The Order: 1886 Review.

Posted: February 22, 2015 in Games
Tags: , ,

Not Quite What I Ordered.

The Order: 1886 is a good game. Not great, but good. It could have been so much more but ultimately falls a little short of greatness.
Visually, the game is spectacular. And I mean that in every sense of the word. It’s by far the most impressive looking game I’ve seen running on a console. It’s just a real shame that it lacks the gameplay to accompany it.

Ready At Dawn tried crafting a third-person shooter with the narrative of a movie, but ended up so heavy on the latter that they forgot about the former. The amount of time you actually spend shooting in this game is probably around half the time it’ll take you to finish it. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you take into account that the shooting isn’t all that satisfying. It took me about nine hours to finish the game and if I had spent the whole nine hours shooting, I probably wouldn’t have finished it. There’s a lot to be said about the science weapons, though, those things are awesome. Hurtling a bolt of lighting from your arc cannon towards a bad guy, to be rewarded with his head exploding into pulp, is one of the juicier flavours the game has to offer. The more conventional weapons, however, are not quite as fun. When you nail a guy, there’s no punch, there’s no pop. It just feels empty. At least the guns sound good.

Another gripe of mine is QTEs (Quick-time events), they’re everywhere! A lot of games get away with using this awful mechanic by using it to do something interesting, like finishing a guy off with style or countering a flurry of incoming attacks. The Order uses them to remind the player, during a long cutscene, that they are still in fact “playing”. Gameplay and cutscenes are so seamless that it can sometimes be hard to differentiate between the two. That’s an amazing feat for such an astonishing looking game, but it also frequently ruined the immersion by constantly reminding me that it was a game.

The story starts off slow but really picks up around the halfway mark. I found myself fascinated by the lure of the Victorian setting, splattered with a dose of steampunk. It was really strange how right it all felt. The real shame about the story was the ending, — don’t worry, no spoilers — it ended somewhat like a Lord of the Rings movie. You know, when it finishes in what feels like the middle of the story. That’s all well and good when you know there’s a sequel a few months down the line. What if The Order doesn’t sell well? What if they never green light a sequel? I’ve got OCD, I can’t handle that kind of intensity!

The Last of Us, Gears of War and Uncharted are games that The Order strives to be, but it offers nothing past the abruptly ended single player and simply doesn’t have enough impact. Gears perfected cover-based shooting, TLOU is a third-person shooter that tells an unforgettable story whilst still providing you with solid, satisfying gameplay. Uncharted is just epic.
The Order doesn’t bring anything new to the table, and what it does bring lacks longevity.
Not only do these other games offer a lengthy story that you’ll want to revisit time and time again, but they also provide hours upon hours of multiplayer. There’s no reason The Order couldn’t have featured, at the very least, some sort of co-op mode to keep players interested after the campaign.

The Order:1886 is a bit of a rocky start for Ready At Dawn, but hopefully it’s an experience they’ll learn from. They’ve got the talent to make the best looking game my eyes have had the pleasure of gazing upon. The story certainly peeked my interest towards the end, and the gameplay has solid potential. Hopefully they’ll get a second chance to deliver some of that “greatness” we’ve all been awaiting.


Xbox One Or PS4?

‘Next-Gen’ is now fully upon us. It is – to many – ‘Current-Gen’. But which console gives you the best gaming experience for multi-platform games?

A little game called Watch Dogs is just over the horizon, and for many of the lucky gamers out there that saved up all that extra cash to buy both consoles, a problem presents itself. Which console do I buy watch dogs for? I bought my Xbox primarily for the multiplayer side of gaming. Whereas my PS4, is strictly for single-player ‘me time’. So which version of Watch Dogs should I get? It has a single-player that I can sink hundreds of hours into, but it has an intriguing multiplayer element to it that’s really unique. The main problem I have is that most of my online pals are on Xbox One. So I feel that if I get it on PS4, I’ll miss out on some great multiplayer moments. But I love the solitude of my PS4 for single-player.

Then you have to take into account how the game will actually run. Ubisoft have said that both versions of the game will run at 30fps, but the game runs at a resolution of 900p on PS4, and a peculiar 792p on Xbox One. Weather or not this will be very noticeable is yet to be seen. But do I really want to spend my money on (for lack of a better word) inferior version? Resolution isn’t always a huge issue to me, but in an open-world game with that kind of scope/scale, surly it’s where resolution counts the most.

When it comes to games like Batman: Arkham Knight or Alien: Isolation, it’s easy for me to say PS4. When I look at Destiny, I can’t imagine playing it on anything other than Xbox One. But Watch Dogs has me stumped. I know, first world problems, right?

Which version of Watch Dogs will you be buying later this month?


LEGO games have never really grabbed me. The Star Wars ones were good fun, but after that, they weren’t really for me. LEGO MRVEL Super Heroes has changed that. It’s not often that you find a game that is equally appealing to both kids and adults, but LEGO MARVEl Super Heroes manages to captivate all, regardless of age. The feeling you get when soaring through the city as Ironman, or smashing LEGO as Hulk is an absolute pleasure. The fact that every character feels unique still amazes me, especially considering the huge list of heroes and villains you get to choose from. It’s great that it’s a game anyone can just pick up and play. Sure, there’s a story there, which is a brilliant one at that, but it’s so much fun wondering around the city and taking in the sights. There’s Stark tower, which looks identical to the one in the Avengers. The X-men mansion is at the bottom of the island, which even has a secret runway in the cliff for the X-jet. Even the Shield hellicarrier is hovering above the clouds! The best part is just, well, being one of your favourite heroes. Even though it’s a LEGO game, I’ve never felt more like Ironman, Thor or Captain America in any other game, which is pretty incredible. Just imagine if TT Games made a ‘non-Lego’ Marvel game. It’d be like what Rocksteady did with Batman. Well, in my mind, anyway.
It was nice to see Stan Lee make a cameo, or should I say, fifty cameos. You have to save him in fifty different situations where he’s in peril. Do this and you’re rewarded with Stan as a playable character. He’s pretty awesome, naturally.
I had no trouble getting the Platinum Trophy in this game, so if you’re looking for another one to add to your collection and want to have a great time obtaining it, LEGO MARVEL Super Heroes is for you.

Xbox One Or PS4?

Posted: July 30, 2013 in Games

Which console will you be buying this November?

In just a few short months we will leap into a whole new generation of console gaming. We’ll be experiencing new games with better graphics, new multiplayers with features that haven’t been possible until now, and a bucket load of exclusives that should keep the flame wars ignited for many years to come.
If, like me, you can only afford one of these impressive beasts, which one is for you? There’s four important questions you need to ask yourself before you secure your preorder.

If you like your online multiplayer then you’re going to want the same system as your friends. This might sound ridiculous to some people, why not buy the console you want? But with the emphasis developers are putting on multiplayer games for the next generation it makes perfect sense. Almost every launch title is very multiplayer heavy. If you popped Battlefield 4 into your PS4 on launch day only to find that all your friends were playing it on Xbox One, you’re gonna have a very lonely launch day indeed. If you’re not an online gamer you won’t have a problem. You will, however, be missing out.

Probably the most important thing of all, the games. The exclusive games. The games that can only be found exclusively on Xbox One or PS4. This is where things start getting complicated. In my honest opinion, the launch title exclusives aren’t that great. On PS4 you’ve got Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack and Drive Club. Xbox One has a slightly more impressive line up with Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct, RYSE: Son Of Rome and Forza 5. These are all fine but it’s the exclusives that are set to be released some time within the launch window (between November and March) that have my attention. Xbox One has the incredible online FPS Titan Fall, but PS4 has the third instalment in the Infamous series, Infamous: Second Son. These are the only two real representations of next gen that I’ve seen so far. These are the only two games that have me genuinely excited. The problem is, they’re not on the same system. Microsoft and Sony both know how important exclusivity is on their next generation consoles, that’s why they’ve both boasted an impressive amount of exclusive within the first year. The Xbox One will have 15, 8 of which are brand new IPs (intellectual property), respectively . The PS4, however, has an astonishing 30 exclusives in development, 20 of which will be released in the first year, and 12 of them are brand new IPs.
With all these exclusive games being announced as we get closer to launch day, it’s getting harder and harder to decide which console deserves a spot under my telly.

The Controller
A huge part of actually playing games is how we play them. We do this, of course, with the controller. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to some but to others, it’s a gateway to another world. It’s what allows us to interact with fictional characters, or avatars for people on the other side of the planet. If its done right, it melts away in your hand as you play and becomes a part of you. When you lose yourself in a game, you barely know it’s there. In a way, it’s what separates games from movies. So what have Microsoft and Sony done with the controllers this time? When first glancing at the Xbox One controller it would seem, not a great deal. Although Microsoft has assured us that over 40 changes have been made to their iconic pad. Perhaps the most interesting of said changes are the new impulse triggers. A small, vibrating motor in each trigger to allow the player to feel more subtle vibrations such as firing a gun or the rev of an engine. It’ll be interesting to see how developers use such an interesting new edition to the controller. Thankfully, Microsoft seem to have gone with the old “if it ain’t broke” approach to their controller, which a lot of people will be very happy about, seeing as the Xbox 360 controller is considered to be touching on perfection. Apart from, of course, the God-awful D-pad which is luckily one of the 40 changes to the Xbox One controller.

The PS4 controller. The Duelshock 4. Successor to the Duelshock 3. I find myself torn when it comes to Sony’s controller. The sticks are better (finally concave), the triggers are better (finally actual triggers), and the body isn’t far off the size of a 360 controller. All of this is great but what about the touchscreen we know very little about? What about the gimmicky speaker in the middle? It’s a games machine, most gamers use headphones, why do we need a speaker? What about the huge, battery-sucking light-bar that’s rendered completely useless unless you fork out ¬£80 for Sony’s equivalent to Kinect? All this has me very worried about the Duelshock 4. Hopefully they’ll release a refined version of the controller down the line without the light-bar, or at least a software update that’ll allow us to turn the damn light off! Either way, the Duelshock 4 is still shaping up to be a much needed improvement over the Duelshock 3.

The Price
There are a few things to consider about the price of the consoles. The Xbox One is ¬£429 but all consoles come with Kinect. Lets say you’re going to want Xbox-live and a couple of games, you’re gonna be looking at spending ¬£569 on day one! That’s a lot of money for a console. Want an extra controller? That’ll set you back another ¬£50. Also, Microsoft will not bundle new headsets with the console. You’ll have to buy a new one for ¬£20 or you can use you’re old 360 headset.

The PS4 will cost a more affordable ¬£349, although it doesn’t come with a camera like the Xbox One. This must be purchased separately. The PS4 does, however, come with a ‘hands-free’ style headset, which is one less thing to worry about. If you are planning on playing multiplayer on PS4 you’ll have to be a PS+ member. That’s right, you have to pay to play PS4 online. Don’t worry though, PS+ is a phenomenal deal giving you discounts, early access to demos and betas, and you even get 5 free games a month. It’s well worth the price of admission.

So which console will you be playing for the next 10 years? Let me know it the comments below or tweet me @JimSickStee

If there was a perfect time for it, that time has passed.

I’m an Aliens fan. Who isn’t? It’s arguably one of the greatest sciene fiction franchises of all time. It’s a universe rich with action, suspense, horror and, well, Aliens. So why isn’t there any decent Alien games? Sure, back in the day Alien vs Predator had it’s time in the spotlight, but what about this generation? Gearbox thought they could answer the fans begging for just that with Aliens: Colonial Marines. It’s a FPS set smack-bang between the second and third films and is set on the planet LV-426. I mean, what better setting could you have for an Alien game than LV-426, right?

I can’t tell you how exciting i find the idea of an Alien game that sticks to the foundations of the best movie. But at the same time, the more footage I see of the game in action, the more sceptical I become. I’m in that situation where I have a small chap sat on each of my shoulders. One of them is saying ” An Alien game! Just think, you’re a marine, slowly making your way down the dark, dingy hallways of LV-426. Motion tracker in one hand, pulse rifle in the other, knowing that there’s something out there, stalking you in the dark. Imagine that feeling of knowing that you probably won’t survive much longer but the excitement of seeing how long you can last against waves of brain-munching aliens. Not to mention you get to play the campaign with three of your pals!”

However, the other guy is saying ” You want scary? Dead space 3 came out the other day. You want an awesome, action-packed FPS? Crysis 3 comes out in a couple of weeks. You’ve got a wife, a son and a mortgage to take care of. You can’t waste ¬£40 of your hard earned cash on a half-assed game that’ll be ¬£15 in a month. especially when March has enough games coming out to bankrupt you. God of War? Gears of War? Bioshock? Are you willing to give up your purchase of one of those games so you can play a five to eight hour story of mediocrity? I didn’t think so.”

Although they both make good points, I think the second guy has won me over. With the lack of reviews at the minute there’s no hard evidance saying the game isn’t any good. I just can’t help shake that feeling that it’s not going to be at the same standard as all the other unmissable titles coming out over the next couple of months. Developers know the 360 and PS3 are at the end of their life-cycle, they’re pushing said consoles to their limits with games like Crysis 3 and Tomb Raider. I just don’t see the same result when I see the trailers and game-play demos of Aliens: Colonial marines. Hopefully, I’m proven wrong and the review scores will be through the roof. It’s definatly a game I’ll try out one day. But for now, I’ll save my money for March. I’m gonna need it.

Will you be buying Aliens: colonial marines despite the review scores? Or are you saving up for something slightly more polished? Let me know.



If having a baby, a mortgage or an increasing addiction to wasn’t enough, game developers feel it necessary to dangle a list of games in front of us to the point that I may end up having to give blood to get hold of them. They’re doing a damn good job at making 2012 one of the greatest years that the gaming industry has ever seen.

To avoid donating any body parts for money, I’ve put together a small, affordable list of games that that I simply can’t pass up and shouldn’t make a dent in my bank balance big enough to cause my wife to beat me relentlessly. Here’s my top five anticipated games of 2012.


Halo 4

The chief's had one helluva lie in. Let's hope he's well rested.

Over the past week or so, a huge chunk of Chiefy goodness has emerged and has finally put Halo 4 on my radar. I have to admit, at first I was slightly sceptical about another Halo trilogy, especially seeing as Bungie were no longer the guys behind the wheel. But 343 industries are taking Halo in a direction that maybe Bungie should have gone with Halo Reach. This time, once again, it’s all about Master Chief. You won’t be some random Spartan on some random mission to save some random planet which you know will inevitably blow up. You won’t be an insignificant, puny, little guy stuck in the middle of a city wishing you were some place else. No, you are Master Chief. You are the guy that everyone else wants to be, and this is the way Halo should always be. “Wake me, when you need me”. Those were the last words we heard from the big green guy almost five years ago and since he’s been gone it seems the covenant are having a hard time letting go and still seem pretty teasy with him. Waking up from cryo sleep four years after the events of Halo 3, the Chief finds himself under attack by the covenant who have somehow managed to find him and seem to have forgotten about the ceasefire. Battling his way through the Forward Unto Dawn, Chief will once again put his skills to the test against the relentless forces of the covenant before somehow escaping what’s left of the damaged ship and finding himself on a strange new world. This world is know only as ‘Requiem’ and is some kind of artificial planet that is the home to a never before seen race. 343 describes them as “a new, more complex and intelligent enemy faction – founded, like the Covenant, on relations between unit types that players can exploit, but considerably more testing”. Expect to here more about Halo 4’s campaign over the coming months but for now, that’s enough to get my juices flowing.

Halo wouldn’t be the same without it’s legendary multiplayer which is set to be one of 2012 finest. So far, we know the whole multiplayer mode takes place aboard a starship called Infinity, inside the Infinity there is a holo deck which generates all the mutiplayer maps for the crew of red and blue Spartans to enjoy tearing each other apart in these ultra realistic simulations, kinda like Xmen’s danger room, I suppose. Firefight has been cut from Halo 4 but replaced with an intriguing version of Modern Warfare 3’s Spec Ops mode but known here as Spartan Ops. Not the most inventive name, I know. But wait, there’s more. Spartan ops is a separate co-op campaign and players will be given five new missions every week completely free! What’s that? ¬£15 for new missions? No, you miss heard me. They’re 100% free! Each mission will progress the story onwards and keep players wanting more for months to come. I love it.

Halo 4 will be out in time for Crimbo and the more I hear about it, the more I simply can’t wait to get my grubby little mitts all over it.


Assassin’s Creed 3

Not just any Indian boy.

I for one love Assassin’s Creed but the the same repetitive recipe has grown rather stale if I’m being honest. Revelations was a really great game but it felt like Ubisoft just threw a load of pointless fillers in there just to make the game a bit longer. The bomb making, what the hell was that all about? The tower defence parts, what a massive waste of my life. The Desmond section, a useless, boring and not to mention frustrating first person version of Tetris. It’s things like this that just make me want to slap Gears back in and kill some Yanks. But fear not, there is yet hope and it goes by the name of Assassin’s Creed 3. I enjoyed my time with Ezio but that time has passed. The new Assassin who goes by the name of ‘Connor’ has been handed the torch and now it’s his time to shine. What we know so far is that Connor is a half Brit, half Native American who will be roaming around cities like New York, Boston and he’ll also be able to explore the snowy wilderness of The Frontier during the time of the American Revolution. Like all great sequels, AC3 has evolved in more ways than one. One of the biggest changes is the edition of guns. Although we’ve seen guns in other AC games, here it’s slightly more full on. While exploring the Frontier, you don’t have the luxury of taking cover down alleys or hiding behind buildings. You’ll have to be more strategic in planning your attacks, especially when facing a whole group of men armed with rifles. A great way to ambush chaps like these is by making your way through the trees, monkey style, attacking from above before they even new you were there. Awesome. After ambushing them and getting in close, this is where your new tomahawk comes into the equation and you can start slicing guys up util you’re the last man standing. Assassin’s Creed 3 looks to be as equally new and refreshing as AC2 was, and this is something I’m starting to get very excited about.


Bioshock: Infinite

If you're afraid of heights, Columbia's no place for you.

I still own my limited edition version of Bioshock and quite frankly, I’d rather part with my left testicle. Bioshock told a story to me like no game ever had before it. It introduced me to the wonderful world of Rapture and the amazing, twisted characters that called it ‘home’. I became so lost down at the sea bed and I never wanted to come back to the surface. Bioshock 2 was still a great experience but ultimately failed to live up to it’s outstanding predecessor. As Far as I’m aware, Infinite has no connection to the previous games other than it’s a FPS with RPG and survival horror elements. Rather than spending your time at the bottom of the ocean exploring the lost city of Rapture, players will find themselves high above the clouds in the city know as ‘Columbia’ witch is held up by massive balloons and blimps. The city was once the pride of America and set off around the world to show people that anything can be achieved through innovation and dedication. Columbia, however, turned out to be more than meets eye and was in fact some kind of weapon used for mass destruction. America denied any knowledge of this and the city became lost to the world. But the city is still there, floating around the skies, above the clouds and out of sight from the people below. You play the roll of Booker DeWitt, a disgraced former agent of Pinkerton National Detective Agency, who gets himself a new case where he must fly to this lost city and rescue a girl named Elizabeth. How someone manages to find a lost city I don’t know, but anyway. On arrival it’s clear that things are a lot worse than he was told, with two factions at war over control of Columbia, and Elizabeth is somehow caught right in the middle. The game-play seems similar to the previous games but a welcome edition is the fact that once you hook up with Lizzy she can aid your escape with her own set of unique abilities. Rest assured though, in no way is this an escort style game-play element. She’s there to help, not hinder Booker. The thing that has me most excited is your means of transportation around the city. Booker is equipped with a ‘Sky-hook’ which is kinda like a hand-held grappling hook that can be used to connect to ‘Sky-lines’. These babies are Bioshock Infinite’s selling point for me, they’re roller-coaster type rails that cover the whole city and you can hop on and off whenever you please. You will even be able to continue fighting whilst travelling around all over the place at break-neck speeds. It looks amazing. Also, a new edition to the Bioshock series are ‘The Heavy Hitters’. They’re not quite ‘Big Daddies’ but they’re a lot more hardcore then any splicer you’ve seen, that’s for damn sure. These guys are somewhere in-between Splicers and Big Daddies which begs the question, who’s replacing the Big Daddies? There’s a whole bunch of Heavy Hitter videos on Youtube that are well worth a peek. Bioshock: Infinite is set to be released in October so I’m sure we’ll be flooded with a whole wealth of new information before then. But in the meantime, keep your eye on the sky. Um….yeah.


Far Cry 3

Did I ever tell you the definition of 'insanity'?

Despite the repetitive structure of Far Cry 2, I had an amazing time with that game. The graphics were beautiful, the fire-fights were intense and it’s just one of those games I’ll always remember. However, despite how much I enjoyed it there was plenty of room for improvement. Far cry 3 is set to be one of Ubisoft’s biggest and most ambitious games, ever. Far cry 3 is an open world, FPS set on a tropical island found somewhere at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. You are Jason Brody, a tourist who somehow finds himself stranded on the island and who has seem to have misplaced his missus. In order to be reunited with his loved one, Jason needs the help of some of the people who have also been stranded on the island, only one of which has been reviled so far. Not a great deal more is know about the story apart from this time the game will focus on one story as opposed to Far cry 2’s many. One of my greatest fears in real life is also a new edition to the Far cry series, sharks. These bad boys will be dominating the waters all around the island so if you think hiding in the drink from gun-fire is a good idea, think again. I love this idea because the last game I played with sharks in it was Tomb Raider 2 and the feeling of being stalked under water by a man-eating monster was absolutely terrifying. It turned me into what Jonathan Ross would describe as “a wibbly-wobbly mess”. It’ll make some interesting situations throughout the game, if you have an army of goons chasing you and the only means of escape is through water. once you’re under there things go quiet for a moment, you think you’re safe, you turn to swim off and these huge, wide-open jaws are coming towards you.The chase continues. Epic.

The island and all it’s surroundings look amazing, Ubisoft have really put a lot of effort into making it a believable world and one that you’ll want to come back to. There’s a night and day cycle like in most open world games but in Far cry 3 it changes the game-play. You’ll see different animals depending on the time of day or night, ones you can hunt or ones that want to hunt you. Plus it will change activities that the enemies preform. There will be an entire arsenal of weapons to choose from, all of which are fully customizable and stealth game-play is back better than ever. There’ll be no re-spawning enemy checkpoints, places you secure will stay safe, which is a relief. If all that wasn’t enough, the machete is back with more ass kicking, artery slicing abilities than ever.

We haven’t been given an awful lot of information about Far Cry 3 but I’m positive we’ll hear plenty more before the game’s released this September.


Max Payne 3

Bring on the Payne.

The man with the coolest name in video games is back fourteen years after he first started shooting thugs in the face and he’s still really pissed off. Let’s face it, Max is always pissed off. But come on, the guy’s had a rough life. His wife and child were brutally murdered in his own home, then he fell in love again, she was killed, he’s always being shot at. The guy’s got it hard. So he’s moved away from his dark and dreary life in New York and started fresh in good ol’ Brazil. Oh, wait, nope he’s stll being shot at there too.

No longer a cop working for the NYPD, Max has found himself a new job working in executive protection for Rodrigo Branco, a man with wealth and power in the city of Sao Paulo. Trying to forget his troubled past things go from bad to worse when Branco’s wife is kidnapped. Max is then thrown back into the chaos he is so desperately trying to escape when he sets out to rescue her and put her kidnappers down for good.

Game-play wise it’s still very much a ‘Max Payne’ game, a third person, action packed, thrill ride of a shooter, only now Max has become more realistic and believable than ever. Max has well over a thousand¬†different animations all merging together to make each movement flow to the next. Bullet-time is Max’s ability to slow time around him making it easier to take down multiple goons whilst at the same time creating an astonishing cinematic effect. Bullet-time returns to Max Payne 3 and can even be used in multiplayer. Speaking of the Max Payne 3 multiplayer, that reminds me, Max Payne 3 has multiplayer! Thats right, folks. So far two modes have been announced with more to come. One mode is called ‘Gang wars’ which is basically your team¬†death match, the other is called ‘Payne killer’. This mode has one player as our boy Max and another player as his partner, everyone else must work together to take them down. However, these two are aremed to the teeth with guns, ammo and painkillers so taking them down won’t be a stroll in the park. Not enough for you? Ok, try this on for size. Whoever kills Max becomes him, the guy who was Max becomes Max’s new partner so the two are forced to work together even though one of them just stopped the other from racking up the points. This should be enough to rival any Eastenders¬†Christmas¬†special.

With it’s action rammed story and it’s multiplayer that is looking like it could compete with the best, Max Payne 3 is a game I’ll be keeping a very close eye on and one that I simply can’t wait to sink my teeth into when it’s released upon the world on May 18th.

What games are you looking forward to this year? Please feel free to let me know.

Thanks for reading.


Posted: April 20, 2012 in Games

2011 has been the greatest year ever for gamers. We’ve had instant classics such as Portal 2, Batman: Arkham City, Gears of war 3, Crysis 2, Battlefield 3, Assassin’s Creed:¬†Revelations¬†and¬†of course, Skyrim. It’s been an absolute stunner. So without further¬†a due, Here’s my top five games of 2011.


Probably the best multiplayer game available.

Battlefield 3.

Let’s get the single player out of the way first. It’s shit. Seriously, it’s not very good. I’ve only played the first four missions and I can’t bring myself to carry on. It’s very dull, slow paced, the A.I. are stupid and there’s nothing really very new or ground breaking about it. It looks pretty but that’s about it. Also, it’s a fairly ‘vehicle heavy’ kind of game but the only vehicle you get to control in the campaign is a tank.

The multiplayer¬†however is where Battlefield 3 stamps it’s rightfully earned place in gaming history. There’s endless amounts of fun to be had and so many way to have it. All of the¬†different classes and vehicles each bring something new to the battlefield¬†and it’s a great way to keep things fresh and¬†interesting. Although snipers are all scumbags! There’s a nice, varied¬†assortment of game modes but ‘Rush’ is where the real action’s at.¬†One team defends the control points while the other team attacks and tries to push the defenders back. It’s brutal. The greatest thing about the multiplayer is what’s known as ‘Battlefield moments’. For instance, I was strolling along, minding my own¬†business when a plane crash landed right in front of me, seconds later, a man on a parachute landed next to me, looked at me for a bit then ran of to cause more¬†destruction¬†and mayhem. Another time, there were three of four snipers¬†huddled together at the top of a building, some brave chap ran in, planted C4 around it and brought the whole thing¬†tumbling down, snipers and all. ‘Battlefield moments’.¬†It’s a beautifully crafted piece of muliplayer gold and it’s something we’ll all be playing months, even years from now.


They don't make 'em like they used to, until now.

Rayman Origins.

When Rayman Origins was announced I didn’t give it any thought what so ever. I’ve never played a Rayman game before and it just didn’t seem like my cup of tea. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Rayman Origins is¬†insanely fun, brilliantly charming and visually stunning. In this side-scrolling platform game the artwork is¬†absolutely sublime and the music is just¬†lovely. The animations are as smooth as butter and such a joy to watch and the game always finds new ways to make you laugh. I was waiting for ages for something new for the wife and I to sit down and play together, Rayman Origins is so perfect for that. It’s such a hard game to put down as there’s plenty of levels to explore from high up in the¬†clouds to deep beneath the ocean,¬†this¬†quality little¬†platformer has new¬†challenges¬†and puzzles waiting for you around ever corner.


Shooting something in the face has never been more satisfying.

Gears of War 3.

The epic conclusion to Epic’s epic.

Gears of war 3 is 3rd person shooting at its absolute finest. The 8-10 hour long campaign (which has the most exciting and emotional story¬†of the trilogy), the legendary multiplayer mode with a variety of game types, (plus special events that Epic put on at weekends and holidays), and of course, the¬†ridiculously addictive horde mode, which is what keeps my wife and I occupied for hours. Also, Beast mode is a new edition to the Gears of War franchise where up to five players play as the locust and see how fast the can kill twelve waves of COG soldiers. It’s fun, but it won’t be the reason Gears 3 spends hours upon hours in your Xbox. It’s taken Epic games three goes at it but this time they really got it right. The controls feel natural and smooth, the animations work beautifully,¬†especially when preforming an¬†execution, and the fire fights are intense, loud and always end in plenty of bloodshed.¬†Although¬†Gears 3 is a lot of fun playing solo, playing with four friends will have you laughing, crying and screaming until the¬†early hours of the morning. You owe it to yourself to play this game.


A gaming masterpiece.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Skyrim is probably 2011 greatest entertainment achievement. The game is simply superb. You can literally play this game for hundreds of hours and still find new and exciting things to do. You could be saving a town from the¬†threat of¬†something¬†terrifying living in the hills, or ¬†you could want to spend your time slaying the unlimited supply of dragons that Skyrim¬†throws¬†at you, you might want to hunt deer and rabbits in the woods, or you may¬†even want to spend you time running up to giants and booting them in the ass. Although, I wouldn’t¬†recommend the latter. My point is that you can be anything you want to be in Skyrim, the only limits here are your imagination.

The main quest in Skyrim is equally addictive to venturing off and doing your own thing, you are Dragonborn and your goal is, put simply, to kill all the dragons that have mysteriously returned to Skyrim after hundreds of years. As Dragonborn you are able to use the power of the dragon shout against the dragons, presenting to them a threat that no mere mortal posses.

I won’t go into to much detail about Skyrim¬†because¬†otherwise we’ll be here all night. I could¬†literally go on and on. Ask my wife, she knows.¬†¬†In a nutshell, it’s a¬†humongous,¬†fantasy, first person, action-adventure, role playing game¬†with plenty to keep you¬†occupied¬†for months to come and knowing Bethesda, they’ll have plenty of DLC coming our way in the very near future.


My 2011 Game of The Year.

Batman: Arkham City.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Batman? Why not Skyrim? Why not MW3? If I was to write an article on the five best games of 2011 based on sales, popularity, graphics or gameplay then Batman would¬†definitely be in the top five, but it probably wouldn’t be number one. This ¬†however, is a list of my favourite games and Batman is quite rightly at the top because I love it so damn much. Batman AC does everything the first game does and so much more. The story sucks you in right from the start and makes it so hard for you to let go until you’re certain that Gotham can sleep safely. There’s hours and hours worth of¬†challenge¬†maps to do and dear God, they’re addictive. There are two types of¬†challenge¬†maps, Combat or Predator. Combat¬†challenge maps are, well, combat. You¬†basically have to fight and¬†accumulate a set number of points in four rounds, while¬†trying¬†to stay alive. In the Predator maps you have to play slightly more Sam Fisher style, sneaking around taking people out¬†quickly¬†and quietly. The mini¬†campaigns put the two together, you have to complete three¬†challenges while adding modifiers¬†which¬†really mix things up,¬†these rage from completing a round in a certain time limit to a¬†guard¬†having a protective aura around him for a small amount of time so that he cannot be¬†harmed. All this plus the four hundred Riddler trophies and challenges mean you really get a lot for your hard earned cash. Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy are both back to to continue their rolls as Batman and Joker,¬†which they do¬†beautifully.¬†But Uncharted and Assassin’s creed star Nolan North does a very¬†peculiar cockney penguin. Not quite the Danny Davito version we all know and love.

Jumping off rooftops and gliding over Gotham, or beating the crap out of thugs and super-villains has never looked or felt better. Batman Arkham City is one of the best looking games I have seen on Xbox so far, which makes it that much more satisfying to know that it was made right here in the good ol’ UK. It’ll be interesting to see what Rocksteady Studios’ next project will be.

If you’ve tried some of¬†these games then please let me know what you think. Do you agree with my list? Do you have your own list?

I’ll have my top five anticipated games of 2012 list up soon so I hope you’ll give that a glance. Thanks for reading.


The modern day video game has come a long way since the times of strolling you way through a very scripted,¬†linear¬†story. One of the features that most games seem to have these days is choice. Choice in video games is a interesting thing, you could be a hero of the people, you could be a nob head, the best thing about it is that it’s¬†entirely up to you. But what does it mean if you love to be an evil nob head in a game? Does it mean you are some kind of psycho who loves to chop of limbs and beat up old ladies? Does it mean you take great¬†pleasure in seeing other people suffer? Or is it something as simple as that’s the way you like to have fun and express yourself in a game? I like to think of myself as a reasonably reserved person and this¬†normally is the way my character comes across in games. Don’t get me wrong, if some dude with an AK-47 starts having a pop at me I wouldn’t think twice about blowing his face off. But when it comes down to choice I always seem to end up being the good guy. Funny, isn’t it? How some random guy in Skyrim could ask me to¬†travel half way across the map to get his petty soul-gem that he can’t be bothered to go and get himself and I feel terrible about saying no. I’m¬†everybody’s bitch Skyrim. This is also the reason that for me ¬†Fable 3’s final choice is one of the hardest¬†decisions anyone has ever had to make in a game. The first choice ends up with everybody loving you but they inevitably¬†all die. The second choice, everybody hates your guts but they all get to live and you save the world. ¬†Oh, the humanity.

But if you don’t like being an evil nob head in games, does that mean you are generally a nice person? Shouldn’t we take advantage of the¬†opportunity to be evil knowing that there’ll be no¬†repercussions in the real world? Maybe it’s the feeling of being loved by¬†everyone that pushes me to do good deeds. When a random¬†passer bye knows your name and congratulates you on being amazing it always makes me smile. On the other hand, When I displease someone who I’m desperately trying to please I feel like a complete failure.¬†When Ulfric Stormcloak shouted at me and told me how I’d let him and the rest of Skyrim down, I felt about as useful as a pizza fork. Obviously it depends on the type of game you are playing. If you slap overlord in your disk tray then be prepared to wreak havoc on poor, innocent souls just trying to get by in life. Equally the same can be said for prototype. But if you truly get to decide the fate of an innocent NPC, would you feel better about helping them or face-palming them? What do the choices ¬†we make say about us really? Does it say anything at all, or are we just having fun?

Sorry, Ulfic. I’ll try harder next time.

Multiplayer games these days are pretty¬†limited on choice and even more so on¬†whether of not you are¬†labelled a nob head. It seems to me that all you have to do to piss someone off is kill them. But isn’t that what¬†everyone¬†is trying to do? The amount of times I’ve played Gears 3 and¬†received a teasy message off some guy I was¬†innocently whooping up is¬†ridiculous. “You suck, Retro lancers are for fags”. I didn’t make the damn gun! I love a bit of healthy¬†competition as much as the next guy but other people seem to think that giving someone loads of abuse is part of the package.

So when you play a game that has huge consequences to choices you make, are you the kind of person who relishes in the love and respect of those around you? Or do you crave fear, carnage and dismemberment?

Let me know @JimSickStee

Greatest Gaming Theme Songs.

Posted: November 27, 2011 in Games

Games have always had an interesting¬†variety of music. From Sonic to Mario, Pac-man to Tetris. Music has always been an important part of the overall¬†experience and¬†the theme music from these great titles will stick with us forever. However, brilliant as it all was back in the day they wouldn’t hold up very well¬†against¬†what’s on offer today. Some of the greatest music in entertainment can be in found today’s huge selection of games, and although background music is incredibly important, it’s the theme song that sticks with us. Especially if it’s used in the right way. Here’s three examples of moments in games where I’ve been¬†completely emerged into the world, thanks¬†largely to the clever use of the games theme song.

The Halo series took music to a whole new level.

Halo 3.

It’s true what the voice-over guy said on the new Halo anniversary trailer, “ten years ago Halo changed the way we play video games.” ¬†What he didn’t mention was that it also changed the way we listen to video games. Starting off slow with a slightly¬†religious sounding chant and ending up with tribal style drums and singing, all backed up by members of the¬†Chicago¬†orchestra, the Halo theme song really gives you the¬†sense¬†that the ring world of Halo is an¬†extremely¬†ancient place with hundreds of years of secrets waiting¬†beneath the surface.

The theme song is implemented into the gameplay very often through the Halo series but there’s only one moment for me that 343 industries are going to have very hard time surpassing. The final stage of the game is similar to that of Halo: Combat Evolved, though¬†instead of trying to escape an exploding ship, you’re¬†trying to escape an exploding planet. Epic. As you drive your Warthog at high speeds jumping off ramps over¬†devastating¬†explosions, avoid falling towers and watch in horror as roads and bridges¬†collapse around you¬†revealing perilous drops, all complemented by the¬†incredible theme music, this really is one best uses of Halo’s theme song and over all, one of my favourite moments in the Halo series.

Shooter of the year? I think so.

Gears of War 3.

I’ve always thought of Gears of war’s theme song as the imperial march of video games. It’s just got that powerful, military feel to it. The song isn’t really used at all during gameplay moments of Gears, it’s used more for the cinematic side of things during cut scenes. Which is why it’s that much more effective when it’s used at the end of the Gears 3 campaign during a gameplay section. It’s been over fifteen years since Marcus has seen his Father, that whole time he was¬†believed¬†to be dead, you find out towards the¬†beginning¬†of the game that he’s still alive and you fight your way through the levels trying to get to him. It’s the last mission, you find yourself at the top of a huge, skyscraper of a building, the elevator doors open, there’s twenty maybe thirty angry locust between you and the reunion you’ve been fighting for since the beginning. Cue the theme music and you’ve got most heart pumping fight of the game. The¬†difference that song makes whilst actually playing is so inspiring, it’s enough to bring a tear to your eye. It honestly makes you think ” we’ve got this far, nothing can stop us now.”¬†This is a perfect example of how a theme song can¬†completely¬†change¬†how a game feels, because¬†technically you’re doing the same thing you’ve been doing for the last ten hours, slap the¬†theme song on it and it’s like having mash instead of roasties, they’re still potatoes, they just taste¬†different.

If you didn't know there's dragons in Skyrim...............there's dragons in Skyrim.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

If you haven’t played Skyrim yet then you’ve probably heard of it. If you haven’t heard of it then you have no¬†business reading this blog, go on, get out! The music of Skrim captures the world beautifully, soft harps are played as you ¬†wonder through the forest chasing¬†butterfly’s,¬†¬†drums are beaten as you run for your life from giant, man eating spiders. There’s always a piece of music in there ¬†that seems to capture the moment, especially when¬†facing dragons. You can always tell if a dragon is near even before you see it. It may be the flapping of it’s heavy wings tearing through the air, it may be the¬†ferocious sound of it’s roar (similar to¬†Jurassic¬†park’s T-Rex), it may be that the ground around you starts to shake as it lands somewhere close by, or it could be that Skyrim’s epic theme song kicks in¬†which is only triggered when a dragon has you in it’s sights and moves in for the kill. Once the music starts and you are going toe to toe with with one of these mystical beasts, you can get truly lost in this game. You see it often in movies,¬†¬† a protagonist reaching the end of his journey and trying to over come his greatest enemy. In Skyrim this happens every time you face a dragon and I can honestly say that each time is always more exciting than the last thanks¬†largely¬†to the to way the theme song makes each battle feel like you’ve reached the ultimate climax only to move on, find another dragon and do it all over again. It really is one of the most powerful theme songs in gaming history and one that really creates a dramatic and pulse racing battle between man and beast. Go and have a listen on youtube, or better yet, buy Skyrim. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Skyrim or MW3?

Posted: November 6, 2011 in Games

In just a few days time MW3 will hit store shelves and people will be¬†piling up like lemmings to get their copy. Call of duty is one of the most well known franchises in video game history, but is it time they quit while they’re ahead? Or will they stick to the same old copy and paste routine until their devoted fans clock on to their sly and¬†dastardly ways? In all honesty I used to love CoD, It was the most intense and realistic shooter I had played. I can still remember the¬†exhilarating feeling I got from crawling through the grass with Captain Price in our¬†ghillie suits, while surrounded by a brigade of soldiers and tanks!¬†But¬†somewhere along the lines they’ve lost touch with the realism and turned the beloved shooter into just another FPS riddled with more carnage and¬†mayhem than a¬†bad¬†Michael Bay movie. These days most of the die hard CoD fans only play the game for one reason, the multi-player. ¬†CoD multi-player is fast, fluid and a lot of fun and what they do, they do well. Now though, it just seems to be getting old. Yes it was fun when it first came out but has the game really changed that much since MW1? No. Spawn, get a kill, die. Rinse and repeat. I’m sure the game will be worth a play at some point but I’m in no rush. ¬†In six months time Call of Duty Future Warfare or Space Warfare or some kind of warfare will be out and I’ll pick this up Pre-owned for a tenner, which is a gutting thought for the chap in America who just purchased a leaked copy of the game for a whopping $1725. Muppet.

Is MW3 the game for you?

Just three days after the release of Activision’s 8 hour long shooter, Bethesda’s 300+ hour¬†behemoth of a game,¬† The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is unleased to wreak havoc upon our social lives. Yes, that’s right, Bethesda game studios have confirmed that with the main quest, the side quests and enough exploration to turn Bear Grylls into a hermit, that Skyrim will have well over 300+ hours of glorious gameplay.

Gonna slay me some dragons.

If you are unfamiliar with the series, the Elder Scrolls games are first person-action-adventure¬†RPGs¬†known for giving the player complete freedom to play as they see fit. If you want to spend you time hunting deer in the woods, you can. If you want to raid¬†dungeons and tombs, you can. If you want to take part in drinking game at the local pub, you can. maybe you want become a thief or a murderer? You can if that’s what floats your boat.¬†In Skyrim’s main quest you are Dragonborn, A dragon slayer apointed by the Gods to fend of the threat of¬†Alduin, the Nordic god of destruction. Taking the form of a gigantic dragon, Alduin is prophesied to consume the world with his servants, the Jills (a race of black dragons). Set two hundred years after the previous Elder Scrolls game (Oblivion) players will be able to explore the vast world of Skyrim, from the blizzard engulfed mountain tops to lush, green forests, there’s thousands of secrets to uncover and hundreds of hours of gameplay to enjoy, it’s hard to turn a blind eye to the¬†fascinating world that is Skyrim. This game is looking so amazing that it could¬†in fact¬†be enough to cure my wife’s locust head popping addiction. Bless her.

Skyrim comes out 11-11-11

Will you part with £40 for some  mediocre, military mayhem?

Or some dragon slaying, dungeon raiding exploration?