Video Games / Platform / PC

Battlefield Hardline & Final Fantasy Type – 0 Discounted Among Other Titles At Zavvi.com

Battlefield Hardline & Final Fantasy Type – 0 Discounted Among Other Titles At Zavvi.com

As per every Monday, UK retailer Zavvi are running their Mega Monday sale.   The 24 hour sales includes a range of items from video games to memorabilia. This Monday contains a few deals worth looking at including: Final Fantasy Type – 0 (XB1/PS4) – £30.98 Xbox One (white) console with Sunset Overdrive – £279.99 Drive Club: Special Edition (PS4) – £29.98 Samurai Warriors 4 – Anime Edition (PS4) – £19.98 Battlefield Hardline – (XB1/PS4) – £39.98 Pre-order DMC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition – (XB1/PS4) £22.98   Zavvi are currently running a 2 for £40 offer on ‘Next gen games’. The choice is a little small but the following titles stand out:   Child of Light – Deluxe edition: Short, but a beautifully relaxed video game experience. Strong art style and great soundtrack are note worthy   The Wolf Among Us – TellTales lesser known success story, but arguably more interesting game.   Lords of the Fallen – Dark Souls style effort that may not be a total success, but it’s enjoyable in it’s own right  ...

Evolve Drops Out Of Steam’s Top 40 Most Played – Backlash Towards DLC To Blame?

Evolve Drops Out Of Steam’s Top 40 Most Played – Backlash Towards DLC To Blame?

Evolve has been out for less than a month, and it’s current performance on Steam is rather damning. Given the game’s focus on multiplayer, Evolve currently finds it’s self 41st on Steam’s most played, as of 26/02/2015. While it’s not the be all, end all, it’s still a worrying fact given the games reliance on it’s player base. Evolve came under fire, and rightly so, for it’s heavy use of DLC from launch day. The sheer amount of pre-order DLC offered, along with a confusing array of editions, each with their own DLC, was met with criticism from users and some critics. Currently, there are no statics for Evolve’s performance on consoles. The number of steam players will surely rise at points as new content is released. Steam weekly sales, and event/holiday sales, will also be reflected in the player base when Evolve is on offer. Did the amount of DLC, and resulting criticism, play any part in Evolves fall in popularity on steam? Has the hype train ran out of steam already? It’ll be interesting to see where the Evolve player base goes from here, at least on Steam.    ...

A Solid Start, Ending The Rot – Resident Evil Revelations 2 – Episode 1 Review

A Solid Start, Ending The Rot – Resident Evil Revelations 2 – Episode 1 Review

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 1 feels like the game Resident Evil 6 should, and wanted to be. The episodic approach to Revelations 2 isn’t just another experimental move by Capcom, but a beneficial move for the sake of game. Filled with fan service, references and the positive elements of the original, Revelations 2 is a curious step in the right direction. For £5, Episode 1 is two hours of setting up the rest of the series. Franchise familiars Claire Redfield and Barry Burton both feature, both of them with their own experience and gameplay style. Diverting away from the awful fire fights featured in Resident Evil 6, Revelations takes a much more subdued approach to it’s gameplay. Claire’s portion of the game is a slow burning affair, with less ammo and fire arms available to her. Barry is armed to the teeth from the get go. While his sections may be more action orientated, there’s still a degree of vulnerability lurking. There’s a distinct difference in both respective sections, giving the game a genuinely varied experience that consistently remains enjoyable. Both parts of Revelations 2 feature co-op mechanics. Claire is accompanied by Moira Burton (yes, THAT Burton) while Barry teams with a young child named Natalia. Both newcomers have their own unique uses that feed into the tone of their sections. Moira, as a result of the plot, only wields a crowbar and flash light. Natalia possess the ability to see enemies through walls, alerting Barry to their presence, as well as crawling into small spaces.   The co-op nature of the game is the weakest element of Revelations 2, at least as far as Claire’s part goes. Moira, as a character, is utterly insufferable thanks to a mixture of weak writing, voice acting and a annoying personality. Her constant whining and f-bombs grinds throughout the entire time the player is with her. Moira’s self proclaimed roles of ‘torch holder’ and ‘door opener’, make the character feel a little pointless. It’s utterly bizarre when a character’s main role is to point a torch at something.She does posses some usefulness in the shape of her ability to stun enemies by blinding them. Natalia is much less of burden. There’s a clear relationship developing between both her and Barry, giving the game a little touch of humanity. Her abilities of pointing out enemies, and crawling into small spaces, give her a legitimate place within the game. There’s something sinister behind the character that’s hinted at, obviously setting up plot point to be revealed in later episodes.   The biggest issue with the co-op focus is the AI and mechanics. Switching between characters can be down with a button press. The problem is, when the player switches characters, it often leaves their past choice frozen on the spot for a few seconds. It’s a issue that rears it’s head towards the later stages of Claire’s section. A few nagging issues with AI running into enemy attacks also make a cameo from time to time. When in control of Moira or Natalia, who both lack any real ranged attack, the AI tends do little. Claire and Barry, when controlled by the AI, will stare into space, or trot around in circles. Even when the relevant skills have been unlocked, the AI is near useless in a combat setting. The ease of switching between characters does curve the majority of frustration thankfully. Underneath the core gameplay is a skills system. Players earn points by their how well they perform in-game, as well as collecting items dotted around the levels. Skills range from improving the healing factors of herbs, improved weapon and ability damage, among a few other curious enhancements. It’s not exactly an essential addition, but it does add a little bit of welcomed depth and customization. Revelations 2 – Episode 1 does a fairly decent job of placing the player in a interesting setting. The prison island provides for some challenging encounters, most of which carry that classic Resident Evil feel. The level design is similar to that of the tight, dark spaces of the first Revelations. The chaotic nature of Resident Evil 6′s level design is a long distant memory.   It’s fair to say Capcom have successfully implemented the best of Revelations enemies into the follow up. From slow traditional zombies, to more aggressive La Plaga variants, there’s decent range of threats to encounter. The slower enemies do tend to run into a few issues when it comes to movement. Getting caught on the environment seems to be a growing trend towards the end act of Barry’s segments. While it’s not a major issue, it does detract from the players immersion, cheapening the atmosphere. By the time the two hour episode is over, there’s very little of the plot revealed. Beyond a few minor hints, the plot remains distant, allowing for the characters to be firmly established. It would be harsh to criticize Revelations 2 for it’s plot so early into the series, it is episode one after all. From what is shown, and previewed via the ending, there’s promise within the story, albeit a typically Resident Evil plot.   Replay value comes in the form of ‘Raid mode’, a Mercenaries like mode that’s surprisingly well crafted. Players choose a character, their gear and a set of skills, before being deployed into the field. Raid mode is a nifty run through multiple levels, gunning down enemies left, right and centre. Each enemy rewards the player with experience, allowing them to purchase more skills for their character. New weapons can be found across the map, allowing players to further customize their load-out. The mode is pretty basic, but hugely satisfying. There’s a odd sense of progression at the core of each run, even more so when beefier weapons are found and equipped. Much like Mercenaries before it, Raid Mode feels like it could become Resi’s next big mini-game. For a game released on both current generation and last, Revelations 2 hold up fairly well in terms of presentation. While there is a lack of detail in parts, the visuals on the whole are decent. Enemies provide gory imagery, with decent amount of detail on show. Human character models are adequate but look slightly robotic at times. The environments, at least indoors, look good enough to carry the brooding tones. Outdoors, the game struggles to look as slick. Rocks and trees have a noticeable lack of detail compared to the rest of the world, but this is merely nit picking. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 1 is fine starting point for the series. Solid gameplay, decent production values , allow the game to blossom into a enjoyable bite sized experience. Capcom have managed to dial in their efforts into a much more precise experience, avoiding the messy nature of Resident Evil 6. With all the traits of the first Revelations present, a long with some improvement, Revelations 2 could just be the next big Resident Evil. It’s just a shame there’s no offline co-op. For £5, it’s hard to find reasons not to at least try Episode 1. The Raid Mode is genuinely great, the core experience is solid, with a promise of more to come as the series goes on. Capcom have seemingly found their feet once more. The nose dive in quality the Resident Evil franchise has suffered, it finally seems to be over.  ...

Fun, Fresh But Flawed – Hand of Fate Review (PS4/PC)

Fun, Fresh But Flawed – Hand of Fate Review (PS4/PC)

A mish-mash of games and concepts, Hand of Fate is truly intriguing. A combination of card game, Dungeons & Dragons and action RPG, Hand of Fate is a ambitious attempt to create something new. The ambition on display by developer Defiant Development is worthy of applause, the problem is, Hand of Fate is a mixed bag of success and failure. The heart of the game is a battle of wills, and luck, between the player the masked dealer. Sitting opposite the dealer, in a dark candle lit room., the cards and dealt and the game begins. The cards are split into two sections, items and encounters, the game begins and the player finds themselves a little confused. Hand of Fate doesn’t concern itself with traditional tutorials. The games rules are explained to the player with each move they make, with the masked dealer slipping in banter and trash talk between lessons.   With all the core rules covered within the first 15 minutes, Hands of Fate enters it’s ‘proper’ stages of the game. This is where experience starts to find it’s rhythm, players choose their path, the cards are played, the whole thing starts to take shape. Hand of Fate shows it’s unique personality with each card turn. Much like a classic pen and paper RPG, Hand of Fate lays out a encounter for the player to approach, often with choices to decide upon. Each choice brings with it a chance of failure or success. Instead of rolling a dice based on stats, players select a shuffled card that represents either success, or failure. It’s a extremely simple concept that results in insane amounts of depth. With each card hosting a encounter, the nature of the card game gives each play through a unpredictable pattern. It’s extremely rare the player ever runs into the same layout of encounters across any given play session. It’s one of the best elements of traditional pen and paper RPGs injected into a video game.   The unpredictability of the cards results in resource management becoming a key factor to the core game. Each player movement consume one piece of food, given the amount of cards on the board at each time, managing the food count is key. There is of course means to gain extra food, mostly through encounters and various items, but this is more a question of chance rather than certainty. The devil is in the detail, and this is one of Hand of Fate’s finest features can be found. Adapting to the situation, planning how to spend food, choosing what cards to put into each deck, it’s a fine balancing act. The item cards open up new ways to approach the game, with certain items giving the player various perks and enhancements. Examples include helmets which increase food gained by 45%, thus lowering the burden of micromanagement, and armour that boosts players defence.   While the card elements of Hand of Fate are brilliant, another core part of the gameplay falls short. A large number of encounters put the player into a arena in which they must fight enemies dictated by a card. Bandits, Skeletons and Ratmen are just a few of the enemy types players will face off with. The main issue with these encounters is the combat. With no combinations or room for creativity, the combat is nothing more than bashing the same three buttons, with the odd press of a shoulder button. Attack, dodge and counter form the holy trinity of Hand of Fate’s combat system, and it all feels extremely shallow. Fighting enemies becomes repetitive and tiresome, leaving a yearning to return to the card game side of the game. Countering becomes a nuisance as soon as ranged enemies are introduced, spamming counter quickly takes up a large amount of each fight. This spam leads to the player being locked into a train of countering animations prolonging each battle by unnecessary lengths.   Combat encounters highlight another big issue for Hand of Fate. Unstable frame rate issues and crashes rear their ugly heads when there’s more than seven enemies on screen at the same time. The frame rate becomes such a issue that players will often soak up cheap damage they have no chance of countering/evading. It’s a major issue when fighting the likes of the Ratment, who leave clouds of damaging gas in their wake. The crashing issue isn’t a regular occurrence, but given how a session must be completed in order for it to be saved, it’s a progression halting bug. The frame rate issues would be a little more forgivable if Hand of Fate look decent during these sections. The visuals and animation feel rather alien on a system like the PS4 or a modern PC. Simple environments, dull colours and clunky animations give make for some rather uninspired viewing. At certain points, it’s easy to think the game was came out in 2005 rather 2015. The visuals at the actual game table are considerably better however. The masked dealer boasts decent detail and smooth animation, the environment is dark and brooding, but with a touch of old school charm to it.   Technical and visual issues aside, Hand of Fate boasts a huge amount of playtime. There may only be two game modes, but both make use of replayability of the core game mechanics. Story mode tasks the player with taking out a boss at the end of each game. Every boss has it’s own trait, skill and attack pattern, allowing them to be more than just a quick re-skin of a familiar enemy. After clearing out each line in story mode, players unlocked relics which buff various stats. As story mode goes on, defeated bosses will make more appearance as encounter cards get more and more challenging. Endless mode is exactly what the name suggests. If challenge is what a player seeks, Endless mode offers it in abundance. Resource management and luck become even more vital as players move through every encounter the game has to offer. It’s not exactly a mode that will appeal to everyone, but people looking to test themselves will eat up the harshness Endless mode offers.   Hand of Fate is quite a refreshing, even with it’s issues. The card side of the game is where Hand of Fate showcases it’s finer qualities, it’s unfortunate the combat is so shallow. The frame rate issue is hard to look past, the hefty consequences of death results in frustration when the player takes cheap hits due to a significant drop in frame rate. A frequent audio glitch is also worthy of note. Defiant Development have made a fair effort at a ambitious concept, while the game may fail in parts, it’s still a rewarding experience. With hours upon hours of game time, with any two play sessions rarely being the same, it’s hard not to recommend Hand of Fate. For the price of £14.99, Hate of Fate is solid, but flawed. Enjoyable, interesting, but plagued by technical issues that will annoy many....

Don’t Feel Sorry For Peter Molyneux

Don’t Feel Sorry For Peter Molyneux

When Peter Molyneux said he no longer had a reputation in the video industry, I wasn’t sure how to react. Part of me felt sorry for him, a fallen icon baring all to the internet. The cynical side of me disagreed with his claims, and wondered if it was all a front. I respect Peter Molyneux for his achievements, but a part of me can’t help but think his downfall was his own doing. Peter Molyneux’s reputation has long been more of a joke, rather than esteemed. After a string of empty promises and awful games, it was hard to take Molyneux’s words seriously. His ambition is what defined him, and it always will, but in his later years, it was nothing but words. While Black & White 2 was a hot mess, the Fable franchise is perhaps the best example of decline of Molyneux’s image and reputation.   Heavy promises, huge ambitions and a large scale marketing campaign, Fable was meant to be the next big thing. In reality, Fable never hit the lofty heights Molyneux promised it would. While the first two entries were decent, the third was awful. It’s rare a game will fall victim to being overly designed, Fable 3 was a utter wreck. Simplified controls, simplified gameplay, scaled back in length and depth, Fable 3 was the first true stinker branded with Molyneux’s name. The menu system is perhaps the best example of Molyneux’s ambition detracting from a game. The concept was good in theory, a hub in which the player could access everything they would ever need to access. In practice, it was a series of loading screens, frustration and convoluted methods to do simple things. The ambition did not match the execution, the menus became a main criticism of the game (a long with a long list of flaws) and Fable 3 faltered. As the series went on, from Fable 1 through to 3, the goals and promises became grander and grander. Promises were rarely met, design flaws and limitations were present and clear in each entry, it’s what Peter Molyneux became known for. While his past works, such as Populous and Syndicate, were always hailed as classics, Molyneux never quite regained his prestige. With his new reputation, Peter Molyneux seemed to embrace his ability of talking up a concept, only for it to never materialize. It’s odd that such a respected figure was so willing to take up a mantle, a mantle that came with a lot of parody and jokes. Molyneux was, at a time, one of the key voices in pushing Kinect, at the time known as Project Natal. Project Milo, headed by Molyneux, was a core element to Microsoft’s E3 2009 showing. Looking back at it, it’s hard to identify what was fact, and what was fiction. The Milo demo was supposed to be a glimpse into what Natal could do. Milo reacted to the ‘player’, the ‘player’ reacted to Milo. A game that interacted with the player in the same way the player interacts with everyday people, it was groundbreaking. The problem is, Milo never came true, it remained as a ‘demo’ at E3 2009. Perhaps Milo was nothing more than the projections of what Molyneux wished Natal could be. What ever way you look at it, ‘Milo’ was another case of Molynuex not delivering. Kinect/ Project Natal marks a curious point in Molyneux’s career. From ground breaking ambitions and promises, to a on rails Kinect spin-off of Fable. A piece of Hardware that Molyneux once showed off as the next big thing, was now the home of a medicore on rails shooter. The promises did not match the products. It casts a light on just how much the consumer could take seriously when Molyneux spoke. His words were once gospel, now people took them with a grain of salt.   After severing connections with Microsoft, Molyneux then went on to found his own studio, 22 Cans, as well becoming more vocal in the industry. With no ties to Microsoft, Molyneux declared Kinect ‘a joke’, which would of meant more if it wasn’t for the fact he was praising it less than 4 years ago. Adopting a pundit like role, Molyneux appeared across various video game sites. His comments on other games and tech often made little sense, nor were they relevant. The man once respected world wide for his ambitious creations, was now sat talking nonsense, with the robotic Ijustine. His decline continued with the announcement of Curiosity. Listed as a ‘experimental’ video game, the reaction to it’s announcement was met with sheer confusion. As hard as he tried, very few people understood the concept, or the point, of Curiosity. The game boiled down to people clicking some blocks, with one ‘lucky winner’ earning themselves a special prize. The prize was won, and not many people cared. The prize was a Youtube video and a promise of being the sole ‘all-powerful god’ within 22 Cans next game. Curiosity was not a game, nor was it a experiment, it was just a piece of marketing for 22 Cans. The final nail in the coffin was Godus. Molyneux, yet again, promised the world…and then jumped ship. After a successful Kickstarter in 2012, Godus missed various pledge goals and perks. The game, even in 2015, is barely finished. It’s a bare bones version of a game that hides behind pay walls and smoke and mirrors. The final Kickstarter hit a lofty £526,563, a heck a lot of money, and the game is still in a state of development to this day. 22 Cans have went on to say that they ”probably” won’t be able to make good on a number of promises they had previously made. The worst part of the whole Godus affair is the Molyneux’s behavior. Having failed to produce anything of note, people began to become rightly annoyed with Godus and 22 Cans. Instead of explaining why promises had not been met, Molyneux said things like ”I take the bullying for the sake of making a great game”. As time went on, Molyneux started to blame Kickstarter, calling the crowd funding site a ‘destructive force‘. With his reputation and game in tatters, Molyneux did the honorable thing…he jumped ship and started working on something new.   From industry icon, to arguably a con merchant, Peter Molyneux damaged his name and his legacy. His tendency to over-promise things was cute at first, but when you throw in the likes of Kickstarter, it’s simply not acceptable. He does not deserve the sympathy so many are willing to give, this is a prime example of some betraying the trust of others. In a industry that is becoming more and more willing to shaft the consumer, the Godus affair takes the piss. Molyneux could not even deliver on the promises made in Curiosity. The winner, Bryan Henderson, has all but been ignored by 22 Cans. The ‘life changing’ prize never materialized, nothing was said. Nothing but a lie, nothing but another Peter Molyneux lie. When Peter Molyneux says ‘‘I haven’t got a reputation in this industry any more” he’s telling yet another lie. He has a reputation, and it’s unfortunately not a good. He failed to deliver, he failed to answer, he simply failed to be respectable. Much like a cowboy builder who doesn’t finish the job, Molyneux is now nothing more than a con artist.   Hopefully he can turn things around. Figure out how to resolve the issues around Godus. A creative, and brilliant mind, Molyneux has a lot to offer, but needs to readjust.      ...

Apotheon – The Best Game Nobody Is Talking About

Apotheon – The Best Game Nobody Is Talking About

Every now and then, a game sneaks out with little to no marketing or hype. These games exist in their own little corner of the market, dwelling in silence. Apotheon is one of these very games, a hushed release during a busy period. While big games roll out, Apotheon neatly placed it’s self on PS4, offered for free as part of PSN +. It’s there, it’s quietly existing, and it’s brilliant. A curious 2d platform action-RPG set within Greek mythology. While the concept may not sound all that mind blowing, the game is a genuine hidden gem. As odd as it sounds, Apotheon feels like a mix between Castlevaina and Dark Souls. The movement is fluid, the level design layered, there’s a distinctly old school approach to how each stage is crafted, rewarding the player for exploration and observation.   The combat revolves around learning enemy attacking patters and skills. The player is required to pick their attacks and movements well. Each enemy has their own traits and weapon, forcing the player to change their own weapon to best accommodate the encounter. It all makes for intense miniature duals as blows are exchanged and arrows fly. Boss battles are where Apotheon truly shines. Each fight consists of feeling out the bosses attacks and figuring out how best to react to them. The way each location is designed pushes the player to move the encounter around, never allowing this to become stale. Narrowly avoid attacks, perfectly evading projectiles and then landing your own, it’s all kinds of satisfying.   Perhaps Apotheon’s most striking feature, the art style is simply beautiful. The game glows with colour, forcing witnesses to acknowledge the sight before them. Taking inspiration from ancient Greek pottery, the visuals are vibrant, popping off the screen. The whole game is a visual feat, it doesn’t look like a game, it instead looks like a piece of art. It’s hard to truly do the visuals justice with words, it’s simply a game that has to be seen. Apotheon is a game that deserve far more attention, it’s a slick, it’s beautiful, it’s truly worth anyone’s time. Each nook and cranny of the game is crafted with such a touch of craftsmanship. In a month of Triple A games all wanting to blow the masses away, Apotheon is a brilliant slice of hoy. Currently included in the free library for PSN + users, it would be a disservice to yourself not to play it.  ...

Vote With Your Wallets: The Threat Of DLC

Vote With Your Wallets: The Threat Of DLC

The great thing about the internet, or the worst, is everyone has a voice. Every single last person has the freedom to say exactly what they want to say. This has changed how businesses make,market and sell their products. The consumer has changed how they buy products, all because everyone now has a voice and digital soap box to stand upon. The video game industry knows all of it’s customers, and potential customers, have a voice…and it’s normally pretty damn vocal. The video game community/culture is never afraid to say exactly what they think about video games, consoles or any of the people within the industry. No one, and nothing, is immune to criticism, it’s pretty nifty. When it comes to video games, people’s voices are heard loudly, and often. The problem is, these voices only go so far, and it’s not far enough to force change.   The rise of DLC and pre-order extras has created such a dangerous form that it’s slowly becoming a ticking time bomb. A full retail price no longer gets you a full game, far far from it. Games like Destiny and Evolve are examples of how video games are going into a awful direction. It’s a direction that’s bad news for you, for me, and for anyone else who has a interest in video games. Serving as little more than a bare bones games, with a catalogue of DLC, they lack content and value. ”£44.99 please” is often followed by ” would you like to buy the season pass for £15.99?” A season pass? What is a season pass exactly? I’ve just bought the game, surely I have all the content on offer at the moment? Well not exactly. In the case of Destiny, you bought half a game, with the rest of the game being sold to you as DLC for the price of… £19.99. Destiny was hacked up, torn apart, and separated like a Cow on a butchers board.   Destiny highlighted the dangers of DLC and greed. The core Destiny package lacked basic features, it actively locked a decent sized segment of it’s players out of content. Add to that, the lack of story and content on the whole, and what your left with is a bit of a game. The sad fact is Bungie/Activison weren’t even subtle about their plans. Open up the case of Destiny and boom, promo material for DLC and season passes. The fact that Destiny was a commercial, and critical, success is bad news for everyone bar it’s developer and publisher. Never before has a game been pulled apart in such a way, all to support DLC. To make things even more sticky, Destiny limited it’s content even further, depending on what system you played it on.   Evolve is yet another game that heavily abuses DLC. There’s a basic game there, but there’s also a ton of DLC dangling in front of the player. What can you really expect from a game that announces its pre-order DLC before the actual game is announced? There’s that many DLC packs for Evolve, it’s a genuine challenge to understand exactly what your money gets. Season passes, a truck full of skins, characters and monsters all neatly packed behind a pay wall…prior to release. If Destiny is a worry sign of things to come, Evolve is the problem right in your face. The problem is, yet again, the game is being received well by critics, some of which barely mention the volume of content locked away. User reviews have been less favorable, with most of the criticism being aimed squarely at the DLC and the lack of content NOT hidden behind a pay wall.   This is why everyone having a voice is a great thing. The customers can have their say, they can tell potential customers the truth, the flaws. The public are not stuck behind ‘review guides’ nor do they have to keep advertisers sweet like so many popular sites. The consumer, the blogger, the independent Youtuber, even the person twitter, they can tell you unfiltered thoughts. A voice and a opinion is not enough however. This is where the old saying ‘Vote with your wallets’ comes into play. It’s pointless criticising the bull shit video game consumer have to put up with if you still buy the product. Buying into these glorified DLC catalogues, makes them a success. The publisher rakes in the money and sees a new vein to mine. The video game industry, at the moment, is the only industry that constantly finds new ways to fuck over their customers. Penny pinching at every turn, trying to make you pay more, for less.   The good old ‘Season Pass’ is one of the oddest creations of late. It’s a concept that sounds good on paper, but is rarely anything decent when put into practice. Pay X amount of DLC…often unknown, often never detailed, just promises. Where else in life would you throw up £15.99 – £20 for something that the seller can’t even tell you about? The chances are if you open up a modern game, you’ll find a flyer for a season pass. The only way to halt this behavior is to stop buying the products. Supporting the process, while denouncing it, does nothing. These business practices are no longer taking the odd weapon skin away from games, it’s taking huge chucks of playable content away. Evolve is missing monster types, games like Destiny, Evil Within, Watchdogs, Thief and Far Cry 4 are missing content…all sold as DLC/pre-order incentives. It’s getting to the point where a ‘Triple A’ release requires a spreadsheet to display what each versions offers. DLC, Season passes, pre-order incentives, retail exclusives pre-order extras, it’s all gone mad. Buying a game is no longer that, you’re often buying just part of a game. Leaving a thumbs down on a trailer, posting a negative comment, it’s not enough any more. Vote with your wallets.       Side note – If you’re happy to support DLC practices like the one’s mentioned in this post, that’s fine.     second side note – Destiny plays well, and has a good game at it’s heart…just the goodness is covered in DLC...

February’s Biggest Games: Monsters, Evil Moons & Sideburns

February’s Biggest Games: Monsters, Evil Moons & Sideburns

After a quite start to the year, February plays host to some big games. From returning classics, to a new IP with a lot of responsibility on it’s shoulders. These are the biggest games due for release in February 2015   Evolve (PS4/XB1/PC) -   The concept of Evolve is interesting, but the recent open Beta exposes some flaws. Having a strong focus on multiplayer for a new IP is always risky. With four players working together to hunt down a player controlled monster, Evolve won’t be to everyone’s tastes. The concept works well, with player using their chosen classes skills to effectively hunt down their target. Team work is necessary, a single lone wolf can all but doom a player group. Arguably, playing as the monster is where Evolve truly shines. Hunting down smaller creatures scattered across the world, growing, evolving, hunting down players, it’s intriguing. The problem is, Evolve, is rather one note. The Beta raised this concern among many players, with many worrying the game would become repetitive within a matter of weeks. With no single player camping, the whole game is dependent on it’s player base. Given the fact Evolve is a new IP with a concept that’s not exactly familiar with the masses, the game may struggle to bring in players and maintain them. If you happen to have three/four friends willing to play the game, Evolve could be a wise investment. The shady nature of the DLC dealings may put some off, others may be cold towards the lack of single player. Pixel Gate Verdict: Wait awhile to see how popular the game is. PC users, Evolve has Steam Sales hit written all over it.     The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (3DS) -   The darkest entry into the franchise, and a remake people have wanted for years. There’s not a huge amount to say about Majora’s Mask that hasn’t already been said. The customer base is already there, the chances are if your interested in Majora’s Mask, you’ve already pre-ordered it. While the core game might be 15 years old, it’s still worth playing. It’s not the best starting place for people to get into the franchise, but it’s certainly a decent place to start. Pixel Gate Verdict: Anyone whose interested in the game has already ordered it. The fact the moon looks even more terrifying in it’s new slicker form is testament to how well they’ve done with the visuals. Not the typical Legend of Zelda game, but still one of the best. You can’t go wrong picking it up at any price, be it full retail or second hand.     Dying Light (PS4/XB1) -   The retail version of Dying Light finally hits stores in late February. Even with copies popping up all over E-bay, most Europeans were forced to endure the delay…unless they paid £55 for the digital only version. Dying Light is another zombie themed effort from Dead Island’s developer Techland. It’s been received fairly well across the board, with praise being aimed at it’s free running mechanics. If you’re still not jaded by Zombies, and loved Dead Island, Dying Light is the perfect release for you. The retail version comes packed with a season pass, as well as the ‘play as a zombie’ mode that was offered as a pre-order intensive. Pixel Gate Verdict: If you’re not utterly burnt out on zombie media, then Dying Light is a sound purchase. The player movement is sleek, the visuals are decent, but the story is rather generic. The bundled in Season Pass and DLC also give the whole package more value for money. A decent purchase at full price, but a gut feeling says Dying Light may be discounted not long after it’s EU release.       Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS) -   While the franchise is a pop culture icon in it’s native Japan, Monster Hunter has never quite had the same success in the Western world. That hasn’t stopped the franchise gaining a cult following, with tight communities thriving around each release. The sublime Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate brought in a new fold of players, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate looks to do the same. The fantastic online play, the genuine sense of team work and community, it all gives Monster Hunter a real sense of character. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is skipping the Wii U, at least for now, and heading to the 3DS. With full online co-op, and more focus on adventure and story progression, Monster Hunter 4 could be the definitive hand held experience of 2015. The Guild quest system brings a whole new layer to the core game, freshening up the core game. New loot, new enemies, new quest mechanics and the return of some familiar monsters, Monster Hunter 4 is packing it all. Pixel Gate Verdict: While Monster Hunter is still considered as a niche game in the West, it’s quality in undeniable. After dabbling with Monster Hunt 3 Tri, and then heavily investing in Ultimate, the fourth installment is a must buy. The online community is extremely welcoming and supportive, feeding into the core concept of team hunting perfectly. Monster Hunter 4 is the perfect place for newcomers to start, and will surely be a place veterans will frequent for years to come.   The Order 1886 (PS4) -   So far, neither new console has had a exclusive that screams ‘Must play’. Titanfall was fun, Second Son was a blast, Killzone: Shadow Fall and Sun Set Overdrive were decent, but not unmissable. The Order 1886 is the next exclusive to try and make a impact. Boasting some impressive visuals, The Order 1886 has created quite a buzz around it, not all of it good. There’s been lingering worries about the game being nothing but another shallow, but pretty, third person shooter. Some see it has the pinnacle of cinematic video games. Set in a re-imagined Victorian era London, The Order 1886 places players in the middle of a centuries old conflict. Equipped with advanced technology and mythical items, players battle against fantastical enemies, as well as rebels threatening the State. The setting is interesting enough to warrant paying attention to, the gameplay however may not to be everyone’s taste. While the visuals look great, the gameplay hasn’t exactly blown people away. Cover based shooting, familiar third-person gameplay and quick time events may not be what people want from their next gen exclusives. There is certainly a market for the game, those looking for visual eye candy, bundled with a quick fix, will undoubtedly already have their pre-orders complete.   Pixel Gate Verdict: It’s fair to say that most owners of a PS4 will pick up The Order 1886 on release. This new generation of systems is lacking exclusives that define a console, and The Order 1886 may just be the game that defines the PS4, at least for now. The gut feeling is that The Order 1886 will be enjoyable, and beautiful, but short. Those on a budget may be well severed to wait a few weeks after release before they pick the game up.     Pixel Gate Picks – While these games aren’t the ‘biggest’, they still look like they could be worth checking out.   Dead or Alive 5: Last Round (PS4/XB1) - The franchise may not be as popular as it once was, but DoA 5 was a pretty fine fighter. Smooth gameplay, fluid controls, and well paced, it’s a decent title. Boasting the largest DoA roster to date, along with over 300 open and unlockable costumes, Last Round may cure that fighter itch. At a retail release of £28.99, it’s no too harsh on the wallet.   Resident Evil Revelations 2 Episode 1 (PS4/XB1/PS3/360/PC) - Capcom continue to use Resident Evil to experiment with. Revelations 2. In all fairness, media from the game hasn’t painted it in that great of a light. The fast paced gameplay, the generic environments, the sloppy AI, it doesn’t exactly scream quality. The only real reason Revelations 2 Episode 1 is worth checking out is Barry Burton…and the fair price point of £4.99.   Suikoden 1 & 2 (PSN) - The original releases are quite tricky, and pricey, to get a hold of. Both games have achieved the status of ‘classics’, and for good reason. If traditional JRPG’s are your thing, and for some reason you’ve never played both Suikodens, then now is the perfect time to invest countless hours into these deep classics.    ...

The Battlefield: Hardline Beta Turned Me From Hater, To Customer

The Battlefield: Hardline Beta Turned Me From Hater, To Customer

With the Battlefield: Hardline Beta at a end, I find myself conflicted. After Battlefield 4, I was all ready to end my time with the franchise. I’d been a avid fan since the days of Battlefield 1942, I was a huge fan of Vietnam. To me, the series peaked with Battlefield 2, it reached it’s peak in creativity and ambition with 2142. Recent times have witnessed the franchise stumble around, looking for a new direction that was still relevant to industry trends. The likes of Bad Company 2 and the download only 1943 were sublime. Both represented key points in the franchises progression. Battlefield 3, while fun, never truly felt like the next step forward. While it looked slick and played well, it lacked the soul of past games. Battlefield 4 was the straw that broke the camels back. The sheer amount of bugs and technical issues turned the game into a mess. The multiplayer felt more like a minor expansion rather than a whole new game. It was truly disappointing.   The fact EA seemed more fussed about delaying DLC for Battlefield 4, instead of apologizing, was quite annoying. As patches rolled out, the game finally became stable, but the damage had been done. My affection for the franchise had died. Naturally, I looked down as Hardline as a cheap cash in thrown out there to keep the franchise in the public eye for another year. I still watched the trailers, and looked into the game, but my feelings towards Hardline were still negative. Then the Beta came around. The only reason I ever downloaded the Hardline Beta was out of morbid curiosity. ‘Let’s see how horrible this is then’ I blurted out when the Beta booted up. Jumping into a game, I was bombarded with ‘NEW FEATURE!’ and ‘TRY THIS’, with blobs of text describing random things. Truth be told, I ignored them, I jumped in blind and loved every second of it. Before long I found myself forgetting that I was playing a Battlefield game, I forgot all of the gripes I had with the franchise. With bullets flying, chaos at every turn, my first game of Hiest ended, and I went straight back in for more.   Before long, I had invested a few hours into the game, explored all of the various bits and bobs Heist had to offer. The sheer intensity of the struggle between Police and Criminals was addictive, but most importantly, it was fun. I found myself using various grenade types to help carry out objectives. Towards the end of my session, I was popping off zip-wires and setting up escape route for team mates, while holding off police forces. Was this…team work? While Hardline isn’t the pinnacle of tactical and team based play, it’s certainly more accommodating than the last few instalments in the franchise. The gadgets and various grenade types give the players much more creative freedom in their approach. Popping up a zipline between the bank roof and the make shift helipad, on top of the multi-storey car park, is a beautiful thing. Tear gassing the steps up towards the roof, trip mining the lift, stopping the police from freely coming up, it’s fantastic. Heist may be a ton of fun, but Hotwire has single-handedly sold Hardline to me. Hotwire is the a perfect storm of chaos. Cars flying around, explosions, bullets, cranes collapsing, it’s chaotic art. Jumping into a car with three others, engaging in car chases, popping out the side unleashing hell out of a Ak47, it’s all so sweet. The action never lets up, the amount of crazy things going on all around the player makes for some truly awesome spectacles to behold. Hardline went from a game I had no time for, to a instant pre-order. While I may disagree with bull shit pre-order DLC that gives players a early advantage, I found Hardline too fun not to buy into. There’s a few things that still worry me, it’s apparent that EA will hammer microtransactions into the game. The battle-packs feel like they’re there to be abused by those willing to throw their money around so freely. Beyond that, Hardline has filled me full of hope, it’s brought me back in from the cold. I assumed Hardline would be nothing but a cheap, effortless, cash in, the Beta has proved me wrong. Fingers crossed the full version doesn’t include a wealth of bugs, here’s to hoping EA have learned their lesson.    ...

Bloodborne Vs Dark Souls 2: Everyone Wins

Bloodborne Vs Dark Souls 2: Everyone Wins

Dark Souls has came along way from it’s humble roots. It’s origins can be found on the PS3 exclusive Demon’s Souls. Initially a game that went under the radar, Demon Souls began to cultivate a cult following. It’s brutal approach to death and challenge, it’s curious multiplayer, it was a genuinely odd game, odd but original. Dark Souls came from the seed that was Demon’s Souls, only this time it was multiformat. Dark Souls has since became a cult classic, spawning it’s own culture and streamer base. The game has went beyond ‘just another game’, it’s a trend setter, something different that still performs to a decent level commercially. Dark Souls had such a influence on the industry that other developers were inspired, resulting in the likes of Lords of The Fallen. To put it all into perspective, the PS3 exclusive Demon’s Souls led to the creation of the multiformat blockbuster Dark Souls…and now the PS4 exclusive Bloodborne is coming for it’s crown.   It’s quite amusing to see how things come full circle. Bloodborne isn’t just a developer trying their hand at a brutal action RPG, far from it. Bloodborne is under the directorship of Hidetaka Miyazaki, the director of Demon’s Souls & Dark Souls (supervisor on Dark Souls 2). It’s almost like the old master coming back to defeat what he has created, if you were to take a dramatic outlook on this. It’s a interesting story which ever way you look at it, even more so given it’s one of the PS4′s big exclusives. To make things even more interesting, Bloodborne and Dark Souls 2 release on the PS4 within a week of each other. Bloodborne is set for the release date of 27/03/2015, Dark Souls 2: Scholar Of The First Sin comes out on 07/04/2015. As you’d imagine, this naturally puts them in competition with each other. While some loyal fans might try to make this into some kind of issue, the fact is, competition is great.   Competition forces improvement, it forces progression, it forces creativity. If Bloodborne manages to truly challenge, if not outperform, Dark Souls 2 (in terms of quality and/or sales), this will surely spur on From Software. The connections between the two releases give the whole thing a interesting edge, even more so given the excitement surrounding Bloodborne. After the adequate Lords of the Fallen, there’s a lot of focus on what Bloodborne can bring to the table. Will Bloodborne create the same culture and fan base the same way Dark Souls has? Will people still be streaming and speed running Bloodborne years after it’s release? Only time will tell. It’s a odd concept that From Software are competing with their own game. Dark Souls is already established, it’s already seen as a modern classic. Bloodborne, and From Software, are competing to get out of the shadow of their own work of art. It’s bizarre, but brilliantly so. How would the success/failure affect the future of the Dark Souls franchise?, if at all. It’s a great time to be a fan of these sorts of games. Two big games, both with genuine pedigree behind them. Even without the connection between the two games, both releases would be exciting. When you add in the story and connection behind games, it gives the whole thing that little touch of theater. Dark Souls 2 Vs. Bloodborne, everyone wins.  ...

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