Friday Review Round-Up
Another Friday means another Friday Review Round-Up. All games this week, with Skyrim...
Saints Row: The Third
Format: PC,PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 18/11/11
With Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series heading down a much more realistic route, it's been left to THQ's ridiculously over the top Saints Row titles to allow us to get a little crazy. When a game allows you to create an obese central main character, and then give you free reign to sprint down city streets stark naked waving an enormous purple dildo, you just know you're in for a treat.
The story is just as overblown as you'd expect from a Saints Row game, with a script packed with all kinds of giggle inducing jokes. There's some fantastic voice acting included, helping even some of more ridiculously featured characters feel absolutely real. Set pieces are crazy right from the off, with just the first half hour including death defying skydives, rides on bank vaults attacked to the undercarriage of a helicopter, and an assault on an epic penthouse.
All this is great fun to control too. With none of the 'realism' that the GTA series includes, this means you can simply get stuck into having as much fun as you could ever possibly desire in the Saints Row world. And it's one hell of a thrilling ride, with a lengthy single-player mode boosted by a huge mass of different side missions and activities to perform. Plus there's always the fantastically titled 'Whored Mode' which throws, well, huge numbers of whores at you to blast, batter, and bludgeon.
Yes it's a little rough around the edges at times - we'll never forget the time we spotted a car stuck nose first into the road, remaining perfectly upright for a good 5 minutes - and it might not be quite as gorgeous as GTA IV, but none of that can stop Saints Row: The Third from being damn good fun. If you're looking for something you can spend dozens of hours simply causing merry hell with all sorts of weird and wonderful weaponry, motoring along at stupid speeds, and basically living out all your crazy fantasies, then Saints Row: The Third is a real must buy.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Format: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 11/11/11
After Oblivion essentially destroyed our lives (most epic save clocked in at around 345 hours, with barely any of that spent on the main quest) hopes have always been high that Skyrim will hit even more epic heights. And by golly they sure as hell manage that.
This is the kind of epic RPG that we'd always dreamed about when we were reading those 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books and playing Adventure way back when. In Skyrim you could easily spend hundreds upon hundreds of hours doing practically anything you wish. Simply want to explore the enormous and gloriously detailed world of Skyrim, attempting to clear out every single cave and hidey hole and then flog on your ill gotten gains so you can buy a home in every major settlement? Then go right ahead. Want to be a cool as heck dark mage who spews fireballs towards anyone who doesn't immediately please them? Skyrim has you covered.
What we're trying to say is that Skyrim is exactly the kind of RPG you want. If you're eager for an epic single-player story, then stick to the main path and you'll undoubtedly get close to a hundred hours of gaming pleasure. But wander off that main path and you'll stumble across so many incredible moments that are bound to stick in the old memory banks for years. Skyrim includes a living and breathing world packed with so much to do and experience that this is the kind of title you could quite easily lose years to. For fans of RPG's, and essentially any gamer out there with a desire to lose themselves in a proper single-player adventure, Skyrim is a true dazzler.
Ultimate Marvel Versus Capcom 3
Format: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 11/11/11
So Marvel Versus Capcom 3: Fate Of Two Worlds has only been out for 9 months and Capcom have already produced a second version. Is it worthy of a full release or are Capcom just milking their fanbase?
If you're a fan of fighting games you're probably used to this. Street fighter 2 went through more revisions than Donatella Versace's face - There were 3 SNES versions in as many years, each one receiving a full price tag with only 8 new characters between them. In comparison you get a lot more for your money here. As well as having the expected tweaks and balances Ultimate adds 12 new playable characters to the roster, 8 new levels to battle on, a playable boss character and a slashed price tag. It's not exactly bargain-bin, but at 30% cheaper than the original it's definitely going to tempt a lot of fans.
From the Marvel universe we have Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, Iron Fist, Hawkeye, Nova and Rocket Raccoon and from Capcom there's Firebrand, Frank West, Nemesis, Phoenix Wright, Strider Hiryu, and Vergil. On top of this the screen hogging boss character Galactus is unlockable, though he's more of a novelty than anything else.
With a game like this there will always be much loved characters who don't make the cut, but the characters that are here are varied, memorable and somehow seem to fit well together, even Phoenix Wright.
If you're an old hand at MvC3 and want to know the precise nature of the gameplay tweaks, here's tournament veteran Maximilion with an exhaustive list:
If you're new to MVC3 like me, this game represents great value and provided you're able to throw a fireball and a dragon punch, you should be able to jump right in to the fray. Most of the moves in the game follow the tried and tested quarter-circle-forward/back + attack formula so you can learn as you play, or opt for the training missions for a beginners guide to combos and air combos.
The game looks awesome with an eye catching art style and ridiculously over-the-top super moves that make it fun to spectate. It's deep enough that you can spend long nights learning 200+ hit combos or you can just button mash with your mates and achieve startlingly similar results.
If you're a cynic you may want to save your money for the 'Turbo' version but UMvC3 is an undeniably solid fighting game at a very reasonable price, especially if you didn't fork out for the first iteration.
Goldeneye 007: Reloaded
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii
Release Date: 4/11/11
It's been a long time since Goldeneye was the definitive FPS shooter back in those days when home console games still came on cartridges. Epic four-player battles were the order of the day for many a year until we began to move on and enter the world of online console gaming.
This update for the PS3 and Xbox 360 takes the recent Wii based reboot and gives it a brand new lick of paint for the HD ready generation. It's obviously been given some major attention, but that still can't prevent it from being an obvious giant leap behind the likes of Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3. That's not say it looks awful, with some obvious charm included. But it sadly can't compete with the big boys.
The style of play harks back to those simpler times when enemies were dumb, and your health levels were ridiculously high. It's fast paced, hectic, and a whole heap of fun. No you won't be spending time scoping out routes and planning tactical use of weaponry to progress, but it's nice to play something that doesn't require you to turn your concentration up to it's absolute maximum.
This update to the Goldeneye series might not be quite the incredible piece of genius that its elder sibling remains, but that still doesn't stop it from being a decent amount of fun while it lasts. We'd have liked more online options to keep us hooked for a few more weeks, but it still remains a decent brainless blaster once you start to tire of the constant concentration required in most recent FPS titles.