Friday 15 December 2017

FIFA score

Title: FIFA 11 n Format: Xbox 360 PS3, PC, Wii, PSP, DS n Rating: 3+ n Price: from €45

New features such as Personality Plus and Pro Passing make a genuine difference to how you play the game. Together they add a veneer of realism, the sense of this being a sport simulation rather than just a game.

The career mode is robust, letting you bring a player through the ranks to become a world-beating superstar or giving you the chance to take on a manager role. Play as the team, play as a pro, pick a pro and manage him; whatever you want to do you can. This time the realism has been upped a notch, too; the days of bringing the world's best to sunny Blackpool after just a few seasons' play are well and truly over.

Other additions include the ability to play as a goalkeeper, but it's bound to be divisive as one slip-up can draw the wrath of your teammates during hard-fought online games.

All this and you'll get the best-looking FIFA game ever made with some uncannily accurate player models and incredible-looking highlights. This might just be the best FIFA ever. Score: 10/10

Title: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow n Format: Xbox 360 PS3 n Rating: 16+ n Price: from €45

Instead, Lords of Shadow owes a bigger debt to recent games such as God of War, putting the focus on combat, exploration and some light puzzling with some colossal and hyperkinetic boss battles thrown into the mix.

The plot revolves around recently bereaved Gabriel Belmont, who goes in search of the powerful Lords of Shadow in the hope of stopping a great evil creeping across the land, and maybe resurrecting his dead wife.

Fans of third-person action titles are in good company here, as Lords of Shadow's robust combat system is surprisingly deep and makes each fight challenging, without being frustrating. Button mashers take note, spamming the attack keys will see you torn to shreds by the array of werewolves, vampires and goblins.

The fixed camera position sometimes makes the platforming a little hit and miss but respawn sites are always close at hand.

When Lords of the Shadow's impressive scale and gorgeous graphics meet in the towering boss battles the game is truly impressive. Add in an engaging, well-produced story and some solid voice-over work from the likes of Robert Carlyle and Patrick Stewart and you have an enjoyable package.

Difficulty, fixed camera and confusing levels mean it falls short of a classic. Score: 7.5/10

Title: Enslaved n Format: Xbox 360 PS n Rating: 16+ n Price: from €45

Enslaved serves up genuinely inventive genre-busting gameplay. Monkey manually fires his plasma-casting staff, evades, counters, unleashes brutal takedowns, clambers like a Persian prince and surfs about on a blue hoverboard. It is nigh-untouchable when merging multiple styles; third-person shooter, platforming, hack and slash, racing, etc.

Sadly, what should be a revolution is often a scripted, contextual experience. All the good stuff happens sometimes. You hoverboard sometimes. You deliver finishers sometimes. You perform spectacular staff techniques sometimes!

Limiting Monkey's move-set is intentional, to complement the excellent story, but the player feels they're not contributing as much as they should. At times, Enslaved is exactly the game you want, living brilliantly up to its genre-mashing, story-telling potential, but it's not consistent and this disappointment stings like a slap to the chops from a glowing extendo-staff. Score: 7/10 >Jack McGlynn

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