Week in review hardly seems an appropriate title for this editorial any more considering the amount of time that has passed since the last one. I do, however, have plenty of excuses.
The sudden, strong desire to depart New Zealand for the more opulent shores of Australia has been taking up a fair amount of my time recently. The other thing taking up my time is all those games that were released over the Christmas period; Skyrim being the main culprit.Bethesda’s fantasy masterpiece has cost me many hours on the Xbox 360. All too often, just as I am about to shut down for the night, opening up a new adventure making me powerless to resist that infamous “one last go”. I’ve also started another character on the gorgeous-looking PC version of Skyrim. It is a testament to the game that I am able to play it with two different characters and have a remarkably different experience. The PC version is worth a punt if only for the easy to install user-made mods available via the Steam Workshop; a big game is made even bigger!
I’ve also got right into Battlefield 3 on th PC. Now that the bugs are getting ironed and out my connections have improved the games has allowed me to enjoy some of the best vehicle-enabled multiplayer combat fun I’ve ever had. Modern Warfare 3 is also proving to be a lot of fun as well. Whilst I’m not sure that I’m getting the most of my COD Elite premium membership, at least I’m getting the DLC early and without having to find the cash.
The formally exclusively Xbox 360 Alan Wake has now, finally been released on the PC allowing horror fans the opportunity to follow the titular writer’s journey into the darkness that lurks in the town of Bright Falls. At almost the same time, the release of Alan Wake’s American Nightmare on Xbox Live Arcade was a no-brainer purchase for me. I enjoyed the original immensely, having reviewed the game for Game Console magazine back in the day. American Nightmare provided me with inspiration to finish the two Alan Wake DLC specials, The Signal and The Writer. Why I never got around to finishing off these two excellent bits of DLC, I don’t know. I’d recommend the original Alan Wake game and the DLC to anyone that is a fan of intelligent horror and/or Twin Peaks.
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare sidesteps from being a true sequel to the original game, shifting the action from the evergreen trees of the American Northwest to the Arizona Desert; as the protagonist of fictional TV show Night Springs. The game is a very similar to the first Alan Wake, whilst being different enough to still feel fresh, even if you have (like me just put the original down). Look out for my review on techday.co.nz very soon.
On the subject of reviews, I’m just finished putting the final touches to my rather belated thought on the last two Gears of War 3 DLC packs, RAMM’s Shadow and Fenix rising. Two pack that provide something for multiplayer fans and those that preferred the single player campaign.
I’m currently playing though the modern take on the classic real-time strategy game Syndicate. Publishers EA have decided to pitch this game as a first-person shooter (cos what the world needs in another FPS) that has more in common with lasts years Deus Ex reboot than the original Bullfrog game. An adequate campaign is complimented by a co-op mode that may just push the game into the must-have category. Watch out for the full review on techday.co.nz.
Another triple-A sequel is looming that has reminded me to finish of its predecessor. The long-awaited conclusion of Commander Shephard’s exploits in EA’s Mass Effect 3 promises to be the years first absolute smash hit. Mass Effect is one of those game series that I so desperately want to play, but never have the available time to get into. Unfortunately the Mass Effect games are not the sort to just pick up for a little go and put down.
A few years ago I happened to do a hands-on preview at Activision NZ for their new Guitar Hero Metallica game. I’d never played one of these musical rhythm games before, needless to say, I became an instant fan of the genre. As fun as the Guitar Hero series was, it was Harmonix’s Rock Band that took it to the next level for me. With the release of The Beatles Rock Band I finally got kitted out with the drums and mic (as well as the snazzy replica of Paul McCartney’s Hofter guitar; hands down better than the iffy-looky Guitar Hero axes).
Rock Band 3 uped the ante some more, offering players the chance to go pro with extra cymbals for the drums, a midi-enabled “keytar” for the piano accompaniments and a Fender Mustang Pro Rock Band 3 guitar, complete with strings to strum and over a hundred button to emulate the strings along the fretboard. These pro instruments, as nice as they are, were rather expensive at release. Thankfully those cheeky-monkeys at Mightyape.co.nz have just managed to procure a special delivery of the Rock Band 3 instruments and are offering them at marvelous knockdown prices and I couldn’t resist. At 1$149.99 the Rock Band 3 Fender Mustang Pro Guitar was too difficult to resist.
A quick go on the pro guitar training mode made me realise what a learning curve I was up against going from rhythmical bashing five buttons to virtually strumming every note on the closest thing to a real guitar. I never mastered the Rock Band games and I can tell you this, I’m never likely to master Rock Band 3’s pro guitar mode either!! You can pick up the Mad Catz Rock Band 3 Fender Mustang Pro Guitar for only $149.99 for Xbox360, Ps3 and Wii; the Mad Catz Rock Band 3 Pro Drums and Pro Cymbals for only $249.99 for Xbox360, PS3 and Wii; the Mad Catz Pro Cymbals kit for only $49.99for Xbox360, Ps3 and Wii and the Rock Band 3 Wireless Keyboard for only $99 for Xbox360, PS3 and Wii.
Finally the last bit of time-wasting I’ve got my self hooked on is Cryptic’s Star Trek Online. Now free-to-play, Star Trek Online provides MMORPG and sci-fi fans with incredibly good value. Players can romp across the galaxy in their own starship without paying a penny. If you get really into the game, you can buy Cryptic Points for booster packs that’ll augment your experience. The game offers a pretty solid ship-to-ship combat experience as well as a more traditional MMORPG experience aboard various bases and on the surface of planets. I strongly recommend you check it out if you are a Star Trek fan.
That’s all for this time. B’Stard Out.