It’s a fact I’ve stated time and time again, but Funcom’s MMORPG The Secret World has some of the best world building of any game I’ve played. Each of the zones is filled with lore that details of the Lovecraft-inspired dangers that roam the lands, and the tragedies caused by them. It’s because of this I’ve always felt that there were more stories to tell and bigger secrets to uncover, and thankfully Funcom felt the same way.
The end result is The Park – a single player experience that tells one such story. Players assume the role of Lorraine, a single mother who loses her son Callum at the Atlantic Island Theme Park. Of course, TSW players who have been to The Savage Coast region will already know the theme park quite well, along with why it’s probably the worst idea ever to take (let along lose) your child there. While the opportunity to learn more of the park’s history and its mysterious owner is there, the main focus aims at delving into Lorraine’s troubled past, and how it affects the relationship with her son.
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Platform: PS Vita
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
What could inspire high school students to murder each other in cold blood? Fear? Financial gain? Honour? Despair?
This isn't a rhetorical question, because you'll have to work it out for yourself -- then prove it beyond all doubt -- to avoid grisly death at the paws of a sadistic robot teddy bear. After average student Makoto Naegi blacks out on the first day of attending his new school, he wakes up confined within the academy's walls for all eternity with his new classmates, who are offered only a single way out: commit a perfect murder, then get away with it. Surely the students will see the wisdom in peacefully working together to solve the mystery of their incarceration... right?
If only. Halfway between Phoenix Wright, Persona, Corpse Party and Virtue's Last Reward, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is one of the best (and most disturbing) visual novels to ever hit British shores, and easily one of the most compelling games on the PS Vita so far. If not the year so far, as long as you're comfortable with the differences between a visual novel and a traditional adventure game.
Important note: in an effort to avoid spoilers as much as humanly possible, I'm severely limited in my choice of screenshots. Be aware that the full game features graphic yet stylised depictions of brutal violence and mature themes. - JonathanClick here to read more...
The story behind Alan Wake is great and the game builds up bucket loads of tension as you travel around Bright Falls looking for Alan's missing wife during the day and avoiding "The Taken" at night. Unfortunately, at times it can be a little bit repetitive and you don't really get a chance to explore. Play are parting with Xbox 360 copies of the game for £8.99, which should save you almost £2 on the next best offer coming in from ShopTo. Thanks to Syzable @ HUKD.
Here's a deal for horror fans who a looking for a trip down memory lane. The Silent Hill HD collection contains Silent Hill 2 and 3 both of which are more than capable of putting you on edge. It's just a bit of a shame that the lead up to Silent Hill 2's awesome ending isn't really that much fun and both games are a little bit repetitive by today's standards. Simply Games are parting with PS3 copies of the game for £17.99, which should make you a saving of £2 on the next best offers out there. Thanks to Syzable @ HUKD.
True horror is best expressed through a first person perspective. It's all well and good to watch bad things happen to someone else, but the Penumbra collection throws you into a genuinely creepy setting and pits your wits against fiendish puzzles, horrifying foes and psychological mindgames. This collection contains both the first and second game as well as an expansion pack; providing a lengthy and genuinely frightening experience for a bargain price (though each individual game is fairly short). The combat system is a little finnicky, but an intricate story helps to keep your mind on the twists and turns rather than Penumbra's few shortcomings. Recommended for true horror fans, as well as puzzle fanatics who crave something a little different. Thanks to Musicrab at Hot UK Deals
The Collectors Edition of Alan Wake is currenly available from both Game and Gamestation for under £20. It's virtually impossible to find this online anywhere else at the moment and all the listed prices come in at at least £40. Considering it's just a couple of pounds less to buy the normal edition this is a deal worth grabbing onto as soon as possible; copies are likely to disappear like the hottest of cakes.
This special edition of the game is designed to look like a hardcover book, bound in high quality linen. Other exclusive content includes: an exclusive in-game audio commentary with hints by Remedy, The Alan Wake Files — a 144 page book which brings together the FBI dossiers concerning the occurrences in Bright Falls and includes an Alan Wake short story as well as a bonus disc packed with exclusive content such as a theme and avatar and a token for the first available DLC.
Alan Wake is definitely not a game for everybody; those with a need for non-stop action may find themselves getting swiftly bored but many will enAlan Wake: Limited Edition £19.99 @ The Game Group [XBox 360 Games]joy this narrative driven thriller which unleashes its myriad secrets bit by bit, keeping the tension sky high. Everyman protagonist Alan Wake is made more in the mould of an old Silent Hill character than the robust, sharp shooting heroes found in the average action or FPS game.
Alan Wake is a beautifully presented and very graphically impressive game. The town of Bright Falls is brought to life brilliantly; it's a fascinating environment and you will want to explore its every nook and cranny. But that's where one of the game's major downfalls lies, it is very linear and does not give you the opportunity to delve into the darker corners of its world.
Alan Wake is not for everybody but this is such a great price for a collectors edition that it's worth giving it a try.
Thanks to ScottC2105 at Hotukdeals!
The £17.99 deal which Tom posted about on Sunday was something of a "blink and you'll miss it" affair and Zavvi have now whacked the price back up to £24.95. So, if you did make the monumental error of blinking on Sunday, you may be pleased to hear that Game have currently got Alan Wake listed at £19.99, which undercuts the next best price of £22.95 from Blah DVD and its affliates by just under £3.
I recommend haste as this deal is likely to sell out pretty quickly!
If you're interested in this game that you probably already have a vague idea of the plot, considering that it took five years for Alan Wake to finally reach us but here's a quick recap just in case: Mr. Wake is a best selling author of psychological thrillers (and modelled on real life Finnish writer Ilkka Villi) who came down with a very nasty case of writer's block two years prior to the start of the game. Looking for ways to help, his fiancee Alice decides that a trip to the small forest town of Bright Falls might be just the thing to ease the block. Shockingly things don't quite go to plan and when Alice disappears, Alan begins to realise that, in a novel he does not even remember writing, he has predicted this strange turn of events.
The game guards its secrets jealously, letting them slip out piece by piece along its episodes and building up a nice tense atmosphere. However, it is certainly not an ideal game for adrenaline junkies as there is a distinct lack of heavy-on-the-absurd-action set pieces. The protagonist is an everyman, built from the same mantle as the poor-shooting characters that used to find themselves lost in Silent Hill, whether you see this as a positive or negative aspect will depend entirely on your personal viewpoint and taste but, if nothing else, it certainly offers a break from the norm.
Alan Wake is a visually arresting and beautifully presented game. The world of Bright Falls is brought to life superbly, with shifts in the light and changes of the weather affecting the town and its inhabitants subtly. The profundity of light and dark in the game renders your torch the most important instrument at your disposal and encourages a tactical approach; you may not be playing a beefy powerhouse but if you learn to use the environment to your advantage then even Alan can become a force to be reckoned with.
If you don't mind the lack of over-the-top theatrics then you may find that the biggest problem with Alan Wake is how linear it is. Bright Falls is just a beautifully realised and fascinating setting that you will probably want the opportunity to just break away from the narrative for a while and head off into the wilderness to explore and hunt for secrets. But the game does not ever really give you the opportunity and is slightly the worse for it.
Alan Wake is certainly a good game but unfortunately it's just not quite the fantastic work that many of us were hoping to see after the best part of a decade in anticipation.
Thanks to dillo1982 at Hotukdeals!
Looking for a nice vacation spot located in the woods with some interesting towns folk? Then why not come on down to Bright Falls. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that your wife'll probably go missing, you'll discover you've written a book which seems to be coming to life, and at night you'll be stalked by a number of creepy assailants.
You can grab a copy of the game on the Xbox for £17.99 from Zavvi, which is just over £6.50 cheaper than the next best price of £24.69 coming in from DVD.co.uk.
The tale behind the game is presented in an episodic format that's reminiscent of TV shows like Twin Peaks and The X-Files, and you'll be treated to a brief recap of what happened in the previous episode before entering the next.
Your time in Bright Falls'll be divided into questioning the town's folk as to what's going on in their mysterious little corner of the world during the day, and trying to stay one step ahead of the 'Taken' at night. Seeing as Alan's a writer not a soldier, he's not particularly proficient at dispatching his enemies, so it's best to keep the 'Taken' at arms length. However, when you do come up against them, the game contains a unique combat system for sending them to their graves. The first step in the process is to utilise any light source you can find to weaken the crazed foes before pumping as many rounds into them as possible.
Whilst the game's presentation is superb, with Bright Falls itself stealing the show visually, it's a bit of a shame that you can't really wander around and explore things as thoroughly as you might like.
If you like to sink your teeth into a psychological thriller or two then you'll love the experience the game provides, especially now you can pick it up for under £20.
Thanks to steve81 @ HUKD
If you missed out on the John Lewis deal for the psychological horror title, fret not! ShopTo are currently offering the game for 10p less than JL were before they ran out of stock. Head on over to ShopTo and you can snaffle up a copy of the game for just £24.85, undercutting Zavvi by just under £2.
NB. You even get a free strategy guide with this one.
Don't be expecting a Dead Space or Resi 4 here, this is a game all about atmosphere and narrative rather than action. Remedy have crafted a fantastic game world here with Bright Falls, so much so that it's actually a bit of a shame that you can't go off and explore the place. But alas, this game is resolutely linear with all of the pros and cons that conjures up. So you can expect a heavy emphasis on story progression - Alan himself is a novelist after all - dynamic pacing and a certain amount of precision. It also allows for a refreshingly inadequate protagonist. Alan is no hero, he can't pull headshots out of his arse and indeed spends most of his time fending off his shadowy nemeses with a torch.
It's the game's excellent presentation, and this really is a stunningly beautiful game for the Xbox, that allows for this excellent use of dynamic lighting. It's a simple effect, but one that is deployed admirably both as a tension-boosting device and as Alan's primary weapon against the powers of (quite literal) darkness.
There are flaws, of course, most of which can be summed up as thing that you can't do with exploration being one of the most irritating. It's like Remedy have dangled a prettily pimped carrot in front of us and separated it with a pane of unbreakable glass. The story is pretty laughable too and Alan has an irritating habit of narrating everything he does, but to be honest these are relatively minor gripes. Alan Wake wasn't really worth £40, let's face it; but it's far more agreeable at £25.
Thanks to DEALofalifetime @ HUKD
Spinning the yarn of a horror writer becoming embroiled in one of his own tales, we've had to wait the best part of a decade for the release of Alan Wake and when it got here the majority acknowledged that it was a good game before shrugging . Hardly the stuff of anticipatory fantasy. That's not to say it isn't a good game as such, just not really all that spectacular. Put it this way, having busted through a couple of hours oon it I can't say that I'm in too much of a rush to run out and buy it before it hits £15.
However, it did get some pretty good reviews, and you can check out Felix's appraisal right here if you want an in-depth look at the game, so if you do fancy buying a copy of the game you've come to the right place for direction. John Lewis are currently selling the title for £24.95 which is the cheapest price by a fiver at the moment. However, this is only the pay and collect price, if you want it delivered you're looking at paying an extra £3, although that'll still save you a couple of pounds on the nearest price at ShopTo.
This isn't a game for action junkies, don't expect OTT setpieces for Remedy here. What you will find here is an atmospheric game built around a fairly well-worked narrative. It's a psychological thriller in game form, spilling its narrative secrets episode by episode, heavy on the subtlety and helped along by some glorious presentation. This game is one of the best looking titles to grace the Xbox 360 so far and Bright Falls looks so very inviting and intriguing that half of the time you just want to run around exploring the damn thing.
Unfortunately, Alan Wake never really lets you, Remedy eventually eschewing an open-world style of gameplay for a more focused and linear approach. There are some nice touches here, the excellent presentation and emphasis on light and dark (handy when a torch is the most predominant weapon in the game) offering up a combat mechanic that refreshingly sees us playing a hero who really can't do everything. As Felix notes in his review, Wake is far more of an everyman than perhaps Nathan Drake or Commander Sheperd, and the narrative manages to gloss over some holes in the writing because of it.
A good game, then, with some fine ideas, a beautifully rendered world and some intriguing narrative techniques, but not without its flaws. Either way, this is a great price for a month old exclusive, but if I'm honest, I might just wait a little longer.
Thanks to DEALofaLifetime at HUKD