Review: F.3.A.R. (X360)

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I remember scrambling through the terror-laden corridors and rooms of the first F.E.A.R. years ago.

Monolith had crafted a place that not only fed the blazing barrels of my arsenal but struck the chords of my spine with every twitching light and flickering shadow of something sneaking by the very edge of what my eyes tried to tell me was there.

It had action. It had a twisted story. And it had plenty of spooky creepiness chortling at my unspent bullets.

The second game felt as if it had less of an edge because now I knew what I was up against. But it still had managed to work in a few of its own bloody surprises turning what was already a deeply disturbed story into a full blown mental schism with its ending. The action, as always, was never far behind and had even been beefed up with big mechs as tuxedos of death for when the occasion needed them.

F.3.A.R. packs even more bullet dances into its narrative. Plenty of furious firefights…without any of the actual fear.
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Review: Call of Juarez – The Cartel (X360)

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Call of Juarez: The Cartel is a game that likes making you wait.

Health regeneration is usually a fast and painless way to get back into the thick of things, but not here. In-game cell phone calls can’t be canceled even if you’ve heard them before, and that problem carries over to multiplayer co-op where everyone has to wait until their scripted personal time is finished.

If there’s an explosion nearby, expect to get knocked on your ass and being forced to wait as you get back up. There’s a reason most FPS shooters don’t do this to the player, and it’s not because of realism issues. If you’re thinking “because it’s not fun”, you’re already ahead of this game. 
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Quick Review: Battlefield Play4Free Beta (PC)

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So what’s not to like about EA’s free FPS? It’s cheap, disposable 32-player fun that’s good for a quick bite of action, though it won’t replace your copy of Bad Company or Modern Warfare 2.

It’ll be supported through microtransactions which means that you’ll need to pony up real-time cash to buy things like extra soldier slots (you start out with only two freebies) and permanent weapons outside of the generic stock that classes start with. It’s also still a Beta which means glitches like the one where I had lost an entire level’s worth of experience after being dumped from the game. I hope they fix that.

If you want to live free, that’s okay, too – experience for levels and training points for skills are still  earned. Vehicles cost nothing, other than having the skill to actually use them – especially in the air – and the maps offer plenty of places to use for cover, snipe, or face to face time with heavy armor. All in all, a fun fix for FPS junkies that doesn’t require anything more than a browser and a decent internet connection.

Review: Homefront (PS3)

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Red Dawn, a film released in 1984, channeled Cold War thrills with an invasion of America by the Soviets and their allies. While it might have stretched the limits of plausibility, it was still a fun piece of fiction that imagined how it could have gone down and how ordinary people became heroes in defense of their homes.

Games have also gotten into the act ranging from IO Interactive’s third-person shooter, Freedom Fighters, to Massive’s RTS epic, World in Conflict. But there are no more Soviets, right? Well, there are always ultranationalist Russians if you follow Modern Warfare 2.

Instead, THQ has settled on North Korea to take on the United States.
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Review: Bulletstorm (X360)

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Bulletstorm has a story, but you won’t be paying much attention to it or its testosterone-washed dialogue as you kick, slide, and shoot the naughty bits of your enemies – all in a drive to score points that can be used to upgrade your arsenal of destruction. It’s a wonderland of smashing, bashing, and lashing that doesn’t quite make it so much an FPS as a carnival sideshow gallery of kicking bags for adults.
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Dead Island is still kicking around

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A new trailer was released for Dead Island, a survival-horror game that was announced nearly four years ago and then just as quickly disappeared into vaporware. It’s being done by Polish developer, Techland, whom some might remember for the Western-styled FPS, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood. It’s still alive and it’s actually expected out this year on the PC, PS3, and the Xbox 360. If Techland can make the game as fun as Bound in Blood, Capcom’s Dead Rising might actually find itself with a little competition.

It’s described as something of a ‘Dead Rising’ styled zombie masher with an RPG system in place to allow characters learn skills that can help them survive the outbreak. But it’s unique in that the outbreak takes place at an island resort leaving the survivors with very little to fight back with except for their wits and whatever they can get their hands on. The smell of coconut oil might only make you seem more appetizing to the walking dead.

Still, there’s really not much else to go on other than the bare basics. Oh, and there’s the new, 18+ or older only trailer I mentioned. It’s a remarkable piece of work even though it shows no gameplay. It’s depressing and shocking at the same time and not because of the gore that spills from nearly every frame, so be warned when you click on this link to IGN to see it. Definitely not what your typical zombie trailer.

Leaked: Crysis 2

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Developer Crytek joins a sad list that includes Electronic Arts and Valve to have a game of theirs leaked ahead of release. In this case, according to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, it’s a development build of Crysis 2 for the PC. The actual posting that had initially reported the leak is here on Facepunch. No, it doesn’t lead to where you can get it. It’s only a post from a reader that found it elsewhere and wanted to report it to others.

The actual game is scheduled to come out on March 22nd, but depending on how far along this particular build is, it could very well be close to what will be considered the “gold” copy that will go out for production. In other words, this is incredibly bad. To make things worse, sites including those above report that the build apparently has the game editor (for PCs), multiplayer, and the master key files for online authentication.

A post on the official Crysis forums by Crytek expresses their disappointment at the news and urges players to support the game when it comes out in March. With more than a few publishers and developers appearing to be looking for excuses to leave PC gaming in the dust, this leak can’t be helping.

Jets, prone, and Battlefield? Oh yes.

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According to Battlefield’s official blog, those bits are officially in for EA’s Battlefield 3. Yeah, I know MAG can support 256 players in their game, but there’s always something special about a Battlefield title that makes having 64 players on the field even more exciting.

Unfortunately, that’s only if you have a PC. Still, I remember when Battlefield 1942 on the PC had modded servers allowing for up to 64 players. The default was 32, but with a few tweaks – and enough horsepower – modders found ways around that limitation.

Even without 64 players on consoles, players on each platform (Xbox 360, PS3, and PCs) will still get jets and the ability to actually go prone which was something of a criticism with the previous Bad Company games when it was taken out. Sneaky players will finally get something new to crow about when they shoot the ankles out from beneath their enemies.

There’s no firm date yet aside from this Fall setting it up to be another painful pounding on everyone’s wallets all over again.

Review: GoldenEye 007 (Wii)

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Rare’s GoldenEye was a sharp reply to PCs of how exciting the FPS genre could be on a console – especially the N64 – in 1997. It also stands out as what is probably the only movie-based game to actually expand on its own material while being good at what it set out to do.

With those two things in mind, it’s easy to see how GoldenEye became such a influential legend, one that fans would even go so far as to bring the experience back to where the FPS began on PCs with mods recreating its famous levels with Half Life 2′s engine, Source.

Those same fans had also clamored for Nintendo to release the classic game on the Wii’s Virtual Console as a downloadable game only for the idea to die a slow and license litigated death.

And then developer, Eurocom, stunned everyone when they announced their own GoldenEye game built from the ground up as a re-imagined reboot. But far from being sacrilege, Eurocom’s remake is both an unmistakable homage and a fantastic FPS in its own right.
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