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  • inFAMOUS (PS3) – completed

    Completed inFAMOUS today on HARD difficulty.

    Enjoyable game with good storyline. Apart from the very last battle, it wasn’t all that difficult. Unfortunately the game saves don’t track played time so not sure how long it took me as it was spread out across about 4 weekends and a couple of evenings.

    Only annoyance is that I didn’t end up with enough points to buy all the upgrades and now with the city pretty much cleaned up there’s no easy way to gain more XP. It is designed to be played multiple times, making different choices each time, but I’m not sure I’ve got the time to go through it again – much rather get started on inFAMOUS 2 now!

    For anybody starting the game, if you want to maximise your trophy collection with only a single playthrough:
    * do lots of fighting and leave some of the side-quests until later; this allows you to gain more XP in the long run. Side-quests can be completed after the main storyline is done.
    * save the game prior to every karma choice, then do each mission both ways.
    * carefully search each city block the first time you get to it and collect all the shards; otherwise searching for the last few shards will be a pain as you will have to comb the entire city for them.

  • Game Overview: Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag

    So I’ve been a bit quiet recently.  This is largely due to Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag.  Yes, I’m addicted.

    The game itself is, supposedly, in the same vein as the other Assassin’s Creed games. I don’t know because I haven’t played, or even seen, them yet.

    Generally the game is open-world, allowing you to explore the world, perform side-quests, or just live a piratical lifestyle until you decide to continue with the main quest.  The main quest varies in style (on-foot or on the ship, various types of sub-mission such as follow, eavesdrop, locate, assassinate, etc) although it’s usually quite linear within a given environment.  If you stray too far from the quest area or if you fail a primary quest objective it resets the quest.  There are usually secondary objectives as well.

    The world is quite beautifully rendered.  The humans less so – especially in some cut-scenes.  IMHO they suffer from the Uncanny Valley effect with wooden movements and unrealistic white glaring eyes being especially noticeable.  During game action this is not really noticeable though, and the main character is quite nicely animated as he performs a wide range of actions.

    Gameplay wise it’s quite varied – from parkour-style running exploration, captaining a sailing ship across the seas, pick-pocketing, sword-fighting, and even underwater diving exploration of shipwrecks.  The main character performs all actions with aplomb and the controls are reasonably simple with the character choosing the correct action depending on environment.  Unfortunately this means that sometimes he’ll try to climb a pole which is in the way rather than running around it…

    But niggles are so far few and far between, the only other one of note is that occasionally the camera won’t rotate properly.  This is most annoying when sailing as the camera controls are instrumental in selecting the ships’ weaponry during a naval battle.

    There’s also an odd “future-day” style sub-game, which pops up occasionally. Without spoiling it for others, I’d just like to mention that I personally did not find it particularly intrusive or annoying and it does add a twist, which, again, may be present in the earlier Assassin’s Creed games as well so may not be anything new for fans of the series.

    All up I think this is a great game.



    • Nice graphics and animation.
    • Open-world gameplay (when not in a main-mission) with lots of variety.
    • Interesting main storyline.
    • Uses plenty of historical data to make world seem believable.


    • Cannot choose style of character (ie, “nice” or “evil”).
    • In-game actions do not influence the storyline (story is “on rails”).
    • Some cut-scenes are constantly repeated and get “old”.
    • Character sometimes chooses poor actions, especially in complicated situations.


    • Camera-control sometimes buggy.
    • Occasional “frozen” enemies which can’t be interacted with.


    • Easy – Medium

    Personal Score:

    • 9/10

  • UPlay Rubbish

    Hey and welcome to my first blogged rant!
    So I’ve been playing Assassins Creed 4 for the last 2 days (great game so far, I’ll do a separate  writeup another time) but what is really starting to annoy me is UPlay. It’s a Ubisoft thing and in AC4 it prompts you to sign in. Twice. EVERY TIME YOU START THE GAME! Just bleep off and let me enjoy the game. Nobody wants it so just take the hint and stop bothering me.

    UPDATE: So I finally caved in and registered a UPlay account and Passport.  To Ubisoft’s credit, this is now free (despite the text still saying to purchase it), but frankly, I shouldn’t have to just to avoid 2 annoying prompts.

  • Game Completed: Killzone 2

    So I finally played through Killzone 2, figured I should have some background before embarking on Killzone Shadowfall.

    On the whole quite enjoyed it, playing through on standard difficulty, except for the end boss. Despite reading tactics I ended up wussing out and completing the last fight on easy.  Which is weird – everybody said -getting- to him was the difficult bit, actually taking him out isn’t that bad. For me it was the other way around, getting through his minions was doable, but one-on-one (Rico is worse than useless) proved impossible for me. Just have no idea how one is supposed to take down an invisible teleporting dude with a super machinegun and one-hit-kill if he gets too close to you, which he keeps doing because he teleports behind you.  On easy it was tough but doable – requiring significantly fewer hits.

    An FPS-maniac I, clearly, am not.

  • Game Overview – Tearaway

    I’ve been playing Tearaway over the last few days, another great little game from the studio which brought us LittleBigPlanet.

    The style is definitely recognisably Media Molecule and the game takes full advantage of the PSVita’s various controls and input mechanisms, including the front and rear touchpads, the cameras, and the tilt sensors.  At times this can be a little overwhelming, having to balance the PSVita on your fingers while trying to move the character using the thumbsticks – so certain levels are not really playable on a moving bus.

    There are a few other niggles which detract from this otherwise fantastic title.


    One of the worst is the fact that while there is a bookmarks and restore point system, there is no way to save custom bookmarks or to return to a given restore point in a level. Coupled with the fact that some restore points are “invisible”, and that sometimes there are points of no return which aren’t clearly marked it makes 100% collecting a bit of a chore as it’s not always possible to return to an earlier part of a level.  So levels have to be replayed several times in order to explore the entire level.


    Another issue is the camera – usually it is free allowing the gamer to rotate it about, but in certain areas or sequences it is locked down making exploring a bit annoying.  It also has a nasty habit of moving during some sequences which results in badly angled jumps.

    Luckily there’s a way to switch to a first-person view through the in-game camera (once collected), which allows free viewing of the world.

    Content Creation

    At various points in the game it’s necessary to create some simple custom content to progress. The idea is great and on the whole works well, but the lack of precision in the input mechanism left me disappointed with some of my creations. Not sure there’s any way to improve on this given the platform, possibly by adding more drawing tools, but that would be at the danger of taking away from the immediacy of the game.


    I only came across a single issue where the dialogue did not continue in a cut-scene, and had to restart the level.  Apart from that one time the game seemed pretty solid.


    • Lovely innovative paper-based graphics
    • Good use of the entire PSVita featureset
    • Fun 3rd person platformer with unique content-creation elements


    • At times the controls are fiddly
    • Camera is locked at times or moves unexpectedly
    • Points of no-return in levels are not obvious and make 100% collecting a chore


    If you like platformers or titles which are a little bit different you’ll love Tearaway. It’s a great addition to the PSVita catalogue.

  • Game Overview – Need for Speed : Rivals

    The only vehicle game available on the PS4 at launch due to the delay of Driveclub, but a good one! Certainly not regretting buying it and I’ve enjoyed it a lot although it does have a few tiny bugs.

    Overall the game strongly reminded me of Burnout Paradise although with the theme of Cops vs Racers.  The game world is open with various activities and missions dotted throughout.  Unlike Burnout Paradise though you’re never quite free to just enjoy the world, especially when playing as a Racer as cops will almost always try to take you down.

    Presentation is great with lovely graphics and constantly changing weather effects including day and night.  Night-time, while very nice visually, can be frustrating when trying to complete a mission as visibility is hugely reduced.  It would be nice to have this as a setting. The world has all basic terrain types, from city to desert to alpine mountains and even redwood forests which ensures good variety.

    The online component is great fun and works well, either working together as Cops to take down Racers, or racing each other.  The matchmaking facilities are quite limited though and there’s no good way to play with friends while also allowing strangers to join in.  Game sessions allow people to join and leave anytime, and the single-player missions can be played even while in multi-player mode.


    • Great racing game in the vein of Burnout Paradise, but with a theme and better graphics.
    • Open-world gameplay.
    • Good online play.


    • A few bugs.
    • Limited matchmaking.
    • Cannot turn off Cops vs Racers theme to just enjoy the world.
    • Weather effects can get in the way of missions.


    • Jumps sometimes not registered.
    • After being taken down, car is not always oriented properly on road.
    • Very occasional crashes.

    Personal Score: 8 / 10

  • Game Overview – Resogun

    One of the launch-titles available for PlayStation 4, Resogun is a fun, fast, sideways-scrolling retro-shooter effectively based on the classic Defender.  It was also free for PlayStation Plus subscribers during the launch period.

    On “Rookie” it’s an enjoyable blast, but on the higher difficulty levels it will leave you frustrated while you master the effective use of all the capabilities.