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Average User Score: 8.2Nov 10, 2012The original Borderlands was one of my favourite games of 2009. Its unique graphic style, tongue-and-cheek story, insanely fun loot-shootingThe original Borderlands was one of my favourite games of 2009. Its unique graphic style, tongue-and-cheek story, insanely fun loot-shooting and four-player co-op made it a long-lasting and unforgettable experience. However, Borderlands was not without its flaws, and after a wait of three years, Gearbox has finally given us something the long-awaited successor, Borderlands 2.
Borderlands 2 is everything a sequel should be. It maintains the core formula that made the first game so great, improves upon it in almost every way and fixes the flaws that troubled its predecessor. The "Role-playing shooter" label that Borderlands has been given accurately describes what the game is about. It has all the makings of a fun first person shooter; lots of guns, a variety of enemies to face and robust shooting mechanics. But it's also got the elements that make role-playing games so addictive. On top of being a perfectly competent shooter, Borderlands 2 incorporates RPG elements such as skill trees, inventories, and most importantly, looting. It's insanely rewarding to clear out an area, open a weapons chest and find that perfect gun you were looking for, then upgrade your skills to match your new playing style.
Of the characters in Borderlands 1, only the Siren returns, this time in the form of Maya. The other three are completely new; Axton, a Commando, who has the characteristics of the soldier from the first game; Salvador the Gunzerker, a completely new character who can dual wield any two weapons as his special ability; and Zer0, an assassin with a badass sword who can turn invisible take out the enemy silently. These four make up for an interesting cast, and varied in the way in which they play. If you're planning on playing Borderlands 2 co-op with four players, it'd make for great diversity if each picked a different character. The contrast in playing styles, weapons used and skills invested in means that you're in for a really enjoyable experience if you work together with your friends. However, note that while Borderlands 2 supports up to four player co-op Online, it only supports two players playing split-screen locally.
The graphic style is identical to that of the original game, and you won't notice any major improvements in the texture quality. But it's the little things that make Borderlands 2 feel like a better game than what the first was. The game runs much more smoothly, there's less texture pop-ins (though still some), each gun has its own unique reload animation, chests open more extravagantly, and most importantly, the environments really come alive. In the original game, you spent the majority of the game in a barren desert or wasteland, only switching to a tundra-type environment towards the end of the game. In Borderlands 2, you're given a much wider variety of environments to explore, all of which are more vibrant and prettier to look at than the ones in the first game.
You'll likely find the game-play similar too, but in a fresh, upgraded way that reminds you of the first game without feeling like the same thing. You can wield up to four guns (out of 87 bazillion), and many more in your inventory, though by the end of the game you'll likely have switched your favourite weapon many a time for a better one you've found. The lack of a weapon proficiency system means that you can't take one low-level gun and go through the whole game with it using it and upgrading its stats, which I find disappointing, but it's a subtle flaw that's easy to overlook when the game is this much fun. All the guns feel unique, look unique and sound unique. Some have their own special effects, my favourite of which is an assault rifle with exploding rounds. The gunplay feels very fast-paced and eventful, and each character can use their special skill at any time if it has cooled down. These are designed to offer you an edge over the competition, although if truth be told, so long as you keep switching weapons for better ones and generally get better, the game shouldn't prove much of a challenge.
All the improvements that Gearbox had made to Borderlands with its Downloadable Content have seemingly been implemented in Borderlands 2 from the start. The story is actually enjoyable, there are tons of guns, more customization and new vehicles. In every way, this feels like a better game than Borderlands. From the mini-map to the much more accessible and pretty user interface, to the characters, to the story, to the gunplay and environments, Borderlands 2 is an improvement over what was already a fantastic game, and that is why you should buy it.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Jul 31, 2012Rarely does a game get so many game-play elements right as Deus Ex: Human Revolution does. It is a semi-open world mission-based game thatRarely does a game get so many game-play elements right as Deus Ex: Human Revolution does. It is a semi-open world mission-based game that revolves around infiltrating hostile locations and retrieving objectives. The approach you take towards reaching your objective is completely up to you, and you will be rewarded accordingly. You can walk through the front door and engage in an all-out gunfight (although it is worth noting that on PC, aiming down your sights is toggle-only) provided you have the weapons, ammunition and FPS skill to take all of your enemies down, or you can find an alternate entry and sneak past guards undetected, taking them down silently as you crawl through the shadows. I found this approach to be more fun and more rewarding, as exploring secret areas and finding uncommon routes to your objective will net you XP and item rewards. While there is no level or level cap in the game, gaining enough XP by taking down enemies, finding secret areas and completing objectives will earn you praxis points, which can be invested into the game's skill tree. These upgrades that you can purchase using praxis, called augmentations, will increase your chances of survival and should reflect your play style. If you tend to find yourself in gunfights a lot, you'll want to upgrade your weapon damage and health. If you're a sneaky bugger and you don't want your enemies to know what hit them, you'll probably be best off purchasing the stealth augmentations. If you like coercing others into sharing your point of view in conversations, you'll want the augmentation that allows you to see how people are reacting to what you're saying.
Stealth is arguably the tougher method of completing the game, but I found it to be extremely rewarding. I have not played any other Deus Ex game before, nor am I particularly fond of stealth games; I struggle to complete Splinter Cell games. But Human Revolution is very accessible for the average player, the balancing is great and it never feels like the game has an unfair advantage over you, nor that it is too easy. And even if you bought the game expecting an FPS, you won't be disappointed. The shooting feels varied and functional, with an array of weapons at your disposal.
Between these missions, you will have time to explore the cities the game takes place in. There may not be a lot of them and they may not be very large in size, but they're just enough to allow you some breathing space between the fast-paced action that takes place during missions. You can sell and buy items, talk to people and look for loot around areas such as Detroit or Hengsha, a Chinese city with a completely different atmosphere. Sometimes I felt as though the game could offer me a little more freedom in roaming its setting, but it's nothing that will ruin the experience.
The game's story won't leave you sobbing, but it's a solid tale that holds together the masterful game-play. Some bits in particular that I won't spoil, were very well made and truly had an impact on the way I viewed the characters involved.
This game is fantastic. Solid shooting, balanced and very rewarding stealth, a thoughtfully made skill tree, all surrounded by a good story make for a very fun experience. If you're remotely interested in stealth, or if you want a shooter with a little more meaning to it, definitely purchase Deus Ex: Human Revolution.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.6Apr 6, 2012First of all, graphically speaking, Mass Effect 3 only improves on its predecessors. The frame rate is much better (especially on PS3), theFirst of all, graphically speaking, Mass Effect 3 only improves on its predecessors. The frame rate is much better (especially on PS3), the character models are fantastic as usual and the overall look of the game is much crisper. There are a few glitches, such as freezing on loading screens (which have been slightly shortened), but it doesnâ… Expand
Average User Score: 6.6Mar 3, 2012The graphic style is cartoon-y, offering a fresh alternative to some of the other RPGs of this generation, making the game a pleasure to lookThe graphic style is cartoon-y, offering a fresh alternative to some of the other RPGs of this generation, making the game a pleasure to look at, with varied and beautiful environments. The character look unique and special, but the lip-syncing could be better and the draw distance is not great. I haven't encountered any major graphical glitches yet, and the game runs smoothly.
The dialogue is hit and miss; one type is a tedious list where everyone seems to have the same general options where they will offer vague, similar opinions on a topic plus maybe one additional character-specific topic that will lead you to a quest. The other is a mass-effect choice style where you can choose how you respond to a character (usually an important character). You also get a Fallout-style persuasion option which shows you the chance of success based on your persuasion skill. For main characters, dialogue is interesting and cool, but when you're just exploring, it doesn't do as good a very good job of immersing you but rather bores you, and while the developers could've found a more entertaining way of putting information across, this still does the job; you'll know what you need to know if you want to know it. Additionally, the choices you make have very minor effects and have no impact on the storyline whatsoever. This is fine as the game never claimed to contain major moral choices, but it's something to note if you're planning to get the game.
Due to its third person perspective, Reckoning isn't as accessible as first-person games like Skyrim. It's open-world, but it still has clear boundaries that you cannot cross. It's like A LOT of linear, confined areas have been put next to each other to create a pretty big open world, which works. The interesting thing about Kingdoms of Amalur is that it manages to take bits and bobs from other major RPGs, such as the Dragon Age skill tree, Elder Scrolls looting, Mass Effect dialogue, etc. but still remains original in its own way. You likely won't find something and marvel at its originality, but when you look at the game as a whole, it's easy to see that the developers have taken the best bits out of other games, put them all together and added the element that many of them were somewhat lacking in, game-play, and made a game that is perhaps more complete than any other fantasy RPG on the market.
The game-play, as I'm sure you will have heard is very good. The combat feels fluid, fun and varied, with an array of weapons and spells to use. For the most part, it doesn't feel too challenging at the Normal setting, but there are certain creatures that will certainly pose a threat. The game offers a real-time XP/Level-up system, rewarding players for killing creatures as soon as they do so, which is good. The level-up system is reminiscent of Dragon Age's, where you pick a perk every time you level up and choose which skill from one of the three skill trees (Might, Finesse and Sorcery, or basically, Warrior, Bowman and Mage) to invest points into. Arguably the best thing about Amalur's level-up system is the fact that it never locks you into a certain path. If you invested all your points into Sorcery but never use staffs, that's fine. There's nothing stopping you from playing the game that way. Matching your playing style to your point investment definitely helps, but is never required.
The inventory system is inferior to pretty much every other modern RPG. It's basically a list, going into another list etc. then you get to what you like. Luckily, you can equip any weapon to a Primary or Secondary weapon and can switch between them at the press of a button at any time during game-play, (so you can have a sword as your primary and another sword as your secondary, or a sword and a bow/staff and so on) which is good, but if you want to remap one of your weapon slots, you have to go through several tiers of lists. There is a hotkey system for spells, a dial for potions and two slots for weapons but ultimately this falls flat compared to Skyrim's all-encompassing favourite system which allows you to just have what you want in one, easy-to-access list.
One gripe I have with Reckoning is that it just dumps tons of information onto you as if it was meaningless. The implication of doing something can be as little as a tick on the quest screen. You don't feel like you're doing what you're doing for a reason but rather to just complete the quest. You'll find a town, meet some that give you a quest each, go do their quests (which will likely be generic and boring), turn them in, get your reward and be done. The faction and main story quests are much more fun, but the majority of the side quests aren't.
Overall, Reckoning is fun to play, and that's what matters. The RPG elements work fine, the world is vast and packed with content, and the combat doesn't feel laborious or monotonous, but fun and varied; his game is definitely worth playing if you're an RPG fan.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.4Dec 10, 2011Uncharted 3 does pretty much everything right, and is my game of the year. The game looks great, is very immersive due to great storytelling,Uncharted 3 does pretty much everything right, and is my game of the year. The game looks great, is very immersive due to great storytelling, voice acting and motion capture, has a great story, fun campaign, excellent score, and most importantly, it's fun to play. The shooting and cover system work perfectly, and there have been some additions to melee fighting, but surprisingly (not so surprising if you've played Uncharted before) where the game really shines is during cutscenes. What's even more surprising is that this doesn't feel wrong. It doesn't feel wrong that a game's cutscenes are better than it's gameplay yet it's still critically universally acclaimed. Few games can immerse you in the way Uncharted does. It's quite simple, playing the campaign will be some of the most enjoyable nine hours you've spent with video games. The multiplayer isn't as good as the campaign but still very enjoyable. It's functional, very competitive and can be addictive. It's much more rewarding than Uncharted 3's multiplayer, with the new levelling system, loadouts, boosters and kickbacks. While the campaign is quite short at 9 hours, you should play through it more than once to find all the treasures, complete it on crushing, or just to experience it again, and the multiplayer should keep you playing for tens of hours longer. If you have a PS3, not having this game is out of the question, because this is as good as video games get.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.8Dec 10, 2011Saints Row: The Third changes enough to distinguish itself from its predecessor and from the Grand Theft Auto series but keeps much of what weSaints Row: The Third changes enough to distinguish itself from its predecessor and from the Grand Theft Auto series but keeps much of what we like about sandbox games the same. The graphics look fine, but don't hold a candle to some of this generation's more graphically obsessed titles like Uncharted 3 and Battlefield 3. The new setting of Steelport (moving away from Stillwater, the setting of the first two Saints Row games), feels a lot like the setting of its predecessors, but it's a colourful and vibrant city. It's not huge, but it's big enough. The mission structure has been tweaked so you don't have to travel to a specific location to get your mission, but select from the missions currently available from your phone, which is also used for everything else in the game. You can use it to look at the map, check your stats, call for backup, and so on. Other than that, you still go to locations, do what people tell you, complete the mission, do whatever you want until you trigger then next mission, and then repeat. But all of the missions are just so much fun that it's worth mentioning. Remember the bank heist mission in GTA IV, and how much fun that was? Now imagine a sandbox where almost every mission is as fun as that. That's what this is. All the missions manage to engage you and entertain you without getting old, which is remarkable. The story is good, and although the campaign is pretty short, there's tons to keep you busy. There's tons of activities, much like in the second game, but this time there's less of them, and instead of having one location where you play through six levels one after the other, there's now only one level on each activity, but the activity has several different locations, all with different difficulty levels. There's also some collectibles and there's co-op, which is a lot of fun. Other than that, the shooting is functional, driving feels fast and fun, and most importantly, getting around doesn't feel like a chore. In air, on sea or on land, transportation is always enjoyable. There are a few bugs, glitches and freezes here and there, but they don't happen TOO often. Good points:
-Good story, filled with humour
-Co-op is a blast
-The crazy stuff
-Some glitches… Expand