True Crime Hong Kong
Having ex-Rockstar developers on hand for the making of True Crime has given it some familiar touches: the circular on-screen GPS, the color-coded mission instructions, a day/night light cycle and something approaching a living, breathing open-world Hong Kong – but it's still not GTA.
However, True Crime does do a bunch of stuff that builds on the Rockstar formula; central character Detective Wei Chun can perform martial arts style melee attacks on enemies and random pedestrians that include smashing their heads into a variety of solid objects. Wei is also placed in a variety of film-inspired chase sequences on foot that utilize parkour elements and vehicular combat with a kind of automobile 'dead eye' slow mo mode for drive-bys. And while the city looks evocative of the Asian metropolis it apes, it seems to lack the sophistication and black comedy of the game it draws most of its influences from.
You’d think playing a game in 3D would make its obstacles easier to avoid, but in our case the opposite was true; we were so distracted by the zooming scenery that it took us completely by surprise when a running pedestrian or immovable subway car suddenly slammed into our front bumper. Set during a catastrophic earthquake, Apocalypse plays more or less like the other MotorStorms (high speeds, lots of hazards, quick crash recovery), but with the addition of an awesome crumbling city as its backdrop. Add a three-sided storyline told largely from the point of view of a gonzo journalist who’s embedded himself with the MotorStorm festival, a challenge mode and a perks system for upgrading your rides, and we’re awfully interested to see what Apocalypse does next.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Treyarch is famous for developing the "other" Call of Duty games . You know, the generally inferior ones without Modern Warfare in the title and without original creator Infinity Ward's involvement. Black Ops proves, however, that the students have matched – and, in some cases, surpassed – the masters. The action setpieces are now just as epic, with "holy shit" moments like parachuting off a cliff or rappel kicking through a window and right into an enemy's face. Although the technology is Cold War-era, it feels equally modern, with explosive crossbow sniping and outer orbit launches using experimental spy planes. And the vehicle combat is definitely better, with spectacular helicopter dogfights in which you're not only shooting, but piloting as well.
Bungie is going out, not with a mere bang, but with an epic, galactic-scale boom. If Reach really is the developers' final Halo game, then they've succeeded in leaving their franchise on its highest note yet. The war against the Covenant now stretches across breathtakingly big areas that put the double-Scarab battle in Halo 3 to shame, features armies of aliens that can smother the screen and is fought with tools – like assassinations and jetpacks – that make Halo combat feel new again. All of this is carried over to the multiplayer, too, with Firefight 2.0 and what you've probably already experienced in the beta. Plus, the graphics? The grittiest – and the realest – this series has ever looked.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
After so many games across so many years and so many platforms, how do you make an original Spider-Man game? One that won't feel like a retread as soon as Peter Parker swings across Manhattan in the familiar red-and-blue? Shattered Dimensions has come up with a very clever, very generous and mostly satisfying solution: Split the game into four Marvel universes, each with a different version of Spider-Man and a different style of gameplay. Tired of saving Mary Jane? Noir Spider-Man is more like Batman, creeping across rooftops and striking at enemies from the shadows. 2099 Spider-Man is more like Iron Man, flying through the sky in a futuristic tech suit. Each of these universes is pretty linear, and none are terribly deep, but the diversity is a refreshing change of pace for a normally tired and predictable franchise.
Jun 16, 2010