The Definitive Lara


Look what popped through my letterbox this morning…

TombRaider_1

Although having played, loved and completed last year’s Tomb Raider on the PS3 … as a long time fan of the series and with a bit of a gaming drought at the moment on XBOX ONE I thought it was a great excuse to dive back into arguably Lara Croft’s greatest adventure.

Taking advantage of the extra grunt inside Microsoft’s new console this new version carries over all the DLC that was made available originally, along with concept art, a digital comic book and in the limited edition I ordered, a very nice digi-pack art book.

The game itself has been enhanced with higher Tomb Raider_2_editedresolution textures, improved particle effects on weather, fire and water etc., better lighting and it all runs in native 1080p.  The XBOX ONE version apparently supports a 30fps frame rate compared to up to 60fps on the PS4 but is reportedly more consistent than the varying frame rate on the rival console … but I think this is only an issue for those that look for such things.  Playing it, and I have only had a short time with the game, it feels very smooth and looks superb – an extremely detailed forest / island environment and bags of atmosphere.

I am looking forward to experiencing Lara’s adventure again throughout (something I normally don’t do a second time) as it was a fun game with a good story and plenty of ‘wow’ moments.  Is it really worth double dipping if you’ve already played the first game?  Probably not but if you’re hankering for a decent game on the XBOX 1 (or PS4) until big hitters like Titan Fall and Watch Dogs arrive … you could do much worse.

Update


Ok, going to be making some effort to watch a few movies gathering dust on my desk of late.  Wont say here what they are, but expect reviews to turn up in the next few days … I know, very teasy of me!  Unfortunately I am not sure I’ll get around to seeing Gravity, that very interesting looking Sandra Bullock movie, but I am still crossing my fingers, and the currently released Thor sequel is probably going to get missed also.  Cinema is just not happening right now (sad face).  Oh well.  With my birthday on the horizon (11/14 readers!!), I see a few more Blu-ray’s happening and even a bit more gaming (yes, late to the party, but it will be Batman Arkham City: Game Of The Year Edition).

Last few days I managed to finally complete Hitman Absolution – a very good but very challenging entry in the franchise, but easily the best in the series I have played … awesome graphics, very cinematic and the gameplay was very cool.  Also managed to finish the excellent, very emotional and engaging The Last Of Us of which I spoke about in an earlier post.  Both games should be on your to-play list if you enjoy solid story driven experiences.  However, Dead Space 3 is still on my shelf … it’s a good game but not been in the mood for that kind of intense fright-fest lately.  One day … one day.

That’s all from me for now.  Back soon!

Catherine – impressions


This has to be one of the weirdest but most addictive games I have played in a long while.  Japanese developer Atlus have built a reputation out of releasing unusual but clever video games, and this is one of the first to gain a mainstream release (at least in the US … not currently available in Europe).  At its heart it’s a puzzle platformer, but it could also be taken as a dating sim as you play the role of Vincent, in a relationship with fashion designer Katherine, a hot business woman with dreams of settling down, getting married and having children.  Vincent isn’t quite as eager to settle down, and begins to experience nightmares revolving around his insecurities.  In these nightmares, he must climb a tower and reach the door at the top.  This is the meat of the game, with each tower full of traps and enemies.  Each tower is a box pulling / pushing puzzle and with a strict time limit, where in as you climb, the lower levels begin to fall away, and if you don’t hurry – you’ll fall to your death.

This is a very unique game, part RPG where in you can send and reply to texts on your phone, talk to people in a bar that you frequent, and follow the story through beautiful anime-style cut scenes.  The production values here are high, and the imagination is exceptional … it may not be to everyone’s taste, and compared to picking out the latest World War II shooter, some casual gamers may not even acknowledge it’s existence.  Yet I urge you to give it a chance, as unlike many games these days, it takes risks, is actually quite mature in its themes of commitment, adultery and sex, and is actually really fun, in a brain teasing, addictive way … meaning one more go is never enough.

I’m only a little way into it (Day 2 of 8 apparently) but so far am enjoying it.  It’s not easy, but this isn’t a game you just plough through … you need to learn it’s gameplay and master it to get anywhere, which is what I aim to do.

Portal 2 – bot trust trailer


Because this highly anticipated first person puzzle-game-sequel is going to be utter genius.  And very funny.

… released on PC / XBOX 360 & PS3 21st April 2011.

Gran Turismo 5 impressions


Naturally the anticipation for a next generation, bells & whistles sequel to arguably the premier driving game series, was always going to be mammoth.  Now having sat down for a couple of weeks and played it, I come away feeling both impressed and a little disappointed.  The tried and tested gameplay seems tweaked and streamlined, the choice of cars impressive, and the fun of winning races and building up your garage as enjoyable as ever – but in this age of online multiplayer, the options here feel tacked-on and old-fashioned.  I’ve never been fond of racing games online as real-world players tend to play dirty, and during a race there isn’t that dip in and dip out of say a Call Of Duty death match.  Get shunted off the track once, and that’s it, you may as well quit out.  Also the fact the game’s 1000+ car roster is only made up of 200 or so fully realised graphically impressive vehicles (complete with in-car dashboards) feels like a cheap trick (the others are more like HD upgrades from GT4).  Sure, who’s ever going to need more than 200 cars?  But that 1000+ labelling seemed so rosy at first!  Tutt Tutt. 

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