Review: Heavy Rain

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Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain can leave you feeling drained and beaten. As the name implies, it aims to soak you in sheets of emotional precipitation, doing so not with hurricane force, but with unrelenting, constant pressure.

Stories are the lifeblood of almost any game that doesn’t involve a ball. Told well, they can keep the player sucked in for hours, jostling everything from their psyche to their moral compass. A poorly done story turns the experience into a chore, also shining the spotlight on the game’s other problems.

Thankfully, Heavy Rain leans more toward the former, while also doing as much as it can to forward Quantic Dream’s efforts to advance a gameplay style past the “acquired taste” phase of acceptance.

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Not an issue

I love Sony’s new ads featuring Kevin Butler, the VP that wears as many hats as Sony needs him to and with plenty of style to boot.

On that note, and in view of Red’s review of the amazing Uncharted 2 (I’ve played it,too), here’s a little example of what I’m talking about. Enjoy!

And don’t forget, it’s also fun for the whole family!

Review: Uncharted 2 – Among Thieves

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You get no scene-setting narrative in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Instead, you get dangled off the end of a derailed train car, which happens to be hanging off the edge of a mountain cliff. You’re in Nepal when this happens, by the way.

It’s the perfect tone-setter for Naughty Dog’s latest body of work. It’s bombastic, adventurous fun in the vein of prime Indiana Jones, juggling action, humor and storytelling in a way that makes you remember how cool treasure-hunting can be.
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The new PS3, tiny and bold

In case you haven’t hear, there’s some news from Sony at Gamescom in Germany — a smaller, less pricier version of the PS3. The PS3 Slim is real. Even the price is smaller, checking in at $299. You can hear SCEA lead dog Jack Tretton give a rundown of the system over at the PlayStation blog.

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I like the design. I like the price, especially since I got my original monolith PS3 bundled with Uncharted and Motorstorm for a heap of cash. However, I also like being able to play stuff like God of War, Vagrant Story, Shadow of the Colossus, Okami and a bunch of other PS2 classics. It was actually a big selling point for me. I imagine a lot of people are going to see this as the tipping point to go and get one. (or, perhaps 360 owners are sick of worrying about their system red-ringing every time they turn it on). However, I’m also curious to see what happens in regards to trade-ins. Anger? Rage? Or a silent resignation that you wanted to be an early adopter, succeeded, and probably knew something like this was going to occur?

Other highlights: It uses less power, which means it’s not going to make as much noise as the earlier black fortress edition that everyone has. Thing is, compared to the 360, the PS3 is practically the Red October in terms of silent running. So that’s not really a major selling point for me — besides, are you really going to notice system noise when Kratos is disemboweling centaurs in HD? The volume’s not going to be up for that? Other cute tech bits include “Bravia Sync,” which enables Bravia TV’s XMB (cross-media bar) to be controlled through the PS3. There’s also a feature that turns off the PS3 when the TV shuts down, because apparently we can’t have people mustering the energy to push another button.

We’ll get to see how this plays out, starting Sept. 1. My original PS3 is staying where it is, unless our new dog does something menacing to it.

Review: inFAMOUS

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We love superheroes, mainly because they can do things we can’t. They fly, have metal claws, control things with their minds — but at some point, they had to choose whether or not to fight for others or just start tearing everything up.

That’s the same choice game players face in Sucker Punch’s inFAMOUS, a brilliant bit of comic-book fantasy about a free-running courier who wakes up with the ability to control electricity.

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Guns, a sword, and Eliza Dushku.

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I was digging through my vacation-packed e-mail and found the announcement from Bethesda Softworks about their plans to publish the action game WET for the Xbox 360 and PS3. The game is being developed by Artificial Mind and Movement (A2M).

The game’s heroine is Rubi Malone, a super-assassin who rocks twin pistols and a samurai sword — kind of a cross between The Bride from Kill Bill and Inspector Tequila from Stranglehold.That’s kind of the impression I’m getting from the game in general, judging from the trailers and shots full of bullet-time and blood. The skeptical part of me wants to just pull out Stranglehold and call it a day, but we’ll see.

The Malone character’s voice is handled by Eliza Dushku, the star of “Dollhouse” on Sci-Fi. The game is slated for a fall release. Oh, and please be mindful of the trailer – you’ve got tons of blood and a 12-letter word at the end. Consider yourself warned.

Hands-on with “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves”

After much speculation and conversation, today is the day that I can confirm that “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves” will have multiplayer. I can also confirm that the multiplayer is a heck of a lot of fun.

I was among the first people outside developer Naughty Dog to get to play the sequel to the 2007 PlayStation 3 exclusive “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune,” and the new game builds on the success of the original. Naughty Dog unveiled “Uncharted 2″ at a press event in Hollywood last week, and I’ve been itching to talk about it ever since.
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Review: Resident Evil 5

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If you want to know what bioterrorism fantasy looks like, try the latest chapter of the “Resident Evil” series. At the very least, it’ll make you think about investing in a mask.

Resident Evil 5 is the culmination of a saga that has evolved from a zombie-killing, bump-in-the-night scarefest to an action-packed monster thriller. By fully coming out of the shadows and adding a mythic spin on the world of biological weaponry, this piece from Capcom is one of my favorite titles of the early year.

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Review: Killzone 2

Killzone 2 is dirty. Grimy. Hard. It’s a butt-scratching, steak-and-fries eating, beer-drinking shooter that lives down the hall from games like Gears of War, eschewing much of the galactic frilliness one sometimes sees in other games set in the far future. There are no lasers, massive robots, or delusions of universal heroism. You get bullets and fire, f-bombs and blood. And that’s plenty.
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