Having been on holiday for a couple of weeks, I was uber keen to jump straight back on the Xbox and check out this weeks offering. Itâ€™s amazing just how quickly excitement can evaporate… sorry to say that for me this week, there are no real outstanding titles. I guess I do have to unpack, wash, iron etc so thanks Xbox for not distracting me.
Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 â€“ 1200MP
Nathan â€œRadâ€ Spencer and his bionic grapple-hook bicep swings back into action and this time he comes with a lovely jump button which makes hanging, leaping and zooming your way through the island of Papagaya a breeze. Not that youâ€™ll need to ever really use the jump button, nor any of the new weapons of offer as the unlimited ammo in your pistol is more than enough to get you through as you hunt down some massive missile building, repetitive bosses. The levels are detailed and well presented feeling simultaneously retro and modern plus thereâ€™s plenty of items and upgrades to collect on your way which help in combat – fair reasons to revisit completed levels but probably only ever done by die hard completionists. Itâ€™s accessible enough for a wide audience but perhaps lacks too much in the fun and satisfaction departments â€“ not something you would usually expect from Capcom. Perhaps itâ€™s time the dated and laboured, red moustachioed â€œRadâ€ packed his arm away and retired.
To (not) buy:
Dark Void – Â£14.99
Iâ€™m afraid Capcomâ€™s dismal attack on XBL this week continues with the very boring Dark Void. Set in a parallel universe, you play Will, who may or may not have some romantic dealings with Ava (but you really wonâ€™t care). He has to save the world from some evil â€œWatchersâ€ and does this by flying and shooting a lot. Although the idea of charging around horizontally and vertically, mashing up aliens and UFOâ€™s with a jet-pack strapped to your back might sound fun, the game play essentially boils down to lame baddies repeatedly poking their heads up so you can pop them off until itâ€™s all over. Similar to Bionic Commando, you have unlimited ammo and recharging health plus a super punch that will take out Popeye or indeed anything else thatâ€™s not you. With lots and lots of ledges to hide behind it all feels a bit easy. Some of the latter levels in this 14 stage game do get a bit more interesting as the 3-D combat possibilities are more varied but there is never any real threat from the supposedly â€˜hostileâ€™ aliens and the whole environment feels basic with very little detail or colour. Overall, Dull Avoid would be a better title.
Gun – Â£14.99
The real success of Red Dead Redemption wasnâ€™t the impressive, twisting and thrilling storyline, nor the accurate and varied weapons, not even the exceptional vocal talent. For me, it was how incredible the landscapes were. Totally impressive and with astonishing detail, sunsets over Mexico in your living room were worth the price tag alone. The dodgy graphics and environments in Gun are more like the fake scenery you see in the Frontier Land section of your nearest theme park and itâ€™s hard to emotionally engage with the game. You can free-roam but thereâ€™s little point to it. Now meet Colton White. Heâ€™s a bit bland and heâ€™s in a heap oâ€™ trouble with the law, finding himself seeking revenge for the death of his father after being in the wrong place at the wrong time. His weapons are impressive but with either unlimited or easily attained ammo combined with a rather inaccurate target control system, you donâ€™t need to be a seasoned sharp shooter to succeed. Fighting on horseback looks good but doesnâ€™t quite have the wow factor whilst the side missions are easy in whatever difficulty mode you choose to play in. To make up for the basic graphics and fighting scenes, Gun is jam packed with gory violence. Okay, so living in the Wild West was no picnic but this is brutal and doesnâ€™t offer much satisfaction. Despite a cracking storyline, Gun is at best an average shoot â€˜em up which just happens to feature cowboys.
Call Of Duty Black Ops: First Strike Pack 1 â€“ 1200MP
A hefty price tag for 5 maps, even if they are all new but worth every penny in this pack which is exclusively for the 360. Test out your sniping skills as East meets West in the “Berlin Wall” map, check out the Northern Lights in the frozen German research station “Discovery” map plus thereâ€™s the densely habited Hong Kong’s “Kowloon”, the hockey sports complex “Stadium” and avoid the space monkeys in the new Russian Zombies level “Ascension.”
Castlevania HDespair: Extra Stage The Legend of Fuma â€“ 240MP
Released on the NES in 1987, the inspirational â€œLegend of Fumaâ€ game (which roughly translates at the Lengend of the Lunar Wind Dragon) featured some very cool graphics and music. Happily, itâ€™s been transformed into a level in the Castlevania series. For all things Fuma, you can also play as the long auburn haired Getsu Fuma (purchase as an additional character for 160MP). In the original, Fuma had a sonic War Drum, Throwing Stars and magical â€˜Hexplosivesâ€™ so expect plenty of vintage fun!
Incident of Dreamy Vale Church â€“ 80MP
Itâ€™s just another day on the force for cops Laura and Anna (though I donâ€™t remember lady police wearing white pull up socks as part of their uniform). Responding to a disturbance at the local church and with baton close to hand, this side scrolling beat â€˜em up adventure has more skeletons than the governmentâ€™s closets and they just keep coming. With unlimited continues and no real development as the game progresses I can only think developers DarthCheesiest (who brought us â€œZombie Shotgun Massacreâ€ back in August on XBLIG) has gone for the sexy-uniformed-girls-in-bondage-on-the-front-cover sells route. Sad.
Run! â€“ 80MP
Ever wanted to see the world as Mario might? Well this comes close. Think â€œSkyroadsâ€ with Avatars as you can race your avatar against the clock or against other players (4 player split screen, co-op or online) along 30 colourful courses of increasing difficulty. Run through sand, snow and outer-space but mind the chasms. There are boosts and hazards a plenty in this addictive latest offering from developers Team Mango.
If you are missing the recent wet weather weâ€™ve had, hereâ€™s something to cheer you up! Gold Members this week can splash around in their living rooms with some bargain aquatic titles:
HydrophobiaÂ – was 800MP, now 400MP
Aqua â€“ was 800MP, now 400MP
Hydro Thunder â€“ was 1200MP, now 800MP