Crusader Kings II (PC)
As complex a strategy game as you could hope to encounter, Crusader Kings II lets you rule in a feudal world where friends, family and foes all
play important roles in the direction of your nation. Essentially there’s no real end goal in Crusader Kings other than the survival of your dynasty. It’s up to you to govern your realm, forge alliances and if you want even wage war. How you go about this is up to you. You can marry off your children to gain favour with rival monarchs, join other nations on crusade or simply plot and manoeuvre the downfall of the enemies you have at home. There’s a steep learning curve to this game, every action you take can have positive and negative effects. Some of your servants will help you; some will plot to kill you. Layered, endlessly interesting and tricky as hell, Crusader Kings II is a title for those who enjoy hours of play and don’t mind the ‘no pain no gain’ philosophy of this medieval masterpiece.
I Am Alive (PS3, XBOX 360)
When it comes to gaming there’s nothing like surviving an apocalypse. Except that is when it comes to I Am Alive. Kicking off, this relatively hard survival game starts promisingly. The hero is refreshingly average. If he falls he gets hurt, if he climbs he gets tired, if he gets shot he’s dead etc. This makes your choices extremely important. Facing off against bad guys isn’t a simple task; neither is surviving the city itself. It’s also doubly difficult because the combat mechanics absolutely stink. You can wave a gun at an aggressor and he’ll back off terrified. Fine. Except as soon as you pocket your pistol he seems to forget you have it and charges straight for you. Not fine. Repetitive, clunky, buggy and cursed with a map system a 1990s game would be ashamed of, I Am Alive is drearily disappointing.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
(PS3 and XBOX 360)
Few franchises excite as much as the Resident Evil one. The series has given gamers some deliciously tense moments over the years. Sadly though this most recent offering is a huge let down. Firstly, rather than being a slick, creepy action adventure like the previous games, this is a combat heavy third person shooter. A change in direction isn’t always a bad thing. However what sort of shoot’ em up limits your ammunition? Not a good one anyway. Hordes of mindless (the AI ain’t great) mutations and zombies throw themselves at the heroes, and while there are a few set pieces the lack of bullets takes away the fun of the fire fight. There are some good concepts here but they just don’t work, which is a shame because if they did they could change the whole way the series evolves.