Video Games / Platform / XboxOne

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.    ...

The Order 1886 On The Cheap, Driveclub & Dark Souls 2 Also Discounted

The Order 1886 On The Cheap, Driveclub & Dark Souls 2 Also Discounted

It’s the end of the working week, and what better way to celebrate than bagging a bargain.   The biggest money saver comes in the form of The Order 1886 over at Xtra-Vision for the price of £33.60 This is a standard PAL copy, no imports like the E-bay sellers are offering. Another PS4 exclusive is available for a cut down price. Driveclub may have had a messy launch, but after a number of patches things are going smoothly. £21.85 is a decent price for a standard, brand new, copy. Alien: Isolation has been steadily decreasing price, especially the Xbox One version, and now the PS4 version has caught up. The Game Collection are currently selling the Nostromo Edition for £18.95 on PS4, a top price for a fantastic game. Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin marks the much loved franchise’s début on the new generation of system. Game Seek have listed both the PS4 & Xbox One versions for £31.75, with free shipping.    ...

£289.99 Claptrap-In-A-Box GAME Exclusive Edition Goes Up For Pre-oreder

£289.99 Claptrap-In-A-Box GAME Exclusive Edition Goes Up For Pre-oreder

UK retailer GAME have officially listed their exclusive Claptrap-in-a-box edition of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. For £289.99, customers get themselves a copy of the game, steel book casing, 12 lithographs and a remote control Claptrap. The Claptrap is controllable via IOS or Android devices. Other features including a working camera that streams direct to your phone, and the ability to mutter some of Claptraps famous lines.   If remote control spy cameras are your thing, and you also happen to like Borderlands, this is the edition for you.   PS4 Version Xbox One Version...

The Old Blood Is Exactly What We Need

The Old Blood Is Exactly What We Need

One of last years best games just got a follow up, and it’s not even going to cost you much. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has been announced, and oh my days is it what we needed. Balls out, no nonsense, sheer video game joy, it’s exactly what The Old Blood is bringing to the table. Releasing as a standalone experience, The New Blood looks set to bring the fun pack to first person shooter, much like it’s predecessor. Those who missed out on The New Order did themselves no favors. A combination of brilliant gameplay, crazy encounters, and a heavy dose of dark humour, The New Order was sheer enjoyment. It’s rare a modern first person shooter manages to recreate classic genre thrills in the way The New Order did. It filled a gap in the market, and that is still there, making it The Old Blood the perfect filler. Bethesda’s trailer for The Old Blood screams character. It’s dripping with influences from grind house cinema and old B-Movies. It’s the perfect combination. All of The New Order’s humor is present within the 1:53 minute Old Blood trailer. The game knows it’s audience, it knows the strengths of the original, and it revels in them. Thankfully, The Old Blood is seemingly getting the attention of the masses. People who haven’t experienced The New Order are even turning their heads. The Old Blood, a prequel to The New Order, could potentially bring in a new audience for franchise, resulting in a fully fledged sequel. Going back to basics, while applying modern technology, has resulted in one of the purest forms of modern video game entertainment. The Old Blood is exactly what we needed, even so after the stumbling ways of 2015′s initial few ‘next gen’ titles....

All Killer, No Thriller – Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2 Review

All Killer, No Thriller – Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2 Review

*The review for episode 1 can be found here. Each episode will be reviewed individually*   The second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a different beast from the first. Where the first episode laid on atmosphere, tension, and some minor survival horror tones, the second episode goes all guns blazing. From start, to finish, episode 2 is much more bullet ridden than the first. The issue is, Revelations 2 isn’t exactly sure what it wants to be, and episode 2 is a perfect example of this. Episode 2 sheds more light on the plot, as well as bringing new weapons and enemies to the series. The plot points are far and few between, but there’s enough to keep the story progressing, keeping the player interested. Both Barry and Claire’s campaign feature new enemy types. These new enemies are nothing more than a pain, mostly due to their mechanics. It’s not that it adds to the challenge of the game, instead, they just frustrate by slowing the game down. This frustration is found in abundance when playing episode 2. The game can never quite make it’s mind up to what it’s trying to be. The erratic nature of the game leaves the whole experience lopsided. From being rushed by multiple enemies, to suddenly finding the pace of the game reduced to a almost stand still. The issue is also reflected in the amount of ammo and herbs dropped throughout the game. More often than not, the player will find themselves drastically understocked , making a number of encounters drag on due to the sheer number of enemies. The constant barrage of action, mixed with some pace killing enemies, results in the whole experience feeling off. Both Claire and Barry run into situations that require co-op actions. These situations don’t feel organic in the slightest. The sole purpose for the co-op sections is purely to remind the player that their companion exists, even if they are under utilized throughout episode 2. Series fans will be happy to know episode 2 welcomes back boss battles, two of them to be exact. Both encounters require little in terms of skill, instead relying on the players sense of spacial awareness. Neither of the bosses provide much of a challenge. Hit and run makes up 99% of each battle, with the 1% consisting of evading the odd attack. The inclusion of the battles is welcomed, resulting in hopes for more interesting boss encounters in the future. Revelations: Episode 2 is solid enough, but staggers to maintain the level it’s predecessor set. While it does progress the plot, with a genuinely intriguing ending, the overall experience is mixed. The stop/start nature of the pace is jarring, often resulting in any player immersion fading away. The new enemy types do little to improve the game, only adding unnecessary frustration. One of the oddest traits of episode 2 is the way it treats supporting characters. Showing up for only a few minutes, then reappearing at random, they almost feel utterly pointless. The series still has plenty of promise, but this promise is worthless unless the game finds it’s feet. Firmly in the shadow of it’s predecessor, episode 2 is simply adequate.  ...

Evolve’s Price Slashed By GAME

Evolve’s Price Slashed By GAME

Evolve, released last month, has had it’s price slashed by UK retailer GAME.   Turtle Rock’s 4 v 1 multiplayer had a controversial release, mainly down to the sheer amount of launch day DLC on offer. The game has since struggled to maintain a strong online presence. GAME are currently selling Evolve for £29.99, complete with the much criticized pre-order DLC. The price cut effects both the PS4 and the Xbox One version. The PC version is currently down to £21.99, which also includes the pre-order DLC. The price drop may signal a influx of new players. Those curious about the game, but not willing to pay full price, will no doubt be tempted by the reduction....

When Will The Current Gen Consoles Be Defined?

When Will The Current Gen Consoles Be Defined?

With the PS4 and Xbox One having spent a decent chunk of time on the market, I find myself asking a question. It’s the games that define a system, often the exclusives, and so far the new systems are debatable lacking in that department. The likes of Ryse, The Order 1886, InFamous and Sunset Overdirve have been decent, yet they’re hardly classics. Keeping in the limits of the last few decades or so, the majority of system have exclusives considered as classics. The PS3 had Uncharted 2, the 360 had Halo 3, the Wii had Super Mario Galaxy 2. Going back even further, the PS2 had Final Fantasy X, the Xbox had Halo 2 and the Gamecube had Smash Bros Melee.   Of course each of the previously mentioned systems had far more than the games listed. My curiosity around the newer systems is around how long it will take for them to gain a classic. It’s still early days, but the exclusives that have came, and went, have all faltered in some shape or form. It’s not that  they’re bad games, it’s just that they haven’t earned the status of ‘killer app’ or system seller. Both the PS4 and Xbox One feel like they are still searching for a identity. The search could be coming to a close, at least for the PS4. The exclusivity of Street Fighter 5 hinted towards the PS4′s direction. Neither system has a truly unique exclusive that defines the console. With the market still wide open, in terms of genres anyway, it’ll be interesting to see which system fosters what. Trying to get grasp of peoples expectations is always tricky, but this generation is a different kettle of fish. The hyper polished games are no longer enough, it’s got to be the whole package. This is something I suspect developers agree with, which perhaps explains the amount of delays in late 2014. 2015 is, hopefully anyway, both the PS4 and Xbox One finally define themselves. This generation is lacking in direction, identity and character. Exclusives can change that.      ...

The Best Of February: Monsters & Cooking Cats

The Best Of February: Monsters & Cooking Cats

February was a pretty decent month of video game releases. The 3DS enjoyed two major releases, while the consoles welcomed Dying Light. The PS4 ushered in it’s new exclusive IP The Order 1886, mental reviews included. One of the biggest surprises of February, was the quality of downloadable games released. Resident Evil Revelations 2 – Episode 1 was surprisingly good, and a utter steal at £5. Hand of Fate may have been flawed, but the creativity of it’s concept is worthy of respect…and investment. Normally I’d only select one game as my ‘game of the month’ but truth be told, everything that came out in February was worth checking out. There is one game that stands head and shoulders above the rest, and another unfairly treated by some media outlets.   The Order 1886:   A few months back, I suggested that The Order 1886 would be a case of visuals over gameplay. I was never scathing towards the game, it was more of a case of curiosity. The Order 1886 is exactly that, it’s a curiosity. While some sites (mostly big ones that rated broken games highly) would have you believe The Order is a ‘bad’ game, the truth is, it’s just average. It’s average, at least in terms of it’s dated gameplay, it’s perfectly serviceable but utterly stuck in it’s ways. The technical achievement of The Order 1886 are pure brilliance. While the likes of InFamous: Second Son and Ryse look great, The Order 1886 looks real. The way characters moved, the way their eyes and facial expressions projected their emotions, it all felt organic. The sheer detail in each and every part of The Order 1886 is staggering, bar the lack of reflective surfaces. I enjoyed The Order 1886, I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. The universe is genuinely interesting, with a ton of potential, the world is beautifully grim. The story may have been a little on the predicable side, with a hollow ending, but it’s satisfying. Even with my enjoyment of the game, I have to judge it fairly. The Order 1886 has it’s issues, but it’s far from a bad game. Short, enjoyable, and the first in a series with a lot of promise.   Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate:   Oh my, this isn’t just the best game out in February, it might just be one of the best games on the 3DS. With a improved single player, that also gives new players a more detailed starting point, Monster Hunter 4U is brilliant. Gather, plan, equip, hunt. The concept is simple, the devil is in the detail. On the surface, Monster Hunter 4U looks like a button masher, but it’s much more than that. Monster Hunter 4U has a hidden depth, it’s a pure depth which rewards skill rather than investment. Each weapon type alters the gameplay, they all offer a unique experience. The magic in Monster Hunter 4U is mastering a weapon, feeling a genuine sense of personal skill progression, rather than a number increasing on a stat screen.   I could honestly gush over how good the game is for days, but even than I’d be doing it a disservice. The newly added online multiplayer works like a charm, no lag and barely any connection issues in sight. Teaming up with three other hunters to take on huge creatures is thrilling, every single damn time. In a month where a games length has been questioned, Monster Hunter 4U offer hundreds of hours of play. After years of creeping into the West, Monster Hunter 4U has seemingly been the game to truly break into the territory. The only genuine fault Monster Hunter 4U has is a lack of voice chat, and it’s the ONLY fault. A masterpiece, a modern classic, February’s best game and maybe, just maybe, the 3DS’s best game....

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  ...

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