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Reviews Mass Effect 3 - Extended Cut Review Ian's avatar
 
Spoiler Warning: Totally spoils the Mass Effect 3 Extended Ending
I hated the Mass Effect 3 ending for a lot of the same reasons most other people did. It was cheap, rushed, ruined basically the whole future of the franchise, and many other minor atrocities. The fact that the Extended Cut ending was even made is a testament to how negative the reaction was. Weren't they supposed to be doing "Take Back Omega" DLC or something?

So under the advice of the handy FAQ they put up for the ending, I loaded up my post-game autosave and initiated the Assault on the Cerberus Base again. Knowing full well that nothing between then and entering the beam was different, I X'd my way through most of the dialogue and set combat difficulty to Casual just to make it go faster. I think it still took a couple of hours to get to the new stuff.

First new scene is the explanation of why your companions are on board the Normandy. Half-way through the dramatic "leggit "sequence, Shepard pauses for a breather to evacuate the squad onto the Normandy which arrives so fast that it must of been hovering just off screen. It reminded me of that scene in Star Trek 5 where the Klingon bird of prey somehow hides behind a small hill and suprises Kirk.

With your shipmates carefully packed off, you can get on with the rest of it. Next change comes with the space child dialogue. There is way more of it. He takes the time to explain in barely any more detail what is going, basically just repeats it slowly for people who didn't get it the first time.

Shepard: "Who built you?"
Starchild: "Uh you wouldn't know em."
Shepard: "Who came up with the plans for the Crucible?"
Starchild: "Some... guys..."
Shepard: "Why didn't you stop the Crucible?"
Starchild: "Triksy organics hids it away! Gollum! Gollum!"

You get the idea. Explaining shitty writing in greater detail doesn't do much to make it less shitty. After this you get to pick your ending which works the same except they show you some clips from the endings so you remember from when you watched them on youtube last time. Also they show you in FMV form how to initiate them, which is a hilarious solution to that problem.

After the explanations were done I got really excited as a new option presented itself, refusal! A big middle finger to the endings, and the game in general. With this option picked, you basically get a very short sequences showing a message with Crucible instructions for the next cycle to figure out what to do with. With done I fired up my "Load" menu to see the others... but yeah autosaves. I was screwed, and had to watch the other three on youtube.

The previous three endings all get 15 minute sequences to properly explain and undo pretty much everything from the original versions of the ending.

I like the following things about these endings:

* Parts of them are nicely produced. Eg. How the fighting wraps up on Earth and other planets. Looks good.
* They un-fuck the universe by showing the gates being rebuilt.
* They un-fuck the Normandy by showing it leaving jungle planet.

I do not like the following things about these endings:

* Man. The paintings look dumb! Look!

Then they photoshop GREEN EYES onto everyone!

* Still a bad bunch of choices involving space magic.
* The Synthesis effect with the glowing green eyes is hilarious.
* Adding a bunch of production value and explanation to shit ideas for endings doesn't make the ideas less shit.
* The Normandy tries to run away from a shockwave for no reason. But you can see them making that bizarre decision in greater detail now!

So in conclusion, I spent 3 hours replaying the ending to a game to see a three minute video I could have watched on youtube. Go me.

Mass Effect 2 DLC Kasumi's Stolen Memory Review Ian's avatar
 
Kasumi
The question you have to ask yourself when thinking about picking up Kasumi's Stolen Memory is: Would you pay 700 MS Points ($7/£4.80) for Zaeed? Remember how Zaeed didn't have any conversations while on the Normandy, and didn't have a recruitment mission other than a introductory conversation? It's basically just that again. The biggest difference here is that while Zaeed's loyalty mission wasn't particularly notable, Kasumi's mission is really interesting and unique, and you get some new casual clothes out of it.

So is it worth it? Read on to find out.
 
Mass Effect 2 DLC Firewalker Review Ian's avatar
 
Dalaran
Let's get this out of the way, the Firewalker DLC is free so the only thing you are spending on it is your time, therefore this review will be more of a summary of the pack's content that you can use to judge if it's a worthwhile way to spend the hour or so of your time it takes to play through. Firewalker is broadly speaking five side-missions all focused around a vehicle called the Hammerhead. Upon returning to your command deck, Kelly will inform you that there is unread mail which usually means she is just confused or lying, but there is actually new mail this time. I was able to start the mission using a save made after finishing the main story which is an improvement over the original Mass Effect's DLC.

Read on for if you want more words about Firewalker to read.
Review: Plants Vs. Zombies (iPhone) Sam's avatar
 
The root of all evil?
PopCap Games like their statistics and who can blame them when they include such figures as one copy bought every 4.3 seconds, fifty million units sold and one of the top ten best selling games of all time. The latest feather in the cap for the Seattle based developers arrived courtesy of Plants Vs. Zombies on the iPhone, which after shifting over 300,000 copies in the first nine days following its release, became the fastest ever selling product on the App Store.

Although a few weeks late to the party, these impressive statistics were persuasive enough to ensure that I downloaded the "Flower Defence" application, a tag-line that strongly suggests that the game was designed around a pun one of the developers came up with while on the toilet one morning. As a fan of PopCap's back catalogue and zombies but cynical about the iPhone as a gaming platform and indifferent to tower defence, my feelings on the application were mixed even before I launched it for the first time.

Is Plants Vs. Zombies the perfect mobile gaming brain food or does the "Flower Defence" application threaten to soil PopCap's reputation?

To read Sam's review of Plants Vs Zombies on the iPhone, click Read On!
The Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC Review Ian's avatar
 
Vehicle versus rubbish spider enemy
Borderlands is a game I wish had never ended, which is odd considering how long it was. I was not remotely bored with it when it finished, and would have eagerly played for another 25 hours. The first DLC, The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned was okay, but wasn’t really enough like the main game to be quite as good. As Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot was such a tragic failure, I was a bit worried that it would be the last piece of Borderlands, so was thrilled when I heard they were planning such a full bodied third DLC pack. With a higher level cap, plot continuing past the original ending, more guns, more vehicles, it all sounded great. I am happy to report that it clocks in at being the best and biggest expansion yet.

To find out the nitty gritty details, please Read on!
Bonfire of the Vanities DLC Review Ian's avatar
 
Burn those books Less than a month ago I pondered whether this final Chapter of Ezio’s story in Assassin’s Creed II would make the previous DLC chapter Batlle of Forli make more sense. While it does resolve the plot introduced right at the end of Forli, there is pretty much nothing interesting about the plot or the way it's presented, and is hardly a tale worthy of tell in song or epic poem (oddly, it is however a plot worthy of downloadable content). Put it this way, if these two chapters had been in the game in their correct place, they would only of really served as filler that would ultimately frustrate the player trying to get on with the plot and finish the game. I also ran into a far more weird bugs during the hour and a half I spent in this DNA sequence than I ever did in the main game.

For the final word on Assassin's Creed II, Read on!
Resident Evil 5: Lost in Nightmares Review Ian's avatar
 
Please no dogs, please no dogs!
Having not played any Resident Evil 5 since completing it roughly a year ago, I was worried going into this new downloadable pack that the game would have transformed from one I remember liking quite a lot into one that seems dated. I am pleased to report this was not the case, as it looks and plays just as great as ever. This concern of mine came from my playing through the GTA IV Episodes from Liberty City. That game seems to get worse and worse every time I fire it up. Anyway, Lost in Nightmares is one of two extra chapters of the upcoming Gold Edition of Resident Evil 5, and has thankfully been released separately to stop us from having to buy a whole new box just for a couple of extra hours of content.

There is a lot of the original Resident Evil in Lost in Nightmares, in that it has a similar mansion and lots of good references. These unfortunately only last for the first quarter of the pack, and the rest will do nothing for your nostalgia. Those of you who played through Resident Evil 5 might remember a crazy cutscene where Chris and Jill fight Wesker in a mansion, this pack is basically the events that lead up to that fight. Within the first few couple of minutes you see a mansion, become worried that a dog is about to jump through a window, Jill once again proves herself the master of unlocking, and you are informed that a door needs a crest inserted into it in order to be opened. So it’s Resident Evil, is what I’m saying.

For more words written by me on this subject, Read on!
Ian's avatar Ian
The controls are fine! Shut up!
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Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom Review Josh's avatar
 
Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom Review
Growing weary of slugging it out against Wolverine and his merry band of Marvel cohorts, Capcom have elected to use the seventh instalment of their frenetic fighting franchise to pit its horde of video game icons against the creations of Japanese animation powerhouse Tatsunoko. Where other fighting games concern themselves with twenty-button combos and the presence of at least three separate special attack meters, Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Stars opts for a more simplified approach that places bombast and spectacle above technical pugilism.

Undoubtedly, a great deal of the game’s appeal is its sizable catalogue of combatants who are drawn from both companies’ respective legacies. The Capcom roster sees the return of just a handful of characters from previous entries into the series, including ubiquitous stalwarts Ryu and Chun Li, Darkstalker’s Morrigan, and Mega Man (albeit in his Legends incarnation). Though you may bemoan the loss of your favourite fighters, there are plenty of new characters to choose from. These have been plucked from previously unrepresented franchises such as Onimusha and Viewtiful Joe, as well as more recent releases such as Dead Rising and Lost Planet that will prove more familiar to a western audience.

To find out more, Read On!
Dragon Age Origins: Return to Ostagar DLC Review Ian's avatar
 
Picture of Ostagar I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for this damn thing to come out, it was originally supposed to hit around the time I got to the last possible point I could experience it as part of my main playthrough, so was a bit annoyed by all the delays. After you beat the main game, you get a sort of DLC save game which restricts you to just your camp and any DLC only areas, and it informs you in no uncertain terms that any events that you do from this point take place chronologically before the end of the game. While I appreciate their to integrate the DLC better than the first Mass Effect did with this save, I am afraid that I ignored this option and went and found a save from just before the endgame, which I am going to use that to experience any DLC. Being restricted to just the camp made me feel like I had been caught in a Star Trek style pocket dimension or something.

As I am playing this on the PC purchased through Steam, I had to jump through a couple of hoops to get this content. I had to load up the game, click on the ‘Add Points’ button, then the game kicked me to a browser pointing at social.bioware.com , their super janky social site that frankly barely works. Once I had signed into the website about 15 times and actually purchased the points, they showed up in the game and I was able to download and install it relatively smoothly. The DLC is 400 BioWare points or £3.10 and much like I said in my Battle of Forli review, don’t really have any expectations for something so cheap. £3.10 is pretty much the same thing as a decent sandwich, and sandwiches don’t last me more than an hour usually.
Assassins Creed 2: The Battle of Forli DLC Review Ian's avatar
 
Picture of Forli 320 MS Points or £2.74 is so close to nothing at all that I really have no expectations for something that costs that much. I’ve spent more than that on a damn coffee. For the opportunity to play some more Assassin’s Creed 2, however crappy it may or may not be, definitely is worth it to me.

When I loaded my post-completion save, Ezio immediately dropped dead and was loaded back up in Forli. You've got to love the janky things that developers have to do to get things working sometimes. While obsessively exploring the main game in my traditional style I had already completely cleared out this area of content, so I am already quite familiar with what Forli is all about. At the time I remember thinking it odd that they’d make a whole really unique looking area and introduce an important seeming character merely to be a tutorial on boat controls, so I am glad to be able to spend some quality time in this broody and depressing city. Upon arriving in Forli, the game quickly flashed up a couple of sentences describing what was happening in the story at this point in time, and two new memories appeared icons appeared on the map.

But what did they mean!? Read on to find out!
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