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Blur Review

Shift into gear with a remarkable racing game! If you think your vision is impaired, wait till you play Blur!

Developed by Bizarre Creations and published by Activision comes a feature packed racing game with a difference.

So what’s the Big Deal?
Blur incorporates real-world cars and locations, with arcade style handling and intense vehicle combat, which is well implemented in this racing title with a difference.

Although the story-line is not so different from the rest of the titles out there, the game-play is well worth experiencing.

Massive attacks and power-ups await the gamer in this fast and exhilarating title, power-ups range from Mines, Shock attacks, Defensive Shields and Nitro speed boosts, which can be collected throughout the race and used all at once, creating some devastating combos to knock the opposition to the curb.

The Racing impact!
While not all the focus should go into the power-ups, Blur does focus on racing which is the most important part of the game. Get ready to face some tough AI in the story-mode which will test your skills on track. Blur is fast and when I say fast, I mean get ready to have an extra set of wet wipes handy to scrape the perspiration off your face as your reflexes will be tested!

Drifting is a nice addition to the game, but will take some getting used to as you sample each unique photo-realistic vehicle that this title has to offer. With some practice you will be flying past the opposition with style, elegance while dropping land mines to further hinder your rivals.

Bizarre Creations’ community-based interface enables gamers to acquire a network of allies, fans and those all important rivals, throwing in a unique personal racing experience that gamers will find truly fresh when it comes to racing games of this genre.

Can I play with my friends?
Blur features a 4 player split screen racing experience, as well as a 20 player online experience which consists of either, competitive or team based racing.

Blur is a game you will want to play online with a host of unlockables which can be acquired while dominating the online community. The online experience is addictive, so don’t think you will be letting go of that control anytime soon, as you will be looking to dominate the opposition over and over again!

Musically in tune?
Blur hosts a selection of artists which set the mood for this fast paced title, these artist include, The Emmy award winning Jacknife Lee, The Crystal method, Coldcut, The Qemists and The Herbalisers.

If these artists are not entirely to your taste, the option to turn off the music is located in the options menu, although they do intensify the racing experience of Blur.

The checkered Flag!
Blur is a great racing game, which is a blast to play.

The intense game-play is complimented by great visuals, especially when blowing away any rivals on course that take you on.

The AI is highly challenging and well worth taking on, although any frustration can be dealt with by dropping the difficulty level.

The online gaming is superb especially in the team-based racing modes, although, going up against 19 other opponents in competitive online racing, can be slightly frustrating at first but once you get the hang of it you will be dominating in no time.

The music has an impact in Blur it brings excitement to the intense racing world around you.

Bizarre Creations’ have definitely hit the sweet spot in this intense title.

Predominantly reviewed on PlayStation 3.

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PlayStation 3 Reveiws

Demon Souls Review

In February of 2009, a game called Demon’s Souls was released in Japan. Later that year in October 2009, the game was released in the USA. Now in June 2010, this title has finally hit South African shores. Developed by From Software and published by Namco Bandai, Demon’s Souls is an action role-playing game set in medieval times.

Demon’s Souls takes place in the kingdom of Boletaria. It has been enveloped in something called the “Deep Fog” as a result of the king using a dark ritual to gain power and bring prosperity to the land. The ritual was successful and brought prosperity to the kingdom, but the Deep Fog followed and covered the outskirts of Boletaria. The kingdom was cut off from the outside world causing other kingdoms to send scouts to investigate the lack of communication. However, none of them returned after wandering into the fog. Eventually someone did manage to breach the fog and tell the world about the terrible problem that burdens the kingdom of Boletaria. With the fog came bloodthirsty demons, hungry for the souls of mankind. Warriors tried to break through the fog to save Boletaria and some wanted to harness the power of the fog. Needless to say, they did not return. You play as a warrior who has made it through the fog and actually entered the castle. Thus begins your journey to defeat the evil awoken by the ritual and save mankind from annihilation.

The atmosphere in the game is incredible. It’s very dark in nature considering it’s the medieval period. It can be pretty dark at times and even with the brightness turned all the way up, you might struggle to see. The worlds that you will visit in the game are varied and very well done. They’re just beautiful in style and scale. The creatures that you will be facing really show good design. Props go to the developers for being original. Quite a bit of detail has gone into the animation for the main character. The animations change depending on your weapon setup and also if you’re holding the weapon with one hand or two. It’s a very nice touch. The graphics are really good except for a few hiccups here and there. There isn’t really music during the game until you face a boss and even then, the music could be better. The voice acting of the main cast is done well but the same can’t be said about the side characters as they really seem to lack energy. There were a few frame rate problems in the areas that were full of activity but it’s a very small problem in relation to the rest of the game.

The game starts with creating your own character and choosing the type of class you wish to use.  However, the great thing is that you are never restricted to that class’s skill set. The depth of upgrading is unbelievable. There are 8 different categories that can be increased such as Strength, Endurance and Luck. When you kill enemies, you will receive Demon’s Souls. These souls are what would be used to increase stats but it is also the game’s currency, so they would also be used to upgrade or purchase weapons and armour. However, as you increase your stats, your Soul Level does as well. This means that upgrading will become more and more expensive. You’ll never really have the option of upgrading a few things at once. More often than not, you’ll end up having to choose what to upgrade. There’s no denying it, Demon’s Souls is a very hard game. It’s going to beat you down and rub your nose in the dirt like a bully at school (But enough about my school life…Moving on). It’s not going to hold your hand at all. You are going to die and you are going to die a lot! When you die, you go right back to the beginning of the level. There is no pausing the game. When you hit the Start button, it will bring up a menu but the action will still continue. If you have unused souls when you die, you lose all of them. Yes, that’s right…All of them! When you respawn, you spawn in a phantom form. You can go back to the spot where you died and get all your souls back but all the enemies respawn. So if you’re killed while in phantom form, those souls are gone forever. Another feature to be mentioned is that the game is designed in such a way that if you keep dying, the enemies become tougher. It’s not a cheap way to kill you or to make you frustrated, the game is actually trying to teach you to play better. You’ll develop tactics, discover locations of treasure and notice patterns of enemies. You’ll also learn to take things slow and always defend yourself by blocking. The game is very hard, but it is a good change from all the relatively easy games out there.

The multiplayer in Demon’s Souls is pretty unique in that it has no lobby and there is no chat. No voice chat, no text chat. But if you do decide to go online while playing, you will be able to see ghostly figures of other players that might be exploring the same world that you are. The only difference is that they will be in another dimension. Also, if you find a blood stain, you will be able to see the last 10 seconds of the life of the player that died, which might alert you to hazards in the area. There is also an option to leave preset messages for other players online. You might want to alert them of possible dangers or maybe tell them how to defeat a certain enemy. Another really cool feature is the ability to summon other players to assist you with a tough situation. In which case, the summoned player will be in phantom form. The only real downside is the lack of chat in the multiplayer, which can be frustrating for players needing to communicate in a difficult situation.

Conclusion:
Overall, Demon’s Souls is a really good game. It might be very challenging but it is also very rewarding. If you come out of any battle alive, you’ll feel like a real badass. It’s a nice reminder of all the old school games from the NES that would have us pulling our hair out with frustration. You might want to pull out your hair with this title too, but probably not as much. If you want a real challenge and a really good game, then Demon’s Souls might be the next addition to your collection.

Predominantly reviewed on PlayStation 3.

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PlayStation 3 Reveiws

Heavy Rain Review

A Different approach to the world of gaming! Developed by Quantic Dream and most definitely a PlayStation 3 exclusive, we wonder how this new style of game-play will affect our Sofa, our wrists and our cheese-puff loving Fingers. But before we get into that, let’s get straight to the Voice Talent.

With no voice we have no game, with no game, the only Heavy Rain Gamers will experience is accumulated thunder showers… Gamers need not purchase an umbrella as Heavy Rain will set the mood. The Voices are in my head? No they are on your screen! Quantic Dream used the voice talents of: Sam Douglas as Scott Shelby, who has featured in a variety of films, which include: Alien Autopsy, Agent Cody Banks 2, Snatch, and the upcoming release Tribe.

Leon Ockenden as Norman Jayden, featuring on a variety of television programs which include: Heartbeat, Heroes and Villains, Tripping Over and Hustle.

Judy Beecher as Madison Paige, in the English Version, her stacked up film career includes: Only in Paris, Simone, Perfect Pitch, Bloodline and the upcoming release Cameraman.

Pascal Langdale as Ethan Mars Featuring on a variety of movies and television programs Pascals arsenal of movies and programs include: My Family, Spooks, The Bill and J’auraid Voule etre un danseur.

With a phenomenal voice cast heavy rain delivers. But where are the Cheese-Puffs? Wait you will experience something far more tasty when digging into heavy Rain, now for those of you who want game-play let’s take a gander into the immerse world of Heavy Rain.

Six-Axis, which is what, will completely appeal to any Gamer out there.
With the usual use of the Six-Axis Controller, gamers feel more involved in the game-play; Quantic Dream has taken this to the next Level! With Gamers being prompted to move the Six-Axis controller in various motions and including vast amounts of Quick-time Events, Gamers are thrown into the world of heavy Rain, While throwing their control about like an individual that is allergic to bee’s, which proves quite entertaining, as the interactive level of game-play is something we have never witnessed before. While missing certain Quick time movements is not a train smash, the game does not end, if a certain character is wasted the story progresses to the next available character.

Tori Amos? Will not be making an appearance in Heavy Rain! Although the massive Story line is one that is emotional, riveting, gripping and pulls a few surprises on the Gamer, and no! Not pulling his pants down in front of a room full of people but by twisting and turning.

The Story revolves around the 4 Characters and the Infamous “Origami Killer” The game opens with Ethan Mars, spending his time with his family. He later loses sight of one of his Kids, at a busy shopping Centre. His Son is found lingering on the busy street, Ethan tries to save him from an oncoming car, which is probably driven by a (cheese-puff munching machine) tragically his son is killed, while Ethan is injured, which puts him into a coma for 6 months. Two years after the accident, Ethan has depression, he has blackouts that last for several hours on end, His wife has left him, and his remaining Son is distant and detached from him, Ethan also has a fear of crowds to add to his problems, while at a park Ethan has another blackout, and wakes to find his Son missing. This event is eventually tied to the “Origami Killer”.

Conclusion:
An abrupt Ending? Yes for those gamers interested in finding out what happens next, Grab yourself a Copy of Heavy Rain to experience a truly masterful release and PS3 Exclusive from Quantic Dream.

Slick Stylish Emotional and something you not going to put down! Your wrists, fingers.

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2up Gamers Second Wave sweeps Cape Town gamers off their feet

Friday, the 2nd of December, a seemingly normal day for most people but for the gamers in Cape Town, it was the 2up Gamers second event called the ‘Second Wave’. The inaugural event was pretty awesome so needless to say, I was anxious to see what the Second Wave had to offer.

The evening started off with Glenn Alexander and the rest of the 2up Gamers team welcoming everyone to their second event. Since these gatherings happen on the first Friday of the month, it’s pretty obvious that the first event took place last month. Gamers in attendance were also informed that Monster Energy has come onboard as a full time sponsor of their energy drinks for 2up Gamers events.

After the welcome, David from Friends of Design (the venue hosts for the evening), informed all in attendance what they were all about. They’re a design school who offer both part-time and full-time courses ranging from web design to publishing. David also dropped a huge bomb about what the future holds for them. From next year, they will be launching a game design course, which is based on a very successful German curriculum I might add. This course will also be both full and part-time. It’s a very exciting development for all gamers. During the course of the evening, Friends of Design were also kind enough to give away part time courses to 2 lucky gamers. How awesome is that?!

Lisa and Wayne from popular local site El33tonline were special guests for the evening. Upon hearing the buzz after the first 2up Gamers event, they decided to fly all the way from Durban to see what the fuss was about and to also tell us more about themselves. They told us about the ‘El33t P33p of the Month’ where the most loyal fan is rewarded for all their contributions during the month. They also informed the gamers in attendance about their weekly online gaming sessions where they host online matches that anyone can join. These take place on both Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network. It was great to meet at least 2 members of the El33t team.

Next up on the list was Apex Interactive, and they came prepared with a list of games that they will be distributing in 2012 and man, was it a big list. Here’s what they’ll be bringing to the table:

Sniper Elite 2
X Rebirth
Jane’s Advanced Strike Fighters
Catherine
Torchlight II
King Arthur II
Of Orcs and Men
R.A.W: Realms of Ancient War
Trine 2
Sniper 2: Ghost Warrior
Risen 2: Dark Waters

After showing all the trailers for these upcoming titles, it seems that the representatives from Apex were not done with this crowd. They showed us an awesome gadget called the Wowee. This small box is a speaker but don’t let its size fool you. It uses gel technology to actually reverberate a surface that it’s placed on, thus raising the volume and bass boost output. It has an internal battery and only takes a few hours to charge; what’s even better is that after charging, it has about 20 hours of battery life. Plug your mp3 player or cell phone into this baby and you probably won’t need to buy another portable speaker ever again.

Before the gamers were allowed to go off and socialise with one another, Glenn took the stage once again to make a final announcement regarding the next 2up Gamers event. The next one was scheduled for the first Friday of February but due to an international guest speaker from EA making his way to our shores, the next event will take place on the 20th of January. No venue has been announced as of yet but anyone interested in attending this event should definitely clear their schedule.

After all the presentations and announcements were concluded, gamers were let loose to go do what they do best; play games and mingle with other gamers. Gamer fuel in the form of pizza was on the menu for the evening but after its arrival, it wasn’t long before most of the boxes were empty. Yeah, that right there..that’s hot. What’s even hotter was Mr. Glenn Alexander getting down with the Kinect version of Grease. He boogied until he just couldn’t boogie any more while decimating all challengers at the same time. It seems that Glenn has a bit of Danny Zuko living inside of him.

So was the Second Wave a success? You bet! There were nearly triple the amount of gamers at this event than what there were at the first. Obviously the 2up Gamers team is doing something right.

See you at the next event!