November continues with many games for review and vying for the elusive Christmas market.
But Rockstar Games swept the competition with its latest release.
Red Dead Redemption 2 ★★★★ ½
Tell Red Dead Redemption 2 is a cinematic game is a euphemism.
Of course all the details have been examined repeatedly to set this Westerne on the right track, and whether this is right or wrong, given what has been reported about teams working in excess of 100 hours per week, it is hard to deny that this game has struggled to perfection as he turns the tale of Arthur Morgan, outlaw and member of the Van der Linde gang, who finds himself in 1899 after an unsuccessful assault.
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First glimpses, such as a snowstorm, and the interaction of people in the interior are impressive. There are also many controls for Arthur – he will need to be fed, kept vigorously and kept healthy.
It's this kind of nanny who, although realistic for the game, recalls that it's also a bit tricky (much like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas made you keep your protagonist alive) and it hurts simply to continue with the game.
Visually, the game impresses on every level, from cinematic that looks authentic to swapping cameras into scenes that make you feel like you're in a Sergio Leone movie, there's plenty to marvel at here. Rockstar Games has built on the success of previous titles such as Grand Theft Auto and created an almost videogame movie experience that will continue to impress in the coming years.
Tetris Effect ★★★★
The Return of Tetris in Tetris: Effect seems like a loving homage to the game that sucked so many of our lives over three decades ago.
But in many ways this is a Tetris that is bathed in an Ibiza Chill-out album, set to a pulsating filament of psychedelic images, and then locked in a floatation tank with you through the route of the Sound Shapes gameplay that incorporated music and rhythm.
But each level is also blessed with a whole series of effects moving around the central game, which sits in the middle of the screen. It is a more engaging effect in the RV environment, but it does not lose any benefit when it is on a normal screen. In fact, as the relaxed soundtrack manifests itself, the images are absorbing, reflecting the nature of what you are doing.
It is a sensory attack in many ways – although it is welcome as swirl patterns, growing creatures form around the sides of the game, pulsating, rotating, and live digital dots that grow as the level advances and improves the gameplay.
All in all, Tetris Effect is a trippy upgrade of the past, a clever nod for the future, and a game that never fails to overlook what made the original Tetris a tricky and daunting game.
Hitman 2 ★★★
Agent 47 is back.
The previous game divided the perplexities of the 47 into episodes, giving you time to feel the thrill of planning and executing the kill as well.
The latter, in fact, seems a bit episodic since you can choose where you will continue after the first mission. It's strange to report this when the whole game was released at once.
This time, Agent 47 is hunting down the Shadow Client and his shadowy group, putting him on a collision course with his past. Starting at the sandy beaches of Hawke's Bay, the trot continues again, with 47 missions taking him to the shores of Mumbai, Colombia and other parts of Europe.
Hitman 2 works in some ways and fails in others.
But for the most part, it's as much fun as you want to do it. Again, it is not a game of patience, and if you do not want to work out plans, set up traps and reap the rewards, it is probably best to go elsewhere. However, observing scattered targets, approaching their execution, can provide a vicarious emotion.
The opening of New Zealand in Hawke's Bay is fragmented; its location can be anywhere but it is a good moody opener to set the tone for conspiracy, and the beachfront location means you really have to plan things to escape.
That's the thing with Hitman 2; It's as complicated as you want to do it.
Hitman 2 does exactly what it says on the tin; there are also multiplayer propositions and the return of illusory targets. But in terms of standing out from the crowd in a very hectic season, Hitman 2 takes a shot but does not hit a target for anyone other than fans of Agent 47's ongoing story.
Review codes were provided to the reviewer by Rockstar Games, PlayStation NZ and Warner Bros Interactive, respectively.