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Prototype

Infamous and Prototype present an eternal conundrum - which is the original, and which the knock-off? Surely one has to be better than the other? In truth, I'm still unable to decide. While not as well-written as its stablemate, Prototype makes up for it with great freedom of movement and the ability to act like a superpowered psychopath without being judged for it. And why should you be? Alex Mercer is elevated far beyond the level of conventional humanity. You don't judge a gardener for spraying the greenfly.

But on the other hand: The side missions left something to be desired (like a few more that weren't combat-based) and as elevated as he is, Alex is still a bit of a pillock.

Beatles Rock Band

Rhythm games may be on the way out, with DJ Hero tanking like a German military commander and Guitar Hero 5 basically running out of shit to do with the concept, and Beatles Rock Band will serve quite nicely as a swansong. A visually rich odyssey through the Beatles' music, arguably one of the few Rock Band spin-offs and knock-offs to be more fun when played by yourself than in a group. Buy it for your dad if you're rich and decadent.

But on the other hand: It's still just slapping a plastic knob whenever the screen tells you to. And frankly I'm over guitar games now that the popular kids play it.

Halo: ODST

BAH ha ha ha ha. But seriously.

Uncharted 2

I've got to admit I was really trying not to have fun with Uncharted 2. It was the principle of the thing. I have this overpowering hatred for Uncharted 2's style of writing - that awful Hollywood, Josh Whedon-y style, full of dull-witted heroes and snarky heroines, all acting as nothing but mouthpieces for agonizingly smug 'wit'. But if I play through Uncharted 2 with the language switched to German or something I can concede the game combines beautiful environments with varied gameplay and a revelatory approach to action movie set pieces that actually involve the player without resorting to quick time events.

But on the other hand: OH JESUS CHRIST SHUT YOUR FAT FUCKING MOUTHS.

Assassin's Creed 2

I've noticed a bit of a rule of thumb with trilogies: the first one is usually fairly tepid, since they're still finding their feet; the second is the best, now they've learned from experience and cut off the unnecessary flaps; and the third is where they get cocky and it starts to go downhill again. With that in mind, you should probably get on board with Assassin's Creed before a third installment shits in the punchbowl. Screed 2 is a huge game with tons of things to do and people to kill, with the niggling unpleasantries of Screed 1 graciously plucked out.

But on the other hand: So we spend the whole game getting to know Ezio, right from birth no less, following his quest for revenge over 20 years, and then at the very end the game basically says "Piss off, wog boy, Future Desmond's the important one." Earth to Ubisoft: Nobody. Likes. Future. Desmond. It'd be like if The Empire Strikes Back ended with C3PO turning out to be Darth Vader's kid instead of Luke.

Yahtzee is a British-born, currently Australian-based writer and gamer with a sweet hat and a chip on his shoulder. When he isn't talking very fast into a headset mic he also designs freeware adventure games and writes the back page column for PC Gamer, who are too important to mention us. His personal site is www.fullyramblomatic.com.

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