Sunday, 21 June 2015

Hatred Review

By: Theresa Edwards
 
Twitter: @lockrocks80
Twitch: twitch.tv/lockrocks1980.
 
Hatred is only the second game in video game history to receive an adults only (AO) rating from the ESRB, the video game ratings board in the US and Canada. This game is a killing-spree simulator with an unknown hooded man as the perpetrator of mass killings of anyone that he comes across. The character prepares to start his massacre saying, “ I just hate this world and the human worms feasting on its carcass. My whole life is just cold, bitter hatred, and I always wanted to die violently. This is the time for vengeance and no life is worth saving-and I will put in a grave as many as I can. It's time for me to kill and time for me to die. My genocide crusade.”
 
 
 
That being said, it is exactly that. I found the controls a bit difficult to maneuver but the point of the game is straight forward. Run around and kill anyone you come across. Objectives come up on the left side as you explore the map, for example, take out as many people in the house party as you can. The game suggests at the beginning to use grenades for mass killings and not to waste them on a single target. To regain health, you have to execute someone, which is done with Q. When that happens, the game zooms in and you do a “kill shot” to the person and regain some of your health pool. While exploring, the police will show up and try to take you out, so you must avoid and survive their attacks.
 
The aiming is easy enough and the shots seemed to be spot-on. The gray sheen makes the game seem more dark and ominous. It's level based and most missions are kill [x] amount of civilians and then kill [x] number of police and escape.  That being said, I found this game to be nothing but a massacre with no real skill other than trying to stay alive. I could see this as a nice stress relief and mindless play, but nothing I would spend hours on.

Gears of War Ultimate Edition Beta Impressions.

 

 
By Sam Coles:
During the E3 conference that Microsoft hosted they’ve finally announced that Gears of War Ultimate Edition is coming to Xbox One and that wasn’t the only thing we Xbox One players could test the multiplayer out during the week of E3 2015. So what is the game like? Well let’s find out.
The first thing that stands out with the game is the frame rate, it is fantastic to finally play a Gears of War game in glorious 60 frames per second and I don’t think I could go back, it makes the action faster and increases your reaction time with the active reloads to. I hope this is the standard for Gears of War 4 because I can’t go back to Gears in 30 frames per second.
 
The graphics have been cleaned up from the original and yes the original Gears of War does look great still, but it does look very flat these days and bear in mind the game is nearly 10 years old and the graphics have been given a nice boost with the subtle details such as the water etc.
The gameplay has been updated because the original Gears was very clunky compared to the later iterations and now it plays like Gears of War 3 which was the perfect balanced of gameplay with the much needed tagging system to help your team mates. The sound design has been given a boost to match the gun and weapon noises of Gears of War 3 so the Lancer sounds meaty and sounds like it does damage and the Gnasher shogun reload noise sounds crunchy, I don’t like the new grenade explosion noise because it sounds like a distant crackle rather than a massive bang.
Overall this short beta was fun and I can’t wait to play Gears of War Ultimate Edition in August when it hits Xbox One.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

E3 2015: Just Cause 3



Video Source: Kotaku.

By Sam Coles:

Just Cause 3 gets some chaotic gameplay with the trailer that Square Enix showed off during their conference. Displaying the new abilities that Rico has with his new and improved grapple hook which can have some devastating results such as attaching a rocket to a plane or making structures cave in on themselves with well placed hooks. Destruction looks amazing and looks as if you can pretty much destroy anything you see such as bridges, buildings to vehicles it all looks like some mindless fun that will entertain me for hours upon hours.

Just Cause 3 comes out December 1st on the PS4, Xbox One and PC.

E3 2015: Xbox One with Backwards Compatibility for 360 Games


By Sam Coles:

So Microsoft dropped a real bomb as you can play Xbox 360 games by the end of the year, at first it will be a select few games and if you downloaded them they will automatically turn up in your ready to install folder. If you own the disc all you have to do is pop the disc in the drive and it will start to download the game, however even if you've downloaded it you must keep the game in the drive to verify that you own the game. This makes me happy not because of this new feature but because it shows if we shout loud enough they will listen and Phil Spenser has really turned Xbox around since the major disaster that was 2013.

The backwards compatibility is available to preview members now but it will be available to everyone this winter.

E3 2015: Final Fantasy VII Remake.



By Sam Coles:

During the Sony press conference they gave Final Fantasy fans a massive surprise in the form of a teaser trailer of Final Fantasy Remake, this is something that the fans of the series have been asking for years and after that laughable reveal that they were bringing the PC version to PS4 they are giving use the real deal although it is very far away. The thing that bothers me about this trailer is that it is pre-rendered which doesn't bode well because it tells us nothing about what the game looks like, I think studios should take some aspects from Bethesda with Fallout 4 only show it if it is coming out this year or soon.

Final Fantasy VII will come to the PS4 first then Xbox One and PC at a later date I expect.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

E3 2015: Star Wars Battlefront



Video Source: Gamerspawn

By Sam Coles:

We've been teased and teased with Star Wars Battlefront, but finally DICE showed it off during Sony's press conference. I must say that game looks absolutely stunning and almost photo-realistic with the environments you can really see that DICE have taken pride by getting the locales and it makes me doubly excited to get my hands on it this November. With DICE's reputation the sound design is amazing mixing the Star Wars sounds with the blasters with the crackles and explosions from Battlefield.

They showed off the battle of Hoth with the walker mode where you had to take down the generators as the imperials or destroy the walkers as the rebels. They also showed the co-op mode which in my opinion looks a tad boring because I'm really fed up with horded style gameplay it's been over done.

Star Wars Battlefront will hit PS4, Xbox One and PC on 20th of November.

E3 2015: Gears of War 4 and Gears of War Ultimate Edition.

By Sam Coles:

Microsoft showed off a brief glimpse of Gears of War 4 which looks absolutely stunning, however it doesn't look like it deviates from the other games in the series but let's wait and find out when it releases next year on Xbox One.

They also announced Gears of War Ultimate Edition which is a Remaster of the original Gears of War which include updated graphics and textures running at 60 frames per second and 1080p and it comes with the multiplayer with all the DLC which some of it was only available on the PC version of the game. The game will also have the up to date gameplay features that are from Gears of War 3 to make the game less clunky. The game will release in August on the Xbox One so you don't have to wait long.

Monday, 15 June 2015

E3 2015: Fallout 4.



Video Source: IGN


By Sam Coles:

Bethesda have certainly kicked off E3 with a bang this year by showing off Doom first and then they gave a us an extensive look at Fallout 4. Fallout 4 seems to have a more robust character creator rather than a awkward slider menu, you can now mauled your character like a sculptor whether it be male or female.

The main character for the first time will now have a voice and will interact with other characters rather than he or she just stood staring blankly. The graphics seem to look much better compared to the reveal trailer because a lot of gamers and critics a like were saying the graphics character models especially look last gen, but it doesn't seem to be the case in this gameplay footage they showed. The environments look lush and vibrant and you don't just get the brown and grey hues that were present in the last two game, it has colour for once.

Fallout 4 will release on the 10th of November 2015 on PC, PS4 and Xbox one.

E3 2015: DOOM Gameplay.

 
By Sam Coles:
Bethesda kicks off E3 by finally showing off a public demo of DOOM which is playing in id Software's new engine id Tech 6 which looks very good with dynamic lighting and particle effects when bullets ricochet off surfaces and with the explosions. The game seems to take things from the modded version of Doom Brutal Doom with the over the top violence and executions. The game looks great but I feel that it’s not doing anything ground breaking and may struggle with relevancy in this day and age because Doom has no need to be edgy anymore. The game will feature old school multiplayer which be 4 v 4 and will release in 2016 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Pick Ups: Grand Theft Auto (PS1)

 
 
 
By Sam Coles:
In the 90’s games with splashes of red pixels or extreme violence where condemned because at point in history they were considered to be children’s toys, so games like Doom and Carmageddon where not looked upon lightly. Then a game stirred up the pot again in 1997 made by a small studio in Scotland called DMA design and that game is called Grand Theft Auto. Today Grand Theft Auto is a million dollar franchise that is a satirical look at the American life, but GTA back in the day was nothing more than an arcade crime spree game with fun mindless violence.
 
Grand Theft Auto when it first started out was a top down game with graphics that were not too impressive with a simple concept get a million points by performing various contracts for clients and then move on to the next level then do the same in the next level. All the GTA locales that you know and love today all started here because you’ll move through Liberty City aka New York, Vice City aka Miami and San Andreas aka Los Angles. All the levels have a similar grid format and layout but the visual differences give that little bit of a variation.
 
This game was slammed by the people who had no idea about video games because of the gameplay because you play as a criminal who had to various illegal activities such as stealing cars to use them in bank robberies to assassinating your client’s enemies. It was criticised with the violence as you could go on a rampage at will at any time by running over or shooting pedestrians with blood everywhere although the violence is very crude by today’s standards compared to games like Mortal Kombat X. There was also a small mini game called “Kill Frenzy” which the sole purpose was to shoot innocence’s and blow up vehicles with the weapon that is given to you. This gameplay is fun if you are looking for a time waster and want to burn half an hour as you can have so much fun with the arcade gameplay with all weapons and levels unlocked although the gameplay is sluggish on the Playstation version, I would recommend getting the PC version.
 
The game came with two expansions title Grand Theft Auto London 1969 and 1961 which gave the same gameplay a cockney vibe set in the UK’s capital in the 60’s by adding in the music and the stereotypical accents for from films such as Get Carter.
Grand Theft Auto is a fun little game, but don’t expect too much depth walk into this game with your brain turned off because it’s great mindless action. This game is very cheap and very easy to find along with its expansion I would recommend buying it if you own a PS1 or PS2.    

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt PC Review.

By Mina Summers:
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With the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, CD Projekt Red’s saga has grown into something magnificent. It’s a game of truly epic scale that still displays an eye for every detail. It’s one that sees its hero, Geralt the Witcher, fully transformed from the sword-swinging Mr Loverman of the first Witcher into a mature, reflective hero, and one where story, systems, art, music, action and lore all seem to mesh together into one dazzling whole. It’s the best fantasy RPG of its type since The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and sets a new benchmark for the genre.
All the same, you’re probably expecting more from a review than just breathless hyperbole. Well, imagine a game that takes everything you love from The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, Skyrim, The Legend of Zelda from Ocarina of Time to Twilight Princess and Red Dead Redemption. That pretty much has Wild Hunt covered. With the third Witcher, CD Projekt Red is playing in the very biggest leagues.
 
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the slowest of slow burns. Developer CD Projekt Red has stated that it would take something like 200 hours to play through absolutely everything the unprecedentedly dense open world has to offer. After spending about 50 hours with the game since its release, I easily believe that.
It's worth saying immediately that the characterization and storytelling of The Witcher 3 is considerably better than The Witcher 2. Where that game often felt like a litany of confusing schemes and plots, The Witcher 3 introduces its actors smartly and efficiently — even as the cast ballooned in the middle third of the game, I never felt especially lost or confused about the various intrigues in play.
 
The Witcher 3 opens with Geralt in search of multiple people, namely former love interest Yennifer and his adopted daughter, Ciri, whom appears to be the object of the attentions of the nightmarish Wild Hunt. The story rapidly spirals outward, involving kings and their agents, aligning the political machinations of sorceresses and rulers both with and against Geralt as he seeks to find Ciri and unravel the mystery of her disappearance.
The Witcher 3 might have the best-designed quests of any RPG ever, too. Missions in games like World of Warcraft or Dragon Age: Inquisition can feel like busy work; in The Witcher 3, everything – no matter how trivial – has a point. There are the story missions, of course, which propel the main narrative, as well as Witcher Contracts, which require careful research and planning, but it’s in the side quests where the game really shines. If some amphibious horror isn't trying to drown their children, there's a disease-spreading ghost trying to wipe them off the map, or some other magical catastrophe to handle. Add interference from armies on both sides, and life is pretty grim for the have-nots who use the last of their savings to hire Geralt, asking for protection from just some of the things trying to kill, corrupt, or kidnap them.
 
So far, every secondary mission has a strong narrative backbone, with at least one plot twist or legitimately challenging moral decision thrown in. Quests usually follow the same formula – talk to a villager, look for clues using Geralt’s “Witcher Vision” (basically, Arkham City’s Detective Mode), and kill a monster – but the circumstances are always different. The stories are all fairly intimate, too, making Geralt’s decisions feel both important and personal.
A lot of the game between quests is spent on horseback bouncing from village to village and investigating points of interest, as one does in any number of open world games. And what beautiful points of interest they are.
 
During the past few weeks and even earlier, I have shaken my head reading disgusting crap (pardon the French) about the graphics being allegedly “downgraded,” or pundits shaking their fist at the title’s moral compass. I mean, sure, compare it to the original screenshots and it isn’t quite there. But even so, I have found myself - on more than one occasion - sitting on a hillside, with my trusty steed Roach, watching the sun dip below the horizon. Which is all the more impressive when a raging cockatrice is flying at you through the glare of it.
The Witcher 3’s detailed settings and breath-taking landscapes are worth sacrificing a few frames per second. Even better, the game is just as big as CD Projekt Red promised. While the beginning area, The White Orchard, seems perfectly manageable – and even a little repetitive – the rest of the world opens up after a couple of hours, and it’s full of interesting things to do and see. The Northern Kingdoms are incredibly deep as well. Ruins don’t exist just because the landscape needs some scenery; those castles are there for a reason, and they’ve got history behind them.
 
So far, fighting is the only weak link. Mechanically, the combat system falls somewhere in between the Arkham games’ rhythmic button taps and Assassin’s Creed’s semi-automatic “parry until there’s an opening” sword fights. Most of the strategy comes during preparation, not combat itself. Making sure that Geralt’s equipped with the right potions, explosives, and oils is key, while battles quickly devolve into mashing the dodge button and occasionally attacking. The gory finishing moves sell Geralt’s prowess with his blade, and players will feel powerful, but early on the combat is a little too easy.
The game’s user interface feels like a first draft, too. The menu system is clunky and tedious, and inventory management is – to be charitable – a complete mess. Geralt and his horse, Roach, stagger around like they’ve had too much vodka, and the finicky controls and unpredictable camera can make simple tasks (especially looting dead bodies) a chore.
The game’s crafting system is deep and not nearly as complicated as it looks, and almost all of the side activities (except for horse racing; see above, regarding the game’s controls) are interesting diversions. The Points of Interest – basically, mini-quests involving things like bandit camps or hidden treasures – offer some welcome surprises, and never take too long to clear out. That’s nice, given that there are literally hundreds of them. Gwent, The Witcher 3’s in-game card game, takes a while to get the hang of, but it’s deep enough that it could easily be a stand-alone game of its own, similar to Hearthstone.
And yes, with its rampant sex and violence, The Witcher 3 can be pretty exploitative. During Geralt’s more, ahem, intimate moments, the camera remains stuck in Geralt’s point of view, with lots of disconnected, close-up shots of naked breasts and his partner’s mouth, which hangs open with near-orgasmic pleasure. It’s pretty much textbook objectification. Violence is similarly fetishized, with slow motion shots that show off every brutal decapitation and dismemberment.
That’s worth bringing up because the storytelling itself is so sophisticated that it’s actually jarring when The Witcher 3 devolves into a reductive, macho power-fantasy. Rated M for Mature and real maturity aren’t the same thing, and it’s not always clear that CD Projekt Red knows the difference.
Or maybe they do. After all, this is a game that cuts to two rabbits humping in the middle of an otherwise serious cutscene, features a love scene on a stuffed unicorn, and opens with an act of violence (something involving a raven and a man’s eyeball; you’ll know it when you see it) that’s so ridiculous it’s hilarious. Despite its deep and nuanced story, there’s definitely a pulpy, Robert E. Howard-esque undercurrent to the proceedings. It’s pretty clear that CD Projekt Red is in on the joke; whether or not it’s a funny one is up to the individual player.
With commiserations to Bioware and Bethesda, Wild Hunt is the new RPG by which all other RPGs should be judged. Not only has CD Projekt Red delivered the largest and most convincing fantasy open-world we’ve ever seen, but a storyline, quests and graphics that make it an incredibly compelling place to run around in. It’s the GTA V of sword and sorcery sagas and the biggest, most breath-taking game you’re likely to play this year.
9/10

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Top 5 Video Game Musical Scores.

 
By Sam Coles:
(Spoilers)
Video games with sound and music have evolved from the bleeps and boops to full orchestras that are now movie quality, so let’s take a journey with my top 5 musical scores in video games.
 
5. Halo – The Main Theme:
This track starts off slow with the Celtic inspired Gaelic opera then you here the tribal drums start thumping which gets you pump to start the campaign and kicks some alien ass. The Halo series has always had great music with each outing but this is always the one that greets you with Master Chief’s adventures.
 
4. The Order 1886 – Last Man Standing:
As much as I gave this game a lot of flak in my review of it on 365bristol.com because it wasn’t much of a game, let me preface this I don’t hate the game I just feel it wasn’t as everlasting for the price it was asking. This game has an excellent score to match the setting of Victorian England mix with the ominous, dark and supernatural setting. This track plays at the end of the game as you’ve had a battle with a knight who turns out to be a Werewolf and you are then pointing a revolver at his head while this track plays and it stays with you well after you’ve pulled the trigger.
 
3. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – Song of Healing:
If you know me you’ll know that this is my favourite Zelda game even above Ocarina of Time because it strayed away from the Zelda formula, but the soundtrack was amazing in this game. The Song of Healing is used to restore you back to your human form, but it also puts the dead at peace. This track is a sad one because you feel the characters pain that you’re healing and it almost brings a tear to my eye.
 
 
 
2. The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt – Battle Theme:
This is a recent entry which is my favourite game of the 8th generation so far. This is a fast paced score taking influence from eastern European music and sort of Middle Eastern, because it has that hot and desert feel to it. This gets you in the mood for to kill monsters and bandits.
 
 
1. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – Harvest Dawn:
This track plays when you’re in the cities and it’s a slow and calm track that makes you feel safe and you don’t have to watch you’re back. I have a personal affection with this track because it reminds me of cycling early in the morning as I ride through small rural villages as I see the sky glow red when it rises. This has the same feeling when you’re walking through the towns at dawn as you see the people opening their shops that the day is about to begin.