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Dragon Age : Origins

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This is the first Dragon Age game I've played. I had heard great things about it and just wanted to make sure they were true. This is made by the same people that created Baldurs Gate and the such like. I loved those games and still have them in the cupboard ready to play again one day.

Installing the game looks impressive enough with it taking quite a while to copy over all the necessary files it needs. It looks like a lot of them are sound and graphic files that are used throughout the game.

Once installed and loaded up, the intro movie of the dragon is pretty cool. And then you have the menu option. Similar to all menu options. Starting a new game will give you the character select screens. There are only a few races to choose from, but each one gives a different combination of classes and starting areas. There are also so many customisations you can do to your character to make them look how you want.

Once in to the game, the epic story starts to unfold on the race, class and starting area that you selected. A lot of talking and a lot of movie sequences which take on it's own tale as you select answers and inputs to the questions and statements put forward.

I selected a Mage Elf to begin with and have to say that I've only played for a few hours and already I love this game. The storyline is going to be epic. And the graphics and sound match the games atmosphere that it is trying to create.

Being grouped with NPC's are great, allowing them to act based on their designated tactics, and like Baldurs Gate you can pause the action and control each of your group members as if they were you, selecting spells and actions for them to take. Going through the first zone on a mission to steal some blood was pretty impressive and got me used to the controls very quickly.

First impressions are high of this game, and I can see that quests and adventure will continue to impress throughout.

Shadowpuma overall score for Dragon Age:Origins:

  • 90%

Little Big Planet

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Little Big Planet for Playstation 3 is a great, quick and fantastic game. The idea of the game is really straight forward and simple. You control your little sack person, and you race through areas collecting new stickers and clothing as well as glass marble things which give you points. The more you collect, the more you can use and progress. And when going through the zones with two players makes it even more fun. You can grab on to things, push/pull, throw, and best of all - once you've collected the frying pan - smack each other with objects!

My wife and I have had endless hours of fun following the story of Little Big Planet, ranging from japanese gardens and temples, through to the sewers of an urban city, and also controlling a hot air balloon vehicle through the skies.

What makes this game so great is probably the combination of everything on offer. The cuteness of the characters, the customisations you can create with the objects you pick up, exploring around to find the various objects, and the visuals of the environment, solid bright colours in the foreground, and blurred pastel shades in the background, all whizzing by as you run around. The bonus levels are also great making you go back for more. Skateboarding down a hill as fast as you can whilst trying to hold on! Dodging dangers as you try and stay on top of a bronco bull! All very exciting and entertaining.

When connected to the PlayStation Store you can also buy/download new costumes for your sack person to run around in. These range from cute furry animals through to the characters of Metal Gear Solid and Street Fighter.

This game is certainly one for your collection.

Shadowpuma overall score for Little Big Planet:

  • 80%

Metal Gear Solid 4

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Metal Gear Solid 4 for Playstation 3 is a very impressive game. The visuals are great, the sound is impressive, and the gameplay / story line is top notch. Everything you would expect from a Metal Gear Solid game.

I've been playing this on and off recently (more off than on) but every moment is enjoyable. The opening sequence sets the scene (as any good game does) and you get to see familiar faces along with some new ones. If you haven't played the other Metal Gear Solid games then you will probably be a bit lost as to who is who and why they are all friends. The flashback feature is good in that if you have played the games before, you get to see images and shots from previous memories. If you haven't played, or at least read up about, the previous games then you may be a bit lost. But this is in no way a reason to not play this game.

I originally started playing with an attempt to interact with all enemies. The way this game has been put together this is not necessary. You can sneak (or at least try) your way past all the guards and reach the goals set for each area. Along with old faces and new tactical equipment, Snake uses and picks up a lot of items along the way. There is no set way about getting from starting point to end point. There is probably a preferred way, but you can deviate and do your own thing.

As for details, so many little things have been added in to this game. For example, near the beginning where you are sneaking around the broken buildings, you come across a statue. Some guards approach so you make use of the statue and camouflage settings and blend in nicely. Since the statues are naked, Snake positions his hand in the most inappropriate of places, but it works and the guards move on. I was then cautious and decided to hide again when the guards came back, but since the statue was old and weak, the inappropriate part of teh status came off in Snakes hand!!! This meant he had to adjust his position to blend in again. With moments and animations like this scattered throughout the areas, you are not left short of laughter and amusement. Playboy magazines scattered around are another nice feature, but I'll leave that up to you to discover and see.

Sometimes I felt that the game was making me watch the storyline a little too much rather than letting me take control and progress the story on myself. But with the amazing visuals you can't help but sit back and watch. You can even pause the cut scenes if you get interrupted and continue them on when you get back.

So overall, this game is certainly one to play. There are lots of features and techniques you will learn and pick up along the way which means the learning curve of the game is continuous as you progress. I like it a lot and with only a few down points I have once again rated this quite highly.

Shadowpuma overall score for Metal Gear Solid 4:

  • 87%

Assassin's Creed

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I have the Assassin's Creed version for the PC. I originally saw it on the Xbox360 and thought it was a nice game, so decided to get it on PC (since I don't own an Xbox360). Now that I also own a GeForce 9800 GX2 card, I thought it only true that the hardware should be put to the test.

Assassin's Creed has a slight twist to it. I won't reveal what it is, but I certainly wasn't expecting it based on all the trailers I'd seen for the game. I've only just got into the story and game and needless to say it is quite impressive.

The main aspect of the game are the graphics. They are very highly detailed and suit the scenes playing very well. I'm sure the graphics card is helping with the overall look.

Game playability is certainly high. The controls are not normal, but they are customisable and become natural after a short while playing. The overall gameplay is based on missions, adventuring to certain locations to open up further missions, finding hidden flags around the cities and kingdoms, killing bosses, and stealth! There is also a lot of running all over the place. Horses are also available for riding and certainly make a nice change from running everywhere.

As you get into the areas and begin to work your way round the missions, it does start to feel a bit same same. Saving similar people in trouble, blending in with the crowds to get to locations, killing the guards in similar situations. But each time the environment is different, and IF you get spotted, escaping will never be the same twice.

As previously mentioned, I have not yet explored everything or got very far into the game, but I have certainly got a feel for it, and I certainly will be continuing to play through a few more areas and story chapters.

Shadowpuma overall score for Assassin's Creed:

  • 90%

Devil May Cry 4

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The Devil May Cry series of games on the Playstation platform has been something of a struggle for me. I completed the original Devil May Cry without much trouble. It was a great story line and equally great action game. Then comes the next in the series, Devil May Cry 2. Again the game saw Dante making his way through the game along with other characters to play and interact with. Then the last to appear on Playstation 2, Devil May Cry 3. I couldn't get into this game at all. The graphics were awesome, the gameplay was just a little too tough to have it as a game to pick up and play.

Now the latest release, Devil May Cry 4. The Playstation 3 version. I have had the game since the day of release in the UK and it seemed like the first hour was just getting the game installed. The Blu-Ray disc began to whirl around and data transferred from the disc onto the PS3 hard drive. A nice touch to the install process was a recap of events and characters in the previous 3 games. Repeated 2 or 3 times so you can catch anything you missed the first time round. The game finished the install, it checked for game data and network data, along with the title intro. Just as the intro screens finished the classic "Devil May Cry" announcement roared through the surround sound speakers. It was time to play.

image:devil-may-cry-4_dante-and-neroWith not long left before heading to bed, the game begins with a lengthy motion picture story intro. However, it isn't long and boring, far from it in fact. The opening scenes are fantastic. Watching Nero and Dante exchange taunts before given control and a quick tutorial on the button combinations and basic moves. But the action only lasts a few moments until the motion picture begins up again and the next stage of the story unfolds.

The power of the PS3 is shown in this game. From the scenes of Dante and Nero battling blades and guns together, through to the creatures appearing and being destroyed, every image on screen is clear and has it's purpose. I only managed to get past the first mission (not because I'm not very good or the game is too hard, just purely down to the time factor!), but from doing the simplest of first missions, it really gets you wanting more.

The score given below is just a first impressions score. I rate this game very highly. The sound, graphics, game play controls and thrill factor are all there for this game. Even if you aren't a fan of the first three, or if you haven't even had the chance to play one of the Devil May Cry games, this one is certainly worth a look at.

Shadowpuma overall score for Devil May Cry 4:

  • 80%

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