Vic B’Stard’s week in review- F1 2011, Xbox Live Arcade, Batman: Arkham City and Frank Miller’s Holy Terror.

Vic B'Stard
The calm before the storm

This week sees me wind down my formal game reviews to make time for the arrival of some of the year’s top titles that are being released over the next few weeks. I discuss why my last review, F1 2011 on the PS3, left bad taste in my mouth. I also rattle on about some of the exciting comic-books on their way to me from Mark One in Hamilton.

We all know what the PlayStation 3 is capable of. You only have to take a look at the Uncharted games and God of War 3 to see what Sony’s machine is made of. Dare I say it, but there’s nothing in the Xbox 360’s catalogue that even comes close to the PS3’s flag-ship titles. Now, I’m a great fan of the Xbox 360, but as Microsoft and Sony’s machines enter their twilight years it’s the PlayStation 3, and not the Xbox 360, that continues to surprise me.

F1 2011
Don't buy the PS3 version

I’ve just finished reviewing F1 2011, which you can read on the Game Console pages of here. The review was of the PS3 version of the game. I know I touched on this last week, but since finishing the review the game has really started to bug me.  Here’s the thing, I played a bit of F1 2010 last year and remember being blown away by the game’s visuals. I’ve found all Codemasters’ racing games powered by their Ego engine pretty hot to look at. But the graphics in F1 2011 are, well…not as one would expect. The game itself is top-tier stuff, especially with all the new additions this year, but the visuals were definitely a bit off from what I remembered from last year’s game.

Just to check, I placed my F1 2010 disc in the Xbox 360 and took a car out for a spin. The horrible jaggies from the new game were nowhere to be seen, instead I was treated with the sweet anti-aliased cars and backgrounds that I remembered. So what happened? Well it seems that Codemasters are not masters when it comes to coding for the PS3. Having played last years F1 2010 on the Xbox 360, it looks like Microsoft’s platform handles Codemasters’ Formula One games better than the PS3. Don’t get me wrong, the graphics aren’t exactly shit, it’s just they are not as good as they should be. After seeing how nice last years game looked on the Xbox 360, all I could focus on whilst playing F1 2011 on the PS3 where those bloody jagged graphics.

Robin's all grown up in the Arkham City DLC

At the end of the day, it’s a crying shame as F1 2011 is a good game and I’m pretty disappointed at having to mark a game down just because of a platform specific graphics issue. I was, however, reviewing the PS3 game and not the cross-platform release. PS3 owners are definitely getting a raw deal and need to know about  it. They pay the same price and the Xbox 360 owners, but get a substandard product. Hopefully Codemasters will deal with this before next year’s release, or it this a sign that they are tired with the franchise already?

It’s less than a week until the release of Batman: Arkham City. With the embargo out-of-the-way, the game reviews are pouring in and it looks like it’s good news. The Dark Knight’s next outing is garnering amazing scores with Metacritic currently reporting a rating up in the 90% region. Personally, I’ve no interest in reviewing Batman: Arkham City, as I want to take my time playing and avoid having to cram it into a weekend like I did to review the last one.

Xbox Live Arcade
Something to pass the time

A while back I asked the folks at the EB Games Expo in Oz for a media pass and got a knock back. I’ve spent the last week kicking myself for not just buying a ticket and making my own way over. I’m a such a lazy arsehole. The show is on in the Gold Coast right now and is pretty much guaranteed to be awesome.

With all the top games coming out over the next few weeks, I’m going to give it a rest when it comes to writing reviews for a bit. I do, however, have some recent Xbox Live Arcade titles to sift through in the meantime. Radiant Silvergun is a remake of one of those frantic scrolling shooters, the likes of which you’d find in the corner of your pub in the 1980s.  Team 17 continue to milk their Worms cash cow with Worms Ultimate Mayhem. Renegade Ops is a top down retro-style shooter, but with awesome graphics, from the folks who did the Just Cause games. Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon is as odd as it sounds and, I believe, based on a Comedy Central cartoon. Finally Mercury HG is bargain-priced addition to the Mercury tilting blob puzzle series. If any of these deem themselves worthy, I’ll be publishing my thoughts on the Game Console pages at in the next few weeks.

Holy Terror
Holy Terror- not a Batman story, honest.

Moving away from games, next week will see the arrival of my copy of Frank Millar’s Holy Terror graphic novel. The former comic-book wunderkind has spent the last decade, steadily alienating his fans from the 1980 and 1990s with the release of shit like The Dark Knight Strikes Again and The Spirit movie. Early reports are that Holy Terror is going to be another disappointment. It is almost as if the man who gave us Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One and that fabulous run on Daredevil isn’t with us anymore. I’m interested enough to take a look myself, though.

Talking of disappointments, I’ll also be getting may first batch of revamped DC Comics titles following their “The New 52” reboot. This fresh take on the DC universe has really bunched the fans’ panties. I’m not a that into DC myself but, in a similar way that I went in to Marvel’s Ultimate reboot with an open mind and liked it, I though I’d give DC Comics another go. There’s also Kevin Smith’s new take on The Bionic Man coming my way. I just hope Smith actually finishes the story before he gets bored (Daredevil/Bullseye: The Target, anyone).

That’s all for now. But check out the Holly Terror trailer, below, before you go.