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Writer: Andy Astruc
XBL (reviewed), PSN
Released: March 7, 2012 (XBL), April 4, 2012 (PSN)
Developer: Darkworks, Ubisoft Shanghai
The world is coming to an end. All the power plants exploded, a meteor has entered the atmosphere, the robots have taken over and all the men have caught a mysterious disease and dropped dead. In a stroke of good fortune, the only people equipped to survive the coming storm and inevitably depressing aftermath will be forest-dwelling, bearded lunatics and people who play video games.
More radiation and dust-covered bikini babes for us, in the end. The realm of the post-apocalyptic wasteland is not new to video games (Fallout, Enslaved, Rage and Beneath a Steel Sky just off the top of my head), but could we ever really tire of decaying worlds stripped of colour and happiness, where life itself withers and rots like old cheese? I Am Alive certainly thinks you’re ready for one more spirit-crushing trip to the death of everything.
PS3 (reviewed), X360
Released: Jan 31 2012
Developer: Rebellion Developments
There are many games out there which, while technically polished and exceedingly functional, fail to grab my attention. Whether it’s a military shooter obsessed with beating the terrorist Russians, a fantasy RPG cluttered with elves, or a thing where you jump on other things and maybe they die, it all gets a little predictable. Luckily, NeverDead is the opposite of that.
Fair warning, I’m about to tell you exactly why this is a terrible game. And why you should go and play it anyway.
Bryce Boltzmann is a demon hunter. He’s been one for a long time. 500 years ago he tried to stop the demon king from rising and destroying the Earth, but he was defeated. As some kind of elaborate prank, and after murdering Bryce’s partner, a demon cursed Bryce with immortality, that he may live forever with his failures. Present day Bryce is working for an agency specialising in demon extermination. He and his fragile human partner Arcadia keep the city safe from random scum, until the inevitable plot to do very bad things comes up.
X360, PS3 (Reviewed)
Released: June 21, 2011
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture have the wonderful ability to create games that fans will absolutely adore, but they have virtually no chance of appealing to the mass market. Killer 7 and No More Heroes both offered experiences that were uniquely Suda, with captivating art styles and a disregard for conventions and, in an industry drenched in sameyness and supposed sequel fatigue they managed to sell as well as a pork roast on Hannukah. If any of his games would have a shot at mainstream acceptance, it should’ve been Shadows of the Damned.
Suda’s trademark attitude is pushed to the forefront immediately as Garcia “Fucking” Hotspur is confronted by the (first) death of his girlfriend Paula. While I wasn’t exactly surprised by her death, but the event is handled with so little ceremony it can be more than a ltitle disarming. Suda treats her death, and subsequent deaths, with such disregard. This plays into what is easily one of Shadows’ biggest strengths: the atmosphere.
Released: Nov 1 2012 US, Nov 2 2012 EU
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
I’m uneasy. Uncharted 3 lies on my floor, bloodied and beaten. I scaled the side of an ancient home and exited at speed when it was set ablaze by evil dudes. I ran through market streets in pursuit of a man with seemingly magical powers. After being kidnapped, I escaped from a rotting shipyard festering with pirates. I killed a hundred thousand men, most of whom were probably bad guys. Probably. But I feel empty. Something is very wrong.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception once again follows the world’s most poorly tucked treasure hunter, Nathan Drake, on another quest to steal priceless artifacts from exotic locations. Sorry, find. Find artifacts. New big bad Katherine Marlowe is after Sir Francis Drake’s ring - conveniently kept around Nathan Drake’s neck - so that she can find a special thing that leads her to another thing for very important reasons. Drake and perpetual father figure Sully need to stop them because of other important reasons. Like money. Honestly, the plot is a huge mess of chase scenes and blatant plot holes that feels more like an excuse to make pretty levels and cool action sequences than ever.