Video Games / Platform / PC

Hatred: Truly Disgusting? Or Overreaction

Hatred: Truly Disgusting? Or Overreaction

Hatred has generated discussion and debate since it’s trailer popped up online. Cries of disgust, condemning comments were made, customers created. The fact is, Hatred’s concept is taboo, it’s highly taboo in fact, and given the environment the game is being released into, it’s created a boiling pot of opinions. Some want the game to be banned, others argue that it’s just a game and should be released. There’s even a group of people who have became self appointed judges, claiming anyone who buys the game is ‘sick’ or ‘a bad person’. Hatred is slowly turning into the biggest game of 2015, but not for the traditional reasons. Given the current climate of gun crime, racial tension and general nastiness infesting modern society and the news, Hatred seems destined to be hated. The game’s trailer took the video game world by storm, lighting a fuse that most ‘small’ games could only dream of. The bleak, uneasy, trailer is nothing but a grime jaunt through a series of grisly imagery and murder scenes. It’s quite clear the trailer is trying to shock the viewer, it’s over the top…it’s exploitation. The concept of mowing down civilians and the police is nothing new to video games, it hasn’t been for sometime now, but the sense of ill will is what separates Hatred from other games. The lack of plot and direction is also a key point to why Hatred is different from say Grand Theft Auto. Gunning down civilians is a option in Grand Theft Auto, it’s not the main objective. Does this mean Hatred should be banned? No, of course not. It’s a form of entertainment, a dark form but a form never the less. Hatred is trying to push any agendas or beliefs, it’s not trying to question morality or ethics. Sure it’s content is distributing, and it’s hardly a game you’d introduce to someone whose not into video games, but the same could be said about various media. You’d hardly sit down and show someone you didn’t really know Cannibal Holocaust. Hatred is a niche game for a niche market, it’s certainly not to everyone tastes. The real problem with Hatred is how it’s highlighted a group of people who want it banned, and wish to judge all those who buy it as ‘bad’ people. Twitter has been full of various people condemning the game, it’s creators, and it’s would be customers. The fact that these people feel so enraged that there’s a number of people who don’t find thins game offensive is worrying. While the game is taboo, it’s not exactly forcing anyone to experiencing it. Hatred is hardly all over TV, printed media, website banners, it’s easily avoidable. Those wishing for it to be banned strike me as the type looking for another conquest to impose their tastes onto everyone else, and that’s worrying. The outrage would be understandable if Hatred was based upon a real life killer or event, but it’s not. Hatred is simply a video game, it’s there to be played (or not to be played) and nothing more. I’d submit the likes of Postal and Manhunt are far worse than anything seen in Hatred’s trailer. I’d submit there’s films, books, comics, TV, music/ music videos that have worse content in them. Hatred isn’t anything new, it’s violence isn’t anything new, oddly the outrage is…and it’s the perfect marketing tool. As fully grown adults, surely we’ve reached the point where we can decided what we want to play, and what we don’t want to play. Both sides have their valid points, vote with your wallets, not with your tweets.          ...

The Double Edged Sword Of The Fighter Genre

The Double Edged Sword Of The Fighter Genre

With the recent reveal of Street Fighter V, I decided to look back on my experiences with the fighter genre. It’s a harsh genre, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The fighting game genre has always been a harsh mistress to me. For every happy memory I have of the genre there’s about 3 bad memories that shortly follow. From a young age I became interested in the fighter genre. My first experience with the genre was (unsurprisingly) Capcoms Street Fighter 2 on the Super Nintendo. From the first minute of the game I was hooked. The characters looked visually interesting, the environments dazzling and the action thrilling. Playing solo was fun but lets face it, fighters are meant to be played against people and not AI. Playing Street Fighter 2 against friends (and some times family) is still one of my most treasured video game memories. Booting up the game and selecting our favourite characters before arguing over which level to fight in was tradition. Button mashing in a desperate panic was also tradition. In the process of pressing all the buttons in any given order a special move would normally be unleashed, leaving me and buddy in a stunned silence. ”HOW DID YOU DO THAT?!” was often the question on our lips, and the answer to that question was ALWAYS ”no idea’. Even with a limited knowledge of the game and its controls each match was always a great slice of fun. These sweet natured days were numbered however as I began to grow up.     As time went on and I played more and more fighters, my longing for victory became stronger. Button mashing was no longer a style I felt happy to use, it had become ‘messy’. Instead I would try a few characters out and learn the move sets. By time I came into possession of Dreamcast I had a decent amount of knowledge of Soulcalibur. I wasn’t a master by any means but I had learned at least a few moves for each character. Suddenly playing against friends had become more of a practice session than just a few games in the name of fun. Losing felt a lot worse, victory felt less meaningful, it was a strange feeling. For the most part I would be able to take down most of my friends, this resulted in the game becoming a little boring to play for them. Understanding the game had ultimately led to the ‘fun’ of the game being drained away.   The likes of Capcom Vs SNK, Street Fighter 3 alpha and Marvel Vs Capcom had returned all the fun of fighters. I applied a much more laid back approach to these fighters in order to keep the game fun for my friends to play against me. By this time in our lives we preferred to learn the game rather than button mash, this led to competitive, but fun, matches. It seemed the perfect middle ground and a great time to enjoy some top class fighting games. The enjoyment of the genre (and fighting friends) hit its peek with Marvel Vs Capcom 2. Given the popularity of the PS2 all of my friends owned the system and Marvel Vs Capcom 2. This allowed everyone to stand a fair chance of learning the game and forming an effective team. Many a battle was fought, plenty a laugh was had, this was the highlight of my time with the fighter genre. There was always a giddy feeling when it came to each team being down to their last member. A single hit would decide the match, the aftermath involved boasting and looking back at the action.    I had went from casual matches with friends that were all about the fun to competitive games of knowledge and technique. One day (well when I got my own computer) I just stopped playing fighters. From 2004 to 2008 I honestly cant remember playing a fighter for more than a few days. I kept a eye on the genre, watched it develop, but I never got back into the swing of things. 2009 saw the return of the franchise that started it all for me, I am of course referring to street Fighter. The fourth entry into the franchise was a first day purchase for me. After a first few runs on arcade I decided to hit up the online options. This is where things got rough. A large segment of players from overseas had been playing Street Fighter 4 for roughly a week. This week earlier release date had created a huge divide it terms of player skill. Time after time I was matched up with players who had already learned the mechanics and moves of a number of characters. My arse was getting well and truly kicked. I was now feeling the way my friends did when they used to play Soulcalibur against me, it wasn’t fun. I tried to learn the game, learn some strategies but alas my efforts were met with more defeats. Only a few of my friends had bought Street Fighter 4, this limited my chances of just casual fun matches. When they did happen, more often than not, I’d end up winning purely because I had learned some easy moves of a certain character. My friends soon began to grow tired of playing me and I was once again forced into playing online. While I did improve my overall play the huge gulf in skill and experience was too much to overcome. I enjoyed Street Fighter 4 a lot, I kept it in my collection in order to play when friends came over or my father fancied a game. Online I was nothing short of a easy win for any given player. For a large length of time I kept my activity within the fighter genre strictly offline. Marvel Vs Capcom 3 and Mortal Kombat (reboot…or 9 as some wish to label it) became my fighters of choice. While Marvel Vs Cacpom 3 was a little light in terms of content Mortal Kombat was jam packed. With plenty to do in terms of single player I was more than happy to play Mortal Kombat offline. The lure of playing online is hard to resist however, and yet again I found myself being beat down by veterans. All the enjoyment I had experienced with Mortal Kombat offline was now being replaced with defeat and defeat. The sheer amount of spam I became the victim of was heart breaking. Seeing Stryker spam his ranged attacks over and over killed my motivation to play Mortal Kombat online, it was nothing short of brutal. I was awful at the game, but my lack of enjoyment online killed any motivation to improve.     Fast forward to EVO 2012. I’m sitting at my desk browsing Twitch TV, and I’m once again interested in fighters. After watching the majority of the Marvel Vs Capcom 3 tournament my interest in the game re-surged. I knew for a fact I was going to lose, and lose hard, but either way I was going to try my hand at the online portion of the game. My assumptions were proved to be correct, I did in fact get my arse kicked, but I didn’t mind. I oddly didn’t mind losing, my competitive nature had taken a back seat. With my rediscovered relax nature towards the game I began to sit and learn….how to lose. While defeat is never fun it did allow me to experiment and tinker with my team selection. Before I knew it I was presenting a viable challenge to some players, some times even winning. The thrill of the fighter genre rushed back, everything I remembered had returned. In a moment of nostalgia I dragged my father into a game and began to play. It was like being young again playing Street Fighter 2 for the first time.   My love affair with the genre had been long and eventful. It had highs and lows, at times I had fallen out with the genre only to make up with it some time later. Learning to handle defeat is key to enjoying the fighter game genre, expecting victory is a recipe for frustration. Remembering why I loved the genre in the first place was key to recapturing the thrill, enjoyment and fun that I had all but lost.  ...

Hearthstone Expansion Causes Buyer’s Remorse

Hearthstone Expansion Causes Buyer’s Remorse

The recent Gnomes vs Goblins expansion for Blizzard’s Hearthstone has created some confusion. Players have flocked to the in game store and thrown down real life money to buy packs of what they thought were new cards. The problem is, the store separates the packs between the old cards and the new expansion cards, a fact that has escaped some users.   Players have seemingly paid big bucks for cards they did not even want, with some (such as the streamer in the video below) laying down $70 dollars before noticing her mistake. The whole affair is a little amusing but does beg the question just how many people are spending chunks of cash on cards they never even wanted. Next time you go flying into Hearthstone looking for those new cards, check the store front before throwing your money into Blizzard’s wallet.  ...

Square-Enix & The Problematic Final Fantasy 7 Fail Safe

Square-Enix & The Problematic Final Fantasy 7 Fail Safe

Oh Square-Enix, how the mighty fall…then get back up again and stumble around a bit. As someone who grew up, partly at least, playing JRPGS, Square-Enix played a large part on my video game playing life. Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 7,8 and 9, Dragons Quest, Final Fantasy Tactics. The game that stands out most in that line up (not for me, but for most people) is Final Fantasy 7. the ‘classic’. Final Fantasy 7 went beyond the realms of being ‘just another game’, it’s constantly being brought back up when ever a discussion on JRPGs occurs. It’s celebrated as a crowning moment in RPG history, Square-Enix’s history and the video game industry as a whole. It’s impossible to deny the impact the game had, regardless of personal feelings towards the game. The problem is, Square-Enix never seemed to get out of the shadow of Final Fantasy 7, be it in their video games or in their general approach to business. Before the release of Final Fantasy 7, the franchise tended to jump around in terms of tone and characters. You’d be reassured that every time you sat down to play a Final Fantasy game, you’d be meeting a whole host of new, interesting, characters. That changed with the success of Final Fantasy 7. The ‘dark, brooding’ character came into fashion and flashed in and out of the franchise ever since. This was especially true with the character of Squall, the floppy fringed student who was never happy and always ‘conflicted’. While Final Fantasy 8 wasn’t a bad game (truth be told, I prefer it over 7) it always felt like it was in the shadow of Final Fantasy 7, trying to maintain some of the traits of its predecessor.   The real issue with Final Fantasy 7′s success is the way in which it has been handled. No longer is it a jewel in the crown of Square-Enix, it’s now a quick buck, a means to stay relevant without the effort. The best example of this being the recent reveal of Final Fantasy 7 being thrown onto the PS4. No additions, changes or anything of the like, it’s the same old thing we’ve had thrown around for years now. Do Square-Enix owe their fans any HD version of Final Fantasy 7? no, but they do owe their fans a decent port. It reeks of laziness when the same old version of the game is thrown around, across various formats for multiple years. It’s yet another ‘quick buck’ move from Square which leaves a sour taste in the mouth of it’s fans, who’ve endured quite lot of sours tastes with Square the last few years. After the train wreck that was Final Fantasy 14, since fixed after a re-launch, and the ‘meh’ feelings towards Final Fantasy 13 and it’s spin-offs, Square could do with some positive vibes. It’s not like Square and incapable of doing good re-releases, just look at Final Fantasy X & X2.   Square wouldn’t constantly bring back Final Fantasy 7 if it wasn’t bringing in the money. The sheer love towards the game will naturally bring a solid amount of customers in, which is arguably part of the problem. Whenever Square run into problems, be it cash related or multiple games being delayed, they fall back to releasing Final Fantasy 7. It’s frustrating to see them do this yet again, even more so in the manner it was announced. A quick run onto the stage followed by a trailer and some extremely broken English. It’s almost like Square don’t even care that they look lazy these days. Square don’t seem happy with cheapening the modern Final Fantasy franchise, they seem hell bent on cheapening the past glories as well.    ...

Street Fighter V’s Exclusivity Is Far From A Bad Thing

Street Fighter V’s Exclusivity Is Far From A Bad Thing

The recent news that Street Fighter V will be a PS4/PC exclusive has left some feeling a bit..frustrated. The frustration seemingly coming from how the reveal came out of no where. It’s a surprising move given Capcom seemed to be in the Microsoft camp given the exclusive release of Dead Rising 3. Like It or not, Street Fighter V is a massive feather in Sony’s cap, but it’s not all doom and gloom for those invested into one system. The reaction to Street Fighter V, or least some of it, would lead you to believe the Xbox One has no fighters…which is far from the truth. The Xbox One boasts one of the best exclusives on the market in the shape of Killer Instinct. While the brand power of Killer Instinct may not be as relevant as Street Fighter, the quality is still there. Killer Instinct offers a unique fighting experience, there isn’t anything truly like it on the market, bar the originals.   It’s disappointing that such a great game has seemingly been forgotten. There’s a slight hope that the hype around Street Fighter V will indirectly shed a little light back on the mega combo fighter. There’s questions over just how exclusive Street Fighter V is. With Capcom known for releasing various editions of pretty much every Street Fighter. it’s not yet clear if future (for examples sake let’s say Super Street Fighter V) versions would be tied down to the PS4/PC. The exclusivity of Street Fighter V make sense, especially for Capcom. The growth of the PS4 player base, combined with Sony’s strong presence in the Asian market, make the deal a smart move for a struggling Capcom. With Sony partly funding the game, the pressure to perform is taken off Capcom slightly. Perks like cross-platform play (as seen with the likes of Final Fantasy 14) would also, at leas you’d suspect, be another reason why Capcom and Sony have teamed up.   It’s hardly a deal made in spite that some corners of the community are trying to suggest, far from it. A solid business decision that allows Capcom to carry on without worrying (too much) about their struggles of late. It’s a slick move by Sony, and perhaps a ploy become the system of choice for Fighting game events such as Evo, that gives the PS4 extra appeal. ‘For The Players’, the current ethos of Sony, Street Fighter V fits into that ethos perfectly, and potentially opens up opportunities for plenty of tournaments and events. As for Street Fighter V it’s self, the gameplay trailer looks utterly fantastic. The sheer vibrancy on screen gives of a genuine sense of progression and evolution. It’s hard to judge a game based off 1 minute and 29 seconds of footage, but by god did Capcom mange to craft a trailer that got the hype train rolling. It’ll be interesting to see what Street Fighter V ships with. Hopefully none of Capcom’s shady practices of on disc DLC will rear it’s ugly head. With the streaming capability of the PS4, it’s fair the expect a fully fledged spectator mode, making the game perfect for day one community based tournaments. Details will trustingly follow once the dust settles, but the hype has undoubtedly started, and Sony adds another big game to their arsenal.    ...

Game of Thrones Episode One: Iron From Ice Review (PS4/XB1/PC)

Game of Thrones Episode One: Iron From Ice Review (PS4/XB1/PC)

Telltale have seemingly continued their blitz on 2014 with their fourth licensed game of the year. After their successful runs with The Walking Dead, Borderlands and The Wolf Among Us, Telltale have released their take on Game of Thrones, possibly their biggest challenge to date. Based on the TV show, which in turn is based on a series of fantasy novels called A Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones has been exciting the masses since it’s announcement. The concept of Telltale creating a brand new story in such a beloved universe was mouth watering. The game is set around House Forrester, a house never mentioned in the show (as of yet) and only scarcely in the books, banner men to House Stark. The first episode picks up in line with the infamous red wedding and creates a expanded narrative centering around the impact of the event. The bulk of the plot revolves around establishing Forrester history and traditions, while introducing the key players in and around the house.   Given the scope of Game of Thrones, this title feels less focused than past Telltale games. Players aren’t put into the shoes of one character, instead they are thrown between multiple characters, all with interweaving stories. The lack of focus on one character allows the game the feel fresh when compared to past Telltale titles. Playing numerous characters gives the player more freedom and creativity in how they wish to approach situations. It’s a change that make sense given the size of the Game of Thrones universe, but it’s also a change that makes the whole experience less safe, given any character is at risk of death. Having the ability to play around with different characters, choosing how they react to various conversations and events, opens up a whole new element not seen in past Telltale games. Switching between playing a character with a edge of brashness to a character just trying to get by keeps the games momentum going. At no point is there a wall where things feel slow or dragged out, Telltale have nailed the pace of game, drawing everything together in a neat bundle. The way in which the games events are tied into the show gives the whole experience a sense of legitimacy. Familiar faces make appearances throughout the game and never feel forced in for simple fan service. Each scene, each character, each action all have a point, there’s never a second that feels wasted. The only real issue with Telltale’s Game of Thrones is the presentation. The ‘painting’ art style does not lend it’s self well to the game. Environments tend to look a bit dull and lacking detail, character models range from adequate to slightly ugly. Sub bar visuals are accompanied by some truly horrific animation. Characters have a tendency to move their heads in robotic manners, detracting from the voice acting and taking the player out of the moment. It’s a niggling issue that becomes a frustration towards the end, even more so given most of this episode is long conversations. It’s hard to look past the awful animation when the voice acting of characters from the show (all voiced by the original actors) is so spot on. The dialogue is delivered in the exact way you’d hear it on the show, but the dead pan robotic character models distraught the quality acting. Visual issues aside, Game of Thrones Episode One: Iron From Ice is a fantastic start to the series. The new characters are all compelling, the overall plot remains unique while relevant to the source material, and the twists and turns the show (as well as Telltale) are know for are all present. There’s at least one scene that will genuinely surprise players, forcing them to see this series as a whole new ball game compared to past Telltale games. Fans of the show will undoubtedly appreciate the authenticity found within the game. It’s hard not to recommend the game given it’s quality and it’s low asking price of £5....

Shadow Of Mordor’s Nemesis System Is A Game Changer

Shadow Of Mordor’s Nemesis System Is A Game Changer

Death has become a little bit of a joke in most modern video games. Quick saves, lacking of challenge, the threat and consequences of death are simply not taken into account any more. Sure there’s rare cases of death being seen as a threat in the likes of Dark Souls, Zombie U and Alien: Isolation, but they don’t effect the game world. The concept of the players death effecting the game world is intriguing, this is where Shadow of Mordor comes in. Death is simply a event, it’s a game changer. The Nemesis system gives the act of dying a sense of real impact, the game is getting harder, the enemies are becoming tougher, death has genuine consequences. Being slain by a enemy, seeing that enemy earn a promotion for the kill, becoming more powerful, it’s a oddly giddy experience. There’s a morbid curiosity to witnessing how the players death affects the game world.   The Nemesis system install a organic sense to Shadow of Mordor, almost to the point where it feels like a reactive world. The player simply isn’t there to interact with their surroundings, they’re there as part of a progressing universe, a cog in the system. The fact enemies can grow and improve by killing the player, gives each battle a sense of risk, making it a much more intense experience. In the grand scheme of the Nemesis system doesn’t just focus on the player. There’s a deep rooted civil war that sees the game in a constant state of change. Taking out a captain open ups a gap for a new captain. When the player is killed, a new captain is created who in turn brings his friends into the other vacant roles. This kicks off a chain reaction or power struggles and recruitment attempts, a truly organic system changing the games world. The players death is always a huge event in the game, and the knock on effect can be felt for hours of in-game time.   Shadow of Mordor should be praised to the high heavens having such a brilliantly devilish system at it’s core. It’s rare that modern video games tries something truly new, something truly game changing. Similar systems could easily be put to use in other genres, such as sports and racing games. The concept of a rival remembering the player, improving from their last encounter, is mouth watering. The Nemesis system could usher in a new bloodline of video games where the worlds feel more organic and reactionary. Here’s to hoping that this is the first step into a whole new video game world....

The Red Solstice – Review (PC)

The Red Solstice – Review (PC)

I recently got the chance to sit down and try my hands at The Red Solstice which is a top-down, tactical, squad based survival shooter developed by Ironward. The Red Solstice plays very similar to games like StarCraft in the way of how you control your character. That being said, I had some major issues trying to connect to an online match, but once I did I was greeted with a gameplay formula I’ve been very familiar, and comfortable with since the launch of the original Starcraft in 1998. Plus, it has that whole Starcraft/spacey-wacey shooter vibe going on. So, that helped me get into the game when I booted it up.  Now, to be fair in terms of single-player content I only played the introductory tutorial to get an understanding of the game, plus this game is all about hopping online, starting a squad, and blasting some aliens. From what I got in the tutorial I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed. I didn’t feel like the game was offering anything new, or unique. However, I pushed through and played through the tutorial. Most tutorials are fairly meh in games, but I’m going to throw that up to the fact that I feel like this game is built around being in a squad and playing with other people. You’ve got eight different classes to choose from when playing: Assault, Heavy Support, Recon, Marksman, Demolition, Terminator, Hellfire and Medic. The classes are pretty straight-forward, but the shining two classes would have to be Terminator, and Hellfire. And no, we don’t mean the T-800 from The Terminator franchise. So, if you’re one of those people who want variety in these types of games then the class system has just that, if you’re dedicated on ranking up and unlocking these things. Probably my most favorite, and memorable aspect of the game is an ailment system which allows your character to be poisonous or bleeding and various other ailments creating a new and harder aspect of the game. This is pretty great, and can definitely change the flow of the game instantly. I applaud the developers for doing something like this, it breathes something unique and fresh into the game, but also gives us that degree of difficulty that makes these kind of games fun and challenging. From what I got to play of TRS was a fun experience, albeit with some flaws. Connecting to a multiplayer game was quite the task, and when it finally worked itself out I had a blast. The game is also slightly punishing in the way of unlocking classes, and what-not. You have to be good at the game to score achievements and rank-up, they just won’t throw them out to every player who hops in game (which is nice). You need to play well with a team, and actually play tactically. No Rambo fun here, or at least from what I encountered while playing. Would I recommend this game? That depends. I’d say if you were fan of tactical/strategy games like Starcraft then it might be up your alley in terms of enjoyment. But, if you prefer games that won’t require some form of skill, and prefer just to shoot dudes away without any risk of defeat then this game probably won’t appeal to you. It’s a fun game, and for the $19.99 price tag, it’s quite the deal. Now, it is part of the Early-Access program on Steam so that means it’s constantly being updated, and having new bits & pieces thrown into the mix. So, if you’re one of those lads, or lassies who likes these types of games then go gather 8 of your friends together and dive into The Red Solstice. Mars won’t ever be the same....

Divinity: Original Sin Review (PC)

Divinity: Original Sin Review (PC)

The Divinity franchise has been around for some time, but it’s never truly became a house hold name. With various spikes and drops in quality from across the years, the franchise has never truly imposed itself upon the masses. Divinity has earned itself a rather cult following however, but its latest installment, Original Sin, could be the game to truly make a impact…at least on the RPG fan base. Divinity: Original Sin is one of the many success stories of Kickstarter. After going over it’s goal, and garnering a lot of attention, the game went through early access and finally hit retail release. Larian Studios made it quite clear that Original sin was a ambitious project, made by RPG fans, for RPG fans. Their ambition is easily measurable in the sheer amount of content and personal touches burnt into the core of Original Sin.   In terms of role playing games, the genre has been going in the wrong direction of late. Action has began to take over the core elements that traditional RPG games are so heavy on. Original Sin feels distinctly old school from the off, and that is nothing short of glorious. Having the ability to roll a character is such a welcomed feature. The option to select each stat, trait and role is liberating to say the least. Players aren’t restricted to fulfilling a set class with all the expected skills, instead they are given the freedom of choice. Original Sin has a interesting variation on the party system. Players are given two characters to customize and mould how they say fit, these two characters are bound together for the entire game. Both characters act as the main protagonists as they jointly venture through the world. There’s a number of points within the game where the two character can discuss matters at hand. These discussions can depend on various stats and actions the respective character has taken through the game. It’s a neat dynamic that works especially well in Original Sin’s full online co-op experience.   The trend of old school mechanics bleeds into the core combat of Original Sin. Turn based combat, fueled by action points, makes for some truly intense battles. Every action is dependent on how many action points the character has at the ready. Using action points well is the key to victory, strategy becomes a must. Planning how to make the most of each action point is where the game enters it’s true depth. One mistake or waste of action points can lead to a swift defeat. The combat offers a truly intriguing mechanic that gives each battle it’s own dimension, especially in co-op. Spells and skill can be combined to create powerful combos, this expands the scope of each battle, halting any sense of repetition from sitting in. The true joys of the combat come in the shape of using the environment to your advantage. Spells and skills can be used to interaction with the environment, creating opportunities to cause heavy damage to the enemy. Setting alight oils, dislodging boulders are just some of the nifty tricks available at the players finger tips.   The interaction with environment isn’t exclusive to combat. There’s a number of situations in which using spells and skills on the surroundings can aid players in their exploration. Be it a puzzle, a hidden area, or just a simple short cut, these little interactions give the world a touch of life. The world itself is a character, full of curiosities and wonders. The world is huge and populated with some truly fascinating NPCs. The adventures to be had all feel like they have a purpose, be it to make the player laugh or give them that next step up in the various stories dotted around the game. At no point will the player find themselves disengaged or disinterested, there’s literally something to do at every point of the game. While the core gameplay, and all it’s mechanics, are solid, it’s Original Sin’s charm that shines through. There’s a sense of awareness to the game and it’s writing, it know it’s market and it knows how to engage them. Humor is provided in vast amounts, making each quest and interaction with NPCs enjoyable and satisfying, rather than just a means to gain a quest. It’s not uncommon to spend 45 minutes in a new area, purely talking to people. The world has so much charm and character that the players time never feels wasted.   Original Sin’s production values are pretty slick. The visuals are vibrant and reflect the tones of the game nicely. Character modes and environments are packed with detail consistent with the world. When the spells are flying, the visuals take on a new life. Explosives colours burst into life, the audio sings proudly, it all feeds into the end experience. The size and scale of Original Sin is something to marvel at. Creativity, charm, a immersive experience, all with a strong focus on traditional RPG values. The only issues to be found are minor quality of life problems such as inventory management and a rigid fast travel system. The main plot may be a little bit ropey, but the ‘side quests’ within the game offer a number of interesting short stories. Huge in scale, and hugely enjoyable to play though alone, or with a friend. Divinity: Original Sin is one of the best games of the year so far, easily worth the time of anyone looking for a true RPG experience.      ...

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]...

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