Top Five | Games with Euro-vision

Get a little Eurovision fever with our Top Five games a little European style.

It’s almost that time again, when you and family sit around the TV and watch some soul-destroying euro pop tune get all the points, while us Brits rake in the “nil pwah” It’s Eurovision time! And what better way to get you in the mood than a rundown of our top five games with a sense of European style (or lack of).

#5 The Getaway

top five
Let’s go for a joyride…

The Getaway had a lot of hype to live up to, promising a truly gritty take on the open-world formula popularised by the Grand Theft Auto series. And while it was a little shallow in places in terms of depth and actual length, it did offer an ultraviolent descent into London’s gangland underbelly.

Despite having none of GTAs tongue-in-cheek black humour, The Getaway did do a great job of making The Big Smoke as much a character as Liberty City. It also featured a soundtrack score by the London Session Orchestra and written by composer Shawn Lee (who would go on to score Rockstar’s fellow sandbox-style title Bully (Canis Canem Edit in Europe) three years later.

#4 Wheelman

Ah Wheelman; the tie-in game to a movie that never got made. And while Wheelman might have all the hallmarks of a Grand Theft Auto clone, this Barcelona-set romp was all about the arcade racing action. The on-foot sections might have been a little ass, but the driving mechanics were great fun.

top five
Wheelman replicated the streets of Barca, including the Sagrada Familia pictured here.

Wheelman also featured the ability to shoot out tyres in slo-mo and hijack other cars mid-drive, a set of mechanics Sleeping Dogs perfected years later.

#3 The Saboteur

The Saboteur may feature the worst attempt than an Irish accent in the history of mankind, but it still remains one of this generations most underrated titles. From racing around racetracks to blowing up Nazi strongholds, The Saboteur used a black and white palette to represent those areas of Paris still choking under the boot of the Third Reich.

top five
A bad accent, to be sure.

With a variety of ways to approach each objective, this open-world extravaganza let you lead the liberation of Paris in pure Noir style. Yes, it had some niggling bugs, but Pandemic’s swan song was still a great laugh.

#2 Spartan: Total Warrior

top five
“Tonight, we dine in… Papa Johns?”

Okay, when you think Greece the obvious option would have been the God of War series, but we think Spartan: Total Warrior is a forgotten gem from the PlayStation 2. Published by Sega, Total Warrior was the first (and only) non-RTS offshoot from the Total War series.

And while it might throw historical accuracy face-first into Greek legend, the intense hack and slash action proved The Creative Assembly could produce a top slice of blood-letting action.

#1 Assassin’s Creed 2

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has always been about hidden wars in history, but none pulled it with such character as Assassin’s Creed 2. Taking the series away from the middle-eastern theme of the first game, Ubisoft chose the culture-rich setting of 15th and 16th century Renaissance Italy.

top five
AC2: the king of Euro-style.

The first instalment in the Ezio trilogy was a game alive with style – from the stunning vistas of Florence to the markets of Venice, Ubisoft crafted a glimpse of a Renaissance Italy that took the series to beautiful new heights. Even with the jarring sections outside the Animus, the European stylings of AC2 remain a high-point for the franchise.

So what are your top five Euro-based games? Get the debate going and let us know! Why not check our last top five entry, Top Five | Games on a budget.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon out now for XBLA & PSN

The new standalone expansion for Far Cry 3 is here. It’s got neon weapons! It’s got Reece from The Terminator! It’s got robo-balls!

Take a neon-drenched nostalgia trip to the eighties with Ubisoft’s cyber-heart chomping new shooter, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. It’s out today for Xbox Live Arcade for 1200 MSP and £11.99 on the PlayStation Network.

Boom Tron-esque headshot.
Boom Tron-esque headshot.

A retail version for you PC users out there will be available on May 3 2013. It even comes with a soundtrack AND a poster! An actual poster.

Check out the launch trailer below and keep the site bookmarked for our upcoming review.

Trophy Whore | TMNT

Looking to unashamedly boost your gamerscore or trophy count? Do you, dare we ask, like achievements that increase in multiples of four? Then we’ve got a feature just for you. Trophy whores, ASSEMBLE!!! It’s time for TMNT

So, what’s it about (in case I like it)?

As the last paragraph might have let on, TMNT is the 2007 game tie-in to the movie of the same name. Do you remember it? Neither do we, and the game didn’t fair to well either. The game is based around playing as each of the four titular heroes in half shells, utilising their different skills in a surprisingly fun hot-swapping mechanic. There’s a story, but the game does a great job of not conveying it.

There's always plenty of enemies waiting to be beaten up in TMNT.
There’s always plenty of enemies waiting to be beaten up in TMNT.

Is it actually any good?

Kind of. Sorry, we know that’s vague, but there’s nothing worse than a game that gives you glimpses of a great idea, wrapped in a never-ending face palm. Despite this, the platforming mechanics in TMNT work solidly – with each of the turtles feeling significantly different to warrant the hot-swapping feature.

The problem is the game spends too long on each character’s individual levels, rather than giving you enough levels with multiple characters. The graphics are, rather poignantly, best described as ‘ass’.

TMNT is a treasure trove for your gamerscore.
TMNT is a treasure trove for your gamerscore.

How many achievements are there?

There are a total of 23 achievements in TMNT (sorry PlayStation faithful, TMNT was released before the inclusion of trophy support and never received a subsequent patch) – and yes, 16 of those are completing the game’s 16 levels. This is one of those ‘single-run-and-then-you’re-done’ jobbys.

TMNT retains the movie's cartoon-style look.
TMNT retains the movie’s cartoon-style look.

How long will it take me to get at them?

Honestly, not that long – you’re looking at around four to five hours max, a little longer if you like ass-esque level designs from 1999.

List of Achievements/Trophies

Mystical Jungle – Complete Level 1 – 20g

Vigilantism – Complete Level 2 – 24g

Techno Ninjutsu – Complete Level 3 – 28g

Cowabunga Carl Getaway – Complete Level 4 – 32g

Spirit of the Forest – Complete Level 5 – 36g

Ninja Tag Time – Complete Level 6 – 40g

The Game is the Foot – Complete Level 7 – 44g

Foot trail – Complete Level 8 – 48g

Tower Power – Complete Level 9 – 52g

When the slime comes – Complete Level 10 – 56g

O brother where art thou – Complete Level 11 – 60g

Bite me! – Complete Level 12 – 64g

All is Forgiven – Complete Level 13 – 68g

Ninjas in the crypt – Complete Level 14 – 72g

The Mysterious Leader – Complete Level 15 – 76g

Winter’s Secret – Complete Level 16 – 80g

Get your first coin – Get your first coin [this is actually what it says, no joke – Ed] – 15g

Family Unit – Do a co-op combination attack – 15g

Used Mikes special move – Used Mikes special move – 30g

Used Raphs special move – Used Raphs special move – 30g

Used Leos special move – Used Leos special move – 30g

Used Dons special move – Used Dons special move – 30g

Clean Sweep – Complete a level without taking damage – 50g

 

Enjoy games with grammatically infuriating achievement descriptions? Check out next weeks instalment for more boosting shame.

Far Cry 3 | A Survivors Guide

The tropical locales of Rook Island may look beautiful, but Ubisoft have made sure there’s more than enough danger lurking within its colourful forests. But fear ye not, for infinite robots has stalked the islands of Far Cry 3 (yes, we said islands) and faced the insanity of Vaas and his cheerful band of pirates. So before you delve into this FPS playground, be sure to pack the Infinite Robots guide to Survival in Far Cry the Third…

Use Your Surroundings to Your Advantage

Whilst built around an FPS template, there’s a surprisingly deep level of stealth written into the game play. The islands of Far Cry 3 are a dangerous place so understanding the lay of the land is key to becoming a master hunter. All enemies, from pirates & mercs to predators have AI based on line of sight – so if you break that line then you can escape or turn a one sided man-hunt into some deadly guerrilla warfare. Use the long grass, foliage, trees, rocks & huts of Rook Island & you’ll soon be the deadliest thing around.

Farcry 3

Your Best Weapon…Is Your Camera

It might sound a little crazy (which would suit this game down to the ground) but protagonist Jason’s digital camera is by far his most useful piece of kit. By selecting the camera you can highlight any living thing on the island from pirates to pigs. Once tagged you can track each target with a live image that shows their movement straight through any scenery.  Once tagged you can flip back to your weapons & pick of an outpost of mercs or hunt a tiger for its pelt. It’s an invaluable tool & one that’s godlike in the right hands.

It’s all about Recon

Even for the most experienced of Far Cry 3 players, the guns-blazing course of action will likely get you needlessly killed. Just like in Skyrim or any other open-world/RPG mash-up, scouting out an area is key to building a strategy for success. The island is littered with pirate outposts & packs of predators. Using your camera & the cover provided by the islands scenery will give you the chance to find the best route to surviving the dangers of Rook Island.

Farcry 3

Master Craftsman

And, just like the dragon-obsessed Skyrim, there’s a fun & addictive crafting element to Far Cry 3. Whilst it’s neither as deep or complicated as many RPG crafting systems, the crafting element in Far Cry 3 is just as integral to your characters progression. Collecting the multi-coloured fauna located around the islands can be used to make syringes that replenish health & give you a burst adrenaline. By killing & skinning certain animals (be they herbivores or carnivores, the island has plenty of both) you can craft extra space for more syringes, more weapons & more space for the loot & plants you collect across your adventure. All this can be accessed in a few clicks from the pause menu so be sure to check each packs requirements.

Indulge Your Inner Magpie, Collect Everything

Everything has a value in Far Cry 3. You’ll need cash to buy new weapons & replenish your ammo so be sure to loot the body of every pirate or merc you take down. You’ll always find some cash & every now & then you’ll recover an item that can be sold on at one of the local gun-shops around the islands. Looting crates (which appear as diamonds on your minimap) will also net you ammo, cash & sellable trinkets. Be sure to scale the many radio towers across the island too as these will open up more items & weapons for sale at the handful of stores you’ll discover on your bloody travels.

Farcry 3

Who needs Agent 47?

Take our advice, invest in a silenced weapon.  A silenced MP5 or pistol as well as the curved bow are a must for successfully surviving Vaas’s tropical nightmare. Un-silenced weapons will almost always bring a ton of pirates on your six. Using your blade-centric takedowns with a silenced weapon will ensure you won’t have to battle any uneven hordes on your travels. Having such an arsenal will also help you take out enemies around outposts & missions areas with minimal fuss & attention.

Count Those Bullets

This is not Bulletstorm or Call of Duty. Pop your Dishonored head on & you’ll be heading in the right direction. Open fire fights will burn up ammo like fuse paper so line up your headshots or go on a hunt for goat or deerskins which are perfect for crafting into extra bullet pouches. One shot weapons like sniper rifles, pistols & the curved bow are perfect for tracking those all-important headshots.

Farcry 3

Beware the Beasts of Rook Island

Remember, you’re just a man. And whilst carrying a gun may be as commonplace in gaming as jumping on platforms, it doesn’t make you the biggest threat on the island – at least not for a while anyhow.  The islands are brimming with nasties just waiting to steal your health bars, from tigers & wild dogs to bull sharks, vipers & alligators. As you dive into the many rivers, lakes & estuaries on the islands the tell-tale growl of an alligator as it breaks the surface is a sound you’ll never grow comfortable with. Break out the camera, keep low & check your map for areas tagged as predator hotspots.

And finally…Know your Skill Tree

Like so many modern games, Far Cry 3 comes complete with its own XP system and it’s one that will shape your journey through the games single-player experience. As you gain more XP you’ll unlock skill points which can be used to purchase new abilities – these then appear as tattoos on Jason’s arms. Be sure to pick the skills that suit your burgeoning play style – play to your strengths not what’s conventional for others. Upgrading your health will help you survive longer whilst abilities such as Takedown & Drag & Grenade Takedown are perfect for silent hunters & insane pranksters alike.

So pick up a copy of Far Cry 3 & remember, keep it infinite!

, , ,

Far Cry 3 is available now for PlayStation 3, PC & Xbox 360. Check out our Amazon links for more info. Our review for Far Cry 3 will be dropping soon.

Retrovania | Beyond Good & Evil (PS2/XBLA/PSN)

In this second edition of Retrovania our fortnightly retrospective, we take a look back at one of Ubisoft’s greatest triumphs, the unique & much-loved action-adventure Beyond Good & Evil.

In recent years video game writers & developers have made a conscious decision to create stories & narratives driven less by mindless fiction and more by real world themes & emotions. But back in 2003, the video game landscape was a very different place.

Continue reading Retrovania | Beyond Good & Evil (PS2/XBLA/PSN)