Category: 3DS

Sylveon takes to the stage in the latest trailer from Pokemon X and Y

Pokemon X and Y Logo                           GmP Gaming

 

 

 

 

The Pokémon Company International is announcing a new Pokémon that will appear for the first time in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y this October. The new Pokémon, Sylveon, is a new evolution of Eevee, one of the most beloved Pokémon since it was first discovered in Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue. Players with Eevee can evolve it into one of seven evolutions, like Vaporeon, Jolteon, and Flareon. Sylveon will be the eighth Eevee evolution.

 

Urban Trial FreeStyle PSN dates confirmed.

Urban Trial Freestyle                           GmP GamingTate Multimedia S.A are delighted to announce that the dynamic Urban Trial Freestyle will be released on PlayStation® Network on 20th February, for PlayStation 3 and PS Vita. In addition, brand new screenshots are now available for the Nintendo® 3DSWARE version which will also be released in Q1 2013.

Urban Trial Freestyle™ will have you competing against the clock, performing dangerous stunts, while racing across five varied 3D urban surroundings – all in pursuit of the perfect score. With over 100 different leaderboards in-game there will always be a score to beat. The game’s level-editor, exclusive to Nintendo® 3DSWARE, will ensure endless replay-ability as players share and compete in user-made tracks.

Urban Trial Freestyle™ brings the physics-based motorcycle arcade style game with a gritty setting and dynamic environments to the Nintendo® 3DSWARE. The new screenshots highlight the excellent quality of the title that has been specifically optimised for the platform.

For more information on Urban Trial Freestyle™ please visit URBAN TRIAL FREESTYLE.COM or join the revolution on URBAN TRIAL FREESTYLE/FACEBOOK .

Toshiba Canvio Stor-E 1TB External USB 3.0 HDD review

toshiba canvio stor-e             GmP Gaming       image 1Hot on the heels of the latest console launch from Nintendo, with their highly anticipated Wii U, comes the answer to the brow-furrowing issue of the units memory space, or the lack there of. But thanks to Toshiba’s cracking new collection of external HDD’s for the discerning gamer, and in particular the Canvio Stor-E 3.0 USB HDD, with their whopping 1TB worth of untapped resources, these extremely versatile hard drives are helping to put paid to any doubts that they will ever need anything else to secure all of the important data and game saves.

Ever since the specifications were revealed for the Nintendo Wii U, followers of the legendary gaming corporation have been getting it in the neck from their fanboy counterparts, firmly ensconced in the Sony and Microsoft camps, that the Wii U is as under powered as it is understated. Well, thanks to the latest third-party peripherals from Toshiba, in the shape of the rather excellent Canvio Stor-E 3.0 HDD’s, all of those headaches and troubles seem so far away, almost like yesterday….? ( stop that right now!  Ed )

The Canvio Stor-E 3.0 1TB HDD comes in a neat little bundle in its snug fitting 3.5″ durable hard plastic shell that it is capable of withstanding just about any rage quitting temper tantrum that even the most potty-mouthed anarchic gamer may choose to throw at it. Tough, hardworking and easy on the eye, in its optional colour schemes of solid black or white, or a mixture of both, the Canvio Stor-E is perfectly suited to settling in nicely alongside either your white Wii U, or your sleek all black version should you have made the decision to opt for the Deluxe model.

But, here is the beauty of the Canvio Stor-E for Wii U gamers. Regardless of which system you plumped for, whether it was the entry-level 4GB model with its lower end memory specifications, or whether you chose to go all out on the top end of the deals and purchased the 32GB Deluxe Edition, you are now all equals in the eyes of the gaming public thanks to Toshiba’s whopping 1TB of available space.

toshiba canvio stor-e             GmP Gaming       image 2This now means that instead of shelling out an extra £100+ for the Deluxe Wii U, and then still at some point in the future having to fork out even more of your hard-earned cash for the external HDD that any gamer worth their salt will tell you that you will need, all you have to do, instead, is to choose the cheaper option of the basic 4GB package, and then off you trot to the local Toshiba salesman with your bonus wedge of saved cash and instead of getting a mere 32Gb for your £100 you will now get a staggeringly attractive 1TB of much-needed memory space. As a certain well-known furry rodent would say ” Simples! “.

It really is a no-brainer when it comes to a sound financial decision, and one that will pay off regardless as the Canvio Stor-E can also be hooked up to anything that uses a USB 2.0 and 3.0 thanks to the compatible connections. So, with that, you may opt to have multiple consoles connected to the Canvio Stor-E, or your PC or lap top even, and then split the memory as you see fit across a wider range of you technological necessities.

Connection itself is simplicity to the point of A-B-C with little more required of the user other than merely hooking the Canvio Stor-E across to your Wii U via the provided USB cables and then powering up using the AC adaptor. Although it has to be said that thanks to the Canvio Stor-E having multiple USB ports at the rear of the unit, it does make things a whole lot easier for those gamers who have their set up in an entertainment centre, and would wish to connect, say, both there Xbox360 as well as their Wii U to the Canvio Stor-E, or Playstation 3 whatever is your want. As the available USB ports are al now within handy reach of each other and so offer flawless performance.

toshiba canvio stor-e             GmP Gaming       image 3The super fast connections offered up by the Canvio Stor-E’s 3.0 USB is second to none, and there are also the extremely beneficial features that see’s password encryption there should you require it, as well as a truly easy to understand, and even easier to operate, back up software set up built  right into the unit itself. There is optional file formatting for Mac users also, as well as the availability of even greater memory space, should you require it, with the whooping 2TB and 3TB versions both for little extra cost.

Speaking of the Canvio Stor-E’s price tag, which we hinted at earlier when mentioning the savings to be made, should you follow our advice and go out and select the 4GB version as opposed to its more expensive Deluxe Edition sibling, and we have to say that with Toshiba’s outstanding Canvio Stor-E 1TB HDD that you do get a whole lot of bang for your buck, as our American cousins may say.

Coming in well under the expected £100 mark for any other similar quality product in its class, the Canvio Stor-E is readily available across multiple sites and retailers for as low as £80 and £83 from both Kelkoo and Best Price.com ( UK ) respectively. In fact it has to be demonstrated that Amazon UK  have the humongous memory monster that is the Canvio Stor-E 2TB and the simply must have Canvio Stor-E 3TB versions for a mouth-watering £103 and £111 respectively. Now if that doesn’t tempt you into making the right decision then nothing will.

All in all, then, if you are a gamer, Nintendo or otherwise,  who cares about hanging on to their saves, music, photographs, video’s, installs, gamer pic’s, themes, updates and so very much more, then the Toshiba Canvio Stor-E has to be the one for you. Whether you choose the 1TB, 2TB or the seriously impressive 3TB version is entirely your decision but when you weigh up all of the Canvio Stor-E’s many endearing and imperative pro’s against the myriad list of cons, then to even say it is a ‘no-brainer’ is to credit the decision with too much intelligence.

number 10 pool ballThe Canvio Stor-E is the best option for Wii U owners bar none, and one, we feel, that will continue to serve its purpose with a more than adequate performance for many a year to come. When all is said and done the decision to buy is yours, but the decision, we hope, has been helpfully tipped in favour of not only Toshiba, but also your wallet and your console, with the unsurpassed quality of any one of the Canvio Stor-E range.  If ever an external HDD deserved a maximum  then it is the Canvio Stor-E, and it gets its just rewards for delivering on promises of perfect design, performance, reliability, longevity and affordability.   10 out of 10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elgato HD PVR review

gchd-gallery-05Once every so often an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, the resulting collision sends shock waves throughout the surrounding realm and changes the outlook of that environment forever. Never again will things be quite the same as they were before the arrival of the inbound meteorite. Such things occur within the boundaries of the entertainment industry with great infrequency….until now.

Ask any gamer who frequents the internet, and in particular such websites as our own Youtube channel, or Twitch TV page, about which video’s they watch to further glean all of the necessary information that they require to further aid their progress in their desired videogame, and to a man, ( or woman_EiC ), they will all point to channels and websites that feature gameplay captured by ‘genuine gamers’ during their own play through. Delve deeper into the event,  to put a question to the director of said video’s regarding the very hardware and software that they used to make this magic happen and it used to be the case that to a ‘person’, ( happy now Ed? ), they would all have been capturing their exploits via any one of two options, The first up being the Hauppauge PVR, the second the Roxio.

Of course, there were always cheaper, and less fruitful choices on offer to the player who was looking to save a few meagre shekels in their pursuit of a Youtube partnership, but if the truth were told the fact of the matter was  that the Roxio and the Hauppauge were the only two legitimate options on the market.

This continued for some considerable length of time before options such as FRAPS and the expensive Black Magic reared their heads, but it is with the birth of one of the gaming scenes more youthful contenders that our attentions now lie, thanks in no small part to the hardware’s second to none features and simply flawless production values, and that is the all-new Elgato HD PVR video capture unit.

With the advent of this seminal set up we have been given a rare opportunity not yet afforded to any other website, and that is that we have been granted authorised permission, for the very first time, by both concerned parties, to conduct the very first official comparison of the Hauppauge  and Elgato HD PVR’s. We relish the challenge, as well as the prospect. Without further ado, then, we will put to the test the latest HD PVR Game Capture 2 from Hauppauge, as well as the super slim Elgato HD PVR. May the best man win.

Elgato HD PVR                 GmP Gaming    image 2First off we will compare, right of the box, the contents that consumers will receive when they part with a similarly matched price tag of around £170, and right from the word go gamers should be instantly impressed by the sheer lack of clutter and cables that come with the sleeker version of the gameplay capturing units. Whilst the Hauppauge may indeed be the ‘elder statesman’ and current ‘King of the Hill’, as far as the internet gaming communities are aware, the assorted metres of PS3 component cables, and the noticeable lack of a compatible Xbox360, Wii U or even PC friendly HDMI cable, should not come as any great shock to those who have sampled the earlier versions of Hauppauge’s capture devices. Albeit that they have, indeed, been rectified with the latest PVR 2.

In stark contrast to the veritable smorgasboard of wires and attachments of the Hauppauge, the Elgato HD system comes with scant cabling to confuse and confound the customer. Offering up little more in the packaging than the bare essentials required to make bringing your latest MOAB or 24789-1 killstreak to your ever faithful Youtube viewers. The Elgato HD does exactly was it says on the box, but with the littlest amount of fuss and headaches.

So what’s in the box?:

Game Capture Device | AV Cable(PS3) | Unencrypted HDMI Cable(Xbox or use as pass-through) | Component Cable | Micro USB – USB cable.

Minimum system requirements:
* Mac: Mac OS X 10.7, 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU.
* PC: Windows 7, 2.0 GHz dual core CPU.
* Sound card | 4 GB RAM | Built-in USB 2.0 port | You will also need an internet connection to download the software from Elgato’s official website as there is no software disk required.

gchd-gallery-02Trusting the users desire for the mot effective format with the least amount of headaches the Elgato HD has to come out the clear victor by way of its super sexy sleek black system with little more required of gamers to operate it other than plugging in their console and PC via the included cables, HDMI as well as USB, and then installing the software free of charge from the manufacturer’s website. The Hauppauge HD PVR 2, on the other hand, comes with a myriad of multiple cables, all of which produce varying effects depending upon the console that you input the wires too, as well as the editing software that you decide to run with. ( even though the Hauppauge does, in fact, come supplied with the Arcsoft Showbiz edit suite, this is not always the best option as, more often than not, the complimentary software always seems to fall short of either offering up A)  the most basic of functions, or  B) the latest, whichever is you want? ).

Speaking of software, ( stay with us here we do have a point mixed in among all of this waffle, honest we do! ), and the crux of the biscuit is no longer the ‘apostrophe’, as according to the late great Frank Zappa, but moreover it is in the fact that the Elgato HD PVR is quite literally light years ahead of its well-known competitor’s thanks, in no small part, to the constant free upgrades and updates that come in thick and fast to ensure that the product you have purchased always stays one step ahead of the competition.

A quick example of this would be the additional feature that allows players to upload directly to either Youtube via the video capture in saved file format, or the outstanding inclusion in the latest software update of the ‘Live Streaming’ feature that will allow Elgato HD PVR users to upload live commentaries and live gameplay ‘as it happens’ directly to the new kid on the block in social media platforms such as  Twitch TV. ( an example of this can be found on the GamesMediaPro Twitch TV account here ).

The sheer ease of use and undoubted superior quality of the Elgato HD PVR is self-evident in the peerless performance of not only style and design, but also in actual production and output thanks to a second to none format that allows users to capture, or live stream, their chosen gameplay with a whopping 1080p throughout the Xbox360 and Wii U consoles, and a truly impressive 1080i even from the PS3, ( which suffers none of the headaches of the rival Hauppauge’s and Roxio’s of this World due to Sony’s encrypted HDMI output signal )

Speaking now of output, we will walk you through the uncluttered and uncomplicated set up of the Elgato HD PVR connectivity, admittedly there is a similar process, now, for the Hauppauge HD PVR 2 which is severely lacking in the earlier edition, but neither the Hauppauge, nor indeed the Roxio, the two heavyweights at the top of the PVR challenge tree, come even close to the simplicity of the Elgato HD, nor do they produce anything like similar results.

gchd-gallery-01First up, then, we will take you through the ‘idiot proof’ Elgato with its A-B-C set up that offers as painless an experience as you are ever likely to encounter with any tech, let alone an HD PVR:

Step 1) Download the game captures software.

Step 2) Connect your console to the ‘Game Capture HD’ using the appropriate cable:

- PS3: You need to use the AV cable rather than HDMI cable, this is because the PS3′s HDMI port is encrypted (You can still get 1080i quality).
- Xbox & Wii U: Use the HDMI cable provided.

Step 3) Link the ‘Game Capture HD’ and HDTV together via HDMI cable.

Step 4) Insert the USB cable included to both your computer and ‘Game Capture HD’.

Step 5) Load up the software.

Step 6) Turn on your console.

Enjoy!

PLEASE NOTE *PS3 Information: Playstation 3 owners will need to go to their PS3 “Settings” and then onto  “Display Settings” – “Video Output Settings” and ultimately “Components / D-Terminal” to achieve the desired effect.  Users should also take into account that when selecting resolution that they should ensure  “1080p” is NOT selected, and instead PS3 users must select only the ” 1080i ” option.

This is due to the Playstation 3 HDMI output signal being encrypted at source by Sony for anti piracy measures.

So, after hooking up your all-new Elgato HD PVR, which took up a whopping great 3-4 minutes of valuable gaming time, what results can you expect from the three major consoles that are currently the cream of the crop in home entertainment for the videogaming masses? Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say, and so with that we will let you decide for yourselves what you think of the quality of each consoles with the results being shown in the video below:

As is expected the Wii U and the Playstation 3 both offer up clone quality performances care of the Elgato’s spectacular system, and examples of both of these consoles performing perfectly using the market leading game capture device can be found on both our Twitch TV account, as well as out Youtube channel by following the links displayed on the corresponding names. ( Hell, you can even hit that ‘subscribe’ button while you are there! )

Of course, we are not going to say that the Hauppauge and the Roxio systems both do not offer up quality game capture, because they do, particularly when utilised with a more powerful editing suite. But, if straight out of the box, no-nonsense results is what you are looking for then the Elgato HD PVR is the clear winner of this three horse race by a country mile.

To take on additional software such as a Sony Vegas Pro 11 or a Camtasia 8 is to take the supreme qualities of the Elgato HD even further past the reaches of its two main rivals, regardless of software, edit suites and additional extra’s that you may have been told will enhance their performances.

When all is said and done, the main point of this review was to offer up the services straight out of the box, and not with added features and bonus extra’s from third party software that does not come as standard with any of the three big players of the HD game capture market. So, with that in mind we can come to but one conclusion and that is that the Elgato HD is by far and away the most bang for your buck, whilst still being highly affordable for the every day gamer.

number 10 pool ballThe quality, ease of use, connectivity and outright customer care shown by the manufacturer and distributor of this genre defining peripheral is absolutely top drawer and flawless in both its performance and product. Far neater, smaller and much more compact this sexy little number would look good adorning the entertainment centre of any pro gamer or online gaming commentator, and the fact of the matter is that it probably already does. Elgato HD PVR’s may well be ‘The New Kid on the Block’, so to speak, as far as game capture devices are concerned, but this young upstart has come into the arena with weighted gloves and a whole list of special moves and outstanding finishers with which to record a flawless victory for you in more ways than one. Quite simply the very best game capture device on this or any other market.             10 out of glittering 10

 

 

 

Tritton Kunai review: Mad Catz light the way for Nintendo and Sony gamers

Following the launch of their delightfully delicious Tritton Warhead 7.1 headset for Xbox360 gamers, Mad Catz, never one to rest on the laurels, have gone straight for the jugular of rival manufacturers with their latest piece of peripheral perfection; The Tritton Kunai Headset for Wii U players.

Fresh off the production line this cracking collation of the latest technology and ergonomic design grants Nintendo users a level of interaction and comfort  previously unheard of for the gaming giant. Yes, the outgoing SD console may have had a few third-party bones tossed its way, but nothing comes close to matching the level of the Kunai’s.

Sleek in their design the latest headset from Mad Catz does its best to offer Wii U players a high-end feel for a budget price tag, and we have to agree with Mad Catz Head of PR and Marketing Alex Verrey here when he stated that the ‘there is nothing quite like the Kunai currently on the market for Nintendo gamers’.

After a solid seven days of online and offline action, trying and testing all that the wonderful Kuna’s have to offer, we have come to the conclusion that should you be looking for a set of scintillating gaming headphones, that offer up al of the depth of clarity, as well as a fantastic range of built-in features, then the Kunai’s just have to be it. But dd to that the bonus bonanza that comes by way of the fact that the Mad Catz magnificent muff’s are also just as at home on the 3DS, Playstation Vita, Playstation 3 as they so obviously are on the Nintendo Wii U, and what you have is a staggering amount of confident connectivity across for of the gaming industry’s top platforms for the meagre price of£49.99. ( some stores are even offering these little beauties for as low an asking price as a quite unbelievable £34.99?  )

Straight out of the box the Kunai’s look, and feel, a far more expensive product than their retail tag would suggest, but truth be told they deliver on all fronts. As anyone with an ounce of common sense should know that when someone is offering you a deal that, on paper, looks too good to be true, it is usually because ‘it is’. Not so in the case of the Kunai, where the manufacturer had put together a product of such remarkable design and engineering, giving it a healthy dose of the ‘pretty’s along the way, that customers feel so pleased with their purchase that it is almost like you have put one over on the retailer by managing to get away with such a classy headset for little to no money.

Constructed from tough wearing dura-palstic with a glossy finish in any one of three vibrant colours, the Kuna’s from Mad Catz give as good as they look with a sound system that is simply second to none, for their price bracket. But when you consider that this is a headset that has such functionality across not just multiple handheld systems but across a selection of home consoles too, then you begin to see some of the blatant value for money that just oozes from these sexy little numbers.

Although not blessed with the same Wi-Fi set up as their Xbox360 related sibling, the Tritton Warhead, it is perfectly understandable when you consider the sheer connectivity afforded the Kunai’s across multiple formats, especially with the handhelds. So, taking that into account is to forgive Mad Catz their decision to install the Kunai as a wired headset, as opposed to wireless.

Set in motion with some crisp sounding 40mm Neodymium speakers in an in-line aural cup setting, which allows for perfectly presented separate functions of voice and volume controls, the Kunai packs a lot of punch into its compact design. The sound quality is quite remarkable, considering these are not touted as the most expensive headsets ever to grace the market, but that should allow for a far greater customer base to sample all that Mad Catz has in store for them with these wonderful USB powered princes.

One surprise that we were more than pleased with was the sheer ease of use, considering once again the amount of systems that the Kuna’s are compatible with. Gamers from both the Sony and the Nintendo camps would be forgiven for thinking that there were bound to be issues when switching even from handheld to home console, let alone from Playstation 3 to Wii U, or even more seemingly convoluted, the move from PS Vita to Wii U, or 3DS to Playstation 3. But Mad Catz have taken care of any such worries with a simple design that is genius in its uncluttered and uncomplicated presentation.

All customers need do, to operate the Kunai’s on any one of its four major platforms, is to merely connect whichever system ou are currently opting for through either a very simple 3.5mm jack, or should ou be going for the consoles then its just a case of using the corresponding composite set up that you have always used via any other gaming headset, and that really is it. Nothing more and nothing less, the Kunai really is that easy across all formats.

The design also allows for extreme sessions of multiplayer madness, or extended solo sessions as you run rampant through Skyrim in some epic 14 hour expedition thanks in no small part to the excellently outfitted headband and ear cups. Both have been fitted with extra padding that afford the user superb levels of comfort that permit marathon sessions to go unhindered by the usual suspects of cramp, headaches and ear bleed from excessive white noise.

In a nice touch Mad Catz have also introduced the all new feature of the ‘Voice Mute’ button on their in-line remote. This is an extremely handy function that completely obliterates the idiotic ramblings of some inane random across Playstation Network who thinks that his pathetic attempts at trash talking are actually the life and soul of the lobby. It is not. It never has been, and it never will be. But thanks to the ‘mute’ option players may eradicate all of that dribbling drivel from spoiling their fun at the mere flick of a finger and instead opt to listen only to the in-game sound effects and dialogue. Bliss!

But we all know that functions and features are but assets to the overall picture of a new gaming headset, and what the readers really want to know about is the sound quality delivered by the product. Well, this is where Tritton have come into their own. If you thought that the sound quality of the bassy Warhead’s was good then be prepared for a shock as the lower priced Kunai’s produce more of the same bang only for considerably less buck.

Deep bassy rumblings blend with the singling out of solitary sounds of a higher tone with these perfectly pitched headsets. Players who like to go into online match ups of a certain shooter will be pleased to know that not only can you pick out the encroaching footsteps of an advancing enemy, but that you can also even make out the magazine changes being hurriedly completed by your opposite number as their feverish fingers fumble with the rounds, allowing you to know the perfect time to leap out from behind cover and spray his innards all over the multiplayer map. Sweet!

All told the Mad Cat, Tritton, Warheads were a thing of beauty to behold, and so to are their Nintendo and Playstation brothers in arms, the Kunai. Versatile and very reasonably priced players are now able to get high-end performance for entry-level prices. East to use, simple to set up and a delight to don atop your mullet, the Tritton Kunai are the must have headsets for the Nintendo Wii U gamer for all the right reasons, the fact that they also work across the 3DS, PS Vita as well as the Playstation 3 just make them altogether that much more attractive than they already are.  A true 10 out of 10 product if ever we saw one!

Assassins Creed III review

Ubisoft return to the forefront of gaming with the latest in the long line of smash hit titles for everyone’s favourite band of killers as we take to the time machine and transport back to the American Revolution for the fantastic Assassin’s Creed III.

The final instalment in this time line in the multi award-winning Assassins Creed franchise comes to a dramatic conclusion with Ubisoft’s latest title in this smash hit series. But, with everything from the graphics to the gameplay, the engine to the enigmatic assassins and everything else in between getting a new look and feel to them, you could be forgiven for wishing that the series went on with this storyline for at least another title, such are the huge leaps and bounds in this stunning sequel.

So, after stepping back through time,, care of the ingenious ‘Animus’ portal, we find ourselves unceremoniously dumped into the felt boots of another iron jawed assassin as he seek’s to recruit new inductee’s to his cause in Colonial America. Once again Ubisoft have done a simply stellar job of transporting players back to the dawn of the War of Independence for our cousins from across ‘the pond’, with some truly remarkable visuals that have benefitted enormously from the all-new game engine that has given the graphic’s and the game play a new lease of life.

As is expected players once again begin Assassins Creed III by first filling the shoes not of the 16th Century gentleman’s killer Haytham, but as the ever put upon Desmond Miles. The forlorn figure that was whisked away from his life as a lowly barman, in the first instalment of Ubisoft’s masterclass of open world acrobatic adventurism, and now, after developing some impressive new muscles and a fire and brimstone personality care of his newly stiffened backbone, Desmond is anxious to put an end to his life on the run by bringing about the final acts that will cause the blockbuster finale to this epic saga.

‘Quantum leaping’ into  another distant ancestor Desmond finds himself inhabiting the body of one Haytham Kenway aboard an English cutter as he sails across the vast open sea’s of the Atlantic Ocean. The plot centres around our first hand experience of Haytham’s expertise in ‘offing’ people, as he takes out a target in the game’s opening sequences better known in the Animus timeline as The Beggars Opera. Following this quick and resourceful homicide Haytham now finds himself on his sea legs as he leads the way on a path of discovery to the ‘New World’ in the games main storyline of unearthing the truth behind the little known ‘First Civilisation’.

A main difference, however,  to the earlier, more convoluted Assassins Creed titles, is that in this latest edition players are granted far greater detail and explanation, which is offered right from the outset, so that players may better understand the character that you will be spending most of your time with in the game. Of course, all if this takes place once you have actually impregnated the boy’s mother and then watched as she gives birth to the little ‘bundle of joy’, ( and hidden blades ), a you play through the early years of the ‘boy who would be king’s’ life, and watch his growth  into the  debonair assassin that we know so well from the myriad of terrific trailers that have tantalised and teased us all for so long.

This helps to explain the background to your main character as the story of Connor’s life, his reasons for adopting the code of the Assassin like his father, as well as his training as he strives for perfection in his chosen path. Players will also get to better fathom the reasoning behind  the events that lead up to his involvement in the coming end of innocence for the American Colonies, as all are all played out in the extended memory sequences during Desmond’s time spent in the Animus.

Although the background build up of the games’ main character, Connor, is somewhat long and seemingly a drawn out affair,  which takes up the best part of a couple of hours depending on players individual skill levels, it must be stressed that this time spent as the boy’s father, as he watches his son turn from boy to man, serves its purpose well as a dual functioning extended tutorial, as well as offering a far more in-depth and detailed account of the early years of this amicable assassin.

The game itself follows a main plot that see’s Connor taking up arms against the British, and their army of Red Coat infantrymen, as he seeks to protect , not only his people’s heritage from his mothers Native American ancestors, but also his fellow assassins as he strives to complete the work of The Brotherhood during the turbulence of the War of Independence. This patchwork quilt of reality coming together and amalgamating with the inventiveness of the games writers and designers works supremely well as it effectively stitches together all of the pieces of historically accurate fabric with the more fictional based stuffing from the gameplay, and it is a true testimony to the literary talent that Ubisoft have among their ranks that the interwoven strands of fact and fiction come together so well.

Connor, or to give our boy his native title “Ratonhnhaké:ton“, gets to experience to genuinely historic events on his quest to unlocking the secrets of the First Civilisation, as well as trying to discover what happened to them and why they could not prevent their own annihilation, such as riding into the sunset with Paul Revere, conspiring with Samuel Adam’s and attending such iconic locations events like Bunker Hill and the touch-paper happening of the Boston Tea Party. All of these ‘reality bites’ give extra weight and added credence to the games’ plot as Connor’s plight is steeped in tradition and truth.

The eternal struggle between the Knights Templar and the Brotherhood of Assassins that has reigned with fire and fury since time immemorial battles on anew amidst the carnage and destruction of one of history’s most brutal conflicts. In amidst all of this pain and suffering stands our hero, Connor, as he gets caught up in his own titanic struggle, battling one tyrannical empire that seeks to rape and pillage the very land and people from which his ancestral blood flows, and yet at the same time he must strive to replace this evil with a possible new one, as he works behind the scenes to help create the free America that we all know today. A true battle of conscience with devastating outcomes whichever side of the battle line Connor will ultimately find himself on, but one that offers a tantalising insight into the time period that saw a new breed of soldier committing unbridled acts of savagery against his fellow man.

The game play is Assassins Creed at its very best with Ubisoft taking everything that they have learned over the previous titles, and also how they have been received by the franchises adoring and extremely loyal fan base, in area’s ranging from everything that they have loved,liked or loathed, about the first four titles, and then taken on board and put through a fine toothed comb everything that they have unearthed before developing this latest game with the new controls, combat, movement and graphics all of which the wonderfully adaptive new ‘Anvil Next’ game engine provides.

The story also lends itself particularly nicely to the games actual mechanics as you get to experience historical figures in their roles as would have befitted them during the actual time period in history. Although a generous smattering of tongue-in-cheek liberalisation with the fictional side of the proceedings makes use of the fact that Connor will be able to undertake side missions and mini-objectives granted to him by such esteemed American figures as Benjamin Franklin, to name but one of these iconic fellows, as the revered writer and former President puts you in his employ after tasking you with recovering lost pages of his manuscript.

There are many other added ‘distractions’ to keep players more than entertained should they care to take the time to stray from the games more linear plot line, however, it should be noted that only some may be revisited after completing the main story. But whether you fancy sticking like glue to the plot in Assassins Creed III, or if you would rather spend some time working as a courier or Frontiersman hunting and skinning the local wildlife, the game always makes you feel comfortable in your chosen role, not least in part by at allowing you the decency to make mistakes as you learn what is required of you without punishing you too harshly for committing early errors. There is a definite learning curve in Assassins Creed III, and players would do well to take heed of the pointers, tips, notes and messages that can be picked up by a vast array of people, mini quests, objectives and tasks along the way.

The combat system in this ‘end of the road’ thriller is as bloody and as brutal as anything else that has come before it, with Connor putting to good use his trusty tomahawk as he splits skulls and severs limbs with his crude, but very economical weapon. Naturally there is a veritable smorgasboard of  choice in the assassin’s arsenal with players getting to use such classic firearms as the fantastic ‘flintlock’ pistol as well as the merciless musket. Swords also play a major part in the opening of vicious wounds and sliced arteries, but the true stars of the murderous show have to be the dazzling array of assassins ‘tools of the trade’. As with all his fellow ‘brothers’ before him, Connor favours the use of the hidden blade whenever the opportunity for a quiet kill presents itself, and leaves his pistol, rifle or sword firmly holstered lest they attract the unwanted attentions of the local militia, or maybe the prying eyes of a bribe seeking witness?

Of course, there are many other lethal and non-lethal attributes and skills that players must learn to master if they plan on being a successful assassin, and we are pleased to be able to tell you that once again the assassins skills are fully upgradable following the collection of the required XP from completing various tasks, tests and story based objectives. Players will also be granted the option to enhance their physical attributes to better aid Connor in his quest to free his people, and The Brotherhood, from the British.

The stealth portion of the gameplay comes back into being with exceptional results as players get to sample the hidden delights of the shadowy underworld code that operatives of The Brotherhood employ. The only complaint of which we would have is that it is not possible to alter Connor, or the initial character  Naysmith’s, stance, so that you cannot creep about in a crouched position, or commando crawl your way across the rain-soaked tiles of an objective building, in your approach to either an intended target or victim. Instead the game play will ‘auto position’ you when it deems it necessary to do so. This may be one of the only gripes that we had throughout the entirety of the game, but it is as far away from being a ‘deal breaker’ as the Sun and the Moon are to a would astronomer.

Also making a comeback to the proceedings in Assassins Creed III is the interactivity between your main character’s, be it with the games’ opening protagonist Haytham or with the young assassin Connor, are the myriad of sneaky tactics and skills that separate the men from the boys when it comes to being the slickest killer with the deftest touch. Pickpocketing is back with players now getting three bites of the apple as they can acquire bonus items and bigger wads of cash with an extended button press.

But standing on the shoulder of all of this new addition giants and tweaked head turners has to be the sheer power offered up by Ubisoft’s latest engine, the ‘Anvil Next’. Players who are new to the franchise will wonder if the games have always looked this brilliant in the achingly beautiful details and lag free environment. or if the game play has ever offered up as much slick movement, enhanced AI that make for genuinely challenging non-Human counterparts, or even if the games have ever looked as expansive as they do in this latest edition of the best-selling series. We can answer those questions for the greenhorns quite simply with four words: “Not on your life”.

The Anvil Next engine has taken Ubisoft’s flagship franchise and pushed it into the realms of the next generation of videogaming titles, and if this has something to do with the game engine being introduced to take advantage of the forthcoming Wii U and its reportedly developer friendly format, then all we can say is that the future is bright indeed for the videogaming industry.

Everything in Assassins Creed III looks just so much bigger, brighter, bolder and better, and we do mean ‘everything’. Even in the multiplayer fan’s of the series who have dipped their toes into the pool of perfection that is the online assassin experience, will not be able to go three steps in to a match without noticing the dazzling scenery, silky smooth controls or highly intuitive artificial intelligence that powers the milling NPC’s.

Even in the aforementioned multiplayer the new additions are clear for all to see, and not just with the aesthetics of the game, as a new mode is introduced to an ever-increasing online community. ‘Wolfpack’ fattens out the experience with an almost ‘Team Deathmatch’ styled offering that see’s team’s of assassins pitching in together to ply their deadly trade, and show off their amazing skills, against their opposite numbers who are all viewing to do the same to you.

So with the level of new inclusions to every facet of Ubisoft’s simply stunning open world action adventure title what does the future hold for Assassins Creed and its legions of devoted fans around the World? Well, if the new ‘Anvil Next’ engine is proof of anything it is that the cutting developer and publisher have got big plans for the franchise, of that there is no doubt. But in the meantime, sit back and soak up everything that is going on in this latest spectacular addition to what is fast becoming one of videogamings greatest ever franchises. Assassins Creed III is, without a shadow of doubt, the most fluid, fun-filled, action packed and entertaining title in the entire series. Gorgeous game play is complemented by jaw dropping visuals as you gaze from your lofty perch the panoramic views of a fledgling country torn apart by war. If you have never played an Assassins Creed title before, and are just starting out on your adventure with this game, then all we can say is get ready to shell out on five more of the little beauties as a better advertisement for not only Assassins Creed, but also for the future of videogames, has not yet been created. Assassins Creed III is ‘the’ gaming event of 2012 so far, do not miss out on this title!   10 out of 10

 

Assassins Creed III:      PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox360             ( version tested     Xbox360 )

Developer:  Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher:  Ubisoft

Lego Batman 2: DC Heroes review

The Caped Crusader returns once more this time accompanied by a legion of friends and foes as Lego Batman 2:DC Heroes gets put under the magnifying glass in the GamesMediaPro review of Warner Bros and Travellers Tales latest platforming title.

Let’s get one things clear right from the outset shall we? Here at GmP Gaming we ‘love’ our Lego titles, and though there may be some sections of the gaming community who don’t ‘get the humour’ nor the gameplay brilliance of Travellers Tales Games’ top titles, we most certainly do! The tongue-in-cheek comedic genius combined with what can only be described as platforming perfection can, and does, and no doubt will again, fly straight to the very top of the videogames sales charts with every subsequent new release.

Okay, now that our obvious adoration of these sizzling titles has been well and truly established let’s get on with review of this latest offering from the ‘dream weavers’ and ‘wunderkinds’ over at Travellers Tales shall we?

Four years in the making the sequel to 2008′s original Lego Batman see’s the ‘Dark Knight’ returning to gamers screens with an absolute stonking line up of playable characters that spans just about the entire time line of the Caped Crusader’s life, from his comic book creation right throught to the camper than Butlins 1960′s TV show and everything else in between and there after.  Followers of the Dynamic Duo will be more than pleased to see that whilst  the Lego sequel does not exactly stick to the script of the silver screen version, what it does do instead is to take the best bits of the Caped Crusaders career, including gadgets, gizmo’s, goons and cartoon gangsters such as The Joker and Catwoman, and fill the game from start to finish with iconic scenes, locations, persons and plotlines from the past 70 years or so.

But wait, the awesomeness does not end there!

In an obvious nod to the latest collaborative movie ‘The Avengers’ that is hastening the return of the once lauded Justice League of America, The Batman also see’s an army of allies turning up in full superhero regalia, allowing gamers to play through sections, ( or indeed the entire title ), as their chosen favourite.  So, whether you are fond of a feline catsuit, have a fetish for the fine silky hosiery of Wonder Woman or just have a penchant for super hero pants then Lego Batman 2 with its cracking cast has to be the game for you.

The games’ graphics are once again not in question as Travellers Tales bring to life the locations and charcaters in Lego Batman 2 to such a degree that you will hardly even notice, at times, that you are meant to be running around Gotham City with a small plastic figure, as opposed to some hulking beefcake in sprayed on lycra. Brightly coloured in all its primary glory and with great use of lighting the developer manages to breathe life into the plastic population with veritable ease, and in so doing draws the player into this fantastical realm of rib-tickling gameplay.

One unmissable new addition to the gameplay format is the debut of dialogue as the Legoland characters get to speak for the first time in the series. Does it detract from the previous Chaplin-esque manner of delivery of the past silent movie humour? Not in the slightest. If anything the inclusion of the voice actors has allowed the developer to enhance the games storyline even further, meaning that the player can now get ever deeper embroiled into the games dastardly plot that see’s the eponymous ‘bad guys’ of the piece attempting to place Lex Luthor on the presidential throne as the Gotham gangs, led by the brilliantly voiced Joker,  trying to take over the White House.

The jewel in the Lego Batman 2 crown, as in all of the games in this best selling franchise, is once again the second-to-none platforming perfection. There may be other, more established and longer serving series involving moustachioed Italian plumbers ingesting dubious looking mushrooms who then leap around the clouds whilst clinging onto the back of a yellow dinosaur, ( and they said the Magic Roundabout was subliminal! ), but in our humble opinion the Lego format just appeals to us that little bit more, especially with the newly adopted ‘open world’ format that makes the gameplay feel alomst like a platforming RPG, ( if only it had the character customizations and levelling up system….but we can hope ).

The control system is the same said familiar set up that has been the backbone of the gameplay since the first Lego title of the series and we are glad that the dev’s at Travellers Tales have opted for the ‘if ain’t broke then don’t fix it’ ethos. 

Once again the puzzles are back to twist gamers melons and torment their furrowed brows, and its great to see that the stud collection is also back for more too, as those players who are familiar with the Lego franchise will know that studs make prizes and just about everything else in this amazing game. Single player is the same massively enticing blend of laugh out loud humour full of cheeky digs at the live action movies and television series, not to mention a few other films that shall remain nameless, as well as some cracking gameplay that will have fans of the series drooling at the prospect of their game dropping through the letter box just in time for a lengthy weekends gaming.

Also back for more is the inclusion of the construction sections where players must build set pieces or imperative parts of contraptions so that they may progress throughout the level, and it is the fact that the developer has included all of the things that have made these games such a huge hit ever since their launch that is part and parcel of the franchises huge appeal. Pay absolutely no heed to the detracting reviewers who cite a repetitive gameplay format in the Lego titles and then gush like teenagers spewing forth literary vomit about other long established franchises such as Mario and Sonic, or Kirby for that matter.

These are the view whores that like nothing more than you to visit their pages to argue in favour of your supported title, and we urge you not to do it! Every time you feed these trolls they score another view on that ever important ‘per click’ counter and they do not deserve it. Stick with those sites that you know and trust to give you the honest facts of the matter. Give them nothing and take from them everything, their entire hit score is based on the fact that they want nothing more than to cause controversy for your fave games so that you will repeatedly argue for it in the comment section with every return visit being another click in their view score box. Lego Batman 2 has far greater appeal, deeper storylines, more playable characters, and a far meatier substantial gameplay format than all three of their combined rose tinted salad day specials. Do not be fooled into thinking otherwise.

So, with that, we beg of you…if you sitting on the fence, regarding the purchase of any one of these cracking titles, then we can but heartily recommend that you take the plunge with this latest offering from the Lego, Warner Bros and Travellers Tales and sit back and soak up all that this simply magnificent game has to offer. From there it is but a short hop and a jump along to your local gaming retailer to stock up on all of the past editions of this sublime series of simply spectacular titles. An absolutely thoroughly well deserved 5 out 5 glittering golden stars!

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIFA Street reviewed

EA Sports takes football back to the tarmac as we take an in depth look at FIFA Street

Electronic Arts take another tried and tested formula, add a sprinkle of originality and a dash of panache and bring their FIFA Street series screaming up to date with this latest, and without a shadow of a doubt ‘greatest’, version of their Joco styled footballing franchise.

First things first here, dear readers, let’s get one thing straight from the outset. We love our football here at GmP Towers. And we don’t just mean catching the Champions League Highlights on ITV 1 or Sky Sports 1, and in particular we don’t mean changing our team shirts yearly to whoever won the Premiership. We mean we love ‘football’! Whether it is watching our local Sunday League pub teams kicking lumps out of each other, Kettering Town doing the ‘yo-yo’ every season between the Blue Square Premiership and the Football League, or even Mike ‘this is a good idea’ Ashley selling off anyone or anything of value from our beloved Newcastle United- football is in our blood, its a passion. Bill Shankly said it best when he uttered the immortal quote:

    “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that”.

But then again, this was also the man who was quoted as saying that he had never been in a bath until he was fifteen years old so what do we know?

But one thing we are certain of and that is the decision made by the men and women behind the scenes at EA Sports to drop the much maligned ‘cartoony’ stylings of previous FIFA Street titles has been one of the best managerial decisions made in digital football to date! So if you, like us here at GmP Towers, love your football then get ready to be wowed again and shout your appreciation from the seats, ( does anyone even have terraces anymore? ), as we delve into the many delights that await us all in the simply stunning FIFA Street.

Looking every inch the 5-a-side version of its bigger, meatier brother FIFA then kick around class of ‘Street’ has shocked everyone who has had the pleasure of tasting of its many ample talents with an absolute plethora of reworkings, upgrades, tweaks and major gameplay enhancements-not least withstanding the excellent new visuals that will have you applauding like a Scouser in Istanbul.

One of the new, and main gameplay alterations, has to be in the all-new control system that now makes it even easier for novices. and masters alike. to display some fleet of foot moves when out on the pitch, and not just when they are going through the many top notch tutorials. So, the best thing we can suggest to those of you out there who are thinking of tying on your Predators and getting stuck straight into Rooney et al, is to maybe just rein in the horses and take the time to stop by the tutorials, as even those of you who aren’t strangers to the franchise may find that there are a multitude of new moves and fancy footwork shuffles all there for you to take advantage of without having to grow extra fingers to control all of the buttons on your Dualshock at the same time.

Controlling step-overs, flicks, juggles and a myriad of other Ronaldinho type tricks require little more than a mere flick of the thumbstick these days, and even some of the more perilous moves such as the Cruyff turn to leave your opponent looking as baffled as backbencher who has been asked to provide his expenses list can be achieved with virtually little effort.

Naturally having  some semblance of knowledge of the actual physical sport of football does come in handy, ( Please for love of all things Holy do not ‘ever’ call it ‘soccer! *shudders* ). As those of you out there who have actually played the game will be able to time your runs and tricks to be executed at the optimum moment, instead of just fumbling wildly through as you attempt to nutmeg Messi for the umpteenth time only to have the Italian wizard weave his way around you like some kind of masterly footballing wunderkind who ultimately leaves you tied up in knots faster and tighter than a badge winning boy scout.

But its not just the players or the controls that have seen major enhancements following EA’s decision to fore go the ‘poor mans FIFA’ attitude of previous Street titles, everything has been overhauled and given a sharper, keener edge that will leave you begging for more.

Take the locations as a perfect example of this. In its earlier guises FIFA Street was weighted down by cartoon styled graphics and backdrops that could have come straight out of the Titus Software handbook, but this latest version of the promising franchise has managed to completely turn all of that ‘niche quality’ cuteness and bang it straight into the top corner of the onion bag like a thirty yarder from old ‘Goldenballs’ himself.

In the all new ‘Career Mode’ the developers have really out done themselves by introducing a staggering amount of perfectly produced arena’s and pitches for you to take to the ‘field’ on. With area’s of play so varied that you will soon discover the nuances between the way that the ball bounces on concrete, grass or your typical QPR styled artificial surface. Whichever park or pitch you happen to be kicking the ball around on at the time, however, one thing is uniform throughout the fantastic collection of playing area’s,  and that is that the attention to detail, not just in the pitch and the performance altering features that it offers, but also the surrounding buildings, stands or seats which look absolutely second to none in any sporting title currently on the market.

FIFA Street just looks so much better, and handles incomparably, to anything in its past, and for that reason alone it should be credited, but the joy not only lies in the controls or the colours but also in the myriad of modes and options that are also made readily available to you to further enhance and elongate your utter enjoyment of this terrific footballing title.

Yes, we know that getting to master the list of commands and time the tricks to perfection may take all the patients of a Southampton fan, ( a saint for the footballing challenged ), and the strings of ‘combo-esque’ moves that resemble a Skorpion sucker punch from Mortal Kombat more than a Cantona-like Kung Fu kick into the chest of a Wimbledon fan may take some practice, but ultimately they are all worth the effort as you skin a world class defender like Ashley Cole and….( sorry couldn’t finish that fully without laughing ),   “Ahem!!”,  right, here we go:

….skinning a world class defender like Ashley Cole and leaving him more baffled than Wayne Rooney with a Rubik’s cube is satisfaction guaranteed.

With a multitude of memorable modes to participate in such as the standard 5 a-side matches, or the numerically interesting 6 a-side, right through to Last Man Standing and Futsol the replay value is guaranteed. Particularly when you add in the excellent Panna challenges and Career Mode.

When all is said and done the 2012 launch of EA Sports FIFA Street could well have been entitles the ‘Puberty Monologues’, for this is definitely the year that the franchise grew up. Bigger, longer and most definitely uncut this is football at its most raw and passionate. All that is left is for you to pull on your boots and get out there.    5 out of 5 Stars

James Noirs Hollywood Crimes review

Ubisoft breathe some much-needed fresh air into the Nintendo 3DS line up with their latest title for the handheld, but will James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes be filler or thriller? Let’s find out in the GamesMediaPro review shall we..?

Mixed reception. That is the way that we feel the public’s response to the Nintendo 3DS has been since its launch earlier this year. Don’t misunderstand us there have been a couple of hits in the batch of mainly misses that have graced the 3DS line up. Ghost Recon Shadows Wars springs instantly to mind as it is another Ubisoft prime time title,  but with most of everything on the handheld platform being nothing more than a remake of titles past it has hardly lit up the gaming world in any kind of the way that Nintendo had pinned their hopes on.  Enter stage right James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes.

This latest title from Ubisoft is a fresh new IP for the 3D generation, and one, we feel, that could yet breathe some much-needed life into the coughing and hacking Nintendo handheld system. Originally scheduled to be a launch title this intriguing blend of live action, puzzle based gameplay and adventure styled gaming has seen developer Ubisoft take a leap of faith, and thankfully it seems to have been a well-timed and well executed leap that has seen the team behind the title land firmly on their feet with all of the reflex action of a Manx cat.

The story behind the action takes place on and around the set of the hottest game show of 1961 with ‘The Incredible Puzzle Masters’ pulling in record-breaking viewing figures as it tops the charts week in and week out. Contenders vie to be crowned the games champion and win an all expenses trip around the world for an entire year. Playing as one of the games contestants, even to the point where you are able to give the character not only your name but your face thanks to the 3DS’s built-in stereoscopic camera’s, you find yourself recruited by an old friend, and FBO agent, Matt Brooker as he informs you of the danger you face being a part of the show. Apparently someone is bumping off former winners of The Incredible Puzzle Masters with increasing regularity and efficiency and leaving behind puzzles as clues for the police to find. That is where you come in as Matt enlists your help. But are you an asset to the investigation or the prime suspect? Only time will tell and only if you manage to solve all of the puzzles left for you to find.

Split over five well designed and very well developed chapters James Noir’s Hollywood’s Crimes see’s players not only having to deal with the storyline surrounding the mysterious serial killer, but you will also need to take part in the game show, and achieve a required score, in order to progress through to the next level. But as in all things it is about winning as many of the Puzzle Masters challenges as possible as you will be awarded points based on a three-tier award system that will grant you bonuses for everything from hints unused to time taken and score. Twelve puzzles make up the murder hunt side of things, but the six rounds of the Puzzle Masters show are really where you can earn your spurs, so to speak.

With the plot moving along at an even pace pretty much the entire length of the game, and with a few extra suspects thrown into the melting pot just for good measure and to keep the enigma going right up until the last, James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes is an innovative take on a popular format that should see it shoot up the sales charts for 3DS titles worldwide.  But rather than blowing the entire story for our readers we will limit ourselves form committing the ultimate act of spoiler travesty and will not reveal anything of the game’s story or ending. If you want to know ‘Whodunnit’ then you will just have to purchase this chilling thriller and discover all for yourself.

Graphically James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes has put FMV, ( Full Motion Video ), back on the map as it blends a great deal of actual live action footage and videogame digital wizardry that all comes together superbly well to offer up a  well presented thriller game that will have players returning for a second visit just to see how well this kind of hybridisation can be done when a little thought and effort is put into practice.

The 3D side of the visuals are themselves very well set out with the slider being put to better use in this game than we have ever seen before. Ubisoft have managed to make the 3D segments of the game, either in the 3D or 2D sequences, that much more involved and far less ‘gimmicky’ than in any other previous 3DS title.

The control system for the game is pretty much built in for you as the game moves along at its own pace through selection choices, menu’s and cut scenes.  Rather than being a more traditional styled Point and Click title that we have seen so many times before on handhelds, Hollywood Crimes tends to carry players along seamlessly through the game without you even noticing that you are required to do little else than play through the puzzles. But still the gameplay is compelling enough to keep you more than entertained for the duration of the game.

With around 140 or so individual puzzles to pit your wits against, not to mention the fact that you may, ( or may not ), have a serial killing stalker breathing down your neck at every opportunity, James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes has more than enough in the content department to keep 3DS fan’s occupied for some considerable length of time. Some may argue that its replay value is negated by the fact that once you have the killer that there is no point of returning to the game, but with that much puzzle based action just waiting for you to try to best your previous scores it goes without saying that you will be back time and again in the quest for the elusive ‘perfect round’.

In a year of the hum-drum and the ‘also rans’ as far as the 3DS is concerned Nintendo fan’s must be thanking their lucky stars that there is, at least, one developer that has bothered to put some time and care into their titles. Ghost Recon is without a doubt the 3DS Game of the Year as far as GamesMediaPro is concerned but now that we have played through the second top quality title from Ubisoft it is just nice to see that it has some competition finally and that it is no longer a one horse race. If you have a 3DS and you have been itching for a game to make you pick it up again then Ubisoft and James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes may just have provided the back scratcher for you to get some relief. 5 Stars.

 

Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 review

The list of likeable Lego titles grows longer with every new launch from Warner Bros Interactive. So with the latest offering, from the renowned publisher and developer Travellers Tales, reuniting players with the junior wand botherer Harry Potter will this next in the series of top toy-town titles be as entertaining as its predecessors, or will it be a case of 1-0 to Slithering as the young magician gets hit by a blast of ‘Own Goalium’. Join us and discover all in the review of Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7.

Looking as bright and beautiful as the previous title, in the Warner Bros Potter double bill of delights, the latest version of the young warlocks’ exploits to hit the shelves of your local game retailer see’s the story reaching the years 5-7 as Harry and his chum’s doggedly follow the plot of the movie that accompanies this cracking title.  So it’s back to school we go with Ron, Harry, Hermione and the rag-tag crew of assorted NPC’s as we once more step into the hallowed halls of Hogwarts in the excellent Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7.

Carrying on the tradition of creating some of the most entertaining platform action Travellers Tales have left their own mark on the latest Lego/Warner Bros collaboration, however, make no mistake that this is a game that stands up alongside its illustrious brick-built comrades with ease.

Although the game version does tend to avoid the more sombre overtones of the movies, such as the death of Sirius Black or the heartbreak of lost son’s for old mother Weasely, the Lego version of J.K. Rowling’s international best seller has its feet firmly entrenched in the more fun aspect of the novels, and with their own brand of plastic humour, that is more or less as much a fundamental building block of the mentalist titles as the very bricks that build the set’s themselves, you can always be sure of one thing when you step into another Lego built labyrinthine land of laugh’s and that is that you will be entertained for the entire duration of your stay there.

So after a brief recap of the games control’s in the obligatory tutorial, that serves both as an introduction to the proceedings as well as a way of getting past the more mundane aspects of the movie as Harry and pal’s wander around Hogwarts again, it’s a leap and a bound right back into the action with the loveable Lego creations and characters that will keep players of all ages entertained for a good many hours to come.

The storyline to the game tackles the final three Rowling books, as well as the last four films, and translates them into the digital format with veritable ease. Once again players familiar to Lego’s family friendly way of doing things will find themselves having to battle through situations and opponents that fan’s of the Harry Potter movie franchise will instantly recognise.

Gameplay consists of the tried and tested Lego formula that has provided so many hours of top quality entertainment for  players the world over ever since the series launched, and Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 shows no sign of breaking away from this now time-honoured tradition. Split into four action packed chapters, themselves each built around a collection of highly enjoyable levels that all see the gameplay and the storyline moving along at a steady pace, Years 5-7 is once again a fast-moving  title that incorporates all of your favourite Lego activities such as demolishing items and rebuilding them into useful tools, stud collection, puzzle based platforming and a myriad of collectibles to uncover, discover and recover that all combines to produce some truly memorable and time-consuming gameplay.

Of course those gamers out there who like nothing more than scouring every inch of the playable zones and levels will be thrilled to see that the coveted ‘True Wizard’ status is also on display again for those ‘sorcerers apprentices’ who are out to hoard as many of those extra special stud’s as they can possibly get their hands on, and not forgetting the 20 something School Emblem’s, 60-odd ‘students in peril’  as well as the all important Gold and Red Brick’s that add to that all-conquering completionist’s achievement.

To add even more value to an already bursting list of top-notch attributes Years 5-7 see’s an outstanding Co-oP Mode that will extend the delights contained in Warner Bros digital realm for even more untold hours of gaming fun and laughter. The benefits of the two player trial is that gamers will be able to unlock and explore previously inaccessible area’s and zones when working as a team with another Lego loving player. Indeed, there are sections of the game, as well as some of the more challenging puzzles, that are only playable when you enter into the test with a friend or loved in one in tow. This makes for an unparalleled level of co-operative entertainment as try as they might, and they do try, other developers just don’t seem to be able to get that magical blend of fun and gameplay ‘just right’ in the way the designers of the Lego titles do. The fact that the Co-oP is available at any given moment of your solo experience by utilising the excellent ‘drop in, drop out’ style of gameplay is, quite frankly, genius, and one that we pray that other developers of co-operative based gaming would pay more than passing heed too.

Once again the sheer weight of playable characters in the Lego land is, to put it bluntly, staggering. We can think of no other franchise that offers up anything else like the weight of numbers on offer in any of the Lego titles with the possible exception of games of the Pokemon or card collection variety, but in the general realm of the puzzler or platformer title,where we feel Lego is King to be quite honest with you all, then this entire series and the incredible amount of the plastic populus that you are able to step into the shoes of is truly breathtaking at times.  In Years 5-7 alone players can slip into the booties of a whopping 100+ characters, an impressive achievement considering this current trend of reducing as much of the single player campaign in titles as developers go ever searching for that elusive multiplayer pot of gold.

Harry, Hermione and the ‘Boy Blunder’ Ron Weasely are, naturally, the mainstay of the game’s storyline, but regular visitors to the world of wacky and wonderful goings on in the Lego realms will also be familiar with the way that parts of the game are only accessible by stepping into the shoes of an alternative character.  So get ready for inhabiting the block like bodies of firm favourites from the film such as Professor Snape, Dumbledore, Hagrid and Sirius Black, to name but a few, but also be prepared to get your hands a little dirty with foray’s into the moccasins of Malfoy or even to go barefoot in the park as ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’.

Graphically the franchise has never looked more beautiful with Travellers Tales pulling out all the stops and pushing the boat so far out Pink Floyd are singing songs about it as it smokes out on the horizon. Panoramic views of sweeping open expanses  lead onto close up images of quaint cobbled streets as you search Daigon Alley marvelling in the attention to detail and being thankful of the subtle lighting that oozes atmosphere with every scene.

As with every other title in the lengthy and highly impressive Lego back catalogue Harry Potter Years 5-7 suffers nothing in the way of frame rate drop, screen tearing, lag or freezing. If only every game could move as smoothly through its gameplay as this latest title from TT Games, things would be so much easier.

Combat has grown, almost mirroring the maturity of the boy who wields the wand that casts the spell. The inclusion, however, this time around of a ‘target lock-on’ system so that players may safely know that when they shoot out an Expelliamus’ spell that it will indeed strike the intended victim, as opposed to flying of harmlessly into the void without so much as shaving the whiskers of a passing witches cat, has brought many a relieved sigh from gamers around the globe.

Players can call into play, once they have learned a spell, a huge number of ‘Wizarding Weaponry’ that will leave Bellatrix and Deatheaters quaking in their plastic pants as you unleash a torrent of Warlock induced abuse that would have even Charlie Sheen looking on in doe-eyed admiration. Although rumours of a ‘torpedoes of truth’ DLC package have yet to be confirmed by both Travellers Tales and Warner Bros.

In summary then TT Games have shown why the Lego franchise continues to lead the way and totally dominate in the platform genre. The level of depth and interaction is unmatched by any other title in its class, and to be fair nothing even approaches the Lego games for the sheer replay value that is locked away like the ingredients to a secret sauce in its coding. Appealing to gamers young and old the Lego series has marched steadily onward and over all of its competitors ever since the first game launched back in 1997, Harry Potter Years 5-7 carries this on with ease, superseding even some of its sizzling predecesors with its superb gameplay and the staggering amount of content that is crammed into one game.

If there is a recipe for success then the developers and publishers at TT and Warner Bros are keeping it to themselves as to continually produce awesome titles on this level is almost unheard of. A plethora of plastic platforming perfection, Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 scores a truly justified and readily deserved   5 Stars