in your magazines; an alternate secondary fire on your weapons; a mechanism to reduce the kick back on your guns, etc. Safe to say, these are very beneficial.

There are some pretty amazing weapons in the game as well. You begin with a couple grenades, a regular hand gun, pulse rifle and a pump action shotgun, but will quickly be granted access to the Assault Rifle, which is a real beauty, and Hicks’ shotgun. Along the way, you are able to acquire specialised weapons from the ‘Aliens’ movie to further assist you, these weapons having an additional punch which will efficaciously aid you in combat. As you progress forward furthermore, additional armourments will become accessible.

In game, the controls are seamless, and are very easy to adjust to. Controls respond well to your commands and after a few quick minutes you will have already mastered them, even if the game insists on showering you with an over abundance of tutorials.

Graphically, ACM is nothing special to write home about. The last time Gearbox used the Unreal Engine in one of their products, the end result was Duke Nukem Forever, and we all know how that catastrophe turned out. ACM is nothing like that, but in comparison to recent game titles the likes of Dead Space 3 and Halo 4, the graphics appear outdated and incredibly bland.

Bodies of the dead can fall into the floor and into pieces of the environment, the likes of crates and walls, and on occasion even enemies can partially be hidden inside of them. On occasion I would find an enemy, human and alien, with half of its body stuck inside a sealed door.

The environment is frequently dark to further enrich the themes of the game, which additionally assists in camouflaging the alien menace.

There is one particularly spooky part where you are forced to traverse through darkened sewers without any weapons on your person, where blind aliens, heinously injured from the blast at the end of James Cameron’s film have come to reside. Instead of using their eyes to locate you, they use their sense of hearing, which is unbelievably meticulous. If this is not enough, they randomly walk about the environment, and are prone to stop suddenly, their bodies often blending in with the bodies of their fallen brethren, so you have no way of telling which are alive – and which are dead.

The AI of the aliens is not half bad, and you will often see them running along all surfaces, only to jump at you unexpectedly, causing an unbelievable amount of damage in the process. Up close you are able to push enemies back, and if this is done successfully you will find a good distance between you and them, and when combating aliens you can freely fire without fear of having acid slashing across your body.

The aliens in general will constantly keep you on your toes, and the additional number of varieties will often have you adapting to the particular situation you find yourself in. For instance, large aliens, reminiscent of the Praetorian’s one had to face in the AVP games force you to utilise different weapons in order to bring them down.

Another thing to note is that the Face Huggers are even more annoying than their fully grown brethren. After bursting forth from an egg, these annoying little bastards are often so small they are difficult to see in the environment, and when they pounce you have a limited time to hit the required button to throw the monster off before it injects you with its ‘baby’, all the whilst reducing your health and armour count as you attempt to fight it off.

The human opponents moreover that you face will take cover, throw grenades and attempt to flank you, and their use of turrets will additionally challenge you as you attempt to flank them to bring the weapons systems offline.

Your team however operates a little differently. For one, they are invulnerable to harm (unless the game wants them to die), so you never need to worry about their wellbeing. They will frequently run out into the open and get themselves shot to hell without a care in the world. They will frequently get in your way and on occasion push you out of theirs so you can be shot at by the enemy – very nice of them.

On top of this, your team walk incredibly stiffly, almost as though they have something rammed up their arse, and if that’s not enough, when they aren’t taking pot shots at the enemy, they are dancing with them. On a couple of occasions when going up against Weyland Corporation troops, I noticed my team run right over to them, in which the marines and the Weyland boys began to shuffle awkwardly around each other as though they had no idea whose side they were on or what they were supposed to be doing.

Safe to say they do not often operate like stereotypical marines, and although I have no professional militarised training, I can say with little doubt that I do not believe trained military specialists would rush into an area that had not yet been cleared, or would run into rooms whee potential enemies might reside without any backup. They also wouldn’t run on ahead or stay behind, and inevitably lead you to, on occasion, fighting off a horde of aliens on your lonesome.

However, the unique personality of each team member and the conversations they often instigate will more often than not make you forget about many of the hiccups that occur in game. There’s one moment where a team member asks ‘where do these stairs lead?’ when entering a compound you have never been to before, and another repliers with ‘how are we supposed to know?’

Moving onto the multiplayer features of the game, unless you have an internet connection, you will be limited only to the co-operative play mode. When playing co-operative play, in a local game (split screen, et al), two players can make their way through the campaign, whereas online, up top four players can march on through the game. Online multiplayer battles consist of four unique game modes which includes:
-Extermination: Marines and Xenomorphs clash in battle. The marines try to take out alien egg clusters, and the aliens try to stop them.
-Escape: Marines must escape through Xenomproh infected territory. The fastest team to make their way through wins.
-Survivor: Marines must face wave after wave of aliens until the time limit expires.
-Team Deathmatch: Self explanatory.

In conclusion: Aliens Colonial Marines will satisfy your insatiable appetite for action, violence and an incredible fun military hardware, however, by the end, you will be left with a desire for more.

Lock up your kittens and put on some mittens, cuz it’s gonna get very cold in the dead of space

Review of Dead Space 3

Developer: Visceral
Publisher: EA
Release Date: 7th February 2013

More Enjoyable Than: The Thing

Not as Enjoyable as: Dead Space 2

-Beautiful graphics and environments
-Incredibly dark and atmospheric
-Amazing weapon customisations and combos
-Enjoyable co-op experience

-Story and characters require further development
-Limited enemy AI
-New aspects don’t necessarily have consistent ‘Dead Space’ feel

NOTE: Please excuse my laziness if I sometimes use shorthand – DS3 stands for Dead Space 3!

Dead Space 3 continues a few months after the events of the second game. Earth Gov forces are on the verge of complete eradication by the Unitoligists, the religious fascists who worship the unholy Markers that spawn the hellish alien menace which has plagued our hero, Isaac Clarke, since the beginning of the series. Joining him on this mission is a team, consisting of Dead Space 2 heroine Ellie Langford, and newcomer Robert Carter, along with an assortment of others.

Carter’s significance in the story is pertinent; for it is he that another player will take control over whilst in co-operative play. For a man who still has a beating heart within his chest, his character has about as much life in him as a piece of broken glass, and often he and Isaac find themselves clashing heads in both the single player campaign, and in co-operative play, which I will discuss later.

The first seven chapters of the game are set in outer space, and provide the same feel as the previous games did when on the USS Ishimura in the original, and on Titan Station in the sequel. From chapter eight onwards, you experience the game on the alien world of Tau Volantis. Once presided over by small groups of humans during the wars, the planet has many rundown buildings which are in need of power, which adds to the overall feel of the aged environment. The decadent skeletal remains of fearsome beats that once roamed the land makes the past of such a world even more disturbing, but not so much as the fact that this is the planet where the horrifying Markers were conceived; and thus, in theory, can be the planet where the disaster can be concluded.

For those who have not played the previous titles, you needn’t worry, for a ‘previously on DS3’ begins to play the moment you select your difficulty, and can be viewed again in the ‘extras’ menu. However, whether you have played the prior games is basically irrelevant for the game can often feel considerably different when in contrast with its predecessors, especially when in comparison with its story.

The game plays more like the original Dead Space rather than the sequel. Like the first game, you often repeat certain sections on a frequent basis as you make your way through them again and again as to complete objectives scattered all about the environment, unlike in the second game.

The story in itself furthermore whilst on the subject, is actually quite peculiar. From the beginning, Visceral shows its audience that after the second game, Isaac and fellow character Ellie Langford began a relationship together. At the beginning of DS3 though, the relationship has officially collapsed, and as Isaac puts it; people are often attracted to those who are broken because they believe they can fix them; in his case, he is irreparably damaged and is beyond help.

Isaac is quickly revealed to still have strong feelings for Ellie, even though they are no longer romantically involved, and it is later found that he is unfortunately caught in a heinous love triangle with Ellie and another character. With the almost immediate announcement of this occurrence in the early stages of the game, one would have assumed that this could have been easily built upon over the course of the campaign.

However, for the most part, the game plays as though there are no romantic attachments whatsoever. Unlike in the previous two instalments where Isaac was haunted by the ghostly aspiration of his then girlfriend Nicole, which heightened the emotive and terrifying realities of the story, DS3 appears to more often than not pretend that no emotion connections are taking place over the course of the story at all. On many an occasion when Ellie and Isaac are communing over radio or in person, there is plenty an opportunity for romanticised ideologies to be discussed, but more often than not Isaac appears to attack Ellie judging by the way he verbally conveys his sentences. A great example of this appears at the end of the seventh chapter.

On the rare occasion when emotions are briefly discussed, they are thrown in as though Viscreal entertainment felt that they were literally forced to put them into the conversation, rather than wishing to convey such emotional, passionate dialogue to its audience. Long story short – nothing ever really flows. This ultimately makes the relationships, at best, feel odd – if not fake, and even when that rare occasion does occur, the dialogue is clumsy and stumbles pathetically across the subject as though with child gloves.

Another example of this is of course the crew that joins Isaac on this horrifying adventure. With the introduction of so many new faces, you might imagine that somewhere within the story you might find out a little about them? Wrong! Apart from catching their names near the start, any personal history fails to be brought to life, and the only thing you, the player will come to conclude is that most of the crew inexplicably hates your rotten guts – and you never exactly learn why. Funnily enough, the only person who seems to care about Isaac is his ex, and judging by the previous paragraphs you get the gist of my opinion on that relationship.

In fact, the only person you learn anything about with the exception of the lead protagonist and heroine is Robert Carver. At the beginning of the game it is mentioned that his wife and son were killed by the Unitoligists, and apart from that one mention, it is never brought up again fro the duration of the game. If Visceral decided to open the door about a certain character’s past, would it not have proven effective to discuss it later in full?

Basically, it just seems odd that Visceral open the door for relationships and past lives to be discussed, and yet fail to openly discuss them, and thus are left with a wasted opportunity to further enrich the development of the central characters.

As per previous Dead Space titles, the third game in the franchise utilises marvellously terrifying sounds impeccably, with the roars of monsters and the grunting of mechanics blasting through the walls around you. The sound of a ventilation shaft exploding open puts you on edge as you look through the darkness in the hopes of spotting your enemy before it discovers you. The sound of enemies coming towards you is as gruesome as ever, causing endless shivers to run down your spine. Even the sound instigated by the sudden activation of a pinball machine of all things caused me to jump several feet out from my chair from the raucous noise it produced, my head slamming into the ceiling above me.

There are of course some new changes to the game, the first of which being the saving process – the game has an auto-save function, and half the time you are more likely not to notice the saving icon in the corner than you are to have your attention drawn to it. In this sense if you ever happen to perish, more often than not you will find yourself shuffling your feet and biting your nails as you attempt to fathom where you might reload from, because in DS3 the game has full control over where it decides to save your progress. This is very different from the previous titles, where you could save the game whenever you liked – as long as you found a save station located within the maps.  With this method at your disposal, you could kill a room full of bad guys without taking any damage, proudly save your progress and continue forwards. In DS3, this availability is no longer an option to you.

Additionally, not all missions that take place across the game are mandatory, with optional missions for you to complete as you progress, which can have advantageous beneficiations if you choose to take them.

Moreover there is a new assortment of bad guys for you to pulverise. One new enemy in particular, who happens to be the first enemy you encounter, is the Shambler, who is much unlike the monster in the original Quake with the same name. This particular bad guy is more like a conventional zombie with yellow eyes, who will shamble towards you (hence the name) with any weapon they can find at their disposal, from axes to machineguns, in an attempt to inflict pain. A unique aspect of this particular bad guy is that by cutting off either the top most portion or lower most part of its extremities, they will immediately be replaced b y three tendrils. It really is quite a sight the first time you see a pair of legs running about with a spinal cord, accompanied with two other tendrils on either side waving about in the air in an attempt to slap you with.

Like Gears of War 3 and Resident Evil 6, there is always the chance of having something else eject itself out from the body to replace what you hacked off, with several enemies going through a number of stages before being officially rendered dead – again, since all Necromorphs are literally undead hordes.

Another new monster is the feeder, and you will have to find out for yourself why this terrifying pack hunter gets its name, and of course, there is the gargantuan snow behemoth that you are hunted by for a considerable portion of the game before engaging in open battle with.

Moreover, the moth creatures from the games predecessors which spread the seed of decay by injecting their evil into the heads of their vessels are no longer a part of the franchise. Instead, small bugs will often appear, and these burrow into the brains of the deceased and take them over at an alarming rate, before on occasion jumping out from the body whilst it is been pulverised, only to infect others.

Apart from the expected monsters, the religious Unitoligists themselves have additionally taken up arms and make those terrifying Jehovah’s Witnesses look like a collection of choir performers. These new additions to the long list of enemies are hunting Isaac Clarke down, believing him to be the primary antagonist against their religion. Funnily enough, although they have dedicated themselves to praying to the Markers and the Necromorphs they spawn, this has not made them immune to the attacks of the undead, and on occasion it can be easier to simply let the two sides fight it out, and in the end just take out the stragglers that managed to survive.

The use of gun toting enemies adds a new flavour to the fight in DS3, and thus, due to this, Isaac has now been allowed the ability to crouch behind cover to avoid incoming fire, before returning it in kind.

Enemies will on top of this happily throw grenades in your direction, which you can toss back in theirs with the use of your telekinetic rig. Another addendum with regards to their grenades is the fact that they are by no means against taking their own lives, and much like the Grunt suicide squads in the Halo games, these guys will arm their explosive ordinance and then chase after you with a smile before detonating themselves when in close proximity.

Of course, just because the newly conceived human opponents throw grenades, flank your position and take cover does not necessarily mean they are endowed with an over abundance of brain power. As with the Necromorphs, the humans will have a proclivity to charge, which makes them easy opponents to dispatch, and the fact that the armour around their neck is not exactly impenetrable, means that decapitating them is more often than not a fun way of getting rid of these pesky cultists. Of course, this is adjunctively made easier by the fact that the top portion of the Unitoligist soldiers heads are always visible when behind cover, which makes them that much easier to terminate.

Enemies are not the only thing one needs to be wary of, with a number of sequences occurring over the course of the story where you need to hit the appropriate key or quickly move your character from left to right as to avoid imminent death. There is one particular moment where you must pilot a space craft through a whole horde of debris down towards the alien planet whilst at the same time blasting pieces of metal that are headed for your ship as to keep your crew alive. Moments like these are usually not that difficult to pass through, but will more often than not result in a number of cheap deaths.

Another part of the game which has completely changed is the undying need for minerals, which are scattered throughout the environments. Money is no longer a concern and does not appear in this particular title. No longer do you purchase items, but instead you create them from the range of minerals that you acquire. It does not matter if you are developing a new weapon to add to your arsenal, or are conceiving medical packs; everything requires a certain number of parts and pieces.
Minerals range from scrap metal, to tungsten and semiotic gel, just to name a few, and appear to be more difficult to recover than credits ever did.

In previous titles, the ability to find hard earned cash came as easy as breathing, however, when it comes to the minerals, you will often find that you on occasion discover a terrific amount of one particular variety, and a very sparse amount of another, which will inevitably cause you to continuously think carefully about what you want to create.

This task is however made easier by scavenger bots, which over the course of the game you have the luxury of collecting. These cute little guys automatically begin collecting samples of minerals upon deployment, and upon meeting their quota will terminate at a bench where you can collect their fill.
The use of sound efficaciously aids you in this task; an ominous beeping noise alerting you to particular stockpiles of minerals which will add considerable amounts to your tally and up build your supply unbelievably faster than you ever feasibly could.

Of course, the rarest mineral, and the most sought after would have to be tungsten, which is something you are physically unable to acquire until the first optional mission near the conclusion of the fourth chapter. Almost everything requires tungsten at either one stage of the developmental process, or all of them entirely, which means the discovery of it is unbelievably precious.

Another particular aspect of the game which has been altered is the ammunition. In previous Dead Space games, every gun ran on its own form of ammo, which meant that you would more often than not find plentiful amounts of one kind of ammunition, and lesser amounts of others, which could limit the number of weapons you inevitably used. In the third game, there is one unanimous ammo crate which can be collected, and this refills every weapon in your possession.

One thing you will never need to worry about in that sense is ammo. For a great portion of the game every weapon will have an ammo count of well in excess of three figures, giving you more leverage to shoot with little concern. The same could be said for health packs as well, with a sizeable amount of medium packs being a frequent delicacy through a majority of the game which can consequentially keep you alive for longer periods.

On the subject of ammunition, your weapons have also changed considerably, and not just in the ways that EA has frequently mentioned in their presentations on the game. In DS3, you can only hold two weapons at any given time rather than four like with previous instalments. However, since you can upgrade your weapons to basically become two separate tools of destruction in one, this addendum is barely worth mentioning.

With regards to the construction of your weaponry, this is an incredible improvement from the previous games in the series because you have a lot more room to do what you want rather than to do what the game wants you to. As long as you have the minerals, you can develop a line gun with an attached carbine; an incendiary grenade launcher with a force gun/shotgun; or if you are a fan of the plasma cutter, place an additional plasma cutter beneath your original; the options are yours and they are as limited as your imagination. If you can think it (and you have the parts) you can most certainly build it.

One issue with the development of weaponry however is that it is not quite as easy as the DS3 demo made it out to be. Those who either watched the demo online or participated in it personally would have noticed how unbelievably easy it was to discover parts and pieces for your weapons. This is not the case in reality, with parts been secretly hidden across the environment, and if this is not enough, the difficulty is made more so by the fact that the parts and pieces are incredibly limited and may on occasion take an extraordinary long duration to eventually find the one blueprint you were after all along.

On top of this, you can basically choose the way you intend to fight throughout the game. With the expansion of more engineering equipment and additional militarised weaponry, you can either wage war with military hardware or go at it the way you would have in the previous two instalments. At the beginning of the game Isaac is handed an SMG to accompany is plasma cutter, and you may choose to disregard whichever weapon you do not wish to have in your arsenal later on in exchange for what you believe will be your primary weapon. Some people will feel safer with a cutting tool, and others may feel safer with roar firepower – it is ultimately up to the prerogative of the gamer.

In previous games in the franchise moreover, the titles were all about surviving the Necromorph outbreak, but in DS3, the game is basically all about guns, guns and more guns, and your general lust to conceive as many as possible. For gamers such as myself, you may have originally believed that you would own a fabulously powerful weapon come the end of Chapter Five, and have the capacity to kill Lucifer, Iblis or whatever name your anti-god chooses to go by without so much as a bead of sweat dribbling across your forehead. As with the paragraph before, this is unfortunately not the case, and delivers quite the negative blow. By the time you make your way to a bench for the sixth or so time and still do not have in your possession the necessary minerals or parts to complete your dream weapon, if you are anything like me you may begin to feel just a little bit hopeless.

In regards to the graphics on another note, well, what can I say? Graphically, DS3 is flawless, and captivates you visually with its stunning environments; in space, aboard cruisers or on the icy planet itself, DS3 is graphically perfect from the very beginning.

Enemies appear greasy, with what looks to be bodily liquid coating every inch of their gory bodies. Smoke rises out from the sides of ships as the room pressurises and reacts to the dull thuds of the internal processors. The silky soft snow on the planet’s surface crunches beneath your feet, and you watch as pieces of fluffy snow coat your entire armoured suit, with footprints left in your wake from where you have stepped. The gorgeous coloration of the flashing computers and technological devices draws you further into the futuristic environment. The faces of characters are marvellously in-depth and captures more facial movements than ever before. The explosions which take place are gorgeous to comprehend, and the rising sun makes the environment seem even spookier with the blood red sky looking down on you like a demonic figurehead.

However, on that note, occasionally, especially when on the planet Tau Volantis, the environments can seem a little too large. In space, the corridors are thin and you frequently have little room to manoeuvre, which causes your enemies to press down on you, punishing you every time you get caught in a corner with barbaric attacks. On the ice planet though, you are granted a terrific amount of room, and sometimes the biggest fear is not that of the creatures, but that of getting lost. The snow pounds across the screen, and coats everything in a beautiful white foam, which fails to scream ‘evil’ the way the depths of space does.

With such a large portion of space available to you, you will often spot enemies coming, and before they can bridge the gap between them and you, their cadavers are lying upon the ground from the punishment you bestowed upon them.

On the subject of killing, the co-op mode that has been attached to the game is incredibly fun. One player is able to draw attention away from the other, which allows them to then get in those crucial shots to take the monsters out. Weapons are able to be traded to other players by sending them blueprints of the amazing pieces of hardware that you have created, and you never need to worry about health or items within the game either. Additional upgrades to weaponry can allow a health pack used by one character to miraculously heal the other, at no expense, and different items from the bodies of the dead show up on player’s screens so that never is there a confrontation on who gets what.

Additionally, with a character by his side, Isaac becomes incredibly more loquacious, as he and Carter share in their wins and talk about what is happening around them. More often than not they bump heads due to their conflicting personalities; Isaac being a veteran of knowledge in regards to the monsters and being basically a scientific engineer; whereas Robert is a full-fledged marine who frequently believes that more militarised actions need to be taken to ensure mission success.

On another note, the co-op is not a permanent fixture, unlike Firefight mode in Halo 3 ODST, in which if one player decides to drop out of the game, it immediately comes to a head. In DS3, if a player is having trouble getting past an area for instance, another player can drop in, help them out, and then drop out, the original player continuing onwards unimpaired.

The drawback of playing co-operatively is that the terror of the game is lessened due to the garrulous nature of the characters, which inevitably drowns out the terrifying sounds and heightened music which plays throughout the game. On top of this, since you are no longer alone, you never feel as though you might spontaneously lose because you always have back up to accommodate you in every situation, with the game automatically adjusting to configure itself to the co-op style game play.

In conclusion, Dead Space 3 does indeed bring back much of what made the original games so popular, but at the expense of story and characterisation. On occasion, the game may feel as though Visceral entertainment is trying desperately to fit in as much as possible into the game, which will take anywhere between 12 to 18 hours to complete. However, even with this said, the intense action sequences, weapon medications and spooky atmospheric conditions will no doubt provide you with plenty of enjoyment.

My opinion:



Insanity is catching in FarCry 3

FarCry returns on an island paradise corrupted by Hellish warlords and the scum of the Earth

FarCry should most definitely be a common gaming title on the ears and lips of players who are eagerly enthused with First Person Shooters.

The original game in the franchise (released in 2004 on PC, with the HD reboot unveiled in 2010) offered the player a new experience in the First Person video game genre, with gorgeous visuals and an island paradise setting that was ruled over by merciless mercenaries and shrouded in a horrific conspiracy that could forever change the world. Going up against tyrants, soldiers of fortune and monsters that were known only as ‘Tridents’, the player travelled through twenty levels of strategic combat scenarios, covertly annihilating enemies and encampments, whilst neutralising and demolishing enemy structures and key support services.

If there was one thing that FarCry did thoroughly well, it was to convince gamers that a tropical paradise was not all it was cracked up to be, and the next time I found myself in Bali, I looked around the tropical paradise, expecting mutants to jump out at me from one corner, and mercenaries from the other.

The sequel (released in 2009 on all consoles) went in a completely different direction. With Crytech, the original designers of the game shifting their gaze to focus on the promulgation of the ‘Crysis’ franchise, Ubisoft, the game’s producers, kept the rights to the game’s name and began to develop the sequel.

Set in Africa, the player was immersed in an action role playing game experience, where their actions would inevitably result in what conclusions came to fruition. A great number of changes went into the development process of the second installment in the FarCry franchise which inevitably separated it greatly from the original, with the action oriented RPG becoming best known as the game that S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl attempted to be.

FarCry 2 was met with both skepticism and appreciation. Some enjoyed the new scenarios, the unbelievably gorgeous visuals of the savannah and the overall evolution that the game had gone through. Others however preferred the original, and were somewhat irritable that the game had changed so drastically.

On that note, FarCry 3 offers the players the ability to once more return to an island paradise. Instead of providing a synopsis of the story, allow me to quickly begin the analytical process of dissecting the game’s qualities.

Before I do that though, here is one of the more recent videos for the game which outlines the overall storyline the gamer will be involved in experiencing. For those who are unfamiliar with the overall storyline, I urge you to watch this trailer. It only goes for approximately two minutes and thirty seconds and will efficaciously fill in the blanks. I would like to note that I am not the original author of the work at the following site.

The first major change to the gaming franchise is the character. Not the name or anything, but the heroic traits that he possesses. Upon the instigation of the game, the character that you portray has absolutely no survival skills; he is a virgin in regards to violence and murder; and is a novice in any and all strategic militarian battlefield supremacy techniques.

This is a significantly different scenario than what was produced in previous titles in the franchise, with the lead characters being polar opposites to the new hero. This adjunctively helps the player become further immersed in the world for they will instantly feel very comfortable, or uncomfortable as the case may be in the shoes of the game’s protagonist.

Our hero in FarCry 3, Jason Brody, is literally a tourist. Luckily however, he learns extremely fast, and so does not remain prey for very long. To upgrade your character to a suitable standing upon the island, you need to spend experience points in one of the three key areas; the Heron, which presides over abilities consistent with long range weaponry, aiming and the accuracy of any and all firearms; the Shark, which is fitting as an image of destruction for it presides over one’s ability to survive, giving rise to greater health bonuses, healing properties, potential damage immunities and brute strength, allowing you to become fit for a full combat experience. Lastly, there is the Spider, which presides over one’s stealthy capabilities, allowing you to move faster, go undetected, and covertly evade and neutralise threatening forces.

The point system does not however work the way it does in games the Likes of Mass Effect and Dead Space, where you must level one section of your character’s particular skills as to level up the next. In FarCry 3, much of the player’s skills are unlocked by completing missions and other quests, or by achieving certain tasks; for instance, one skill asked that five enemies be killed by grenades; another asked for ten opponents to be killed by machine gun emplacements; and another asked for a Bull Shark to be neutralised. On that note, the way to acquire higher levels is to play the game, rather than gain points from achieving certain goals.

However, acquiring points is not exactly easy, as the player only gains one every one thousand skill points, which are attributed to the player from kills (special kills such as head shots and covert strikes having greater rewards), the successful completion of missions (you can acquire more by not being detected, having no friendly casualties during the operation, etc) and by acquiring many of the secret artifacts located randomly about the island.

Finding said artifacts proves to be a valuable, rewarding and fun experience, providing to you free reign to do whatever you please and explore the wide open terrain. Other games the likes of FarCry 3 might have loading sequences as the game renders new areas and prepares for new segments, but this is not the case, the continuous freedom playing an incredible part in the player’s general ability to do whatever it is that he or she may choose.

Additionally, some items, the likes of plants, or more accurately, the leave of plants, prove to be some of the most efficacious and necessary parts of the game. All leaves can be mixed together to create powerful potions, the likes of health vials, the ability to absorb more punishment from certain attacks, the ability to domesticate certain animals for a certain time period, et al.

On the subject of health, your health bars will naturally regenerate – unless you have being poisoned or crippled by some other means. In that case, health packs and other like items are necessary to ensure one’s survival.

Moreover, the controls in FarCry 3 are different again than from previous installments in the franchise. Learning these controls will alone take a couple of hours to successfully master, and even then you are likely to every so often make a costly mistake. Not long into my play through, I accidentally clicked the grenade button whilst looking for the switch weapons reticule, and thus alerted every enemy in the base I was assaulting to my presence. Switching weapons is also a bit of a hindrance, for many games that include a weapon wheel will often pause the game whilst you select the next weapon – not FarCry 3. Whilst switching weapons the world around you will continue to move, and if you are under attack , the enemy will proceed in their attempts to eliminate you.

This leads to the next aspect of the game – the difficulty. The game in general is not terribly challenging per se, but the health of your player is incredibly weak and is depleted at an alarmingly rapid rate. Jason is not up for much punishment, and even after you upgrade your health and overall strength, a good couple rounds from any weapon will remove a cube of health, and when you are being shot at by an assault rifle, you can easily imagine how quickly your life line can be reduced from maximum capacity to absolutely none. A single swipe or bite from a predator will often remove a single cube, and when under attacks from herds of animals, or a larger beast the likes of a tiger, the chance of survival is limited exponentially.

As mentioned previously, you can easily restore your health with kits which you develop on your own or find scattered across the island, however, these will prove useless whilst engaged in a firefight. You cannot actively heal whilst you are running for your life, and when you pause to heal you allow your enemy not only the opportunity to reach your position, but allow them to take pot shots at the bulls eye you inadvertently place upon your back. On top of this, if you continually receive punishment from your opponents whilst you are healing, the hit points you lose will be immediately taken away, so by the time you have healed, you may only gain a fraction of what you were supposed to receive.

However, moving back to assigning points and the overall strength of the protagonist, not everything is quite as enjoyable. At its heart, the game is more of an RPG experience than that of the second game. What that means, is that you will be continuously picking up random pieces of grot, looting the bodies of your enemies and their places of residence and completing random missions for the occupants of the island. This would not be such an intolerable hindrance at times if not for its annoyingly realistic scenarios.

The loot sack your character has at all times needs to be expanded over time else you will continuously be alerted that you have officially run out of room for the forty seventh time in the past half an hour. This can be done by skinning animals that you find across the island – you read that right. As mentioned in the last paragraph, the game is incredibly realistic when in contrast with its predecessors, but one may have to wonder if it has gone too far. True, the realism in games is often what the general public wants, but suspension of disbelief plays a powerful role in fictional pieces of media and players are well accustomed to occurrences transpiring which would be unbelievably impossible in reality – take the ability to carry objects. In games the likes of Gothic, the player is capable of carrying as much as they choose without becoming over encumbered. Basically, the billions of items the player carries weighs nothing more than a feather upon their shoulders, when in reality it would consist of a nice 3,999,999,999,999 kilograms.

Adjunctively, the character’s wallet is in need of expansion if you wish to carry more money, and your ability to carry arms is also in need of an upgrade, with the character initially only being capable of carrying one weapon, which can thus be boosted to accommodate an additional two upon the body of the protagonist.

So, with that in mind, the player will constantly be seeking out wild animals to assist in their ability to carry that which they require to successfully survive the island, which inevitably results in quite a bit of bloodshed and a fair bit of repetition. Safe to say that animal activists will not be impressed with what Ubisoft have done here.

True, it is not every day you can fight a Komodo Dragon or go head to head with a Bull Shark, but if you skin one animal you have basically skinned them all. Of course, any and all skins are applied to your inventory, so that which you require to build your inventory is also one of the major factors which reduces its size – ironic. It is natural to assume that an animal skin could take up one block in one’s inventory, but the idea that a leaf could do so is simply absurd. That’s right – one leaf shrinks your inventory by one, and since you will no doubt be cutting down a lot of them, expect half your inventory to almost always be filled with random leaves.

In regards to the island moreover, the environment is incredibly detailed, and to say that the graphics are gorgeous would be one of the greatest understatements ever conceived. The faces of characters are brilliantly exposed with a detail that will leave you mesmerised as your converse and dispatch your opponents, and the island in general is graphically flawless, the vibrant colour of the scenery and atmosphere drawing you in with beautiful, unflinching effects.

Errr, do you wish to go out for coffee later?

Like with the last game, the island will move from morning, noon and into the night, none of which lasts a particularly long period of time, but will ultimately affect your experience all the same as battling at night time is very different than what it is during the day.

Of course, just a note – do not be shocked by the sheer size of the island. The map you are provided generally makes the number of islands that the player is stranded upon appear to dwarf even the United States, which might suggest the longevity of time you will be stranded there. The main mission is made up of enough jobs that will probably keep you playing for around 10 – 12 hours, but the additional side quests and the continuous freedom will keep you engaged for quite a bit longer, the general length of the game being determined by the general style of game play the player chooses to exhibit.

The environment has being upgraded from previous experiences furthermore and can benefit you at times rather than prohibiting you from successfully navigating an area. When falling down a cliff, your character will immediacy begin to slide, which reduces the damage you sustain from the fall. The game will adjunctively tell you when to interact with the environment, which can include leaping up to higher ledges, and the use of vines (which players might remember from FarCry Instincts) adds an environmentally interesting approach to clambering up mountains and other such areas.

Missions in FarCry 3 are more constrained than what they were in previous games. In both of the predecessors in the franchise thus far, the player had free reign to approach mission objectives any which way they wanted, and although FarCry 3 is more free and open than any of the games before it, this specific aspect of the game has not being carried over. When playing through missions, players are forced to go about them the way the game wants. There is always one direction; one method; and sometimes even one type of weapon that must be used to ensure successful completion of the operation, else you will automatically fail.

Upon failure of an operation, the game automatically reboots the player at the last checkpoint. If that is not annoying enough though, any vehicle you had with you at the moment your last checkpoint was activated will have subsequently vanished without a trace and you will have to pursue any and all objectives on foot, which is, as one can easily imagine, often a slow and grueling process.

Furthermore, unlike in FarCry where the player was forced to discover checkpoints in order to safely secure their progress thus far, or in the sequel where the player could only ever save the game by making their way to specified save stations, in FarCry 3 the save system has changed again.

When happily navigating the islands, the player can save the game whenever they wish. This is disabled during missions, and it is then that the player is forced to rely upon checkpoints.

However, there is only one save slot, and every time the player chooses to save their progress they are subsequently overwriting their last save, so often you need to be vigilant and careful when it comes to saving your campaign else you might find yourself in a problem that you cannot escape from.

Returning to the concept of missions, in general they range from a wide assortment of duties, some of which will require significant travel arrangements to be made. Vehicles again make a helpful asset throughout the campaign, a long list of jeeps, regular old fashioned cars and sea worthy vessels being at your disposal. The new ability to fast travel to locations which you have previously conquered adds an additional helpful application to the game and allows you to go back to a store (or a locker, as both serve the same purpose) to sell and buy products before travelling back to where you were beforehand.

As a side note, just like in FarCry 2, enemy vehicles patrol the roads, and will attack you if they spot you.

On the mention of ‘conquering’ areas, this is a new part of the game. The map itself is bare at first, although certain points of key interest are displayed, everything else from routes, to the locations of certain animals and places of interest are not available. The locations of radio towers are however, each of which have being supplied with an inhibiter which prevents them from sending a signal to your map which will display everything that an adventurer will need to survive. Taking out the jamming transmissions upon these towers is a necessity in that sense to progress through the campaign.

Towers are not all that requires conquering though. There are two ‘teams’ upon the island who are fighting for its dominance and control. There is the Rakyat, the people who your character sides with at the beginning of the game, who have the banner of a blue flag presiding over their territories to symbolise their control over the area; and then there are Vaas’s Pirates, the enemy, who run beneath a red banner. Segments of the map outlined in a red colour reveal areas occupied by the enemy, and parts of the map clear of any red show where the Rakyat have dominance.

Like in a tournament, one of the game’s goals is to seize control of the enemy controlled sectors by invading them, killing the enemy occupants and in doing so, seizing control and having the Rakyat officially move in. Once an area has being cleared of hostiles, the enemy do not secure dominance in that sector again.

Die you rotten bastards!!

The enemy in general is rather intelligent moreover, but the AI can be easily beaten if you covertly evade their actions. Enemies patrol encampments and other such areas, but do not bother to turn around if you silently creep up behind them, allowing you to progress through entire areas without even using a bullet.

However, the sheer volume of certain groups can sometimes make this almost impossible and additional strategies need to be implemented. On occasion enemies will even call in reinforcements, which you certainly do not want occurring.

When in open combat the enemy will take cover, throw grenades to draw you from the cover you have taken, and flank your location, Your compass however, which shows the locations of pissed off bad guys is so good at doing its job, that you can always clearly tell where the enemy are flanking you from, which makes them so much easier to dispatch.

Depending on the weapons that you have unlocked (or are at present using), these will primarily be the arms that the enemy take up, which, much like in the second game is FarCry’s way of giving back to you what you use to dismiss the enemy. The magazines your opponent’s drop though are not worthy of mentioning, for a couple of rounds is not nearly enough to sustain you through a war, and replenishing your ammo at stores and lockers is often a frequent quest.

In regards to the weaponry, there is a wide assortment of pistols, SMG’s, assault and sniper based rifles and other equipment which can be used at your leisure. Although slots need to be developed to accommodate for more equipment, the player will often feel most at home with that which they no doubt initially equip upon their character. Some items can additionally be upgraded with equipment the likes of scopes, silences and additional attachments to enhance the general accuracy of the weaponry at hand to make your character more dangerous in battle.

Moving onto the driving force of the game, the major goal is to secure the release of your friends from the island. Although Jason and his friends believed the islands to be a beautiful paradise, the sudden realistaion that it certainly fails to live up to their original expectations is present by the fact that they have each being captured and are subsequently scattered about the island and are in dire need of rescue. This in turn is the primary mission for the player, but like with all games, the general notion of ‘I’ll help you if you help me’ plays a significant role whilst interacting with the inhabitants of the islands.

What I will say about the storyline is that it can at times be more emotionally in-depth than the previous experiences in the franchise, and over the course of the game you learn about the lives of each character and how they each came to be in the situation they are in now. The story is driven by themes of friendship, family and love, which influences Jason in attempting to save his friends, even at the cost of his own life.

The fabulous orchestral musical score which on occasion rumbles through the game enhances this experience and empowers these emotional moments and themes with an incredible sense of urgency.

In conclusion, FarCry 3 appears to combine aspects of FarCry 2, Red Faction 3 and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic to create an experience which is better than James Cameron’s Avatar (the videogame) but perhaps not quite as enjoyable as FarCry 2.

Image References (Harvard style)

-Andog Hype 2012, Far Cry 3 unveils two new characters: Dennis and Citra, viewed 21st November 2012

-Cheat Code Central 2012, Far Cry 3 Preview, viewed 21st November 2012

-Wikipedia 2012, Far Cry 3, viewed 21st November 2012

In the world of video games, the end doesn’t always justify the means


Although some may refuse to believe this statement to be true, games have indeed matured since the days of their orchestration. Initially beginning as nothing more than experiences which required the gamer to run and gun their way from the start of a level to its conclusion, additional storylines, character development and in-depth background of locations, scenarios and occurrences have modified gaming into an experience which can easily rival the enjoyment ascertained from reading and watching films.

As the title of this piece suggests, my belief, and a factor of gaming that I especially enjoy, is as follows; although a game may more often than not require a gamer to potentially blast their way from one side of the game to the next, the ending does not necessarily have to end with such violence; nor does the game as a whole.

Nowadays, a majority of games have cinematics and other such occurrences which separate one action sequence from the next which adds depth to the fictitious piece as a whole. In an RPG, this happens more often than not when in comparison with a shooter, a great comparative example being that of the Halo franchise and the Mass Effect series; both are entrenched with an amazing character driven narrative which immerses the player in futuristic alien environments against vile, antagonistic opponents who seek the destruction of humanity. Shrouded with other themes, the likes of friendship, family, love, betrayal, redemption and revenge, these games offer the player a gratifying experience that is worth experiencing again and again.

On that note, if a game has being leading the player through a substantially powerful storyline amidst the many action sequences, the conclusion could no doubt carry the same weight. The days when an ending to a game was simply a mix of explosions, mixed with the demise of the end boss is indeed still apparent, but more is conveyed during the moments that follow on from this particular occurrence, and it is that which I am aiming to discuss.

When I am playing a game and find myself at its conclusion, more often than not I would like to experience an ending which is incredibly emotional; a simpler way would be to say a real tear jerker.

The first time I finished a game which ended in much the same way I have described above the year was 2003, and the title of the game was Unreal II The Awakening. Since that time, it has again happened in regards to titles the likes of Bioshock and its sequel Bioshock 2, Halo Reach, Halo 4 and Mass Effect 3 (especially when played with the Extended Cut DLC).

Adjunctively Gears of War 2 and 3 moved me emotionally, but these moments occurred during the games rather than at their conclusions.

If a game has already proved itself capable of delivering unto the player an experience that is consistent with the kind of powerful storyline you would expect from a genuine blockbuster at the cinema, then an emotionally charged ending is no doubt an inevitability by the game’s end.

Of course, the stereotypical feature only runs for a period no less than two hours, where as the shortest stereotypical game one is likely to experience today will go for approximately three times that amount. So, if I am going to immerse myself into a fictitious world for that amount of time, then I would very much like for the ending to be as passionately powerful as the overall experience from start to finish was for me.

I can only speak for myself, but I very much enjoy being fully immersed into the world of a video game to such an extent that I will genuinely feel something; I will become sad if a protagonist who I had befriended and fought beside dies; I will smile if the vile antagonist who caused such pain and suffering is defeated by game’s end; I will feel contempt at the evocative nature of any relationship that I manage to instigate between my character and a possible paramour.

With that said, certain readers may find it interesting that I would rather be brought to tears by the ending of a specific title, rather than find an epic amount of explosions dazzling across the screen before the credits gradually start rolling. True, I don’t believe that people in general enjoy crying, but that rule does not apply in my opinion when you are viewing fictitious content. To be moved in any which way; to tears; to fits of hysterical laughter; to glances of awe, is not always possible with every title, no matter the content, and to become emotionally distraught by a tragic ending is not something to be horrified at, but something to be ecstatic with.

If a feature has moved the viewer in the way that the writers, director and developers originally intended, then they have successfully achieved that which they had set out to do. If I had not being moved to tears by the game’s ending then that would have being an issue for I would not be acquiring the experience that I had paid for. Game’s in general often cost three times the amount of a film, and to be moved by the conclusion is well worth the one hundred odd dollars that the campaign was valued at.

In conclusion, I would very much like for more game’s to have an emotionally charged ending after playing through the campaign, or, like the Mass Effect series, build up on that possible ending through a franchise. After all, if I am going to be fully immersed into the world of a video game, I would genuinely appreciate the ability to be moved by an ending that has being developed by people as passionate for the game as I am, rather than end on the stereotypical explosive scenario that many game’s to this day conclude upon.

To be moved to tears by a game’s ending is not something that people should look down upon; it simply means that the player is human. As a species, humans are more often than not affected emotionally when something tragic happens. All I ask is that this in-depth feeling of humanity is written into the game’s that I play.

Thank you for reading.

If you have any comments on what I have written, or opinions of your own in regards to the subject matter, please, feel free to discuss them in the comments section below.