Weighs as much as George Foreman, and it looks like one too

PlayStation 3 (2007)

I moved house recently, which brought with it all sorts of unforeseen issues. The time and costs involved in moving your own stuff out is fine – you can plan for that. But in our case, we went without Wi-Fi for almost two weeks and I know you’ll agree with me when I say that that is a major deprivation of one’s human rights. I would put a lack of wireless internet for two weeks right up there with having no food, water or shelter – it’s a frightfully tough thing to get over.

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Confusing memories of load times, dangerous polygons, demo discs and Croc

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PlayStation 1 (1996)

For almost the entire duration of the Nintendo 64’s lifespan in Europe, from the not-so-lengthy 1997 to 2001, I was all over the weekly Nintendo magazines. I had made the conscious decision to get a Nintendo 64 over a PlayStation 1, see. And it was entirely my decision, because I was 6 years old and bratty, so my older brother had to do as I said and ask for the correct console from Santa for Christmas. Never mind that every single one of his friends was getting the much-vaunted PS1, little Burkey wanted the N64 for its Nintendo franchises and he was about ready to befoul his pants if Father Christmas didn’t do the biz.

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It was knee-high water that killed the Old West for good

 

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Red Dead Redemption (2010)

When a sequel is so good that its predecessor scarcely even warrants a mention, you usually know you’re on to a winner – it indicates that the first particular oeuvre was probably successful enough to warrant a sequel, but that this sequel is so good that it can stand alone and laugh mightily at any wouldbe challengers.

You’d hardly even know that The Silence of the Lambs was a sequel (both in film-form to Manhunter and in book format to Red Dragon). And what of Street Fighter 1? It exists, you know. But if this sudden revelation gives you an increasingly frothing desire to seek out and play that dirge, I can save you time by telling you simply not to bother. Just go and bounce your head off a massive subwoofer for a bit until all you can hear is nasty static and high-pitched squeals of terror – you’ll get the same effect as playing the original Street Fighter, more or less.

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Don’t tell me Rubens Barrichello is still turning up

 

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F1 2011 (2011)

It may perhaps have skipped your notice, but there’s a big football tournament going on at the moment known as the World Cup, although it doesn’t feature every team in the world and the trophy isn’t even classed as a cup (and to be classed as a cup, you’ve got to be able to drink champagne out of it).

You may hate this cavalcade of football, or soccer if you prefer, as much as all other sports, and you may find yourself annoyed that it’s been taking over popular culture and all of your news feeds. And you’ll doubtless be even more annoyed that you’re now beginning to actually learn of obnoxious players, soulless teams and shameful incidents through cultural osmosis. Right?

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Just Cause 2 (Long)

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Just Cause 2 (2010)

Review, 15/11/12

The following review is based on the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

INTRO

Sandbox games (or more accurately open world games) are a mixed bag for me. I can certainly understand the appeal; as games, graphics and programming have become more advanced, gamers have grown accustomed to the variety of options and the little things that the developers have made it possible to do. This type of game became vastly popular with the Grand Theft Auto series of games, particularly after it made the jump to 3D. Rockstar Games established themselves as the kings of the open world genre, and had further impressive showings with Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire.

These open world games have customarily garnered controversy, as they are generally pretty violent (one of my favoured Rockstar works Bully/Canis Canem Edit being an exception, but still attracting its own brand of controversy) but any game that sticks two fingers up at the soccer moms is fine by me. Here we have Just Cause 2, a game which has sold in large numbers but seems to have passed under the radar a teensy bit, at least in comparison to Rockstar games. Just Cause 2 has had all sorts of hands in it, being developed by Avalanche Studios, published by Eidos Interactive and even distributed by Square Enix (distributed? Does that mean Squeenix employees just drove truckloads of copies of the game to retailers?). What can Just Cause 2 offer that doesn’t grow tired quickly?

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Gran Turismo 5 (Long)

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Gran Turismo 5 (2010)

Review, 07/11/12

INTRO

Oh, how I love racing games. I see them as one of gaming’s purest tests of skill; when done right they are a wonderful mixture of patience, focus and control. Game series like F-Zero, Wipeout, Formula One games and the less item-infested editions of Mario Kart can serve up a choice of well-handling racing, or frantic crash-heavy rampages. Taking risks, keeping concentration, and outfoxing challenging opponents to get across the line first is an attractive design for a video game and always has been, at least for me.

But those are futuristic racers, kart racers or heavily specialised racers. What about Gran Turismo 5? What about this more realistic effort (or “The Real Driving Simulator” if we’re going to be official)? The Gran Turismo series has always earned great praise for its realism, graphically and in its gameplay. Of course, the PlayStation 1 and 2 entries are going to have less appeal these days; impressive though they once were, they were always going to be shown up by the constant forward march of technology, rendering their respective consoles obsolete. Such is the folly of a game series that tries to emulate reality. Even if graphical improvements in games will provide diminishing returns eventually, we will take a look at the latest entry to the Gran Turismo series in absolute terms, just short of two years since its release. We will see how it stands today and whether it can leave a lasting legacy.  Continue reading “Gran Turismo 5 (Long)”