Tagged "Harry Potter"

Terminator
Feb 26

In a time when review scores matter more than ever, most publishers and developers are putting some long overdue attention into their licensed games. A few duffers do still slip out though, in hope that people will buy them based on name alone.

We’ve put our thinking caps on and tried to formulate remedies to fix gaming’s most abused licenses.

Aliens

AliensRipley1

We were really surprised that Aliens: Colonial Marines didn’t have any slower paced sections to build tension and help to create an atmosphere. Although a survival horror game wouldn’t be particularly mainstream, it would suit the license.

Think along the lines of ZombiU – every Xeno encounter as frightful as the last, each with the ability to rip a mere human to shreds within seconds. It’s vital that every bullet hits its mark as ammo is scarce; torch light even more valuable still. Every now and then you’re lulled into a sense of false confidence by finding a flame thrower or such. This would help to keep things entertaining and prevent the experience from feeling dull. The motion tracker too could be used to build tension, sometimes giving off false readings.

Another suggestion? A tower defence game, set during Aliens. Many games have copied Aliens’ sentry turrets over the years – here would be the ideal chance to exploit that idea, giving us upgradable turrets that can be carried and repositioned. Aliens’ long list of Marines could be playable, each with their own signature weapon that’s more powerful than the standard – Hick’s shotgun, Ripley’s flamethrower and so on. The welding tool could also be put to good use, either for sealing up doors when becoming overrun or to open up new rooms as the game progresses.

That last idea is probably a little bit too limited for a full price title, but as a PSN/XBLA game we’d imagine it would do quite well.

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Oct 10

Christ on a moped – this week is rammed with new releases, of which at least six are of tip-top quality. Won’t somebody think of our bank balances?

Firstly – new IP! Launching a new game series is a tricky task that requires a lot of shrewd marketing and heavy advertising. Thankfully due to the success of Skyrim, Bethesda have enough money in their coffers to give Dishonored the promotion it needs.

What is it? A cross between Hitman, Deux Ex and Bioshock with a steampunk visual style. Reviews appeared online on Monday and the words ‘game of the year’ were bandied about. Scores include a 9.5 from CVG, 9.2 from IGN, 9 from EDGE and a 9 from Destructoid. A few reviewers have noted that it can be finished quite quickly if you run through the game, but obviously doing so means you aren’t going to get the full experience. Also of note is that Eurogamer were disappointed that you couldn’t return to earlier missions with newly acquired skills once the game was finished. Don’t let this put you off though, as it’s hardly a major flaw.

A few of the online retailers are offering it for around £32. At the time of typing Tesco has it for this price via a discount voucher while Green Man Gaming will let you have it for £31.99 with free second class postage.

Then we’ve got tactical shooter XCOM: Enemy Unknown. “Buy XCOM, it’s a belter. I know it’s Big Game season, but this is so good I’ve chalked up 43 hours in four days and want more in the near future,” said Eurogamer. This isn’t how Rich Stanton’s 9/10 review ends. It’s how it starts. Videogamer also gave it a 9/10, praising the atmosphere and soundtrack. “It would almost certainly have been easier to toss out a direct remake with shinier graphics; the kind of thing to keep the purists sweet. Instead, it’s opted for something slicker, more accessible – a little more mainstream, even – and done so without ever pandering to the lowest common denominator,” they said.

Nintendo fans shouldn’t feel left out – there’s Pokemon Black/White 2, the first ever direct Pokemon sequel. Unless Nintendo has a surprise up their sleeve this is their last hurrah for the DS – there’s very little of note out for the handheld this winter. Reviews have been very good, including 9/10 from Eurogamer and 8/10 from gamesTM. “Yes, it’s still super effective,” ends their review.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is also out on all three current Nintendo formats this week, as well as on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Some kids’ games are actually pretty good, but this isn’t one of them.

Now for something obscure – Of Orcs And Men from the developers behind this year’s Game of Thrones tie-in. It’s also an RPG promising 15-20 hours of gameplay. There are no reviews yet but if you’re curious it’s £34.99 on consoles and £19.99 on PC at Amazon.

There’s also two for Kinect – Fable – The Journey and Harry Potter For Kinect. Yes, that’s what it’s called. We’ve played a bit of both. Fable – The Journey impressed us with its production values and decent control system. It’s one of the few Kinect games that can be played sitting down too. Harry Potter For Kinect looks passable enough but the mini-games aren’t exactly cutting edge. Two of the games we played weren’t massively different from that one in launch-title Kinect Adventures where you have to duck and jump over incoming objects. £28.99 from Simply Games is the best price currently for Fable – The Journey. We get the impression this isn’t going to sell as well as it deserves to.

There’s a duo of new PS Vita titles as well – a belated conversion of MUD FIM Motorcross World Championship and WRC: FIA World Rally Championship 3. The latter is also out on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The WRC series was a big seller when under Sony’s watch but since being passed over the Blackbean they haven’t managed to match the series’ former glory.

The world of downloads is equally exciting this week. Retro City Rampage is finally with us. At least on PlayStation 3, PS Vita and PC. The Xbox 360 version isn’t due out just yet. The launch trailer is worth a watch. How many videogame references can you spot?

The Xbox 360 does get its first free-to-play game this Friday though. MMO Happy Wars will be supported by in-game transactions. It’s from a Japanese developer who had a helping hand in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, believe it or not.

Joe Danger 2: The Movie finally makes a belated appearance on PSN for £9.99. It features a mode not found in the Xbox 360 version, containing 25 super tough levels, plus YouTube support has been improved. We’ve never spent much time talking about the Joe Danger games on Games Asylum despite them being pretty good. So, sorry about that.

Next week: Dance Central 3 (360), James Bond: 007 Legends (PS3, 360, PC), Skylanders Giants (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS) and Doom 3: BFG Edition (360, PS3, PC).

Jul 25

I don’t know what’s worse – Zumba Fitness holding #1 for the sixth week in a row, or Call of Juarez: The Cartel – which currently has a Metacritic score of 51% – taking #2 in the top 40 UK chart. The distinctly average Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is up from #7 to #3 too, making this one of the more depressing charts to grace us recently.

But it’s not all bad – Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon makes a not too shabby #15 placing. Dungeon Siege III makes the top 10 again too rising from #11 to #6. GAME were selling this for £11.98 on their website last week – a ridiculous price for a new game that’s only been out for about a month. Reviews were alright as well.

Last week’s movie tie-in, Cars 2, has managed to do a whole lot better than Sega’s Captain America. The Captain still hasn’t managed to break the top 40 while Cars 2 skids in at #8 in the all format chart and races in at #6 in both the Wii and DS charts.

Jul 18

It must have been a slow week for sales last week. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 makes #7 in the top 40 UK chart yet Chart Track claims launch sales have been the lowest for any Harry Potter game. Even lower, believe it or not, than ‘Part 1’ which only made it to #20.

Zumba Fitness stays at #1, giving it a five week run, while Transformers: Dark of the Moon rises up from #3 to #2. L.A Noire has left the top ten this week, falling from #5 to #13.

The actually pretty good sales at Game and GameStation continue to propel recently released titles up back the chart. Most notable is Marvel vs Capcom 3 which rockets back from #39 to #14. Dungeon Siege 3 is up from #19 to #11 while Mortal Kombat uppercuts from #31 to #19.

Despite apparently being pretty good, Sega’s Captain America: Super Solider fails to make a top 40 appearance. The best the Captain can do is #30 in the PlayStation 3 chart and #34 in the Xbox 360 chart. The tie-in is nowhere to be seen in the Wii chart, fuelling further speculation that Sega hasn’t bothered releasing it in Europe.

Jul 14

The Harry Potter games were getting better over the years – providing we ignore the horrid mess that was Quiddich World Cup – but something went awfully wrong with last year’s Potter tie-in and it ended up being one of the worst games of the year. Most of the levels were simply dull arenas where Harry had to fight off waves of enemies for ten minutes or so. As such, we’re not entirely filled with confidence for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two. Best wait for the reviews, or save your magic beans for the next LEGO Harry Potter.

Another movie tie-in hits shelves this week too – Captain America: Super Soldier. I wouldn’t write this one off so soon as Sega claims it has been in development for three years, while inspiration has been taken from Batman: Arkham Asylum. The 3DS version isn’t due out for a while yet (Zavvi puzzlingly predicts 3rd February 2012) and I’m having great trouble finding a UK online retailer stocking the Wii version. Sega’s site lists it for release this week though, and it would seem odd for them not to release a big name game after paying out all that money for the license.

And as long as we aren’t dreaming, the often delayed Dream Trigger on 3DS should now be with us. Reviews of this tripper shooter have been mixed – NGamer magazine said it was above average while Eurogamer dished out a 4/10. “Dream Trigger is a novel experiment that starts off refreshing, surreal and unique, but it’s too content to regurgitate the same tricks and never evolves past its base mechanics,” they said.

Next week: Cars 2, Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon and Platinum Resistance, Uncharted and Ratchet & Clank double-packs.

Dec 27

Metacritic’s worst 10 games of 2010 has worked out pretty evenly between formats – there are a couple of Kinect titles, a few multi-format jobbies and one each on the list for PlayStation Move, WiiWare and PSN. As you may have predicted, a few of these are movie tie-ins. Some things never change.

Did you play any of the stinkers below? Or were you even stupid enough buy any? If the answer is yes to either (or both) then you have our pity. If you purchased any more than two on the list though, then you don’t get our pity at all – you’re a bloody idiot that should read sites like Metracritic and GameRankings more.

For the purposes of review Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (EA, 38%) is one that I played all the way through to the end. I always thought that the Harry Potter games were getting better over the years, but this one is the worst of the bunch. Yes – even worse than Quiddich World Cup. Around half of the missions take place in small arenas where Harry simply has to defend himself for 10 minutes or so. If that’s not a sign that the developers couldn’t be bothered with it, then I don’t know what is.

EA are also responsible for #9 on Metacritic’s list – the download only Dead Space Ignition (EA, 38%). Just by looking at the laughably poor artwork you can tell that this was a rushed out to drum up some extra press coverage for Dead Space 2. “When your game makes you want to skip the egregiously tedious gameplay so you can see what happens in the utterly forgettable story, you know you’re doing something wrong”, said Cheat Code Central.

Pure Football (Ubisoft, 38%), or Pure Futbol as it’s known in some parts of the world, slides in at #7. Ubisoft must be pretty ashamed of this one as even though it was only released in May, the official website has already been taken down. See?

With a lead character that looks like he could be part of the Gears of War trilogy, I’m sure that Quantum Theory (Tecmo, 37%) was purchased by a few misguided souls. A quote from Destructoid’s review sums it up nicely: Quantum Theory is what would happen if Gears of War and Super Mario Bros. had a baby. A mewling, deformed, horrific baby that doctors would try to drown.”

We now have our first game on the list that requires you to wave your limbs around to play – Sony’s Kung Fu Rider (37%, SCEA). Despite a quirky premises, many reviewers suggested it would have worked better with a joypad rather than the PlayStation Move. Oh, Sony!

The 5th game on the list is a curious one – Power Gig: Rise of the SixString (34%, Seven45 Studios) was only released in the US and it came with a real guitar. That’s ‘real’ as in it had strings, unlike the Rock Band and Guitar Hero guitars. Because it was so cheaply made though the sound it made when being played was rather painful on the ears.

You can tell PlayStation-exclusive Kick Ass (33%, WHA Entertainment) was a rush-job as they recently released a patch that included all the stuff they wanted the game to feature when it was first released. Most reviewers found it to be frustrating and repetitive, with a high price point that didn’t help matters either. Kick Ass? More like Stinks of Ass.

The 3th worst game of the year is the Kinect-only Fighters Uncaged (32%, Ubisoft), but believe it or not there’s another Kinect game out there that scored worse than this shoddy brawler and that’s Deca Sports Freedom (27%, Hudson Entertainment). The only good thing that Games Radar could say about it is that “You might be able to trade it in”.

And so we’re left with the worst game of the year. What could be worse than the assortment of titles above? The answer is Bloons for WiiWare. “Bloons is an exciting puzzle game based on the simple fact that popping balloons is fun,” says the developer. That may be so, but only if the controls worked. Which they didn’t. There are a couple of other WiiWare titles low down on Metacritic’s list too – namely, Kung Fu Funk: Everybody is Kung Fu Fighting! and 5 Arcade Gems – suggesting that it’s certainly a good thing that Nintendo has now allows demos of WiiWare games.

Nov 26

The school of Hogwarts doesn’t appear at all in the new Harry Potter film, so it makes sense that it isn’t in the game either. Instead, Harry is on the run and living life as a fugitive. This fits in nicely with the game’s new action-orientated direction: it’s a third person shooter. Well, a third person spell ’em up. Or whatever you want to call it.

The opening level fails to make a solid first impression. It’s a dull on-rails shooting section where you’re introduced to the incredibly temperamental lock-on system. Press the left trigger and Harry will lock-on to an enemy, but as soon as an enemy moves the lock-on is broken. During this level enemies attack from all angles but there’s no radar so you spend half the time spinning the camera around 360 degrees trying to find them while Hagrid’s supersized body obscures the view of incoming attacks. Harry yells out “Stupefy” every time he fires a projectile; if I had a pound every time I heard him say this in the game I’d probably be the richest man in Britain.

Although for most part it looks pretty decent, from start to finish Deathly Hallows is both poorly and lazily designed with the most inane mission objectives ever. There’s a level set in a graffiti-covered wasteland which the developers must be particularly pleased with as it’s recycled no less than three times and on one mission you’re painstakingly made to backtrack halfway through it. Another duff level is set in the garishly tiled Ministry of Magic prison. Guards protect the Muggles you’re supposed to rescue and once you defeat one set of guards another set instantly respawns in their place. And then another. And another. And another. It looks stupid and lazy, because it is stupid and lazy. Believe it or not, there’s an achievement for defeating 1,000 enemies. Can you recall Harry killing 1,000 death-eaters and scavengers during the duration of the film? Me neither. They’re simply there to pad out the game. Make no mistake – this is one game that has an incredible amount of padding.

The cover-system is also broken and useless. So much so that I gave up using it and actually found that some levels – such as one where you have to escape a cave with a dragon in – can be completed in just a couple of minutes simply by running through them. Harry is meant to duck behind walls and such upon pressing X, but it occasionally takes several button presses and even then he’ll occasionally ‘wall hug’ the side of an object instead, thus still leaving himself open to attack.

Then there are the first person stealth sections which involve using the cloak of invisibility. They’re just a case of following people who walk around on a pre-set path; if somebody bumps into you then your position is given away and the mission is failed. Because you’re in first person it’s impossible to tell if somebody from is about to collide with Harry, making them even less fun.

Harry gains new spells from levelling up but there’s no incentive to use them apart from having to shift a barrier or such now and then. At one point there’s a rock which Harry could easily climb over; but instead you have to find a spell to make it explode. The rock isn’t even as tall as Harry’s knee. Laugh? I certainly did. Spend £40 on this rubbish though then you won’t be laughing.

Nov 22

UK Charts

Despite the very fine Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit being released last week, Call of Duty: Black Ops has held onto #1. They have to make do with #2 and #3 respectively. Wii Sports Resort has risen from #19 to #7 but Fallout: New Vegas has fallen from #7 to #13. Football Manager 2011 goes from #5 to #19.

The jolly decent Sonic Colours has had a better second week – it was at a lowly #36 but it’s now at #18. This might be because Play had it for £17.99 last week. The bad reviews have seemingly harmed Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows as it can only manage a #20 positioning.

GoldenEye 007 is still outselling 007: Blood Stone but neither are doing fantastically – the celebrated Wii shooter is at #29 while Bizarre Creations’ effort is at #38.

If you’re wondering how the Kinect games are doing, then wonder no more – Kinect Sports is at #9, Dance Central at #25, Motion Sports at #33 and Fighters Uncaged at #39.

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