Quake Wars, GRID, LEGO Indy Jones, Overlord, Euro 2008.
It's that time again. Eurogamer's ongoing coverage of the latest developments in cross-platform gaming continues apace, as five brand new releases are put to the sword. The aim here is simple: to supplement existing review coverage with additional commentary based on any technical and gameplay differences we might happen to find. An exhaustive range of HD screenshots supplement the piece, derived from HD video of each game. Where 1080p is supported (either natively or via scaling), additional galleries are included - so that'll be just one this time, in the form of LEGO Indiana Jones.
As readers of the epoch-making Grand Theft Auto IV Ultra Face-Off will know, we've recently added video to our comparison analyses; the difference being that it's video that actually works, based on an ultra-quality workflow. Each game is captured at lossless 24-bit precision from the HDMI ports of the respective consoles using the now obligatory Digital Foundry TrueHD capture kit, ensuring that literally every piece of video information sent from the source at our mercy, to do with as we will.
From there, we're free to extract shots from the streams and create videos (maintaining the lossless workflow) before exporting them to ultra-high quality h.264, nicely streamable courtesy of Eurogamer TV. The action is slowed down to 50 or 25 percent for two reasons. Firstly, slower movement allows for precision video playback. Secondly, it's the only way to make sure that the entire 60fps stream is viewable. Plus of course, actually seeing the differences is a hell of a lot easier.
Apart from the fact there wasn't nearly enough pure evil in the game, Overlord was one of last year's more enticing prospects. Sweeping an army of cackling minions around a series of fiendish fantasy locales was like Katamari genre-fusion, rolling over Pikmin, and bobbling around with bits of Fable and Dungeon Keeper poking out at jaunty angles. It almost grins itself to death. And now on PS3.
The idea is to become an all-conquering Overlord, but Triumph Studios dodges tedious fantasy pomposity, mocking itself at every opportunity. You play the faceless, voiceless, iron-masked brute, the Dark Lord - all flailing, clanking un-sophistication - and you're either too lazy or too cowardly to take on the so-called heroes of the land, the do-gooders who killed your predecessor and wrecked the Dark Tower, which becomes your home and the game's central hub.
Guided by the hand-wringing Minion Master, you're able to call upon a burgeoning army of smack-happy "minions" to do your bidding instead. Evidently inspired by Spielberg's naughty Gremlins, these big-eared little munchkins are only too happy to smash anything, inanimate or otherwise, to pieces at your say so. Guiding the Overlord with the left stick, you stomp around the lush environment and 'sweep' your minions with the right stick, sometimes bringing the shoulder buttons into play when you require a more precise lock-on. Although occasionally wayward, this works well for the most part and proves a distinct and satisfying gameplay mechanic.