We don’t make a big deal about it, but we here at GamesRadar actually live several months in the future. It’s pretty cool, although we should warn you that we still won’t have flying cars or laser cats come Christmas – shocker, we know. But we do have review scores for the games you’re most looking forward to playing. As proof, yesterday we gave you the early word on how megaton games like BioShock 2, Bayonetta and a few other titles that don’t begin with a B would ultimately rate. Today, we have more precognitive wisdom to drop - read it now and believe us in November, when everyone else catches up to our futuristic space-wisdom.
Left 4 Dead 2
OK, we’ll level with you – we’re still playing the first game. It’s the most perfectly pure, laser-focused shooter released in a decade. Every time you play, something’s a little bit different, and with four players its among the best multiplayer experiences of all time. Take all that, add five new campaigns, new super-zombies, new weapons (incendiary ammo, chainsaws and axes!) and brand-new gameplay tweaks and you have yet another perfectly pure, laser-focused shooter. It’ll be just as good, if not better than the original.
Just Cause 2
The sequel to Just Cause has changed its locale from South America to the fictitious Southeast Asian island nation of Panau, but it’s hard to tell just from looking at it – the lush tropical jungles and crystalline waterways are awfully similar to the first game’s, except that now they’re a lot prettier. The action’s similar, too – secret agent Rico Rodriguez balances shooting and carjacking with insane stunt-jumping and parachute antics – but it’s been refined considerably, and it’s bolstered by some ridiculously cool improvements to Rico’s grappling hook. No longer is grappling just about swinging, Bionic Commando style, from vehicles and random objects; instead, Rico can grab onto a vehicle, person or other object, and then tether the other end of the grappling line to a different object, enabling you to do stuff like tow cars out of ditches, crash enemy vehicles by tethering them to the road, airlift objects by tethering them to a helicopter and drag enemies behind cars. It takes some getting used to, but with a little practice we could see this being endlessly hilarious.
Moody, suspenseful and full of shadowy creep-out moments, Alan Wake will probably end up filling the psycho-scare genre better than Alone in the Dark and the past two Silent Hills. Its pseudo-episodic storytelling, striking lighting effects and fresh take on creepy, fog-drenched towns have us excited to finish a game that, for a while, we thought might never actually show up. The puzzles and combat may falter here and there, but its presentation and atmosphere are dead on – which already puts it on par or better than Silent Hill Homecoming. We expect great things from Mr Wake.
The Beatles: Rock Band
What do you think’s gonna happen when you take Rock Band’s proven track record of compulsively playable songs and slather it with Beatles imagery? Instant success. This will be huge, no doubt about it. From the custom instruments to the massive setlist of the world’s favorite band, the reach and popularity of this entry should be atmospheric. Longtime gamers may thing “eh, it’s the same with new songs,” but when those new songs are among the most beloved in all music history, well, how can you wrong?
Love Metroid? Wish Nintendo would put out another 2D version? Well, looks like Epic (of Gears of War fame) has come to your old-school rescue with this superbly classic side-scroller built as one giant homage to Super Metroid. Can’t climb this wall? Come back later when you’ve found the appropriate power-up. Not sure where to go next? Check your color-coded map (ripped right out of Metroid) and find a place that’s not been filled out. We’re fans of anyone who tries to bring things back to basics (Contra IV, we love you), and Shadow Complex does so beautifully. We just hope the rest of the adventure holds up to the immediately addictive opening.
Check back tomorrow for one final round of tomorrow’s games reviewed today, and in the meantime, head back to the distant past to read the future reviews we posted yesterday.
Jun 3, 2009