Tuesday 21 November 2017

Ridge Racer Unbounded

Banish all preconceptions that may loiter around the words "Ridge Racer" because, rather cheekily, Unbounded has sweet FA to do with that famous car franchise. Instead, it might better have been dubbed "Burnout in a Split/Second".

Unlike the trademark impossible drifts of yore, Unbounded fuses the car-smashing aggression of Burnout with the collapsing scenery of Split/Second.

Admittedly, drifting still forms the core of the gameplay. Executing a sliding turn at 200kph fuels your boost which in turn can be used to slam opponents off the road or bust open new routes.

The result is barely controlled chaos in which 12 racers jockey for position from start to finish line. Yet the cars' handling is unforgiving, the tracks sometimes inexplicably so too, with not much to indicate what is destructible and what will bring you to a shuddering halt.

But throw in a multitude of modes and a pretty decent track creator and you're looking at a sweet package.

Kinect Star Wars

X360

RATING: 6/10

When Kinect launched in LA in 2010, the biggest cheers came for the tease of an unnamed Star Wars title that would make jedi knights of us all.

Fast-forward two years and KSW can't bear the weight of its own hype. Mindful that the central storyline -- controlling a Jedi with sweeping hands and swaying body -- doesn't hold up for long, we're treated to the bizarre extras of Star Wars dance-offs and a handful of other loosely connected mini-games.

With dodgy motion controls and a real lack of conviction in its raison d'etre -- light-saber battles -- KSW does no one any service.

Inazuma Eleven 2: Firestorm

Nintendo DS

RATING: 6/10

"It's hard to believe but it seems we're under attack from soccer-loving aliens."

This tasty bit of dialogue early on is both a concise summary of Firestorm's plot and an indicator of the preposterous standard of storyline to expect from this sequel.

Like the barmy original, it combines a long-winded RPG with peculiar stop-go football matches directed via the stylus.

But with the outcome of many matches pre-ordained in service of the plot, it's hard to work up the enthusiasm to play on.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

X360/PS3

RATING: 6/10

Another spin-off that deviates so far from the original series as to render it almost meaningless. RE:ORC roots itself in the familiar zombie outbreak but fails to translate into a credible shooter.

Played alone with AI companions, the result is inescapably bland, lacking the tense horror of the franchise.

But even with online friends, the general ropeyness -- glitches, anaemic or overpowered enemies, etc -- is unavoidable.

Irish Independent

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