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E3 2015′s Biggest Moments – From Vikings To Remakes

E3 2015′s Biggest Moments – From Vikings To Remakes

With E3 2015 over and done with, it feels fitting to look back at event event and pick out the stand out games and moments. E3 2015 will most likely be remembered for two announcements, both of which felt like the ultimate fan service, but never the less added to E3′s history and legacy as the biggest event in the video game calender.       Nintendo Reminds Everyone That Games Are Fun The World Nintendo Championship was a utter mess, but a wonderful mess. The presenters never seemed in control, players repeatedly entered the Wii U home screen and the pacing was all over, but it all gave the event a sense of genuine charm. It’s gleeful expression of Nintendo indulgence was brilliant, even if some of the plays made by the contestants was sloppy. The big star of the show was Super Mario Maker. Watching players franticly bomb through various levels exposed the potential for Nintendo’s latest experiment. The challenge, the genius, the trolling, Super Mario Maker landed looked fantastic. To top the event off, modern industry icon Reggie Fils-Aime took to the stage to do what he does best, play games badly and crack jokes.   Bethesda Sets The Tone For their first ever E3 showcase, Bethesda knocked it out of the park. The first gameplay of Doom was slick, brutal and enticing. Classic first person shooter action is exactly what the industry needs right now, and along with Snapmap, Doom could be a game changer in a market that likes to create and share. Bethesda showcased a number of Fallout 4′s features, but the crafting and settlement system was easily the most exciting. Fallout 4′s sheer scope is insane, with the potential game time seemingly becoming infinite. The reveal trailer may of set the hype train rolling, but the E3 showing gave people more reasons to truly buy into the product, as well as the Fallout universe. Bethesda’s well paced showcase did a fantastic job of revealing new games, even if they were leaked, while keeping people well aware of previously known games.   Microsoft get Over The E3 Hump: Known for their inconsistent E3 showcases, Microsoft finally hit their stride this year. With a number of reveals, and premiers of gameplay, Microsoft managed to set up a promising future for their Xbox One system, but still struggled to make the big black box look like an essential purchase. The showcase had a pretty solid spine of games on display, with few curiosities on the way. Halo 5: Guardians oddly looked like a sequel to Star Wars: Republic Commando, which instantly made it more appealing than past Master chief vehicles. The rest of games and trailers shown weren’t bad, but they weren’t earth shattering. The oddest reveal was Day Z coming to Xbox One…mainly given the creator long since jumped shipped before the game was complete. The real triumph was Microsoft managed to finally put together a E3 showcase that flowed well, and got people talking for the right reasons, early access aside.   Ubisoft Are Apparently Forgiven For Their Sins, Thanks To Vikings Recent times have not been kind to Ubisoft, or to be more honest, Ubisoft have not been kind to their consumers. Even after launching broken games at full price into the wild, Ubisoft seemed to get away with it given the reaction to their E3 showcase. Tom Clancy may no longer be with us any more, but his name lives on via various new games. The real reason Ubisoft stood out, apart from Usher light’s performance, was down to For Honour and Ghost Recon: Wild Lands. For Honour is the first ‘big’ game from Ubisoft in some time that doesn’t involve terrorism, assassinations or Tom Clancey. In what looks like a mix between MOBA/Dynasty Warriors and Deadliest Warrior, For Honour pits Knights, Samurai and Vikings against each other in team based combat. The concept is mouth watering, even if very little of the game was shown. Ghost Recon: Wild Lands was the surprise reveal of the showcase. Ghosts versus Mexican drug cartels, complete with numerous tactical options, vehicles and all the co-op action you could want. Ubisoft did well to banish memories of their recent shoddy products, but one question kept popping up throughout the showcase, will any of these games actually fully work?     Martin Sahlin Makes E.A Human After years of E3 showcases fronted by corporate suits, TV/Internet personalties and media trained big time developers, Martin Sahlin came to the stage shaking like a leaf. Talking about his game, Unravel, he stuttered, he shook, he sweated, he won over the masses. In what felt like a rare genuine moment of passion (not in that way), Sahlin talked about the origins and creative process of Unravel. The game it’s self looks amazing, with some truly breath taking animation, but it’s time at E3 will always be remembered for the little guy hitting the big stage, and seeming utterly human. Easily one of the nicest moments of E3 2015…then EA followed it up with a man dressed as a Zombie.       The Battlefront Hype Train Truly Rolls Out EA knew exactly what they were doing, after covering all their sports games, they woke everyone up with a gameplay video of Star Wars: Battlefront. Sure it wasn’t live play, and the sheer amount of choreography was insane, but it was hard not to be blown away. Everything about the footage screamed Star Wars. Social media went crazy, Battlefront’s hype train officially pulled out of the station. If there’s one element that stands out throughout the footage, it’s the sound effects. Everything, and I mean everything, sounded perfect, this is what truly gave the footage that Star Wars feel, that and the closing shot of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker facing off.   Sony Steal The Spotlight…With A New IP At this point, everyone knows ‘how good’ Sony’s showcase was at E3 2015. The Last Guardian popped up again, Final Fantasy 7 is being remade, people celebrated, cried, filmed their reactions, cried again. Shenmue 3 is coming, subject to a Kickstarter that was never going to fail (it’s presence of Kickstarter being a whole different topic of discussion). Two of the biggest fan service reveals in the history of E3, which is what Sony ‘s showcase became known for…which is slightly unfortunate. Sony may of revealed the next big thing in the shape of Horizon Zero Dawn, but the attention has mostly fallen to the three previously named games. A completely new IP from Killzone developer Guerrilla, who recently took a intake of ex members of the team behind The Witcher franchise , Horizon Zero Dawn looks stunning. While the trailer didn’t give too much away, the footage shown was mind blowing, and not just because it featured robotic dinosaurs. The sheer pedigree behind the game should be enough to get anyone excited.   Fan Service Gone Wild Regardless of where you stand, Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a big deal. The last five years have seen calls for this game to be reality, and Sony revealed that’s happening. It shouldn’t of came as a huge surprise, the Final Fantasy brand is hardly in a great place at the moment, nor is Square Enix, and Final Fantasy 7 is easy money (hence the amount of re-releases they’ve thrown out there). The news was greeted with cheers, tears, and reaction videos, a deadly combination. E3 2015 will most likely be remembered for the announcement of Final Fantasy 7 Remake.     Kayne West & Cup Head: Kayne West played Cup Head, proving he has a more varied taste in video games than most people covering video games....

Dear Anita Sarkeesian & Jonathan McIntosh E3 Is Not Your Soapbox

Dear Anita Sarkeesian & Jonathan McIntosh E3 Is Not Your Soapbox

After a good solid year and a bit of refusing to cover the topic, Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan McIntosh have became a problem. They may have been at the forefront of a movement that has brought in change and awareness, but that message has long been tainted by those few looking to further their name, and salary, rather than their cause. I don’t speak for anyone but myself, I don’t subscribe to any movements across social media, I’m just another quiet voice on the internet, merely expressing a concern and distrust. For those who have followed the astronomical rise of Anita Sarkeesian, it’s hard to not have a opinion on her. Some see her as modern day icon, others see her as a false prophet. However way you look at it, she has power and influence, the problem is, she’s wasting it for further herself and not a cause. Her Tropes Vs Women In Video Games video series is where she made her name. Slated as a in-depth look at how women are portrayed in video games. This series was successfully funded, and only some of the videos followed.   The series resulted in both Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan McIntosh being placed in a position of influence, with immunity from criticism and question. This was the case until recently, both Sarkeesian and McIntosh have started to take liberties with their offence, showing their lack of knowledge or interest in the media at the same time. With every big release, or reveal, both of them would take to twitter to project how said game was furthering some kind of social issue. The Witcher 3 was a recent target for McIntosh who showcased a huge lack of knowledge of the franchise, resulting in social media (his most powerful tool) being turned on him. Both McIntosh and Sarkeesian have bee suspected of telling lies when it comes to their connection with video games. Videos have been floating around the internet now providing proof that they had no prior interest in the media, this has became increasingly more evident. While E3 is seen as a time for celebration for video game consumers, it’s seen as another marketing opportunity by Team Fem Freq. Bethesda kicked off E3 with a wealth of fantastic showings of their most popular franchises Fallout and Doom. Both games are 18 rated, both games have a legacy. Doom is known for it’s gore, it’s demonic themes, the balls to the wall shooting. This was unacceptable for Sarkeesian, who blasted the violence on show, as well as looking down on those who cheered at the brutality on screen. This was the first of many complaints she projected, but the Doom jibs resonated with me the most for various reasons. Doom is what Doom has always been, to expect anything else is stupid. It’s the same as turning up to a Saw film and expecting to see a romantic comedy. The main reason I hold such disdain towards her tweets was the fact she started to look down on the people who enjoy Doom. As someone who enjoys a number of things that are often judged as ‘lesser’ entertainment (MMA, grind house cinema, horror films) I’m well aware of how snooty people can be. Anita is looking down at people because she sees them as lesser beings, purely because they like something she does not.     Her reaction to Doom was not that of simple dislike, it was much deeper, much more venomous. She didn’t simply just look past the game as something she is not interested in, she targeted it as a harmful creation. The snobbery is palpable, you can almost feel her sneering at those enjoying action displayed on screen. This wasn’t Doom, this was a ‘problem’. It’s bizarre to think that anyone in 2015, who claim to have a long running interest in video games, can still be shocked by Doom’s violence. Anita is constantly in a state of flux with what she’s actually offended by, but one thing is clear, if it’s an adult game, then it’s inherently ‘wrong’. That’s the key thing in play here, Adult games do not sit well with both McIntosh and Sarkeesian, and neither do a lot of ‘kid’ games. If it has blood, a male character that has any ounce of masculinity, then the game is looked down on. Doom is not trying to make a statement on modern society, it’s not a analogy, it’s a video game where you battle Hell with shotguns and chainsaws. It’s fine to not enjoy violent video games, but claiming they’re ‘not normal’ while looking down at their fans, that’s ignorant. Violence without context is worthy of criticism, but Doom’s violence has context, which is fact that is lost on Team Frem Freq. It’s frustrating that Anita does not seem to understand the appeal of Doom, or what Doom is, or even has a ounce of respect for Bethesda/ ID. The lack of respect is running theme throughout Team Fem Freq’s feedback on Bethesda’s E3 showcase, and a running them of theirs in general. There’s a chilling touch of Mary Whitehouse to the reaction to Doom, a genuinely creepy similarity between the two ‘figures’ of pop culture of modern times and the past. As they, history has a habit of repeating it’s self, and this seems especially true, with both of them amassing the same levels of vocal detractors.   Dishonored 2′s inclusion of a female lead was also bemoaned, purely because the game offers a choice of genders to play as. This was the lowest of the low, a true white flag in the sinking Fem Freq ship which resulted in a number of replies on twitter. Once vocal supporters of Fem Freq even began to question her. It seems like nothing is ever good enough, unless it fits her exact criteria for is, or isn’t, sexist. This was Dishonored 2′s official reveal, on the biggest stage of them all, and the female lead took center stage, but all because the player had a choice between playing a male or female, it was considered a ‘saddening’ reveal. You can have your cake, eat it, and still be utterly displeased it would seem. Anita’s reactions towards Fallout 4 supports the concept she struggles to accept adult video games. After the crafting system was shown in all it’s glory, her first port of call was to instantly relate back to video game violence. With a sly backhanded compliment she tweeted ”The #Fallout4 crafting system is cool. Imagine how much cooler it could be if it wasn’t SO focused on building stuff to kill other stuff.” It’s not yet clear if Fem Freq has ever played a Fallout game, let alone even seen one before E3, but the core concept of the game is apparently lost on her. One of the primary themes of Fallout, from day one, is survival. The world is ravaged, people are on the brink, supplies are limited, it’s human nature turn primal in this environment. It all comes back to the point about the violence having context. You can’t talk a Deathclaw out of mauling you, regardless of how high you speech level is. You can’t sit down and debate the ethics of killing with a fire ant. You survive by killing these creatures, you can also survive by talking your way out of situations, a fact she blissfully ignores, or is unaware of.   These last two tweets sum her up perfectly. She makes bold statements, and uses a social issue a shield to fend away legitimate criticisms. There’s plenty of video games that focus on human interaction, with little to no violence. Did she honestly expect the likes of Doom and Fallout to drop their weapons and became some sort of bizarre ‘talk it’ simulator?  Her tweets, much like McIntosh’s, display their lack of familiarity with the games, as well as their biased approach to adult titles. Bethesda made no secret of what  they were showing at E3, yet Anita still came armed and ready, complete with a dislike towards violence in video games. To her, this was not a opportunity to see these games running, it was merely a business opportunity she could exploit, like a leech, sucking the blood from actually talented people. When your career and relevance solely relies on how many issues you can create, should we be shocked by Anita Sarrkeesian and Jonathon McIntosh’s behavior? Neither of them want to progress the industry, nor do they want a better product for me, you, or anyone else. They want to keep creating the issues, keep creating the sensationalism. They are not people who enjoy games, they are people who enjoy power and accolades,  even if that means stomping on the hopes of a movement, while dehumanizing anyone who dare question them. E3 is not your soap box Anita Sarkeesian, it’s not your next pay day Jonathon McIntosh.      ...

Bethesda Goes Big At E3, Doom Emerges As Potential Game Changer

Bethesda Goes Big At E3, Doom Emerges As Potential Game Changer

It’s beautiful, it’s gorey, it’s Doom. The gameplay shown was pretty much exactly what most die hard Doom fans wanted. It’s literally a jaunt through various corridors making a utter mess of the various hell spawn the Marine encounters. Gun porn was also included, as too was some cheerful chainsaw footage. It started violently, and ended violently. Doom, much like the original, is a complete package. Single player, old school multiplayer (power ups, rocket jumps, no dial up internet), editing tools. This is a modern Doom in every sense. Snapmap could the difference between the game being a flash in the pan, or online power house. Doom showing closed with a showing of Hell, it’s as grim as you’d expect. The smoke effects seemingly went unappreciated, but they do set off the environment perfectly. Overall, Doom maintains it’s classic DNA, while splicing it with modern day features and more open levels. Personally, I find Doom to be a much more interesting prospect than most other games we’re aware of. One slight concern, Doom’s old school approach may be jarring for the modern day console player. They’ve come to expect cinematic story driven games, blitzed with QTAs and cut scenes. Doom says ‘fuck that’ and throws you a shotgun. Battlecry is one of those games that has never truly felt like it’s doing anything ‘big’. There’s still questions over exactly what it is, even with a decent amount footage being out in the wild. It’s going into world wide Beta, it still looks like it could be fun, but nothing that’ll set the world alight…even more so given competition in the same space. Dishonest 2′s big reveal was ruined after they ‘accidentally’ mentioned it during a stream that was ‘accidentally’ broadcast. In truth, Dishonored feels like it came out years ago. With the Thief franchise all but dead, Dishonored fills the gap nicely. One of the new leads is a female, so Polygon will surely be creaming themselves before ranting about the character not being conflicted enough about her gender/sexuality. The penis bearing character option still exists, so don’t worry. Elder Scrolls Online takes front and center. It’s boring, as in truly boring. Think of all those MMORPGs that came out in 2001-2002 that had no quality of life features, awful questing mechanics and no real reason to party up for the most part, that’s Elder Scrolls Online. The flower picking system is good however. But brutal honesty aside, it’s a decent enough experience now it’s gone free to play, but there’s much better on offer in terms of MMOS both on PC and console. Elder Scrolls Card game (Legends), because you know, Hearthstone and Magic The Gathering are making card combat ‘cool’ again. Hard to see them knocking off Hearthstone from the Card Combat throne, but what ever, the more the merrier. Fallout 4, the game we all knew was coming (at some point), then all acted surprised when it was announced. Even after the years of wanting Fallout 4 to be real, people still moaned when it became reality. Concept art was shown, there was a ghoul pirate which looked pretty radical (get it? RADical?). Fallout 4 goes into the unexplored Pre-war, which feels a little off , mainly due to the showed content feeling like fan service. The complaints about the visuals some people had come off even more silly, Fallout 4 looks beautiful, the art style fits the tone perfectly. All the characters are fully voiced, with dynamic dialogue. Pip Boy is all fancy, mini games, holotapes, 3rd renders of items, it’s like the Iwatch with a actual point. There’s a collectors which will no doubt sell-out, and be sold on e-bay for five times the RRP. Fallout Shelter, a mobile game for people who love the Sims, love Fallout, and cramp riddled necks. Micromanagement with a Fallout twist. It’s free, no pay wall, no internet connections, it’s almost like free-to-play actually exists. The most interesting feature of Fallout 4 is the ‘re-building’ feature. The player can build settlements, which attract other NPCs to live in, which in turn increases the size of the settlement. Build defences, market stalls, caravans. This is how you add infinite replay value. The crafting systems scope carries over to weapon customization, the sheer amount of options at hand is staggering. Power armor is fully customizable, it’s almost like Bethesda want you to give up your social life…and job. Fallout 4 looks like the next step in the franchise, genuine progression for the series, and the industry. If the Devil is in the detail, Bethesda are covered in virgin blood and blasting out Swedish death metal. The release date is this November, but there’s always a hint of cynicism when it comes to release dates and E3.     So Bethesda started off the E3 showings with a bang. Doom is setting up to be the dark horse of their line up. The gameplay won’t be to everyone’s taste (history shows this on consoles) but the Snapmap feature could place Doom as a long term success, and not just a flavor of the month. Fallout 4 is Fallout 4, it’s going to sell well, the hype is already there, people want it. The scope of the game is insane, the release date is still a little suspect but either way, it’s Fallout 4. Dishonored 2 was only shown in trailer form, and it’s oddly went under the radar across social media. The market needs Dishonored 2, the lack of stealth games is hugely apparent, and the recent demise of the Thief franchise has left the door open for Dishonored 2 to take it’s seat of power. Bethseda paced their showing perfectly, moving from game to game. They gave facts, and not promises, smaller reveals were covered quickly and precisely, never out staying their welcome. Fallout 4 will obviously be the game on everyone’s lips, but Doom is the game to watch, purely down to Snapmap, that feature could change the console scene for the better.                ...

Splatoon’s Main Problem Is Amiibo

Splatoon’s Main Problem Is Amiibo

Splatoon is great, it’s a triumph in almost every sense…but there’s one nagging issue. Every time I boot up the game I’m treated to a instant reminder of this issue, it’s always there, it can’t be avoided. Who would of guessed a piece of plastic would be the only fault Splatoon truly suffers from, them god damn Amiibo. While Amiibo’s are merely a novelty in other games, Splatoon treats them with more respect, perhaps too much respect. The three Splatoon Amiibo’s unlock challenges, which in turn unlock items. These items just so happen to be some of the best items in the game, and not just cosmetically. The way in which clothing works in Splatoon affects the gameplay resulting in the Amiibo awards feeling a little irritating.   Each item of clothing carries a perk, enhancing a certain aspect of a characters abilities. The higher tier items offer four perks, the Amiibo gear falls into this tier. Looking past the fact the items look far better than anything else In the game, the advantage they give players early on is annoying, and unfair. Having content that is only unlocked by purchasing ‘other’ items outside of the core game, be it DLC or related promotions (Mass Effect/ Dr.pepper promo for example) is nothing new, but the Amiibos are a different beast. What started out as a nice collectible, with some extra uses within certain games, has now become a bit of a farce. Amiibo are the modern day version of Cabbage Patch Kids/Thunderbirds, stock is low yet demand is high, really high. Each wave of Amiibo always has at least two Amiibo everyone wants, yet no one can find. People invest into the supply and demand culture, selling the rarer Amiibos for double/triple the price they paid for them. To make matters worse, even the stores are starting to scalp. GAME increased their prices from £10.99 to £15.99, Shopto went one step further by going from £10.99 all the way to £19.99. The Splatoon Amiibos were initially tricky to get a hold of, but recently the boy and girl inkling have became quite common…but the Squid is a whole different story. Sold as part of a bundle with the core game, the Squid Amiibo is a tricky thing to track down outside out e-bay. Content is essentially out of reach, all down to a piece of plastic. As a collector of Amiibo, even if I refuse to take them out the box, I can still see the issues. I may own all of the Amiibo released in Europe at the moment, but I can sympathise with people who just can’t get their hands on certain Amiibo, the Squid included. Having content tucked behind a pay wall is awful sin of modern gaming, but trapping it behind a pay wall that’s also a effort to obtain, that’s inexcusable. As much as I love Nintendo, their implementation of Amiibo in Splatoon is worrying. For years now Nintendo has generally stayed away from the dirty business practices other big names indulge in. Buying a Nintendo game has always meant getting a full, complete, video game in your hand. Splatoon, and it’s Amiibo support, bucks the trend and creates a small shroud of doubt. Hopefully Nintendo does not continue to go down this path, or at least doesn’t hide too much content behind their Amiibo line. It’s a shame the main fault of Splatoon is partly due to Nintendo’s newest success story.      ...

Will Lego Dimensions Fall Victim To Scalpers?

Will Lego Dimensions Fall Victim To Scalpers?

I’ve never been one for Lego, but the recent reveal of Lego Dimensions got my attention. Where Skylanders started, and Disney Infinite grew, and the Nintendo seemingly took over, the game-toy market is pretty insane. The combination of family friendly video games, fueled/complimented by toys is a money making machine. Much like Disney and Nintendo, Lego are a firmly established brand with the unique ability to appeal to all ages. The licenses Lego own, the fan base they have, the significances in pop culture they posses, Dimensions should be easy money. So why bother talking about it? Well there’s one tiny issue that has cropped up, mainly the price point. The starter pack is a hefty £99.99 (89.99 on last gen systems), this includes 3 figures, a vehicle, copy of the game, bricks to build the gateway and the toy pad. The price point, as mentioned before, is pretty big considering it’s nearly the same price of some consoles. ‘Fun Packs’ cost £14.99, and include two characters, this seems like a much fairer price, even more so with Team packs (4 figures) popping at £29.99. Lego have, for the most part, created a fair price point…but it’s only fair for now. If there’s one thing we have learned from Amiibo it’s that scalpers adore these kind of products. The sheer level of love people have for Lego will surely result in scalpers diving into the Lego Dimension market in the same way the mined the Amiibo market. The main difference between Amiibo and Lego is the size of the respective ranges. Amiibo launched with 12 figures, Lego Dimensions are launching with 13 fun packs, 1 level pack and 1 team pack. That’s a whole lot of product for a first wave, a whole lot of product to be snapped up by would be scalpers, hot on the heels of their Amiibo success. Much like any other of the toy based video games, the chances are Lego Dimensions will feature exclusive figures, a concept Lego often explore with their other products. This is where things could start to get tricky for collectors. The sheer range of licenses held by Lego could result in some majority spiked prices for certain figures. The likes of Marvel, DC, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Back to the Future could become the hottest of the Dimension properties, especially among older collectors. Rarity + collect-ability + big brand names = the perfect scalp. Lego Dimensions could quite easily become the hottest scalping product, even surpassing Amiibo. Nintendo has it’s loyal fan base, but they only cover video games. Disney may have the Marvel license, but it’s not packing the brand love that Lego has, or the umpteen other licenses under their banner . Lego games extended beyond the typical demographic, add in the physical toy product and their reach far exceeds that of Amiibo, Infinite or Skyline. As a result of this, the scalpers potential customer base is increased, and people are more than willing to give scalping a shot after seeing the money made by others. This is all theory, for now anyway, but Dimensions could easily turn out to be a scalpers paradise. The reach is much larger than anything of it’s kind previously released. Potential for exclusives exceeds that of other lines. The fairly cheap price point, beyond the starter pack, is much more appealing for bulk buying. Lego Dimensions, without fair regulation from retailers, might just be the next collector headache, and a scalpers dream.     @linko64...

Why Ask For Female Led Games Only To Ignore them?

Why Ask For Female Led Games Only To Ignore them?

The last few years has seen a huge push for more female representation in video games. A number of video game journalists, pop culture critics (still not sure what that exactly entails) and industry figures demanded to see well rounded female characters leading video games. It’s a admirable stance, but the issue of practicing what you preach quickly reared it’s head. A small Brazilian indie developer, named Swordtale, recently released a game by the name of Toren, a puzzle adventure that explores gender roles and the concept of growing up. Toren was reviewed on this very site, and slated for it’s poor mechanics and dated gameplay…but not it’s attempts at exploring a female character. Toren’s main character is a young girl named Moonchild, her role throughout the game is the find her place in the world. Moonchild is neither objectified, sexualised or portrayed as weak. Moonchild, for all intents and purposes, is exactly what a number of people have been asking for…so why have they ignored the game? It’s hard to pin down exactly why Toren was ignored. Press releases were sent out, both big names and little names were offered review codes along with a link to the trailer. From the small site that is PixelGate.co.uk, to James Rolfe (The Angry Video Game Nerd), Toren’s PR did a good job of offering codes for review across the board. As they say, ignorance is bliss, and that certainly seems true in Toren’s case. For a game that provided what many were asking for, there sure wasn’t a whole lot of support from the people you’d expect. Toren may not be packing the ‘big’ names behind it, but Swordtale are undoubtedly contributing to the library of female led video games, a library not as small as some would have you believe. The method in which Toren explores it’s character is organic and well woven into the context of the story. There’s no misplaced attitude, no ‘issues’ that some people feel is a requirement for any female character. Moonchild’s journey from young child, to mature young women, happens before the players eyes in well crafted manner. Perhaps Toren wasn’t promoted in the right way. If Toren was thrown out into the public space and marketed as a game with the main selling point being a female lead, then perhaps social media would of buzzed with interest. Torren was marketed it as a video game, a video game with interesting themes and art style, and not just a vehicle for a female character. It’s a shame that a game like Toren fulfills the wishes of a vocal majority, yet receives barely any of their backing. Denying the scent of hypocrisy is a hard feat. When people are making a living off bemoaning the lack of female lead games on the market, should we really be shocked when they chose to ignore games like Toren?    ...

Another Exclusive Remastering Is The Last Thing The Xbox One Needs

Another Exclusive Remastering Is The Last Thing The Xbox One Needs

The rumors have been floating around for some time now, but it seems Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is real. Microsoft’s Xbox One will play host to a new version of the classic 360 title, but is it really what Xbox One owners want to hear? Or even play? However way you spin it, both the PS4 and Xbox One have hardly got a exclusive games library truly worth boasting about. The scales have shifted towards the PS4 in recent times, mostly due to the brilliant Bloodborne, but there’s hardly a wealth of ‘killer apps’ on either system. The likes of Ryse & The Order 1886 failed to make a impact beyond looking pretty and Titanfall turned out to be a flash in the pan success. Killzone and Second Son were met with various amounts of success, but never truly felt like the ‘big’ titles many were expecting them to be. While Sony seem to taking steps in the right direction, Microsoft apparently see re-releases as path to success. The continued lean towards re-releases feels less of a safe option, especially after the utterly disastrous Master Chief Collection, which hurt the Halo brand. It’s undeniable that Gears of War is a franchise that carries a huge level of fan love with it, but the franchise took a few dents along the way. Bringing back Gears of War is not all that much of a issue, but the fact it would be seen as one of the Xbox One’s ‘big’ exclusives would present a whole new problem. Microsoft are still searching for a identity for their newest machine, supplying their system with regular exclusive remakes isn’t exactly the best way forward. If the Xbox One was to become known for it’s remakes, it’s easy to see the system falling behind it’s competition in the long run. Exclusives sells systems, but only the good ones positively define a system, and remaking past glories is not the way to build a systems legacy or user base. The Xbox One has the brand power, Microsoft’s hard work with pushing the 360 resulted in them becoming a household name in terms of consoles, and yet they seem to be struggling to replicate that success again. It’s not like the Xbox One has no exclusives coming, it’s more that they’re normally pushed aside and barely marketed or even talked about. The heavy focus on pushing The Master Chief Collection and timed Call of Duty DLC  as two of the main reasons to own a Xbox One was was fair enough, mostly due to the status of the franchises, but Gears doesn’t have that same power behind it. The chainsaw-chest high wall-shooter resonates with a large group of people, but it’s never been on the levels of Halo or Call of Duty, the Xbox One needs to resonate and interest and many people as it can. Gears of War on the Xbox One is a nice addition, but not a needed one, Microsoft need to give their system a identity, remastered Xbox 360 games is not the way to achieve that.     @linko64...

Mortal Kombat X DLC Wishlist – Karts, Chess & Costumes

Mortal Kombat X DLC Wishlist – Karts, Chess & Costumes

Mortal Kombat X is currently sitting pretty as the ‘new gens’ best fighter. With a rather messy story, and some questionable micro-transactions, Mortal Kombat X is arguably the best of the series. Attention turns to how well Mortal Kombat x will be supported in terms of DLC, and with one pack already out, people have began to note their hopes for future content. The following is a list of content that would be more than welcome to Mortal Kombat X, from characters to mini-games, this is the Pixel Gate UK list of desired content…yeah, we can dream!     Motor Kombat: During the PS2/Xbox/Game Cube era, Mortal Kombat struggled to find it’s feet. A hugely saturated roster, questionable game mechanics and bad stories left the franchise bruised and battered. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, in Mortal Kombat’s madness came a stroke of sheer genius, Motor Kombat. Sure it was silly, and yes it didn’t exactly play all that well, but the element of fun was certainly there. Bombing through a number of tracks set in the Mortal Kombat universe, while controlling a ‘kute’ (couldn’t resit, sorry) version of the MK roster, was bizarrely brilliant. Mortal Kombat X feels like the perfect home for a flashier version of Motor Kombat, even more so with online lobbies.     Chess Kombat: Yet another slice of weird, Chess Kombat appeared in Mortal Kombat Deception. A mixture of chess, RTS and classic fighting, Chess Kombat was a nice distraction. It wasn’t flashy, it wasn’t all that complex, but it was surprisingly addictive. It’s surprising Chess Kombat never appeared in a online enabled Mortal Kombat, now seems like the perfect time.   Puzzle Kombat: Mortal Kombat Deception boasted one of the oddest mini-games in the franchises history in the form of Puzzle Kombat. Two characters battled it out on the bottom of the screen, with their success being determined by the players performance in the simultaneous Tetris like puzzle game. It was hardly a new concept, Street Fighter doing a similar thing previous to Mortal Kombat, either way, Puzzle Kombat was a hilarious pursuit.   Klassic Costumes:   The ball is already rolling with this one with the addition of Klassic Sub Zero. Future patches will see Klassic Scorpion added to the game for free, and hopefully it doesn’t stop there. Reptile and Ermac would seem like natural choices in terms of Klassic costumes, even more so given their ‘pallet swap’ legacy. In a throw back to the original Mortal Kombat, the addtion of original costumes for Kano, Sonya and Johnny Cage feel like good choices for free additions. With decades worth of franchise entries, the sheer potential for Klassic costumes is near endless.   Klassic Stages: Like most fighters, Mortal Kombat has a rich history of iconic stages, most of them with their own fatalities. From temples to bridges, and a few dungeons in between, Mortal Kombat has a large selection of settings that oozed with the universes trademarks. Mortal Kombat X has a decent, and unique, selection of it’s own but jumping back into past battlegrounds would flare up some serious nostalgia.   Meat & Mocap Guy: The pinnacle of running out of ideas for characters, even if they are utterly hilarious.          ...

Konami Cancelling Silent Hills Is A Good Thing

Konami Cancelling Silent Hills Is A Good Thing

Silent Hills, the game that looked set to do what Konami had been trying to do for years, is now officially dead…and that’s great news. It might surprise some people that there’s at least one person whose happy about the cancellation, but I have my reasons, and none of them are ill willed. Silent Hills was always going to be a victim of it’s own success, well specifically P.T’s success, cast firmly in the shadow of expectation of a industry that is unashamedly fickle. P.T was a beautiful slice of pure horror, a far cry from the jump scare/gore heavy horror titles that infest many a retail shelf. The atmosphere, the subtly, the mystery, it was near perfect. The entirety of P.T oozed with a genuine sense of craft, the devil was literally in the detail. P.T consumed the internet, it was no longer just a piece of promotional material, it was a full blown experience, a experience that broke the fourth wall. How do you better something that had such a powerful impact on a audience which, by this point, is entirely cynical and doubting? Apparently you don’t. With Kojima gone, and Silent Hills officially dead, after a weeks of being in limbo, we are now left in a state of positive reflection, and it’s beautiful. Konami’s murder of Silent Hills has inadvertently result in a bitter sweet result, people are growing tired of Konami, but god dam are they talking about Konami…and Silent Hills…and Konami. Like it or not, Konami is relevant again, Silent Hill is relevant again, albeit off the back of some ugly business. After years of trying to reboot the Silent Hill franchise, Konami seemingly killed their only attempt that was gaining any positive attention. Pulling P.T from digital services has resulted in people sitting back and appreciating P.T for what is was, and not for what it is. What started off as a short demo, has now became it’s own entity. Konami didn’t mean for this to happen, but P.T will now take it’s place in video game history, untouched by disappointment, poor sales or over exposure.   Silent Hills represented the next step for Kojima and Konami, and even with that next step well and truly over, Konami finds it’s self in a interesting position. The eyes of the collective video game world are fixed upon them, their backs are against the wall…and it just so happens that Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain releases this year. ‘Kojima’s last stand’, the headlines write themselves. ‘End of a era’, like it or not, 2015 was always going to be a big year for Konami, and the apparent rift between them and Kojima has been marketing gold dust. There’s a morbid curiosity, people are poking Konami like they’re a dead, poking them to see if there’s still life in those old bones. The cancellation of Silent Hills has brought the spotlight back onto Konami, allowing Kojima to work away from the spotlight, which is where he does his best work. How ever way you spin it, Konami, Kojima, Silent Hill, Metal Gear and PT all stand to benefit from the death of Silent Hills. All of them have inherited attention, P.T has even been rewarded with a legacy, a legacy of what could have been. Silent Hill is relevant again, Kojima has time to work, Konami has a ready made angle to market Metal Gear, the death of Silent Hills really is a great thing.   - @linko64    ...

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.  ...

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