Perhaps it can be chalked up to the 100+ hours of driving tanks and ‘pwning noobz’ in the exemplary multiplayer modes, but when I finally got around to sitting through Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s singleplayer campaign, I found it straightforward, or dare I say it, rather easy. Not that this is altogether unexpected; Dice’s answer to Infinity Ward’s smash hit Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was always going to be about its online modes, but the singleplayer campaign still has its virtues, even if it does, at times, feel like an extended tutorial in order to prepare players for multiplayer play on the battlefield. Finally able to bring you an appraisal of everything the game has to offer, hit the jump for a comprehensive review of Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

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Alan Wake // Xbox 360

May 16, 2010

It’s mildly ironic that a title that tries its hardest to ape other mediums and thus transcend its own, is marred frequently by its insistence on incorporating run-of-the-mill videogame mechanics. Alan Wake is a cultural hodge-podge of influences, most notably the brash thrillers of Stephen King, but also finding time to riff on Ridley Scott’s adaptation of King’s ‘The Shining’, incorporating motifs from Alfred Hitchcock’s films, name-dropping authors from Raymond Chandler to Brett Easton Ellis, and aping the episodic format of successful TV series’ like Lost. But a bewildering array of meaningless collectibles that add nothing but artificial padding to the game length and solid but repetitious combat prevent this good game becoming a great one.

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Judging by a price tag of £22.70 on UK retailer Amazon (at the time of writing) for the full retail version of Super Street Fighter IV, you could be forgiven for thinking Capcom are trying to pre-empt and diffuse consumer ire over an update to the release of Street Fighter IV just over 14 months ago with a bargain basement offer. Whilst a vastly reduced price is obviously welcome, they needn’t have worried. Super Street Fighter IV is absolutely stuffed to bursting with new features – characters, stages, ultras, game modes – which fully justfies another retail release instead of a bloated DLC package. Fans of the series that snapped up the original last February will want to do so again, and newcomers tempted by the price will be rewarded with the definitive current-gen version of a legendary beat ’em up.

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As readers of my over-verbose discourse on all things videogames will testify, I am rarely lost for words. BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger leaves me lost for words. A snapshot of Japanese insanity, conched in a beat ’em up whose mechanics I have barely penetrated after a few hours play, BlazBlue both baffles and intrigues. With knowledge of fighting games stretching no further than the ubiquitous Street Fighter series, BlazBlue represents a bold step into the unknown for me, and it’s very fortunate that the Limited Edition of BlazBlue comes with a DVD stuffed full of tutorials on how to master its intricate complexities.

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I can say, with absolute conviction, that Final Fantasy XIII has the finest-looking CG hairstyles of any videogame, ever. Any, more useful, assertions of the merits of Square Enix’s latest instalment in a long, long series may have to wait for the review, which in itself may be a long time coming. I’m over five hours in and after each one of those hours, enquiries as to how I’m enjoying Final Fantasy XIII have been met with answers along the lines of ‘I don’t know, it hasn’t really started yet’ or ‘I haven’t really done anything so far’. I’ve merely been pressing forward down what is essentially a linear, elaborately-dressed corridor, dispatching waves and waves of identical enemies by repeatedly stabbing the ‘X’ button, watching at least an hour’s worth of cutscenes and repeating ad infinitum. I’m tempted to say that, so far at least, Final Fantasy XIII has bored me silly, but at the same time, I still keep coming back to plug just another half hour into it with each play session.

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Taking a break from the many, many hours of healing stricken comrades and reviving their corpses in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 allowed me to get some hands-on time with a couple of recent preview builds. Namely a beta code for the Xbox 360 version of Blur, and the general release demo on PSN for Just Cause 2. Impressions for both are after the jump.

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