Remember Me reviewed

Capcom's game has many memorable moments!

7.1 Surround Sound for the masses

Want cinematic sound quality? Then Mad Catz 720+ may be for you

DayZ: a new approach to survival horror

DayZ, a mod for Arma 2, is unlike any other horror game that came before

Best of the worst bad habits in gaming

Megabits of Gaming takes a look at five of its favourite gaming characters who have bad or slightly seedy habits.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bits and Bytes: Best Invention EVER

Sadly, this is only a t-shirt... as far as we're aware the tray is not an actual product. It's a shame really as I think that there may have been a few gamers who would have benifited from this over the years.

I'm sure there have been one or two incidents malnutrition and dehydration reported after a marathon session of Call of Duty or Halo!

Buy your T-shirt after the jump...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review:Total War Shogun 2-Fall of the Samurai

Total War: Shogun 2 – Fall of The Samurai (FOTS) marks the dawn of a new era. It’s a story of old versus new, traditional values versus modern impetus, spears and swords versus cannons and warships! Think Tom Cruise’s 2003 movie, The Last Samurai, and you get the idea.

FOTS is the latest historical masterpiece from Creative Assembly and SEGA, a standalone expansion pack to the hugely popular Shogun 2. But this isn't like any other expansion pack, oh no. This baby will provide over 100 hours of gameplay, with access to various factions, new weaponry and technologies - all in a wonderfully accurate world.

It takes place in the midst of the nineteenth century - the 1860s, to be precise - at the start of the Boshin War. It's been a troubling few years in Japan, years that have seen the country improve relations with the West to the detriment of the local people. Things soon take a turn for the worse. Cue a lot of infighting between the ruling Tokugawa Shogunate and rival factions – with you at the centre of things.

There are six playable clans on offer: Aizu, Nagaoka and Jozai for the Shogunate, while Choshu, Satsuma and Tosa represent the Imperial clans.

It's slow to start and pretty daunting for the uninitiated. There are so many buttons, menus, options and skill trees hidden about the screen that you may be initially tempted to hover the mouse over the Quit button and wave the white flag. But you'd be a fool. This is not only a war simulation, but an accurate rendition of feudal Japan. This is not a game you can dip your toes into, rather you need to fully immerse yourself in the world of the Shogunate.

For those familar with the Total War series, you'll quickly feel at home. The aim is to dominate the map, taking control of the various provinces through diplomacy or war, by making alliances or attacking rivals. It’s up to you to determine who comes out on top and potentially change history.

As ever, the real time battles – blessed with fantastic AI – are a joy. Pit your units against a rival and you're given the option to fight or let the computer determine the outcome automatically. Choose the former and it's quite a spectacle. There's something quite superb about lining your armies up on the battlefield, positioning them for optimal impact and then watching as they slug it out. You really feel like you're in control and wince as your soldiers fall because of your inadequacies and incompetence. The battles are truly epic and require quick reactions and smart thinking. One minute you'll think you've got your tactics sussed only for some sneaky cavalry to trample through your front line.

The new map is vast and now incorporates the island of Ezo to the north. With a powerful PC and everything ramped up on Ultra settings it looks absolutely fantastic. So much so, in fact, that I'd wager you won't mind your forces being cut to ribbons during a skirmish too much as you'll be busy admiring the rustling trees or the way the grass looks. Besides those battles, there's plenty more to focus on too; there are the cities and ports set against some beautiful landscapes, as well as new units and infrastructure such as the railways.

Ah, yes, the railways. These wonderful creations that allow provinces to be linked together, making movement around the huge map much more bearable. Nevertheless, they don’t make much of an appearance in the early stages of the game but are an exciting addition nonetheless.

Ships also play a key role in the proceedings. The naval battles are not only visually impressive but some well-timed bombardment on the battlefield from a warship off the coast can prove devastating to your enemies. They can also take out vital supply hubs and ports, adding an extra strategic element. The new dawn of powerful vessels brings with it torpedoes too!

There are 40 new units on offer, with the tech trees allowing you to evolve from the basic weapons of old to more effective, long range rifles and pistols. The huge number of soliders onscreen really adds to the feel of the game, as does the inclusion of a third person view when operating artillery or naval cannons.

New agents are available too, each with their own attributes and skills. The Imperial activist and the Shogunate investigator are joined by the Foreign Veteran, Shinobi Ninja and the Geisha.

There's plenty to see and do and to fully appreciate FOTS you really need to invest the hours - there's a mammoth multiplayer mode as well with 22 maps. If you've time at your disposal, you'll find yourself completely taken in by the world of the Shogun and it's well worth a purchase. It's another victory for Creative Assembly!

Reviewed on PC

Ten Ways The World Will End (Part Two)

We’re counting down the ways the world will end, and we’ve come across some that are so interesting that we’ve not even mentioned Bird Flu yet.

See the first five here.

Rise of the Robots
No, wait, we don’t mean the shit beat-em-up of yesteryear. We’re thinking of those times when humanity outsmarts itself and builds soldiers that keep fighting long after wars should have stopped. Terminator Salvation may be little more than a shortcut to easy Gamerscore, but check out Enslaved: Journey to the West for a cracking battle with rogue robots.

Ambivalent Apocalypse
We don’t know what brought about the end of the world in I Am Alive, but bloody hell it made a mess. The sunlight is harsh and bright as if the atmosphere is damaged, the land is grey and dusty as if covered in ash, and did you see the size of those holes in the ground? The very Earth has rent itself asunder. The whole place is trashed and we’ve no idea what caused it. Suddenly I know how my parents used to feel when they left teenaged me in charge of the house for weekend. I’m expecting I Am Alive to conclude with the discovery of a pile of Whiskey sick and a mystery bra.

Alien Invasion
Whether it’s Dr Breen’s false reassurance that everything is going to be ok or the creepy Chimera mutations unleashed by the invading spheres, aliens in video games are bad news. They have been ever since Space Invaders, but now the likes of Half Life 2 and the Resistance series give us a glimpse of human existence being ineradicably altered by alien life.

Biblical Apocalypse
No cooler a personage than Harvey Keitel will tell you, you don’t f*ck with the infinite. But what happens if you do? What happens if you unleash the forces of heaven and hell? Well, if Darksiders is anything to go by, you get a thoroughly enjoyable is ridiculously over designed God of War clone. If Hellgate: London is anything to go by, you get a bunch of badly written posters and some awful reviews. Either way, the world gets messy when celestial powers collide.

To an entire generation who should never have been allowed to watch Threads, there is only one way the world will end, a way that haunts nightmares and looms dangerously close whenever the news is on. In Star Ocean: The Last Hope, nuclear war ushers in an era of incredible cinematics, crazy character names and Japanese chicks in hotpants. In Fallout 3 it exposes the very worst traits of humanity and leaves us all enslaving and slaughtering each other for food and medicine in a rubble strewn world full of toxic puddles, mutated beasties and lingering painful death. I don’t care though, I’ve got me some sweet power armour and sizeable stockpile of roach meat.

Ten Ways The World Will End

It sounds strange to say you have a favourite fictional catastrophe, let alone more than one, but we at Megabits could list you dozens of doomsdays that have either touched our hearts or simply itched our trigger fingers. Here are a few of our favourites….

Asteroid Impact
Check out the opening sequence of Rage and you’ll see the world end in a surprisingly moving fashion. The actual post-apocalyptic gameplay might be built around monster trucks, boomerang murder and funny accents, but the opening sequence of Earth saying its goodbyes as a monsterous chunk of iron and rock makes its silent, implacable approach is both chilling and a clear sign that the game will take place in a world unlike any you would recognise.

When there's no more room in hell...
From Dead Island to Left 4 Dead to Dead Rising and the impending adaptation of The Walking Dead, everyone seem to think they’re practiced and ready for the attack of the flesh eating ghouls,but one look at the panicked slogans daubed on the saferoom walls of Left 4Dead remind you that there’s actually no such thing as a cosy catastrophe.

Environmental Catastrophe
Have you seen the queues at the petrol station right now? It’s hard not to be reminded of games in which fuel is a desperately scarce commodity such as …er… Fuel. 2009’s epic off road racing game featured a huge map, a variety of vehicles and a planet dessicated by global warming and ravaged by sandstorms and freak winds. And surprisingly short days. We’re not quite sure how global warming sped up our orbit, but still, it’s the end of the world-you can tell because everyone's attached spikes to their cars.

War...what is it good for?

Ok, Call of Duty Modern Warfare might not explicitly refer to an apocalypse, but try kidding yourself it isn’t happening. A nuke in the Middle East, several Nukes in the US and a disruptive invasion of Europe are hardly the precursor to a conciliatory tea party at the UN. There’s no coming back from the irradiation of the world’s oilfields and the inevitable collapse that stems from slaughtering the participants of the world’s largest economy. That’s it, show's over. Makes you wonder why you bothered chasing Makarov really, doesn’t it?

Think It To Death
That might not sound scary, but that's essentially what Alma does in FEAR. One stray thought from Armacham's psychic broodmare and all of a sudden buildings topple, people turn inside out, and gameplay slowly deteriorates over the course of two sequels. Ok, that last complaint has very little to do with the apocalypse, but it left us almost as doomladen as the in-game destruction.

Page Two - The Top 5

Review: The Jak and Daxter Trilogy

HD Collections are a bit of a hit and miss affair. Some breathe new life into an ageing game, giving it a nice modern outing with revamped graphics and sound... whereas others are little more than a mediocre title being shoved in a new box and slapped with a modern-day price tag. Fortunately, The Jak and Daxter Trilogy is a prime example of the former.

It seems unbelievable that it's just over a decade since colourful duo Jak and Daxter first burst onto our screens.

The games were once dubbed the best platformers of their generation and it's clear to see why. No discerning PS3 owner should spurn the opportunity to relive these adventures in all their cartoon-like glory. Each of the games was heaped with praise back then, helping to cement Naughty Dog as an awesome developer and a fan favourite. And boy, can they spin some great stories - the narrative of each of the games is both engrossing and entertaining, and guaranteed to keep you hooked right to the very end.

Content-wise, each title is untouched but they have been remastered to include 720p high-definition graphics, so they look nicely upscaled with improved animation and visuals. Trophy support is thrown in for good measure... oh, and there are some 3D options should your television be capable!

The minimalist menu screen offers little more than access to each of the games and a percentage indicator to highlight how much you've completed. The first in the series, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (originally released in 2001), obviously looks the most dated but stands the test of time remarkably well. The characters are rich and well defined. Samos the Sage is still there - nagging away as ever, as is his daughter (and Jak's love interest) Keira. There's the huge world to explore, lots to collect and the all too familiar controls allowing you to double jump, roll and smash stuff with your melee attack. This is platforming at its best.

The first game sees our heroes ignore Samos' sagely advice and wander to the intriguingly-named Misty Island. It's here that Daxster accidentally plunges into a vat of Dark Eco and is transformed into his furrier self - an otter/weasel hyrbid - aka an ottsel. Cue the start of the friends' adventures as they attempt to change Daxter back to his previous form.

Put aside the slightly ragged graphics and the core gameplay is still great. I'd almost forgotten how funny this game was and Daxter - who I'm certain is modelled on a comedic Joe Pesci character - is still really entertaining all these years on.

On to the sequel then, and things get even better. Despite the slightly annoying issue of having to quit out of the game entirely to reload the menu screen to play the next in the series, everything else works smoothly.

Jak II is bigger and better than its predecessor, and its original release two years after the first game really highlights the difference graphics-wise. But in terms of gameplay, there's so much more to do and loads of variety. It's really quite different from the first game; it's been likened more to the Grand Theft series than a tradional platformer! There’s a big new world to roam and plenty to explore and do. Everything’s a little more sinister than the Precursor Legacy. There are vehicles to drive, new guns to wield and Jak – the subject of experiments by Baron Praxis - can morph into a tougher Dark Jak who packs more of a punch.

The final offering, Jak 3, is leaps and bounds above the others aesthetically yet retains the same charm and humour of the earlier titles. This time round Jak is banished from the realm, and is left in the middle of nowhere to perish. Fortunately, his trusty sidekick Daxter opts to keep him company - but they’re not alone for long… This is perhaps the most well-rounded of the series and a great game in its own right, making it well worth the outlay alone.

If there's one thing you can say about Sony, it's that they certainly don't consider nostalgia a thing of the past; there are countless games from yesteryear that have been dusted off and re-released on the PS3 and I, for one, am all for it.

I reckon that The Jak and Daxter Trilogy is among the best of these collections, and it's a must have as much for those who loved the games the first time round as it is for those who have never experienced the duo's madcap escapades. Recommended!

Reviewed on PS3

  • This review was first published on Check out more news, reviews and articles after the jump.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Achievements: 700,000G for Stallion83

Over the past few years, the team at Megabits has tried its hand at a few Gamerscore Challenges - trying to reach a lofty target of a few thousand points (!) within the space of a few months. But farming gamerscore is tough going and we all found it pretty tricky to harvest points.

Fortunately, the world's leading points holder Stallion83 doesn't have the same problem. He started his epic quest to reach one million gamerscore waaaaaay back in November 2005. And now he's hit the 700,000G mark! He's calculated that it's taken him a measly 199,756,800 seconds, 3,329,280 minutes or 55,488 hours. We've been following you progress for some time - good luck for the next 300,000G!!!

Check out his official site after the jump. In the meantime, take a look at this commemorative video he made to mark the occasion... it really kicks in around 1min 20 secs...

In fact, he's really made me want to boost my score again. Now where did I put Avatar?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Infographic: Gamers Get The Girls

Those bods at the Online University have pulled together this rather funky infographic comparing gaming with... online dating(!). And not only that, but they've drawn it up in a retro 8-bit format.

The headline grabber? It's got to be that some 42% of women gamers find themselves attracted to people they play against!!! I'm logging off Megabits right now to grab my headset and go hunting...

Gamers Get Girls

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review: Binary Domain

Binary Domain is a perfect example of the old adage, 'never judge a book by its cover'. The game, which features cover art depicting a chisel-jawed hero carrying a wounded soldier on his back while a legion of red-eyed robot warriors blast away at him – as he returns fire with a chunky pistol - instantly said 'budget title', to me. And yes, BD feels like a budget title – but what it does, it does well.

Set in the near future, BD's world sees humanity on the brink. Global warming has led to rising sea levels, and humanity has built anew atop the flooded ruins of the old – and to do so, they created sophisticated robots. A lot of sophisticated robots.

Some time after, a new Geneva Convention was signed, setting out rules for the existence of these creations – and outlawing robots which appear human – so-called 'Hollow Children'. Unfortunately, somebody has been creating these Children anyway, and seeding the human population with them for purposes unknown. What's more unnerving is that these Children aren't aware that they're synthetic – and that asks a question of what exactly 'human' is.

Responding to this threat, a peacekeeping group – the International Robotics Technology Association – sends in one of their 'Rust Crews' to investigate a rogue Japanese technology corporation – and that's where the player comes in.

Stepping into the shoes of all-American hero Dan Marshall, the gamer is dropped (literally) into the heart of the action, as he and stereotypically massive black heavy gunner 'Bo' infiltrate Japan's now-insular nation, and attempt to rally the disparate elements of the Rust Crews deployed to the country.

Beforelong Dan's team, consisting of a group of screamingly horrible stereotypes – smarmy Englishman, prissy French robot, aloof female Chinese sniper et al – find themselves fighting off waves of robots, crazed killers, massive bosses and all kinds of horrors. Thankfully the plot, on a whole, is pretty good.

Now, while the game itself is a pretty polished third-person shooter, the real meat is in the 'trust' system. Like the incredibly awful game adaptation of The Thing, your squad works better depending on how much they like you – and you get them to like you by talking to them. Yes, Binary Domain uses voice control – an addition that usually goes horribly wrong when it's installed in most computer games.

Thankfully, in Binary Domain it's pretty reliable – most of the time. A quick press of the shoulder buttons opens the voice control menu, and a bark of “Charge!” will send your two selected team members sprinting forwards. Likewise, “Cover me” will bring them in to support you, and shouting “Awesome!” after they've bought down a massive robotic menace makes their trust in you rise.

Likewise, calling them “Idiot”, or swearing at them (the game recognises a number of rather blue words) makes their trust in you drop, making them less likely to follow your orders – and affecting the dialogue in the in-game cutscenes. It's a good system that works well for Binary Domain, although it's not without its faults.

If you slur your words or speak with a thick accent, don't be surprised is the game says the wrong thing – often at the wrong time - or sometimes just says things without you saying anything at all. Take, for example, me congratulating demolitions specialist Rachel on bringing down a shock-trooper robot with her shotgun:

“F#ck.” (No! I said 'well done'!)
“Oh, that's OK Dan.”
“I love you.” (I said 'Awesome'!)
“Well, sorry Dan, but...”

It may not be intended to be hilarious, but it certainly comes out that way.

The gameplay itself is pretty well crafted. Dan can slide from cover to cover, Gears-style, and the robot enemies are pleasingly fun to demolish. Each of the enemies is coated in armour that flecks off as you pound at it with your weaponry, and running up to smash one in the face with your rifle butt is a meaty, enjoyable expression of destruction.

Your team's AI is generally good enough to follow your commands and not get in the way too often. And they can hold their own in the game's many, many firefights. The boss battles are also pretty good fun, pitting you up against your opponent's huge variety of robotic minions - and pulling your team together in the process.

While Dan and his team only carry one main weapon – which can be upgraded at Japan's many convenient ammunition stalls - a huge number of nanomachine add-ons, weapons and grenades are available to be used, making each of the varied environments you have to battle through a challenge.

Coming in at a good length of 8+ hours, the campaign is a good blast, despite its flaws and a few irritating levels. Outside of the campaign, the game offers co-op and competitive multiplayer, but the lag I experienced on the servers is pretty chronic and the gameplay is nothing special, so I'd probably stick to the decent singleplayer campaign.

Graphically, the game isn't bad looking. The lighting is good, the animation is smart and the way the robots splinter looks great. The voice acting is also very enjoyable – the game is full of snappy one-liners, despite the horrific national stereotyping of the Rust Crew – and the guns sound meaty and accurate. Sure, the instantaneous romance that springs up between Dan and a teammate is laughable (get a high enough trust level and you're in, pal...), but the game as a whole is an enjoyable shooter, if a little frayed around the edges.

The score, however, consists of the same musical string played over and over and over between the boss battles, which is lazy, and drove me a little nuts.

Reviewed on Xbox 360

Check out Andy Hemphill's blog after the jump.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Megabits of News: Weekly Roundup

Megabits of Gaming trawls the web for the tastiest morsels of news, so you don't have to...

Sequel for Disney Epic Mickey
The mouse who doesn’t know how to quit, Mickey continues to be a popular character for gaming fans. Disney Epic Mickey: The Power of Two, is coming out for Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360, says Joystiq.

Portal 2 is BAFTA Game Of The Year
Portal 2 was the star of the night at this year’s British Academy Video Game Awards, winning Game Of The Year. Congratulations. Head to the official BAFTA site for the full list of winners.

Sony confirms LittleBigPlanet Karting
Sackman has finally passed his driving test and been given a set of wheels. Sony has confirmed a racing game will be developed featuring the LittleBigPlanet star on the PS3. LittleBigPlanet Karting is due out at some stage this year.

BioWare cancels Dragon Age 2 expansion
According to MCV, plans for a Dragon Age 2 expansion has been dropped by BioWare. However, fear not quest lovers, the Bioware’s team said it is still very much focused on the franchise’s future.

Dragon’s Lair on XBLA with Kinect
Now you can jump over pitfalls and mimic swinging from ropes in your living room as Dragon’s Lair will contain Kinect support when it arrives on lands on Xbox LIVE Arcade, says VG247. Got to be excited about that.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Megabits' Pick: The Ten Best Skyrim Mods (2)

PC gamers often complain that their games feel less sophisticated these days, as they’ve been developed with consoles in mind. No matter what other gripes they have, there’s one thing PC gamers can’t complain about-the ability to install mods to games like Skyrim.

You’ve seen the first part of our Favourite Skyrim Mods, here’s the best of the rest…

5. Respectful Lydia
Grumpy loners that we are, we tend not to use companions in Fallout or Skyrim, but we were tempted to make an exception for foxy iron-clad Lydia. Until we heard her snide response to our every attempt to hand her some decent armour. This mod replaces her sarcastic remarks with a choice of three somewhat friendlier comments from her dialogue assignment.

4. Categorized Favourites
The ability to add favourites to a hotkeyed list seems handy at first, when all you need do is swap between melee and ranged weapons and grab the occasional health potion. By the midgame, however, you’ll have your favourite soul-trapper, and array of weapons enchanted for different enemies, a list of handy spells and magical potions and useful enchanted items. Eventually, your useful favourites list is as cluttered and useless as your longlists. Categorized Favourites helps you divvy your goodies into categories and sub-categories, and even group sets of items such as armour to be equipped all at once.

3. Enhanced Night Skyrim
One of the joys of Skyrim is looking up at the Aurora Borealis floating above your adventurer, but you can take that a step further with the Enhanced Night mod which replaces the night sky with a high-res astrophotography image, a real starfield.

2. Deadly Dragons
Everyone in Skyrim is scared witless of Dragons, which is funny, as you’ll probably find that Trolls and even Bears are harder to deal with. With the Deadly Dragons mod, you’ll find that Dragons are twice as tough, come equipped with elemental powers, and are resistant to spells and staggering. Unlike the ones in the basic game, these scaley b*stards can kick your Viking arse.

1. Zelda Armour
Skyrim’s the finest adventure of this generation, but the finest adventurer in gaming goes back a lot further than just this gen. The Zelda armour mod lets your character shrug on Link’s distinctive garb. It not only adds some amusing nostalgia value, it actually looks cool in its own right.

Megabits' Pick: The Ten Best Skyrim Mods

Bethesda make some truly brilliant games, the likes of Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Skyrim, games that win GotY awards in their own right, which makes it all the more amazing that people often describe them as vanilla framework to hang mods on.

It’s true though, that Oblivion and Skyrim can both be enhanced in practical or comedic fashion by any number of mods. The less said about Fallout 3’s mods the better. We at Megabits tip our hats to toilers who make the mods, and assembled our list of the best Skyrim mods. Unless we say otherwise, you can find these at Oh, and just so you filthy little monkeys know, we’re not including the skimpy armour/big wobbly arses/naked bodies type mods. Not to worry though, you can find them at Skyrimnexus too, if you’re that way inclined…

10. Dovahkin Hideout
Like a Nordic Donald Trump, you’ll soon have acquired houses all over Skyrim, but even with basic storage and decorating carried out, they don’t feel quite good enough for the famous Dragonborn. Add the Dovahkin Hideout perk, however, and you’ll find each house now has a massive cellar filled with storage trunks, display cases and enchanting tables. Better still, you can travel between all your house using their uber-basement.

9. Better Sorting
By the time you’ve pumped a few ten pointers into your stamina you’ll find that your carrying capacity is getting pretty hefty. Sadly, that can just mean difficulty sorting through your inventory. Better sorting makes a very small but incredibly helpful difference to your inventory: Arrow-Daedric, Arrow-Dwemer, Arrow-Elven.

8. Quality World Map
Skyrim’s map is pretty, what with its rolling hills and drifting clouds, but it’s definitely a case of style over substance. It’s a pain to use, with routes hard to see and its few visual reference points wafted over by clouds. The Quality World Map mod not only allows you to highlight all or just the major roads, but it also gives you a choice of two styles, a highly textured ordinary version, or an old school parchment style map similar to that found in Oblivion. Both are better looking and easier to use than the original.

7. Glowing Ore Veins
Something of a Ronseal mod, glowing ore veins is a godsend for players early in the game, who’ll still need to do regular mining and smelting to get their smithing up and their armour improved. The existing ore textures don’t draw much attention to themselves, but this mod will have you digging up what you need in no time.

6. Sky UI
One of the most popular mods available, SkyUI adds item icons, slims down text, chops word counts and generally does everything it can to make Skyrim’s user interface a little friendlier to mouse users. Ok, its not the most exciting mod ever, but it might well be the most useful.

PAGE TWO - The Top Five

Bits and Bytes: Fashion Faux Pas

We all know the rules. Any kind of novelty tie in the workplace is rather uncool and should be avoided at all costs. However, here at Megabits we keep getting drawn back to these retro video gaming ties. They're actually not that bad (we're currently on the run from the fashion police).

So here's our challenge to you. Go buy one, wear it to work and let's have the feedback! I bet they'll catch on in no time. Check out after the jump.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: Asura's Wrath

Capcom’s latest epic, Asura’s Wrath, is a game that’s sure to divide opinion. There will be those who adore its anime-style graphics, engrossing storyline and God of War-fighting mechanic… but conversely there will inevitably be others that question whether a full price release should really offer a bit more gameplay, less narrative and forget its heavy emphasis on quick time events all together. I surprisingly found myself falling into the former camp and think that Capcom have developed a game that is both captivating and well worth playing.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of lengthy cut scenes or QTE, and this game has both in abundance. Not only that, but the fighting elements are fairly basic and can get repetitive... but these points aside, I still wanted to keep on playing – and enjoyed the experience wholeheartedly.

Developed by Cyber Connect 2, the game combines Asian mythology and Science Fiction to tell the tale of the titular Asura, a once revered deity who falls on hard times.

We all have bad days but Asura's having an absolute stinker. Following a triumphant return home after a skirmish with the Gohma, he falls from grace rather abruptly after the Emperor is found murdered. Everyone assumes he is responsible and his pleas of innocence fall on deaf ears. Things go from bad to worse when he finds his wife slaughtered, his daughter kidnapped and he is subsequently banished. Ostracised and pretty darn miserable, 12,000 years pass and we take control of our hero as he embarks on an epic quest to save his daughter and crack some skulls in the name of revenge. He’s an angry guy, but fortunately he can channel his rage to take on allcomers.

The game looks fantastic and is split into a series of bite-sized episodes, much like a TV series. Each part opens with credits and a brief animation or some artwork to progress the story. It works really well and develops the plot nicely, encouraging you to play on. Most episodes involve fighting giant apes, elephants and a multitude of other beasts using various attacks, followed by a confrontation with one of the seven deities thrown in for good measure. The size and scale of some of these bad guys is immense; early on, while seemingly on the verge of defeating a rival called Wyzen, he suddenly grows in size to become bigger than the planet itself. You then see him attacking Asura from outerspace, his giant finger piercing the atmosphere to crush our hero like a flea. Despite the odds being against him, Asura is still able to hold his own, however, thanks largely to the ability to sprout six arms and fill a gauge as he gets angrier that unleashes some devastating attacks.

As mentioned above, QTE dominates the proceedings and it does grate a little after a while, making the gameplay seem a little light. A flick of the sticks, a well-timed twist or all-out button mashing is enough to beat the bad guys. Get it right and you’ll be rewarded with a positive rating at the end of the section; a poor performance and your grades will be marked down – possibly incentivizing you to have another attempt and extend the game’s longevity.

It really does feel more like an interactive movie. The sound effects and background music is superb, really adding to the atmosphere and its big screen feel. When not watching the cutscenes, you get to dabble with in some hand to hand combat, which is reminiscent of the God of War series. Occasionally there are also some basic on-rail shooting sections, where you simply have to aim your reticule and press the rapid fire button or unleash a few homing missiles when locked on to your target. Overall, the controls are easy to grasp – a heavy and light attack button, dive and dash attacks, rapid fire and the trigger button when your rage gauge is full.

It’s really not a tough game and it doesn’t last too long. By the time you’ve “played” the first few episodes you’ll have an idea of what’s to come but I found myself keen to fulfil Asura’s destiny. To summarize, this is a good-looking title that’s full of shouting, grimacing, violence and repetition. At full price, you may feel a little shortchanged but find this discounted and you should snap it up as it’s an enjoyable romp.

Reviewed on Xbox 360

  • This review was first published on Check out more news, reviews and articles after the jump.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

30 Min Playtest:Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

As Megabits’ resident Resident Evil fan, it naturally falls to me to review Operation Raccoon City, which is funny, as it feels like the sort of game that should really have fallen into the hands of a fan of Team Fortress.

There’s no avoiding the fact that this is essentially a class-based shooter that has burrowed parasite-like under the dessicated skin of everyone’s favourite survival horror franchise. It’s a sound strategy really. Gamers are fickle when it comes to class based shooters: for every Team Fortress 2 there’s a shamefully disregarded Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. When it comes to team based co-op shooters, the big story of recent years has been Valve's zombie apocalypso Left 4 Dead series. If you were at Capcom then it’s a no-brainer to gene-splice your new class-based mechanics with your existing zombie infested franchise and see what shambles out of the lab.

That’s not to say that the whole thing is a cynical exercise that will leave Resident Evil fans feeling empty and mistreated. No, that would be Resident Evil 5. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City provides some genuine thrills for fans of the series. Within minutes of starting the game you’ll find yourself on the flipside of the scene that started the third act of Resident Evil 2. Our first crack at multiplayer popped us into a map so full of Resi 3 nostalgia that we instantly started swearing at that b*stard rusted crank whilst looking out for the implacable Nemesis.

These successful and enjoyable evocations of the series high points are incorporated almost seamlessly into an action packed multiplayer game that combines a rock solid co-op campaign with some great multi-player modes in which you battle other players and NPC zombies simultaneously-it reminded us a lot of the classic George Romero ‘Dead’ trilogy (as with the other George, we’re choosing to ignore the three recent travesties with which he’s chosen to defile his reputation) in the sense that the zombies might get you, but in all likelihood it’ll be a humans fault if they do.

The actual gameplay is often surprisingly similar to that of classic Resi games. Don’t worry, there aren’t any ridiculously complex puzzles or awkward tank style controls, but you do have a combat knife to earn you breathing room, and you’ll find that your targets can soak up an enormous quantity of bullets, which gives you that traditional Resi feeling of being underpowered and low on ammo. Characters move smoothly but slowly, but the aiming mechanism is swift and responsive, which means you’ll often be forced to endure the other classic Resi fear: popping bullets into an approaching enemy, unable to get away and desperately hoping you can kill it before it kills you.

This is all pretty good, and we’ve really been enjoying it, but there is a caveat. Playing solo is dull and tiresome. Now a lot of people will tell you that multiplayer is what's important in modern gaming, and as long as a game is fun to play with friends, then it’s a success. This is tripe. Sorry, but it is.

If you genuinely enjoy the company of you friends then any game is fun to play with them. Monopoly. Travel Scrabble. Bass Fishing. If you’re going to charge me forty quid for a game, however, then it needs to justify that price by being fun in its own right rather than relying on my friend list to bring the joy. Your game has got to be good when my friends are on holiday. It’s got to be good when I’m dealing with 3AM insomnia. It’s got to be good when I’ve been drunkenly abusive and they’ve all stopped talking to me. Unfortunately, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is only good when all your friends are present, plugged in and playing alongside you. The rest of the time, it’s fairly flat and uninspired. We’re going to give it a continue for now, because we’ve had some real fun with it, but we’ve got a feeling that it’s living on borrowed time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Achievements: Point-less Gamerscore 2

Here's the second part of our pointless article on achievements - at least, in the sense that you get zero gamerscore often in exchange for loads of your time and effort.

See our pick of 10-6 after the jump.

5) Halo 3 -
Vidmaster Challenges
DLC is great, right? And free DLC is really great, right? True, but DLC that is tough as nails and gets you zero points? Not so sure, especially for the completionists out there. Our pick of the three infamous achievements is the Annual accolade - "After 9/25/08, complete Halo on 4-player Legendary LIVE co-op, with Iron, and everyone in Ghosts". Incredibly tough!

4) Guitar Hero III -
Refuse a boss battle

A reward for your cowardice. Dear oh dear. Alternatively, you may have just decided you've had enough for the night and wanted to shut down your machine. Either way, zero points is yours.

3) The Simpsons -

We loved The Simpsons and spent many an hour inflating Homer, burping and catapulting. It's a fairly big game too and can be tricky in places. For those who can't help but die repeatedly, this is a pity achievement for 10 deaths in a row.

2) Soldier of Fortune: Payback -
Stop Hittin' Yourself

Following on from The Simpsons, Soldier of Fortune also offers gamers an incentive for dying... only this time it's when you do it deliberately! Zero points is your trophy should you be willing to kill yourself 50 times on Xbox Live.

1) Kameo: Elements of Power -
(Too many to mention!)

It's an oldie but a goody, Kameo was a launch title for the 360 but is still pretty good even today. It looks nice, plays well and was well received by the critics. It also holds the crown for boasting the greatest quantity of pointless achievements in single title with no less than... wait for it...24!!!

BACK TO PAGE ONE: Numbers 10-6

Achievements: Point-less Gamerscore

They say you don't get something for nothing... but in the world of the seventh generation console, that's not strictly true. And we're not too happy about it.

There's nothing we at Megabits love more than that little gamerscore symbol popping up on screen while we button mash on our 360s - but there's something deeply depressing about getting a zero G (aka pointless) achievement. Not only do they normally acknowledge your failings - that you've died so many times or succumbed to rage quitting - but they also remain on your record for everyone to see. We hate them.

Some are inventive, some rewarding and some are just plain stupid. In fact, there are loads of them - take a look at to see for yourself.

Here are some of those that we've come across - and sworn at under our breath.

10) Asura's Wrath -

Sure, they're not ALL bad - some zero G achievements are positive and prove you're a pretty good gamer. Take Asura's Wrath, for example. Here you get an achievement worth absolutely nothing for unlocking every other achievement in game. If you played this on the PS3, this would be a Platinum trophy, so congratulations!

9) Gears of War 3 -
Welcome to the Big Leagues

Never played a Gears game before? Really!?! Well, when you first attempt multiplayer this achievo will pop. I kinda like the idea that it's like a "Welcome" achievement to get you focussed before the diehards chop you in half with a chainsaw.

8) Call of Duty: World at War
It’s All about Prestige/Go Get Some Sun

I hate achievements like this that demand you work your behind off. Sometimes, these are best forgotten. It's tough enough to get to Prestige ranking and earn the first of these achievements... but to get to 10th Prestige in multiplayer... ARGHHH. There are some who persist though...

7) FIFA 10 -
Bad Loser
There's nothing worse than Rage Quitters. It sucks when you're half way through a game of FIFA online and you're actually winning... only for the little b#stard you're playing to quit on you. And, just to rub salt into the wound, EA reward him with an achievement for his poor sportsmanship. Shame on you.

6) NHL 2K8 -

Gah, stop quitting games already!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Review: UFC Undisputed 3

After a brief hiatus, with the Kinect- and Move-based UFC Personal Trainer title filling the mixed martial arts hole last year, the third in the Undisputed series has arrived. The latest release is the follow up to the Undisputed 2010 edition and is a worthy update indeed. With improved graphics, better controls, a comprehensive Create A Fighter mode, huge roster and that all-important inclusion of the Pride competition, this is as good as it gets for any fan of the sport.

UFC Undisputed 3 contains everything that made the previous games great – but the real headline grabber this time round is the inclusion of Japan's Pride competition, complete with giant square ring, pyrotechnics and the play by play commentary of Bas Rutten and Stephen Quadros.

The inclusion of Pride really does add value to the package, feeling almost like THQ have crammed in a whole new game. From the raucous arenas, excitable announcers and those vicious moves that include foot stomps to the face, and ground knees and soccer kicks to the head, it offers even more reasons to keep playing. It’s a suitably different experience from UFC titles we’ve come to expect, notably with the aforementioned rule changes and the lengthier – and more unforgiving – rounds. After an initial 10-minute round, you’ve got to hold your own for another two rounds lasting five minutes each.

Combine this with the two new UFC weight classes – the featherweight and bantamweight divisions – and that’s a collection of more than 150 of the world’s best fighters on one shiny disc.
It's a sublime rendition of the sport but just like the real thing, Undisputed 3 is a great spectacle but can prove massively frustrating; you may land a flurry of punches and connect with numerous well-timed kicks, but despite your dominance one smack on the jaw from your opponent can lose you the fight in an instant. This does make each bout exciting and add an element of surprise and tension to the proceedings but it can prove extremely frustrating. Still, that’s the nature of the sport itself and, in that regard, the game is extremely accurate. All the moves are there, from elbows, clinches, grapples and submissions – and each fighter has their specific specialties and styles, meaning they actually “feel” different. It’s a game with plenty of replayability that's both easy to pick up but difficult to master.

As mentioned above, there are countless improvements over its predecessors. Besides the new weight classes and graphical overhaul – with still some of the most realistic sweat and blood effects ever seen - a very important change for many of us will be improved submission system. The new method removes some of the frustration felt by gamers in the previous titles.

Submissions are now a mini game of cat and mouse - a small octagon popping up onscreen that contains a red and blue bar. The idea is to chase - or evade - your opponent's bar. Whether they overlap when the time runs out determines whether the move is successful. It's tricky but infinitely easier than in past games.

Control-wise, you can now also choose between the traditional method for grappling and a new simplified version. This means that even newbies will have slightly more of a chance in the Octagon. Transitions between clinches and guards look seamless and are much easier to pull off than before.

A helpful tutorial pops up onscreen to offer advice as you play too, which is a nice touch – although this can be turned off as you become a little more confident. Lengthy training guides can be accessed from the main menu too, providing valuable tips and techniques.
Also on the list of new additions are an increased number of camera angles to add to the realism factor, as well as fighter entrances filled with commentators' musings on their key attributes and skills.

Create a fighter is extensive and intuitive with everything from appearance, stance, entrance and victory poses customisable.

You can then use one of your creations or someone from the huge lineup and dive into an Exhibition match or try you hand at the various game modes: Title, Title Defence, Tournament, Events, Ultimate fights and the full-blown Career.

This time round, the Career option sees less emphasis on figures and statistics and more of a focus on training and fighting. It’s quite a journey too, as you work your way through three associations: the World Fighting Alliance, Pride and the UFC itself.

Before each fight, there are opportunities to train and join camps. The training seems to have taken some pointers from last year’s UFC Personal Trainer game as tasks like tyre flipping make an appearance. Drills and sparring sessions help you build your attributes and hone skills before you continue your path to greatness in the Octagon.

Not only do the camps make a welcome return but this time round you’re joined by a trainer in your corner during a fight. A really cool addition is the Gameplan, which boost your skills if you stick to it.

Everything earns you currency – or cred – which you need to spend on training programs, sparring partners and so on; the better you do, the more you earn and the better you do!
When you've had enough playing alone, the online modes will no doubt eat into your time too, especially with the promise of new servers and better matchmaking. Connecting to Live for some online competition was speedy and there was no noticeable lag in any of our matchups. It’s a pretty comprehensive offering too; Ranked Matches allow you to pick everything from the fighters to the referee and venue. After each fight – there’s a handy stats screen to see how often you were punched in the head or which of your legs took a more severe beating!

As you progress, your fights are saved in highlight reels so that you can share them with friends and show off your new-found skills and submissions. It’s a nice addition that should do well among the community. Fight Camps allow you to improve your skills in the virtual gym, spar with camp partners and participate in both ranked and unranked matches.

There's plenty of DLC planned too, which should extend your playtime considerably; content will include additional fighters, historic UFC fights, career boosts and early access to unlockable content should you want to see everything the game has to offer a little more quickly.

There are plenty of developers out there who should take a leaf out of THQ's book and dispense with the mantra that sports sims MUST have an annual update. The result is that fans often feel a little shortchanged because the latest iteration doesn't actually offer much more than the last. Sure, there's a new roster or a few more features but you don't get much for your money.

The return of the Undisputed series, however, was well worth the wait with more options, fighters and game modes than ever before. Novices may find it a little daunting but any fan of the UFC or Pride will be right at home - and for them, it's an essential purchase.

Reviewed on Xbox 360
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