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Saints Row: The Third (Referred to as Saints Row 3) is one of the more interesting games that I have played. It is the third in the series of (currently) 4, and I guess you could say that the games follow on nicely from each other. It always was going to be a tricky feat to follow on a crime story like the Grand Theft Auto's. Saints Row, as well as following on a good storyline, also packs in loads of little features so you can have hours of game-time fun. I have completed the story but the activities and challenges are something that I've only just stepped my foot into. As a crime game, Saints Row can be categorised along with Grand Theft Auto, and for a good laugh and for the less serious gamer, Saints Row for me comes on top.
The storyline is fantastic. Unlike most other games, your end is not destined from the start. The decisions you make during the story affect the end. You get thrown into Saints Row 3 in true Third Street Saints fashion. The Third Street Saints are the gang controlled by you and the "own" Stillwater which is the city where Saints Row 3 is based. The first mission really sets the tone for the game with some hard hitting, gritting crime, a bank robbery... Which (as usual) goes wrong and a few of your gang members including "the man" Johnny Gat, end up in prison, although you don't really get much of an insight as to what has happened, so if you're picking up Saints Row for the first time, you may find yourself a bit lost.
As with all the other Saints Row games, you have 3 gangs that you need to get rid of to regain control of the City, moving on from the Sons of Samedi and companions you now have The Deckers, Morningstar and The Luchadores. If you choose to get this game then you'll love the conflict you have with the leader of the Luchadores, Killbane. You get some phenomenal gameplay while battling with him!
The gameplay will completely blow you away with the massive updates from the prequels. From the weapon arsenal to the new look upgrading, you will not be disappointed. One new feature is the ability to upgrade your weapons. I think this is brilliant because you can choose your favourite weapons to upgrade and not waste money on weapons you don't use. One upgrade I would recommend would be the flash bangs. For the small price of around $75,000 you can fully upgrade them to "Fart in a Jar" which is exactly what it says on the tin. Instead of throwing flash bangs at your enemies, you will be throwing Jars full of fart!
The most frequently used part of the game is either the driving or the fighting, both of which are very good. I'll start with my "nit-picky" points. In the fighting/shooting, especially when free falling or moving, the crosshairs are very unstable which makes it somewhat difficult to shoot the enemies at points. Apart from this I would say that both are great. I have nothing to pick up on during driving and 95% of the time, the combat is fantastic.
The missions gain you both cash and respect. When you start off you earn approximately $2,000 per mission and once you get a bit further through the game you start earning $16,000 upwards. With the cash that you earn you can do many things. I started off by buying some real estate and shops, which give you an hourly income which you can collect from your mobile. But you can also upgrade cars, upgrade weapons or purchase upgrades for yourself.
Upgrading yourself can be done in your mobile. You get a new thing to upgrade for every level you get. You increase your level by getting respect through missions or challenges. Some upgrades include better health or more hourly income. One upgrade that I was rather fond of was the upgrading of your "homies" so you can drag around more crew members to help you during combat.
As far as achievements go this game is a happy medium. Those Gamerscore hunters can get a healthy 300-400 through playing the game and for the more serious gamer 700 is achievable. However to get the full 1000, you're going to need a good set of skills. As it currently stands, I have only collected a mere 400 points from the game.
A feature that is continuous throughout the game is the crime activity. There will be about 30 gang members being hooligans in a park and you get some respect and $1,000 for going in and clearing them out. Do this any way you want to. I've been flying in a helicopter gunship, hovered low and sent a couple of missiles which made short work of the gang members, an easy $1,000! Along with this there are various collectibles that you can go around hunting for. I tend to leave finding them to luck, although there are plenty of cheats online that tell you exactly where to get each one.
The graphics, as with all the Saints Row games, are very basic. Many little graphic glitches and a poor looking sky are this game's biggest downfall. Saints Row's biggest competitor, Grand Theft Auto, have been coming up with some fantastic graphics in the 4th and 5th games, and Saints Row seems to have stuck with the basic and animated game. It is one thing I'd like to see improved in the Saints Rows to come.
In conclusion, Saints Row 3 would get my recommendation. For a great bit of fun and a laugh, if you don't mind the shoddy graphics, it is a great game, but for the more serious gamer who likes sharp graphics and a big challenge, I would suggest sticking with Grand Theft Auto. The game retails now for anywhere between £10-£20. At £10 I would definitely get this game if you haven't already. The game was produced by Volition, Inc. and I think they have done a good job!
Batman Arkham City, is definitely the best game I have played this year, if not, ever. It is the sequel to the game Batman Arkham Asylum and Warner Bros have really done a brilliant job. The game is not just a simple play through and finish. I started playing the game 5 days ago and after completing the main story, I am still entertained by the side missions and the trophy challenges. It really is a game which stands out among all of the other superhero games. You've got your Spiderman games or even Marvel Ultimate Alliance but none even come close to this Alpha Male. I found that this game has hours on end of enjoyable gameplay.
The main story is well planned and though out. With twists and turns on the hour the game really keeps the gamer interested. The story starts with Bruce Wayne being put into Arkham City prison whilst he is holding a press conference to declare his opposition. Whilst in prison Bruce is confronted (well, on a screen) by Hugo Strange, who is a bad, bad man. Hugo informs Bruce Wayne that he knows his true dual identity (the Batman). The first scene you play as Bruce Wayne. As Hugo is preparing to begin "protocol 10" (in which I cannot explain more about because that would ruin the fun), Bruce finds his way to a local rooftop to get the supply drop from Alfred Pennyworth which allows Bruce to change into his Batman Attire.
The story mode now truly commences, you swing round as Batman trying to find out what Protocol 10 is whilst chasing around after various villains such as The Joker, Two-Face and Ra's Al Ghul. Along the story you meet various enemies and allies. While in the process of trying to find Protocol 10 you are faced with an instant second main objective. The Joker, who has become poisoned in some way transfers some of his blood to you and you soon find out that he is poisoning the entire Arkham City and then planning to head on to Gotham. So, along with finding out what Protocol 10 is in the short time in which you have, you also need to find a cure to the disease, which will kill you in less than 12 hours. So, the entire game becomes a race against time. Some way through you join forces with Mr Freeze as he knows the cure. So, without further explanation... The story is absolutely phenomenal.
The gameplay of Batman Arkham City is also excellent. The factor in this game that is the race against time really makes you push on and carry on. As you can imagine, where possible, you need to be stealthy and untouchable. This, being the Batman is quite possible. You will get frequent updates throughout the game from your main assistant Alfred with some minor inputs from the Oracle. Batman's gadget system is rather impressive, for example the Batarang which you have from the start or the freeze proximity grenade which you get towards the end. There are so many upgrades and gadgets that you can upgrade. The way to upgrade them is by gaining experience through fighting or completing objectives. Although there is no way to find out what level you are, you get an upgrade for each level you upgrade.
The fighting is one of the key parts of the game. When completing objectives you can be sure there will be some fighting involved. The fighting system is brilliant, you get hit combo's and you can upgrade Batman so as he gets critical hits or even knock out hits after a 12x multiplier. Hitting high combos is easy enough, my highest is 43. While completing missions and taking out guards there is also a stealthy way to do it. There are about 15 different ways to "takedown" guards, varying from silent behind takedowns, inverted ledge takedowns or blade dodge takedowns. You must swing between the buildings and glide around the city to get from objective to objective.
Completing missions in the main story can also gain you experience, and lots of it, but there are also side missions, which are all fantastic. There are side missions such as the mystery watcher. He appears when you finish a mission 4 times and you have to go and speak to him on a rooftop. When you see a random man staring at you as you walk out of a building may be very eerie however it is a side mission in which must be done. Another side mission is catching Deadshot, he is assassinating people around the city and you have to find clues using Batman's evidence scanner. You can work out the trajectory of the shot to see where it was shot from, and may I say, Deadshot is pretty handy with a sniper!
A continuous thing throughout the game is the riddles and trophies left by The Riddler. Some of these are very tedious and time consuming however they must be done. You have to complete his little tasks to try and save the hostages he's taken. Riddler trophies are found absolutely everywhere around the city and you need to find a certain amount to rescue a hostage. Once the side mission is started you can interrogate some of his street thugs to gain the positioning of trophies within the area.
That is not it for the gameplay either. The Catwoman downloadable content allows you to play various episodes as her. Catwoman's story is also a good idea, you play like a true Catwoman trying to capture some loot and get money in any way possible. Although she does not have as many gadgets or missions as the Batman, she is still an interesting character to play as. When you have completed her episodes she has also 1 side mission. Two-Face has stolen all of her loot and the side mission is to beat up 16 street thugs who possess the loot.
The one disadvantage of Batman Arkham City is the fact that there is no online play. My friend also has this game and the only thing we can compete on is the amount of achievements we each have from the game (I'm leading by 60 Gamerscore!). I would have liked there to be some sort of co-op online mode or something which would allow us to compete. Offline however there are some small challenges in which you can complete to earn some trophies. The challenges are also set by that horrible man, the Riddler.
The achievements on this game are also a good challenge. Although approximately 400 is collected from campaign and a further 200 from the side missions. You can collect achievements from completing the offline trophies and there are even a couple of challenge achievements such as "Gotham Base Jumper" where you have to jump from the highest building in Arkham City and glide for a minute straight. Other achievements require more time. Such as the achievement for getting another to catch a thrown Batarang. To do this you must throw a remote Batarang at the Mystery Watcher I spoke of earlier.
The graphics of this game are also jaw-dropping. The combat and even the cutscenes have brilliant scenery and a fantastic detail. Throughout the game Batman and Catwoman both gain various cuts and slices, and Batman, even a gunshot wound. These are impressive as they can be seen as you progress. Even in combat, you can make out the war wounds on the Batman which I think is a brilliant effect. While in Batman's "Detective Mode" where you can see everything that is happening, the BPM of enemies hearts and an analysis of them and their weapons, the graphics are still impressive. It consists of a blue background.
In conclusion, Batman Arkham City is my personal favourite game as far as I remember. I tend not to play these logic games however as a big Batman fan I wanted to get the game. Although Arkham City is still reasonably expensive (£10-£20) it is definitely worth getting and I would recommend it to anybody.
Rocksteady are the producers and they have announced that they will introduce the next game in the series which will be a prequel. I am looking forward to this although it is coming out at 2014 earliest! So all considered, Get Batman Arkham City!
Red Faction: Guerrilla was the new addition to the Red Faction series, following on from the 1st and 2nd on PlayStation 2, Red Faction: Guerrilla (RFG). Now I must say, this game is a good game, but no more. It lacks the wow factor that games such as Call Of Duty or Final Fantasy thrive. It was the first game of the Red Faction Series in which I have played. Although I enjoyed the game, I found it a bit repetitive and I couldn't spend a long stretch of time playing it.
The game is well thought out, the career have a brilliant motive behind it. Basically, you are Alec Mason, who decides to move to Mars to live with his brother Dan. Mars is split up into 6 main sectors (7 if you include the free fire zone.); Dan is a member of the Red Faction who are a sort of organisation. They fight for what is right, try and get salvage (which is the Mars currency) to upgrade and edit weapons or new equipment. The Red Faction members are called Guerrilla's and they will often assist you provided you have a high morale level.
The enemy are the Mars "Police" who are called the Earth Defence Force (EDF) and they will stop you doing your mission in any way possible. Credit where credit is due, if you are just walking past or driving around. However you are involved in a minor vendetta... The EDF really are a bunch of fools! Shortly after your arrival on Mars they make the sensible decision to gun down your brother Dan. (I know, what a brilliant welcoming to Mars!). As the EDF gunned down your brother, a fight against them is definitely in order. Gain morale and slowly shut down each sector of Mars to shut down the EDF control.
The objective of the game, to get the Nano forge. The possibilities with this little thing really are endless as proven on many occasions. The possession of the forge changes a couple of times throughout the campaign. One thing the plot lacks is a twist. Although there are a couple of minor points which open your eyes, there is nothing really that provokes a reaction. Like in other RPG games, a twist is usually essential. RFG is simply get that forge and unleash some old school revenge!
The gameplay of RFG is great, the idea of shutting down the EDF sector by sector and gaining morale to help you is the highlight of this game. It's the style that I love! The scenery is destructive so Mars is your oyster. To lower the EDF control and shut down a sector you need to destroy enough of the EDF buildings and complete enough activities to really blow out the EDF. One of the factors in this is morale. A high morale means the Guerrillas will support you more. Gain morale by completing activities. The way in which you view all of the control and morale is through the map which you can view in game.
As you progress through campaign destroying buildings and completing missions you earn salvage, which basically, is what it says. You can spend salvage on upgrades / equipment. The woman in charge of this is called Sam. She assists you through radio and upgrades all of your weapons. She also discovers weapons, for example the arc welder. She has redesigned one so as it electrocutes all nearby enemies. Your main weapon however, which isn't optional, is the sledgehammer, and this hammer will destroy pretty much anything. I frequently use it to know down towers or even, enemies.
Alongside lowering the control of the EDF by destroying buildings are missions and activities. The missions are great fun and are compulsory to control each sector. There are between 3-5 in each sector and a "liberation" mission in each. The activities are also very varied and some, a lot of fun. Running Jenkins's shotgun in my opinion is the best because you just ride around on the back of a Mars bike destroying any EDF property you see with a rocket launcher. Some activities however are not so fun, such as the house arrests. They can become very tedious, especially when you're trying to escort 3 friendlies whilst trying to fend off multiple EDF agents!
One part of this game which I love is the fact that you can view all of your statistics, so you can read up on what you've killed, how you've killed it as well as other stats such as the depressing one, play time! The one downside to this game is the repetitive gameplay. Lowering control by blowing up buildings then evading the EDF can become very boring! Don't get me wrong, playing this game for the first 30-60 minutes is brilliant, however spend more than that and you will just feel like you're having De Ja Vu! Apart from this one downside, the game is fantastic!
As far as multiplayer is concerned, RFG isn't too bad. My experiences online are very limited as when I got the game the online games came around once every often. But online you earn experience which gains you various bonuses. The weapon system is that of in the campaign so a very varied weapon load out. Another online feature is backpacks, which each give you a various power boost.
Now, the graphics. As far as a destructive scenery game goes, they aren't too bad at all considering the game is over 3 years old now. The scenery looks reasonably impressive, not too boring and not too shocking. Volition Inc. has done a good job on this one. However, compared to the new RF game which I also possess, the graphics are very lacklustre.
In conclusion, I would say RFG is good. The enjoyment factor is in general quite high. Considering the price of this game (Around £3-£5) I would recommend it to anybody. There is a sequel to RFG called Red Faction: Armageddon which is also in the low price range. The Red Faction series is cheap and enjoyable which overall makes them a fantastic series. RFG was produced by the same crew as Saints Row which is also another fantastic open map game.
Now, I have been a fan of the Call of Duty series ever since Modern Warfare (Call of Duty 4). It took a lot to transform me from the Medal of Honour series but I really enjoy Call of Duty in general. Modern Warfare 3 had a lot to live up to for me as I preferred the Modern Warfare games to the World at War and Black ops versions. My first impressions were fantastic, as with all of the games in the series I started by playing online, I got straight into the action (and a head-start on other gamers as I saw it) and really loved this game.
Now, Modern Warfare 2 may have left us on a cliff-hanger during campaign, but Modern Warfare 3 continues this story. In my initial opinion, I really didn't know where Activision could go considering the previous games had racked up a long enough story. However, the plot is brilliant! The game really exploits so many different stories with so many different characters. One feature I liked was that you play alongside (and as, for that matter) Captain Price, and he has been in the Call of Duty series ever since the first Modern Warfare! The main character you play as is Soap McTavish, who, ironically is on the cover of the game case.
So, the campaign mode scores really high for me! However I found the game on the veteran difficulty relatively easy compared to the other games in the franchise. For all those people out there who look for a game with a great plot / storyline, this is the one. Total game time to complete for me (on veteran) was about 8 hours, give or take. Developing on the previous games, there is more to do than just run around shooting willy nilly, in this game you are often put into scenarios which are brilliant to play. For example controlling the gun whilst travelling in a helicopter!
Alongside the campaign, you have the renowned multiplayer. As Call of Duty is a game very known for its online play, Activision really needed to produce something fantastic to follow up the series. And they have done just that. With all the small additions and the parts which have followed the previous games, multiplayer is hours and hours of fun. With the new barracks system improved, you will have a brilliant time just going through and looking at your stats! Unlike the previous games, there is more to see in the main barracks screen which makes it quicker and easier to view your stats in between games.
The main objective of the online play is the same as the games predecessors, earn experience and level up. Call of Duty has gone back to the system of the higher rank you are, the better weapons / equipment you can access. I preferred this method as Black Ops used a system where you earn money in which you could spend on goodies. In Call of Duty it is not just shoot a person to gain experience. Experience can be collected by means of Capturing flags, destroying objectives and many more.
As with most games, a good experience comes with good software. And can I just say, the maps and equipment in this game are fabulous! There is so much more choice compared to the other games, this means that there is a gun out there for everybody! Even though my favourite is the G36C and you do not unlock this gun until level 37! The maps, although they are all huge, it is a slight improvement on Modern Warfare 2, where the maps were all ridiculously big!
Now, I've mentioned campaign and Multiplayer, but Modern Warfare 3 also offers a Special Ops game mode. I have spent most of my play time on multiplayer and campaign however the time I have spent on Special Ops has been very entertaining. As with the previous game you can complete Special Missions to earn stars, and there are so many missions! (15+ if I am correct!) The variety in missions is also brilliant; you can go from completing a mission racing snowmobiles to gunning down helicopters with an LMG in a slum.
The other game mode which has been added to Special Ops is called Survival. This is basically a wave game. You earn money from killing enemies and completing waves and you must purchase more equipment to aid you in surviving. You can play survival on all of the online maps, and even play co-op with friends online! The game mode sometimes proves tricky, especially on higher waves, but the game is very enjoyable to play in groups.
This paragraph goes out to the graphics, they are phenomenal! Another improvement on the previous games. The scenery in campaign is just unmatched! Even when playing multiplayer, the games graphics are very impressive. The one negative point I have to the graphics; when in campaign and shooting many enemies it just looks a little unrealistic! The sound effects though make up for this, explosions and all of the other effects sound brilliant!
The game play of Modern Warfare is also brilliant, with the same control set as the rest of the series; the game is very easy to pick up. Whilst playing through the campaign I noticed that there are many aspects which have been improved. In general, you are usually pushing and trying to progress however on some occasions, even online (i.e. Camping) you are forced to take some cover and really take your time in finishing off the enemies.
So, in conclusion, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is a fantastic game. I would recommend it to any keen shooter / gamer. The possibilities in this game are truly endless (within reason) and I trust that anybody would thoroughly enjoy it! However my advice would be, if you have not played any of the previous call of duty's, then try out perhaps Black ops or World at War as they are produced by Infinity Ward as a pose to Activision. Thanks for reading!