Medal Of Honor: Airborne
The latest incarnation of Medal of Honor is yet another in a long line of cross-platform titles to debut on Xbox 360 before eventually appearing months later on PlayStation 3. With a few exceptions, this isn't generally a bad thing; titles including DiRT, Oblivion, Stranglehold and Rainbow Six: Vegas all acquitted themselves well on the Sony platform despite prolonged delays. However, in the case of Medal of Honor: Airborne, the situation isn't quite so rosy.
That said, first impressions aren't too bad at all. Running the two versions of the game side by side, they seem like a close match. Certainly in terms of game content Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are identical, with the only initial differences found in the application of certain special effects. For example, the Xbox 360 version of the game by and large runs with zero anti-aliasing, instead employing it dynamically with certain special effects. The PS3 version by contrast simply omits it completely. It's a subtle difference that most likely few people will notice, but does suggest that the care and attention that went into the original game wasn't bestowed upon this conversion.
Indeed, the PlayStation 3 code is far from ideal; it seems to brutally amplify the shortcomings of the original Xbox 360 version. A frantic firefight or close-quarters melee combat sends the frame-rate diving on both games, but the effect is more pronounced on PS3, occasionally making the game borderline unplayable. Additionally the parachute descents that are obviously a showpiece element of the game are similarly blighted on PlayStation 3.
It's a shame because as Kristan points out in the original Xbox 360 review, at the core there's a very good game here. While the fundamental objective-based gameplay isn't exactly revolutionary, the open nature of the levels and the ability to discover your own targets and handle them in whatever order you want is a great idea and certainly a radical departure from the linear-style progression employed by even the most mighty of FPS titles such as Call of Duty 4. The weapons upgrade system is also a great concept too (if historically rather unsound) though failing to exploit it can initially lead to much frustration. The game is not without its faults though: you aren't getting a huge amount of 'content' for your money - certainly not in comparison with CoD4 - and AI is patchy at best.
What Airborne does prove, however, is that there's life in the old dog yet. A more robust game engine combined with a superior online mode and a more prolonged single-player campaign could help to revitalise the fortunes of this particular franchise but even as it stands, MOH Airborne isn't a bad game at all.
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam
The title says it all really. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is indeed a combination of Koei's reliable-if-repetitive sword-slinging mass murder simulation but with Gundam mobile suits taking the place of feudalistic Japanese warriors. Crucially though, it works. While Dynasty Warriors has always revelled in over-the-top ultra-pyrotechnic special attacks, the fact that powerful mechs are now the main protagonists has given Koei the chance to go completely balls-out, resulting in a game of absolute carnage combined with ever-present, palpable strategic elements.
Just like Bladestorm - Koei's other cross-platform release - there really is very little to tell the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game apart. The same core experience of ripping hundreds of opponents to shreds with contemptuous ease is identical on either machine and the graphics are like for like too. The only slight difference is with Xbox 360; slightly softer edges here with what looks like a very subtle blur being applied to the visuals as opposed to proper anti-aliasing. I can't say it's hugely attractive, nor really required (the PS3 game looks fine as is) but the impact isn't anywhere near as heavy-handed as the Vaseline effect employed on many PlayStation 3 conversions in the absence of 'real' AA.
So, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam happens to be a decent game regardless of your personal choice of console. Whether it's worth a punt or not all comes down to the Marmite syndrome inherent in all of Koei's Dynasty Warriors titles - you'll either love it or hate it. You'll either focus on the undeniably repetitive hackandslash and get bored of it very quickly, or else you'll appreciate the wider picture inherent in the game's background strategy and get a real kick out of what Dynasty Warriors: Gundam has to offer.
Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War
The original review sums it up best - Bladestorm is essentially a cross between Koei's own Dynasty Warriors and aged PS2 real-time strategy title Kessen. Rather than wade into hundreds of enemies and slash them to pieces arcade-style as per the usual Koei DW offerings, the object is to lead whole units of men into battle in your guise as mercenary supreme. The multiple types of unit on offer and the real sense that you're participating in an enormous battle being waged on several fronts definitely sets this apart. While Koei hardly has a premier league reputation as a games publisher, Bladestorm really is a decent release, well worth its original 8/10 score.
It's also a game I could play all day on either format. The two versions tested here are essentially identical, the only technical difference being - once again - the complete lack of anti-aliasing on the PlayStation 3 version of the game. In some titles this has a dramatic impact, but not so here. Lighting effects may look different in a selection of the comparison shots but this is mostly down to the dynamic nature of the weather and differences in the time of day. Like for like, the games are essentially interchangeable.
Not even the inclusion of Achievements on the 360 game (absent on PS3) is really that big a deal. All the tasks the game sets out for you are part and parcel of completing it anyway, so any further replayability the gamerscore system offers isn't really present on this game. However, simply saving your game after your first major battle weirdly happens to grant you either 150 or 200 gamerscore for no apparent reason.
In short then, a cross-platform triumph from Koei and a very intriguing game to boot that's well worth a punt.
Table of contents
- Kane and Lynch: Dead Men
- Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2
- Tony Hawk's Proving Ground
- Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
- Blazing Angels: Secret Missions of WWII
- Medal of Honor: Airborne
- Dynasty Warriors: Gundam
- Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War
- Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- Clive Barker's Jericho
- John Woo Presents Stranglehold