Review Round-up

We’ve been busy as hell with the site transfer and all kinds of secret things this week, meaning we’ve not really had much time to actually play games.  Worse still, we’ve had even less time to review them, so here’s a handy catch up whilst we scribble away for another few days.  The big game reviews are coming, promise.

Golden Axe

It’s all about satisfaction. When you’ve little more to work with than chopping up countless foes the chopping itself needs to be satisfying, visceral and rewarding; to a certain extend Golden Axe: Beast Rider succeeds, but this is a thin rework of the 80s classic, and with no meat on the bone all you’re left with is the hacking and slashing of the aged game mechanics.

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For Sega fans, spoilt with some amazing new versions of old favourites like Outrun, this is going to hurt: Golden Axe just isn’t very good. If you were a fan of the multiplayer original, you’ll be saddened to know that it’s now just the single character (albeit a boxum female one) but most of the charm has been sucked dry and technically everything is a bit ‘last-gen’.

It’s not a horrible game, by any stretch, but it’s far from brilliant.  Fans of ancient mechanics might feel at home, but we’d have to recommend something like Conan, which is far more fleshed out and rewarding, if you’re desperate for some fighting action this weekend.  A shame, because we’re big fans of the original and huge fans of Sega, but some you win, some you lose.

Dead Space

We’ve covered our initial impressions earlier in the week, and suffice to say our thoughts on the game haven’t changed: this is a brilliant new IP and one that we’ve enjoyed playing from the off.  It’s deep, involving and very personal, and you can’t help but feel connected to the protagonist as he gets deeper into the massive mining vessel.

The gunplay only gets better, the monsters get bigger and smarter and the puzzles trickier.  It’s a progressive, intelligent game that came as a complete shock to us.  It’s out today, so if you’re looking for something totally fresh and exciting this weekend we can’t recommend Dead Space enough – it’s utterly worthwhile and will keep you busy for some time.

NovaStrike

We’ve obviously been keeping a very close eye on NovaStrike since our first interview with Kevin at Tiki Games, and a sense of relief washed over us when the game finally hit the European PSN Store yesterday.  As far as PSN games go it’s a polished affair, with plenty of challenge and although the price is a couple of quid higher than we’d expected it’s a big game with lots to do.

The small development team behind the game showed stacks of passion and enthusiasm, and the guys self-published NovaStrike without any financial backing from Sony – if you want more indie devs to produce great games for the PS3 you need to show your support and pick up this top-down shooter that comes complete with Trophies and XMB music built in.  It’s only the price of three pints, and it’ll last you much longer.

Saints Row 2

It’s been a week since we spoke last about Saints Row 2, and it’s still keeping the TSA Team amused.  As we said, it’s a massive, open ended sandbox game much in the style of Grand Theft Auto IV, but with more to do, less restrictions and a much better sense of humour.  It’s totally over the top, but we love it for it.  The full review on this is coming very soon.

LittleBigPlanet

Yes, it’s great.  If you’re sick of hearing about Sackboy on TSA, well, prepare to rush to the toilet because here’s some more praise.  Regardless of how far you got in the Beta and how many items, materials and goodies to managed to bag, the full game opens up so many more opportunities to Create that some of the levels we’ll be seeing for download will astound you.

And of course, that’s not to mention the masses of built-in levels that the Media Molecule guys have provided on the disk, which build on the principles seen in the Beta but take the ideas to whole new heights – the boss sections are stunning and to know that everything you see can be constructed yourself will present you with new ideas each time you play.

The online servers are still down at the time of writing, so we can’t say any more about the interactivity, but the European game is now at version 1.02, so at least that horrible, stinky offensive song has been removed and replaced with the instrumental.  How we’d get through the day knowing that was in there used to give us nightmares, but now we can sleep easy.

We’ve also got Midnight Club: LA from RockStar, EA’s NBA LIVE 09 and Monopoly and Ubisoft’s Far Cry 2 in the pipeline, more on those over the weekend as we’ve not even touched those yet.  Oh, tell a lie, we did have a quick go on NBA LIVE – we thought the training halls were a brilliant idea.

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