Thursday 12 November 2009

Video Game Reviews

Tekken 6
Namco Bandai
PS3 (version tested), PSP, Xbox 360

Available now - £49.99 (PS3, 360) and £29.99 (PSP)
Review by Blake Harmer

There are some games that will always have a soft spot in my heart as they have been one of my favourite gaming franchises and I have grown up playing them for years. The Tekken series is one of these franchises. So it is with great joy that I get to review the latest offering from Namco Bandai.

In terms of actual gameplay, Tekken 6 hasn’t changed hugely since it’s previous instalments and staying to its roots, especially as Namco remember the mistakes it made with Tekken 4. Instead the combat has been refined and move sets adjusted to make the characters more balanced, and they have also introduced six new playable characters to the line up, with chunky yet incredibly nimble Bob and Leo being my two personal favourites. The combat is still as great as it has always been, and the animations have also been enhanced so old characters like Law look amazing when he’s kicking your ass.

The only downsides to the game are that the online mode had some serious lag at times, but hopefully this will be fixed soon. Also, the new scenario mode is just Tekken Force with some new features, which is welcome, but it still suffers from the same terrible camera and lock on system as previous Tekken Force games. However, Tekken 6 in terms of the main fighting experience is still as awesome as it’s always been, and I personally will still be loving Tekken when it gets to Tekken 20.

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Pretty, but there hasn’t been the same leaps and bounds as other fighters such as Soul Calibur IV and Street Fighter IV.
Sound/Music: The same typical fighting noises you expect from the Tekken franchise including the usual mix of good and downright atrocious stage music.
Gameplay: There’s not a lot of changes in terms of combat, but then at the end of the day, if it isn’t broke…don’t fix it. The new scenario mode is an improvement on Tekken Force but it still needs work if it’s to be compared to the main game.
Lasting Appeal: If the online mode gets fixed and you have lots of mates to beat up, then potentially endless, however you will soon quickly tire of the single player experience.
Summary: Fans of Tekken will love the new characters and extra features that will help them hone their fighting skills. I would also recommend it to newcomers as in regards to the other Tekken games this is the best one since Tekken 3. However, for those looking for something new from the series will be disappointed, this is just a brilliant Tekken, not a revolution to the franchise. 8/10

NBA Live 10
EA Sports
Xbox 360 (version tested), PS3, PSP
Available now from £17.99 (PSP), £24.99 (Xbox 360, PS3)
Review by Rob Wade

First, a little explanation; I currently don't have an Xbox 360 at my main address, meaning that when I need to review things on Xbox 360, I have to head back to the Medway towns in order to do so. It's refreshing, therefore, that I've been fortunate enough in NBA Live 10 to have found a game that totally justified my travelling.

NBA Live 10 takes the existing formula of the previous NBA games and upgrades it, in a fairly standard EA Sports upgrade. However, as we've seen with Fifa 10, just because it's an incremental upgrade, it doesn't mean it can't be bollocking awesome at the same time.

Straightaway, I found this game really easy to get to grips with in terms of controls. The game sets you up initially in an Arena based level, much like other games in the series, allowing you to take shots and dribble to your heart's content without having to worry about being involved in any competitive action. It's a welcome addition to the EA Sports games, as it allows you to really get set up with the controls before you get into a proper competitive match.

And jump straight in I did, eventually. I decided to go with the Toronto Raptors and pitted myself against the Portland Trail Blazers. I thought "hey, if I end up winning this match, I can make Toronto my team". Thankfully, I needn't have really given it that much thought. I got humbled in my debut match, to the point that my mascot was depressed enough to stop dancing.

Let's get right to it. The gameplay is as fluid as you might expect from a basketball game that has certainly had plenty of incarnations to refine the control scheme. At the same time, I didn't understand the rules of basketball before I began playing, and didn't really feel like this game allowed for much explanation of the rules of basketball. At the same time not understanding the rules didn't cause me any significant setbacks when it came to the flow of the game, which I attribute to the quality gameplay present in this game.

The game is also loaded with features, as you might expect. One thing you can always say about EA Sports is that they give you plenty of gameplay to keep you going until the next instalment.

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Graphics : A very slick looking game. Everything moves fast and fluidly, and the presentation is working towards a television-style setup to a tremendous extent.
Sound/Music : The standard basketball sounds, all the way down to the squeaking of sneakers. A traditional set of music sounds, heavy metal and whatnot in the right places.
Gameplay : Fast, fun and easy to pick up. I will admit that it is difficult to understand some of the rules for the novice, though.
Lasting Appeal : Plenty to keep you busy here, as per usual with EA Sports games.
Summary : A really strong game. More for fans of the sport than the casual gamer, as the game sort of takes it for granted that you know what's going on, but people looking to get into basketball can't go far wrong with this edition and a printout of the rules from the internet. 8/10

Ju-On: The Grudge
Rising Star Games

Available Now - £29.99
Review by Blake Harmer

The Grudge for me is probably one of the scariest Japanese horror films I have ever seen, albeit one with an incredibly paper-thin plot (if it’s there at all). This results in the original film feeling like a ghost train filled with big jumps and scares and results in me being freaked out. I’m also happy to say that the game Ju-On: The Grudge is very faithful to this film by retaining this feel, and only deviates by changing locations to add more variety. I can confirm that this is one of the scariest videogames I have ever played since Project Zero.

Firstly, the good things about the game; rather than being set and tied to the Yamada House, the player, explores numerous linear locations while the ghosts of the Yamada family try to scare you to death. My personal favourite is when you get a phone call early on the game and you think it might be some help or a rest from the relentless horror, only to hear the horrible croaking sound effect that the grudge is famous for coming out of the wiimote’s speaker. Also, if a second person is watching you play, they can pick up a 2nd controller and press buttons to make extra scares happen in the game in an attempt to turn your pants a nice shade of brown.

However, despite the game being incredibly faithful to the films, it is let down by not actually being much of a game. The controls are incredibly basic, with your characters movement speed being terribly slow. A run button would have been really helpful sometimes, especially when you generally do get frightened and want to get out of the room as quickly as possible. Also, the longevity of the game is a big issue, especially when it comes to killing you. Throughout the game you have to keep picking spare batteries for your torch to help you see about the buildings you explore, however if you run out of batteries you die and you have to start from the beginning of the level with absolutely no checkpoints involved. The biggest problem is that this can happen quite regularly, and the scripted scares don’t ever change in the level so you have to sit through the same moment again and again until you get it right and this leads to the games biggest downfall. Scares are only really scary the first time it happens.

In conclusion, this game captures the horror of the original films and is very good at scaring you through the first time you play it. However, without any decent game mechanics, the fun of the game quickly runs out after the first few levels. This is probably best for getting a friend over and watching him play it while you cause him or her to wet themselves with fright. Nothing more, nothing less. 5/10
When the bodies of two Christian monks are discovered murdered in identical circumstances - decapitated and struck through with a stake - the Druid order immediately comes under suspicion. Already driven to the farthest corners of Celtic Europe, and under increasing threat from the new Christian Faith, the Druid Gwynlan is called upon to prove their innocence and ensure their survival...

This gripping new graphic novel takes us back to the Age of Saints; an age of change and turmoil at the end of the Roman Empire, and one of conflict between peoples and religions. Accusations of depravity, murder, sacrifice and sorcery are rife, but the old gods are at hand to assist the righteous.

Thanks to our friends at Dalen Books, we've got three copies of the first trade-paperback of Druids, The Ogham Sacrifice, 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 19th November (UK time). The first three names drawn out of the electronic hat will win a free copy of this awesome comic!

1 comment:

  1. Re: Ju-On - 'if you run out of (torch) batteries you die'

    I would NOT buy that brand of torch again!