MMORPG Info Logo Renegade Ops, Deus Ex Human Revolution, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, Blood Rayne: Betrayal, Catherine, Arcana Hearts 3

It’s time again for a fast summary of games on the market right now so you know what you are letting yourself in for. Wukung reviews a wide selection of games including popular big name games and less-well-known releases.

This selection focuses on console games and includes the newly released Renegade Ops which we saw at the Renegade Ops launch celebration.

Don’t miss the games Wukung has already reviewed this year, including Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, Dead Space 2, Kill Zone 3, Little Big Planet 2, Deathsmiles, Bulletstorm, Dragon Age 2,Duodecim, Crysis 2, Portal 2, Mortal Kombat, Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection, Razer Onza, Alice: Madness Returns, Yakuza 4, LA Noire, No More Heroes, Duke Nukem Forever and Infamous 2.

You can see the full list exclusively on MMORPG Info » Wukung’s Reviews.

Renegade Ops (PS3, Xbox 360 (played))

This top-down shooter feels like a tribute to many classic arcade games such as Ikari Warriors and Smash TV… except in buggies. The twin stick controls are wonderfully responsive and speeding around blasting enemies can be a joy but but the game is mired by some serious flaws. Some enemies can do a lot of damage very quickly with some groupings of enemies causing very abrupt difficulty spikes. Clipping obstacles often leaves you trapped upside down for a few seconds unable to evade attacks, which was frustratingly my most common cause of death. The leveling and skill mechanic acts as a barrier to trying out different characters. It feels like you are too much at the mercy of random health and power up drops which can sometimes leave you seriously under powered for big chunks of levels. I ran into some technical issues such as audio popping during cutscenes, very occasionally levels not loading and glitchy triggering of objectives in online multiplayer.

The presentation is excellent, particularly the motion-comic style cutscenes. The story is nonsensical but still joyous for it’s sheer silliness. The in-game graphics are good and apart from very occasional brief bouts of stuttering, runs smoothly. The environments can be a bit cluttered sometimes making it hard to make out what is going on.

There are is no serious game breaking issue here but there are a lot of minor problems which pile up to get in the way of the enjoyment. Even so Renegade Ops‘ fast-paced action is a lot of fun.

Deus Ex Human Revolution (PS3, Xbox 360 (played), PC)

Deus Ex is a name that carries a lot of weight and Human Revolution definitely lives up to it. Nearly every challenge has multiple solutions depending on the style of play you want. The upgrade system is a bit harsh in the early game, front-loading the cost as well as an initial crawl in upgrades. By the middle, a well-rounded generalist effective at everything is very possible. An enthralling story and wonderfully realised world is let down a little by the final act. Despite the solid story, the highpoint of the game is exploring the hub areas and doing side quests.

The freedom of choice in approach is well played out but the gameplay for stealth, combat and hacking all have their issues. The inventory is a bit too restrictive and lack of storage options a glaring omission. The handful of boss fights feel very out of place and can be a frustrating road block or trivially easy depending on the ordinance you are carrying going into them.

Human Revolution surpasses the original and belongs among the canon of cyberpunk classics. Definitely one for those who accuse current games of being dumbed down.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (PS3, Xbox 360 (played), PC)

Space Marine gives you a chance to be the original super-human armoured elite. The game mixes shooting with melee combat. Health can be recovered from performing melee kills against stunned enemies. This works best in the early stages fighting hordes of weak enemies. The risk-reward mechanics don’t scale well against stronger foes later in the game, making relying on your regenerating shield often the better option. The run-and-gun shooting is fun if nothing special. The most spectacular moments in the game come from the ridiculously fun jump pack sections.

The campaign is a little short and the story not especially engaging. It gives a much more detailed ground level view of a well established universe than has been seen before. Space Marine captures the feel of being the legendary elite of Empire of Mankind, which is where much of the appeal lies. Fans of the universe will get the most out of this. However in its own right it is a fun and somewhat unique game, even if it lacks depth or longevity.

Blood Rayne: Betrayal (PS3, Xbox 360 (played))

Blood Rayne: Betrayal is the 2D downloadable follow-up to the long dormant series. Fast-paced combat is mired by some fairly serious control issues. The graphics are nice and the animation excellent but visuals are far too busy, making it easy to lose track of the action. This is even worse in the fairly frequent silhouette segments, set on dark backgrounds with dark foreground elements blocking your view, leaving you more or less fighting blind.

By far the biggest problem is the sudden jump of platforming difficulty that occurs in the latter half of the game and remains right through. The controls do not offer as much precision as is demanded and some very challenging sections have poor checkpoint placement. All of the boss battles are in their own way frustrating. The paper thin plot would not have been a problem in itself but certainly does not help.

While there are some good ideas here, the problems stack up to make this a very difficult game to enjoy.

Catherine (PS3 (played), Xbox 360)

Catherine is a mix of interactive story telling and puzzle from the team behind the Persona series of RPGs. The story is well told and beautifully presented. The puzzle gameplay involves pushing and pulling blocks in order to create a path upwards. There is remarkable depth to what initially seems a fairly straight forward block puzzle. The random factor added by some complications can be frustrating rather than feeling like adding a fair challenge. Overall though, the puzzle game is incredibly challenging, satisfying and compelling.

While some people will be put off the anime style, that is a shame. Catherine is unique, well crafted and thoroughly enjoyable game which should not be missed.

Note: Catherine is out in the US but not yet available in Europe. The game does now have a publisher and will likely be released later in the year.

Arcana Hearts 3 (PS3 (played), Xbox 360)

Fast paced 2D one-on-one beat’em up in an anime style featuring an all female cast. The anime style presentation of the all female cast will put a lot of people off. I seem to write that quite often with my love of Japanese games but many people will find Arcana Hearts 3 particularly objectionable.

The visuals are a little dated and a long way off the high mark set in sprite graphics by BlazBlue; however, the animation is slick. The combat mechanics have a great deal of depth and are heavily geared towards aerial combat and relatively easy to execute combos. The fighting styles of the roster are varied, supporting some very varied play styles. The game makes few concessions to easing new players into its unique mechanics. However, once you have a handle on it, the often heavily pressure play based combat is a lot of fun. For sake of rating Arcana Hearts 3 I’m going to set aside its presentation though this will be a major negative factor for a lot of people. Once you get passed that, there is great fighting game with a lot of depth.

Posted by Wukung on


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