Metro: Last Light

MetroLL_1080p_8.bmpSet in a post-apocalyptic world Metro: Last Light follows up 2010’s Metro 2033. Being a PS3 owner I’ve never played the original as for some reason it was never released for Playstation so I can not compare the two. What I do know though is that Last Light was a bigger budget affair with a completely original story line. You play as Artyom and your mission is to find The Dark One who is believed to be the key to the survival of the human race. To do so you must navigate your way through the metro tunnels and stations, as well as explore the deserted Earth above you. It’s a diverse game pitting you against monsters and enemy humans alternately as you work your way through a gripping story of the supernatural.

I’m not the biggest fan of FPS games, mainly because I’m not the into the whole online stuff, so I more often opt for a third person adventure game as they tend to have a better story line. Last Light however, is an FPS that is only concerned with story, there is no online mode or any other mode than the story for that matter. And you can see why as this is one of the richest campaigns I have ever played. The story keeps you gripped from beginning to end (though I must admit I was slightly lost at first having not played 2033) and makes the game a tense affair as you work your through the levels and the plot unravels.

The graphics are absolutely stunning, some of the best I’ve ever seen on PS3. There’s a permanent darkness over every shot but it still manages to look beautiful even when you’re creeping through some filthy tunnels. The monsters are well crafted if slightly generic beasts and the humans look great too making for a realistic gaming experience. The levels take a while to get into the swing, the first few are too heavily cut up with cut scenes and lessons, you’re told how to play the game for too long basically, but once you get past it you’re greeted with a wide variety of stages with varying levels of difficulty all of which require different techniques to get through. Some missions reminded of the Arkham games as you have to sneak around in the shadows picking off Rangers one by one, if you get caught you’re in trouble. Others are more about survival, particularly in the cave areas where you have to fight packs of beasts who come charging at you and you have to be fast with your guns to keep them from tearing you apart. Then there are the stages that are out in the open where the main challenge is keeping your gas mask filters fresh so as not to inhale the radiation and choke to death.

Overall the game is one of the best FPS’s I’ve ever played finding a great balance between action and horror, and managing to have a great storyline without smothering you with cut-scenes or QTE’s. My only qualm would be that it has no replay value and it would perhaps benefit from having something else perhaps a co-op campaign or a challenge mode like the Arkham games. Despite this in terms of story and gameplay this is definitely one worth playing and let’s hope it’s not the last we see from the Metro series.

 

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Resident Evil 6

Resident_evil_6_premium_edition_c8szoBeing a long-term fan of the Resident Evil series but having been disappointed by its fifth instalment I was quite anxious leading up to the release of number six. After playing the demo though and reading the reviews any buzz I may have originally had for the game was swiftly smothered. In the end I waited for a while and after not hearing anything much good about it I decided to rent it rather part with a larger chunk of cash. I’m so glad I made that decision.

In case you don’t know about the game it takes a rather a more holistic approach than any of its predecessors, offering you with four different campaigns all from the point-of-view of different characters the majority of which have been the leads in previous games. All four stories coincide with each other to paint a bigger picture of the games dense storyline. The first three story-lines all offer co-op play throughout, whereas the last one that only becomes available after finishing the other three is only single player. The campaigns have all been given a different feel in an attempt to keep all types of gamers happy.

The first story is led by Leon (previously the main character from Resi 2 and 4, 4 being my personal favourite of the whole series) and his partner Helena, this campaign is probably the most like the original Resi games at various points taking you into sewers and graveyards. It is the only story where you actually fight zombies, the J’Avo which you fight in all the other campaigns can barely be described as such. Leon’s campaign is easily the best on the game it being the only one that actually feels like a Resident Evil game, albeit a fairly poor one. By the end of chapter two I was beginning to get into it quite a lot and thought that perhaps it won’t be as bad as everyone says it is but then once you get on to the campaigns later chapters and are bombarded with constant button-mashing and cut-scenes and are barely given a chance to do anything it fast loses its charm. Chapters four and five are a relentless pounding of action none of which is enjoyable and you are ultimately glad for it to finish when it does.

Moving onto Chris (the protagonist from the very first Resi as well as Code: Veronica, The Umbrella Chronicles and Resi 5) and Piers’ campaign and things take a turn even further into shitness. This campaign had my wanting to my hear out pretty much from start to finish. Where Resi 5 failed by trying to make the game attract the Call of Duty market they make the same mistake with this campaign. It’s far too much like a war game and the J’Avo who are the main types of enemy are simply just soldiers with masks. There of particularly infuriating moments which have stuck in my mind, one in which you have to shoot down a helicopter from a boat, I was playing on Veteran difficulty and it seemed whatever I did I would just got shot down immediately to face the ‘You Are Dead’ screen. And the other being a despicably awful QTE in which you have to escape from a strange corridor that is under attack from a disgusting sea monster by sprinting to a door shooting the things hand, sprinting to the next door shooting the things hand then alterantly pressing L1 and R1 but a really awkward pace otherwise the game won’t register it. It’s QTE scene’s such as that which really are the games biggest downfall, not a single boss fight is left to you to do and is instead decided by these fast-tapping moments which are stupidly easy half the time and ridiculously hard the other half with no consistency at all.

The next story is led by Jake (in his first ever appearance) and Sherry (who previously appeared in Resi 2). I found this story to really be just a filler. In one of its chapters it tries to be a stealth game stealing ideas from Hitman or Splinter Cell as you have to sneak you’re way through a cave and avoid being caught by a giant ogre. The story really is just a strange hybrid mash of a load of different video game cliches. There’s the stealth section in which you even have to hide a dumpster and peer out waiting for enemies to pass a shameless rip-off of Hitman. There’s a part where you have to guide a snow mobile away from an avalanche with an incredibly clunky control system that reminded me of one of the more terrible missions in 007 Nightfire. Then there’s another mission where you wake up in a hospital and have to escape with no weapons, but for some reason the hospital is such a bright white that it makes all objects apart from your player invisible for no reason whatsoever.

The final story is Ada Wong’s (previously from Resi 4 and selection of spin-off titles) and her plot coincides with all the other four meaning there are only a couple of parts of her campaign which you haven’t played before. Those bits are actually some of the best in the game, she has a couple of puzzles to solve which were previously one of my favourite things about the series and a boss where you actually get to fight whole thing without control being ripped from you in order for you to mash a couple of buttons really fast. It’s a shame then that hers is the shortest of all the stories and the majority of her missions are just stuck together out of bits that you’ve already got really pissed off with in the other campaigns.

Overall, by then end I really did hate this game. It seems that they’re are trying to cater for too many different markets and in the process have lost what it was that made the series original in the first place. It’s not survival horror game any more and is barely even a horror. It’s basically just a poor action adventure that seems more intent on telling you an over-exuberant storyline than letting you play a game. It’s a massive shame that a series that used be one of my favourites of all time has produced two big misfires for this console generation. Let’s hope that this dip in form will come to an end with PS4 and new XBox but I’m not holding my breath.

 

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD

To fill some of the vast amounts of time we find ourselves with at University yesterday my attention turned to the reboot of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, available for download on the Playstation Store or Xbox Marketplace the blurb boasted that the game takes all the best elements of the previous pro skater releases and combines them to create one nostalgic package. Tony Hawk’s games were a permanent fixture of my childhood and I’ve spent many a night longing to go back to the days were you could string together a ridiculous combo and make your mate the donkey.

So does HD, live up to the old legacy? Yes and no. The gameplay is actually rather a lot harder than I remember you have to land your skater perfect or he’s gonna bail, and there’s no button that you can press to straighten up say if your jump has veered you away from a pipe. But there is the factor of having to buy tricks and stats to make your skater better so this might get quite a lot easier eventually and ultimately this adds a nice challenge to work through. The maps are all taken from old games and it’s cool remembering the old days. The music package is pretty good as well, again bringing the nostalgia. However there is one major, major problem here. There is no fucking split screen. On Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater there is no FUCKING SPLIT SCREEN. I don’t know what more to say other than fuck to be honest. My fondest memories of those old games were easily battling against my friends at home, there’s an online feature that I’m yet to try but online is never the same as having a few mates over and trying to terrorise each other. If they release another one of these this is something I expect to be changed, surely people must be annoyed about this.

That aside the game is just as fun and challenging as when I first played when I was younger, the goals can be infuriating but also so addictive playing the same level hundreds of times is easily done. And overall its just good to have Tony Hawk back, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for an Underground HD so come campaign with me for it.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

I know this game isn’t really new any more but after Max Payne and SSX its the next newest game I have and as promised I’m attempting to build up my game section, with a more respectable catalogue. I’m a relative newcomer to the Marvel vs Capcom series the original 3 being the first I’ve ever played. I wasn’t expecting quite what I got and I decided after not too long that I had to have it for myself, but with the offer of new characters including one of my favourite Marvel characters, Ghost Rider, the lure of the newer Ultimate edition was far too strong to resist.

Before I first played MVC3 my understanding was that it was a rival to the DC Universe/Mortal Kombat games, the same as every other platform fighter around at the moment but what I got was something with a complete style of its own. Here we have the closest thing you’re going to get to Super Smash Bros. on PS3 or XBox. It’s tag team insanity that becomes so addictive you can play it all night and not realise how long you’ve been going. It’s the only game, bar FIFA, that I’ve played on a latest gen console that has a versus mode more addictive than it’s campaign. As I mentioned in my SSX review these days there’s far too much emphasis on online multiplayer, that most titles seem to forget about multiplayer in person. Although it’s basic, playing with a couple of mates round is what makes this game great.

Playing versus online, though, I found is different kettle of fish. I can’t grasp the combo’s, fighters have never really been a strong point of mine but here I can’t seem to grasp any of the skills no matter how much I practice, so I tend to steer clear of multiplayer online. The arcade mode I also find pretty difficult but still provides some good entertainment if you’re a bit lonely. The Ultimate edition comes with the new Heroes and Heralds campaign which basically just adds another aspect to the game and I find is more fun to play through than the standard arcade mode. I must add though that it seems a bit unfair on fans who paid the same price for the original release to then just release the Ultimate edition where everything is better, seems like a shameless cash coup to me. But still this is a great game that reminds me of the days when I used to stay up all night at a sleepover bettering people in smash bros. and what fond memories they are.