On Second Thoughts…: Seeking revenge with an animal that can kill harder, better and faster than me does sound like it could fill my Sunday nicely.

On Second Thoughts… Seeking revenge with an animal that can kill harder, better and faster than me does sound like it could fill my Sunday nicely.

Looking for a duo to help release some of the week’s stresses and strains? Look no further, the boys are back in town.

Dead to Rights: Retribution does lay a typical story of revenge, damp allays and guys slamming fists on tables on a bit too thick but it also coughs up some great violent combat – all in the name of the law.  You are Jack, the beefy protagonist with a massive build and an occasional amusing lack of sense .  Jack is an unstoppable train of punishment, hell bent on revenging his father’s death when he gets moidered right in front of him.

DTR is a third person action game where you set out to conquer this corrupt city by pummelling your way through it, however you aren’t completely alone on this mission as you’re paired with a furry ally called Shadow. The control scheme for the duo is fairly standard which makes the Jack and Shadow crime fighting team pretty fluid; the d-pad is used to give Shadow orders and cycle through Jacks weapons which means you can keep the two bouncing off each other as well. There’s also a neat little duck and cover system which lets Jacks huge bulk become nimble enough to use some of his meaty finishers while the dog steadily rips his way through way more men than you.

Shadow really does seem to have some gripes of his own to play out, maybe that scar is deeper than we all thought and he is really the lead character. He’s the type of dog you wish you had when you where being bullied way back when, a little furry friend to keep you warm, make you smile and kill anyone who says bad words about you. He is definitely more on the feral side of dog life sporting that mean looking scar down his face, and to my surprise in the first ten minutes of the game beat me to the very first achievement – Scrotality (I’ll let you guess).  He gets stuck right in at the beginning while you’re still learning the controls.

On the other side of the coin Jack is pretty hardcore too often sporting an assortment of bruises, gashes and grainy stubble, suited in some dark leather padded armour. He can take quite a beating where Shadow can’t and in return offers one serious ass kicking back to the enemy; give it some time and you’ll start to really like the meat head.  Jack can also trigger slow mo time if he gets into trouble, it isn’t the best slow mo feature I’ve seen but it does the job and you can trigger it manually. Jacks prompted finishers are definitely the best bit about him, they‘re seriously spine tingling, brutal to watch and consisting of every bone being broken in many creative ways. However, the weapon system is boring, the weapons themselves are dull and limited which lets the game down a lot, while Jack, for some unknown reason, can’t throw a grenade past his own feet which is frustrating.

When you’re controlling Shadow you can sneak round like a ninja, stealthily (or not) taking out the rather idiotic and edgy A.I. which often just cheats anyway. Shadow can lure them out like the true master of Splinter Cell he really is and bolt out of cover to take them down but is quite vulnerable to multiple attacks – they are best left to Jack to deal with.

The boss fights aren’t hard, it’s just a pain to dodge and dodge so much when you’re used to smashing faces in at your own pace. It made me hate them for being so untardy but the game does have these little streaks of flavour floating around amongst the chaos that crop up in parts of the plot and in the cut-scenes. The environment is incredibly dull, a lot of it being ruined buildings or restaurants ready to be torn up in stand offs. There are no views or anything designed well enough to gorge your eyes on apart from the huge amount of gore that comes with most of the attacks. This lack of interesting space to proceed through made the pace of the game drop but Shadow usually picked the tempo back up and I didn’t stay in a pointless A.I fight for too long as he picked off A.I. that were even quite a distance away.

Dead to Rights: Retribution does seem to lose sight or grasp of its developing action and plot and blurs the experience into a repetitive mess by the end. It seems to have been partly neglected and it shows when you end up getting bored of smashing those empty A.I. drones. The game did grant me hours of fun but when I got to the end I saw why maybe other people gave this one a pass the first time round. You can see where it goes wrong by looking at the box and the fact it swings widely west in appearance and in its delivery doesn’t help. On the other hand when I sat back and sifted through some of the other shelved games in my mind, Dead to Rights: Retribution doesn’t come out too badly amongst the many forgotten titles out today, because it doesn’t really lie about what it is and it offers you a workable duo with a bit of character to create carnage with.

Anyway,

It’s the weakest title out of the whole series, so it’s one of those games to pick up cheap for an evening or two especially if you dig it up amongst the dead when you’re out shopping.

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On Second Thoughts…: Robots, guns and the odd cheeky cigarette does sound like a deal clincher to me!

As you look over your ever growing pile of games you’ll no doubt take a few minutes to scroll over which ones you want to play first, one of those games should defiantly be Vanquish.

Vanquish is quite a hectic third person shooter created by a Japanese studio, normally these types of games don’t stand up too well to their western competition and at one point it seemed to be a bit of a weak spot for most eastern based studios. PlatnumGames decided to put this right though and managed to pull off a shinny armoured winner with Vanquish’s rather electronic gun-ho take on it all. Vanquish doesn’t give you anything new to sample but brings a lot of the previous elements associated with this niche together really well and rounds it all up with EMP’s, giant robots and the odd cigarette just so you know you’re alive.

Sam Gideon is the man behind the suit, he can be a tad annoying but his roughish heart seems to be in the right place along with a worthy attitude for the battle ahead. Shame his dialogue is a little on the poor side and you can pretty much guess his favourite forte too; his one and only skill seems to be entirely built around robot bashing (though this isn’t a bad thing and you do get a chance to kill a few fleshies). His suit is definitely more impressive though with its neon bands and metal casings for its various fixtures, you can also see your stash of grenades while in game; standard and EMP!

Moving around in the suit is quite a joy as it’s nimble and you have a boost function which lets you slide around on your knees. You also get the bonus of some slow-mo time when you fire your weapon and boost, creating a John woo type twist to the combat. There’s a cover system built in a bit like GoW’s cover system, you can jump over cover and shoot round it but in most cases you don’t really need it. The weapons are damn cool, they assemble themselves when you equip them and tie in well with the heavy tech vibe. Most of the characters, plot and environments all combine with the theme and with some more open natural environments for fighting the bosses it creates a solid balance between the two.

Vanquish does have some beautifully designed buildings and enemies but it does start to look a bit Star Wars esc sometimes with the tech architecture mixing with natural terrain. PlatnumGames however have still mixed these two aspects well enough create good maps to play on, bearing in mind you need enough space to get the most out of the boosting feature and the larger weapons. The enemy A.I. typically is a bit dumb but there are normally plenty of them around, making the metal wiry buggers a bit harder to nail. Just popping some robots head generally can be fun with Vanquish and there are some decent small challenges to try to nab some gamerscore too.

The plot is a bit on the crumby side unfortunately, some evil bald Russian guy (who ironically looks just like a Borg from Star Trek) has Sam’s universe up for ransom. Sam is caught up in the middle of this spaff after acquiring his super Iron man type armour and has the task of working with the military (which are in no way going to turn round and try to kill you when your backs turned) to save the day. The suit isn’t incredibly stable at first and creates some links between the plot and the technology, which was enjoyable until it seemed to stop progressing. The two protagonists that I didn’t mind were more on the original side of character profiling, this made the scenes with Sam and my favourite two faced oldie, Robert Candidate easier to get into and enjoy.

Anyway,

I got to the end of Vanquish quite happy with the idea I had destroyed an entire robot army on my knees.

Maybe you did too?! Why not share your comments box below?

 

On Second Thoughts… You better read this!

Fancy a little hand finding those great games you’ve missed? Need someone to steer you away from the past stinkers? Well why didn’t you say?!

Check out my new mini writing feature “On Second Thoughts…” which will take a look at some of those gaming beauties you left behind.

It WILL go live every week or so, unless I’m stopped from delivering my messages of good will gaming by the forces of EVIL.

Oh! and suggestions are always welcome.

Hope you enjoy it a smidge.

CK

Corporal Kittys F1 2010 nudge

Like alot of people I’m an avid motor sport fan, one of my many loves being the Formula 1 coverage on TV. I’ve also played a couple of F1 titles the best one being 07 on PS3 for me though it still lacked an extra punch.

There’s been alot of energetic talk about Codemasters great racing influence that could help shape this new Formula 1 game and after having a good dig round for the various insights I’m ready to think about investing my money into another Formula 1 title especially now it’s coming to many platforms this autumn. F1 2010™ will be released in September by Codemasters and there’s already alot of great coverage all over the internet.

If you’re still in two minds about F1 2010 and you want to get into that racing spirit here’s the pick of some of the best articles I’ve found that helped give me a better heads up:

The EGTV Show: F1 2010 Special http://bit.ly/9SJd9N               

F1 2010 Official UK Homepage: http://bit.ly/baS5ik

F1 2010 Preview by TVG: http://bit.ly/cJr05o

The game looks stunning and there’s some solid and reliable hype about it, which gives me a good feeling about it. Codemasters are a great bunch of developers too and have created some high quality games and I look forward to getting my hands on Codemasters revitalised F1 racing title.

Girl mistakes gun for Wii remote – kills herself

I’ve just sat and read several articles about this three year old girl shooting herself with her dads pistol, there’s one or two things I’d like to get straight as a rational human being.

The father should not have had fire arms in the house, my dad has fire arms in this country in his house and he has to keep them in a metal cabinet bolted to the wall, any human being knows that guns kill and this is necessary. When you give someone something dangerous (Doesn’t always have to be a gun) the sad fact is they might not be able to handle the responsibility that comes with something like a gun.

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Corporal Kitty’s Cracking Top 5 Xbox 360 Games of 2009

The Five 360 games that have been so awesome they have ruined my personal life in 2009

 

5: Star Ocean: The Last Hope

Star Ocean: The Last Hope was my Favourite RPG of 2009, it has just about everything you would need for a fun and in depth adventure into an RPG. The characters and their surroundings were beautifully crafted and cared for, most of the wide open areas you explore are mystical and epic and help create such a detailed and colourful universe. With an array of exciting weapons and monsters to fight and you have that strong EXP system, the combat is balanced perfectly between strategy and real time fighting. The story telling was a little cheesy at times, with some major cheese love plots and seriously fashion deprived bad guys left the game ticking most true RPG fans boxes’ and is a fantastic game to get consumed by.

 

4: Forza 3

I absolutely adore racing games and I wasn’t really spoilt for choice when it came to a hardcore racing games this year with the likes of Fuel, Need for Speed Shift and Dirt 2 being exciting but too easy (Dirt 2 being my second best racing title) but Forza 3 came and wiped the floor with all of these and the other racing titles of 2009. Its clean, smooth and solid, it offers a true consistent racing experience, no huge jumps, no silly physics, just hardcore racing. There is a gigantic stack of cars to choose from with many of the big named car manufactures available and some more of the exotic cars to race, leaves petrol heads like myself in heaven. You can also pimp out your rides by creating some liveries for your car, tune it to perfection or just tint the windows, the customisation is incredible. Not only do you get all this but you also have the Storefront at your disposal, full of videos, cool pictures, other players liveries, leaderboards… it just goes on, defiantly my best racing title of 2009 by a long shot.

 

3: Modern Warfare 2

Obviously this was going to get a mention, I was very hesitant in buying Modern Warfare 2 as I played COD 4 to death with clan matches and seven hour straight sessions for about a year, I wasn’t sure if they could improve this or deliver another exciting single player campaign I also had doubts about the stability of the multiplayer as COD 4 had some serious connection problems for the first two months of release. I’m very glad I bought it now, though it has some irritating glitches, Modern Warfare 2 does deliver an exciting thrilling experience and even Veteran difficulty is still as challenging as always. Everything is improved with added extras and a bit of tinkering with what weapons are available online, perks are better thought out and chosen more wisely, not all are totally balanced but most are help create a fairer online experience. One of my favourite features is the Special Ops, I love sitting down and getting stuck into them with my wingman, we are getting good working together and cover each other without even having to say where that sniper is, this is a unique thing, this level of team bonding is hard to achieve but with a regular team on Modern Warfare 2 (Whatever you play) You can achieve it and create a nicely oiled killing machine.

 

2: Borderlands

After the first ten minutes of play this game had my full attention, I played it for days straight it really took me by surprise how polished the visuals where, all that little cell shaded detail I didn’t think was possible was possible, and with that groovy mad max theme just added heaps of character to Borderlands. There’s a crazy amount of weapons, CRAZY amount, and with the same insane amount of everything else  just leaves you exploring for hours and getting yourself into all sorts of mercenary trouble. There’s a lot of blood and chunks which makes me very happy, the splat from headshots is especially enjoyable along with the elements on weapons like acid and indencary to create more carnage. One of the bigger selling points for me and one of the most fun experiences I’ve had for a while is the co-op, you can enjoy all of this but with friends, just creates so much fun and opens up the game to its full potential, defiantly a must buy in the new year sales.

 

1: Batman Arkham Asylum

A super hero game that wasn’t a PG and wasn’t lame, it was in-fact beautiful in my eyes, Batman is portrayed how he is supposed to be, dark, strong and tainted. The moves you can pull off in this game are seriously cool, cracks, crunches and hard kicks just sound and look painful, which is great as evil must pay in pain. The story is incredible with many hidden links to the true Batman universe scattered throughout the game, exploring as a fan of all this made me very happy. The game was also designed well, the joker’s riddles being a lot of fun to hunt out and collect but incorporated into the levels themselves just bringing the whole game together. There’s a lot of characters you will recognise but some will be hidden for the hardcore fans, which is what I love about the game in general it gives the mainstream audience a great experience but to the hardcore fan it’s like speaking to the games developers themselves about all of this, that’s why Batman Arkham Asylum is my number one Xbox 360 title in 2009, god bless you Batman.

 I hoped you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it, CK

Operation Flashpoint 2 Dragon Rising

I’m really enjoying OFP even though people warned me it was “too hard” it’s a much more complex challenge and takes a bit of time and thought. Gamers are getting very lazy these days, demanding everything on a plate well I like working for my treasures and rewards! It’s why I play games and I’m glad I can play OFP and my gaming skills haven’t degraded since my Dreamcast/Sega Saturn days where dying every 10 minutes was the norm, it made you practice and practice till you did it the good old-fashioned way through hard gaming graft. All I’m saying is there’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself and trying out some uncomfortable territory, never know if you stick with it you might get better at it….  heaven forbid.
 
CK out… 

Xbox 360: Twitter and Facebook, how will they be received?

 

So we all know they are coming now but will they be as bigger hit as everyone thinks?

Remember when MSN came out on the 360’s dashboard, it was brilliant at first being able to chat to your MSN friends but however it got very old for me and for a good number of my friends, as constantly trying to use the chat pad to type back is quiet hard and a challenge when you’re in game and want to get back to play. I ended up taking of my MSN account as it was just getting to crazy and I never got to play anything and at the time my pc was broken so I didn’t have MSN other than on the 360.

I can see this being a hit with people who don’t use their laptop/tower a great deal, it is a easy and simple way of accessing the social networking sites but for people who go on those sites regularly with a browser I don’t think they will use it much as it can be such a pain to use while you’re trying to do other things on the dashboard. I think we can all enjoy it but at different levels and it is nice to see new features coming to the dashboard, but as someone who won’t exactly use them much after the initial shine has worn off I would have rather had the avatar rewards up and running properly and a faster service all together but even I still think it’s a step in the right direction.

Another worry I have is how much these features are going to slow down the overall service after all the team say they have just upgraded the speed and a few problems with the menu sticking, it would be a shame to do this and for the service to go back a few steps in the way of speed and ease to use. Remember these features are accessible from the dashboard only and not in game or while you’re watching a movie, so use of them will be held back while you’re doing other things, which is a great idea.

One thing I must say it does make the 360 seem capable of more, these extra features show what the 360 is capable of and the new features have been created with a very classy look that fits in with the 360 dashboards overall design. The avatars incorporated also give a Microsoft slant on the features so you can relate to them visually and is overall user friendly. These features are important to a degree, they give the 360’s CV a boost in the way off selling more consoles and appealing to the general public, just please don’t forget about us more serious gamers Microsoft.