There is an old saying out there that goes something like this:
“If you are going to remake an old game, don’t balls it up.”
When I saw the first trailers for Starbreeze’s Syndicate, I felt a funny feeling in my abdomen that approached my brain at lightning speed. It was excitement and joy. The images of an old classic, remade into a Deus Ex-style shooter with real-time hacking and glorious weapons. There was even a four-man-team co-op mode that made you have to work together.
In short, this promised to be amazing. I played the Co-Op demo and I felt that the excitement would never end. The feeling was about to pop out of the top of my head when I remembered that games always look better in hindsight and nostalgia. Would this really be a trip back to glorious memory town, or was Starbreeze about to take a dump on my early gaming years?
A small time ago, I wrote a brief preview of Asura’s Wrath based on the demo released on Xbox Live. At the time of writing, I believed that the people who came up with the idea may have been on some high-grade meth amphetamine or were victims of some form of brain-based parasite.
It is with great pleasure that I can retract that statement, and say in terrified sincerity that the people who designed Asura’s Wrath were the kind of demonically possessed lunatic who somehow garbles together the plans to a doomsday device that will later be used as a plot point in some shitty ghost film.
In madness comes brilliance.
Me: Hi, my name’s Andrew and I was a massive fan of the Darkness 1.
Group: (SYMPATHETIC CLAPPING)
Me: Something about the environment, the atmosphere, the narrative, the tension… was just so right. The moment when The Darkness restrains you as you are forced to watch your character’s girlfriend’s execution by the mafia is among the most shocking and moving I’ve ever experienced in a game. But the story… it would pull me in then… (SOBBING)
Group Leader: Please, go on. You’re amongst friends.
Me: (SOBBING) …it would make me play through hours upon hours of repetitive FPS gameplay just to see more, like as if the Sopranos made me dance like a puppet for an entire day just to watch a single episode. I know I should feel used and manipulated, but somehow… I still loved it.
(Sobbing turns into hysterical crying, group hug ensues, etc. etc.)
Yup, it’s a lonely business being a fan of The Darkness, so how does the second instalment look like it’ll hold up?
When the management team at CyberConnect2 got together to talk about the development of a new game, I am picturing the conversation went a little like this;
CC2 Manager: “I want you to think of every craziest, blown up battle-fest you have ever seen in an anime or movie and crunch it all together in your head. On top of that, I want you to pull obscure references to Hinduism and other middle Asian religions and slap those on the main characters. Then I want you to all take a copious amount of hallucinogens I purchased from an insightful transient, then write down the result. That’s going to be Chapter 1. There will be many more; each one more immense than the last.”
CC2 Development Team: “That sounds… crazy. Like, brain-maggots crazy.”
CC2: Manager: (With a wild, maniacal gleam in his eyes) “Exactly.”
Thus was born Asura’s Wrath.
So yes, this probably isn’t the Assassin’s Creed review you were expecting, so firstly I have a confession to make: In all my ignorant foolishness I thought that Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was merely Assassin’s Creed II with multiplayer-bells on and, as it turns out, I wasn’t far off the mark, but more on that later.
Disc in drive, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations was all ready to be played, enjoyed and subsequently reviewed, at which point our very own Daisy reliably informed me of my bumbling lunacy and that Brotherhood was in fact a proper game in its own right; storyline and everything. So this is me playing catch up, and I play therefore I review. ACR review coming soon, promise.
What do you get when you join two of the most popular subcultures of nerd history together? Well, you get Doctor Who Hentai, but those are not the two popular subcultures that I happen to be talking about today. (Waffle post about that coming soon…?)
No, the two very addictive and highly volatile IPs I refer to are Star Wars and World of Warcraft. Bioware have been really putting their resources on the line with the creation of their new MMO, and although many of it’s long-waiting fans are claiming it will be a WoW-Killer, the Blizzard-born king is a very well-ingrained and highly supported MMO that has fought off more than it’s fair share of usurpers. (We’re looking at you, Aion.)
So will the dark empire of World of Warcraft have it’s Deathstar busted by a good Bioware torpedo in it’s rear exhaust?
Your journey starts here, Padawan.
Getting me to review Skyrim is a lot like getting Charlie Sheen to review a metric tonne of cocaine. Sure, it’ll be blast, but just you try getting that review out of him. I lost weeks, nay– months to the previous Elder Scrolls games, why oh why did I think that this would be any different…
Battlefield 3 has a lot going for it, and on consoles, compares only really to the other games in its long series – my own experience is with Battlefield 1943 (still cracking value for money on Xbox Live Arcade) and Bad Company 2 plus its brilliant Vietnam DLC. I haven’t personally played the epic 64 man battles of the PC titles, and I’m aware that I’m missing out on much of what this series is all about. But, as far as consoles go, this is the best large scale, vehicle heavy, all out warfare available, and stands up against the other heavyweights of the multiplayer FPS scene proudly.
I’ll be honest with you: I have never been much of a flight simulation person. I have enjoyed the occasional foray into the world of flying machines in the form of the Tom Clancy’s HAWX games, alongside a couple of one-night stands with other Ace Combat titles, but being a massive RPG nerd they always seemed to lack one thing for me. That missing cherry on top of my gaming cake was depth.
I needed more. I needed to know that the person behind the stick was someone that I should be able to relate to or feel their struggle. The tension is not nearly enough for me when all you see of yourself is the arse-end of a jet and maybe a voice actor’s attempt to bark orders or brief the mission.
Not so with Projects Ace’s Ace Combat: Assault Horizon.
Now I had a reason to fly…
OK so I finally got round to reviewing last months blockbuster!! Way to be on the cutting edge Mr Creepy…