Saturday, 22 August 2015

The Elder Scrolls Online Xbox One Review - Tamriel is Yours To Explore (Sort of)



By Sam Coles:
 

When The Elder Scrolls Online first launched on PC back in 2014 it was far from stellar as the mechanics weren’t great with things such as you only getting 1 gold from killing each enemy and micro transactions that you would expect in a free to play and on top of that they were expecting a monthly subscription fee. Now it has come to consoles where they have fixed some of the problems from the original release but it’s not perfect so let’s dive in shall we.
 

Usually the story isn’t hugely important in MMO’s but this is The Elder Scrolls and they try to make it important and after the prologue you’ll swiftly forget about it. The story takes place 1000 years before the events of Skyrim which is odd because technology hasn’t changed in that space of time, anyway the Daedric lord Molag Bal has invaded the world of Tamriel, but at the same time there is a civil war happening between three factions which you will play a role in.
 
 

Before you set off in the world you must first create your character and choose from a vast collection of races and also you must choose your class and what faction you will fight for. The four classes that you have are:

Dragon Knight:

The Dragon Knight is a class that is very powerful dealing huge amounts of damage and are well suited to close quarters battles so you would want a player like this when you’re raiding tight dungeons. The weapons that they specialise in are two handed weapons such as great swords, battle axes and war hammers.

Sorcerer:

Well if you’re a veteran of any RPG you would know what this class does and specialises in, they are the class that uses magic by using magical staffs and which can conjure up many different elemental spells or you can use summoning spells to have creatures fight for you it’s the more creative class.

Templar:

This class can have multiple roles as they can use magic where they can wield staffs as healers, but at the same time they can also use a sword shield this is great if you’re not sure what class to pick as it is a middling role in my opinion because the one I picked.

Nightblade:

This class is basically what other games would call a rogue who use duel weapons such as daggers and most of their special attacks are stealth based so if you want to be a dirty thief then this class is the class for you.
 
 

You’ll have most of Tamriel to explore from the Cyrodiil to the southern rain forests of Elsweyr but you can’t explore all of it because I expect they’ll add them in at a later date. However this isn’t a traditional Elder Scrolls game where you can explore anything to hearts content, no this is an MMO so areas will have certain level enemies, such as the starting area you’ll encounter mobs that will be between level 1-16 and the further you explore the higher the levels get so make you sure you’re at the right level before exploring a certain area because otherwise you’ll die a lot.
 
 

Gameplay wise well if you’ve played Skyrim it’s very similar even down to the user interface with the compass and the menu. Combat happens in real time so you’re not just sat there watching an animation play out while you let the game calculate if you’ve hit them or not. Your earn XP from combat, finding lore books and the obvious one completing quest, which will allow to increase health, stamina and mana but you’ll get a chance to unlock a slot for different attacks, defences and distractions and you can evolve them so they can become more powerful or turn into something completely different.
 
 

Graphics aren’t anything to ride home about and to be honest it looks like something from the Xbox 360 but the 7th generation couldn’t of handled such a large game with the player count and the size of the map, so I understand why the graphics aren’t anything mind blowing and plus it is a multiplayer game so you do have sacrifice graphics sometimes. Not to say that game looks bland each area is different which keeps it fresh and you see the surprising amount of effort that has gone into the architecture in the cities, towns and small villages you come across on your adventure.
 

The negatives I really have with this game is that it is very repetitive because some of the quests just seem to blur together by the end of it, so I would highly recommend getting a group of friends together to get full enjoyment out of this game because on your own it is fairly boring. Also the gold rewards can be a tad pitiful and the best way to get around in this game is by horse and the starting cost of a horse is about 14,000 gold and you generally only get about 100-400 gold in each quest.
 

Overall though Elder Scrolls Online is competent but nothing that is going to blow your mind, if you’re looking for a game to burn some time or just need an Elder Scrolls fix then I would say give it a go.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Pick Ups: Infamous Second Son.

 
By Sam Coles:
 
Infamous Second Son is a game that I’ve been a bit hesitant with buying because of the mixed reception with gamers, in one camp you have people saying that it’s the worst Infamous game and in the other people are saying it’s great so you can understand my cautious nature. So what do I think? Well…. I’m in the middle I think it’s good but not great by any stretch.
 
In Infamous Second Son you play as Delsin Rowe who is a young anarchist who goes around causing trouble by doing graffiti for the most part who also has an older brother who happens to be a police officer. On their travels after his old brother catches him as he’s doing his thing they stumble upon a prison transport with not your usual convicts, these convicts have super powers and are called Conduits. Delsin gets into an altercation with one of them and finds out that he can absorb their powers, Delsin thinks that this is fantastic but however does not know the repercussions of being a Conduit. Delsin’s older brother explains that Conduits are branded as “Bio terrorist” so he must hide his power or find a cure for him. So you then set out for Seattle looking for a cure and take down the leader of the DUP and gain more powers in the process.
The story isn’t inspiring by any means but it does its job to keep you motivated to push you through it as the game is well voice acted coupled with fantastic facial animation and sometimes funny quips in the dialogue.
 
The gameplay in this game is a super hero type sandbox game and what I mean by this is that you traverse the city by non-traditional means by gliding with your neon powers or running up walls, which is great fun once you get a rhythm of gliding and running up walls to then get into combat. You have a selection from four power types that you gradually get through game Smoke, Neon, Video and Concrete. Here is a breakdown on the powers:
Smoke:
Smoke has attacks if you didn’t guess it already around smoke and some fire based attacks, so you’ll be able to shoot fireballs out of your and turn into smoke to dodge or go through air vents. You can draw more energy from smoking chimes or burnt out cars.
Neon:
Probably the most visually intense of the powers as it is colourful and bright. This allows you to shoot neon lasers out of your hands as well as the ability to run up walls in a stream of bright purply pink stream as you dodge enemy gun fire.
Video:
This one is a very bizarre one because Infamous has always been about elements when it came down to powers and the last time I checked video isn’t an element but none less it doesn’t mean that this power is not cool. You have the ability to fly for a short amount of time with the digital wings you can spawn when you press circle. You have a rapid fire primary attack that is very effective against ground troops coupled with a homing attack that shoots swords.
Concrete:
This is the last power that you gain and it’s probably the most powerful ability you get with its rock dash which makes you invulnerable to all incoming attacks for a short while and you can also smash cars out of the way with it. You also get a three burst shooting attack for taking down enemies and of course an attack that shoots four massive rocks out at the same time to take down tougher and bigger soldiers.
 
Graphics are beautiful especially during the night time segments when it’s raining, seeing the bright neon signs reflect off the puddles as you see each rain drop hit the ground. The visual effects on the powers are bright and colourful which really helps differentiate each power so none look the same. The facial animation as I discussed briefly above is top notch and as it should as it’s the new generation of consoles really capturing the emotion of each character as they’re locked in conversation.
Now the negatives that I have is that the sandbox in my opinion is really, really small which would have been fine for the 7th or 6th generation, but not in the 8th generation. Another thing that I had trouble with as the bizarre dimming effect with the powers every time I used a power and it makes the game seem very dark even when I turned the brightness up it just annoys me. The final negative is that the game is far too short, just when I was really getting into the campaign it was over and I know you’re meant to play it twice, but I’m not going to play it twice because some characters may have different hats on or jackets with no major difference in story.
Overall though Infamous Second Son isn’t a bad game, but it does fall short with its open world and campaign length, but if you have a PS4 I would say pick this up as it’s fairly cheap now and is a blast with gameplay.