Thursday, 9 June 2011

Gaming Reviews

Hector: Badge of Carnage – Episode 1: We Negotiate With Terrorists
Straandlooper/Telltale Games
Available now - RRP £8.75 (Through Steam - PC), £2.39 (iPhone/iPod Touch), £1.79 (iPad)
Review by Rob Wade

Detective Inspector Hector – the hard-nosed, soft-bellied lawman of Clappers Wreake, a town that took the "Great" out of Britain. He’s violent, drunken, and has a taste for all things criminal, corrupt, or smothered in curry.When a hostage crisis erupts in the centre of Clappers Wreake, Hector has to make a choice: carry out a terrorist's demands, or let innocent hostages die. Hector’s still on the fence.
Hector is one of those endearing characters that doesn’t come along all that often in gaming. Think DCI Gene Hunt mixed with Dave Lister from Red Dwarf. With some witty one-liners, he’s a great fit for this style of game, and the game’s character comes through that much stronger as a result. It’s a snapshot of modern England which bleeds through on many levels. In terms of gameplay, it’s part of the recent resurgence of point and click adventure games that seem to be returning into circulation. And of the positive things that can be said about the iOS devices, one thing is that those devices (and in particular the iPad) have lent themselves really well in terms of control method to that style of game, which has given developers more incentive to develop more of that style of game.

It’s refreshing, therefore, to see an English one done well. The gameplay is solid, with a level of puzzle difficulty not quite as far out as Monkey Island but at the same time not as straightforward as one would expect from a game set in the real world. The ability to have people in your inventory who are at your command is particularly impressive, while at the same time offering a level of depth that has not been so heavily developed in the genre. The graphics are slick, and while not pushing the limits of graphical complexity do a sterling job of creating a style all their own.

It’s not all gravy, though. The main issue with the game is the voice acting. It’s just patchy as they come. Hector’s voice is brilliant (and puts me instantly in mind of a friend of mine, who actually would put beer on his cornflakes, and actually has in the past), but odd characters are complete toss. It’s one of the symptoms of small development studios, and hopefully as the series gathers momentum and popularity the voice acting will improve. Make no mistake; this game deserves to gather momentum. The ending alone is worth the price of admission, and gets you geared up for the second part.

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Graphics: Solid cel-shaded style. Nicely done, and has a quirkiness to it.
Sound/Music: Music’s great. Sound effects and voice acting range from pretty reasonable to absolutely God-awful.
Gameplay: Good old-fashioned point and click adventure gaming with a great sense of humour.
Lasting Appeal: There’s unlikely to be a reason to play through a second time, unless you want to relive some of the jokes.
Summary: A strong adventure game, and a great start to what promises to be an exciting franchise! 8/10

Once she was Eon, a girl disguised as a boy, risking her life for the chance to become a Dragoneye apprentice. Now she is Eona, thrust into the role of her country’s saviour.

But Eona has an even more dangerous secret — she cannot control her power. When she tries to bond with her Mirror Dragon, the anguish of the ten spirit beasts whose Dragoneyes were murdered surges through her. The result: a killing force that destroys everything before it. On the run from High Lord Sethon’s army, Eona and her friends must help the Pearl Emperor, Kygo, wrest back his throne. Everyone is relying on Eona’s power. Can she face her own darkness within, and drive a dangerous bargain with an old enemy? A wrong move could obliterate them all.

Against a thrilling backdrop of explosive combat, ruthless power struggles and exotic lore, Eona is the gripping story of a remarkable warrior who must find the strength to walk a deadly line between truth and justice. Full of pulse-racing drama, heart-stirring romance, dazzling fight scenes, and myriad surprises, The Necklace of the Gods brings this extraordinarily imagined and exciting fantasy epic to a resounding climax.

Thanks to our friends at Transworld, we've got five copies of The Necklace of the Gods to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name to before midday on Thursday 16th June, making sure to put "The Necklace of the Gods" as the subject. The first five entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

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

The Necklace of the Gods is available now.

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

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