Game Review: Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Genre: Action-adventure / Beat ’em up / Stealth
Rating: ESRB T for Teen / VSC 15
Publisher: DC Comics with Warner Bros & Eidos Interactive
Formats: Xbox 360, Playstation 3 & Windows
Release Date: August 25, 2009 (U.S.) & August 28, 2009 (Europe)

The prison guard jerks The Joker’s arm as he leads him off to his familiar cell in Arkham Asylum. As The Joker looks back over his shoulder at Batman, he trips and falls to his knee.

When the guard leans down to help him up, Joker takes the opportunity to quickly headbutt the guard as he stands up, sending him reeling. Before anyone can react he leaps up and wraps his cuffs around the guard’s neck from behind. Batman beats on the reinforced glass separating him from his nemesis as he kills the helpless prison guard.

When The Joker hears the guard’s last gurgling attempts at breathing, he gets in his punchline… “Choke’s on you!”

This scene sets the whole tone of Batman: Arkham Asylum, and I think someone may have been pumping Joker gas into my living room, as I had a silly grin on my face the whole time.

The Caped Crusader has been striking fear into the hearts of the Gotham City underworld for the past 70 years, and yet all of the criminals pale in comparison to The Joker — often seen as the Yin to Batman’s Yang, this being reinforced by Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke published back in 1988.

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Game Review: [Prototype]

Genre: Sandbox Action
Rating: ESRB M for Mature
Publisher: Radical Entertainment
Format: Xbox 360, Playstation 3 & Windows
Release Date: 9th June 2009 (US), 12 June 2009 (UK)

Why do most people play videogames? Is it to feed their competitive streak in hardcore multiplayer action a-la Call of Duty 4? Or is it the epic storytelling of titles like Bioshock? Maybe it’s the ultimate cinematic experience when a true gaming masterpiece is created such as Grand Theft Auto IV.

I’m guilty of all of the above in one form or another… however my favourite games are the ones like Radical Entertainment’s [Prototype] – I’m talking about pure unadulterated laugh-out-loud FUN. Assassin’s Creed is another prime example of a game that had it’s faults, but I loved it all the same because the freerunning and combat elements made me grin like an imbecile on crack.

Like Assassin’s Creed and Mirror’s Edge before it, Prototype has tapped the freerunning market again… but is adding so much more into the mix. It is a sandbox action title that dispenses with the pleasantries and provides you with the means to decimate an entire city & it’s inhabitants with your bare (albeit mutated) hands.

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Game Review: The Dishwasher–Dead Samurai

The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai
Genre: Beat ‘Em Up
Rating: ESRB M for Mature
Publisher: Ska Studios & Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date: 1st April 2009
Format: Xbox Live Arcade

When I first heard about this release from Xbox guru Major Nelson on Twitter, I thought it was an April Fool’s prank. However I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it wasn’t, and promptly checked out some of the available gameplay videos. These turned out to be surprisingly gruesome and frantic – and if you can describe a game with those words… I’m there.

The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai was conceived when game creator James Silva was himself a dishwasher, finding himself the butt of many a joke. After pointing out that Bruce Lee was a dishwasher, he began to conceive a game about one that slaughters an insurmountable array of highly trained agents… and that became what we have here today.

The Dishwasher is a 2D sideways-scrolling “hack n’ slash ’em up”, where you take control of the unnamed protagonist who was captured by cyborgs that had a view to assimilating him into their collective (yes… sorry, that was a Star Trek pun… it will be my last). Freed by “Chef” – his mentor – he is given Alien Blood that resurrects him from death, and imbues him with incredible powers.

And we of course like nothing better than to use these awesome new abilities to pulverise anything that moves into a bloody pink/red mist.

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‘Bioshock 2’ Gameplay Footage

When I woke up this morning I groggily checked my Google Reader feeds while sipping on my nice cup of tea… then promptly choked on it when I read that this morning, Gametrailers landed the first official gameplay video of Bioshock 2… and it is a beautiful sight to behold.

Bioshock is one of my all-time favourite games (the “spiritual successor” to cult classic System Shock 2), and is quite possibly one of the best games released in the last five years. It remains one of the Xbox 360’s highest-rated games to date, behind only The Orange Box, and GTA IV… so when 2K games announced a sequel, I was on the same level of giddiness as when I heard about Deus Ex 3.

Anyway enough of my ramblings, take a gander at the gameplay video and check out the big sister… she’s badass!

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Game Review: Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV
Genre: Fighting
Rating: 12 (VSC Rating)
Publisher: Capcom
Format: Xbox 360, PS3 (Coming soon to PC), Arcade

Chances are, you’ve already heard about Capcom’s legendary Street Fighter series – Street Fighter 2 was/is the benchmark for almost every 1v1 fighting game that exists today. If you haven’t, then you’re either not a gamer, or haven’t set foot in an arcade in the last 15+ years.

SF2 is quite possibly one of my favourite games of all time – it is (in my opinion) one of the most polished and flawless fighting games to date, even if it’s 2D. The game’s combo system and tactical gameplay makes it fun for beginners to pick up, and great for hardcore players to arrange tournaments around (which in turn makes for some amazing viewing).

Capcom haven’t been able to match the original Street Fighter 2‘s quality for a long time (the closest they came for me was Street Fighter Alpha 2), and in the development of their latest release; Street Fighter IV, you can tell they’ve gone back to the roots of the series. Capcom did attempt delving into the world of a 3D Street Fighter before, with the Street Fighter Ex series – these, although good in their own right, were overshadowed by games like Tekken and Dead or Alive.

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