Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Beat Hazard Review

The best way to describe Beat Hazard is that it would be the result of Audiosurf and Geometry Wars having a baby and then that baby taking LSD. It combines the gameplay-based-around-your-own-music of Audiosurf and the multi-directional shooter and crazy visuals of Geometry Wars. These screenshots honestly don't do the game justice.
In Beat Hazard, your music is the weapon. As your music gets louder, so do your bullets. Enemy waves are supposedly linked to the music as well, but you can't really notice it. You can get power-ups that increase both the volume of the music and the power of your weapon and when both are at maximum you become a "Beat Hazard", shooting an extra powerful beam of bullets out of your ship. You also have a score multiplier that increases from +1 power-ups or completing "Daredevil" (don't shoot for 5 seconds) or Survivor (stay alive for 60 seconds) as many times as you want.
As you gain points from playing Beat Hazard, you level up. As you level up you get extras, such as starting with a higher multiplier or power-ups. You also unlock higher difficulty modes, which increase the amount of enemies, as well as make the visuals even more insane and eye-straining. This keeps you coming back to play songs you've already played before, because with all these unlockable extras it's much easier to beat the high-score you made when you were Rank 2 when you've leveled up to Rank 10. Reaching the highest rank even makes you start the song with Beat Hazard already acquired.
Beat Hazard also includes a few modes. The normal mode, where you play through a song to get the highest score possible, survival mode, where you play as far as you can through a playlist of songs until you die, two player mode, which is the same as normal mode, but with two-players (one player must use an Xbox 360 gamepad on the PC version), and Chill-Out Mode, where you let the game play itself, basically making the game serve as an amazing visualizer.
Beat Hazard is great for what it is, a $10 indie game for short bursts of adrenaline-filled fun. Instead of just relaxing and listening to your music like normal, you can fire up Beat Hazard and PLAY your music, or just leave it on Chill-Out Mode for the crazy visual effects. If you can, wait for it to go back on sale for $5.

Final Verdict:
The good:
- Choose your own music to play
- Fun Geometry Wars-inspired gameplay
- Intense visuals
- Rank system keeps you coming back for more
The bad:
- Gets repetitive
- Missing some features that would make it amazing (no online play)

Beat Hazard is available on Xbox Live Arcade or Steam for 400 Microsoft points or $10 respectively.

I left the score out of this review, as it feels arbitrary to me. If you REALLY need a score to go off, I'd say it would be an 8 or an 8.5 out of 10.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

"Most Anticipated Games of 2011" Poll Results

My "Most anticipated games of 2011" poll is finished, and I'm not sure if I'll have another since it's so easy to vote multiple times. Anyway, these are the results:

Most Anticipated Game:
Diablo III (13 votes)
The Rest (In Order):
Portal 2 (10 votes)

Battlefield 3 (9 votes)

Half-Life 2: Episode 3 (8 votes)

Mass Effect 3 (6 votes)

Batman: Arkham City (5 votes)

Bioshock: Infinite (3 votes)

Brink (2 votes)

Crysis 2 (2 votes)

L.A. Noire (2 votes)

Metal Gear Solid: Rising (1 vote)

Prototype 2 (1 vote)

RAGE (0 votes)

Red Orchestra 2 (0 votes)

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Favourite Recent Games (Post Yours in the Comments!)

So, while I hunt through my Steam account for games that will actually run on this machine (which barely runs Minecraft, mind you) until I get my new computer, I thought I'd make a new post talking about my favourite games as well as asking YOU guys what yours are. My favourite games (from the last decade or so) are as follows:

This game may have essentially just been Grand Theft Auto set in the Wild West, but that is definitely not a bad thing. In fact, I think I prefer this game to GTA IV and I hope GTA V lives up to the awesome standard that this game has set for future Rockstar games. Everything about this game was great, the story, the gameplay, the incredible music and the spectacular graphics. That's why Red Dead Redemption is one of my all-time favourite games.

Possibly my favourite game of all time, Bioshock has it all. A fantastic engrossing setting, an engaging story with a few stunning twists along the way, beautiful graphics, smooth gunplay, combined with the amazing plasmid system. I really loved this game when it came out, and rushed to get Bioshock 2 when it was released. Unfortunately, the sequel didn't quite live up to Bioshock 1, but Bioshock: Infinite is being made by the original team and looks amazing from the trailers released so far.

Yes, I know this is sort of cheating. The Orange Box may not be a game, but it contains 5 of the greatest games ever in one box for the price of one game. I'm sure everybody reading (hopefully) knows and loves the Half-Life series already, and Team Fortress 2 and Portal really shined in this package as well. Portal was an amazing puzzle game, although it wasn't very long, which was good since it made it a bite-sized game that even the most casual gamer could enjoy. Team Fortress 2 is still getting regular updates after all this time, but I fear that some of them (hats and the Mann Co store) and starting to make the game worse and worse as time goes on. Still, at the time of release, this was the biggest and best deal of all time.

Finally, a comic book game done right. This game was truly surprising, seeing that the only game developer Rocksteady Studios had made was an unknown PS2 game 4 years before Arkham Asylum was released. The game is just astounding, especially the graphics and the free-flow combat system. It even kept me interested enough to collect all the hidden Riddler easter eggs, although I never did beat all the Combat challenge maps. Batman: Arkham City is one of my most highly anticipated games of 2011.

New Vegas improved on it's predecessor, Fallout 3, in almost every way possible. Almost all of my nuances with Fallout 3 were fixed, and a lot of things from the original Fallout games were brought back (a lot of the people who worked on this game also worked on Fallout 1 and 2). My one problem with the game was the countless bugs. Thankfully, I was playing the PC version, so most were easily fixed. I believe this game took me around 40 hours to complete, which is amazing seeing that you could probably rush through in about 10-15. Side missions pretty much didn't interest me at all in Fallout 3, but in New Vegas I was stuck in areas for hours just trying to finish all the side missions before I moved on to the next big and exciting place. Possibly my favourite WRPG, I hope Fallout 4 is being made by Obsidian as well.

So, that's just a few of my favourite games (I'm sure I forgot some), now my question is, what are YOUR favourite games? Post in the comments section with a few of your all-time favourite games and WHY you love them.