Video Games / Platform / XboxOne

Buy Metal Gear Solid 5 For Kojima – Supporting a Vision

Buy Metal Gear Solid 5 For Kojima – Supporting a Vision

Konami have done the seemingly impossible, they’ve become more disliked than EA games. While hatred towards EA is often misguided, and clumsy, Konami have seemingly went on a campaign to elevate themselves to a higher level. As company, Konami have long been a slobbering mess, stumbling around, popping out games ranging from fair to utterly broken. Their treatment of the ‘core’ franchises has not exactly helped things either. Releasing broken HD remasterings of both Silent Hill and Zone of Enders, and simply refusing to fix either release, left a bitter taste in the mouth of the collective consumer mouth. Of course, it’s hard to talk about Konami without mentioning Hideo Kojima, the former golden boy turned wandering exile. In truth, Kojima has played his part in some of  Konami’s mistakes, a fact often ignored by many because ‘it’s Kojima’, but the breakdown between the two has been spectacular. The Metal Gear series is not just another video game franchise, it’s relevance and importance to the industry is undeniable, it’s fan base fiercely loyal. While most franchises are celebrated as video games, Metal Gear has always been there, side by side, with Kojima as a video game cultural event. The man himself has became just as much of a focal point as his creations. His bizarre, often pretentious, works have carved out a unique space for him in the hearts and minds of many. Much like Shigeru Miyamoto, or god forbid Cliff Bleszinski, Kojima has taken up the mantle of  industry icon. This position comes with a huge amount of power, both business wise and socially. The break down between Konami and Kojima wasn’t simply a business matter, or even a creative matter, it grew into it’s own story. Fans sat back and saw almost daily updates on the decaying relationship of two iconic names. Backlash started to bubble up, blog posts and tweets started to spit venom, the knives we’re out for Konami. The final straw seemingly came in the form of Konami removing Kojima’s name from their records, denying his efforts, including the effort put into Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Fans of Kojima, and not-so-fans like myself, began to take notice. This was no longer just a disagreement between employee and employer, this was something much more. Konami had been nurturing a bad reputation for sometime now, KojimaGate (least I tried) was merely the flame that set off the explosion. With a huge cloud of animosity engulfing Konami from nearly every corner of the industry, and the sense of injustice towards Kojima, the resulting consequences have produced a few interesting dilemmas. Konami have one of, if not, the biggest release of 2015 on their hands. Metal Gear Solid 5, Kojima’s last effort in the franchise, is hard to ignore, but is buying the game supporting a shitty company like Konami a good thing? It’s easy to rush to the conclusion that we should boycott Metal Gear 5, hit Konami in the pocket. While they may be raking it in through various arcade machines, their biggest game flopping would surely be a dagger to side. The most furious of people may support a boycott, after all, boycotting has been a popular concept in video games for sometime, even if it often fails to materialise, but there’s a problem with this form of protest in a creative industry.   Kojima does not just make video games, he crafts his visions and inspirations, resulting in a video game. . His general attitude towards the art form , and creative media as a whole, is admirable. His tweets, much like his work, often reflect various influences and nods towards what inspires and interests him. Even after all the bullshit between him and Konami, I find it hard to believe that he would support a boycott, even more so if it was at the expense of his work. Much like a artiest wants to express themselves to others, Kojima would surely want as many people as possible to see his masterpiece. Buying Metal Gear Solid 5 isn’t you supporting a shitty company like Konami, it’s witnessing the final strokes on a creation spanning well over a decade....

Jump, Run, Kill, Die, Repeat – Black Ops 3 Beta Impressions

Jump, Run, Kill, Die, Repeat – Black Ops 3 Beta Impressions

The more things change, the more they stay the same, these are the words that echoed within each hour spent playing the Black Ops 3 Multiplayer Beta. The Call of Duty franchise has became something entirely different from what it started out as. The scrappy underdog, willing to go toe-to-toe with the established Medal of Honor franchise in a attempt to rejuvenate the World War 2 shooter. The little game that could, is now the big game that does what it wants. Call of Duty is now placed in a position in which it can create two franchises within it’s own brand. The Black Ops side of the brand has been celebrated for deviating from the ways of it’s sister, with creativity and adventure being favored over gritty modern warfare. The Black Ops games have progressed their story in a natural manner, to the point where Black Ops 3 is a futuristic pseudoscience romp, complete with exo-skeletons and robots. This new setting has of course allowed Tryarch more creative freedom in the multiplayer.   The Black Ops 3 Multiplayer Beta was open to all PSN Plus members this weekend, a brief glimpse into the next step in the progression of Call of Duty  Black Ops. From the moment the Beta loads up, it’s clear to see that there’s already been a big change to the core game. The addition of Specializations gives a structure to the game, a much welcomed addition as opposed to mix-and-match system that has featured in padded forms for the last few years. Each specialization has it’s own special (as you’d guess) weapon and equipment, both of which can turn the tide of any given the game. The holy trinity of play styles is catered for with weapons ranging from a bow and arrow, to a multi-grenade launcher. The motivation that comes with handling these special weapons is what gives Black ops 3 a genuinely satisfying edge. There’s a certain tinge of glee when using the immensely powerful power and arrow to pull off multiple direct arrow kills. Specializations open up a layer of depth, even within the Beta. Experimenting with each spec, and building a class around it, presents so many play styles and unique builds that give each match has it’s own unique flair.It’s expect that, like most games of it’s nature, a few builds will become the norm, but kudos should be paid towards the systems attempts to freshen things up. The weapons, attachments and perk system mostly remains the same. The unlocking system does a decent job of supplying the player with various new items at a fair pace, even if some of them feel rather trivial compared to others. This issue of a lot of ‘fluff’ (items, or score streaks that don’t feel very useful) has always been present in Call of Duty titles, and Black Ops 3 seems to be no different. At times, some weapons feel like they’re there just to make up the numbers, this thought is reinforced by the sheer lack of people using them. It is of course a Beta, and this is the exact issue that can be solved by Beta, but only if the player base bothers to make their thoughts heard. Movement is by far the best thing Black Ops 3 has going for it. Wall running and parkour movement systems are becoming more and more common place, even more so in first person shooters. With the likes of Mirrors Edge, Brink, Titanfall and Advanced Warfare all having a crack, Black Ops3 has it’s own accumulation of all past efforts. Movement if fast, tight and fluid. It all flows and syncs with the general action, feeling like a natural system rather than a gimmick. Regardless of the game, stringing together a number of slick movements and jumps always produces a giddy sense of ‘yeah, that was bad ass’. Black Ops 3 finds a middle ground between fast and fluid movement, while maintaining a sense of control. It’s rare you’ll find yourself scaling a wall by mistake, or grabbing onto a ledge, resulting in a cheap death. The only element holding back Black Ops 3′s free-flowing movement is it’s map design. The basic rules of Call of Duty map design are still very much present. Cover is always 5 seconds within reach, multiple exits and entries fill each section of the map and multiple levels can be reached to gain a height advantage. Surprisingly, there’s a number of ‘hidden’ paths neatly sowed into each map, catering for the more crafty players. The real issue with maps is they can feel too contained, stifling  the  free-flowing movement. Some maps feature areas that look like they can, and should, be accessible but are anything put. These areas put a slight downer on the experience, as well as coming off as refusing player’s creativity in their navigation of the map. On the whole, Black Ops 3 multiplayer Beta was a enjoyable romp that suggest the mulitplayer is making steady progress, even if it’s restrained by it’s established ways. There’s so much going on at any given time, so many grenades, bullets and scorestreaks just popping off all over. It’s hard to look passed how hyper active the multiplayer is. The way in which players can spawn, kill and die within the space of 30 seconds can become a little overwhelming, much like a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Call of Duty is known for this pace, it’s known for it’s general accessibility and instant gratification through quick kills and almost instant respawns (in the relevant game modes), but this is starting to hold the experience back.  It’s hard to soak things in when everything is exploding around you, or killing you every four seconds on loop. The Beta does enough to maintain interest in the final product, mostly thanks to curiosity rather than being straight up impressive . The market is undoubtedly there, and the new additions could  go far in changing Call of Duty’s image of ‘same shit, different year’ but at it’s core, it’s still the twitchy, hyper active multiplayer shooter it has been since Modern Warfare 2. The future’s bright but it’s also high on sugar and booming sound affects....

Early Access On Consoles: Understand The Risks, Enjoy The Rewards

Early Access On Consoles: Understand The Risks, Enjoy The Rewards

PC gaming is often celebrated for numerous reasons. Often at the forefront of video game advancement, PC gaming has often shaped the path most console trends take. For the most part, the trends from the PC side has helped improved the industry as a whole, but the most recent trend is steep in controversy. Early Access is seemingly becoming common place for both indie games and big budget releases. A curious mix of Beta testing and demo, Early Access has many sides to it, not all of them positive. For the money the customer invests into the game, what they receive in return isn’t exactly known. The level of risk involved with purchasing a Early Access title is great, you’re essentially buying a work in progress, that could drastically change at any point. The positive side to Early Access comes in two forms. Purchasing a Early Access title is directly supporting the game, allowing for it to improve and grow. Responsible developers will engage with their Early Access customers and use feedback and input to enhance the game in question. The customer is, of course, getting their hands on the game sooner rather than later. The PC platform allows Early Access games to receive updates generally quickly, without much hassle in terms of red tape. Consoles are now following in the path of the PC by introducing Early Access, which feels like a bad idea. The market, culture and general attitude of PC circles is radically different to that of the console. There’s more of a acceptance for change, more ability to be more open minded in terms of new services and concepts. Console markets are known for being set in their ways, especially when it comes to how they purchase their games. It feels like a problem waiting to happen when Early Access hits consoles. The staggered manner in which consoles titles are updated presents the biggest potential issue. Early Access games live or die on how often they are updated, if the updates come slow and staggered, it’s hard to see the service ever becoming viable, at least on consoles. Questions over how much said games would cost is another curious issue. There’s also the practical problems to do with the limited hardrive sizes more consoles shipped with. Looking for positives is not hard, as Early Access still supplies plenty of benefits. As previously mentioned, having the ability to back a game and play it straight away, even if it’s in a early state, is still a appealing concept. Microsoft are planning to put their own games on Early Access, hopefully resulting in less technical train wrecks (Master Chief Collection style) from appearing in final version releases. The key to making Early Access on consoles relies on various things, the first being penitence. The console market needs to understand what Early Access is, they need to understand the games will be buggy and incomplete. The platform is there, the market is there, for Early Access to be successful on consoles, as long as the risks are understood.  ...

Zombi U: Can The Cult Classic Truly Be Reborn?

Zombi U: Can The Cult Classic Truly Be Reborn?

For all the stick the Nintendo Wii U has suffered, at least when it comes to a lack of adult games, Zombi U always remained a firm favourite. The misunderstood Ubisoft effort was a genuine step forward for survival horror. Touch screen gimmicks were transformed into viable gameplay elements that provided some truly intense moments. The slow and sluggish nature of the gameplay, the way in which a single zombie posed a genuine threat, Zombi U was fantastic. Unfortunately, Zombi U was met with a number of struggles. The Wii U’s initial launch was a troubled on. Slow sales aside, the Wii U inherited the Wii’s image of being a ‘family console’, resulting in a number of people simply not caring about the console. Nintendo’s name choice, and the Wii’s legacy, meant Zombi U found itself in a awkward position. Unsurprisingly the game’s sales figures failed to meet expectations. Zombi U was met with mixed critical reviews, but garnered a cult following. Genuine fans of survival horror, and not the modern ‘BOO, BANG BANG – repeat’ horror of modern games, appreciated Zombi U. Miiverse hosted a interactive player base, with players trading tips and secrets, resulting the game feeling more alive than ever. The way in which Zombi U works, most notably it’s rogue like elements, allowed for players to craft their own stories, their own experiences. Player X often had a much different experience than Player Y when they both respectfully entered the streets of London. The social elements of Zombi U have remained one of it’s most underrated features. Finding notes left by other players, Demon/Dark Souls style, lent the game a sense of life. Uncovering a secret stash of goodies, thanks to a note, always presented a bizarre sense of satisfaction and gratitude. Zombi U utilized friend lists in glorious double edged manner. Finding a note left by your friend, informing you of a crossbow stored in the next room enforced the bonds between the two players. Creeping into said room, looking for said crossbow, took a whole new twist when presented with the Zombified remains of your former friend. It’s a novel concept, but it enhanced the game tenfold. Following a paper trail of notes left by a friend, aiding you in your quest for survival, only to be met by their shambling corpse, it had impact. Ubisoft are many things, but in the case of Zombi U, they’re overlooked. With the news of Zombi U, now renamed Zombi (odd choice given the film franchise sharing the name), coming to PS4 and Xbox One, Ubisoft may get the credit they are owed. This jump from Wii U to Xbox One and PS4 does bring up a few worries however. The most obvious worry is how the game will look. Zombi U was fantastic, but a looker it was not. Muddy visuals, some basic textures, repeating assets, it’s visuals were adequate at best. People expect their Xbox One & PS4 games to look top notch, something Zombi could struggle to achieve. The main worry with the transition is that the game’s character could be lost in the process. The Wii U pad enchained Zombi U greatly, a vital part of the experience. While the PS4 does offer a touch pad that could partly recreate some of Zombi U’s joy, the Xbox one has nothing. Kinect and tablets are the only methods the Xbox One has to offer, and neither of those feel all that appealing. Zombi U is still, and always was, relevant purely down to it’s character and soul. It’s hard to shake off the concerns over it’s jump to the current generation. The cynical side suggests that Zombi will be a cheap cash in on a hot sub-genre in which anything with zombies turns a profit. It all remains to be seen, but at the end of the day, Zombi U will always be remembered as the game that deserved so much more.    ...

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

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

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

The Best So Far, But Not Yet Great – Game of Thrones Ep4: Sons of Winter Review

The Best So Far, But Not Yet Great – Game of Thrones Ep4: Sons of Winter Review

TellTale’s Game of Thrones series has been their weakest work since Jurassic Park, but there’s always been a since of hidden potential just waiting to burst through. The firs three episodes have plodded around, often looking for a real direction, with the intention of setting the pieces into places. Episode four, Sons of Winter, marks a turning point for the series, welcoming back TellTale’s ability to tell a story while engrossing the player, but it’s not without it’s faults. By the time Sons of Winter rolls around, the core cast of characters all have their defined goals, traits and ideals. Each story arc has a distinct tone in keeping with themes often covered in both the books and the TV show. Family values, honour, responsibility, tradition all continue to play key parts in each respective character’s story. The theme of revenge remains prevalent throughout Sons of Winter, only this time it comes into conflict with the concept of a ‘the greater good’. Sons of Winter is much more direct episode in the series, with the action coming at a steady pace. The constant small talk of the previous episodes is replaced with action scenes and plot progressing interactions. This new found flow allows the episode to feel much more compact, never allowing the player to settle into a lulled sense disenchantment. The storyline around the Forrester/Whitehall stand off benefits most of the change of pace, becoming a much more engrossing tale. The conversations between key characters carries much more weight than initial episodes. The lack of small talk frees characters, allowing them to command a presence in their respective scenes. Both Mira and Rodrik Forrester’s once staggered stories are now a interesting mix of political intrigue and intense tension. Rodrik in particular shines thanks to a number of intense stand offs and decisions. Mira’s section is a much more subtle affair, akin to her character. Her weapons are not physical, but verbal, as she adopts to the game of lies played across Kings Landing.   Asher plays a pivotal part in Sons of Winter, presenting some genuinely interesting back-story and filler during events shown in the TV series. His continued tale of avenging his family leads him to running into Daenerys Targaryen on the even of her conquest of Meereen. While the TV series featured the outcome of her conquest, Sons of Winter shows the beginning with Asher and Beskha on the front line. The simmering tension between the two friends continues to boil, with Beskha growing increasingly frustrated with Asher’s willingness to obey others. The relationship between the two characters becomes to focal point for the episode, with one of them revealing some genuinely interesting back story. As ever, one story is sacrificed in terms of how much spot light they receive. Gared’s exploits at The Wall are significantly cut down, leaving his story to be left in the dust. His section mostly consists of quick time combat events, with one or two minor interactions in between. In truth, the Gared storyline was starting to lose it’s momentum during episode three, that momentum is essential dead by the close of Sons of Winter. Telltale have almost written themselves into failure with Gared’s quest to reach the grove. His story feels slightly hoakey when compared to the deadly game of wits and brawn present in the other Forester family tales. The main issues Sons of Winter suffers can be found in the shape of the inclusion of the Queen of Dragons. Her demeanor is jarringly hostile, nothing like her appearances in the TV series. Her inclusion in the episode feels slightly like fan service more than a means to drive the plot. Emilia Clarke’s wooden acting does not help things, but does suit the robotic nature of the character models. TellTale’s engine is seriously showing it’s age now, muddy textures, robotic animation and some utterly bizarre facial movements are the main issues to be found. Sons of Winter is easily the best of the bunch so far, suggesting the series is finally ready to hit it’s hot streak. Compact story telling, interesting revelations and some top notch pacing results in a hugely enjoyable experience. While the games are starting to look aged, the core elements all work together neatly. All of the pieces are in place, with three of the four stories at boiling point, episode five is already looking promising. Engaging, intense and utterly enjoyable, Sons of Winter is everything the last three episodes failed to be....

Another Exclusive Remastering Is The Last Thing The Xbox One Needs

Another Exclusive Remastering Is The Last Thing The Xbox One Needs

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

Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin, The Order 1886 & FF: Type 0 HD Made Cheap

Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin, The Order 1886 & FF: Type 0 HD Made Cheap

It’s hitting the end of the month, and a lot of people are skint…or least near skint. Fear not, there’s still games to be had at £20 or under, some are even new(ish) releases.   Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin (PS3/360) £19.99 -   While Bloodborne dazzles and frustrates the masses, Dark Souls 2 has crawled out packed with all of it’s DLC. The buzz around From Software has never been so hot, making it the perfect time for them to re-release their past work, even if it’s not as good as their previous creations. £20 buys you a lot of content, the core game will last most people well over 25-30 hours, with the DLC adding even more. Sure it’s hard, sure it’s kinda ugly to look at, but much like a cheap takeaway, it gets the job done.   Final Fantasy Type-0 HD – Xbox One £18.35   We all love last generation remakes, but Square went one step further and remastered a PSP game. The Final Fantasy brand has taken a utter lashing these last few years, mostly due to the bizarre dedication Square had to making Final Fantasy 13 ‘work’. Type-0 is one of them odd little spin offs in the franchise, but does supply a nice breath of fresh air. Think Final Fantasy crossed with X-men, and a dash of awful textures, and Type – 0 HD is a pretty decent deal…but most people just want that damn Final Fantasy XV demo. £18.95, down from the £40 quid it launched with a mere few weeks ago, what a drop.   The Order 1886 – £19.95   The game that the internet just can’t stop arguing about. At this point, The Order 1886 has went beyond just being another video game, it’s now a actual focal point for discussion on the topic of modern game design. The game looks, and performs, fantastically, but the gameplay is a little less impressive. It’s a decent game, that most forum posters will either praise as the next coming, or label it the devil. For £19.95 you can play the thing yourself, and make your own mind up.   P.S Buy it, just to spite Angry Joe    ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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