ISSUE # 3
IT’S LOOKING GREAT, BUT WILL WE EVEN BE ABLE TO PLAY IT? OPINIONS
REVIEWS N ext G e n Myt h :
G u ita r H e r o A e r o s m i t h P a rt 2
C r i s is Co r e OUR RUMINATIONS ON
T r a u m a C e n t e r : N EW B L O O D WHAT IT ACTUALLY MEANS
B att l e f i e l d B C
Alone in the Dark J u st a Ga m e
Rac e D r iv e r : G R I D WHEN WILL THE OFLC GROW UP?
CALL OF DUTY:
W or l d at W ar
THE NEXT INSTALMENT OF THE REVERED,
DOWN-AND-DIRTY WAR FRANCHISE.
THE PC KILLER RETURNS FOR A SECOND HELPING
21-22 Okami 34-35 Race Driver: GRID
23-24 Trauma Centre 2 36-37 Quake Wars
25-26 Penny Arcade 38-39 Kung Fu Panda
27-28 Battlefield Bad Company 40 Trials 2
29-30 Guitar Hero Aerosmith 41-42 Guitar Hero: On Tour
31-32 Crisis Core 43-44 Everybody’s Golf 2
33 Pokemon Mystery Dungeon 45-46 Alone in the Dark
04 EDITORIAL FEATURE
05 CONTRIBUTORS // JICKLE’S COMIC 16 FALLOUT 3
We put the Hard Question to our team. Their answers might Before the game got banned we
surprise you! managed to spend a morning having
a look at it. We’re excited.
07 Just a Game 20 REVIEWS
Some interesting insights into the wily ways of young gamers
Delve into the sea of words and run
08 Breaking the Next-Gen Myth them through your fingers like
Should we re-think the way that we pigeon hole games? metaphoric diamonds!
10 Funny Games
47 COVET CORNER
Can in-game humour go beyond the slapstick?
All the coolest things we could find…
and maybe some things you just
can’t live without.
The most poignant bits and pieces from the month that was.
13 Crysis Warhead
14 Call Of Duty: World At War
|> Being an Aussie is pretty awesome – beautiful beaches,
politicians we can easily take the piss out of and a general laid ISSUE #3
back attitude that makes playing with Aussies online such
One thing that kind of drags me down, though, is the way that
we’re treated like crap when it comes to some game releases.
The most recent example that serves to highlight this is Rock
Editor: Dylan Burns
Band. So far we’ve been denied the pleasure of playing this
Deputy Editor: James O’Connor
game, with importing it from other PAL territories (at massive
Deputy Editor: Matthew Williams
cost if you want the ultimate band setup) being the only option
Art Director: Christine Falk
if we want to experience the title. Now, with the news of Rock
Band 2’s release, it really does feel like a slap in the face for
Here we are, ready to shell out our money for the game, and Matt Davey, Tim Henderson, Alex Walker,
we’re effectively told, through being totally ignored, that our Steven Milich, Justin Murray
money isn’t good enough.
I realise that we simply aren’t a big enough market to exert any ADVERTISING
kind of influence - particularly when compared to countries like Please contact the Editor if you would
the USA, but surely we make at least a small blip on the profit like to advertise with Pixel Hunt:
radar; why can’t we be afforded a PAL release along with the firstname.lastname@example.org
UK? We’ve seen import versions of games get released here
before – most recently with Age of Conan, which saw US copies
of the game hit Australian stores.
I know that I’d be fine with a UK copy of Rock Band, as would
a lot of my gaming friends. Surely it wouldn’t take much more
effort to arrange a shipment to Australia, and then watch all that
DLC profit pour in.
Well, I’m sick of waiting and have gone and ordered an import
copy so that I can at least experience the guitar portion of the
game. I should be playing it by the time you read this and then,
if we ever get a local release with all the peripherals, I’ll be first
in line to buy a drum set. Rock on!
Dylan Burns // Editor
Q:Who would win:
THE PIXEL HUNT TEAM
They come from all over the country, all walks of
life and exhibit many psychological imbalances
– they are games journalists, after all. But the
Solid Snake VS Kratos ?
one thing that they have in common is that they
all love games with a passion.
You won’t find any Photoshopped, perfect
bellies or colour-corrected thighs here, only
unshaven, tired and generally unkempt gamers
who don’t like their photo taken. But don’t let that
stop you from forming a man crush on one of
us! Sexy bikini shots will be supplied on request.
THE HARD QUESTION
Each issue we intend to test some of our writers
with a question so devilishly deviant, so tongue-
twistingly hard that they will actually have to use
more than three brain cells to answer it. This
Tim Henderson: self-conflicting logic here - logic that is derived the battle would take place and, upon killing to be considered bad-arse.
from the simple fact that I’d rather play MGS Snake, Kratos would seize our mortal realm in
Let’s look at this question through filter-o-vision: than GoW. his blood-soaked arms, crush… - wait, that’s an Steven Milich:
who would win - a dying old man vs. Chuck answer, isn’t it? Shit, Kratos would win.
Norris on extra steroids that have caused him to After many long days of mulling it over my mind,
I’m going to go with Kratos.
lose all of his signature body hair? James O’Connor:
Personally, my money’s on the old man. This is Frankly, I think if this battle were to ever take
Matthew Williams: Sure, Snake is all sneaky and elusive with guns
because Chuck Norris gags have been passé and grenades but all Kratos has to do is wait for
place there would be no winners, only losers. See, I never got into the Metal Gear franchise,
for at least a year now, but also because Kratos’ him to get into a three hour cut scene then throw
Following its announcement, the internet so it’s probably pretty obvious that I’ve had
main claim to fame may still be the gaming a sword at him while he’s busy talking. In fact, a
would flare up with discussion like a skin bugger all play time with any of the games in
public’s inability to deal with a sex scene without really good technique would be for Kratos to get
rash on a naked albino camper who doesn’t the series. So, when I first read the words “Solid
getting in a ruckus about it, and frankly, when it hold of his own codec device and ring snake,
wipe properly. GameFAQs would collapse Snake” in my monthly gaming mag a couple of
comes to these shenanigans my money’s on making him easy to find and distract. Or even
under the sheer weight of terrible posts (as years back, I honestly thought it was some dirty
the guy with the phallic name, no matter how better, just run around slicing up every box he can
if they don’t already – Ed). Sony would rush in-joke that was doing the rounds. So, that’s
old. I am fully aware that making play of Snake’s find lying on the floor, one of those is bound to
to release ‘Super Sony Smash Adventures the angle I’m taking, and I know I’m going to be
name may predate even Chuck Norris gags, have Snake hiding inside.
Melee’, which would sell billions of copies but scolded for it. Who would win? Kratos, because
but I reserve the right to work within my own would be absolutely shit. And then, eventually, he doesn’t have to resort to a double entendre
Jickle’s Comic GRAND THEFT LEGO
Just a Game
Although most of us agree with Tim Henderson’s ideas, we suspect that he really wants
an R18+ rating in Australia just so he won’t get arrested for playing his copy of Dark Sector
when he comes back here for holidays. He also gets a power trip asking for ID; it makes
him feel like some kind of game-selling bouncer.
t’s been said before, and it will be said again: reasoning develop in a growing child, although child, and to be quite honest I quite relish asking that their parent actually listened. But it’s still a
Australia needs an 18 certificate for games. this is something I may probe in the future, but it for ID because I’m developing a growing hatred shame that the rating on the bottom left corner
This will eventually happen, but it’s a matter that is my intent to say that the BBFC 18 certificate of bratty kids who believe that anything they of the box isn’t taken half as seriously as it would
will endure much procrastination and one that for games makes a lot of sense. But there’s want is their right to have. But if they can’t buy be on a DVD, and that it had to be pointed out
will suffer from the thinly-disguised frustration at how little respect it sometimes gets. it then they’ll just drag an uneducated parent verbally – with examples.
prestidigitation of so-called current affairs Let’s look at GTA 4. This is a game that got along to get it for them, and what’s worse is The irony, perhaps, is that it won’t be until
programmes that will continue on with their through the OFLC with an MA15 certification, that their parent will blindly obey. I’ve actively people understand the full expressive potential
fear-mongering so long as their target audience probably because its presence would be too big told parents in the process of purchasing Vice of videogames and start to evaluate things
continues to react with trepidation and under- to outright refuse classification and because, City for a child who looked to be about seven for themselves that an 18 certificate will even
researched concern. These are people who well, there’s no way to plonk in with an R18 years old that the game allows players to beat become a reality in Australia. Because at the
grew up with books, movies and rock ‘n roll (oh, sticker. This is a game that opens on a bondage hookers to death with dildos. And they still buy it, moment, the 15 limit doesn’t represent the
the irony), and until there are enough people scene, allows you to knife bouncers at a strip often giving me dirty looks for so much as daring juvenility of the content – it represents the
who also grew up with videogames beyond club after a couple of private dances, displays to question their obvious apathy. I sometimes juvenility of people’s perceptions.
Pong – and, by turn, can segregate the reality characters doing lines of coke and generally wonder if similar things ever happen in liquor
from the fiction – to make up a sizable ratings portrays a criminal underworld in a very sharply- stores.
concern, nothing is going to change. written manner. Maybe it’s no worse than Fortunately, there are those who heed
I’ve spent a number of years living in spending an afternoon watching Scarface, but what I tell them and look at their kids in horror,
both Australia and the UK, and am presently how many people doubt that film of deserving suddenly realising what they’ve been conned
writing this column in the Blue Mountains the age restrictions placed upon it? into doing once it becomes apparent that Gears
while on holiday from a games retail day job in What’s worse, however, is that the ‘it’s just a of War includes chainsaws. The evils that their
London. It’s not my immediate intent to look at game’ mentality actually exists. I can be legally children give you are honestly something that
how various aspects of human rationale and prosecuted for selling a game to an underage can be relished, and there’s a flicker of hope
Dylan Burns is actually an advanced AI unit that is constantly on the ‘grumpy’ setting. We
once tried to turn the dial down a notch and got told to “Go play one of your shitty games and
come back with ten dot points detailing why they are shit.”
ast issue I raised three questions about so I’ve left my answer fairly general here, and because I believe that the age of dedicated and pointing out the dire aspects of game
called next-gen gaming. They were: What that’s deliberate. This allows you to think about consoles is what epitomises now-gen development.
was last-gen gaming? What is now-gen which games, for you, have some or all of gaming. Where once gaming was almost Now-gen games, in my opinion, are the
gaming? What will be next-gen gaming? I’m these features – and then decide if you would an afterthought, utilising the computer grunt games we’re playing today, by virtue of them
going to try and offer my answers to these, and class them as last-gen games. In some ways developed for non-gaming purposes, there being about gaming as a business.
you’re more than welcome to disagree with me. last-gen represents the birth and childhood of now exists a burgeoning industry that has as its
Here goes: games themselves, which are only now starting entire focus the development of bigger, better Next-gen
to move through the trials and tribulations and faster gaming platforms. Rather than repeat last month’s rant, I’ll just
Last-gen of adolescence and, for some, into early Now-gen gaming is about the focused act say that I don’t like this term. Anything that I
This blanket term is, for me, not necessarily adulthood. of games as entertainment, with an industry label ‘next-gen’ is only done so because of
tied to any particular moment (or moments) pushing forward to create stories, experiences my inability to think of a word or phrase that
in time. I’m constantly seeing last-gen design Now-gen and interactive opportunities that simply weren’t more aptly describes its almost anachronistic
applications in current releases, so I guess Yanking its slightly evolved arse out of the viable with last-gen technologies and, dare I presence in a sea of now-gen games.
that it’s more a list of gaming elements than a last-gen primordial sea is now-gen gaming, but say, audiences. To game in the now is also Next-gen gaming, if we must use the term, is
halcyon ramble about some golden era the line is a lot tougher to draw. This is because to be a critic, to judge a game on every past complete artistic expression via the medium of
of gaming. it’s my belief that gaming in general still carries instance of poor design and failed presentation. games. The game can have bugs, it can have
I’m talking about intrusive and clunky design the baggage of all those things I listed above as It’s an age of self-awareness, fuelled ever so a shitty save system. Heck, it can even have
elements such as shoddy AI, an absence of last-gen drawbacks. So, now forced to draw that vigorously by the gaming press, who in their god-awful graphics. But if these negatives are
adequate NPC path finding, limited plot, pathetic line, I’ll go ahead and chalk a circle around the struggle to find an identity – are they journalists, overshadowed by a game that, in its entirety, is
dialogue, shallow characters, archaic saving current consoles, as well as the PS2, Xbox and writers, or just grumpy pricks? – also forget an astounding and affective piece of art, then
systems, the absence of emergent gameplay PC, and call that now-gen gaming. that they themselves are part of the cycle, to me that’s a next-gen game. It will be a game
options and – perhaps the biggest of them all – You’ll notice that I didn’t name any gaming embroiled in the act of gaming in the now, just that draws together the many threads of design
annoying and/or game-breaking bugs. platforms in my last-gen section, and that’s like the readers they serve by writing reviews with a pure focus on the player’s experience.
It will also be a game that is unique, interpretive I’m sure that games developers are proud of
and which allows the player to both express their work, and making a game is an infinitely
themselves in-game as well as be receptive to difficult process. I just hope that the standards I guess I’m just worried that if the gaming industry focuses too
the artistic expression of the game’s developers. set by gamers can have an influence on the much attention on what’s coming in the future then what we
Next-gen is not tied to consoles or market. If so, we may be able to expect the have to play in the now will fail to be appreciated.
technology, nor will a next-gen title necessarily quality of our games to increase along with our
be a game that everyone will like. My enjoyment of the medium. That would be pretty
interpretation of what a next-gen game might be darn cool, don’t you think?
could be a game that you hate, and that’s what
makes the term itself such a problematic and
divisive piece of marketing drivel. If tied down,
nipple-pinched and threatened with tickets to
a Britney Spears concert unless I cough up
the name of next-gen games that exist now,
I’d probably roll with something like BioShock
or Half Life 2. Yes, both extremely linear, but
straight as an arrow when it comes to their
artistic direction and delivery of a unique gaming
Will Things Change?
No. I am, after all, just some grumpy games
writer who likes to examine these things a little
too closely. I guess I’m just worried that if the
gaming industry focuses too much attention on
what’s coming in the future then what we have
to play in the now will fail to be appreciated.
Also, if we do not look to the past and learn
from the mistakes made in games – mistakes
that still get repeated in today’s releases – then
we’re never going to get rid of this mentality that
believes it’s okay to push out buggy releases
and simply patch them up at some future time.
James O’Connor often likes to laugh. Sometimes it’s all that keeps the tears from coming. It makes
him awkward in public situations and in column introductions where he tends to lose his train of
thought midway through. Pathetic.
’ve been playing a lot of ‘comedy’ games HALF LIFE 2 few things in life as rewarding as setting a pitfall all about pissing off a cartoon duck. Maybe
lately. Harvey Birdman for Issue 1, Penny The simple act of picking things up and throwing seed and repeatedly walking into your least I’m just a bit of a dickface, but the idea here
Arcade for this issue, The Simpsons Game for them at people near the start entertained me favourite resident until they find themselves really appeals to me. Unfortunately, I read
my own amusement. While these efforts are far much more than it should. A lot of games have lodged in the ground, struggling in vain against somewhere that it wasn’t all that well executed,
funnier than the usual gaming fare, I still find moments like this; try smacking around the their dirt prison. Set up a few characters with but I might still pick it up for $25 at Target over
myself wondering, on occasion, why comedy giant penguin in Mario Galaxy’s manta racing embarrassing nicknames and baby you got a the weekend. Maybe.
games don’t make better use of their medium. for some awesome animation. But Half Life 2’s stew goin’! So, in a disturbing twist, all the games
Relying mostly on script and sight-gags to bring world felt so immediately alive that you really felt I’ve picked have a dark heart of malevolent
the laughs, funny games will often break the like a bit of an arsehole when you picked up a GRAND THEFT AUTO 4 violence. But the framework for a true slice of
fourth wall or use cut-scenes to get the giggles brick and hurled it at a hapless refugee. Their Annihilating a sidewalk-load of people comedy game par excellence is, as far as I’m
going, with few titles daring to take a more pitiful cries for you to cease your assault just is dangerously funny. It was funny in concerned, best exhibited in their attempts to let
organic approach. When will gaming see its made it all the funnier. Imagine if there was a Carmaggedon, and it’s even funnier now. But the gamer dictate how they make themselves
equivalent of Arrested Development, This is game that was all about going around being a getting hurled out of your car, flying across laugh. Will we see a game that is completely
Spinal Tap or A Confederacy of Dunces? A wanker. Speaking of which... the street, smacking into an old woman and aimed towards this or will we just need to be
game that pushes the interactivity of its medium knocking her handbag flying, causing her to content with being pricks in every ‘normal’ game
and explores new possibilities. ANIMAL CROSSING have a hissy fit as you lie on the pavement, that gets released?
To illustrate what I’m talking about, I’d like There are a few different ways to play Animal struggling to breathe? Much funnier than it
to discuss a few games that, in my opinion, Crossing, a game obviously designed with would be in real life, that’s for certain.
contain the seeds of a great comedy game, family interaction in mind. Clearly the developers
often without even meaning to. realised some players were just going to run DUCK AMUCK
around causing as much havoc as they could When I heard about the concept behind this
– why else include the Pitfall seed? There are game, I practically had an orgasm. A game
3 2008 *yawns*
SONIC AND THE DARK
Black Knight E
onic the Hedgehog will be s Summit has
once again be hitting the ” E3 Media Busines
Wii, this time in Sega’s ne Nintendo nother “new and improved perience. It
wly announced Sonic and it a disappointing ex
the Black gone and boy was
Knight. As you can see fro been and history, with many of
m the picture, the new dire worst E3s in recent
interesting. Since when wa ction is…
was, perhaps, one of the that they would not
s Sonic a character in the sically announcing
games? In any case, the
game will be a direct seque
the big ga mes companies ba ore.
l to Sonic and re’ news at E3 anym
the Secret Rings, which wa
s released in 2007 and wa be delivering their ‘co t Detoc, made the fol
Sonic and the Black Knigh s…okay.
The company he ad of Ubisoft, Lauren e-fitters
t will take Sonic back to the E3. Now it’s like a pip
middle ages, rld used to come to
with locations that are appa
rently ‘Arthurian-inspired’ statement: “The wo
(Jeez – who ent.”
thinks this shit up?). Sonic
will even be given a sword show in the basem San Francisco chro
nicle, “I hate
on his quest for golden ring to help him
EA Boss Jo hn Riccitiello told the we’ll have to
s…or something. Hopefull ck to the old E3, or
addition adds to the game y this new
E3 like this, either we need to go ba
play, rather than detract fro
m it, although te events.”
we’re extremely sceptical have our own priva usly tired from
at this stage. ru Miyamoto, obvio
Developmental duties are On the Ni ntendo front, Shige no longer an
being handled by the Sonic d this to say: “E3 is
hopefully this game will tur Team, so playing too much Wii Music, ha at the core
n out to be better than, we casing games aimed
game that’s been release ll, any Sonic
event where Ni ntendo will be show classic franchises
d recently. Expect this on place to showcase
during the second quarter
of next year. MW
audie nce. It is not the right
and fan-favourites.” nt Peter Moore got
Even the no w EA Sports Preside and lacking
blog post: “Soulless
bandwagon, po sting this through a atsoever
ve no indication wh
gmented layout ga
an epicentre, the fra edium in the world.”
ing entertainment m
that we are the fastest grow MW
nice knowing you..
Goodbye E3, it was
S SONY UPDATE 2.40
WII BREAKS PS2 SALES RECORD
IN AUSTRALIA Bricks Consoles
dy overflowing aybe. The official line from Son
o add another trophy to Nintendo’s alrea y is that they actually pulled
st selling home their recent 2.40 firmware upg
collection, the Wii is now officially the faste being unable to access the XM
rade due to several users
n Australian units in the 84
console, chewing through half a millio news gaming site Kotaku reporte
B while playing games. However
es by industry tracker GfK
weeks since its launch (according to figur their consoles would hang at the
d that some PS3 users found
2 held this record, and
Australia). Previously, the PlayStation update – and that’s it! To fix the
wave screen after applying the
holds the record for selling
reached it in 107 weeks. The Wii also remove and reformat their har
problem they reportedly had to
previous record holders (the
200,000 units in 50 weeks, beating the in the process.
d drives, losing all of their saved
both took 55 weeks to reach
PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS) which This is actually quite scary. I sur
also broke the 100,000
that mark. Back in June 2007, the Wii reformat any of my consoles, and
e as hell don’t want to have to
by the Xbox 360 in Australia.
milestone, which was previously held playing Russian roulette every
from the sounds of it you may
need to do is actually
Okay, so the Wii is popular. Now all they Think about this for a minute; we
time you apply a console update
. MW live in an age of constant band-
release some games on the darn thing aid solutions, an age where tec
hnology is no longer as stable
reliable as it once was – particu and
larly when it comes to console
old SNES never had this proble s. Our
m, and we can still pull out our
or Mega Drive and play any gam N64
e on it that we like. Perhaps we
just old and grumpy, but it’s a rem ’re
arkably flimsy technological age
that we now live in. DB
DEVELOPER - CRYTEK STUDIOS BUDAPEST | PUBLISHER - EA | PRICE - TBA | AVAILABLE - OUT SEPTEMBER BY DYLAN BURNS
hose of us with mildly impressive PC not the second installment of the promised machines, a result of some serious tweaking to
systems remember Crysis well. It did, Crysis trilogy; instead it is a companion title to the game’s programming architecture. All of the
after all, manage to cause quite a stir amongst the original game, one that runs parallel to the new graphical tweaks have been implemented
the hardcore gaming community – bringing events of Crysis. using DirectX 9, which certainly points to Crytek
even the beastiest system to its knees when all In Warhead, you’ll become Sergeant realising that not everyone has made the jump
of the game’s options were set to maximum. Michael ‘Psycho’ Sykes – a companion to Vista.
Crysis was a game for the future, a title that sold character from the first game who apparently Seeing as the game takes place in the
bucketloads by riding on its ability to impress in went off and did interesting things on the other same location as Crysis, and at the same time,
the graphics and physics department. Sure, it side of the island while you were busy saving Crytek can almost get away with a ‘more of the
was actually a good game (and to be honest I’m the world. Warhead will, much like Crysis, same’ approach, but there will be new elements
only halfway through it), but technology has mainly involve blowing things up, shooting in the form of dual-wielding submachine guns,
marched on a fair distance since Crysis’s things dead, using your suit powers a lot and new vehicles and the aforementioned focus on close and scout enemy sentry placements.
release. If you’re going to pump out another basically having a blast. Psycho is a lot less intense battles. The improved graphical tweaks Alternatively, you may just feel like jumping
game using the same engine, you’re going to inclined to worry about the subtleties of warfare, also promise some insanely detailed textures straight in, setting the suit to super strength and
need something extra to impress today’s so you can expect Warhead to live up to its and lighting effects. whopping the shit out of an army of soldiers.
market. name in terms of all-out explosive action. The star of the show will still be the nanosuit, Actually, just thinking about Crysis makes me
with multiple options available during each want to fire it up again – perhaps I’ll pass it in
SWITCH SIDES TWEAKED enemy encounter. Warhead will employ time for Warhead…
Enter Crysis Warhead, something that is at The game engine itself (CryEngine 2) has been massive, open levels; if you’re a sneaker
once familiar yet also quite different. This is streamlined to scale much better on lower end you’ll be able to use the cloak ability to get up
360 / PS3 / Wii / PC
DEVELOPER - TREYARCH | PUBLISHER - ACTIVISION | PRICE - TBA | AVAILABLE - TBA BY ALEX WALKER
Call of Duty: World at War
ot content with nuclear explosions,
Treyarch has decided to burn players to
death. That’s right, flamethrowers are back in
vogue in Call of Duty: World at War, the next
instalment of the revered, down-and-dirty war
Be warned: radiation has nothing on World
of War. One of the early levels features an Allied
prisoner being tortured by the Japanese before
having his throat cut. “The game has also taken
on a grittier, edgier tone. We’ve kind of taken
off the gloves with this one. We’re not sanitizing and you can make out a ninja mask as he success has made the market savvier as Warfare’s visuals were a hit, and Treyarch
World War II,” said Mark Lamir, studio head of introduces his katana to some Allied kidney. well, with punters appreciating a break from believes that the engine is perfect for recreating
Treyarch in a recent interview with UK’s Official retreading the Second World War. “With Call the lush jungles you’d expect from a
Xbox Magazine. Judging by the excessively BACK TO THE TRENCHES of Duty: World at War, we’re re-defining what Pacific campaign.
violent trailer, he’s not kidding. In a couple of Of course, it’s not really a ninja, in the same it means to play a WWII game,” said Lamir, Taking place in the Europe and the Pacific,
minutes, you see characters being ambushed, way that World at War isn’t a true successor and judging by initial fears (and fairly average World of War has players fighting as the Red
bombed, burned, kicked and executed via firing to the throne; it will be the ninth iteration of the previous efforts – Ed), they’ll have to. To keep Army invading Germany, and also as the
squad. Also, a ninja comes out to stab a soldier. franchise, but only the third major instalment gamers on side, Treyarch is using the best parts Americans in their island-hopping quest against
I’m not lying. Freeze the trailer at the right time of the series from Treyarch. Call of Duty 4’s from COD4 – starting with the look. Modern the Japanese. One of COD4’s main flaws was
the linear single-player campaign, so Treyarch the better of you? Use the flamethrower and
burn his cover away. Aggravated by constant
will provide co-op play for up to four players. The
game will even scale the difficulty according to airstrikes? Shoot the wooden walls and create a
hole to climb through, giving you a new place to
the number of players and their skill level. If you
don’t have access to the internet, split-screen hide. Alternatively, you could just hop in a jeep
is an option, although you’ll miss out on the and drive away – vehicles were sadly missing
new bonus: any games played online (co-op or in COD4.
multiplayer) will gain you persistent experience After Infinity Ward sold over ten million
points, similar to the system used in COD4’s copies of COD4 worldwide, Treyarch are
multiplayer understandably looking to replicate that
success, while at the same time raise the bar for
HIDE AND SEEK war shooters. Call of Duty 5 is set to grace the
Gameplay is designed to model the era, with PS3, PC, Wii and Xbox360 by the end of this
camouflaged Japanese emerging from the year. If the trailer is anything to go by, then we
grass and snipers camping high up in trees. should have a game to remember. If not, then
There’s more interaction with the environment in don’t worry: Infinity Ward is already developing
general. Maps now have water you can swim in, Call of Duty 6.
slowing your movement considerably (because
Americans couldn’t swim freestyle back then).
Is that pesky camper hiding in the grass getting
Leaving Vault 101
FEATURE FALLOUT 3
An investigation into how Bethesda is handling Fallout 3
Tim Henderson braves radiation poisoning and Liam Neeson’s voice acting to bring you up to
date with how the next chapter in this classic series is looking.
t was with cynical optimism that we chances of success based on distance and
approached this presentation. After reading clarity) and then unleashing the wrath of your
the words “never before seen footage” on our equipped weapon upon them. The targeting
invitation, it was pretty much impossible to take can be activated at any point to allow players to
any other attitude. It was with cynical cynicism get a grip with and forward-plan their situation,
that we scrawled away in a notepad as the but action points will have to be replenished if
words “I’ve been doing this demo before” commands are to be entered. As for the rest
escaped the lips of Pete Hines, Fallout 3’s of the combat system? It plays out much like a
Product Manager. Apparently, he managed to typical FPS.
shoot a grenade out of the sky last time.
This gunfire, of course, had nothing to do DOG EAT DOG
with amazing twitch reflexes, but was instead While there’s no doubt that some purists of
made possible through the in-game use of Fallout 1 and 2 will be impossible to please, it’s
V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System),
a throw-back to the original games that allows
precision targeting through the pausing of
obvious that Bethesda are fans themselves,
and V.A.T.S. does a lot to keep the essence
of the franchise intact while making sufficient
Oh Noes! Banned!
time. It’s fair to say that the presentation of new ground to be relevant to today’s gaming This article was written well before the recent events that saw Fallout 3 get refused
the system is pretty tidy, with multiple camera landscape (a landscape, it seems, that feels classification by the OFLC. While it is a fairly dire situation, particularly for fans of
systems to display the slow-motion playback very reminiscent of Oblivion). Fortunately, other the series, we’re still very excited about the game and, in the end, are confident that
of your choices ensuring that exploding heads aspects of the Fallout universe can be carried gamers will be able to get their hands on Fallout 3, one way or another.
are still shown from all manner of elaborate over into today’s technology more easily, and Whether you are content to wait and see if a toned-down version is as good as
perspectives, even if you don’t get to witness through re-interpretation can be somewhat what was originally put to the board is another matter, but you can be confident that
a grenade getting shot out of the sky. It works timeless. As Pete Hines himself pointed out, we will continue to cover the situation of video game classifications, or lack thereof,
fairly simply – points build up over time and while fans of the series will get a kick out of in this country.
when you have enough they can be spent again having a canine companion called Dog
by precision-targeting a part of an enemy or Meat, the name still remains amusing enough
enemies (with relevant dice-roll percentage on its own to entertain newcomers without the
FEATURE FALLOUT 3
Jarrad has a fall-out with his best friend.
Of course, the Fallout games have been SAND THROUGH THE HOURGLASS and personality than the repetitious lands within the setting.
positively draped with dark humour of the sort Years will tick by, allowing players to develop of Oblivion ever did. The most impressive
where calling a pet Dog Meat is but a drop in their character attributes at various aspects out visual feat, or at least the most unexpected, CANTANKEROUS CAMERA
the bucket of nuclear waste, and Fallout 3 is their lives until they hit 19 and a certain turn of was the screen of the Pip-boy 3000. This little Also comparable to Oblivion is the option
well aware of this. From the moment the game events sees the need to do the unthinkable contraption, given as a coming-of-age present, to switch the camera from a first person
churns through its opening exposition of the and actually leave the vault in order to explore essentially acts as Fallout 3’s menu screen. perspective to a third person one (although
world nuking the crap out of itself, players are the wasteland outside. The first thing that What’s most impressive is just how well it’s been only from a certain age – sadly, the option won’t
thrust into Vault 101 where character creation player’s should notice are the awesome sight integrated into the gameworld itself: the way it be available while you’re still wearing diapers).
is quickly integrated into the gameplay itself. It gags at their feet. The second is that that there wavers gently around as your avatar holds it up Unfortunately, while Hines tried to gloss over this
starts with you being born, and with the question is a rather sprawling wasteland for them to at eye level may not be anything new, but the aspect by saying he wasn’t particularly good at
being asked if the new child is a boy or a girl explore stretching out into the distance. This is a level of attention, detail and small effects from playing from an over-the-shoulder perspective,
(cue gender selection screen) while you look on Bethesda game, after all. the flickering green screen itself really gives the it seemed that this may actually be the case
through blurry vision, armed with only the ability The visuals are well detailed and draw to an impression of looking at… well – of looking at a of the perspective being a little awkward in its
to choose your race and features, and to cry incredible distance, and even though patches screen. It’s a small touch that we expect will go implementation. The camera never quite sat
should you so desire to repeatedly press the of the world looked a little rough and unfinished, a long way in removing the barrier that keeps right during the brief chance we had to witness
A button. the game still displays a lot more craftsmanship some players from fully immersing themselves
FEATURE FALLOUT 3
it, and it went some way to highlight the oddly
floaty character movement that also seems to
have carried itself over from The Elder Scrolls.
But all things considered, Fallout 3 is
certainly a game to be excited about. If our
primary complaint is about an optional camera
perspective, then that’s a pretty good sign.
Bethesda are looking set to deliver a truly
immersive world, alive with consequential
questing and radiation (something that promises
to affect gameplay quite significantly at times),
and some truly bleak humour. We just wish
they’d get around to allowing the odd journalist
to actually get some hands-on time with what
FEATURE FALLOUT 3
DYLAN: said issue with “we almost missed deadline
Very high. I loved both Morrowind and Oblivion, because of Fallout 3’ clichés.”
so having Bethesda at the helm for Fallout 3
is something of a dream come true in many MATTHEW:
respects. Tim’s mention of a rather unwieldy As of late, whenever I hear or read the title
third person perspective has me a little worried, ‘Fallout 3’, two possible things come to mind.
but then I’ll probably just set it to first person for Either I remember the last three relationship
the entire experience. break-ups I’ve had, or I think of a world filled with
giant, slobbering super mutants that are rapidly
JAMES: reproducing after a nuclear war. I think you
I’ve never played a Fallout game. Nor did I play know which of the latter is exciting me more at
Oblivion, on which Fallout 3 is so very heavily the moment, even to the point of talking about it.
based. Somehow, this has only intensified my So, not only is Fallout 3 promising enormous,
anticipation for falling out for a third (or first) time, salivating super mutants to fight against, but it
as it’s going to be a completely fresh experience even pledges giant insects, raiders, slavers, and
for me. The only real issue is how we’re going to every other morbidly metamorphosed creature
find the time to put out an issue when it comes you could possibly think of. Definitely looking
out, and, more importantly, how we’ll avoid filling forward to this one.
This re-release gets a new lick of paint and waggle controls. OUR REVIEW SYSTEM EXPLAINED
23-24. TRAUMA CENTRE: NEW BLOOD
Let’s play doctors and nurses.
We’re not big fans of the numerical score. All too often it detracts from the quality of the review, which should
25-26. PENNY ARCADE explain to you the pros and cons of a game – allowing you to make an informed decision on an intended
Episodic, self-referential humour hits XBLA. purchase (or rest easy that you bought the right game). With that approach in mind, we’ve developed a
27-28. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY ‘worded’ scoring system – a set of seven words that explain the type of game you can expect when next
The walls come tumbling down in our explosive review. browsing store shelves.
29-30. GUITAR HERO: AEROSMITH
We inject our lips with Botox and set our amps to ‘blues rock’ for this one. MASTERPIECE – This game is incredible. It pushes boundaries and blows the player away. We will only
31-32. CRISIS CORE award a masterpiece to the best of the best.
We get right to the core of this handheld Final Fantasy title. BRILLIANT – These games are simply top notch. They deliver the experience via superb design and
33. POKEMON MYSTERY DUNGEON high production values.
Did we collect them all? Read the review to find out. IMPRESSIVE – Although this game didn’t quite reach the upper stratosphere, it was nevertheless
34-35. RACE DRIVER: GRID impressive, and can stand tall with others of its ilk. Our review will reveal what element(s) of this title
Drifting is pretty daft, but the game itself is pretty darn good. impressed us the most.
36-37. QUAKE WARS BORDERLINE – This game just didn’t quite get there. Perhaps it’s a victim of its own hype, or the
Waiting for players… budget went bust. Whatever the case, something went wrong along the way. It will, however, appeal to a
38-39. KUNG FU PANDA
What’s next? Judo Antelope? TRY-HARD – Games that are try-hard are not fully realised. The cracks between the seams are all too
apparent in these titles. Buggy, unfunny, derivative… (insert problems here).
40 TRAILS 2: SECOND EDITION
STINKER – We all know these games. The kind your nana thinks you want to play even though you’re a
41-42. GUITAR HERO: ON TOUR
grown man and not into that kiddy crap. This game might be worth recommending for a hire... if it’s free.
Fat, pudgy fingers won’t stop us from living the life of a rock star!
Think: movie game rush jobs.
43-44. EVERYBODY’S GOLF
HORRENDOUS – This appellation is reserved for the bottom-feeders, the truly vile and awful games that
A game that’s actually only for everybody who buys the game.
should never have seen the light of release day. Quick, get them to a land fill site as soon as possible!
45-46. ALONE IN THE DARK
Words cannot describe the pain…
We were all disappointed at the lack of a Shmackos-eating minigame.
DEVELOPER - READY AT DAWN / CLOVER STUDIOS | PUBLISHER - RED ANT | PRICE - $89.95 | AVAILABLE - NOW
MATT DAVEY uses the Wiimote to paint wangs...
ast generation, it was GCN games being
ported from Nintendo’s purple box to the
PS2 because they weren’t selling enough.
Funnily enough, in an about turn of fate, it’s a
PS2 title that has now been ported to Nintendo’s
white wonder with waggle. Even though it was a
critical darling, Okami simply didn’t sell. This title
definitely deserves a wider audience because,
despite being heavily influenced by the Zelda
series, it is a beautiful game.
You play as Sun God Okami Amaterasu
who has taken the shape of a wolf. Evil has game. The Zelda influences are many and The first thing to hit you about Okami is the anyone is speaking.
washed over the land of Nippon, and together flagrant, but once you get past this, you can unique cel-shaded visual style. It is strikingly
with sidekick Issun (cough, Navi, cough), you simply enjoy the game for what it is, rather than beautiful. Ammy herself is easily the highlight, PAINTING IS FUN
must defeat the evil Orochi and restore the land worrying about how much it has copied another and her animation is a treat to watch time and The Celestial Brush is a hugely important,
to its former beauty. title. Needless to say, if you don’t enjoy Zelda time again. The music is also quite brilliant, and quite unique, ingredient in the game. Its
games then you won’t find much to like here. while some sounds are a bit lacking – full distinctive abilities (such as making the sun
BOY IN GREEN Puzzles are generally well thought out, if a tad character voice acting would have been nice, rise, controlling the elements and slicing the
For those unfamiliar with Okami, this was now- straight-forward; boss battles are suitably epic instead were treating to irritating noises and environment) are activated by drawing symbols
defunct Clover Studios’ attempt at a Zelda-style and combat is fast paced and fun. scrolling text ala Banjo-Kazooie whenever on the screen using the Wiimote. This has uses
both in puzzle solving and combat. Drawing can pick up several weapons, which each fall into
be frustrating at times, since the game can be three main types, and all are quite different to
a bit arbitrary about what constitutes a correct each other. You can also help out the denizens
drawing and what doesn’t (my best circle ever of the game for Praise, a kind of currency that VERDICT
doesn’t count as a circle, but my shitty oval thing Ammy can use to upgrade her abilities.
does?), but these moments get less frequent If you’ve played through Okami on PS2,
the more you play. Finding the appropriate you aren’t really missing anything here. The
technique to defeat enemies is really quite fun, Wii version brings new controls, shorter loading
and combat never seems to drag.
Speaking of combat, the controls are quite
times and 16:9 progressive scan support, but
removes the end credits and epilogue found on
similar to those found in Twilight Princess. the PS2 version. If you’re new to Okami, this is
Ammy attacks when you shake the Wiimote, probably the version to pick up, if only because
with combos being possible if you time the it’s a lot quicker to draw with the Wiimote than
shakes correctly. While initially frustrating and the analogue stick.
hard to get the hang of, you do get used to it There is just something special about Okami.
eventually and it helps prevent combat from Something that sucks you in and doesn’t let you
degenerating into wrist-damaging waggle fits. go throughout the 30-40 hours of playtime. The
gameplay may be heavily inspired by the Zelda
DODGE CITY games, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing and
Dodging, on the other hand, is completely the Celestial Brush, in addition to the beautiful
broken. To dodge, you must shake the art direction, helps give the game enough
Nunchuk in the direction you want to move. unique elements to differentiate itself. It’s a real
However, it is almost impossible to do this shame that it has been given only a limited PAL
consistently. Luckily, the combat in Okami is release. Give it a go, if you can find it!
rarely difficult, and you will never really need to
use the move. Throughout the game, Ammy will
The broken Wii remote wrist-strap claims another victim
DEVELOPER - ATLUS | PUBLISHER - ATLUS | PRICE - TBA | AVAILABLE - TBA
Trauma Center: New Blood
MATT DAVEY spells ‘centre’ the correct way.
he original Trauma Center on the DS videogame is always circumvented with a quick
came out of nowhere to surprise the reload. If only real life incorporated a similar
gaming world with a totally unique concept and function (that, or the ability to rewind last night’s
brilliant gameplay. It is also one of the few pub crawl – Ed). The game controls quite
games that actually used the touch-screen to full well, especially considering the vast amount of
effect; being able to physically interact with the games that control like absolute horse turd on
game added realism and served to draw the Wii. They will take a little while to get used
players in. Though it wasn’t exactly a to, especially when compared to the brilliantly
commercial success, it does have a fairly intuitive DS game, but eventually you’ll be
devoted fanbase, and as a result was updated suturing, injecting, slicing and defibrillating like
and ported to the Wii. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a pro.
given much of a run in PAL territories. New
Blood is an all-new title for the Wii, but once MED SCHOOL relieve frustration somewhat. unlockable for those who like an optional
again it’s an experience only available (at this Instruments are selected with the analogue stick Believe me, the game can be frustrating. extra challenge.
stage) in NTSC countries – a damn shame, on the Nunchuck, while the Wiimote is used Trauma Center titles have a reputation for being
since this is one of the Wii’s to direct your various instruments of surgical extremely challenging at times, and New Blood HEALING TOUCH
best games. wonderment. Not having actual physical is no exception. Be prepared for a tough fight Story-wise, the game follows a similar path
Who would have thought operating on interaction with the screen can make things a on even the easiest difficulty, but thankfully the to its predecessor, with two extraordinarily
people would be so much fun? Sure, you’ll bit difficult at times, but the game requires far game never gets so annoying that it stops you gifted doctors taking on a new and dangerous
kill your fair share of people, but death in a less precision than the DS game, and this helps from wanting to complete it. Bonus missions are disease. While not the best story around (and
told entirely with character dialogue over anime-
style stills), the characters are so well designed
and the voice acting is of such a high quality that
you will easily get drawn into the plot.
The ability to select from two surgeons is
nice, but the only difference between them is a
slight difference with their ‘healing touch’ powers
– a special power activated by drawing a star on
the screen. One can slow down time, while the
other freezes the patient’s vitals, stopping them
from losing health. These abilities are essential
in many operations, and choosing the right
doctor can mean the difference between life and
(cliché alert) death.
Though still inferior to the original Trauma
Center DS game, New Blood is a highly
enjoyable, challenging and rewarding title
that every Wii owner should at least try.
Unfortunately, since it is quite hard for us PAL
gamers to track a copy down, trying isn’t really
an option. Fans of the series would do well to
import; otherwise, add another reason to send
abusive emails to Nintendo to your list.
360 / PC
DEVELOPER - HOTHEAD STUDIOS | PUBLISHER - HOTHEAD STUDIOS | PRICE - 1600 Microsoft Points ($25) | AVAILABLE - NOW
Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain Slicked
Precipice of Darkness:
JAMES O’CONNOR thinks that this was 500 pennies well spent.
here’s no getting around it, Gabe and swear, they explode in showers of blood, urinate Paper Mario, it’s all about weighing up recharge
Tycho are better comic writers and all over everything and, in the case of those times, item use, blocking at the right moment
illustrators than I am. Crafting an avatar and little metallic monsters, try to fuck you quite and unleashing devastating special attacks that
setting out on a journey with the pair in-game, I savagely. Humour abounds in the sprinkling rely on a series of button presses. A little more
had a secret plan to kill them both and assume of NPCs and gags you spot along the way variety in special attack sequences wouldn’t
their collective identity, running their hugely (including some rather weird notes that pop have gone amiss, but all is forgiven when
successful website by posting a series of up should you inspect any crabs), making this you land an overkill attack on a clown and it
increasingly awful MS Paint comics all over the one of the handful of games that is genuinely explodes in a shower of paint and confetti.
place. It didn’t quite work out that way, but I was funny. Granted, it’s rarely funny in an organic
able to overcome my disappointment fairly way, i.e. throwing trash at people in Half Life GREEDY GUTS
easily, because PAA: OTRSPODE1 (acronym 2 (something Penny Arcade did a delightful The only real issue is that I really wanted more
of the year – Ed) is awesome. little comic about in 2004, incidentally), but the of everything. More enemies, more NPCs, definitely pick this one up.
dialogue is top-notch. The plot is actually quite and a little more interactivity, not to mention the Maybe download it now, play something else
FRUIT LOVING FUN intriguing too, and it should be interesting to see game ends about three hours too soon. It’s for a while and then come back to it after you’ve
Set in a fictionalised, steam punk 1922, PA how it develops in future episodes. definitely one of Live Arcade’s best games, forgotten how much you spent on it. If you don’t
follows your character (an avatar you can The actual RPG aspects of PA are very though, and I’ll certainly be picking up the other like Penny Arcade in general, however, give
customize to your own content), who teams light, basically amounting to obvious fetch- three. The admission fee is, admittedly, a rather the demo a shot first to make sure you dig the
up with Tycho and Gabe after a giant Fruit quests and backtracking, but the combat steep asking price for what is essentially the game’s humour, which provides at least half of
Fucker destroys their house. The vulgarity system means you’ll be seeking out battles first few hours of a fairly light RPG, but if the the appeal.
of the comic is in full effect here. Characters rather than avoiding them. Playing a little like PA comic elicits much of a laugh from you then
There’s not really much in the way of
references to Penny Arcade throughout
the game. Personally I was hoping
Tycho would have a move that involved
him killing himself, rising again, etc.
etc. until he opened one of his seven
mouths and sang the song that ended
the universe, but you can’t
360 / PS3
DEVELOPER - DICE | PUBLISHER - EA | PRICE - $99.95 | AVAILABLE - NOW
Battlefield: Bad Company
The resulting explosion left DYLAN BURNS concussed… and still poor.
here comes a point, when playing Being completely expendable, Bad Company for map elements to degrade under the force when it comes to objectives. You will be
Battlefield: Bad Company, where you is soon sent on a dangerous mission behind of explosions. What this basically amounts to hemmed in artificially by ‘airstrike zones’, and so
throw away your disbelief that real-life soldiers enemy lines in a deliberately ambiguous in-game is that you can now blow holes in walls too will sequential checkpoints dictate your level
would act with such disregard for morality, and European country (I think… it’s all very vague and barricades to effectively make your progress, but there are quite a few moments
you start to just enjoy the game for what it is: big, but hey you get to shoot a lot of things), where own path. during the single player campaign when you’ll
dumb (but oh so explosive) fun. you uncover a truckload (literally) of gold that’s It’s actually incredibly cool in action and for have a real blast – particularly some of the tank
Sure, it’s really stupid to see grown men, and being used to pay off an army of mercenaries. the first couple of hours all you’ll be doing is levels, which take place across vast, open fields
soldiers to boot, acting like complete morons, Not content with facing a possible court-martial, blowing shit up and giggling like a little girl – well, and against heaps of enemy tanks and rocket-
but what DICE has managed to do with Bad your squad leader Sarge takes it upon himself that’s what I did! Then, of course, you’ll calm launching bastards.
Company is create a game that is so much to make finding the gold and keeping it a secret down and realise, like I did, that in the end you The single player portion is a credible effort,
fun to play that you pretty much throw away all your squad’s main mission. Thus the single still can’t actually destroy a house… just 90% and something that you’ll actually be compelled
thoughts of reality and roll with it. player aspect is borne, and this is actually of it. It’s still cool and without this mechanic Bad to replay if you wish to find all of the hidden
something of a first for the Battlefield series. Company would offer a very different (possibly weapons and gold caches. Some negative
GET RICH QUICK worse) gaming experience. It’s because of the aspects do arise, such as an annoying ‘hit’ effect
The game’s premise is quite simple: you play ASPLODE! destruction that the single player succeeds. which can be disorienting, and to my mind there
as a dropkick soldier who’s been handballed The single player portion, whilst nowhere near are far too many explosive barrels scattered
to B Company, a group of soldiers made up of as immersive as, say, COD4, is quite a bit of OPEN SESAME about the place, bordering on the ridiculous. Oh,
military misfits the likes of which you’d never fun, but only because of one particular feature: Each single player map is actually a very open and your squad mates are the most useless
actually see in a real army – or perhaps you will the ability to blow things up. The proprietary (and vast) play area. So there is definitely a bunch of dicks ever, to the point where you
and my worldview is completely askew. Frostbite Engine, developed by DICE, allows feeling of emergent options being available should never, ever rely on them. But these mild
thorns are pretty much overshadowed by the smooth experience.
robust level design and light-hearted approach
that the game employs. CLASS ACT
There are several different classes and you
ONLINE SHENANIGANS level up persistently during online play so as to
Every good soldier knows that the Battlefield be able to unlock extra weapons and perks for
series is mostly about the multiplayer, and Bad each. Each round can ebb and flow depending
Company certainly doesn’t disappoint. At first, on how your team utilises each class – a whole
you may be dismayed to discover that the bunch of snipers is going to pretty useless, for
game only offers one multiplayer mode, Gold example. Throw in heaps of vehicles, such as
Rush, but I’m not lying when I say that there tanks, jeeps, attack helicopters and grenade-
is real depth to this mode. If you do feel bitter, launching boats, and you’re looking at almost
new multi modes have been announced for infinite online possibilities.
download in the near future. To put it into perspective, I usually loathe
Gold Rush basically boils down to two playing online because of my crappy internet
teams facing off against each other. One team connection and my general distaste for
attacks, the second defends. There are always other people. But I’ve actually become quite
two chests of gold in play. If the attacking team addicted to Bad Company’s online mode, and
is successful in reaching and destroying both can sometimes get hooked for hours without
chests (either through planting a charge or via intending to. It really is that fun.
sheer explosive force) then the defensive team So I’m going to award Bad Company a
must fall back to a different base of operations ‘Brilliant’. Sure, there may be some niggles with
with another two chests to protect. The attacking the single player portion and the multiplayer
team then respawns from a more frontal is ultimately limited to one mode, but it’s just
position. If the attacking team can take out every so damn fun. If you’re into blowing shit up and
position (around six or so ‘rounds’) without losing the thought of running over noobs online in a
too many team lives, then they win. But if the tank appeals (perhaps sans my girly giggling),
defenders can kill enough of the attackers, definitely go and grab this one.
Games can actually last for a fair while, but VERDICT Grenades: the ultimate antidote to Bad Company
you’ll be so involved in each one, no matter
what side you’re on, that when the game ends
you’ll be itching to sign up for the next bout. And
once you find a good connection you actually
stick with that bunch of players until you quit,
so even without dedicated Aussie servers you
should be able to shop around until you find a
360 / Wii / PS3 / PS2 Not pictured: Any good bands
DEVELOPER - NEVERSOFT | PUBLISHER - ACTIVISION | PRICE - $89.95 | AVAILABLE - 06/08/2008
guitaR hero: Aerosmith
DYLAN BURNS lives on the edge.
here are two ways that I could review this locations that relate to the band’s actual rise to a couple of covers, Aerosmith take to the stage completely sold on the idea to commit to a
game. On the one hand I could come out fame. Oh, and you get to see the band prance and you play through a set made up of their purchase. Whack a price of $50 on the thing
with some witty quip about how my complete around in the background while you play. signature hard rock/blues output. Awesome if (for 40 songs) and you’ll probably get a lot more
apathy for all things Aerosmith rivals Steven If I actually cared about Aerosmith then you love the band, less so if you don’t. punters in, and they might actually feel like
Tyler’s lip span. On the other I could walk a I guess I’d see these as cool features, but I they’ve gotten value for money. You might even
somewhat safer line and say that if you’re a fan don’t, so I found myself ho-humming as I sat WALK THIS WAY build anticipation for future Guitar Hero: ‘Insert
of Aerosmith then GH: Aerosmith will appeal to through each location’s cut scene, as well as I think I recognised about three songs Band Here’ releases.
you. But what I might do is try and juggle the two an inevitable interview with each band member throughout the game, and each one is fun
because, hey, you’re probably just like me – reminiscing how they played in some school’s enough to play I guess, although the game as a LOVE IN AN ELEVATOR
wondering if it’s worth shelling out for a game hall and stole their rugby jumpers – you rock whole does become extremely monotonous. All The game’s difficulty is fairly toned down,
that really only speaks to a particularly niche rebels! the songs sound the same (which, admittedly, mostly a result of Joe Perry’s fairly relaxed guitar
audience. The one thing I really do like about GH: can be said for any band) and by the end of my method than Neversoft’s largesse. It’s also great
Aerosmith is the way that it handles the extra, reviewing session I was getting pretty damn sick to see that there’s only one of those stupid guitar
KEEP ON ROLLIN’ non-Aerosmith songs on the track list. Basically, of the same blues solo lines and riff-centric battles in the game, right at the end – although
Presentation wise, this game features an you start each set out as an opening cover band song structure. we’d be even happier to see them
unashamed rehash of the Guitar Hero III for Aerosmith, so the extra tracks are totally in Then there’s the almost exorbitant price. disappear completely.
presentation template; same menus, same context and, for my money, are the most fun Never once does the game feel like more than GH: Aerosmith’s song choice does falter
graphics, same career structure. All that’s songs to play. Granted, nothing really stands an expansion pack, yet it’s been given the full in some sections, though, in particular the
different is the that now we have one band as out – although Dream Police by Cheap Trick is release RRP. Such a move is probably not extremely questionable bonus song efforts from
the focus, so your career takes place in real life pretty funky I guess. Then, once you’ve played the best strategy for getting people who aren’t Joe Perry’s solo project, in which he sounds
more like my dad singing in the shower than
a professional musician. It seems, too, that
quite a few ‘big’ Aerosmith singles are missing
here – where are the likes of Dude (looks like a
lady), Janie’s Got a Gun or even that soppy one
from the Armageddon film? Even I know those
songs! Do we smell the cynical whiff of possible
I actually really like this idea of having an
expansion to the main Guitar Hero game that
focuses on one band. Sure, there’s a slight
odour of selling out in on the air but if it’s a band
that you love then a game such as this provides
the perfect opportunity to rock out to your
favourite tunes. In many respects it’s actually a
bit of a risky move because… well, Aerosmith.
The problem we do have with this particular
release is, as we’ve mentioned, with the pricing,
which is simply too much. A cheaper product
would expose this single-band approach to a
broader audience and allow for future band
expansions to be considered. However, as it
stands, we’re not entirely sure who exactly will VERDICT
be buying this title. It will be interesting to see if
another game like this gets released. Perhaps
the option of downloadable content will prove to
be a more appropriate platform for future band-
DEVELOPER - SQUARE ENIX | PUBLISHER - SQUARE ENIX | PRICE - $69.95 | AVAILABLE - NOW
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
STEVEN MILICH received an email: Make your sword longer and more satisfying!
or the uninformed, Crisis Core is a prequel with just Zack, while other characters follow you some sort of health/power charge. The DMW is remember to save whenever you see a save
to Final Fantasy VII, one of the most through scenarios and then disappear when it’s point, as when you die you are returned to
also your only way to level up (by snagging triple
successful games available on the original time for battle. 7’s) – there’s no EXP system, so in some ways the title screen and have to reload your game.
PlayStation and a game which finally brought Redoing tasks and battles you failed to save
the random battles can often feel a bit pointless.
the series into SWORD SLASHING after is bad enough, but you also have to sit
3D land. Fighting is also different to your standard FF GENOCIDE through all the non-skippable conversations and
You play as Zack, your typical Final Fantasy fare. Battles are still random and inconvenient When you get bored or stuck on the main story cut scenes again. Thankfully, save points
protagonist who has funny hair and likes slicing but turn-based fighting has been thrown out chapters, there are a heap of other missions are plentiful.
things up with a sword. Zack is a SOLDIER, the window. In Crisis Core you are free to run available at save points. These usually involve Final Fantasy Fans will lap this game up.
initially 2nd Class but with dreams of becoming around slashing your sword at whoever you running around a small map and killing There’s a lot of story and dialogue to sit through
1st like his hero, Angeal. Both of these wish during battle; you also select magic and everything you find. It is highly recommended but you don’t have to have played FF7 to
characters are just two of the many beautiful items on the fly by using the shoulder buttons. that you attempt a fair chunk of these missions understand what is going on. The game does
people who work for SOLDIER (who obviously During every encounter a system called as soon as you can in order to ‘level up’ Zack, have it’s annoyances but thankfully they are not
have a “No Uggos” hiring policy, unlike Pixel the Digital Mind Wave ticks over. As you meet so that he actually stands some chance of being game breaking and you will find the experience
Hunt!) and together they weave a delicate story important people in the game (many from FF7), able to hurt some of the harder bosses in battle. long lasting and enjoyable.
of adventure and betrayal. their faces are added to the DMW which is like a Many times I found myself killed by one-hit kills
Being a handheld game, your typical FF poker machine with rotating reels of characters. simply because Zack wasn’t strong enough, so
gameplay has been slightly streamlined for If three of the same characters line up, you are I had to spend a few hours in the extra missions
gamers on the go. Instead of having a party awarded with a power-up move that will either to bulk up.
of characters at your command, you’re stuck severely damage your enemy or give Zack On the subject of dying often, you must
TAKE 2 By DYLAN BURNS
bviously, being the evil Pixel Hunt
Overlord has it advantages – one of
them being that I’m often able to have a quick
play of whatever games we get sent for review,
before sending them out to our team of writers.
From what I played of Crisis Core I was quite
impressed. The gorgeous cut scenes stood out
for me; they look as good as anything we’ve
seen from the Final Fantasy series.
The battle system is immediately engaging,
and taking place in real-time means that each
encounter has a sense of urgency that is
entirely suited to the handheld medium. I wasn’t
completely sold on the random element of
leveling up, and sometimes super moves would
happen without me really understanding what
was going on. Despite these few niggles, the
sheen of quality is certainly undeniable. Now to
convince Steven to send it back for a week
IMPRESS Sephiroth quelled remarks about his girly hair with his massive sword
DEVELOPER - CHUNSOFT | PUBLISHER - NINTENDO | PRICE - $69.95 | AVAILABLE - NOW
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon:
Explorers of Time/Darkness
JAMES O’CONNOR has, after ten years, run out of Pokemon puns.
would be lying if I said I dreamt of being a spawn right next to you. The actual battles within
Pokemon as a child. The second set of the caves aren’t much fun either, thanks to the
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games on the DS convoluted controls and menus.
(yes, Nintendo still releases two versions, If you have a Pokemon-obsessed younger
despite the series’ declining popularity) see the relative, there’s still really no reason to bother.
player cast as a human who wakes up one day The constant scenes of Pokemon talking to
and finds out that they’ve turned into a each other endlessly about exploring might
Pokemon (didn’t see that one coming). Instead excite them for a few seconds, but here’s
of, say, laying off the LSD for a bit, your already a handful of Pokemon games on the
character teams up with another Pokemon and DS, all of them (except Rush) better than this,
goes on adventures in randomly generated not to mention the GBA/GC/Wii iterations.
caves, battling other Pokemon and struggling to Here’s hoping Nintendo add a dash of chocolate
stay awake. to the next serve of this cash cow’s milk.
There’s a lot of potential pitfalls that comes
with randomly generated environments, and
Pokemon falls into a bunch of them. The levels VERDICT
suffer from a lack of intelligent design, looking
dull and providing no real joy from exploration.
Occasionally when you go to the next ‘level’
of a dungeon, the stairs to the next section will
PS3 / 360 / PC / DS Introducing the innovative ‘Last Thing You See Before You Die’ cam
DEVELOPER - CODEMASTERS | PUBLISHER - ATARI | PRICE - $109.95 | AVAILABLE - NOW
Race Driver: GRID
Physics expert DYLAN BURNS presents his findings.
he cynical bastard in me has had to have races are presented via a familiar pin-up board money – that is, of course, assuming that your prestigious events as you work your way up
a bit of a reality check. A month or so ago approach as you work your way up the name is one of those included in the nick-name the ladder.
I downloaded the GRID demo, played it for all of racing tiers. list, otherwise you’ll not get to make use of
five minutes and then pompously declared it to The second thing you need to come to this system. DRIFTING AWAY
be the biggest pile of shit I’ve ever played. grips with is the game’s rather unusual physics From there, it’s off to racing in some Race types are broadly broken up into
Of course, I’m now forced to swallow those system. Codies has obviously stepped right out sponsored events, gaining enough cash so that American, European and Japanese leagues,
words because after playing the full game I of the realism pool on this one. Cars do have a you can create your own team. Eventually you’ll with each having a concordant plethora of race
have to admit that I’m well and truly hooked on sense of weight, but it’s a peculiar application actually be able to hire other drivers, and a lot types within their respective classes. American
GRID. But first I need to address the things that that is unique to this game. Basically, you’ll of money can be had from balancing multiple races are mostly about muscle cars and will
turned me off the demo. fly around corners like lightning, reaching full sponsor stipulations – things such as ‘finish no see you fanging through the streets of San
acceleration in seconds and will be able to less than 3rd’ can net you wads of cash for each Francisco like a charging bull. There’s some
THE THIRD LAW brake to a stop in mere metres. It takes some race. As you get better, more sponsors will vie variety too with the inclusion of Destruction
There were two main concerns that I had, and getting used to and provides for an extremely for limited space on your cars, with more money Derby events.
I guess they’re still valid, but in the full game fast-paced and sometimes hectic gaming and tighter restrictions coming into play. European events are a bit more ‘classy’ and
are far outweighed by the numerous positive experience, particularly given the packed-grid There’s also a secondary objective to features more renowned tracks such as the
aspects. The first irksome element is the way racing structure of each championship. complement the act of raising funds to buy aforementioned Le Mans. Open wheel racing
that it feels like the DiRT presentation template vehicles; reputation points build up throughout is a highlight here, as the sense of speed is
has been copied and pasted on top of the Race (INSERT NAME HERE) your career (which works on seasons, punched all the way to eleven. The Japanese
Driver series. There’s the same presentation of A fairly spiffy feature is that GRID will call you culminating in big races such as the Le Mans events, in comparison, are a bit hit and miss,
in-game stats, the same ‘loading’ icon and the by your name when you sign in or win lots of 24 Hours) and these give you access to more featuring drift and touge races. Drifting takes
a bit to get used to, and is extremely similar to
Project Gotham’s Kudos runs. Touge racing
can be quite intense, as it involves the close
racing of two drivers, one round downhill and
one up – with penalties for colliding with the
Further proving that Codemasters is well and
truly trying to reach the casual gaming audience,
GRID features an instant replay system that lets
you reset your car back in time should you stuff
up badly and crash. A little bit like the Sands of
Time rewind mechanic, this actually comes in
handy because the other cars can be complete
hounds, always on your tail and managing to
stymie your attempts to pass them.
Most of the gaming public probably won’t
catch the strong odour of selling out here – but
the TOCA series seems essentially dead and
buried. Codies has been fairly public in their
admission that they’re trying to reach a US
audience with this game, so the game has a
distinct feeling of American fad service (a term
I’ve just made up to describe this new obsession
Still, when you have a game that looks as
good as this, and which delivers some thrilling
racing moments, it’s hard to complain too much.
The damage model needs to be seen to be VERDICT
believed, and is even more advanced than
what we saw in DiRT. A deep, engaging and
somewhat varied experience, Race Driver:
GRID should offer something for most players. IMPRESS
PS3 / 360
DEVELOPER - NERVE SOFTWARE | PUBLISHER - ACTIVISION | PRICE - $99.95 | AVAILABLE - NOW
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
DYLAN BURNS whispers softly into the mic.
ames reviewers are a disparate lot, so we display the dreaded Red Rings of Death during – is apparent as soon as you boot the game up. (metaphorically) crumpled on the ground in the
completely understand the cynical view the process, but even before that mishap I’d The first thing you’ll do is sneer derisively at the kind of contortioned position only seen during
taken by some readers that we all must bathe in well and truly had enough of Quake Wars. And option to include bots and sit there waiting to join Adult Twister nights.
tubs of money donated by cigar-smoking then the game kind of sat there, mocking me. an online game… and sit there… and sit there The second problem – the speeding up of
publishers with an evil glint in their eye. But I’ll let some more. You’ll probably have time to read a
All the while I’m thinking, ‘Do I review it or do I gameplay – is also immediately noticeable,
you in on my personal approach to reviewing. force myself to play it some more? What will the few chapters of a book before you actually find especially if you’ve played the PC version.
You see, in order to actually have some clear a match. And when you do, half of the players
people say if they discover that I didn’t play it to Whereas the PC game had a clinical, Battlefield-
sense of credibility I actually like to pass each pass the single player?’ are bloody bots anyway (yes, you have options like pacing to it, this console iteration feels like
game that I review – or, if the game is primarily for no bots but good luck finding a game z
Well, to hell with it – I’m going to explain why it’s been beefed up on steroids and forced to
an online one or is particularly long, I like to this century).
it’s so hard to like this game. First of all, I have swallow Counterstrike pills until it vomits up a
spend at least ten to fifteen hours with the thing. Quake Wars on PC, so it’s not because I don’t The game is not content with just making fast-forward version of the game that removes
I’ve had my fair share of shit games, let me like the Quake franchise, I do. The main issues you wait for an eternity to connect; it seems that any skill whatsoever. Instead, it relies too much
tell you. And I can confidently say that I’ve given I have with the 360 version boil down to three getting a stable online frame rate (or even a on an insanely heavy auto-aim system.
each one their due time before writing a review. points: a lack of anyone playing it online, the stable single player frame rate, for that matter) This is immediately at odds with the
Thus we come to Quake Wars, a game that is unnecessary speeding up of gameplay, and the is too much to ask. Combine this with incredibly game’s presentation of evolving, class specific
not inherently awful yet which I honestly found removal of XP and stat tracking (which were in frustrating lag because the other four Aussies objectives. Where the PC version encourages
very difficult to actually play. the original PC release). who own the game have obviously got better you to think about tactics and employ the
things to do, and the whole premise of the individual skills of your class (such as healing
SORE RING BOT JOKES ARE HARD game – online action – has the rug violently for medics, or repairing broken vehicles for
Sure, my 360 console decided to crap itself and The first problem – lack of anyone playing online pulled out from under its feet, leaving you engineers) the console version far too easily
rewards a gung-ho, don’t-think-about-it another sore point, as it serves absolutely no
approach, and quite frankly this makes the purpose whatsoever. Not only is there no actual
game feel extremely shallow and underutilised. storyline, but you’re forced to play out the single
During most of the single player campaign, player campaign as a series of online-structured
you have to do every bloody objective yourself matches – complete with stupidly long loading
anyway because the bots are thicker than two times and bots with brains made of jelly. The
short planks – I seriously saw one of the bots only reason I can even imagine anyone would
snag the objective suitcase and then run blindly play through these is for the achievements, and
into a sentry gun – yeah, good even they weren’t incentive enough to keep me
programming there! interested beyond the first few levels. Playing
as the Strogg is fun for a bit, though, especially
MY EX PEED ON THE CARPET when using their jetpacks.
This brings us to the third major problem, the Enemy Territory: Quake Wars will only
removal of the game’s XP and stat tracking appeal to the hardcore, online gamer and even
system. I’m sure there is some esoteric system then you’re going to need a lightning fast internet
in place for the console version but I can’t, for connection to deal with the inevitable lack of
the life of me, work it out. I know that you gain Aussies playing the game.
stars through performing class-specific tasks It’s effectively a dumbed-down version of a
in each level, but in a thoroughly confusing fairly engaging PC release, one that removes
manner these gained stars seem to disappear a lot of the depth, strategy and team-oriented
at the end of each match. This pales in gameplay of the original. It’s a case of too little,
comparison to the fairly deep stat tracking too late, and there are much better options
system available on the PC, which includes available to you at this point in time when it
levelling, ranking and even class-specific perks. comes to online shooters (such as COD4,
In fact, given the fairly large time gap between the Rainbow Six: Vegas series, and Bad
the PC and console release, such a butchering Company). A disappointing port that could have
of the game’s innards is enough to leave you been so much better.
It’s a shame too, because the game’s levels
are uniformly interesting, employing a mix of VERDICT
objectives that span multiple choke points (a
bit like Battlefield: Bad Company). Given the
right circumstances (or the planets aligning in
the 360’s case), online play can be a real blast,
particularly when classes are used correctly. TRY HAR
As mentioned above, the single player is yet
PS2 / PS3 / 360 / Wii / PC / PSP
DEVELOPER - ACTIVISION | PUBLISHER - ACTIVISION | PRICE - $99.95 | AVAILABLE - NOW
KUNg FU PANDA
With Kung-Fu, JAMES O’CONNOR Will Kick Your Ass!
here’s bound to be a template for these surprisingly fun) and for certain sections that are
sorts of game reviews I could steal controlled by tilting the Nunchuck. Other than
somewhere. One that basically boils down to ‘I that, the controls generally don’t work in combat,
am not seven, but if you are, you might enjoy it’ encouraging players to adopt a fairly boring style
that we could copy and paste into every with no real impetus to try out the fancier moves.
CGI-movie-becomes-game review and hope The graphics also look a bit washed out at times
nobody notices or cares. But Kung Fu Panda is on Wii, while the next-gen versions are closer in
actually a wholeheartedly awesome movie, one presentation to their movie counterpart.
that could potentially be turned into a kick-arse Kung Fu Panda has its moments, and if
game, too. Unfortunately, Kung Fu Panda, while there’s a young one in your life who is obsessed
surprisingly decent, isn’t as epic as it should be. with the film, they’ll get a kick out of it. If possible
wasn’t him, and although step-ins are noticeable would be on any other console. the game should be purchased on another
NOT JACK BLACK for every other character I doubt the game’s It’s a little odd that the review version we system, as the Wii version is the weakest.
Kung-Fu Panda is a fairly basic platform target audience were big fans of David Cross managed to get was actually a Wii copy. I can
game, with a few inspired moments. There are and Dustin Hoffman in the first place. Combat understand that this is the type of game that will VERDICT
sections where you control a giant crossbow, wise, there’s a very nice selection of moves, but probably sell better on the Wii than on the other
some fairly involved boss battles, plus plenty of you don’t really need to use most of them (a systems, but surely if you put your best foot
different set-pieces to keep things interesting smart approach considering a lot of very young forward on a multi-console release you’ll get the
over the course of the game. The Jack Black kids will be playing) but there’s still room to be best reviews, right? The motion controls work
impersonator is so good I didn’t even realise it creative for the older players – or, at least, there well for quick-time events (which are actually
IMPRESSIONS By MATTHEW WILLIAMS
o be honest, I didn’t have very high expectations when I received this game. Movie
games have a reputation for being poor cash-ins, riding on the success of their big
screen counterparts, especially on the DS. So when a game comes along that’s pretty
damn sensational, it’s really quite humbling, if only because it suggests that movie
games might actually be heading in the right direction and, gasp, improving.
Kung Fu Panda DS gets my praise because everything about this little gem is
impressive. Its gameplay, graphics and voice-acting are each extremely polished. The
in-game environments, in particular, have a lot of detail; it’s actually quite remarkable for
the handheld. In a game like this, it would be very easy to make each area essentially
the same with a different backdrop, but KFP steers very clear from that, keeping the
It’s a side-scroller, which does make things pretty linear, but that’s easily looked past.
The humour and, dare I say, charm of the film is kept intact and everything just ties
together beautifully. The progression of in-game events are directly related to the film
and you’ll recognise many lines directly ripped from
Most importantly, KFP DS is actually fun. From the get go, you’re laughing,
reminiscing and enjoying the game/movie progression. If you can’t get the 360/PS3
versions, and assuming you ignore the Wii version, (which you should, because it pales
in comparison) give this one a go. You won’t be disappointed.
DEVELOPER - RED LYNX | PUBLISHER - VALVE (STEAM) | PRICE - $9.95 | AVAILABLE - NOW
TRIALS 2: second edition
In a moment of failed concentration, ALEX WALKER snaps in half.
rials 2: Second Edition is a variation on the 345 out of over 16,000 players have finished
popular Flash game that you might play to Inferno, the hardest level. Still, there’s something
waste time at work. For the uninitiated, players addictive about watching your hero free fall into
have to complete a series of tracks in the fastest a paraplegic future.
time, navigating obstacles while making as few If you’re willing to put up with the challenge,
mistakes as possible. Sorry, did I say mistakes? Trials 2 can be fairly rewarding. There are
I meant not killing the rider. four game modes and online leaderboards,
Like Trackmania Nations, Trials 2 is a puzzle a la Audiosurf, for added replay value. Like
racer - on a motorbike. Controls are simple: Audiosurf though, there are a few presentation
press the up arrow to accelerate, back to brake issues and the menu looks awful. The difficulty
and left and right to lean forward or back on the curve can be off-putting as well, but at such a
bike. The game is played on a 2D plane, so cheap price, it’s almost irresistible value.
there’s no turning involved. Where Trackmania
focused on speed, Trials 2 is about balancing
the rider and the bike.
It’s this simplicity that offsets the difficulty of VERDICT
the tracks, especially after hearing the sound
of several broken vertebrae for the twentieth
time. The courses are murderous, particularly
the later levels. At the time of writing, only
DEVELOPER - VICARIOUS VISIONS | PUBLISHER - ACTIVISION | PRICE - $89.95 | AVAILABLE - NOW
guitar hero: on tour
Through the fire and the flames, JAMES O’CONNOR and MATTHEW WILLIAMS carry on.
JO: Let me just say, straight up- after the first better than I was expecting.
few sessions, I had no hand-cramps with Guitar
Hero DS. The attachment that slots into the MW: You’re on the money there. The entire
GBA slot to enable your DS-guitaring has been setup works together pretty damn well, and it
widely reported as hugely uncomfortable, but looks pretty damn nice too, which is always a
although after the first few shots my left hand bonus with any DS game. It’s also immediately
ached a little, I quickly became accustomed to evident that there’s been some real time spent
holding the DS in a way that caused no pain. focusing purely on the gameplay, as the game’s
It was an issue, but not the most major issue I intuitiveness really shines through right from
have with the package. How about you, Matt? the first chord. And I think realistically, you can’t
expect anything more from this branch of the
MW: Yep, pretty much the same with me. At for the record, do not gel with fat/large adult the screen. Furthermore, the difficulty and song Guitar Hero franchise.
first, it definitely was annoying, (and did cause fingers), and as the game is aimed at real selection has been significantly reduced in this
a bit of pain, but I’m a MAN) but I found that the gamers, the kiddies, we can’t really blame the iteration, due to lack of space and the missing JO: Agreed. The whammy bar is still satisfying,
grip slipping out of the GBA slot during intense game itself – it’s a peripheral problem. fret. Generally, I’m pretty bad at Guitar Hero, strumming is more natural than I expected
cord progressions was far more concerning yet I managed to sail through Hard with no real and shouting to activate Star Power, while not
than the cramping, as when the grip comes JO: Also, keeping track of the note patterns problems- the hardcore players will no doubt do exactly public transport friendly, gets the job
out of the slot the game can only be continued doesn’t really lend itself to the tiny screen. Often the same with Expert. Still, the game certainly done. My only real issue is from sections you
after a restart – not good. The cramping/slipping I would find myself almost lulled to sleep as I isn’t without its merits. For what is, honestly, a would generally alt-strum (alternate between
does again come down to small buttons (which tried to pay attention to the tiny moving dots on pretty shit idea, the gameplay holds up much strumming up and then down) on the home
consoles. Here, you can either slide along the
touch-screen, which feels incredibly imprecise,
or just strum really, really fast. Neither are a
MW: Well, it seems bringing last year’s
biggest selling franchise in Australia to the best
selling console on the market is no mistake on
Activision’s part. The way they’ve gone about
making the game as accessible and intuitive
as possible for all ages is deserving of at least
a little praise. Not only have they focused on
the gameplay, but they’ve kept the graphics
at a very high standard, and as previously
mentioned, pushed the hardware to its limits.
Guitar Hero: On Tour is a decent game, despite
its issues. If you’re looking for something a little
different to broaden your lounge room rock god
status, or want an excuse to scream various
rock phrases in front of random people in public
places, this game is definitely worth a look.
DEVELOPER - CLAPHANZ | PUBLISHER - SCEI | PRICE - $45.00 | AVAILABLE - NOW
Everybody’s golf 2
JUSTIN MURRAY dresses up like a ninja and gets out his mother’s best frying pan…
here’s something to be said for familiarity. and turn on the PSP. Everybody’s Golf 2 is,
And I’m not talking about that breeding as the title suggests, the sequel to the fantastic
contempt thing. Well, not yet anyway. No, the launch title Everybody’s Golf. The premise is
other thing people say about it. You know, that simple: cute, bobble-headed characters get
there’s a comfort in it. Like when you drag out about playing a surprisingly deep game of golf
that awesome, snugly coat that has lain while you dress them up like digital Barbies.
dormant throughout a long, hot summer. The The series has never taken itself as seriously
one that manages to make you look slim whilst as the Tiger Woods franchise—you never see
still having a furry lining; the one that perhaps still Tiger decked out in a Ninja costume hitting a
smells faintly of last winter’s girlfriend or golf ball around with a fry-pan, for example—but
boyfriend. Sure, it might be last year’s fashion, that doesn’t mean its golfing mechanics aren’t
but there’s something safe and secure (and complex or subtle enough to provide a decent the transition to this handheld release. And that’s is the driving force behind the Everybody’s
quite possibly kinky, but you can keep your dirty challenge. It just does so with its tongue firmly probably not a bad thing. Even in HD, on a large Golf games, providing that elusive ‘one more
habits to yourself) in putting it back on. And poked out. television screen, the accuracy of that system is go’ factor as you try and see what other crazy
there’s always a chance that you’ll find a twenty Unlike the recently released Everybody’s occasionally questionable, so sticking with the item you can uncover. The developers have
in the pocket. Maybe along with that PSP you Golf: World Tour on the PS3, the new traditional control method on the smaller PSP been given carte blanche to be as creative as
haven’t played for a while. ‘advanced mode’ of shot making – where you screen is a smart move. possible, and with over 300 separate items,
watch the golfer’s swing and judge power and Thankfully, what was sacrificed in World not to mention a plethora of new characters to
NINJA TIGER accuracy from the animation rather than the Tour (the loss of collectables to deck out your find, defeat and then own, the game has some
Well, here’s a good reason to pull on that coat traditional three-click power bar – has not made in-game golfer) returns with gusto here. It really serious legs.
LOST AND FOUND how unlockables are awarded and how your
Winning on the greens is not the only way to are allowed to tackle tournaments, or cosmetic
collect gear in EG2. In a series first, curious things like the ability to make your chosen golfer
players are rewarded for hopping out of their fat or allow them to wear two accessories at
carts and exploring the courses and surrounds once instead of one – only feel different for a little
on offer. Following clues provided by your while. It’s hard to escape the feeling that you’ve
caddy, take a quick look around with the played Everybody’s Golf 2 before.
camera and you may spot something sparkling If you are one of the few newcomers to this
off in the distance. Zoom in and you could delightful package then I am envious, because
unlock anything from extra clothing to bizarre you are in for a golfing treat. Retailing at under
accessories to old favourites returning for yet $50 it’s a pretty sweet deal. Just hit yourself
another round (I found one in a tree). on the head with something hard and put that
The multiplayer component of EG2 is also old coat back on, even if it does carry memory-
worth mentioning, as it is vastly improved. An inducing smells. Who knows? At this price, if
easy to navigate lobby system, online games there is a twenty in the pocket you’re almost
for up to 16 players at once, simple comments halfway there.
system to overcome the lack of voice chat, and
a reasonably robust ad-hoc mode make for
a solid package. Sure, it still doesn’t have the
option to multi on the one system (grrr!), but
what is offered is pretty good. My connection
dropped out midway through a couple of
the games, but that could just be my dodgy VERDICT
With 12 courses of varying challenge to
unlock, the game is at least double the size of
its portable predecessor. This brings us neatly
to the other half of that whole familiarity thing.
Anyone who has played previous entries in the
series will eventually find EG2 to be more of
the same, even down to the fact that a number
of the courses are taken hole for hole from
the last game (sounds painful – Ed). When
a game asks for such a large investment of
time, the nagging feeling that you’ve done it
all before is inevitable. Even the few minor,
structural changes in place here – such as
‘Pyromania- a great way to ensure you stay alone (in the dark)
PC / 360 / PS3
DEVELOPER - EDEN STUDIOS | PUBLISHER - ATARI | PRICE - $109.95 | AVAILABLE - NOW
alone in the dark
DYLAN BURNS never has enough pockets...
Eden Studios, I ask this question with the utmost
respect and concern for your future: what went
wrong? It was just over two years ago that I
was lucky enough to visit Eden’s offices, to see
the game being made – to see the passion in
its makers’ eyes and bear witness to the truly
breathtaking promise of being able to physically
interact with the game world.
When I spoke to the game’s lead designer,
Hervé Sliwa, he revealed to me how the
idea for the game came from his own chilling
experience walking through Central Park at at the game’s credits wondering what the by fire. Couple this stipulation with an extremely that Edward Carnby, the hundred year old
night. At the time, I was impressed with how hell happened to the Alone in the Dark I was limited inventory system and you get a game protagonist with a bad case of incongruent potty
the game promised to herald a return of the expecting. Not only is the entire experience that forces a kind of artificial dread on you, rather mouth, is so bloody thick that he hasn’t worked
adventure game. Indeed, the prospect of an devoid of any real scares, Eden managed to than abject fear. out how to stuff things into his jacket properly.
awesome, ground-breaking title has kept me on screw up some fairly fundamental The problem with the humanz, and all the Confused? Well, Eden decided that in order to
edge waiting for this game for the last two years. design elements. demonic enemies for that matter, is that they be really hip and cool they’d use a ‘revolutionary’
I don’t have too much of a problem with the respawn whenever you wonder off and come new inventory system – the realistic storage of
WTF? enemies in the game. The humanz, as they’re back, but the tools to destroy them do not. items in Carnby’s jacket. Too bad this kind of
Fast forward to the present and I sit here staring called, are tough as nails and can only be killed Further compounding the frustration is the fact realism totally sucks in computer games.
Far too often you’ll wish that they would have at to include it other than to admit that they’ve outer space during the aforementioned driving
least graced you with an inventory system that made sequences that will shit gamers off (okay, sequence, constantly not knowing where the
pauses the game, as even the simple act of perhaps it’s to ride on the whole 24/Lost-style hell I’m supposed to go during all three driving
drawing your gun before some zombie bastard episodic structure). Thing is, I didn’t want to sections, and of course that old keeper – a
eats you for dinner epitomises a control system skip any parts of the game because doing so frozen game right at the end of the whole thing
that we suspect was never play tested – or if removes my ability to gain achievements – and I which, upon resetting the console, started me
so it was done by brain-dead chimps without really like achievements. Eventually, persistence all the way back at the beginning of the chapter
hands. paid off and the gaming gods saw fit to allow me because (silly me) I’d failed to save every two
entrance to the next chapter. minutes.
Alone in the Dark is the kind of game you need STOP BUGGING ME SAVING GRACE
to psyche yourself up for. You really want to like I’m deliberately being cruel to be kind here, But for all my negativity I actually enjoyed Alone
it because you enjoy all that evil, scary stuff and because deep down I really dig Alone in the in the Dark, especially when it enabled me
like experiencing tales with a hint of the occult. Dark. I can see the vision that Eden had going to free roam a bit and explore Central Park.
Problem is, even if you really want to like the into the game, and for the most part each new Several chilling moments await you as you
game, it goes out of its way to shoot itself in the element that is introduced has really exciting creep through mist-filled meadows, perhaps
foot… repeatedly. ramifications for future game design. catching sight of a moving shadow in the corner
Case in point is the early driving sequence I like having to rummage around inside of your eye (do not use the third person camera,
(or all the driving sequences, for that matter). abandoned cars for keys to start the engine, or it sucks). If you’re lucky enough to pick up the
You’ve read about this in pretty much every failing that using the wires beneath the dash to Limited Edition you’ll get some nice goodies,
review of the game, with good reason – it’s hotwire it. I like having almost invincible enemies including a mini Carnby figurine, art booklet,
absolutely horrid. We’re probably forgetting one as it makes you think about how to utilise finite making of DVD and soundtrack.
important point here: Eden made Test Drive resources. The use of fire is almost captivating, The game is essentially very linear, but I
Unlimited. It’s a driving game, a pretty good one particularly when it spreads across the room, honestly believe that it will appeal to the kind
actually. So how is it that they managed to spew each flammable element at last succumbing to of player who can forgive its flaws and look to
out some of the most infuriatingly puerile driving the hungry inferno. And finally, I like the blending the beleaguered heart that’s buried beneath
sequences ever committed to disc? of horror, adventure and Prince of Persia style a few layers of frustration. Although it’s a VERDICT
No joke, I played the damn sequence at least environmental puzzles. disappointment in relation to what Eden should
twenty times. Each time I would snag on some What I don’t like is the way that the game have done with the series, I can’t actually say
inconsequential object and die, or hit a rock seems to deliberately go out of its way to that Alone in the Dark is a total failure as a
and hurtle into space and die. Or miss a turn piss you off. For every positive point there’s game. We’ve certainly seen a lot worse recently.
because of the awful driving physics and die. Or a concordant bug to fuel your frustration; for You really will get out of it what you put in, and
just not know where the heck I’m meant to go, every brilliant idea there exists a moment of truly we feel that we’ve given you fair warning of its
and – you get the point. amateur game design. Some of my personal inherent vagaries.
At this stage, I’m certain that Eden want you favourites include getting out of a car and
to explore their new-fangled chapter-skipping magically appearing mid-air, being sent into
tool – because I can’t think of any other reason
MASK OF EMOTION LED SHOWER LIGHT
URL: http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/06/emoticon_mask_will_make_y.html URL: http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/lights/a446/
RRP: TBC RRP: $39.99USD
The Mask of Emotion was developed by the Digital Media Design Department at Ever stepped under the shower only to find that the water is freezing cold? Especially
Hongik University in Korea. The bulbous headgear hides true emotions and instead in winter, it doesn’t take much for a shower to turn from a friend to an enemy. To
shows one of seven emoticons chosen by the wearer. It also makes crossing busy solve this incessant problem, the Gods of Geek have provided mankind with the
intersections infinitely more dangerous. Pixel Hunt predicts that this will be 2050’s must LED Shower Light, which lights up running shower water to a blue hue (see above)
have accessory, so stay tuned for future developments. MW indicating cold water, and will gradually (once water temperature reaches 32°C)
make the transition to a red light indicating warmth. Neat, huh? And to further seal
the deal, it never needs batteries, and is easy to install. Buy one now, your body will
thank you for it! MW
WI-FI DETECTOR SHIRT SONY ERICSSON C905
URL: http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts/illuminated/991e/?cpg=17365 URL: http://www.sonyericsson.com/cws/corporate/products/phoneportfolio/specification/c905
RRP: $29.99USD RRP: TBC
Getting out your laptop just to check if there is a Wi-Fi signal in the area is now For someone fairly knowledgeable about mobile phones, I can safely say Sony is
becoming a thing of the past, with this stylish new range of Wi-Fi Detector T-Shirts. my favourite phone manufacturer. Their Walkman and Cyber-Shot styled phones
The shirts not only allow the wearer to easily display the Wi-Fi signal strength in their have proven to be big hits with consumers, and the C905 looks set to absolutely
vicinity to everyone around them, but it attracts chicks too.* The shirt actually works by blow all other cameras out of the water. Featuring an amazing 8 megapixel camera
using a special decal, which can be peeled of for washing, and is powered by three (the highest on the current Australian market is 5 megapixel), the phone allows for
AAA batteries that are sown in and concealed inside the shirt. For any self-respecting digital stabilisation, panorama shots, geotagging and a ton of preset modes, and will
nerd out there, this shirt is the way to attract attention, and it’s practical to boot. MW almost certainly be the camera-phone of choice for avid photographers. Beautifully
* May not actually attract chicks. designed and packaged with a 2 gig memory card, it’ll hit US shores later this year,
meaning we probably won’t see it for a while. JO
INTROUDUCING OUR NEW WEBSITE & FORUMS
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THE NEW WEBSITE
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Last but not least, we really want to know what you ate for breakfast last Thursday,
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flowing. Hit the link to take part in Pixel Hunt’s Super Evil Survey of Identity Theft and
We test drive Midnight Club: LA, throw our gloves down for Soulcalibur IV and step
into the boots of demi-gods with Too Human. Here’s just hoping the underpants
gnomes deliver all our review copies on time.
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