Straight shooter

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FUN & GAMES - JOE GRIF­FIN JOE GRIF­FIN

Eve brand and as a source of cash via its mi­cro-trans­ac­tions.

The re­sult is a so­phis­ti­cated but im­per­fect sci-fi shooter. There’s a rich back-story and plenty of con­text, should you want to delve deeper into its epic story via videos, text and on­line ma­te­rial. It’s got plenty of side-trim­mings as well: menus, so­cial in­ter­ac­tion, shop­ping for new weapons and up­grades. But most of this game is mul­ti­player on­line bat­tles, as­pir­ing to (if not quite reach­ing) the team­work and bru­tal­ity of Bat­tle­field and the fu­ture-chic of Halo. The mis­sions vary, but are gen­er­ally what you’d ex­pect – hack­ing con­soles, at­tack­ing and de­fend­ing bases, etc.

The re­sult is in­tense and chal­leng­ing. Sadly, there’s no story mode and this gamer was re­minded of the value of a sin­gle-player story (even a brief one) to teach the ropes be­fore div­ing into mul­ti­player.

To its credit, Dust 514 is gen­er­ally ex­cit­ing, al­beit with some mi­nor bugs and flaws: Dis­tract­ing blocks of text some­times ap­pear in the mid­dle of com­bat for in­stance.

Though im­per­fect, Dust 514 is a at­trac­tive and gen­er­ally ex­cit­ing, and the price is oh so right. Per­haps most im­por­tantly, this classy FTP con­sole game sets a tasty prece­dent. dust514.com

AR­CANIA: THE COM­PLETE TALE

16 cert, Spellbound En­ter­tain­ment, PS3 From Bag­gins to Sky­walker, the out­sider has been fall­ing into danger­ous long-winded quests since fic­tion be­gan. The hero of Ar­caniA leads a quiet life be­fore war comes crash­ing onto his doorstep; an epic odyssey of re­venge and rev­e­la­tions fol­lows. Ar­caniA: The Com­plete Tale, al­ready on PC and soon on Xbox 360, is vast, am­bi­tious, clichéd. Like most fan­tasy role-play­ers, there are chats to have, omi­nous worlds to tra­verse, and war­riors and mon­sters to slay. It’s less pol­ished than bet­ter-known RPGs, lack­ing the imag­i­na­tion of Dragon Age and the wit of Fa­ble. In fair­ness, Ar­caniA is playable; the in­evitable menus are user­friendly and the com­bat is zippy, mix­ing spells and weapons. But it’s a lit­tle dry and over­es­ti­mates the fun of long walks, mak­ing it strictly for fan­tasy RPG fans. This ver­sion in­cludes both Ar­caniA and its ad­di­tional con­tent, Fall of Se­tar­iff. nordicgames.at

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