Friday, October 15, 2010

The Game Zone (VI)

video game reviews

Video games that you'll regret you missed...or maybe not!

Dragon Age: Origins
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X
Dragon Age: Origins, the recent release from BioWare (the company best known for creating classics like Baldur’s Gate and Mass Effect), is based on the standard premise of dark forces threatening the world while you, the hero, find a way to defeat them. The single-player role-playing game takes you into an imaginative fantasy world where your choices help lay down the route you will follow as you fight evil creatures and seek hidden treasures to fulfil your quest. Set in the mythical land of Thedas, where once every few hundred years a demon army rises from the underworld and tries to take over the world, the ancient legendary order of the Grey Wardens must fulfil the task of driving the demons back; you, the player, become a part of that order and must unite the elves, dwarves, mages and humans to gather an army powerful enough to fight back the demons. The gameplay is fairly complex and requires many tactical decisions, including which character to use when, and while the environment is a little bland and the graphics aren’t exactly stunning, the interesting storyline and characters will still keep you enthralled and the game is sure to keep you occupied for hours (even though you might face some issues if you’re playing on a console, as some tasks require complex button combinations to accomplish). It could take you as many as 50+ hours to complete the game the first time round; also, as the game changes based on your decisions and how you play, it has a high replay value, and you might enjoy it even more when you’re playing it for the second time.

Fallout 3
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows
A decade after the release of Fallout 2, Bethesda Game Studios unleashed Fallout 3, the post-apocalyptic action role-playing game set in 2277, that sees the player living in a survival shelter following a nuclear war. After his father’s mysterious disappearance, the player must leave the safety of the vault and journey through the ruins of what was once Washington D.C. to search for his father, unravelling clues and dealing with mutants and other brutal creatures while performing various side missions along the way. The story is captivating, the combat system is brilliant, and every mission in the game is different which keeps Fallout 3 from feeling repetitive. There is a lot of variation between different areas and cities, and you can explore what you want and move around in the world freely, which gives the game a more realistic feel. Also, the side missions are awesome; we only wish there could’ve been more of them!

Platform: PlayStation 3
Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet is a platformer video game that also works as a social game you can play with your friends and other LBP players online. The game puts you in control of a little character called Sackboy or Sackgirl, and you travel around in a fun-filled world and do missions in areas that are based on different parts of the globe. On your journey, you can also collect things that you can use to customize the looks of your character, changing its appearance as you please. If it’s brief story leaves you wanting more, you’re given the chance to use your imagination and build your own levels; the levels you make can also be made accessible online, so anyone can play a level you have created and vice versa; players have even created levels based on classic platform games using the LBP elements. The game lets you unleash your creativity (since you can build your own levels and decorate your Sackperson, box and landscape) and also doubles as a fun game to play with friends (you can cooperate with others to get your Sackperson through the levels). And it’s a game that suits all audiences; kids can enjoy the game’s playful look and run around in the fantasy world, while more advanced players can play and create more challenging levels. Yes, the main story feels a bit short, but the game makes up for that through it’s use of imagination and humour, and absolutely amazing graphics.

Midnight Club: Los Angeles
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and Xbox 360
The fourth game in the Midnight Club series, Midnight Club: Los Angeles is a street racing game based in, as its name suggests, the streets of Los Angeles. The main goal of the player is to drive around LA and participate in different street races; the more races you win, the better reputation you gain, which in turn will lead you to bigger contests and more prize money. You can participate in different kinds of races, including tournaments, pink slip races and freeway races, and choose between a wide variety of cars and motorcycles; you can also customize your vehicle and buy upgrades for it with the money you have won. But while all the races are of varying difficulties, they’re still too similar and don’t offer enough variation to keep the game fresh, and combined with the fact that there are already various other similar street racing games, Midnight Club: Los Angeles doesn’t really offer anything new. For a game coming from Rock Star Games, a company known for pushing the limits in gaming, you would expect something different, but there isn’t much that is unique or innovative about this game. Overall, Midnight Club: Los Angeles is a decent racing game with stunning visuals and a lot of vehicle choices, but chances are you might get bored with it after a little while.

The Uncharted Series – Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Platform: PlayStation 3
Treasure hunter Nathan Drake travels around the world to search for lost treasures in the Uncharted series, a set of action-adventure third-person shooter games that bring the Indiana Jones style to mind. The player seeks the treasure of El Dorado in the first game, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, while the second game, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, takes Nathan on a quest to find Marco Polo’s lost treasure. The games aren’t very long and you’ll probably be able to finish them fairly quickly, but on the whole Uncharted is an enjoyable adventure series that merges good treasure hunting stories with action elements, like jumping over cliffs, avoiding snipers, and solving mysteries; plus Uncharted 2 is a great multiplayer game and is fun to play online.

- By Daniel & Sam

Ink Magazine, Oct-Dec, 2010

No comments: