Tag Archives: Red Faction: Guerilla

Gaming: E3 2011 the aftermath for Microsoft

Go greenSo the Electronic Entertainment Expo came and went once more and with a shiny new Xbox design in 2010 it was going to be difficult to top Microsoft’s press briefing.

…and sure enough it didn’t. In fact the whole spectacle was a collection of fairly obvious announcements and some more detail of the games we already know something about.

The big M got the obvious Call of Duty piece out of the way early, and luckily the negative rumour surrounding the possibility of having to pay for Call of Duty Elite was dispelled quickly as we were taken through the service’s suitably simplistic titled features: Connect, Compete and Improve.

Largely it boils down to a very similar service to that offered by Halo Waypoint, combined with a few nifty things lifted from Bungie.net (the true Lords of the Halo Rings) such as kill heatmaps for deathmatch games.

Other big franchises flexing their muscles included Gears of War, which was a fairly standard affair compared to the later released details of Horde Mode 2.0 (which you should definitely take a look at in the latest OXM).

One franchise TIE is eagerly looking forward to is the climax of Commander Shepard’s adventures in Mass Effect 3. After the tragic news of a delay to the release date until 2012, fans, including myself, were understandably upset. The reason for the move became clear a few days before E3 when this packshot leaked out:

It hits the fan...epically

The box’s shiny purple logo said it all: Kinect will be energising Mass Effect 3. There isn’t a complete breakdown of how it will be implemented yet, but from what was shown at E3, it will allow you to select dialogue options verbally (slightly obvious), but more interestingly it allows simple commands of your teammates such as ‘move up’ or ‘use overload’.

Presuming that these functions are implemented correctly, and BioWare’s care and consideration over the series to date, combined with the slipped release date would suggest that is the case, then it could prove to be the most engaging RPG/shooter ever released on the platform.

It may all sound like Pip Dreams, but after so many hours invested by players over years, BioWare will be making sure their loyalty pays off once the final game hits shelves in the first half of next year.

No E3 would be complete without children being trotted out on stage to perform and Massivesoft obliged in its usual style, getting some kids to show off some new kid-orientated Kinect titles, before some burly men played American football on stage and messed it up on their first try, though the entire show began with a ‘Please recconect controller’ message so it was a case of start as you mean to go on.

The ‘shock’ reveal was the completely predictable Halo 4, which sees Master Cheif return, though it will be created by 343 Industries, which leads us to wonder what Bungie are getting up to, they have been remarkably quiet since Halo Reach launched with rumours of RPGs and other exciting possibilities so far revealing nothing, we’ll keep you posted.

There was also news of 100s of more partnerships between Xbox and other outlets this year, but the only one which was actually named was YouTube, which itself is surely in decline compared to a few years ago. Come on Xbox, hurry up and get iPlayer on there so I can justify getting a new TV!

All in all a slightly underwhelming show, not the usual crash, bang, wallop you might expect from possibly the biggest gaming platform at the moment. Conspicuous by their absence were things like Metal Gear Solid: Rising, which debuted last year and has not been heard from since, as well as the likes of Grand Theft Auto, surely not a franchise Rockstar are ready to leave well alone…and in fact there have been whispers but no concrete facts, it would seem E3 would be the best place for a big announcement?

And finally after the show is over, Microsoft hints that a lot of Xbox features may be stored online as part of their new Cloud service, which could see gamertags, saved games and even the games themselves stored online and streamed to you, read all about it here.

In the meantime, take a look at Red Faction: Armageddon, it might not be the greatest game ever but the single player is infinitely more playable than its predecessor and the Magnet Gun is an experience every destruction-lover should have in their life.

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Gaming: Most anticipated Xbox 360 releases coming soon

So the long summer gaming drought beckons with the juicy releases held back until Christmas, or, in the case of Mass Effect 3, to next year (sob). No need to cry though, it just gives you more time to get excited about the exciting games which are coming sooner rather than later, here are This Is Entertainment‘s top picks…

Red Faction: ArmageddonRed Faction: ArmageddonReleased: 10 June
Premise: You are Darius Mason, grandson of the sledgehammer-wielding liberator of Mars Alec Mason, a man who has none of the wealth power and fame you might expect from his ancestry. The year is 2170, and the surface of Mars has become uninhabitable and driven its inhabitants underground. Unfortunately, having moved below they soon discovering there is another threat on Mars, an ancient race of Martian aliens which Darius uncovers and quickly spread through the settlements.

What’s in the box?: As well as the single player campaign, which is reportedly more focused and linear compared to the game’s predecessor, Guerilla, there is a cooperative multiplayer mode, which sees you protecting structures from the alien masses and destroying them in increasingly ridiculous amounts with the games diverse weaponry. Oh…plus the most detailed destruction engine gaming has to offer, nuff said.

Why should I be excited?: THQ seem to have taken criticism of the previous game on board and put some effort into writing a story for this chapter. Darius seems suitably tooled with a bit of sarcasm to counteract the hopelessness of his situation and every other aspect of the game has been tooled up, the walkers,  for example, are far beefier and better equipped than before. Best of all is a great bit of original weaponry called the Magnet Gun, which fires in two shots and then attracts the two points together, with some seriously destructive and hilarious results. If you fancy a go yourself, there’s a demo up on Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

Deus Ex: Human RevolutionDeus Ex: Human RevolutionReleased: 26 August
Premise: You are Adam Jensen, a private security officer with Sarif Industries, until he suffers a horrific accident and is implanted with biomechanical augmentations. Essentially he’s a Six Million Dollar Man figure, and as you progress you slowly gain control of more of these augmentations, depending on how you play the game. There are four main avenues: Combat, Stealth, Technology and Social, each has its own play style, which are fairly self-explanatory. The game is a prequel to the founding game of the series, Deus Ex, which was released back in 2000.

What’s in the box?: Being a single player-only game, there’s a lot of depth in the story and range of different ways to complete each area or mission, depending on your augmentations. For example you might like to blaze through the game killing everyone in a balls-out display of Matrix-like skills, or you might want to sneak about and charm your way past your would-be attackers with your silver tongue. Expect plenty of collectables, unlockables and endless playthroughs necessaries to exhaust all possibilities of how the story will unfold, though the overreaching story will remain the same, and lead into the events of the original Deus Ex.

Why should I be excited?: The original game was heralded as unbelievably fantastically amazing for its time, and this sequel has been worked on meticulously since 2007. The visual style from the screenshots and trailers looks fantastic, constantly referred to as ‘steampunk’, but think of the Matrix and you’re 3/4 there. The enemy AI is also something which the series is famous for, and will react to how you play precisely, meaning every player will have a unique challenge.

Gears of War 3Gears of War 3Released 20 September
Premise: You are Marcus Fenix (and co) in the third in the series of this head-stomping chainsaw-swinging shoot-a-thon, in which Marcus has to save his world from the combined threat of the Locust and their mutated brothers the Lambent. Eighteen months have passed since the fall of Jacinto at the end of the last game and the survivors are stranded on an island, frankly so far Marcus and the COGS have done pretty badly at putting a stop to these pesky Locust creatures.

What’s in the box?: King of the Gears (in the real world) Cliff Blezinski has said that there is a real focus on multiplayer this time around, which explains the inclusion of four player cooperative play in the campaign (though really this was an obvious step). On top of this new features wise we have a mechanised suit, as if the Gears needed to get any more beefy, and also female members of the unit make an appearance for the first time. Add in new enemies and modes and you’ve got yourself a whole lot of trouble on your hands.

Why should I be excited?: As if the return of John “Bender from Futurama” DiMaggio to provide Marcus Fenix’s voice, there is also a new weapon specifically designed to even up the multiplayer – the sawed-off shotgun. Hardly the most ingenius of weapons, but it does offer a near instant kill at point blank range, meaning people could well be constantly running at you flailing wildly, but the point is it should give newcomers a chance. Also there is a digger launcher, which fires a projectile through the floor and under cover, meaning those who hide in cover continually are no longer safe!

Arkham CityBatman: Arkham CityReleased: 21 October
Premise: You are Batman! After Arkahm Asylum was freed from the Joker and Poison Ivy’s clutches in the first game, the Warden took all the credit for your hard work and expanded the Asylum from Arkham island to create a criminal-filled suburb of the city, walled off from the rest of Gotham, And to top it all off, Doctor Hugo Strange has discovered that your secret identity is Bruce Wayne…

What’s in the box?: Sticking with single player, expect more impressive visuals from the guys at Rocksteady. There will be more stealth and action and villains aplenty with Harley Quinn, Riddler and Joker returning, while Hugo Strange, Victor Zsasz and Calendar Man will also appear, the latter doing different things depending on the literal calendar year. There’s been work done on the combat so that things are less repetitive and there will be more of a gang element to the enemies.

Why should I be excited?: Other than the prospect of being Batman again and how awesome that is. Rocksteady have also augmented (there’s a lot of it going around…) their fantastic Detective Mode into the main display, to avoid people playing through having to turn it on and off all the time, and you can also use gadgets like the batclaw in the middle of fights, which should mix things up with quite amusing results. Also the setting of Arkham City is far larger than the Asylum and is all available to explore from the outset, and you can do it even more easily now that Bats can dive mid-glide and then fly back up to gain height and fly further.

Child of EdenOne to watch – Child Of Eden
This music/brightly coloured/drug trip game from the creators of the genuinely ground-breaking Rez has to be seen to be even slightly explained:

James Michael Parry

Gaming: Top 5 Xbox LIVE Games

Online gaming is massive, something I’ve touched on previously in my blog, and nowhere more so than Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE, but for those of you who are yet to be bitten by the bug, yet to see your Xbox 360 reach it’s full potential, I bet you’re sitting there thinking: “Paying a fiver a month to play online? Why should I?”
The answer, is quality. The Xbox LIVE community thrives because of the people who make it what it is. Only last month we heard the story of players continuing to play Halo 2 after Microsoft decided to shut original Xbox LIVE down. Nowhere else would you get the same sort of devotion, except perhaps the most dedicated hardcore Counter-Strike servers.
So to initiate the unconverted, I’ve decided to pick out the top five games which show the best of what Xbox LIVE has to offer. While there might not be many surprises on the list, and there are many many more excellent games to be enjoyed online, these five together give the most enriching and entertaining all-round online experience.

1) Halo 3 (Developer: Bungie // Publisher: Microsoft)

So first up we have the big daddy of modern online gaming, the game that took the idea to a whole new level. By March last year over a billion matches had been played on multiplayer and it still ranks highly on the weekly Xbox LIVE play figures, reaching number three on week May 24th according to Major Nelson.
But just because a game is popular, doesn’t mean it’s automatically good, we all know what sheep people can be. In Halo’s case though, the Bungie team have learnt from the multiplayer in Halo 2 and improved everything about the matchmaking and game types to provide as wide a range of game types and general destruction as possible.
Standard deathmatches are all well and good, but fancy driving around the map with explosions everywhere from infinite ammo rocket launchers? Well you can thanks to the ‘Rocket Race‘ gametype – although it is rare to come across these days – as well as the more traditional ‘King of the Hill‘, ‘Gladiator‘ and ‘Team Swords‘ all being hugely enjoyable modes.
Another feature which in many ways was underused is the infinitely customisable ‘Forge’ mode, in which players can customise any of the maps in the game with additional crates, explosives, weapons, vehicles, practically anything in fact, leading to some inspired custom levels.
The latest DLC pack ‘Mythic‘ – released with Halo ODST – included a map called ‘Sandbox’ with large areas above and below the actual map for exactly this reason, sadly Bungie made little effort to introduce the best custom levels to the rest of the community and so the level failed to fulfil its potential.
Despite that Halo continues to be consistently fun to play despite being released in 2007, and the generally team-based play means the learning curve isn’t too steep.
2) Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Developer: DICE // Publisher: EA)
While many of you at this moment are no doubt incensed with anger at me choosing this game in place of the astronomically successful Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series.
The reasons this game tops it for me are two fold: firstly – Modern Warfare is hard. Now I’ve no problem with things being challenging, but Call of Duty is not a game you can just pick up and enjoy, you have to unlock the higher ranks for decent weapons and perks and though the Death Streak perks on MW2 initially give you a tiny edge, it’s easily the most frustrating game I’ve ever played for the sheer “Here we go, oh no I’m instantly dead”-factor.
On Battlefield though, team play takes a new meaning as you can spawn on your team mates. Of course they still die just before you get a chance to appear, but you find you can get out of a fix pretty quickly if you just hide in the foliage for ten seconds.
The multiplayer is based around a class system, namely Assault, Engineer, Media and Recon, and are as self-explanatory as they seem. There is some range, but not enough to make any one class miles better than any other, and a good balance in multiplayer is key.
The maps on the game are nicely varied, and the destructible environments give a certain uneasiness, since a place of safely can be deleted in an instant by a stray tank shell.
The vehicles themselves are what make the multiplayer so enjoyable. You and friends commanding the skies from a HIND helicopter or creating a Tank convoy to storm the enemy position. Not that vehicles make you invincible either, meaning a solid defence can take them down.
The lack of multiplayer modes, which are set to be increased come the next DLC instalment, don’t make the game repetitive or dull at all, and you really get a sense of a prolonged skirmish even in short games because of the amount of time in the action, though if you get the timing wrong when spawning you can find yourself with a long walk to the objective.

3) Left 4 Dead 2 (Developer: Valve // Publisher: Valve)

If you prefer the dead to the living, then zombie dismember-em-up Left 4 Dead 2 is right up your street. Not only is it the most varied zombie game I’ve ever come across (though Dead Rising 2 is shaping up very nicely) it gives you the chance to be a zombie, and not just a trudging brain-muncher either.
The ‘special’ infected (the game’s term for zombies) have fantastic powers, from releasing your tongue as a lasso to ensnare your victims, covering them in toxic gunge or pouncing on them from a nearby rooftop to claw up their face.
It may all sound a bit brutal, but this is a battle for survival after all, and this game like no other makes you value your life as you manically swing a cricket bat, or gnome, to defend yourself from hoards of evil nasties.
The bedrock which the first game set down has been well build upon this time around, with ‘Survival‘ and ‘Scavenge‘ modes adding some variety to the usual run-of-the-mill campaigns, which themselves are very varied and enjoyable in their own right. ‘Realism‘ adds a challenge for veterans of the first game, taking away helpful pointers such as weapon highlighting and friends’ outlines when out of view, making things instantly more treacherous.
Xbox LIVE is woven into the structure of this game, it would be a shadow of itself without the help of random online strangers, however tool-ish they can sometimes be.
Learning how and when to use the special infected, particularly in the short sharp bursts that ‘Scavenge‘ offers, is even more enjoyable than tearing through the infected with your AK-47 as one of the very vulnerable survivors.
As much as it’s fun to work with your friends, it’s even more fun to hunt them down and devour them, with the sadistic pleasure we all feel seeing our friends in some mild peril – albeit in video game form.
This game also gets the ‘Pick Up and Play’ award for simplicity as Valve, with their considerable experience in first person shooters (stand up and take a well-deserved bow Half Life), have created the most intuitive control system, keeping things simple to make the learning curve as shallow as possible, and it pays off – gruesomely.
4) Red Faction: Guerilla (Developer: Violation Inc // Publisher: THQ)
Computer games give you the ability to enact your greatest and wildest fantasies from the comfort of your own sofa, and who in their right mind hasn’t liked the idea of blowing up everything in sight?
Thanks to Red Faction: Guerilla that dream came one giant jet pack flying leap closer, with Violation Inc’s highly impressive ‘Geo-Mod 2.0‘, a gameplay engine which dynamically maps the destruction of buildings, allowing you to cause the roof of a building to fall crushing the building beneath it ad other such havoc with the game’s various structure-deleting equipment.
In multiplayer this engine takes a more significant role in gameplay as towers fall to become bridges and the building you’re safely hiding inside quickly crumbles around you, forcing an energetic and varied style of play.
Game modes here are more inventive than most games too, but all containing a fair amount of destruction for good measure, naturally.
The highlight is the ‘Destroyer‘ game mood, which is pretty much as it sounds, one player tries to destroy as many buildings as possible while the rest of the team protects them, and the other team does the same. There are bonus points on offer if you kill the enemy destroyer.
It tends to work better on some maps than others, since sometimes people are too efficient and blowing things up and there is nothing left on the map by the end of the game, but it makes for some interesting matches.
Another key thing to mention is that the standard weapon is a sledgehammer, adding a satisfying twist to the standard melee attack, not to mention some amusing unlocks as you reach higher levels (ostrich-hammer anyone?)
5) Splinter Cell: Conviction (Developer: Ubisoft Montreal // Publisher: Ubisoft)
As the lone wolf of stealth action, Sam Fisher is getting on a bit, but at the risk of ruining his ‘one-man-army-super-badass’ image, Ubisoft decided to bring in some now acquisitions for their highly-addictive cooperative mode ‘Deniable Ops‘.
Players control either ‘Archer‘ (American, cocky, sarcastic) or ‘Kestrel‘ (Russian, cold, calculating) in missions in secret complexes, installations and generally other covert things. What makes the game mode work is the free-roaming parts, which allow you to work with your partner to navigate a large area filled with enemies by working out a strategy.
Of course you just wing it a few times, but then get separated and killed pretty quickly so decide perhaps a tactic or two wouldn’t be a bad thing. As much as it sounds like a lot of thought, after a while it becomes second nature, depending on how good your partner is, and you find progressing cooperatively even more rewarding than pumping your friends full of lead.
One place where the game really favours the coop mode over the standard campaign is the much touted ‘Mark And Execute‘ system, which allows players to highlight a certain number of enemies depending on the weapon they are using them, and then press a single button to kill them all automatically in a matter of seconds.
Because the two games are connected together there is a bit of leeway between one player pressing the button and the other, meaning you can often watch your characters executing half a dozen enemies through various walls and other obstacles, suggesting their bullets have suddenly gained wall-felling powers.
What began as feeling like a bit of a tacked-on option in the run up to the game’s release flourished considerably, thanks to – or even cause of – some significant delays, and made the title overall far better value for money.
So, if you’re Xbox-ing away at home on Mass Effect 2 for hours on end, blissfully unaware of the outside world, try connecting your Xbox up to the magical wonderment that is the internet and watch your games instantly become even better.
James Michael Parry