MMORPG Info Logo Alice: Madness Returns, Yakuza 4, LA Noire, No More Heroes, Duke Nukem Forever, Infamous 2

Welcome to another fascinating collection of reviews by Wukung!

We have another fast-paced selection of games including long-awaited Duke Nukem Forever.

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, and Razer Onza.

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

Alice: Madness Returns (Xbox 360 (played), PS3, PC)

This is the sequel to American McGee’s Alice, which comes as a downloadable extra with new copies of the game. Fast-paced, varied combat and solid platforming is let down by some quirks of the controls that leave it unresponsive. The pacing is horrifically bad with excessively long and repetitive sections. The performance is patchy with the framerate occasionally plummets and there are some issues with texture pop in.

While there is fun to had and some great visual design on every front, the positive aspects of the game are scuppered by some major design missteps.

Yakuza 4 (PS3)

Sega’s unique adventure/beat ’em up returns. This time around players can move through four different protagonists. This shakes up proceedings in a series that was feeling a little too formulaic, though each character’s story ends a bit too abruptly. The game is still incredibly cheesy but it has been toned down a little.

Yakuza 4 does what the series has always done well with enough changes to the format to avoid stagnating. Yakuza 3’s localisation drew some controversy from fans for removing content that it was felt wouldn’t work so well in western markets such hostess clubs, shogi and mahjong. This time, I’m glad to see that the English version is fairly complete. Yakuza 4 shows that there is still plenty of life in this series.

LA Noire (PS3 (played), Xbox 360)

From the look to the audio, this game feels very much in the neo-noir genre. The visuals are great and the facial animation, which becomes a feature of the gameplay during interrogations, stands head and shoulders above any game.

The dialogue sections can be a matter of trial and error with the results of some conversations options not being clear until you make them. This sits poorly with the game’s feedback system, which heavily encourages perfectionism in a way that will likely push many players to frustrating reloads or resorting to guides, breaking the immersion. In addition, the outcome to many of the cases can be unsatisfying, often rendering the player’s efforts irrelevant.

While the open world adds a great deal to the sense of location and period, it meshes poorly with the core game. The shooting and driving are both well executed but underwhelming when compared to Red Dead Redemption and GTA4 respectively. The sand-box side of the game is superfluous. with not much to keep you occupied and often no natural opportunity to take time out of the main story to explore.

L.A. Noire sets out to do something outlandishly ambitious in giving cutting edge visual experience in a game where the finest details matter and setting it in a vast sandbox. What is shocking about the game’s missteps is that there aren’t more. L.A. Noire offers such a unique experience that its worth bearing with its handful of flaws.

No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise (PS3)

This is a High-Definition remake of the Wii action game. No More Heroes follows the ascent of Travis Touchdown through the assassin ranking by offing the competition with a combination of a Beam Katana and pro-wrestling. The game is all about the boss battles and adds several from the sequel as extra battles. Unfortunately, fighting your way to the boss battles isn’t as much fun, as it consists of repetitively dispatching waves of enemies. The free roam aspect is still fairly weak with not much to interact with; however the background activities it brings adds to the atmosphere and charm. Thanks to a few tweaks and additions gathering money is much less of a grind than it was.

Despite the Move support, the biggest advantage this has over the Wii original is the chance to play on a pad. The game play enhancements made by the currently still Wii exclusive sequel are unfortunately not entirely back
ported. Still, No More Heroes is a great and unique game.

Duke Nukem Forever (Xbox 360 (played), PS3, PC)

The long delayed (and at one point cancelled completely) shooter is finally out. Technical issues such as long load times, poor frame rates and patchy graphics plague the game. The overly extended opening before the action gets started marks a weak opening act. The more open middle section of the game, with some good set pieces, is by far the strongest part of the game. The shooting is at times fun but overall is weak. The humour is a scattershot of references which, thanks to a complete lack of originality, uniformly is wide of the mark, undermining the vague attempt at a story. Its attempts to fly in the face political correctness are sometimes so misguided as to be offensive.

Setting aside the nostalgia value, its mix of puzzles, exploring environments and shooting is something Half Life 2 did vastly better almost seven years ago. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Duke Nukem Forever that after fourteen years, it’s actually been released. Getting the game out was clearly a labour of love and it has a sparse handful of moments of great in the games middle section. Unfortunately that isn’t enough to carry an otherwise shockingly sub par game.

Infamous 2 (PS3)

Sandbox with super powers sequel. Infamous 2 improves upon its predecessor with smoother gameplay better environments and better presentation. Also new is the ability to create and share community missions. While the authoring tools are not too complicated, creating something interesting takes fair bit of effort. While it doesn’t hurt the game it’s an odd addition which adds little.

Despite being a well made game Infamous 2 lacks any real impact. The story is reasonable but undermined by a poor morality system. Its gameplay, while good, has no stand-out moments. Infamous 2 is instantly enjoyable but immediately forgettable.


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