Most Recent Action reviews

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Wolfenstein: The New Order makes me thankful that the Nazi’s never won the war. With all the weird weapons and merciless Nazi robot dogs that would have sprung up, I am glad I don’t have to live on Hitler Crescent and work at Goebbels Inc. Those nightmares are fully realised in The New Order which see’s the return of William “B.J.” Blazkowicz who, after a failed assassination attempt on his old nemesis General ‘Deathshead’ Strasse, wakes up in 1960 to a world dominated by Nazi’s and their robot dogs who think his limbs are Pedigree Denta-stix. Blazkowicz then sets about mounting a resistance against the Nazi empire with a small band of resistance members including Caroline Becker, last seen in ID Software’s reboot, Wolfenstein, in 2009.

Wolfensteain The New Order in-game characterMachineGames have done away with dimension jumping where you were attacked by angry blow fish and everyone’s eyed glowed. They have done away with weird crystals that not even Jesse or Walter would consider cooking up because of the absurd powers they gave you. Granted, Nazi robot dogs and a Nazi empire that covers the world is also a stretch but, what makes this Wolfenstein so enjoyable is the focus on telling a good solid adventure story, throwing in great gameplay mechanics and puzzles with a challenging AI system, something that lacked in the previous title.

MachineGames have also given BJ a substantial amount of dialogue which has been lacking considerably, meaning you are no longer in control of a cardboard cut out of human. His dialogue in both cut scenes and in game feel passionate and striking (it may also explain why, during cut scenes, BJ always looks close to tears). In game, a loss of an ally or seeing the Nazi’s commit atrocities against unarmed POW’s will trigger some sort of response from BJ, expressing anger, disgust or bitterness or questioning his own ability to save the World from Nazi rule through his thoughts and occasional murmurings. For a game full of laser touting, Aryan obsessed Nazi stomp machines, you can’t help but share the emotions of Blazkowicz in his moments of anger or self-doubt.

Just like the story is pumped full of emotion, the gameplay itself is pumped full of action. The layout of the game is strictly ‘on-the-rails’ but each level has multiple ways to approach problems. For a franchise known for its all out action, the ability to stealthily bump off enemies by slithering out of a floor level vent and throwing a knife in their back is a welcome addition. Secret passage ways are numerous and varied and finding collectibles such as letters, maps, enigma codes and gold gives you an additional reason to explore the alternate routes. In each area you will also find commanders who, if you are detected, will call in reinforcements until you can eliminate them, meaning you don’t have to always run around dual wielding shotguns trying to blast Fritz into bitz.

The Commander ‘pen-pushers’ who got promoted for their connections’ (according to the in-game journal) will flee and let the grunts do all the work to try and take you down. In this sense, the game almost encourages you to become Ninja-wicz. Almost. The enemy AI for the grunts and cowardly commanders is extremely smart, something you’ll quickly realise when being out-flanked for the fourth time. Their use of fire suppression and grenades is to be commended, meaning engagements are fierce and can turn desperate if you are down to your last mag. One significant criticism of the AI however, is that it can feel too good, sensing you through boxes and round corners, leaving you annoyed at wasting your time trying to sneak around the level. Perhaps the Nazis also have psychic powers? A nice addition is you don’t simply rearm by walking over ammo; you have to physically pick it up. If pinned down behind cover, coming under fire from all sides; desperately trying to reach across to pick up a box of ammo or med-kit will feel like a whole new game in itself.

Wolfenstein Robo DogFor a game that came on four discs (no, really) the graphics are good. No that is a lie, the graphics are incredible. All the set-pieces have been lovingly crafted for your destruction and they never feel half done or over-crowded. If you are a stickler for frame rates and high definition explosions, then this is also your kind of game.

On PC, the game is polished to perfection. I sometimes have to keep an eye on the temperature of my processor and graphics card but when playing such a huge (40GB!) game, I thought the demand on my processor and GPU would be too much. Amazingly I was utterly wrong and the game is so well optimised that temperatures for both components stay well within safe limits. Only the occasional graphical glitch spoils the atmosphere of playing fetch the grenade with a robotic pooch but I’m sure future updates will fix that.

Some will be surprised to hear that Wolfenstein: The New Order has not shipped with any multi-player whatsoever. I worry that this may discourage potential players but it is worth the money for a brilliantly dark and brooding storyline and gripping gameplay.

Overall, I have not had the pleasure of playing such a brilliant, story driven shooter in a long long time. The graphics, gameplay and the sense of adventure will have you hooked for whole weekends at a time. A few tweaks to the AI and a fix for the occasional graphical glitch would be appreciated however. The lack of multi-player is also disappointing but I’m glad that MachineGames didn’t overreach – I’m looking at you Battlefield – and fall flat on their faces. The single-player is entertaining enough to have a great deal of replay and you will enjoy the twitchy nervousness of getting hunted by Robo-Rover for months to come.


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Lara Croft Tomb Raider Definitive Edition


For those who have missed Lara Croft and her rather unique physiology – do not despair our Tomb Raiding heroine is back – and back with some serious attitude and some, well, serious balls! Lara Croft has returned after a long sabbatical. In late 2013, Square Enix released a ‘re-booted’ Tomb Raider title. It was met with lukewarm reception on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. However, the release of the ‘next-gen consoles’ a few months later caused Square Enix a little headache; should they wait, or should they port? They ported and ‘refined’, which is probably the most apt description for Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition.

UGP believes games have three unique elements that, when combined, makes a great game – even greater! Therefore, using the UGP Ozone review system, which means we focus on three elements that surround the perspective (the storyline), the difficulty (how challenging the gameplay was) and how indulgent the game is – we decided to put Tomb Raider Definitive Edition to the ultimate gaming paradise test!



tomb-raider-definitive-edition-gas_tunnel2It all starts on a boat sailing to Japan – a young and fresh faced Lara Croft is with friends on a somewhat ‘gap year-esqe’ archaeological trip. This being a Lara Croft title, lets just say the boat doesn’t quite arrive at it’s intended destination. In fact, it sinks. Poor Lara, washes up on a remote island with her buddies. The island is inhabited, they soon discover, by tribal psychos and hordes of killer animals. The premise of the game, without giving too much away, is an introduction to Lara, before fame and fortune, and how she became the skilled tomb raider she later becomes. This is a brutal game – Lara starts the game in agony and it continues to get worse for the girl. Her survival skills – and yours as the game player – are tested to extreme limits. This is a dark period in Lara’s life and as such, the storyline is a continuous survival centric affair. The peaks, the rapids, the wolves and upgrading equipment all make this ‘survival’ theme so pressing and yet so fulfilling. For fans of Lara Croft, this storyline will not disappoint.



The platformer format has for several years now been influenced – for better or worse – by the experiences of Assassins Creed. This ‘freestyle’ approach, many argue, has helped to ‘speed up’ the gameplay and thus, as some point out, has made old fashioned gaming functionality – like combo buttons – obsolete. For those who want good ol’ fashioned platformer fun with ample challenges, you can do no wrong with Tomb Raider Definitive Edition. The game is really difficult, the lack of freestyle play attributes adds to this challenge. Many critics claim this is a reason behind the game’s so-called failure. However, I disagree; the game is difficult, but it’s a difficulty based on a more ‘hands-on’ approach. You need to hit the X button, for example, to grab ledges or pull on your axe to climb terrain. You need to cycle through your armory, you don’t automatically switch  to your gun when your bow runs empty. It’s refreshing yet deeply challenging – and I’d even say this is what gives it its ‘edge’. You see, this game is not like Mirrors Edge or Assassins Creed where our protagonist can accomplish great feats without any kind of issue or even breaking a sweat. Lara ‘feels’ everything and since you are in a perpetual ‘survivalist’ mode. It’s not meant to be ‘easy going’. This difficulty, whilst it can annoy the hell out you as you re-do some part three or four times before getting it right, this is what makes the game so epic. You feel accomplishment when you get there – and when you call the coast guard or other secrets you’ll understand and feel the accomplishment of getting Lara out of there in a somewhat safe and sound manner.


Tomb-Raider-Wallpapers-Game-Definition-EditionHOW INDULGENT IS THE GAME?

Lara Croft is a legacy title that a generation of gamers can engage with. From the 90s PC or PlayStation One to the PS4s or Xbox Ones, Tomb Raider has a large following and it has a long and proud history of gaming excellence. This plays a part in the fun factor of this title. You see, it’s bloody hard and in some parts painful to complete. However, as I have already said, this is all part of the charm. This is why Tomb Raider is fun. The Definitive Edition really brings the Lara Croft ‘fun-ness’ to the forefront. It allows a whole new generation to experience Lara – older gamers might feel though that they’re next generation gamer counterparts might be loosing out, if one considers for a moment Lara’s somewhat PC-inspired reduction in the boob department. That aside, the game is an indulgent title that echoes the successes of the past whilst rebooting a franchise that deserves a proud future.



A lot has been ‘reported’ about benchmark differences. There might be millisecond differences between HD gameplay on PS4 and Xbox One but I couldn’t for the life of me really see a difference. It should also be noted that it is nice not to see a title with horrendous, Ryse-esqe, in-game purchases. It’s a solid platform title and one that brings together a great storyline with challenging aspects that really puts gamers – especially in the post-Assassins Creed environment – on the back foot by really challenging their gameplay. Finally, this title is fun; you might not be thinking that as your racing down a rapid or climbing a huge radio tower, but it is – it’s enthralling and full of suspense that really gets you on edge of your seat and this pushes you on. Its a great title only let down by on-screen instruction lags when in training camps. As such Ultimate Gaming Paradise can give Tomb Raider a solid: 9 out of 10.

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Lego Marvel Superheroes

Lego Marvel Superheroes

I’m Stan Lee, and I’m in peril….again.  It’s the Stranger Danger level in Lego Marvel Superheroes and I’m locked in a coffin.  Luckily, Ironman is around to set me free, so I live to draw another day.

When I was a lad, Lego was so easy. I had blocks of 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8 dots and a few other flat sections.  I could build houses and garages, and shops and towers…..lots of towers. Then Lego introduced wheels and it all got really interesting, and the advent of technic Lego heralded a whole new era of the toy everyone loves.  But then in 1997 Lego Creator launched on the PC, and now I could build anything I wanted, but I just couldn’t store the finished article next to my bed.  Had Lego games left it there, it would have become a quaint oddity amongst the growing and increasingly complex gaming world, but the Lego Executives shrewdly saw that gaming was going to be bigger than movies and that was a huge slice of revenue to walk away from.

First, the designers tackled racing games but quickly moved on to focusing on animation of the small figures in proper gaming situations. Rock Raiders sold well on the PC and PlayStation but the real genius came with major movie tie-ins and in 2001, Lego Creator: Harry Potter launched and was snapped up by an adoring games community.  Since then, Lego has tied into many of the major franchises like Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Batman.  When Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes launched on all major consoles in 2012, I remained a tad disappointed; the gameplay was great, but as a Marvelite rather than an avid fan of the less outrageous DC Universe, I felt a little let down.  The Marvel characters are just so bonkers, it’s almost as though they were designed for something as weird as Lego games.  Having an indestructible superhero in the shape of Superman is kinda obvious, but designing a fella with bad attitude and a healing factor, and then coat his bones and claws in an indestructible metal is just thinking right outside the box.  The release and subsequent success of Avengers Assemble in the 2012 convinced Warner Bros that this was a title worth pursuing in the world of Lego, and I got my wish.

So it was with unbridled joy that I tore the cellophane off my copy of Lego Marvel Superheroes and stuck the disc in the Xbox; does heaven get any better than this?   Rather than loosely following the stories of their franchises, Marvel Superheroes has its own plot revolving around Dr Doom creating a super weapon to destroy the earth…..or is he?  The plot takes various turns throughout its course and is very satisfying and well thought out as a story in its own right.  The structure and game are really quite easy; as I progressed through the levels, I unlocked more characters and became able to use their different skills to accomplish the needs of the story.  I start off with Hulk and Ironman in a face-off with principle baddies Sandman and Abomination at New York’s Grand Central Station in a level cheekily entitled “Sand Central Station” and move off through the lovingly detailed vistas as my quest to find power cubes from the Silver Lego Marvel Superheroes Charactersboard continues.

Humour is evident throughout the whole game, with many visual gags running through as themes. Aimed primarily at seven year olds, the humour isn’t too complex – the super weapon that Dr Doom is building is called “Dr Doom’s Doom Ray…..of DOOM!” and so forth.   Which brings us neatly back to Stan Lee who is placed “….in peril” throughout the different levels of the game, and it becomes a chuckle riddled side venture to see if you can find him.  Sometimes he’s obvious, though less easy to get to, sometimes he’s hidden away somewhere.  Invariably, he jumps out of what peril there was to utter a corny line (“I was nearly toast – BURNT TOAST”) or simply “Excelsior!” before running off to the next peril.

In all I got to play 150 separate main characters which encompass much of the Marvel Universe, with such diverse individuals as Fandral and Squirrel Girl (I’m not kidding here) as well as the better known mainstays of the genre.  While all this character-swapping is fun, it becomes increasingly complex as I tried to figure out which character to use for which situation.   They are kind of split into groups such as flight, strength, fire and so on, so in reality there is always more than one character who can accomplish whatever task you are undertaking.   With some tasks you have to think a little laterally – Hulk is great at smashing but his alter-ego Bruce Banner is great at computer hacking, so never forget that you’ve got him.

Set in an open–world play area of New York, Asgard and an asteroid, Lego Marvel Superheroes looks great and is constantly entertaining.  There are a few gripes such as the secondary figures around the main character that you are playing seeming to have only limited AI and attacking the droves of baddies in a haphazard way, and sometimes characters get stuck, which once required a restart to resolve, but on the whole I found it smooth to play.

Developed once again by Travellers’ Tales and published through Warner Bros, Lego Marvel Superheroes is available on all major platforms including the 3DS and Wii U, so there is no excuse not to play it.  Just as with the small plastic bricks that preceded it, Lego Marvel Superheroes is a joy to play whether you’re seven or seventy.

Now where is that pesky Stan Lee this time???  EXCELSIOR!!!



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Batman: Arkham Origins

We stepped from the late showing at the cinema, tottie and I, and she snuggled in close. “What do you want to do now” she asked, all sensual-eyes and bee-stung lips.  I considered carefully before replying; “I wanna go to the 24-hour superstore and buy Batman: Arkham Origins” I replied chirpily.

I was looking forward to the new Batman title and simply had to have it right then.  Maybe love would have blossomed had I decided instead on an out-of-the-way restaurant or a quiet bottle of wine somewhere, but one thing is absolutely certain – my thumbs wouldn’t have been as sore.

The release of Batman: Arkham Origins has been long anticipated and I eagerly tore the security tape from my copy. Unlike Arkham City and Arkham Asylum before, this title has been developed without the assistance of Rocksteady, and it feels different to those previous two Batman outings.  The graphics, while flawless and fast, are a little different somehow, and the secondary characters seem to have been rotoscoped in some way Borderlands-style a little, making their features a tad indistinct. Not that it matters because I’m gonna pummel them even more indistinct anyway, but it makes the game have a slightly odd feel compared to ‘Asylum’ or ‘City’.

The third outing for the caped crusader is a throwback affair to pre-Batman Gotham City, where criminals huddle in groups and discuss the possibility of there really being a “Bat Man” tearing their kin a new arse.  Batman looks leaner and has fashionable stubble dotting his normally clean-shaven phizog, but he has all the power and moves that set him above the forces of anarchy in Gotham.  As I progress through the game, I find that in return for punching out henchmen and completing levels, I get the chance to upgrade my armour and access new gadgets, but my hunt for new moves proved fruitless and it seems that there are no new strike combinations.  The attack and defence moves I had are just the same as in previous games. I just had more opportunity to use them, against tougher assailants.

There are new gadgets for me to acquire as I progress and the shock gloves are among the best of these. While not actually an instant win device, they are pretty close to it as they discharge a huge shock to an enemy and incapacitate even bosses, almost immediately. There is a danger of over-using them a tad, once I had won them, making forthcoming brawls a lot more shocking in nature.  The remote grapple is also neat and I found more uses for it as I progressed, moving from simple take downs to moving equipment and street furniture as needed to help me overcome obstacles I encountered.

Game play itself is smooth and intuitive with the next objective fairly obvious. Within a minute of entering the world of Batman: Arkham Origins, I was thrust into a full scale punch-up at Blackgate Correctional Facility and it’s mostly fighty from there on. Great news for the fighting fan in me but bad news for my thumbs; after an hours playing it felt as though RSI had set in, I had used X and Y buttons so much (on the Xbox) to attack and defend.  In addition, this game has thugs in body armour who take three times the pasting of standard thugs – more bad news for my thumbs!   I know it’s against his ethos, but I think Batman seriously needs some heavy weapons to deal with this kind of thing.  In a rock-paper-scissors-type scenario, .44-magnum beats baseball bat every time!

This time out, Batman is up against eight assassins all tasked with ridding the world of him on Christmas Eve for a cool $500,000 bounty.  The money is fronted by Black Mask – the games supposed main antagonist, but as the game unfolds, it turns out to not be that straightforward.  The assassins manifest as level bosses, so having fought my way through countless minions to get to them, I was assured of at least eight hard and extended fights with each one at measured intervals.

I carried on, hurtling through the vast Gotham sky line via either grapple-gun or the Batwing as I unravel a convoluted plot that takes me all over the city and involves just about everyone in the Batman universe to some degree.   Through a combination of thumping people and detective mode I worked Batman through the story to head towards my ultimate goal which will see my eventual grudging acceptance by the forces of law and order and my own realising that I can’t take on the whole of Gotham’s underworld on my own.

There’s nothing too taxing in detective parts since Batman invariably has something in his arsenal that helps him figure it out, and I actually found many clues merely by a little searching around the area to find the information I need to progress.  Warner Brothers claim to have intentionally dumbed-down the investigative sections so as to make for seamless game play, which, overall, it does.  I found that I wasn’t spending so much time trying to figure out what I was supposed to be looking for in these sections as I had in the previous games, and soon uncovered the next objective from a titbit of information.   I also got plenty of opportunity to plan sneak attacks on unsuspecting enemies, but for a supposed open-world game, it is surprisingly linear. Open world would imply that I have a number of options to stealth-attack a thug, but in reality, the limited number of artefacts I found to grapple on to or walls that I could burst through meant that there is usually only one way to do it.

The main problem with Batman: Arkham Origins is that it’s not so much that it’s more of the same, it’s just, well, the same!  While I had a blast following the main story and engaging in the side missions, the Batman universe isn’t really big enough to keep supporting ventures into the same city to fight the same characters in a slightly different order and with a few new accessories.  Like the Fish ‘n Chips option on a country-pub menu, with the current Batman franchise I knew exactly what I was going to get, cos’ it’s just like I had last time.

Don’t get me wrong here, it’s not a terrible game, but then it’s not a brilliant game either. I liked and enjoyed the two previous outings – which are still due to happen on Batman’s timeline – and I enjoyed this too, but it didn’t strike me as being either different or a massive leap forward.  Warner Bothers Games, Montreal has developed a perfectly workman-like game with plenty of fun and one that examines a few issues from the inception of the Batman legend, but having grabbed the mantle, they haven’t done too much with it.

Batman: Arkham Origins is cited as being about relationships and how Batman’s on-going interactions with his main protagonists were forged; perhaps I should have considered my own relationship instead and left it on the shelf of that 24-hour store.

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GTA V single-player

Holy shit! Grand Theft Auto V rocks! I haven’t been so obsessed with a game for years. I can’t remember the last time I played a game and didn’t get the tiniest bit bored after just a few hours. Not with GTA V! I’ve been totally absorbed by it all day. The only reason I’m not playing now is to write this review and let you guys know just how awesome it is. GTA V  has been a long time coming, especially so with the news at the start of the year that it was to be delayed by 6 months, but it was well worth the wait. Take note EA, Rockstar delayed the launch because GTA V wasn’t perfected, thank God they took that decision. The online mode won’t be enabled till October 1 but there’s plenty to be getting on with in Grand Theft Auto V single-player.

We’ve spent the last week here at UGP HQ, staring at the letter box each morning till the post man comes, hoping and praying our copy of GTA V from Rockstar arrives but alas, yesterday morning’s, now ritual, routine of watching the letterbox, didn’t yield any

copies of GTA V when Mr Postie made his rounds. We had a decision to make, do we gamble that it’ll arrive launch day morning or go and find somewhere with a spare copy to buy? Of course, we went with the latter option so, come 10pm I jumped in the car with a buddy who was off to grab his midnight release pre-order, and headed out in the hope that I might be able to find a copy. I knew that the odds were stacked heavily against me but, luck prevailed. Same said buddy, had ordered two copies…one for him, one for his other half. However, she wouldn’t be able to play it all week and due to an exorbitant vet bill for a very cute a worthy pooch, said that I could buy her copy and she’d buy it back once when she wanted it. AWESOME….me thinks to myself, going to be playing GTA V, tonight!


GTA V comes on 2 discs, one is labelled play and the other install. I had to install one disc before being able to play the game, 8.7GB of data, and for very good reason. I unfurled the poster map in the box while waiting for the installation to complete, something instantly struck me, the map is absolutely gargantuan. It’s properly massive! Anyone who played GTA: San Andreas will remember the impressive size of the open world in that title. We’ve calculated that the entire San Andreas is the size of JUST the city in GTA V. The city accounts for perhaps 20% of the map area, to give you an indication of just how big the game world is. Not only is the game world massive, the visual impact on you is intense. Visually, GTA V is stunning. Everything has been designed and crafted with meticulous precision and care. I play Xbox 360, till the end of November anyway, and this is one of the best games I’ve played in terms of quality of graphics. The lighting and water effects are superb, something that is a trend in new games. The importance of lighting and water in games these days, seems to be earning a rightful places. It makes the game so much more enjoyable. Graphics, in case you couldn’t tell, are very important to me. I’ll play a game that is truly crap, just because it’s got amazing graphics.

Once I’d stopped gawking at my surroundings and wishing I could actually live in them, I soon realised that there’s plenty to be doing in my new world. I know it’s going to keep me entertained and busy for days on end throughout this vast map. The game plays in a very familiar way, although vastly refined and reworked in places, but it took me just a moment to feel right back at home in the GTA world. The list of activities and things to do, aside from the main missions and storyline, is sure to keep me and you occupied for a long long time after completing said storyline. I’ve spent all day playing, don’t tell the boss, and I’ve spent more time messing around driving different vehicles, shooting different weapons and visiting  and partaking in different activities and attractions then playing the actual missions. I’ve only just completed the mission my friends online completed at 11am this morning! It really is that easy to get distracted in GTA V and it’s because everything has been done to an exceedingly high standard. I feared that everything outside of the missions may suffer from rather lacklustre completion, something there to keep you mildly entertained once the story is complete but no, it’s all brilliant. I found myself enjoying a round of gold of the 9 hole course just before lunch. It’s a game within its own right. The graphics were great, the physics were great, the controls were great, the only thing that wasn’t so great was, you guessed it, me! I believe my 2 under par score was respectable but I made a mess of the 5th and the trees played havoc with my game at the 7th. I haven’t been able to get out and try a triathlon or go base jumping simply because I haven’t explored that part of the map yet. Whereas in previous GTA titles areas of the map would require unlocking by progressing through the story, it’s the characters that get unlocked with storyline progression in GTA V. 

Each character is very unique, I must admit, I’m yet to play with Trevor (cue sniggers) but from what I’ve been hearing over Xbox Live today from friends, he’s the most unique out of the three, and is accurate to the pre-release video depictions. The game starts with Franklin, a gangster looking for an out from the lifestyle. He and his incompetent and inept friend, who lands them in more trouble then he’s worth, lead you on the stories opening and the first few missions of the game. I’m not going to give away any spoilers on missions as there’s already enough out there and I don’t want to spoil your fun!

The character integration in the missions is something that I was a little concerned about. I feared that it could break up game-play and cause horrible delays when in the heat of action but it’s actually really very good. During a mission you can hot swap between the different characters with a simple tap of down on the D-Pad. There’s no delay, nothing. It caught me out a couple of times, unsure if I had actually changed characters. During free play, the camera zooms out miles before zooming back in on the newly selected character. If it did that in missions, it would suck but it doesn’t, so it’s all good!

The missions themselves are superb, I love them! Rockstar has worked super hard on the script and dialogue and it shows. It’s engaging and entertaining. Some of the lines that they, that characters in the game, come out with are priceless and will have you in stitches. Be warned, the language is very very blue! Not for the kiddies, but it is an 18 rated title after all. Missions are long enough to keep you entertained but don’t become boring, frustrating or repetitive which was a problem with GTA IV, I felt anyway. There were just too many of them. They are seriously good fun and will have you making all sorts of weird and wonderful noises as you get more and more engrossed by GTA V. The pre-release videos we all saw showed multiple ways of carrying out things like a heist. It is executed very well. Make a sweeping decision, be surgical and stealthy or as subtle as a cold nipple in a tight top.  Then, fine tune your operation by picking members of your crew based playing financial cost off against skill and chance of success. It really is awesome and keeps you properly interested in what’s going on. How it goes down all depends on the skill of your crew and the style of heist you chose to do. The rewards are immense, if you can escape the clutches of the law. I’m finding the missions seriously good fun and I just need to keep an eye on the clock as hours seem to vanish without too much trouble.

The law is very much still a part of GTA, much in the same way as it has been in the previous titles. Minor infractions attract one star’s worth of attention, go on a murderous rampage and you’ll have the might of the state troopers hunting your ass down! Escaping the law is still very much the same, drive whatever vehicle it is you have, I don’t recommend running – it doesn’t end well, as fast as possible and hide. That’s if you want to escape! Otherwise you can bash cop cars, run people down and shoot anything you like till your heart’s content or you get gunned down yourself. I’ve died at least twice today from thinking I was “Rambo” and taking on the entirety of San Andreas’ law enforcement. I found the best solution, when I was actually trying to accomplish something, was to run away. There’s so much space, it’s not too hard to hide, even on a 4 star wanted  level.

Driving in GTA V, doesn’t feel like its had a lot of work done to it. It still feels very GTA, which I like. I started off wishing that it was different but, that’s just me wanting something in the game that doesn’t actually need to be there, nor would the majority of people either want it or care it’s not there. What I felt was lacking was the ability to drift the car. It’s totally unnecessary but it is a hell of a lot of fun and quite a good way to get round a corner from time to time. Yes there’s the handbrake but, the rear wheel drive cars have so much grips, that the wheels refuse to spin and just grip the road and off you go. You have to handbrake to the direction you want then go. No quick handbrake and flick and then meter the power, keeping the car in a nice sideways angle drifting round the corner. There’s some cars in GTA V that could be drift weapons. Like I said, it’s just me wanting something that isn’t there and isn’t needed. The physics and driving experience are very very good and fit the game very well. I’ve had a tonne of fun tearing down the interstate in one of the more powerful cars and trudging along in a big rig 18-wheeler! Let’s not forget the plethora of non-road or land based vehicles. Jet-skis, submarines, yachts, power boats, helicopters, quad bike, tractors…the list goes on and on. It is extensive and what’s awesome, is Rockstar, has replicated real world vehicles. Well, almost replicated. What is clearly an Audi R8 has slightly different lights and the badge is 4 semi-circles. The 911 is clearly a 911, it looks like one and sounds like one but again, it has slightly different lights and the badge is a bit different. Everything is like this and it is cool, it adds a touch of real world…you can quickly identify what’s going to be quick and what’s going to be, err….slow.

GTA V  really is pretty close to perfect but, there’s a couple of minor things that I’d like changed but, don’t for a minute think they are a problem. It’s really just me being incredibly anal and critical of the game. Things like the effects of when a boat I’m zipping over the waves in, dips below the water some of the textures disappear and you have holes in your boat where  you can see the water below the boat. It’s for such a split of a second that it really is irrelevant.

There are two slightly more annoying issues. One of which the general size of text on the screen, it’s as if it’s designed for PC users who are sat 12 inches from the screen, not 8 feet away. You literally have to stop what you’re doing and squint at the screen to read it. The images demonstrating which controls to use to complete the instruction are so small it’s almost impossible to make out some of them. It’d be nice if the text size was about twice the size. It’s not a game breaker by any stretch of the imagination. The dialogue is so good you rarely need to go back to the text brief and check what’s what. The latter and again, this is minor and in no way game breaking, is the volume of vehicles engines. They’re just too quiet. Some of the cars sound epic, the V8 of “Mustang”, the flat 6 of the “Porsche 911″…I want to hear them but I can’t quite, not enough anyway.

These minor minor issues do not detract from the game play in any way but it would just be nice  if they weren’t what they are. I can not recommend highly enough, anyone who hasn’t got a copy, get one! We’ll have them in stock at the start of next week hopefully, buy it…don’t think about it, just do it! You won’t regret it. I’ve played a lot of games and this is the best game to come out in years, I honestly believe it is!



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