Login | Signup

Namco Bandai Partners

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Review | Brilliant, Brutal and Bewitching

Author:
David Brown
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
CD Projekt, Games reviews, Namco Bandai Partners, RPGs, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

The Witcher 2

Platforms: PC
Developer: CD Projekt RED
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games

If you happen to play the prologue section of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings in the wrong way, there's the chance you could almost break the game for yourself. It really is that crucial you choose the first of the four conversational options you're given, otherwise you'll be thrust into a situation you'll be completely unprepared for.

Go through the disguised tutorial in the proper order and you'll be fine. Don't and you'll end up in a world of fire-breathing pain.

2011-05-18_00005

It's the first of a number of niggly little problems that mar what is otherwise one of the best games ever made, simple as that. Some of the others that crop up are less explicable and perhaps more annoying in that they were errors avoided in the first game that needlessly appear here, like overdone, out of place boss fights and bad checkpointing.

However, the meat of the game is a prime fillet steak. Excellent acting, eye-poppingly beautiful visuals, an intelligent, properly adult plot and a challenging combat system that improves upon the original, even if it's still not perfect.

High praise, indeed. Find out what makes The Witcher II so good after the jump...

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West - Hands-on Preview

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Alex Garland, Andy Serkis, Enslaved, Games previews, Namco Bandai Partners, Ninja Theory, PS3 games, Xbox 360 games
Discuss:
Playstation 3 | Xbox 360

Development

Early PS3 owners will already know that developers Ninja Theory can make stunning looking games. Their last effort, Heavenly Sword, was a bit unlucky as it was released too early on in the PS3's lifecycle to become a significant sucess. Despite the much healthier numbers of PS3s out there now, Ninja Theory have decided to play it safe with a multi-platform release. And who could blame them with a game this good looking?

Before we lucky handful of fans get three delicious hours with a complete build of the game (ahead of the world’s press, by the way), Namco Bandai’s Lee Kirton gives us a bit of background about the game.

Enslaved takes place 150 years from now, in a post-post-apocalyptic environment, meaning the world has seen numerous wars and diseases and humanity has almost disappeared. The people left have known nothing but pain and fear all their lives. The crumbling cities have been deserted for so long that the plants have reclaimed the land as huge trees burst through concrete and green ivy and flowers attempt to smother every building.

The plot is only very loosely based on the 16th Century Chinese novel, Journey to the West. In truth, it’s a whole new story, penned by film writer Alex Garland of The Beach and 28 Days Later fame. Apparently Garland is a big gamer himself and also had some influence on elements of the gameplay as well as the story.

And who could forget Andy ‘Gollum’ Serkis? He not only voiced and mo-capped the lead character, Monkey, but directed the other actors for the motion-capture sessions too. After the amazing work he did on Heavenly Sword and what I saw playing Enslaved, it’s a great decision. The game utilises the same mo-cap tech that James Cameron used for Avatar, importantly though, Ninja Theory used it first. Games 1: Hollywood 0. The games also uses the Unreal III engine, but NT has completely redeveloped it to get the very best out of the famous tech.

Click here to read about Enslaved's killer gameplay

Demon's Souls UK Review

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Demon's Souls, From Software, Games reviews, Namco Bandai Partners, PS3 games, RPG
Discuss:
Playstation 3

Format: PS3

Developer: From Software

Publisher: Namco Bandai Partners

For many, Demon’s Souls will be like Marmite, with its love it or hate it appeal. That’d be fine except many gamers will be struggling to get the lid of the damn thing. This RPG game’s tutorial gives you a few weak enemies while going over the controls and just as you start to think ‘this isn’t so bad,’ a boss appears and kills you in one hit. Welcome to Demon’s Souls, meatbag.

In this dead Soul form, your health is greatly reduced and you’ll have to defeat a boss to get your body back. To avoid going insane, it’s best not to think of yourself as ‘dead’ in the traditional sense. You’ll be spending most of the game in this state, so just get on with it.

Dying sends you to the Nexus, which is the game’s hub where you upgrade or buy weapons, buy magic skills or upgrade your stats. Although you can only do the later after defeating a boss. From here you select which area you want to travel to. The first castle you arrive at is impressive in scale and detail, but any sense of hope dwindles when a huge red dragon arrives with a mouth full of corpses. That’ll be fun later. Much, much later that is.

This is where the game really starts to show its true nature. You won’t exactly be storming the castle, just slowly shuffling your way forwards one kill at a time. You’ll die again soon (even though you’re already dead) and be returned to the start of the level with all your Demon Souls removed but any items still intact.

Click here to see if Demon's Souls lives up to its name of the meanest game on PS3....