#egmr » Caveshen http://egmr.net Let's Talk Games — Videogame News, Reviews & Opinions Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:04:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Anonymous Speaks On #GamerGate, Wants The Truth To Out http://egmr.net/2014/10/anonymous-speaks-gamergate-wants-truth/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/anonymous-speaks-gamergate-wants-truth/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:15:10 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161769 I’ve been threatened a lot on the internet, in my over ten years of using it. Hack threats, death threats, that sort of stuff. I never once used it as […]

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I’ve been threatened a lot on the internet, in my over ten years of using it. Hack threats, death threats, that sort of stuff. I never once used it as a platform to get support for my work online.

This is why I’m not as easily swayed by what goes on in today’s #GamerGate controversy, despite how many people whose opinions I value and trust might speak out vehemently against it and the point of the movement as a whole. Indeed the humanity of the entire ordeal has been a contentious talking point for weeks now. How can anyone be allowed to get away with making threats under the flag of gaming?

Then again, how can anyone misrepresent the source of those threats and then condemn an entire subsection of the gaming community so blindly? But I digress.

Anonymous has decided it’s time to publicly address the #GamerGate controversy. Now, for obvious reasons, the validity of the uploader and that video are entirely up in the air but we like to think that if it’s fake then the real Anonymous would be on it like white blood cells to a foreign body. They don’t fuck around.

And certainly the video above shows that they really aren’t planning on fucking around, sending a strong message about what they feel #GamerGate is about and how they intend to go about dealing with this controversy in the gaming world.

Consumer awareness is key and while a lot of folks with strong opinions have spoken out against #GamerGate’s intentions, or just entirely parodied it, rather than asserting whether or not it’s really about harassment of women or ethics in games journalism, Anonymous has plans to out the corrupt and reveal the truth.

Now I’m not much for conspiracy theories myself but as someone who takes the time to read rather than immediately condemn, and having sifted through a lot of articles and content from both sides of the argument, I have seen enough first-hand to know that neither side’s hands are entirely clean in this mess and too many people are willing to blindly side with a particular group based on how they feel, when an emotional response is exactly the wrong one to have here. But perhaps that’s just me speaking in terms of digital content and not the humans behind the keyboards.

Either way, let us know what you think in the comments.

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Women Of Nelspruit, Geek Girls SA Needs You! http://egmr.net/2014/10/women-nelspruit-geek-girls-sa-needs/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/women-nelspruit-geek-girls-sa-needs/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:30:39 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=159805 Are you an XX-chromosomal homo-sapien who currently resides in or around Nelspruit? If you are then you should probably note down November 1st on your calendar because Geek Girls SA […]

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Are you an XX-chromosomal homo-sapien who currently resides in or around Nelspruit?

If you are then you should probably note down November 1st on your calendar because Geek Girls SA wants to bring the coolness and totally-not-fake-ness of being a real geek girl to your town this weekend!

Head on down to The Stoep (we don’t know where that is) at 10am for the first ever Geek Girls Nelspruit meetup for some hearty conversation along the themes of sci-fi, fantasy, Star Wars, World of Warcraft and more. Remember: Women only.

Check out the image above for all the info you’ll need, and be sure to check out Geek Girls SA on Facebook, where you can interact with likeminded female gamers and respectful males in a safe and mostly healthy environment; we say mostly because Facebook is… well… Facebook.

Don’t forget to tell your friends.

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eGamer Podcast #103: Dawn Of Infinity http://egmr.net/2014/10/egamer-podcast-103-dawn-infinity/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/egamer-podcast-103-dawn-infinity/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:00:50 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161663 Recorded: 28 October 2014 Welcome to episode one-hundred-and-three of the eGamer Podcast which has an equal mix of gaming and comic book adaptation talk. We’re kidding it’s mostly the latter […]

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Recorded: 28 October 2014

Welcome to episode one-hundred-and-three of the eGamer Podcast which has an equal mix of gaming and comic book adaptation talk. We’re kidding it’s mostly the latter but in our defence, nobody asked questions this week except for our favourite parasite! Still, if comic book adaptations are your thing…

Topics discussed this week include Marvel’s phase three, DC’s TV series and Sunset Overdrive actually being great after all.

Here are the shownotes for this week’s episode:

  • Share play isn’t going to be a thing in SA just yet.
  • Did you know the PS4 has voice controls? Well, kinda…
  • But what are voice controls really even for?
  • Marvel has released their phase three lineup and it’s looking incredible!
  • Who has the better movie lineup between Marvel and DC?
  • David Goyer is just a dick!
  • How awesome was that Age of Ultron trailer?
  • We take a moment to talk to you about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • But how good are DC’s TV series?
  • We answer your question.
  • Cavie has something to admit about Sunset Overdrive.
  • Why don’t more people care about D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die?
  • Shit gets proper offensive.
  • Is anyone still listening?

Don’t forget that you can subscribe to the RSS feed so you never miss an episode. Enjoy.

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | RSS

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Our 103rd Podcast Records Tonight — Ask Us Things http://egmr.net/2014/10/103rd-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/103rd-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 09:00:34 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161629 Nothing in life, they say, is quite so exhilarating as being shot at without result. In our weekly piece of the internet, shots are fired and dodged on an almost […]

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Nothing in life, they say, is quite so exhilarating as being shot at without result. In our weekly piece of the internet, shots are fired and dodged on an almost by-the-minute basis. That’s why you really want to be there when we record our latest episode, episode one-oh-three, of the eGamer Podcast tonight. Well, not there at that point in time, but like, contributing to it and then being there later in the week when it’s out. You know…

In contributing, you will be doing your country and gaming a service. Know that. So go ahead and scroll down to the comments section, and get to asking us some questions. Think up anything you’d like, whether it pertains to gaming or anything else. We’re always looking to get our beloved readers and listeners involved so here is your chance.

Then be sure to check out either the site, our Libsyn page, iTunes or our RSS feed later in the week for the podcast, which will have all the answers and more. Tell your friends!

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Life, The Universe And Gaming: #GamerGate Is A Societal Issue http://egmr.net/2014/10/life-universe-gaming-gamergate-finding-middle-ground/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/life-universe-gaming-gamergate-finding-middle-ground/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:00:22 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161491 This is an unprecedented event in the videogames industry. Typically something happens and controversy ensues, a bunch of people fight it out for a while and the industry as a […]

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This is an unprecedented event in the videogames industry. Typically something happens and controversy ensues, a bunch of people fight it out for a while and the industry as a whole moves on from it. Typically the industry benefits from the argument and gaming is stronger for it. This is not a typical situation. It’s been well over a month now and the #GamerGate movement is still going strong.

Now there are a lot of you who still don’t understand exactly what #GamerGate is, and even the Wikipedia page is maddeningly unhelpful in this respect. Likewise the Escapist page provides some better explanations but requires solidly a week to read through in its entirety. And depending on who you ask, #GamerGate is two entirely different things.

The pro-GG crowd will tell you it’s about ethics in game journalism.
The anti-GG crowd will tell you it’s about harassment of women.

Many people think that you are either with or against the #GamerGate movement. I disagree. Only a few months ago I wrote a column on the idea of forcing sides to be picked in any situation. Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle. But that’s because I’m willing to hear both sides without immediately dismissing them. And honestly, I cannot rightly call one side wrong for dismissing the other.

On the pro-GG side, there are internet trolls who will ‘doxx’ anyone who speaks out against #GamerGate, revealing private information to complete strangers on the internet. Then there are the death and rape threats which force developers and journalists away from their homes and make them fear for their lives.

On the anti-GG side, there are those who would seek to take any situation and turn it into a misogyny argument, immediately and quite ironically dismissing the views of women and minorities that support the #GamerGate movement, and doing equally as much to make it about sexism by outright ignoring the claims laid against developers and journalists by the #GamerGate movement.

I’ve seen accusations that the anti-GG movement is responsible for faking death and rape threats in order to discredit the pro-GG movement (although I cannot necessarily call true or false). I’ve also seen first-hand, some of the so-called Social Justice Warriors who used a recent school shooting to blame misogyny because the guy who did it apparently suffered a bad breakup and was angry at his now ex-girlfriend. Fair enough, but when Jack Thompson was blaming Grand Theft Auto what did the gaming collective think of that? Throw in misogyny and suddenly it’s a valid argument? Call of Duty attackers should lead with that next time.

So you see, even the anti-GG movement has a lot to answer for. But in truth, I’m just talking about the outliers when in fact there are a lot of people on either side who make very valid and logical arguments. You just have to sift through the torrents of argument over or not it’s really about ethics and not about sexism, because really that’s what a lot of it has come down to now.

Last week Felicia Day penned a blog post in which she explained why #GamerGate had made her so fearful of gamers — although I have to say, I found the sentiment rather prejudiced because I equated it in my mind to her seeing a person of colour and crossing the road, I mean really now — and fair play to her, she poured her heart out and made my tattoos and t-shirts of a gaming variety feel like warning symbols against me and my culture. I felt terrible. But within hours her personal address and contact number were revealed online. Why? Because we just have to be dicks and prove a point?

Another website conducted research on the #GamerGate hashtag and found that a fair amount of the mentions from tweets about the movement involved the likes of Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu, with the article ultimately questioning whether the movement really was about ethics in journalism or attacks against women. After looking at the link I felt that it didn’t take into account a lot of tweets that criticised developers or journalists without actually mentioning anyone, but it was hard to deny that the likes of Intel and Mercedes were effectively attacked by users of a site. And why? Because we just have to be dicks and prove a point?

In the past few months I’ve been struggling to find a comfortable middle ground between combating misogyny and combating feigned misogyny. There were some situations in which I felt people were absolutely justified in defending themselves, and there were some in which I felt they had no ground to stand on. But sometimes it just got a bit much. For example, this article in which a person online made some tweets and then ignored responses to those tweets (granted they were retarded responses) but then decided to attack that responder based on their WoW stats, ultimately leading to, yes, sexist responses from an obviously immature and childlike person.

It’s even more frustrating when it’s a man who is trying to tell other men (and even women) that they’re wrong and evil and how dare they, and any objections or counter-arguments (no matter how valid) to their statements are met with derision or complete ignorance, because obviously I’m just trying to “mansplain” my way out of a situation, something they say without a hint of irony. Because it’s not about having a fair and valid discussion between adults, it’s about shit-flinging and fighting fire with fire, even if nobody even has a flame to begin with.

So with all of this said, it should come as a startling revelation when I say that gaming is in fact miles ahead of the curve.

Had to...

Had to…

It was a stark realisation for me one day when, while interacting with someone away from gaming, they expressed disdain at how men treat women, always expecting sex or some other reward in exchange for favours, and how there just aren’t any nice guys around. And I couldn’t help but think, “You just don’t know how big and contentious of an issue this is online right now.” The thing is, we on the internet are actually a fair bit more, let’s call it ‘wise’ than most others. At least, those of us getting into these arguments.

There is a whole other contingent of society that simply does not understand the idea of gender equality or any other kind of equality; who go onto social networks and try to ‘pick up’ people, either by flirting or going that extra mile and posting nudes of themselves. Suddenly I’m reminded that not only is the gaming community and the internet as a whole not actually that bad but actually, we’re a hell of a lot more progressive than most other communities. And suddenly I start to feel miles and miles ahead of any of my non-gaming friends who still treat women like objects and don’t understand the concept of individuality at all.

On the internet nobody cares if you’re homosexual, multicoloured or poor as fuck. If you make a decent argument then there is a chance you could be heard. If you make enough of an impact then people will take notice. In America you still cannot hope to have a seat in Congress if you’re atheist and even now there is homosexual discrimination running rampant. Online? Who gives a fuck, if you’re making good points.

I think that we spend far too long faffing over the outliers and extremists, making silly comparisons between #GamerGate and ISIS and immediately dismissing very valid arguments when what we should be looking for is a middle ground. Whereas in society it is impossible to convince someone to see your viewpoint, we in the gaming industry, like many in the field of science, are certainly capable of and really should be seeing both sides of an argument and finding a middle ground somewhere, dismissing those more drastic folk as bad apples like any other community would.

This column probably won’t change many minds because those minds didn’t come into it looking to be changed, and that’s a crying shame. Too often we go into things with an illusion of correctness and the feeling that we clearly (obviously) know better. As a result we are dismissive and combative and we seek to undermine rather than understand. If society, and in particular gaming, is to progress, then we need to get around that. To date, I’m not sure anyone has actually been killed or raped as a result of #GamerGate. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen, or won’t happen, but rather that maybe a lot of the fear is, as they say, in the mind? I’ll let you guys decide how you feel about it.

From my side, I’d personally like for those who are making #GamerGate tweets about developers to perhaps do it more or just adopt a new hashtag and put the current one to bed because its image has been irreparably ruined across the rest of the gaming sphere. Right now the argument is so steadfastly focussed on proving whether or not it really is about ethics that the actual ethics talk is being drowned out and the “it’s about ethics” argument has become entirely satirised. In effect, the #GamerGate movement is doing damage to gaming rather than helping anyone. Surely the likes of TotalBiscuit and GamingAnarchist, two genuinely great Brits who make very valid pro-GG points on an almost daily basis, have to see that by now.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Review: Sunset Overdrive Overdelivers On Quality http://egmr.net/2014/10/review-sunset-overdrive/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/review-sunset-overdrive/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 07:30:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161391 Visit review on site for scoring. There is a running argument in the videogames industry that games have become far too serious and same-y, to the point that anything even […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

There is a running argument in the videogames industry that games have become far too serious and same-y, to the point that anything even slightly different from the norm would either be celebrated or shunned for standing out; those that are celebrated typically introduce some unique and fun new element whereas those shunned are simply trying too hard to make fetch happen, so to speak.

Sunset Overdrive has fallen into both of those categories prior to its release. On the one side it looked like incredible fun, but on the other we questioned its novelty factor and wondered whether it would last through its duration. The short demonstration of the game that we got did no favours for this argument but now at last we can finally say that we were categorically wrong to think it would not stand the test of its playtime. We can finally say for certain that Sunset Overdrive is actually an excellent Xbox One exclusive.

Will it sell consoles? Probably not, because let’s be honest, one really great game does not a good console make. But it’s certainly a little extra incentive if you were hoping to be swayed in one way or the other. Let’s talk about why this is so, shall we?

The first thing you need to know, since light travels faster than anything else, is that Sunset Overdrive is a gorgeous title that really takes full advantage of its Xbox One platform, presenting a beautifully crafted world that mixes realistic visuals with colourful and highly saturated environments that create this air of cartoon-like punk flair. The game looks like what an eighties surfer might think a game released many decades later might look like, and that’s really the best way we can describe it.

From the get-go you’re thrown pretty much right into the thick of things as you get off a train and stumble straight into what is effectively the tutorial but is also the protagonist’s — and by extension your — first experience of Sunset City, which has been plunged into chaos. Let’s back up for a minute. You are an employee of FizzCo, a company that has manufactured the energy drink Overdrive, and is about to launch it to consumers. Once they start trying it out, their bodies morph into abominations known as OD and all hell breaks loose. You barely make it back to your apartment and are then saved by a guy who gives you a gun and teaches you how to traverse Sunset City.

Admittedly the beginning of the game started off quite slowly and confusingly, practically throwing you into the mix without much in the way of explanation or rationalisation for why you’re there and what you mean to achieve by being there. At that point I was ready to call Sunset Overdrive a hype-baiting, mediocre experience. But then it started to pick up and pick up and pick up some more and it just kept picking up and the story became something I can only describe as well worth any form of time investment, spoilers notwithstanding. I loved it. In fact, I still love it.

What’s really awesome is that Sunset Overdrive is under no illusions about what type of game it’s trying to be. It’s trying to be the type of game that is aware that it’s a game. In that respect, Sunset Overdrive is very self-aware, positively shattering the fourth wall at every opportunity and creating a world in which the real-life player is basically mirrored by the in-game player. And at times it’s in the silliest ways such as characters pointing reference to ‘floaty arrows’ and ‘weird blips on the map’ and so on. Even such things as in-game announcers that are commenting directly to you as the player, as much as they are to your character. We adore a game that is not afraid to call itself what it is, and Sunset Overdrive really pulled it off in just the classiest manner.

The real meat of this game is navigation and traversal and so as a direct result, it’s going to take you some time to get to full grips with all of the parkour elements on offer here. There are rails to grind, walls to run across, cars to bounce over and more. You mix these together for maximum effect but also to generate style points, which have their own bonuses attached such as granting powerups during fights. While it’s quick to pick up, it will definitely take a while for you to really master.

The mix of open world traversal and combat makes for a nice blend of action and exploration while mostly feeling seamless and smooth, however it must be admitted that sometimes it can get very clumsy; at least until you’ve properly got all of the button presses down. In a way this is a form of coming to grips with the game and we’d rather have that over something you could instantly start and win at. Thankfully while coming to grips with this system, if you should die (and you will die a lot at first until you do) you’re not as severely punished for it as you might think. The game typically respawns you somewhere near where you’ve died, and in new and comical ways each time. For example, a coffin comes up from the ground or an alien ship ejects its abducted cargo and so on. It’s silly and stupid but at the same time entertaining, which has the crazy effect of eliminating the frustration of dying. That in itself is quite the feat, it has to be said.

Your in-game character may be male or female, and you may customise such things as hair, facial features, clothing and so on. It’s irrelevant really because at any time you can change every single aspect (including gender) of your character, if you so desire. Using money you pick up from destroying crates or killing OD, you can purchase and unlock more clothes, which range from underwear to hats to pretty much every other aspect of clothing you can think of including some truly bizarre ones. Interestingly the game has no restrictions on gender-based clothing, meaning you could if you desired wear a bikini as a male character. We think that’s a nice touch.

Besides money there are also Overdrive cans which are also acquired through killing enemies and can be used to purchase ammo, or acquire new weapons. Each weapon is suitably hilarious and comes with its own pop-culture references. Weapons are strong against particular types of OD and can be used in combinations for maximum effect. Further, using a weapon will level it up the more you use it, which allows it to be ‘upgraded’ by creating and equipping Amps, which you can think of like Perks in Fallout. Once you reach a certain style level, they activate. You can make more Amps by picking up collectibles strewn across the map and then ‘cooking’ them. Some of the better Amps require you to play a quick form of wave defence first.

On the note of collectibles, there really are a lot in this game. Just a stupid amount, really. You can purchase collectibles maps using Overdrive cans but holy hell, you are going to be spending an age just acquiring the collectibles. And with good incentive since they can be traded in for cool Amps. Besides the Amps, you also get Overdrives, which are similar in that they grant bonuses but whereas the Amps are only activated at particular style levels, the Overdrives are passive bonuses that are always present once equipped. Unlike Amps, which are created, you can only unlock Overdrives using Badges, which you earn by simply doing things. Grind on rails a lot and earn a Grind Badge, which you can then use to unlock a Grind Overdrive. It’s a little confusing and overwhelming at first, but trust us when we say that it’s this level of extensive intricacy that makes Sunset Overdrive such a deep and engaging game to play.

There are various side quests strewn across the map and while most of these are effectively clichéd fetch quests, escort missions and other things you’d find in other games, they’re still quite entertaining in that they’re typically always done differently here. Now we can’t say this was always the case but certainly a lot of times there were twists and turns and what seemed like a standard, arbitrary, run-of-the-mill quest turned into something entirely different.

In doing these quests and the main story which once again picks up after a slow start, you will meet various factions in Sunset City of all sorts of variety from preppy college kids to samurai warriors to LARPers, each of which will have quests for you to perform, over and above all the collectibles and ambient questing. But that’s not all! There is also a set of weekly challenges which will be updated by Insomniac each (you guessed it…) week, and there’s even a broadcasting thing in-game called Sunset TV, which the developers will be using to communicate directly with players.

As if that isn’t enough, there is also a cooperative mode called Chaos Squad which allows you to invite a bunch of your friends to play through various missions including a Night Defence mode. Playing through co-op unlocks a bunch of items for you to take back to your singleplayer story, and the more you play in co-op, the more you unlock for your singleplayer. The result is a lot of cooperative hours because all that sweet loot, man.

In all, Sunset Overdrive has really delivered on what we as fans have been expecting from it. It’s entertaining and memorable and while we’d never recommend a single game that could justify a small-fortune-level purchase, we can say that it’s currently the best you can get on Xbox One in terms of a fun and lasting gaming experience. It’s got a lot of game within it and really, that’s all you need.

But even then, Insomniac weren’t content to simply stop there. No. You get the humour and you get the cool methods of exploration, but none of it is forced onto you, and you still get more out of the package as well. If you don’t want to grind and bounce everywhere, you can fast travel. If you don’t want to do the main story, you can just do side quests. If you don’t want to kill enemies, you can just run right by them. There is choice here in the game and even death has little consequence. Typically not a good thing but here, it just works.

Sunset Overdrive is quite possibly one of the best games we’ve played this year and it’s refreshing to see a game actually live up to its hype. Goes to show that sometimes a developer actually can deliver and they don’t need millions of preorders, a popular console or a $500 million budget to do so.

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Head On Down To The Sci-Fi & Horror Day At T-Fest In Trenchtown This Saturday http://egmr.net/2014/10/head-sci-fi-horror-day-t-fest-trenchtown-saturday/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/head-sci-fi-horror-day-t-fest-trenchtown-saturday/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:00:01 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161357 If you’re situated in Cape Town and looking for something to do tomorrow, you should probably check out the latest in ZombieGamer’s series of T-Fest events, once again hosted at […]

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If you’re situated in Cape Town and looking for something to do tomorrow, you should probably check out the latest in ZombieGamer’s series of T-Fest events, once again hosted at Trenchtown.

This time themed around Sci-Fi and Horror, perhaps because Halloween (?), the ZombieGamer folks who have pushed eSports on consoles like no other entity this year in South Africa, will have a wide range of attractions for you to head on over and check out. Here are the details for the event:

Date: Saturday 25 October 2014
Time: Event starts at 1pm and runs until around 7pm (If you’re still having a good time, feel free to stick around)
Where: Trenchtown, 92 Station Road, Observatory, Cape Town
What: T-Fest Sci-Fi and Horror Day
Cost: Free entry to the event.

Attractions will include gaming, cosplay, a market and more. If you’d like full details of what to expect then click this text if you please.

Another great event from ZombieGamer and one CTers should definitely check out. So go, okay. Just go. I wish I could…

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eGamer Podcast #102: Abusive Gaming http://egmr.net/2014/10/egamer-podcast-102-abusive-gaming/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/egamer-podcast-102-abusive-gaming/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:00:21 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160832 Recorded: 22 October 2014 Welcome to episode one-hundred-and-two of the eGamer Podcast which is almost entirely the most controversial episode yet. Basically just because it’s like anything else on the […]

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Recorded: 22 October 2014

Welcome to episode one-hundred-and-two of the eGamer Podcast which is almost entirely the most controversial episode yet. Basically just because it’s like anything else on the internet right now. Cue feminists.

Topics discussed this week include Hatred the game, Feminism in games and Driveclub’s broken servers.

Here are the shownotes for this week’s episode:

  • What is Hatred and why is it so offensive?
  • Is feminism important regarding games such as GTA V?
  • We take a moment to consider #GamerGate.
  • So Driveclub is still completely broken…
  • Has the the Xbox One begun to surpass the PS4?
  • The Call of Duty news is a daily reality.
  • Why must games media abuse its consumers?
  • We answer your questions.

Don’t forget that you can subscribe to the RSS feed so you never miss an episode. Enjoy.

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | RSS

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Xbox One November Update Brings Custom Backgrounds, Profiles, Sharing And More http://egmr.net/2014/10/xbox-one-november-update-brings-custom-backgrounds-profiles-sharing/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/xbox-one-november-update-brings-custom-backgrounds-profiles-sharing/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:00:07 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160817 You know what’s great about being an Xbox user besides the cheaper games, cheaper subscription to online services, comfortable controllers with infinite battery life, motion and voice controls and ability […]

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You know what’s great about being an Xbox user besides the cheaper games, cheaper subscription to online services, comfortable controllers with infinite battery life, motion and voice controls and ability to use my console as a multimedia device when I’m not feeling like playing a game? The updates.

The Xbox very rarely requires system updates and when it does, they typically bring massive improvements that can change the way you use the console. Or at least make it a better experience. Take for example the November system update for Xbox One which is looking to change the dashboard experience a bit by offering a few things. Check out the video above, or just read this entire passage that I’ve just copy-pasted off Major Nelson’s blog for you guys:

  • Show Who You Are – Some of the most requested features being released this month include the ability to customize your Xbox One background and showcase and share some of your favorite achievements and game clips.
    • Custom Backgrounds – The #1 fan-requested feature is making its initial debut for preview members. For the first time, each account on your Xbox One can have a customized background. You can choose a custom color or achievement art as your background on Xbox One, with more customization options coming down the road.
    • Gamer Profile – You can now share your location and bio as part of your profile. You can set these options on your Xbox One console and use Xbox One SmartGlass to browse to other people’s profiles and check out their showcase items. Additionally, you can now select a set of showcase items that are displayed when other gamers look at your profile on an Xbox One console. You can use Xbox One SmartGlass or Xbox One console to add or remove up to six game clips or achievements that will be displayed in a carousel format.
    • Tweet about your Favorite Game Clips – You can now share your favorite Xbox One game clips with your followers on Twitter. Use the Share button on any game clip you have created and select Twitter to compose the Tweet.
  • A New Way to Watch TV – With new Live TV and Twitter integration, you can discover new shows to love and see what people are saying on Twitter about shows in real-time.
    • Live TV Trending – Starting today for preview members in the U.S., Canada and the UK, a new tab will be available in OneGuide that displays the top 20 most watched TV shows, with the list filtered down to the shows that are currently available to you based on your OneGuide settings. The Live TV Trending list is updated by the minute, so you can easily discover shows that are popular with other viewers. The Trending tab in OneGuide is updated to display Twitter – Live TV trending first and Xbox – Live TV Trending second. You can tune to a specific show by pressing the A button.
    • Twitter TV Trending – New this month in preview, you can see what Live TV is trending based on the highest number of tweets. Twitter TV Trending will initially be available to preview members in the U.S.
    • Xbox TV Trending – The Trending tab in OneGuide is updated to display Twitter trending first and Xbox – Live TV Trending second. Xbox – Live TV Trending is based on the number of Xbox One owners currently watching that show in each country, pulled from anonymous data collected at a national level.
    • Tweets in MiniGuide – See the actual tweets for the Live TV shows in real time and quickly find the Twitter #hashtag to join the conversation.
    • Recents and Favorites in MiniGuide – MiniGuide has been updated to include your favorite TV channels in a combined Recents and Favorites area and MiniGuide can now be activated via voice by saying “Xbox Select – MiniGuide” while watching TV.

 

  • Store improvements and SmartGlass updates – We are also excited to roll out these cool features:
    • Store improvements – The Store pages on Xbox One have been improved to enable you to more quickly browse and find content. The navigation buttons were moved to the far left so you can find them easier. You can also more quickly find game add-ons, perform store specific searches and recommendations are more prominently displayed. Finally, store categories have been standardized so you can easily see the top items in each query at a glance.
    • Friends’ Game Activity on SmartGlass – You can now see a list of your friends that have played a given game within the Xbox One SmartGlass experience.
    • Games with Gold & Deals with Gold on SmartGlass – For gamers with an Xbox Live Gold subscription, you can browse “Free Games with Gold” and discounted content with Gold and initiate download of the content to your Xbox One console from your mobile device.
    • SmartGlass Store Improvements – We added a new section for Apps to make it easier to find and download apps for your Xbox One, as well as adding a Coming Soon filter for Games and Add Ons to make it easier to see upcoming Xbox One releases sorted by anticipated release date.
  • Internet Explorer updates – There are a few improvements Internet Explorer available this month:
    • Snap IE – From the Address Bar in Internet Explorer, you can now easily snap from a full screen experience and move Internet Explorer into snap mode.
    • Featured sites – Now, Internet Explorer will show a number when something is newly-added to featured sites. Newly-added sites will also display a badge until you launch them or seven days have passed since the site was added to the Featured list.
  • Updates to the Preview dashboard app – We’re gamifying the Preview dashboard. Here are some new features we are adding:
    • My Stats – If you are in the Preview program, you will now earn points for providing feedback, including points for completing Quests, Surveys, Quick Poll questions, and rating the update. These will be shared in the Preview dashboard under My Stats. The more points you get, the more you level up, and the more rewards you’ll earn. Keep checking back for special bonus point opportunities.
    • Leaderboard – We’re also adding a leaderboard that shows how you stack up against your friends based on the points you have earned. If you don’t have friends in the Preview program, we’ll show how you stack up against others in the program. Keep checking back – more things are coming to the My Stats page soon.

If you’re in the Xbox One preview program then you should have all of these features and updates already. However if you’re like me and aren’t a complete hipster then you can look forward to all of these changes in November. You may now proceed to tell me what a fanboy I am in the comments below. Also if you’re looking forward to any particular change that will come in the update.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition Promises A Better RPG Experience Than Destiny http://egmr.net/2014/10/preview-dragon-age-inquisition/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/preview-dragon-age-inquisition/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:30:22 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160360 Here at EGMR we believe in equal opportunities and fair representation for all. Therefore, Dragon Age is a particularly important series of games because it is, in our opinions, the […]

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Here at EGMR we believe in equal opportunities and fair representation for all. Therefore, Dragon Age is a particularly important series of games because it is, in our opinions, the only fair representation of dragons in the gaming sphere. Too often are dragons misrepresented and discriminated against and Dragon Age pioneers the correct way of handling these matters. #DragonGate2014

Name: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Genre: Dragonism
Players: 1
Multiplayer: Online co-operative
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Developers: BioWare
Publishers: Electronic Arts
Release Date: 18 (US) / 21 (UK) November 2014
Price: $70 (Xbox One)

In all seriousness, I’m a massive fan of the Dragon Age series but I think that goes without saying for anyone who reads this site often enough. Inquisition is the third iteration in the Dragon Age franchise, and will be releasing next month after a few very painful delays. Today we’re going to take a look not just at Inquisition in its current guise, but also the history of the Dragon Age series and how we got to this point in time. Starting at the beginning, with:

 
Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins released at a golden opportunity during a barren period in the RPG world. Nothing else was out that played similarly and so it dominated its genre. It only helped that the game itself was pretty rad as well. Origins broke ground in doing what no other party-based RPG has managed, and introduced genuinely charming and memorable starting characters with Alistair and Morrigan; instant fan favourites. Origins also introduced the idea of grey-area choices with neither choice necessarily being the ‘good’ one but rather each decision reflecting the type of character personality you wanted to have.

Origins brought with it a strong strategic element that required gamers to pause and make tactical decisions in combat, including character placements, crowd control and even move orders. The game included a method for creating automatic tactical executions but for the most part required micro-management. Many fans of the old Balder’s Gate series were immediately won over, although some found it too complex and demanding. Which is a shame because it really was a great game. I gave Origin six full playthroughs including one in which I did all the DLC.

 
Dragon Age II

Slightly more polarising was the sequel to Origins; whereas the first game allowed you to create a character from a variety of ‘races’ Dragon Age II presented you with a preexisting human character called Hawke, and then allowed you pick the class and gender of your character only. The idea was to create a faster-paced, more personal narrative that serve the overarching story of a champion being born amidst a time of turmoil in a faraway land.

To some extent it succeeded but BioWare failed to adequately deliver on various fronts and ultimately led gamers to no longer trust cinematic trailers because they just lied through their teeth. The game was faster-paced but at the loss of almost all tactical and situational control, requiring you to mash buttons rather than strategically issue orders (on lower difficulties). Further, the game world was very copy-paste and led to a lack of incentive to explore. The framed narrative of the story was liked by some but most preferred the less personal, more world-shaping story of the first game and in the end the sequel was regarded as a step down from the first game. I gave DAII three full playthroughs including one in which I did all the DLC


 

Cue Dragon Age: Inquisition and immediately you can see where they have done their homework and looked to fix things: There are now early gameplay trailers out. Which immediately tells us, okay, we know that BioWare are not half-assing this game the way they did the last one. One might argue that the last one was rushed out before it was ready due to publisher pressure. Whether that is true or not, Inquisition’s delays also mean that it has been allowed ample time to be created and tweaked to perfection; a masterpiece in the making then? We sure hope so!

Dragon Age: Inquisition brings back a few things from the first game, including the pause-and-play tactical gameplay that requires you to think strategically and issue orders to your team in order to come out victorious in skirmishes. It also brings back the character creation mechanic and allows you to be things other than human this time around, adding in the extra ‘race’ of Qunari, to go with Elf, Dwarf and aforementioned Homo sapiens spp. There is also a much larger world and story this time around, just like in Origins.

A strong emphasis has been placed on the player’s choices, which is ironic because, you know, Mass Effect 3 and all that… Your player character will have to make some tough decisions and your party characters will be affected by those decisions; some leading to fallouts and others leading to friendships or even romances depending on how you choose to play your game. Exploration then factors into this because your choices will lead to ‘liberating’ certain areas that then become free to explore. Think of an amped up version of the viewpoints from Assassin’s Creed, but with a slightly more forceful approach.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is trying to do what Origins did, with a story that spans a land much larger than the first game’s setting of Ferelden, in the fictional world of Thedas. BioWare have strongly hinted at the game being set in the land of Orlais, but we do know that it’s going to be a massive open world that will look stunning and varied, you know, powered by Frostbite 3 and all.

Following from the story of Dragon Age II, an all-out civil war has begun between the mages and templars; quite possibly the most interesting political story that you’ll find this side of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. You are an Inquisitor and your task is to create a strong party of characters and investigate. That’s really all you need to know about the story right now.

As to the rest of the game, we know that Inquisition will have a multiplayer cooperative mode that pits four players as a team against… we’re not sure what just yet. There hasn’t been much revealed about this mode other than that it is separate from the singleplayer, but if the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer is anything to go by then it’s going to be gooood. Meanwhile, a few new characters have been revealed over on the BioWare blog but the biggest returning character thus far has undoubtedly been Morrigan. You know, if you’re into her… (I know I am.)

 

Suspected Selling Points
  • A return to roots for the series means excellent CRPG gameplay.
  • A sprawling and beautiful open world to get lost in.
  • Political intrigue and powerful decision-making.

 

Potential Pitfalls
  • It could end up being as formulaic as the last one.
  • Is it just too ambitious at this point?
  • Can you just smell the gated DLC areas?

Dragon Age: Inquisition could well be BioWare’s apology letter for the failings of Dragon Age II and even Mass Effect 3; it looks like a strong and solid offering thus far and is honestly the only (read: the only) game that I’ve looked forward to this year. The only one. That might be because I’m a fan of BioWare games but surely there’s reason for that given how much I get accused of being tough on everything else… right? Maybe they’re a great series of games or something? Time will tell and very soon we’ll see if Inquisition stands up to the test.

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Review: D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die Delivers Delicious Depravity http://egmr.net/2014/10/review-d4-dark-dreams-dont-die/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/review-d4-dark-dreams-dont-die/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:15:49 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158251 Visit review on site for scoring. “Look for D.” No, that’s not a sexually suggestive come-on but rather the final words of Peggy, the wife of protagonist David Young in […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

“Look for D.”

No, that’s not a sexually suggestive come-on but rather the final words of Peggy, the wife of protagonist David Young in D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die (from here on, simply D4). See they were happily going about their business one day and suddenly, they weren’t. Following a traumatic and dramatic death in which she muttered those final words before fading away into the [insert relevant post-life belief here], David vowed to find her killer and make him pay but also to bring her back. How? Well where Peggy died (I’m sure someone will take issue with this) David acquired the ability to travel into the past.

Again. How? Glad you asked. Using mementos, which are little trinkets of intrinsic value to their owners, David can enter and investigate the past. In doing so, he hopes to not just find out what happened but also to entirely change the past. While doing so, the guilt of her death and the trauma of losing her wracks him with grief and starts to affect not just his persona but his sanity. The result? Probably one of the most downright bizarre games you will ever play.

And that’s really the best way to describe D4 if you were asked to do so in a single word: Bizarre.

D4 plays out very much like a Telltale Games game, such as The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us. There’s an overarching story that spans multiple chapters presented in an episodic format, however each ‘episode’ contains its own story as well. In D4 those episodes are all contained within the actual game and it is rather called ‘season one’ with each ‘episode’ basically being a separate case for David to investigate. Each episode will then also contain an intro and outro credits sequence and the result of this is a very cheesy nineties cop drama type of feel which is emphasised further by the Boston setting complete with believable accents and colloquialisms for authenticity.

Like Telltale’s games, the gameplay is mostly point and click. That’s not to say it’s entirely so, because there are also some quick-time event sections, but for the most part you will be surveying a scene and trying to solve problems based on what you can interact with. It’s a bit more robust in that you have some freedom of movement through a level, and levels play out both in the past and the present (we’ll come back to this), but the overall gist is there. Think of a Japanese-styled Telltale game and you’ve got a better idea of what to expect.

Visuals are handled in a cel-shaded manner that is stylised and uses a lot of accenting. The result is something that looks immediately familiar, once again, to anyone who has played a Telltale game. Controlling the game is a matter of choosing between using your Kinect or, as I very gratefully discovered many hours later, your Xbox One controller. The motion controls and gestures work well enough using Kinect 2.0 although being seated in certain positions does have the adverse effect of confusing the Kinect and resulting in choppy controlling of the game. Further, it just gets really tiring after a while since you will literally be using your arms to point and click. Where it gets a lot more fun is during conversations where you simply speak responses, or during the QTEs where you’re basically going crazy in front of your Xbox One, and somehow being recognised by that magnificent device. All of this said, it’s still advisable to just stick with the controller. You’ll be able to play for much longer that way, without worrying about sore arms or wonky controls.

The story plays out mostly through narration and exposition by David, who is joined by a colourful cast of characters including Amanda, who is for all intents and purposes an anthropomorphic cat. In the present, David is a broken man who lives alone in his apartment but for Amanda who just ‘moved in’ one day (but doesn’t speak) and his detective friend who basically takes care of him and helps with providing clues for investigation. Upon presentation of a clue, David then ‘dives’ into the past and investigates, uncovering clues through a myriad of means.

In the past, there are yet more colourful characters to interact with, some recurring, others not. They can present you with optional secondary case that play out like mini-games, or just present more exposition and fluff. Interacting with them and any other object will consume stamina that must be replenished by eating food, found throughout levels. If you run out, you will pass out and wake up at the present. Don’t worry though, because you can traverse between the two tenses at any time from the menu.

Further to your stamina bar are two other bars, including health and vision. Health only really matters during QTEs where you lose one point of it each time you fail a QTE button-press. Some consequence for failure then. And vision is basically your ‘detective mode’ in D4, consuming a point and allowing you to sniff out clues and points of interest like a bloodhound. Or sleuth, perhaps. All of these can be replenished manually, if you so desire, by purchasing items from either Amanda in the present or her cat persona in the past (seriously), and you can also buy clothes, beards and other items. You can even buy gifts for the other characters, although I never quite ascertained why other than base altruism. Completing secondary cases will unlock clothes and other items for your perusal.

In fact there’s actually quite a lot to be done in this game, over and above the main story. There are letters and case documents and evidence pieces and a whole bunch of things to find and read through, in the game. If anything, D4 is an exercise in excess, given the amount of content it provides you. A very welcome addition to this sort of game because it really sucks you into its crazy world as a result. And sure, you might try your own predictions of the outcome of the story and declare the mystery solved but trust me, no.

If there is any real criticism that I could have of D4, it’s that I don’t understand why it’s being marketed as a Kinect title. I mean, you can use your controller, and you should use your controller because honestly, it’s just less painful that way. After an hour playing this game my arms were sore; maybe that’s a reflection of my lack of fitness but maybe I want to relax when I play murder mysteries? It just seems like a pointless exercise in motion controls and I’m honestly relieved they put in the controller support.

Thankfully the story and setting make up for it. If you’re not one for Swery-type games (or anything by Suda51) then you’re probably going to be playing this game with a permanent look of befuddlement but anyone else ought to be entertained. And then some. Because D4 genuinely is an entertaining experience. It says a lot that while playing it, I really did not want to stop playing it, even when the need to use a toilet occurred, or indeed the call of Dota came. That ought to say a lot for just how immersive and refreshingly different D4 is. And with much, much higher production values than Deadly Premonition, it has an adequate platform for showing you just how crazy a game can get when not held back by a restrictive publisher and allowed to take some risks. For that, D4 has our respect, and a stellar rating to boot.

Little-known fact: time is the fourth dimension. Neat, right?

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Our 102nd Podcast Records Tonight — Ask Us Things http://egmr.net/2014/10/102nd-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/102nd-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:00:28 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158142 Full disclosure: This article was done two weeks ago before we even left for rAge 2014 and it was significantly different to what you’re reading here. But then we recorded […]

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Full disclosure: This article was done two weeks ago before we even left for rAge 2014 and it was significantly different to what you’re reading here. But then we recorded a rAge special and that necessitated the moving of questions into this week; you know, since last week’s podcast had already been recorded by the time Tuesday came around. Thus, this is now the questions article for episode one-oh-two of the eGamer Podcast a week later. And without the rAge theme.

You know the drill by now, but for those new to us it’s quite simple: Just think up some cool questions for us, whether it pertains to gaming or not, and then ask it in the comments below. That’s it.

Then be sure to check out either the site, our Libsyn page, iTunes or our RSS feed later in the week for the podcast, which will have all the answers and more. Tell your friends!

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Bring Your Own Lightsaber To The Star Wars RPG Day Hosted By Geek Girls SA http://egmr.net/2014/10/bring-lightsaber-star-wars-rpg-day-hosted-geek-girls-sa/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/bring-lightsaber-star-wars-rpg-day-hosted-geek-girls-sa/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:15:25 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=159796 Durbanites, geeks, lovers of boardgames and Star Wars, your time has come at last! Geek Girls SA is hosting a boardgame (sorry, tabletop!) session to the theme of the Star […]

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Durbanites, geeks, lovers of boardgames and Star Wars, your time has come at last!

Geek Girls SA is hosting a boardgame (sorry, tabletop!) session to the theme of the Star Wars RPG over at the Unseen Shoppe in Westville, this coming weekend. Everyone is welcome along, and you can check out more information either using the image above or the Facebook event, which says the following:

Girls and Guys join us for a Geek Girls SA event at The Unseen Shoppe in Westville Durban. Come learn how to play or show us your skills in a galaxy far, far away.

Go ahead and join that event and then show up when the date arrives, to indulge in some Star Wars tabletop goodness. *waves hand*

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rAge 2014 Roundup & Highlights — It’s The Last One, We Promise http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-roundup-last-one-promise/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-roundup-last-one-promise/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:00:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160318 Welcome to the very last word on rAge 2014, in which we’ve rounded up every single article of coverage that we’ve done for the event, all in one easily available […]

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Welcome to the very last word on rAge 2014, in which we’ve rounded up every single article of coverage that we’ve done for the event, all in one easily available piece of the internet just in case you either missed something and don’t want to go back and look, or just want to see what else we did besides what you’ve already read thus far. You have been reading our coverage thus far, yes?

Before we round-up all the relevant coverage, let’s first take a stroll through our thoughts by asking the eight members of the team who attended this year for a few words about rAge 2014 in its entirety. Here you go:

AG wrote: rAge is an annual excuse to focus on nothing but geeky pleasures and this year enabled that wonderfully. The highlight was not only the dearth of new games to see and feel – Sunset Overdrive, AC: Unity and Dying Light in particular – but also simply being surrounded by like-minded people. People whom I could engage with in discussions on comics, gaming, TV and movies. For me, that’s what rAge is about. That and sweating inordinately. Also, enough hugs to keep a support group content.

Adam wrote: rAge this year was much better than last year’s and we got such a great variety of games on show. It was great to be working with such a dedicated team at EGMR and getting the chance to meet everyone in person properly was brilliant at rAge. It was a genuinely fun experience and this year the indie games, from my perspective, truly knocked it out of the park. The home_coded stand showed off the best of local dev talent. However, my favourite game of the expo had to be Far Cry 4. The game really developed on the foundations laid down in Far Cry 3 and built upon them.

Bianca wrote: Though rAge was eventful as always, there are only a couple of things that made this one special to me. It was the first time I was attending as press, so I got to see the press room and do a super fangirly interview for the first time. I also wielded two lightsabers and did my first group cosplay. I met the guys from EGMR who accepted me with open arms and awesome badges, and I challenged Cavie to a dance/sing-off where I was publicly shamed when I learnt he dances like a black man.

Bracken wrote: While I enjoyed Dying Light and Evolve the most overall out of the games at the event, my gaming moment of the event has to go to the ending of the Far Cry 4 demo. After opening my gameplay by picking off the guards on the edge of the fortress we were tasked to clear, and then sneaking into the fortress itself, I was discovered by a particularly troublesome NPC. After picking up an assault rifle, a sprint back up to the walls and a brief stint on the fixed mortar, most of the enemy reinforcements were cleared out, except the hateful clown in the helicopter (not a literal clown, more like Azhar). The next minute or so would have made an excellent running montage as I made for one of the few accessible roofed buildings in the compound to avoid death-from-above Charlie in the chopper and, luckily for me, found a grenade launcher mounted on the wall. It didn’t end well for the helicopter, and as flaming debris dropped from the vehicle, which was also starting to lose altitude, the screen faded to black – Fortress Liberated. As always, the social aspect of the expo was great and it was awesome to meet people who I’ve interacted online with at the event. It was a very busy weekend to be sure, and one of the highlights of my year.

Marco wrote: This year was my second outing to the Mecca of SA gaming and technology, and I enjoyed this one a shedload more than the last one, a trend I hope that continues for future rAges. I was more grounded this year, a bit more focused and a bit more in tune with how things happen at rAge, i.e. everyone loves and hugs each other in person and hates each other online (#BlameCav1e2014). I got to converse with some really cool people at rAge, but my tech highlight was seeing the overclockers I’ve admired and overclocking set-ups behind the insane 3DMark scores they’ve submitted online. The entire expo was just a much ‘funner’ place, and I’d like to think it’s because we are past the Next-Gen War that engulfed rAge last year. This year we actually got to see what games look like being run on PCs and not simply PCs emulating consoles. Game-wise, Evolve was by far the highlight for me, simply because it’s been too long since we had a genuinely fun co-op game to build on. Even though people often say, “After 5 months people won’t be playing it,” I say that those people have too much money and are part of the problem for driving this unsustainable gaming bloat. Build a fun game and people will come and stick with, and Evolve felt very fun to me. Till next year.

Marko wrote: If I can be quite honest, I wasn’t really excited for any of the games this year at rAge. Sure, there were good games, but I’ve seen so much media for them already that I didn’t really care. For me, the highlight was meeting new people and even some old friends. I’m not very social and it was a nice change of pace to interact with so many wonderful people. Getting randomly stopped by strangers asking if I’m that guy never got old and some passionate hugs were exchanged. If I had to choose a game that was the highlight, it would have to be Evolve. The tension and amount of fun in that game was so good when played with these other EGMR bastards.

Rudolf wrote: rAge is that one time a year I am able to go to a location and see an array of stuff I like. Very insightful, ain’t it? We’re able to play games that aren’t on store shelves yet, we can buy games or any other thing for that matter as long as it is geek-related, nay, related to formidable forms of entertainment. Don’t forget seeing and meeting other people who share the same passion as yourself. Sure, there are a few personal stand-outs for the occasion, but dismissing the rest would be criminal. I was only there for a singular day, but the whole expo was a highlight for me. It’s overcrowded and the ideal nightmare for a claustrophobe, but there are games, so all is forgiven.

I guess that just leaves me? I quite enjoyed rAge this year; for one it offered me the chance to meet one of my all-time favourite writers and the reason I wanted to become a writer; Tarryn van der Byl. My word I fangirled… I also got to meet a developer who works with Jade Raymond, another inspiration of mine, so again, fangirled. And a CD Projekt RED developer and I got to talk about The Witcher 3 where once again, fangirled. It’s stuff like that that made rAge — which for all intents and purposes is a job when you cover it as press; I seriously did not get more than an hour of game time the entire weekend — such an absolute blast despite the tiring nature of coverage, and made this year in particular a highlight. The Megarom and Xbox stands were absolutely amazing although it puzzled me to see just how dreary and unimaginative the Ster-Kinekor stand was, despite having a massive pull with Mortal Kombat X; seriously why do people even like the PS4? But I digress, all in all this year was magnificent and it was especially refreshing to see all the other sites smiling and talking and just getting along with each other; that was glorious for me because despite all the critique and serious-business about consumer advice, at the end of the day it’s just games and we are just gamers. And I loved that.

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Here’s a full list of all coverage for the rAge event.

 

Games

Far Cry 4 Is A Familiar Dose Of Madness
Bloodborne Will Make Your Soul Dark
Mortal Kombat X Makes Violence Beautiful
LittleBigPlanet 3 Has My Vote
Splatoon Is Colourfully Chaotic
The Order: 1886 Is An Arsonist’s Dream
Batman: Arkham Knight Looks To Be Running Out Of Ideas
Dying Light Climbs Above The Chasing Pack
The EGMR Team Naturally Selects Evolve
Sunset Overdrive Is Wacky Fun But The Novelty Might Well Wear Off
Assassin’s Creed: Unity Is Not More Of The Same And That’s Great
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue Is More Of The Same And That’s Great
NBA 2K15 Is Familiar And Exceedingly Pretty
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Literally Goes Beyond Gotham

 

Galleries

The Cosplay Was Strong With This One
The Sights And Sounds As Well As A Few Funny Smells
Gape At These Meticulously Detailed Figurines

 

Interviews

We Chat To One Of The Producers On Assassin’s Creed: Unity
We Find Out Why You Should Be Interested In Evolve
We Find Out What Makes Project CARS Tick
We Discuss Far Cry 4’s Explosions And Elephants
We Discuss Sex, Story And Open Worlds With The Witcher 3
Call Of Duty Clan F34R Adept Have A Word With Cavie
DeMoNiK Tells Us About The DGC
A Wild Trebzz Appears!

 

Tech

Tech @ rAge
We Speak Logitech And eSports With Rob Anderson

 

Indie

Indie @ rAge
We Chat To The Various Indie Devs At rAge

 

Podcast

eGamer Podcast: rAge 2014 Special

 

Other

Abyssal Pixels: Gamers Are Still Capable Of Compassion
Do Gaming Championships – Winners And Prizes
Thabo’s rAge 2014 Surprise Selfie Collection
Derpcast Videocast Spectacular

We hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as we enjoyed covering it, and we look forward to bigger and better next year.

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rAge 2014: Call Of Duty Clan F34R Adept Have A Word With Cavie http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-call-duty-clan-f34r-adept-word-cavie/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-call-duty-clan-f34r-adept-word-cavie/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:45:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160308 Well, this is awkward… On the Saturday of rAge 2014 I strolled down to the LAN area and found myself in what can only be described as a dungeon of […]

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Well, this is awkward…

On the Saturday of rAge 2014 I strolled down to the LAN area and found myself in what can only be described as a dungeon of delicious, with all sorts of gaming going on everywhere; while doing so I was accompanied by friend of the site Glenn Alexander who just so happens to be the manager of a certain F34R Adept clan.

Remember them?

Thankfully the dudes were really great sports about it and in fact told me that they saw the humour in that article; I was honestly quite glad that a few months later we could all laugh about it… you know, like I initially intended. I guess it tells you a lot about the state of eSports in this country, that so many people reacted with furious vitriol and anger yet the involved parties saw the humour and were none the worse for it. In fact, they even told me that they got more coverage from that than they ever had before. Neat, right? I guess, thanks overly-sensitive local eSports community.

In any case, we decided to do a quick interview and I asked them about such things as Call of Duty, eSports in general and of course the DGC in which they were participating. I think you’ll find from the video above that they’re a bunch of really nice guys. And that kid, man… holy shit he’s talented!

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rAge 2014: We Discuss Sex, Story And Open Worlds With The Witcher 3 http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-discuss-sex-story-open-worlds-witcher-3/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-discuss-sex-story-open-worlds-witcher-3/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:15:17 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160288 There are few games that we at EGMR love more than The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on its way, we were eager […]

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There are few games that we at EGMR love more than The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on its way, we were eager as beavers to get talking about the game with one of CD Projekt’s own.

We really love CD Projekt RED and getting to personally speak to Communications Manager Fabian Doehla (sorry for the misspelling in the video) at rAge was an absolute honour. Watch our interview above together with Marko Swanepoel where we ask Fabian about what you can get up to in the third game in the trilogy — and yes, we go there.

Our sincere apologies for the sound quality in the video which was due to last-minute audio hitches that were out of our control. Still, we hope it’s mostly audible to you and if not, perhaps consider how lucky you are to be alive in this day and age and not during the times of the bubonic plague.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt releases February 24th on Xbox One, PC, PS4 and Pornhub. Do check it out…

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rAge 2014: Derpcast Videocast Spectacular http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-derpcast-videocast-spectacular/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-derpcast-videocast-spectacular/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:30:53 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160278 Last week at rAge 2014 we thought about recording a videocast for you guys; you know, a podcast but with footage as well. We quickly realised that not only would […]

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Last week at rAge 2014 we thought about recording a videocast for you guys; you know, a podcast but with footage as well. We quickly realised that not only would it have been massive since we recorded everything in 1080p, but it also would not have been appreciated by our large contingent of audio-only viewers.

In any case, the video above was what we recorded prior to deciding against doing a videocast. Since we thought it was quite hilarious we figured we’d share it with you guys. It’s the perfect way to wind down on a Friday and if you really want a podcast then we’ve got you covered there as well. Check it out and let us know what you think of Bianca’s laugh.

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rAge 2014: A Wild Trebzz Appears! http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-wild-trebzz-appears/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-wild-trebzz-appears/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160285 Here at EGMR we are massive fans of the internet parasite that is Zhameer ‘Trebzz‘ Hashim. And last week at rAge 2014 we got a chance to meet and share […]

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Here at EGMR we are massive fans of the internet parasite that is Zhameer ‘Trebzz‘ Hashim. And last week at rAge 2014 we got a chance to meet and share some words with the man.

There’s also a cameo appearance from another reader of the site (and writer for another) Sahil Lala, so that’s two Indians in one video!

Watch it above as they tell us more about the expo and what they liked, disliked and want to do to our badges.

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rAge 2014: DeMoNiK Tells Us About The DGC http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-demonik-tells-us-dgc/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-demonik-tells-us-dgc/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:15:40 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160281 rAge 2014 can be a very tiring event depending on which side of the entire expo you find yourself; gamers merely attending the expo might come in for a few […]

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rAge 2014 can be a very tiring event depending on which side of the entire expo you find yourself; gamers merely attending the expo might come in for a few hours and then depart with a few badges and some stuff they really couldn’t afford but bought anyway. Exhibitors meanwhile, would have spent days prior and will spend at least a day after, assembling and then disassembling stands.

When you’re involved in eSports, it’s a whole other tale. Think late nights and early mornings, and we really mean late nights. Some of the games played during the DGC at the rAge LAN went all the way until 2am. And people like former EGMR writer Richard ‘DeMoNiK’ Sjoberg, now writing for Telkom’s Do Gaming website, were there all throughout, covering every event as it happened.

We caught up with him and asked him a few questions about the DGC, which you can check out in the video above.

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eGamer Podcast: rAge 2014 Special http://egmr.net/2014/10/egamer-podcast-rage-2014-special/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/egamer-podcast-rage-2014-special/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 08:15:06 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160271 Recorded: 11 October 2014 Welcome to a special episode of the eGamer Podcast — we’ve held off on our regular show for one week only while we discuss the biggest […]

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Recorded: 11 October 2014

Welcome to a special episode of the eGamer Podcast — we’ve held off on our regular show for one week only while we discuss the biggest gaming and tech expo in South Africa: The Oscar Trial

During our rAge 2014 special we’ll be discussing our favourite games, the best and worst stands, as well as everything you could have seen if you were there. You were there, weren’t you? We’ll be back to regular viewing (listening) next week!

Don’t forget that you can subscribe to the RSS feed so you never miss an episode. Enjoy.

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | RSS

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PSA: The Actions Of The Bad Should Not Invalidate The Intentions Of The Good http://egmr.net/2014/10/psa-actions-bad-invalidate-intentions-good/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/psa-actions-bad-invalidate-intentions-good/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:00:45 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160075 Have you ever wanted to make a difference in the world? Not ‘Like and Share’ a post on Facebook in order to cure cancer, but genuinely make a difference starting […]

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Have you ever wanted to make a difference in the world? Not ‘Like and Share’ a post on Facebook in order to cure cancer, but genuinely make a difference starting with yourself?

Sometimes it’s quite easy to make a difference in the world since, as chaos theorists will tell you, every single action you ever make will have some consequence. Sometimes words aren’t enough, and you need proper actions. But in the case of the internet and the things you do online, those are words and in those cases, words are enough.

So let’s talk about #GamerGate.

At this point in time nobody can call themselves an authority on the matter and in many ways, nobody should. After all, the entire thing started for the wrong reasons but then the right reasons were brought in along the way and what followed was a smorgasbord of discussion from both sides and then some. What you really need to know about it right now is that people are actively campaigning to stop it.

Thing is, like any campaign, it’s wrought with just the worst sorts of people. Both the #GamerGate movement and the anti-#GamerGate campaigners (who are using #StopGamerGate2014 as their hashtag) and even the #NotYourShield crowd have been going at it for a while now, and the thing is, each and every side has people who make very valid points, but also some who just don’t.

The problem is that what permeates into mainstream media is mostly the negative and so it’s just those bad apples whose voices are heard. Today I’d like to share a few examples of such, using some tweets. Observe:

 

 

 

 

And the pièce de résistance…

 

So you see, there are bad apples on both sides and just because they are in fact bad apples, should not immediately invalidate the things they’re saying. As a brown person, I can still get behind the idea that there are middle-aged white males who care equality and ethics and want to have a mature discussion about it. And as a hopefully objective writer I can also get behind not wanting such things as rape and death threats to ever happen.

But here’s the great swinger: How much of it is true and how much of it is artificially engineered to push invalidation of the other party’s point?

Unfortunately we might never know because of the vitriol of the entire thing, from both sides of the argument. Both parties have very valid reasons for having their stance but those who have a good point to make are being entirely washed out by those who are just being complete tools. And we, as a community, eat up the negativity while dismissing or not even seeing some of points people are trying to make, between all the noise.

And yes, the bad is absolutely still there whether or not the good is, but if we are capable of seeing both sides then we immediately do one better than those people who are simply abusive without anything positive to offer, and maybe we can get a positive result out of a very tumultuous sort of controversy.

If there is nothing else that I achieve in writing for this website, let it be that I encouraged readers to see all sides of a story. Don’t just take it at face value and decide to either support or denounce the claims being made. Try to read up a bit more and find out what others are saying as well. Don’t be like those guys in the tweets above who just end up looking like idiots to anyone with half a brain. We on the internet at least, should know better than that.

And this is me encouraging all of us to stop and think. Please. For the good of the internet.

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rAge 2014: Assassin’s Creed: Rogue Is More Of The Same And That’s Great http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-assassins-creed-rogue-thats-great/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-assassins-creed-rogue-thats-great/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 15:00:21 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158905 One of the problems with creating a really cool concept in a game is that you can’t really know for sure just how much it’s going to be milked and […]

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One of the problems with creating a really cool concept in a game is that you can’t really know for sure just how much it’s going to be milked and at what point gamers are going to get over it, until it becomes blatantly obvious to everyone. In the case of the Assassin’s Creed games AC3 brought a sailing mechanic that took the series by storm and now with Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, quite possibly Ubisoft’s final foray into the now-previous-gen console market, that mechanic is once again playing a starring role, as we got to check out during rAge 2014.

If you’re not interested in this write-up and just want to know about the gameplay then this link contains all the gameplay found in the demo so hit that up first, then maybe come back here if you’d like. A lot of Assassin’s Creed: Rogue will be immediately familiar to the gamer; the naval controls and intense seafaring warfare mixed in with the jungle-gym-like climbing and platforming along more-and-more-unrealistically-set climbing areas (such as the masts of sunken ships which perfectly form a line that can be traversed). It’s instantly familiar and it’s great.

The new character and partial setting — at least for the gameplay demonstration — are also the first really intriguing aspect for quite some time in the series; what would happen if an assassin went rogue? That’s what the game is trying its best to portray for us, and while we can’t speak on story we can at least speak on the location of the demo being the Arctic tundra which displayed the Northern Lights in their full glory. It was beautiful and captivating and while the final product is probably going to be more of the same, meaning tail missions for everyone (!), we can’t help but adore it for specifically that reason.

The naval aspect has not been done to death just yet and Rogue certainly offers a fresh perspective that has been teased in both the ‘Americas’ games thus far, AC3 and ACIV; hopefully this one provides yet more elaboration on what life is like on the other side of the coin. Watch this space.

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rAge 2014: Assassin’s Creed: Unity Is Not More Of The Same And That’s Great http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-assassins-creed-unity-thats-great/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-assassins-creed-unity-thats-great/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:15:11 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158899 Perhaps the weirdest thing about playing something you’re used to playing but quickly realising that it’s just not how you remember it, is having to re-learn everything you think you […]

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Perhaps the weirdest thing about playing something you’re used to playing but quickly realising that it’s just not how you remember it, is having to re-learn everything you think you know. That was what playing Assassin’s Creed: Unity at rAge 2014 felt like when we finally got a chance to go hands-on with the game.

It’s not because it’s a drastically different game but rather because of two things. One of them is the 1:1 rescaling of Paris, which adds a surreal sense of verticality to the game and creates buildings and a world that just looks taller and larger than anything prior games ever boasted. The other thing is the new platforming mechanic which feels reminiscent of the climbing from the first few Assassin’s Creed games in that you hold down RT and A in order to free run, but this-time you also get the ability to do it downwards. Free-run up with A, free-run down with B. It certainly takes some getting used to at first.

Such was our experience with the game, which showed off a few new additions such as what can only be described a flashback kills (where an assassination tells you a bit about the victim’s background) as well as lockpicking, a new form of eagle vision and more. Most notably perhaps is the newly reworked combat system which, for the life of me, I could not quite figure out. The mission in the game actually allowed for multiple approaches in a return-to-roots for the series that allowed you to either approach from up high or from the gritty ground level, which granted me options I had missed from more recent games in the series.

Opting for the up-high option to get to my target, I attempted an air assassination and was stunned when Arno killed the guy next to my target, which started a massive brawl that I ultimately lost because I had no idea of how the new controls worked, and any attempt to run away led to me clumsily climbing up half-walls and pillars only to be shot down in the attempt. Assassin’s Creed: Unity certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it is going to take a few tries to master, especially if you’ve played recent games and have become accustomed to a certain style of playing.

Although all of that said, it’s looking quite solid and we thoroughly enjoyed our time in French Revolution Paris. Women or otherwise.

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rAge 2014: Sunset Overdrive Is Wacky Fun But The Novelty Might Well Wear Off http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-sunset-overdrive-wacky-fun-novelty-might-well-wear/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-sunset-overdrive-wacky-fun-novelty-might-well-wear/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 11:15:35 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158893 Who even needs cover mechanics and reloading when you have the zany craziness that is Sunset Overdrive. Insomniac’s third person open world shooter is geared around having a good time […]

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Who even needs cover mechanics and reloading when you have the zany craziness that is Sunset Overdrive. Insomniac’s third person open world shooter is geared around having a good time and at rAge 2014 we got a chance to finally go hands-on, and our experience has been… well, mixed.

At first Sunset Overdrive is hilariously good and while it took a few minutes to get used to the parkour-style navigation and platforming of the game area, while simultaneously shooting enemies and trying to avoid all incoming damage, once we finally got into the swing of it we quite enjoyed the little nuances and blatant potshots at other games that follow checklist-styled game mechanics. Sunset Overdrive is certainly something fresh and new, and that’s great and we love it. If you’d like to have a look at gameplay then by all means click here.

Thing is, and here’s where it gets a bit controversial (you might say), it was just a short level but even then the humour started to feel a little flat as one kept playing. Bulletstorm suffered from a similar thing where once you saw a few things you’d basically seen all of it, and Sunset Overdrive certainly has an uphill climb to prove itself as something with proper longevity and some lasting entertainment factor.

This might confuse some readers who’ve claimed me to be an Xbox One fanboy but the simple truth is that I cannot, given what I’ve played, rightly recommend Sunset Overdrive as a must-play Xbox One exclusive. It’s certainly unique and is definitely something that will attract users to the console. But insofar as whether it’s something that you should buy an Xbox One for — the way some claim The Last of Us is a PS3 pusher — I cannot say for certain, right now.

Then again perhaps this is just old code and in fairness it’s an out-of-context and short gameplay demonstration rather than anything that might actually be in the final product. More a working example than a polished exhibit of entertainment. Hopefully. Right now while I will certainly say that it’s exquisitely entertaining for the first ten minutes, that humour needs to last and it just isn’t at this point in time. But let’s wait and see, shall we? Our full review of the game will be out later this month when it releases. Wait for it.

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Razer Adaro Stereos Headset: Because Green Cabling http://egmr.net/2014/10/razer-headset-green-wiring/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/razer-headset-green-wiring/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:15:58 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=154012 Headphones, hey. Those large clam-like things that go around your ears and provide sound to your cerebral cortex. Ugly buggers, but so practical and handy. Remember all those old tech […]

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Headphones, hey. Those large clam-like things that go around your ears and provide sound to your cerebral cortex. Ugly buggers, but so practical and handy. Remember all those old tech magazines you used to read, that would present you with a mind-boggling array of figures and details down to the very minutia, leaving you absolutely spoiled for information regarding a new pair of headphones? Well, we’re not doing that today. Absolutely not. I refuse.

See, we’re a (mostly) gaming website with a focus on (mostly) gamers and their tastes; none of us here are sound engineers but at the same time we think that’s a better thing because while a sound engineer can break your brain with figures and statistics, we can at least tell you about something within the context of gaming, as gamers. In other words, is this particular pair of headphones a decent fit for the average Joe gamer?

Well here’s the thing: the Razer Adaro Stereos Headset is very much a great pair of headphones… it’s just not, you know, that much of a decent fit for the average Joe gamer. And in this here review we’re doing, my first ever headset review, we’re going to go into exactly why this is the case; but from the perspective of videogames. If that’s agreeable with you, then by all means follow the links below to read more. Also, check out this unboxing I found on the internet:

 

Are you ready for this jelly?

Page 1: Introduction: Green Day
Page 2: Technical Specifications: The Thin Green Line
Page 3: The Headset Aesthetic: Lean and Green
Page 4: Build Quality and Comfort: Less Hulk, More She-Hulk
Page 5: Audio Performance: Green with Envy
Page 6: Conclusion: A Green Letter Day

Continue Reading on Page 2: Technical Specifications: The Thin Green Line

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Life, The Universe And Gaming: Digital Be Damned http://egmr.net/2014/10/life-universe-gaming-digital-downloads-damned/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/life-universe-gaming-digital-downloads-damned/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 09:00:08 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158145 The promise of digitally distributed gaming has always been an alluring one. You come home tired from work and don’t want to expend yet more time and energy driving to […]

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The promise of digitally distributed gaming has always been an alluring one. You come home tired from work and don’t want to expend yet more time and energy driving to a nearby shopping mall (sometimes entirely out of your way) just to fetch a new videogame. Worse still, you don’t want to then be told that it is sold out and have to drive home disappointed and unsatisfied like a third date with a prude.

Sure there are online retailers and it’s always better to have a physical copy on hand but the advent of digital distribution has meant that the only storage space you require is a hard drive and your games will always be available to you, wherever you go, as long as you have internet and a hard drive to save it all on. Steam has done this, and extremely well at that. It’s convenient and it’s easy and it just works.

On the console side of things, we have digital downloads available to us but there is one massive drawback to it. See, unlike with Steam where games are relatively affordable and sales happen often, on console we get no such thing*. In fact, we get worse because some games alarmingly cost more in digital format than they do as physical retail copies. Sounds kinda silly, doesn’t it?

If we had to break down what goes into a physical copy, we would have the discs themselves together with burning of data onto them, as well as case, printed cover, game manual and whatever else goes into the box. Then there’s the distribution (logistics, effectively) and of course any further fees to get it to retailers across the world. On the digital side, almost all of this is cut out and instead replaced with a bandwidth fee for downloading from the file repository, and perhaps licensing for such things as the server itself, security for the server and maybe paying Microsoft or Sony to have the game listed. Is that where all the extra costs come in?

In which case, why doesn’t it affect the PC market as much unless Valve is just a lot less pricy with games listing on Steam? Possible, although even then some games are not actually listed for much cheaper on there. Perhaps then, it really is just a case of pricing to a point at which gamers will still pay for the product because of the convenience offered.

Let’s take a practical look at the current state of digital downloads using this MyBroadband article that compares digital download prices between Xbox One and PS4. I’m going to use that table to create one of my own here in this column, but I’m going to also consider the prices for retail copies as listed on the BT Games website.

Game PS4 Digital Price PS4 Physical Price Xbox One Digital Price Xbox One Physical Price
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition R749 R569.90 R599 R525
Watch Dogs R899 R599.90 R649 R599.90
Minecraft R279 R279.00 R169 N/A
Fifa 15 R899 R699 R599 R699
Child of Light R149 N/A R149 N/A
Destiny: Digital Guardian Edition R1,149 R765 R1,199 R755
Wolfenstein: The New Order R899 N/A R1,019 R699
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor R899 R699 R699 R699

 
Poor PS4 gamers, amirite? Immediately you notice the stark differences between the physical and retail prices of some games. Wolfenstein: The New Order, for example, is staggeringly expensive. Bewilderingly expensive. Outrageously expensive. On digital, anyway. On physical it’s adequately priced. Likewise for Destiny, although we imagine that digital version probably has some extra DLC for the asking price. Strangely, some Xbox One games are priced better on digital than they are in physical… so I guess we have the Xbox ZA team to thank for that.

Had to.

Had to.

Now another thing that must be factored into the equation besides pricing is bandwidth. After all, a physically purchased game will maybe require some installation and an update but a digitally downloaded game does not already have content on the disc, so to speak, and therefore must be downloaded, installed and updated. Now this isn’t too bad when you consider smaller games that are maybe 5GB or so, but you’ll find that with the advent of next-gen gaming and texture resolutions, sound files and so on getting larger and larger, we find ourselves with games that average 15GB, going all the way up to a whopping 50GB in order to download. Call of Duty: Ghosts, pictured above, is one such game. Another is Forza Horizon 2 which is a 45GB download.

All of this is to say nothing of the absolutely pornstar-massive size of updates that must then be downloaded thereafter. Some updates are larger than full game installations. Dead Rising 3’s initial update is a mind-boggling 13GB large. 13GB! For a mostly singleplayer but sometimes cooperative zombie killer! Although fair enough, these are not limited specifically to digitally downloaded games since game updates occur on physical retail copies as well unless you stay offline.

Effectively though, unless you are on uncapped and don’t mind the bandwidth consumption, you’re effectively forced offline to avoid these massive patches which, mind you, really add up if you play more than two games in a short space of time. And by uncapped, we mean true uncapped, not that Telkom/Mweb bullshit where after 100GB they hard-cap you or severely throttle your line and force you to use something else instead.

With all of this in mind, it’s an easy conclusion that right now we South Africans are just not ready for the digital world. Sure uncapped and decent line speeds are becoming more commonplace but this next-gen gaming thing is really fucking us over. You either need to get a massive storage device for your downloaded games or deal with having to re-download 45GB-large games in order to facilitate being able to play more games because of the limited install place. And since you’re forced to install games, there is no way around this besides buying more storage or deleting currently installed games. And the games releasing continue to get larger and larger and larger…

It’s getting a bit much, wouldn’t you say?

* Okay that’s not entirely true, because we do get some sales. But I must emphasise: Some. And not always what we actually want. Rarely with games we haven’t already played, either.

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EGMR At rAge 2014 — The Full Achievements List http://egmr.net/2014/10/egmr-rage-2014-full-achievements-list/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/egmr-rage-2014-full-achievements-list/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 11:15:21 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158439 If you’re lucky or rich enough to find your way to Joburg’s Northgate area this weekend then chances are you’ll be in attending at South Africa’s premier gaming expo, rAge. […]

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If you’re lucky or rich enough to find your way to Joburg’s Northgate area this weekend then chances are you’ll be in attending at South Africa’s premier gaming expo, rAge. The 2014 edition of rAge promises to be something special and it’s been a massively tiring and exciting time just preparing for it.

If you are going to be in attendance at rAge 2014 then it’s highly likely that at some point you’ll stumble upon one of us. If that is the case, you had better say hello or else. Better yet, why don’t you take the opportunity to unlock a few achievements?

Following from last year’s article of this nature we thought we’d do an updated 2014 version of the list of achievements to unlock at rAge 2014. Think of them like a bucket list or set of challenges for you if you manage to find us at rAge 2014. Try to get as many as you possibly can and who knows, maybe we might give the closest person to completion something to take home?

For the achievements list we’re once again keeping it relevant to our writers, and we’ll have a few returning achievements from last year as well as a bunch of new ones. Ready?

50G Be more emo than AG.
50G Let AG dislocate your shoulder, or make him laugh.
50G Be taller than Marko.
50G Let Marko punch or stroke you, your choice.
50G Debate Cavie regarding a BioWare game.
50G Win an argument against Cavie.
50G Gaze longingly into Rudolf’s orgasmic eyes.
50G Tell Rudolf what you think about BioShock: Infinite
50G Get into a convoluted tech-related conversation with Marco.
50G Stroke Marco’s beard.
50G Battle-rap with Adam.
50G Let Adam sing you the song of his people.
50G Have a better afrikaans accent than Bianca.
50G Accuse Bianca of being Peloma.
50G Call out Bracken on his CoD fanboyism.
50G Play against and defeat Bracken at FIFA.
50G Out-awkward any member of EGMR.
50G Play a game, call it shit and then hug an EGMR member.
50G Quote a podcast reference to us.
50G Find Peloma.

 
Try to unlock as many as you can, and let us know when you’re done, how many you managed. Good luck, and we’ll see you there.

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eGamer Podcast #101: Open World Parity http://egmr.net/2014/10/egamer-podcast-101-sound-test/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/egamer-podcast-101-sound-test/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 09:00:11 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158378 Recorded: 07 October 2014 Welcome to episode one-oh-one of the eGamer Podcast, with a whole new intro and a bunch of other stuff. And lots more gaming talk because reasons. […]

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Recorded: 07 October 2014

Welcome to episode one-oh-one of the eGamer Podcast, with a whole new intro and a bunch of other stuff. And lots more gaming talk because reasons. Hopefully you’ll like it? We’re hoping to shape up and do a lot more gaming talk in future. Let us know in the comments how you feel about this.

Topics discussed this week include Shadow of Mordor’s open world, Ubisoft’s PR troubles, and Gotham.

Here are the shownotes for this week’s episode:

  • AG and Azhar are sharing a penis metaphor.
  • Shadow of Mordor’s open world is so good that it dulls the story.
  • The Catch-22 of open world games.
  • Which open world games do the open world really well?
  • Who’s doing the PR over at Ubisoft?
  • Assassin’s Creed Unity is at 900p, umadbro?
  • Yeah that’s right, we’re talking about Assassin’s Creed again.
  • Recent Far Cry games have such cool antagonists.
  • Will Arkham Knight be The Joker again?
  • Have you been watching Gotham?
  • DC’s series lineup is looking good but is it too much?
  • Why won’t people watch The Originals and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
  • Just how bigoted is the world right now?
  • What’s up with all these shots being fired at eGamer these days?
  • We answer your questions.
  • Come to rAge 2014!

Don’t forget that you can subscribe to the RSS feed so you never miss an episode. Enjoy.

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | RSS

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Ubisoft Creates Debate With AC Unity By Trying To Avoid Debate http://egmr.net/2014/10/ubisoft-creates-debate-ac-unity-trying-avoid-debate/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/ubisoft-creates-debate-ac-unity-trying-avoid-debate/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 11:15:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158338 Never one to let other publishers spend too long in the spotlight, Ubisoft has decided that it is time Activision stepped down and Destiny took a back seat because they […]

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Never one to let other publishers spend too long in the spotlight, Ubisoft has decided that it is time Activision stepped down and Destiny took a back seat because they are now back and breaking news about Assassin’s Creed: Unity, this time about something we have argued both for and against here at EGMR — console resolutions.

Ubisoft has opted for parity between the console versions of Assassin’s Creed: Unity by locking both versions at 900p and 30FPS, citing CPU limitations as the main reason.

Speaking of AC Unity’s Xbox One and PS4 versions, here is what Ubisoft’s Vincent Pontbriand had to say:

We decided to lock them at the same specs to avoid all the debates and stuff. Technically we’re CPU-bound. The GPUs are really powerful, obviously the graphics look pretty good, but it’s the CPU [that] has to process the AI, the number of NPCs we have on screen, all these systems running in parallel.

We were quickly bottlenecked by that and it was a bit frustrating, because we thought that this was going to be a tenfold improvement over everything AI-wise, and we realised it was going to be pretty hard. It’s not the number of polygons that affect the framerate. We could be running at 100fps if it was just graphics, but because of AI, we’re still limited to 30 frames per second.

Amazingly, the decision was taken to “avoid debates and stuff” but the exact opposite has resulted. This morning the Twitterverse was flooded with tweets around the so-called #PS4noparity hashtag, with irate gamers firing off shots at Xbox One, Ubisoft and of course next-gen gaming as a whole.

Now we here at EGMR certainly don’t discount that 1080p as a promise to console gamers is important; you don’t get to make promises to gamers and then not deliver on them once purchases have been made. Aliens: Colonial Marines is now infamous for lying to gamers about what it was. Console manufacturers ought not to get away with that. But that is where our support ends, and while we fully support upset PS4 gamers who feel they deserve the full extent of their console’s capabilities, that is the limit of our sincerity on this matter.

There is no reason, for example, to fire off shots at the Xbox One. There is no reason also, to then accuse PS4 gamers of finding something to fight about after being disappointed by the PS Plus price hike last week. Furthermore, this is not a #Gamergate issue at all.

For us this is purely about a developer not realising just how much time and effort development of a game required, and then talking up a bunch of words and hoping they stick, hilariously creating the very thing they tried to avoid. And for that, Ubisoft, we can’t help but commend you. You hear a lot about all the free PR that publishers get from gaming websites, but it takes a special sort of publisher to promote their games almost entirely through negative publicity. AC Unity (which I keep seeing as a-cunt-y) is probably going to sell like hotcakes now… as if it wasn’t going to be one of the biggest releases of the year already. Who even needs a marketing department?!

But what do you guys think? What are your thoughts on the resolution? As PC gamers, you probably feel quite chuffed right now because this has been happening to you for years… but of course, console gamers make a much, much louder noise and love using those hashtags. Hashtag resolutiongate has reached its next stop and it seems to be AC Unity. Already, Ubisoft are talking about patching in 1080p at a later date. Here at EGMR we feel that post-release patching of something that should have been in the game already is quite silly, but then this is the gaming industry.

It’s unfortunate how the entire issue is being misrepresented as a PS4 vs Xbox One problem when actually, it is more likely Ubisoft’s fault for trying to develop an overly ambitious game with some unrealistic goals when they could have just put in a few more months of work to present the quality they had originally aimed for, but then we’ll probably never know if that’s true or not; we can only speculate based on what we can see and how we’ve learned to interpret developer commentary.

Go ahead and tell us what you think in the comments. And expect more from us on this latest controversy as it develops.

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Our 101st Podcast Records Tonight — Ask Us Things http://egmr.net/2014/10/101st-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/101st-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 09:00:09 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158139 One-oh-oooonnnneee! *cue barks* Oh come on, you know that song. Don’t act as if you didn’t sing along to it when it played on TV. [regathers self] Ahem. So. Tonight […]

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One-oh-oooonnnneee! *cue barks*

Oh come on, you know that song. Don’t act as if you didn’t sing along to it when it played on TV. [regathers self] Ahem. So. Tonight we’ll be recording episode one-oh-one of the eGamer Podcast (sorry about that last one) and it’s going to be a big one because it’s the week before rAge 2014. Hype!

This here little article is your chance to get involved. Ask us questions about anything you’d like, and also let us know if you’ll be attending rAge this year. If not, is there anything you’d like us to do while we’re there? Let us know in the comments okay.

Then be sure to check out either the site, our Libsyn page, iTunes or our RSS feed later in the week for the podcast, which will have all the answers and more. Tell your friends!

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The Destiny Honest Game Trailer Fails To Disappoint http://egmr.net/2014/10/destiny-honest-game-trailer-fail-disappoint/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/destiny-honest-game-trailer-fail-disappoint/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 11:15:38 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158137 After an alpha, a beta, a review embargo, a loot cave, post-release patching and upcoming DLC, Destiny has been getting more coverage than a royal baby, and now the game […]

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After an alpha, a beta, a review embargo, a loot cave, post-release patching and upcoming DLC, Destiny has been getting more coverage than a royal baby, and now the game I wanted to fail has got its very own Honest Game Trailer.

That’s right, the guys over at Smosh Games have released a brand new Honest Game Trailer for the most hyped game since, well, ever. Check it out in all its excellence above and let us know what you think. (It pretty much echoes my sentiments that this is the Halo sequel Bungie never got to make.)

Also, let us know if you’re still playing this game and if the alpha, beta and review embargoes did anything to help that experience. In your opinion.

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Steam Client WebHelper Gives A Legit Reason To Blame Lag If You’re Bad At Dota http://egmr.net/2014/10/steam-client-webhelper-gives-legit-reason-blame-lag-youre-bad-dota/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/steam-client-webhelper-gives-legit-reason-blame-lag-youre-bad-dota/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 15:00:16 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158006 Volvo pls fix Have you recently been playing Dota 2 or some other online game that uses Steam and experienced intermittent lag for an extended duration? You might have had […]

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Volvo pls fix

Have you recently been playing Dota 2 or some other online game that uses Steam and experienced intermittent lag for an extended duration? You might have had the issue I recently had, where the Steam Client WebHelper process just mutated and replicated into a laggy, resource-hogging mess.

See what happens is, for absolutely no explicit reason Steam will start up multiple processes of steamclientwebhelper.exe which then consume resources, slowing down your game and importantly, your internet connection. Closing most of these processes (but not all because that closes Steam for some reason) quickly resolves the problem but Steam will eventually start up more processes.

That, friends, is virus-like behaviour.

After having to deal with this for a few days, I took to Google to find out that I’m not alone with this issue. There is even a Reddit thread that was started to try and understand exactly what the Steam Client WebHelper is.

A user on the Steampowered forums posted the following:

The latest Steam update completely devastates my system.

1) Why does this newest piece of junk client launch over two dozen steamwebhelper.exe processes, each taking up about 50MB of resources, adding up to the gigs after only minutes of use?!

2) Why do these exe processes continue to run after you close the window? (For exmaple, start watching a trailer and go to another page, you will hear the trailer continue to play because the idiots at Valve didn’t notice the web helper does not end itself after the page is closed)

3) Why is the Flash player not included with Steam? If they knew half of what they should, Steam and Valve would not be a bunch of morons forcing us to use HTML5 video which clearly uses three to four tims the resources Flash does. If Flash is bad software, then HTML5 Video is a wretched satanic computer curse in comparison…. it’s a nonstarter and a piece of junk.

In its current state I cannot even run Steam. In only minutes is takes over the computer. Before launching a game you need to spend a good five to ten minutes killing all the prcoesses that are literally hogging up 80% of your system resources. If you do not do this everytime you launch a game, the game will run at about half of its potential performance.

Valve, you have completely screwed us over. This latest update shows utter contempt for us and our systems. You spend a decade locking us into your network and pull this bait & switch on us, turning your client into unusable garbage.

In this state, I can actually safely say EA’s terrible Origin is actually a better piece of software than this horrible terrible unusable version of Steam.

Powerful words, and absolutely spot on. So what’s going on here? And how isn’t it affecting everyone? I’m not on the Steam Beta feed, which means I’m supposed to be getting the stable versions of Steam. But those on the Beta feed are getting better performance out of their Steam than I am, and I’m left closing ridiculous amounts of steamclientwebhelper.exe in Task Manager.

At present it seems the only temporary hack would be to use Local Security Policies to deny the application from starting up in the first place. But that just seems counter-productive to navigation in Steam. Perhaps the problem is related to the Chrome-inspired Chromium web browser that Steam utilises, which creates multiple processes in order to utilise multiple cores.

Has this problem happened to you, and have you found a fix for it? Looking through Google, and the various links it gave me, it seems users are just finding short-term solutions to the problem and waiting for Valve to fix the problem. Steam itself has been updating like crazy of late, and so too have some games including Dota 2. Hopefully it comes right because honestly it’s getting quite annoying to have to deal with, now.

If you have experienced this issue, please comment below and also let us know what system you’re running it on. For example, I’m on Windows 7 Ultimate x64. Fully up-to-date.

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eGamer Podcast #100: “But I Just Had A Poop” http://egmr.net/2014/10/egamer-podcast-100-just-poop/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/egamer-podcast-100-just-poop/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 09:00:57 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157957 Recorded: 01 October 2014 Welcome to episode one hundred of the eGamer Podcast — that’s right, guys. One hundred episodes! We made it! Achievement unlocked, etc. Thanks for sticking with […]

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Recorded: 01 October 2014

Welcome to episode one hundred of the eGamer Podcast — that’s right, guys. One hundred episodes! We made it! Achievement unlocked, etc. Thanks for sticking with us through the derps and controversies and the slight (by Sony standards) gaming chatter. We’d love to have you around for a hundred more. In the meantime…

Topics discussed this week include Windows 10, PS Plus price hikes and Shadow of Mordor reviews.

Here are the shownotes for this week’s episode:

  • It’s episode one hundred, biches!
  • Destiny might be worth playing again.
  • What happened to Windows 9 for them to skip ahead to 10?
  • The ‘every other Windows’ theory.
  • Speaking of hipsters…
  • We just recount the old running jokes.
  • Shit gets all Podtoid for a moment.
  • Guess who got accused of ‘shaming’ this past week.
  • An alternative version to Anaconda.
  • So this PS Plus price hike, hey?
  • We share all our cancelled plans for episode 100.
  • What’s up with these faulty Xbox Ones?
  • Have you seen Shadow of Mordor reviews?
  • We answer your questions.

Don’t forget that you can subscribe to the RSS feed so you never miss an episode. Enjoy.

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | RSS

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Meanwhile, On October’s Games With Gold… http://egmr.net/2014/10/meanwhile-octobers-games-gold/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/meanwhile-octobers-games-gold/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:15:13 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157933 If you’re a Microsoft faithful and you therefore own either an Xbox One or an Xbox 360, brace yourself for an interesting month of gaming with October’s Games with Gold […]

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If you’re a Microsoft faithful and you therefore own either an Xbox One or an Xbox 360, brace yourself for an interesting month of gaming with October’s Games with Gold offerings.

First up on Xbox One, Crimson Dragon will still be available for you but will be joined with ID@Xbox offering Chariot, from Canadian developers Frima.

On Xbox 360 for the first half of the month you will have Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and for the second half of the month you’ll get Darksiders II.

Old games by now, sure, but two exquisitely fun and solid offerings… and unlike the PS Plus subscription that some can no longer afford, although they got those games ages ago even if they don’t actually really own it, these games are absolutely 100% yours to own, whether your Gold subscription is renewed or not. So, that’s a thing!

Don’t spend too long arguing about which console is better on the internet, or you might miss out. Go over to the LIVE Store and download these free offerings right now! And make a note on October 16th to get Darksides II as well.

That’s better, Xbox…

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The PlayStation Plus Price Hike Is Not “For The Players” http://egmr.net/2014/10/playstation-plus-price-hike-players/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/playstation-plus-price-hike-players/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 06:00:45 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157868 Say what you will about their methods, the local PlayStation South Africa team have really stepped up their game (so to speak) following the release of the Xbox One by […]

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Say what you will about their methods, the local PlayStation South Africa team have really stepped up their game (so to speak) following the release of the Xbox One by offering a slew of PlayStation 4 bundle specials under the branding “For The Players”.

You might say they have taken it directly to Microsoft and entirely overshadowed the local release of the Xbox One with their specials and right now, at least online, the PlayStation 4 contingent is going strong. But PlayStation SA have released an email that is going to utterly destroy a lot of that goodwill, and it relates to the excellent PlayStation Plus service.

Due to various market conditions, the price of your PlayStation Plus subscription is going to rise slightly. On 01/10/2014 the price of a 12 month subscription will rise from ZAR489.00 to ZAR749.00.
If your PlayStation Plus account is set to renew automatically you don’t need to do anything. You won’t begin paying the new rate immediately on 01/10/2014; instead you will start paying the new price from your first renewal date after 01/10/2014.

So that’s a massive 50% increase. And if you’re on the 3-month subscription then the price will be rising from R145 to R219, which is an even larger relative increase. Audaciously, the email title actually says “increase slightly” because apparently in PlayStation terms, slightly means a fucking lot.

Now, why is this such a big deal? I’m hearing a few of the PS4 hardcore going, “But Cavie, you just hate the PS4 so why are you even reporting on this news?” Here’s why it’s such a big deal:

On the PlayStation 4, you cannot play multiplayer games without PS Plus. Furthermore, all those ‘free’ games you’ve been downloading and enjoying, where Sony promised that as long as you renew your subscription then they’re yours to play for as long as you’d like? Well if you can’t afford to renew your subscription then all the ‘free’ games you acquired through PS Plus will no longer be accessible, at least until you renew. Which effectively forces you, as the paying customer, to pay for the product in order to keep what is yours.

The problem with monopolies, ladies and gentlemen.

But don’t take my word for it. Nor another’s. Rather let one of our PlayStation 4 fans talk to you about it at a later stage once we’ve got some comment from PlayStation SA, as well as ascertained whether this is a local-only situation or something that will affect gamers worldwide. Are PS4 fans now paying the price for those bundle specials, or is there some deeper reason for this price hike? If it is worldwide, is it because of Sony recently reporting another year of massive losses?

Either way, with the insane local pricing on digital downloads, the sizes of those downloads, and now the price hike on PS Plus, the PlayStation 4 offering is not looking quite as locally viable anymore. (But watch the Sony faithful defend it anyway, amirite.)

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Xbox One And PS4 Go On Special For One Night Only http://egmr.net/2014/09/xbox-one-ps4-go-special-one-night/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/xbox-one-ps4-go-special-one-night/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:30:29 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157858 Last week during the Xbox One’s official South African release, the PlayStation 4 went on special here and we told you all about it. Naturally then, it’s only fair to […]

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Last week during the Xbox One’s official South African release, the PlayStation 4 went on special here and we told you all about it.

Naturally then, it’s only fair to tell you when a special is happening on the other console… you know, the one that actually released last week. In the interests of fairness then, Kalahari.com is having a special on their standalone Xbox One console.

It is currently listed at R5,999 and includes everything you’d find in the box including the wireless controller with batteries, the helicopter voice-chat headset and an HDMI cable, together with the Xbox One itself and accompanying power brick. There don’t seem to be games included but this is no real matter given that Xbox One Games with Gold and other free online offerings will sort you out while you decide exactly what games you’d like to purchase with your money. After all, not everyone enjoys Forza 5 and FIFA 15.

Should you opt for games then the option does exist for a massive Xbox One bundle as well.

But that’s not all!

Because Kalahari are actually doing a special on the PS4 as well. The console with the controller has been reduced, perhaps tactically, we can’t really say for certain, to R100 less than the Xbox One bundle which packages the same story of just the console and a controller and not much else on the games side, but this time for a cool R5,899. Perfect, once again, for if you’d like to purchase just the console and then choose your games carefully while utilising the PlayStation Plus offerings.

Personally I’d rather go with the current BT Games deals on the Xbox One and PS4 because they seem to offer a bit more for your hard-earned money.

Still, a novel attempt at creating some sales from Kalahari and definitely the cheapest current options to acquire either console. So definitely check them out if you’ve been waiting for the prices to drop to around R6000 or lower. Just remember that the prices revert at midnight, so if you’re going to be making a decision then it will have to be made tonight. Chop chop.

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Our 100th Podcast Records Tonight — Ask Us Things http://egmr.net/2014/09/100th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/100th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 09:00:18 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157809 Achievement unlocked – 100G – 100 Episodes That’s right everyone. Pop the sparkly and don the darkly (uhm) while your usual EGMR crew as well as a few special guests […]

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Achievement unlocked – 100G – 100 Episodes

That’s right everyone. Pop the sparkly and don the darkly (uhm) while your usual EGMR crew as well as a few special guests get together to record episode one-hundred of the eGamer Podcast tonight… three digits, guys! How epic, right? Or, you know, absolutely pathetic. Depends on how you’re looking at it. All we can say is, it’s funny how every other site is doing podcasts and stuff now, hey?

Now is your chance to get involved in the swing of things. Use this article. Ask us questions. Anything you’d like! Scroll down to the comments, post your questions, go crazy.

Then be sure to check out either the site, our Libsyn page, iTunes or our RSS feed later in the week for the podcast, which will have all the answers and more. Tell your friends!

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Hands-On: Civilization: Beyond Earth Strategically Misspells Civilisation http://egmr.net/2014/09/hands-civilization-beyond-earth-strategically-misspells-civilisation/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/hands-civilization-beyond-earth-strategically-misspells-civilisation/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:15:03 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157720 Turn-based strategy is not a genre particularly filled with competing franchises, nor does it have universal popularity. Not that it doesn’t have its established fanbase and franchises; yet those who […]

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Turn-based strategy is not a genre particularly filled with competing franchises, nor does it have universal popularity. Not that it doesn’t have its established fanbase and franchises; yet those who swear by turn-based strategy would bow to no other strategy player in their worship of Sid Meier’s Civilization series in particular. And now the series that refuses to use the non-American spelling of the word Civilisation has taken to an entirely new setting and… well, we kinda like it.

Previously the Civ games were somewhat rooted in historical or present day settings. Now following from the recent Ubisoft-published Anno 2070, developer Firaxis Games has taken to the skies with Civilization: Beyond Earth, setting the game in wholly new and unexplored worlds as part of a story of settlement and terraforming that literally goes beyond Earth, something that we as a technologically superior species (used loosely) will one day have to learn about in thorough detail, if we’re ever going to find new homes for ourselves away from Earth. So while turn-based strategy is not my particular genre of choice, this game did play a part in piquing my curiosity enough for me to want to give it a try.

I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly a veteran of turn-based strategy. Of strategy games I have played many, but my interests in strategic games lie more in the real-time strategies, so trying out Beyond Earth was a bit of a foray into an unfamiliar land, not entirely unfamiliar since I had previously sampled Anno 1404, but the first time I ever tried out a Civilization game proper, meaning not a demo or something to that extent. That said, the code we were given for Beyond Earth only allowed for a total of 200 turns, so it’s hardly more than a glorified demo in any case, albeit an unrestricted one apart from the 200 turns limit which more or less gets you past the early-game segment.

As something of a newcomer to the series, I was delighted then to see that Beyond Earth was more than willing to accommodate me. Naturally, it being a strategy game, you are more than likely to become ridiculously overwhelmed by everything going on on-screen at first. But the game will do its best to hold your hand and guide you through all of it; slowly and patiently explaining everything you need to know, without getting in the way of you playing your game. Perfect. It means that I’m not immediately left feeling like an idiot and quitting out of the game, although it certainly requires some patience and perseverance before you can confidently turn off the assistance the game offers.

Hailed as the spiritual successor to the classic Alpha Centauri, and indeed featuring much of the development team that worked on said classic, Civilization: Beyond Earth offers players the opportunity to explore new and uncharted alien worlds. Over the course of your time playing through the game, the directions you take and the technologies you research will go a long way towards determining which of three Affinities you will ultimately end up edging towards; the closest thing to what you might call Factions in the game. The three Affinities are called Harmony, Supremacy and Purity. They each specify a form of adaptation to new planets, where the former favours adopting the new planet as it is, the latter favours reforming the planet in Earth’s image, and the middle is a mix between the two.

At the beginning of the game you will pick some basic upgrades to get you on your way and give you an edge in a particular area (you can also pick your point of Earthly origin), and from thereon out you’re left entirely to your own devices. There is a technology web of sorts that allows you to progress by upgrading, and we can think of this almost like a blitz-form of technological evolution, where there are multiple paths branching out and the choice is up to you, how you want to go about this evolution. At first it will almost definitely seem overwhelming but over time you’ll learn the paths and familiarise yourself more and more, with the way they branch out.

It being a turn-based strategy game, most of the game plays out in turns and is based on a hexagonal grid. As you play through the game, other civilisations will be encountered and it is up to you how you deal with them. I’m not going to go into too much detail with this because it’s your standard bread-and-butter out-of-the-box traditional turn-based fare and really, yawn.

What’s far, far more exciting is how you choose to explore the new and alien terrain. You will encounter aliens, you will encounter toxic gases and you will encounter blocked paths, and it is up to you to choose how you traverse these paths, taking care to either attack or adopt the aliens while avoiding ending your turns in the toxic gases called Miasma lest you lose precious ground forces.

Meanwhile at your home base you will be producing more ground forces as well as researching various technologies along the way to your overall Affinity, which will be determined by your progress across your turns and provide you with unique bonuses as well as unique units towards your civilisation.

To that extent, Beyond Earth feels like a long-term buildup and rightly so. Every early technology upgrade you will purchase has the intention of building towards something greater. And it always has that feel: Of building towards something greater. Everything. Even the very basic troops that you build are built with the intention of later creating something more inline with your overall strategy and intended Affinity.

Your Affinity then, forms the overall focus point of your game and your target by mid-to-end-game, although I obviously couldn’t get that far in the preview build. Still, it was a nice thing to have around because it effectively empowered you as the player to build as you felt comfortable, or indeed towards your ultimate Affinity.

Of other civilisations, I mean they’re not going to have the personality of actual historical figures and a lot of them are questionably racist at worst and mildly bemusing at best; they’re not really important. You choose how you wish to deal with them and standard turn-based strategy takes over from there. Far more importantly, there really isn’t another game that does this sort of turn-based strategy as well. At least not since the aforementioned Alpha Centauri.

This is why hands-ons are kind of tough to write. You can’t really ‘review’ the game, but you’re meant to talk about it anyway. Be informative without over-hyping (the way pretty much every site on the internet typically does with these things). Rather than talking it up a whole lot, let’s rather say this: Do you like Civilization games? Are you a fan of science fiction movies? Did the eighties and nineties really do it for you, with the likes of Alien and Terminator and so on, in terms of technology? Well then you’ll be right at home trying out Beyond Earth.

Because that’s what it is, at its heart. It throws out conventional building and a lot of the standard resource gathering, and it doesn’t have any of the traditional units or buildings as a result of being set in the distant future. Instead you get a futuristic sci-fi strategy game that tries some new things, and while it’s not graphically impressive (by Anno standards anyway) or compelling in terms of AI and unit interactions, it still manages to be engrossing and rewarding for the turn-based strategy player.

And that’s all you really need to know about it. Civilization: Beyond Earth releases October 24th on PC. Be sure to check it out if it’s your kind of game.

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Life, The Universe And Gaming: Reviews Vs Critique In Videogames http://egmr.net/2014/09/life-universe-gaming-reviews-vs-critique-videogames/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/life-universe-gaming-reviews-vs-critique-videogames/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:00:36 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157697 There are so many types of gamer in the world. Why should there only be one type of review? Here is a topic that has been discussed ad nauseam in […]

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There are so many types of gamer in the world. Why should there only be one type of review?

Here is a topic that has been discussed ad nauseam in other genres of entertainment, most notably cinema. The term ‘film critic’ is synonymous with a person whose sole purpose on Earth is to ruin new cinematic releases for everyone… or so the stigma goes. Of course, in gaming we have our own term, the so-called ‘game critic’ who exists to critique games. But whereas in film it’s typically established exactly what the role of the film critic is, in gaming we’re a little less certain of this. Most of the time, we tend to mistake a game critic for someone who is trying to give you honest consumer advice. Let’s run a quick anecdotal situation using two possible scenarios:

Scenario 1: A person has been looking forward to a game for a long time. They go out, purchase and play the game when it finally releases to the world. They then head onto the internet to discuss it, as well as see what other people had to say about it. In this process, they checked out the reviews of certain sites to see if the reviews agreed with their opinion or not. Depending on the person, they either discussed some points of the game with others or just flamed those who disagreed. Either way, discussion arose.

Scenario 2: A person has been looking forward to a game for a long time. Before going out and purchasing it, however, they decide to read some reviews on the game. They see that the game has not performed up to standard and so they decide to spend their money on some other game instead; a game that is getting much better reviews. This person then goes out and purchases that game and either does or does not have a good time with it, depending on their own personal discretion. Either way, a purchase arose.

Now the key difference with these two scenarios is that each person was looking for a different thing out of their online experience with regards to the game they wanted to buy. In Scenario 1, the person was looking for critique. In Scenario 2, the person was looking for consumer advice. And herein lies the difference between them: Critique is discussion for the sake of discussion; Reviews are consumer advice. It really is as simple as that.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately if you think about it but we’ll get back to this one, gaming is the only medium of entertainment in which critique can wholly oppose consumer advice while simultaneously forming consumer advice of its own. What does this mean? Well let’s take a real-world example. A personal one. BioShock: Infinite is not worthy of the various Perfect review scores it got; it has flaws and glaring ones. Critically I would call it a haphazardly designed game with mediocre gunplay and uninteresting level design, with a world that didn’t feel as alive as previous games in the series. However in terms of consumer advice, I would absolutely recommend that every gamer purchase the game by lauding it for daring to go where few games have gone before, and managing to, for the most part, pull it off. In that way, we have an interesting dichotomy of a game that can be criticised quite heavily but is still objectively a recommended purchase.

So you see, these two concepts can conflict at times, and this just does not happen as gloriously elsewhere. For example, if a new movie release was critically panned then reviews would probably recommend you give it a skip. Very few reviews would say, “Yeah it’s bad but watch it anyway.” Unless of course that statement is followed by, “So you know why it sucks.” Although, as we’ve seen from movies such as The Amazing Spider-Man 2, consumer advice isn’t necessarily always sought, nor taken thereafter.

Let’s take a belated moment to actually define the two key concepts of critique and reviews:

Critique: an article or essay criticizing a literary or other work; detailed evaluation; review.

Review: a critical article or report, as in a periodical, on a book, play, recital, or the like; critique; evaluation.

(Take note that I only used the first definition of each, where both have quite a few definitions as can be verified by clicking through the links.)

the_legend_of_zelda_a_link_to_the_me_by_n64_hamster-d711ij4

At this point in time you’re probably thinking, “But it’s the same thing?!” Or perhaps, “But Cavie, why are you trying to make fetch happen.” More than a little confusing, isn’t it? By those definitions, they’re basically the same thing or at least make mention of each other in each other’s definitions. Ugh.

While doing the research for this column I stumbled upon two (one and two) rather interesting links that helped me to firmly establish the differences that make these two words stand out, more so than any lexicographer (look it up) or naysayer would think they do. Of particular note is the following paragraph from the latter link:

A critic, on the other hand, will spend less time reviewing content and more time placing the item in context with works of a similar nature so there is a basis of comparison for judgment. There is no point in judging a detective novel by the same standards that you would judge a book of poetry, or a Country music CD by those you’d use for an opera. Each of these has their own set of criteria that has been established by precedent over the years, and it is the critic’s job to understand enough about a genre to judge how well an individual piece fits within it.

That is exactly it. See, and let’s use a real-world example here with Dragon Age II (because I still get shit for this one), when I’m writing a review for Dragon Age II I have to think of what else is around to play at the time (meaning, at that point, March 2011) and then establish whether or not an experience of this similarity can be found elsewhere. At that point in time, the only game that came close to being comparable was the previous game. There was no The Witcher 2 or Dungeon Siege III (thankfully) or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to compare it to, and so an objective purchasing decision was easy to recommend. “Do you want an RPG to play right now? Great, Dragon Age II is entertaining enough that it’ll keep you going for ages, so buy it.” In that sense, a review is also quite time sensitive, since money isn’t all that’s spent. However there is a tendency to approach it from a subjective point of view as well, where you would look at the story and the characters and so on and go, “Well yeah there hasn’t been a good RPG for a while and this one is good but it’s not excellent and here’s why…” in which case you might venture into spoiler territory just to explain why.

In that way it can be very tricky striking the proper balance between the two. Ideally, at least in my imagined solipsist-approved world, I would have two distinct pieces for each game; a review and a critique. The review simply serves to tell readers whether or not something is worth buying, and the critique exists to discuss the key aspects of the game without worrying about such things as spoilers or ruining the experience for others. An objective article, and a subjective one. It is here, however, that we may consider ourselves very lucky in that gaming can exist away from dichotomies and in fact, you can have a review that is also a critique, and vice versa, while still allowing for distinctly separate pieces as well.

In other words, you can have an article that says why to buy a game or not, and in that article you can be as subjective as you’d like, and then you can put out a separate article which continues your critique but without the shackles of spoilers and so on. You are then free to, let’s say, tell a reader why not to buy a game, and then elaborate on those reasons later on. Or in the case of contrasted games such as BioShock: Infinite, you can tell readers why they should buy the game, and then explain why it’s still a game with problems later on. And I have to say, I love it.

I love that these two distinct things exist. I love that in gaming we can easily mix the two and be okay with it. For example, I love that I can tell people that an Xbox One is a retardedly expensive, not-nearly-as-popular, bandwidth-heavy gaming console, and still recommend it for purchase based on its plus points. Because my critique fits in with the review, and my review is effectively a critique. But then I can go one further and write a full feature on the Kinect and why it’s great, and that is a further critique, and in that critique I can link my review to explain why I think it’s a good (or bad) purchasing idea.

All of this said, and yes there are other types of articles besides just critiques and reviews, I do hope that readers understand the differences between these things and so when I type up an article about why I don’t feel The Last of Us is anything truly special, and yet I recommend it for purchase, people don’t sit scratching their heads and wondering how such a thing exists on the internet. I mean, think of a really terrible person who is good at their job. You want them at their best but can’t stand them, so you tolerate them if it means getting the job done well. In that same sense, we want to talk about games in every possible way, be it good or bad (although yes, people tend to fixate on the bad and for good reason because money is spent on games) but we also want to tell you whether or not to spend your hard-earned money on a game as well.

In the end it’s up to you to decide what you’re really here for. If you read reviews for consumer advice then that’s great. If you read reviews for critique then that’s also great. Nobody is ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ in this situation; it’s just a case of trying to understand where a writer is coming from with their particular article. And then knowing how to deal with that knowledge once you do. Here at EGMR, as I’m sure is the case with many sites, we have a healthy mix of critique in our reviews, and once again that’s just fine. As long as you know what you’re getting out of a review, you should know what to do with that knowledge. And that’s all it comes down to, really.

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Source Filmmaker Produces Some Impressive Trailers For Dota 2 And Counter-Strike: GO http://egmr.net/2014/09/source-filmmaker-produces-impressive-trailers-dota-2-counter-strike-go/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/source-filmmaker-produces-impressive-trailers-dota-2-counter-strike-go/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:30:24 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157680 We here at EGMR are suckers for cinematics and so we’re always inclined to enjoy a good trailer here and there. We do have one condition for cinematic trailers, though: […]

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We here at EGMR are suckers for cinematics and so we’re always inclined to enjoy a good trailer here and there. We do have one condition for cinematic trailers, though: They must be for post-release games, or we aren’t even paying attention to them.

With the release of Source’s Filmmaker there has been massive potential for trailer-making fans to really get creative and craft some spectacular cinematic trailers that border on masterpieces. Here are two such trailers.

The one above is for Dota 2, a game that needs no introduction nor any explanation. It’s serene, it’s visceral, it’s almost sure to… invoke, some sort of passion within you if you’re a fan of the long-running MOBA that pioneered the genre.

Then there’s this one:

That’s a Counter-Strike GO trailer or mini-movie if you’d like, which is done in a hilarious Team Fortress 2 fashion and features terrorists and counter-terrorists fighting over a bomb strapped to a chicken. I dare you to not be entertained by it… and I say this as someone who cannot stand Counter-Strike.

The SFM teams as they call themselves are really producing some quality and we as gamers ought to show ‘em our support, wouldn’t you say? After all, look at those trailers. Who even needs hundreds of millions of dollars worth of marketing for games anymore… Destiny.

Thanks to longtime reader and friend of the site Haig Tait for the links.

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Dota 2 Gets A Massive Update With ‘Rekindling Soul’ http://egmr.net/2014/09/dota-2-gets-massive-update-rekindling-soul/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/dota-2-gets-massive-update-rekindling-soul/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:00:38 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157643 When I was massively addicted to DotA a few years ago, every subsequent release of a new map version was like a new kind of crack to a crack fiend; […]

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When I was massively addicted to DotA a few years ago, every subsequent release of a new map version was like a new kind of crack to a crack fiend; we would sit for hours and analyse changelogs, immediately pick heroes we felt were massively reworked or we wanted to try out, or perhaps they were entirely new, and of course find the one change we vehemently disagreed with. Such was the DotA way.

Now with Dota 2 that has started to become a tradition with a much, much larger audience. And I have to say, it’s kinda cool to see how far this custom map for Warcraft III has come.

Here’s a quick little block of text explaining one of the biggest changes that will come with the Rekindling Soul update that brings Dota 2’s game version up to the 6.82 map.

It is a momentous day in the world of Dota, the likes of which have not been seen for ages, for now it is proven that even the land itself is not above being modified. Along with an assortment of other changes, it’s moving day for Roshan. Though don’t worry, he hasn’t gone far. His pit now looks out upon the river from a different angle, and nearby paths have been rerouted around his legendary den. Though his location may have changed, you can count on him defending his territory with the same murderous energies. These changes, along with many more, can be found throughout the battlefield.

Included in the new update, besides changes to the map layout itself, is a new rune, a new item (that finally gives Vanguard a late-game purpose), some reworked heroes as well as massive reworks and tweaks to other heroes, items and even damage types. There’s a lot, and a lot more in this update. You can check out the full changelog by clicking this bold blue text.

If we could quickly take a moment to analyse those changes, a lot of them make perfect sense with regards to how the current meta works; it seems also that much statistical analysis was carried out after TI4 and the Dota 2 devs really want to avoid overly easy, one-sided fights. Further, they’re trying to mitigate fountain spawn-killing, which is a great step in the right direction. I question why a concede or similar function is still not a thing but otherwise these changes look solid. Bloodseeker in particular definitely needed a rework.

How do you feel about the new patch? It’s not out yet for us but when it is, have a sample of it and come back here to let us know what you think.

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eGamer Podcast #99: Xbot4 Fanboys http://egmr.net/2014/09/egamer-podcast-99-xbot-4-fanboys/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/egamer-podcast-99-xbot-4-fanboys/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 09:00:32 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157490 Recorded: 23 September 2014 Welcome to episode ninety-nine of the eGamer Podcast, now with a billion percent more fanboys, derps and broken recordings. We’re also woefully understaffed for this episode […]

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Recorded: 23 September 2014

Welcome to episode ninety-nine of the eGamer Podcast, now with a billion percent more fanboys, derps and broken recordings. We’re also woefully understaffed for this episode so how it’s even out is a miracle of Destiny Jesus level. But it’s out, so sit back, relax, pull out your favourite beverage and be sure to spit it out in disgust at some point while listening to this latest episode which we’re calling the best drivel since the state of the nation address earlier this year.

Topics discussed this week include Destiny’s late-game content, sensitive gamers and PS4 vs Xbox One.

Here are the shownotes for this week’s episode:

  • Let’s take a moment to talk about games from 2008!
  • Do you get scared playing BioShock?
  • Why did Dead Space 2 change things up so much from the first one?
  • Cavie stopped playing Dead Space after a point.
  • Is horror gaming making its return?
  • We take a moment to get existential.
  • A player finally reached level 30 in Destiny!
  • We criticise Destiny a little less this week.
  • Why have only PS4 owners read our Xbox One review?
  • Is the internet sensitivity turned up high of late?
  • What do gamers really want to hear from writers?
  • Warning ahead of a possible bad game is not negativity, it’s cautioning.
  • We take a moment to discuss GamerGate and NotYourShield’s origins.
  • Random disconnect of doom!
  • We answer your questions.
  • We share the things we feel are most next-gen in the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.

Don’t forget that you can subscribe to the RSS feed so you never miss an episode. Enjoy.

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | RSS

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Review: Forza Horizon 2 Is A European Racing Spectacle http://egmr.net/2014/09/review-forza-horizon-2-european-racing-spectacle/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/review-forza-horizon-2-european-racing-spectacle/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 07:30:07 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157503 Visit review on site for scoring. When Forza Horizon first released to the world a few years ago, it didn’t really make much of a splash. We loved it and […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

When Forza Horizon first released to the world a few years ago, it didn’t really make much of a splash. We loved it and so did a lot of others but for the most part, the Xbox 360 exclusive flew (drove?) low under the radar, despite being a solid racing title. An arcade spinoff to the much more serious Forza Motorsport series, Horizon was a game that had a decidedly refreshing air of newness to it albeit one that hinted of a developer, in newcomer Playground Games, that was still coming to terms with exactly how to develop racing games on Xbox 360.

In actual fact, almost the opposite is true because Playground Games comprises a slew of veteran racing game developers. And so with Forza Horizon 2, now that (we expect) they are familiar not just with the hardware on offer and the racing model in play but also each other, we now get to see them really come out of their racing shells and produce the kind of quality that stands head and shoulders (there’s a car pun here somewhere) above all others, edging ahead into the lead (we told you).

Forza Horizon 2 is quite simply the best arcade racer that we have had the opportunity to play.

Let’s start at the beginning and talk about the style and setting of Forza Horizon 2. The game has moved away from the North American ‘Horizon’ setting of the first game and now takes place in Europe, with certain locations from France and Italy used as the playground (no pun intended) for the open world that you will traverse throughout the length of this game. The game’s story basically follows that the Horizon festival has moved away from North America and into Europe for the first time and you have been invited, as a personal friend of the organiser Ben, to participate. Kinda sounds like a Make Games SA storyline in the making… The European setting brings with it the likes of the French and Italian countrysides together with a bunch of new ‘radio stations’ that form the game’s much more chilled soundtrack, as compared to the first game which was quite dubstep-heavy, while maintaining a lot of the party atmosphere from the first game.

That’s more or less all you really need to know about what’s going on and the rest of the game is a rollercoaster ride of arcade racing, including regular Championship races such as Circuits, Sprints and the like, as well as a whole bunch more. Returning from the first game are Barn Finds, Rival Races, Head-to-Heads, and Invitational events that have you racing such things as airplanes, fighter jets and more. But now there’s even more to do, with a new race type called Cross Country which literally tasks you with traversing the land away from roads and is easily some of the most fun racing I’ve had in years. There is also the Horizon Bucket List, which presents you with a series of challenges that you must accomplish in specific cars. Then there’s the new Car Meet mode, which lets you take your car online in a similar fashion to Forzavista, allowing you to compare your car to that of others, and purchase the ones you like.

If you think that isn’t enough, there is a myriad of Championships on offer based on the type of car you’re driving. See, one of the big problems with many racing titles is that you could take a Ford Fiesta ST, pit it against a Porsche 918 Spyder, and have a fair contest. Realistically, that’s not really the case. So to deal with this, Forza Horizon 2 groups cars according to their racing style. For example, that Fiesta ST is a Hot Hatch, whereas the 918 Spyder would probably be a Super GT, and so on for each car available to you in the game. This means that you will never have the situation where you in your BMW Z4 are racing against a Ford Mustang, except for course in free roam where racing rules don’t really count anyway. As a result of this change, each racing style — including the Forza Horizon DLC Rally style — has its own Championship which effectively takes the amount of unique races you can enter all the way up to around seven hundred. That’s right, you’re going to be playing this game for a while.

Thankfully you aren’t really forced into most of these Championships with the choice being left entirely up to you, where you’d like to compete and how much of it you’d like to do, and the Horizon Finale, the game’s closest thing to a story conclusion, only requires a handful of completed Championships in order for you to access it. Afterwards, you’re free to get to the rest if you so desire. The result is a whole hell of a lot of racing to do, and the game leaving the choice mostly in your hands. It might overwhelm some arcade gamers but any petrolhead is going to be in heaven, for a very long time.

And I use the word “heaven” for a very specific reason because if you are a petrolhead then Forza Horizon 2 will be nothing short of idyllic to you. This game will, at the risk of hyperbole, take your breath away. Make no mistake, it is staggeringly, ridiculously, unbelievably beautiful. It’s a pity that it’s a racer because it means not as many people will get to enjoy just how beautiful it is, because this is easily the most visually impressive game I have seen on any console, ever. Perhaps it being a racing game helps, because it means less coding of some other aspect. I’m not entirely sure. All I do know is that from the game world to the cars themselves to some new additions I’ll get to in a moment, this game is just retardedly gorgeous.

One of those new additions is a dynamic weather system which together with the day-night cycle already implemented in the Horizon games, creates a very believable and realistic world that feels about as alive as you are. The sun shines, then clouds gather and it starts to rain, then a veil of mist and fog settles on the land before the sun finally shows its bright face again; night or day. Playing this game during the night in the rain was an exercise in surrealism for me, I had to actually pause at one point to catch my breath. And I’m not even kidding about that. Oh and if you care about it, the game runs at the full 1080p.

Now sure, a game can look pretty and have a lot to do but if it’s not fun then there really isn’t a point to any of it. We learned as much from Need for Speed: Rivals, last year. Thankfully Forza Horizon 2 gets around this in two ways. For one, it gives you the impression of honestly, sincerely wanting you to just enjoy cars. In that way, it respects you as the player and allows you as much freedom of exploration and control as you would like. Want to just drive around for a while? Go for it. Want to power through the Championships? By all means. Want to spend your time with friends online? You’re welcome to do so. Every single thing to do in this game empowers you as the player and allows you overall progression.

The second thing that it does, and it’s something different for a few reasons, is that it uses Forza Motorsport 5’s Drivatar system to brilliant effect. At the beginning of the game, Forza Horizon 2 boldly makes the claim that there is no AI in the game. That’s… mostly true. See they took out the artificial intelligence and replaced it with a sort-of virtual intelligence that uses Drivatars to populate the game, instead. If you missed the explanation of what Drivatars are, what the Forza games do is that they track your racing style and behaviour and then put that into a cpu-controlled racer with your name. That racer will then mimic the way you drive, leading to it being called a Drivatar. As a result of this, you will constantly find yourself running into and even racing both people on your friends list and random people using Xbox LIVE. Effectively, this leads to more challenging races and something that feels a lot more personal and involving than something that only used traditional AI racers, or: Every other racing series.

I do question how this mechanic would function offline, though. I didn’t get a chance to try it out for myself because the first time I started it up I was online and going offline thereafter did not remove the Drivatars present within my game, but what would happen if someone started it up offline for the first time and kept it that way? Although perhaps importantly, would it matter at all in today’s internet age? I’ll leave this one up to you to decide. Either way, it’s still a cool feature to have and it works really well in keeping you racing, wanting to compare with your friends and just beat them at everything.

Speaking of which, let’s take a moment to talk about progression in Forza Horizon 2. There is a lot of it. Okay we’re done. Wait, you want me to elaborate? Okay sure. Everything you do in Forza Horizon 2 is tracked, whether it’s your average speed, number of roads travelled, highest speed travelled, and more. Everything. Seriously, there is a mind-boggling amount of stats-tracking present in this game. Further, certain skill actions in the game net you points; stuff like going at high speed, narrowly avoiding traffic, and drafting opponents in races. These will accrue as you do them and if you can chain multiple skills together, you can get massive bonuses as a result. Leave them long enough and they will be ‘banked’ into your overall progress level, which then allows you to level up.

Upon levelling up, new to Forza Horizon 2, you can now spin a wheel for a lucky prize that either nets you various amounts of cash or a new car, or at other levels you are granted perks. These perks are minor and allow you such things as increased bonuses to certain skills, better chaining of those skills and a bunch of other odd little bonuses. It’s something that was sorely missing from the first game where there really wasn’t much of a point to levelling up; here it matters and has purpose because more levels means more cash, cars and perks.

If there are any criticisms to be found in the game, one of them is most certainly the GPS system which can be very helpful at times but at other times is just annoying. See in the first game it was just there to tell you where to go, like a traditional navigator. Problem is, you didn’t always follow the route of the road. So naturally I turned it off and forgot it existed. In Forza Horizon 2 you’re sometimes going off the beaten path entirely, and so the GPS gets confused to shit. Further, there are entire sections where you could just power through but the GPS is busy blaring at you to turn left or whatever. I could turn it off, sure, but then I would lose the new feature added to the GPS, which works with Kinect. In Forza Horizon 2 you can talk to the GPS and ask it for some valuable information about a place, or ask it to target the nearest race, and so on. Handy feature to use, but it means having to tolerate getting the wrong directions sometimes. So… yeah.

Thing is, it’s literally just that. I mean, in the quick rating above I added in under Things Hated that all of it could get a bit long in the tooth for your typical filthy casual gamer. It could. They might get annoyed by the amount of racing there is to do here. I’m thinking of it from the perspective of the type of person who would purchase an arcade racer; if however they’re even remotely into cars (and why wouldn’t they be if they purchased this?) then I expect no problems would occur at all. And so really, it’s just me trying to be nitpicky because I have to be, for the purposes of review. If not for these minor bugbears then Forza Horizon 2 would be the perfect arcade racer, or at least, the closest we’ve come thus far.

I remember playing the likes of Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit, racing through canyons in my Diablo and being in awe of how pretty it all was. I remember also, playing Need for Speed: Porsche 2000 and wondering it the Cote d’Azur was really as beautiful in real life as it was in the game — for the record, this is also my all-time favourite racer. I remember playing Race Driver: GRiD for the first time and trying my best to figure out how it ran so damn smoothly. Forza Horizon 2 has, for the first time since I played the aforementioned games, elicited those sorts of feelings within me. Enough said?

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But Why Does Emma Stone Think Game Of Thrones Is A Joke? http://egmr.net/2014/09/emma-stone-think-game-thrones-joke/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/emma-stone-think-game-thrones-joke/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 06:00:12 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157448 Bit of a sensational title but it’s what she said! You guys remember Emma Stone, right? Big green eyes. Soft brown hair. Various other objectifying traits but mostly, Gwen Stacy […]

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Bit of a sensational title but it’s what she said!

You guys remember Emma Stone, right? Big green eyes. Soft brown hair. Various other objectifying traits but mostly, Gwen Stacy from the Amazing Spider-Man travesties movies. RIP.

She recently gave an MTV interview as part of promoting her upcoming film Magic in the Moonlight, and was asked a series of ‘this or that’ type questions. Examples include whether she says ‘gif’ or ‘jif’, whether she prefers skinny dipping or never nude, and even whether she’s more Woody Allen or Woody Harrelson. Silly questions but nonetheless entertaining fluff for the purposes of the interview.

Perhaps the most curious one was when she was asked if she prefers Game of Thrones to Orange is the New Black, and she said the latter because Game of Thrones is a “joke show” to her. Now of course, she didn’t say it maliciously and she admitted to not having watched the show, but rather she just said that when she saw advertisements for it she couldn’t take it seriously at all.

I know how she feels. If I told anyone, ever that the protagonist of the first book/season dies before the end, and then the heads keep on rolling from there, they would probably laugh and call me a masochist for enjoying such a thing. Still, it’s quite a funny interview to watch and we thought we’d share it since today being a public holiday, hopefully all the srsbsns can take a back seat for a day. Hopefully, internet? Hopefully…

Emma Stone remains as charming and delightful as ever; equally as much as her Peter Parker counterpart, Andrew Garfield. I loved those two together. *cries*

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Share Your Early Xbox One Impressions Here http://egmr.net/2014/09/share-early-xbox-one-impressions/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/share-early-xbox-one-impressions/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 09:45:56 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157451 Hey South African gamers. Did you purchase an Xbox One today? Are you excited beyond belief to try out your shiny new console? Did you squeal with said excitement while […]

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Hey South African gamers. Did you purchase an Xbox One today? Are you excited beyond belief to try out your shiny new console? Did you squeal with said excitement while opening the box upon arriving home?

Oh sure the PC Master Race will go on about how their platform is superior, and the PlayStation 4 faithful will never relent about their console of choice being better, and hey the world will even make their jokes about system updates and how you’ll only get to play any games next month, but you don’t care. You’ve got a brand new Xbox One and you ain’t afraid to show it.

Achievement Unlocked!

You’re in for a crazy ride that you will try (and try and try) to explain to your friends is something entirely different to anything you’ve experienced before. But they won’t understand. They don’t want to understand. They just want to be told, rather than discover for themselves, and so they’ll never quite know what you know. But that’s okay because you do. And you know your life is better for it.

So go ahead and share your Xbox One purchases and initial impressions in the comments below. Go one better and post pictures of the new console as it’s set up. Here are a few tweets from my timeline today, to get things going.

Bonus:

Your turn. Comments section. Have at it!

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Our 99th Podcast Records Tonight — Ask Us Things http://egmr.net/2014/09/99th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/99th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 09:00:28 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157362 Before someone accuses us of dwelling in the past, we at EGMR are a team of multifaceted, multisupportive (it’s not even a word but go with it okay?) writers, who […]

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Before someone accuses us of dwelling in the past, we at EGMR are a team of multifaceted, multisupportive (it’s not even a word but go with it okay?) writers, who are as much into hockey as we are gaming, and we really like that Ronaldo guy and adore how he helped Chelsea with the quadruple in 1999 before moving to Barcelona the following year to play his hockey alongside Zidane. In other news, we’re recording episode ninety-nine of the eGamer Podcast tonight and we’d like you to get involved!

All you have to do, and it really is this simple, is ask us questions. Think up anything you’d like whether it pertains to videogames, movies, comic books, anything really. Ask us about the Xbox One, or about the new series that are coming out in the next few weeks. Scroll down to the comments and give us your best questions.

Then be sure to check out either the site, our Libsyn page, iTunes or our RSS feed later in the week for the podcast, which will have all the answers and more. Tell your friends!

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Xbox One Review: Is It More Fun On Xbox One? http://egmr.net/2014/09/xbox-one-review-fun-xbox-one/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/xbox-one-review-fun-xbox-one/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 06:00:41 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157355 By the time you read this, the Xbox One will have officially launched in South Africa. It’s only taken a year and that’s perfect because it means patient South Africans […]

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By the time you read this, the Xbox One will have officially launched in South Africa. It’s only taken a year and that’s perfect because it means patient South Africans who really wanted an Xbox One are now able to pick it up and actually play some proper games rather than waiting around for many months in anticipation of something decent to play. That or, like thousands of others, you simply gave up the wait and moved on to a PlayStation 4. Hopefully your impatience won’t come back to bite you in the ass at some point… regardless, we’re not really here today to discuss those who have their sights set on a particular console, but rather those of you who haven’t but still want to pick up either a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One — cue the PC master race. To that extent, you may check out our PlayStation 4 review and then give this Xbox One review a read, and hopefully we can help you to make up your mind regarding your brand new now-current-generation console purchase.

With the release of the Xbox One (local-focussed video above) Microsoft are gunning a few key aspects of the gaming experience, specifically gaming, multiplayer, entertainment, and innovation. They’re calling it an all-in-one entertainment system and while we in South Africa will have to wait for a while until we can enjoy it to its fullest potential, we still get the likes of gaming, BluRay, streaming and so on. Added to that, Skype and more using the Kinect sensor module which, this time, is actually pretty darn great.

The priority of this review is to help readers make an informed purchasing decision. To that extent, we’re going to be discussing a few key components of the Xbox One in the relevant amount of detail, and then leaving it up to you to decide how you feel about it. However if you’re reading this for some critique and would rather have some handy tips and tricks for using your Xbox One in South Africa then we’ve got you covered on that front as well. Further, if you’re reading this review to find out about the games then we’ve even got you covered there also. Here is a full list of game reviews as well as that tips and tricks article we’ve mentioned, which we’ll link down at the bottom as well, together with a quick and easy TL;DR section, just in case:

If you’re purchasing an Xbox One, first and foremost you are going to really want to ensure you have the internet capabilities for it. Oh it’s definitely functional offline, but should you opt to go online you can expect massive game updates and so your best bet is uncapped internet. The very basic uncapped is just fine, but those updates will set you back some. The local Xbox guys are working to ensure we won’t suffer too much with this. Another handy tip for your initial purchase is to acquire a two-pin adapter since the console runs on a two-pin plug. You might also want to pick up some rechargeable AA batteries, but if you have an Xbox 360 then you already know this by now.

Let’s now talk about the particular components that come with the Xbox One, starting with the main unit itself.

 

Design

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The Xbox One, for all intents and purposes, it has to be said, looks like a retro VCR. It’s large, it’s clunky, it’s probably not a good idea to place it vertically. You’re going to need a large space for it, which would be fine if you were replacing your decoder with it but just for the moment since that’s not possible you should ensure you have the space for it. Within the box you’ll find the Xbox One unit, an Xbox One controller, the Kinect sensor module if you purchased a Kinect bundle, a power brick with two-pin power cable, some batteries for your controller and a voice chat headset (the helicopter headset you know and love from the Xbox 360, more or less). Check out the unboxing video above if you need any more information on each of these components.

Initial setup is handled by creating an Xbox account, or signing into one if it already exists. At this point your account will either be created or imported to Xbox One. The Xbox One works effortlessly via WiFi so you needn’t trouble yourself with running extra cables. At present there is quite a massive initial update before you can run the console but the local Xbox guys assure us the console will work offline with just a minor update, at retail. You are then presented with the Xbox One dashboard, which we’ll get to later. From here on, you can choose to play a game or whatever else.

The Xbox One’s main unit is large, as we’ve said. It’s also quite confusingly glossy, and this ends up attracting dust like you cannot believe. Expect to be wiping it off at least once a week, as a result. Further, it has a lot of vents for fans and cooling. Now one of the cool things about the Xbox One — although not necessarily something Microsoft would particularly encourage — is that you can quite easily open up and replace various parts including the fans, which has some added customisability if you so desire. Unfortunately because of the vent placements it means that anything near the Xbox One is going to run hot, and because of the weight of the unit, it’s also going to cause some slight bending on weaker stands. The power brick is exquisitely silent this time around, and allows for a really cool alternative mode called Instant-On.

Think of Instant-On like a Standby mode for your console. In this mode it will power off but not entirely, meaning you can switch it on with voice commands, it starts up faster, and it can download and install updates in the background while the console is not in use. Very handy, and a recommended feature from us. But if you’re paranoid about it, or live in a volatile area then perhaps you’d rather properly turn it off. The Xbox One does allow for this as well. But it’s very boring…

Finally, the 500GB hard drive is going to be filled up really quickly. Around ten games and you’re done. Thankfully the console does allow for external hard drives, so perhaps consider getting a 3TB external, connecting it up and just forgetting about storage issues for a while.

 

Controller

XboxOne-Controller

Perhaps the greatest addition to the Xbox One is the controller. The Xbox One controller looks stylistically similar to the Xbox 360 controller, which was regarded as near-perfect by almost all gamers ever (gross exaggeration but roll with it), but is slightly smaller and more refined this time around. It’s got sleeker triggers and bumpers to fit the shape of the controller, which has the double effect of making it feel smoother and sharper but also making it a little tougher to nail a button press. This is easily made up for by the addition of haptic feedback (vibration) on the triggers and bumpers now, which also have a glossy black finish to them that really make them stand out on the controller. The analogues too are slightly smaller, and those little plastic indents are entirely removed, this time in favour of a tesselated outer edge with a smooth flat inner area at the centre of the analogue stick. The D-pad is also reworked, now properly old-school in its design and therefore finally functional as compared to the horrendous Xbox 360 D-pad. The rest is your typical Xbox fare, with the Start and Back buttons now replaced by other buttons that serve the same purposes anyway, and the Xbox Guide button moved slightly higher and functioning now in the same way that it did on the 360.

The Xbox One controller is powered by two AA batteries which, from personal use, lasted just over forty hours before finally giving up. Consider a pair of rechargeables or wait until the play and charge kit for the console is released; alternatively, purchase one of the upcoming Xbox One PC controllers (does that even make sense?) which have cables and so, don’t need batteries at all.

On the vibrating triggers, which is perhaps the biggest new addition, it’s tough to explain but once you’ve tried them out it’s as if you’ve realised something in your life was missing all this time and can never now go back to that previous existence, you know, now that you know better. Hopefully other games will take better advantage of this new function and we can get some shooters with haptic feedback on the triggers, or even just some unique indie games that do things their own way.

In all, the controller is a massive plus point and paradoxically, one of the biggest selling points of a console that is trying to sell controller-less motion control as part of the experience. It’s nevertheless a great fallback.

 

Dashboard

Xbox-One-Dashboard-1

The Xbox One’s dashboard works slightly differently to the Xbox 360’s dashboard in that it is a universal user interface. What do I mean by that? Well on the Xbox 360 the Dashboard was a home interface that went away when you started up a game or app. In order to get back to it, you needed to close that game or app. While in-game, a ‘guide’ would pop up if you pressed the Xbox Guide button on your controller, with some common functionality such as access to achievements, friends, messages and so on. The Xbox One’s dashboard is persistent. Regardless of what you’re doing with the console, it is always there.

Think of it like a frame. It doesn’t matter what the picture is, the frame is always there. So regardless of what you’re doing, you will always have full access to the dashboard at the touch of a button. Now this has two massive (massive) benefits to you as the user. For one, it means that everything is truly connected. For example, you can literally pause a game you’re playing, open up Skype and talk to friends, then go and watch a movie on your console, then when the movie is done simply resume the game you’re playing and it picks up where you left off. For two, there is no longer such a thing as ‘quitting’ a game.

Don’t get us wrong, you can ‘quit’ a game, but you do so by choice, not because you’re forced to. Let’s run a scenario for a second here. You’re playing Forza 5. Your phone rings and it’s your totally real and not-at-all-non-existent partner who wants to come over for some sexytime. You turn the Xbox off but without saving your progress even though you’re already mid-race but the power of boners is stronger (no pun intended). Then after sexytime, you switch your Xbox One back on and immediately resume your race that you were busy with previously. Right where you left off. And this works for multiple games too, meaning you and your partner could have had a vigorous… co-op session in Dead Rising 3 and your Forza 5 progress would not have been removed. Games, and everything else on this console, work in ‘states’ which mean that you never have to ‘quit’ a game ever again, unless you want to.

There is however one massive drawback to the way this new console is designed. You have to install pretty much everything now. Granted it’s the same on PlayStation 4 without, I expect, the sexy resume capabilities, but the install times on Xbox One are a bit longer and you’re going to want to go offline to speed them up because if you don’t, the Xbox One will try to download patches, updates and such, and what could be a ten minute install could take upwards of a day depending on your line speed. We’re not even kidding about this. Install your games offline first.

Another aspect that requires some discussion is the new ability to ‘snap’ certain apps such as Skype, Achievements and more. Snapping effectively creates a small picture to the right of the screen where something else shows, while you’re doing whatever you’re doing with the rest of the screen space. So for example you can play a game and just to the right, have the Achievements page snapped for reference, or have a Skype call snapped, and so on. It’s a really neat feature that has abundant uses depending on the type of functionality Xbox can provide with it in future. For now, it’s just really cool to have this functionality in place. Other options are available to you via the My Games and Apps section, which allows you to access not just your installed games but also a wide range of apps and snaps that include the Avatar Editor, Friends, Achievements, Messages and more. Some of these apps require first-time installs, others don’t.

All of this said, it has to be noted that the Xbox One’s dashboard is initially very clunky and confusing to use. It needs you to spend some time using it and customise it to your preferences. Initially you get three screens, namely Pins, Home and Store. Pins are where you will store your most-used apps. The Home page is what you might call the ‘main’ interface while the Store allows you access to the Xbox LIVE store, as the label might suggest. Configuring settings, navigating the various apps and everything else is something you will simply have to spend time doing and familiarising yourself with, and you still might be surprised by a thing or two. It would have been really great if Xbox considered this and threw in some tutorials.

 

Kinect

XboxOne-System

Here’s perhaps the most contentious part of the review. Previously Kinect was considered to be something of a failed experiment. I have had a lot of experience with the old Kinect system as part of promotions and I can tell you that when it works, you’re going to mostly have an okay time, but when it refuses to play along then it’s about as useful as ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. This time around, however, the Kinect 2.0 is the bee’s knees. I said as much in a recent column wherein I praised the Kinect 2.0 for creating what I consider to be the fundamental point of inflection from which the Xbox One starts to feel like a suitably ‘next-gen’ console. Which is to say, unique.

To reiterate: The Kinect 2.0 transforms the Xbox One into something transcendental. No longer is it just a games console but suddenly it’s a multimedia device that you can have a conversation with. You can walk into your home after a long day at work and using nothing but your voice, start up the console, have it identify you and sign you in automatically, turn on a game, check out who’s playing and even start up a multiplayer match. You can switch off your console without so much as touching it or the controller (hence my calling the sexiness of the controller paradoxical) and then you can use that beautiful resume capability to pick up where you left off another time, without ever touching the console or your controller but rather using just your voice, or gestures if you prefer remaining silent. This is next-gen.

Added to that, the Kinect 2.0 camera is a full HD receiver of images meaning that you can throw away that shitty old webcam and just Skype your relatives overseas using your Xbox One instead. And you can do it while playing games, as well. There are full tutorials on the console, which detail how you can get the most out of the Kinect 2.0’s video and voice capabilities.

XboxOne-Kinect2

The voice recognition does need to be set up initially, before it will work properly. This is probably why some might decry it as still shit; they just didn’t take a moment to get it working in the first place, the haters. The calibration is quick and easy so just get it out of the way on day one. If you live in a noisy area, or like me you have dogs that are afraid to stop barking in case they forget how to do it, you’re probably going to have some troubles here and there; still it’s nothing on the level of the old Kinect and it’s still functional 90% of the time.

When it does fail, it’s typically in glorious fashion. For example I once asked my Xbox to ‘Snap Achievements’ and instead it closed my game and took me to ‘My Games and Apps’. Nothing a quick ‘Go back’ couldn’t fix, but I just struggled to understand how Kinect heard what it did. Another time while playing Dead Rising 3, my dog barked and the game heard ‘Pause’ somehow. So it’s not without faults but again, they’re so few and far between that it rarely ever becomes a point of concern assuming you can speak clearly enough that the console will understand your voice.

At an R8000 asking price, I cannot say that every gamer who buys an Xbox One should buy the Kinect version. It is a ridiculous asking price and you would be justified in saying no to it. That said, if you can afford it then I would urge each and every Xbox One purchaser to consider it because it really does transform the Xbox One experience into something that cannot fully be explained. It’s one of those things that, I can talk it up for days and days on end but nobody will really get it, or they’ll dismiss it as blabbering and silly talk, but the moment you get your hands on it and try it out for yourself, I guarantee you will be sold for life. It’s that impressive to behold. Unfortunately, it just cannot be properly conveyed with words.

My final attempt at doing so: The only time I ever touch my controller is when I’m in the game and ready to play, and when I stop, I go back to not touching my controller. Saves battery life, prolongs controller lifespan, just feels so fluid and cool. I am Tony Stark and the Xbox One is my silent J.A.R.V.I.S.

 

Our Concerns

microsoft-xboxone

The Xbox One has released here in South African nearly a year after the PlayStation 4 released here. Added to that the dick-move that is Ster Kinekor’s PS4 specials currently out, and you’ve got a console squarely on the back foot. It’s got a lot to prove and without the added TV and streaming functionality you’re not getting everything the console promises to overseas audiences as well, so the Xbox One might not seem like as attractive a feature as the PlayStation 4 currently is, locally. Add this to my firm belief that an overwhelming majority of South Africans are blindly faithful Sony supporters (purely because of the PS2’s runaway success) and the Xbox One really has to pull out all the stops to make a solid impression locally. And it might not yet be up to the task, especially with that Kinect bundled asking price.

Another concern is that of the social experience. The Xbox One is trying very hard to be a more social console, allowing you to ‘favourite’ some of your friends and see an activity feed or your friends’ activities, even telling you what popular games people are currently playing and showing you the ‘reputation’ ratings of others so you know who to stay away from. But away from your Friends menu a lot of it isn’t currently translating in the same way as the #PS4Share and Twitch streaming are. There is functionality in place but the Xbox One never pushes you to share or engage that functionality, and could well fall behind as a social platform with regards to the outside world. It still has Skype and regular party chat features and so is vastly superior in terms of voice chat and just ‘hanging out with friends’ but it’s going to need more if it wants to compete with the power of social networking on PS4.

One last concern that is particularly relevant to South African fanbases is that of the bandwidth usage and basic internet functionality. Africa does not have an Azure cloud server, which has already caused us to miss out on an official TitanFall release here. How many more games will suffer this very fate, and if we do get them how will it affect our online experiences? This remains to be seen. If you don’t have an uncapped internet line, then how are you going to manage the 40GB+ Games on Demand downloads? It’s a lot to consider if you aren’t ready for it.

 

Conclusion

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Microsoft has put itself firmly on the back foot by releasing the Xbox One as a slightly more costly option, slightly later and in fewer regions than Sony’s PlayStation 4. What does it mean for us in South Africa? Well besides getting the console almost a full year late it means that what little support the console had locally is now further dwindled by all those who’ve since moved on to bluer pastures. Still, the local Xbox team are trying and they even have a competition running for entrants to win an Xbox One.

What we can say for sure is that the Xbox One, with Kinect 2.0 and its new controller and dashboard functionality, certainly feels like a new and fresh experience, but mixing in familiar elements from what we already know and love. And so we think the future is bright for the Xbox One. Certainly more so once some of the kinks are worked out, and we can get some local TV support for the thing. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or you feel there’s anything we’ve missed out. And go ahead and tell us if you’ll be picking up this console any time soon.

Here’s that list again, of related reading including an ‘everything you need to know’ regarding the console’s local launch, as well as reviews for all the launch titles.

TL;DR version for n00bs

The Xbox One is the closest thing to a true ‘next-gen’ experience that we’ve seen so far. The mixture of functional Kinect voice and motion controls, the persistent capability of the new dashboard that allows for resuming without ever needing to quit or start up a game, the sexy new controller with vibrating triggers and sleeker design, and the customisability of its parts including the option for added external storage as necessary, make it a splendid console for not just gaming but all sorts of media consumption including video, streaming and more.

It is unfortunately held back by a lack of social functionality at present, ridiculously large (and long) install sizes and updates that will consume your bandwidth if you’re not on uncapped, and finally a very convoluted user interface at first. Still, none of this really hinders the core experience and the pros certainly outweigh the cons. It’s just a case of whether the Sony supporters are willing to actually see that or not.

Once again to emphasise, if you can afford it then definitely consider the Kinect because it transforms the Xbox One experience into something on its own level of interactivity, and makes a joke out of every other gaming platform out there, with its hands-free capabilities that make you feel as if you’re living your life as part of a sci-fi movie. It cannot fully be explained without experiencing it for yourself, and anyone who decries it is probably just hating, or has had an oddly inferior experience. But likely they just haven’t tried it for themselves. Own it if you can afford it.

Check out the links above for information regarding tips, tricks and more, as well as reviews for launch window titles.

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Review: Forza Motorsport 5 Is The New Pole Position For Simulation Racers http://egmr.net/2014/09/review-forza-motorsport-5-new-pole-position-racers/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/review-forza-motorsport-5-new-pole-position-racers/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:00:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=156851 Visit review on site for scoring. Meet Forza Motorsport 5. It is quite simply the best racing experience for simulators out there right now, and that’s really all you need […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

Meet Forza Motorsport 5. It is quite simply the best racing experience for simulators out there right now, and that’s really all you need to know. But then that’s quite a bold claim to make in a world with the likes of Gran Turismo, Need for Speed and other such titles out there, so how about we take a few minutes to tell you why this is the best racing experience for simulators out there right now. In racing titles you typically get two types of racers, namely simulation and arcade. Sometimes you get hybrid racers that are mix between the two, the likes of Race Driver: GRiD and such. But for the most part, they tend to tip in either direction. Forza’s ‘Motorsport’ series is the serious simulation racer of the series, and now in its fifth iteration it is better than ever before.

Let’s begin with the most obvious thing that you will see when you start up the game: It is visually gorgeous. Now that’s not an exaggeration by any stretch of the imagination; you might have heard talk of how Xbox One titles don’t do 1080p 60fps and we’re inclined to believe that it does matter to some extent (although not nearly to the levels of unplayable that the internet seems to think) and so you can be happy to know that Forza Motorsport 5 does in fact run at that ‘Goldilocks setting’ so to speak (I literally just made up that phrase now). When you first start up the game, I challenge you to not let your jaw drop at the visuals on offer. It is stupefyingly pretty, and the cars look about as photo-realistic as it gets.

The tracks aren’t that bad either, although they do leave a little to be desired. Some tracks are obviously just bland by design, even in real life, so fair enough. But more than that, crowd animations are still glorified sprites and on next-gen that’s just not forgiveable anymore, but it’s a thing we’re willing to accept if it allows for the level of detail offered in terms of the cars and the rest of the tracks themselves. On that note, we’re once again spoiled by many real-life locations that are beautifully rendered on the Xbox One.

But none of this is really a surprise, right? People have been shouting from rooftops about how splendid the game looks so rather than spend more time faffing about that, let’s talk about the real meat of the game, and how all of it feels. Starting with the Drivatar. See in Forza Motorsport 5, your performances are recorded and then a special AI-controlled driver is created in your honour. This Drivatar will then race in the events of others online, and you will earn rewards based on how your Drivatar performs. Likewise, other users’ Drivatars will race in your game and compete against you. The result, assuming you have the online capabilities for allow for it, is that you get much more competitive and frantic racing than simply tuning AI (where sometimes it’s too easy and other times they obliterate you on the track) and of course, you get to brag to your friends about beating them in races, without even having raced them.

Or you could take it online and race them, although if you’re straying away from the main racing mode then you’re going to have a bad time. In Forza Motorsport 5, most of the focus is on your career mode. In fact, the game pretty much automatically starts you up into the career mode the first time you play it. There is multiplayer and splitscreen, as well as a quick race option, but all of it relies on what cars you’ve unlocked in the career mode, effectively forcing you to play through it. To the game’s credit, the career mode really is where it’s at, with an abundance of racing and a ridiculously varied amount of racing disciplines complete with free cars as prizes for winning events, so you never really need to spend a lot in order to unlock most of the cars in the game.

That said, it is still frustrating to want to play a quick race or splitscreen with a friend and then either ‘rent’ a car (which grants you no experience for that race) or purchase the vehicle you want to try out, with money you earned in your career. It’s as if the game was designed around either the career mode for those who care about racing, or copious amounts of microtransactions for those who want a more casual experience. If you’re looking for a casual racing game, Forza Motorsport 5 can keep you sated to some extent but you’re not going to have nearly as much freedom as you might have thought from reading the number of cars available, on the game’s box.

Now if you’re here for the long run then this game certainly caters to you, offering up all sorts of events including circuits, sprints, drifts and more. It’s also got a massive variety of racing classes including tuners, sports cars and even SUVs. There’s just a mindnumbing amount of racing on offer in this game and it will very likely keep you sated for months of religious playtime.

If you’re a fan of the Top Gear television series (the British version, or: the good one) then you’re going to feel right at home here, with narrations by the Top Gear team as well as silly invitational events every now and then, such as a race early on which puts you on the Top Gear Test Track and tasks you with winning a race through what is imagined to be London’s streets, and it’s basically just a whole lot of in-game props; things like trash cans, pylons and tyres, all laid out on the track for you to try and drive through. It’s quite hilarious and serves as a welcome and refreshing break from the racing action of more serious events.

All of this adds up to a marathon of racing, which when you throw in the visual fidelity on offer really makes for the most intricate and detailed simulation racing experience currently available on any platform. Perhaps Project CARS or something else comes along and does better but for the moment, Forza Motorsport 5 sits comfortably on the throne of realistic racing. Throw in the feel of using the Xbox One controller in this game and you’ve got something truly unique and special. Oh, about that!

Let’s take a moment to appreciate haptic feedback on the triggers because it is one of the coolest additions to the Xbox One’s new controller. How it works is, you know those triggers you get on the Xbox controllers? On PlayStation they’re called L2 and R2 but on Xbox they’re LT and RT, where T stands for triggers. The controller’s triggers now have the ability to vibrate. Might seem like a really silly and weird addition until you actually try it out.

In practice it’s one of the coolest feelings ever, because it allows you to really feel where all of the downforce is going while driving your vehicle and it adds an extra dimension to racing. I cannot wait to see this functionality in action elsewhere but for racing titles… I don’t really know how to explain it, it’s kind of like describing colours to a blind person, you really just have to try it out for yourself to understand why it’s as great as it is. The best way to perhaps say it is, imagine you were floating everywhere you went. It might feel a lot smoother but you didn’t really know you were moving until you looked around. Vibrations on the controller’s triggers are like footsteps that you feel when you walk. Easily taken for granted because you can feel them, but try asking someone who can no longer walk, how it feels to not be able to feel their legs anymore. It’s that sort of thing; like discovering a limb you never knew you could use or something.

Bad analogies aside, it really works well and almost excuses the lack of Kinect voice controls in the game, with Kinect’s only contribution being a weird head-tilt kind of thing that only really works in certain situations anyway. Basically as you tilt your head in real life, the game’s camera mimics your movement. It’s a silly addition if you ask me, and entirely superfluous to your enjoyment of the game.

The only other complaint I have of the game right now is that compared to Forza Motorsport 4 it is a little skimpy on content; however I’m going to argue that Forza Motorsport 4 was kind of an exercise in excess anyway, and that as a debut entry on Xbox One, Forza Motorsport 5 does more than adequately. It just feels like an equally complete package and with the additions of Drivatar and the haptic trigger feedback, actually transcends the feeling of racing, as compared to Forza Motorsport 4. It is just a better overall game, albeit one with a few flaws that cannot easily be ignored.

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Review: Dead Rising 3 Crafts Zombies Competently But Cannot Combine Fun http://egmr.net/2014/09/review-dead-rising-3-better-resident-evil-game-resident-evil-6/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/review-dead-rising-3-better-resident-evil-game-resident-evil-6/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 11:15:51 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157069 Visit review on site for scoring. [disembodied voice from the sky speaks] “Ooh, a menu with a whole bunch of voice controls and options for singleplayer and co-operative! Let’s not […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

[disembodied voice from the sky speaks] “Ooh, a menu with a whole bunch of voice controls and options for singleplayer and co-operative! Let’s not mess about.” *tells the game to start the campaign*

Day 1, hour 1: The zombie invasion was quick and brutal. Within a day, entire cities were lost. After a week the entire world. Basically, The Walking Dead: California. Here I am, jumping (literally) right into the origin of the entire outbreak. Ground zero. I’ve just jumped a fence into the remains of Los Perdidos. My name is Nick Ramos and I have a really cool jacket. I’m not really sure what else I can say about myself just yet, apart from that I can pick up random things off the ground and eat them to gain health, then pick up random other things off the ground and use them either as weapons or tools, depending on what they are. Various tutorial screens are currently flashing in my peripheral vision and I don’t even know WTF is going on right now, because everything is really dark inside this place.

Day 1, hour 2: Outside. At last. I’m starting to feel a bit like Daryl Dixon, surrounded by zombies with nothing but a crossbow and a wrench. Everything is brown and washed out and suitably morbid, and the zombies are relentless but I’m always okay if I just keep moving and hit them from a distance. I’ve seen other survivors around but I can’t seem to save them without the zombies killing them first, no matter what I try. I’m so confused and I’m not getting much in the way of help, just a whole lot more of those tutorial screens. I’ve decided it’s time to just move on and ignore them, because right now I’m just wasting my precious tools in the effort.

Day 1, hour 4: Why does all of this feel like a Resident Evil game I used to play, but with a bit more action for effect? It feels as if I’m inside a videogame right now. Holy shit.

Day 1, hour 6: Finally found other survivors in an old, seemingly abandoned cafeteria. They seemed to know me. Expected my arrival, even. Some really dramatic stuff went down and two of them got taken by the zombies and eaten, although the from the looks of it they just screamed themselves dead because I saw no blood or actual guts or anything; just zombies all over them and screams. I’m not sure if it’s because of my eyes or because their animations in their final moments were awful. I’m still adjusting to this world I’ve awoken in. Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? It’s a shame I feel no attachment to these characters, or there would be such dramatic tension; as it is, I’m just eager to move on with my life. Maybe I’m just an optimist.

Day 1, hour 7: I just discovered that I’m a mechanic! Naturally this discovery was followed by being asked to fix things; so I just found two items randomly, and combined them together. It worked, and I’m still pretending I meant that. It felt good McGuyvering things together to increase their effectiveness. Then a magical thing happened, and I saw this weird screen which, when I spent ‘points’ in it, I immediately felt stronger and better; as if I’d been upgraded or something. It was so empowering, and I felt such variety and choice. I even gained an almost miraculous ability to craft new and amazing things, the more ‘points’ I spent, which accrued by my killing zombies. The more I killed, the better for me.

Day 1, hour 10: The group and I went for a leisurely drive around the town after finding an abandoned vehicle. Surprisingly durable for something that handles like such ass. The town is actually quite large, but it was sectioned off and I presume that more of those areas will become open later, you know, once my friends are off my back and I can freely traverse it. It’s all so exciting!

Day 1, hour 12: After making a stop for repairs, I was encouraged by the other survivors to go for a walk around the town. I did so, and discovered a bunch of other things I could do, that I immediately engaged in. One of them led to quite an interesting little skirmish with a funny side character, one of many to inhabit this world, by my guess, while the other was a glorified fetch quest. I didn’t appreciate playing courier but I was duly rewarded for my efforts and so I didn’t really mind that much. Not long afterwards, I returned to the repair shop to discover that the town would be blown up in six days (yikes!) and I needed to get my friends and I the hell out of there. It was at this point that I discovered my innate ability for combining not just weapons, but vehicles. That’s right, vehicles. And so I set about building, in the space of a few hours, a new vehicle using two vehicles at my disposable. Dope, right?

Day 2, hour 1: A weird news report on the other side of the city reported on the zombies becoming fiercer and more powerful at night and just like that, the zombies were fiercer and more powerful at night. It was all quite surreal. Meanwhile my friends and I attempted to reach a quarantine area for extraction, only to find it overrun by bandits. After killing one of them (sorry for revealing this horrendous spoiler to my story) I felt a sense of guilt and disgust and told my friends that it was the first time I had killed a human. The truth though, was that I had already killed a human while going off on my side missions earlier on. What they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them, I supposed.

Day 2, hour 3: It’s so strange exploring this world when, whenever I’m driving around or just going for a stroll everything looks so dated and bland and I start to feel as if I need glasses but the moment I’m with my friends and interacting with anyone of import (typically in a strange sort of out-of-body motion) everything looks better and I’m reminded that my eyesight is fine. I wish I could explain it. I wish I could also explain why nobody’s bodies work as they should in the real world. Once again I’m starting to fear that all of this is a dream and I need to wake up before I suffer permanent brain damage from watching bodies animate in ways they just shouldn’t. I’ve taken to singing Miley Cyrus to myself to remain calm.

Day 2, hour 6: I’m discovering more and more that Los Perdidos is a rich and bountiful city that, perhaps because of how quickly the outbreak affected the city, has treasures everywhere. Consequently, it’s also the most overpopulated city I have ever beheld. I would drive past a road and obliterate every zombie there (upwards of 200 in some places) and then turn the corner and return to a road packed full of zombies again. Where are they coming from? Why are they all concentrated in certain areas? And why are none of them children?

Day 2, hour 8: Apparently every message that needs to be delivered to me, any discovery I make or anything I learn about this city I’ve found myself in, happens through these survivor friends of mine and news reports. I’m also finding that I’m regularly near televisions at just the right time to hear the news reports I need, in order to know what I must do next. It’s a very provident part of being in this predicament and I do hope that lovely news reporter doesn’t have a boyfriend…

Day 2, hour 12: I am now convinced that someone somewhere hates me. I get this massive playground to run around in, I’ve now mastered dealing with the zombies as well, and I even have some really kickass gear; but I can’t explore for shit anymore because of this goddamn timer. I only have a few days before the bomb goes off. How am I supposed to explore at leisure with that overhanging guilt besetting me? I either explore to my heart’s content and die, or just ignore everything and live. It is so frustrating. I hate you, God. I hate you, world. Why must you forsake me in this way? Fine, I’ll just go and help my friends then… and the hell with this diary.

[Ends]

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Has The Assassin’s Creed Movie Been Cancelled? http://egmr.net/2014/09/assassins-creed-movie-cancelled/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/assassins-creed-movie-cancelled/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:15:03 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157036 In physics the law of conservation of energy tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed but rather changes from one form to another. In that way, life is […]

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In physics the law of conservation of energy tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed but rather changes from one form to another. In that way, life is a give and take. Perhaps this is why on the same day that Fox confirmed the Deadpool movie the world has been clamouring for since that abhorrent Wolverine movie in 2008 (if not earlier), they also removed the release date for Assassin’s Creed.

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything of substance about the Assassin’s Creed movie and if you consider actor and producer Michael Fassbender’s role in Fox’s other big upcoming movie X-Men: Apocalypse then it makes sense that they might table the Assassin’s Creed movie until a little further down the line. At present though, the date that was originally set for August 2015 is now very much a To Be Decided, putting the movie in its entirety in doubt. It could well have been cancelled.

In all honesty, I never much fancied an Assassin’s Creed movie anyway. I mean sure there’s a lot to do in this universe, and the games themselves are quite cinematic experiences, but I just can’t see an Assassin’s Creed movie being good; after all, when was the last time anyone enjoyed an Assassin’s Creed storyline? But I digress.

What do you think of this change of dates? Is the movie going to be cancelled, will production be halted until later, or is it going to go ahead and has Fox just changed the dates slightly but can’t announce it just yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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