#egmr » Azhar http://egmr.net Let's Talk Games — Videogame News, Reviews & Opinions Mon, 19 Jan 2015 12:00:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Meet The PlayBox, A PS4 And Xbox One Crammed Into A Single Laptop http://egmr.net/2015/01/meet-playbox-ps4-xbox-one-crammed-single-laptop/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/meet-playbox-ps4-xbox-one-crammed-single-laptop/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 07:00:18 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165960 Are you tired of having to choose which console to buy? Are you sick of being an observer or active participant in the console wars? Are you over fanboys for […]

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Are you tired of having to choose which console to buy? Are you sick of being an observer or active participant in the console wars? Are you over fanboys for good? Then you should kill yourself and end it all! Alright that was a poor joke. There is a more elegant solution though, and it’s called the PlayBox, which is probably the coolest way to put a halt to any console war.

Serial tinkerer Eddie Zarick has created what he calls the Playbox, which is an amazingly sexy laptop that houses both a PlayStation 4 and an Xbox One in the very same case, complete even with a 1080p 22-inch screen. No more shit about the p’s anymore either!

This isn’t Zarick’s first endeavour of the sort though, as he previously made individual laptops out of both the Xbox One and PS4 as well as created what penned the Xbook Duo, which is a single unit containing both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

The superior Playbox contains the PS4 on the left side and the Xbox One on the right, with both consoles being powered by the same cord. However they can’t both be on simultaneously because the machine would overheat and explode. I may have exaggerated that a tiny bit, but you get the idea. A handy switch on the back of the PlayBox serves to switch between consoles.

There’s a video up above that shows you the PlayBox in action, but I’ve got bad news for you if you’re rich and interested. Zarick has said that he isn’t selling any PlayBoxes at this point in time, and the prototype was simply built for a custom order. However his regular Xbook Ones sell for $1,500 while the Playbook 4s go for $1,400, and these prices can go down if customers supply their own consoles.

Check out the video if only to marvel at how awesome technology is, but if you’re looking for details on how Zarick did some of this you can watch his how-to video for the Xbook Duo.

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This Trailer For The Order 1886 Is The Creepiest Thing You’ll See Today http://egmr.net/2015/01/trailer-order-1886-creepiest-thing-youll-see-today/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/trailer-order-1886-creepiest-thing-youll-see-today/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 07:00:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165901 The Order 1886 has been leaving me with fixed feelings for ages now. On the one hand the art direction is ridiculously awesome, and the setting appears fantastic, but on […]

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The Order 1886 has been leaving me with fixed feelings for ages now. On the one hand the art direction is ridiculously awesome, and the setting appears fantastic, but on the other the gameplay hasn’t enticed me as it looks rather bog standard. The optimist in me would say that Ready at Dawn has been keeping its cards close to the chest on this game, while the realist in me would say that it’s just a third person shooter with great graphics. I’d love to be wrong about the game though.

Enter this new trailer for The Order 1886 and suddenly my feelings are taking a slight rattle, because it’s creepy as fuck. And I love creepy. The trailer revolves around a nursey rhyme for a kid called Bobby Paige who appears to have been afflicted by some sort of killer disease. As we know werewolves are a big part of the game, so one would say it’s a scary story about a lycanthrope. I know that nursery rhymes are perhaps a tired eerie element in horror right now, but I think the trailer is quite fantastic, especially since it evokes some sort of Limbo-styled visual art to tell the story.

There has been word that some chapters of The Order 1886 will be quite creepy, and for me if it matches this atmosphere from the trailer then I’ll be damn excited. I feel it’s elements like this that help set the stage for getting you invested in the world that could separate The Order 1886 from a standard shooter. Many games have been elevated by their visuals, art direction and setting, and if The Order 1886 can use these to great effect then it may just pull through. I suppose we’ll find out next month then?

Then again LOL The Order 1886 sux graphics downgrade it’s not even 3D anymore.

Give the trailer a watch up above and let us know what you think about Bobby Paige in the comments below. Perhaps you’d like to adopt him?

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The 5 Most Expensive Video Games That Weren’t Worth It http://egmr.net/2015/01/5-expensive-video-games-werent-worth/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/5-expensive-video-games-werent-worth/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 07:00:03 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165753 We live in a time where the gaming industry often has the potential to match or even surpass blockbuster films in terms of budget, scale and appeal, and the signs […]

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We live in a time where the gaming industry often has the potential to match or even surpass blockbuster films in terms of budget, scale and appeal, and the signs indicate that gaming is only going to keep going from strength to strength. Unless it collapses on itself under bad practices and over indulgence in the expenses department, which incidentally is the topic of the day here. While we all love massive gaming productions often there are times where it becomes an exercise in unnecessary excess, and no one wants to see buckets of money being wasted on something that turns out not to be worth it. Sadly our history features a number of such stories, and in this feature we’ll be exploring five of the most expensive video games that we felt weren’t worth it.

We considered a wide variety of titles, looking at more than thirty of the most expensive video games in history, narrowing the list down to a handful and then of those taking into account critical reception, sales, our own opinions of the games and the public reaction. In the end we were left with just five, and if you’re curious as to which games these are and why they made the list, proceed onward and be sure to leave us your thoughts in the comments below once you’re done, whether you agree or not.

Too Human


Too Human, developed by Silicon Knights and eventually published by Microsoft Game Studios, was a game that suffered in development hell for almost ten years. It was initially supposed to release as a four-disc game on the original PlayStation all the way back in 1999, before Nintendo revealed an exclusive partnership with Silicon Knights and the game was moved to the Nintendo GameCube in 2000. While prototyping happened on Nintendo’s console, staff at Silicon Knights put their efforts into two other games, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (a GameCube remake of the original Metal Gear Solid) and Too Human faded off the map. Ridiculously, nothing was announced until five years later in 2005, where the platform shifted a third and final time to the Xbox 360, as Silicon Knights partnered up with Microsoft in May of 2005.

Too Human appeared to be back with a vengeance, with ambitious plans of a trilogy making the rounds. Of course people had reason to have faith with Microsoft in charge of publishing and the Xbox 360 as the primary platform, but problems arose once again as Too Human didn’t manage to meet its planned release date of “2006 holiday”. Development of the game staggeringly went on for another two years, until it finally released at the end of August in 2008. Before that Silicon Knights did many promotional videos for the game, and there was tons of hype, which played a big part in the July demo surpassing 900,000 downloads, breaking Xbox Live Marketplace records. Things all seemed to be looking good for Too Human and Silicon Knights, but those numbers didn’t tell the full story.

After the game actually released it was met with mixed critical reception, mostly leaning on the mediocre side of things. The sales weren’t too bad though, with a Joystiq interview reporting that the game “sold around 700,000 units”. However, that figure quickly became unimpressive and short of the mark once budget estimates for the game put it between US$ 60-100 million making it one of the most expensive video games ever made, largely thanks to its development hell. It’s safe to say that the result was not exactly a game for the ages, and we can comfortably put Too Human on this list as a solid example of overhype, ridiculous excess and simply horrendous management and development.


Final Fantasy XIII


We’ll probably get flak and disagrees for this one. The game sold extremely well, was met with positive reception from critics (only God knows how, we suppose it was a time when critics were less critical) and it went on to spawn two sequels, so why would it be here? Well taken in isolation Final Fantasy XIII was perhaps one of if not the worst game in the franchise. It was one of the most repetitive, boring and frustratingly linear (it was seriously suffocating) games we’ve played, and we couldn’t help but be shocked at the notion that it only opened up some twenty hours into the game. We felt that most of its budget, which was upwards of $65 million, was spent on advertising and graphics, the latter of which was all there was to highly praise about the game. It was as shallow as they came, and our review was the one and only on our site that told the story of a game we just could not finish because we didn’t know how to enjoy it enough to keep playing. Final Fantasy XIII was the definition of misdirected effort, and the sad tale of a game that didn’t value its players enough to let them actually play it.

It’s a pretty fantastic example though of how you don’t need a big budget to make a great game, and we feel it’s a good reference point for how over-expenditure in the wrong areas can lead to a low quality game. Sadly that won’t always matter in this world since its sales, popularity and subsequent sequels would cement its commercial success, and to some that will always be more important. But we haven’t forgotten Final Fantasy XIII as a game — a tremendously disappointing one at that.




We thought we were done with Destiny after our Game of the Year award troll and a year of slating it, but it just so happens that the topic of this feature encapsulates it quite well. We’re quite sure people will argue that it’s still an ongoing endeavour and can become worth it at some indeterminable point in time (or for some it’s already worth it), but for us Destiny was all hype and nothing to show for it. We gave it a very mixed review, and critics and users were definitely polarised and conflicted about this one as well, and things didn’t change much a month after its release. We’re comfortable in saying that Destiny was one of the most overhyped and most disappointing titles we’ve seen in perhaps the last decade of gaming. We were right to be intensely sceptical of it, ever since that “$500 million” budget for the franchise’s future became a buzz phrase flying around, and it was repeatedly stated with pride how Destiny is the most expensive video game ever made. The budget for the first game alone with advertising is estimated to sit around $140 million, and even that is far, far too high considering the final result was barren, shallow, agonisingly repetitive and eventually boring and lifeless. Subsequent DLCs did little to revolutionise opinions towards the game either.

We suppose if we approach this from a strictly sales and revenue perspective, Destiny was worth it for Activision and Bungie, but as a game and for us it was far from it, especially when considering the ludicrous overhype. Not to mention the potentially negative impact it could have on the gaming industry with regards to excess, unrealistic expectations and building games around requiring gamers to invest full price first (and more) in the hope of seeing results emerge later.




It saddens us greatly to have to put Deadpool here, as we really enjoyed the game despite its flaws and felt it catered well to fans, especially with its fantastic humour and story. However you may be surprised to hear that Deadpool had a budget of around $100 million, making it one of the most expensive video games in history perhaps thanks to its over-expenditure in advertising. The game was developed by High Moon Studios, the studio behind the commercially and critically successful Transformers games, and used the exceptional talent of Nolan North to voice the character as well as the writing ability of former Deadpool comic writer Daniel Way for the game’s story. All of it really seemed like a recipe for success, especially given High Moon’s pedigree, the boom of comic book games post Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham series and the spot-on humour based on the early trailers. What then went wrong to get it on this list?

It started out with the game receiving very mixed reviews, mostly in the low 60s on Metacritic. While many praised the humour and plot, the gameplay received criticism for being shallow and repetitive and the graphics, especially the art direction, were extremely disappointing and a missed opportunity given the colourful character. While we don’t have concrete details on sales, it was reported by the daily super hero that they were actually really bad on both platforms, definitely way below expectations, which meant the huge budget began to look suspect. And later down the line, as we know, the game was pulled from all digital storefronts on January 1, 2014 alongside other games published by Activision that had used the Marvel license. That most likely put the nail in the coffin regarding its legacy. As we said we had a great time with the game and remember it fondly, but unfortunately that did little to change its fate and the fact that its extremely high budget may not have led to the best of results, both with the final product and its commercial and critical performance.




Defiance is an MMO and third person shooter that we wouldn’t be all that surprised if you didn’t hear about it. Developed by Trion Worlds and Human Head Studios for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, it was released in early April 2013, with the main attraction being that it was a game acting as a tie-in to the American television channel Syfy’s show of the same name. It had been in development since August 2008 and began as a collaborative effort between developers Trion and Syfy in order to make a video game that ran alongside the show. Unfortunately its five-year-long development, the usual costs of launching an MMO and all that advertising resulted in a budget of more than $70 million, which definitely can be seen as excessive considering that, well, it’s not exactly a game everyone is telling you that you have to play before you die. Have you even heard about this game?

Furthermore the game was met with very mixed reception, landing up in the 60s on Metacritic, and gamers didn’t respond a whole lot better to it either. In June 2014, less than a year later, the game went on to become free-to-play for PC, but it only became free on PS3 and Xbox 360 in August and November respectively. Perhaps some die-hard fans of the show got some enjoyment out of Defiance, and numerous critics did point out the fun factor of the game, but for that kind of budget it’s safe to say that the game was another bad lesson in excess, even if it was inflated by its MMO nature and TV advertising. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a title worthy of its budget.

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GTA V PC Version Delayed, But At Least We Get The System Requirements http://egmr.net/2015/01/gta-v-pc-version-delayed-least-get-system-requirements/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/gta-v-pc-version-delayed-least-get-system-requirements/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 07:00:24 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165755 It’s an unfortunate thing that we’re kicking off the day with some bad news. The master race consisting of modders and individuals struck with a superiority complex will be sad […]

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It’s an unfortunate thing that we’re kicking off the day with some bad news. The master race consisting of modders and individuals struck with a superiority complex will be sad to know that the politically correct version of GTA V has been delayed, and it’s far from being a small one.

The long-anticipated release of GTA V on PC was originally thought to be happening on January 27, but Rockstar has now officially announced that it will only be out on March 24, so we’ve still got two months to wait.

However the company let loose the system requirements, so at least there’s that small compensation if you can call it that.

As you would expect the PC version of GTA V will run at 1080p and 60fps with support for up to 4K resolution, triple monitor configurations and NVidia 3D Vision.

“Our apologies for the slight shift in the date but the game requires a few extra weeks of testing and polish to make it as good as can be,” reads a formal statement from Rockstar. “Moving a release date is never a decision we take lightly and is a choice we make only when we know it is in the best interests of the game and our fans.

“Thanks everyone for your understanding and we assure you these few extra weeks will be worth it when the game does arrive in March.”

The other silver lining is that Online Heists will apparently be arriving on the console versions of the game “in the coming weeks ahead of the PC launch.”

The system requirements are as follows:

Minimum specifications:

  • OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1, Windows Vista 64 Bit Service Pack 2* (*NVIDIA video card recommended if running Vista OS)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs) / AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Processor (4 CPUs) @ 2.5GHz
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Video Card: NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB / AMD HD 4870 1GB (DX 10, 10.1, 11)
  • Sound Card: 100% DirectX 10 compatible
  • HDD Space: 65GB
  • DVD Drive

Recommended specifications:

  • OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 3470 @ 3.2GHZ (4 CPUs) / AMD X8 FX-8350 @ 4GHZ (8 CPUs)
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD7870 2GB
  • Sound Card: 100% DirectX 10 compatible
  • HDD Space: 65GB
  • DVD Drive

Oh, and one last thing. If you’re still playing GTA V on PS3 and Xbox 360 you’d be pleased to know that Rockstar plans to support the previous generation of consoles for “as long as [they] can.”

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Forza Motorsport 6 Announced, Stars All-New Smurf Ford GT For Car Freaks http://egmr.net/2015/01/forza-motorsport-6-announced-stars-new-smurf-ford-gt-car-freaks/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/forza-motorsport-6-announced-stars-new-smurf-ford-gt-car-freaks/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 07:00:33 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165675 While the big news today may come as no surprise whatsoever to anyone who has been a gamer for longer than three days, the timing of it certainly may dabble […]

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While the big news today may come as no surprise whatsoever to anyone who has been a gamer for longer than three days, the timing of it certainly may dabble on the side of the unexpected. We’ve barely started the new year but already Microsoft has moved to make its intentions more than clear to bring out Forza Motorsport 6, detailing it on their official Xbox website.

The actual announcement of the game happened yesterday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where Microsoft and Turn 10 Studios unveiled Forza Motorsport 6 exclusively for Xbox One (obviously) to the car fanatics out there. The reason for this was because the game reveal went alongside the announcement of the worldwide debut of the all-new Ford GT, which is the cover car for the game as depicted above and in the gallery down below.

Additionally, Ford’s performance vehicle line-up will appear in the game, which includes the GT, Shelby GT350 Mustang, and the F-150 Raptor, debuted by Ford at the auto show. You’ll get to drive them all in Forza Motorsport 6.

“Just as Ford has pushed the boundaries of car technology in GT, Forza Motorsport 6 will embrace that spirit of innovation as our most technically advanced racing simulation to date, offering a fun and realistic automotive experience for both car lovers and gamers,” said Dan Greenawalt, creative director at Turn 10 Studios. “We’re excited to unveil gameplay at E3 in June.”

The Forza Motorsport 6 announcement also has another connotation other than the hype of the new Ford GT, and that’s the fact that it’s also in line with the ten-year anniversary of the Forza series. If you want to stay up to date with the game and anything regarding it in the year that “promises to be the busiest and biggest in Forza history”, you’ll be able to do so via the official Forza website or the Forza Hub app on Xbox One.

While we don’t have a release date for the game yet, if it is to be out this year it will likely have an October-November date, as both previous titles Forza Horizon 2 and Forza Motorsport 5 released in those months. Otherwise, you’d best wait for that gameplay at this year’s E3.

Forza Motorsport 6 will mark the third entry in the series since the debut of the new consoles.

If you’re keen, check out the gallery down below for an excessive number of pack shots and some really cool fap-worthy pics of the new Ford GT.

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If Dragon Age Inquisition Had Been Made By Ubisoft Montreal… http://egmr.net/2015/01/dragon-age-inquisition-made-ubisoft/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/dragon-age-inquisition-made-ubisoft/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 07:00:47 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165552 It’s the beginning of the new year for us — twelve days late and all that — and I figured opening day for EGMR could be spent on a lighter note […]

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It’s the beginning of the new year for us — twelve days late and all that — and I figured opening day for EGMR could be spent on a lighter note than the dark cesspool of dead dreams that is the gaming industry on its good days. Obvious jokes aside this topic is actually pretty serious, even if disguised with humour (you know, like Nathan Drake), and one I gave considerable thought to. The topic in question is to do with Dragon Age Inquisition, which was a return to form for BioWare and the winner of our 2014 Game of the Year award. While playing the game the team and I often remarked how radically different the final product could have been had EA intervened like their usual selves or had it been developed by a more opportunistic (regarding the large potential for monetisation) or suspect studio. A thought experiment then, if you will.

When considering that 2014 was the year we grew tired of Ubisoft and in particular the Montreal studio — ahem, Assassin’s Creed Unity and much more — what better candidate could be selected as the imaginary developer of Dragon Age Inquisition? Tune in your minds and grab some popcorn then as I break down someone’s nightmare and discuss a Dragon Age Inquisition as developed by Ubisoft Montreal as we know them today. Spoiler alert: it’s really not a pretty set of thoughts, but since we’re assholes we may as well begin the year living up it.

Below is the result in point form for your easy reading:

  • If Ubisoft Montreal had created Dragon Age Inquisition it would have been a work of fiction designed, developed and produced by a multicultural team of various faiths and beliefs.
  • The PS4 version of the game would have had 60 minutes of additional gameplay we’d never be able to find.
  • The PC version would have arrived four months late.
  • A separate game would have been released for PS3 and Xbox 360.
  • Only players who pre-ordered the game would have access to Dragon Age Keep.
  • The Inquisitor’s mark would have been ‘iconic’ prior to the game’s release.
  • The game would have been controversial before release. Probably something to do with graphics being dumbed down, or rendering female characters.
  • The sequel to the game would have been spoken about before launch.
  • The E3 trailer would have later proved to have been suspect.
  • Reviews would have released after the embargo dropped, and not a week before.
  • There would have been five different Collector’s Editions.
  • It would all feel very familiar.
  • The game would run at 20 frames per second because it would be more cinematic.
  • We’d have been told how many animations the Inquisitor has.
  • Locked doors and numerous treasure chests would require a companion app to open.
  • There would be inaccessible chests because Ubisoft Montreal didn’t get around to putting them in the game.
  • It would take 30 seconds of necrophilia to loot a corpse.
  • The Hinterlands would have comprised of 40% of the actual game’s content.
  • The areas in the game would only be revealed once you set up camps.
  • The HUD would allow for 25% player visibility.
  • The maps would be impossible to navigate because there’d be over a million icons ejaculating over your screen simultaneously at any given time.
  • The game would have had three separate forms of currency, in addition to real money.
  • Purchasing power points and speeding up operations would require macrotransactions ranging from $0.99 to $99.
  • There would be no crafting. You’d have to grind exorbitant amounts of money to buy gear while suggestively being told to use actual money.
  • Some items would only be acquirable through the use of uPlay points.
  • Co-op multiplayer would simply throw another Inquisitor into the game to follow you around.
  • Players would only be able to create male Inquisitors.
  • The story would be about the Inquisitor seeking revenge for the death of his family.
  • After completing a primary quest the game would warp to the future where words are said that don’t mean anything by characters you don’t care about.
  • Each mission would be preceded by someone telling you what to do.
  • A bow would do more damage than a gun Ravager.
  • You would only be able to encounter Dragons after a certain sequence in the game.
  • You’d be told how to defeat bosses before the fight begins.
  • Skills, items and gear from previous games would have been renamed and remodeled so that they appear new.
  • Abilities freely given to the player in previous games would require tedious steps to unlock.
  • You’d have the option to go in stealthy or guns blazing.
  • There would be no manual saving.
  • You’d have to hunt animals for — oh wait.
  • You would be required to press square/X to assassinate Corypheus.

I would imagine right now that you’re probably thanking God/Gordon Freeman/EA that Dragon Age Inquisition turned out as it did, and wasn’t made by Ubisoft Montreal. Now imagine that it had been made by Capcom? Well fuck, I think we’re done here.

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EGMR Awards 2014: The Wrap-Up http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-wrap/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-wrap/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 07:00:07 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165531 The year of 2014 has come to a close, and so have our annual awards. It hasn’t been as ceremonious or controversial as previous years, given what we had to […]

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The year of 2014 has come to a close, and so have our annual awards. It hasn’t been as ceremonious or controversial as previous years, given what we had to work with in 2014, but we can’t complain too much given the quality of the standout titles. We do hope for a more exciting and competitive year, but whatever reservations we have it’s safe to say that the new generation of consoles have started off well enough to make us optimistic about the future.

With our awards signing off, it’s business as usual to cater for those who climbed into a cave for the past week or were too important for the likes of our website. If that was the case, fortunately this convenient article gives you a map to all the awards as well as the rundown of the outcomes. We’d still encourage giving them a read, especially the Best of the Rest category and fun awards, but if you’re too cool for written words then take the shortcut offered to you right here.

That’s all from us regarding 2014’s awards. Adios, humans.


EGMR Awards 2014

Best Shooter – Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Best Action Adventure Game – Transistor

Best RPG – Dragon Age: Inquisition

Best Story – Dragon Age: Inquisition

Best Online Experience – Forza Horizon 2

Best Newcomer – Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Best Realistic Visuals – Forza Horizon 2

Best Artistic Visuals – South Park: The Stick of Truth

Best of the Rest (console, niche genre & additional awards)

Bastard of the Year – Ubisoft

Controversy of the Year – Gamergate

Worst Game of the Year – Rugby 15

Game of the Year – Dragon Age: Inquisition


Fun Awards

Biggest Scams

Biggest Gaming Sins

Worst Public Relations

Best Male Power Fantasy

Best Remake/Remaster


Top 5 Most Anticipated Titles Of 2015

  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Star Wars: Battlefront
  • Evolve

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EGMR Awards 2014: Game Of The Year http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-game-year/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-game-year/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:00:48 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165258 It’s been a busy week, but we’re finally one stop away from the finish line. This is it folks. The big fish. The grand finale. The Game of the Year. […]

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It’s been a busy week, but we’re finally one stop away from the finish line. This is it folks. The big fish. The grand finale. The Game of the Year. Spoiler alert: It’s Goat Simulator. How could it not be? If you don’t believe us, strap yourselves in one last time ladies and gentlemen and join us as we decide 2014’s best game. Right folks, let the shit hit the fan.


The Rundown

We’re here at last. In order for a game to be qualified as a nominee for Game of the Year, it has to exceed all expectations. It has to go above and beyond them and all other games. The minimum requirement to be nominated would be for the game to be immensely polished in all areas and outstanding overall. The one thing that needs to be made clear is that Game of the Year isn’t targeted at a game that has everything, but rather at a game that excels at everything it does or provides a gaming experience that’s worth remembering in the next year and beyond. In the end we’re looking for a memorable gaming experience that will stay with us for years to come, and can ultimately be seen as the representative of an entire year of gaming. This is it. The final award for the year.


The Nominees
South Park: The Stick of Truth

South Park Stick of Truth

South Park: The Stick of Truth was truly a no-brainer for fans of the series, and for us was easily one of the best uses of a license in gaming history. The attention to detail and the amount of love for the franchise that was evident during every second of the adventure undoubtedly left us feeling as though we’d really engaged with the characters of South Park. We were honestly blown away by how faithful the game was to the source material, and it’s something that can only be achieved by artists who genuinely love and believe in what they’re doing. South Park: The Stick of Truth was hilarious, satirical, offensive and sometimes almost too ridiculous to believe, but all of that went pretty far in delivering a title that was authentic, believable and a downright amazing South Park experience which felt like an extension of the show. It really was one of the best licensed games we’ve ever played, and an excellent piece of fan service to top it all off.



Transistor Header

Transistor proved that Supergiant is no one trick pony, and was just as enthralling a journey as Bastion. In fact it often felt like a better game than what many consider a near perfect experience with its predecessor, and that is one hell of an achievement. Transistor was bold, intriguing and engrossing from start to finish, and it helped that it was one of the most beautiful games we’ve seen all year. We’ve raved about this game since the awards started, and by now we’re pretty sure that you’re sick of hearing us obsess over it. Nevertheless Transistor holds a special place in our hearts, and really is one of the best titles to come out of the indie space in a long time. It’s everything you could possibly want from an indie title, and from any game really. Transistor was easily one of the best and most memorable experiences we had this year.


Dragon Age: Inquisition


Dragon Age: Inquisition is the tale of BioWare’s redemption; their return to the throne. It took every single lesson that BioWare had to learn from its franchises over the years and incorporated all of it into one of the finest and most compelling RPG experiences that we’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. On occasion we could hardly believe that the same people had once made the underwhelming Dragon Age II. Not only was Inquisition aesthetically gorgeous — made even more impressive given the sheer scale of it — but it also told an intriguing and frenetic story filled with so much depth and substance, in addition to damn hard choices. If you’ve been following our awards you’d know that it already has collected the Best Story award, so that should tell you how highly we regard this game.


Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor


Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, for many, was a write-off for looking like a clone of Assassin’s Creed. But Monolith stuck to their guns and produced the biggest surprise of the year, surpassing all expectations. On top of that they gave us the first real taste of the possibilities of open world in the new generation, with the game’s innovative Nemesis System. Shadow of Mordor was a game made with so much passion and love and respect for the source material that we would be amazed if any fan walked away unimpressed. It’s a lovely thing to be pleasantly surprised, and we’re more than happy to say that Shadow of Mordor laughed in the face of all of our pre-release scepticism. It was oozing with quality, artistically brilliant and mechanically excellent, and we don’t know anyone who didn’t love the hell out of it.


Forza Horizon 2


Forza Horizon 2 was in no uncertain terms a masterpiece of a racer that truly understood its players. It wanted you to have fun, it wanted you to be entertained and most of it all it wanted you to feel as though you had made the right choice by buying it. It nailed all of those, on top of looking beautiful beyond words. It was a game that proved Playground Games meant business in the easily stagnated racing genre, and ultimately we felt that in today’s times it was the quintessential arcade racing experience. At least, until it’s surpassed. For the moment, however, Forza Horizon 2 can enjoy the view from the top.


And The Game Of The Year Is…

Naturally since we’re dealing with the best games of the entire year, there’s very little to take them down a notch for. That’s why we won’t nitpick over why any game didn’t take home the award, and instead we’ll get straight into it and light the firecrackers.

Is your body ready?



Destiny Review - large

In the end the choice was obvious. Destiny was an exemplary game. It was the beacon of hope and inspiration that the triple-A gaming scene has needed for years. We didn’t want to believe the ludicrous hype, and we couldn’t have imagined that Destiny would ever live up to it. No game could. But it did. That and so much more; beyond anything we could have dreamed up. Destiny blew our heads out of the water, and delivered one of the greatest games the gaming industry has ever seen. In many ways Destiny is the culmination of all the aspirations and dreams of gamers and developers since gaming first showed its potential to one day fit the bill of blockbuster entertainment. There’s been talk of a ten year plan. Well, we’re here to say that we believe in it. We believe in Destiny. We’re not exaggerating when we say that no game currently on the market comes close to matching it.

And absolutely nothing comes close to matching the sheer degree of bullshit we just fed you.

We’re sorry. We had to. One last time, for old time’s sake. We’re assholes, remember?

So which game actually won Game of the Year? We’re glad you asked…

Dragon Age: Inquisition


No one ever said it would be easy to choose the best game of the year, but we believe in this particular choice. Dragon Age: Inquisition is BioWare’s return to form. It’s the complete rejuvenation of the RPG genre. It’s the shining example of how to make a third game: by taking the best elements of both predecessors and leaving out all the bad. That is mindbogglingly difficult to achieve, yet somehow BioWare did exactly that. It took us back to the epic nature of Dragon Age: Origins in giving us a deep, incredible fantasy world filled with interesting characters and locations that we wanted to explore, and it made us feel important within it. Yet at the same time it took the political intrigue of Dragon Age II and blew it up to create one of the most fascinating game worlds we’ve had the pleasure of being immersed in. Dragon Age: Inquisition delivered one of the best RPG experiences we’ve had in years, the best story for the year and one of the most memorable experiences we’ve had in ages.

Not only did BioWare go out of their way to correct their past errors and deliver the best game possible, but they also fought to create a game for gamers. No one was left out of the Inquisition — the intelligent Dragon Age Keep saw to that. No one was given half a game. In fact as we said when we handed BioWare the Developer of the Year Award, it would have been as easy as pie to monetise the hell out of the game in so many cheap ways. But BioWare didn’t go there. No one can complain about not getting value for money. Dragon Age: Inquisition is the epitome of that, and more than that, it’s just such a sincere game made with so much passion and love that it’s hard to believe it was published by EA. And finally no one can complain about getting a low quality or broken game. Dragon Age: Inquisition was overflowing with quality, and technically brilliant for such a massive project. If this is only the first year with our new consoles, we simply cannot wait to see what’s still coming.

Dragon Age: Inquisition deserves this, as do BioWare, and we could write the book on why. We’re sure you don’t want to read that book, but let it be stated loud and clear today that we have no regrets about selecting Dragon Age: Inquisition as our best and most memorable experience of the year. All of the above reasons make Dragon: Age Inquisition our number one pick for the Game of the Year for 2014.

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EGMR Awards 2014: Worst Game Of The Year http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-worst-game-year/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-worst-game-year/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 10:00:05 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165053 This year may have been one with more than its fair share of mediocrity and controversies — although we did have some really great games too — but there were […]

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This year may have been one with more than its fair share of mediocrity and controversies — although we did have some really great games too — but there were also some spectacularly bad apples. Now is the time to hit back at them for putting us through excruciating torment, of course without any punches being pulled. It’s revenge time! Just kidding. We’re above that. We’re just assholes. Doing asshole-ish things. Alright, just read the award…

The Rundown

There is really no explanation required for this award, and you probably don’t need us tell you how distasteful the nature of it really is. Still, it’s no holds barred for us, and we feel the need to acknowledge the games that shocked us purely because of how bad they really were. Unlike the most disappointing game award, this one is truly given to the downright worst game of the year. In order to be a nominee, a game has to go above and beyond just being bad, and into shocking territory. One of the largest factors, putting aside the actual quality of the game, is how the game in question can, in no way, justify paying for it. If a game makes us have nightmares about merely putting its disc into our consoles, or makes us die a little inside each time we put down our controllers after a gaming session, has no redeeming qualities or ultimately is just so bad we can’t stand to play it, then it’s definitely a nominee for this award. Since there are a great many games that could go into the nominees list, we usually opt for the more memorable and noticeable ones for us that took things to a whole new level of bad, and then we extract our vengeance on them. This is what the worst game award is all about. Although, for the record, it’s really minus the part about revenge, and more so about acknowledgment.


The Nominees
The Last Dogma


The Last Dogma was a title that reminded us to be very cautious of Steam Greenlight and what we may find lurking within it. It felt very unfinished in all departments, from visuals to gameplay. The game called itself satire, but the absence of any kind of polish or sense of engagement made it difficult to remain interested or take it seriously. The story was weak, the gameplay felt repetitive all too soon and the graphics were off-putting. Even its best attempts at black comedy failed to save it from being an uncomfortable and forgettable experience, and we walked away with very little to say positively past the humorous intro of the game. Seriously, the tutorial was probably the best part of the game, and that’s just beyond depressing. And kind of pathetic.


The Evil Within

The Evil Within Review - 3

The Evil Within was one of the most frustrating experiences we had this entire year. Besides feeling immensely let down by it, we felt that it was a game that ultimately didn’t know what it wanted to be. Not only was it difficult to take seriously, graphically average and written terribly, but it was also deeply flawed mechanically. While some fantastic horror ideas were present deep within the game, between all the agony, it was sadly too little. What should have been a tense and frightful experience largely translated to an excruciatingly agonising affair that felt painful, unnecessarily so. It just wasn’t compelling in any form, nor entertaining, and mostly served to drive us crazy. And that wasn’t from fear.


Rugby 15

Rugby 15 1

Rugby 15 quickly became the punchline of many of our in-house jokes. It was a poorly developed mess of a game. It was buggy, didn’t play well, looked like an early PS3 game (perhaps even a PS2 title) and all areas of the game felt underdeveloped. It could definitely offer up some good laughs, but probably not if you spent any kind of money on it. At best the game was questionable, and at worst it was nigh-unplayable. Not only was it mechanically torrid, but it also lacked plenty of fundamental features and gameplay mechanics, making it hardly worth a dime or an iota of time.


WWE 2K15

WWE 2K15 was, to put it simply, a turd. It was overflowing with content we barely wanted to touch, because there literally was no incentive to do so. The gameplay was genuinely unpleasant, the game was unimpressive visually and many of the modes it offered were too poorly actualised to bother wasting time and effort on. You seriously had to work to have any kind of fun with this game. We don’t feel we’re exaggerating when we say that this game was barely playable. It’s the second year in a row of WWE 2K being sub-par, except this time 2K15 took it a step further by being a genuinely horrid game. Everything from the slow, clunky fighting to the hacked-together crowds screamed at us from the PS2 era of this series, and we’re frankly tired of it. The ownership may have changed hands for this series, and the title may have changed, but WWE 2K15 took no steps forward whatsoever. Without drastic change on the horizon, we can’t see this series being good again.



Thief Review - Small

Thief was a mixed experience, one that was highly disappointing. It had some merit and you could find aspects of it to enjoy if you tried hard enough. However, the tragedy was in the fact that Thief was just an unintelligent game that left very little to the imagination. There were far too many restrictions placed on players, and the overall playing experience was clunky and unfocused. The graphical and technical frustrations severely brought the game down as well, preventing it from feeling like it belonged on the new generation of consoles. It was far easier for us to find Thief tedious and frustrating than to find it enjoyable. Ultimately the game was just its own worst enemy, and a disservice to the franchise’s proud history.


And The Winner Is…

It certainly wasn’t Thief, because it was perhaps the best of the worst. It had merit and you could actually enjoy many aspects of the game, and if we have to be honest it wasn’t so terrible, especially compared to these other nominees. It was just about dead average.

The Evil Within didn’t take lose either, saved only by its few genuinely amazing pieces of horror barely visible in all the muck.

We considered it, but The Last Dogma didn’t receive it purely because there were two greater evils.

If you read the above nominees you’d probably have deduced that it came down to Rugby 15 and WWE 2K15. As downright terrible was both of these games were, there was one among them that reached new heights of crap.


Rugby 15


To throw all pleasantries out the window, Rugby 15 was just inexcusably shit. Seriously we actually think that it tried to be this bad, because surely achieving such spectacular levels of garbage could be no accident. Rugby 15 honestly is one of the worst games we’ve played in years, and in fact it’s so bad that we’d encourage those who can acquire it without paying for it to do so just to experience the hilarity within. No, don’t get us wrong, this isn’t a case of being so bad that it’s good. This is a case of trying to see the funny side of how something so utterly pathetic could ever be let out for public consumption, and it’s a case of bugs and faulty mechanics translating to some good laughs. Rugby 15 is an easy choice for our Worst Game of the Year award for 2014.

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EGMR Awards 2014: The 5 Most Anticipated Games Of 2015 http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2015-5-anticipated-games-2015/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2015-5-anticipated-games-2015/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 07:00:51 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165251 This award is given to the five titles that have gained the most interest from us this year, and ultimately are our five most anticipated games for the year 2015, […]

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This award is given to the five titles that have gained the most interest from us this year, and ultimately are our five most anticipated games for the year 2015, because as gamers we’re always looking ahead to what we can play next. If we were drunk we’d probably list every game, but since it makes it tougher to pick just five and five seems like an important number, we’ll stick to this method. So without further delay, check out our five most anticipated games for 2015.

Note: The order is in no way depicting the level of anticipation, but rather arranged in a complex and completely random manner that we do not understand ourselves.


Our 5 Most Anticipated Games Are
Batman: Arkham Knight


Five years ago Rocksteady Studios forever changed the way we saw licensed games, and our expectations of them. In 2011, with Arkham City, Rocksteady confidently created a Batman title that could stand up to any triple-A game on the market. Now we’re dying to see how Rocksteady plans to complete their trilogy, especially after the rather bold events of the second game. It’s at the point where we wholeheartedly trust the developer to deliver, and it seems we’re not alone on that given that Rocksteady actually collaborated with DC to create their own unique character just for the game. It really seems like a breath of fresh air for the series in terms of story and premise, and holy hell we’re quaking in our boots to try out the Batmobile. Rocksteady’s final Batman game may just complete a trio of the best superhero games ever created, and we’re crossing our fingers that it does.


No Man’s Sky


No Man’s Sky was one of the most surprising games to emerge in the year, and it was an instant hit around the world. It’s an indie game with the most potential we’ve seen in a long time, and we’re so excited for its unique concept that one of our writers actually put out a column on why it would be awesome if this game succeeds. It’s games like these that remind us why the indie scene is an absolute necessity for gaming, and often the heart and soul of it. Of course the worry is that with all the hype and promise we could be setting ourselves up for disappointment or unrealistic expectations, or putting unnecessary pressure on the developers. But when a game looks this good and this creative it’s almost impossible not to get a little carried away, and the best of artists know how to handle the heat, to say the least. We’re rooting for this game as much as we are dying to play it.


Star Wars: Battlefront 3

maxresdefault (1)

We may know next to nothing about it at this point, but we’ve been excited for Star Wars: Battlefront 3 ever since we first saw that teaser trailer for it. While there have been more than a handful of notable Star Wars titles over the years, Battlefront has a special nostalgic place in our hearts and we can’t lie and say that we aren’t highly excited at the prospect of a next generation Star Wars game in the vein of a true Battlefield title. Obviously we’re hoping that it actually works at release, but in all seriousness the result could definitely be incredibly epic. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a fantastic Star Wars game, and Battlefront 3 could truly be it. On top of that it could actually be skill-based and competitive, so that’s always a plus.


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3 Screenshots Header

This award can end up being a bit of a funny one due to the frequency of game delays, especially to titles which get announced too early and try to fix on a release window too soon. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was a game that featured last year as one of our most anticipated games, and since it has a locked-down release date of May now we’re still as excited for it as ever. We just know that CD Projekt RED will build on everything they learned from the success of The Witcher 2 and create a game to remember. The only concern is whether our PCs will still be left standing once we fire up the game. Good thing then that it’s also coming to PS4 and Xbox One, right? We can’t wait for The Witcher 3, and there’s plenty we saw over this year that convinced us that CD Projekt RED is doing everything in its power to make a bigger, better and bolder game. That can only spell awesomeness.




Perhaps we’ve taken a special liking to Evolve because it reminds us of that Monster Hunt mode in Unreal Tournament, but for whatever reason we’ve been keen for the game for the longest time, and that only intensified when we got a taste of it in the alpha. The very real possibility exists that it could turn out to be like Titanfall where the hype outweighs the longevity and lasting appeal, but we’re hoping that Evolve offers us damn good entertainment, and lives up to what we’ve seen thus far.

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EGMR Awards 2014: Developer Of The Year http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-developer-year/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-developer-year/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:00:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164970 For the most part, we’re all quite busy fussing over the games that make up the various awards we’ve done thus far. That said, we don’t want to ever forget […]

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For the most part, we’re all quite busy fussing over the games that make up the various awards we’ve done thus far. That said, we don’t want to ever forget the people who actually bring these great games to us. In this award we recognise the developers who gave us not only amazing games, but more than the game, if you catch our meaning. If you don’t, well the rundown that follows will explain it to you. With that in mind let’s take a peek at the developers we singled out for impressing us immensely this year.


The Rundown

This award is very difficult to hand out. Developers often bring out more than one game each year, maybe multiple amazing ones and a few not-so-great ones, or simply just one game – so you can see why we can’t judge on quantity. Naturally it’s quality we’re looking for, but that’s not the sole contributor, since there are also many quality games out there that continue to be released with each passing month. So how exactly do we hand out this award? Well, we take a look at the games that come out and think long and hard at what they accomplished and what the developers accomplished with them. The developers that take risks and are rewarded, go out of their way to bring something we gamers want, those who try their best to please us, working hard all the way, and never turning their backs on us – all of these are contributors to receiving this award. Whether it’s going the extra mile to make us happy, giving us something special in addition to their game or being genuine and sincere in what they’re doing, we feel it’s necessary to give credit where it’s due. The kind of games where we can clearly see the developers love and passion shine through are singled out.


The Nominees
Monolith Productions


We have the highest respect for Monolith Productions. Not only did they fight against all odds and scepticism to deliver the best game they possibly could have, but they displayed great wisdom and competence with Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor in taking inspiration from Assassin’s Creed yet crafting their own game and their own identity. They created a shining example of how to do this, and more than that they went out of their way to deliver a title that not only honoured its widely loved source material but also one that actually pushed the boundaries of our expectations for an open world game, giving us a proper taste of next-gen with its Nemesis system. Monolith was sincere in what it wanted to do, and gave us exactly what was promised without any exaggeration or baseless hype. What we saw was what we got, and that is highly commendable.




It’s a tale of redemption and returning to form for BioWare. They’ve gone through the immense criticism for Dragon Age II, the ginormous shitstorm that was Mass Effect 3’s ending saga and of course endured a very mixed reaction to Star Wars: The Old Republic, the forgettable MMO that trailed off once the initial hype died. With Dragon Age: Inquisition, BioWare threw all that out of the window, taking everything they’ve learned over the past few years and using it to deliver one of their best ever games, and one of the finest titles we’ve seen in a long time. Even more than that, the developer went to great lengths to ensure no one was alienated from enjoying Inquisition by creating Dragon Age Keep, which was an intelligent way to build a prequel story without requiring you to play the games you may not have or may have lost your saves for. And over and above all of that, BioWare had ample opportunity to monetise the hell out of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s singleplayer — given some of its mechanics — but chose not to, and that is pretty damn admirable.




Valve is here more than most, and if you recall they won this award from us last year. Their continued rocking of true free-to-play models — where most others fail — with Dota 2 and subsequently their contribution to gaming’s biggest ever prize pool, The International, through the game’s Compendium packs are certainly high points for the company. Then we have to consider their constant sales as always, as well as their attempts at pushing indie and their current process to eliminate the clutter of Steam Greenlight. Part of how Valve is doing that is through the addition of the ‘Curator’ system to Steam, where you are able to follow the game recommendations of people who you trust, whether Total Biscuit or Jim Sterling or your friends. Over and above all of that there was the rolling out of Steam family sharing, which enabled us to play our friends’ games while in the comfort of our own homes, which is an absolutely amazing feature. As is always the case Valve gave us more than a few things to remember and commend them for this year. And just what about those Steam boxes to shake up the established order of console gaming?


Ubisoft Montpellier


While Ubisoft Montreal is off receiving ire from the gaming community and plenty of disdain from us, Ubisoft Montellier has tried its best to not only be sincere with its work but deliver us something we wouldn’t have expected with Valiant Hearts. The company earns its nomination by virtue of being the one shining beacon of light in a troubled year for the mega publisher. Putting out a solidly memorable and great game, and doing so with a manner of decorum not like their bigger Canadian brothers, is worthy of credit. The game felt like an indie project, as though it had been made with genuine passion, and all in all we walked away feeling as though Montpellier fights against the Ubisoft conventions we’ve grown to dislike. Rayman creator Michel Ancel actively makes sure that gamers are put first, and we acknowledge that.


Free Lives


Free Lives has earned their nomination for proving that, despite all limitations, South African indie developers can make it to the top. Their title Broforce has become a bit of a global phenomenon, and got noticed enough that it’s actually coming to PS4 as well. Free Lives’ journey with Broforce has truly made the Cape Town-based developer a beacon of hope and inspiration for our local gaming scene. They’ve done us all proud, even being an international representation for the local gaming scene. The manner in which they operate has also been acknowledged, with regards to providing some free DLC to players and delivering weekly updates on development progress to all their fans, which is fantastic for an early access title. Free Lives thoroughly deserve to be here, and to them we say onward and upwards with the best of luck.


Rockstar North


Rockstar North may have fallen victim to the currently spreading virus that is unnecessary remakes, but the developer was determined to prove to the world that a remake of GTA V for the new consoles was necessary. In many ways they delivered that, not only drastically improving the visuals as expected, but also adding in entirely new content in the form of the first person perspective — which dramatically changed the whole gameplay experience — and the promise of the Heists online component. Rockstar North has shown that it’s not content to just slap “1080p, 60fps” onto the box and call it a day with their remake, and we have great respect for that given the abuse the whole system is currently receiving.


And The Winner Is…

We’re honouring developers we loved this year, who gave us more than just their games, and for that reason we aren’t going to dissect why any studio didn’t win the award. Ideally they’re all winners, but our choice for the number one spot is one we felt most passionately about and it really doesn’t take away anything from the rest. It only goes to say that one developer stood out as most deserving of recognition.




BioWare has had a tough time these past few years, but there is no disputing that Dragon Age: Inquisition is their redemption. Over and above considering how incredible a game it is, we were blown away by the sheer amount of passion and love the developer put into the project, not only making previous games as relevant as possible but also taking great lengths to ensure no one would be left out, via Dragon Age Keep, effectively striking a keen balance between newcomer and returning fan of the series alike. What has had us amazed since the title’s launch was also the fact that BioWare completely neglected to cheaply monetise the singleplayer component of their game — like Ubisoft did with Assassin’s Creed: Unity — and even took measures to give players a more convenient experience. An example of this was the time-based War Room missions being carried out in real-time, regardless of whether you were even playing. It would have been so easy to abuse Inquisition’s mechanics, but BioWare didn’t even go there. Instead they fought tooth and nail to give us the most complete experience with the highest quality. We love BioWare for this. Dragon Age: Inquisition, and by extension BioWare itself, are exemplary examples this year to all other developers of how to craft a true game for gamers. BioWare thoroughly deserve this award, for daring to give us even more than the best game possible.

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EGMR Awards 2014: Bastard Of The Year http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-bastard-year/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-bastard-year/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 07:00:35 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164810 The year of 2014 was one where controversy was never in short supply. We had frame rate and resolution wars, lying, deceit, Ubisoft, scams aplenty and things like #GamerGate. But […]

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The year of 2014 was one where controversy was never in short supply. We had frame rate and resolution wars, lying, deceit, Ubisoft, scams aplenty and things like #GamerGate. But the Bastard of the Year award is one that is more elegant than simple controversy, and is attributed to what is unquestionably evil and bastardly in the industry. We’re here to call a bastard a bastard, and draw the line on what takes it too far. Strap in for an award that personifies our remarkable tendency to piss people off.

The Rundown

The Bastard of the Year Award is what we give to someone who did something so bastardly and evil that we will hold secret or public hate for it until the end of time – or until its bastardness is taken away. Alright, maybe that’s only in extreme cases. It could even go to something that continuously did bastardly things and has gotten itself quite the rap sheet. Anyone and anything can be nominated, whether its about screwing over or deceiving gamers, consistently irritating us, insulting the community or just general evil-doing. But keep in mind that even the good guys can get nominated, as long as they qualify during the year. This award will be given to the overall biggest bastard of the year.


The Nominees

DMC The Devil Kind Of Cried

By now it’s basically a certainty that our two-time winner of this award will get an obligatory nomination. We hardly even think about it anymore when handing this out, because sooner or later Capcom will do something bastardly. While they were pretty quiet this year — no doubt hiding in shame — they left it until late to announce not one, but two wholly unnecessary remakes in the form of DmC: Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 4. It’s mind boggling how DmC could get a remake given that it vastly failed to meet sales expectations, even shipping less than expected. Not to mention it was the scapegoat for telling gamers they could actually use their voice and vote with their wallets. Capcom decided, instead of giving people Devil May Cry 5 or, you know, an actual good game for once without scams included, to announce two remakes we don’t need. That’s bastardly. We’re sure the Xbox fans would also consider Capcom for this award for making Street Fighter V a console exclusive to the PS4, but to them we’d say: Rise of the Tomb Raider. All’s fair in war. Unless you’re on YouTube. And Capcom are bastards.


Bungie Games

Destiny Small

We have to take our hats off to Bungie. Going from the global phenomenon that is Halo to fooling the entire world with what we consider one of the biggest disappointments and jokes of our gaming era is quite a plunge. Destiny promised us the world, and left us with a fish bowl housing a single dead goldfish. Bungie aren’t just here for massively disappointing us, they’re also here because Destiny was sold at full price, felt worth a third of that, yet that didn’t stop Bungie from charging half the price of the game for each DLC pack. Destiny is a money generator without having the quality or substance to back it up, and Bungie earned their nomination for the audacity of this whole project. The “pay all in now, hand over all your power to uncertainty and hope for a return at some indeterminable point in the future” method of doing games is something we don’t respect, and will not encourage.


MWEB GameZone


Now we’re not exactly entirely against the great stuff that MWEB GameZone has achieved in local gaming this year. The hard-working team over at GameZone have been doing a quite decent job of bringing many gaming events to Cape Town, and have pushed eSports in a big way, especially on console. So why are they worth a mention here? Well, mostly because we can. Plus we still remember that time they brought down the internet upon us for making some jokes about a Call of Duty clan — mind you, who loved us for it. Oh and don’t forget that other time they did it as well. Yeah, we’re more than happy to forgive but we don’t easily forget. Over and above all that, there’s also the factor of just who they’re willing to deal with in order to make those eSports tournaments happen. If you know what we mean


Phil Fish


Perhaps you’re wondering why you’re still hearing about Phil Fish. Well, he easily earned his place on our list for rage-quitting the industry and cancelling Fez 2, telling fans to “shut the fuck up” about it because they don’t deserve it. There was also that small little something about Phil Fish saying he wants Let’s Play creators to pay him for using Fez. Many would probably be happy to see the door close behind Phil Fish, and despite his achievements in gaming we have to say we will probably miss his bastardly contributions from time to time.



Unity bug

Ubisoft gave us a bit too much crap this year. There were many things throughout the year we can point to, whether it’s the blatant homogenisation of their games or that whole Watch_Dogs graphical downgrade controversy, but standing at the top of all of it is Assassin’s Creed: Unity. It started with Ubisoft’s atrocious PR before the game released, which involved things like being unable to render female characters because it’s too much effort and denouncing 60fps in favour of the “more cinematic” 30fps only to fail to even deliver on that, thanks to Unity’s rubbish performance. It didn’t help then that Assassin’s Creed: Unity was terribly mediocre, yet still had the gall to include things like $99 macrotransactions and a bunch of content locked away behind gimmicks and inconveniences, because that’s “the reality of game development” after all. Ubisoft’s games reek of unpleasantness, before and after release, and it’s long past time we called them out on it.




You probably have to remember pretty far back to understand why King.com is here, and that’s because their bastardly act occurred in January, when the company trademarked the words “Candy” and “Saga” in Europe, thus causing conflict with the good chaps who created The Banner Saga. King followed that up by retrospectively attacking games that used those words in their title, obviously trying to further increase the strength of Candy Crush Saga by eliminating clones and even somewhat-related names. King.com, with their disease that is Candy Crush Saga, were exposed for their idiocy in what was a delicious twist of irony, as it turned out that they themselves cloned a game before. That got them to shut up eventually, and rethink their madness. Nevertheless that whole ugly saga (punny much?) cemented King.com as a nominee for this award before the year even got going, and we declare them as one of the biggest bastards around loud and clear.


And The Winner Is…

It definitely wasn’t MWEB GameZone, and we were mostly having some fun with that one. They do plenty of great things for the local gaming scene as we established. They may have dabbled in the bastardly, but far greater evils exist.

Phil Fish didn’t take the prize either, because it’s probably business as usual for him at the end of the day, and more of him being a drama queen. Yesterday’s news, we suppose. It’s fascinating how someone so bastardly can create something so cute in Fez.

As much as it pains us, and we mean seriously burns us, Capcom didn’t win this one, because truth be told they’ve kind of been invisible this year due to irrelevance. Better luck next time.

Bungie Games was never too far away on our hit list, but ultimately they honestly aren’t bad guys and they’re not hopeless. We love Bungie as much as the next person. Destiny, however, is another story entirely. And in the end our final two contestants wanted it so much more.

In what was a tough, tough decision, King.com ultimately didn’t win it. Make no mistake, they’re pure evil alright. But we felt that our true loser struck that special nerve that finally sent us off the edge.



Assassin's Creed Unity

Enough is simply enough. Ubisoft has — over and above actually creating a formula with which they make all their games with these days — tested us again and again throughout this year, pushing many of us to the limit of what we can handle in terms of bullshit. With their atrocious PR, weak excuses and the stunt they pulled in releasing Assassin’s Creed: Unity before reviews were allowed to release, and in poor working condition (it ain’t even fixed more than a month later), and yet still finding time to include scams and gimmicks in the game, Ubisoft has done it all to piss us off thoroughly. And that’s not even counting that Unity was just excruciatingly mediocre to boot. Perhaps we could also mention how eager Ubisoft was to franchise Watch_Dogs before we even got to actually play the game. In short, another big reason why we’re giving it to Ubisoft is that they’ve moved from being one of the most exciting developers to one of the most boring of our era. Do they make bad games? Nope. But they make formulaic, predictable and safe games unfortunately, and that’s not what we expect from a once-bold developer. Especially when said developer starts scamming us and treating us like we’re idiots every other day. For that and a whole lot more that has built up over the years, Ubisoft deserves our Bastard of the Year Award for 2014.

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EGMR Awards 2014: Best Of The Rest http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-rest/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-rest/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:00:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164886 We’ve had to put our Best of the Rest category to good use this year, given the lack of nominees for many a category. The running theme of the year […]

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We’ve had to put our Best of the Rest category to good use this year, given the lack of nominees for many a category. The running theme of the year was probably mediocrity. Nevertheless this award gives us a great opportunity to honour many games that didn’t quite make it into other awards, or excelled but a lack of nominees meant dropping the respective award. That’s what this category is for, so strap in and take a look at not only the unsung heroes, but some complimentary additional awards at no extra cost for your pleasure. Because we’re that kind and stuff.

The Rundown

Best Of The Rest is where we put the awesome games from the rest of the categories that didn’t have a full list of nominees or only have niche appeal. It’s also where we put additional awards as complementary extras. In this award we actually take note of the some of the best games that didn’t fit the mould of other awards as well. We let our hair loose and share our top games, some you may know of, some you may not. Yet they are awesome nonetheless. These may not be the best games of the year, they may not even be worthy of GOTY, but they certainly deserve credit and mention. Not every game has to be over 9000 GOTY level to be a worthy play. But here we honour great examples of fantastic gameplay execution and substance in games that perhaps didn’t fit the bill for other awards. Here we give these games some love. The tender love and care they so rightly deserve.


The Winners
Best Horror — Alien: Isolation

Alien Isolation Review - 4

Alien: Isolation blended the line between masterpiece and disaster, which is something you can only understand and appreciate if you experience the game. But over and above that, it shined with quality and incredible attention to detail. It was such a faithful tribute to the Aliens franchise, crafted with such excellent care, that in many ways it blew us away. It had a number of problems that held it back over its lengthy duration, but as a horror and atmospheric experience it was without equal this year. It was perhaps the finest way for horror to return to the triple-A gaming scene, and we feel the game should be experienced by everyone simply to taste that astonishing atmosphere, which is one of the best we’ve encountered in a horror title for some time. Alien: Isolation thoroughly deserves to rule the horror genre this year.


Indie Excellence — Transistor

Transistor Header

We think you’ve probably had enough of Transistor by now, with it featuring in most of our awards thus far. Supergiant Games deserve all the credit, and about the only thing we can say now is that you just have to play Transistor, mostly if you love games like Bastion. You’ll not be disappointed, and it really is one of the best games of the year. Yet we feel that it warrants extra attention for the fact that it’s ultimately still an indie title. We’ve shown we aren’t shy to credit our beloved indie games, and Transistor deserves all the praise for its sheer excellence.


Best Strategy — Civilization: Beyond Earth


Civilization: Beyond Earth was simply at the top of its trade in the turn-based strategy genre, and it was commendable how it somehow managed to be accessible to new players, and yet have enough depth to satisfy those who have been at it a while. Despite balancing issues, that was still a remarkable feat. Excellent features like the Technology Web and impeccable AI made Beyond Earth a sure step up from its predecessors and its competitors, and we definitely feel it deserves some honourable mentions.


Best Sports Game — Forza Horizon 2


Yes, it’s not actually FIFA, which we found pretty underwhelming this year. We’ve newly combined the racing and sports genres, pretty much coming to the divine realisation that racing is a sport and we were sick and tired of the same sports games every year with the same result, making the category redundant. This year we can honour Forza Horizon 2 instead, which was a masterpiece of a game that truly understood its players. It wanted you to have fun, it wanted you to be entertained, and most of all it wanted you to feel as if you made the right choice by playing it. And it absolutely nails all of that, on top of being breathtakingly beautiful. We wouldn’t be too far out in declaring it the quintessential arcade racing experience at present, and you’d do well to give it a chance if you’re the sportsy sports type.


Most Underrated Game — Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2


Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 released to mixed and average reviews, yet we felt differently to the rest. It was a game that tried to be a lot of things, surely, and it didn’t always get it all right. Attempting to classify Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 was really difficult. It was a third person action adventure with elements of stealth, it had many hours worth of exploration, was littered with boss fights, had a deep and complex weapon upgrade system, an equally deep ‘spectacle fighter’ combat mechanic that was also incorporated into platforming, and it threw in a convoluted and ridiculous yet immersive and engaging story. It was a lot of things, basically. In the end it was a game that was highly replayable with a great story and an even greater protagonist who was unfortunately disempowered at every step by the game itself. It probably won’t cater to everyone, but we felt it deserved a bit more praise than it got.


Most Overhyped Game — Destiny

Destiny Review - 4

There were only ever a few titles in the running for this award, and the other big one would be Titanfall. Yet nothing can compare to the sheer level of ludicrous hype that existed for Destiny, to the point that merely criticising it or expressing doubt about it resulted in a hoard of fanboys telling you why you’re wrong and explaining to you that your mother should have aborted you. Destiny almost became like a religion in a sense, and all that insane hype didn’t come close to matching the barren, lifeless, repetitive chore that was the finished product. Time and time again we warn against ridiculous over-hype and creating dramatically unrealistic expectations for yourself, but it flies over peoples’ heads and the result is Destiny. All talk, and nothing to show for it. But while Destiny will be made an example out of for some, we’re sure the next title to be ludicrously hyped is around the corner.


Biggest Surprise — Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor


We’ve said it already, but Monolith surprised us all with Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Given the history of licensed games and given that many wrote off Shadow of Mordor once deciding it was little more than an Assassin’s Creed clone, it’s pretty fantastic to have all doubters proven wrong by one of the year’s best games. It not only did that, but also honoured its source material and provided us with a true taste of the capabilities of the open world genre on our new consoles, referring specifically to its awesome Nemesis gameplay system. We take our hats off to Monolith, because they outdid themselves with Shadow of Mordor.


Best PC Game — Civilization: Beyond Earth

Civilisation beyond earth

Civilization: Beyond Earth was a great game packed with variety. It was the kind of game that became more rewarding the longer you played it, and even though it sometimes felt a bit too close to its predecessor, there was enough new content for Beyond Earth to be a really worthwhile purchase, especially with its complex new technology web and the new Affinity system which gave it the edge. It blended the best part of the series’ legacy with a trip to a new world with a variety of new systems, most of which were great to experience. On top of that the game was very well optimised, able to work on anything from a lowly i3 laptop upward. Civilization: Beyond Earth was simply a fantastic game on PC.


Best PlayStation Game — Infamous: Second Son

Second Son

Infamous: Second Son may not have revolutionised the gaming landscape, but it was the right kind of quality. There was very little to fault the solid but breathtakingly gorgeous experience for. Many of you may be scratching your heads wondering how The Last Of Us isn’t winning this, and that’s simply because we don’t consider remasters. We don’t double count. The runner up was Killzone: Shadow Fall, but in the end Infamous: Second Son won us over for its highly entertaining gameplay experience.


Best Xbox Game — Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive

There were definitely a few great Xbox One titles to choose from, but perhaps the most memorable and delightfully exciting game to release was Sunset Overdrive. We acknowledge that due to the serious nature of the video game industry these days we often champion games like Saints Row and Sunset Overdrive that simply serve to remind us why we love video games. We laughed, we had plenty of fun, we loved the amazing art direction and we definitely haven’t forgotten Insomniac’s work of passion. Sunset Overdrive was ridiculous, audacious and it broke all the rules with gusto. It may not be the greatest game you’ll ever play, but it certainly will be some plain-old-fashioned delightful videogame fun.


Most Disappointing Game — Destiny

Destiny Review - 2

As far as disappointment went this year, there was Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Thief 4 and The Evil Within to offer us excruciating levels of one of the worst feelings in the world. But in what was probably the easiest award we’ve ever had to hand out in the history of our operations, Destiny was the choice we could unanimously make without a shred of doubt or deliberation. Even if we somehow factor out the insane hype that Destiny got, the result would still be disappointing given what we expect from MMO and persistent experiences, and it truly was painful to see how hollow, repetitive and devoid of substance Destiny was.

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EGMR Awards 2014: Best Artistic Visuals http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-artistic-visuals/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-artistic-visuals/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 10:00:05 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164873 We quite like this award, because once we’re all done drooling over the prettiest games of the year we can take a comfortable look at the most artistically brilliant ones, […]

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We quite like this award, because once we’re all done drooling over the prettiest games of the year we can take a comfortable look at the most artistically brilliant ones, the ones that are not trying to do realistic visuals. So if you’re wondering what would feature in this award think about cel-shaded games, highly stylised offerings the likes of DmC: Devil May Cry, artsy experiences such as Journey, and cartoon-y games. Of course there are many others, but this award is an enjoyable way to honour visually impressive games that don’t get noticed because we’re too busy fussing over emotions and polygons. With that said let’s get down to business.

The Rundown

Many gamers think that graphics in gaming is purely down to visual technology, but in the end it doesn’t matter how many polygons a game can push out or whether it has enough bloom to burn brighter than the sun. What we look for in this award is an experience that is either visually absorbing or artistically brilliant, and also technically excellent. The graphics should be seen as incredible because they portray what they intended to and capture the game’s vision. Whether the game in question opts for an artistic style, realistic simulation, a cinematic experience or lush, open and brightly coloured worlds, it comes down to how well the game managed to achieve the design it tried to, and of course how damn good it looks while doing so. The graphics of a game can also play an important role in immersion, and as such we look for vibrant, memorable visual experiences that are dynamic and exciting to look at. All in all, this award will be given to the game that achieved its vision and impressed us the most with its graphics.


The Nominees
Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive was exactly the kind of vibrant and colourful experience that many of us miss from modern, more serious games. It was like some crazy enthusiast grabbed paint brushes and colours and went bat-shit mad all over a black and white canvas. Everything from the design of the world to the animations was hyper-stylised and comical, allowing you to warm up to the game just by looking at it. That’s certainly worth credit all on its own. Describing Sunset Overdrive as a joyful kid’s painting is probably closest to the reality of it all, and whether or not the game is your cup of tea shouldn’t turn you away from loving what you’re seeing, visually speaking.


South Park: The Stick of Truth


South Park: The Stick of Truth was another surprise that this year brought early on, and while many would shrug off its cartoon-y visuals and find it hard to appreciate, we had to give credit to such a faithful adaptation of the famous TV series. It was the series, portrayed beautifully (although we’re not sure this word would ever be attributed to the series itself), and that speaks of a developer truly passionate about the project at hand. Delightfully colourful, magnificently cartoon-y and animated to humorous effect and a fantastic attention to detail resulted in an incredible, faithful recreation of the town of South Park and most of its characters.


Child of Light


Child of Light was an unexpected title to come from Ubisoft Montreal, the people we’ve been disappointed with for most of this year. But credit where credit is due, Child of Light was visually stunning, powered by the UbiArt Framework engine we know and love from the recent Rayman games. The game employed a unique, highly stylised water colour and hand-dawn visual make-up, which acted as a true selling point for the title. The result was a game that felt like a children’s fairy-tale book, and looked the part too. The game was just a visual delight, and as our review called it a “playable poem” to some extent.




If you’ve been keeping up with our awards, then you very well know exactly why Transistor is here, and there is probably nothing else we can say about it at this point that you don’t already know. What we’ll emphasise here is that the game was artistically beautiful, bringing Cloudbank to life with hues of blues to create a highly stylised, futuristic world that felt and looked so unique and interesting. There was never a moment in the game where Transistor didn’t have your attention visually, and the enthralling way it used light and colour is something that has perhaps become a sort of trademark for Supergiant Games. Transistor, in addition to being one of the best games this year, was simply one of the most exciting artistic experiences too.


The Banner Saga


The Banner Saga in many ways is what this award is all about. The whole game had this beautiful aesthetic that complimented not just the kind of game that it was, but the actual mood and atmosphere of it all. The art was simply mind-blowing, with hand-painted landscapes rich in detail and texture, absolutely nailing the bleak, post-apocalyptic setting — ironically all in a beautiful style reminiscent of classic hand-painted animated films. The Banner Saga was another one of those excellent arguments for games being capable of artistic beauty and sincerity, and we absolutely welcomed it.


And The Winner Is…

It wasn’t Sunset Overdrive, because as much as we had a hell of a time admiring that game, it didn’t particularly wow us with its art direction, when compared to the other nominees. That doesn’t make it any less fantastic, but it certainly lessens its authority for the first spot.

We don’t want to take away a single thing from the remaining nominees, and it truly is an admirable and rare thing that we have so much incredible talent in this category. Ultimately our decision was made because the winner was so sincerely put together with so much of passion that we felt it couldn’t go unnoticed.


South Park: The Stick of Truth

South Park Stick of Truth

While it may not be the conventional choice here for some, South Park: The Stick of Truth really was just an incredible, faithful recreation of the town of South Park and most of its characters, overflowing with passion and love. The attention to detail in animations, items and character representation truly brought South Park to life in videogame form, and it just was a love letter to the series. We appreciate what Obsidian Entertainment did, and we felt that they absolutely nailed it. South Park: The Stick of Truth achieved exactly what it set out to do to the letter, and it was a memorable achievement.

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EGMR Awards 2014: Best Realistic Visuals http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-realistic-graphics/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-realistic-graphics/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 07:00:11 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164803 As much as people love to say that only gameplay matters, the fact is that graphics matters a great deal more than people would ever admit, as was clearly seen […]

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As much as people love to say that only gameplay matters, the fact is that graphics matters a great deal more than people would ever admit, as was clearly seen by the whole frame rate and resolution war that went on throughout this year, and the obsession with remasters. Graphics can make or break a game, and while we wholeheartedly concede that gameplay will always remain the most important aspect, we honour visuals because of what they can do for the experience and your immersion and of course because we love pretty things. We had a lot of said pretty things this year, given that our shiny new consoles were out and about officially, and so let’s find out which game blew our minds and eyeballs most of all.

The Rundown

Many gamers think that graphics in gaming is purely visual, but in the end it doesn’t matter how many polygons a game can push out or whether it has enough bloom to burn brighter than the sun. What we look for in this award is an experience that is either visually absorbing or artistically brilliant, and also technically excellent. The graphics should be seen as incredible because they portray what they intended to and capture the game’s vision. Whether the game in question opts for an artistic style, realistic simulation, a cinematic experience or lush, open and brightly coloured worlds, it comes down to how well the game managed to achieve the design it tried to, and of course how damn good it looks while doing so. The graphics of a game can also play an important role in immersion, and as such we look for vibrant, memorable visual experiences that are dynamic and exciting to look at. All in all, this award will be given to the game that achieved its vision and impressed us the most with its graphics.


The Nominees
Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4 - Small

This was the obvious nominee. Far Cry 4 continued the series’ proud tradition of graphical excellence, choosing to use the PC to its strengths and deliver an incredibly gorgeous and intricately detailed experience. In 2012 we gave the best graphics award to Far Cry 3 for its absolutely phenomenal PC outing, and Far Cry 4 certainly tried to nod our heads in its direction again. With new visual enhancements like realistic animal fur and closer attention to detail to lighting and shadows, Far Cry 4 was a beautiful spectacle, especially for the fortunate PC gamer who is able to appreciate the finer detail and colourful splendour. Not to mention it used similar motion capture techniques as Far Cry 3 during cutscenes, displaying an even greater degree of quality close up. Far Cry 4 may not have blown our minds, but its graphics certainly did.


Forza Horizon 2


We know that people too frequently resort to hyperbole, but Forza Horizon 2 really did take our breath away, and did an enormous amount to quell the rising doubt regarding the Xbox One’s graphical capabilities and power. Unfortunately being a racing game meant that many probably wouldn’t appreciate just how beautiful the game actually is. What helped things along was the addition of a dynamic weather system which, together with the day-night cycle, created a believable and realistic world that felt incredibly alive for a racer. We suppose the fact that there’s arguably less to pay attention to besides the car and tracks means much more love and attention and graphical power can be poured into what little there is, but either way the result was nothing short of masterful, and probably hazardous to your racing if you spent too much time ogling the visuals.


Killzone: Shadow Fall

Killzone Shadow Fall Review 2

Killzone: Shadow Fall may be a distant memory now, but despite being a launch title it remains one of the best-looking games we’ve had to date. Powered by the PS4 and Guerilla Games’ trademark work, Shadow Fall was not only beautiful, but it ditched the gritty and grey direction of its predecessors to deliver a vibrant and breathtaking universe. It’s actually a big reason we completely snubbed Ryse: Son of Rome, because despite looking great on PC, it’s not an eye-catching or memorable game to look at; there’s no commendable art direction, true to Crytek’s form. In Shadow Fall there are moments in the game that have to be seen to be believed, and it helped tremendously that the game was buttery smooth, running at 60 fps. Like the Far Cry series, Shadow Fall lived up to its tradition of delivering graphical and technical excellence.


Infamous: Second Son

inFamous Second Son Header

Infamous: Second Son had people raving about it a lot more once the PS4’s photoshoot mode was a thing, and people could suddenly appreciate the incredible attention to detail in the game a lot more. Excluding that, Second Son was a visual treat in all areas of the game, especially those jaw-droppingly awesome power effects, with particular reference to Neon and Video here. Whatever shortcomings the game had, you’d be hard-pressed to fault one area of its graphics or technical performance.


Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age Inquisition 2

Dragon Age: Inquisition earned its place here because despite the sheer enormous size and scale of the world — currently the biggest on our new consoles — it still manages to be visually gorgeous and more so artistically divine. It is the ideal fantasy world to lose yourself in, and we can’t credit BioWare enough for their work to bring it all alive. The game runs like a dream despite its scale, and every area you visit will capture you with its design and attention to detail. If this is the sign of what’s to come this generation, we couldn’t be more excited for the open world genre.


And The Winner Is…

It would be redundant to go through why each nominee didn’t win in this category, but we can offer some insight into why Dragon Age: Inquisition didn’t. The game’s sheer size and scale naturally imposed limitations on the visuals, yet we were still incredibly impressed by what BioWare put together despite that. Nevertheless, this superficial award is for the best visuals, and that’s what we’re honouring.

Infamous: Second Son also didn’t take it for the simple reason that we felt the world lacked substance. It didn’t feel alive like some of the other nominees, and a lot of that is attributed to art direction and dynamic systems like crowds, weather and such.

The toughest battle came down to two contenders, and ultimately Far Cry 4 didn’t walk away with the prize. In its optimal state we felt it was just edged out by our winner’s achievements. As a fun experiment we looked at Far Cry 4 on PC in 4K resolution and, well, those rocks looked better than real rocks. But it seems a tad unfair to use 4K resolution as a benchmark when it’s not the optimal experience of the game, and that’s why our winner has taken home the award.

Forza Horizon 2


In the end after many a debate and head-scratching delay we handed Forza Horizon 2 the award. To quote our review the game was just “retardedly gorgeous”. It was staggeringly, ridiculously, unbelievably beautiful, and truly one of the best-looking games we’ve ever seen on our consoles. We’ll say it again: we know that being a racer means not many will appreciate how astounding the game looks, and not just its cars. For once a racer actually had breathtaking environments and wonderful attention to detail across the board. Whether or not you’re in the closet about how superficial you are when it comes to graphics, there’s no denying that you’d have to be dead to not have your jaw drop at the sight of Forza Horizon 2.

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EGMR Awards 2014: Best Newcomer http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-newcomer/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-newcomer/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:00:51 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164775 In an industry where sequelitis and franchising is the norm, and we’re currently dealing with an emerging evil in unnecessary remakes, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to […]

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In an industry where sequelitis and franchising is the norm, and we’re currently dealing with an emerging evil in unnecessary remakes, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to and honour the newcomers, and the fresh experiences that genuinely try to be their own games. We were very lucky this year that despite it overall being an underwhelming one, we got plenty of new titles to drool over, and the best part was that most of them were high quality. Let’s take a look at the best of them and decide which newcomer brought it all.


The Rundown

In a world where sequels are the norm, and we’re now currently dealing with the emerging evil of unnecessary remakes, newcomers and new IPs get us extremely excited. It’s a great thing when developers decide to pursue new ideas, concepts, gameplay mechanics and attempt to create something entirely new. It’s never an easy thing, as starting something new can be a daunting challenge. Everyone loves seeing something completely new or something that has never been done before. There is often so much riding on a new game. With a sequel, generally, and this is a very basic outlook, you use the tools and gameplay structure from the first or previous game(s) and upgrade – not to mention you always have a pretty good idea of what to expect from a sequel without hearing anything about it. When it comes to new games, you’re starting from scratch and building it all up. Sure you’ll borrow some gameplay ideas or popular mechanics and often base your game on another, but somewhere down the line you’ll have to craft your own identity and this is where the fun is. In a nutshell this award is given to a newcomer that excelled, managed to make the most of its concept and delivered an exciting and better gaming experience overall than the rest of the competition.


The Nominees
Valiant Hearts


Valiant Hearts, as we’ve said before, was a fascinating surprise that we can’t overlook. It’s always commendable when an artform takes something that has been done to death, in this case World War I narratives, and gives us a fresh perspective, and that deserves a high degree of credit. Whatever its faults, Valiant Hearts earned its nomination for its level of risk, its sincerity, its freshness with its art style despite its subject matter and its engaging narrative.




There is little else we could add about Transistor at this point, with it having featured in multiple awards already. It’s simply one of the best games this year, and delivered everything you could ask of a newcomer: gorgeous visuals, incredible world design, a captivating story and excellent gameplay. Supergiant Games has cemented itself as one of the most talented indie developers around at the moment, and we’re crossing our fingers that their third title is indeed a charm, and as wonderful as their first two.


This War Of Mine


This War of Mine is probably another game you may not have played or heard of, but if you’re looking for something totally different and perhaps a bit mortifying in all the good ways, this survival game has you covered. It’s truly fantastic to see emotionally-driven projects like this emerge out of video games, and at times you almost have to remind yourself that a decade ago gaming wasn’t anything like this. This War of Mine was a sure sign of that progression, and an even further step forward. That’s among the highest praise we can offer, especially to a new title, and it deserves its spot on here as a result.


Sunset Overdrive


Sunset Overdrive was the blissfully fun product of what happens when there isn’t a dick(tator) publisher around to give you the red flag to all your great ideas. We know the tale of Fuse (formerly known as Overdrive, incidentally) all too well, and we were extremely glad that Insomniac got to express themselves with Sunset Overdrive. It was an excellent offering from Insomniac Games, and currently is a one-of-a-kind humorous experience on the current generation of consoles. It was a risky undertaking given its niche appeal, but Sunset Overdrive made it out on top thanks to its ridiculousness, audacity and gusto. It was simply plenty of fun, and exactly what we’d want our breaks from serious gaming to be like.


Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor


Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor was the surprise of the year. Many doubted it for being a licensed game and for looking like a clone of Assassin’s Creed in its early demonstration videos, but Monolith stuck to their guns and delivered one of the year’s best games. We were blown away not just by the experience, but by the game’s Nemesis system, which was the first real glimpse we got of the possibilities of the open world genre in our new generation of games. For any Lord of the Rings fan, Shadow of Mordor was not only the finest piece of fan service, but a fantastic game as well.


And The Winner Is…

Sunset Overdrive didn’t take home the prize. There’s very little to put it down, but we were content with it being entertaining and plenty of fun, but not wholly blowing us away.

It didn’t go to Valiant Hearts or This War of Mine either. The former’s faults put it on the back-foot compared to the rest of the nominees. It still earned recognition, but it was always going to be a tall order for it to win. As for This War of Mine, we can’t take much away from it other than the fact that our winner was more deserving for us.

The toughest choice came down to our final two nominees, but with a heavy heart Transistor didn’t end up taking home the award. There’s almost nothing to fault the game for, truly, but our winner offered us that special something that gave us too many reasons to admire it, knowing what a battle it faced to prove its cynics wrong.


Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of Mordor

In the end Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor had to take it, not only for being one of the best games of the entire year but for completely destroying our scepticism and standing tall in the face of all doubt. Even more admirable is that it was one of the finest examples we’ve seen in a very long time of how to take inspiration from other games yet still craft its own identity. It was written off — even accused — of being an Assassin’s Creed and maybe Batman: Arkham clone, but it emerged as so much more than that. It honoured the Lord of the Rings lore, catered to its fans, played to its strengths and gave us a true taste of the next generation of open world with its Nemesis system, which truly cemented the game’s own identity and selling point. Its few flaws didn’t detract from its achievements, and it delivered everything it needed to: an incredible art direction true to its source material, amazing production value, excellent gameplay, innovation, quality and memorability. Ultimately we felt it would be an injustice if Shadow of Mordor walked away empty-handed this year, and it really is fully deserving of the Best Newcomer award.

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EGMR Awards 2014: Best Story http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-story/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-story/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 07:00:18 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164762 This year may not have brought us the biggest surprises or the best games, but it certainly didn’t lack for deeply engaging and fantastic stories. We were extremely happy to […]

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This year may not have brought us the biggest surprises or the best games, but it certainly didn’t lack for deeply engaging and fantastic stories. We were extremely happy to be able to easily pick out five amazing tales, although deciding a winner wasn’t too much trouble. Some of you may already know which game takes home the prize, if you’re a frequent reader of our site. If you’re not, well, strap in and join us as we decide the best videogame story of the year.

The Rundown

This is always an interesting award to hand out. Many people believe that best story is all about the story itself, in terms of how good, interesting or deep it is. However, there is a lot more to it than that. Stories need to be paced well, they need to have solid settings and accuracy, they need characters and events that drive the plot forward and they need to be told well so that you can become engrossed in them and understand and relate to them. One of the largest factors that make up a good story, which is incidentally also the most challenging, is the ability to keep people hooked until the end. Not many games, books or even movies manage to successfully pull this off all the time, and the mark of a great story is ultimately its ability to capture an audience and keep them compelled until the very end.


The Nominees
D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die


Don’t worry, we know many of you never played this game and probably haven’t even heard about it before. That’s why we’re here of course. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die was a very unique title, offering something different but in a familiar format. It arguably took more risks than the likes of The Walking Dead and yet was more bonkers than The Wolf Among Us, combining to deliver something wholly interesting. But D4’s crowning achievement was its engaging story, wacky delivery of it and its fantastic setting. You’d have had to suspend your grip on reality to appreciate the game, but if you could do that you’d find a highly immersive and refreshingly different, intriguing tale.



Transistor Header

Transistor may not have appealed to everyone with its vague story, but it was undoubtedly a deeply fascinated game backed with a beautifully crafted setting and intriguing world. Every moment spent in Cloudbank allowed your mind to wander and feel a sense of curiosity and compulsion that is rarely found in games these days. It was a capturing story of revenge and love which was done so uniquely and told so appropriately subtly that it was almost impossible not to feel some kind of attachment to the whole tale and its characters without much effort. In many ways Transistor cemented Supergiant’s art, and we haven’t forgotten the journey in Cloudbank.


Dragon Age: Inquisition


Dragon Age: Inquisition in many ways can be seen as BioWare’s redemption. Especially for the vastly underwhelming Dragon Age II. Yet somehow the developer has taken the foundations laid in that game and blown it up into a massive world full of political intrigue, real substance and interesting characters. This is exactly how you build an engaging, real world, and we shudder to think how many hours players will lose to this incredible fantasy playground. The game also offered something highly commendable in the form of excellent fan service, with many returning characters and events that actually made the previous games feel relevant to your world. And we have to give a shout out to Dragon Age Keep, which is truly something awesome for a developer to do. BioWare pulled no punches in making Inquisition your story, righting their wrongs and delivering one of the best tales of the year.


Valiant Hearts

valiant hearts review

Valiant Hearts was a bit of a surprise to say the least, especially since it came from Ubisoft. Their Montpellier studio, mind you. While not without its faults, Valiant Heats approached its World War I setting with a fresh perspective that had you fully invested in its lovable characters and moving tale. Its freshness was derived from offering players four different perspectives with four different characters experiencing the war, and what we went through in the game as a result was pretty harrowing. Bombings, gas attacks, dealing with death, PoW camps — Ubisoft Montpellier didn’t leave much out when doing their war research. Some may have been left in tears by the end, and some may have been moved, but Valiant Hearts was not just a tearjerker. It actually took a risk in delivering its narrative with a cutesy hand-drawn artistic style, which made the horror almost jarring yet easier to take in at the same time. Ultimately its powerful and meaningful message was something more than what we get from the usual ultra gritty “war simulators” out there, and we want to give it the credit it deserves here with a nomination.


The Walking Dead: Season Two

The Walking Dead Season Two - Episode 3 - 3

The Walking Dead: Season Two in many ways elevated Telltale to a higher level, ripe with confidence and proof that the studio knows exactly what it’s doing. We should all be sick to death of zombies by now, yet somehow The Walking Dead remains as compelling and wonderfully crafted as ever. At times it’s a deeply depressing experience, but make no mistake that Season Two is as powerful as what we’ve come to expect from Telltale. And aside from its great characters and brutal story, Telltale left us with an ending that opens up significant possibilities for a third season. Perhaps they won’t live up to that in future, but there’s no doubt that for now at least they just need to keep on keeping on.


And The Winner Is…

It isn’t Valiant Hearts because while it was a great story it wasn’t a wholly original one, and there were times when the sincerity of the story could be lost behind the gameplay.

D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die didn’t take the award either, because certainly not everyone can enjoy this kind of story and you have to be in the right kind of mindset to appreciate its absurdity.

Our winner isn’t Transistor, because despite how much we love to heap praise on this game, its world lacked the substance of some of its competitors, and the ambiguity of its tale could work against it for some who want a more gripping narrative.

It was a tough call but The Walking Dead: Season Two didn’t take it either, because at times during the season we felt it was business as usual for Telltale, and it often lacked the freshness and boldness of the winner of this award.


Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age Inquisition 5

In what will probably come as a surprise to no one, Dragon Age: Inquisition emerges as an easy pick. It took every lesson BioWare ever learned from its franchises over the years and incorporated that into one of the finest and most compelling RPG experiences that you may ever have had the pleasure of playing, especially from the studio itself. It told an intriguing and frenetic tale with some of the most agonisingly contemplative decisions we’ve had to make in our games, and we can’t credit BioWare enough for how far they went to make it your story and right their past wrongs. Truthfully if we could have rated Dragon Age: Inquisition on story alone it would have walked away with a perfect score and we’d have called it a day. BioWare took amazing steps forward in storytelling, presenting anything but a straight-forward plot filled to the brim with depth and exceptional detail. The game’s narrative had quality oozing out of every page, and it really is a story that stands near-unparalleled amongst games from recent years, and deserves this award without question.

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EGMR Awards 2014: Best Action Adventure Game http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-action-adventure-game/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-action-adventure-game/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 10:00:36 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164718 While many other genres were underwhelming or otherwise left neglected, the action adventure genre was brimming with quality games and even a healthy number of welcome surprises. This was probably […]

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While many other genres were underwhelming or otherwise left neglected, the action adventure genre was brimming with quality games and even a healthy number of welcome surprises. This was probably one of the more difficult categories to tackle, but nevertheless our trusty team is always up to the task and after some chatter we emerged with the chosen one.

The Rundown

The action adventure genre is usually the go-to place for massive production values, epic cinematic experiences and over-the-top action and flair. It’s undoubtedly a grand genre with tremendously high expectations and quality, and only the games that show excellence, go the extra mile or truly make their mark on the entire genre will make it to the top here. It’s perhaps one of the more bold categories, with a wide variety of elements to consider varying from game to game. However, in the end, the game that will walk away with the trophy will be judged as the best and most complete experience overall.


The Nominees

Watch Dogs small

Watch_Dogs brought with it quite a large amount of hype, especially due to it being one of the first next-gen experiences we ever saw. And of course because of the whole controversy with its visuals. Nevertheless the finished product was anything but a hack-job, and while Ubisoft didn’t search for any innovation they did succeed in delivering a beautifully crafted open-world, a huge amount of content and satisfying mechanics. While the cynical among us would label Watch_Dogs as GTA with hacking (and they wouldn’t even be that wrong), the game really was pretty great. Although we’re not quite sure how Ubisoft is planning to turn it into a big franchise yet.


Sunset Overdrive


It’s a funny thing about us gamers that we’re all so serious all the time, as are our games, that when something wacky like Sunset Overdrive comes around we all clamour after it rather desperately. However Sunset Overdrive was an extra bit of special because it was the game Insomniac Games could finally create with absolute freedom, unlike that time they got cock-blocked by EA over Fuse, which coincidentally was previously called Overdrive. On the current generation of consoles, Sunset Overdrive doesn’t have a competitor, and with it Insomniac proved that it is capable of producing quality while still taking risks. It was a lot of fun, good old ridiculous fun, and some of us were proven wrong about it ending up being a novelty. A great exclusive for the Xbox One in the end.


Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor


Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor was perhaps one of the year’s biggest surprises. While it obviously had hype and interest by virtue of being a Lord of the Rings game, no one really expected it to turn out great given gaming’s history with licenses. Over and above that a number of people dismissed it once they saw its similarities to Assassin’s Creed. However credit to Monolith, they delivered an absolutely fantastic game that not only honoured its source material but also ended up being the perfect example of how to be inspired by something while still taking the necessary steps to craft your own unique game. The Nemesis system was the first taste of a next-gen open world that we got, and it elevated the game into a whole new level of wonder. Shadow of Mordor packed satisfying gameplay, wonderful visuals and art direction, a story for the fans and a memorable experience overall.




The creators of Bastion certainly already had our attention before this game was even out, and the result was an incredible game. Transistor was bold, intriguing and engrossing from start to finish. With unique gameplay mixing real-time action and turn-based combat and delivering an amazingly well-crafted world, drool-worthy visual design, a compelling story, beautiful audio and an unforgettable experience as a whole, Supergiant Games proved it’s a developer to take very, very seriously. Games can be art, and Transistor further proved that.


This War Of Mine


This War of Mine was one hell of a surprise, delivering a bold statement of how a video game can be harrowing, engaging, and heart-wrenching. It wasn’t a traditional fun experience, but rather a deeply compelling one that haunted you in the good ways, and stayed with you. Featuring beautiful visuals and music and characters that felt and reacted like real people resulted in a powerful experience we wouldn’t advise missing out on. It was admirably experimental, especially for the untapped survival genre, and despite that it was crafted with such precision that we were often left in awe. This War of Mine is not the kind of game you forget.


And The Winner Is…

It wasn’t Watch_Dogs, because as much as it was a good game it also wasn’t anything truly special, inventive, surprising or bold. And that’s okay. It was great. But the competition in this genre is exceptionally strong, and Watch Dogs’ failure to take a step out of the comfort zone meant it got left behind.

The winner wasn’t Sunset Overdrive either, as much as we loved it. It did everything it was supposed to and gave us the laughs we needed, but on a quality level it falls behind the other nominees.

It became an exceptionally tough decision, but in the end neither Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor or This War of Mine walked away with the prize. We’ll say it now: we don’t want to take away a single thing from these two games. They’re two of the best this entire year. The only reason they failed to take home the prize was because we felt our winner was more deserving.



Transistor Header

Transistor is undoubtedly one of the year’s best games, and one which took Supergiant Games to a new level. It was a beautifully crafted piece of art, and an incredible journey. Despite the fact that it released all the way back in May this year, we’re still talking about it and remembering it fondly to this day, on top of still encouraging others to play it. If that doesn’t speak of an excellent game, then we don’t know what does. Transistor is one of the most memorable titles to release in some time, and over and above that it was close to a perfect experience. While we had quite a tough decision to make in this category, ultimately Transistor is more than deserving of taking home the Best Action Adventure Game award for the year.

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EGMR Awards 2014: Best Shooter http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-shooter/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-best-shooter/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 07:00:55 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164706 The EGMR Awards for 2014 have officially begun, as you would have expected of us since we do this annually. Whether or not the year was an exciting one is […]

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The EGMR Awards for 2014 have officially begun, as you would have expected of us since we do this annually. Whether or not the year was an exciting one is entirely up to you, but we’ve played the biggest and best (and also worst) games of the year and it’s time to dissect them all as we prepare to name and shame for all of you to see. Usually we’re known to be contentious and highly controversial in these awards, but faced with a year that was far too busy delving into industry controversy to throw any curve-balls our way, can we make a meal out of it? Let’s find out.

The Rundown

Where would gaming be without guns and baddies to use them on? Probably not many fun places. In order to be nominated for this award, a game has to make sure it packs one hell of a punch, and uses its arsenal of weaponry and mechanics in the best way possible. In the end, it’s not just about what kind of weapons are on offer or how many chest-high walls you can crouch behind, but really about how they’re all used within the design and how the game itself plays while using them. Likewise with the first person shooter genre, we’re all well aware that a great deal needs to be offered in order to make it to the top. It’s quite easy to stick a floating gun on the screen wielded by a generic nameless and faceless brick and call it an FPS, but the truly fantastic games in this genre pull out all the stops and deliver a complete experience we can’t forget. Whether this comes in the form of a grand multiplayer or an engaging single player — or in some cases both — is up to the game, and of course, in the end, what we evaluate is how well our nominees managed to achieve their goals. Whether these games opt for a cinematic experience, classic arcade-like shooting or exciting multiplayer, they need to be top notch in terms of quality, content and mechanics in order to walk home with the prize.


The Nominees
Killzone: Shadow Fall

Killzone Shadow Fall Review Header

Killzone: Shadow Fall was a great way to start life off with the PS4. Offering a rock solid single player, phenomenal visuals we’ve come to expect from Guerilla Games, performance as smooth as butter and an engaging and fun multiplayer component, Shadow Fall was both a fine and fresh entry in the series. It may have had its flaws, and came with the usual limitations we expect from launch titles in terms of scope or wow-factor, but in the end it succeeded in winning us over quite easily with its excellent multiplayer offering and well-executed gameplay. Ultimately Killzone: Shadow Fall was a good example of refinement with added freshness, and we welcomed it.


Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Advanced Warfare KC

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare definitely sparked some interest for a completely new developer taking the helm, and it had a freshness about it that captured our attention prior to its release. Unlikely to cause a revolution or change the gaming landscape, Advanced Warfare knew exactly what it wanted to do and delivered on that, crafting a solid experience which included a great multiplayer offering as expected as well as a satisfying campaign. True to form it was good value for money, and did the Call of Duty name proud. Also, Exo suits.


Far Cry 4


Whilst not the boldest of sequels Far Cry 4 delivered more of the stellar experience we got from its predecessor, and it still knew how to entertain. Technically impeccable, utterly gorgeous and executing the tried and tested — if not a little tired — ‘Ubisoft formula’ to the letter, Far Cry 4 was the essence of a solid experience. Its open world playground was made only more fun by the heightened focus on aerial combat and additions like war elephants, while co-op was thrown in to try and breathe more life into the multiplayer component. That didn’t quite work out, but we still got a hell of a fun game. Also Pagan Min, because obligatory mentions are in order.



titanfall egamer

Have you seen Titanfall? We have. With it Respawn crafted a joy of an online shooter with extremely well-balanced mechanics, exhilarating gameplay and, well, giant robots that did all they could to make players feel empowered. Titanfall surely was the result of a development studio focusing on its strengths and not trying to push far above its weight or be overly ambitious. The unfortunate trade-off may have been that the game was pretty light on content despite carrying a full price tag, but there was no doubt that the playing experience was fantastic.


Wolfenstein: The New Order

Wolfenstein Screenshot 5

Wolfenstein: The New Order was a pleasant surprise earlier this year, bringing back the mindlessly awesome arcade-shooting experience we’ve always treasured and giving it an appropriate modern update to boot. The result may have been a game that was a bit too serious despite the absurdity which decorates this series’ history, yet there was little doubt that a damn fine shooter was on offer as well. It was also great to see the absence of a tacked-on multiplayer, and all effort thrown into the campaign, which was seriously lengthy in comparison to what we’re used to. Overall Wolfenstein may not have been the most colourful of shooters, but as far as this year was concerned it was definitely among the most competent.


And The Winner Is…

It wasn’t Far Cry 4, because despite offering a well-put together shooter that provided more of what we loved in Far Cry 3, there just wasn’t enough to warrant a full new game, and on top of that co-op was entirely unremarkable. Far Cry 3 was actually the better offering overall, and that’s why we couldn’t hand its sequel the award.

Wolfenstein: The New Order didn’t walk away with the prize either, because even though it was fun and gave us that much-appreciated nostalgia, it wasn’t a memorable title and none of us were talking about it come the end of the year. While it’s admirable that the game focused entirely on its single player campaign, and we don’t believe in tacked-on multiplayer offerings, the absence of one does hand the advantage over to more competent shooters also offering better value for money.

As close as it came Titanfall didn’t come out on top, because even though we saw it (we really did) and we loved what we saw, we couldn’t get over the lack of content and the fact that it wasn’t the best value for money as a result. More than that, we witnessed the game sort of fade in comparison to the hype it received, and we were slightly disappointed by its lack of a competitive spark.

The winner also wasn’t Killzone: Shadow Fall, although it was a strong consideration. There wasn’t a whole lot to fault the game for other than its lack of ambition, and this was mostly decided because our victor was the better choice.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Advanced Warfare 8

We weren’t blessed with incredible shooters in 2014, and we’re more than prepared for the moans and groans we’ll most likely get for handing this over to Advanced Warfare, but if you note our above reasoning then pretty much no other nominee besides Killzone: Shadow Fall offered a solid experience, great shooting mechanics, a satisfying single player campaign, a great multiplayer and good bang for your buck in one neat package. Call of Duty Advanced Warfare was fresh enough to grab our attention and good enough to keep it, and we can’t ignore the value of the experience either. While it’s unfortunate that the competition wasn’t exactly buzzing, the reality is that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is more than deserving of walking away with our Best Shooter award for the year.

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Father Puts Son Through Video Game Experiment With Weird Results http://egmr.net/2014/12/father-puts-son-video-game-experiment-weird-results/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/father-puts-son-video-game-experiment-weird-results/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 07:00:14 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164663 As we venture off into the not-so-new generation of consoles it has become abundantly clear that we are inching ever so close to photo-realistic graphics, and as such the lines […]

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As we venture off into the not-so-new generation of consoles it has become abundantly clear that we are inching ever so close to photo-realistic graphics, and as such the lines between reality and fantasy may just be getting a little blurry. Especially for the little kiddies — at least, those that aren’t playing Nintendo Wii games. What I’m trying to say here is that we’ll obviously have more psychopaths on the loose because video games are evil.

Jokes aside if you’re a relic you probably have many treasured memories of video games before the year 2000, some of which you may list in your ‘greatest games ever made’ books. The obvious point of interest in exploring old games is in discovering how video games evolved and changed over the years and across generations.

One man who seemed fascinated enough by all of that to use his son as a lapdog in a video game experiment may have found something interesting. The man in question is one Andy Baio, who got the idea in his head to have his child Elliot play through the different generations of gaming — in chronological order — and observe the effects this would have on the kid’s gaming habits.

I wouldn’t go as far as to call this scientific genius, but if you love gaming and have a child laying around, perhaps it may be worth a try to see what happens.

Anyway, so how this ‘experiment’ worked was that father dude had Elliot play some of the earliest games such as Pac-Man, Galaxian and Dig-Dug. I only know Pac-Man out of those three, so I’ve got an appointment with Google to get to.

As Elliot got older his persistent father offered him up some new gaming experiences, the likes of which included Super Mario Bros. on the SNES, Zelda, Super Mario 64 and other such staples of prehistoric gaming.

It was noted, interestingly so, that once Elliot was old enough to think and act as his own human being and actively search for new game experiences, he ended up actually ditching the bright and shiny graphics of modern games and found himself more compelled towards indie titles that brought the nostalgia.

Basically this illustrated how growing up loving something is a kind of nostalgia that stays with you, and may end up pushing you towards experiences that invoke said nostalgia. So no matter how many polygons David Cage puts out, young Elliot will still chase after his nostalgia-inducing indie games, the filthy casual.

I’m not quite sure how this changes your life exactly, but perhaps you may use your own child (if you have one) as a lab rat in other such gaming expeditions. But if you are curious about all of this you can read up on the full experiment which does enough to get your brain juices flowing. It’s a decent read.

Here’s a quote from it which may serve to explain the whole point of this if you feel I did a rather poor job with all my rambling:

I was born in 1977 — the same year the Atari 2600 was released and a year before Space Invaders. I was lucky enough to be born into the golden age of arcade gaming, and played through each subsequent generation as I grew up.

My son Eliot was born in 2004 — the year of Half-Life 2, Doom 3, and the launch of the Nintendo DS. By the time he was born, video games were a $26B industry.

I love games, and I genuinely wanted Eliot to love and appreciate them too. So, here was my experiment:

What happens when a 21st-century kid plays through video game history in chronological order?

Start with the arcade classics and Atari 2600, from Asteroids to Zaxxon. After a year, move on to the 8-bit era with the NES and Sega classics. The next year, the SNES, Game Boy, and classic PC adventure games. Then the PlayStation and N64, Xbox and GBA, and so on until we’re caught up with the modern era of gaming.

Would that child better appreciate modern independent games that don’t have the budgets of AAA monstrosities like Destiny and Call of Duty? Would they appreciate the retro aesthetic, or just think it looks crappy?

Or would they just grow up thinking that video game technology moved at a breakneck speed when they were kids, and slammed to a halt as soon as they hit adolescence?

At the very least we can say that this Andy is a pretty cool dad, even if his usage of his son as a lab rat is questionable, and is bordering on manipulation that should be reported to child services.

Obviously I’m joking.

So are you one of those filthy casuals who shuns the hyper-realistic photo-realistic super-serious-business that is modern day gaming in favour of the butterfly and rainbow-coloured chocolate surprise of retro gaming? Do you think this experiment is interesting? Would you use your own child for the greater good? So many questions. Let us know stuff in the comments.

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Watch Bungie CEO BS His Way Through A Tough Destiny Interview http://egmr.net/2014/12/watch-bungie-ceo-bs-way-tough-destiny-interview/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/watch-bungie-ceo-bs-way-tough-destiny-interview/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 07:00:18 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164604 Destiny is one of the most ludicrously over-hyped titles to grace the demented gaming scene, resulting in many extremely polarised reactions and some pretty massive disappointment. We were really hard on […]

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Destiny is one of the most ludicrously over-hyped titles to grace the demented gaming scene, resulting in many extremely polarised reactions and some pretty massive disappointment. We were really hard on Destiny in our review, and subsequently in our post-review follow up, and have taken many opportunities to hit out at the game. However I don’t quite think our Destiny distaste matches the directness of this recently surfaced interview with Bungie CEO Harold Ryan.

In the interview, which is available on YouTube for the world to see, Ryan is asked some hard-hitting questions about Destiny with regards to its dull, monotonous game-design, poor mission structure, absent story and uncertain plan for the future. Parts of the interview are pretty hilarious as the CEO seems to be struggling to keep a smile on his face while still answer the question, and the result is fairly awkward to say the least. At times this interview is a pitch perfect portrayal of someone speaking but not actually saying anything, as well as a great illustration of lip-service at its worst.

Perhaps most laugh-worthy is when the interviewer presses Ryan about whether he believes doing the same thing over and over again is to be commended, to which the Bungie CEO refers to the loot cave as a “great example” of how people are happy to indulge in repetition aimlessly. Even funnier is that the interview was recorded before the release of the overpriced DLC, and in it Ryan promised that the new content would bring better storytelling and mission design. According to the reception, we sort of know that this was little more than talk.

If there’s one thing to be said about the interview, it’s that it certainly doesn’t put Destiny in a positive light. I’d challenge you to watch the interview without cracking up at least once. While you could argue that the interviewer may not particularly be nice about the whole thing, I’m glad that he actually had the stones to ask tough questions of the Bungie CEO — questions which many people including myself have directed at the game — rather than just resort to offering more bog-standard PR.

What do you think of Bungie CEO Harold Ryan’s responses in this interview?

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Over 300 Fixes In The Latest Update Isn’t Enough To End Assassin’s Creed Unity Problems http://egmr.net/2014/11/300-fixes-latest-update-isnt-enough-end-assassins-creed-unity-problems/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/300-fixes-latest-update-isnt-enough-end-assassins-creed-unity-problems/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 07:00:06 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163719 Assassin’s Creed Unity was another one of the year’s numerous disappointments, although rather surprisingly it wasn’t just because it was an underwhelming game, but also because it was a technical […]

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Assassin’s Creed Unity was another one of the year’s numerous disappointments, although rather surprisingly it wasn’t just because it was an underwhelming game, but also because it was a technical mess. From a frustratingly inconsistent frame rate to dozens upon dozens of glitches, Assassin’s Creed Unity was determined to show the world it wasn’t actually in a condition ready to be sold.

The backlash and widespread criticism, fully deserved, resulted in Ubisoft actually launching an Assassin’s Creed Unity Live Updates blog in order to enable players to keep track of ongoing improvements to the game. Referencing that blog in particular, Ubisoft has confirmed some new details for us regarding what to expect from the third major title update for Unity.

Ubisoft will allegedly address “over 300″ issues with the troubled game when the update goes live this week. This third patch will go out today for PS4 and Xbox One, while the PC update is set for “later this week”.

The official update notes state that the patch will introduce “over three hundred fixes designed to improve your Assassin’s Creed Unity experience”.

It’s possible that minor improvements to the frame rate will be made as a result of these fixes, but Ubisoft has noted that it will specifically address the frame rate issues in a future update. So yeah, you bought Unity but it will only be fixed more than two weeks after it already went on sale. That, in addition to the review embargo frustrations.

“Additionally, we have already begun working on Patch 4 and we expect to have further updates on it in the coming week,” Ubisoft adds.

If you care, the patch notes for the latest update are right below:

Stability and Performance

– Fixed numerous random crashes in Campaign and Co-op modes
– Fixed specific framerate drops
– Improved task scheduling
– Tweaked performance for Reach High Points (Synchronization)

Gameplay (Navigation, Fight and Stealth)

– Fixed various navigation issues where players could get stuck
– Fixed various haystack issues
– Fixed various cover issues
– Fixed various camera issues
– Fixed various animation issues
– Fixed various Booster issues

AI & Crowd

– Fixed various animation issues
– Fixed various detection issues
– Fixed various crowd station issues (bonfires)

Matchmaking, Connectivity and Replication

– Fixed various matchmaking issues
– Fixed various host migration issues (hand-off occurs more smoothly)
– Fixed join-in-progress issues
– Fixed various replication issues between host and clients
– Fixed various issues in the My Club menu

Menus and HUD

– Fixed various menu issues and pop-up overlap issues
– Fixed Mission objective & updating issues
– Fixed issues in customization menu
– Fixed some localization inconsistencies in menus
– Fixed some issues in the credits

Mission Tweaks (Campaign, Co-op and Side Content)

– Fixed various low-repro walkthrough breaks
– Fixed various NPC navigation issues
– Fixed inconsistencies in some missions

World and 3D

– Adjusted various collisions and navigation mesh issues

Progression and Difficulty

– Adjusted various Community Event rewards


– Fixed save game corruption in some cases
– Fixed temporal blur from SLI
– Fixed graphical corruptions in Character Customization menu
– Fixed crash in Character Customization menu on controller auto-switch
– Alt+Enter switches windows correctly
– NPC on side monitors show correctly
– Minor UI improvements

Here I’m sitting wondering whether Ubisoft will actually learn anything from this or just resort to the same thing again at some point because people will buy their games anyway. Hopefully the backlash has resulted in some form of a reputation knock for the company, so they can get their act together and stop all this nonsense before they end up being some kind of demented fusion between EA and Capcom.

That would be a true sign of the apocalypse indeed.

But alas, I’m just a hopeless optimist in that regard and Ubisoft will probably bring out another two Assassin’s Creed games, and the world will forget Unity ever happened.

The moral of the story is that kittens are evil.

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Sony Pulls Vita Ad From YouTube Because It’s Overstuffed With Sexual Innuendo http://egmr.net/2014/11/sony-pulls-vita-ad-youtube-overstuffed-sexual-innuendo/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/sony-pulls-vita-ad-youtube-overstuffed-sexual-innuendo/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 07:00:47 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163697 Commercials are mostly just forgettable montages of stuff that appear before a movie starts or in the breaks between whatever it is that you’re watching. Like those alcohol adverts that […]

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Commercials are mostly just forgettable montages of stuff that appear before a movie starts or in the breaks between whatever it is that you’re watching. Like those alcohol adverts that all seem to promise you parties, women and skydiving, for some reason. Now and again you’ll get a great advert that gets recognition, but they’re few and far between. However, there are times where you get such obnoxious and obscure ads that you wonder how the light ever turned green for them. Sony is the latest culprit for such an ad, and this one is definitely quite a hilariously awkward happening.

Sony published this new advert for the PlayStation Vita on its European PlayStation YouTube channel back on Friday. Shortly after the ad went live, Sony then set the video to private because it received tons of criticism for being overstuffed, and I mean excessively filled to the brim with, sexual innuendos. The entire video is basically a sexual innuendo.

I found it pretty funny, juvenile and disingenuous as it is, but it’s easy to see why many disapprove. The advert features a hot “doctor” who asks viewers a number of questions that sort of suggest you’re like a compulsive masturbater. I’m not actually joking. Only, instead of masturbation or whatever it is you’d be inclined to think the subject matter is about, the video is actually referring to Remote Play on the Vita. You’ll have to give it a watch up above if you don’t take my word for it. On the bright side, that lady sure does have a nice voice.

The advert is still currently set to private, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony is feeling pretty embarrassed or even stupid about the whole thing. I mean, whether you find the advert alright or not, you can’t not foresee the kind of shit it will stir up, especially for something like a PlayStation Vita and not, well, an adult toy. Maybe it’s just European humour, I suppose, and us not being accustomed to it, but from where you’re standing the advert will probably be hell of an awkward, cringe-worthy or weirdly funny experience.

I get that marketers generally have a tough job trying to grab the attention of a bunch of gold fish who don’t even want to watch commercials to begin with, and an even tougher job to get people to actually remember any of it. But I can’t help but think that when blatantly questionable (at best) adverts such as these surface, that the makers know exactly how it’s going to be interpreted but do it anyway for the publicity. That’s the cynic in me talking, so if you don’t like that guy then I’ll bring out super hyper gamer optimist and just thank Jesus for games and stuff.

Let us know what you think about the advert in the comments below. Try not to fap now.

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Review: Far Cry 4 Is A Risk-Free Sequel That Leaves No Lasting Impression http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-far-cry-4-risk-free-sequel-leaves-no-lasting-impression/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-far-cry-4-risk-free-sequel-leaves-no-lasting-impression/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:00:26 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163623 Visit review on site for scoring. Ubisoft are quickly becoming the most uninteresting developers of the current generation. Don’t get me wrong, they certainly deliver decent to good games most […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

farcry4 2

Ubisoft are quickly becoming the most uninteresting developers of the current generation. Don’t get me wrong, they certainly deliver decent to good games most of the time, and know how to satisfy their customers, but there’s very little inspiration on offer. I would go as far as to say that they’re in a rut. They’re like a seasoned yet plain TV series. What you get is what you’re expecting, but you keep watching because you’re invested and you enjoy the content, unremarkable as it may be. By now you should be well accustomed to the Ubisoft formula, and Far Cry 4 pretty much sticks to it religiously. Is it a good game? Most certainly. It’s very well made too. But it also doesn’t have a lot going for it if you had your fill with Far Cry 3. Although it’s certainly no Assassin’s Creed Unity, I’ll tell you that much. There’s a running joke among us now that when a Far Cry game releases, the Assassin’s Creed game in the same year will be underwhelming, as has been the case twice now, but unlike last time the former isn’t exactly a great surprise, like most of Ubisoft’s games lately. Far Cry 4 is definitely a quality experience, but it’s one we’ve had before and one that struggles to be memorable.

The Far Cry series has always been one to reinvent itself game to game, but the magic of Far Cry 3 certainly pushed Ubisoft to sadly want to mimic the success, rather than build on it. And that’s the game’s problem to a large degree. It’s as much some more of its predecessor as it is manufacturered to tick the boxes that need ticking. A big open world with lots of repetitive and time-sink content? Check. Tedious progression which requires you to sink more hours into an overly busy game? Check. Some kind of cooperative mode or just-because competitive multiplayer? Check. Those are but examples of Far Cry 4 abiding to the book, the Ubisoft book, and they largely tell the story of how this game won’t surprise you. Many won’t complain because Far Cry 4 is still good and there’s lots of fun to be had, but it’s all expected goodness and familiar fun. I have half a mind to direct you to our Far Cry 3 review and call it a day, but unluckily for you I love to talk, so let’s get on with it.

Far Cry 4 starts off bright and promising as it introduces you to the main villain, Pagan Min, as he tries pretty hard to recapture the presence of and make the same impact as Vaas. And you know what? He’s instantly likable, voiced brilliantly by Troy Baker (are you even surprised?) and really fun to watch. Yet as you play through the story you’ll realise that he’s not quite Vaas, as apart from the beginning he barely has much of a presence in the game, or attempts to make one for himself, and opts to instead take a more Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2) role of yapping at you over the radio, except with even less of a presence than that. I still remember why I love the character of Vaas, but barely a day after completing Far Cry 4 and I can hardly remember much of Pagan Min. Ubisoft clearly wanted the character to be colourful and iconic like Vaas, but the story doesn’t particularly give him the platform to shine. As you had with Far Cry 3, there are a decent amount of crazies who are crazy because they’re crazy, and they’re somewhat fascinating the first time you come across them, but mostly the characters in the game are flat and one-dimensional, apart from Pagan Min.


After the colourful introduction the story mostly sinks into the conflict of Kyrat, which is a civil war between Pagan Min and the Golden Path rebel group. Protagonist Ajay Ghale is returning to his homeland to scatter the ashes of his deceased mother to honour her dying wish, but his presence carries weight as his parents started the Golden Path, and naturally expectations arise because of that. Soon enough Ajay discovers that there’s growing conflict within the Golden Path itself, as leaders Amita and Sabal can’t seem to agree on anything, in that the former wants to revolutionise the group while the latter is resistant to change and wants to honour Ajay’s father’s legacy and stick to tradition. That leaves you as the player to decide who you’re going to back, in what mostly is a binary and uninteresting power struggle. Your ‘choices’ in this regard do impact the ending of the game, but they certainly don’t feel like they have much of an impact on the world itself, and more so the scenarios and results are pretty artificial. For example, Sabal didn’t change his attitude towards me until the contrived final segments of the game, despite siding against him every single time. Sure, I got a scolding after the mission on radio for a few seconds, but we were back to being bros in future choice missions.

For the most part the story is simply serviceable, although it often seems to lack a direction. This is most apparent with the protagonist, who is exceptionally underwhelming and underdeveloped. Unlike Jason Brody from Far Cry 3, a young fool turned survivor only to discover he actually enjoys the violence and the power, Ajay doesn’t have any noticeable arc. Basically the entire game you’re just a foot soldier for the Golden Path. You never feel like a leader, or as though you’ve made any progress since the game started. Ajay’s dialogue is especially limited, and his character subdued to the point of not being there. Fair enough Far Cry 3 didn’t blow minds with its story, but its characterisation was often great and aside from that tribal rubbish it also had some pretty cool development for its protagonist. Far Cry 4 has none of that (excluding Pagan Min) and the tribal stuff is a bit overdone, especially with all the drug-induced hallucination sequences you’ll have to pull through. Did Far Cry 4 want me to get into drugs, by any chance? I find myself wondering.

You’re probably not here for the story, especially with its unsatisfying ending that leaves you with minimal closure, so let’s talk gameplay, and how Far Cry 4 is as close to its predecessor as possible without being a cut and paste. It makes some pretty sweet additions, like the ability to ride elephants and trample your enemies, the grappling hook which lets you traverse up certain mountains and the gyrocopter, which is a small machine that enables you to fly wherever you please. Surrounding all that is everything you loved from Far Cry 3, and I mean that literally. There are numerous outposts to liberate, bell towers to climb for revealing areas and unlocking new weapons, animals to hunt to craft new gear and side missions and collectibles aplenty. As is typical with any Ubisoft game these days there is plenty to do, but I wouldn’t call it substantial content or extraordinarily meaningful content. It’s a lot of stuff that will eat up a lot of time, and your enjoyment will largely be determined by the extent to which you like Ubisoft’s games and don’t mind a second or third helping of it all.


It’s rather difficult to convey my thoughts here without coming across as negative, because the reality is that Far Cry 4 is an exceptionally well made game. It’s entertaining, it improved in small areas over Far Cry 3 and it doesn’t do a whole lot wrong. It’s easy to have a blast in this game, when you’re jumping off low cliffs to impale enemies with your machete, or you’re stalking your enemies silently avoiding detection, or blasting helicopters out of the air with an explosive arrow, or you’re feeling the exhilaration of flying in your wingsuit or the gyrocopter many miles above ground, taking everything in. Far Cry 4 succeeds in delivering everything that was good about Far Cry 3, but it fails in freshening up any of the experience, and largely relies on you not being tired of it yet. Fortunately I wasn’t when I played, but that doesn’t mean my enjoyment wasn’t starting to diminish prematurely. If you loved Far Cry 3, which I did, then this may end up losing traction half way through since you’ve already played most of its content in excess, especially with those outpasts and towers. I mean at one point I realised I was even using the exact same weapons as I did in the previous game, right down to the same customisations. Whether that speaks of me having a certain playstyle or the game just using a bit too much of the same content as before is up to you, but for much of it I was going through the motions.

Except as much as Far Cry 4 brings the good of its predecessor it also does a few questionably annoying things befitting of Ubisoft’s late style. For example a number of advanced skills you could unlock with experience in the last game have now been locked away subject to the completion of certain side activities and quests. That to me felt like blatant and disingenuous padding, and I largely avoided those tasks as a result. I play games for entertainment, not to perform chores or do extra work for what I had in previous games. It’s much the same as Assassin’s Creed Unity preventing you from buying certain armour colours, and instead making them require 50 or 100 collectibles. Far Cry 4 also features signature weapons, which are highly powerful and unique extra guns, but these are also tedious to unlock with hefty requirements and plenty of cash needed to make the purchase. Yet your normal weapons are more than competent and overly strong, so it’s just another case of time sinking for marginal rewards. It’s also why I stopped crafting past the extra weapon slots, ammo and syringes.

Revisiting the plus side, and again in what will come as no surprise, Far Cry 4 is a technical marvel that never missed a beat on my PS4. You usually expect open world games to have bugs, but I encountered next to none and I only saw the frame rate take a slight, short-lived knock once in my entire playthrough, and that was in the aftermath of a massive fight with lots of burning stuff, dead bodies and destroyed remains. It’s also an absolutely gorgeous game, easily one of the best looking this generation so far, filled to the brim with lush colour, immaculate detail, fantastic character models and facial animation, stunning wildlife and constant activity, complete with minimal loads and excellent performance. The way Ubisoft delivers Far Cry you sort of find yourself wishing they could have done the same with Assassin’s Creed Unity, but alas this is the world we live in. I wasn’t too impressed, however, with the soundtrack of the game, as I never quite felt that the music fit the scenes on-screen or ever sounded great, and there certainly wasn’t a repeat of the epic mission from Far Cry 3 where you’re burning down a field to a backdrop of Skrillex. Good times, those were.


As social integration becomes ever more important in our gaming, it has become customary for there to be some sort of online co-op mode in the mix, and Far Cry 4 has an obligatory one. It basically enables you to jump into someone else’s world or have them enter yours, but really it doesn’t offer anything substantial. You can help each other liberate outposts or tackle forts, which you can choose to have record as actual progress in your game, or you can just dick around. Fair enough it’s much better to play the game with an additional player rather than have some forced, boring co-op mode bundled separately, so to that end it’s certainly welcome. You can have fun here like you can with any half-decent co-op experience, and its inclusion doesn’t hurt, but Far Cry in general is a game better spent playing on your own. When I played co-op the other player mostly just wanted to liberate outposts stealthily, and I suppose bringing someone else in to help you tick things off your mental Far Cry 4 checklist is the best you’ll get out of it. I’m not going to say much about the lackluster competitive five-versus-five multiplayer though, which is just there because it can be.

I’m not entirely sure what else to tell you about the game that you wouldn’t already know from having played Far Cry 3. What I can say at this point is that, as much as I enjoyed this game, I was mostly over it before the end credits rolled and perhaps if given the choice I wouldn’t buy this at full price after having played and loved Far Cry 3 immensely. Maybe if I had the PC to run it on max settings, perhaps. However I certainly wasn’t enticed by the prospect of replaying the story to explore the alternate paths and differences, or to go for a second playthrough in general, let alone complete what was left on the map by the end of it all. But that’s me. If your appetite hasn’t yet been satisfied, by all means head to Kyrat and relive what you enjoyed before, with a new coat of paint and some extra goodies. Just don’t be expecting a revolution or even that big a refinement in this risk-free, by-the-book sequel that offers you what you loved before, counting on you loving it again.

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The Reasons For Unity’s Poor Framerate Are Probably Not What You Thought http://egmr.net/2014/11/reasons-unitys-poor-framerate-probably-thought/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/reasons-unitys-poor-framerate-probably-thought/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 07:00:50 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163467 I’m currently playing Assassin’s Creed Unity, and I’m more or less on the same wavelength as our recently published review. I’ve largely been exposed to the game’s annoyingly inconsistent and […]

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I’m currently playing Assassin’s Creed Unity, and I’m more or less on the same wavelength as our recently published review. I’ve largely been exposed to the game’s annoyingly inconsistent and distracting frame rate and I, like many other gamers out there, reasonably suspected that the unnecessarily large crowds were a reason for the drop in performance. Especially since Unity typically performs worst in those heavily populated and large open areas, whereas the frame rate appears more solid in smaller areas. That’s not to say that it never drops in those areas, or that it always drops in heavily populated environments, but that’s what the whole hellishly inconsistent part is all about.

The bottom line is that it’s unacceptable, but as we know Ubisoft is currently working on finding a solution to the frame rate gripes. Presently the only temporary fix offered is to go offline, although I’d like to put it out there that doing so did nothing to alleviate my frame rate drops on Xbox One, which is evidently the better performing version of the game. While there is no official patch or fix yet, Ubisoft has been posting updates on its blog to inform customers of exactly what’s fucked with Assassin’s Creed Unity and the progress, or lack thereof, that is being made to fix such fuckery. The latest blog post has been in response to the feedback regarding the game’s performance on all platforms.

“We’ve received a lot of feedback on the performance of ACU over the past week and we’re taking it very seriously,” reads the post. “We know this is a very important issue to you and we want to see it resolved as much as you do.”

Well that’s some stupid PR, specifically referring to “we know that this is a very important issue to you.” It’s a very important issue to you Ubisoft, and your remarkable attempts to stifle your reputation while at the same time do good with it, if critic scores for Far Cry 4 are anything to go on. Or maybe the release of a new Far Cry should just be an indicator that the Assassin’s Creed game released in the same year will be severely underwhelming or polarised at the very least, as was the case with Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creed 3. That’s a thing now. I’m making it a thing.

Anyway as mentioned earlier, the reasonable assumption was that the number of NPCs visible on screen were the reason for the frame rate dips, but Ubisoft has stated that it has made progress with its investigations into identifying the causes, and crowds aren’t actually one of them.

“We have just finished a new round of tests on crowd size but have found it is not linked to this problem and does not improve frame rate, so we will be leaving crowds as they are,” commented Ubisoft.

“It’s taken us some time to make progress on this front, but we’ve got some promising findings to share.

“We can tell you that we have detected a distinct discrepancy between what we observed in the pre-launch versus post-launch environment. In spite of our testing, it looks like the instruction queue is becoming overloaded and impacting performance.”

Ubisoft has said that several fixes are currently being explored, and promised an update on progress in the weeks ahead. Gee thanks, Ubisoft. I’ll wait. I have all the time in the world. I also worship you in my spare time, so you can do this to me with every game you ever release and I will continue to wuvvles you unconditionally. Pinky swear?

Weirdness aside the publisher helpfully listed three main causes for the framerate drops:

  • Streamlining some technical aspects of navigation: We’ve fixed a number of edge cases with our detection system to smooth certain behaviours during parkour. We’ve fixed a few objects which were improperly tagged to smooth navigation
  • Improving task scheduling: We’ve tuned the way the computing tasks are prioritized and parallelized by the processor cores to improve framerate in certain edge cases
  • Tweaking performance for Reach High Points: We’ve optimized the reach high points, during the camera swooping sequence to improve framerate a little bit

There you have it, folks. It’s not actually the crowd size that is negatively impacting performance. It’s weird technical stuff. Nevertheless I think we can all agree that maybe Ubisoft should consider releasing their next Assassin’s Creed when it works as it damn well should, and not become anything like EA. Then we may have to kick start the apocalypse early.

You’re not bad guys, Ubisoft, and no one is in conflict that you do make some pretty great if not slightly homogeneous games, but you had a rocky year. And as much as I enjoy taking shots at you, I would sincerely hope that you don’t pull a Capcom and implode when you should be in the prime of your life, or sell your souls to Satan and become what EA is notoriously known to be but are now less like. You know, if we ignore The Sims 4 and all.

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Take-Two CEO Delivers Great Response To The ‘Use And Abuse’ Of GTA V’s Prostitutes http://egmr.net/2014/11/take-two-ceo-delivers-great-response-use-abuse-gta-vs-prostitutes/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/take-two-ceo-delivers-great-response-use-abuse-gta-vs-prostitutes/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 07:00:42 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163419 As a liberated individual who knows anything about video games or pop culture references, Grand Theft Auto and hookers go hand in hand. I mean, half the ‘beat up hookers’ […]

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As a liberated individual who knows anything about video games or pop culture references, Grand Theft Auto and hookers go hand in hand. I mean, half the ‘beat up hookers’ jokes probably came from this worldly famous series, as it’s only included such content for well over a decade. Using prostitutes and then beating them up or killing them has pretty much always been a pastime for GTA players, or at least an option for those who so desire such an outlet of release. Too much? Well, as we know GTA V is introducing a first person camera for the first time, and for some debatable reasons that’s making a lot of people suddenly uncomfortable with the game’s content.

Here at EGMR we’re pro-discussion, and as such we opened up the topic a couple of days ago regarding whether the first person camera will cause some upsets. Through some chatter with our delightful readers (all three of them, because we’re such assholes) we arrived at a very good explanation. That would be that the first person perspective offers a more intimate experience than the traditional third person camera, as it feels less like you’re controlling a proxy (i.e as though Trevor or Michael are performing the acts) and more like you’re doing it. Nevertheless I think we can all agree that parents should actually do their damn jobs, and adults have the freedom to experience adult content and none of this is new, it’s just a camera change, and so on and so forth. But since we enjoy conversation here, I’d like to revisit the topic in light of new developments.

As you would expect, ever since this first person perspective became a thing, and especially since videos like the above began to surface, which depicted first person sex with prostitutes (with their clothes on, mind you), the internet has had some uproars. The absolutely wonderful source of comedy that is Daily Mail, in this case, offered a rather hyperbolic breakdown of how players can control their ‘avatars’ having ‘first person graphic sex’ (in other words humping with clothes on) with a prostitute. Oh, and I quote: “Even more shocking? Players also get to brutally murder their escorts in order to take back the money they paid for sexual services.” Of course we’re pretending as though this content hasn’t existed for a decade, am I right? A fact that Daily Mail acknowledges, but because of the first person camera and because soccer moms and because reasons, this must be a controversial thing.

It was only a matter of time until Rockstar or publisher Take-Two was approached on the matter, and it came about via a report from Gamezone. Recently, during Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers,” Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick was asked rather profoundly (please detect sarcasm here) by show host Stephanie Ruhle “We’ve got to talk about what’s in Grand Theft Auto. Players have the right to have sex with a prostitute and then kill her. Is this true?”

Oh dear Stephanie, allow me the pleasure of ‘mansplaining’ that this has been true for ten years. We’ve all known this. Don’t sit there and act like this is some horrific new thing in video games. You see when I began typing up this article I wanted to put forward the idea that we should maybe be more understanding towards the ignorant, and seek to educate people who don’t know video games rather than mock them, but you know what? There’s no fucking excuse for ignorance in the year 2014. There’s certainly no excuse for not knowing what Grand Theft Auto is. Some perspective, yeah? My dad couldn’t tell you the difference between a PlayStation and an Xbox, but even he knows exactly what GTA is and is about. In fact it horrifies me that some people don’t know the contents of Grand Theft Auto. That’s a billion times more disturbing than banging a fully clothed prostitute and then slaying her because you’re a cheap bastard.

If you don’t know something as bloody basic about video games as the fact that Grand Theft Auto is that game where you get to live a life of crime and beat up hookers, then you shouldn’t have the right to talk about video games. Especially as a TV show host, who you’d expect to hit up Google at least and take a few notes. Nevertheless, I’m sort of glad that Ruhle asked the question, because it led to a rather classy comment from Take-Two CEO Zelnick, who said in response to Ruhle’s question above:

Well, I don’t look at it that way at all. Look, this is a criminal setting. It’s a gritty underworld. It is art. And I — I embrace that art, and it’s beautiful art, but it is gritty. And let’s not make — you know, let’s not make no bones about the environment in which we operate. And we stand shoulder to shoulder with other major motion picture releases and major television shows that explore a similar universe. So yeah, this is a tough universe because it’s a criminal universe. However, there’s hundreds of hours of gameplay. People have been engaged with Grand Theft Auto Online for over a year and there are plenty of things to do, and it’s an incredibly exciting environment. But can it be rough? Absolutely.

Take that, ignorant demonspawns!

Although, if you hit the Gamezone link, you can watch the video, and apart from that moment of idiocy regarding the game’s content there’s actually some decent discussion about market trends and Grand Theft Auto. Well, decent if you care about economical talk, company etiquette, mobile and even some virtual reality speak for Take-Two, and whether games are ready for it. The publisher’s CEO Zelnick actually seems like a pretty decent and down to earth gentlemen, so it makes for a ‘watchable’ interview. Please shoot me for calling a video watchable.

What do you think about the man’s response to the using and abusing of hookers in GTA V?

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[UPDATE] Dragon Age Inquisition Won’t Be Sold In India Because Of Gay Sex Scenes http://egmr.net/2014/11/dragon-age-inquisition-wont-sold-india-gay-sex-scene-seriously/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/dragon-age-inquisition-wont-sold-india-gay-sex-scene-seriously/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 14:00:26 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163298 Prepare yourselves for a substantial dose of bullshit, if you didn’t get enough of it already with Ubisoft proclaiming to be changing their review policies and that sad, pathetic story of Sonic […]

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Prepare yourselves for a substantial dose of bullshit, if you didn’t get enough of it already with Ubisoft proclaiming to be changing their review policies and that sad, pathetic story of Sonic Boom. It would appear that Dragon Age Inquisition has been withdrawn from sale in India “[i]n order to avoid a breach of local content laws.”

The game has been removed from the Indian Origin service and customers have been issued refunds and some generated apology. Milestone Interactive, EA’s local distributor, has also confirmed that Dragon Age Inquisition will not be sold at retail, according to a report from IGN India.

“In order to avoid a breach of local content laws, Electronic Arts has withdrawn Dragon Age: Inquisition from sale in India,” EA said in a statement. “Unfortunately, that means we’re unable to fulfill your Origin order.”

“All affected purchases for Dragon Age: Inquisition will be refunded. This applies regardless of payment method or date of purchase.

“Dragon Age: Inquisition may still temporarily appear in your Origin library, but it will be removed before its launch date.”

This is where it gets fucked up though. Milestone Interactive told NDTV Gadgets that the decision related to the game’s homosexual sex scenes, yet Dragon Age Origins, Dragon Age 2, the Mass Effect trilogy and multiple The Sims games are still available via Origin in India despite the fact that they contain same-sex romance options. EA has confirmed to IGN that it’s only Dragon Age Inquisition that won’t be going on sale.

How illogical and downright pathetic is that? Although, the law is a funny thing, and it probably has something to do with the fact that in December 2013 the Indian Supreme Court restored an 1861 law that criminalises homosexual intercourse. The law had previously been taken down by a lower court for being unconstitutional. That’s when the law becomes a bit silly, isn’t it?

So, it would appear that all the aforementioned games are safe because they released before the law was reinstated, but tough luck BioWare, trying to be inclusive with Dragon Age Inquisition has got you excluded. From India.

I’m just not entirely sure what being this vehemently against the inclusion of homosexual content will get you, generally speaking and moving away from the whole law business. It’s optional, denying the sale of the game won’t stop anyone from accessing homosexual content or, well, being homosexual, and ultimately it achieves nothing useful. Except it does breed resentment and anger towards not only being denied a popular and critically successful game, but by still being excluded.

Perhaps importing then? Or smuggling via a friend. Those are viable options.



According to new information via Gamer Headlines, EA has cleared the air surrounding Dragon Age Inquisition being pulled from the market in India. A statement from an EA representative reads that the company has removed the game from sale in India because of “local obscenity laws,” and not necessarily due to the homosexual relationships and content the player can have and experience.

“The decision here is in relation to local obscenity laws, but not specific to same-gender romance,” said the EA representative.

“In order to avoid a breach of local content laws, EA has withdrawn Dragon Age: Inquisition from sale in India and the game is no longer available for preorder. Customers who preordered the game will be contacted directly and will be fully refunded.”

The EA rep also offered some final clarification in saying that the game’s allowance for same-sex relationships and gay characters is “irrelevant” to EA’s decision to remove the game from purchase in the region.

What exactly are those obscenity laws that EA is referring to? Well, the EA rep referenced India’s penal code, which is seemingly quite ambiguous on this matter.

Additionally the EA rep specifically referred to Dragon Age Inquisition‘s ESRB rating and description (below) to point out what laws EA might be breaking if it released Inquisition in India.

“This is a role-playing game in which players assume the role of a warrior battling evil forces in different dimensions. Characters use swords, axes, hammers, and magic attacks to kill fantastical creatures (e.g., demons, monsters, dwarfs) and humans in melee-style combat.

Cutscenes sometimes depict characters impaled or getting their throats slit. Violent sequences are often highlighted by cries of pain, gurgling/gushing sounds, and large blood-splatter effects; blood remains on the ground in several environments.

The game includes some sexual material: a female character briefly depicted in front of a man’s torso (fellatio is implied); characters depicted topless or with exposed buttocks while lying in bed or after sex; some dialogue referencing sex/sexuality (e.g., “’I will bring myself sexual pleasure later, while thinking about this with great respect’” and “The way your t*ts bounce when I pin your arms and take you on the side of the bed…”). The words “f**k,” “sh*t,” and “a*shole” appear in dialogue.”

This could just be EA offering some conflict-avoiding PR, or it could just be that much of a legal annoyance. Either way, if it isn’t specifically about the homosexual content, I’m still left baffled as to what exactly is so bad about Dragon Age Inqusition that other games don’t contain, especially previous BioWare games. Not to mention the December 2013 law change in India makes things a little more suspicious.

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Will Grand Theft Auto V’s First Person Violence Cause An Upset? http://egmr.net/2014/11/will-grand-theft-auto-vs-first-person-violence-cause-upset/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/will-grand-theft-auto-vs-first-person-violence-cause-upset/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 07:00:47 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163223 Anyone who knows Rockstars’ track record would know that they’re over achievers, and we can pretty much state that categorically without hesitation. The latest example of this would be their […]

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Anyone who knows Rockstars’ track record would know that they’re over achievers, and we can pretty much state that categorically without hesitation. The latest example of this would be their decision to port Grand Theft Auto V to PS4 and Xbox One complete with an entirely new first person mode, in addition to the incredible graphical enhancements. It offers an entirely new way to play the game, one that excites me tremendously. However, it seems that not everyone will find it as exciting as me, because the new perspective appears to give the game’s violence a less lighthearted tone, and makes it appear a teeny tiny bit more sinister. At least, according to some currently in debate about it.

Now, I’d just like to put it out there that I’m the last person to talk about video game violence being “too much”, because I’m usually the guy mutilating corpses and laughing about it or, well, modding the PC version of Skyrim to allow me to behead children. Alright I never said I was perfect. I love violence in games. Sue me. However, a discussion has already got going on NeoGAF about this very issue, and some GIFs have been posted which show Grand Theft Auto V’s first person violence and how it can, out of context, appear quite different to the usual fun. My kind of fun.

Take a quick peek above and below at how the violence in the game appears from a first person perspective, particularly how you can make it look to the non-gamer, or media vulture waiting to pounce on video games to use as a scapegoat for the next real life massacre.

I’m sure you can see that it doesn’t look particularly comical, as you would expect from GTA. It’s appropriate timing to again reiterate that I’m super excited to try the game out in first person, and it’s actually the main reason I want to get my hands on GTA V again. I’m merely making conversation here, largely in response to a well-justified prediction from Crave Online that the first person perspective of Grand Theft Auto V will lead to new controversy from the aforementioned vultures.

Obviously we’re all sick to death of any conversations that revolve around video games and their potential to cause violence, because numerous studies have shown that they do not. There has been evidence of some kind of relation, but as we know from basic research, correlation doesn’t necessarily imply causation, or make a case for it. Like any violent media and violent person, there can definitely be relations and influences but most of the time, in the cases media have had a field day with, the individual has had severe mental issues. Am I not allowed to say that, because people are sensitive? Well, how about ‘cognitive challenges’, you politically correct hacks.

This is simply, as I said, a conversation about whether the first person perspective does indeed add a more sinister look to the violence than the traditional third person camera, and whether or not you believe that this will lead to more controversy for Rockstar and Grand Theft Auto V, both of which have had more than their fair share. I’d love to hear your opinions on the matter.

Personally I feel that controversy is inevitable, more so in games that get closer and closer to home, as in reality. Funnily enough I actually wrote about it two years ago with regards to Syndicate and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, where a huge deal was made about the infamous ‘No Russian’ mission in the latter, but hardly anyone seemed to care about the former, where civilian death, including a nonchalant train massacre, was a thing. The reasonable argument in that case was that Modern Warfare 2’s conflict was one you could relate to, and it was realistic, whereas Syndicate was too fictitious. Similarly, Grand Theft Auto V is very close to home, which makes it worse for some.

I’m not entirely an advocate for that argument because it sort of implies that if the setting isn’t realistic, you can pretty much go wild and do whatever you want. So, how about recreating Grand Theft Auto in a futuristic setting and then kill some babies? But I digress, I’m straying a little from the point.

I’m certain that many gamers out there are tremendously excited for the first person mode in Grand Theft Auto V on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, but what say you regarding its depiction of the violence? Does it seem less chilled out to you? Do you care? Do you just want to kill everything? Drop a comment, and let’s talk about it.

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Sonic Boom Rise Of Lyric Was So Broken Staff Fled The Studio To Avoid It http://egmr.net/2014/11/sonic-boom-rise-lyric-broken-staff-fled-studio-avoid/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/sonic-boom-rise-lyric-broken-staff-fled-studio-avoid/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 07:00:22 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163080 Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric was released just last week on Nintendo Wii U, but it didn’t take long for a huge variety of game breaking and disastrous bugs to […]

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Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric was released just last week on Nintendo Wii U, but it didn’t take long for a huge variety of game breaking and disastrous bugs to be discovered which destroyed any possibility of there having been quality assurance for the game.

These aren’t your ordinary game breaking bugs. I mean, there’s a bloody broken cutscene in the game, where the characters jump around constantly. What the fuck is that even? Another wonderful bug occurs if you die in a certain early battle in the game, which results in you possibly becoming permanently stuck and having to restart your game. There’s also the possibility of jumping through walls and falling forever.

I know this sounds like a nightmare from over a decade ago. Except it’s not. It gets worse. Twitch user Parax0 discovered an absolutely demented bug that somehow found its way into the game. When playing as Knuckles, pausing the game refreshes your double jump, so you can basically just jump, pause, jump and repeat until you evade nearly all areas, including the final boss. Don’t believe me? Take a peek at the video embedded up above, where you can see this very glitch in action.

The game’s utterly atrocious state of release has earned it a Metacritic score of 39 thus far, making it one of the worst rated games of the entire year, potentially the worst. It certainly has dealt some terrible blows in Sega’s direction, and I can’t imagine how the Sonic fans out there must be feeling.

But that isn’t the end of the story. At least, not according to a report by Pixel Dynamo.

It seems that many members of the team at Big Red Button Entertainment, Sonic Boom: Rise of the Lyric’s developer, actually knew or anticipated how bad the final product would end up being, since most of them opted to leave the company before the game was actually released. This exodus actually occurred six months before Sonic Boom landed on the market.

Obviously this absurd story begged to be investigated, and much of it was put together by Tristan Oliver from Tssznews. Through the examination of LinkedIn profiles for members of the development team, Oliver discovered that a huge number of Big Red Button Entertainment staff left the company at the aforementioned time. Among those who left included the likes of Justin Leader, the producer and project manager for Sonic Boom, so that’s quite telling of how the game fell apart. Other designers and artists also were among the nope squad who left.

If there’s any silver lining out there, it would be that the staff departures were voluntary, so these people had the dignity to leave the project. There doesn’t appear to be any bad blood between the ex-staff members and company, although I can’t say that anyone would be happy with how this apparent piece of slime turned out. It should be pointed out that it’s not 100% definite fact that these staff members left because of the state of Sonic Boom, but it’s quite a fair deduction and logical assumption given that so many decided to leave at the same time, as the disgusting game was coming to life.

Personally I find it despicable that this game can even be released, and that consumers actually paid money for it. Although should we really be surprised? As much as Sega tried to redeem itself with Alien Isolation, which was an awesome experience, these are the clowns who published Aliens: Colonial Marines and actually watched people pay money for it. So I hardly am surprised that Sega would sit by and actually release this garbage, although that doesn’t make it any less cancerous.

No one likes seeing a development studio collapse or people lose their jobs, but bullshit like this cannot be sold, and that makes it impossible to feel sorry for Sega or the people who worked on the game. Still, at least the game breaking bugs are worth a laugh. You know, if you weren’t one of those unfortunate enough to buy the game.

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Review: The Evil Within Is Horrible http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-evil-within-horrible/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-evil-within-horrible/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 15:00:34 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162747 Visit review on site for scoring. I’ll admit to having been excited for The Evil Within, because for the longest time the triple A scene has been devoid of any […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

The Evil Within Review - 5

I’ll admit to having been excited for The Evil Within, because for the longest time the triple A scene has been devoid of any attempts at genuine horror, and it’s largely rested on the shoulders of indie developers to bring out the best of the genre. I’m a massive fan of horror, it’s the genre of untapped potential in gaming, and once you truly get into it, you’ll find it difficult to ever get frightened by other media. Yet as The Evil Within drew closer to release, it started to look less and less like the basket of goodies we’d been waiting ages for, and more like another mistake. However earlier in October the wonderful surprise Alien Isolation released, and that piled the pressure on The Evil Within to deliver. Unfortunately, the game did the exact opposite of that, in every single respect.

It starts to go terribly wrong with the story pretty early on. Trust me I’m all for ambiguity, especially in horror, because mysteries lose their appeal once they’re solved, and horror movie remakes like Halloween and A Nightmare On Elm Street blatantly prove how trying to explain the reasons behind everything in this genre ultimately destroys the fear of the unknown and suspense. However The Evil Within takes the idea of ambiguity to ludicrous extremes, to the point that the game has absolutely nothing coherent about it, and makes less than zero sense. It’s near impossible to follow or ground yourself in any way into the world, and pretty soon you’ll just sit back and spectate as the circus that is The Evil Within adventure takes you wherever it pleases and does whatever it wants. It’s strange then how quickly the game spirals out of sense considering it has a downright awesome intro sequence loaded with suspense, atmosphere and tension, but it’s quick to throw all manners of subtlety and story out of the window to become, well, like a C-grade anime that leaves you completely in the dark. There are no rules, there is no logic and there is no fear of what you’re up against.

The consequence of ‘anything goes’ is that suspense is completely killed. One moment you’ll be escaping a giant chainsaw wielding brute, the next you’ll be avoiding actual bombs and traps, then you’ll pick up a crossbow that can fire shock arrows, and then you’ll be fighting legions of gun-wielding zombies before a full on boss battle with, well, a giant dog. The game is literally so random that it just becomes comical, and it doesn’t help that the characters are some of the worst I’ve seen this entire year. Their dialogue is terrible and only comes about when the game remembers that people need to say things to give context, the voice acting is cringe-inducing and the protagonist Sebastian makes Watch Dogs’ Aiden Pierce look like the gold standard of character development. Characters largely don’t seem the least bit concerned by anything going on, to the point that hours into the game the protagonist can’t decide whether he wants to make witty jokes or still keep up the whole “what the hell is going on?” thing. I passed the game onto a fellow writer and it took all of three chapters into the game before he expressed frustration that there is not a semblance of coherence to be found.

The Evil Within Review - 6

The gameplay is not shy to be as bizarrely random as the story, and it tries as hard as possible to appeal to every sort of horror genre fan remotely possible. The game will start out encouraging stealth and hiding, like something out of Outlast, but soon enough it will become about surviving against few zombies and lethal traps while carefully managing your resources, before it just becomes full on about boss battles and explosive arrows and cinematic chase sequences. I can’t tell whether The Evil Within wants to be a shooter, a survival horror or a cinematic action game like Uncharted, or all three at once, but I can say that there is no focus here. But despite that the gameplay could have easily worked as is, if it wasn’t for how terrible it is mechanically. That’s because the game is largely a throwback to the old school days of horror, and is reminiscent of Resident Evil in some ways, and it feels extremely ‘gamey’ in this respect. Honestly speaking if it had come together it could have been pretty damn fantastic, but the reality is that it’s just a mess, and so aggravating to play the way it expects you to.

Let’s put it into perspective. The camera is frustrating, never letting you feel like you can see enough and never being responsive to the point that you can deal cleanly with enemies or hazards around you. Melee combat is like something that went out of fashion a decade ago, as it’s a single button push that causes your character to flail uselessly in a single direction, so you can easily miss your enemies and give the air what it deserves most of the time. Sneaking is decent, but there’s very little opportunity for stealth and hiding for some reason requires you to let go of sneak and press it again (since it’s tied to the same button), which is weird. Your character controls like a sack of bloated meat, and you’ll never feel like there’s fluidity or responsiveness at any point. Shooting does the job, but not well enough for this to be a solid action title. Sprinting is a luxury you’re afforded for a couple of seconds only, so you have to end up exploiting it by holding it for a little bit each time. And if your health gets into the red zone, you’ll be limping around in slow motion unable to make any attempts at dodging.

But what does the above translate to? I mean, it all may sound like understandable handicaps to put on the player in a survival horror title. Except for the way The Evil Within demands you to play, it frequently comes together to invite little more than sheer frustration. You don’t have the mobility or responsiveness to tackle multiple mini bosses at once in a tiny confined space while simultaneously avoiding death traps, the camera control isn’t competent enough to deal with an immortal enemy who kills you in one hit if it catches you yet you have to be precise in your aiming to hit little levers spread around, and the mechanics as a whole certainly aren’t built well enough for a giant boss who requires all of your limited ammo only to get to its second phase where it can instantly kill you if it gets close yet it can eliminate all possible hiding spots. These are tiny illustrations of where the game just doesn’t give you the capacity to succeed, and frequently the experience can degrade into repeated trial, error and luck without you feeling like your skill factored in at all, or like you can learn from mistakes.

The Evil Within Review - 3

I know exactly what some of you are thinking now. Surely I dislike The Evil Within because I’m bad at games, right? Or I must hate difficult games and want everything to be easy? Here’s the thing though. I love a good challenge. I played Alien Isolation on hard, and it was riveting. I often play my FPS games without crosshairs because it adds immersion. I don’t shy away from a challenge, except I love a challenge that my skill can overcome. Not where I have to battle a game that is just mechanically ancient and flawed, and that’s what often makes it so difficult. I’m also someone who is fond of nostalgia, and often wishes games wouldn’t have abandoned certain things from the past, such as great boss fights. But I’m not fond of dealing with faulty mechanics we evolved from, like restrictive cameras and shoddy controls. A challenge loses relevance and descends into frustration when the game has mechanical or technical failings that unfairly and unnecessarily make things more difficult. That’s just bad design, and little else. And sadly the game is absolutely full of bad design.

However I can definitely praise The Evil Within for a few things. When it wants to be, it can certainly be deliciously creative, especially with its boss fights. There are actually some genuinely brilliant moments of horror. Like the first encounter with the multiple armed spider-woman, or the Boxman with a bloody tentacled safe for a head. Often the game will resort to a trial and error or rather die and retry formula for these encounters, and there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that. It’s just the unfortunate reality that when you beat them you aren’t met with a rewarding sense of accomplishment or that great feeling of relief typical to overcoming something nasty in a horror title, because of the frustration involved with wrestling with the camera and clunky mechanics present throughout the entire ordeal. Most of the time you’ll just feel like you can move on to something hopefully less painful. But when it actually works for a consistent amount of time, The Evil Within can at least offer some sadistic surprises and disturbing imagery, even if it can’t offer any compelling content.

Fundamentally that’s one of the largest problems with the game. There just isn’t any genuine engagement or suspense. It’s not intense, it’s not atmospheric, it’s rarely ever intimidating and it’s unfocused. And in the rare, actually fantastic moments of the game, you’re left barely able to appreciate any of it because you’re too busy battling frustrating mechanics, sloppy controls, an awkward camera and dealing with lengthy loading screens if you die, which ultimately destroys any intensity the game may build up to. Even so, for the most part there just isn’t much standout about the game. Excluding the few good horror moments, nothing is memorable unless it caused you to throw your controller through your TV in agitation. There are tons of horror cliches we’ve seen dozens of times, such as the chainsaw wielding brute, the Dead Space trick of corpses not really being dead and the use of an unkillable entity that randomly appears once in a while, and by that I mean like twice in ten hours. The Evil Within just never challenges your mind or your senses, only your endurance.

The Evil Within Review - 2

In the middle of this entire rant I can simply say without The Evil Within having competent mechanics, subtlety, coherency, atmosphere, effective pacing and even some context, there just isn’t any horror to be had. You can ease the pain I suppose, by turning down the difficulty or scouring the lands for green gel to upgrade Sebastian’s effectiveness in combat and survival skills. You can improve many aspects of your character like damage dealt with certain weapons, the amount of ammo you can carry, your life bar and various other nuances. Yet, no matter how much you upgrade, it doesn’t really improve combat or your experience with the game, it largely just serves to make it slightly less antagonizing to play. The system itself isn’t necessary to the game as a result, and you’ll kind of just take a ‘why not’ approach to the whole thing. Its absence certainly wouldn’t be noticed.

It doesn’t help The Evil Within’s cause either that it’s graphically underwhelming, and riddled with little glitches and bugs, whether visual or gameplay related. The game makes use of black bars at the top and bottom of the screen to have a more cinematic feel, and while it doesn’t hurt the game I don’t quite see how it improves it either, given the camera issues. I can notably praise some of the creativity behind the visuals though, as when the game isn’t being bland it certainly knows how to give you all the disturbing imagery you need, to fantastic effect. Horribly grotesque monsters, insects crawling out of faces, whatever tickles your fancy, The Evil Within has its rare moments in spite of its visuals.

Although anyone can deal with underwhelming visuals, and what actually disappoints the most is the audio of the game. When I see games like Alien Isolation pay obsessive attention to detail with every little sound, and the sheer presence of the atmosphere that emerges as a result, I have to say that The Evil Within is one of the most disappointing horror titles I’ve played in ages in this regard. I never felt unnerved by sound, whether it came from monsters or the environment, and I don’t recall any single detail that ever caused me to break a sweat. The aforementioned absence of subtlety and suspense is compounded by The Evil Within making no effort to craft an atmosphere, and no matter how much you crank the volume of your headphones up or how dark you make the room, it just isn’t frightening.

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Seriously, Can We Drop The “30FPS Is More Cinematic” Nonsense Now? http://egmr.net/2014/11/seriously-can-drop-30fps-cinematic-nonsense-now/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/seriously-can-drop-30fps-cinematic-nonsense-now/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 07:00:22 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162859 If you were sober this week you would have seen the troubled launch of Assassin’s Creed Unity, which was basked in controversy as the embargo only dropped some dozen hours after the game […]

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If you were sober this week you would have seen the troubled launch of Assassin’s Creed Unity, which was basked in controversy as the embargo only dropped some dozen hours after the game went on sale, leading us to discuss the issues of such frustrating practice in detail. Ubisoft has been no stranger to controversy with this game, I mean, surely you remember the whole business over the female characters and all, but if there’s one area where we can move away from simple opinions and get closer to some fact it’s frame rate. As we know Assassin’s Creed Unity runs at 30fps, (and also 900p, if you care), but the game has released as a technical mess, unable to hold a stable frame rate, which is a big part of the reason the game has got ire from the community and mixed critical reception.

However, I’m not here to discuss the review embargo or the frustrations involved in a game releasing in such a state. I’m here to tell you why Ubisoft actually dug itself a hole with Assassin’s Creed Unity, and made quite a substantial joke of itself. It starts and ends with them talking big, and waking up with a foot in their mouths. Do any of you remember that time early last month where Ubisoft explained why they did not aim for 60fps with Assassin’s Creed Unity? Do any of you remember the bullshit being spouted about how you “don’t gain that much from 60fps and it doesn’t look like the real thing” and how “30 was our goal, it feels more cinematic”, and best of all how 30fps “lets us push the limits of everything to the maximum.” Do those quotes not seem familiar? Let me jog your memory.

At the time I did my usual and called them out on their nonsense in saying that 60fps, whether you care to admit it or not, is better for the actual playing experience. That’s also why I’ve always argued that frame rate matters far more than resolution, because it affects your gameplay and responsiveness, whereas resolution has no gameplay implications, even if it is nice to have. Yet now, in the wake of Assassin’s Creed Unity’s launch, I actually want Ubisoft to stand accountable for their nonsense, because frankly I find it quite unacceptable (in addition to the review embargo drama) that the developers who dismissed 60fps and boasted about 30fps being better actually can’t maintain 30fps in their massive budget game. It’s pretty sad considering that 30fps is last generation’s standard, and the push for 60fps is currently one of the dreams.

Let’s be honest though and say that 1080p and 60fps are fantastic to have, but if you don’t have them in your game it’s not the end of the world. I say that as someone who plays on PC, Xbox and PS4. There’s nothing at all wrong with 30fps. But don’t for one moment try and argue that 30fps is better than 60fps, because then you’re going to end up a royal fool. Perhaps you’re used to 30fps more, but if you’ve ever gamed seriously on a PC or, well, if you’ve ever actually seen them side by side, you’d be living in denial if you were to argue to the contrary. Honestly, I don’t even mind a developer actively aiming for 30fps, because they prefer it or want to or because of technical limitations. As long as they deliver it and the rest of their promises and objectives.

What I am not alright with, is Ubisoft who not only try to sell you the “30fps is better and more cinematic” shovel-ware, and as a result shunned 60fps for 30fps, but also completely fail to even deliver on the bare minimum. So what is my point, aside from having a go at Ubisoft? My point, or one of them, is to stop accepting this degree of nonsense from developers or publishers. It’s pretty obvious that Assassin’s Creed Unity couldn’t make it at 60fps, surely if it can’t even deal with 30fps, and that’s not great when the developers are off running their mouths prior to release. And once again, if it couldn’t make it at 60fps, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. No one died playing a game in 30fps, and no one lost any significant enjoyment. But there certainly is something wrong with asking people to digest a welcome serving of nonsense steak, and then ending up with a major foot in your mouth when said nonsense steak gives the consumer an epic stomach ache.

Will these technical issues be fixed anytime soon, following on with the current popular mentality of “release now, fix later”? Who knows. But if there’s one thing that’s clear it’s that Ubisoft needs to be held accountable for this, not just for the review embargo frustrations or for releasing the game in such a miserable state, but also for trying to feed us a dose of PR garbage and think we wouldn’t notice when it blows up in their faces. Maybe Assassin’s Creed Unity isn’t actually such a bad game, but it’s by time developers and publishers owned up to mistakes or their BS, and it’s time we stopped leaping to their defense and call them out on their wrongs so that they can be responsible for it and aim to be better next time around. Otherwise, we may as well stand back and wait for the next inevitable incident.

Now please, for the love of all that is holy or unholy, can we drop the “30fps is more cinematic and better” trash? Clearly it’s used by people in denial, or in Ubisoft’s case when you need a trending excuse for why you can’t actually hit that magic number sixty.

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The VGAs Are Gone — Meet The Game Awards 2014 http://egmr.net/2014/11/vgas-gone-meet-game-awards-2014/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/vgas-gone-meet-game-awards-2014/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 07:00:33 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162802 The Spike Video Game Awards, or VGAs (VGX too), were always taken seriously by some of those within the industry, as the show never really lacked for appearances from famous […]

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The Spike Video Game Awards, or VGAs (VGX too), were always taken seriously by some of those within the industry, as the show never really lacked for appearances from famous video game people. However, after the absolutely awkward disaster that was last year’s VGX awards, where games were essentially made a mockery of and Pewdiepie randomly appeared for no other reason than because he’s famous, I’m sure show host and producer Geoff Keighley had quite a lot to think about. At least we hope we did, because if there ever was an appropriate time to do the walk of shame, it was last year at the night of the VGX awards.

Fast forward to today and Keighley has announced a new video game awards ceremony coming in December, totally rebranded.

Gone are the Video Game Awards or the Video Game…X? They’re nothing but relics.

Behold The Game Awards 2014.

Yeah, take that ‘video’, you’re not needed anymore.

The Game Awards 2014 will debut on December 5 in Last Vegas, Nevada at the AXIS Theater in Planet Hollywood. It has an advisory board made up of prominent gaming figures, such as Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima, SCEA boss Shawn Layden and Xbox head Phil Spencer.

“Built to honor every aspect of the world’s most dynamic form of entertainment, The Game Awards 2014 will highlight the cultural significance of the $100B a year gaming industry with awards, world premieres, musical performances, and appearances by game developers, eSports players and online content creators,” the PR statement reads.

“The Game Awards 2014 is a new show created specifically to acknowledge the place of videogames at the center of modern entertainment and culture.”

The event will be live streamed via PSN, Steam and Xbox services. Public tickets will be available from TicketMaster starting today.

While the name change may not be drastic, I would certainly hope that it signifies a significant rebranding attempt to make the Game Awards about actually honouring gaming, the industry and the culture behind it. Clearly from the PR statement the intention is there, but if the Game Awards wants to actually be taken seriously as any kind of authority on gaming, by anyone who is totally into gaming, and not just an awkward sideshow, then it really has to step it up this year.

Give us a reason to tune in or pay attention. Whether it’s in the form of awards that actually matter, or opportunities to learn more about our industry or even just fun ways to bring gaming to a larger audience, here’s your chance to make The Game Awards relevant. I would strongly advise, however, getting a guest star who doesn’t spend the entirety of the show making bad jokes, cockblocking any attempt at honouring gaming and insulting gamers with quips from the 90s.

That will be all.

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Your PC Probably Can Handle Far Cry 4 http://egmr.net/2014/11/pc-probably-can-handle-far-cry-4/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/pc-probably-can-handle-far-cry-4/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 07:00:28 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162698 Far Cry 3 released towards the end of 2012, deep into the twilight years of the previous generation of consoles. It was as clear as day to see that those […]

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Far Cry 3 released towards the end of 2012, deep into the twilight years of the previous generation of consoles. It was as clear as day to see that those consoles were chugging at that point, because the PC version of Far Cry 3 was vastly superior to its console counterparts, to the point that if you saw or played the game on the master race of platforms, you couldn’t even look at it on consoles. At least that’s if you’re kind of a graphics whore, like I am when it comes to FPS games on pretty islands.

Bring on Far Cry 4, and we’re already a year into the new generation of consoles. However, just like Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, Far Cry 4 is also releasing on the previous generation, which naturally means that it will be somewhat held back. This is partly because the developers want some kind of parity, in that they don’t want the game to look ten thousand times better on current hardware than its previous gen counterparts, and also partly because valuable resources are spent on multiple platforms, and some focus is lost. Now, the PC requirements have been officially released for the game, and I’m not sure whether it’s the aforementioned reasons or just that Ubisoft are pretty good at optimisation, but Far Cry 4 doesn’t actually seem to be that scary in its demands.

Below you can take a gander at the PC minimum and optimal system requirements.


  • Supported OS – Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8/8.1 (64bit versions only)
  • Processor – Intel Core i5-750 @ 2.6 GHz or AMD Phenom II X4 955 @ 3.2 GHz
  • Memory – 4GB
  • Video Card – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or AMD Radeon HD5850 (1GB VRAM)
  • Direct X – Version 11
  • Hard Drive – 30 GB available space
  • Sound Card – DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card with latest drivers


  • Supported OS – MS Windows 7 SP1, MS Windows 8/8.1 (64bit versions only)
  • Processor – Intel Core i5-2400S @ 2.5 GHz or AMD FX-8350 @ 4.0 GHz or better
  • Memory – 8GB
  • Video Card – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 or AMD Radeon R9 290X or better (2GB VRAM)
  • Direct X – Version 11
  • Hard Drive – 30 GB available space
  • Sound Card – DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card with latest drivers

While the optimal specifications may start entering nope territory for your average PC gamer, the minimum requirements don’t actually invite any sort of real fear. And Far Cry on PC is the kind of game that will look good even if you’re just rising slightly above the minimal requirements, so it looks like it’s possible that the master race will get to enjoy getting the best out of their rigs as well as having not-so-high barriers to entry.

However if you’re determined to make your rig wheeze and break a sweat, take a look at the video above, which was released by Ubisoft to show off the fruits of its partnership with Nvidia. The video details some unique visual enhancements enjoyed by the PC version, such as the super realistic fur on animals, better godrays (to do with realistic lighting) and highly improved shadows. The video will give you a good look at how things are with the effects on and off, so if you’re a graphics whore or you just want to validate your PC investment, you should definitely drop your pants, grab your popcorn and enjoy highly detailed tigers.

Let’s be honest now though. Far Cry 4 isn’t likely to scare you, since we all know the true terror will come when The Witcher 3’s official requirements are revealed, am I right?

Now that I’ve made you feel bad, be on the lookout for Far Cry 4 when it releases on November 20, and of course our review as well which should go live shortly after.

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Advanced Warfare Blocks PS4 Share Play, Is This The Start Of Excuses? http://egmr.net/2014/11/advanced-warfare-blocks-ps4-share-play-start-excuses/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/advanced-warfare-blocks-ps4-share-play-start-excuses/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 07:00:15 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162560 The PS4 finally got one of its long-awaited and much-hyped offerings in the recent 2.0 firmware update, that being the exciting Share Play feature. Unfortunately while the rest of the world […]

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The PS4 finally got one of its long-awaited and much-hyped offerings in the recent 2.0 firmware update, that being the exciting Share Play feature. Unfortunately while the rest of the world out there is probably out right now having a field day with the feature, which lets you hand over your controller to someone to play your game or engage in local co-op sessions no matter where you are in the world, we here in South Africa sadly aren’t able to enjoy it thanks to our very unimpressive internet and upload speeds.

I suppose it’s no surprise that the feature, as fantastic as it sounds, would not come without its fair share of restrictions, one of them being that developers would largely be in control of Share Play and whether they’d like their games to make complete use of it. One of the ways in which developers can control the feature is by implementing the ‘blocked scene’ option, which is intended to avoid spoilers by limiting access to certain scenes in the game, but of course there’s no limit for the developer on how many scenes they’d like to exclude. So it would appear that, using this feature, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the first title to basically not support PS4’s Share Play functionality, and both Sony and Activision have offered statements as to why that is.

Reddit users report that Activision has made special use of Share Play’s ‘blocked scene’ option by extending it across the entire game, effectively putting the option for the feature to bed. When attempting Share Play, Advanced Warfare PS4 players are given a system message, “The host’s game screen is not displayed because the current scene is a blocked scene for Share Play. Wait until the blocked scene is finished.”

Sony has told CVG that developers can choose to disable Share Play at their discretion: “Share Play is a system level feature enabled by System Software Update 2.0 making it available for all PS4 titles, however the option is available to developers to disable the feature according to what they feel will best benefit the consumer experience.”

Alright then. But why did Advanced Warfare disable the feature? Let’s see.

Activision offered the following explanation: “Delivering a great gaming experience for fans is our top priority. We’re focused on launching Advanced Warfare and ensuring that people have a great time playing it, which our fans seem to be.

“Share Play is a new feature that was introduced as part of the recent PS4 firmware 2.00 update. Our engineers didn’t have access to it before it launched, so we haven’t had a chance to evaluate it to see how it will impact the experience across all modes of play.

“Of course we wouldn’t include a feature in our game without having the chance to test it. Once we’ve fully analysed its performance, we’ll determine how to support it going forward.”

Granted, this seems like a legitimately good reason for opting out of Share Play. Why offer something you’ve not tested and run the risk of problems you didn’t foresee? To that end perhaps Advanced Warfare may be except from criticism in this regard, especially if there is some plan to support it at a later stage.

However, could this be a start of some pretty bad excuses for opting out of Share Play? It’s entirely at the discretion of the developer, and it’s highly possible that not all of them will be on board with the feature. Whether it’s the somewhat melodramatic fear of lost sales because people will play entire games off their friends without even leaving the house (instead of, you know, just borrowing the game from friends) or whatever reason, some will choose to opt out. I would just hope that we don’t start getting a ton of crappy excuses like “it was for the optimal experience” or “we excluded Share Play because it’s more cinematic”.

Share Play for me is largely a good thing, because if you can try out your friends’ games the moment they get them, it could just as easily encourage interest as it could lead to any disinterest or bumming off, but we already know this happens with people throwing their copies around like hot potatoes, so I don’t see the great harm it could cause.

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To Be Ignorant Of #GamerGate Is To Be Part Of The Problem http://egmr.net/2014/11/gamergate/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/gamergate/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 15:00:49 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162494 We’ve largely refrained from taking any sides or pushing any particular position on the #gamergate saga, because it’s generally been pretty extreme and we didn’t want to repeat any damage done […]

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We’ve largely refrained from taking any sides or pushing any particular position on the #gamergate saga, because it’s generally been pretty extreme and we didn’t want to repeat any damage done by other media or individuals in getting the wrong message out there. We’ve discussed it here and there from various angles, but we haven’t pushed any agendas. Earlier today Sledgehammer Games added something to the whole misogyny in gaming debate, which is still a pretty hot topic in the industry right now, so clearly the matter of #gamergate, its apparent misrepresentation in mainstream media and its effects on our gaming is still a very serious and very relevant issue. To that end I felt that when I eventually got down to discussing #gamergate, I wanted to do so with as much fairness as possible and without perpetuating any wrongful messaging or contributing to the harm caused to what many say are the original and true intentions of the banner.

In order to do this I reached out to Gaming Anarchist, a YouTuber whom I greatly respect and have a good relationship with (a platonic one I assure you), who happens to be pro-GamerGate, so that I could talk to him about varying issues relating to this saga. My position has largely been that because of how misunderstood and misrepresented #gamergate has been in media, and the sheer hostility that it has created among gamers and their attitude towards said media, perhaps it’s then my responsibility as a writer and lover of gaming to try to work together with gamers, which is what should be happening, in order to get a more positive and better message out there. I mean, surely there is a way that gamers and media can cooperate for the betterment of the industry, right?

I presented an opportunity to Gaming Anarchist to speak his mind in its entirety regarding #gamergate, and I feel his responses to my open-ended questions may provide great insight into the issue for anyone who doesn’t completely understand it or is upset at how its been represented by media and individuals against it. I genuinely believe that when presented with extremes there must be merit on both sides, and perhaps even a middle ground to be found, so on that note I would also consider speaking to someone against #gamergate, and maybe getting that side of the story as well. For now, however, I encourage you to read what Gaming Anarchist has to say, because it’s imperative that we understand #gamergate, with it being such a big part of our industry right now, and not jump to stand against it or even support it without at least knowing what it truly is and being aware of the issues surrounding it. In that way we can all make a positive contribution, or go about with our lives without caring any further. As long as we’re not destructive, I suppose.

The first question I asked was naturally what exactly #gamergate is, and how it came to be, so that we can have a foundation to work with. Gaming Anarchist responded:

GamerGate is a consumer revolt of individuals within and without the gaming industry that collectively use the hashtag #gamergate, coined by actor Adam Baldwin. It is not caused by any one thing but by a long building feeling of mistrust and alienation between many gamers and developers and some members of the gaming press.

However to summarise briefly the spark that lit the fire was the media’s response to information being made public about indie developer Zoe Quinn’s personal life, alleging that she had had multiple affairs with people including her boss and members of the press, this was written by an ex boyfriend and was titled the Zoe Post. The discussion of this was responded to with heavy censorship of Reddit and 4Chan as well as a video by YouTube creator Mundane Matt on the subject was issued with a DMCA copyright claim in order to quell discussion. It was too late, the Streisand Effect was in full force and this level of censorship was what fuelled the first wave backlash. The exposure of this information as well as evidence of Reddit Moderators cooperating with Zoe to silence people talking about her exposed personal life led to accusations of ethical impropriety and collusion within the press and aspects of the indie development scene. This went unanswered by the publications in question (i.e. Kotaku and Polygon) and by the press at large.

This was followed by some days of heated online arguments and culminated with after Ms Quinn and Fez developer Phil Fish claimed to have been hacked, their personal information exposed and threats received. What followed was more than 10 articles published within 48 hours declaring gamers to be white neck bearded heterosexual sexist dudebros and that the gamer identity was dead. This caused the anger of those who did and did not fit this stereotype for different reasons, straight white men for being stereotyped and insulted and women, LGBT people and those of different ethnicities taking offence on the grounds that they were being marginalised within what they see as an inclusive community.  In essence the levels to which it appeared some people in the gaming industry and websites were willing to go to protect the public embarrassment of someone with close links to key industry people and many different accusations of examples of corruption and collusion surrounding the topic was the perfect storm to be the last straw which broke the gamer’s back and led many to demand industry reform.

It is hard to define what GamerGate means to each individual, for myself it is focused on the questions of non-disclosure, nepotism, collusion with competitors and the financial funding of developers by certain journalists. This goes alongside the long standing questions regarding the way some AAA developers heavily attempt to influence critics with financial incentives, insider information and promotional events. There are also members of the press who go out of their way to claim gamers are entitled babies who act like children when they don’t get their way. For others this also encapsulates a push back against a perceived agenda in the industry (see the Assassin’s Creed no female online avatar, the Tomb Raider “rape scene”, the art style of Dragon’s Crown, characterisation of Bayonetta controversies etc).

We know that #gamergate has often been misrepresented in mainstream media, but attempts have been made to clear the air, such as with this down to earth video from American Enterprise Institute.

We also know that the banner hasn’t led to all good things, for a variety of reasons, so naturally my next question was regarding what the banner has done right, and what it has ultimately done wrong.

I feel the #notyourshield hashtag has been a highly useful way for people to show support for the consumer revolt while debunking the idea that women, LGBT people or individuals of ethnicities other than caucasian are not part of the gaming community. There has been over $70,000 raised for a number of charities from supporters of #gamergate, from supporting The Fine Young Capitalists (a project to help women get into the video game industry), suicide prevention and anti bullying to name but a few. In general I also believe that the way that the supporters of #gamergate actively report and if possible track down people sending threats and doxxing is a highly laudable endeavour. In the short term the method of contacting the advertisers of sites that have for example mockingly encouraged the idea of bullying, spoken out against their readership in a way that gamergate supporters see as a vitriolic etc has proven highly effective in ensuring that there are negative consequences for those who had taken great pains to undermine and marginalise them.

The biggest issue I would say is the earnestness of the gamers involved, as they are among the most passionate of the gaming community. They have, in large numbers, taken it upon themselves to discuss/debate/argue with people who speak against those who support the hashtag and that can inadvertently reinforce the image of an angry mob by them doing so. Due to the number and variety of people speaking out on either side as well as the raw emotions involved the debate can become unfocused. I would say that the PR went wrong but when you are revolting against people who have a hand in controlling the media of the industry you were always going to be labelled exactly how those opposing it will choose.

As far as the first paragraph above is concerned I can actually back this up with personal experience. For reasons I never quite found out I was recently doxxed (which means my private contact information such as home address and phone number was publicly exposed on the internet) on Twitter by someone claiming to be acting under the #gamergate banner. Probably because of some controversial opinion I wrote on this website, right? But before I could even notice this let alone report it the account had been removed from existence along with the tweet. Perhaps it was some distant friend of mine out there, but I feel it was more likely someone wanting to protect the integrity of #gamergate and I do appreciate that action was taken, regardless of who instigated it.

I also was not aware of the money and support provided to charity groups from those affiliated with #gamergate, and from that end I can understand possible feelings of frustration from the good folk there who wish that this information was not ignored by media and those against the banner. I think whether you like or care for #gamergate or not, to be against something does not mean to oppose everything related to it, and if you want to be more fair and objective then it is possible to praise and criticise something accordingly. With that said, let’s acknowledge the good.

But despite that good, what part did media and/or gamers ultimately play in harming the #gamergate message, in its original form? Let’s find out, shall we?

As mentioned before I think the earnestness of many of the gamers involved was ultimately unhelpful in having the debate. If someone has been told that #gamergate is a bunch of hateful harassers and they then comment on the hashtag and get a high number of responses almost immediately they will be inclined to agree with the assessment of #gamergate as an angry mob. Many of these debates take place on Twitter where the character limit and the difficulty in deciphering the tone of some messages can inevitably cause some misunderstandings. When it comes to the media I firmly believe that the intention of those within the media involved in this situation has been to destroy the core message of a call for ethical journalistic practices, first with silence, then with dismissal, then with scorn and now with articles and interviews that reinforce the narrative that #gamergate is a harassment group full of sexist monsters.

I then asked my good friend Gaming Anarchist what exactly the current situation is. Where do things stand now, weeks after the fact, with regards to #gamergate and those involved?

Currently we have a situation where two sides are deeply entrenched. Particularly the biggest impasse has come from the publicised threats received by Brianna Wu, Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian from anonymous accounts. Those involved in #gamergate that I interact with universally condemn these threats and make it a core part of their message, that they support ethics in journalism and are against threats and harassment. It appears, certainly to those who follow the hashtag closely, that these threats are always from anonymous, specially made accounts and rarely use the hashtag #gamergate. Many troll groups such as the GNAA have publicly displayed joy in causing chaos by stirring the pot from both sides. Many who oppose #gamergate claim that these threats come directly from people involved in the movement. Personally I find it hard to believe that a group of thousands of individuals would spontaneously congregate and create a cover story in order to specifically harass and threaten two outspoken small scale indie developers and a popular creator of YouTube videos with a contentious thesis.

Those in support of #gamergate are attempting to focus on what works, e-mailing the advertisers of those publications that offer nothing but scorn upon them (particularly those owned by Gawker media), combating harassment against their opposition where it occurs and asking for balanced reporting of the situation. It does appear that there is a core of people who are dedicating significant portions of their lives to undermine and stop people using the hashtag on the grounds that they feel it is fundamentally a hate movement full of misogynists, racists, extreme right wingers & homophobes. Many people who either have or could come out in favour of the principles of #gamergate have been threatened with professional ruin if they refuse to follow the prevailing media narrative. This includes TotalBiscuit who, whilst recovering from cancer surgery, has taken steps to bring the media to the table and attend interviews to show his support for the ethical concerns about a number of journalists and publications. This is ultimately in a very ugly place and without change things will only continue and the hard feelings get harder.

I would hope that putting this article out there would count as some small contribution into creating that necessary change and leading to more positive messaging. But is this all that can be done? What needs to happen in order for #gamergate to be heard?

What it needs is for impartial journalists to set aside the current narrative and independently research the topic, talk to people on both sides and formulate a balanced opinion. Focusing on the message of “trolls are harassing women, harassment is bad therefore one side is fundamentally stained” can’t work to resolve anything. Anyone who functions online knows that every trending topic or person has the hordes of trolls descend and the merits of any debate can’t be dictated according to their presence.

Wise words spoken there, with regards to not letting the bad apples destroy the contributions of the good or define the whole situation. My fellow friend and writer Caveshen has actually put out an opinion in the past concerning the actions of the bad invalidating that of the good, and why it shouldn’t happen.

Keeping in mind the desire to bring out more positive messaging, I asked Gaming Anarchist what good #gamergate has brought him and the community in general.

I believe that the #gamergate hashtag has succeeded in bringing together members of the gaming community of all backgrounds, ethnicity and genders in pursuit of a common goal. Indeed many that may have previously felt somewhat ostracised by the wider gaming community now feel like they are included and have discovered those of like mind within those that support the #gamergate hashtag. As I mentioned previously the supporters of #gamergate have donated a great deal of money to a wide range of charities and causes, including a project to help women that wish to make video games and work in the gaming industry. Concerning the call for ethics in video game journalism some publications such as The Escapist and Destructoid have updated their policies on ethics and disclosure as a direct result of the requests of those who support the #gamergate hashtag and other publications may follow suit.

As for what the #gamergate hashtag has done for me I would say that it has truly proved to me what a varied and inclusive group of people gamers really are and that they will happily welcome anyone with a love of video games.

If you honestly take a step back and read the words above, can you then legitimately say that #gamergate has brought nothing good? Surely if it has done this for people, then that is an achievement that should be celebrated? I am not saying that it validates all of #gamergate, including all the bad it has brought, but rather that it is deserving of some acknowledgement and admiration. Unity is a noble goal, and if #gamergate has contributed to that among gamers, we should encourage that part of it. It really is as simple as that, if we want to focus on the positives.

As mentioned earlier, however, #gamergate has not been all good. Naturally I then asked Gaming Anarchist whether the criticisms of #gamergate have legitimate grounds, and whether those part of the various anti-GG groups have some valid points to make as well.

I believe the misogynist label given to the vast majority that support the #gamergate hashtag to be a disingenuous assessment. The #gamergate supporters that I have interacted with are more than happy for women to be a part of the gaming industry, it’s media and also the gaming community itself. The dismissal of #gamergate supporters as a group of entitled white neck bearded man-children that don’t want anyone else to play with them has been thoroughly disproved by the #notyourshield hashtag which encompasses gamers from all walks of life. The continuing media narrative of #gamergate as a sexist angry mob has made some anti-GG protesters reluctant to take the concerns of #gamergate about journalistic ethics with any seriousness. However a number of examples of poor journalism ethics that took place before the #gamergate tag was coined can be found, such as the sacking of Jeff Gerstmann from the publication Gamespot after he gave the game Kane and Lynch a poor review and publisher Eidos threatened to pull advertising from Gamespot or Kotaku’s defending of Diablo 3’s always-online requirement while adverts for the game were all over the Kotaku site (a defence they later contradicted almost a year later). These are just some examples of unethical journalistic practices but there are many more.

As I have stated before the assertion that #gamergate supporters have made threats towards certain women involved in the gaming industry are somewhat suspect since the accounts that made the threats are usually specifically created to do so and rarely do threats use the #gamergate hashtag. Also certain groups have admitted to stirring up trouble against individuals on both sides. With that being said I believe that the passionate and earnest desire of #gamergate supporters to be heard has unintentionally given credence to the belief that #gamergate is a harassment group.

Perhaps you may be inclined to believe that there’s a certain degree of bias within someone who feels a strong positive connection to #gamergate, and it wouldn’t be outlandish to think that. But perhaps we can understand why the banner is being defended here, because for Gaming Anarchist as an individual, and for the community he interacts with, it has brought a lot of good. To these people #gamergate is genuinely about the good it has inspired and the original message of it, and not about what it has been negatively branded to be by media and those against it.

My final question to him was whether there was a way for gamers and media to work together to reform the #gamergate banner and get a better message out there.

In order for a better message to be created individuals on both sides would be required to lay aside differences and come together to discuss all the issues concerned with an open mind. Part of this would have to include abandonment of the current media narrative of #gamergate supporters as merely a bunch of white male sexists that are out to harass women and the recognition of actual concerns about video game journalism ethics. As for the supporters of #gamergate they would have to put aside the behaviour of the previous game media and work alongside journalists to create a better media with clear policies on disclosure and the ethical behaviour that will be expected of it’s employees. I believe that these conversations are already beginning to take place in the examples of The Escapist and Destructoid’s updating of ethical policies and the discussion between TotalBiscuit and Kotaku’s editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo. Whether or not the negativity between both sides concerned will continue will depend on the willingness of all parties to establish a meaningful and positive dialogue with a view to creating a video game media that is fit for purpose and represents the concerns of it’s customer base.

Ultimately I am sure most people can agree that a culture of fear and harassment (either real or concocted) is a terrible thing for the industry. It presents gaming in a bad light to the outside world as well as makes many women feel like they are hated by a vocal group gaming community. Either this assertion is true or it is not and can only be proven or debunked if influential members of the media address the real concerns, either through debating how they have been misinterpreted and providing assurances or by apologising and resolve them. If this does not, once the dust settles, end the revolt in time then we can know for sure if it is not about ethics. I, for one, will move on once the issues are openly addressed and we have real change, I have a feeling the overwhelming majority of #gamergate would do likewise.

There’s no doubt that this has been a momentous read for you, and I applaud you if you managed to get through all of it. Granted EGMR is relatively a very small fish in a massive ocean when compared to established publications such as Kotaku or IGN, but I feel our absolute freedom to be ourselves and be gamers first can positively contribute in situations such as these, and we can work together with the community for the betterment of the industry, even if it only helps in some small way or on an individual-level. To that end, whether you agree with everything that has been said by Gaming Anarchist or not, it stands to reason that you can appreciate it and express your opinion towards it honestly and constructively, because if you wish to grow and refrain from extremism, you’ve got to hear all fair sides to a story. This isn’t about squabbling, but about learning.

I would hope that this article has enhanced your understanding of #gamergate and contributed positively to your attitude and mindset regarding the banner. Perhaps in time we can chat to those against it and assess the other side of the story, if possible, but for now I’d strongly encourage reading this through and thinking about it if you are in some way connected to the #gamergate banner, whether that means supporting or opposing it. Let’s move on from here in a positive way, because at the end of the day we’re all gamers and no one can dispute that we collectively want the industry and its community to grow and be the best that it can be.

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Call Of Duty Dev Says Community Is Not Misogynistic – What Now #GamerGate Haters? http://egmr.net/2014/11/call-duty-dev-says-community-misogynistic-now-gamergate-haters/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/call-duty-dev-says-community-misogynistic-now-gamergate-haters/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 07:00:53 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162455 Unfortunately the online realm of gaming is a strange animal that can give any particular person vastly different experiences. Some would argue that they mostly have a good time, while […]

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Unfortunately the online realm of gaming is a strange animal that can give any particular person vastly different experiences. Some would argue that they mostly have a good time, while others would complain about frequent abuse and disgusting behaviour. By and large though, I sincerely doubt that anyone expects to be treated with respect and decency online, even if that’s the dream. However, it’s common in our present day to debate whether the gaming community is actually toxic, or whether there’s just a very, very effective vocal minority at play here that largely smears the entire community. The good folk out there would believe that most people are pretty decent, as in not assholes, but they’re the quiet ones you don’t hear about or see. Quite a mess, ain’t it?

Now we could debate this for ages based on common sense knowledge or anecdotal experiences, but it will all mostly differ depending on the game and the person. Some would tell you to simply get thick skin and move on, but unfortunately not all people can be like you or me and shrug off or laugh at any vile abuse we receive. This abuse coupled together with many stereotypes and stigma against female gamers, and how many of them get treated online, often leads to conclusions that the gaming community is misogynistic. This itself is a hot topic in our industry right now, due to the #gamergate issue, which I assure you is something we’re going to be discussing soon enough as fairly as possible.

Anyway, I didn’t put that title up there for nothing, and in the wake of the launch of Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey has jumped to the defense of the gaming community, telling BBC Newsbeat that he and his team have a “pretty low tolerance for toxic behavior”, while also downplaying the severity of toxic behaviour online.

“I certainly wouldn’t characterize the community of fans I know and had the pleasure to engage with as toxic or misogynistic,” said the Call of Duty Advanced Warfare lead designer.

“The community as a whole is very healthy, engaged and thoughtful and probably like anything anywhere well outside of gaming,” Condrey continued. “In the fringes of a lot of areas of society there are examples of people behaving poorly.

“Toxic behaviors, abusive language, inappropriate emblems, I don’t want that around,” he said. “So for our community, Sledgehammer Games and Advanced Warfare we have pretty low tolerance for toxic behavior.”

Fair enough the man won’t go out slating the community of people who he wants to buy his game. That generally wouldn’t be too good for business. But despite the necessary PR, I don’t think his comments are that ludicrous. Alright sure, many of you may laugh now while you remember some immature brat teabagging you, threatening you, insulting your mother or asking you to kill yourself online, and I’m not here to deny the severity of online harassment. I mean for God’s sake my favourite online game is Dota 2, which I play more than any other game, so I’m well aware of the kind of vile creatures who lurk on the internet. I just want to say that the presence of harassment as an issue, a very real one at that, does not necessarily make it a dominant issue, in that it completely overshadows the amount of decent folk online. That’s from someone who has endured years of abuse, by the way.

It’s just I understand that often we’re just wired to remember the bad far more than the good, and when recounting your online experiences you’ll probably talk about the assholes rather than the nice chaps you had a great time with. To go back to the whole talk of misogyny, let me present a bit of evidence on the whole issue and online harassment towards women, given that people’s experiences will vastly differ, and many believe that it’s mostly women who get harassed endlessly. It’s fitting to present this article, which actually reveals a study that shows large degrees of harassment targeted at men as well online. It’s interesting to see the numbers and the various kinds of harassment dished out to both men and women, even if the sample size was 3000 gamers.

The problem though is that media and some gamers will often have you believe that the majority of gamers are misogynistic, womanizing creeps, while discounting the millions of gamers who just want to kick back, play games and not deal with all this bullshit. I have many people on my Steam friends list who I actively game online with, whether it’s Dota 2, Counter Strike Global Offensive or Payday 2, and none of them are the sort of toxic folk we always hear about. Obviously there are plenty of them, and man have I got stories to tell about such people, but the point is we base our perceptions of what we hear and observe, and often the bad sticks more than the good.

The reality is that, because we’re dealing with such large numbers and the bad often gets highlighted because it’s far easier to expose a loudmouth, we need to avoid extremes. It’s possible to acknowledge the presence of misogyny in the gaming industry without condemning all gamers, while it’s also possible to make an effort to address harassment online without stating that it only affects women. And it’s also possible to make a joke in the title of your article when you challenge #gamergate haters, without it leading to anyone taking it seriously and attacking you as a person. But if you feel you must attack me, well, whatever seasons your potato I suppose.

To make a long story short, the gaming community as a whole is most definitely not misogynistic, and perhaps sometimes we should take a moment to remember the decent folk we encounter on a daily basis, and not let the bad apples come to define our perspective on gamers entirely. We don’t have to resort to extremes or blanket statements of condemnation to try to make a difference.

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You’ll Soon Stop Caring About Destiny, Because Destiny 2 Is Already Being Made http://egmr.net/2014/11/youll-soon-stop-caring-destiny-destiny-2-already-made/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/youll-soon-stop-caring-destiny-destiny-2-already-made/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 07:00:18 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162384 Before a PC version is even confirmed to boot – how messed up is that, right? We gamers are a funny bunch. Spoiled for choice with all these games releasing […]

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Before a PC version is even confirmed to boot – how messed up is that, right? We gamers are a funny bunch. Spoiled for choice with all these games releasing in any given year, and knowing our wallets are doomed before the holidays even begin, we’re somehow still always craving what’s coming next. As soon as we put down one game we’re planning when to pick up the next. Things get old pretty quick over in gamer town. By extension we often barely play any particular game or new IP before we’re already asking questions about a sequel, or preparing to throw money we no longer have at our screens, wondering why nothing is happening. Cue Destiny, and suddenly things are a little different.

Destiny was a game that proved many things, one of which was that gamers are willing to throw money at and leap to the defense of a game before even confirming whether it’s any good. It also proved, for the millionth time, that enormous, unrealistic hype doesn’t end well, which I thought we all knew already. But it also proved that some gamers are all too keen to take a developer at their word without asking questions, and in this case the questions would be relating to the future of Destiny, and what exactly all the investment is leading to, or what that enormous budget was all for. We heard lots of things about a supposed 10 year plan, but not many details have been given as to what exactly that entails, whether it’s multiple sequels, or just multiple expansions.

Most recently however we may have got our hands on some answers to these troublesome questions, via Activision publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg himself. During the firm’s earnings call on Tuesday, Hirshberg stated that Bungie has already begun work on the “next full game release” in the new Destiny IP, along with more DLC expansion content for the current game.

Let’s get this straight. Destiny released in September with barely enough content to last a weekend of playing before boredom and the endless repetition set in, failing to match the hype according to our review. It sold well, of course. It proceeded to get numerous free updates which largely tweaked and balanced the game as well as brought some new content here and there, such as the raids. But the fundamentals were still flawed, as indicated in our post-review update. Just recently we got one of the pretty damn expensive DLC expansions promised by the expansion pass, and before we even get the second one we’re already being told that Bungie’s attention is partially on Destiny 2?

Fair enough saying Bungie has “begun work” on Destiny 2 could mean like early pre-planning stages, but it troubles me that the game with the mighty 10 year plan already has talk of a sequel before it’s even got the two expansions promised before launch. But since we’re naturally going to talk about it, a sequel may introduce various issues such as splitting the current Destiny player base and potentially causing past investment in DLC and expansions in the first game to go to waste, and one would have to ask when the most effective time to introduce one would be, and whether it will carry over data from the first game. Two years from now? I read some people hoping Destiny would follow in World of Warcraft’s footsteps, where you have the base game and just buy all the expansions which release on top of it, but if Destiny 2 is being worked on then that idea seems to be out the window.

Thus far Destiny has been breaking records and doing well statistically and financially, although my one question that remains is whether anybody is going to be playing it come January. Is it going to succeed in being that game that people will always go back to when the release calender is dry? It sadly didn’t work out that way for me, but time will tell whether it does for others. Speaking of statistics, Activision did recently let us in on some, with regards to the number of registered players on Destiny. According to Activision, Destiny’s registered player base has surpassed 9.5 million.

“For the third quarter, Activision Publishing’s Destiny was the largest new franchise launch in videogame history and ranks among the top 10 largest videogame launches of all time in the US,” said Activision in that same earning’s call mentioned above.

“Our active players are playing the game an average of more than three hours per day,” it added, but of course declined to comment on Destiny’s global sales figures, because we all know you’ll never get that information in this industry.

It should be pointed out that registered users don’t necessarily equal sales because multiple users can of course use a single copy of the game on one system, or sell off their copy to someone else, like I did. My account will remain registered, but my game is with someone else to use to make their own account, which obviously means a single copy of the game can generate multiple registered accounts.

I’d like to know how many copies Destiny has sold to actual consumers. Wouldn’t that be nice, if the gaming industry would be willing to part with that information on more titles?

Granted we’ve been hard on Destiny before and after it launched, perhaps as a response to the budget and the enormous, ludicrous levels of hype it got and its subsequent failure to come close to being worthy of that hype, in our opinion. But there’s no doubt that whether you’re a fan or a hater or someone who doesn’t care, there are many uncertainties surrounding not only Destiny but how exactly its future will work out. Maybe one day we’ll know, but for now perhaps for fans it’s enough to know that Destiny 2 is being worked on, and if that makes you excited to hear before you’ve even got a completed Destiny, then I’m a bit worried.

Here’s a small, closing thought before we part ways. With Destiny’s story being so terribly non-existent and pointless, what exactly will a sequel do to inspire any interest in it?

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What The Heck Is Going On With Alone In The Dark: Illumination? http://egmr.net/2014/11/heck-going-alone-dark-illumination/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/heck-going-alone-dark-illumination/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 07:00:47 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=162133 Alone in the Dark is one of those old classics that never quite figured out how to modernise itself, and fell into oblivion as a result. There was a feeble […]

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Alone in the Dark is one of those old classics that never quite figured out how to modernise itself, and fell into oblivion as a result. There was a feeble attempt in 2008 on the previous generation of consoles to reboot the franchise with that game simply titled Alone in the Dark, but that ended quite badly and the series wasn’t heard from again. I would have liked to end the article there since I’m not exactly a fan of repeated attempts to bring back something from the dead, but sadly I’m not allowed that luxury, because we’ve now got something called Alone in the Dark: Illumination on our hands, and I’m not exactly sure what it’s trying to be. Maybe I’m a moron, so how about you make sense of this.

Perhaps you remember hearing the name Alone in the Dark: Illumination a couple of months ago, because it was first teased with a trailer at the end of August. That spooky trailer made it seem inspired by the indie horror scene, and it appeared to be a fresh start for the series. Well unless you did some reading at the time and started hearing the terrifying word “multiplayer” being thrown about. But if your only exposure was that trailer then Illumination probably would have inspired a tiny amount of confidence in you. That is until you get a look at the trailer that has only just been released for the game now, which you can watch above.

If you do watch it, I’m pretty sure you’ll be confused as all hell at what appears to be some pseudo-horror action multiplayer cooperative thing resembling Left 4 Dead and Resident Evil. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find the footage attractive at all. It’s just bizarre. That doesn’t mean the game can’t be good or entertaining, but it certainly doesn’t seem to have appeal as a horror title or resemble Alone in the Dark in any way. It seems to be some twisted spin-off of the whole thing, and that seems a little like just using, abusing and taking liberties with a franchise name, doesn’t it?

Anyway, I suppose if you’re still here at this point then you probably want to know something about the actual game, am I right?

Illumination, currently in development by Pure FPS, is set in the abandoned mining town of Lorwich, Virginia (if you even know where or what that is), which used to be booming until a giant flood destroyed everything and forced people to evacuate. The cause of the flood is a mystery, but years later no one wants to go near that town out of fear of what resides within.

What does lurk within? Well it’s certainly not something original. The primary evil force in Illumination is something called The Darkness (bet you didn’t see that one coming), which is an ever-present thing that can take the shape of creatures, fog or even apparitions and stuff. But don’t worry. You can kill The Darkness. With flamethrowers. And friends.

In the game you’ll take control of four different characters, just like Left 4 Dead as there’s even a token female character. There’s a Hunter, Witch, Priest and Engineer and funnily enough the first two on that list are actually descendants of the protagonists of the original games. To make the game even less about horror, you’ll be able to play online co-op with all four characters as you attempt to discover the cause of the accidental evil flood (was it The Darkness?) and investigate reports of strange creatures and a dark (pun unintended) brooding fog lurking in the town.

I’ve given you all the information, so it’s up to you now to go out there and watch that trailer above and try and see what exactly this game is trying to be. Or you can not do that, because you’ve already closed this article and I’m talking to myself.

Nevertheless, Alone in the Dark: Illumination is actually due for release in ‘Fall 2014′, which means it’s pretty close. It will only be released on PC, and you can start pre-ordering it now on Steam for $30, or thereabouts.

So, I wonder who thought the best way to make Alone in the Dark relevant again was to fuse it with Resident Evil and Left 4 Dead and remove all the horror out of it?

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Dota 2 Item Drop Exploiters Intentionally Ruining Games On SA Server http://egmr.net/2014/11/dota-2-item-drop-exploiters-intentionally-ruining-games-sa-server/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/dota-2-item-drop-exploiters-intentionally-ruining-games-sa-server/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 07:00:22 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161948 As we know exams are on the verge of beginning for university students such as myself, and few things are better than taking a study break with the amazing game […]

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As we know exams are on the verge of beginning for university students such as myself, and few things are better than taking a study break with the amazing game that is Dota 2. However that was until yesterday where I experienced quite possibly one of the worst games I have ever had to sit through in a decade of Dota, and that’s saying an awful lot, because we all know how the community can be sometimes. So I am writing this not only to share my experience, but also to issue a warning to you if you plan to play Dota in the early mornings or afternoons, and happen to encounter foreign players as a result. Grab your popcorn, folks, because this is as messed up as you can get.

Valve recently made a few much-needed changes to the item drop system in Dota 2. Previously cosmetic item drops had a small chance to happen after a game for a number of players, but they were mostly commons or occasionally uncommons worth a couple of cents and these of course had no value. The new system is now ‘time-based’ instead of level-based, which can be interpreted as longer games having a higher chance for a reward, and the drop list now “includes full sets, treasures, bundles and Arcanas at a rare rate instead of frequently dropping common items.” This was enough to make me happy when I first heard about it, because I’d rather not drop those worthless commons which can be bought for 3c on the community market and instead have a chance at getting something great. But now it seems people want to exploit the system because of a fundamental misunderstanding to do with ‘time-based’, where players believe that a very long game will guarantee Arcana item drops, where instead it just increases the likelihood but it’s still a rare occurrence.

Yesterday I played against a group of foreign players who, at the beginning of the game, were talking about item abuse. Us SA players could barely understand them, so we didn’t think much of it. Eventually we saw that they had no intent on playing the game, and all they wanted to do was hit creeps and delay the game to 2-3 hours for “Arcana drops” and “item abuse”. When we refused to play ball, obviously, the five of them simply abandoned the game within the first ten minutes. Now I was alright with this because even though it sucked it was a free win and at least they didn’t waste too much of our time. I wasn’t too bothered by it because it seemed like a group of fools playing their roles to perfection. However there’s always something worse waiting around the corner, and the next game proved to be fatal. Please get out some tissues and cry with me on this one.

I encountered similar players in the next game, and it started out the same with the foreigners asking us if we wanted to abuse the item drop system. Obviously we said no. They did the same thing in not playing, being content to hit creeps and so forth. We decided the best course of action was to try and end the game as quickly as possible, and racked up a massive lead as a result. However, the foreigners on their team got the two foreigners on our team to work with them to delay the game. What followed was absolutely one of the worst experiences you could ever imagine yourself being put in, as it ended up being a 3v7, without any exaggeration. The two foreigners on our team went to feed more than 30 kills to the opposition to counter our heavy lead and prevent us from finishing quickly, and once our opponents were strong enough they then bought items such as Euls Scepter and Force Staff to stop us killing the enemy. They beefed themselves up just enough to combat creep waves, and tried to kill all neutral camps to prevent us from farming. They even went as far as to try and steal Aegis when we killed Roshan, and at one point in the game denied it. The opposition simply defended.

If your jaw hasn’t dropped in horror yet, then know that this process went on for an insane two hours. And here all I wanted was a game of Dota in my study break. Fuck me, right? When the morons finally decided to end the game, not a single player got an item drop. Why? Because the system doesn’t guarantee it for a long game. It just improves the chance. These cretins were dumbstruck, yet no doubt went to go repeat the process elsewhere. The sheer frustration made me report them via Dota 2 and Steam, and then proceed to post the issue and match details on the official forums in an effort to bring about discussion and possibly action. It was then that I discovered other SA players experiencing the same issue and posting about it on reddit, and it’s clear that it’s a very serious problem.

The reason the foreign players use the South African server is most likely because it’s a low population server, which gives them a higher chance to be paired with each other, as in others they know who’d be willing to waste their time trying to abuse the system. I suspect that other low population servers will be affected as a result. This is a game ruining issue that is absolutely appalling, and often there won’t be a thing you can do about it because you may just not have the heroes to beat it in the late game, especially when a few of your teammates are making an active effort to screw you over as well.

It stands to reason that something has to be done about this. Whether it’s clarification on the ‘time-based’ aspect of the system, threats of severe bans for any who try this or a change to the system, I am not sure. But it can’t be left alone, because this is some of the worst behaviour I have ever seen online in my many years of playing Dota. Some may argue that it will stop once the idiots realise it doesn’t work, and perhaps that’s true, but I shudder to think how many games will be ruined and how many players will suffer what I did in the time it takes for that to happen. These players shouldn’t go unpunished. I made my best effort to post the details to the forums which included links to all the offenders’ Steam profiles, so hopefully something can be done about that. As for now, I hope this serves as a warning to you if you encounter any foreign players wanting to attempt this.

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Take A Tour Of The Cherry MX Factory In This Video http://egmr.net/2014/10/take-tour-cherry-mx-factory-video/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/take-tour-cherry-mx-factory-video/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 13:30:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161938 YouTubers LinusTechTips were given quite an awesome opportunity for PC hardware nutters, namely the chance to take a tour of the Cherry MX Factory and find out how those blinging mechanical […]

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YouTubers LinusTechTips were given quite an awesome opportunity for PC hardware nutters, namely the chance to take a tour of the Cherry MX Factory and find out how those blinging mechanical keyboards, well, work.

LinusTechTips were lucky enough to go to Germany, also known as the Third Reich, to learn all about Cherry and their practices.

I spoke to our resident techie Marco about this and he proceeded to say a few things I don’t quite understand, but I’ll share them with you anyway in case you’re a degenerate just like him. I’m kidding. Basically, I was told that since other switches are becoming popular, such as with Razer, Logitech and Cooler Master, this video is a pretty decent showing of why Cherry MX is still a solid key switch manufacturer. Here’s to free PR for Cherry MX, I suppose?

And I suppose, well, now you know why mechanical keyboards are amaze and are priced as highly as they are.

If you’re a tech freak or just have a fetish for mechanical keyboards, then this thirteen and a half minute video will give you all you need to feel good about life again.


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These Final Fantasy XV Videos Are Perdy, New Gameplay Shown http://egmr.net/2014/10/final-fantasy-xv-videos-perdy-new-gameplay-shown/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/final-fantasy-xv-videos-perdy-new-gameplay-shown/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 12:00:32 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161932 The Final Fantasy series has this weird habit of getting you excited for it despite recent history perhaps telling us to think harder on it. Nevertheless new unofficial videos have surfaced […]

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The Final Fantasy series has this weird habit of getting you excited for it despite recent history perhaps telling us to think harder on it. Nevertheless new unofficial videos have surfaced for Final Fantasy XV, which show off large areas for exploration and gorgeous visuals, among other things.

You can check them out above and below. If you’re interested, these videos came from a conference at Paris Games Week, where Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata appeared and showed off some awesome tech demos of the game to boast about the power of the cloud Luminous engine.

The game will be out on PS4 and Xbox One at some point in the next ten years. We’re just not sure when.

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BioShock Infinite Complete Edition Not Coming To PC http://egmr.net/2014/10/bioshock-infinite-complete-edition-coming-pc/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/bioshock-infinite-complete-edition-coming-pc/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:30:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161872 BioShock Infinite The Complete Edition has officially been given a release date of November 4 for North America and November 7 for the UK, and by extension us over here […]

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BioShock Infinite The Complete Edition has officially been given a release date of November 4 for North America and November 7 for the UK, and by extension us over here in South Africa.

The collection was revealed last month through online retail listings, and was formally announced on Wednesday by Take-Two, the publishers.

It will set you back $39.99 in the US and £24.99 in the UK, so you can imagine it may fall in the R400 to R500 range over here.

Unfortunately there’s a catch. The BioShock Infinite Complete Edition will be out on PS3 and Xbox 360 of course, but not on PC, a Take-Two spokesperson told Polygon.

So the best version of BioShock Infinite, far superior in terms of graphics and performance, won’t get a complete edition? Cool beans.

The BioShock Complete Edition will have the game in addition to a large chunk of DLC and the story expansions, namely the Clash in the Clouds and Burial at Sea episodes.

Complete Edition contents:

  • Bioshock Infinite game
  • Clash in the Clouds Add-on Pack
  • Burial at Sea: Episode 1 Add-on Pack
  • Burial at Sea: Episode 2 Add-on Pack
  • Industrial Revolution Rewards Pack
  • Bioshock Infinite Upgrade Pack
  • Columbia’s Finest Pack
  • Comstocks’s China Broom Shotgun
  • Comstock’s Bird’s Eye Sniper Rifle

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Destiny’s The Dark Below DLC Appears Overpriced http://egmr.net/2014/10/destinys-dark-dlc-appears-overpriced/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/destinys-dark-dlc-appears-overpriced/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:00:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161851 Ah, Destiny, the game that divided so many souls since September. Our review wasn’t all that favourable, and neither was my post-review update in which I effectively grew tired of […]

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Ah, Destiny, the game that divided so many souls since September. Our review wasn’t all that favourable, and neither was my post-review update in which I effectively grew tired of having anything to do with the game. The game has had a number of free updates mostly introducing tweaks, balance improvements and some new content here and there, but now it’s time to make good on the promise of more stuff and live up to that ridiculously expensive expansion pass (if you bought it for $35), because The Dark Below DLC has been detailed. And, well, it seems a tad bit overpriced to me.

In the UK you’ll be able to buy this DLC for £19.99 (roughly $33), around half the price of the full game depending on where you shop, while the US price is at $20, a third of the price of the game. You know, the sort of price you usually buy season passes for. Or full, amazing indie games. Surely for such a price there must be something grand and amazing about this expansion pack? Well. Shit.

Bungie confirmed to Eurogamer that The Dark Below will bring new story content for Destiny (does anyone alive care about this?), some new weaponry and gear, three additional multiplayer maps, one new Strike mission (PS4 owners will get a bonus Strike as part of Bungie’s whole exclusive deal with Sony) and one new Raid called Crota’s End. The Light level cap, also known as one of the stupidest levelling systems ever, will be raised from 30 to 32.

If you’re an Xbox owner you get one less Strike, but does this all seem worth it? The Vault of Glass raid made a big fuss when it first released, that was until players found out how to destroy it in a short time. Still, it proved a highlight of the original, so maybe the new raid will also be that good? Who knows.

It could be worse though, right? It could be like Call of Duty, where you pay $15 for three multiplayer maps. Yeah, Destiny doesn’t do things like those Activision guys. Oh wait.

I said at the time of my review that the pathetic and non-existent story in Destiny meant that story DLC would hold no appeal. It’s “interesting” then that Bungie is trying to do something new with the story DLC.

The story content of The Dark Below will add a new character named Eris to the Tower, who will guide you through the new missions. According to Bungie, “the structure of the story in this expansion is different than the story in the core game” as they’ve taken note of all the criticisms made at the game’s campaign.

So are you going to fix the story by actually writing one? Through DLC?

Bungie president Harold Ryan also made some comments about the story content in the DLC (via VentureBeat), saying, “What you’ll see in this expansion, it’s going to be a very different approach to telling a new story to players than the thematically driven story from the original launch of the game.”

How will fans respond to that? “We’ll see how that works,” said Ryan. “There’s not a game exactly like this that exists. We’re learning as we go what works for people and what doesn’t work for people.”

It’s difficult to say whether The Dark Below will end up being worth the price, but I can’t say I’m enthusiastic about raising my expenses from $60 up to $80 for a game that barely had enough compelling content at launch to remain appealing past a weekend. And remember that this is just the first DLC, there is another coming as described by the expansion pass. It will most likely cost $20 as well, meaning you’ll save $5 with the pass, and that means taking your spending up to $100 for Destiny.

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With Marvel Civil War On The Horizon, What Will Happen To Spider-Man? http://egmr.net/2014/10/marvel-civil-war-horizon-will-happen-spider-man/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/marvel-civil-war-horizon-will-happen-spider-man/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:30:37 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161741 Marvel has just lifted the lid on its entire cinema plan for the next few years, which include big things such as Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Civil War, Inhumans, Guardians […]

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Marvel has just lifted the lid on its entire cinema plan for the next few years, which include big things such as Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Civil War, Inhumans, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and other such exciting things for geeks. However massive fans of Spider-Man, such as myself, are suddenly wondering what the hell is going to become of the wallcrawler in all of this, especially given the issues facing Sony and their messed up plans and of course the major role he has in the civil war story. October proved to be a breeding ground for rumours on exactly that, and I’m going to try and dissect through all of it so that we can speculate away. It would really be a pity if Spidery falls to the wayside.

It began in early October with a rumour that sounded very much like a fan’s wet dream. HitFix reported that, while they couldn’t confirm it, they heard some “very cool” Spider-Man plans are being discussed which, “would help Sony refocus their enormously important franchise while also opening up some connections in the onscreen Marvel movie universe that would blow fandom’s minds.”

Effectively this meant that Spider-Man would be brought into the Marvel universe. Marvel doesn’t exactly have the best of relationships with 20th Century Fox (the studio which owns the Fantastic Four and X-Men rights), but they do hold the merchandising rights to Spider-Man, further adding to what a giant cluster fuck this legal business is. The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 performed well enough at the box office, but unfortunately the latter fell far short of expectations and the response from critics was far from enthusiastic.

This sounded like little more than a hopeful dream, until a day later on October 7th where it seemed like trouble was brewing in paradise again. Spider-Man appeared to be facing big changes, as more discussions involving possible plans for the webhead were disclosed.

A report from Badass Digest suggested that “Sony is going to soft reboot Spider-Man with The Sinister Six, having a new actor playing a Spidey who works with the villains The Dirty Dozen style to take down a larger threat.”

Of course that means Andrew Garfield wouldn’t return as Peter Parker. I always felt he was an excellent Spider-Man, but fell a bit short in the Peter Parker department. If you’re unsure what a “soft reboot” is though, it’s basically like 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, where they just go ahead and reboot it without making a whole fuss about a new origin story or past events.

Another idea being thrown around was, “To put Spider-Man on the shelf for four or five years and see if they can develop any of the side characters into their own franchises.”

As we know the Sinister Six movie took The Amazing Spider-Man 3’s 2016 release date, and there was also talk of a female-led spin-off in this fading series. Keep in mind that this is all speculation, and none of it is confirmed or based on fact.

Badass Digest also said that, “Venom is functionally dead again,” which obviously means that the villain-centered movie is back to square one and Alex Kurtzman probably won’t direct it anymore.

Imagine we just got a fucking Spider-Man movie about the black suit and Venom?

As the month progressed to its midpoint and it became more and more likely that Marvel would be doing Civil War, fans grew more restless. If you didn’t know, Peter Parker has a pretty big role in the Civil War story, as he initially sides with Iron Man only to end up revealing his secret identity to the world and then defecting to Captain America after realising the big mistake he made.

But alas just yesterday via Spider-Man News, in the aftermath of Marvel announcing their plans which did not contain any Spider-Man reveals, we got an actual response on the matter.

Marvel Studios President  Kevin Feige was quizzed by a fan about all the Spider-Man rumors, to which he said: “Anything that wasn’t specifically and obviously revealed today is either not true at all, or still rumor until it’s worked out.”

I suppose the desperate among us may read into the latter part of that comment, but word around the block is that secret identities won’t play that big of a part in this Civil War, and it’s apparently more about being forced to work with the government. That would mean that Marvel could have effectively eliminated the importance of Spider-Man in their adaption.

It’s a crying shame, but what all this means is that we still don’t have a damn clue what’s going to happen with Spider-Man. I’m pretty damn pissed at all of it, because Sony was in a really good position to do whatever the hell they wanted with the hero. They could bring out his biggest guns in Venom and the Sinister Six, but shitty decision-making, extreme sequel-baiting, unnecessary plot focus like Peter’s parents, dodgy script-writing, making Oscorp the root of all evil and much more led to this mess we now find ourselves in.

Let’s hope something can happen for Spider-Man soon.

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This Sunset Overdrive Breaking Bad Easter Egg Could Sway Your Wallet http://egmr.net/2014/10/sunset-overdrive-breaking-bad-easter-egg-sway-wallet/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/sunset-overdrive-breaking-bad-easter-egg-sway-wallet/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:00:06 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161737 Who doesn’t love Easter Eggs? We know that they go hand-in-hand with humourous games, and it appears that Sunset Overdrive has a pretty hilarious Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman one. Early […]

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Who doesn’t love Easter Eggs? We know that they go hand-in-hand with humourous games, and it appears that Sunset Overdrive has a pretty hilarious Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman one.

Early on in the game you’re tasked with helping this young entrepreneur, incidentally named “Jess”, with a “cook”, contained in barrels called “blue”.

It ends up that he’s making Vodka rather than meth, but watch the video above and listen to the words of the walking and talking Easter egg to see more.

While you’re at it make sure you pay a visit to our review to see whether this is the game for you or not.

Science, bitch!

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Assassin’s Creed Rogue Is About Anonymously Assassinating Assassins http://egmr.net/2014/10/assassins-creed-rogue-anonymously-assassinating-assassins/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/assassins-creed-rogue-anonymously-assassinating-assassins/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:30:45 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161680 The Assassin’s Creed franchise has always been one uniquely filled with so much promise and potential, but for some of us it has opted to grow stale with multiple entries […]

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The Assassin’s Creed franchise has always been one uniquely filled with so much promise and potential, but for some of us it has opted to grow stale with multiple entries stuck in the same setting with the story largely edged out and with very little advancements made between games. Assassin’s Creed Rogue is a genuine attempt at mixing up the premise at least, so is it worth taking a second look at? Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t, and maybe this preview won’t do a whole lot to convince you either way, but since we’re all here we may as well make the most of it.

Name: Assassin’s Creed Rogue
Genre: Roguelike
Players: 1
Multiplayer: N/A
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Developers: Ubisoft Sofia
Publishers: Ubisoft
Release Date: 13 November 2014 (PS3, 360), 2015 (PC)
Price: $60


If I have to be honest I’m not entirely against the idea of Assassin’s Creed Rogue. I actually quite like it. Many of you would be forgiven for looking at it, turning a blind eye and maybe writing it off for milking while you’re at it, but I’d encourage you to look at the positives of what Ubisoft is doing here. Make no mistake I’m usually first in line to criticise Ubisoft for something or another, as is evident by a number of opinions I could pull up, but with regards to offering two Assassin’s Creed games I’m actually in favour of it and I understand why it’s happening. The reason is because when we got Watch Dogs it was also on PS3 and Xbox 360, and there is no doubt that catering to hardware over six years old will mean making concessions and eating valuable resources. There’s also the issue of not making the next-gen versions vastly superior to the previous-gen. However in this case, we get to have a fully next-gen Assassin’s Creed in Unity, but all those millions of gamers still with the PS3 and Xbox 360 get to have a title in the series as well with Rogue. Win-win, for big time series fans.

In short, Ubisoft doesn’t have to make any compromises on Unity, and previous-gen gamers don’t have to be left out. So what is Rogue all about then, and how does it fit into the grand scheme of things? I say ‘grand scheme’, but there hasn’t been one in this franchise since Assassin’s Creed III took a giant dues ex machina shit all over it. Anyhow, Rogue is set in the mid-18th century during the Seven Years’ War, and follows Shay Patrick Cormac, an Assassin turned Templar. The game is a sequel to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, but will fill in the gaps between it and Assassin’s Creed III, and will even tie into Assassin’s Creed: Unity. The name of the game is revenge once again, and Shay will turn to the Templars after growing disillusioned with the Brotherhood and subsequently betrayed and abandoned after a disastrous assignment. Offering his services as an Assassin Hunter Shay will chase after his vengeance, and the game will chronicle the downfall of the Brotherhood.


The game will play similarly to Black Flag, mixing naval exploration and combat. Shay’s ship, Morrígan, will play a bigger part in the gmae, because we absolutely have to beat that horse until it’s just a pile of mush on the ground. This is due to the fact that the Morrígan has a shallower draft compared to Edward Kenyway’s Jawdaw, and thus can travel in rivers. It will come packed with some new weaponry, such as releasing oil into the waters which can be ignited afterwards as a trap. Enemies will also be able to board the Morrígan during ship combat, so it won’t just be a case of you invading others as it was in Black Flag. Weather effects were present in Black Flag and did affect ship maneuverability to some extent, and that will continue in Rogue as the arctic environment will factor into gameplay. There won’t be underwater diving missions, which I felt were pretty shitty in Black Flag, as it is the North Atlantic and thus swimming will not exactly be an option, unless you want your health to drop until you die. I’m not joking, you actually will die in the game if you try to swim.

As far as combat is concerned, your arsenal will be expanded to make killing more efficient, as if it wasn’t always the easiest thing in past Assassin’s Creed games. You’ll get an air rifle this time around, which lets you silently take out enemies at a distance, kind of making your hidden blades redundant. The air rifle can also be outfitted with a variety of projectiles, including firecrackers, so it will probably end up being a primary weapon in the game. Then there’s a grenade launcher, which will fire off shrapnel and other such nasty stuff. What actually sounds kind of cool though is that enemy Assassins will actually play the part and not just be normal enemies with different models. They will emulate skills we’ve used in previous games, such as hiding in bushes, blending in with crowds and even performing aerial attacks on the player. I sincerely hope that killing Assassins, at least the higher ranked ones, feels like a feat rather than just like wiping out any traditional enemy, and that’s something that could make Rogue stand out. As for the rest, you should know the drill by now with this series.


Rogue won’t have any multiplayer component, so tough luck if you’ve been a big time fan of it since it began. Ubisoft didn’t rule out anything happening after the game’s launch though, but I wouldn’t hold a breath for it.

Suspected Selling Points
  • Playing as a Templar and hunting Assassins could make the game unique.
  • Lots of fan service with regards to its crucial ties to Assassin’s Creed III and Black Flag.
  • Naval combat is back (again…), so if you haven’t had enough yet, this is for you.
Potential Pitfalls
  • Haven’t we had enough of this setting after Assassin’s Creed III, Liberation and Black Flag?
  • It doesn’t appear to be doing much to build on Black Flag, from a gameplay perspective.
  • How much more can the PS3 and Xbox 360 do, technically-speaking?

Assassin’s Creed Rogue looks to be serving you more of what you already love and maybe want some more of. It doesn’t appear to be revolutionising anything or even making that much of an effort to build on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, but there is the possibility that playing as a Templar and hunting Assassins could make the game awesome on its own, or at least set it apart from its predecessors. The good thing though is that if you’re a major fan of this franchise you won’t be left out if you haven’t yet got your hands on a shiny new console. To that end, if you haven’t yet had your fill of this series, here’s some more of it in Rogue.

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How Does The Flash Compare To DC’s Impressive Series Line-Up? http://egmr.net/2014/10/flash-compare-dcs-impressive-series-line/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/flash-compare-dcs-impressive-series-line/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:30:56 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161644 Never let it be said that this isn’t an amazing time to be a geek or comic nerd, with reference to the current world domination of Marvel and DC as […]

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Never let it be said that this isn’t an amazing time to be a geek or comic nerd, with reference to the current world domination of Marvel and DC as far as movies and TV series are concerned. The Flash is the one DC series we haven’t written about yet, because we’re assholes I suppose. Yesterday I covered the Constantine pilot, and today I’m going to be talking about the speedy adventures of Barry Allen and whether or not it’s worth watching. As we gamers know shared worlds are currently the in-thing right now, and it seems no different with comic book heroes, as The Flash takes place in the same universe as Arrow. You should know this if you watched the latter, since the character of Barry Allen was introduced in that series, which happens to be my favourite of the DC Comics line-up.

The Flash begins with a retelling of the character’s origin for its pilot. After witnessing his mother’s strange murder by what appears to be a ball of lightning with a man inside of it, Barry Allen’s father is wrongfully convicted for the crime and thrown in prison. Barry grows up with Detective West and his family. As you may know from watching Arrow, Barry is struck by lightning and doused with some pretty nasty chemicals when an advanced particle accelerator malfunctions during a thunder storm in its public unveiling, sending him into a nine-month coma. The trade-off for losing all that time of his life though is the power to move at super speeds. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t the only victim of the particle accelerator, and all over the city ‘metahumans’ are rising with super human powers. Together with Harrison Wells, the designer of the particle accelerator and man of many secrets, Barry has to use his powers and become The Flash in order to protect the people of Central City from the escalating violence of metahumans. That’s more or less a summary. Yeah, I should learn how to summarise.

Similarly to Constantine, I’m not really a reader of the source material. My exposure primarily comes from the Justice League and enjoying playing as the character in Injustice: Gods Among Us. I’m mostly a Batman and Spider-Man kind of dude. Nevertheless finding myself immensely enjoying Arrow broadened my horizons a bit, and I felt keen to give The Flash a try as a result. The thing you’ll notice about it pretty early on is that it’s not afraid to feel like a comic. It’s probably the closest to being comic book campy than any of the other series’, and it actually works out quite well. It’s lighthearted in a good way, and this plays on Barry Allen actor Grant Gustin’s strengths, as he has plenty of quirk. He’s one of those quick-to-like characters, but the jury is still out on whether he’s commanding in a lead role. I’m not entirely sold just yet, but I can’t say he isn’t a likable character and actor, and you will warm up to him, his scientific mind and his human problems if you had your doubts about him.

Of course the premise of the show means you’ll be seeing superhuman feats each episode, which is part of why I say it’s the closest to being a comic book out of the current line-up. It employs the expected ‘villain of the week’ episodic setup so far as a result, although a twist at the end of the pilot suggests the writers have some long-term plans in mind. It’s only three episodes in so far so I can’t comment on any overarching plot or primary villain, but I would hope something of the sort gets established so that we have an idea of where it’s all going, as we do in Arrow with its core villains. Unfortunately I can’t comment much on the show’s relation to the comics, since I’m not a reader of The Flash, but for the newbies out there it’s its own show and you don’t need to know much about the character to enjoy it, since it does actually begin with an origin story after all.

The Flash certainly has high production values, as we’ve come to expect from the DC Comics TV series line-up, and it does look really cool whenever the character is moving at blitz speed, as the series makes use of a red streak of lightning to depict his movements. It’s not the most stylish of shows with regards to the aesthetics of the city and tone, as I’m sure most of the budget goes to the depiction of superhuman powers, but it’s enjoyable to watch and it certainly doesn’t feel like any shortcuts were taken with the special effects. As I’ve recommended with Constantine and Gotham, if you are going to watch this I would suggest to do so in HD, so that you can enjoy the effects in all their glory.

If I have to give some verdict, whether you should watch The Flash or not is not too tough a question to answer. If you’re a fan of the Arrow TV series, The Flash offers something similar but different to it, in the sense that it’s more lighthearted and comic bookish than its counterpart. It’s pretty likely you’ll enjoy The Flash too because of its thematic differences. However if you’re not at all into more campy comics and prefer your dark and broody setups, The Flash may not be for you. At the end of the day though if you’re a DC nut I’d advise watching it anyway, because you won’t know until you try it.

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Far Cry 4 Game Director Reveals His Top 5 Awesome Moments In A Video http://egmr.net/2014/10/far-cry-4-game-director-reveals-top-5-awesome-moments-video/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/far-cry-4-game-director-reveals-top-5-awesome-moments-video/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:00:13 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161639 Far Cry 4 is releasing towards the end of November, and if war elephants hasn’t done all that it should to convince you to at least look at the game, […]

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Far Cry 4 is releasing towards the end of November, and if war elephants hasn’t done all that it should to convince you to at least look at the game, perhaps this video will. The footage captures five memorable moments for Far Cry 4 game director Patrik Methe.

I usually am not interested in this sort of thing, but I actually found this video to be really great because it felt like a gamer was talking to me about cool things that happened to him in his game, and not like I was just being served some PR on a plate. It’s funny, you get to see footage of what happened and it probably will make you want to play Far Cry 4 just to make a list of moments too.

Take a watch up above.

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The Constantine Pilot Is All Over The Show, But It’s One Hell Of A Good Time http://egmr.net/2014/10/constantine-pilot-show-one-hell-good-time/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/constantine-pilot-show-one-hell-good-time/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 13:30:29 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161535 The Constantine pilot marks the debut of yet another DC Comics TV production, joining Gotham, Arrow and The Flash in that regard. Based on the Hellblazer comics, the series stars […]

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The Constantine pilot marks the debut of yet another DC Comics TV production, joining Gotham, Arrow and The Flash in that regard. Based on the Hellblazer comics, the series stars Matt Ryan as John Constantine and is written by Daniel Cerone and David Goyer. Yes, that would be the same Goyer who worked on the Nolan Batman trilogy and Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. If I have to be honest with you, I don’t know a whole lot about Constantine. I of course watched the 2005 movie starring Keenu Reeves, and I know bits and pieces about the character here and there, but that’s where my knowledge ends. Some may wonder why I’m writing about the series then, but I feel that I can offer a valuable perspective for the simple reason that many won’t have read the comic, and would be reluctant to do so if it’s necessary to enjoy the series or understand it. To that end, for all the Constantine newbies out there, let’s talk about the pilot and see whether it’s worth getting into.

The series follows John Constantine, a self-proclaimed exorcist, occult detective and master of the dark arts. At the beginning we learn that he’s haunted by a terrible mistake, fueled by his own vanity, which ended up condemning a child to hell. Struggling with the guilt and his past sins, John is on a path to save the girl, vanquish the demon who holds her and protect humanity from a rising supernatural threat. The pilot largely introduces Constantine as a character, as well as crams as much information as is possible about the world and his role in it. Fortunately, unlike Gotham, the episode focuses on a handful of characters and mainly Constantine, so you never quite feel swamped with too many faces to care about. As far as John Constantine is concerned, the episode spends its time well to make him quickly understood, and very easy to follow as a protagonist.


I was very impressed by Matt Ryan as Constantine, and I feel he absolutely commands the role. Obviously I can’t say whether die-hard fans of the comics will take a liking to him, but at the least after his performance I’d expect more people to be willing to give him a chance. From what I’ve read, he does seem to emulate his comic counterpart. He has a raw energy about him as well as a penchant for assholish behaviour, yet he clearly cares about a lot more than himself, and Ryan does well to play the parts that are required of him. I’m aware that in the comics Constantine is a chain smoker and there is evidence of him being bisexual, but sadly NBC restrictions prevents the depiction of his smoking habit, and David Goyer has not expressed immediate interest in portraying his attraction to men either. So I guess you can show exorcisms, gruesome deaths and the supernatural, but smoking is too far? That aside, the pilot does a great job of establishing Constantine as a character, and I would certainly hope that the season ahead remembers to focus on him and his depth.

I made a point of watching Constantine in HD, and I’m ever glad that I did because it’s absolutely stunning. The excellent special effects speak of high production values, and the stylish design is awesome. If the series keeps it up to this standard, then at the very least I can say that Constantine will be a joy to watch, artistically and visually. The atmosphere of the show is a weird, intriguing blend of creepy and fun, in a way that’s difficult to explain. It’s not exactly scary, and I doubt the squeamish among you will even have to avert your eyes in the pilot, but it has its fair share of creep factor. For those who haven’t had any exposure to Constantine before, whether through the old movie or the comics, the series is a little like Supernatural, but that’s only to give you an idea of something you can relate it to, and they’re very far apart in terms of what they deliver and how they operate.


It’s not all glamorous, however, as the pilot does fall victim to a couple of narrative flaws. The main offender is the breakneck speed that it moves at. There’s plenty going on, and half the time it works to keep the show full of energy and without any dull moments, but the trade-off is that you don’t get a whole lot of time to digest nor see characters just play off each other. At times the dodgy pacing can make the pilot feel all over the place or leave you feeling like you’re missing half of the fact sheet in certain moments, but despite that plot elements are satisfyingly explained by the end. It can’t be said, however, that Constantine isn’t entertaining, because it is. Oh it’s extremely entertaining, but at a price. The other issue I had, with characters not really playing off each other, is that by the end it’s only really Constantine that you’ll feel like you know. Sure he’s the title character and all, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to know about all the other things inhabiting the world.

My other gripe would be Lucy Griffiths as Liv Aberdeen, as I feel she was the weak link of the episode. Perhaps it was the extreme speed of the pilot that stifled her ability to act, but her reactions to most of the crazy things going on, including the death of her friend and, well, the existence of demons, was quite difficult to classify as human. She seemed mainly there by obligation and to help along plot exposition, and it was strange that Constantine was actually far easier to relate to for me than the seemingly but obviously not normal woman who is forced into extreme circumstances because of her father’s life decisions. I read that she was written out of the series once regular filming began, so it’s unlikely she’ll make a return in future episodes. I don’t think she was terrible, but her character didn’t feel natural in the episode. That said, I hope the other characters are explored more in future.


At the end of the day, the main question to answer is whether or not you should watch this, with the exception of the comic fans who will watch it anyway. Well, if you’ve been loving the DC series thus far, that probably won’t help you since Constantine is obviously nothing like Arrow, The Flash or Gotham. If you loved Supernatural or recall fond memories of the 2005 movie, there’s a decent chance you may find this attractive as well. Bottom line is that it’s a damn entertaining show based on the pilot, and a stylishly awesome one at that, so if you’ve got an eye for demon slaying, Constantine is worth a look. I enjoyed it, and I’ll be back for the next episode to see how it progresses.

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Review: Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition Suffers For Its Graphical Upgrade http://egmr.net/2014/10/review-sleeping-dogs-definitive-edition-suffers-graphical-upgrade/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/review-sleeping-dogs-definitive-edition-suffers-graphical-upgrade/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:00:28 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161504 Visit review on site for scoring. I’ve usually disliked reviewing re-releases of games, as there is hardly anything of significance to be said and it feels a bit like a […]

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I’ve usually disliked reviewing re-releases of games, as there is hardly anything of significance to be said and it feels a bit like a wasted effort. At least I used to think that, until I played Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition and suddenly came face to face with a re-release that actually made me think about whether I was better off with the original game. I’ll get to the why of that in a little bit. But it’s strange, isn’t it? No one quite expected a definitive edition of 2012’s sleeper hit (shoot me please), but Square Enix appeared quite eager to devour more money after the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition seemed to work out, and here we are. However the unfortunate reality is that Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition is a solid example of what happens when your priorities are, let’s call it misguided, and you value pretty visuals above the actual gameplay experience. It’s proven a costly mistake in this case.

Before getting into all that nasty business, this is the part where I direct you back to our original review, because it says all that needs to be said about the game if you haven’t had the pleasure of playing Sleeping Dogs. It’s not quite a revolution by any means, but it’s a solidly good game with a unique setting that allowed it to stand out from the crowd of GTA lookalikes. If you’re still reading, I would venture a guess that you’re interested in the contents of the definitive edition, so let’s get into that. Sleeping Dogs on PS4 and Xbox One comes loaded with the many, many pieces of DLC that released for the original game, and also bumps the resolution up to a glorious 1080p on both consoles. In total there are around 24 pieces of additional content, which includes cosmetic stuff like outfits for protagonist Wei Shen, vehicles and weapons. Also included are the three main extra story missions, namely Nightmare in North Point, Zodiac Tournament and Year of the Snake. These are all accessible from the main menu, and will probably add a few extra hours to your playtime.

Apart from that Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition mostly attempts to wow you with its enhanced crispy visuals, better lighting and improved textures. But if you’re like me and you experienced or witnessed the PC version, then it’s unlikely that the definitive edition will impress. If you haven’t, it’s pretty great to see Hong Kong with all these nice touches. Mind you, the original came from 2012, so there’s only so much a definitive edition is going to do to improve the overall graphical quality, and it won’t exactly feel like a current-gen game. That aside, however, this definitive edition makes a terrible mistake, and it’s clear that the enhanced visuals came at a nasty price: the frame rate. You’ll often see the frame rate dip while driving through Hong Kong, engaging in big shootouts or fights and while a lot is happening on screen. It’s distracting and uncomfortable, which is hugely disappointing when the frame rate is at 30fps, and wasn’t even improved to 60fps for this version. I consulted a helpful piece from Digital Foundry on the matter, and discovered that the PS4 doesn’t hold a steady 30fps either, although it’s slightly better than the Xbox One version.


This was not only a lesson to me to take notice of re-releases because you could possibly be getting an unfortunate deal, but it’s also an excellent example of a point I have stressed since the beginning of this whole resolution and frame rate graphical war between the PS4 and Xbox One. Frame rate is, and will always be, more important than resolution. Don’t get me wrong. I’m also a PC and PS4 gamer, so believe me when I say that 1080p is far better than 720p, in terms of how much more detailed and crispy the visuals look. But in general I would sacrifice it for a rock solid or higher frame rate every time, because it actually affects your playing experience, where resolution does not.

We all want sexier games, but above all I’m sure we want our games to play better too, and with that in mind for me it’s damn disappointing that Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition is willing to sacrifice a smooth playing experience for the sake of prettier visuals. I don’t think such a compromise should have even been made, given that this is a game from 2012, and I would have to believe that it’s an issue with development. It doesn’t destroy the game or render it unplayable by any means, but it’s unfortunately noticeable and shouldn’t actually be a thing for a game that’s two years old and is being sold again in a remastered edition. Can we be done with definitive editions for non-classics now?

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