#egmr » Caveshen http://egmr.net Let's Talk Games — Videogame News, Reviews & Opinions Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:38:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Super Heroes Vs Game Heroes — Quite Possibly The Coolest Video You’ll See All Week http://egmr.net/2014/12/super-heroes-vs-game-heroes-quite-possibly-coolest-video-youll-see-week/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/super-heroes-vs-game-heroes-quite-possibly-coolest-video-youll-see-week/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 14:00:46 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164587 Now, we could write up a couple-hundred-word blurb about what the above-embedded video entails, taking the time to talk it up a bit before explaining its contents. We could tell […]

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Now, we could write up a couple-hundred-word blurb about what the above-embedded video entails, taking the time to talk it up a bit before explaining its contents. We could tell you it was created by Corridor Digital and featured some popular videogame characters and superheroes, meeting in a clash of two worlds style. We could tell you it all centres around a very familiar McGuffin from a recent superhero blockbuster. We could tell you a bunch of stuff, if we’re being honest.

But really, that would be a waste of words and all you really need to know is that this video is freaking rad. So just watch it okay? Watch it in 1080p, and then share your thoughts on it in the comments below. (It’s the one and only time I’ll allow something cool to have Master Chief in it…)

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Here’s How To Share Game Clips To Twitter From Your Xbox One http://egmr.net/2014/12/heres-share-game-clips-twitter-xbox-one/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/heres-share-game-clips-twitter-xbox-one/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 07:00:25 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164473 We few Xbox One gamers have been a little short on the sharing capabilities. Granted, many people just ignore those game clips and videos that are shared online and it’s […]

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We few Xbox One gamers have been a little short on the sharing capabilities.

Granted, many people just ignore those game clips and videos that are shared online and it’s typically just the others who do it that are interacting with said shared content, but the PlayStation 4 has really brought social media sharing to the fore as a massive pull, with the whole #PS4Share thing.

The Xbox One has been lagging behind on that front. They are certainly working on it, but Microsoft has definitely been on the back foot in this regard. As of yet, there is still no way to taking screenshots on an Xbox One, even if there was a time when screenshots were considered silly; why they’re back in action is anyone’s guess, perhaps just hype factor surrounding a new generation of consoles and a novelty that might someday wear off.

Either way, it’s in the works for better or worse, and the Xbox One has since received the ability to upload game clips to Twitter, as a means of keeping the peace and allowing for some sharing. By “since” we mean quite some time ago, but what better time than now to start talking it up!

Watch the video above, which will explain exactly how to do that. Then go wild, uploading all your favourite clips to Twitter and watching your Follower count dwindle to nothingness faster than you can say 15GB update. Let us know in the comments if you share your gaming stuff online, and how people tend to react to it.

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Need A Reason To Feel Happy About Being A Gamer? Come Watch This Video http://egmr.net/2014/12/need-reason-feel-happy-gamer-come-watch-video/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/need-reason-feel-happy-gamer-come-watch-video/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:00:21 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164467 We gamers have it rough. If we’re not attacking each other, we’re busy being told that our favoured pastime is a pointless activity in self-indulgence and nobody ever got rich […]

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We gamers have it rough.

If we’re not attacking each other, we’re busy being told that our favoured pastime is a pointless activity in self-indulgence and nobody ever got rich off gaming. Also, a whole bunch of other things including violence, harassment and doxxing. It’s not the coolest time in the world to admit you’re a gamer, right?

Wrong.

It’s great to be a gamer. It’s great to be so progressive, so young. So educated, so intellectually stimulating, so privileged in a manner of speaking. So forward-thinking and innovative. Gaming teaches us so much and helps us to be so much more than we otherwise would be. We’ve all learned a thing or two from playing our favourite games. They’ve helped us improve our hand-eye coordination, overcome our fears and even taught us history.

And the very short video above, courtesy the ESL, wants us to love being gamers.

Even when we’re being told that “gamer” is a stupid term and that nobody else self-identifies in that way (sorry bookworms, and any form of fanbase attached to a singer), we still gleefully smile and embrace our passion. We still have something to play, or play next.

Let us know in the comments, what makes you proud to be a gamer.

Thanks to Haig Tait for sharing this with us.

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The Inventor Of The First Gaming Console Has Quit Out Without Saving http://egmr.net/2014/12/inventor-first-gaming-console-quit-without-saving/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/inventor-first-gaming-console-quit-without-saving/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:00:52 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164398 Many of you won’t know who Ralph Baer is. That’s fine, after all he’s a really old man whose contributions to gaming stretch further back then most of our lifetimes. […]

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Many of you won’t know who Ralph Baer is. That’s fine, after all he’s a really old man whose contributions to gaming stretch further back then most of our lifetimes. Let’s take a stroll through history, shall we?

Ralph Baer is the gaming equivalent of Nikola Tesla, the so-called ‘father of video games’ to many. While tinkering with the idea of playing games on television screens way back in 1966 when England still thought they could win World Cups, Baer began work on what would eventually be called the Brown Box, which got a working prototype two years later. The first ever game console was quite basic and featured the first ever game, ‘the chase game’, which had two spots on the screen and allowed players to control them using basic analogues with the aim being to catch the opponent’s spot by touching it.

The Brown Box would go on to gain licensing by Magnavox and be renamed to the Magnavox Odyssey, which is what you might recall as the first ever actual video game console. It released to the public in 1972, to folks who no doubt claimed that it’s a silly device that would gain no traction. Just like cellphones. Oh humans…

Now at the tender old age of 92, Ralph Baer has passed away, leaving behind a legacy of inventions and a quite intriguing life, including a lengthy rivalry with Atari’s Nolan Bushnell, who is also considered a patriarch of videogames as we know them today. Taking inspiration from a table tennis game Baer had created in the sixties on his Brown Box, Bushnell released Pong in 1973 and just like Apple did with their iPhone, entirely stole the show, despite blatant patent infringement.

It has been said that at his ripe old age, Baer was still busy at work inventing things, and while a lot of us have rarely ever heard his name and will probably just as quickly forget it, it’s pertinent that we take a moment — for sentiment or for gaming, you decide — to acknowledge the life of a man who pretty much hand-crafted the great pastime we all love and adore in today’s world, and the reason sites such as this exist.

Press X to pay respects.

Our condolences to Baer’s family as well as his colleagues and companions of old. Gaming has lost a beloved father, but we will endeavour to ensure that his legacy lives on. Leave your thoughts and so on in the comments below, and do check out the videos above if you have a moment.

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Capcom Doesn’t Want You Discussing Street Fighter V On YouTube — Copyright Strikes For All! http://egmr.net/2014/12/capcom-doesnt-want-discussing-street-fighter-v-youtube-copyright-strikes/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/capcom-doesnt-want-discussing-street-fighter-v-youtube-copyright-strikes/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 13:00:15 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164395 Ever hear the phrase, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity?” Well we’re here to tell you that there absolutely is; Just ask Electronic Arts. Nonetheless, Capcom has decided that […]

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Ever hear the phrase, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity?” Well we’re here to tell you that there absolutely is; Just ask Electronic Arts.

Nonetheless, Capcom has decided that it wants to test the boundaries of losing consumer faith by issuing copyright claims for any and all coverage of their Street Fighter V announcement. This includes the media and assets that they provided through press releases, as well as any discussion that takes place containing the Street Fighter V name even if the media is not used.

YouTube game reviewer Angry Joe took to Twitter last night to complain about the unfair copyright strikes he received, with the following tweets:

 

 

 
Other YouTubers then also took to Twitter to dispute the claim, or discuss it.

 

 

 
The official Capcom Twitter account has since made a tweet but has not responded to the tweets embedded above. Clearly, they’re not interested in having a dialogue. Our hope is that they’re just meeting and discussing what went on, internally, rather than just snubbing the people who actively work to make these distributors money. But hey, perhaps that’s just hopeful thinking here.

Either way, if you were planning on making a video about Street Fighter V, don’t. It will get a copyright claim and your channel will receive a strike and there’ll be little you can do about it besides remove the video.

What do you think of Capcom’s heavy-handed attempts at copyright control? Is it fair? Are they just being dicks? Let us know in the comments.

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Don’t Care About The Game Awards But Want To See All The Cool Trailers? We’ve Got You Covered http://egmr.net/2014/12/dont-care-game-awards-want-see-cool-trailers-weve-got-covered/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/dont-care-game-awards-want-see-cool-trailers-weve-got-covered/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 12:00:53 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164393 This past weekend saw the launch of the inaugural Game Awards, a new type of show following on from the Video Game Awards of old, and last year’s horror show […]

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This past weekend saw the launch of the inaugural Game Awards, a new type of show following on from the Video Game Awards of old, and last year’s horror show of a travesty, VGX. The aim was to create a show by gamers for gamers, featuring only the people in the industry who matter. And it was certainly a noteworthy improvement.

Our bodies were all ready when Reggie Fils-Aimé walked onto the stage.

But maybe you don’t want to watch the entire thing and you don’t even care about the categories and winners because after all, nobody’s opinion is more important than your own and you don’t want to spend many hours tirelessly debating why Transistor is your game of the year, and not Dragon Age: Inquisition. Perhaps all you really care about are the trailers.

Well that’s perfect because this article has you covered. Below, every single one of the cool game trailers that featured during The Game Awards 2014. You’re welcome.

 

Tacoma

Meet Tacoma, the next game from Fullbright — makers of 2013’s indie wonder-child Gone Home. The trailer shows a female character (are you watching, Ubisoft?) exploring a lunar base called Tacoma in the first person. It’s out next year and, yeah, that’s about it for now. Cool teaser though, right?

 

Dying Light

This one’s been a while coming now, so you ought to be quite familiar with Dying Light’s first person parkour zombie fighter, with its political unrest and expansive city exploration mechanics. Techland really need to get this game out already so we can play it.

 

Metal Gear Online

Wondering where the multiplayer for Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain would be? Well, here you go. In keeping with Konami’s new style of splitting up the prologue and main story of their singleplayer game, they’ve now gone and split the multiplayer as well. Watch stuffed dogs, bipedal mechs and of course, boxes in the trailer above.

 

Bloodborne

The game we’re calling Dark Souls 2.5, which happens to be very much unlike Dark Souls in execution but we just enjoy trolling that fanbase because they’re so easy; Bloodborne is the next-gen debut of From Software and swaps out the shield for firearms while placing you in a whole new setting. Do check it out.

 

Hazelight

Remember that game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons that made all of you cry for reasons I don’t know because I haven’t played it, but I presume there’s sacrifice involved at some point? Well that studio has since joined Electronic Arts, would you believe it, and they’re working on a new game. It’s called Hazelight, and like Brothers it involves you controlling two characters at once. The teaser doesn’t show much but at least it looks pretty. Hazelight: A Tale of Two Fogs?

 

No Man’s Sky

This one needs no explanation, right? No Man’s Sky is singly the most ambitious and incredible game we’ve seen in many years and with its entirely randomly-generated galaxy, it’s proving to be something spectacular. Check out the latest in this game’s progress above, and try not to feel too sorry for me being unable to afford a PS4.

 

Until Dawn

What’s this? More playable female characters? Hot damn, Feminist Frequency. Until Dawn seems to be a weird take on Saw, pitting young female characters against a mask-wearing psycho and allowing users to fight their way to safety using gesture controls. Expect this game to be called ‘Damsel Simulator’ at some point.

 

The Order: 1886

Th is is wh at it ‘s li ke wh en yo u go fr om 60 fp s to 30 fp s an d th en to le ss th an th at. The Order: 1886, ladies and gentlemen.

 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The game you just know will be game of the year next year, or at least a contender (if it happens, we’ll be sure to remind you who called it first), CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher 3 is look positively mindblowing and we’re eager beavers to give it a go. Sooooooon… in the meantime, check out the trailer above and get eerily creeped out by wraiths in armour — because you know, they need that protection.

 

Zelda Wii U

It’s a new Zelda game, guys! Rejoice! If you’re into that sort of thing, anyway. Zelda for Wii U is expected out next year, and if you pay careful attention to the conversations, you’ll hear that Star Fox is also possibly headed out next year as well. Go be merry, Nintendo fans. Your console matters again.

 

King’s Quest

Remember King’s Quest? Perhaps this is the true test of the kind of gamer you were, growing up. Or perhaps you’re even older and this is what you remember playing in the prime of your life? There were many, many King’s Quest games and now, the nostalgia is upon us as the classic Sierra adventure title makes it return to, well, pretty much every possible platform. You’re welcome, eighties kids.

 

Godzilla

Licensed cash-in or genuinely good title? Who’s to say. There was that one game on the Gamecube that was apparently really good so maybe this Godzilla title could pull it off as well? Here’s hoping it’s a better game than the movie, amirite?

 

Before

When Peter Molyneux was still around talking up videogames and failing to deliver on promises, a game was teased on the original Xbox called B.C. and featured a tribe of cavemen interacting with their prehistoric surroundings. It never made it to release and for the most part, everyone forgot about it. That is until now, well okay kind of. Before is basically that game but without the exaggerated emotional attachments and obviously on a whole other generation of consoles. You hunt, gather supplies, deal with changes to seasons, and a bunch of other stuff. Check it out, above, and consider it a glorified history lesson.

 

Adr1ft

Did they take inspiration from my Twitter name for this game? Heh. Anyway, remember Gravity? That film featuring Sandra Bullock that everyone says you should have watched in IMAX or you missed out on something great? Well that’s basically what Adr1ft is. You’re stranded on a destroyed space station and must make your way back to Earth. Intriguing idea? You can bet your quickly asphyxiating ass it is!

 

The Human Element

Finally, we have The Human Element which seems to mash together a bunch of games into a racer / first person shooter / comedy hybrid that we can’t quite figure out just yet. Perhaps checking out the trailer will help give you a better idea of what to expect. No, there’s no Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovic combo to be found, we’re quite sad about it too.
And that’s it for the trailers found during The Game Awards. Which were your favourite, and which games are you really excited for after watching all of these? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget that you can watch the show in its entirety by clicking this blue text.

Stay in school.

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Life, The Universe And Gaming: Can We Stop With The Gamer-Shaming? http://egmr.net/2014/12/life-universe-gaming-can-stop-gamer-shaming/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/life-universe-gaming-can-stop-gamer-shaming/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 09:00:41 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164350 There was a time when being a gamer was considered a shamefully unflattering pastime; you were mocked and laughed at, and considered a weird, anti-social freak for loving something others […]

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There was a time when being a gamer was considered a shamefully unflattering pastime; you were mocked and laughed at, and considered a weird, anti-social freak for loving something others felt was a waste of time. Certainly not anything remotely career-worthy or beneficial.

Fast forward a bit and today we have videogames rating as one of the highest-grossing forms of entertainment, developers becoming almost household names, some games becoming so bewilderingly popular that tournaments held in their honour have some of the largest prize pools in all of sporting history. And yet, it’s still not necessarily cool to be a gamer anymore. Oh we think we’re cool; it all worked out so nicely for us geeky stereotypes, with the popularisation of glasses, sneakers, beards (for some of us), comics and videogames. But every single time we try to move up as a community, it is others in that same community that hold us back.

Often people who claim to be helping.

Now today’s column is going to loosely skirt (if you’ll excuse the pun) the fringes of a topic I try my best to stay away from… that of sexism (okay there was the one time). I just don’t feel that, as a male, I get to have much of a say on the topic of harassment or mistreatment of women. I am not a woman (which might elicit a gasp or two, I’m sure) and therefore I have no context for the way it feels to be harassed or mistreated by men or indeed other women; I hold up both hands and profess that for this topic, at least insofar as regarding women abuse, I am just not worthy. And I certainly believe this of other men too, regardless of how many articles they boast about having written on the subject. As a man, you just don’t get to tell a woman that she is or isn’t a victim of sexism, nor indeed do you have a right to question her about it.

With all of this said, I’m sure you’ve all, by now, if you’re interested enough, or perhaps you had it forced on you by an article along the lines of this one, seen the most recent Feminist Frequency video entitled 25 Invisible Benefits of Gaming While Male. If you haven’t, here you go. You’re welcome.

I originally viewed the video just a few minutes after it was released because it featured one of my favourite podcasters, along with a bunch of other guys I recognise. It was quite painful to watch, admittedly, but I took it on the chin and accepted that it was something I needed to watch for the betterment of gaming and for the enrichment of the community as a whole, so that we think and do better in future. But then I started to think about it for myself and a harrowing realisation dawned upon me, like the many literal lightbulb moments we’ve recently had thanks to Eskom (except for me because I live in an always-powered area, sorry).

That realisation is as follows: The people who are already aware of all of this do not need the video to be made further aware of this, and the people who need to listen to this are not going to listen to this.

Why is this a problem? After all, if someone takes it to heart then job done, right? Perhaps, but have you ever scolded a child for something that wasn’t necessarily their fault? They probably knew it was wrong and even felt bad about it, but you went and scolded them anyway and made them feel even worse about it. This is obviously not quite what it’s like, it’s actually a lot harsher. And especially the ‘white male gamer’ that is targeted with these sorts of videos, I feel particularly bad for: That’s right, I said it, I as a non-white gamer feel bad for white gamers. And now as a male gamer, I am made for feel bad for being a male gamer.

This is not constructive. Sure, critique exists to point things out even if it doesn’t necessarily help anyone — and actually, I quite enjoy Anita Sarkeesian’s other videos — but I encourage you to find someone who will truthfully admit to having watched that video above and done something to change the current state of gaming.

Why point out why it’s great to be a male gamer? It isn’t. I mean sure, it’s not nearly as bad as being a female gamer (although I’m willing to bet both cases have exceptions), but I assure you I’ve had my fair share of death threats online, as well as people regularly telling me they’ve fucked my mother, they’re going to kill my parents, they’re outside with snipers, and so on. I’ve been hacked and had my pictures stolen. After my now-infamous Destiny column I had to change my Xbox LIVE password thrice because of hacking attempts. I’ve run through the laundry list of abuse I’ve endured just this past year in a previous column. So it’s not as if being a male gamer is a guarantee of privilege. And yet still we are made to feel ashamed for being male gamers, as if any of it is our fault.

By all means, point out the myriad white males as protagonists in videogames but don’t point the finger at male gamers as if those design choices were ours.

Then, when we inevitably take issue with it, don’t then tell us that we don’t have a right to complain about it. Of course we do! Why wouldn’t we, praytell? Sure, about sexism and specifically the harassment and mistreatment of women, absolutely, we don’t have a right to take issue. But this is a video about male gamers and therefore, we as male gamers are allowed to have our responses to it. It is frankly base hypocrisy to tell us we’re not allowed to have a problem with being called out in this manner for things that, I can assure you, a lot of us don’t even care for, as male gamers. More so, things a lot of us cannot even change if we had the power to do so, but I assure you again, we would if we could. Nonetheless we are told that as male gamers, we’ve basically asked for it by allowing it to go on… now where have I heard that before.

This is shaming, and it’s not cool.

Someone please make this a stamp.

Someone please make this a stamp.

Nor indeed is any other form of shaming. We should not condone shaming in any manner, whether it is male gamer shaming or female gamer shaming, or indeed black gamer shaming, gay gamer shaming, Halo gamer shaming, Xbox gamer shaming or even gaming writer shaming (just kidding), because it’s just not cool of us as a community that should be united in our mutual love of a collective pastime.

Shoe on the other foot, if I created a video called ‘The 25 Invisible Benefits of Gaming While Female’ I would be crucified for it. For pointing out that every support player on the team is willing to help, and that the nicer people in the game will jump to your aid (not that you need it) in case anyone harasses you, and so on. It would possibly end my career to commit such heresy. But it’s okay to do it for males, why? Because we’re all the problem? Now granted, yes, it’s the so-called ‘not ALL males’ once again — and I certainly don’t mean to purport that male gamers are necessarily the victims here, I mean that’s like going to an AIDS drive and screaming, “But there are cancer sufferers too!” — but here’s the thing: As much as I’m okay with talking about sexism and highlighting harassment and mistreatment (of any kind) in videogames, I just don’t see how this helps anyone. We who watch the video can’t do anything about it, and anyone who needs to learn from it… I mean at this point if they still haven’t, then why keep reminding the rest of us why we’re such terrible human beings in the process? I’m sorry I was born with a penis?

Biologically, men and women are not the same. Ethically, we endeavour to be as close as possible. Societally, this is slowly but surely happening. But why do we purport equality and then in the same stroke turn around and become exclusionary and accusatory? Why is something not okay for women, suddenly okay for men? Because it happens already? And this solves it? Shaming men will solve the ‘problem’ of scantily-clad women in videogames, how? I’m sorry but I’ve spoken to strong, intelligent and fiercely independent women who don’t see a problem with scantily-clad female characters in videogames. For them, a women is allowed to dress as they please in real life so why not portray them in the same manner? Within reason and practicality, of course. In other words: It’s empowering for women to be sexy in real life but in videogames it’s sexist and demeaning while catering specifically to the male gaze. Meanwhile, every male character is a chiselled Casanova voiced by Troy Baker. Talk about unrealistically high standards and the female gaze…

Or alternatively, this guy.

Or alternatively, this guy.

Now this isn’t a problem specific to videogames; I wholly accept that it’s society that is the issue. Nowadays with ‘curvy women’ permeating pop culture as the new sexy, you’ll find slightly larger folks shaming ‘skinny bitches’ and the ever-green socially middle-to-upper-class folks shaming anyone below them. Racially, white people are shamed for being privileged to the point that I, as a brown person, somehow feel terrible for being a white person. Meanwhile, people who choose to think for themselves are shamed for going against the grain. The list goes on. And yet even through all of our fighting over console exclusives, resolution, ethics in videogames (ha) and so on — none of them nearly as important as other things going on in the world right now — we are united in that we all love gaming and want to see it grow more and more.

To an extent I blame some select feminists for this (not ALL feminists, mind you), their undying support base of people who think they have a clue but are regularly misinformed by out-of-context framed false-positives, and indeed the small handful of (frankly idiotic) people on the internet who are continuously baited into responding to them and just end up making it worse for all of us. People say the term ‘gamer’ has become toxic thanks to #GamerGate but in some ways so has the term ‘feminist’ ultimately spawning the phrase ‘casual feminism’ to explain those occasions the shark is well and truly jumped.

On my own Twitter timeline I’ve witnessed such things as a collective hate for Bayonetta 2 even though the game was written by a female (one of the many occasions I’ve witnessed people of both sexes purport that a woman doesn’t understand sexism, or is inherently wrong about it), as well as an otherwise unassuming male who has done little else wrong at the time, being shamed publicly for having breasts in his Twitter avatar — never mind the fact that one of the people shaming him has a tumblr dedicated to nude women.

Sexy and empowering IRL; sexist and demeaning in videogames.

Sexy and empowering IRL; sexist and demeaning in videogames.

Don’t mistake me though (although I’m sure the ‘donotlink’ URLs will do their best to convey the contrary), I am fully in support of feminism done right, and I abhor sexism, racism, homophobia, and any other form of discrimination in videogames and society in general; these are all human problems that we as a species must deal with, and to an extent we are making progress. Slavery is no longer a thing, nor is the idea that women and men have set ‘roles’ to play in the household. We are making some slow but inevitable progress. Let’s not then hold that progress back by shaming and doing nobody any favours. What is the point of it, really? I dare say, for shame.

I beg of you all, please: Let us never be the type of people who criticise a particular subsection of gaming just for existing without necessarily doing anything wrong. Let us criticise only the games themselves, not the gamers behind them who might actually be on your side and so just end up feeling alienated by your words once all is said and done, to the point that they start to feel bitter and resenting, rather than supportive of your campaign. Let it never reach the point when someone feels ashamed to call themselves a gamer. Yes, there are lot of bad apples around but the sins of the few should not be enough to condemn the hopes of the many. Be the change you want to see in gaming. Yes to gaming, no to shaming. And so on.

TL;DR — Nathan Drake is a beautiful man.

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The Latest Feminist Frequency Video Wants You To Check Your Male Gamer Privilege http://egmr.net/2014/12/latest-feminist-frequency-video-wants-check-male-gamer-privilege/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/latest-feminist-frequency-video-wants-check-male-gamer-privilege/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 15:00:08 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164269 Ever play a game with a really chiselled, buff, manly man of a male character who is always able to take control and get things done, and think to yourself: […]

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Ever play a game with a really chiselled, buff, manly man of a male character who is always able to take control and get things done, and think to yourself: “Damn, that really puts pressure on me as a male to perform, both in terms of physical appearance, suave conversation skills and bravado.”? Just me?

If you don’t know what Feminist Frequency is then truly, you are especially capable at remaining in the dark. In today’s gaming culture it’s impossible to go a few weeks without hearing either that or the name Anita Sarkeesian, either in vehement support or vitriolic opposition.

Here at EGMR we have actually erred on both sides of this argument. We’ve previously highlighted the importance of her video critiques, but also criticised the way she has vilified gamers in the public eye. In truth, it’s actually quite admirable the way she manages to turn the abuse around and make it work for her, and really internet, you guys do it to yourselves by allowing those idiotic kids to spew those disgusting rape and death threats all the time.

Even if they’re just words, do we really want them to be the words we’re painted with as a gaming community?

All of that said, the term ‘feminist’ has recently become just as toxic as the term ‘#GamerGate‘ mostly thanks to what the internet has endearingly termed ‘casual feminism‘, either attacking otherwise innocent practices or entirely missing the point of being a feminist. Or both. But I digress…

The latest Feminist Frequency video comes with what Anita herself would call a “trigger warning” but for males, and is unique in that it doesn’t actually feature Anita herself; it’s also not called Tropes Vs Women in Videogames. It’s entitled ‘The 25 Invisible Benefits of Gaming While Male’ and you can check it out embedded above. Go ahead and watch it, we’ll wait.

Done?

Cool.

So yeah, that was admittedly very, very difficult for me to watch. My initial reaction to it was, “I mean I know they have a man producing Feminist Frequency videos but must they really use a man in this one? Isn’t that just spreading the message that a woman’s words won’t be taken as seriously?” But then in the video that’s exactly what they went and said, and I was left with simultaneous thoughts of, “Damn…” and “… really?”.

As usual the video released to conflicting viewpoints including vehement support and vitriolic opposition. Sometimes on the same site.

In a sense it is somewhat framed and the so-called #NotAllMen comes into play here, but that doesn’t necessarily take away from the point of the video and I would encourage every male gamer who watches this to, rather than immediately feel aggrieved by the video, consider the thoughts presented and just think about what they’re trying to say here.

Of course, that’s not to say it’s all agreeable, and yes there are absolutely ‘benefits’ that are not in our control and if they were, we would have it differently, but work with them on this one. They do have a point.

I mean, you wouldn’t go to an AIDS clinic and go “BUT CANCER EXISTS TOO!” now would you?

Let us know what you think of the video in the comments below. And remember: If you are abusive online, then you’re really just making things exponentially worse. Don’t prove the point of every person who thinks you’re just an internet troll with no sense of humanity. Don’t give ‘em what they want. Entertain these views and present your own and let’s get some proper discussion going, and if you really must feel so aggrieved that you react, why not be productive about it and make something intellectually stimulating that counters the points raised in a fair and humble manner? I promise if such a thing exists, maybe in the form of a video, we will help you to share it. You don’t even need a Kickstarter like Feminist Frequency.

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eGamer Podcast #108: Flawless Victory http://egmr.net/2014/12/egamer-podcast-108-flawless-victory/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egamer-podcast-108-flawless-victory/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 09:00:42 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164185 Recorded: 03 December 2014 Welcome to episode one-oh-eight of the eGamer Podcast, where we discuss the real issues… like who has a headache this week, and why lightsabers are impractical. […]

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Recorded: 03 December 2014

Welcome to episode one-oh-eight of the eGamer Podcast, where we discuss the real issues… like who has a headache this week, and why lightsabers are impractical. It’s a typically zany episode that we’re going to call “iconic” because there’s Ubisoft discussion inside, oh and it’s also the last of the numbered ‘eGamer Podcast’ episodes, cue the shock and horror and so on. Listen in to find out what we’re doing after this.

Topics discussed this week include Assassin’s Creed: Victory’s leak, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, and DC Comics series.

Here are the shownotes for this week’s episode:

  • Guess who “has a headache”…
  • How’s that new early-access game from Ubisoft?
  • Rugby ’15 might just be the greatest game ever.
  • But how’s that AC Victory?
  • How similar to Far Cry 3 is Far Cry 4?
  • Are identical games just made for new gamers?
  • Did someone actually enjoy Call of Duty: Ghosts?
  • But Advanced Warfare is cool, right?
  • They’re actually re-shooting scenes for Avengers 2.
  • Did Aqua-Man save Superman in Man of Steel?
  • But how are the DC Comics series doing these days?
  • When TV shows spoil their own episodes.
  • We answer your questions.
  • There’s some Star Wars conversation in-between.
  • Also, first person GTA V.

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

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | RSS

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More Tips For Newbies On Crafting, Focus, And Guard In Dragon Age: Inquisition http://egmr.net/2014/12/tips-newbies-crafting-focus-guard-dragon-age-inquisition/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/tips-newbies-crafting-focus-guard-dragon-age-inquisition/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164108 Previously on AMC’s The Walking Dead EGMR we gave you 10 quick tips for newcomers to Dragon Age: Inquisition, with the aim being to help out anyone who is willing […]

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Previously on AMC’s The Walking Dead EGMR we gave you 10 quick tips for newcomers to Dragon Age: Inquisition, with the aim being to help out anyone who is willing to seek it. Since then we have been inundated with requests (okay it was just a few people) for guides on, among other things, dragon hunting and crafting. Earlier today we posted a dragon hunting guide, so now all that remains is the rest of the stuff. Here then are a few more tips for newbies to Dragon Age: Inquisition, this time for crafting, focus and guard.

Let’s first establish that because this is meant for newbies, it is by no means extensive nor do we purport to have the most detailed and intricate guide on the internet. It’s a groundwork-level explanation of how these things work and if you already understand it then we have some extra links for your perusal but for the most part, you won’t need this guide. This guide is for those who are struggling to get their heads around the concepts and would prefer to have it explained a bit better; on behalf of BioWare then, let’s get underway.

Crafting

While questing through Dragon Age: Inquisition, you are going to find yourself amassing a rather large assortment of crafting materials. What are those for? Well, in Dragon Age: Inquisition, you are able to craft weapons and armour for your characters; this goes a level further in allowing you to craft modifications for your armour and weapons, so for example you can craft a dagger and then you can craft a grip for that dagger and chuck it on, for a bit of an extra bonus. All of these use crafting materials that you gather throughout your adventures, and all of these crafting materials offer different aesthetic and functional uses.

Why craft? Easy, crafting allows you to build very character-specific items and have full control over the type of bonuses you acquire, meaning you can craft items for your Warrior that either increase their overall damage, or their overall survivability, depending on how you’ve built them. Further, crafting eliminates the levelling requirements, meaning you can have some of the best items without needing to be at higher levels to equip them.

Once again, this is not meant to be an extensive guide to crafting, and if you’d prefer one of those or something that goes into further detail explaining crafting, you are welcome to look here, here, and here. However all of this said, it’s important to note that a lot of the better crafting materials are found with an element of probability so apart from hunting and killing dragons, there is no sure-fire way of acquiring better crafting materials besides just playing through the game and being vigorous in your questing.

Let’s explain the various concepts of crafting using a few images. These attributes are mostly interchangeable between armour and weapons so pay no attention to the type of crafting we’re doing in the images — we basically just Google-searched some images because the Xbox One does not have image share just yet, unfortunately.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

  1. Here you are presented with the potential crafted rating of the armour. The lowest rating is based on the use of Tier 1 crafting materials and the highest rating is based on Tier 4 crafting materials. This rating is also dependent on what Tier of armour you are crafting. In our example we are crafting a Tier 2 head gear for the Warrior class. Typically this is shown just below the list of items and a good rule of thumb would be to only craft Masterwork items because they have better ratings than regular crafting schematics and for the most part you can get away with the loot you pick up from questing.
  2. Here you see what crafting items are required, as well as how much of each. In our example you require 3 metal crafting materials for your Armour rating, and 7 cloth crafting materials for the Defense rating. We’ll get to what the ratings actually do a little below, but before you can craft any item it’s important to look at at this area to determine to type of items you’re crafting. For example if you’re crafting a dagger, you might want more Utility slots, but Armour would be better suited to having Defense slots. Some have multiple slots of the same thing, whilst others even have a Masterwork slot. Pay attention to what slots are required and how much of a particular type of crafting material is required.
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

  1. When you’ve picked your weapon to craft, you are then tasked with filling the various available slots, as explained above. To do so, select a slot and it will then present you with a list of available crafting materials based on that slot. In our example, you’re filling the Damage slot with a required 8 metal. Thus you are directly affecting the Damage rating of a weapon, so you must look for a crafting material that maximises its damage.
  2. Here you will see how much of a particular crafting material you have available for use. If you don’t have enough, you obviously won’t be able to use that particular crafting material. In our example, we have 10/8 Onyx, meaning we have 10 Onyx available, and 8 will then be used, or is what’s required, leaving 2 Onyx available after crafting.
  3. Now here is the meat of most of your decision-making, because different crafting materials offer different bonuses. Of most importance here is the Tier, because that directly affects how much of a gain you will get from using those materials. Notice also that there are various attributes labelled here; in our example we have Primary, Utility, Offense and Defense, as well as the type of crafting material, in this case Metal. Now each of these attributes will offer different bonuses, such as a bonus to attack or a chance to stagger, depending on the slot used. There are also a wide range of other bonuses depending on the crafting material used. Remember previously we had a look at what slot we were filling? In this example it’s damage, so you pay attention to specifically the Primary rating, however if it’s Utility then you look at the Utility rating, and the same for Offense and Defense. Only the slot you are filling matters for the attributes of your crafting materials. If we were filling a Utility slot, we would only look at the Utility bonus instead.
  4. Lastly, this is where the final crafting bonus will show up. Now, remember how you need X amount of a particular crafting material? Let’s use our example but instead pretend it was a Utility slot we were filling, meaning the crafting item attribute would be +1 Strength. Now since we’re using up 8 of that Crafting material, it would stand to reason that we would gain a +8 to Strength on our final crafted item, if we were using the Utility slot. This is basically how it works then. The amount of a particular crafting item used is multiplied by the bonus for that particular slot’s attribute. This works across all crafting items and all slots, although is slightly trickier with different Tiers; just remember that a higher Tier means a better bonus and you’ll be fine there.

And that’s about it for crafting. The best advice we can give you is to just keep on hunting dragons and before long, you’ll be able to craft the best items in the game. There are also Inquisition perks in Cullen’s tree that allow you to acquire easy rare Masterwork crafting schematics, so definitely check those out as well.

Click to educate

Click to educate

Guard, Barrier & Avoiding Damage

In Dragon Age: Inquisition there are no heal spells available to you. This is offset by the inclusion of an entire Magic-based tree that uses the Barrier spell, which effectively grants you a temporary second health-bar that must first be destroyed before you can take actual damage to your health. This is a great system in practice that only really requires you to have a support mage in your team with a levelled Barrier skill-tree; not asking too much granted that this is a tactical RPG. Barrier is a bread-and-butter requirement for any party so there’s really not much to be said here.

Much trickier is the Guard element, which is specific to Warriors and grants you yet another health bar albeit not a temporary one. This one is what you’re going to want on your tank at all times because it’s effectively another, stronger health-bar that doesn’t wear off like with Barrier, but stacks with Barrier to provide you effectively three levels of health. You can read the following guide on generating Guard as well as a rather lengthy essay on the lack of healing options if you so desire. But all you really need to know here is, there are a bunch of ways to gain Guard and ideally you want your Warrior to have as much Guard as possible at all times, because it means that enemies attacking them basically never get a chance to damage weaker characters in your party. To this extent, it’s a good idea to put a level into War Cry to ensure enemies are always attacking your Warrior.

Avoiding damage can therefore be done quite effectively using these two methods, but there are also a few other ways to do it. One of these involves the upgrading and use of basic potions, such as Healing and Regeneration potions. They are vital to your survival in more difficult fights and can save you in many awkward situations. It’s imperative that you upgrade specifically the Regeneration potion because it is the single best potion in the game. There is also a Healing Mist grenade that you can acquire, which is an AOE heal that you can throw during fights, as well as the Rock Armour potion which you can put onto your tank to ensure they stay alive even longer.

The second method of avoiding damage involves simply not allow the enemy to hit you. You can do this in one of three ways:

  1. The first and most obvious way is through the use of abilities such as Evade for Rogue characters, which allow you to simply not be there when the enemy attacks. You could also disable the enemy using a myriad of abilities. The best method of avoiding a lot of damage is your basic crowd control of group disable and damage combination. The easiest way to use this is with the Rift Mage specialisation, and one of your party members, Solas, happens to have exactly this specialisation. Use those abilities to pull enemies together, then disable them, then nuke them for a billion damage. Using this method, you can wipe out entire waves of attackers without them ever loosing so much as an arrow in your direction.
  2. The Pitch Grenade is your best friend in cases of bigger enemies with many resistances because it slows enemies down to a crawl and when upgraded, allows for a full ten seconds worth of stun. Ridiculous really. This also allows you to use hit-and-run tactics, so you can ‘kite’ enemies by hitting them and then running around them, then repeating as they try to turn around really slowly, and so on until dead.
  3. Finally, as a last resort, use your ranged attacks to pick off harder enemies. Tell your party to hold position further away from an enemy, then run just into attack range, pop off a few hits and run away, then re-engage once the enemy loses interest and runs away from you. Rinse and repeat for ‘maximum rat tactics’ to slowly whittle down the health of bigger enemies.

With all of these in mind, you should do great at avoiding any and all forms of damage and if you’re still in need of assistance, perhaps try the tactical view or just ask us here.

Focus on the good abilities

Focus on the good abilities

Focus Abilities And How They Work

Finally we come to Focus abilities. These are unlocked as part of story progression when you are initially granted the Mark of the Rift ability, which comes with its own skill tree that we recommend you immediately invest a skill point in to level it up. Once you do, other party members will gain specialisations that grant them their own Focus abilities. These are the closest thing to super abilities in the game, and allow you to do some crazy things once you’ve built up enough Focus.

Focus works in two ways. Every party member builds Focus together, meaning if Varric and Cassandra attack my target, we all get a small Focus gain based on our total damage dealt. But every party member has their own Focus meter, meaning that once it has sufficiently built up, if I used Varric’s Focus ability then Cassandra’s Focus ability would still be available for me to use. Thus, this allows effectively four potential Focus abilities to be used at once if so desired. Focus is gained either by directly dealing damage or by equipping items that provide bonuses to Focus.

Focus abilities also have Tiers to their power; they start off at Tier 1 and then using Inquisition Perks along Cullen’s path, you can gain further Tiers up to 3, which unlocks just ridiculously overpowered levels of those Focus abilities. Remember to use these sparingly because they can easily sway an otherwise difficult fight and so you really want to have them on hand for those moments, however you need not use all of them at once and you can just as easily use a particular Focus ability based on the type of enemy you’re fighting. The best Focus abilities we’ve found are those of the Reaver and Templar specifications, although the Champion and Necromancer specialisations are also pretty sweet.

 

Go Forth & Pwn

Hopefully this guide has helped a bit more in educating you on the intricacies of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s various features. If you’d like, you can also check out the following link for even more tips. Don’t forget that you can, at any point in time, scroll to the Attributes page in your Character Record section to view the various attributes and what they mean for your characters.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is as much what you put into the experience as what you get out of it, and we’re happy to help that along. If you have any more questions regarding these and more, be sure to ask us in the comments and we’ll be happy to help you out.

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One Gamer Takes ‘Photorealistic’ To New Levels With AC Unity And Paris IRL http://egmr.net/2014/12/one-gamer-takes-photorealistic-new-levels-ac-unity-paris-irl/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/one-gamer-takes-photorealistic-new-levels-ac-unity-paris-irl/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 07:00:34 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164071 A few days ago while browsing Twitter, a random account was retweeted showing a very interesting assortment of pictures which consisted held-up images of a familiar videogame to the backdrop […]

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A few days ago while browsing Twitter, a random account was retweeted showing a very interesting assortment of pictures which consisted held-up images of a familiar videogame to the backdrop of an actual city. Then the articles began to flow…

It’s always intriguing playing the Assassin’s Creed games and discovering a more-or-less historically accurate representation of a world once lived; whether it’s the Crusades-laden Europe, or Renaissance Italy, or even that other game people keep insisting was bad but some (such as myself) didn’t particularly mind. However in previous games the cities presented to players were not designed to scale, meaning they weren’t 1:1 direct representations of their real-life inspirations.

This was not the case with Assassin’s Creed: Unity, where a to-scale version of Paris was faithfully digitally recreated with the hopes of showing exactly what the French Revolution would have been like, in terms of geography and community. While the final product might have been a catastrophic failure in some areas and a flawless victory in others, it has been somewhat universally agreed that the city of Paris is beautifully recreated in the game and is a marvel to behold.

But why take that statement at face value?

One gamer decided to make some real-life comparisons with the actual city of Paris, France from 2014, and the 1700s-imagined Paris from Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Now, obviously there are some differences where modern structures took the place of certain historical buildings and the old was replaced by the new (much like relationships) but for the most parts… well, have a look at the pictures yourselves in the gallery below. Pretty damn impressive, right?

It’s quite amazing to behold, and even more amazing to think about. For one, it’s just the fact that some of those buildings are upwards of three hundred years old. How many buildings around your area can boast such an astounding age? Then there’s the other thing to think about, that Ubisoft went into that much detail regarding the city of Paris. You’ve probably heard the stories of them flying out designers who spent over a year in France just mapping out and designing the game’s city landscape. It’s incredible.

Of course that didn’t save the final product from everything it was criticised for, nor did it stop Ubisoft from doing a horrendous thing with their release-day embargo bullshit, but it’s still a fascinating and downright applause-worthy level of effort and intricacy. We salute you, designers of Ubisoft. And you, random gamer who decided to do this little photo project. Even you, tumblr… maybe.

Let us know what you think of these images in the comments below. Also, which is your favourite location in AC Unity for those who’ve played it?

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Our 108th Podcast Records Tonight — Ask Us Things http://egmr.net/2014/12/108th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/108th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 09:00:10 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164002 Is it that time of the week already?! Geez like, is it that time of the year already?! We’re already in December and now, tonight, we’re going to be recording […]

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Is it that time of the week already?! Geez like, is it that time of the year already?! We’re already in December and now, tonight, we’re going to be recording episode one-hundred-and-eight of the eGamer Podcast. You’d think we’d take a break to play games or something!

By now you must surely know the drill, right? Think up some cool questions for us, post them in the comments below, profit maximally? That’s all you really need to do and that’s how we want to involve you, our beloved readers and listeners, in the way we do our weekly show. Side note: Isn’t it so cute how everyone has a podcast now? Remember who did it first, kids. But anyway, questions! You have them, we want to hear them!

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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Quite Possibly The Coolest Way A Gamer Has Dealt With Rape Threats http://egmr.net/2014/12/quite-possibly-coolest-way-gamer-dealt-rape-threats/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/quite-possibly-coolest-way-gamer-dealt-rape-threats/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 07:00:37 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163947 In recent months death and rape threats have become a hot topic on the internet. Of course, this is nothing new for the internet, with such threats having been around […]

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In recent months death and rape threats have become a hot topic on the internet.

Of course, this is nothing new for the internet, with such threats having been around for many years now, regardless of what the more aggressive feminists might tell you about #GamerGate. Indeed over the years there have been many ways in which (typically) female users of the internet have suffered harassment online, with the likes of blogs, reviews and opinions on websites such as these and even social media accounts having suffered abuse from online users who either feel aggrieved in some way, are simply angry trolls, or just wish to be little cunts on the internet.

In the past websites had been created to name and shame these horrendous creatures, the likes of Fat, Ugly or Slutty as well as the Instagram account ByeFelipe, highlighting with examples, just how bad some women (again typically) have it. This is a far better, more focussed, name-and-shame way of dealing with things even if it doesn’t really address the topic of anonymity on the internet.

Unfortunately anonymity on the internet has led to many anti-harassment campaigners unfairly accusing other internet users who mean no actual harm, of being abusive themselves or abuse sympathisers because they dare to point out that not every person on the internet has an agenda when they approach someone else. The so-called #NotAllMen hashtag was created to make fun of just this sort of thing. This will likely take a bit longer to be solved and there are still some problems to work through but when anonymity is taken away, suddenly you have very real ways of fighting back against abusers.

Cue Australian (eww) videogame reviewer Alanah Pearce, who decided to take matters into her own hands after yet another rape threat on the internet. She fought back in the coolest way, sending a Facebook message to the mother of her attacker with the quoted words used by said attacker. Here’s what she had to say:

“A while ago, I realised that a lot of the people who send disgusting or overly sexual comments to me over the internet aren’t adult males… It turns out that mostly they’re young boys and the problem is they don’t know any better, so responding to them rationally didn’t resolve the situation. And it got to the point where their comments were starting to make me feel really uncomfortable.”

So Pearce identified the family of one of her attackers and engaged in the following dialogue:

Or if you’d prefer that in text form:

“Hi Anna, I don’t know you, but I was wondering if [blanked-out] is your son?”

“Yes he is. Why?”

“I have never met him before, but he sent me a concerning message to my public Facebook page today that I was wondering if you might be interested in discussing with him.” *screengrab*

“Omg, little sh*t. I’M SO SORRY. YES I WILL TALK TO HIM!”

This is just one example of the four mothers she’s messaged thus far. A pretty neat way of dealing with harassment, all things considered, wouldn’t you say?

Let’s touch on something Pearce said, which I feel is particularly relevant to a lot of the recent arguments I’ve got into on Twitter: These are typically kids who do this, not adults. When you deal with these kids who are harassing everyone, there’s no real talking sense into them because they’re not at a level of maturity yet to have a proper conversation. In other words, it’s pointless. In this respect, it’s both frustrating and utterly futile to append those same opinions to someone who is capable of having a mature, proper conversation.

This is, in my opinion, why a lot of the #GamerGate movement has failed to have the impact a lot of people desire for it (which isn’t to say it hasn’t had its fair share of impact). People incorrectly assume that anyone on the “pro-GG” side of things (or indeed anyone who points out that an online threat is rarely ever a sign of actual intent) is automatically a rapist, murderer and hacker who will post their details online, or at the very least condones such behaviour.

Not true. Alas, it’s too common online to simply disregard an opinion that disagrees with our own rather than trying to have a conversation about it, regardless of the conflict with our own views. Our screens afford us a luxury in allowing us to dismiss the thoughts of others because they’re just names on a screen and not humans in our presence, but they are in fact human beings with likes, dislikes, fears, aspirations, interests and a whole bunch of other things just like you.

To Pearce, sharing these threats with the parents of her attackers is her way of bringing that more human element to the internet, something I feel we can all aspire to:

“It was just a way to try to reach a resolution, to productively teach young boys it’s not okay to be sexist to women, even if they’re on the internet,” she says, “that they are real people and that there should be actual consequences for that.”

We salute you… even though you’re Australian. Also, as a side note, has anyone else noticed how many female gamers on the internet have blue or purple highlights in their hair? Just me? Eh, anyway, let us know what you think of this awesome way of dealing with a shitty thing in the comments below.

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Review: Dragon Age: Inquisition Is A Crowning Achievement In Storytelling http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-dragon-age-inquisition-crowning-achievement-storytelling/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-dragon-age-inquisition-crowning-achievement-storytelling/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 06:00:53 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163751 Visit review on site for scoring. To say that this review is a daunting one would be like saying RPGs are mild time-sucks, which is to say, quite an understatement. […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

To say that this review is a daunting one would be like saying RPGs are mild time-sucks, which is to say, quite an understatement. But this review is a daunting one. Mostly because it’s actually not that daunting at all. You see, Dragon Age: Inquisition is a pretty straight-forward game: It’s one of the best on offer this year, it’s a stellar RPG experience and realistically you won’t regret your purchase. So what’s left to say besides buy it and experience the rest for yourself? Apparently, a lot, because first of all this is a Dragon Age RPG we’re reviewing and those deserve a certain level of attention to detail. And second, look at who’s doing the review? (Disclaimer: This is a joke for the regulars. Ask about it.)

In the interests of fairness then, we find ourselves in need of a certain level of attention to intricacy. That is, we need to break down every aspect of this game and get into the minutiae. If you’ve come for an easy opinion of the Dragon Age: Inquisition regarding whether or not to buy it, you should already have it buy now: Buy it. But if your needs stretch further than simple consumer advice and you’d like to know, well, more, then by all means read on.

A journey of a hundred hours begins with a character

BioWare games do a really neat thing where they take your choices from previous games and implement them in their current ones through imported save files. So for example you import your save from Dragon Age: Origins into Dragon Age II and voilà, your choices from the first game have affected the world in the second game (we’ll get to this in a bit). This can obviously be very tricky when considering the new generation of consoles, more so since BioWare’s threequel is not built on the same engine as the previous games. Thus, a new method for save importing has been created in the form of Dragon Age: Keep, which you can think of as an interactive save file creator, allowing you to set every pertinent choice from the previous two games and then export a save file that can be imported into Dragon Age: Inquisition. A pretty neat way of handling it, all things considered.

After a lightning-fast five minute install and a relatively small ~200MB update (this is astronomically quick and tiny respectively, by Xbox One standards) Dragon Age: Inquisition was up and running, and from there it was a quick matter of logging into the Dragon Age servers using Electronic Arts’ Origin ID and then importing the save that was created in the Keep. From there, starting a new game and selecting the difficulty (which is the standard easy, normal, hard and nightmare) took you straight into character creation.

To say that character creation is extensive would be a gross underselling of the sheer freedom you are given here. Gone is the forced human character. Here you get four races to choose from (Human, Elf, Dwarf and for the first time, Qunari) as well as the returning three classes of Mage, Warrior and Rogue. In Dragon Age: Inquisition, your racial choice doesn’t matter as much and mostly comes down to personal preference, aside from very minor perks. Classes differ in terms of available skill trees, armour and weaponry as well as unique abilities: A Mage can energize bridges and torches, a Warrior can bash in walls and a Rogue can pick locks. Doesn’t really count for much in the long run so again, mostly down to personal preference. Then the character customisation screen comes in and allows you a wide array of configuration options for crafting the perfect character to your tastes, including a choice of either an American or British voice, which we found quite neat for some reason.

Upon completion of character creation some introductory story events occur and you’re immediately carried off into the world of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Immediately noticeable to you should be two things, now trademarks of a BioWare game: The traditional dialogue wheel has made a return, allowing you a set number of options along a radial wheel that will likely end with you regularly picking a particular option (for example, the top one) and hearing voiced responses that only vaguely sound similar to the text response you chose. And the traditional pause menu, also allowing you a set number of options along a radial wheel including the likes of your Journal, Codex, Inventory, Quest Map and more. Nothing anyone who has played a BioWare game has not seen before.

 

It’s Game of Thrones meets Lord of the Rings meets The Witcher

Let’s get the story stuff out of the way, hopefully without any spoilers. Yes okay, it’s quite cliché to call Dragon Age: Inquisition a bold and risqué amalgamation of Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings and The Witcher… but it is. It just is. In the first Dragon Age we saw Ferelden plunged into darkness as the world stood on the brink of cataclysm under threat from the Blight, whereas in the second Dragon Age we got a more personal story regarding a particular character and their life and times in the city of Kirkwall. Dragon Age: Inquisition steps things up in massive ways by taking ongoing conflicts from the previous games and giving them centre stage. Rightfully so.

The Mages and the Templars have reached the point of war. The Chantry (think politics meets religion) has called a Conclave to meet and discuss things in order to achieve peace. This is quickly interrupted by a massive breach opening up in the sky followed by the death of the head of the Chantry, the Divine. You, meanwhile, are found passed out at the scene of the crime. You don’t know how you got there, but you have a mark on your hand that makes people think you had something to do with it. Cue returning characters from previous games, Cassandra and Leliana, to invoke The Inquisition — a mostly above-the-law, order-restoring task force of sorts — together with a bunch of other characters including you, thanks for that mysterious mark you bear, with the aim of finding out just what on Thedas happened and how to stop the increasing number of rifts created by the breach in the sky, which has torn a hole between the physical world and the Fade — think Dante’s Divine Comedy meets an acid trip — resulting in demons pouring through. But that’s just the beginning of the tale…

In truth, Dragon Age: Inquisition uses its storytelling a lot better than what can be explained here with words. It just has to be experienced to be fully believed. If we could rate this game on its story, it would be a perfect 100 and we would all be happy. BioWare have taken some massive strides forward in storytelling, perhaps borrowing heavily from the likes of George R. R. Martin and CD Projekt RED by presenting players with a plot that is anything but straight-forward while chock-full of brutally difficult decisions to contemplate. In that respect, Dragon Age: Inquisition offers some of the best examples of true player choice; there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choice but rather a bunch of equally difficult choices that leave you spending many stress-filled moments agonising over the correct decision and then agonising further over whether or not you made the right (or best) decision after all. We stand up and applaud BioWare for the daring way they’ve chosen to approach this story, and to say more would be to edge towards spoiler territory. If you’re really interested, check back in a few weeks and we’ll have a spoiler-filled story discussion but for the moment, just know that this story is full of political intrigue, true character growth and world-changing decision-making around every corner. This is a story that stands near-unparalleled amongst games from recent years, and deserves every bit of praise that it gets.

Away from the main quest, there are a myriad of side quests to get involved in. Some are deep and extensive and yield long-lasting rewards for your Inquisition whilst others are simply fetch-quests and the like. It should be noted that dragons have made a triumphant return to form, with quite a bit more flying about than in previous games. For the first time in any RPG we’ve played, we got the feel that BioWare wants players focussing on the main quest. Especially since more side quests open up in the surrounding areas of the game as you progress through the main story and very little is actually locked off to you later, meaning no annoying point-of-no-return like in previous games. As for those places that are locked off due to story reasons, you can easily find a merchant who will sell you the codex entries you might have missed from those areas. To that extent, we heartily recommend you get out of the Hinterlands at the beginning of the game and play as much of the story as you feel like, before you start side-questing. Trust us on this one, it makes for a far better overall experience of the game. You’ll know when the game wants you to go side-questing.

One of the strongest aspects of the Dragon Age games has been its supporting cast and Dragon Age: Inquisition is no different. Depending on the save you’ve chosen to import, a wide array of returning characters form part of your progress through the main quest, but there are also new characters who are equally entertaining and diverse, making for yet more difficult decisions given that you’re only allowed to take three of them along on each quest. Oddly, this is then offset by a standard BioWare issue that involves the mixture of near-perfect voice-acting with that dialogue wheel’s keen ability to create dissonance with actual conversation. To explain what we mean, let’s take an example: You have three dialogue choices. One of them is a quite emotionally charged option whereas the other two are quirky or blunt. You pick the emotional option in between the other two and watch your characters move from bawling to blaspheming to bantering all in swift motion, and honestly it’s quite jarring. It feels wooden, as if the preselected responses are exactly that. It just… doesn’t quite flow like it should.

Still, it’s not enough to take away from the mostly interesting characters — who now have far more ‘random banter’ moments during questing — and there’s certainly a character for everyone here. Particularly Dorian is a surprise standout, although we’re sure everyone will have their own favourite. Plus, can you really criticise wooden conversations when one of them turns into an actual full-blown song? Remember, kids: If a game sings to you, it immediately wins.

 

Welcome to National Geographic: Thedas

Dragon Age: Inquisition is a massive, massive game. It has ground coverage. Mileage. Whichever you’d prefer. Not just in terms of the staggering amount of exploration on offer, because yes it’s absolutely large in that respect as well, but also in terms of just how many quests there are. Make no mistake, it could take you months of playing to get through all of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s content, unless you powered through it non-stop in which case, may we have your life? There’s a lot to do here, in a large area. Is it Skyrim large? Perhaps. It can’t really be worked out that way because Dragon Age: Inquisition has ‘locations’ as part of the World Map. We can say that the world is a lot more diverse, ranging from lush forests to bone-dry deserts to snowy tundras to rained-out coastlines, some areas changing up as you go along. There are massive outdoor and indoor areas on offer here, and you’re going to spend many, many hours joyously lost in this world.

Amazingly one of the best features, unprecedented for BioWare, that have made exploration that much better, is the addition of a jump button. Yes, that’s right, with a single addition BioWare has transformed world exploration as you know it, for this series. We’re not even kidding about that. Over and above that, the Frostbite 3.0 engine presents a jaw-droppingly beautiful game not just in terms of visuals but also in terms of sound quality. This game looks and sounds the part, and you’re going to find yourself, more than once, gaping in awe at this game’s splendour. As expected, perhaps? Either way, it’s a great thing to see something this astoundingly gorgeous and well-presented, and it affords wanton exploration that much more appeal.

In Dragon Age: Inquisition, as a leading character in the Inquisition itself you are granted access to the War Room table, which is effectively a map of Thedas split into two halves, namely Orlais and Ferelden. Think of like a tactical map, filled with little pins for points of interest. In this tactical map are two types of pins: Some of them are basic operations which you may charge agents of your Inquisition to undertake; they’ll take some time (although thankfully they work in real-time, meaning even when the game is off) but will be handled offscreen and yield you rewards. The other type of pin is that of unlockable areas, which could be either side or main quest areas; these are unlocked using Power, which you accrue simply by completing objectives ranging from discovering new areas to solving puzzles to questing to closing rifts using that mark we mentioned earlier that’s on your hand, and more. There’s just far too much to do in each area and you’ll spend entire days in a particular place. Suffice to say, there are many, many areas to unlock along the course of the game. And even more in the way of operations.

To aid in exploration, you are now able to fast travel from pretty much anywhere you’d like, with the use of the Quest Map. There is also a handy trail along the Quest Map which shows your path travelled, allowing you to retrace your steps should you get lost. Finally, making a debut in the Dragon Age series is the addition of mounts. That’s right, at some point after playing through a bit of story the game will allow you to explore on horseback. This has the benefit of significantly speeding up your exploration of areas while having a drawback that you may get ambushed while on your horse, and you really don’t want that. Still, it makes for a refreshing addition especially given just how large some areas are. Just walking from end to end in some of these areas could take hours, but on horseback it’s a lot easier. A welcomed addition then. Oh and if you end up in Val Royeaux, do visit the merchant selling the mystery box and thank us later.

 

But how’s your role playing?

Naturally the meat of any role-playing game is the actual gameplay. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of your time questing, when you’re not engaging in ridiculous amounts of dialogue. In Dragon Age: Inquisition, BioWare have seen fit to try and do what they did with the Mass Effect series; whereas the first game was for the hardcore RPG player and therefore difficult for newcomers to the series, the sequel was a lot more fast-paced and simplified, favouring action over strategy and effectively alienating a large amount of the fanbase. Thus the threequel serves as a delicate middle-ground balancing act between the previous two games. With this in mind, some design choices are understandable if not agreeable and for the most part, Dragon Age: Inquisition is very intuitive and easy to master as a result of this hybridisation of action and tactics.

For the most part — at least on consoles — you control your characters from the third person perspective. On the Xbox One version your character can attack using the Right Trigger, jump using A and then use a variety of abilities with the face buttons (X, Y, B) and the Right Bumper, while pressing Left Trigger allows access to further abilities. Pressing the Left Bumper brings up a wheel of options that allow for potion usage as well as party commands such as Disengage, Hold Position and the ability to summon your mount. Clicking in the Right Stick will send out a search wave that highlights loot and hidden items, extremely handy for questing. The D-pad allows quick access to the Quest Map while also allowing you to switch active control between party members, while pressing the Back button (on old controllers, we’re not really sure what to call it on the new controllers, Options maybe?) will flip the game into Tactical mode which then switches up the controls and lets you press A to attack while Right Trigger advances play. It’s typically a matter of personal preference which you prefer to use but sometimes Tactical mode really saves your bacon, especially during particularly challenging fights, of which there are many depending on the difficulty (read: dragons). It’s all quite fluid and easy-to-use, and is explained well enough to you at the beginning even if button presses will take a while to acclimatise to, especially given how many there are in this game. More than once, trying to change to Tactical mode resulted in accidentally consuming a potion. We’re not really sure why… blame Andraste.

Your character gains two types of experience in this game. The regular kind of experience — the one we’re familiar with — is gained via completion of quests as well as through kills and codex discoveries. Enough experience levels you up and gives you a skill point to spend on abilities in various skill trees based on your class. All quite standard fare for any RPG, yes? Notably for the first time, Dragon Age: Inquisition automatically assigns attributes to your character as you level up. This is mildly forgiveable since items now grant extra attributes aplenty. The skill trees themselves are in Dragon Age II’s form of overly simplified and if there is anything to be said about them, they don’t really allow for the same level of customisation as the original game. A definite disappointment for anyone looking to spend hours picking skills and working out sexy combinations. Also of note is the removal of any form of Heal spell in this game, replaced instead by an entire skill tree that revolves around the casting of Barrier. This has the effect of making potions important again, but it is sorely missed during longer spells of exploration. Alongside potions are the likes of grenades and tonics, all available to be crafted by the player after collecting an assortment of herbs. Weapons crafting is also available and is about as extensive as you might imagine by this point; not only can you create weapons and armour but you can create custom upgrades for further bonuses.

The other type of experience you accrue is called Influence, which you can think of as Inquisition experience. That’s right, your Inquisition levels up! You gain Influence by completing quests and acquiring key objectives, as well as by completing operations. Levelling this up then grants you Inquisition Perks (not like that) which are minor bonuses to your entire game, such as extra inventory slots, bonus experience for research, rare items and more. However if you feel it’s easier and you’re too impatient to do it the normal way, you can find a merchant later on and simply buy Influence. Yes really.

Later in the game you’ll unlock specialisations, three per class, which offer your character the chance to branch out a little. This is a returning feature from the first Dragon Age, and like in Origins you will have to ‘achieve’ these specialisations rather than have them unlocked from the get-go. Each of the playable characters will unlock one of the specialisations, at the very least allowing you to try them out by spec-ing them — don’t worry, you’re allowed infinite re-specs for enough gold — and seeing how they play. This is a welcomed return for the series, although if we’re being honest it’s a little disappointing to see that those specialisations are reused for other characters, rather than giving entirely unique skill trees to each member of your death squad team like with Dragon Age II. Also, blood magic is entirely gone, which makes complete sense for the first time given the game’s narrative, and yet, it is sorely missed for its potency and plain fun factor. Tears, man.

Also noteworthy is the complete removal of tactics in the game. At the very basic level you can configure potion usage per character, as well as select which abilities each character should use more or less frequently, or not at all. That’s about it, though. Say “Maker be with you” to telling your heroes exactly what spells to use at what moment in fights. A little disheartening for the more hardcore RPG fanatic who wants that level of control over AI but for the newcomer to the series, perhaps they might not even notice that it was there at all? Either way, you can still play the game in two ways: Configure abilities based on which you would prefer your party members to use, or disable all of them and use them manually in fights. The choice is yours.

 

A note on the excellence of the continuity

We said we’d come back to this so let’s take a moment to talk about just what an amazing experience Dragon Age: Inquisition is for fans of the series who are returning for their third outing. Unfortunately newcomers might not feel as much emotional attachment to characters and thus a lot of the returning characters and cameos will go entirely missed. This is a crying shame. We truly sympathise with newcomers as they no doubt look around awkwardly while others are foaming at the mouth at a particular story event. BioWare has assumed full prior knowledge in Dragon Age: Inquisition and as a result, really throws you into things from the beginning. We’re going to respectfully bow in admiration of this level of risk-taking because let’s be honest, how frustrating is it to play the third game in the series and have to learn everything over yet again? None of that here in Dragon Age: Inquisition; you’re simply told the basics and let loose on the world. And you know what? They dared to go there. They finally dared to actually address a conflict that has been quietly building in the background across two games. They gave us what we wanted. How many other developers have done that, of late?

In a way you’re left wondering whether they had planned this all along; Dragon Age II told a far more personal story with Hawke, and thus a lot of fans of Dragon Age: Origins were left wondering what happened to the Hero of Ferelden, or Morrigan, or pretty much anyone else from the first game. Save for a few small cameos, the sequel had little and less of anyone while telling its own personal story through that framed narrative that worked for some but failed for most. Perhaps an unexpected boon from that is that Dragon Age: Inquisition, as a result of having all those saved cameos from the previous game, is chock-full of them. This is probably why Mass Effect 3 was considered devoid of reappearances when in fact both sequels in that trilogy shared the spoils. Here entire missions will centre around returning stalwart characters, and you’ll find more than a few familiar faces in your adventures. This is excellent fan service from BioWare and we cannot help but commend it. Even in the game itself, the progression shows through character interactions and along the course of the game, through the ‘random banter’ you’ll experience while questing, characters make mention of things that have gone on while you’ve played the game. A plus, BioWare. Well played.

 

A comprehensively pedantic list of minor niggles

Unfortunately, Dragon Age: Inquisition is not a game without issues. Here is a list of random questions based on minor bugbears we experienced throughout the game, compiled in point form for your reading pleasure:

  • Why can’t you pause during a cutscene?
  • Why are character animations so awkward at times?
  • Why do characters clip so terribly, even during cutscenes with their default clothing on?
  • Why is there minor slowdown whenever your character enters Haven?
  • Why does audio sometimes lag or cut out? Is this a headset issue?
  • Why are there so many unnecessary Requisition orders?
  • Why is the world so static? Why don’t NPCs move when you try to walk into them?
  • What happened to racial conflicts? Does everyone suddenly get along now?
  • Why are character attributes automatically assigned when you level up?
  • Why do enemies of the same level/class as you take far more hits to down?
  • Why is the mini map so simple as to confuse?
  • Why don’t story missions scale to your current level?
  • Why does Spirit Mark cause some quests to become unable to complete?
  • Why do your party members get in your way so much?
  • Why do cutscenes sometimes halt and take ten minutes before proceeding to the next dialogue?
  • Why do potions sometimes get used up without being replenished?
  • Why is there so much glimmer on lips?
  • Why do eyes appear sunken whenever characters aren’t looking directly at the screen?
  • What is actually the point of approval in this game?
  • Why don’t party members share experiences sometimes?
  • Why is jump mapped to the same button as interact?

All of this said, the fact remains that BioWare have done a stellar job with Dragon Age: Inquisition and based on it being an RPG of all things, we’re willing to forgive some of the minor niggles in the interest of the overall experience. However we cannot give it Carte Blanche either. It’s a shame because the storytelling and adventuring on offer in this game make for a perfect-ten experience. Unfortunately that perfect experience is marred by the oversimplification of skills, the dissonant dialogue wheel and the typical RPG-esque glitches which, in today’s day and age, we feel we cannot simply ignore. Too many games these days release in this state, would it be fair to call Dragon Age: Inquisition an RPG and let it get away? Thus, a slightly lower score than it truly deserves.

One final note that should be made in BioWare’s favour is that Dragon Age: Inquisition has far too much potential for monetisation, and yet they pay it no interest. Were this Ubisoft or Activision, there might have been many microtransactions either to speed up the completion times for operations, or to gain you some extra Influence. As it stands, all ‘cheats’ are handled in-game using currency you earn as the player. Commendable, especially since this is technically an Electronic Arts game and we still haven’t forgotten that stunt with Dead Space 3’s microtransactions. Oh and one more thing: There’s a multiplayer mode, if you care about it. It’s cooperative and not nearly as fun as the story mode and you really don’t have to care about it.

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Tales From The Borderlands Quietly Releases With A Launch Trailer http://egmr.net/2014/11/tales-borderlands-quietly-releases-launch-trailer/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/tales-borderlands-quietly-releases-launch-trailer/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:00:27 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163778 It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about Tales from the Borderlands. Indeed it’s been something of an afterthought amongst the four massive titles developer Telltale Games has been […]

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It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about Tales from the Borderlands.

Indeed it’s been something of an afterthought amongst the four massive titles developer Telltale Games has been working on recently, the others being The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Game of Thrones. Seriously how is such a small developer able to handle so much at once?

Here at EGMR we’re massive fans of the Borderlands series and we really enjoy the writing, the humour and everything else associated with ‘Diablo with guns’ or to use more recent equations of gaming, “Destiny minus Halo”. Thus when the Tales from Borderlands episodic series was announced, we were giddy with anticipation. But then news of the game slowed down and we all but forgot about it for a while, with only a sliver of a reminder each time we saw any news from Telltale.

Telltale meanwhile have been talking up their Game of Thrones episodic series which they’re promising will release this year.

So you can imagine our surprise when we saw reviews for this game releasing, as well as a launch trailer for it. Like, “Is it that time already?”

Very much under the radar then, the first episode of Tales from the Borderlands has released on PC via Steam, as well as PS3, PS4, and Xbox One in North America, with the Xbox 360 version releasing on the 3rd of December. This is also when the game will hit European markets, meaning when it ought to be available for us locally. Of course, Telltale Games have been a bit of a problem for us in the past with regards to local releases, but hopefully that will not be an issue on the newer generation of consoles.

Tales from the Borderlands is set on Pandora and follows the events of Borderlands 2, telling the story of Rhys and Fiona, a Hyperion employee and a con artist respectively. Each episode will be priced at £3.99/$4.99 with no current price available for local markets on account of it not being on the local stores just yet. We’ll update with a price when that’s available to us, but expect the same price as episodes of The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us when those were out. Hardly anything at all really.

Will you be picking this up? Is Tales from the Borderlands something that interests you? Are you happy to see Telltale Games doing such awesome series now? This and more in the comments.

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eGamer Podcast #107: Dragon Age Is Wow/10 http://egmr.net/2014/11/egamer-podcast-107-dragon-age-wow10/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/egamer-podcast-107-dragon-age-wow10/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 09:00:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163759 Recorded: 26 November 2014 Welcome to episode one-oh-seven of the eGamer Podcast where we’re all in love with the new Dragon Age game and we want to tell you about […]

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Recorded: 26 November 2014

Welcome to episode one-oh-seven of the eGamer Podcast where we’re all in love with the new Dragon Age game and we want to tell you about it. Also: other stuff.

Topics discussed this week include Dragon Age: Inquisition’s greatness, Far Cry 4’s safeness and Mockingjay’s lameness.

Here are the shownotes for this week’s episode:

  • Where is everyone?!
  • We have an unsuspecting guest on the show!
  • But how awesome is Dragon Age: Inquisition?
  • We share some of the weird bugs we’ve experienced with the game.
  • What about Far Cry 4?
  • Kudos on their alternative ending’s cheekiness.
  • Meet Dom and Dommer.
  • How about an epic digression?
  • Tales from the Borderlands is out, did you even know?
  • You guys need to start playing Telltale games.
  • The Binding of Isaac makes an appearance.
  • Someone went on a man-date.
  • Who’s going to watch or has already watched Mockingjay: Part One?
  • The third Hobbit movie has us all so conflicted.
  • There’s a Steam Sale happening right now!
  • But that Origin Sale!
  • We answer your questions.

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

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | RSS

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Xbox Has Its Own Black Friday Specials Online http://egmr.net/2014/11/xbox-black-friday-specials-online/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/xbox-black-friday-specials-online/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 07:00:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163771 Americans, hey? Who knows why they do what they do. Black Friday for example has become a day of rampant consumerism and capitalist exploitation, and this is before Christmas! A […]

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Americans, hey? Who knows why they do what they do. Black Friday for example has become a day of rampant consumerism and capitalist exploitation, and this is before Christmas!

A lot of online retailers have begun to observe the Black Friday sales practice as well, reducing their wares for the purposes of a one-day-only mad rush. Microsoft is a very American company and they are never ones to miss out on an opportunity. That said, they’ve announced their own Xbox LIVE sale to commemorate Black Friday, with a whole host of titles on offer for super cheap. There’s even a promise of more titles to be announced at a later time — at which point we’ll update this article — for discount on the weekend.

All of the discounts listed will remain that way until December 1st, naturally. Check ‘em out:

Xbox One

  • Defense Grid 2 – Xbox One Game (50% off)
  • Strider – Xbox One Game (50% off)
  • Need for Speed Rivals: Complete Edition – Xbox One Game (35% off)
  • Peggle 2 – Xbox One Game (60% off)
  • EA Sports UFC – Xbox One Game (67% off)
  • NBA Live 15 – Xbox One Game (45% off)
  • Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition – Xbox One Game (40% off)
  • Angry Birds Star Wars – Xbox One Game (75% off)
  • Amazing Spider-Man 2 – Xbox One Game (60% off)
  • Rayman Legends – Xbox One Game (50% off)
  • Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – Xbox One Game (30% off)
  • Sniper Elite III – Xbox One Game (40% off)
  • Project Spark Champions Quest Play Bundle – Add-on (40% off)
  • Killer Instinct Ultra Edition Season 1- Add-on (50% off)
  • Valiant Hearts: The Great War – Xbox One Game (50% off)
  • Forza Motorsport 5 Game of the Year Edition – Xbox One Game (40% off)
  • Forza Motorsport 5 Car pass – Add-on (25% off)
  • Warframe: 75 Platinum – Add-on (33% off)
  • Warframe: 170 Platinum – Add-on (30% off)
  • Warframe: 370 Platinum – Add-on (50% off)
  • Warframe: 1000 Platinum + Mod – Add-on (30% off)
  • Warframe: 2100 Platinum + Mod – Add-on (30% off)
  • Warframe: 3210 Platinum + Mod – Add-on (30% off)

Xbox 360

  • F1 2014 – Games on Demand (33% off)
  • Strider – Games on Demand (50% off)
  • DmC – Games on Demand (67% off)
  • Devil May Cry HD Collection – Games on Demand (67% off)
  • Resident Evil 4 – Games on Demand (67% off)
  • Bound By Flame – Games on Demand (50% off)
  • Contrast – Arcade (60% off)
  • Final Exam – Arcade (50% off)
  • Super Time Force – Arcade (40% off)
  • Slender: The Arrival – Arcade (50% off)
  • Sniper Elite 3 – Games on Demand (40% off)
  • Brothers – Arcade (67% off)
  • Titanfall Season Pass – Add-on (75% off)
  • Prototype 2 – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • Amazing Spiderman 2 – Games on Demand (79% off)
  • Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition – Games on Demand (50% off)
  • LA Noire – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • Red Dead Redemption – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – Games on Demand (33% off)
  • Trials Fusion – Arcade (50% off)
  • Valiant Hearts – Arcade (50% off)
  • Persona 4 Arena – Games on Demand (50% off)
  • State of Decay – Arcade (67% off)
  • Magic 2015 – Arcade (50% off)
  • Gears of War 3 – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • Gears of War 2 – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • Gears of War – Games on Demand (67% off)
  • RAAM’s Shadow – Add-on (66% off)
  • Gears of War 3 season pass – Add-on (75% off)
  • Lancer Complete Launch Collection Skin – Add-on (66% off)
  • Launch Weapon Skin Collection – Add-on (78% off)
  • Battleblock Theater – Arcade (50% off)
  • Batman Arkham City – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • Injustice Gods Among Us – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • Skyrim – Games on Demand (67% off)
  • Ultra Street Fighter IV – Games on Demand (33% off)
  • Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z – Games on Demand (60% off)
  • Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad – Games on Demand (67% off)
  • Bulletstorm – Games on Demand (85% off)
  • Burnout Paradise – Games on Demand (80% off)
  • Crysis – Games on Demand (85% off)
  • Fight Night Champion – Games on Demand (85% off)
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – Games on Demand (85% off)
  • Mirror’s Edge – Games on Demand (80% off)
  • Need for Speed Hot Pursuit – Games on Demand (85% off)
  • Skate – Games on Demand (80% off)
  • Skate 2 – Games on Demand (80% off)
  • Skate 3 – Games on Demand (80% off)
  • Hitman Absolution – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • Hitman HD pack- Games on Demand (80% off)
  • Just Cause 2 – Games on Demand (67% off)
  • Borderlands – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • Borderlands 2 – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • SoulCalibur V – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • Bully – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • Midnight Club LA – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • Max Payne 3 – Games on Demand (75% off)
  • Max Payne 3 R* Pass – Add-on (75% off)

Head on to your locally-relevant Xbox Store and have a look at what the actual pricing is, but these are the percentage reductions for each listed offering. Don’t forget also that the egregiously irrelevant and the radically redundant Red Faction Guerrilla and Volgarr the Viking are currently free to download for Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers as part of Games with Gold, on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One respectively.

Will you be partaking in the Xbox specials? Let us know in the comments.

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Activision Does Not Want You Seeing Glitches In Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare http://egmr.net/2014/11/activision-not-want-seeing-glitches-call-duty-advanced-warfare/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/activision-not-want-seeing-glitches-call-duty-advanced-warfare/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:00:04 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163714 Ever wonder why you never see Call of Duty games playable at rAge even though they’re typically just shy of release by then? The easy answer is that Activision are […]

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Ever wonder why you never see Call of Duty games playable at rAge even though they’re typically just shy of release by then?

The easy answer is that Activision are superficial, vain bastards about their flagship franchise, which boggles the mind because let’s be honest, if Ghosts survived the onslaught of bad game reviews and still went on to sell as well as it did, they could put out Blackwater-meets-Bodycount: The Cartel and it would still sell like hotcakes. Nonetheless, daddy Acti wants gamers to see only the best sides of their Call of Duty games.

Meanwhile, gamers are posting videos on YouTube of glitches in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and just like another game, they’re hilarious and we all enjoy them and we move on with our lives. But Activision says no, and they’re going to be taking a tough stance towards these YouTube videos as a result of their vanity.

The publisher has issued copyright strikes on any YouTube videos of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare that show glitches or cheats that exist within the game.

Let that sink in for a moment…

It’s got to the point when Machinima, one of the largest networks on YouTube and one constantly in the wars regarding underhanded dealings, has been reportedly issuing warnings to partners that urge them to “be careful” with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare videos.

“Activision is being particularly vigilant about their Call of Duty videos lately; issuing strikes on videos showing glitches. If you post videos highlighting these glitches, your channel may be liable to receive a copyright strike so please be careful,” read the email.

Meanwhile, Activision responded with a follow-up statement claiming that its actions against Advanced Warfare videos are no more aggressive than usual, as if that’s the point…

“Occasionally, some folks post videos that promote cheating and unfair exploits,” said the publisher. “As always, we keep an eye out for these videos – our level of video claims hasn’t changed.”

But Activision, we live in a different world to previous years and now if you do that sort of thing, you look as if you’re trying to hide the truth about your game. Mind you, a lot of sympathisers will probably say that they’re just trying to ensure people see the best version of their product so fair enough, and to those people I say: So you mean not the version people are paying money for?

“We’re taking your feedback seriously and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is getting better because of it,” said Sledgehammer Games of Advanced Warfare after releasing a patch last week that optimised connectivity, as well as fixed various issue with multiplayer and Exo Survival.

Little-known fact for anyone who likes the song All About That Bass, in which Meghan Trainor sings about loving your body and not being ashamed of being larger than others: In the music video she originally hated the way it looked because it made her look, in her opinion, unattractive, so she had the entire thing re-cut. Not necessarily relevant to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare but my word the world is obsessed with vanity, even when claiming not to be.

Have you encountered any glitches in Advanced Warfare yet? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t worry, Activision can’t file copyright claims here.

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Limbo Launches On Xbox One For Free To Early Adopters http://egmr.net/2014/11/limbo-launches-xbox-one-free-early-adopters/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/limbo-launches-xbox-one-free-early-adopters/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:00:03 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163712 Remember Limbo? It’s only the game that, for me at least, kicked off the entire indie gaming buzz when it released a few years ago. It was atmospheric and creepy […]

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Remember Limbo? It’s only the game that, for me at least, kicked off the entire indie gaming buzz when it released a few years ago.

It was atmospheric and creepy and beautiful as a result. A real gamer’s game, meant more for conveying tone and evoking emotion than telling any kind of deep, intricate story with a complex narrative full of twists and intrigue and betrayal. Limbo simply existed, and it was loved for it.

And now the indie classic (are we allowed to call it that?) has launched on Xbox One, following a Korean Game Rating Board classifying it last month. And guess what? It’s free if you’re an early console adopter. Finally some gratification for you folk! As for the rest of us? Well… not just yet.

“We’re looking forward to launching Limbo on Xbox One,” said a Microsoft spokesperson. “As a thank you to our earliest adopters, fans who played their Xbox One the first weekend of launch received early, free access to the game. Limbo will also be available for purchase via the Xbox Game Store soon.”

Now that is how you do early incentivising. But we’re certain someone will spin this into anti-M$ propaganda at some point.

Of course in South Africa we didn’t even have the console on initial release so it remains to be seen whether we’ll get it here or not, but either way the general release of the game is scheduled for early 2015, which means that some time soon it will be in the Xbox Store for you to download and enjoy yet again, but with… uhm, next-gen visuals? We’re not really sure why it’s on Xbox One to be honest but it’s just cool if more people get to enjoy it.

Since its 2010 release, developer PlayDead has gone from strength to strength in the dark, eery 2D puzzle platformer world, and another early 2015 release of theirs will be Limbo follow-up Inside. Do check it out when you have a chance. In the meantime, let us know if you’ll be picking up Limbo for Xbox One, in the comments below.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition Discussion — Preferred Party Members http://egmr.net/2014/11/dragon-age-inquisition-discussion-preferred-party-members/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/dragon-age-inquisition-discussion-preferred-party-members/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:00:05 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163708 We’re busy at work on our Dragon Age: Inquisition review but in the meantime, we thought it was pertinent to discuss preferred — and ideal — party setups, given the […]

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We’re busy at work on our Dragon Age: Inquisition review but in the meantime, we thought it was pertinent to discuss preferred — and ideal — party setups, given the wide array of interesting and powerful characters available to players in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Ideally you always need one of each type of party member, so for example a Rogue, a Warrior and a Mage. In Origins, you typically had a support Mage and an offensive Mage, one to heal the team and one to cause utter devastation. In Dragon Age II you could choose to either follow that route or add in an extra Rogue to take advantage of the immensely overpowered new skills on offer in that department.

Now personally, I’m quite old-school about my setups. The first party member I always pick (besides myself of course), is a tank. Unless my character is a tank of course. The next I pick is a damager, and finally I pick my support Mage. In Dragon Age: Inquisition the lack of healing spells makes you more reliant on potions, thus there’s less emphasis placed on support mages (although Barrier is an awesome spell) and more emphasis on a single tank that can suck up damage while the rest of the team obliterates enemies.

Then apart from just powers and abilities, you also want colourful and entertaining characters to play alongside, almost ‘companions’ in a way. To this extent you want someone who will keep the banal exploration of areas entertaining and exciting.

In my first playthrough I went with my tried and trusted dual-daggers Rogue build. Admittedly I should have rather gone two-handed Warrior but I digress. Then I added in stalwart returning characters from previous games, Cassandra and Varric. Finally I closed off my party with Dorian, who might not be as good at a supporting role as Vivienne for example, but is a lot more entertaining and can cast my favourite spell in the game: Walking Bomb. Using this configuration of party members, I let Cassandra run in and taunt enemies while I stealth in behind the biggest enemy on the field and start having at it, while Varric handles the rest and Dorian, well, casts spells really. I trust my Mages.

So with that said, what are your preferred parties? Who do you go everywhere with, and who would you be lost without? Let us know in the comments section. Try not to add spoilers.

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Our 107th Podcast Records Tonight — Ask Us Things http://egmr.net/2014/11/107th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/107th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 09:00:33 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163694 Dragon Age. So much Dragon Age. Inquisition. Grey Wardens. Chantry. Templars. Mages. Tactical View. Close the rifts. Harvest the plants. Craft the weapons and armour. Fill the requisitions. Do ALL […]

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Dragon Age. So much Dragon Age. Inquisition. Grey Wardens. Chantry. Templars. Mages. Tactical View.

Close the rifts. Harvest the plants. Craft the weapons and armour. Fill the requisitions.

Do ALL the things.

Oh, right, podcast. Tonight. Episode one-hundred-and-seven. eGamer. Questions. Ask in the comments. Anything you’d like.

Must… play… more… Dragon Age: Inquisition.

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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10 Quick Tips For Newcomers To Dragon Age: Inquisition http://egmr.net/2014/11/10-quick-tips-newcomers-dragon-age-inquisition/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/10-quick-tips-newcomers-dragon-age-inquisition/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 11:00:11 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163616 Technically we’re all newcomers to Dragon Age: Inquisition, but you know what we mean… Dragon Age: Inquisition released to the world last week and has been getting stellar reviews thus […]

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Technically we’re all newcomers to Dragon Age: Inquisition, but you know what we mean…

Dragon Age: Inquisition released to the world last week and has been getting stellar reviews thus far. Our own review is in the works so look out for that soon, but in the meantime we thought it was pertinent to present a few quick and easy tips for newcomers to the series who are looking to get the best out of their Dragon Age experience. Too often in the past we’ve seen newcomers to the series quickly overwhelmed by the mechanics and left wondering just what the fuss is about.

Indeed I myself initially gave Dragon Age: Origins a pass after a few hours of playing it because it was so overwhelmingly complex. Thankfully Dragon Age: Inquisition is not as overwhelmingly complex, although there are certain things it takes for granted you already know. Not necessarily the case, right? Thus let us take a few minutes to share with you, some quick and easy tips for dealing in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Can you literally even.

  1. This is an important one: Leave the Hinterlands! As with any RPG it’s completely understandable if you want to ignore the main story and just do other things for a while. We have done so as well, but Dragon Age: Inquisition presents possibly the first time when you’re actually encouraged to play through the main story. At least, for a while… just, you’ll know when it’s safe to do side quests but until then try to ignore them for the most part, okay? Seriously. You can always come back to them another time since there’s no point-of-no-return in this game, reportedly. Thank us later.
  2. Some quests require you to have a certain amount of ‘Power’ and this effectively requires you to go out and do some side-questing. Don’t stress too much about it, for the most part the ‘Power’ rating won’t even be an issue and if you really have to, this is where it’s okay to head back to the Hinterlands, complete a few quests and then return to the War Room. Remember that you can gain ‘Power’ by doing literally any side quest. Your best bets are rifts, camps and requisition orders since they’re all quick and easy.
  3. Picking the best party members is key for your experience, and really helps you avoid much trouble. Since this game offers no dedicated healer, the role of the mage is significantly less important here although having someone around to cast Barrier is still recommended. Ideally you want one rogue, one warrior and one mage at the very least. Then you’re free to pick the last one as you please, or to taste depending on which character you like. In previous games two rogues worked best but here you’re welcome to have two warriors or two mages as you please.
  4. When picking your party members, do also leave some consideration for combinations. For example, a rogue might be able to put characters to sleep and then say a mage has a spell that causes extra damage to enemies that are asleep. Read the skills you level up and note what combinations are possible, to maximise the effectiveness of your party, and if your current party isn’t working well together then don’t be afraid to switch out.
  5. On the subject of levelling skills, if you find yourself running out of stamina/mana a lot then don’t be silly and skill more actives, rather skill passives because those don’t require any stamina/mana and just work automatically. If there aren’t any passives left then upgrade the actives you already have. Then once you’ve got a few levels and your stamina/mana isn’t as much of a problem, consider more active skills.
  6. It’s important to collect every possible herb you stumble across, and you might consider levelling one of Leliana’s Inquisition perks that allows you to harvest a bit more per herb. Early on, you’re going to aim for upgrading those potions. At least one level of healing upgrade to health potions, and as many as possible to regeneration potions. The regeneration potion is your single greatest asset in this game, during and after fights. Treat it with love and respect.
  7. How does one upgrade potions? Easy, silly! Explore your map. Specifically your base. Explore all of it, and be sure you speak to everyone regularly. Select every conversation option and ensure there’s nothing left before moving on. Yes it will take long (literally hours) but it’ll be worth it, and you’ll also find that your base tends to have a lot of extra stuff, such as armour and weapon crafting, potions upgrading and more. Explore!
  8. During fights it’s important that you maintain situational awareness throughout. You need to know what’s going on. You don’t necessarily need to live your life one tactical view at a time but you do need to pay attention to such things as health bars, stamina/mana bars and who is getting attacked by what. Character placement is important. Pause if you have to, go into that tactical mode, ensure always that the tank (warrior) is the one taking all the hits while your ranged teammates are further back.
  9. Learn how to prioritise your targets. Focus your fire on either the weaker but more devastating enemies (mages and demons) or anything else that would allow you an easier time. Sometimes it’s better to just let your party handle the big enemy while you pick off the rest. Other times you’re going to want to kite your enemies and draw their attacks away from weaker teammates.
  10. To that extent, it’s important for you to familiarise yourself with the ‘tactics’ and ‘behaviour’ settings in the Character Record, for all your party members. If you spend a little time in there configuring them, it allows you to basically never need tactical mode because they’ll always do exactly what you want them to, meaning you can relax a bit more during fights.

Remember: Save often, and keep at least three different saves at a time. You never know when you’ll need to reload from a particularly bad decision or something.

If you’d like some more tips then be sure to check out Kotaku‘s tips which we found a bit more generic and therefore applicable to most RPGs, plus a few tips that are absolutely relevant to Dragon Age: Inquisition, such as that one about the lip shine… *shudder*

If you’re playing the game and you’d like help with anything then by all means ask us in the comments and we’ll do our best to offer assistance. Be sure to also look out for our review which should be out real soon. Promise.

UPDATE: Here it is.

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Life, The Universe And Gaming: Ubisoft Could Learn A Lot From BioWare http://egmr.net/2014/11/life-universe-gaming-ubisoft-learn-lot-bioware/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/life-universe-gaming-ubisoft-learn-lot-bioware/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 09:00:15 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163572 Quick column this week because I really want to get back to playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. This game is spectacular, and it’s basically the reason for a somewhat-last-minute, night-before column […]

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Quick column this week because I really want to get back to playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. This game is spectacular, and it’s basically the reason for a somewhat-last-minute, night-before column which breaks from my recent tradition of planning a column for at least a week before writing one out. What do you mean really? Yes really. Seriously… No, I’m not kidding.

Thankfully this week’s column basically entered my mind and wrote itself last night (at the time of writing) when while playing through Dragon Age: Inquisition’s truly epic storyline, feeling all sorts of gratified, I realised that I had seen this sort of thing before but the feeling throughout was different; it was one of frustration and annoyance. What am I talking about, and why am I being so intentionally vague? Mostly just to fill space but also because it’s a cool build-up to the titular statement:

Ubisoft could (really) learn a lot from BioWare.

I remember first playing Dragon Age: Origins and thinking to myself, this is a truly massive game with just so much to do and so much potential for expansion. It’s not just a fictional creation but a fully imagined ‘world’, that of Thedas. Now this isn’t new, of course. In other series we have the likes of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls and so on continuing stories through sequels that are set in different parts of the same created universe. But it was a point of interest for me because this world presented very real and serious conflict, not just territorial but also political. And my mind immediately wandered to all that it could be.

Fast-forward a few years and despite what criticisms people continue to lay at the feet of Dragon Age II (my ‘leave Dragon Age II alone’ YouTube video was flagged for inappropriate content), what it did spectacularly well was serve as what we now understand to be a bridge between the first game, Origins, and the third release which dropped last week, Inquisition. People are calling this third game the best yet, and I’m inclined to agree but I’m holding out on a proper opinion until I’ve at least finished the story, but more on this in a bit. Dragon Age II presented the ongoing conflict in the game between the different factions, and really nailed home just how much animosity and contempt there was in this fictional world of Thedas.

See there are basically three big factions involved. The Mages are magic-users who have a connection to the Fade which you can think of as an amalgamation of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory (for Dante fans) altogether, but Mages are susceptible to demonic influence as a result. The Templars exist to keep mages in check and ensure that they don’t cause widespread destruction, but Templars are addicted to Lyrium as a result. The Chantry is basically a beefed up version of real-life churches but with political power and influence, but are not inherently ruling orders since there are still kings, queens and empresses in this world. The thing is, Mages and Templars hate each other.

Sound familiar? It should, because we’ve seen it before, kind of.

Cue Assassin’s Creed, with coincidentally Templars and Assassins, who also hate each other and have a lot of animosity and contempt towards each other. In fact they’re basically warring factions. In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Mages and Templars are also at war with each other, to some extent. Now whereas every subsequent Assassin’s Creed title has sought to ask questions but skirt around answers, it would seem that Dragon Age is willing to do both of those and more.

Then again, Ubisoft can only really make one game in recent years, can’t they? Think about it. Massive open world setting, some sort of revenge plot to carry the story, lots of betrayal and twists, a bunch of insignificant collectibles, a story that amps up but towards the end, has a tease of a sort, a somewhat unsatisfactory cliffhanger or something similar. And it’s not just Assasin’s Creed, either. Far Cry 3 (I can’t speak for 4 just yet) might have had you trying to escape an island but by the end of it you were just getting your revenge on a dude for killing your friends. Watch_Dogs had you getting revenge against the Man for killing your family. Even their upcoming racing game (I’ll repeat: racing game) The Crew has you getting revenge for your brother who was murdered in front of your eyes.

Meanwhile, BioWare have presented an interesting and deep backstory to their warring factions and told you, “Look it’s not just territorial, nor is there a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ side, it’s just a whole bunch of people each with their own aspirations and intentions, who find themselves in conflict with other sides and while the intent is to maintain peace and order, the execution results in chaos and anarchy. Go handle that shit.”

Fucking A.

And it’s not just Dragon Age, either. They’ve done this with Mass Effect too, albeit there the terms of conflict were around the use of Biotics, AI and of course racial (special? (species-al?)) boundaries. Dragon Age crafts a high fantasy setting like few others, where the root of the entire conflict is not the point of the story but rather the real meat of it. You empathise with the Mages or the Templars and you want to see order restored, but in actual fact you’re doing that while also trying to do other things, manage relationships and keep everyone happy. Make a decision and watch how some support you while others are disappointed by you. It’s tough and it keeps you honest, but best of all, it’s rewarding and infinitely gratifying.

I don’t remember the last time I played an Assassin’s Creed game and felt gratified.

Oh but the intrigue is there! Haytham Kenway showed us a whole other side of Templars, and Edward Kenway showed us that some may choose the kind of people they wish to be. But ultimately there was never any resolution other than Assassins are the Deus Ex Machina of their own story, with a slew of cliffhangers and unfinished stories to goad gamers into buying the next game. Meanwhile, BioWare carefully, quietly crafted a massive and sprawling epic around two games, one of which wasn’t even that well-received, and brought it together with absolute aplomb.

I was blown away by what I’ve played thus far in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Just when you think you know what’s going on it throws a curveball at you and forces you to deal. Just when you think you’ve picked a side and are happy with your choice, that side goes and does something to make you question whether you should be proud or regretful of your decision. Just when [goes on for a while] is why this game is bae.

But I guess this is what happens when you know what you’re doing, and aren’t just throwing massive teams into projects and hoping it works. Like throwing shit at a wall and hoping something will stick. “Maybe they’ll like this one?”

I have a lot of love for the Assasin’s Creed series and the Dragon Age series, and I sincerely believe that Ubisoft should look to studios like BioWare and even CD Projekt RED, and have a look at how real political conflict is handled. No need for silly McGuffins in the storyline (looking at you, Apple from Brotherhood), nor indeed spinoff titles showing the other side of things. Just have the (excuse potential sexism here) balls to take a conflict and go, “But what if it all went to shit and you came in tasked to fix all of it?”

I’ll say one thing: I’m enjoying myself far more playing Inquisition’s story, than any of the Assassin’s Creed games. Unfair comparison to make? Let me know in the comments.

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It’s Time For Another Round Of Marvel Vs DC: This Time, Characters http://egmr.net/2014/11/time-another-round-marvel-vs-dc-time-characters/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/time-another-round-marvel-vs-dc-time-characters/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:00:34 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163445 In the battle between Marvel Comics and DC Comics, each has its fair share of supporters. Whether you’re talking about Abnett’s cosmic storylines or Grant Morrison’s Superman arcs, there are […]

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In the battle between Marvel Comics and DC Comics, each has its fair share of supporters. Whether you’re talking about Abnett’s cosmic storylines or Grant Morrison’s Superman arcs, there are the hardest of hardcore fans. Even those folks who only like Marvel because of the movies, or DC because they have Batman t-shirts. There are fans of both franchises everywhere!

Here at EGMR we appreciate the healthy competition offered by the rival comic book franchises and in the past we’ve discussed their differences, both in terms of strengths and weaknesses. We think it’s great that two great comic book giants exist (sorry Image fans) and we’re looking forward to seeing where things are going on their cinematic fronts.

But just for today, we found — through Ms Take-a-shot herself — a really cool artist’s rendition of various Marvel and DC copycat characters. It’s quite a long image so check it out here:

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Remember that it’s not about who did it first, or who did it better. More that both franchises have such similar characters. Also perhaps worth noting is that a few of either franchise’s more popular characters are unmatched by their competitor. Can you think of any other characters that might be missing from here? I can immediately think of Wolverine and Bronze Tiger. Comments section, go!

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eGamer Podcast #106: Assassin’s Greed Impunity http://egmr.net/2014/11/egamer-podcast-106-assassins-greed-impunity/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/egamer-podcast-106-assassins-greed-impunity/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:00:10 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163315 Recorded: 18 November 2014 Welcome to episode one-oh-six of the eGamer Podcast which now bleeps out everything offensive, resulting in basically an hour and a half of bleeping. Since that […]

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Recorded: 18 November 2014

Welcome to episode one-oh-six of the eGamer Podcast which now bleeps out everything offensive, resulting in basically an hour and a half of bleeping. Since that doesn’t make for the greatest of entertainment we’ve opted instead for just a few of the more offensive stuff. You know, all things in moderation. Bleep! With that in mind, enjoy the fearsome foursome (we’re working on a better name) discussing all things gaming and movie (that we care about) in this jam-packed episode, and let us know in the comments if you like our bleep effect.

Topics discussed this week include Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s pros and cons, Far Cry 4’s positive reception, and Interstellar’s mix of awesome and disappointing.

Here are the shownotes for this week’s episode:

  • We’re doing introductions now? Dafuq.
  • What’s good and what’s bad about AC Unity.
  • Still listening?
  • Azhar shares his belated thoughts on Sunset Overdrive.
  • How are Far Cry 4 reviews so positive?
  • Are we back in 2012, with AC second place to Far Cry?
  • But why is India hating on Dragon Age?
  • We take a moment to hate on India on Dragon Age’s behalf.
  • Will GTA V’s first person mode be controversial?
  • The stark difference between real-life and videogame violence.
  • Find out what we thought of Interstellar (minor spoiler warning).
  • We answer your questions.

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

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | RSS

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Want Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition On PC For $4? Get It Here http://egmr.net/2014/11/want-injustice-gods-among-us-ultimate-edition-pc-4-get/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/want-injustice-gods-among-us-ultimate-edition-pc-4-get/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 14:00:57 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163415 By now you need no introduction to Injustice: Gods Among Us; it’s been a sterling offering since release and has only got better with more characters added to it, and […]

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By now you need no introduction to Injustice: Gods Among Us; it’s been a sterling offering since release and has only got better with more characters added to it, and the Ultimate Edition is, as you can expect, the best available version of the game. And now that it’s on PC, you’re encouraged to partake in the action if your gaming platform of choice happens to have a certain Steam app installed.

The guys over at Bundle Stars have a flash sale currently running which you can find through this link, for Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition on PC. At current, it is a massive 80% saving resulting in the current price being just $4. Not at all bad, right?

Perhaps the best part is that the Ultimate Edition includes all DLC charcters as well as a bunch of other unlocks just for purchasing that version, and you can have it right now if you’d like. But you have to be quick since the Flash Sale ends tomorrow. Need more information about the game? They’ve got you covered:

About the Game
What if the world’s greatest heroes became its biggest threat? See what happens when heroes collide!

When the Joker commits his most heinous crime and wipes out Metropolis – and everyone Superman loves, including his unborn child – the Man of Steel decides enough is enough and establishes a new world order. Batman and a few others stand opposed to this new regime, and the lines are drawn for epic battles like never seen before in a fighting game.

“An exciting, unique-feeling fighter…the real reason to play is the thrill of harnessing the god-like powers of some of the most overwhelming figures in the comic realm.” IGN 8.2

Please note: This title is not available in Russia & CIS territories. This item can not be purchased in Bahamas, Panama, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Lithuania, Moldova, Republic of, Hungary.

Features:

  •     A robust roster of DC Comics Super Heroes and Villains
  •     Master the god-like powers of each character
  •     All-new fighting gameplay from beat ‘em up masters NetherRealm
  •     Uncontainable battles in iconic environments
  •     Minigames and multiplayer modes support your role in the epic story

Featuring six new playable characters, over 30 new skins, and 60 new S.T.A.R. Labs missions, this edition packs a punch. In addition to DC Comics icons such as Batman, The Joker, Green Lantern, The Flash, Superman and Wonder Woman, the latest title from the award-winning studio presents a deep original story.

Heroes and villains will engage in epic battles on a massive scale in a world where the line between good and evil has been blurred!

You may visit the game’s Steam page for more information or check out the system requirements here:

OS: Windows Vista or later
Processor: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 2.8 GHz
Memory: 2GB
Hard Disk Space: 21GB
Video Card: NVIDIA® GeForce™ 8800 GTS or AMD® Radeon™ HD 3850
Direct X Version: 10

Requires Steam account and Steam client.

Supported Languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese-Brazil, Russian

Now of course, PC gamers are quite spoiled for cheap games especially when Steam Sales come around, so maybe this $4 will elicit a response of, “Meh, I’ll wait for it to be $2 on Steam.” If so, fair enough. But if this game is up your alley and you’ve not yet purchased it, and you don’t also mind spending the $4 then hey, we feel it is our civic duty to at least let you know about it.

DC Comics! *ding*

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Our 106th Podcast Records Tonight — Ask Us Things http://egmr.net/2014/11/106th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/106th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 09:00:14 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163201 Ever feel like as we progress as a species we become more and more sensitive to the words of others, taking far too much offence to what people say when […]

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Ever feel like as we progress as a species we become more and more sensitive to the words of others, taking far too much offence to what people say when realistically they’re just words and words can never harm you unless you let them? The great thing about words is that not only can they leave you entirely unharmed regardless of how many of them are used, but when you put them together and record them, you end up with something cool like the eGamer Podcast which will be recording episode one-hundred-and-six tonight!

And this here article is your chance to get involved in the proceedings. Use your words to ask us anything you’d like, whether it pertains to gaming, music, movies, comics, Kevin Spacey or even offensive things.

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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eGamer Podcast #105: God Is A PC Gamer http://egmr.net/2014/11/egamer-podcast-105/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/egamer-podcast-105/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 09:00:37 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162813 Recorded: 11 November 2014 Welcome to another episode of the eGamer Podcast, which we have not kept under embargo and will be releasing to everyone without any sort of preorder […]

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Recorded: 11 November 2014

Welcome to another episode of the eGamer Podcast, which we have not kept under embargo and will be releasing to everyone without any sort of preorder incentive and with nothing at all to hide.

Topics discussed this week include AC Unity reviews, Advanced Warfare reviews, and Dragon Age: Inquisition reviews.

Here are the shownotes for this week’s episode:

  • What’s up with these AC Unity review scores?
  • Apparently AC fans aren’t allowed to criticise the series.
  • Are release day embargoes something we should condone?
  • Turns out Advanced Warfare is performing great!
  • Why are there never any sales figures.
  • Bungie are such nice people.
  • Just Cause 3 is confirmed!
  • Good thing Dragon Age: Inquisition is looking great.
  • EA really need to repair their reputation.
  • We run through EA’s lowest moments in recent years.
  • Who should host the VGX this year?
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is also getting mixed reviews.
  • We answer your questions.
  • There’s a Guardians of the Galaxy anime.
  • Bravado talked about SA Dota 2.

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

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | RSS

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Release Day Embargoes Are Anti-Consumer — Why Defend Them? http://egmr.net/2014/11/release-day-embargoes-anti-consumer-defend/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/release-day-embargoes-anti-consumer-defend/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 07:00:40 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162809 Of the many things in the world that are endlessly frustrating, few come even remotely close to watching gamers defend publishers who are actively working against those very gamers. Now […]

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Of the many things in the world that are endlessly frustrating, few come even remotely close to watching gamers defend publishers who are actively working against those very gamers.

Now that might sound like a conspiracy theory but work with me on this.

Anti-consumer practices in the gaming industry are nothing new — we banded together when Ubisoft initially introduced always-online servers to singleplayer games, and again when EA tried it with SimCity, and Blizzard tried it with Diablo III; we fought united against the Xbox One’s always-online DRM as well, and we continue to fight the likes of EA regarding games such as Battlefield 4 which are fundamentally broken upon release. We fought against on-disc DLC with Capcom, and release-day DLC with Warner Bros. And yet here we are, it’s 2014, and there are important people in this gaming industry, people like Jim Sterling whom I respect and adore, who are trying to say, “Hey, release day review embargoes aren’t all bad!”

Sure. They’re not all bad. This year we got Sunset Overdrive and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare with release-day embargoes (the latter for pre-orders) and they actually scored quite well despite this. But in that same regard, we also got the likes of Destiny and DriveClub — an entirely overhyped game that disappointed on release, and a game that released as a broken offering that is still in the process of being fixed a good while later.

And now we have something that takes things even further, with Ubisoft releasing Assassin’s Creed: Unity and the embargo for reviews dropping after the game has already released to the public.

That is frankly disgusting and utterly anti-consumer, and nobody in this industry should ever tolerate it.

I mean really now, if the likes of Kotaku and Polygon can actually agree on something then maybe there’s a real and sincere problem here. This isn’t helped at all by reviews for the game being quite underwhelming.

A few months ago when it came time for Destiny to release, a few of our writers discussed the idea of release-day embargoes and how they make us suspicious of games, citing the likes of Aliens: Colonial Marines as examples of games that utterly disappointed and led to many users being unable to cancel their pre-orders for the games on time, effectively making it an anti-consumer practice. We were labelled as ‘Negative Nancy’s and told that Bungie are nice guys who are only delaying the release day embargo on account of the game requiring occupied servers in order to be experienced at its best, plus people had already played through the alphas and betas so there’s that. Then Destiny released and what do you know? It was actually a disappointment.

Thing is, it’s not about being right or having ‘called it’ or whatever but rather, it’s about the fact that we pay hard-earned money (some of us) for our games and we really want to see those games give us a return on our investment. We don’t want to have to spend (in South Africa) upwards of R700 for a brand new title only to be underwhelmed and disappointed. And so we look to reviews and, in the case of EGMR, we try to provide solid consumer advice because we want our readers to be informed and make educated purchasing decisions.

And what Ubisoft has done is gone and said, “No. We refuse to let you have a clue about this game before paying for it.”

And somehow we are painted as the douchebags for cautioning against it?

As a rule of thumb, let’s try to be cautious about release-day embargoes. If the game releases and reviews turn out to be great then hey, you can still buy the game! Maybe it sells out on day one but in a few days there’ll be stock again, we promise. But if they’re not, and you’ve pre-ordered, then while you only have yourself to blame, it means you’ve effectively committed to that experience and must ride it out. Ubisoft know this, and they likely knew that Assassin’s Creed: Unity wasn’t going to get great reviews; so they put that embargo after the release date and forced all pre-orders and day-one purchases to go through. Gamers were now stuck with their purchases and in this case, forced to play through a buggy and glitchy experience, if the internet is anything to go on right now.

That in my humble opinion, is unforgivable.

But hey, “it’s the reality of game development,” amirite?

Earlier this year I said that I seriously might skip this year’s Assassin’s Creed offering. Now the only reason I’d play it is to see just how bad it actually is, and I certainly won’t be paying for it — I’ll likely just borrow from a friend who got suckered into paying for it owns it.

Allow me to have a moment to glorify BioWare and EA (for once) here, because Dragon Age: Inquisition is a solid week away and reviews for that game are already out, and wouldn’t you believe it, they’re overwhelmingly positive. Good on BioWare!

Remember that erring on the side of caution is not being negative, it’s being smart. You only lie to yourself when you defend bad business practices, and it’s not as if publishers are looking out for you or something. So please, do yourself a favour and stop that. And let’s pressure publishers into stopping this anti-consumer practice in its steps before it gets wholly out of line. Because I for one am tired of seeing this, and sure we get our Sunset Overdrives and our Call of Duty: Advanced Warfares but it’s just not enough to excuse nor justify all the other underwhelming games that gamers could, at the very least, have known about before committing to their purchases.

And perhaps this is another reminder why pre-ordering games in any context is just a wholly bad idea.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that Destiny did not have an ‘embargo’ but rather, review copies were only distributed once the game hit retail. I’ll leave you guys to decide if that’s better or worse.

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Our 105th Podcast Records Tonight — Ask Us Things http://egmr.net/2014/11/105th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/105th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 09:00:05 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162748 Today marks three years since the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a game I gave a ‘Perfect’ rating to on our old review system. I loved it. Spent […]

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Today marks three years since the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a game I gave a ‘Perfect’ rating to on our old review system. I loved it. Spent over 151 hours playing it, in the space of around three weeks or so. Unfortunately although I acquired all of the DLC for it, I never got around to actually playing any of it, because thereafter my life got a lot more busy and when I did have time, the game was being monopolised by friends. But I digress, because this is not about Skyrim, this is about the eGamer Podcast which records its one-hundred-and-fifth episode tonight.

So, do you have any questions for us? Go ahead and ask them to us in the comments below; they can be about anything you’d like, gaming or otherwise.

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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Ten Hours In New York? Try Ten Hours In Battlefield 4, Skyrim And More http://egmr.net/2014/11/ten-hours-new-york-try-ten-hours-battlefield-4-skyrim/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/ten-hours-new-york-try-ten-hours-battlefield-4-skyrim/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 12:00:47 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162723 At the very basic level of economics a thing called the ‘fallacy of composition’ is taught, which says that what is true of the few is not necessarily true of […]

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At the very basic level of economics a thing called the ‘fallacy of composition’ is taught, which says that what is true of the few is not necessarily true of the many. On the internet, and specifically in these circles, you might understand this term better in practice as #NotAllMen.

Now as feminist displays of misogyny go, the video embedded above must certainly take the cake for really showing just what disgusting creatures men can be. Even if the video is an entirely framed perspective of a scenario that might not necessarily play out in other areas of just New York, let alone the entire world, and certainly is not indicative of anything other than that this person experiences ‘catcalling’ and the like — something I’m sure we can all sympathise with and be angry about.

I’ve certainly never done that, but as someone with a beautiful woman in my life, I’ve experienced my fair share of it, or rather she has and I’ve been around to see it. So of course I can relate to this sort of video, and yet even then I (and the beautiful woman in my life) don’t really see the point to this exhibition other than perhaps showing that she has a tough life. Heaven forbid she was born in equatorial Africa, amirite. Ten Hours in Ethiopia must be painful to watch.

But that’s not to disrespect the video nor discount the simple truth that so-called ‘catcalling’ is a shameful thing. Please don’t ever get me wrong on that, it just is. By all means compliment a lady (or a man for that matter), but there’s a whole lot more to someone than just their physical features, and as the internet will tell you (the very internet so vehemently accused of superficiality each day) a beautiful woman on the outside might not be beautiful on the inside. Value more than superficiality, friends. And whatever you, don’t catcall or otherwise disrespect anyone’s personal space. But I digress.

Immediately following the release of the Ten Hours in New York video which documented a woman’s travels through an area of the massive city that is densely populated (judging from the video) by latinos and blacks, other internet users decided it was time to do their own videos. What follows are a few cherry-picked (for relevance) examples of these videos… don’t worry, they’re all really short. None of them are actually ten hours long.

 

Ten Hours in Battlefield 4

 

Ten Hours in Skyrim

 

Ten Hours in Drag in LA

 

Ten Hours in NY in Hijab

 

Ten Hours in Auckland

 

Ten Hours in Warsaw as a Handsome Man

 

FunnyOrDie’s Ten Hours in NY as a Man

Perhaps the most harrowing entry was that of Ten Hours in Drag in LA… I mean if you thought sexism was bad, you just don’t know. That’s to say nothing of the woman in hijab. Oddly, the Warsaw and Auckland videos were less eventful, perhaps proving once and for all that this is an American societal problem and not– oh right, fallacy of composition, I forgot for a moment there. Before we continue, allow us to share one more video:

 

Three Hours in NY as a Male Model

And there you have it. I think we can all agree that there are certain kinds of harassment that only happen in the real world; going further, rape and murder are prevalent societal issues that have devastating repercussions and must be dealt with severely. However when you’re talking words, and just words, then there are some things that you will hear or read online that people would get killed for saying in real life. Ultimately then, if we’re just considering words, perhaps life is a lot worse as an online gamer than anywhere else in the world. You know, if we’re discounting the fallacy of composition.

What do you guys think of all these videos? Let us know in the comments below, and by all means share your own.

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Life, The Universe And Gaming: A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To Quitting Videogames http://egmr.net/2014/11/life-universe-gaming-weirdest-thing-reignited-passion-gaming-gamergate/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/life-universe-gaming-weirdest-thing-reignited-passion-gaming-gamergate/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 09:00:04 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162627 This year has been quite a tumultuous one for the videogames industry, and gaming in general. Perhaps it’s the lack of anything to play, to the point that people had […]

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This year has been quite a tumultuous one for the videogames industry, and gaming in general. Perhaps it’s the lack of anything to play, to the point that people had nothing better to do but go online and start fights, but this year has severely tested my faith in the videogames industry, and gaming in general.

If 2013 is to be considered the year of flawed masterpieces in gaming, then 2014 must surely be the year when even half-decent is perfectly acceptable and the utterly mediocre is not just highly anticipated but celebrated for being a hearty promise of something more… ironic in both its name and its long-term strategy.

Like I said, I’ve had my faith in gaming tested this year. There were times when I became very disillusioned with videogames and entertained thoughts similar to those I will mention shortly. But first let’s consider why.

At the beginning of this year I made the promise to myself (and by extension you guys, our readers) that I would stop trying to make excuses for games and blindly celebrating games just because they’re games. I would forgo all of the “but it’s just games” or “it’s about fun” or “can’t we all just play together” in favour of hearty critique and consumer advice. After all, we spend a lot of money for “just games” so why not exercise some educated thought about all of it?

To that extent, my first column of the year sought to caution against falling victims to hype and in subsequent columns I did my best to look at gaming from alternative perspectives to the plain and simple “let’s do the same thing over and over again but for a different game in a different year” principle that most other websites follow. I discussed such things as geek girls, games journalism, spoilers, game trailers and more, with perhaps my biggest column to date being one about wanting Destiny to fail.

A lot of these columns went against the grain, and the net result of this was that I attracted a lot of criticism. At times constant critique of my critique. People called my writing self-entitled, egotistical, closed-minded, anti-gamer, uneducated, ignorant, you name it I was called it. This sort of abuse, while not detrimental to my health, certainly led to a sense of disillusionment with the gaming community as a whole. I figured it was part and parcel of being a gaming writer, putting yourself out there and dealing with a vitriolic community that reacts quite negatively to being told not to be as easily celebratory of their favourite pastime and passion. As if that same passion wasn’t mine as well.

I imagine even this column will be considered whiny by this point, and that’s the amazing thing: sometimes there just isn’t any winning because unless you’re saying what readers (that’s you guys) want to hear then you are considered to be against them (you guys) when in reality that couldn’t be further from the case. I even wrote a column about forcing sides, for crying out loud! Naturally then, this led to me becoming less and less invested in my writing and while my resolve never faulted — I kept putting out controversial (somewhat) against-the-grain pieces of writing that educated some and infuriated the rest — there were times when I seriously considered quitting not just writing, but the gaming industry as a whole.

Then came #GamerGate.

Pause for effect...

Pause for effect…

Now here is where I categorically state my position regarding the entire thing: I am neither for nor against #GamerGate. I am aware that it has no form of leadership and therefore can only loosely be categorised as a movement, however I am also aware that a movement may consist of a ‘for the people by the people’ strategy. I am anti-harassment but pro-discussion. I also believe that because of the lack of structure and, again, leadership, #GamerGate cannot fully own its core focus because that is different depending on who you speak to. I do however feel that the anti-#GamerGate movement for the most part exists in two major communities: Those who seek to actively combat #GamerGate (at times using falsified information and being caught out for it), and those who are anti-harassment. Therefore, those anti-harassment folk can work together, both pro- and anti- #GamerGate, to craft a better and more easily understood ‘manifesto’ of a sort.

And I do believe that ethics in games journalism, no matter how much you satirise it, is a big deal. Why games journalism specifically? Because other industries don’t really own the same level of collusion that we in gaming do, and gaming offers a sense of freedom not offered to other forms of media. Not anyone can be a movie critic, for example, but anyone can be a games journalist. I certainly don’t have a journalism degree and I have been doing this for four years now. That is why it’s important. But I digress.

A lot of people have simply dismissed the entire #GamerGate discussion, opting out of glorifying something they feel is about harassment of women. I can’t argue with that. I definitely feel it’s quite closed-minded given that there are in fact women and minorities who are pro-#GamerGate, but then I cannot discredit the fact that there are women on the internet who are abused and harassed on a daily basis. Is it an internet-exclusive thing? Of course not, but you have to admit that internet harassment (of any kind) is not cool. I mean, just above these paragraphs I literally just discussed my own form of harassment that I’ve been experiencing for most of this year. In the past I have suffered the likes of death threats, home invasion threats and one person even threatened to open a police investigation into my family’s affairs on account of my discussing series downloaded from the internet. I know harassment. I’ve been harassed. So I cannot ever, ever discount online harassment. Nor can I discount the feelings of those who’ve been around those who’ve been victims of harassment.

Further, I too read Film Critic Hulk‘s rather humanising and frankly shameful (for the community) post about almost quitting writing for Badass Digest — although to be fair, the site’s head Devin Faraci has been at the forefront of the anti-#GamerGate argument throughout.

But here’s the thing: whereas pretty much every person I’ve spoken to regarding the #GamerGate saga has become disillusioned and disenfranchised with their favourite pastime and passion, and embarrassed for what it has done to the reputation of gaming (which in itself was only slowly going up anyway), I find myself on the other end of the spectrum.

Do you know what depresses me? When the likes of Brianna Wu actively seek trouble online by aggravating internet users and then when they find it, use it as a soapbox to glorify abuse and rape culture, and effectively vilify gamers. I could do that if I really tried, too. But the actual #GamerGate saga? Perhaps it’s the folks I interact with, or follow on Twitter, but they seem like genuinely nice people who really want to make a difference in the videogames industry. They seem like the type of people who want to do better and be better. Not the rapists and murderers the media has been painting them out to be.

Or perhaps it’s because, being from Durban, I see my fair share of actual rape and murder in the news on a daily basis, and not just fucking Oscar Pistorius.

#GamerGate has, and I say this with carefully chosen words, reinvigorated my passion for the videogames industry, and gaming in general.

It has shown me that there are people out there who do care, and who are willing to fight for what they feel is right, and no amount of media slandering or misrepresentation of their core values will sway them from that. It is people like that whom I personally look up to, and aspire to be like in my own writing. Not people who soapbox about how a website cannot be spoken to when every attempt at interacting with the site was basically just tweeting about why they’re terrible without ever engaging them in discussion (you know who you are). Not people who slyly and quietly accept gifts and favours from industry insiders and say nothing of it to their base readership. Not people who have turned ‘feminism’ into equally as toxic a term as they claim #GamerGate is. Not people who sit on their social networks and shit-fling at other sites, every chance they get. Not even people who refuse to criticise a game for fear of it ruining their reputation with publishers, developers and distributors. And certainly not developers who think they are so above it all that the entire gaming industry must answer to them.

All examples of people I’ve experienced this year.

Genuinely passionate people who know their core values and beliefs and stick to them, without attacking or harassing anyone while remaining partial to the idea that there cannot be progress if it’s destructive. It’s a shame that these people are not more celebrated or publicised, with most media instead opting to publicise harassment (even when falsified) as if that’s not always been a thing not just on the internet but everywhere in society. I truly love being a gamer again, despite what my beloved Felicia Day thinks about it, as well as many, many others.

I will continue to speak out against harassment but I will never speak out against discussion.

The Thought Police are an Orwellian concept, not an internet meme.

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eGamer Podcast #104: Volvo Pls Fix http://egmr.net/2014/11/egamer-podcast-104-volvo-pls-fix/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/egamer-podcast-104-volvo-pls-fix/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 09:00:42 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162335 Recorded: 04 November 2014 Welcome to episode one-hundred-and-four of the eGamer Podcast, now with a billion times more gaming talk and a moustache story. #GamerGate Topics discussed this week include […]

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Recorded: 04 November 2014

Welcome to episode one-hundred-and-four of the eGamer Podcast, now with a billion times more gaming talk and a moustache story. #GamerGate

Topics discussed this week include Dota 2’s broken item drops, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare review scores and Movember.

Here are the shownotes for this week’s episode:

  • So how’s those Advanced Warfare scores hey?
  • We’d tell you about The Evil Within but it would scare you.
  • Guess why Dota 2 is suddenly a broken game after a single update?
  • volvo pls fix.
  • But what on earth is that new Alone in the Dark trailer about?
  • Far Cry 4’s multiplayer looks… interesting.
  • Can a bad multiplayer offering still be fun with friends?
  • Assassin’s Creed: Unity just dropped the most interesting trailer yet.
  • Did you see that first person GTA V trailer?
  • We take a moment to get offensive.
  • So is it mice or mouses?
  • We answer your questions… or lack thereof?
  • Are you partaking in Movember?
  • The PS+ offerings in the coming months are looking pretty sweet.
  • WTF is Chappie?

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: Project Spark Is A Content Creator’s Dream Come True http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-project-spark/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-project-spark/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 14:00:56 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160549 Visit review on site for scoring. When it was first revealed to the world last year, Project Spark teased a fantastical and wondrous world in which you could create pretty […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

When it was first revealed to the world last year, Project Spark teased a fantastical and wondrous world in which you could create pretty much anything you’d like within the confines of a pre-existing game environment. Want to make a side-scrolling platformer? Go for it! Isometric beat-em-up? By all means! Third person action adventure set in the French Revolution era with elements of stealth and exploration all to the tune of tight storytelling? You bet’cha! It was freedom. Importantly, it was creative freedom. Freedom of expression. And naturally every indie-enthusiast with hopes for an Xbox One rejoiced.

And in practice, Project Spark actually delivers on exactly that although not nearly to the extent that we would have liked. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. First let’s state fully just what exactly Project Spark actually is. At its heart, Project Spark is a game for makers (and we suppose, players) of games based on the Kodu Game Lab engine that revolves around community contribution, as well as two key aspects of gaming; Play and Create. Pretty self-explanatory, we’d say? Play lets you play things and Create lets you create things. However it is here that we must start to craft finer distinctions between the two before we bring them both together. Let’s first start with…

 

Play

I’ll be honest. In all my time playing this game I never once came across anything that looked remotely like these screenshots (which are basically riffs of other games). However that’s not to say they’re actually impossible but rather, it’s just that what is initially presented to you isn’t much to write home about. Oh it’s pretty, but, it’s not that perfect!

When you choose the Play side of things, two major options are presented to you. One of them is called the Champions Quest and serves effectively as your glorified tutorial. A practice mode if you will. It presents you with four (three, plus one DLC) characters each with their own persistent levelling across multiple levels that play out as Episodes consisting Chapters. At present only Episode One of the Champions Quest is available to play, and it spans just a handful of short levels.

These teach you the basics. They’re about learning the controls, getting a grip on the visuals and basically just acclimatising to the fundamentals of playing the game. The Champions Quest plays sort of like Skylanders but with Fable-inspired visuals. It’s an isometric-y, third-person brawler with a jump button, a roll button, two types of attack and not much else. Like we said, glorified tutorial. If a character dies in battle then you get to pick another until you either run out of characters or quit out and restart. Meanwhile, characters will gain separate experience and levels, unlocking new abilities along the way. There are also various challenges to complete for bonus experience to both your character and your overall Spark level — which you can consider as your player rank that spans the entirety of everything you do in Project Spark. It’s all quite standard fare.

Now what isn’t standard fare is that over and above the Champions Quest you can play literally thousands of other ‘maps’ (used loosely) created by other users in the community as well. Indeed you need not ever create your own maps and just on user-generated content Project Spark will treat you to all sorts of genres of game, and more. A search filter allows you to select the top-rated, most-popular and even featured maps in the community. What’s interesting with Project Spark is that not only are you allowed to rate and comment on the maps created by users in the community but you can also what’s called ‘remix’ them which effectively means editing them and adding in your own stuff. So, penises for all! Which then brings us to…

 

Create

Welcome to the real meat of the game for most who will pick up Project Spark. This game has a rich and diverse editor which allows you to create entire worlds and program everything in them using what the game calls ‘Kodes’ but you basically know as program modules. You can Kode such things as AI logic, character models and even voices. Project Spark works with your controller (or mouse and keyboard on PC) as well as Kinect and SmartGlass to allow you to craft pretty much any genre of game you’d like as well as movies and more. In fact, a Linkin Park music video called Guilty All The Same was created using Project Spark (embedded below for your viewing pleasure).

You could spend hours and hours working in Project Spark’s game creation editor, and it’s all relatively easy and intuitive. A quick tutorial gets you started and the game lets you go from there. Make whatever you’d like for a single- or multiplayer experience. When you’re happy with what you’ve created, save it for your personal use or if you dare, share it to the community and await imminent plays and ratings. If you’re lucky enough it might even get featured. It’s really as simple as that. Penises for everyone!

Unlike Minecraft, Spore or LittleBigPlanet, Project Spark actually allows a much, much finer level of customisation in terms of what you can do with what you’ve created. This allows a far more personal touch to everything you make, effectively allowing you the most intricate level of control of any ‘game with content creation’ yet. You could quite honestly create entire stories in this game, if you so desired. But now you’re inevitably asking (we hope), how does it all come together?

 

In Practice…

Now while all of this sounds really great on paper, in practice you’ll find that it’s a little trickier to give a positive rating to. In practice, it’s actually let down by quite a few things. The first of those is occasional lag and slowdown. To be expected of game such as this, sure enough, but sometimes it can border on unplayable and on a new generation of gaming console this just should not exist. On busier maps, good luck even dealing with the slowdown let alone properly controlling your character. Thankfully this isn’t always the case but you can certainly see that the game needs some big optimisations.

Another issue I found with the game is the amount of DLC it’s pushing. There are entire gated areas that are DLC-only, and one of the four playable characters in the Champions Quest is also DLC. Even the option of remixing the created maps of others is a pay-only privilege, and so it’s severely restrictive in this sense. It almost feels as if Project Spark is giving you a sampler platter of the tools that could be yours for the low, low price of nine-ninety-five or some other Verimark commercial. But wait! There’s more! If you act now you get… that’s right, penises all-round! (Just… keep reading okay?)

Due it being a community-based game for the most part, Project Spark is heavily reliant on content creation to increase its longevity. Unless you’re someone who just wants to spend hours in the game engine making games, in which case great. But you are in effect at the mercy of other game creators if you’re a casual player just looking to play some cool user-created content. This has two repercussions. Firstly, it means you’re exposed to uncontrollable content. Now sure you can report a badly designed map and get those penises off your screen but sometimes, every now and again, something inevitably slips through and that’s a problem. Especially for overly paranoid parents. Secondly, it almost puts you off playing further when you’ve downloaded and started up multiple maps and found them all to be more than wanting in various areas. One really interesting-looking inFamous: Second Son inspired map was actually just a small island that allowed you to run around using some (some) of Delsin’s powers. Why? Because why not!

All of this said and done if you’re a casually-oriented player then you’re likely still going to get a lot of game out of this, and a relatively newbie-friendly game design engine as well. Something that does the vast chunk of work for you, at that. But don’t expect to grasp it immediately because you will quickly be overwhelmed by it. That is just the nature of games such as these and that’s a shame because judging by its UI and design it seems to be geared towards more casual-minded gamers, and we fear they’re just not ready for this sort of commitment. Overall then, Project Spark leaves a lot wanting even if it’s got some magical potential… just, you know, not at this point in time.

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Dorkly Has Some Ideas About The Next Batch Of Superhero Movies http://egmr.net/2014/11/dorkly-ideas-next-batch-superhero-movies/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/dorkly-ideas-next-batch-superhero-movies/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 10:00:41 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162130 Okay so it’s totally just a gaffe but we here at EGMR absolutely adore Dorkly‘s sense of humour and style of satire, so of course we were going to share […]

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Okay so it’s totally just a gaffe but we here at EGMR absolutely adore Dorkly‘s sense of humour and style of satire, so of course we were going to share this one here.

After recent announcements by Marvel which you can hear all about in our latest podcast episode together with the likes of Sony, Fox and Warner Bros (DC) pushing massive amounts of superhero content, you can bet your ass that the next few years are going to be run by the geeks. Now some are loving it, and certainly they deserve to enjoy this moment because let’s be honest, what else is making as much money right now besides those teen-book-adaptation movies that release at the end of each year?

That said, it’s also getting a bit much, wouldn’t you say? As if there’s just too much and not a lot of it can do the comic books justice. I’m very much on the side of being able to enjoy the movies but there certainly are those who would say they prefer the comic books and the movies just make a lot of cool comic books seem lame; The Wolverine anyone?

Either way, it’s another excellent contribution to the internet from Dorkly and it certainly serves to satirise the whole thing rather nice.

If you’d like an expanded version of the image then by all means click here.

And don’t forget to tell us what you think in the comments, you sly dogs.

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Our 104th Podcast Records Tonight — Ask Us Things http://egmr.net/2014/11/104th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/104th-podcast-records-tonight-ask-us-things/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 09:00:15 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162125 The worst part of your day must surely be having to wake up in the morning knowing you’ve not slept nearly enough. The best part of your day should therefore […]

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The worst part of your day must surely be having to wake up in the morning knowing you’ve not slept nearly enough. The best part of your day should therefore be– no, not coming home from a long day’s hard work, nor even that first bite of a meal you’ve spent all day looking forward to, who even cares about all that? The best part of your day should be listening to this here eGamer Podcast which hits episode one-oh-four tonight. God bless America!

And this here article is your chance to get involved in all the chaotic fun and frenetic action when we record later tonight. How do you do that? Easy, silly! You go down to the comments section, think up some cool questions for us, and then post them down below. What could be more difficult? Except maybe tax evasion.

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 Guardians Of The Galaxy Porn Parody Is Cumming http://egmr.net/2014/10/guardians-galaxy-porn-parody-cumming/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/guardians-galaxy-porn-parody-cumming/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:00:45 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161928 Not quite the fright you were expecting this Halloween? Well prepare yourselves for some cosmic bewbage that will cause galaxy-wide erections because WoodRocket.com is currently working on a porn parody […]

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Not quite the fright you were expecting this Halloween?

Well prepare yourselves for some cosmic bewbage that will cause galaxy-wide erections because WoodRocket.com is currently working on a porn parody of Guardians of the Galaxy, and the title is something to give you more wood than Groot at a nursery. (We did not just call Groot a paedophile…)

The title? Would you believe, Gnardians of the Galaxy: 50 Shades of Groot. Seriously.

Prepare to spread your orbs, whip out your infinity stones, and get hooked on a feeling, because WoodRocket.com is going into production on the Guardians of the Galaxy adult parody, Gnardians of the Galaxy: 50 Shades of Groot.

Being brought to you by the website that gave you Bob’s Boners, Game of Bones, and Orgy of Bill Murrays, Gnardians of the Galaxy: 50 Shades of Groot is looking like it could be the most entertaining genital-filled super hero team sex spoof of all time!

In honor of James Gunn’s Marvel movie masterpiece becoming the highest grossing film of 2014 domestically, and the recent announcement of the upcoming sequel, WoodRocket.com knew that now was the time to begin work on showing the world what real space genitals should look like.

Gnardians of the Galaxy: 50 Shades of Groot will be written & directed by Lee Roy Myers. “I think that Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the greatest super hero movies of all time. I am very excited to add penetration,” says Myers.

If you’ve ever heard of Axel Braun’s porno parodies, they tend to have more story and content than the actual films upon which they’re based, and they have gratuitous sex so it’s basically a win-win unless you’re actually about ethics in games journalism.

This guy, who knows, maybe he could do something that would make Ronan the Accuser want to play with his universal weapon. Or maybe he just makes us all want to sink into our cocoons. Either way, now you know what’s to cum. (Or did we make that joke already?)

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Is This What’s Wrong With Game Reviews? http://egmr.net/2014/10/whats-wrong-game-reviews/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/whats-wrong-game-reviews/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 14:15:13 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161933 In the past we here at EGMR have categorically stated what we think about videogame review systems in their current guises. We certainly adhere to them because realistically you cannot […]

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In the past we here at EGMR have categorically stated what we think about videogame review systems in their current guises.

We certainly adhere to them because realistically you cannot expect to function as a website without some form of conformity however we try as far as possible to break from the norm, using such things as our Quick Review system to break the flow of things and do stuff our way where possible.

We only recently implemented review scores after much deliberation about it.

But at its root we understand that videogame review systems in their current guises are fundamentally broken.

Cue consumer advice guru and friend of the site GamingAnarchist, who put out the video above to explain what he feels is wrong with reviews, and how he feels we can change them to better fit the gaming industry. I can certainly get behind what he’s saying, especially that of the going belief that unfavourable opinions effectively doom some developers. Of course, the onus is also on publishers to stop treating Metacritic scores and the like as the be-all-and-end-all of business decisions — after all, Destiny isn’t going anywhere despite its failings.

But for the most part, it’s an interesting thought process regarding game reviews and what we can do to make them better in the future, and avoid a lot of the drama that surrounds them.

Check out the video above and let us know what you think about all of it.

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Stephen Colbert Talks To Anita Sarkeesian About #GamerGate http://egmr.net/2014/10/stephen-colbert-talks-anita-sarkeesian-gamergate/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/stephen-colbert-talks-anita-sarkeesian-gamergate/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 10:30:36 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161924 It has been spanning mainstream media for a while now and this past week Stephen Colbert picked up

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It has been spanning mainstream media for a while now and this past week Stephen Colbert picked up #GamerGate for his own show, The Colbert Report.

Now as a political satirist, Colbert is all about making jokes and having a few shots at his guests but sometimes he can really dig into them about whatever he feels is necessary; naturally, they would have to agree to appear on the show so they are typically expectant of some shot-taking anyway. However this week when Colbert spoke about #GamerGate, most shots were fired directly at gamers of the world, with a happy audience to laugh along.

I have to say that even though it was satire, I winced whenever the audience reacted with resounding applause and cheers every time Colbert accused gamers of being cave trolls who live virgin lives with a controller in their hands, and so on. I can take a joke, but damn that cut a bit. More so the thought that all the gamers of the world were men, and all the pro-#GamerGate tweeters were men. Wrong on both accounts. But hey, satire.

I thought the world’s opinion of gamers had improved. Unmistakeably though, the recent opinion of gamers since #GamerGate has undoubtedly dropped. We’re ‘weird’ again. Worse, we’re now actively harmful.

And once again we got to watch something that was fundamentally an argument of harassment versus harassment as Colbert spoke to Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian about her stand in the entire #GamerGate ordeal, having endured the likes of death and bomb threats from “male gamers” who were unhappy with her work and wished to silence her. In the past I’ve praised her recent videos because I think they’re excellent works (regardless of whom it’s claimed actually writes them) but again it felt so framing to see BioWare’s name dragged through the mud with Dragon Age: Origins, a game that allowed homosexual relationships and fully customisable (black, white, male, female) characters but got called out because it was trying to be thematic to a certain time in our own human history. But I digress.

For her part, Sarkeesian spoke well and did her best to keep the topic to harassment of women. I guess you can’t really fault her for that, she is after all trying to do a job and while I’ll certainly agree that she milked this entire fiasco to its absolute limit, it is gamers who respond to her who are the problem because after all, someone making loud noises is nobody without a crowd to hear them, and the more abuse she gets (which by the way is just not cool, guys) the more ammo she gets to use against her abusers. So stop, okay?

Check out the video above — I made sure to find a full video that doesn’t cut out Colbert’s satirising of videogames for everyone — and see what the world thinks of us gamers, then tell us how you feel in the comments below.

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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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