Thursday 26 November 2009

Video Game Reviews

PES 2010: Pro Evolution Soccer
PC, Xbox 360, PSP, PS3 (Version Tested), Wii, PS2
Available Now - £44.99 (PS3, 360), £39.99 (Wii), £34.99 (PC) and £29.99 (PS2, PSP)
Review by Blake Harmer

PES 2010, which was once one of the best football games you could get, really has its work cut out for it this year. The series’ leap into the next generation hasn’t been too kind to it, and it has allowed it’s rival, EA’s FIFA series, to move ahead and take the crown. So with FIFA 2010 being one of the best football games yet, with it’s 360 degree dribbling, does PES 2010 stand a chance to make itself up to scratch and reclaim it’s title?

Well I’m happy to say that it is the best PES game yet, with most of the attention going into fixing the problems that had let the last two years down, and making it feel like a true next-gen football game. The graphics are spectacular with lots of players having spot on likenesses. The commentary has been improved although it is still quite shoddy and not as good as FIFA. The modes have also been tweaked making it easier to manage your team in the Master League mode. However, it does come with the price of making the management seem a bit more watered down and less of an in-depth experience.

The only major downsides from what is a great football game package is the Become a Legend mode which is rather dull and boring and hasn’t changed largely since last year, and most importantly, that the game hasn’t really evolved much. Sure, PES 2010 has refined itself and corrected the mistakes it’s made in the last two outings making this the best PES yet. However, with the competition constantly evolving and bettering itself, PES needs to do something amazing and fresh if it’s to pull itself ahead and reclaim it’s crown of best football game. However, if PES has sorted itself out this year, hopefully next year will leave room to create something really special.

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Beautiful graphics with spot on likenesses. Especially Wayne Rooney who’s in game model really does look like a baked potato.
Sound/Music: Commentary is still shonky although not as laughably bad as the older games on PS1 and PS2. Good crowd noises though.
Gameplay: There have been a lot of fixes and improvements to the game but nothing innovative to the franchise. If you’ve played a PES game you will instantly be familiar with it.
Lasting Appeal: In depth career modes and online multiplayer makes the fun practically endless if footy is your bag.
Summary: This is the best PES game yet, and fans of the series will enjoy the improvements. However, the game needs to evolve to catch up with the likes of FIFA 2010 if PES wants to reclaim its former glory. All in all though this is a great game, and you won’t regret purchasing it. 8/10

Voted the Sexiest Man in the World by Glamour Magazine, clinching ‘top male hottie’ at the Teen Choice Awards and the winner of the ‘Breakthrough Performance’ and ‘Best Kiss’ awards from MTV Movies for his smash hit Twilight, Robert Pattinson is one of Hollywood’s Hottest Heartthrobs today! To celebrate his success and to coincide with the launch of New Moon in cinemas, Revolver Entertainment have released the exclusive Robsessed Boxset on DVD.

Following his shot straight to fame from his role as Cedric Diggory in the legendary Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and fresh from his second major leading role in the Twilight Saga, the Robsessed Box Set features a the first ever behind-the-scenes access all areas documentary on the life of Robert Pattinson, plus The Haunted Airman starring the man himself in the title role. The boxset also includes the chance for fans to spend the whole year with Rob with an exclusive, free 2010 photo calendar.

Thanks to our friends at Revolver Entertainment, we've got a copy of the Robsessed Box Set, and three Robert Pattinson 2010 calenders to give away! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to with your name and postal address before midday on Thursday 3rd December (UK time). The first four names drawn out of the electronic hat will win an awesome prize!

F1 2009
(PSP, Wii (Version Tested))

Available Now - £39.99 (Wii) and £29.99 (PSP)
Review by Blake Harmer

Racing games to me have to be one of two things, they can either be exciting and filled with lots of explosions, like the fantastic Burnout series, or it has to be realistic. F1 2009 knows it cannot compare to Burnout so goes for being realistic (predictably seeing as it’s an official game of the F1 franchise). In some ways it achieves this, but sadly fails in other ways.

The game sticks to the realism by having everything that you can expect from an officially licence game. It has fully licensed names, vehicles and tracks, including the Singapore nighttime track as one of its main selling points. The game also has lots of modes including a full career that spans 3 years of game time so true fans can really become immersed in the world of racing. There is also a great sense of speed, there is nothing scarier than being thrilled that you’ve hit the top gear, only to realise you’ve run out of track and spun out into the sand.

However, the game is let down by some truly idiotic AI that didn’t seem to try and challenge you and were just following a preset track like the racing games of old. I also thought that the graphics aside from the car models were quite blocky, which is a shame, as I know that the Wii can generate better graphics than this. Lastly, I also found that the game didn’t accurately recognise how hard I was turning the Wii wheel when I needed it to which made it infuriating when I was trying to make some of the more difficult corners.

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Fairly standard graphics. It would look nice on a PSP but the Wii can generate nicer graphics than this.
Sound/Music: Typical F1 car noises that become grating if you play it for too long. But it might be the fact I hate the engine noise an F1 car makes.
Gameplay: The full F1 experience with lots of modes to keep fans happy, I did feel that the game was let down by handling not being recognised very well by the Wii Wheel, and the AI being pretty poor.
Lasting Appeal: There is a big single player experience to be had with long career modes and lots of challenges to keep you occupied well until the next F1 season.
Summary: An enjoyable racing game but one I could only really recommend to fans of F1 racing. This is purely because there are much better racers out there, both simulation and arcade, and aside from the Singapore track, the game has little else going for it to make it truly stand out. Maybe next year Codemasters will give us a truly great F1 experience. 6/10

Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders
Available Now - £24.99
Review by Brad Harmer

A serial killer is on the loose, murdering his victims in alphabetical order, leaving an ABC Railway Guide beside each body and playing a dangerous game with Hercule Poirot. He alerts Poirot in advance of the locations of the murders, but Poirot always arrives too late. Intrigued by the psychopath's mind and methodology, Poirot travels the length and breadth of England - determined to track down this ruthless killer.

I’m all for crime games. I think that whodunits make the perfect format for video games. After all, most whodunits practically are gamebooks. You read along, theorising and guessing as to who committed the crime, desperate to outwit whichever smarmy git you have as a protagonist. The adaptation of The ABC Murders here, however, tragically falls pretty short of the mark.

You spend about 80% of your time clicking through cutscenes and pieces of dialogue that stretch the definition of the word “animated” to breaking point, and about 20% of it braining your way through various mathematics problems, logic conundrums and anagrams. The puzzles for the most part have little to do with the narrative, and you’ll frequently bump into a character who’ll say something along the lines of “I will help you, but first you must solve my riddle...”.

The thing is, the puzzles aren’t even all that hard. On top of that, the game provides no penalties for the number of guesses you make, or how long you take to solve it. So, it’s actually possible to work your way through the number puzzles by trial and error, simply counting up until you reach the right number.

With all this said, the narrative is very strong, and you’ll probably find yourself playing it through to completion because you want to find out who the murderer is. Not great, but bizarrely addictive.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Nice backgrounds and character illustrations, although I have seen better animation on radio.
Sound/Music: The odd sound effect, and occasional clip of dialogue is well produced. There music is hum-drum MIDI.
Gameplay: Some logic problems are taxing, most are solved in two minutes or less.
Lasting Appeal: I completed the main story mode in just under three hours. I don’t exactly call that value for money, although there are two bonus mysteries included.
Summary: It would likely keep kids entertained on a holiday, but at a main running time of three hours, you could pick up the original novel and a puzzle book for a fraction of the price – and it would keep you entertained longer. 5/10

1 comment:

  1. And for a brief second I thought revolver had brought out a best of Rob Wade boxset, called Robsessed, but then realised Rob's best bits could probably fit on something more slender.

    and kudos to Blake for the Rooney-Potato connection.