Video Games

Quick Look: Habitat

Quick Look: Habitat

A few days back I got the chance to sit down with a wonderful little indie-game titled Habitat. It is a real-time, physics-driven orbital strategy game where you build, fly, and fight with the unique space stations that you create out of space debris orbiting earth. In its simplest terms it is a strategic space survival game. The game is developed by a studio named 4gency, and this is one of the better space simulation/strategy games I’ve played. It’s in Early Access right now, so take that into account if you decide to dip into the game. Here’s my video below of my Quick Look into the game. If the game tickles your fancy, and you need a romp through space then I can’t recommend it enough. Expect more videos like this for the site regarding indie games. It’s a fun one. You can purchase the Early Access copy of Habitat right now over on Steam for $14.99 Plus, slapping a fire-breathing T-Rex head onto your ship is awesome. Expect an actual review later on in the future when the game leaves the Early Access stages. Store Page: [Click Here]...

Why Styx: Master of Shadows is Worth Watching

Why Styx: Master of Shadows is Worth Watching

The stealth genre is making somewhat of a comeback, albeit a rather quiet comeback (no pun intended). The likes of Thief and Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeros have added to a very small library of recent stealth games. It’s not that the fan base is no longer there, it’s just that stealth games rarely seem to make it to release. Thankfully a new stealth game is on the way–a fresh new game with no ties to past franchises. Styx: Master of Shadows is a stealth title set within a fantasy setting, complete with all the humans and elves you could expect. Players take up the role of Styx, a goblin anti-hero, who just happens to be a master assassin and thief. As with most classic stealth games, Styx will task players with completing various tasks with a sense of finesse, leaving no clues behind.   It’s refreshing to see another stealth game in development, even more so when the main character isn’t what you’d expect from such a game. Goblins, by their nature, tend to be rather cheeky little gits, so the idea of playing as a master assassin/thief who just happens to be a Goblin is instantly appealing. Given Styx is set in a fantasy universe, the range of enemies and allies players could run into during the course of the game will be extensive, with plenty of creative freedom being available. The environments will also offer plenty of opportunity for players to approach objectives if the available screenshots are anything to go by. There’s a number of core RPG mechanics behind Styx‘s stealth gameplay. Players can earn experience and unlock new skills and abilities. Add to this six full talent trees and there’s plenty of depth promised. While there isn’t a whole lot known about Styx, the concept alone is interesting enough to grab the attention of fans of stealth games, as well as extending the appeal to those who enjoy fantasy settings. Be sure to keep your eye out for one of the more unique offerings set for release this year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbT6nM4qpW4...

Should Betas Be Pre-Order Incentives?

Should Betas Be Pre-Order Incentives?

The Destiny Beta is already solid, heck even the Alpha was, but is it solid enough to sell it to the masses? The general reaction is positive, with most people coming over to the concept of the MMO like nature of Bungie’s next big thing. The confusion that surrounded Destiny has seemingly been eradicated as a result of both the Alpha and the Beta. As more and more people become aware of exactly what Destiny. This has led to a few curious questions over the new role of Betas, both in terms of the game and it’s marketing. Betas were traditionally used to to test builds, allowing for feedback to be given and bugs to be found. As time has went on, Betas have become turned into something of a marketing tool. While there’s nothing wrong with offering Beta access as a pre-order incentive, there is a risk of flooding them with unresponsive players. The key element to a successful Beta is reaction and feedback from it’s players, the most vocal of them being the most important. Vocal Beta testers are a key asset when it comes to gathering feedback. Those who are willing to report a bug, fill in a survey, report what they liked and what they didn’t. While it may sound obsessive, perhaps too keen, these people are exactly what a Beta truly require to be a success on a technical term. This is where potential issues arise in terms of using Betas as a pre-order incentive. The way in which Betas are thrown around these days. The majority of people jumping into betas they gained access to via pre-order will have no interest in giving feedback. They’ll see it as a taste of things to come, almost a demo, which is a disservice to the Alpha/Beta process as well as the developers of said game in the Alpha/Beta stage. It begs the question if these Betas on offer are in fact betas at all. It’s a odd concept that such a important part of the development process has now becoming a marketing tool to gain bore pre-orders. Perhaps it’s just the natural progression of the industry, perhaps it’s just smart business. What ever the reason is, using Betas as a means to gain pre-orders still feels a little off....

Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition Review (Wii U)

Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition Review (Wii U)

The influence of both Metroid and Castlevania is still felt to this day, especially during the last five or so years. One of the best examples of this influence can be found in last year’s Guacamelee, from developer Drinkbox games. With its 2D platforming, brawler combat system, and a lot of humor, Guacamelee became a hit across a number of platforms. Now it’s back in the shape of Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition, marking the game’s début on the Nintendo system. Guacamelee follows Juan, an average man slain by the kidnappers of El Presidente’s daughter. Juan reawakens to find himself in possession of a Lucha mask, granting him the power of the Luchador. From here, Juan must save El Presidente’s daughter while avenging his own death. Juan’s journey is a humorous romp across various environments beautifully presented in a cartoonish manner. While the story is never compelling or engaging, it does progress the game efficiently enough that it never becomes an issue that detracts from the overall experience.   The aforementioned Metroid influence is made clear pretty early on. Each environment hosts various sections that are only accessible after the player has unlocked certain skills. The risk of adopting this approach is putting far too many inaccessible areas in one zone early on, making the player feel trapped in a box. Thankfully Guacamelee does a fairly decent job of keeping the balance between keeping the player curious while allowing them to progress at a manageable level. The nifty parts of the environments hide secrets; this is what captures a genuine feeling of rewarding curiosity and exploration. The core gameplay of Guacamelee is accomplished. The jumping mechanics feel tight, responsive, and only the player can make errors. The combat is built around the idea of building combos and adjusting to the enemy in question. The early stages of the game feel rather repetitive due to the lack of abilities and a small range of enemy types. As the game chugs along, things become far more enjoyable with the player being granted more freedom in how they wish to build combos. With this focus on combos comes an unfortunate fascination with repeatedly putting the player into kill rooms. While it’s fun to string combos together in brainless kill rooms once or twice, it devolves into a repetitive chore after the sixth or seventh room within an hour or so of play.   One of the surprising highlights of Guacamelee is the platforming component. There’s a neatly entwined relationship between platforming and a number of the attacks featured within the game. There’s a number of cases in which the player is required to combine movements, jumps, and attacks in order to reach a certain point. The combination between challenge and skill is wonderfully delicate, making each tricky jump satisfying to pull off. It’s a neat touch that gives the core gameplay an extra dimension. The presentation of Guacamelee is a wonderful meld of bright colours and quirky character designs. The sheer boldness of the colours allows the game to almost jump out of the screen, which technically you can do given the Wii U’s capabilities. The game looks great on both a TV and a Wii U pad. The pad’s other features aren’t really used all that well, however, it’s only purpose is to host a mini-map. Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition is a wonderfully crafted experience. There’s little to truly complain about beyond some repetitive enemy patterns and some areas that feel a little less interesting than others. There’s enough content there to keep everybody happy given the price point–even more so given the local co-op that the game offers. With tight, responsive controls, wonderfully crafted platforming sections, and more than an odd giggle along the way, Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition is a great example of Metroid-inspired concepts put into practice.          ...

ONE PIECE: Unlimited World Red Review (3DS)

ONE PIECE: Unlimited World Red Review (3DS)

- Review by Ben Leslie ( @LegendHeroBen ) One Piece has been around for more than seventeen years, and is one of the best-selling Manga series in history. From the mastermind of Eiichiro Oda, its Anime is still going today with over 650 episodes that run weekly in Japan. The games themselves have had an impact over the years. One Piece: Unlimited World Red shows a good example of how colourful and well done an Anime game can be for the 3DS. It can ensnare anyone with an eye for crazy pirate adventures. If you’ve been following the series, World Red follows the adventures of Luffy and his misfit crew, The Straw Hat pirates. This feels more like a spin-off episode or even a movie where Luffy and his crew encounter and befriend a cheerful yet mysterious raccoon named Pato who possesses a shadowy power to create anything drawn onto a leaf. Helping their new friend, the Straw Hat Pirates agree to assist Pato on an ambiguous mission to meet someone. Pato then leads the crew to the Forgotten Island where all the Straw Hat Pirates except Luffy are successively kidnapped by a wicked pirate named The Red Count, who has escaped the lower depths of Impel Down. With Pato’s help, Luffy must fight to recover his crew from the enemy’s grasp and find out exactly what The Red Count’s evil plots are. But they also encounter some of The Straw Hat’s dangerous foes from Caesar Clown, Crocodile and Lucci. If you’ve played previous games like One Piece: Pirate Warriors, this might feel familiar to you in terms of gameplay. As you come across each of the levels you travel to, you’ll end up at one part of the map with countless enemies or at another area with the same thing. Each of the Straw Hat members you play as has their own battle commands and special attacks that become available for use once their gauge unit is full from fighting enemies. This can feel a little repetitive at times. You can also capture bugs and catch fish, leading to a mini-game for each of them that typically involve pressing various buttons and directions on the screen in order to capture them and get better at your skills for bug-catching and fishing. You can also expand the town of Trans Town, giving you more options and choices on gaining more new items and extra features from various shops and facilities. You can send and receive wanted posters to your friends if they also own the game when two systems are in close range. You will automatically pick up your friend’s wanted posters and send your own poster in return, including a scratch card game that only needs at least one coin to play. Its co-operative play can be fun when you can choose a quest level; as you collect more and more pirate points you will be able to choose more higher levels of quests. The visuals and animations are very impressive to see on a handheld system, but what really lacks about One Piece: Unlimited World Red is that the 3D effect isn’t well implemented at all, meaning you will not be able to see any fighting scenes in 3D-even with the 3D effect turned on. The camera system, which utilises the touch pad to pan across the screen, is also yet another big problem. This can be a little fiddly to do while fighting through enemies or bosses at the same time, but if you own a Circle Pad Pro this really make the game more comfortable to play. If you have a Wii U you can Data Link with Unlimited World Red. Also, if you own the game on the Wii U, you can transfer your save and data back and forth, meaning that you could play the game at home on the Wii U or on your 3DS if you are out and about. Getting through the main campaign can take you at least seven hours or more depending on how much you want to get out of the game. This would appeal more to the fans themselves, including a battle colosseum, where you’ll be in an arena fighting waves and waves of enemies and battling various friends and foes from the series. With rough textures and not a hint of good lighting to be found, it at least looks bright and vibrant, while character models are detailed and nicely made. W ith a well-rounded variety of missions and DLC on the eShop, this should keep anime fans and gamers happy for quite a while....

Looking At Loot Crate: Transformers & Major League Gaming

Looking At Loot Crate: Transformers & Major League Gaming

Loot Crate has been on the rise for sometime now, mostly thanks to how well the company has used social media. The concept is simple, a box full of bits and pieces all wrapped together with a theme. A care package with a personality, Loot Crate is expanding, growing. Last months theme was Transformers, Loot Crate were kind enough to send us a crate so we could see what all the fuss was about. The nature of Loot Crate is made pretty clear as soon as the box is opened. Instructions for the ‘perfect unboxing’. Document, share, enjoy, the three key words Loot Crate hold at the core of their values. It’s refreshing to see a company embrace the power of social media and sharing to promote and sell their product. Each crate ships with a shirt, in this case the shirt in a cross over between Transformer and Back to the Future. The nostalgia value alone is enough to melt the heart of any child of the 80′s. While the design may not suit everyone, it’s at least a pretty nifty shirt to wear around the house during lazy day offs.   The Transformers theme is continued with the addition of a Autobot sticker and a Transformers vinyl. Being a collector of vinyls, it’s a nice little model that brings attention to a line not all that well known when compared to the likes of Kid Robot and Funko. The blind boxed Vinyl can be one of eight trasnformers, 4 from the Decepticons and 4 from the Autobots. Collector or not, it’s decently made Vinyl and easily the best feature of this Loot Crate.   The last Transformers item is a curious little thing called a ‘Hex Bug’. It’s a small plastic, bug like, thing that jitters around in a sporadic manner. After a few plays around with it, the chances are it’ll either get lost or put in a draw and forgotten about. The theme changes from Transformers to MLG. These items include a sweat band, stickers and a code for one month of ‘GameBattles’ Premium as well as a code for a exclusive Loot Crate badge on the site. In all fairness, MLG has never appealed to me personally but these items will surely have a circle people who appreciate them.   The last few items include some pretty nasty sour sweets, a badge stating the date and theme of the crate, and a small booklet. The booklet includes few comic strips, info on the items in the crate and a look at the theme and the companies involved with the items in the crate. The booklet is a decent brief read that gives loot Crate, as a company, a bit of personalty.   Overall Loot Crate is a decent gift idea for someone with a relative interest in both video games and films viewed as either nostalgic or in touch with ‘geek culture’. It’s a service that feels like a god send for those who might not be great at buying gifts for people but have a idea what said people like. Given the theme of each crate, it’s hard to truly whole heartily recommend buying 3 month subscriptions, after all one month could be a theme you have no interest in.   Subscription plans and further info for Loot Crate can be found at their official site....

Why You Shouldn’t Expect A Console Version Of Elder Scrolls Online…Or Want One

Why You Shouldn’t Expect A Console Version Of Elder Scrolls Online…Or Want One

The Elder Scrolls Online has been one of the oddest MMO’s to release in quite some time. From announcement to release, the development window was rather short, even more so given the apparent scope of the game. Given the promise of both a PC and PS4/Xbox One release, the short development cycle comes off as rather suspect. After a PC release, and a console delay, Elder Scrolls Online turned out to be a bit off a mess, a MMO failing on core mechanics. Elder Scrolls Online is limping along, failing to live up to the hype, or even stand side by side competition, is a console version even a viable option any more? While the Elder Scrolls Online has all the distinct Elder Scroll elements, the imagery, the lore, music, it’s MMO components often fall flat on it’s face. Group questing is a utter mess, a mess that leads to frustration more than fulfilment. The questing experience on the whole is simply nothing to write home about it. Keeping in the grounds of kill quests and fetch quests, with only some sub-standard voice acting in between, the bulk of the quests feel forced. It’s not that the quests are all that bad, it’s just they’re done better in other games, especially when they involve group interaction.   Elder Scrolls Online suffers, at least in its PvE, from truly finding it’s feet in a MMO environment. The core game feels like it’s built as a single player experience shuffling around trying to fit into the MMO genre. While the PvP is genuinely quite good , the PvE is just a inconsistent, often barren, experience. This is a issue that feels a little beyond a simple patch or two, it’s a issue at the heart of the game. Given the issues, the decreasing subs, a console version feels more like a hope rather than a expectations, and even so, is it worth hoping for? It’s hard to see a console version lighting the world on fire. The bland, eerily lifeless, nature of the game would still be there. Perhaps the console market, which doesn’t hold too much experience with MMOs, would be able to see past the quality life issues Elder Scrolls Online suffers from. The main stumbling block that console version would run into would be the subscription fee.   While people may be used to paying for their Xbox Live and PSN Plus, most struggle with the concept of paying full retail and then paying a sub on top of that. The subscription fee is just as much as issue for the PC version, people expect content, expanding content, that justifies monthly fees. Elder Scrolls Online is simply not providing the content to justify the asking price for the masses. It’s hard to envision what a console version would look, and play, like. Elder Scrolls Online isn’t visually impressive, there’s a shade of doubt that the visuals would be acceptable on the two newest consoles. A console version simply does not seem like a valid concept, and the silence around the console version suggests ZeniMax and Bethesda are all too well of that. The core game has far too many issues in its current state to truly sustain a working monthly subscription model. The expectation is Elder Scrolls Online will hit free-to-play within a year, a plan that has been adopted successfully by a number of companies when their MMO’s have ran into the subscriber/user issues. The most notable of these free-to-play adopters being EA/Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic. After a initial period of success, The Old Republics subscribers plummeted, in reaction to this a free-to-play model was adopted, breathing life into the game and propping up the game for a sustainable future. The free-to-play mode, that also offers a premium monthly subscription option, is a perfectly serviceable option for most MMO’s that don’t command the huge or consistent user bases. Elder Scrolls Online has a issue with any potential plans to adopt a free-to-play model. If a console version is still in development, adapting a free-to-play model for the PC version will almost certainly render a console version with a retail price, plus subs, as utterly unserviceable. How could they possibly convince console users to buy, and pay monthly, for a game that is available as free-to-play on the PC. The future of Elder Scrolls Online is certainly unclear. A console version simply does not seem like a legitimate option any more and should no longer be expected. With nothing but words, no screenshots or gameplay, from Bethesda it’s a safe bet a console version of Elder Scrolls Online is dead in the water.    ...

Resident Evil Enters The Card Battle Market For A Limited Time

Resident Evil Enters The Card Battle Market For A Limited Time

The mobile card battle game Deadman’s Cross is crossing over into the realms of Resident Evil. For a limited time, Deadman’s Cross players will have the opportunity to earn cards based on creatures from the Resident Evil universe. The cross over starts from today and will run all the way through till Sunday 27th of July. Deadman’s Cross is a zombie-packed card battle game set within the zombie apocalypse. The game runs on iPhone, iPad and Android. With the wide range of fantasy based card battle games, Deadman’s Cross offers a alternative.   Deadman’s Cross can be found on the app store as well as google play.  ...

EVO Is The Single Greatest E-Sports Event

EVO Is The Single Greatest E-Sports Event

The world of E-sports has grown in the last few years. The rise of League of Legends, DOTA2, Call of Duty and the ever present Star Craft 2 have resulted in the scene being full of range. While each game has it’s respective following , all with their own distinct community and event presentation, there is only one event that captures the true joys of video games in a competitive nature. EVO is hands down the best representation of video games as a spectators event, a competitive event, a genuinely enjoyably event. While the likes of League of Legends and DOTA2 may provide huge spectacle, complete with sold out arenas, the humble but honest nature of EVO makes the event incredibility endearing. The simple, yet slick, set up of EVO gives it a much more human level. There’s no over the top set pieces, no obnoxious promos, just a easy on the eye set up. Two people, one scree, and a crowd of people more than willing to give the event life and personality. The range of fighting games present at EVO each and every year is always staggering. From the well known power franchises such as Marvel Vs Capcom to the more obscure fighters such as BlazBlue, it’s all there and packing their own unique charm. Regardless of how familiar (or even unfamiliar) someone is with a game on stage, the action is appealing, the crowds enjoyment is infectious. A curious five minute look at a game can turn into a full on viewing of the games respective tournament. EVO speaks to the tradition of old arcades, the idea of winner staying on, of people playing their favorite games side by side. Prefer Street Fighter to Marvel vs Capcom? No big deal, everyone just likes to enjoy the moment. While other e-sports events put their ‘stars’ into almost celebrity like status, EVO almost encourages the barrier between crowd and competitor to dissolve, with relationships being created giving each match a story. People like Chris G and Justin Wong almost play roles in the eyes of the spectator, it’s oddly similar to something you’d normally see in the likes of the WWE.   EVO is truly the best combination of competitive video games presented in a format that doesn’t feel alien to new comers and veterans. The sense of fun, the sense of community, the connection between what’s going on stage and how the crowd is reacting result in EVO being a sheer pleasure to watch. Non-E sports fans (like myself), fans of MLG, LCS, DOTA invitationals, everyone should at least checkout EVO. Hard to explain, easy to enjoy, EVO is hands down the best competitive video game event around....

The Growing Sickness Of ‘Gamer Entitlement’

The Growing Sickness Of ‘Gamer Entitlement’

Owning one system over the other does not entitle anyone to throw insults around, nor does it entitle a person to develop a strange, almost, fanatical devotion to a brand name. Devotion to a brand, tied with entitlement, has led to some truly odd accusations of late. A circle of Xbox One/360 owners have decided that Bungie have ‘betrayed’ Xbox users in some sort of insidious manner. They, as Xbox owners, feel entitled to everything Bungie plan to do with Destiny. Assuming this is down to Bungie’s history with the Xbox brand, but does is justify the reaction of group of people? No, of course not. Companies, are there to make money. While video games are a creative industry, the fact is business plays a big part in almost every element of big developers and publishers. They set out to make a profit in order to thrive and grow, they do not owe anything to anyone’s personal agenda. A customer is entitled to a working product, this is true, but when that customer starts expect said company to fulfill all their wishes..that’s when things get sticky.   Bungie’s relationship with Sony does not show a ‘betrayal’ of anyone. It’s a sound business decision to supply Sony consoles with exclusive, both timed and permanent, that makes the PS4/3 version of Destiny more appealing than the Xbox offering. Activision know how these deals work, they know the effectiveness of them. Similar deals have made involving Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto 4, it’s nothing but business. This doesn’t stop a vocal minority to feeling wronged and demanding that they receive everything the ‘other people’ do. The entitled few are becoming increasingly ridiculous, asking for boycotts, formulating conspiracy theories, sharing it all through social media, it’s a mess. The romantic notion that the video game industry is there to fully bend to the will of it’s customer is miles off the mark. The industry is cut throat, history even shows this, business is not personal (as they always say in the films). Entitlement is a growing sickness, often tainting someone’s point of view or even a discussion. Maybe it’s a good time for people to step back a little and view things a little more clearer.    ...

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