Top 10 Driving Games

Driving games are one of the most addictive and popular types of computer games on the planet.

Almost every gamer has at least one no matter what console they are prefer; you can even get driving games for your phone these days!

Because they are so popular, there have been thousands of driving and racing style games produced. Some are serious, realistic affairs with real cars and real racetracks. Others are amazingly over-the-top sci-fi experiences, with space ships and hoverboards. You can even get family friendly, cartoonish versions that your grandmother could play.

Even though there are so many out there, there’s a lot of bad games that you shouldn’t waste your hard earned money on. We play quite a lot of driving games around here and in our opinion, these are the best ten ever produced.

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit gives you the option of being either a cop or a racer. Both game options are tons of fun with decent graphics and enough options and modes to keep you busy for ages.

Crazy Taxi

Crazy Taxi is a classic. Originally an arcade game that allowed you to drive a taxi at incredibly high speeds, the game was so popular that SEGA moved it to Dreamcast in 2000. The game is not only addictive but allows you to drive pretty much anywhere in a fast paced, arcade type driving game. Sadly, Crazy Taxi is something of an oldie, so you’ll need one of the older consoles (GameCube, Xbox or PS2) to play it.

Burnout Paradise

Burnout has everything a good driving game should. Fast cars, the ability to destroy things and hundreds of ways to play the game! Play online, offline, in road rage mode or just a race against the game. Often the game sounds overly simple but can be quite fun and challenging to actually pull off with style.

Gran Turismo 5

Gran Turismo was one of the originators of truly realistic driving games. The most recent version is an example of a near-perfect game. Stunning visuals, 100 cars to choose from and a clever new system to ensure that your car takes “realistic damage” coupled with real-life tracks to race on and glorious HD graphics make this title one for those who really take their gaming seriously. As realistic as it is, don’t go trying to replicate your Gran Turismo moves during adriving lesson.

ModNation: Racers

This one offers a fun twist on family-friendly, kart-based racing games;  players use tools to create and edit the cars they use. Featuring high speed races across eye-catching animated landscapes, 12 player online gaming, split and a screen dual racing game option and you have a great game that caters to both classic and modern driving gameplay. Plus, it’s lightweight enough to sit down and play with the family.

Shift 2: Unleashed

Neither a wacky arcade racer nor a hyper-realistic simulator, Shift 2 is an odd hybrid of a game. The cars are reasonably realistic, but the physics lacks the realism of Gran Turismo. The fun part of this game is abandoning the actual gameplay and competing with your friends for the most unrealistic and outrageous crash possible.

Driver: San Francisco

Driver is the sequel to the 1999 hit, Driver. The game features stunning graphics, cool classic cars and all of the action you could ever want. It also has a great plot and well thought-out characters that will keep you interested. Oh, and it has tons of driving!

Blur

Blur is a combat racing game with extraordinary out of this world graphics and amazing cars. While gameplay could be compared to a toned down and sexified version of Mario Kart, its still tons of fun and considerably more macho than Nintendo’s classic!

F1 2011

F1 2011 gives you all of the thrills, considerations and skill of racing with a real F1 car. From adjusting the weights of your vehicle to handling your baby on turns, the F1 is realistic and very fun. The game features multiple gameplay options, 29 tracks and plenty of challenges to keep you interested.

Mario Kart Wii

Mario Kart is the best racing game series ever conceived. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, it features fun and easily-recognisable characters, simple but insanely addictive gameplay, wacky weapons and now, in its newest incarnation, the ability to play online. There’s nothing quite like crossing the finish line after blasting your little sister off the road with a red turtle shell missile, overtaking your dear old grandmother and lapping your best friend.

This content was provided by PassSmart.com, the easiest way to find a driving instructor in your area.

5 Awesome Car Game Android Apps

We’ve fished out the top car related android games so you don’t have to!

With so many car racing apps on the Android marketplace, it’s often hard to pick and choose which one is worth downloading. Since there are a lot of duds out there, why waste time downloading these? To make things easier, here are the top five car racing apps that most won’t regret downloading:

1. Drag Racing

The drag racing app created by Creative Mobile is a very simple concept, yet very addicting car racing game. Racing against another car on a straight raceway, the user will control three parts of the car. These parts include the accelerator, gears and the N20, which activates the turbo. Available with three different difficulty levels, the user will have the option to play against the computer or another user. This particular game has a lot of replay value with features such as car upgrades, where money has to be earned in order to upgrade a car, and even leader boards, where a user will try to become the best in the world.

2. GT Racing Motor Academy


Created by Gameloft, this highly rated car racing game puts the user directly behind a car’s steering wheel. Inspired by the Gran Turismo series, the user will have to pass tests in the beginning in order to enter the racing circuits. Once the tests have been passed, it’s time to hit the road where races can be held.

Over time, the user will have to earn money in order to upgrade their cars and features throughout the game. With stunning graphics, most don’t even realize the Android is capable of producing something such as this.

3. Road Warrior


Road Warrior a no holds barred racing game. With no rules, users will be able to race the way they want to. The objective of the game is to finish the race with the highest score possible, no matter how it’s done. As the game progresses, the user will be able to purchase weapons, performance boosters and more.

As these items are purchased, it will give the user an advantage over their opponents that they are racing against. Once enough respect is earned throughout the game, bosses can be faced, earning the users unique cars. With easy to use controls, this is highly recommended for someone that wants a unique racing experience.

4. Extreme Road Trip


Extreme Road Trip is an action packed game that keeps the user on their toes. With the gas pedal being stuck during the game, the whole objective of the game is to get as far as possible without crashing. With easy to use controls, the user will have to tilt the phone left and right to avoid objects such as hills and mountains.

As the game goes on, the courses get challenging. If records are beat, users will be able to unlock things such as cars, upgrade packs and more. Considered a highly additive car game, Extreme Road Trip has a lot of replay value.

5. Tilt Racing


Created by TerranDroid, Tilt Racing is a racing game that has a variety of options. Being able to choose between two modes like Free Play and Career Play, the objective of the game is to finish the race in first place, beating out your older scores. With simple to use controls, the user will be able to use the phone as their steering wheel as it’s tilted back and forth, with an accelerator on the screen that controls the speed.

Tilt Racing not only has superb graphics, it also has more than ten unique tracks to choose from. For those looking for entertainment value, this is an app to highly consider.

These are just a few of the hundreds of car game apps that can be downloaded on the Android marketplace. For those that are looking for fun, entertaining games that relate to cars, highly consider one of the five mentioned above.

This list of games was put together for you by the guys who have a terribly hard day job of playing car games all day at Free-Games.net

A Glance at PS Vita Launch Games

The PS Vita is the latest handheld gaming offering from Sony. While the big ‘home consoles’ seem to have stagnated somewhat (we are well overdue the release of a new Xbox or PlayStation) this is the second new entry into the handheld gaming market in the last 12 months hot on the heels of the Nintendo 3DS. The question is, how will PS Vita fare?

On the surface of it, the PS Vita is a much more powerful device than the 3DS with graphics that would look at home on a PS2 and with one of the most gorgeous HD screens this side of iPhone’s retina display. However as history has shown us before, it doesn’t really come down to the specs so much as it does the games. The best indicator of the PS Vita’s success will be its games. So how does it fare at launch?

The good news of Sony fans is that it fares rather well indeed, and has a much more diverse and heavy hitting array of games at launch than the 3DS had. But are they any good? Here are a few highlights for you to check out.

Rayman Origins:

Rayman Origins is a gorgeous 2D platformer that is a great showcase for the impressive PS Vita screen. While you might question whether your expensive new PS Vita is best showcased by a 2D game, you should wait until you see how detailed the hand-drawn levels are, and how vibrant the colors are. It’s literally like playing a comic book, and the gameplay is also top notch with accessible old-fashioned sensibilities with great modern twists. Epic, fun, nostalgic and beautiful.

*****

WipEout 2048:

If you wanted some fast 3D graphics to show off instead though, then this is the game for you. As well as excellent graphics though, the game also features familiar high-octane gameplay and is filled with content to keep you going. Along with Tomb Raider the original WipEout helped to make the PsOne into the success it became, so it’s fitting that the PS Vita get its own WipEout at launch.

****

Ridge Racer:

Oh dear. It seemed fair to include a stinker on this list of PS Vita games just to prove that it can be done despite the wonderful hardware. Ridge Racer is perfectly passable in terms of graphics, control and everything else you expect from a racer… except for content. It seems that the developers had a very very short development cycle as all you actually get here is the option to race around a measly four tracks over a WiFi connection. There are demos with more to offer.

*

Uncharted: Golden Abyss:

The PS3 games are renowned for their epic scale, incredible graphics and swashbuckling sense of adventure. The good news is that all these things are present and correct on the PS Vita providing you with one of the most in-depth and satisfying handheld gaming experiences ever.

*****

Escape Plan:

While the puzzles and gameplay don’t quite live up to the initial promise, the fantastic art direction and indie-feel largely make up for it.

***

Lumines:

Electronic Symphony: Every handheld console needs an un-put-downable puzzle game at launch and thankfully Lumines is just that game – with nice glowy effects.

****

Sarah Branigan is blogger and gadget lover who blogs her gaming experience as hobby. She is also owner of zwee.com. A must check shopping cart to buy gaming consoles at cheaper rates. Check out more offer on kinect at zwee.

Top Three Video Game Criminals

Everybody loves an antihero and, although they might not admit it, almost everybody would love to be one. Video games are a medium that often allow players to do just that, also ensuring that nobody in real life gets hurt during the process (unless you decide to do something silly like take out your frustration by bludgeoning your flatmate with your keyboard), and it is often opined that characters on the wrong side of the law are much more fun than the traditional bland goody two shoes protagonist. So who are video gaming’s top criminals?

  • Garrett (the Thief series)

The Thief series is widely praised as one of the best stealth games of its time, and even now it remains fondly thought of by fans and critics alike. Protagonist Garrett inhabits a dark fantasy world fraught with magic and steampunk in more or less equal parts. Gruff, cynical and darkly comic, you can’t help but find yourself sharing in Garrett’s smug satisfaction following a successful bout of thieving. He has little fondness for other people (although he generally avoids killing if at all possible), and also has a rather useful mechanical eye which essentially operates as a zoom lens and remote camera.

  • Niko Bellic (Grand Theft Auto IV)

Niko Bellic is the complex character at the heart of Rockstar North’s blockbusting title Grand Theft Auto IV. Having had a rough family life as a child and been betrayed by one of his fellow soldiers during his years in the army, you can really blame him for seeing the glass as half empty. Niko’s life of crime starts almost inadvertently, with him coming to Liberty City in order to help out his trouble prone brother and try and pursue the American Dream. However, he also has another, ulterior motive for turning up in the city: in order to try and find the man who betrayed him and his unit.

  • Agent 47 (the Hitman series)

There’s no two ways about it: Agent 47 is a criminal, even if he is a highly skilled one. As a bald, barcode-tattooed guy in a stylish Italian suit and leather gloves, you’d think that he’d find it rather difficult to blend in. However, fortunately for 47 he is a master of disguise, with people seemingly finding it impossible to identify him just so long as he’s wearing somebody else’s stuff. A genetically engineered super clone and a dedicated professional, you have to be sure that you want to get Agent 47 to assassinate someone when you request him: he cannot be called off once the contract has been agreed (so it would be a little late for you to try and get criminal injuries compensation, but hey, your friends and relatives might).

Eli Smith is a nice guy really, but just can’t help admitting that he has more fun playing antiheroes than he does clean cut heroes.

INTERVIEW: Indie Start-up TCGames on Velisia, and Their Journey So Far…

So, how do you go from programming games in university to starting up a fully-fledged indie game company, bordering on your first release? TCGames are a young group of designers and programmers caught up in the middle of their own indie story, and are on the brink of releasing their first game Velisia: A Traitor’s Legacy. Stephen Rhodes took the time to interview Director, Producer and Lead Designer Chris Wilson, on how their dream journey has panned out so far.

 

Hi Chris, thanks for taking the time out to talk to me in what must be a very busy time for you..

Chris: Not a problem, somewhat of a calm before the storm at the moment, as our single programmer is putting the finishing touches to what will be the final main build of the game prior to release testing.

Tell me a little bit about your team and how it came into being. Where did you guys start off?

Chris: The team was formed at Salford University during our final semester of the undergraduate Computer and Video Game Design degree. The main submission for the semester was a game prototype that must be designed and created in just over half a year which doesn’t sound too bad, until you throw in all the work for the other modules of the course and a dissertation on top…

So this is how we came together, Velisia the game we are currently working on is indeed a revamped and much polished version of the game prototype that we created for the University project.

It’s good to see a group coming straight out of university and forming their own indie studio. Can you tell me a little about the game?

Chris: Velisia is, at its core, a Turn Based Strategy/RPG which draws its roots from gameplay along the lines of those found in the Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem series. Unlike these games, the story and gameplay focuses around just four main heroes that are directly controlled by the player.

Action takes place over four levels of gameplay that see the heroes travel on a story across the land of Velisia, as they attempt to defend their homeland against an ancient enemy. The story and gameplay in the first chapter of Velisia, titled “A Traitors Legacy” is first of three episodes of content that we hope to deliver if the game is successful.

Each further piece of content will continue the story, allow further advancement of your characters, with all your stats and choices from the previous game carrying straight on into the next.

Quite a large and ambitious project, but it sounds incredibly exciting! So, from that I assume, you do have plans to expand on Velisia and release new content for players?

Chris: Plans and/or dreams, yes. As with everything, we need to be successful in order to see them through to completion. When we wrote the narrative for the Velisia story it soon became clear that it was too long to be delivered within the deadline and budget that we currently have as a fledgling start-up studio.

So instead we will release the first section of the game’s narrative which is a complete story experience, but with your standard plot holes left open for expansion. This game model will allow us to keep the unit costs to a bare minimum and hopefully make people more willing to take a punt on a brand new game from a brand new company.

If this works and enough people make that choice we will quickly be able to put out the second and third installments of the game. Within a few months of the game’s release – we won’t be expecting fans to wait years for the next section of the story…

The turn-based RPG has been a genre that has suffered in popularity in recent times. Do you think this is due to a lack of choice or the quality of the titles that are produced for the genre?

Chris: I think turn-based strategy suffers because it’s not a genre that delivers the big spectacle which seems to be what all the AAA titles are about these days. In a market that is constantly pushed for the newest, shiniest graphics and amazing set pieces, a game that makes you wait your turn and watch units move one after the other will always appear second rate to the more modern RTS game.

Lack of titles is definitely a major issue for the genre, and even when titles are released in Japan/Asia, it is not uncommon for them never to see the transition to the Western market – or, if they do, several years go by before they finally get released.

Speaking of Asia, one thing that really makes your game stand out is the manga art style. What were the key motivations behind picking such a unique style for your game and how has it been received by the fans?

Chris: We started off with perhaps a little too much Manga tunnel vision, attempting to make the game look and feel like a comic book, this has been toned down quite a bit recently to be more in line with a traditional JRPG.

All in however the art has been probably the easiest section of the project, very little has needed to be redone and the only major issue we hit was making our special effects for the heroes abilities match up to the style and quality of the artwork for the characters and backgrounds themselves.

Quite a few people have left feedback on our moddb.com page saying the game reminds them of Valkyria Chronicles. We at TCGames take that as a mission accomplished.

Chris hopes Velisia will be out some time during February 2012

During the last few weeks you have done a lot of development diary videos covering certain characters or classes which have all been really informative. Do you intend to keep this momentum in the weeks prior to launch?

Chris: The character introduction videos sadly only really showed off the game’s combat engine, this was due to the core game still being in major development and not really at a good place for viewing. Once Matt Sanders (our programmer) finishes the final game build I spoke of earlier, we will be releasing a series of gameplay videos that show exactly how the game looks and feels to play.

How important do you feel it is for a start up indie studio like yourselves to keep in touch with its community, and have you found this an easy thing to do given today’s obsession with social media?

Chris: It’s definitely a key element to getting your name out there. Unfortunately it also takes a lot of time to really push it forward, and when you only have six guys in your team, time isn’t something you have in large amounts to throw around.

Once we have a finished product I’m hoping to convince some of the more established YouTube community members that review and give commentaries on indie games that we deserve a little of their precious time. This would do us the world of good in getting our title noticed as some of these guys have hundreds and thousands of viewers on every video they release.

Is there a date set for when Velisia will be available to purchase?

Chris: Release dates are not something I can confirm yet as they are handled between our Publishers Merge Games and the number of online digital portals that we are approaching to put Velisia on their shelves. At a guess, sometime around February, but don’t hold me to that!

Velisia is however available for pre-order from our website, www.teamcraftgames.com and there is an option there to get hold of the game’s Beta build if you really cannot wait for release day!

Seems like you’re all geared up and ready for a great launch! The game is looking great and I know we here at NAGF are following you guys with great interest. Thanks for your time Chris, and good luck with finishing Velisia!

Konami: ‘No Current Plans’ for Console Silent Hill: The Arcade

Konami: 'No Current Plans' for Console Silent Hill: The Arcade

Pyramid Head making his appearance in Silent Hill: The Arcade

I contacted Konami yesterday to see if there was a planned console release for Silent Hill: The Arcade. “It’s not on any current plans,” was the official response from their European PR handlers, Voltage – I suddenly had the urge to send them an immediate enquiry because I had just read House Of The Dead 3 and 4 were both moaning and groaning their way to PSN on February 7.

Sega’s lightgun masterpieces are getting a spanking new HD facelift, and are sure to be hits for people who have bought PlayStation Move. Sega is throwing its full weight behind both titles, as Sega Of America senior VP of digital business, Haruki Satomi said: “The House Of The Dead has always been one of Sega’s most popular series, and over the years we have worked hard to bring that full arcade experience to console owners. The abilities of the PS3, as well as PlayStation Move, have let us get closer than ever before.”

So, could Konami seize on a trend here and do the same with Silent Hill: The Arcade? I first heard about it when I saw it on YouTube a while back, and have since watched speed runs and anything else I can find. I’m a massive Silent Hill nut, in case you haven’t guessed already. I’ve already written about my 5 hopes for Silent Hill: Downpour which is due for release this year.

But searching through the internet, there seems to be a lot of negativity surrounding The Arcade. Destructoid said it was akin to vomit, despite their only experience of The Arcade apparently extending as far as watching the same videos I have. Their complaint? That it’s messing too much with the IP.

I don’t really buy into that. I think it looks quite sharp and, though maybe not the most original idea, still looks like a lot of fun. I’d download it for a play – more-so if it had Move support (I’ve only got Heavy Rain to play with Move at the moment).

The early Silent Hills always encapsulated me because of the way the story sucked me in, something Destructoid takes offense to with this Arcade version. But at least Konami aren’t pretending to offer something it isn’t with The Arcade, like on-rails full-price retail games such as Capcom’s Umbrella Chronicles. They’ve produced what looks like a fun shooter with recognisable, iconic characters and Silent Hill staples (read: walls melting, big fans, nurses with big tits).

Some argue that the Silent Hill story has been getting progressively weaker since the original trilogy. From my point of view, any different direction that can be taken to freshen up the series has to be a good thing. Come on Konami, PSN that sucker??

January 2012: The Month of Gaming Spin-offs

January 2012: The Month of Gaming Spin-offs

Well here we are, another year and another release schedule. If I was 2012 I would be concerned right now; 2011 is a tough act to follow, as far as video games goes. January is always a tough month, straight after the Christmas release window when so many great titles are released. However, it is a prime buying window. People have gift cards and vouchers burning holes in their pockets, just waiting to be spent…

But it might be wise to save those pennies, because January has little to offer. There are five titles I think are worth a mention, but even so, they are a bit stale compared to what we were playing a few weeks ago. One thing is if you like your spin-offs, then January will keep you very happy indeed! Here are the five ‘biggest’ games of January 2012:

4 January – NFL blitz

4 January - NFL blitz

EA Sports has had great success with the NBA Jam brand, and so in true EA fashion, they have decided to do a similar thing with their ever-popular NFL series. Yes, NFL Blitz is a lovely little spin off game for American football addicts everywhere. If one NFL game was just not enough for you each year, fear not because EA has your back!

Maybe if this title does as well as EA hope they will expand and do seasonal versions… anyone for a game of NFL Blitz Spring Break?!

10 January – Gotham City Impostors

10 January - Gotham City Impostors

This game is probably the most random of the January lot. The GCI is similar in style to Valve’s Team Fortress 2 set within what is apparently Gotham city. Everyone plays either a Batman or Joker wannabe and they fight with guns, laughing gas and a whole host of other gadgets.

With Arkham City still in recent memory, it’s hard to imagine any but the most devout batman fan wanting to play this mediocre, albeit humorous shooter. If you have completed Arkham city and you still crave a Batman fix then maybe you’ll get a kick out of this little title.

31 January – Final Fantasy XIII-2

31 January - Final Fantasy XIII-2

The first big day this year in terms of game releases has to be 31 January. Not one, but three big games from three very large Japanese publishers. There is a pretty decent mix of genres and it’s nice to see Japan leading the way in 2012 after a very disruptive and unfortunate 2011. Although many will be wary of purchasing the latest Final Fantasy offering (which is also a spin off… see the theme here?!) Square Enix has promised a much improved experience to that of XIII.

31 January – NeverDead

31 January - NeverDead

NeverDead is the latest serving from Rebellion, a great British developer more commonly known for the Aliens Vs. Predator series. This game is shaping up to be one of the more interesting games to kick start 2012, combining interesting action, adventure gameplay with some decent writing and humour thrown in for good measure. This title seems to be a bit of a tangent from Rebellion’s usual projects, but hopefully it will do well and give Konami the excuse to let Rebellion flex more of its creative muscles.

31 January – SoulCalibur V

31 January - SoulCalibur V

The final game to mention from the 31 January listing is the latest installment of the SoulCalibur series from Namco Bandai. Always a solid beat ‘em up, I always pick up the SoulCalibur games – maybe not at launch, but soon afterwards. The brilliant blend of incredibly-refined fighting mechanics, and the role-playing narrative style of the main game mode makes SoulCalibur games quite unique. As always, each format version of the game has a “cover girl” character added in to help sell the franchise to format fan boys. I have fond memories of killing nightmare with Yoda in the last game of the series…

Although this month still seems bleak compared to the last quarter of 2011, January 2012 is not totally without merit. The variation of games out this month is quite refreshing, and seeing the big Japanese publishers pushing their titles out and kick starting the year is a positive message for the industry. Some of these games deserve a play, but some will benefit from a lack of other options more than the actual quality of the titles.

Roll on the rest of 2012. Big things are waiting just around the corner…

Five Signs That Batman’s a Manic Depressive

Five Signs That Batman's a Manic Depressive

***MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW!!***

Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Two of the best-selling games over the last few years, starring the world’s greatest detective, trained to the absolute limits of physical human perfection.

But both games also have us worrying for the Dark Knight. We’ve suffered from mania (it’s no fun kids, trust us), and we can see the signs. There are ticks that Batman displays which developers Rocksteady may have included to show the ‘more vulnerable side’ of Bruce Wayne behind the mask. Not so – instead they confirm to us that Bruce is bipolar, popping pills and that poor old Alfred must be having an absolute whale of a time looking after him…

Batman’s conversation with Talia

This Top 5 was sparked from a conversation Batman has with Talia Al Ghul in Arkham City. Batman has to participate in The Demon Trials against Ra’s Al Ghul to prolong his life for a few more hours. Walking with Talia toward the challenge, she says:

Talia: “When the blood of The Demon takes hold, you will be on your own.”

Batman: “Like always…”

Such an unnecessary thing to say in such a serious situation, but Batman’s loneliness is obviously crippling, overwhelming. It may sound self-pitying, but Bruce WANTS Talia to know how lonely he is, to comfort him and tell him he doesn’t need to dress up like a bat and climb down industrial chimney pipes for a living. That when he goes home, he sits in a big empty house, counting his money and listening to Alfred go on about how frequent his stools are.

Getting over the death of his parents

Bruce Wayne hangs on to negative things that have happened in his past. Though the silver lining for the death of his parents was the birth of Batman, it was more of a silver lining for the residents of Gotham. Batman broods in the shadows, constantly overthinking his parents’ slaughter. It’s most obvious in Arkham Asylum, where Scarecrow’s serum brings his hidden memories to the forefront of his mind time and again. They also make a cameo in Arkham City – again, before The Demon Trials. Bruce can’t get over it, replaying events in his mind to the point that it overtakes his entire life. The big gay.

Reckless disregard for his safety

It’s like suicide is a constant thought for Batman. When scolded by Alfred for calling in the Grapnel Boost after the AR missions in Arkham City, because the equipment still hasn’t been field tested and is in the prototype stage, Batman casually replies “I’m ready.” Confidence is one thing, but situations like this show a clear disregard for Batman’s own safety. There’s no guarantee that the risks he takes will pay off, which lead us to believe that Bruce Wayne’s suicidal tendencies are spilling over to his Batman persona. Fine, Batman, jump off a helicopter. No skin off our nose.

Joker’s his confidant

One voicemail to Batman sees Joker telling Batman that ‘he’s the only one he can really talk to’. If true, then maybe that’s the reason Batman is loath to kill The Joker off. Depression is such a singular, insular disease that it can be impossible for others to understand if they’ve never been through it. Joker’s mania might just be the best counterbalance for Batman. Maybe he calls Joker late at night, and they both discuss their problems, hoping to find an answer somewhere. Or maybe he finds solace logging onto YouJizz and wanking his brains out.

He’s terrible with splits

He’s a strong, handsome billionaire with a heart of solid gold, perfect moral ethics and is as hard as nails. So why isn’t he hanging out the back of a Grade-A splitarse?

Batman doesn’t seem to have any luck with the tarts. And it’s not like he’s short of offers, either. Catwoman drips all over him and could evidently suck a football out of a hosepipe. Poison Ivy would blates go for a pair of Arabian Goggles, and Talia seems to be the one true love of Batman’s life. Yet all he does is push them all away. It’s deeper than him being a commitment-phobe. Batman is so incredibly lonely that he doesn’t believe anyone will ever understand him, no matter what he does or how hard he tries.

So, for as long as they both shall live, the best Batman can ever hope for is a good ol’ gumming from Alfred.

Why Metal Gear 5 Will Suck MASSIVE Dick

Why Metal Gear 5 Will Suck MASSIVE Dick

Why Metal Gear 5 Will Suck MASSIVE Dick

That bastard Hideo Kojima depressed me no-end yesterday, when Eurogamer published a direct quote of his from an interview he recently gave to Official Playstation Magazine.

“I think we’ll probably have to make it [a sequel to MGS4] at some point, but what that will be, we have no idea.”

I cried. I turned on the oven and jammed my head deep inside, hoping the fumes would claim me and send me to the glorious kingdom of light. When that didn’t work, I fled to the main road outside, flinging myself in front of oncoming traffic, wanting a speeding vehicle to crash into my body and snuff my pathetic little life.

When that didn’t happen, I clambered over the flaming car wreckage in front of me back inside my house, and lamented just how much dick Metal Gear 5 will suck. Because make no mistake about it, Metal Gear 5 WILL suck fat dicks – dicks with all cheese and smegma collected underneath the bell and that.

Hideo Kojima discusses the possibility of Metal Gear 5

Read between the lines. Even Hideo Kojima’s bored with Metal Gear: “As far as my involvement in the project is concerned, [it] probably won’t be as much as it was with MGS1 – maybe I can do just one stage!” he said.

“For MGS1 I made the maps myself, laid out the enemy routes myself, did everything hands-on – that level I can’t do again.”

Metal Gear Solid is a SPENT FORCE, people. It’s sucked the very life out of the stealth genre to the point where gamers are bored stiff with it. My justification for such wild, baseless claims? Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.

Metal Gear 4 was the most complicated, cutscene-heavy, boring, tear-inducing slog of a game I’ve ever played in my life. In fact, there was very little game in Metal Gear 4. The majority of it was convoluted plot skewers and unsavoury combat drills from beginning to end, broken up by rinse-and-repeat boss fights from Metal Gear Solid on the PS1. And this is an opinion coming from a Metal Gear fan!

Vamp and Raiden - Metal Gear 4

Metal Gear 4 wasn’t a game. It was fan-service designed to tie up loose ends and wrap up the story in a neat little package. The trade-off for that was gameplay. Short, spiky levels overrun by lengthy cutscenes in an effort to justify all the directions the Metal Gear series had taken and why. If it exhausted me watching and playing it all, then God knows how Kojima must have felt producing it. Even he sounds fed-up with the idea of a new Metal Gear romp.

Metal Gear 4 wasn’t all bad, don’t get me wrong. Fighting Shouty Wolf or whatever she was called in the snow was an immense experience, and I bust a gut laughing at Raiden stopping a boat with his feet. But that also highlights the only direction Metal Gear 5 could ever go in, especially if Hideo Kojima doesn’t want a hands-on role. It can only go beyond the absurd.

Remember, Metal Gear 4 had you dealing with vampires doped up on nanomachines and all that jazz. What next? A new development team would no doubt want to stamp their mark with something ludicrous, or even go so far as to dilute the formula. Tower defence in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, anyone?

This is a personal, heartfelt plea. Pleeeeease let Metal Gear die. Though I didn’t understand half of what was going on in Metal Gear 4, I felt at the end that it was a satisfactory conclusion, and a good way to watch Snake sail off into the sunset. Making Metal Gear 5 would shit all over that fan service, and be made for nothing other than profit.

Excuse me, where are my boss fights?

The original Dead Space - though few in number - had some brilliant boss fights.

A serious lack of boss fights in Dead Space 2 left me bored to tears.

*WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!*

I’m irked. I feel a lot of key titles this generation have let down hardcore gamers because of their story-driven principles.

Well, let me down at least. Maybe I’m just tired – I was up until 1am completing Dead Space 2, which EA was rightly lauded for. It’s an excellent sequel in a storytelling sense, but the last few chapters left me rather exhausted and frustrated as a gamer. There were no immense boss battles to break up the flow of Necromorphs being thrown at me ad nauseum – something I was expecting from a game stamped with a score of 90%+ from critics across the globe.

Carolyn Petit of GameSpot hit the nail on the head with her score of 8.5 [for Xbox 360, same as my copy]. That to me is more accurate for a game that indulges itself in its story whilst paying lip service to many core gaming characteristics. It’s story-driven, yes, but to me, a chapter-based game such as Dead Space 2 should break things up with memorable boss fights, working the player steadily towards them and building excitement. An example it could have learnt from as a template? The first Dead Space – and even that was weak on the boss-fight front…

The original Dead Space - though few in number - had some brilliant boss fights.

My point is that after playing through Dead Space 2, none of the chapters stand out as memorable. The parts that I suppose could be classed as boss fights are at the end of chapter one (simple strafe and shoot) and the final showdown. Anything else throughout the game is either a glorified QTE, or an exhaustive rush of identikit enemies to test your endurance and patience. Where were the big hulking anus-like things that filled the room, like in the first Dead Space??

To me, boss fights are an essential part of the make-up of a game, to test the level of the player at set points throughout their journey and evaluate what they’ve learned. A scope of mini-challenges throughout to – as I mentioned before – break up the monotony of pushing back wave after wave of standard enemies.

Assassin's Creed's boss fights take a more story-driven approach.

Assassin’s Creed is another example. Assassinations are mere one-hit takedowns, the bulk of the gameplay being in working your way to the target. But for a ‘franchise’ that’s being released annually, that formula’s wearing awfully thin as the reception to the latest game, Revelations, no doubt testifies. Games that rely purely on story and refuse to break it up with basic core mechanics need to have a story strong and fresh enough to keep the consumer interested. Is Assassin’s Creed really doing that?

Take Alan Wake. Another story-driven game with few boss highlights. I think it’s fair enough to prejudge the forthcoming sequel as being more of the same? That’s to be expected from something so story-driven I suppose, but does something as action-orientated as Batman: Arkham Asylum have an excuse? Its boss fights were highlighted for being lukewarm at best by several outlets (Poison Ivy was such a slog on a personal level) – I have Arkham City next on my playlist, hoping that it’s more memorable on the boss front.

Shadow of the Colossus is devoted entirely to boss fights.

For an example of a game full of excellent boss fights on the shelves at the moment, I look towards the Shadow of the Colossus HD remake. But wait – that’s a game from last generation… Has story become so overwhelming that boss fights have to be sacrificed to accommodate plot, or have I just been playing the wrong games?

How The Black Eyed Peas Sum Up Kinect’s Failings

The Black Eyed Peas Experience is on both Wii and Kinect

How The Black Eyed Peas Sum Up Kinect's Failings

Everyone has their opinion on motion controls and gaming. Me? I don’t mind it, really – but then again I don’t really play any games where motion sensing is a pivotal requirement. I play Wii Sports with my nephew for five minutes now and then, and I’m incredibly excited about Skyward Sword.

But I do feel that for every Skyward Sword, there are five smelly, heaving motion turds battling for consumers’ interest. So what am I adding to the debate then, what’s my point? As I say, everyone has their opinion and expressed it long before I have…

I’m writing this because I was sorely tempted to buy Kinect at the weekend. I opted against it though, citing nothing on the shelves I wanted to play and the terrible Microsoft showing at E3 this year. The latter swayed me more than the former. There doesn’t seem to be any real appetite to take the platform forward in a gaming sense, with developers unsure of how to utilise the medium to seriously whet gamers’ appetites.

The Black Eyed Peas Experience is on both Wii and Kinect

My evidence? An advert’s just been on TV for The Black Eyed Peas Experience. The spot for Ubisoft’s repackaging of Dance Central, with added phunk, ended with the announcement “for Xbox Kinect and Wii”. And with those words my decision to steer clear of shelling out over a hundred beans for Kinect was entirely vindicated.

The ship is sailing without course. Kinect entered waters seemingly chartered by Wii and has found itself completely rudderless, without a strong captain at the helm to stop it smashing into the rocks. Kinect’s line up lacks anything to differentiate it from a tired, stale, third-party Wii game, with titles such as the forthcoming Star Wars game failing to spark the imagination in any way shape or form.

The technology is undoubtedly impressive, and obviously has the clout to blow Wii out of the water. But until a string of games are released to differentiate it from Nintendo’s doorstop of a system, then I won’t be investing, thank you very much.

 

The Five Best Gaming Jokes in the Latest Simpsons Episode

The Simpsons, The Food Wife - Guts of War II

Our opinion of The Simpsons? It’s certainly waned an awful lot since the twelfth season, but we can forgive it. We grew up with it, it helped shape our generation, and it’s a cartoon for God sakes – put the pitchforks down…

We still watch it, but more in the sense that we feel a duty to, like visiting an elderly relative in a care home. It still offers a lot of modern social commentary – yesterday’s newest episode, season 23’s ‘The Food Wife’, had the surprising opening of Homer taking Bart and Lisa to a video game convention. It piqued the interest of the gamer in me, and I was hugely surprised and pleased at the accuracy of the writers’ take on modern gaming culture.

Here are our five favourite jokes from the episode. And if you haven’t seen it then obviously look away now… SPOILERS BELOW!

The E4 Expo

The Simpsons, The Food Wife - E4 Expo

A shameless take on E3, Springfield’s E4 is an acronym for ‘Expensive Electronic Entertainment Expo’. As someone that’s spent thousands of pounds on consoles, accessories and games over the years, I felt it hit the nail on the head in spectacular fashion.

Guts of War II

The Simpsons, The Food Wife - Guts of War II

Bart plays the sequel to the original Guts of War. The funniest part isn’t the obvious God of War reference or the names for some of the lead character’s moves (colon smash and rectum kill), but the exchange between Bart and the David Jaffe-alike designer behind him:

Designer: “We’ve made a game that will reward the hardcore gamer with hundreds and hundreds of hours of –“

Bart: “Finished it.”

Designer: “But, working on this game cost me my marriage. I… I have twins I’ve never met…”

GameStation 3

The Simpsons, The Food Wife - GameStation 3

A simple but effective generation gap joke. Homer stands in front of a GameStation 3, shoving quarters into the CD slot, lamenting how many quarters the machine takes to start up.

Medal of Duty

The Simpsons, The Food Wife - Medal of Duty

Bart, Lisa and Homer need to get to Hall G to see Funtendo’s latest console presentation in three minutes. They’re in Hall D, and there’s a slew of nerds in their way. We see things from Homer’s perspective – a third-person Call of Duty-style HUD display appears as he flings objects at people and barges them out of the way. He gets hit by an E4 party pack. The screen goes red and heavy breathing accentuates his panic as he crawls towards the nearest pizza stand to regenerate his health and carry on…

Human Centipede

The Simpsons, The Food Wife - Human Centipede

Genuine class.