Thursday 26 May 2011

Gaming Reviews

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean
Disney Interactive/Travellers’ Tales
Available now - RRP - £49.99 (Xbox 360 (Version Tested), PS3), £34.99 (Wii, DS, PSP), £39.99 (3DS)
Review by Rob Wade

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is an action-adventure game that brings the Pirates of the Caribbean world and all its colourful characters to life in LEGO Brick form. Players will experience all the memorable scenes from the first three films, as well as those in the new fourth film, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in the humorous and quirky LEGO Video Games style.

It’s a fairly safe bet that at some point, most gamers regardless of console have had a go
at one of the LEGO video games. From Star Wars to Batman to Harry Potter to Indiana Jones, it can certainly be argued that Travellers’ Tales have always been effective at choosing the most beloved and deep franchises to develop game versions, and LEGO POTC is no exception. Spanning all four of the films, including the most recent release still in cinemas everywhere now, the game brings together key events and battles from the films into one package, as well as throwing in some extra bits and pieces to keep die-hard LEGO fans happy. How awesome, incidentally, would LEGO Die Hard be?

Players take on the role of iconic characters from all four films, and particular attention has been paid to balancing character abilities, as well as even little things like making Captain Jack Sparrow run and walk as he does in the movies. One thing that this series has always done well is fan service, and it is certainly evident in this case that they have kept this run going.

If you like the LEGO games, then you will be pleased to know that they have not dropped the ball on this one. The graphics are the sharpest I’ve seen in any of the series, and the original music has been retained for use in the game, which if nothing else serves as a reminder of how awesome the music for the franchise is. Gameplay is much like you’d expect from LEGO games, and in fact, in terms of fun and replayability, I would go as far as to say that this is probably the most accessible and enjoyable of all the LEGO games I have ever played (which is to say all of them except Lego Indiana Jones 2). The characters are done well enough to be endearing, and the stages have sufficient variety to keep you engaged while at the same time not suffering from staleness.

On the downside, this game doesn’t do anything different in terms of style and substance from the previous games in the series, so if you didn’t enjoy the games before there’s not going to be much that’s going to do it for you in terms of making you want to play this one unless you’re an absolute Pirates of the Caribbean maniac, and even then you’re unlikely to play the game to 100% completion (which in true LEGO fashion, there is an achievement for doing).

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Graphics : Really nice looking, with the edges getting shinier every time they make a new game.
Sound/Music : All the authentic music from the films, which is to say awesomesauce. Sound effects are good as you’d expect.
Gameplay : Remember every other LEGO game? It’s like that, but with Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s a great formula which makes for an enjoyable game.
Lasting Appeal : Plenty of secret characters and levels to unlock once you’ve finished the main story. 30-40 hours is probably about right.
Summary : A really enjoyable LEGO game. If you didn’t like them before, there’s very little that has changed. However, if you like LEGO games and POTC, this is an absolutely essential purchase. 9/10

Alter Ego
Iceberg Interactive
Available now - RRP £19.99 (PC only)
Review by Rob Wade

Plymouth, England. As the 19th century draws to a close, after a strange aristocrat dies and his body goes missing, a series of gruesome murders shake a small town. Rumours of a supernatural monster abound, and this latest atrocity has the entire town shaking in fear. The local police are beside themselves and have made no headway in solving these crimes. Detective Bristol, a man of logic and principle, and Timothy Moor, a petty thief, become unlikely partners in solving the grisly murders. Alternating between these roles, players will investigate the strange events and gradually reveal a dark secret…

Alter Ego represents a return to the traditional point and click method of adventure gaming, with players manipulating objects and environments in order to solve puzzles. What the quality of these games hinges upon is often the quality of the puzzles, and the difficulty in solving them combined with, simply put, how much rational sense they make. Granted, there are games like Grim Fandango which defy rationale, but they do it in a way that makes you know this to be the case. Anyway, since Alter Ego is much more grounded in reality, it’s necessary to make the puzzles follow suit.

In this regard, the game is very successful. Puzzles require a certain degree of lateral thinking at times, but for the most part you will generally find yourself saying “oh, that makes sense actually” after solving a particularly taxing puzzle. Refreshingly (and this is something that all point and click games could really do with), the game employs the use of F1 as an indicator button. Pressing and holding it lights up all the locales and objects that you can interact with, without going so far as to actually show you what to do. It’s a refreshing system, which has worked well in previous games and is used to great effect here.

The tone of the game, macabre and sinister from almost the word go, is really well done, and you will find yourself drawn in by the narrative as you go through the game unravelling the story. However, one of the downsides of a game like this is that the replay value just isn’t there, which means that at a RRP of £19.99, the game doesn’t represent the best value for money out there. However, if you can get it cheap or as part of a multibuy in a GAME or something, then definitely check this one out if you’re a fan of the genre.

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Graphics : Nice rounded character models, although a little rough around the edges.
Sound/Music : Nice atmospheric music and sound, voice acting is shonky but not insultingly bad.
Gameplay : Strong point and click gaming, with some clever puzzles.
Lasting Appeal : Once you’ve solved it, you’re unlikely to play through again.
Summary : A really strong point and click adventure game. If you like them, get it at some point though! 7/10


The true story of Howard Winstone is both remarkable and compelling. As a young man he was one of the biggest rising talents in amateur boxing until a factory accident crushed his fingers, the tips of three were amputated meaning that hand could no longer make a proper fist!

His father wouldnt let him gripe and he was soon punching a coal bag to keep his spirits up. Under a new trainer, Eddie Thomas, he started to learn a new style and once again rise up victoriously through the amateur ranks. He had completely changed the way he boxed and from there remarkably went on to become Champion of Britain and Champion of Europe.

Thanks to our friends at Scanbox Entertainment, we've got three copies of Risento give away! For your chance of winning, send your name to before midday on Thursday 2nd June, making sure to put "Risen" as the subject. The first two entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

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

Risen is available from Monday 30th May.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

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