Video Games / Platform / XboxOne

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  ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vote With Your Wallets: The Threat Of DLC

Vote With Your Wallets: The Threat Of DLC

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

So How About That Resident Evil 2 HD Remastering?

So How About That Resident Evil 2 HD Remastering?

With the news that Resident Evil HD Remastered is the fastest selling Digital game, it’s only natural questions about Resident Evil 2 HD Remastered are asked. Capcom have done some pretty vile things to the Resident Evil franchise, but the HD Remastering of the original is pure gold. It reminds us of why Resident Evil became such a favourite, such a memorable classic. Capcom seemed quite open to releasing Resident Evil 2 HD Remastered, as long as the fans wanted it. How could the fans show their desire? Well that’s simple, make Resident Evil HD Remastered a success, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Capcom, the ball is in your court. Not only does remastering Resident Evil 2 HD make sense financially, but it would also shed positive light on a fleeting franchise. Resident Evil has pretty much been beaten from pillar to post, soaking in some serious brand damage. No longer is the franchise seen as the powerhouse it was once, it’s more of stumbling mess these days.  If Resident Evil 2 HD Remastered replicated, if not surpassed, the success of it’s predecessor, then attention would turn towards Resident Evil Nemesis. Three remastered greats, supplying the gameplay the franchise has been lacking for some years now. Nostalgia is a powerful marketing tool, it’s safe to see any future remastered releases would do fairly at the very least. If we were to go all out with a theory, a retail box set of Remastered Resident Evil games would be a fine thing indeed. Resident 1, 2, 3 and the under appreciated Zero, all of them would make a brilliant retail/online bundle. This is of course nothing but wishful thinking, but surely Capcom have at least entertained the idea. Resident Evil 2 HD Remastered feels like a certainty at this point. Capcom have discovered a goldmine, a goldmine that also pleases the fans.        ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bloodborne Vs Dark Souls 2: Everyone Wins

Bloodborne Vs Dark Souls 2: Everyone Wins

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

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