Sunday 19 January 2020

The Darkness II

Ronan Price

Ronan Price

As with many of the weirdest storylines in gaming, The Darkness sprang fully formed from a gothic comic book. The original traced the gory revenge saga of a mobster possessed by a monstrous evil that manifested itself in two extra arms topped with snarling snakeheads.

This sequel features the gory revenge saga of a mobster... well, you get the picture. The details may have changed but in essence this is still a shooter in which the mafia thug wields not just two weapons, one in each hand, but four, including the tentacles that either grab or slash enemies.

It's certainly not for the fainthearted with the full-on Sopranos-style dialogue the mildest element of the gruesome action. Impaling, eviscerating, dismemberment and decapitating are frequent companions on this bloody journey.

If you've got the stomach for the gore, it makes for a strategically different shooter that encourages experimentation. The plot's twists and turns even begin to make a sort of sense if you pause for thought between the sensory overload of bloodletting.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

X360/PS3/PC

RATING: 8/10

Many of you may be still be up to your oxters in the marvellous Skyrim but thinking of a fresh start. KoA: Reckoning is no Skyrim but its fast-paced RPG action will still win it plenty of fans.

It takes many a leaf out of World of Warcraft's well-thumbed playbook too, cramming every corner of the medieval world with secrets and quests.

It looks beautiful, if a little generic, and combat tends towards button-mashing rather than complicated. But it's the perfect palate-cleaner after long bouts of Skyrim.

F1 2011

PS Vita

RATING: 7/10

There's a bit of a disconnect between the pick-up-and-play idea of a handheld console game and the thoughtful, drawn-out nature of a serious F1 sim.

Faced with the task of condensing F1 racing into bite-sized chunks for Vita, the makers stripped away much of the personality. But they also forgot to take advantage of Vita's unique features such as the touchscreen and gyroscope.

What's left is a serviceable but flavourless version of the sport, featuring so-so visuals and bland voiceovers. The saving grace may be the full gamut of racing options from full grand prix championships to simple point-to-point challenges.

Tekken 3D: Prime Edition

Nintendo 3DS

RATING: 6/10

Though featuring the full Tekken 6 roster of 40 characters, Prime Edition lacks anything in the way of longevity for anyone other than obsessives. The brawling is fine, funny even, but after an hour you wonder what else is there?

No wonder they included a daft 90-minute CGI movie as a bonus on the cartridge.

Irish Independent

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