Gaming reviews: Payday 2; The Bureau: XCOM Declassified; Fix the Leaks
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Following the download-only success of the original, the sequel makes the leap to physical media, promising a variety of heists to attempt in your quest to make some serious cash. First, players must case the joint and look for escape routes or suitable places to lay traps. The action begins once you pull your mask on. Playing in single player can be frustrating as the game's AI companions are inevitably meat-headed gunmen, who won't assist you in complex tasks such as drilling safes.
Dealing with this burden avoids making the game too easy, but leaves the offline experience somewhat overwhelming. Bringing human partners into the equation transforms proceedings. Hostage trade-offs can return downed players to the fray, with smart participants laying down ammo and health-replenishing bags alongside C4 and trip mines. Payday 2's presentation isn't without flaws, but this doesn't spoil what is a fine elaboration on a strong concept.
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
After seven years in the making, the latest in the XCOM series requires players to defend humanity from invaders –not the most original concept. The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is a third-person shooter that relies on tactical thinking to send teammates to attack aliens or to revive you when down. Though this slows the pace a little, it adds a strategic element. With a cool Sixties setting, the game holds up, but the strong opening to the story lags a little as you play on.
Fix the Leaks
Emotion Rays Entertainment
You might feel an overwhelming sense of déjà vu playing Fix the Leaks, but that's because it follows a very similar format to Cut the Rope. This time the rope can be used to guide the furry little critters to block the slime pouring out of leaky pipes. While it doesn't really stand out as anything special in the physics-based puzzle-solving market, if you like the format and need a new fix, it's a decent little app – particularly if you just want to test it for free and dislike in-app purchases. Of course, if you did need a plumber, you'd probably call Mario.
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