Downloadable Games Round-Up

### Playstation Store

#### Wipeout HD

One of the poster-boys of the Playstation brand since the original Wipeout was released back in 1997, this latest release stays true to what made the series so popular: eye-bleedingly fast futuristic racing set to a thumping soundtrack. In the series first appearance on the Playstation 3, Studio Liverpool have taken a selection of the best tracks, teams and classes from the popular PSP releases and created one of the best looking games currently available for the PS3. The graphical quality is simply superb, with the game running at 1080p at a smooth 60fps, the brilliantly realised Blade Runner-esque tracks as appealing to the eye as the intuitive UI and menu system.

The developers have taken the Wipeout that old fans know and love and updated it for the latest generation. Support for trophies, custom soundtracks and online play are all hugely welcome additions that almost round HD into being a justifiable full retail release; but at £12 it becomes a must-have PSN title.

#### SIREN: Blood Curse

An interesting example of a full retail game being released exclusively over PSN; SIREN was originally conceived as being a truly episodic game, with short hour long episodes being regularly released for only a couple of pounds. This message seems to have been lost somewhere in development though, as the whole game was released at once (although the “Coming next time” cutscenes at the end of each episode still remain).

However, this pales in significance once you realise that SIREN is the most accomplished horror game released so far for PS3. Made by the same team who released the earlier SIREN games, this latest title has been clearly westernised in order to appeal to a larger audience. Of note is the “sight-jack” system used in the game which allows you to view the world from the perspective of other characters in the world. As well as being an interesting tool used as a gameplay element; the tension of watching the shibito, the zombie-like Village people, about to discover your tenuous hiding place is delicious.

If you’re a fan of horror games, there are no better examples available for your PS3.

#### Pixeljunk: Eden

Eden is a uniquely unusual 2D platform game, combining its distinct visual flavour with a powerful soundtrack. The core mechanics are very simple, with your character throwing out string a la Spiderman on which it can swing, climb, or collect pollen (which is necessary for progression through the level) in order to progress up through the garden to your eventual goal. Although there are only ten gardens, they all offer a high degree of replayability as initial visits only explore a very small area of the garden. Unfortunately, slowing transversing the lower levels of each garden to reach the highest grows gratingly tiring. The timer also proves a source of frustration at times, giving a tension and sense of urgency to the otherwise relaxing and calm game.

Whilst certainly not a perfect game, Eden is hugely fun and addictive enough to draw most gamers into its beautiful, tranquil and artistic world with its wonderful synthesis of music and trippy visuals.

### Xbox Live Arcade

#### Geometry Wars 2

The sequel to the smash-hit Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, one of the defining games of the XBLA when it was released at the launch of the Xbox 360. In brief; you control your ship with the left analogy stick and its weapons with your the right, with the goal being to survive the onslaught of geometry! Geo Wars 2 adds 5 new game types to the previous game’s one – greatly expanding the experience. It’s exhilarating and extremely addictive. There’s also up to four player local co-op this time around. Altogether this is a must own game.

#### Braid

A million miles away from Mario; this is not your usual platformer. The game is split into 6 worlds, each employing a different time based game mechanic; one may allow you to reverse time while another may let you create a bubble in which time flows at a slower rate. You use these to solve puzzles and collect a number of jigsaw pieces that are needed to progress in the story. The art style is excellent but the game isn’t cheap (costs about £10) and has little replay value. A unique experience, that you either love or hate.

#### Bionic Commando: Rearmed

A remake of the 1988 classic, Bionic Commando for the NES, holding true to the original formula with a number of improvements. A good story mode, challenge rooms and online co-op really make this a great title. The game is punishing and can be frustrating at times; you really have to know what you’re doing, making it a challenging experience. Great side-scrolling shooter action with a lot of replay value; all for about £7!

#### Uno

Released along with XBLA, Uno is still one of the definitive casual titles available on the Xbox 360. It emulates the rules of the card based Uno game almost exactly; allowing the user to change winning conditions as well as certain rules. It’s cheap (about £3.50) and great if you have a partner who’s not really into gaming. Nothings better than sitting down and enjoying a nice relaxing game of Uno!

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