Falling for a Titan


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Well it’s here, after much anticipation and a teasing beta, now I have the actual game in my hands!  Yes I am talking about XBOX ONE’s much anticipated exclusive (at least as far as it not coming to PS4) … Titanfall.  Developed by ex members of Infinity Ward, the guys responsible for the highly popular shooter Call Of Duty, this futuristic online-only game breathes some much needed fresh air into what was becoming a tired genre.

The basic concept is that you fight in two teams, at first on foot, but as you battle to kill the apposing team, each player is able to launch a titan… a hulking robotic exo-skeleton not that different to the ones seen in movies like Avatar and The Matrix Revolutions.  Then you battle either in or out of your Titan, as well as being able to free-run the environments on foot with wall running, double jumps and the like.  Its a great deal of fun!

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It stings somewhat their isn’t a single-player story element, and just a bolted on multiplayer-campaign which doesn’t really do much that you can’t experience playing in the various multiplayer modes – just with added commentary and a few extra battles going on around you … it’s still games of Atrition (deathmatch) and Hard-Point (domination) overall.  A wasted opportunity … but this is at least made up for by 14 detailed and well designed maps that offer a ton of enjoyment, as does the deep and rewarded levelling and customization options.

As a big release for the XBOX ONE which continues to dwell in the shadow of PS4’s success, I think it’s a crowd pleaser overall and at least its aiming at the right audience.  Call Of Duty, Battlefield etc. all continue to dominate, so it’s a wise move making this a potential system seller.  I personally think it’s a mistake on Microsoft’s part to allow this to be released on the XBOX 360 as well, giving an excuse for the undecided console owners not to jump to a next-gen system just yet.  Halo didn’t require other formats to make XBOX sell, and neither should Titanfall.

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There has been some controversy over Titanfall’s final display resolution of 1408 x 792p compared to the much desired 1920 x 1080p of full HD (something the PS4 seems to handle with ease).  I only have a 26” 720p display so … what’s it like in reality?  Its gorgeous!!  Very smooth at an almost steady 60fps (surely most important??) and with very detailed graphics, great lighting / shadow effects and large, complex environments.  Screen-tare does rear it’s head, but isn’t that noticeable.  On my TV such shortcomings like lower resolution are a non-issue and well, with the games I have played on the XBOX ONE, such as Dead Rising 3, Forza 5 and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition … I can firmly say they are all slick, very detailed and attractive games that make me happy with my purchase.

So if you hanker for a new breed of online shooter, or just want that excuse to go for a new console … you could do far worse.  It really is a great game … lacking a little with no single player, but as a pure multiplayer experience, its fantastic.  Prepare for Titanfall!

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Modern Warfare 3 – impressions


This needs little introduction.  The biggest video game franchise in history, at least as far as sales go, and the widest played online multiplayer game in the world.  Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare franchise reinvigorated the Call Of Duty brand, bringing into the modern-day and hitting us hard with total realism, glossed over with Michael Bay-like fireworks.  It’s the blockbuster of the video game world, and one of my favourite game series ever.

This time around you’re after a Russian terrorist who brings about World War 3, and you are sent in with your team to stop him.  This is a game filled with ‘oh my god’ moments of action and spectacle, with a globe-trotting storyline and production values that set it apart from almost any other game on the market.  Infinity Ward this time have teamed up with new developer Sledgehammer Games, and each mission and each fire fight feels like its been designed with absolute immersion and Hollywood-like excitement in mind.  I’m almost done with the single player campaign, and have experienced some amazing moments, none of which I will spoil for you, all I’ll say is … its brilliant, well crafted, and longer lasting that previous instalments.

Now onto the reason 90% of fans love this franchise … the multiplayer.  Again you have a variety of maps to play on, and a reward system that enables you to upgrade weapons and install new perks to help you in your quest for online supremacy.  Not much has changed from the well-honed formula of MW #1 & 2, but this time with new mode Kill Confirmed where you collect dog tags of your fallen foes to increase points for your team – it seems more addictive than ever.  As can be expected, the online lives or dies depending on the time you put into it and how good your reflexes are, but when ‘in the zone’ it can be an adrenaline-fueled joy, and one I will be returning to again and again.  Add to this modes like Spec Ops, Domination, Free-For-All and the classic Team Deathmatch, and this is one game that just keeps on giving.

Modern Warfare 3 is the best Call Of Duty yet, no question … and a flagship title regardless if your playing it on PC, Playstation 3 or XBOX 360.

Call Of Duty: Black Ops impressions


Easily one of the most anticipated games of 2010, and arguably more hyped than the controversy engulfed Medal Of Honor reboot, this latest installment in the acclaimed Call Of Duty series comes from development studio Treyarch, that much maligned group of programmers that aren’t the franchises founder Infinity Ward.

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It’s my birthday!!


Well today is the day I received the veteran edition of XBOX 360 game

Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 2

Now this features the game, in a steel case complete with hardback art book, a downloadable version of the original Call of Duty, and most importantly a brilliant sculpture of character ‘Soap’ McTavish.  Here’s a pic of the statue – pretty sweet if you ask me!  My usual first-impressions of the game will be following soon!

Thanks go out to all who gave money / vouchers towards the purchase of this collector’s item and also many thanks for birthday wishes and cards etc!!!  I’m having a great day and it can only get better!!

Soap-Statue

Answering the call


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I just had to write a few words of apreciation for what is undoubtably one of the finest experiences I have yet had in a videogame.  Infinity Ward’s exceptional Call of Duty 4 is one of the best designed, most stunning looking games on the 360 so far, and is packed with intelligent, mature real-world warfare gameplay topped with a glossy Hollywood action movie sheen.  The creators of what is easily the best war series available (not including COD 3 or any other COD spin-off not made by Infinity Ward), this latest entry jumps from the previous World War 2 settings to moden day action, and it gives the series a breath of life…and a polish & immediacy that I admit to being surprised by.  To think I had hesitated buying this game with reports the single-player campaign was too short. (for me it lasted just the right amount of time, with 3 acts and over a dozen varied missions, that warrant several replays just for their stellar experience alone (a fave being ‘All Ghilled Up’) .  Add to this an addictive, and deep multiplayer experience, that is surely the most fun I have had on XBOX Live thus far (even if I do rubbish!), with an Arcade Mode for high score retreads of your fave missions to brag to friends with – this package has the lot.  Not since Half-Life 2 have I come away from a game so satisfied. 

What it does right:

Variety – not every mission is the same

Story – unlike some war games, you’re not recreating famous battles – u have a POINT and you are a specific character (in this case, two characters).

Maturity – some shocks and twists will knock you sideways.

Presentation – Infinity Ward should get a stack of awards for one of the best looking & sounding games yet.

What it does wrong:

Linearity –  sometimes you can feel a bit ‘lead by the hand’ – not much room to make your own path.

Difficulty – Some missions seem too easy on default setting – to the point you can sometimes feel your squad are doing all the work for you.

Longevity – some missions could be longer.