Thursday 20 January 2011

Gaming Reviews

Def Jam Rapstar
Available Now - Game only: £49.99 (Xbox 360, Playstation 3) £39.99 (Wii)
Microphone Bundle: £59.99 (Xbox 360, Playstation 3), £49.99 (Wii)

Review by Rob Wade

Def Jam Rapstar captures the essence of what hip hop is all about: the music, the battles and of course...the swagger. The ultimate MC experience for video game consoles, Def Jam Rapstar is the only music game that focuses exclusively on hip hop. With more than forty of the greatest hip hop songs available at release, Def Jam Rapstar allows you to be the star: by rhyming, using your console camera, and uploading your video to the fully integrated Def Jam Rapstar community online. Def Jam Rapstar also offers you the ability to freestyle over tracks by some of the hottest hip hop producers and upload your freestyle performances for the world to decide how good you really are.

Def Jam Rapstar plays much like the other singing games you may have played, but with one subtle difference: in this game, the singing tracks are entirely replaced by rap and hip hop artists such as Kanye West. After a few tracks playing this game, it’s possible to very easily feel like the missing condiment from ‘Salt N’ Pepa’, but once you get past the novelty, you’ll feel more Dime-a-dozen than 50 Cent. It’s a lot of puns, I know. I’m sorry.

The cracks start to appear in the game when you begin to fumble with your lyrics. See, this game makes a big point of the fact that it uses advanced vocal technology to measure lyrical accuracy as well as pitch and timing. The problem is that it doesn’t work. Not all the time, at least. It doesn’t work consistently, but that’s not the most annoying part. The most annoying part is that the swear words are completely bleeped out. In order to make the game more palatable for a younger audience, the developers have had all the swearing bleeped. It completely destroys your flow, and makes some songs, like the 50 Cent track, unplayable as a result.

It’s not all bad, however. The game is enjoyable enough, and ultimately the formula makes for good novelty value, and makes an enjoyable party game. It also contains some interesting trivia, which loads up as you’re waiting for the videos to start. The videos are cool too, even if the User Interface is basic. If you enjoy rap, make no mistake: this is a good game for you. However, if you’re just looking for a new singing game, you’re probably better off with Rock Band.

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Graphics: Good selection of videos, and a basic and easy UI.
Sound/Music: The tracks used are master recordings, and pleasingly the video is there too for a bit of authenticity.
Gameplay: Pretty much what you’ve come to expect from this type of game, except with a rap focus.
Lasting Appeal: If you’re into this sort of music, there are plenty of tracks to keep you going, plus there will undoubtedly be DLC for this game as well.
Summary: A reasonable game for fans of rap. Fans of singing games in general would be better served going for something like Lips or Rock Band. 6/10
World in Conflict
Focus Multimedia
Available Now - £6.99 (PC)
Review by Blake Harmer

Set in an alternative universe in which Russia invades the USA, World in Conflict is a RTS that follows this epic struggle over global supremacy.

Considering the game is now a few years old, it holds up pretty well. The graphics are still good, with some very impressive explosions. The gameplay features plenty of variety in missions and unit types, especially when combined with the expansion pack, which is also bundled in with the game. Chuck on a budget price tag and what you have here is a strong RTS game.

However, the game is not completely flawless. World in Conflict has since been surpassed both technically and in terms of the evolution of the RTS genre. So if you play the likes of Starcraft II, then you are going to be disappointed in comparison. There is also the flaw of the enemy AI in the game, which is so terribly basic by today’s standards it makes you feel like it was lifted from the early Command and Conquer games. It is this poor AI that can make the single player campaign pretty easy to play through. However, when it comes to value for money, World in Conflict is still a fun game and one that will keep you interested whilst you wait for the next big PC RTS to hit the shelves.

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Good for their time and still holding up well considering the game is now a few years old. The explosions are particularly impressive.
Sound/Music: Some satisfying explosions and music, just as you could expect from an RTS title really.
Gameplay: An enjoyable RTS with some nice features but some incredibly dated AI spoils the single player campaign and makes it too easy.
Lasting Appeal: Once the easy single player campaign wears off, there is always the multiplayer, and the addition of the expansion pack will keep you entertained for a while.
Summary: An enjoyable RTS game now at a budget price that is good value for money. Sure the AI is pretty terrible and the game has been surpassed by Starcraft II and the Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War series, but seeing as the game is now a budget range and includes the original game and the expansion pack. You can’t argue with the value for money. 7/10


Ruth Jones stars as Hattie Jacques, star of the world-renowned Carry On films, in a true-life comedy drama about a very English love triangle and a celebration of an extraordinary comedy icon.

Thanks to the success of the Carry On films, actress Hattie Jacques was famous for playing 'fat and funny' characters. However behind closed doors, Hattie became the star in her very own scandal when - in the middle of filming Carry On Cabby - she began a passionate affair with her handsome young chauffeur, John Schofield (Aidan Turner), while she was still married to Dad's Army actor John Le Mesurier (Robert Bathurst).

Set in the bohemian world of 60s London, Hattie shows that, despite the matronly roles she played on screen, the real Hattie enjoyed an adventurous and passionate love life - risking everything to pursue the man of her dreams.

Thanks to our friends at Channel 4 DVD, we've got three copies of Hattie on DVD to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to before midday on Monday 31st January, making sure to put "Hattie" as the subject. The first three entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy each!

Don't forget to put "Hattie" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Hattie is available on DVD from Monday 24th January, priced £19.99.

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