Video Games

Decent, But Laboured – Game of Thrones Episode 3 – The Sword In The Darkness Review

Decent, But Laboured – Game of Thrones Episode 3 – The Sword In The Darkness Review

Telltale have been praised for their story telling ability, leading them to take on more ambitious projects. From the emotionally charged The Walking Dead, to the dark crime drama of The Wolf Among Us, Telltale know their craft. Game of Thrones represents Telltales biggest challenge yet, a challenge that Telltale are struggling with. After two episodes of Game of Thrones, the series is still trying to find its vein of form. Episode three, The Sword in the Darkness, signifies a defining point in the series in which the games true faults become clear, and it’s success project.   The Sword in the Darkness begins with Asher’s exploits in Mereen. Still on the run from The Lost Legion, Asher and his crew are forced into taking refuge in a cave, which just so happens to be the make-shift home of one of Game of Throne’s most famous creatures. This connection to the TV show is the first of many, mainly as this episodes catches up to the TV series. Asher, while still possessing a whiff of ‘main character’, is demoted to the supporting cast of episode three, with the main focus being squarely set on The Wall. Gared Tuttle continues to progress on his path to becoming a brother of the Nights Watch, with more ethical and moral dilemmas emerging with each step. Both Asher and Gared walk a similar path, with their stories feeling almost like they’re mirror images of each other, but with their own unique situational issues.   It is fair to say that the respective story lines of Asha and Gared are where the game shines. Both characters offer unique, yet familiar, tones and themes that feel distinctively Game of Thrones. The life of a Crow is is just as bleak here than it is with the show, with both forms conveying the twisted sense of family and loyalty. While Gared is a much more shrewd and humble character, Asher is a brazen and bold force. TellTale have created the same ‘ying-yang’ feel that typifies family relationships in both the book and show, while maintaining a truly organic feel. Politics is one of Game of Thrones primary themes, and episode three revels in this. The Forrester/Whitehill storyline finally starts to pick up momentum. Mira continues to come out of the shadows, earning her place as a pivotal, if not slightly annoying, cog in the overall tale. Most of her time in episode three is spent either being yelled at, or being questioned. While the character does have a true sense of progression, the whole episode feels like it’s taken directly from any given Sansa Stark scene from the TV show during seasons one and two.   While the cloak and dagger may be endearing, there’s often times where the pace just stops dead, only to be picked back up in a clumsy manner. By the time Mira has said played her part, she feels progressed, but limited, arguably the worst character of the core cast. In all the aspects Mira falls short in, Rodrick excels. The Game of Thrones series may only be three episodes in, but so far the choices have felt rather limited and dictated, Rodrick expels this. The crippled, down trodden, but proud, Lord is the series best character. Episode three plays to each and every strength Rodrick possess, with decisions feeling like they genuinely matter, and most importantly, feel like something Rodrick would say or do. Unlike the other characters, Rodrick feels much more original, resulting in his story becoming a unique Game of Thrones experience. With his house in tatters, his lands occupied and his pride battered, Rodrick could be, and should be, the main attraction of the series, and episode three provides a fantastic platform for a brilliant story arc.   Game of Thrones has had a running theme in terms of it’s issues. Technically, the game struggles. The visuals look muddy, animation jolty and the audio tends to bug out. It’s a confusing issues, other TellTale games, mainly Tales from Borderlands, perform and look decent, yet Game of Thrones struggles with each episode. TellTales game engine is showing it’s age, with Game of Thrones exposing all the weakness. Game of Thrones episode three – The Sword In The Darkness is a solid entry, but still not the entry the series needs. Both episodes one and two set the scene, episode three is putting things in motion…but still not providing anything to get all that excited about. Game of Thrones is at crossroads, it needs to start ‘getting to the point’ instead of slowly progressing. Telltale are visibly struggling to craft four different entwining stories, the pace of the game is all over the place, and while episode three may be a slightly better paced, the issue is still present. A good platform for the series to mature into something great, episode three feels like it could be the spark the series needs, but this could all be in vain if episode four turns out to be yet more ‘slow burning’ build up. TellTale will need to be at the top of their game to pull Game of Thrones off, with the flashes of brilliance comes a number of struggles. Episode four could be make or break.        ...

The Order 1886, Destiny, Mortal Kombat X & More Discounted

The Order 1886, Destiny, Mortal Kombat X & More Discounted

The end of the month is near, meaning only one thing…PAYDAY!   These are some of the best deals going around, at the moment anyway, to help you get the most game, for the least money.   Far Cry 4 – £22.99 Xbox One Plays a lot like Far Cry 3, just with a larger world and less of a memorable villain. There’s plenty of content, at least Ubisoft style collect-em-all content, resulting a game that will last a while. For less than £25 you really can’t go wrong.   Mortal Kombat X – £33.02 PS4 / £32.94 Xbox One using code MARCHSALEDAY6 The new generation systems welcomes Mortal Kombat to their shores, and you can welcome it to your shelf for less that £35. If the last Mortal Kombat game was anything to go by, the sheer amount of content will be staggering. Hurry with this one though, it’s a limited time deal.   Starcraft 2 – Wings of Liberty & Heart Of The Swarm £5.99 each – PC It’s Starcraft…what more needs to be said? Both games for just over a tenner is a beautiful deal.     Sunset Overdrive – £19.99 Xbox One It’s not to the taste of everyone, but it’s got a lot to offer. Bright, bold and beautiful, Sunset Overdrive is the perfect ‘change of pace’ game. £19.99 is a fair price for those curious about one of the few Xbox One exclusives worth playing.   The Order 1886 – £28.01 PS4   Using code MARCHSALEDAY6 E-bay users may be selling this for £20-25, but if you want a fresh copy then £28 is not a bad price to pay. The myths of it’s ’4-5′ length are pure bull shit, it’s not a long game but nor is it as short as some would have you believe. Looks fantastic, plays decently enough, heavy on cut scenes and quick time events, still worth checking out.     Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate – £21.21 3DS – Using code MARCHSALEDAY6 After the limited release, and resulting price spike, of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, 4 seems to be common as muck. Arguably one of the best games on the 3DS, Monster Hunter 4 is a must play. Smart, deep, enjoyable, rewarding and a utter joy to play, it was a must buy at full price, at £21.21 it should already be in your basket. Destiny – £16.77 using code MARCHDAYSALE6 That’s about the price for last years biggest scam in video games.  ...

Bloodborne Gets A Little Cheaper

Bloodborne Gets A Little Cheaper

Bloodborne may have only been out for a week, but that hasn’t stopped The Game Collection from knocking £7 off.   By using the code MARCHSALEDAY6 , customers can save a little bit extra on the first ‘must have’ game of 2015. The unforgiving nature of Bloodborne doesn’t mean you have to be unforgiving on your wallet!  ...

ZombiU – The Unappreciated Gem

ZombiU – The Unappreciated Gem

While the Wii U may be faltering on a number of fronts, I have still had some of the best video game experiences on the system the last generation. Oddly, for a new IP with no connections to previous brands, the sense of nostalgia while playing the game was immense. ZombiU was one of the most refreshing games I’ve played in the last five years. Sure the concept of anything zombie related is now long in the tooth, but ZombiU managed to make the undead threatening again. When ZombiU was released, the market was filled with games in which players would lay waste to hundreds of zombies for laughs. ZombiU went in a different direction, a single zombie could end the players life. It added a sense of challenge to the game , as well as forcing the player to think out each encounter.   Player death wasn’t just a simple case of reloading a checkpoint, it actually had consequences. Upon death players would respawn as a new survivor, stripped off all their gear. This played up the whole ‘surviving the zombie apocalypse’ theme ZombiU was going for. The combination of vulnerability and deaths with consequences made the game an intense experience. Playing ZombiU became awful to play, but in a good way. The threat of losing all of my hard earned gear in an instant was awful, almost foreboding. Every hour I played, I would have a story to share when talking about the game to a friend. I’d not had this experience since playing the likes of Silent Hill and Eternal Darkness. Survival horror had truly reached the next generation, and I was loving it. There’s a number of features in ZombiU that supplements the survival horror aspects, most of them using the Wii U pad.   Sorting out the inventory became a period of weakness for the player, as well as a means for the game to amp up the tension. Seeing zombies shambles towards you on the TV screen ,while you scrambled to pick your desired item of use on the Wii U pad, resulted in some genuine moments of panic. The same applies to opening locked doors and doors protected by key codes. They were neat features which made great use of the Wii U pad. ZombiU was truly one of the best video game experiences I’ve had in a long time. Admittedly it’s a short game, and it’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a awesome survival horror. It’s a shame that ZombiU became one of last years most overlooked titles. Given the struggle the Wii U has been going through, I fear that ZombiU will become one of the hidden gems. It’s also unfortunate that one of the few cases of true survival horror has went under the radar of many.  ...

Trolling Videos: Harmless Fun? Or Something More Sinister?

Trolling Videos: Harmless Fun? Or Something More Sinister?

The Youtube ‘gaming’ section has long been in decline in terms of quality. If it’s not a big youtuber suddenly deciding they like video games all of a sudden, it’s some awful coverage of games with misplaced lingo thrown in. It’s a sorry state, and its even impacting the actually industry (see Toby Turner’s car crash presenting at E3), but a new trend is rapidly on the rise, and it directly effects popular games communities. The ‘Trolling’ video has quickly become one of the most popular video formats. The basic outline sees a user entering a game/lobby (commonly Call of Duty) with the intention to antagonize the other players. At it’s most innocent it’s merely a guy just being annoying down the microphone, at its worst it’s someone pretending to be disabled. Let that sink in, a person is pretending to be disabled and earning money from it….Machinma have also contracted him.   The trolling videos show the very worst of people, most contain at least 200 homophobic and racial slurs. Most involve angry young men going irate at the youtuber to the point of rage quitting. The Youtuber will constantly seek for further reaction, this often results in the language and general tone of the ‘victim’ becoming utterly vile. Some may argue that it’s all in the name of entertainment, and in some cases they’d be right, but some Youtubers trolling feels purely tasteless. There’s something rather unsettling when it comes to someone pretending to be disabled purely to bait out a reaction. The same Youtuber (names will not be mentioned) sometimes makes comments back at his ‘victims’ that are simply vile. There is no morale high ground on either side, the question is how low can they go?   The trolling format is unquestionably successful. At times it can be funny, when the trolling is in moderation, but as the ‘genre’ becomes more stacked, the Youtubers look for a greater reactions from their victims. This can only mean that the baiting will be more severe, more distasteful, all in the name of gaining views and subs. Trolling directly effects video game communities, even if the communities associated are known for their poor nature. People have seen that trolling is a means to gain internet fame (which oddly seems to be something a large number of modern gamers want) with little effort, this leads to people replicating the trolling format. Trolling showcases the very worst of a games community, there is rarely a youtuber who uploads someone reacting well to the trolling. The troller also ruins the game for all those involved in the game/lobby that they are currently trolling. It’s a utterly selfish act to jump into a random game and try to ruin peoples fun, or a more extreme view, waste their time. At the end of the day, people will see trolling videos as harmless entertainment. Most trolling videos are there purely for the enjoyment of others, but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Racial slurs, homophobic insults and vile taunts do little to entertain. It’s a slightly alarming that there’s a large proportion of people who enjoy the more ‘scummy’ trolling videos. If these videos are a sign of the times, and the what a lot of people want from the Youtube gaming circles, then that’s simply disheartening. I whole heartily hope that the trend comes to a end, sooner rather than later. At the very least I hope that the Youtubers in this genre maintain some kind of morality in the pursuit of subscribers and views. After all, if this is the result of modern day gamers, then there’s a lot left to be desired, creatively and morally.          ...

Destiny- A True Game Of The Year, Or Just Another Commercial Victory?

Destiny- A True Game Of The Year, Or Just Another Commercial Victory?

A few weeks ago the Video Game Bafta awards resulted in a few raised eye brows, and a lot of angry tweets. Destiny may of been a finical success, but critical it was a mixed bag. With all that in mind, did it deserve to win Bafta’s 2014 Game of The Year award? did finical clout topple quality? was the negative reaction justified? Here’s a video of some youtubers lying about what Destiny is, even though one of them heavily criticized the game, but BAFTA don’t seem to mind using him to forward the nomination…for some reason. While the Bafta awards have always been a bit questionable, Kane & Lynch being nominated before it’s release stands out, tonight’s were a mixed bag. There were a number of games that deservedly won , while others lost out in what can only be described as a sponsored win (yes, this means Far Cry 4 beating The Banner Saga for best music). The biggest award is, of course, the ‘Game of the Year’ award. In a category consisting of Alien: Isolation, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mario Kart 8, Shadow of Morder, Monument Valley and Destiny, it was Bungie/ Activisons DLC catalogue that came out on top. Destiny’s victory was not exactly met with approval. Forget the fact the category was missing games such as Shovel Knight, Bayonetta 2 and Wolfenstein: The New Order, Destiny winning was simply odd. It made no sense, but then again, most of the video game BAFTA awards rarely do. Destiny’s victory was not exactly met with approval. Forget the fact the category was missing games such as Shovel Knight, Bayonetta 2 and Wolfenstein: The New Order, Destiny winning was simply odd. Twitter reacted in the best way it knows how, with snarky tweets. The reaction isn’t exactly unjustified. After years of development, and mammoth budget, Destiny shipped as half a game. No match making, end game locked less grouped with friends, no real end game to speak of, small amount of PvP maps and chunks of story simply missing. Destiny, while it did play beautifully, was half baked. To make things worse, retail copies came with two flyers advertising the first two £20 expansion packs, making the lack of core content all the m ore frustrating. Bafta’s credibility has been questionable for sometime, and 2015′s awards is a perfect example of why. On what planet does Far Cry 4 beat The Banner Saga for best video game music? A corporate planet. The award success of Destiny makes even little sense when compared to the critical success of games surrounding it. Each category is judged by a different panel, mostly made of people within the industry from various fronts. It would be interesting to here the justification for Destiny being the chosen game of the year. While Destiny did well commercial, critical it was hit or miss. If sales determine quality, then surely the winners would look totally different since the video game Baftas started?   Back in 2009, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 scooped Baftas Game of the Year award. The reaction to that is pretty much the same as it is to Destiny’s win. The year after that, Call of Duty: Black Ops won the title. Again, the reaction to Call of Duty winning was mostly negative, mainly due to other games out that year. Discussion began to generate, most of it wondering if heavy marketing and sales had trumped quality. For the most part, Bafta has always had a few questionable winners, but Destiny victory has resulted in a particularly vocal response. While of the reactions across the internet, especially Twitter, has been negative mixed with snark, there are a few people who genuinely agree with the choice. Looking at Destiny subjectively, it plays nicely, looks great and is initially enjoyable. While it may suffer from a list of issues, most of which were previously mentioned, does that make it the wrong choice for Game of the year? It all depends on who judged the category. This years nominees were distinctly of the Western variety, with Mario Kart 8 being the only none-Western game nominated. Destiny ticks nearly all the boxes of a big name, Western developed, hit. Large open maps, flashy visuals, constant action, first person shooting, minor RPG elements. It’s the prototypical product of Western video game development. Perhaps tradition and familiarity is what helped Destiny win the award. Alien: Isolation’s hide-and-seek gameplay is to a acquired taste, some may think Mario Kart is too simplistic, Dragon Age too long, Shadow of Morder too much like Assassins Creed. Monument Valley almost felt like the token indie nominee. The sad fact is, we will probably never know why exactly Destiny was selected as the overall winner. Bafta has descended further into the lands of confusion, with big name games winning awards they arguable did not deserve, and perhaps Destiny typifies that more than any other.    ...

Evolve, Splatoon & Xenoblade Chronicles 3D All Discounted

Evolve, Splatoon & Xenoblade Chronicles 3D All Discounted

  4 vs 1 shooter Evolve is slowly dropping in price. After a somewhat controversial launch, Evolve is now available for £33.60, on PS4, from Xtra-Vision. With a batch of free DLC on the horizon, it may be time to at least check the game out. Nintendo have been making the news today, mostly due to their new mobile plans, but two of their respective systems ‘killer apps’ are on the cheap. Splatoon, the little game making waves at the expos, is up for £25 at Gameseek. Zavvi currently have Xenoblade Chronicles 3D up for pre-order. Using the code VOUCHC5, customers can order the game for £25.64. That’s a whole lot of game for a decent price.    ...

Get £50 Xbox Live Credit for £43.95

Get £50 Xbox Live Credit for £43.95

Cdkeys.com is currently offering £50 worth of Xbox credit for £43.95.   With the likes of Battlefield: Hardline and Ori and The Blind Forrest, among all the already listed content, £50 can go a long way if used correctly. The credit is not exclusive to video games, it’s also usable with Music,TV shows and films. Liking CDkeys.com on Facebook also earns you a extra 5% off.   CDKeys.com are a reliable site, codes are sent within ten minutes of a purchase.  ...

The Order 1886 On The Cheap, Driveclub & Dark Souls 2 Also Discounted

The Order 1886 On The Cheap, Driveclub & Dark Souls 2 Also Discounted

It’s the end of the working week, and what better way to celebrate than bagging a bargain.   The biggest money saver comes in the form of The Order 1886 over at Xtra-Vision for the price of £33.60 This is a standard PAL copy, no imports like the E-bay sellers are offering. Another PS4 exclusive is available for a cut down price. Driveclub may have had a messy launch, but after a number of patches things are going smoothly. £21.85 is a decent price for a standard, brand new, copy. Alien: Isolation has been steadily decreasing price, especially the Xbox One version, and now the PS4 version has caught up. The Game Collection are currently selling the Nostromo Edition for £18.95 on PS4, a top price for a fantastic game. Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin marks the much loved franchise’s début on the new generation of system. Game Seek have listed both the PS4 & Xbox One versions for £31.75, with free shipping.    ...

Toukiden: Kiwami Gets A Pre-Release Discount On Vita & PS4

Toukiden: Kiwami Gets A Pre-Release Discount On Vita & PS4

Toukiden: Kiwami isn’t out yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save some money on it.   Both the PS4 and Vita version are available, with DLC, for £32.96 using the code POSTABARGAIN Set for a March 27th release, Toukiden: Kiwami is often compared to Capcom’s Monster. With the Vita lacking a entry into the Monster Hunter franchise, Toukiden might just be the game to fill the gap. A demo for Toukiden: Kiwami will be released on both PS4 and the Vita on March 25th. Check out the following gameplay videos and trailers, it might just be the game you didn’t know you were looking for.  ...

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