So here we are folks with another three games to encapsulate Part 3 of the collection of what I feel to be the greatest gaming feasts of glorious gameplay, setting and story from the PS3/Xbox 360 age.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s cute that you all think you’re the heroes of this little adventure but…you’re not!” – Handsome Jack
Bloody hell this is a fun game! I and my fiancé have lost literally countless hours over many different playthroughs during our split screen sessions as we have carved a ravenous path through the realms of Pandora, developing our Commando/Psycho and Mechromancer/Siren classes to godly levels in search of the epic loot and lovable characters that this exceptional story revolves around. The world is vibrant, the gameplay is engrossing and the presentation of its artistic portrayal and humour gives such a distinctive feel to this perfect blend of FPS and RPG. Particular highlights for me include the first few hours trekking through the glacial wastes of Liars Berg, rampaging through the arena battles that cropped up every so often, listening to the hilarious and surprisingly deep villain, Handsome Jack, as he attempts to berate and belittle us as we progressed and the Tiny Tina (another excellently demented character I might add) DLC that was her board game come to life representation of ‘Bunkers and Badasses’, which was the icing on the very fulfilling loot coloured cake! It is full of things to do, people to see and gain quests from (thrilling levels of depth and exploration ho!) and this 50 hour plus behemoth represents true value for money from start to oh so satisfying finish. Will the Warrior please come out to play?
Xbox 360 Metacritic Score – 89
Personal Score – 9/10
Batman Arkham City
“You of all people should know, there’s plenty wrong with me.” – The Joker
I do not believe there exists a better representation of the Dark Knight in comic book, film or game form than this excellent offering from the development studio Rocksteady. It is just that good, in my opinion. There have been many attempts in the past to create a game employing the tantalising prospect of becoming Batman but let’s face it, they were either shoddy, lifeless cash grabs or just severely dull and lacklustre. That is most definitely not the case though with the Arkham games and the second one to be released stands out as the crown jewel for me. You are literally THE Batman incarnate as you stalk and prowl your enemies throughout the environment utilising his superb detective skills, supreme martial arts abilities to stunningly visceral effect and his arsenal of the highest tech gadgets available to a reclusive billionaire with vast untold resources to move around the gorgeously realised and immaculately presented streets of Gotham City. The cast of characters in this game are also incredibly well brought to life as you go head to head with a cacophony of Batman’s greatest foes including Two Face, The Penguin, Hugo Strange, Mr Freeze and the Clown Prince of Gotham himself, the Joker, with each storyline being so diverse and engaging that nothing gets old. What’s more, if you are a fervent fan of the DC comics and follow the story of these characters closely then the epic ending to this game will have you simply shocked and aghast. Aghast I tell you!
Xbox 360 Metacritic Score – 94
Personal Score – 8/10
The Last of Us
“Decisions used to be easy, huh? What time to get up, what to wear, where to go. Now it’s a bit different. Could you tell friend from foe? Could you kill? Could you do worse? If a loved one was infected, could you do the right thing? Could you put your life on the line for me the way I would for you? Could you be… the last of us?”
We have likely all seen, read or played something dealing with an end of the world scenario, something that outlines and brings to us the aftermath of some apocalypse. The most popular of which is the Zombie Apocalypse or your Mad Max style desolate wasteland. They are usually dreary and dull to look at and exude some type of overarching gloomy threat that best represents the tone of their work. And then we have the Last of Us which brings a beautifully realised world overwhelmed by the bleak portrayal of the most realistically human adaptation of our worlds undoing. The Cordyceps fungus (which is a real fungus that exists in our world and the source of much rumination on the subject by yours truly) has mutated to the point that it is able to claim the human body for itself and is transforming the human race into a mindless and savage bestial vestige of its former glory. It may not have the most unique gameplay elements to offer but what it does do in the form of stealth, combat, exploration and world engagement, it does flawlessly. The true star of the show though is the heart wrenching story that follows Joel on his journey to guide and protect Ellie in a broken world full of rampant monstrosities and self-serving scavengers that want them dead just so they can take what you have. Never will you come across two characters so well created and utilised as this intrepid duo of determined survivors. Naughty Dog have crafted one of the finest games to ever grace a console with the Last of Us and myself and millions of others will eagerly await any news that may one day hint toward the prospect of a sequel.
Playstation 3 Metacritic Score – 95
Personal Score – 9/10