Games review roundup: Red Faction Armageddon, Harry Potter and more – Console news

Here’s our weekly roundup of some of the games that may have slipped under your radar – such as Red Faction: Armageddon, Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2

Red Faction: Armageddon …

Xbox360/PS3; £49.99;cert 15+; THQThe previous games in the Red Faction series had two main selling points: the satisfyingly destructible nature of the landscape, and a “socialist uprising against an evil corporate society” narrative that, had it sold better, could have made neo-McCarthyites fear an army of teen boys raging up against the machine. Armageddon keeps the former and gets rid of the latter – and ditches the sandbox experience for a more linear, generic third-person shooter with lots of bad guy aliens to slaughter without much thought for political allegiance or allegory. There are still pluses: the Martian future-world you smash can now also be reconstructed via a special nanobot-unleashing magic glove, and some of the weaponry – such as the harpoon-like magnet gun – is innovative and entertaining, if you’re the kind of person who gets cheap thrills from pulling metal gangways down on top of unsuspecting baddies. Which I’m sure you are. Overall, however, the drab underground caverns one navigates and the repetitive nature of the action drag this shooter back into the pack. James Walsh

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon…

PS3/Xbox 360; £29.99; cert 12+; NamcoEDF is a classic arcade style shooter with thousands of big insects, huge ants and massive robots invading Earth. You take control of a marine called Lightning Alpha, whose mission is to negotiate with insects using an arsenal of large weapons. That’s pretty much the storyline. In EDF:IA there are four different character classes to choose from, each with their own special abilities. Battle class is pretty much a tank, and has the biggest and most powerful weapons. Tactical class has mines, turrets and radar, but lacks good weapons. Trooper class is all-round solider and has the most variety in weapons. The Jet class is the one I used for most of the time; it has the ability to fly and is a lot quicker than the other classes for getting round the map, good for the rooftop and air-to-air attracts. One problem is that it takes up energy and a lot of time to reload, so sometimes you get caught short. I’ve never played any of the other EDF titles before so I was quite exited about playing this. A friend of mine was talking and said it was a good laugh. He was right, it was a good laugh but not for that long. Initially I was really impressed with the design and the sheer scale of the insects; it was quite satisfying taking down huge beasties, but once that stopped being impressive I soon found myself quite bored. Same missions scenarios, same bugs, same city environments and same annoying character voices. Split-screen co-op/online co-op didn’t improve the longevity of it either, both of us got bored pretty quickly. Online survival mode with six players was interesting, infinite waves of enemies and your goal is to survive as long as possible. Good for a quick game when you have a bit of free time. EDF:IA is fun for a while but don’t expect it to hold your interest for more than a few hours. If this was £40 game I wouldn’t have paid for it, but for £20 it’s worth a go with friends. Mark Mccormick

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2…

PS3/Xbox 360/Wii/DS/PC; £49.99; 12+; Electronic ArtsIf you’ve read all seven Harry Potter books, seen all eight films, listened to all the talking books, bought the Gryffindor scarf, written some Slytherin-on-Hufflepuff slash fiction, and yet still can’t get enough of the Potterverse, then this game ought keep you going for a few more hours. However, for those with less invested in the series there’s not a whole lot to get excited about. It’s a slightly clunky third-person shooter which manages to wring a few good elements from its source material, but ultimately it’s a bit slight.  With a wand instead of a gun, and different spells performing the equivalent functions of, say, a machine gun or sniper rifle, the linear plot takes you through various locations where Voldemort’s Death Eaters are waiting to battle with Harry and his allies. At various stages in the game you play one of eight predetermined characters, including Harry (obviously), Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Professor McGonagall. While the levels all look very nice, playability-wise the design is fairly mediocre, and often annoying. The plot feels terribly rushed, with awkward cut-scenes and hammy in-game dialogue giving the bare bones of what’s going on, and the gameplay is very repetitive – fight a samey bunch of adversaries (mostly interchangable Death Eaters), then a boss battle, then do the same again in another location. On the plus side the combat itself works well, the various spells are fun to use, and the story, though too-economically told, ought to keep you playing til then end. Adam Boult





James Walsh

Mark McCormick

Adam Boult © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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