Video Games / Platform / PS4

The Motivation To Play Overwatch Is Slowly Dwindling

The Motivation To Play Overwatch Is Slowly Dwindling

Overwatch isn’t just a game at this point, it’s became a culture. So many communities spawning from the game, a gigantic sub-reddit…and all those memes. The game has done what most Blizzard games do, become more than ‘just a game’. The confusing thing for me is this, Overwatch is becoming less enjoyable as time rolls on. It’s not that I dislike the game, far from it in fact. Each week seems to produce more annoyances without fail. Toxic team mates, players who refuse to play and the meme masters. Oh yes, the players who just want to be really cool and funny by playing awful (on purpose) while spamming memes in chat. Overwatch has become nearly impossible to play the way it is intended on a consistent basis. Quick match is littered with players who don’t really want to play, claiming it’s ‘just quick play, relax’. The logical step Is to play competitive, but the same issues pop up. ‘There’s no difference to quick play’ they say as they pick Widowmaker number four. Frustration sets in, fun is removed and I’m left thinking ‘what’s the point?’. I’m fully aware people can play how they wish, but the point of the game is to work in a team. Choose Heroes that line-up nicely with each other. Composition Is there for a reason, ignoring it often leads to a quick defeat. The cycle has been relentless. Load in, see what the team needs, notice the team doesn’t care anyway. Three Hanzo, two Junkrats, no fun had. Giving players a reason to pick the needed roles might work, anything is better than the current state of things. It goes without saying that it’s not every game. A fair amount of players will work as a team, selecting heroes that fit rather than heroes they simply want to play. They’re becoming the minority, leaving me, and many others, wondering just how long the Overwatch bubble can go....

Battleborn Now Needs To Go Free-To-Play

Battleborn Now Needs To Go Free-To-Play

Battleborn’s continued free-fall into irrelevance is a little saddening, but not all that unexpected. Poor marketing and a release window choice never left the game with much hope to truly succeed. The fact is, Battleborn isn’t a ‘bad’ game, it’s just been utterly buried. Given a fair chunk of the game is multiplayer, the current player numbers leave the game in a very poor state. Things haven’t really improved either. The addition of microtransactions left the player base, albeit a small one, rather bitter. It was always one positive the game had, you couldn’t just pay your way to an advantage. How does the game go from dead in the water to somewhat active? It’s simple, replicate Evolve. The former punchline has made a huge step forward by adopting a free-to-play model. Player numbers of shot up, breathing life into the game. With 2K publishing both Evolve and Battleborn, it makes perfect sense to sallow pride and put the Moba-like shooter out there for free. Battleborn doesn’t have a huge toxic reputation to turn over like Evolve did. It was never a vehicle for abusive DLC practices. The only bitter points it had/has was the microtransactions, which most people don’t even know about. There’s a clean slate to be taken advantage of. GearBox are producing new content for the game on a fairly regularly basis. It seems odd that they’d be happy to release it if no one is bothering to play it. Evolve shared a similar issue, Turtle Rock released a healthy number of characters but no one was playing the damn game. They’ve made their choice, people are now enjoying a game full of content for nothing at all, creating a player base in the process. While Evolve (Stage 2) is generous to its players in terms of the process of unlocking, there’s still a means to buy instant unlocks. There’s nothing stopping Battleborn from doing the same. Free-to-play opens up a wealth of options in terms of premium content. Selling packs (containing certain heroes) is perfectly viable, assuming the pricing wasn’t too harsh. Then there’s all the season passes, skin packs and existent microtransactions. It all just makes sense. Making the best of a worst situation is exactly what Battleborn needs. It doesn’t mean the game will suddenly become a red hot hit, but least it’ll give it a purpose. At the moment, Battleborn is a barely played titled cluttering up retail stores. The fact it’s on shelf worth has plummeted to £15 is proof people don’t want to pay for the game. Why let it rot away and die? Take a note from Evolve’s latest chapter, go free-to-play, it’s the only move that makes sense....

Evolve Stage 2 Is One Of The Best Free-To-Play Games Around

Evolve Stage 2 Is One Of The Best Free-To-Play Games Around

Evolve has gone free-to-play, it’s something many expected and predicted. The original retail release was bogged down with pre-order content, retailer exclusives and season pass trickery. Things were so messy that charts were created in order for customers to see what they’re money entitled them to. The backlash was glorious, people widely rejected the game and bemoaned the DLC heavy model. Evolve’s player base tanked, barely reaching respectable numbers. Turtle Rock Studios still produced content, but what was the point if no one was playing? Known as Evolve Stage 2, the new free-to-play format is exactly what the game needed. Evolve was never a bad game, it was just bogged down by all DLC bullshit. This new model allows more players to jump into the game, breathing life into concepts that hold a ton of potential. Four Vs One gameplay is slowly growing in popularity, giving Evolve Stage 2 a healthy platform to grow. Cautious minds will no doubt approach the game expecting the worst. Free-to-play is regularly used a ruse to sell content via pay walls. This is done by making 90% of the game’s good stuff difficult to unlock. Either grind for hours upon hours, or pay to instantly unlock it. Evolve Stage 2 is nothing like that. Everything you see in the game is easily obtainable, fancy skins included. This, above everything else, is the main reason why I feel like I almost have to champion the game. They’ve seen the problems caused by the initial release and responded. There was nothing stopping them from making all of the in-game content require long play sessions to unlock, while tempting with instant access for a premium. Evolve Stage 2 is the perfect example of making the best of a bad situation. The game was dead in the water, people used it as a punchline rather than a video game. Gifting it a new lease of life in a free-to-play format is the perfect step forward. Will it result in the game becoming hugely popular? Perhaps not, but at least it’ll have a damn player base. There’s still a few issues, but it’s all found within the DNA of the game. Chasing the monster around the map can become a little repetitive. Some of the characters can feel a little weak, leaving a sense of dissatisfaction when playing. Maps have always, and still do, come off as feeling tame. Given the world, its wildlife and the concept of the game, each map never feels like it makes the best of its resources. For the most part, Evolve Stage 2 is pretty damn good. Boasting a large selection of hunters and monsters, there’s a fair amount of depth and variation to explore. Everything can be unlocked by simply playing, nothing is trapped away behind a pay wall or huge requirement of your time. Evolve still looks and sound brilliant, running nicely in the process. Even though the damage might have already been to the name, Evolve Stage 2 is certainly wroth checking out. There’s hours of quality content on offer for free, with very little negative to speak of. If this proves to be a successful transition, maybe 2K’s other dead product Battleborn will follow suit. Just to give the free-to-play transition a sense of perspective…    ...

Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Edition Announced

Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Edition Announced

If you’ve been waiting for a reason to jump into The Elder Scrolls Online, Bethesda are giving you one.   The Gold Edition of Elder Scrolls Online comes with all four of the major DLC packs, including The Dark Brotherhood, along with a horse…mount. After a rough initial release on PC, which saw the game transition to buy-to-play, Elder Scrolls Online has become a solid MMORPG. It may not be the best on the market, but there’s plenty to enjoy. The Gold Edition sounds like a pretty good deal given it comes with all of the DLC packs. The console version continues to improve, while the PC player base remains strong, if not a little silent. The Gold Edition is set for release on September 9th across all current platforms...

Deep Silver Set To Publish Sega and Atlus titles, Inlcuding Persona 5, In Europe

Deep Silver Set To Publish Sega and Atlus titles, Inlcuding Persona 5, In Europe

Publisher Deep Silver have today confirmed a deal which will see them publish multiple titles from both Sega and Atlus in the European region. This deal means the likes of Persona 5, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse and 7th Dragon 3 Code: VFD will all release in Europe. The news comes from a official press release issued by Deep Silver -   “We are delighted to have signed this publishing partnership and look forward to using all our pan-European publishing network to maximize the potential of the ATLUS and SEGA games” said Dr. Klemens Kundratitz, CEO of Koch Media/Deep Silver. ”In entering this partnership with Deep Silver, I am truly delighted we will be able to release our titles in the European regions,” said Naoto Hiraoka, CEO, Atlus U.S.A., Inc., and senior vice president of Publishing, Sega of America, Inc. “Not only does the deal span multiple titles, but Deep Silver has a strong presence in European and PAL retailers. They have a strong passion for being able to deliver physical games to our fans in those territories, which we hold in high regard.”” Persona 5 will be the title that stands out for most. Following in the footsteps of the sublime Persona 4 will be tough, but there’s plenty of promise being shown by Persona 5.  ...

Is Evolve Going Free-To-Play? *Updated* Officially Confirmed as Free-To-Play

Is Evolve Going Free-To-Play? *Updated* Officially Confirmed as Free-To-Play

Evolve, the game known more for its ridiculous pre-order DLC, is counting down to something.   The official site currently displays a countdown timer with the hashtag #StageUp. What could it mean? There’s been no press releases or any official word so far. With the amount of content currently on the market for the game, could Evolve be going free-to-play? Given how popular the model is, allowing for premium to be sold with a more appealing angle, it could be the next step. Evolve was never a ‘bad’ game, it was just a victim of greed and wing clipping for a cheap buck. Its pre-order DLC was announced before the game itself, setting a trend for what the final product would be. A free-to-play approach would work given the concept of the game, all while providing a means to gain revenue from a dwindling game.   It could be a countdown to a follow up, or even new DLC. Given the low player count, that wouldn’t make much logical sense.   *Update - It seems that guess was spot on, with Turtle Rock co-founders posting the following message on their official forums:   We’re proud of those awards — they hang in the lobby for a reason. Evolve received over 65 nominations and awards at various trade shows after we announced. It was the first title in history to win Game of Show at both E3 and Gamescom. It felt great to receive all those awards and we don’t ever want to forget that feeling. Game development is an art and what artist doesn’t love having their work appreciated? When people first started playing Evolve at those and other conferences, it was magical. Sure, there was the AAA videogame hype surrounding our title. Yeah, we also had the flashy displays, the giant Goliath statue, and all the other things AAA games do to get people excited. And that stuff was cool. Really cool. But, what we lived for — what was cooler by far — was just seeing people play Evolve for the first time. We worked on it for years and then, suddenly, people got to experience our game, controller in-hand. There was genuine excitement — real joy — when people played. It was like nothing they’d ever played before and watching it happen was like no high we ever felt. Then, when Evolve launched, the reception wasn’t what we expected. Sure, there were some good reviews. There were also bad reviews. Yes, there was excitement. There was also disappointment – for players and for us. The DLC shitstorm hit full force and washed away people’s enthusiasm, dragging us further and further from that first magical pick-up-and-play experience. We want that magic back and we aim to make it happen. We’ve made a lot of changes, improvements and additions to Evolve over the past year and we’ve got a lot more coming. In short, we’re giving this game a vigorous overhaul! Just to give you some examples: We’re reworking the hunter classes to make the team less reliant on having experienced trappers and medics. We’re making improvements to the maps and UI. We’re improving load times, overall performance, and getting you into the game faster. We’re focusing on improving stability and fixing bugs. We’re completely reworking our progression system and tutorials. We’re adding more customization options. Most importantly, we just want to put the game in your hands. Try Evolve out. See what you think. We hope you like it and we’re not going to charge you to give it a try. “Wait! What?! What does that mean?” It means we’ve been listening and now we’re taking Evolve in the direction that a lot of you have suggested since the beginning. We’re making Evolve free on PC. No buy-in or box required. Making Evolve free on PC is going to be a process that takes time and a lot of hard work, but we believe in Evolve and we believe in you, our players and want to do what’s best for both! Here’s how it’s going to work: We’re going to make Evolve free on PC as a Beta starting on July 7. This is going to allow us to hit our new server infrastructure really hard and we need your help testing. Stuff could break, and that’s our hope, because that will give us time to improve things as we go. We’ll parse out major Beta revisions, updates and features over a period of weeks and months — a plan we’re going to continually communicate here. This allows us to test new features and major changes to make our game more accessible and ever closer to the joy we saw when we first showed our baby to the world. Just as importantly, this Beta plan gives us the flexibility and time we need to keep fixing bugs and making Evolve more stable. “What about those who paid for Evolve? What about Season Passers?” Anyone who owns classic Evolve will be given “Founder” status in the new free version, and all the content you already own comes with you to the new version. As long as we work on Evolve, we will show our appreciation for our committed fans and early adopters with gifts, rewards, and special access. Why? Because you believed like we did, and we will never forget that. As part of our promise to recapture the magic and improve the Evolve experience across-the-board, we’re going to ratchet up our communication with the community. We will be continually updating our social channels, our forums and our website to let you know how it’s going. We have lived and breathed Evolve for over four years and we feel like we are just getting started. Since launch we realized Evolve has provided people some of their most exciting gaming moments and we want to make more of those for everyone… well, everyone who is OK with being periodically murdered (brutally) by terrifying alien monsters. See you on Shear. Chris Ashton & Phil Robb Co-Founders Turtle Rock Studios, Inc.      ...

More Of The Same, Just With Easy Loot – The Division’s Underground Expansion Review

More Of The Same, Just With Easy Loot – The Division’s Underground Expansion Review

Ubisoft’s The Division has been all over the shop since its initial release last year. Continued experimenting with ways to improve the game has produced mixed results. The first major expansion, known as ‘Underground’, is yet another attempt to freshen the game up, but is it successful? The main feature of Underground is the randomly generated areas, forming the core of the game. As you’d expect from the name, all of these areas are set within the sub way. Each area hosts a set of core games, all of which still require masses amount of shooting. There’s a fair level of challenge at play, even on the basic setting. With no respawns throughout each area, failure can come quickly and often. Ubisoft Massive have done a fairly decent job of making each area feel slightly different. Make no mistake about it, there isn’t a world of difference between the areas, but they’re not offensively similar. Small tight corridors, choke points and environmental hazards compliment the hordes of enemies found at each turn. It’s a little disappointing that there’s no new foes to take on. We’ve been battling the same faceless enemies for months now, things could do with spicing up. Each mission within the Underground can be altered with ‘Directives’, enhancing the challenge of each zone by handicapping players in multiple ways. Disabling mini-maps, hiding damage indicators and increased shared cool downs are just some of the options. As you’d expect, the experience and loot gained is improved, rewarding players richly for their exploits. The issues at the heart of Underground is most of it is hidden behind an wall of experience points. The Division has long been obsessed with grinding and increasing levels, be it in the Dark Zone or farming Phoenix Credits. Directives and various areas are unlocked upon reaching certain levels, with the most interesting content requiring the player to be level 15+. Experience is gained by simply playing through Underground areas, time after time. It’s nothing new, nor does it feel like anything too refreshing. No new mechanics, no new bosses or much of anything to speak of. Pop into cover, shoot the enemy, follow the objective marker and repeat. If the core of The Divsion’s gameplay still appeals, this is more of the same. The sheer amount of grinding can sour the experience, though hardcore fans will probably be accustomed to such demands by now. Loot still plays a huge role in the experience. Acting as a carrot on a stick, high end and set items are thrown at the player in abundance. While seeing those bright yellow and green shades drop does carry a rush, the ease of it all somewhat cheapens the loot. There’s no longer a sense of prestige to such quality drops, even more so given how quickly decked out players become. Underground also adds a new incursion known as ‘Dragon’s Nest’. Arguably the most accomplished of the three incursions, Dragon’s Nest is tough but enjoyable. There’s a fair mix of enemy types that pour pressure on the players, forcing them to remain active. Each section is rounded off with a boss battle, with the final encounter being a test of patience more than anything else. Those who dropped out of The Division sometime ago may find enjoyment in what Underground has to offer. While loot feels a little too easy to obtain, it does provide a easy route back in for returning players. The randomly generated areas don’t out stay their welcome, even if things start to repeat after a few hours. Dragon’s Nest is a solid addition to the game, supplying genuine challenge. It’s unfortunate that there’s yet another levelling system forced into the game. Grinding out Underground levels really does test a player’s patience, even when there’s a constant stream of quality loot coming in. Underground won’t change the mind of jaded players, or the image of the game, but it’s a solid addition that Division fans will enjoy.    ...

Four Ways To Improve Overwatch

Four Ways To Improve Overwatch

Overwatch is hugely enjoyable, but it’s not without its flaws. There’s a few niggles that can detract from the experience. While it may be nothing game breaking, there’s a few things that could be done to improve the game. The following are just a few ideas to help solve some of Overwatch’s annoyances. Remember, these are just suggestion based on the opinions of someone who no-lifed the game.     The Role No One Wants  I think we’ve all been there. The game starts, 80% of the team pick their hero and get ready to start. 15 seconds before the game is about to commence and it turns out your team has two Widowmakers, one Hanzo and a Bastion. No tank and no healer. What a joy. People are seemingly set in their ways, only ever wanting to play a class that adheres to play styles they’ve enjoyed in other games. Overwatch may not require it, but a solid composition does improve a team’s chances of success considerably. In order to tempt people into playing a needed role, perhaps a extra experience boost would be welcomed? There’s already a easy gold medal in it for the most part, but even that doesn’t seem to be enough. Small experience bonus could  be a helpful way to encourage someone to fill a much needed empty role.   Spotting  Most games of Overwatch tend to be pretty quiet. Text chat is still popular, but not many people are using their voices. Call outs are always handy, even more so when playing slower Heroes. The best way to get call outs is via someone using the microphone, but other than that there’s no real alternative. Having the ability to stick a quick marker down, last for a few seconds, would be a much welcomed touch. It would enhance teamwork, as well making it easier for players to contribute to the team. A simple quick icon won’t cheapen the value of Widowmaker’s infrared either, it’s win-win.   Duplicate Value Increase  Loot Boxes…they’re such a bitter sweet thing. That moment you back out of a lobby to open your newest loot box, the excitement of it all. You’ve shot, stabbed and battled your way to a new box, what rewards will it bring? Oh, three greys and a blue. Maybe even the odd purple?! OR EVEN A LEGENDARY?! Oh, it’s a duplicate. The coin worth of duplicates is insultingly low, often making high end duplicates feel just as pain as the sh*t sandwich of three greys and a blue. Surely it would make more sense for high end duplicates to reflect their value? More i’m not saying the exact value of the item, but closer to it?   Symmetra Ain’t No Support I still have no idea why she’s in the support camp. Her 25 shield is the only active support she has, and that’s not much. Her portal can get people to the front in an instant, but that’s still not really support. Her damage output can be impressive with some solid turret placement. If anything, she’s more defence than support. When people see that ‘need a support’ box on the Hero select screen, Symmetra should not count. It’s a nitpick, but just put her into another category to avoid the confusion. When was the last time you saw a team with her as the only support?              ...

Limited Fun With A Flair of Old School – Hard Reset Redux Review (PC)

Limited Fun With A Flair of Old School – Hard Reset Redux Review (PC)

With the recent release of doom having reignited the excitement that once existed for more traditional shooters, developers: flying wild hog have re-released a remastered version of the 2011 game hard reset which was mostly well received amongst critics. The game takes place in Bezoar, a cyberpunk city with explosive barrels and electricity panels laid around conveniently for you to shoot and create havoc. Given what the game wants to achieve, which is to create a decent and straight forward shooter that is rather focused on the mechanics compared to more modern games that have to go through a whole checklist of things, here the narrative takes a back seat and only serves to provide context for the levels. Furthermore, the gunplay revolves around fast movement/dodging and also upgrading your arsenal which includes the two customisable weapons you start off with. The two weapons include the CLN and N.R.G. one of which is lead based and the other plasma based, both of which can be customised to serve several functions. The different functions include transforming your weapon into an RPG, mortar, grenade launcher etc. there is also a blade similar to that seen in shadow warrior which has been included that is a lot of fun. Story may not be the game’s main focus, but there’s still a plot at the heart of the game. It’s told through a comic panels accompanied by voice acting during the loading screens. Voice acting is way below average by today’s standards (but this may be on purpose as a call-back to older games). The overall story arc is mostly incoherent and confusing proving to be one of the game’s weaker element. However, the developer knows the audience for its product and the chances are that old school shooter fans are likely to overlook the story anyway. The game succeeds in providing anywhere between 4-6 hours of fast paced shooting. The recent release of Doom proves there is still a fairly sized audience who appreciate shooters that are purely mechanically driven. Hard Reset may not match up to the market leaders, but it still has enough to offer. As fun as the fast gameplay and playing around with the customisable weapons are, the settings of all the levels are just way too similar. The repeated use of similar colour pallets (mostly grey) causes the game look repetitive very quickly. This is also not helped by the fact that apart from dodging and shooting enemies there is very little variation involved in taking out the enemies on screen. The enemy types introduced during the first 2 acts of the story are all too few. It takes some time until you customise your weapons, resulting in first couple of acts being the least interesting of the bunch. Furthermore, there is no multiplayer which does no help the longevity of the game, but given the price point this is somewhat forgivable. Hard reset very much counts on the nostalgia that its potential audience have towards a more old school shooter and for me it very much succeeds in taking me on a nostalgia trip to a time where shooters were mostly just about the gunplay. However, I am also very grateful for its short stay and low price point as the game was starting to become repetitive and apart from old school shooter fans I really do not see this game as one to be purchased by just anyone looking to spend their hard earned cash....

Solid Action-RPG Thrills With A Story To Tell – The Technomancer Review (PC)

Solid Action-RPG Thrills With A Story To Tell – The Technomancer Review (PC)

* Review based on the PC version of the game* The modern video game market has shifted greatly in the last decade or so. Triple A games and indie titles share the same space, often leading some to believe that they are the only option. Found slotting in the middle of the two giants is the middle market. The gap between big budget and small scale games, a market left somewhat unappreciated. Publisher Focus Interactive has established themselves firmly as the modern leaders of the middle market. Pumping out games such as Styx, Sherlock Holmes and a healthy line of Warhammer games, they’ve garnered quite a reputation for themselves. French developer Spiders have been at the heart of Focus Interactive’s dominance. The Technomancer is their latest release, as well as acting as a spin off/semi-sequel to 2013′s cult hit Mars War Logs. Players are cast in the role of Zachariah Mancer, a newly graduated cadet of the Technomaners. Confined to the expectations and traditions of his order, Zachariah’s role is to enforce the laws among the civilians of the corporate colony. In typical style, everything is not as it seems. Questions over loyalties arise, furled by hidden secrets and agendas. Zachariah is soon thrust into a world of hidden agendas and secrets. At the core of the game are the expected options. Players can customise Zachariah to a certain degree, mostly trapped within heroic looking face presets and haircuts. There’s numerous elements that dictate how Zachariah plays. Instead of requiring total dedication to a single class, players can choose to specialise in one of three stances. Guardian acts as the standard tank role, absorbing damage and wield a mace and shield. Warriors can perform heavy hitting melee damage thanks to their staves. The Rogue combines quick melee strikes, firearms and traps. The Technomancer skill tree offers the most interesting abilities. Relying on the management of the required resource (known as fluid), it offers a much more methodical method of play. Each ability in the tree can be used in any of the stances, allowing players to pick and choose as they wish. Passive trees prop up the role playing elements, affecting the games subtle mechanics. If a player wishes to do so, Zachariah can become a charismatic enigma, allowing him to talk his way out of trouble. There’s the option to improve science and crafting trees, both of which offer dialogue options that can affect an encounter. More devious skills exist to give the player more freedom in how they wish to complete a quest. One strange design option comes in the shape of how stats are handled. Every few levels or so, players can boost a single stat point, which determines what type of gear can be equipped. Agility, strength, power and constitution form the spine of each class. Rogues benefit from points invested into Agility, Warriors thrive on strength and Tenchomancers depends on power. Each stat becomes a requirement for their classes respective gear, removing some of the freedom promoted by the game’s other mechanics. Further RPG elements come in the form of items and crafting. Each weapon and piece of armour found in the game offers various stats, with some being upgradable. Various bits of scrap can be looted and turned into materials for upgrades. They mostly offer protection from types of attack damage or improved damage, some provide minor stat boosts. It also helps that upgrades appear on the respective item, showing a visual form of progression. In the flow of the game, each class works nicely. There’s no one build that’s better than the other. Experimenting with stances and powers provides a nice amount of options to explore, keeping the game fresh. Each combat encounter does toe the line between satisfying and frustrating, mainly depending on the amount of enemies involved. Combat is fast, requiring the player to stay alert. When engaging multiple enemies, especially groups including ranged, things get a bit messy. Each stance offers two forms of attack, one evasive roll and any two skills the player wishes to use. Large enemy parties often force the player to spam their evasive option over and over. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but it does become an annoyance. The Technomancer’s main story comes with various twists and turns, often giving the player dialogue options and choices. Each decision can affect various elements of the core plot. Zachariah is not alone in his endeavours. Throughout his journey he’ll encounter new characters who can join him. Every character has a story, traits and their own point of view on Zachariah’s actions. They’ll react to Zachariah’s choices depending on their personality. If a party member witnesses repeated acts they do not agree with, there’s a chance they’ll leave the party. Earning the trust of characters unlocks passive abilities, aiding the entire party. Party members can be ordered to fight in certain ways (support, melee, ranged). They can also use any weapons or armour looted during the game. Stats can not be changed however, which, may frustrate some more hardcore RPG fans. General quest structure adheres to the modern Western RPG format. Go to a certain area, kill some enemies and engage with a NPC. A large number are dependent taking out some kind of rebel or officer, but it doesn’t always mean violence Is the answer. Stats such as science, craft and charisma can open up dialogue options for less bloody resolutions. Main story missions are genuinely interesting, mainly thanks to some great world building. Mars feels like it has a personality. Each area is in unique, conveying various tones and themes. Factions, races and enforcement groups meld together to create an interesting universe. Discrimination, civil unrest and growing tensions simmer throughout, compelling the player to invest. Presentation and audio can be a little and miss. Voice acting tends to feel wooden in places, cancelling out the attempts at drama. There’s a mix of nice imagery and architecture among some bland looking locations. For the most part, everything sounds and looks adequate, performing at 60 frames per second. Rocks sometimes cause the player to get stuck or confuse NPCs. Enemies are scripted to the point you can reset them by running to certain points. There’s the odd bug here and there, but nothing game breaking. Just minor annoyances that require a quick load back in. One key thing to highlight is the requirement for a controller. The Technomaner does not play well with a keyboard and mouse what so ever. A game pad is not just a preference, but essentially a requirement. The Technomancer isn’t the next big thing or a must play, but it provides a solid experience Its mechanics work well, allowing players to enjoy the game’s offerings. Spiders have created a solid action RPG with a oddly engaging story. Zachariah’s tale may not be anything mind blowing or dramatic, but it does provide a nice slice of science fiction joy. Solid, enjoyable and endearing. The Technomancer is a good option during a relatively quiet period for video games.   Live gameplay can be seen on 28/06/2016 at 18:00 GMT during our Technomancer stream [plumwd_twitch_stream channel=linko64 height=400 width=600]...

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