#egmr » Azhar http://egmr.net Let's Talk Games — Videogame News, Reviews & Opinions Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:42:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Here’s The PS4’s Suspend/Resume Function In Action With Bloodborne http://egmr.net/2015/03/heres-ps4s-suspendresume-function-action-bloodborne/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/heres-ps4s-suspendresume-function-action-bloodborne/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:00:16 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169023 There’s this thing gaming consoles do where they gravitate towards an equilibrium, features wise. When they initially launch there are some stand-out features on each, such as with the Share […]

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There’s this thing gaming consoles do where they gravitate towards an equilibrium, features wise. When they initially launch there are some stand-out features on each, such as with the Share functionality on PS4 and the ‘save state’ functionality on the Xbox One. While these sorts of features start out as separators, and somewhat key elements in your decision between the two, eventually it boils down to exclusive games being the primary decider, along with some software or hardware offerings.

In other words we’re basically getting to where we want to be with our shiny new consoles: game on! I’m pro exclusives all the way.

By the way when I talk about an equilibrium I refer to the Xbox One recently picking up the screenshot functionality, and the PS4 in its latest update getting a suspend/resume feature, which was a thing I absolutely loved about the Xbox One and couldn’t be happier that it’s now on PS4 too.

But how well does it work in comparison?

A YouTuber has uploaded a video of the PS4’s suspend and resume function in Bloodborne, the latest big exclusive which has finally given Sony’s console its first top, top tier game. The PC master race certainly wants a taste of good old Bloodborne too. You can check out the video above, and discover that it seems to take around 10 seconds to get back into the action once you put your PS4 into rest mode, which is pretty speedy.

Of further importance is that both consoles have finally got their own respective amazing game, with the Xbox One having Sunset Overdrive and the PS4 now having Bloodborne. So hurrah, we can all be happy!

No more leaving your PS4 on when you want to come back and play without any delay.

However there’s a chance this new functionality may have issues with some games, as Killzone Shadow Fall has already fallen victim to some problems, albeit unsurprising ones.

Guerilla Games has explained (via VideoGamer) that players “may encounter issues with the Suspend/Resume functionality, particularly when accessing the suspend function while the game is loading into different modes, when saving the game, or while playing cinematics.”

Guerilla added that it’s “monitoring the impact of the issue” and that the upcoming patch will fix the issue.

It stands to reason that it’s probably not a good idea to suspend and resume your game while it’s performing key functions like saving or loading. I mean, we all know never to turn the console off when those functions are happening, so the same should apply. Hardly much of a train-smash, except it absolutely would be nice to not have any issues arise when suspending your play during a cinematic. Sometimes you just don’t got no time for that ten minute movie to finish, so games should let you suspend during them, once the loading completes of course!

Killzone Shadow Fall, for example, loads the level ahead during the cinematic sequences, but it usually takes the first forty seconds to a minute of the cinematic to complete the loading. The suspend/resume feature is probably causing issues when people execute it during that initial loading sequence.

Be on the alert of that, folks. And game wisely.

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Petition Cries For Bloodborne On PC, From Software “Betrayed” The Master Race http://egmr.net/2015/03/petition-cries-bloodborne-pc-software-betrays-master-race/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/petition-cries-bloodborne-pc-software-betrays-master-race/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:00:05 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168982 I’m all for petitions, which may surprise you since they have a negative reputation these days. But see petitions are a non-violent, peaceful request that lets its supporters do the […]

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I’m all for petitions, which may surprise you since they have a negative reputation these days. But see petitions are a non-violent, peaceful request that lets its supporters do the talking. There’s no shit-flinging, there’s no masses attacking someone for what they want and there’s no demand for anyone to care or make a move. You view it, sign it or don’t as you please and then leave. As usual however that’s the ideal form of a petition, and once in a while some potato head with a strange mentality will come along and inject some fresh AIDS into the whole process.

A new petition has surfaced on Change.org with the intention of requesting Bloodborne be brought to the PC platform. Innocent enough, right? Except the person who started the petition sounds a bit like a twelve-year-old, claiming that From Software has “betrayed” PC gamers by not bringing Bloodborne to it after both Dark Souls games saw release on the master race platform.

Don’t take my word for it though. Here’s what the petition has to say:

Everyone should be able to play your game. It is not fair that we are left out. You have betrayed us after releasing your last two games on PC.

The request is addressed to From Software to release Bloodborne on the “Personalized Computing platform”. What kind of a fucking human being expands on the PC acronym?

The petition has, at the time of writing, gained a sizable 15,000 plus supporters, obviously having spiked in the week of the game’s launch. The petition actually began some 9 months ago, but obviously now with Bloodborne getting GOTY-worthy reception it’s sparked many to feel left out.

Many of the people signing it probably never read the petition itself and just want to support a cause to bring Bloodborne to PC. That’s totally fine. So let’s break down the position of the actual creator of the petition, because either the person is twelve, they aren’t very observant or they lack basic understanding.

The Dark Souls games were published by From Software itself in Japan, and by Bandai Namco Games worldwide. Unlike Demon’s Souls, the original game, which was jointly published by Sony (Japan), at the time Namco Bandai Games (EU) and Atlus (NA), Dark Souls was more focused in this regard and it was free to be a multi-platform game. Hence, the eventual PC release. Bandai Namco Games as the worldwide publisher and From Software as the Japan publisher had all the say as to which platforms the game appeared on.

What of Bloodborne? Not only is Bloodborne jointly developed by From Software and Sony Computer Entertainment Japan studio (SCEJ), but it’s also published by Sony itself. It’s pretty obvious that Bloodborne is under Sony jurisdiction. Many will point to the likes of DC Universe Online and Planetside 2 as PC and PS4 games, but every game has its own circumstances so Bloodborne may see a PC release or may never see one.

That brings us to the next reason this petition’s creator is misguided. From Software isn’t “betraying” anyone. As developers they simply want to see their game being made and being successful. With Sony as the publisher it’s up to them which platforms Bloodborne releases on, not From Software.

If you’re going to further argue that From Software “betrayed” PC gamers because they went into this deal after releasing Dark Souls on all platforms, then there are two ways to counter that position. Firstly From Software doesn’t owe you anything, although that’s the crude form of the argument. Secondly, one can point to a game like Bayonetta 2, where people complained about the game being a Wii U exclusive yet Platinum Games stated that the lack of publisher interest meant that without Nintendo it was possible the game would have never been made.

If you were a developer would you have sacrificed your game, your art, because you would be “betraying” PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers by not bringing Bayonetta 2 to them, or would you have desperately wanted your game to be released and thus taken an opportunity when it came your way? You’d also want your game to be the best it can possibly be, so if a publisher offered you the environment and resources necessary to achieve that, you’d take it.

I understand that some may think there’s no reason to break down such a petition and I should just ignore its creator, but the reason I did is that if anyone thinks similarly to the creator, I’d love for you to see the light. I also want to establish that I have no problem with the concept of the petition, as Bloodborne on PC would be great. I have a problem with what was stated, the position it takes and the nature of the demand. That’s unfair on From Software, and pretty misguided, and goes against the good nature petitions like this should have.

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Bloodborne May Be The Best Reason To Get A PS4, If The Reviews Are Believable http://egmr.net/2015/03/bloodborne-may-just-be-the-best-reason-to-get-a-ps4/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/bloodborne-may-just-be-the-best-reason-to-get-a-ps4/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:00:55 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168935 Bloodborne has had the pressure piled onto it after PS4 fans have perhaps experienced some disappointment with the likes of DriveClub and The Order: 1886. While the PS4 has enjoyed good games, […]

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Bloodborne has had the pressure piled onto it after PS4 fans have perhaps experienced some disappointment with the likes of DriveClub and The Order: 1886. While the PS4 has enjoyed good games, it arguably has yet to have a truly great one. As a result you couldn’t be blamed if you were a bit cautious leading up to the release of Bloodborne. However it looks as though From Software has done it again and produced what appears to be the best game on the PS4 to date, and quite possibly one of the best next-gen titles.

At least that’s if you’re inclined to believe the critical reception, as the reviews are piling out and gamers are dishing out opinions left, right and center. While our own review will be arriving at the earliest opportunity, in the mean time let’s take a look at what everyone has to say, shall we?

If you haven’t seen it yet, it seems to be a case of a flawless victory as Bloodborne has been gravitating around a 93% Metacritic score based on 35 reviews at the time of writing this. Users appear to agree with critics as their score currently sits at 8.8 based on 153 ratings.

Prominent critics such as Jim Sterling have gone pretty ape shit (in the good way) over the game, as he himself awarded it a perfect score in his review. The game has also enjoyed ratings of 90 and above from publications such as GameTrailers, Destructoid, The Escapist, GameSpot and Game Informer.

We don’t have an IGN one yet since they’re doing that whole “review in progress” thing for Bloodborne.

This is certainly not only excellent news for fans, but also for Sony themselves who could have been twiddling their thumbs a tiny bit nervously prior to the game’s release, due to recent critical disappointments. When discussing Sony’s plans for marketing Bloodborne, PlayStation UK product manager Joe Palmer told MCV (via VideoGamer) of the game’s importance to them:

“[T]he Souls games are phenomenally popular, so ensuring that fans are aware of the common ground they share with Bloodborne is a vital part of our strategy,” Palmer said.

“However, it’s not just the similarities with previous From Software games that we want to communicate,” he said. “How Bloodborne differs from the Souls series will be at the forefront of our communications.

“Bloodborne provides a great chance for us to tap into a highly engaged audience and provide an invaluable contribution to PS4.”

Does the universally positive reception over Bloodborne inspire your interest, or were you one of those who had already decided whether you were going to pick it up day one or skip it?

In other related news, the shared criticism of the game is regarding the slightly lengthy load times. But it seems that developer From Software is working to address that in the next patch for Bloodborne. A statement from the developer, via JustPushStart, says:

REGARDING LOAD TIMES

The development team is currently exploring another patch for Bloodborne, seeking ways to improve load time duration, in addition to other performance optimizations and miscellaneous bug fixes.

A final piece of information, which will definitely make Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls smile, is that Bloodborne will absolutely have a New Game+ mode.

However around two weeks ago in an interview with MCV (via GameSpot), Bloodborne project director Hidetaka Miyazaki said something rather hilarious when confirming the mode for the game. Apparently the creators themselves are having trouble beating the game on New Game+ mode due to its enhanced difficulty! So if you’re a masochist, well, you’re certainly being catered for.

“Yes, there will be a New Game Plus mode. We’re having trouble beating it, though,” he said.

It could just be marketing talk or they’re just bad at their own game, funny as that may be, but I suppose we’ll know shortly after gamers have got their hands on it.

After all is said and done, it looks as though Bloodborne may just be the best reason to get a PS4 yet, and certainly it’s top exclusive. Based on the critical reception it’s also likely that it will feature as a Game of the Year contender.

I suppose Batman: Arkham Knight, The Witcher 3 and others will have something to say about that though!

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Batman Arkham Knight Delayed Again, Arkham Series Remaster Could Be A Thing http://egmr.net/2015/03/batman-arkham-knight-delayed-arkham-series-remaster-thing/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/batman-arkham-knight-delayed-arkham-series-remaster-thing/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:00:08 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168912 Batman: Arkham Knight, the drool-worthy end to Rocksteady’s famous Arkham trilogy, has been given yet another tragic delay. However before you melt down into a fit of tears, the good […]

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Batman: Arkham Knight, the drool-worthy end to Rocksteady’s famous Arkham trilogy, has been given yet another tragic delay. However before you melt down into a fit of tears, the good news is that the delay is only by a few weeks.

The game was originally meant to release on 2nd June, but it has been pushed back to 23 June 2015, most likely for some extra quality assurance.

As compensation for the delay, Rocksteady released seven new minutes of gameplay from the PS4 version of Arkham Knight, which you can view above.

The official statement of the delay comes from Rocksteady game director Sefton Hill, who apologised for it and explained the reasons as follows:

“We’re a developer that hates to make any compromises, so we are sorry to say this means it’s going to be just a little bit longer until you can play the epic conclusion to the Arkham trilogy,” he said.

“As a reward for your patience and understanding, and to make the wait even more unbearable, we are pleased to whet your appetite with a new gameplay video of Batman: Arkham Knight.

“Thanks so much from everyone at Rocksteady for your continued support. We are working as hard as we can to make you proud.”

A little delay like that is absolutely fine, because in a time where games often release in shoddy quality and frequently require sizable day one updates, who is really going to argue against extra time taken to iron out any potential issues?

However that’s not the end of the story. The internet has been buzzing with a few reports today, from VideoGamer.com and IGN Italy for example, which claim that a Batman: Arkham Collection is set for release on PS4 and Xbox One later this year.

This Batman: Arkham Collection would come packaged with remastered editions of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, running at 1080p visuals and presumably with all prior DLC bundled with. There’s no word on whether they’ll run at 60 frames per second, and we’ll have to wait to find out on that one.

It’s important to note however that none of the sources mention Batman: Arkham Origins from Warner Bros Montreal, and I wouldn’t get your hopes up about it being included given that it wasn’t made by Rocksteady and certainly wasn’t in line with their technical standards. Besides, Arkham Origins was very much an inferior game to Rocksteady’s offerings, so nothing much is being missed.

It’s funny though that on the very same day I was questioning the value of the God of War III remaster being on its own yet priced steeply at $40, word spreads for a Batman: Arkham Collection which has the potential to contain a lot of value. Illuminati confirmed, perhaps?

Nevertheless if the remastered editions run at 1080p, possibly 60fps and come bundled with all DLC for both games, I’d say that most gamers would be alright with it, especially since we are getting the final Batman game in due time anyway. It hasn’t been formally announced yet so we don’t know when it will release, but word around the web points to it being after Arkham Knight officially releases, in the latter part of the year.

I also doubt that it will release on PC given that the Arkham games typically had advanced graphical settings on the master race platform and looked better than the console versions as a result. This might actually be a remaster I take interest in, given that I no longer own a last generation platform and it would be great to have the Bat trilogy on a single platform, rather than have the previous two games on PC, where they sit comfortably on my Steam account. I suppose also because I didn’t play any of the DLC for the Arkham games.

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Why Are Remasters Made? Sony Santa Monica Has An Answer http://egmr.net/2015/03/remasters-made-sony-santa-monica-answer/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/remasters-made-sony-santa-monica-answer/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 10:00:08 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168894 With remasters cropping up aplenty for our shiny new PS4 and Xbox One consoles, hotly contested debates have emerged about whether or not they’re a good thing. On the one […]

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With remasters cropping up aplenty for our shiny new PS4 and Xbox One consoles, hotly contested debates have emerged about whether or not they’re a good thing. On the one hand the argument is made that remasters provide opportunities to people to play games they never had the chance to, they cater to newcomers to the console and also provide games to play in the interim wait for new titles. On the other hand people feel that remasters is an easy cash-grab without offering enough value to players, and they delay and take focus away from new games – I mean who busts thousands on a new console to play slightly prettier versions of things they played before?

If you’ve been awake recently you may have seen Sony Santa Monica announce a God of War III Remastered edition for the PS4, and many eyebrows were raised over the remasters $40 price tag, yet it offers no additional value apart from 1080p and 60fps, for a five year old game. While other remasters aim to bundle all DLC or all previous games into a single disc or collection, it’s curious why God of War III is on its own, without prequel PS3 title God of War: Ascension or the previous games in the trilogy.

The answer to that is probably that remasters take time and effort and other such technical things. But surely that price tag is on the steep side when considering what you’re getting? Make no mistake, God of War III is a near perfect game, but five years later it’s certainly shouldn’t be going for such a high price, better frame rate and resolution or not.

However in the middle of all this internet chaos, Sony Santa Monica has emerged from the shadows to not only weigh in on the remasters debate, but also offer some solace to fiends like myself.

Firstly, as confirmed in the comments section of the PlayStation Blog by Santa Monica Community Strategist Aaron Kaufman, there are no plans to bring other God of War titles to the PS4. It’s simply God of War III that’s getting the port treatment.

No plans for others in the franchise to bring over.

Kaufman also explained the reasons Santa Monica is remastering God of War III, and I suppose it’s a defence for remasters in general:

We hear you and that’s OK, remasters often help us open the door to new players who perhaps did not play God of War 3 5yrs ago, but who we can bring it to on the PlayStation 4. People often forget, the more players we can bring into a franchise, the better for everyone. At Santa Monica Studio, we’d like as many PlayStation fans to experience our games as possible, form generation to generation.

God of War III Remastered itself will release in July, as mentioned by Kaufman as well:

July 14th isn’t that far away, it’s smoooooooth.

Lastly if you’re wondering about that PS4 project that hasn’t been announced yet from Santa Monica, well, you’re going to have to be patient you rodent.

Beef wellington is awesome, fine food takes patience.

We are working on a PlayStation 4 project, we’ve stated that publicly, we hear you loud and clear.

Personally I wouldn’t say no to playing God of War III again, as it was such a jaw-droppingly incredible game. But honestly that price tag makes me rather just want to buy KFC and nom until the pain goes away.

Also the Sleeping Dogs remaster sucks balls. Don’t be buying that one.

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Mortal Kombat X Rage Quitters Will Face The Wrath Of The Quitality http://egmr.net/2015/03/mortal-kombat-x-rage-quitters-will-face-wrath-quitality/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/mortal-kombat-x-rage-quitters-will-face-wrath-quitality/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:00:04 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168843 Dealing with rage quitters online is a constant headache for developers and players alike. The psychopathic cretins and sore losers who dare to do it either don’t care or make […]

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Dealing with rage quitters online is a constant headache for developers and players alike. The psychopathic cretins and sore losers who dare to do it either don’t care or make new accounts, and there’s no surefire way of eliminating the issue past sentencing offenders to death.

Perhaps that’s why I’m not in charge of things.

However someone over at NetherRealm certainly shares my vision for the world, and it seems that Mortal Kombat X will carry out justice against those who dare to rage quit. The answer is in the dreaded, fearsome Quitality!

Even if you’re playing against a frustratingly good opponent in Mortal Kombat X, your Saiyan pride will absolutely be called into question when you consider going for the rage quit option. It’s strongly advised not to quit the match.

Developers at NetherRealm, speaking during their livestream recently, explained how rage quitters will be punished via the justice of the Quitality.

“If you quit, your head blows up and the other guy wins,” they stated.

Yes, your head fucking explodes. As depicted above. You shall be headless. And the world will laugh at you. Bitch.

If you’d like to maintain a decent average, you should suck it up and take your punches to the balls and uppercuts to the kisser like a real person. Notice how I didn’t say ‘man’? How’s that equality for you?

In other Mortal Kombat X related news, the Xbox Store seems to have outed Predator as the next guest character via the absurdly priced $30 Kombat Pack, which comes with four characters and some skins. Nothing like a good cup of rip-off in the morning! Either way Jason Voorhees and Predator, if he is in the game, will both be DLC only characters, because fuck including guest characters for free on the disc like fighting games used to do all the time!

There also may be another five rumoured characters on the Mortal Kombat X roster, and the game will also feature a Kustom Kombat mode, similar to Test Your Might.

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Review: Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number Is A Skull-Bash Behind Its Predecessor http://egmr.net/2015/03/review-hotline-miami-2-wrong-number-skull-bash-behind-predecessor/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/review-hotline-miami-2-wrong-number-skull-bash-behind-predecessor/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 08:00:22 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168769 Visit review on site for scoring. The original Hotline Miami came as a wonderful surprise, proving to be a brilliant adrenaline rush of a game with a bizarrely thought-provoking narrative, […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

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The original Hotline Miami came as a wonderful surprise, proving to be a brilliant adrenaline rush of a game with a bizarrely thought-provoking narrative, incredible music and hyper violence that was almost impossible not to be mesmerised by. It stood against cautionary approaches and begged to be played like a fever dream, in a rush of cracking skulls and guts and fast movement. As massive fans of the first game we were very excited by the announcement of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, despite knowing that developer Dennaton Games had quite the mountain to climb in order to top it. After dropping the last body in Hotline Miami 2, we can say that in some ways they absolutely rose above the original, but in many others the game unfortunately took a few missteps. Regardless, it’s still just as thrilling and delicious as the first, just not without a fresh set of problems and concerns.

The game is set before and after the events of the first game, although focusing more on the latter. It chronicles the aftermath of the violent escapades of first game’s protagonist Jacket, and the infamy his actions have reached. However the game is totally bizarre with its delivery and order. While the first game was far from being a straightforward narrative thanks to its fitting ambiguity, distorted visual imagery and dreamlike nature, its linear structure helped it to be thought-provoking and paced well. In Hotline Miami 2 there are tons of playable characters and the game jumps between them as well as back and forth through time constantly, which can make it unnecessarily convoluted at times. While the colourful cast of characters and styles freshens the game up, the storytelling can come across as rather unfocused. Intentional perhaps, but potentially off-putting at worst. The writing though is great, and if you don’t mind the delivery of the story it’s easy to find yourself intrigued by it all, although the game does falter with its delivery of themes due to this, particularly those of the meaning behind it all.

Don’t let it ever be said that Hotline Miami isn’t a remarkable audio and visual experience, however, which is a huge part of why the original’s narrative worked so damn well. Hotline Miami 2 unquestionably continues this proudly, presenting one of the best soundtracks you’re likely to encounter in a game, easily outclassing the first game even. The sheer rush of adrenaline the audio can give you is often enough reason to keep playing all on its own, and honestly in few other places will you find violence so riveting. There’s a ton of variety in the techno music too, although its never shy to flare up and pound your eardrums with unforgettable tracks. On top of that the game presents a better atmosphere than its predecessor as levels have a greater sense of stylisation, with some for example featuring thunderous booms of lightning to complement the tracks. Visually it’s a slight upgrade too, and is certainly bloodier and more loud than before. It’s just stunning in motion.

Hotline Miami 2 - 2

Hotline Miami 2 largely plays like the first, but with a few added weapons and some new mechanics and fresh experiences delivered via the wide variety of characters you’ll play. Each character has their own unique perk. For example Corey can execute a dodge roll, Alex and Ash feature as two characters with one wielding a chainsaw and the other guns, while Mark can duel wield two sub-machine guns and fire in two directions simultaneously. One character even uses a non-lethal approach, until you send him into a bloody frenzy after performing an execution. It’s great to experience the diverse cast and toy around with different setups, which help differentiate settings and levels. If you’re wondering, the mask mechanic from the first game still exists, but it has less of a presence and fits as a style for each character, rather than just as an approach you want to take. The gameplay is as mechanically solid as the first, although we did experience a few occasional control issues, such as sluggish aiming or the character overextending when trying to move slightly.

However while the core gameplay and hyper violence is as delicious as ever, there are numerous problems this time around which may put off certain fans of the original. Hotline Miami 2 spices things up by featuring large open levels, and the enemy count is far higher. While the challenge presented is fantastic and masochists will get to die a hell of a lot, these two forms of upscaling are a double-edged sword. In the first game dying meant backtracking some thirty seconds or a minute, due to the incredibly fast pacing and tight level design. Furthermore you sort of used everything you could get your hands on, and melee was never not an option. In Hotline Miami 2, by contrast, large open levels and tons of enemies often means you can die cheaply by armed enemies totally off your screen or get swarmed without enough to deal with it, and in these cases there’s only so much the manual camera shift can do. It feels like bad design rather than due to slow reflexes on your part. This can force a more cautious approach, and thus dying can leave you replaying several irritating minutes of bullet dodging, luring and flanking, with you relying more on luck than efficient trial-and-error.

The cautionary approach can make the game feel restrictive, and worse can result in an over-reliance on guns. There are actually some segments in the game where not having a gun can make things utterly overwhelming and frustrating as you try to deal with brutes who can’t be melee attacked, dogs and armed enemies all at once. In levels like these it almost feels like your options are painfully limited, and it goes against the fast-paced, don’t-think-just-act kind of gameplay the first championed. As a result there are moments where it just becomes frustrating rather than fun, which is something the first game never fell victim to due to its tight and smart level design. And if you’re a player who prefers the melee approach above all else, Hotline Miami 2 can feel like its working against you in many of its levels. However in spite of these flaws there are tons of moments where the game is every bit as fun and awesome as its predecessor, but it’s just a shame that in the case of Hotline Miami 2 opting to upscale in quantity and size as is typical of sequels led to a focus on some of the wrong things.

hm2_06

The subject of game length is not one that can be generalised, and every game has its own battle to face here. It’s unfortunate then that in the case of Hotline Miami 2 it felt as though the game overstayed its welcome somewhat. In addition to being longer than the first, the aforementioned larger levels, higher enemy count and slower playing style can make the game feel tiresome before its end, and a bit drawn out. If you do find yourself loving every minute of Hotline Miami 2, however, then you’d be pleased to know than on completion you unlock a hard mode, where enemies are more difficult to take down and the you lose helpful features like enemy-locking. It’s a great incentive for replayability for the masochists. Although the promised level editor may do that job all on its own, and it will release in due time. That may be exactly what those disappointed by some of the design decisions here need, as it will ideally allow them to craft more tightly focused levels akin to the original game.

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Parents Want To Sue Microsoft…After Child Spent $4,500 On Microtransactions http://egmr.net/2015/03/parents-want-sue-microsoft-child-spent-4500-microtransactions/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/parents-want-sue-microsoft-child-spent-4500-microtransactions/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 10:00:12 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168755 It’s ludicrous news day, apparently! Before we dive into the sheer calamity caused by a certain species of little Johnny, let’s establish something first. I will be the first to […]

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It’s ludicrous news day, apparently! Before we dive into the sheer calamity caused by a certain species of little Johnny, let’s establish something first. I will be the first to admit that in games you absolutely love you can lose sight of your spending with regards to microtransactions. I have been guilty of this one month in Dota 2, with those pesky, beautiful cosmetic items. However in my case it was an extra R100 I shouldn’t have spent, but for the life of me I cannot imagine how $4,500 (which is over R45,000) gets passed your attention – unless we’re dealing with a child under the age of ten.

If that is the case in this particular story, then what the hell is little Johnny doing with the credit card in the first place?

But we can point fingers later. First let’s actually discuss the story, seeing as how I’m prone to getting ahead of myself sometimes.

A frustrated parent is seeking out a lawyer in order to start a class-action lawsuit (fancy way of saying ‘sue’) against Microsoft after his child spent a ridiculous $4,500 on Microtransactions in FIFA, of all damn things.

What microtransactions are we talking about? Well, in Ultimate Team mode you can buy packs of players either with in-game money or human money. One parent was shocked to discover that their little Johnny variant spent thousands of dollars worth on these microtransactions. The parent, noting the charges on his credit card, is angered that Microsoft has denied compensation for this transgression.

Writing in a post on Medium, the father says that he and his wife take the blame for not paying more attention to what little Johnny is getting up to with his video games, but he also wants Microsoft to supply better parental controls.

“If Microsoft wanted to spare thousands of parents from frustration, anger and sometimes, serious financial consequences then it could find a hundred ways to do it. It has just chosen not to.”

Maybe I’m old fashioned when it comes to this, but if your child is unaware that credit card does not equal limitless funds, then surely they shouldn’t be using a credit card to begin with? Or if you are allowing the kid to use it because of Xbox Live or PlayStation Network, that you monitor all expenses being made or demand the child ask permission before making any purchases?

Now it is highly possible that this is the father’s account which the child is playing on, but then how would parental controls help? Unless of course he’s requesting some kind of password before a purchase is made, but there are security features like this and furthermore, whatever happened to those useful online statements or phone SMS’ when the credit card is used?

I can easily believe a couple of tens or hundreds slipping under your radar, but how does $4,500 in one particular game from one particular source (Xbox Live) go unnoticed until it accumulates that much? Unless again the child somehow spent it all in a single night or two.

Am I being too harsh? Can you sympathise with these parents? Do you know of any similar circumstances in which expenses got out of control in the wrong hands? By all means share your stories and thoughts in the comments.

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How Long Will It Take You To Conquer Bloodborne, And Do You Care? http://egmr.net/2015/03/long-will-take-conquer-bloodborne-care/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/long-will-take-conquer-bloodborne-care/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 10:00:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168703 The subject of game length is a bit of an oddball since gamers on the internet seem to either selectively care about it or spend ages debating whether a length […]

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The subject of game length is a bit of an oddball since gamers on the internet seem to either selectively care about it or spend ages debating whether a length is appropriate before playing said game and judging based on the experience. However to the Dark Souls crowd game length matters because these particular cretins want to maximise their pain, and thus need an experience rich with masochistic content.

Bloodborne will be releasing at the end of this month exclusively on PS4, but the game has gone out early on retail for a number of human beings. While this has caused many From Software fanboys to shed real tears, the good news is that it gives us access to some information about the game prior to release, albeit questionable information due to the lack of a worldwide release. Nevertheless it’s information to take with a pinch of salt and discuss.

The latest information concerning the length of Bloodborne comes from a YouTuber by the username Open World Games, who published his review of the game. In it he stated that the game takes around “40 to 45 hours to complete”, but obviously this will depend on player skill level, familiarity with Dark Souls games and general approach to games.

Of course you can take this with a tiny bit of salt given that it’s come from an independent gamer and not a professional review outlet, despite how much ethics the latter seems to lack these days. Either way for the purposes of discussion and sanity let’s say it’s a workable figure.

It’s bizarre to imagine anyone complain about a game length of this magnitude, but some may given that Dark Souls 2 for instance could apparently satisfy your sexual needs for a hundred hours or more. However the new consoles are still getting into gear, and one can easily argue that Bloodborne offering over forty hours of value is a great thing, if true.

But are those hours meaningful? Find out on the next exciting episode of Dragon Ball Z.

Although it’s worth noting that the average time gamers have spent on Dark Souls to complete the main story and extras is around 65 hours, according to howlongtobeat anyway. Don’t worry, it’s nota  dodgy site about beating your meant, it’s actually about games.

I would argue that game length is secondary when compared to the actual content of those hours. In Assassin’s Creed’s case for instance, game length barely offers any value given how mundane most of the content is. So a longer game doesn’t by some divine definition automatically mean a better game. The only way to know whether Bloodborne makes good on its hours is to play it, and there’s little else to be said about that.

Do you value game length highly? Would you rather have an eight hour stellar experience, or a twenty hour decent one? That’s not really a good way to ask the question, but basic and silly examples like that outline the idea fairly simply. Sound off in the comments below, even if it’s to say how betrayed you are by the length of Bloodborne and you’re now going to cancel your pre-order and shit.

Don’t pre-order games, by the way.

UPDATE — According to a rumour on the internets, there might be a rather massive 10GB day one patch coming. You be the judge.

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Here Are Some Of The Silliest Yet Awesome Ways To Enjoy Skyrim http://egmr.net/2015/03/silliest-yet-awesome-ways-enjoy-skyrim/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/silliest-yet-awesome-ways-enjoy-skyrim/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 10:00:47 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168667 Only for the PC master race! I apologise, I couldn’t resist that one. Despite gaming on both consoles. No, I’m not very fun at parties. I don’t even do parties. […]

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Only for the PC master race!

I apologise, I couldn’t resist that one. Despite gaming on both consoles. No, I’m not very fun at parties. I don’t even do parties. Enough about me now. We’re talking about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the way mods continue to prove that PC is the best place to enjoy Skyrim.

Back in August 2013 I did a ‘just-for-fun’ video showing off enhanced visual mods for Skyrim, but those were a far cry compared to what modders are currently doing with the game now. Whether it’s new reports of the game achieving a higher level of visual fidelity, masses of new story content and even just extremely silly additions, Skyrim is ruled by mods.

However perhaps you haven’t seen anything quite like this yet.

If you have a taste for the dramatic, and rather unashamedly silly, you’d do well to check out the following, recent video from videogamedunkey, which shows off Skyrim in a way that will surely make you question everything you know in life.

Don’t believe me? Well, what if dragons were actually manifestations of Thomas the Tank Engine? You’re fucking welcome.

Give the video a spin down below. They’ve even managed to shove Masterchief in there.

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5 Games That Changed Dramatically Before Release http://egmr.net/2015/03/5-games-that-changed-dramatically-before-release/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/5-games-that-changed-dramatically-before-release/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 10:00:27 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168561 It’s no big secret that a great many games undergo changes during development, especially from original conception. By change we’re talking about a lot more than just a graphical downgrade, and […]

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It’s no big secret that a great many games undergo changes during development, especially from original conception. By change we’re talking about a lot more than just a graphical downgrade, and more to do with mechanics, art direction or even entire concepts. Often these changes result in a completely new game from what was first conceived, and that can leave audiences pretty mixed as some may grow attached to the initial revelations, especially if gameplay was shown.

While there are dozens of stories out there of games that were completely reinvented during development and emerged as different animals upon release, in this feature we’re focusing on five modern examples, a number of which may still be fresh in the memory. However a few of the stories here may have slipped under the radar or some of the facts may have been lost on the average person. Nevertheless, we feel it’s pretty interesting to explore these games, especially since a number of them turned out great irrespective of their monumental changes.

Metal Gear Rising Revengeance

Metal Gear Rising

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is one of the most dramatic stories we have in recent history. After the stellar Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was released, legendary creator Hideo Kojima was coming up with ideas for another game. An original concept featured The Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater) and her Cobra Unit as main characters, but the lack of experience from the younger staff in charge and the lack of Kojima’s personal involvement resulted in that idea being scrapped. One team member suggested turning it into a sidestory focused on Raiden, and thus the idea for Metal Gear Solid: Rising was born, which was the debut name for the title. Metal Gear Solid: Rising was initially meant to be official series canon, covering the events which led to Raiden becoming the cyborg ninja in Guns of the Patriots, taking place after Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.

The game was officially announced at E3 2009 at the Microsoft press conference, but without any gameplay footage. It was a teaser video showcasing cyborg Raiden in a more crude form than his Guns of the Patriots appearance, along with the tagline “Lightning Bolt Action”, replacing the famous “Tactical Espionage Action” tagline the Metal Gear Solid series has been famous for. It was a play on the fact that Raiden in Japanese means “thunder and lightning”. Kojima himself would serve only as the executive producer on the game, but nonetheless fans were intrigued. The game would use a brand new engine as opposed to the one in Guns of the Patriots, and people were itching for gameplay. That came at E3 2010, where our tits were blown clean off by the first trailer for the game which started out as a cinematic but included exceptional-looking gameplay at the end.

The most interesting aspect of the game was the teased “hunting stealth”, where instead of previous MGS games where you stayed out of sight to prevent alerts, in Rising you would be stalking your prey. Below is the first trailer for the game, which still brings tears to our eyes.

After its E3 2010 debut, however, the game faded off the map. Problems began to arise with staff, as during late 2011 it was announced that the game’s lead producer had been replaced. Furthermore Kojima Productions was finding it difficult to design the game around the cutting concept. Strangely the game was quietly cancelled in late 2010, and Kojima looked to Japanese developers in order to create a ninja action game. Thus, after a meeting in early 2011 with Platinum Games, Kojima requested the creators of Vanquish and Bayonetta to work on Rising. At the Spike Video Game Awards in December 2011 Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was revealed, which couldn’t have been further from the original concept if it tried. It was loud, insane like an anime and action-packed, with characterisation completely different to the source material.

It was discovered that Platinum Games had requested a change of setting in order to have less creative restrictions. This led to the stealth element being discarded, and the game no longer being a canonical part of the Metal Gear Solid series (hence ‘Solid’ being dropped from the title), and rather an alternate sidestory. The title change was a bit of a funny story, as Kojima Productions used the word “Revengeance” as a play on the fact that the studio wanted to “to get revenge or vengeance on the original failed Metal Gear Solid: Rising project” while “Rising” represents Raiden’s character. The plot and game itself were designed to be accessible to those who had not touched previous Metal Gear games.

Below you’ll find the Spike Video Game Awards trailer, which shows the reborn game world’s apart from its original reveal.

Revengeance was still a critical success and a hit with gamers, but it’s doubtful that any Metal Gear Solid fan wouldn’t still feel some sadness when viewing the original concept, as it certainly seemed to be a terrific one. However only the development staff would know why it wasn’t working and why the change needed to happen, but nevertheless it will go down as one of the games we were most sad to see changed, even if the final product was still a great game.

 

Spec Ops: The Line

Spec Ops The Line

Spec Ops: The Line is a game championed for its amazing narrative and deconstruction of the military shooter genre. However you wouldn’t be blamed for not knowing about its rather weird history prior to release, and that’s not even taking into account how different the final product was from the initial reveal. If you didn’t know, Spec Ops games were actually a thing before The Line made its debut. Several Spec Ops games released in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but perhaps due to questionable quality and too many releases the series was met with low sales and poor reviews, leading to a halt in production of any future games.

In 2003 publisher Take-Two had it in their financial results that Rockstar Games, in particular Rockstar Vancouver (imagine that) was working on the franchise, however in 2004 that project was canned. Between 2005 and 2009 however the game was completely invisible and forgotten, and all we knew was that Take-Two Interactive had the rights to the name. Finally in December 2009 Spec Ops: The Line was officially revealed at the Spike Video Game Awards, but would you believe that it’s actually the ninth game in the series?

The trailer below is the game as it first appeared, strongly reminding us of the Uncharted series and boasting a dark tone and exceptionally high quality visuals and physics.

Despite the buzz it created the game again faded, perhaps partly due to the release date being scheduled for 2011. But when we got a new trailer for the game in November 2011, it looked nothing like its former self, and one would assume that budget constraints had forced a knockdown in the visuals. But in addition to that the game was hugely different stylistically, and a lot brighter in colour tone compared to the dark and broody first reveal trailer.

It’s interesting to note that the gameplay mechanics of Spec Ops: The Line are actually based on a game developer Yager pitched to 2K, but they were rejected. 2K wanted Yager to create a Spec Ops title, and gave them no restrictions on the game other than that it had to be military themed. Below you’ll find the 2011 trailer which depicts a vastly different game.

The game was eventually only released in June of 2012, and while it saw incredibly high praise for its narrative and setting, criticism was levelled at its low-key gameplay and tacked-on multiplayer, which had been created by a separate developer and never part of Yager’s vision for the game. In fact Yager had some pretty strong words for it, with lead designer Cory Davis stating that it had been included “at the detriment of the overall project and the perception of the game.”

He further said, rather bluntly and without mercy:

It sheds a negative light on all of the meaningful things we did in the single-player experience. The multiplayer game’s tone is entirely different, the game mechanics were raped to make it happen, and it was a waste of money. No-one is playing it, and I don’t even feel like it’s part of the overall package – it’s another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating.

This is relevant because perhaps the forced inclusion of multiplayer resulted in other areas of the game suffering, particularly the gameplay as the initial trailer seemed to have it all together.

 

Killzone 2

Killzone 2

Guerilla Games’ Killzone 2 is famously (or infamously) remembered for its E3 2005 trailer which depicted an unbelievable game graphically ahead of its time, which hardly looked like gameplay. However SCEA’s at the time Vice President Jack Tretton stated that the footage was not pre-rendered but “is real gameplay everybody’s seeing out there”. A number of days later Phil Harrison, SCE Europe’s Vice President of Development, stated in an interview that all game footage at E3 2005 for PlayStation 3 titles were “running off video” which was “done to PS3 spec”. Subsequent interviews however eventually dropped some of the bullshit and revealed that the 2005 trailer was a “target render”, which meant a pre-rendered video showing the developer’s goals for the finished product.

Below you’ll find that famous first trailer for Killzone 2 at E3 2005.

However at the GDC 2007 Guerilla Games emerged guns blazing, unafraid to show off Killzone 2 with a bunch of trailers, including extended game footage in future weeks. The game was certainly a long way away from release, but was already fast gaining a reputation for the most beautiful game on console. While the 2007 footage looks dramatically different to the original E3 2005 yet significantly closer to the final release, there are still some aesthetic and atmospheric differences, particularly with the lightning booms on Helghan. Take a gander at the 2007 footage to see how the game looks completely brand spanking new compared to that alien E3 2005 footage.

The game eventually saw release in February of 2009 to much critical acclaim and great sales. In addition it’s a fine example of a game that actually went on to look better than what was shown in 2007, as it was arguably crispier and more vibrantly coloured. Nevertheless, it’s still fun to watch that E3 2005 trailer just to see how games can evolve and change so dramatically, and we suppose as further warning to always be cautious of the trade event that is E3.

 

Splinter Cell Conviction

Splinter Cell Conviction

Splinter Cell Conviction is a story many may not be aware of due to the slight bit of development hell it went through. The game was originally announced in May of 2007 with a trailer. It has since become famous for “Hobo Fisher” as the trailer depicted a rugged and fully-bearded Sam on the run. It looked like something inspired by the Bourne movies, as Sam had to blend into the environment, improvise on the spot and engage in fast-paced hand-to-hand combat using whatever was available in the environment. As a result the game appeared less stealthy than previous Splinter Cell games, but no less tactical and a bit more intense. Few could say it didn’t look interesting at least.

The game was set to launch in November of 2007, but it missed that date. That’s when the game disappeared off the map, and only in May 2008 it was reported by Xbox World that Splinter Cell: Conviction was “officially on hold” and had been taken “back to the drawing board.”.

Below you’ll find footage from the early reveal of the game, which depicts the Bourne-style nature of the game as well as the combat.

Ubisoft didn’t officially confirm whether the game had been taken back to the drawing board, but the company did announce the huge delay to the 2009-2010 fiscal year. It was to be at E3 2009 that the game resurfaced, equipped with a completely new visual style and with no Hobo Fisher. It looked action packed still, but one would argue more typical. The “new” Conviction had been in development since early 2008, and Ubisoft said that “the gameplay has evolved a lot” and “the visual direction is simply much better.”

Behold, the “new” Conviction, which funnily enough still differed from the final product, especially with this particular level.

The game was meant to release in November 2009, but received yet another delay to Q1 of 2010. A February 23 date was given, only for the game to be delayed again to April, where it finally released. The result was a good game, albeit one that divided audiences especially among the Splinter Cell fans. It felt too far apart from the roots, and that monochrome colour scheme at set points in the game certainly didn’t help win over fans.

 

Fuse

Fuse

Fuse is a 2013 game that perhaps would go down as the worst thing associated with fun-loving developer Insomniac Games. It was to be the first time that Insomniac published under someone else other than Sony Computer Entertainment since Universal Interactive Studios, and in this case it was EA. Interestingly enough it was also to be the first time Insomniac would actually own its IP, and who would have thought such a disaster would have emerged out of it?

In 2011 at E3 during EA’s press conference a colourful trailer for a game called Overstrike, which looked every bit what we’d expect from Insomniac Games, the famous developers of Ratchet and Clank and the Resistance series. It was a four-player cooperative focused game which featured a band of four characters whose sanity was perhaps questionable at best. If you don’t remember Overstrike, it would be best to watch the trailer below and let it tell the full story.

The game disappeared off the radar after its E3 reveal, and it wasn’t until the end of August in 2012 that it resurfaced. Except this time something was extremely wrong. Overstrike was completely unrecognisable, and it had even been rebranded with a new name: Fuse. To be brutally honest we struggle to recall a more off-putting trailer for a game in recent history, especially when considering how this game started out. As Fuse the game looked artistically dull, the fun and easy-going nature had been stripped away for something serious and broody, and it looked like little more than a modern action game ticking the required checklist. The reactions were almost unanimous among us: Fuse was not something we wanted to play.

Now in fairness Fuse wasn’t the only time Insomniac deviated from the expected. Its Resistance series was pretty serious business as well, and it was a surprise hit of high quality. However Fuse begged cynicism, because the easiest conclusion to jump to was that Insomniac had all these fun and awesome ideas and then in stepped the mean old blank-faced EA execs to shut them down. Many gamers held it against EA, and thousands probably still do.

But was it all EA?

In a lengthy interview with Joystiq Insomniac president and CEO Ted Price detailed how Overstrike became Fuse. The cynical among us would perhaps say that he’s covering for EA, and maybe it’s true. We don’t know. What we do have is the explanation that was given. It basically boiled down to Insomniac realising that Overstrike wasn’t quite working as far as gameplay was concerned. The core idea of a four-player shooter where each co-op player had a unique role in combat was workable, but there was something problematic about the execution. Originally Overstrike was centered on using the characters to work together in stealth situations, but according to Price the play between characters wasn’t satisfying enough.

“At the time, when we showed Overstrike in 2011,” Price said, “we weren’t where we needed to be with the weapons. We had some cool concepts on paper and in the video, but ultimately, when we started playing the game, the weapons lacked heft, they lacked impact, and they lacked that fun factor that we believe is at the core of every one of our games.”

That train of thought led to Fuse, and the game’s focus on the secret, alien element incidentally called “fuse”. You can read the full interview at Joystiq for all the details on how the game changed.

One of the more interesting things to know is that according to Price “Fuse is actually the least changed of all of our IPs.” Ratchet and Clank was originally a third-person, M-rated adventure game called “Girl With a Stick.” The game had whacked up elements like divine intervention and a complex martial arts system, but it wasn’t fun, which led to Insomniac canning it and thus Ratchet and Clank was born. Similarly Resistance went through major changes as well. “It started out as a game set in the far future, where you were fighting a race of lizard-ish beings,” Price said. “And the story involved time travel, space travel, it was a space opera, essentially.” Insomniac then decided to add a dose of World War 1 or 2 before settling on the alternate timeline.

Fuse is definitely a video game we’d be happy to forget, as both its critical reception and sales were very underwhelming. At least Insomniac Games went on to redeem themselves with Sunset Overdrive, which is funnily enough stylistically similar to Overstrike.

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Gamer’s PSN Account Gets Hacked And Sony Twists The Knife http://egmr.net/2015/03/gamers-psn-account-gets-hacked-sony-twists-knife/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/gamers-psn-account-gets-hacked-sony-twists-knife/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 10:00:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168529 While we’d all love to believe in our favourite companies and subscribe to the idea that they care about us deeply, the reality is that in the pursuit of profit […]

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While we’d all love to believe in our favourite companies and subscribe to the idea that they care about us deeply, the reality is that in the pursuit of profit even reputable companies can do questionable things from time to time, whether that company is Apple, Microsoft, Sony or Jesus Incorporate — I may be taking liberties with that last one. In these cases it’s usually best to speak out, make it known that said company is doing something that doesn’t fill us with happy feels and hope they respond accordingly.

However a recent case as surfaced that does anything but inspire happy feels, and it actually involves Sony. Then we know it’s #4theplayers am I right? Anyway if this case is true then it disappoints me, especially when considering my personal preference for Sony products and all the goodwill the company has built up over the last two years and more with its PlayStation brand. You know, if you don’t count all the dramas surrounding PSN and whatnot.

Well what do you know, this case is about PSN too!

Reddit user kadjar wrote a lengthy post detailing his experience with his PSN account being hacked, and the subsequent $600 that got spent on it. His post explains how once he was alert to the hack due to rampant purchase notifications in his email, he did everything reasonably expected of him such as remove his credit card, change his passwords and launched support conversations with Sony and the bank. He even provided a transcript of the conversation that took place with Sony.

You should read the full post, but here is a helpful TL:DR version posted by kadjar if you find yourself not equipped with the time:

TL;DR: My account got hacked, running up over $600 in charges. Here’s the conclusion after running through the Sony support gauntlet.

1. They can only refund up to $150.

2. I can dispute the charges with my bank, but that will result in my account being banned.

3. I cannot unban my account, and will thus lose my purchases (“but you only have the Last of Us and some of our free games, so it’s not a big deal”)

4. Whomever hacked my account deactivated my PS4, and activated their own. Customer support will only permit one activation every 6 months. I’m locked out of logging into my own account on my PS4 for six months.

In kadjar’s edit for clarification, he added that “if you read the transcript, ‘Malcom’ seems to indicate that the full amount could be refunded upon completion of the investigation. I called to confirm this, and the supervisor I spoke to informed me that there was a maximum of $150 even after investigation.”

Basically Sony won’t refund the full $600 charges because they have a maximum of $150 for some reason, and more than that they’re almost forcing the user to take responsibility for something that was in no way his own fault. I mean unless you give away your passwords freely on the internet, trust a stranger or become the victim of an obvious email scam of sorts, hacking is hardly ever your own fault. The ultimatum he’s given about losing his account certainly doesn’t ring well either.

Perhaps you doubt the credibility of his story, and fair enough. It’s the internet. However it’s not the only story like this, as the user identified three other cases, one in a separate thread, in the comments section and in an image.

The reddit user later posted an update to the story, covering his attempts to contact Ask PlayStation over Twitter, which also didn’t get the player anywhere:

I was advised to contact @AskPlaystation over Twitter (with this thread in the tweet). I did so, and they directed me to chat. I wasn’t terribly optimistic that it would help, but I gave it a shot. Here’s the transcript. Nothing has changed, and they won’t do anything about it. If you have a minute and a Twitter account, I’d love it if any / all of you could tweet @AskPlaystation with a link to this thread! Some folks are adding the hashtag #PlayersBeforePolicy – that sounds like a good idea to me.

In a third update kadjar details how other gamers have tried to help him, if you want to walk away from this story with at least something positive. He also expresses his desire to bring to attention some of Sony’s bad customer policies in the hopes that they’ll improve.

I’ve received several offers from redditors willing to gift me copies of the Last of Us and other games / credits, and I can’t express enough how much I appreciate it. It’s nice to remember how many good people there are out there. I make a decent living, though, and I’ll be able to take care of this either way. My goal here is bring attention to a few of Sony’s bad customer service policies in the hopes that they’ll change them, and to encourage them to add more security measures to PSN (such as multi-factor authorization, which is supported by both MS and Steam).

If you feel the desire to give, I’d be thrilled to see donations to a worthy charity instead, such as Child’s Play or Able Gamers.

What do you know, gamers aren’t all evil!

Numerous gamers in the reddit thread, and in others, are reporting cases of bad experiences with Sony customer services when it’s to do with PSN. Personally I have no horrendous PSN stories to share, and thus can only sympathise and request something by means of an explanation from Sony. The company needs to take responsibility for this and make a statement, or at least make attempts to rectify these cases if it’s not going to compensate them.

If I were to take all of these reddit stories as true, then it really just feels like a case of Sony — or specifically some unpleasant customer support branches of the company — are twisting the knife here. Once again I’d reiterate that it just seems insane to build up so much goodwill only to have something like this under your name.

Another problem is that gamers, or rather consumers, typically have an objectivity problem when it comes to corporations they like or are loyal to. What I mean by that is that they want to see a corporation as all good or all bad, rather than identify with reality. The reality is that corporations want to make money, and that desire can lead to both good and bad outcomes for consumers. Corporations are not infallible, no matter how awesome their games are. And it certainly doesn’t help that this story is coming in time with Uncharted 4 being delayed, so one could say it’s not the happiest of weeks for the Sony faithful.

Do you have any PSN or Xbox Live horror stories to share with us? Sound off in the comments.

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State Of Decay Contractor Literally Dicked Up The Game http://egmr.net/2015/03/state-decay-contractor-literally-dicked-game/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/state-decay-contractor-literally-dicked-game/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 10:00:41 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168489 It’s actually about ethics in video games development this time. Who would have thought? Apparently 2013’s State of Decay by Undead Labs was left in a bit of strange situation, and […]

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It’s actually about ethics in video games development this time. Who would have thought? Apparently 2013’s State of Decay by Undead Labs was left in a bit of strange situation, and that’s putting it across mildly. You should be aware that the following story is rated P…for preposterous.

The story starts like this, my dear innocent reader who knows no evil in the world whatsoever. Developer Undead Labs hired a contractor to provide some textures for State of Decay, and the contractor in question went on to do something of the highest troll and least professional variety.

Is your body ready?

“Some of our contractors worked a ridiculous amount of genitalia into the background,” Undead Labs senior designer Geoffrey Card told XBLA Fans at PAX East this past weekend.

I’m sorry, what? That might have been your reaction, right? Well you read correctly. Penises. Wieners. Potatoes. Whatever you call them.

The penises in question remained undiscovered, funnily enough, as the texture was displayed at too low a resolution in the original Xbox 360 version of the zombie survival game. However by the time Undead Labs caught on to the dickspiracy behind the hidden features in the texture, it was too late.

Undead Labs replaced the dicks with something less controversial for future releases of the game, so you won’t be able to see the man-meat in any publicly available build of the game. That’s, ahem, unfortunate.

Perhaps you have a good sense of humour and you find this funny. Well publisher Microsoft certainly wasn’t entertained.

“Undead Labs is no longer working with the contractor in question, and this material will not be present in State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition,” a representative told GameInformer.

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition will arrive on Xbox One at the end of April, delivering the game as well as all DLC and 1080p in one package. It won’t, however, contain any penises.

Who would have imagined that something like this would happen in a game? Is it fair to call it sabotage? You’d expect something like this from Saints Row developer Volition. I guess we can laugh about it now since it’s in hindsight though.

Insert Joker laugh here.

What to make of the situation? As one commenter eloquently put it, you could say that the game was left in…a State of Dickay.

Alright I’ll line up for the firing squad for repeating that joke.

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Evolve’s Declining Steam Player Base Speaks Of Issues With Multiplayer Games http://egmr.net/2015/03/evolves-declining-steam-player-base-speaks-issues-multiplayer-games/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/evolves-declining-steam-player-base-speaks-issues-multiplayer-games/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 10:00:40 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168382 Turtle Rock Studios’ Evolve was followed by controversy over its aggressive DLC policies and limited content up until its release exactly a month ago, and that’s not even counting the problems […]

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Turtle Rock Studios’ Evolve was followed by controversy over its aggressive DLC policies and limited content up until its release exactly a month ago, and that’s not even counting the problems regarding all the hype that went into it. We ultimately weren’t all that impressed with it in our review, and as always with multiplayer-focused games we worried about its longevity.

Those concerns seem to be well-founded, since recent data off Steam indicates that Evolve’s player base has been tumbling rather dramatically at a consistently bad rate to boot. At the end of February, just about two weeks after the game went on sale, Evolve had already dropped out of Steam’s top 40 most played games. There could be numerous reasons for that, whether it’s the lack of content playing a role or the game just losing its glamour and appeal, since the honeymoon period could be considered over. In my fanboy head I’d like to say that perhaps people realised that Dragon Ball Xenoverse was just far superior.

You wouldn’t have been blamed for thinking the game was performing well, since just before the bad news dropped we got word that almost 6 million Evolve matches were played in its first week. So what went wrong from there? To find that out we’ll have to examine the last 30 days of Evolve on Steam.

As you can see below, Evolve’s player base has been shrinking rather quickly and constantly.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

The above graph certainly doesn’t speak of a healthy lifespan for Evolve. Since then the game has dropped even further down the pecking order, now sitting at number 50 in Steam’s Top Games, as of yesterday.

It’s pretty damning that Evolve has plummeted so heavily when considering that it only released a month ago, yet Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a place ahead of it despite being single-player only and releasing in October 2014. If things keep going as they are, Evolve will slip into obscurity and the realm of the forgotten quite soon, if it doesn’t already have one foot in that door by now.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Perhaps if you’re a fan of the game or just a concerned party you may be asking questions of the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game, and how they’re doing for player base or sales. We don’t have concrete information on that yet, but what we do know is that more people are playing Left 4 Dead 2, Turtle Rock Studios’ previous game, than Evolve. Maybe the game will fare better once more content and expansions release, but it’s striking how quickly the game dropped barely a month after being out, despite being multiplayer-focused.

Truth be told though I feel this crash with Evolve speaks of a larger issue with recent multiplayer-focused games, such as Titanfall. While the mech-action game wasn’t as aggressively marketed for DLC as Evolve was, both games in question were extremely hyped yet devoid of single player content or much lasting content at all. They were both rather bare-boned at release, and that makes a cynical one such as me almost feel that the games were marketed with all eyes focused on day-one sales rather than longevity. At least Titanfall was supported post-release, but it had plenty of concerns over its player base as well, at least on PC.

It’s true that the next-generation is just beginning, as just over a year is still considered infancy, and perhaps there is a worry of gamer’s attention constantly switching to new games. But more and more the evidence seems to suggest that splashing $60 on new and hyped up multiplayer games seems to be a bad idea, as they fade rather quickly post-release. The decision of whether to invest in these games becomes increasingly more difficult, unless you’re looking for a game that you can just play for a couple of weeks and then move on. For the gamer in it for the long haul, however, I’m struggling to find much confidence in investing in any multiplayer-focused games of late.

Maybe the answer is as simple as PC revolving around games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Grand Theft Auto, Dota 2 and League of Legends. Who knows. What do you make of Evolve’s apparent decline?

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Why Was Batman: Arkham Knight Rated Mature? Let’s Find Out http://egmr.net/2015/03/batman-arkham-knight-rated-mature-lets-find/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/batman-arkham-knight-rated-mature-lets-find/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 10:00:57 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168311 Last week we discovered that Batman: Arkham Knight had received an ‘M for Mature’ rating, much to the pleasure of Batfans around the globe. The ESRB rating board had decided that the […]

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Last week we discovered that Batman: Arkham Knight had received an ‘M for Mature’ rating, much to the pleasure of Batfans around the globe. The ESRB rating board had decided that the content of Arkham Knight was fitting of such a rating, which is significant because all three previous Batman games got by with a ‘T for Teen’ rating. Publisher Warner Bros were initially reluctant to let the mature rating slide, but after some persuading from Rocksteady Studios the company decided to deal with it. After all you’d have to be batshit crazy to argue with Rocksteady, who developed two of the best licensed games ever created as well as the top rated Metacritic game of 2011 with Arkham City. When you’re up against those credentials it’s best to sit your ass down, executives.

However what is it that makes Arkham Knight so special that it needs a Mature rating? Despite being aware that it had received the rating, we weren’t given an official explanation as to why. Until now that is. The ESRB has published its official rating summary of the game, which details the how and why of their decision. There’s very little that is seriously spoiler-worthy in the summary, so feel free to read it without fear.

ESRB’s verdict for Arkham Knight is as follows:

Content Descriptors: Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence

Rating Summary: This is an action-adventure game in which players primarily assume the role of Batman as he battles several villains spreading chaos across Gotham City. Players traverse a variety of locations around Gotham while battling thugs, examining crime scenes, and occasionally rescuing hostages. Players engage in melee-style combat using punches, kicks, and gadgets (e.g., batarangs, explosives). Enemies cry out in pain when struck, and some takedowns are highlighted by brief slow-motion effects and loud impact sounds. Some sequences allow players to use tank-like vehicles with machine gun turrets and rockets to shoot enemies; a vehicle’s wheels are also used to torture an enemy in one sequence. Cutscenes depict characters getting shot (on and off camera) while restrained or unarmed. Large bloodstains/pools of blood appear in crime scenes and in the aftermath of violent acts; one room depicts a person torturing a character on a bloody operating table. During the course of the game, players can shoot unarmed characters and a hostage. Neon signs in a red-light district read “live nude girls” and “XXX.” The words “b*tch,” “gobsh*te,” and “a*s” appear in the dialogue.

That doesn’t actually sound too bad. Of course the summary explanation can take the gravity and impact out of the experience, so we’ll have to see in the actual game. But you’ll find no complaints about the rating from me, as I want to see Rocksteady deliver the game that they believe in.

Alright ratings don’t matter a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but regardless I’d definitely say that the pressure is on given the lukewarm (at best) reception of Arkham Origins, and the way it was made as a filler entry for cash rather than to be an actual great game. Can Rocksteady beat the curse of trilogies? We’ll only know on June 2 when the game is out.

In the mean time treat yourself to the evolution of the Batman in cinema, because it’s an awesome video and hell, Arkham Knight won’t be here for a while.

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What Do You Know, EA Is Apparently A “Great Place To Work” Lately http://egmr.net/2015/03/know-ea-apparently-great-place-work-lately/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/know-ea-apparently-great-place-work-lately/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 10:00:18 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168235 This week we reported on the big news that EA shut down Maxis, the folk behind The Sims 4 and that SimCity game infamously remembered for, well, not working at launch. However […]

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This week we reported on the big news that EA shut down Maxis, the folk behind The Sims 4 and that SimCity game infamously remembered for, well, not working at launch. However despite the closing of Maxis it would seem that one former employee may turn out to be the only human being on planet earth who doesn’t actually have beef with EA.

More so, and pinch me here if I may be dreaming, it would seem that the employee has some kind words for EA, especially with regards to what it’s apparently like to work there. Who knew that EA may not actually be Satan’s minions after all? That is if you trust the words of a filthy casual like Maxis, after all.

Obviously the above were jokes, so control your self-righteous hero tendencies.

The closure of Maxis led to a resurgence of interest in the acquisitions of EA. There was a period spanning several years where EA made so many closures of purchased teams that it kinda acquired a reputation for it. Kotaku put together a decent round up of such examples.

A developer known as ‘vertexnormal’, whom the moderators of /r/SimCity have verified was a Maxis employee, has said that despite what we may think EA is a good employer. Even if it does sell baby organs.

“EA is actually a great place to work these days,” they wrote.

“In the past there were difficulties (I was part of the EA Spouse/class action) but a lot of that has turned around. They really do want to retain talent and minimize layoffs.

“Not everyone shares this experience, but I haven’t worked back-to-back weekends in almost a decade. EA has a really good benefits package, competitive pay, and a strong sense of progressive public responsibility. Maxis, in particular the Sims side, has what is probably the highest level of gender equality in the industry.”

Vertexnormal said they left Maxis in January, with the reason being that they could see the closure looming ahead. However they loved the studio and was said to see it meet its end.

They also outlined EA’s internal “green light gating process”, which potentially can mean that some studios spend years in pre-production prototyping games before EA gives the thumbs up to actually make anything. It’s almost a developer state of limbo if you will.

“Some time after that, when marketing thinks it is right, they will announce the game to the public. From that point on nothing changes from the public facing. Once locked into ‘online-only’ there was no way of changing it,” they said of SimCity.

“People complained that the cities were too small but there was no way to address that without compromising the numbers and forecasts when the game was sold to EA’s corporate overseers. EA can’t be negotiated with at this level, you can’t change their mind, you REALLY have to fight to get dates changed etc.

“I also don’t fault EA with this process. It is meant to minimize risk and it does pretty well at that,” they added.

“EA is a very large ship, it takes a lot of energy and time to get it to change direction. That long process steers the ship and adds predictability. Smaller companies are able to pivot much faster but lack EA’s resources and ability to ‘play the long game’. All of this stuff happens out of necessity, and all of it comes down to money.”

Jokes aside EA has done a lot of great things in recent history, and we can easily point to Dragon Age: Inquisition and the rebirth of Mirror’s Edge and Star Wars: Battlefront as evidence of that. I would say the new villain is Ubisoft! Don’t worry though, there’s always Capcom if we disagree on this and need a mutual enemy.

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Free-To-Play Is A “Significant Part” Of The PS4’s Digital Future http://egmr.net/2015/03/free-play-significant-part-ps4s-digital-future/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/free-play-significant-part-ps4s-digital-future/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 10:00:37 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168147 Free-to-play has yet to earn any kind of confidence from the majority of consumers, at least as far as our gaming consoles are concerned. Yet surprisingly free-to-play games have seen […]

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Free-to-play has yet to earn any kind of confidence from the majority of consumers, at least as far as our gaming consoles are concerned. Yet surprisingly free-to-play games have seen enough growth on PS4 that Sony is actually now considering the model an important part of the console’s digital future. With titles like PlanetSide 2, War Thunder, Warframe and a bunch of others available and doing pretty well on PSN, it seems as though we could see more pop up in future.

The industry is still trying to get to grips with free-to-play without ending up with an extortionate mobile game. I always say this but so far Valve are the only ones to make what is in my opinion the best example of a free-to-play game around, that being Dota 2. Can consoles legitimately pull a good free-to-play game off? Some publishers and developers, like Capcom, seem to think so, as Deep Down is an example of a major triple A title going the free-to-play route.

The senior account executive for PlayStation’s free-to-play business, Sarah Thompson, spoke at a recent GDC panel and said that Sony has seen impressive growth in the free-to-play sector.

“We’re really looking at this as a significant part of our digital business.

“I think that it’s going to be a really a big chunk of our revenues in the next few years; 3-5 years. And it’s already growing at amazing rates that are really quite surprising.”

According to Thompson, Sony initially didn’t anticipate free-to-play being this successful on console.

“So we think that’s great news. I think that it is really stabilizing the business. And I think it’s future-proofing us. I think that it’s really taking us into where we need to be as a company. As a company, we do fully believe in free-to-play.”

The problem however is that with free-to-play the temptation is far too great to monetise the wrong things, or structure the game in such a way that money becomes the only way to avoid a painfully long grind. These cases are defended by the whole “we’re just giving you options and you don’t have to” crap, and perhaps there’s also a bit of a feeling that gamers owe the developers something, since the base game is free. Further problems facing many free-to-play games is the notion of ‘paying to win’, and it takes a well-designed game and a good group of developers to really get over these free-to-play hurdles.

Dota 2, friends. Look it up. Although the unfortunate reality is that not all games can break themselves free of having gameplay affected by money.

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Mad Max Cancelled On PS3 And Xbox 360, Release Date Outed http://egmr.net/2015/03/mad-max-cancelled-ps3-xbox-360-release-date-outed/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/mad-max-cancelled-ps3-xbox-360-release-date-outed/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 08:00:29 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168071 If you need a refresher of what Mad Max is all about, I wouldn’t blame you considering the game was announced at E3 2013 and then dropped off the map pretty […]

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If you need a refresher of what Mad Max is all about, I wouldn’t blame you considering the game was announced at E3 2013 and then dropped off the map pretty damn fast apart from one gameplay reveal trailer. The game is based on the film series, although there hasn’t been a movie for 30 years. Why the game then? Well would you believe that Mad Max is incidentally making a comeback in films, with Mad Max: Fury Road scheduled to release in May this year. It will be directed by George Miller, the original director of the Mad Max movies, and starring Tom Hardy, also known as Bane.

Mad Max the game is in development at Avalanche Studios, who are famously known for the Just Cause series of games. It’s being published by Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, who have definitely become a very important name in our gaming industry as they’ve diversified their gaming profile pretty damn well. They found success with Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Dying Light, and they’ve still got Batman: Arkham Knight, Mortal Kombat X and Mad Max lined up for this year.

Mad Max was originally announced for PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360 but it would now appear that the last generation versions of the game have officially been cancelled. The first exclamation mark on this came when David Scammell, News Editor of VideoGamer.com tweeted about it.

However that seemed to be confirmed when a promo for the game’s pre-order bonuses surfaced, but made no mention of PS3 or Xbox 360, as you can clearly see in the image below. It only lists PC, PS4 and Xbox One as the available platforms.

MadMax_Preorder_Ripper_ENG-640x338

Mad Max was also given an official release date, if you’re excited about it, and it’s right in line with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on September 1st. That may not be the best of ideas considering that Metal Gear Solid is one of the biggest names around and will also be open world, but go figure Warner Bros is doing it anyway.

It’s curious though why the game isn’t releasing with the movie, but I definitely have respect for Avalanche and Warner Bros if they’re not rushing the game to be completed for May in time for Fury Road and will rather see it done properly for September. If that means cancelling the last generation versions as well, then I’m actually somewhat more interested in this game.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Finally Dated, Your Body Isn’t Ready http://egmr.net/2015/03/metal-gear-solid-v-phantom-pain-finally-dated-body-isnt-ready/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/metal-gear-solid-v-phantom-pain-finally-dated-body-isnt-ready/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 06:00:29 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168082 It stands to reason that even if you’re not dying a slow death of excitement like I am over Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, you still know exactly […]

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It stands to reason that even if you’re not dying a slow death of excitement like I am over Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, you still know exactly what it is given the delighted girly screams of fanboys all over the world. The Metal Gear Solid franchise seemingly concluded in 2008 with the fourth main entry Guns of the Patriots. Of course that was until 2010’s portable Peace Walker reared its head, as a continuation of the Big Boss prequel story established in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. If you don’t know, The Phantom Pain will continue on from where Peace Walker left off, completing the prequel trilogy story before the events of Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. That’s chronology for you.

Now ever since the game’s spectacular reveal at the Spike Video Game Awards in December 2012 and subsequently its GDC 2013 break-out, fans have been praying for a release date. At long last we’ve finally got one, and it’s not that far off. Prepare yourselves: your body isn’t ready.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will officially release this damn year on September 1, 2015.

The release date for The Phantom Pain was expected to be announced on the game’s official website today, as teased by a recent countdown clock and the gaming industry’s usual bullshit of hyping up announcements of incoming announcements. However a video for the game containing the release date was mysteriously leaked on IGN, as discovered by NeoGAF detective Nibel. The image below came from the end of the video and I’m no expert but it seems simple enough.

2820903-release

Of course it’s possible that this is all a big conspiracy and the leaked video isn’t true, but that’s unlikely.

Elsewhere, in an errant interview posted by IGN, covered by Gamer Center Online, Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima said, perhaps for the hundredth time, that this will be the final game in the series.

“I always say this will be my last Metal Gear, but the games in the series that I’ve personally produced – Metal on MSX, Metal Gear 2, Metal Gear Solid 1, 2, 3, 4 and Peace Walker – and now Metal Gear Solid 5 constitute a single Metal Gear saga,” Kojima said.

At least he acknowledges it. Perhaps it’s the last game he will ‘personally produce’, and any future projects may be of similar mold to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

“With Metal Gear Solid 5 I’m finally closing the loop on that saga. In that sense, this will be the final Metal Gear Solid. To me, this is the last Metal Gear.”

And just because we all love it when developers talk about going back to roots (I wasn’t aware Metal Gear Solid ever deviated from them), Kojima said that The Phantom Pain will take Snake back to those pesky root things, as he has always been an “extension of the player.”

“As much as possible, Snake will act based on the player rather than doing things like making spontaneous comments or flirting with women,” he said.

“In fact. this time, Snake won’t really speak much at all. MGS5 is an open world game focused on giving freedom to the player who will drive Snake’s action. Snake himself will be more of a silent protagonist similar to Mad Max in Mad Max 2. It’s the characters around him who will expand the story.”

Maybe he will talk less because Kiefer Sutherland? Reasons! Logic!

Anyway you can rest easy now, soldiers. The Phantom Pain will be out on PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360 on September 1st, and I really hope Kojima can get out of the last generation consoles what he did with Ground Zeroes.

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Bethesda Removes Skyrim Mod Size Limit http://egmr.net/2015/03/bethesda-removes-skyrim-mod-size-limit/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/bethesda-removes-skyrim-mod-size-limit/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:00:56 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168054 On Steam’s Skyrim Workshop Bethesda has always, for some reason, restricted the size of mods to 100mb, despite the existence of some killer mods such as the content-filled Falskaar one, which is […]

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On Steam’s Skyrim Workshop Bethesda has always, for some reason, restricted the size of mods to 100mb, despite the existence of some killer mods such as the content-filled Falskaar one, which is around 400mb for just the main file. Mods are currently keeping Skyrim far more alive than it should be at this point in time, since its release in 2011 and subsequent 2013 Legendary Edition, but if you’ve ever tried modding Skyrim you’d know that there’s no going back after that.

Bethesda has removed this mod size limit via the updated Creation Kit, which will be in beta on Steam this week.

A new Bethesda blog post for Skyrim’s Creation Kit details the update:

Creation Kit 1.9.33 Update

  • Creation Kit now supports unlimited file sizes for mods on the Steam Workshop.
  • The Preview Image is limited to no larger than 1 MB.

Skyrim Launcher

  • The Skyrim Launcher no longer downloads mods from Steam Workshop. Downloads are now managed by the Steam Client. The Skyrim Launcher updates the game after the Steam Client finishes the download.

And for anyone who wants to participate in the beta releases but isn’t quite sure how:

  • Log into Steam
  • Click on your game Library.
  • Right click on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and select Properties.
  • Click on the Betas tab, and from the drop down select beta – Skyrim Beta
  • Next from Library, access Tools from the drop down.
  • Right click on Creation Kit and select Properties.
  • Click on the Betas tab, and from the drop down select beta – Creation Kit Beta
  • Steam will now restart. After Steam restarts, Skyrim will be updated to the Beta version currently available.

This can be reversed at any time by simply redoing the steps above and selecting “none” for beta.

If you’re wondering what good this will do, well, it will let a ton of content-creators finally upload their gigantic mods to Steam’s Skyrim Workshop, for easier access to those kinds of things. I’m sure many gamers will continue to just use Nexus Mod Manager and such, but it does give more exposure and control to the content creators.

Perhaps now we’ll get a Skyrim VS Fallout mod.

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Take A Guess How Many Steam Accounts Have Dota 2 Installed http://egmr.net/2015/03/take-guess-many-steam-accounts-dota-2-installed/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/take-guess-many-steam-accounts-dota-2-installed/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:00:44 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167964 Dota, which I would argue is one of the greatest games ever made, continues to get stronger and stronger each year with no sign of stopping. It’s basically like Goku, […]

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Dota, which I would argue is one of the greatest games ever made, continues to get stronger and stronger each year with no sign of stopping. It’s basically like Goku, if you will. Fresh off the latest major update which brought Winter Wyvern, the annual New Bloom Year Beast event, a Crystal Maiden Arcana and balance changes to the game, comes some statistics which are pretty mind boggling, even though they’re expected if you know a thing or two about the global phenomenon.

The big news, however, is that Dota 2 has seen its installation rate jump 85% year-over-year, no doubt helped tremendously by the fact that it’s completely free and by the sheer popularity of major tournaments like The International and the recent Asia Championships. The massive MOBA has close to 43 million installations worldwide.

43 freaking million. Bear in mind however that just because Dota 2 is installed on a PC system obviously doesn’t mean it’s currently being played by that particular individual, so let’s explore the stats.

According to statistics posted on Game Industry, as of February 2015, Dota 2 has 42.9 million owners, and it’s estimated that 34% of all Steam users own the game. Again keep in mind that it’s a free download, so many of those could be people who just downloaded it to try it or for the hell of it.

However EEDAR reports that a staggering 8 million players have put at least 140 hours into the game, so there’s your baseline right there.

What’s more is that the number of Dota 2 users has increased by 54% year-over-year with a daily peak in players (at any one time) hitting a massive 1.26 million in February 2015, of course during the New Bloom event. If you compare it to last year’s New Bloom, the daily average was 698,000 which indicates an 81% increase in player count this year.

There are graphs and some more figures to chew up if you follow the link over to Games Industry’s page.

Dota 2 remains one of if not the best example of a free-to-play game that we currently have in the gaming industry. It requires not one cent to play, as it’s entirely free to download, and every microtransaction you make is out of choice and will not affect gameplay whatsoever. While the New Bloom 2015 event was significantly influenced by money, since you could purchase ‘action points’ to use in the Beast Mode, it’s not a big deal since it’s a fun mode that yielded cosmetic items as prizes.

Throughout the year, however, your money will do nothing to change the way the game is played yet people (including me) spend because cosmetics can be damn awesome when done right. Dota 2’s rising success year after year continues to show not just the quality of the game but also the amazing systems Valve has put into place — one of those being the community market and subsequently gamers being able to create cosmetic content for the game.

It’s only a matter of time now until the last few missing heroes are put into place and Valve updates the game to the latest Dota version. Then it will be exciting and deeply interesting to see where the game goes from there.

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Thanks To Superdata We Can Now Dissect Digital Revenue Data For Consoles http://egmr.net/2015/02/thanks-superdata-can-now-dissect-digital-revenue-data-consoles/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/thanks-superdata-can-now-dissect-digital-revenue-data-consoles/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 07:00:14 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167914 As is typical in the gaming industry we didn’t have access to information like this for console games before, and usually had to guess at it. However Digital games industry […]

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As is typical in the gaming industry we didn’t have access to information like this for console games before, and usually had to guess at it. However Digital games industry analyst Superdata has now extended its scope to include console gaming, so we finally have access to plenty of data regarding revenue and such that we can analyse for ourselves rather than interpret from publisher financial briefings. In those cases it’s not exactly like we get given much to work with anyway.

Thanks to Superdata we now know that GTA V was comfortably the highest grossing game in terms of digital revenue for January, and further that PSN is currently basking in most of the glory.

GTA V specifically made a huge $31.8 million in worldwide digital revenue in January 2015. Previously we may have just been given this number but absolutely nothing further, so we’d be left with little idea of how it was made up or what the breakdown would be. Now we know that the figure includes digital copies of the game sold through PSN, Xbox Live and also includes DLC and microtransactions.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare comes in second with $23.5 million, while Destiny is at third with $14.2 million, although in the case of the latter it’s worth noting that the steep difference in revenue between second and third places may be indicative of the game lacking compelling or enough additional content.

Below you will find the full top ten list. The source text underneath the table tells us that “titles shown are largest for US market and ranked by worldwide digital console revenues”, which includes full-game digital downloads as well as DLC and additional content. But this is why the list doesn’t include FIFA 15 despite its $28.3 million in digital revenue, since it’s based on the US’ top 10. As an interesting point, 93% (yes, almost 100% freaking percent) of FIFA 15’s digital revenue came from microtransactions.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Superdata also found that in the top ten console games listed above 63% of all revenue was generated on PlayStation platforms, which means Sony is enjoying most of the glory in the digital space. A huge 43% came from just the PS4 players. The PS4 and Xbox One together however generated 70% more than last generation consoles.

According to Superdata half of the revenue generated by the ten games above came from the US market. As a working example, 81% of Dying Light’s digital sales came from just the US, and the rest from other parts of the world. Superdata interestingly said that the console market hasn’t yet taken off in China, although it often comments on the importance of the market there in its PC digital revenues report.

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Review: Dragon Ball XenoVerse Is Comfortably Over Nine Thousand http://egmr.net/2015/02/review-dragon-ball-xenoverse-comfortably-nine-thousand/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/review-dragon-ball-xenoverse-comfortably-nine-thousand/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:00:54 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167810 Visit review on site for scoring. The Dragon Ball Z franchise has enjoyed some phenomenal games, and it’s also endured some utterly horrid ones. Fans found recent disappointment with last generation’s […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

Xenoverse Review - 1

The Dragon Ball Z franchise has enjoyed some phenomenal games, and it’s also endured some utterly horrid ones. Fans found recent disappointment with last generation’s late and underwhelming arrival Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, which was developed by Artdink. This time around the prodigal developer has returned, with Dimps back in the driver’s seat to renew hope for DBZ fans around the world. If you need a refresher of Dimps’ stellar fighting credentials, look no further than its work on the Budokai series, Burst Limit and the fact that it co-developed the near perfect Street Fighter IV. Dragon Ball XenoVerse comes to us with high ambition, going in a new direction for traditional DBZ games in that it’s basically a small-scale MMO, and that kind of risk already displays the confidence and possible madness of the studio at work here. For Dimps that could either spell horrible tragedy or glorious triumph, and we’re overjoyed to say that in the case of XenoVerse it’s absolutely the latter.

While many DBZ fans would be satisfied with simply reliving the classic Z story endlessly, immediately what will stand out in XenoVerse is how cleverly Dimps has approached it. The studio knows that fans would never decline the Z story, except this time around instead of simply delivering it as we’ve seen dozens of times before, Dimps has adapted a premise, heavily inspired by the now shut-down Dragon Ball Online, that lets you relive it in a unique and fun way, allowing them a ton of creative freedom. In XenoVerse two villains Towa and Mira are attempting to manipulate history and destroy the Z timeline as we know it, and this leads Time Patrol Trunks to summon Shenron and wish for help in the fight. That help turns out to be you, and your custom created character. You’re tasked with helping Trunks restore the timeline, as the villains from the past are much stronger than they originally were due to dark energy offered by the time meddlers, and all of history’s key events have been rewritten and distorted with horrible outcomes. What if Raditz had broken free of Goku’s grip at the last moment, and Piccolo had ended up killing only him? What if Captain Ginyu had body swapped Vegeta instead of Goku? These are but a few of the time distortions caused by Towa and Mira’s interference, all in an attempt to disrupt the time continuum and collect dark energy.

The story is fun to follow even if the dialogue can be suspect and the voice acting can be underwhelming compared to the level of epic we’re used to. But despite its flaws it’s extremely easy to enjoy the ride, especially from the perspective of your very own created character, which is the core part of the experience. Character creation is simple in its usability but stellar in its results. In the game you can play as an Earthling, Saiyan, Majin, Namekian or Frieza clansman, and each race has their own bonuses, perks, specialties, skills and unique gear. You can also decide whether to be male or female, and rather than be purely cosmetic it actually affects your stats as well, in addition to certain factors like your height, asking you to give a bit more thought to how you setup your hero. Something Destiny could learn a thing or two about, I’d say. You’d do well to get it right the first time, since you’ll only be able to edit your colours at any time afterwards, but not your race and appearance, and you’re only able to create multiple characters upon completion of the main story. Overall the character creation process does the job well, and it’s absolutely enjoyable to become a new key player in the Z story. While your character is silent in the story despite you being able to choose a voice for combat, you can’t help but become extremely attached to your Z fighter due to your importance in the world.

Xenoverse Review - 3

The entirety of the game takes place in Toki-Toki City, rather than from any traditional menu screen, as it acts as a central hub. You can enter Toki-Toki without player interaction, so that you’re not bothered by anyone else and human characters appear as NPCs, or you can connect to the online servers and experience the game MMO style, or basically similar to Destiny if you need a recent frame of reference. You’ll see other human characters running and jumping around and interacting in dozens of funny ways, as well as using the chat box to shout out to everyone or select individuals. You can also check other players’ stats out, create parties and register teams. The hub is split into three parts, namely the industrial sector for buying items, gear and skills, the business end for online versus and co-op and the main sector for story missions, local versus and the tournament feature, which has not yet been implemented. Everything is easily accessible and offers minimal stress. Also throughout the game various characters will appear in the hub world as masters, and you can train under them to learn their skills and get judged by them with every rating you receive at the end of a mission. You’re only able to have one master at a time but you can swap freely whenever you feel like.

Similarly to an RPG your character gains experience through objectives and levels up, with you being able to assign three attribute points every level. You’re able to improve health, KI, Stamina and the potency of physical attacks and special moves. Furthermore equipment gives your character bonus stats, but there are often trade offs so you have to pick appropriately for your fighting style. An example is that a piece of armour may decrease the strength of your physical attacks but increase your KI attacks. There are also cosmetic accessories like Scouters and Ninja Swords. A key part of your character’s make up is a Z-soul, of which there are a ton in the game each boasting their own buffers. You can only have one equipped to your character at a time, and the bonuses they provide can be things such as reviving you with some health if you get KO’d, or greatly improving the efficiency of Vegeta attacks, or having a chance to buff you at the start of a fight. It seems complicated at first, but much of this is spelled out and delivered in a very simple manner, and that makes it easy to get past the initial learning curve and focus on mastery of the actual gameplay mechanics.

With narrative and online versus to one side, co-op works a bit differently in XenoVerse. There are dozens of these missions called parallel quests, which can be played offline with AI allies or solo if you prefer, or online with other people. These missions start off easy but get very tough, demanding high levels and effective skill builds. The rewards however are great as you unlock more gear, some of the best skills, Z-souls, large amounts of XP and money, bonus rare rewards and Dragon Balls and materials for crafting. In XenoVerse these rewards are completely randomised or subject to special win conditions that you need to discover through playing, such as forcing a character to transform to their ultimate state in the fight and then beating them. It’s a bit of a cheap way to make you redo them since you can S-rank a mission but not get the best reward, however unlike the frustrations in Destiny where you can play a painfully long mission multiple times only to receive nothing whatsoever, in XenoVerse these missions are fifteen minutes at most and your rewards are guaranteed. Even if you don’t get the skill you want you will get others as well as large amounts of XP (even more for better rankings) and money, the latter of which can also be used to purchase skills if you unlock them in the shop and don’t want to grind them. For instance I bought Instant Transmission and Super Saiyan 2 at hefty costs.

Xenoverse Review - 2

It all just works so effectively, and you’ll never lack for things to do in the world of XenoVerse, of course assuming that you don’t get bored of the game. We urge you to get past the slow start because the game continuously gets better as your character becomes stronger, learns more moves and becomes more customisable. The best part is that if you want a change, you can still unlock nearly fifty Z fighters and use them freely not only in versus mode, but in parallel quests both online and offline. It’s a bit disappointing that you can’t customise character skill templates, and rather each different costume for a character has its own skill set. For example Goku has around ten, where the early ones use Kaioken while Super Saiyan enabled Goku has entirely different moves. Perhaps it was done for balance reasons, as the developers chose the skill arrangements they thought were best fit, but it would have been nice to do a Raging Blast 2 and let you map out characters as you like.

With everything out of the way we can finally get into the actual gameplay. XenoVerse is set in full 3D environments with destructibility here and there. It would have been great to see entire structures collapse and whatnot, but perhaps the previous generation of consoles held that aspect back a bit. Fights can take place in the air, on the ground or underwater fluidly, as expected. You’ll fly around freely, use target lock to focus on individual enemies and dish out the pain with a variety of melee attacks, special moves and ultimate attacks. In the game you have both KI and stamina meters, where the former governs your energy attacks and the latter your ability to teleport dodge, block or escape combos when you’re under pressure and need space. Core changes include the ability to charge KI now requiring a super move slot, and some transformations such as Super Saiyan becoming ultimate moves which continuously drain KI but grant massive bonuses and limitless potential to use energy attacks. However once the duration ends you’ll be left with no stamina and thus unable to dodge, block or break out of any attacks or even fly fast, making you extremely vulnerable.

The game can become intense at times, and feels excellent and extremely fluid to play. After a bit of a tricky learning curve, not helped at all by the absurdly dumb decision to not have a practice mode, you’ll soon be dishing out devastating combos, knowing when to use your super transformations and carefully managing your stamina bar and other such resources. At the start the game feels very balanced, but it does have the tendency to suffer the fate most games like this do (especially the Naruto Shippuden games), where certain characters can be pretty ridiculously strong, and you can cheap out with Super Saiyan and spamming energy attacks, for example. However you have more means to get around it in this game, and punishments can be severe. Of course it goes without saying to not expect a highly balanced game, but more effort was certainly made here and at least in the early hours you’d struggle to find exploits or cheap ways to play especially when your character is weak. With that said the combat could have had more depth or variety in physical attack moves, but it’s rock solid and very, very enjoyable, and we all but guarantee you’ll feel like a badass more often than not.

Xenoverse Review - 4

One of our favourite things about XenoVerse is that battles can feel epic in their own way in both one-on-one scenarios and bouts where you’re up against three or more enemies. It’s awe-inducing the first few times to see so many fighters on one screen and the resulting chaos, especially when you cross streams in an epic DBZ way. One example I can refer to is when my ally Goku had someone in a Kame Hame Ha blast and I threw out my Galick Gun, and our beams crossed through this sorry individual, dealing immense damage. However in these busy battles the camera can be quite frustrating when trying to switch between multiple enemies, especially if you’re solo and up against a group, which can lead you to flailing the air uselessly or losing your bearings. On the whole though we have to commend the camera, especially in versus, for holding its own and being mostly manageable.

The fun factor is carried over to multiplayer, with the game being an absolute blast online. It’s awesome to team up with other humans and get into massive bouts in the parallel quests, just as it is great to test your mettle against someone else. Matchmaking is incredibly easy and swift, and we never felt hugely affected by lag or had any connectivity issues whatsoever. There are always lobbies for the parallel quests you want to do, and if not you can create one or just keep checking. However the biggest flaw in multiplayer actually comes through in the local versus mode. For some reason not even Shenron would know, you can only fight in the World Tournament Arena in two-player local versus, which is a criminal offense. It’s definitely one of the more stupid decisions or oversights a fighting game has made, especially since XenoVerse has some great locations. It’s also sad that you can’t play local co-op, only versus, which also feels like a missed opportunity. Nevertheless the bulk of your time will be spent elsewhere, and it also helps that the entirety of the game can be played offline.

XenoVerse is absolutely extraordinary as a visual spectacle, and among the best DBZ experiences you’re likely to encounter, especially with how ridiculously amazing animations look. Colour is also fantastic, especially the glow from super attacks and transformations. For once environments actually look pretty great too, and don’t appear as bland and lifeless as in previous games. Character models make you wonder if it can get any better, and it really is a treat for DBZ fans. Some may feel the game lacks epicness in its presentation of some of the most famous and massive attacks, but Dimps went to great lengths to ensure gameplay is almost never broken up, and we prefer that to be honest. It all just flows rather nicely and quickly. The game is also technically impeccable, which surprised us. Loading times are minimal, server issues are a total rarity and we encountered next to no bugs. However lip syncing for English voices is quite terrible, detracting from the splendour. Another technical oversight is the game’s bizarre omission of remote play on PS4, and we can’t quite figure out why that is.

Xenoverse Review - 5

When looking at licensed games like Naruto or Dragon Ball Z we always have to consider the game from the perspective of fan service, and Dimps certainly delivers in spades on that. The creative story, the game’s humour, the fun what-if scenarios and the signatures of each character are all present and delivered. There are even secret Bardock and Broly sagas to unlock via the collection of a certain five shards, for added awesomness. While it doesn’t boast the huge roster of Raging Blast 2, XenoVerse is less samey with its usage of them and of course comes packed with Super Saiyan God Goku and the likes of Beerus, the God of Destruction, as character unlocks so there’s that. We’d be hard pressed to find a hardcore DBZ fan who isn’t impressed or in love with what XenoVerse has to offer, and for the rest there’s definitely enough here to warrant giving it a chance at the very least.

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Batman: Arkham Knight Is The First Game In The Series To Be Rated “Mature” http://egmr.net/2015/02/batman-arkham-knight-first-game-series-rated-mature/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/batman-arkham-knight-first-game-series-rated-mature/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 07:00:23 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167820 If you’re one of those people who absolutely hates it when things are dumbed down for the masses then I’ve got some good news for you about Rocksteady Studios’ Batman: […]

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If you’re one of those people who absolutely hates it when things are dumbed down for the masses then I’ve got some good news for you about Rocksteady Studios’ Batman: Arkham Knight. That’s assuming you care about Arkham Knight of course, and if you don’t then I’m afraid I have nothing else for you, so just walk away slowly. And don’t look back. Don’t see my tears. For those who care we’re actually faced with a rather interesting development for the final game in the Rocksteady Batman trilogy, and it comes in the form of the game’s official rating via the ESRB.

The ESRB has decided to give Batman: Arkham Knight an “M for Mature” rating, which is remarkably a first for the series. Previous games, namely Arkham Asylum, Arkham City and Arkham Origins, were all rated “T for Teen”, getting away with that despite indulging in some particularly nasty business from time to time. Why was this mature rating given for Arkham Knight, you may ask? Patience, dear reader. We’re about to get there. Good on you though for asking the right questions.

IGN opted to investigate by speaking to Rocksteady founder and Arkham Knight game director Sefton Hill about why the game earned that rating. He had the following to say:

“From our point of view, we never wrote it or made it with a rating in mind. We never did that in the previous two games… We just felt that this is the story that we really wanted to tell. In terms of creating the story, with such strong characters, sometimes they lead you in interesting directions. They lead you because you know who they are and you build the world around that.”

During development Hill got an email from publisher Warner Bros., and the email was basically an artist’s nightmare as it pointed out several scenes and parts of the game that they felt would cause “issues”, most likely with the whole rating nastiness.

“I was really freaked out because the solution was to lose the scenes,” Hill said. “But they were key scenes! We couldn’t lose them! I got the email. I’m freaked out. I thought this was going to destroy the game, everything I’m passionate about… I was building myself up for this big argument. I didn’t get much sleep…”

Fortunately for all of us Hill was able to convince Warner Bros. to let Rocksteady make the game it wants to make. The result is that Rocksteady won’t be fighting that Mature rating or making nay changes to the game to broaden the appeal and hit a more mainstream Teen rating.

“I’m not blind to the fact that [the M rating] does mean some fans will miss out… I don’t want to be oblivious to that fact. It would have been wrong to water down the game and deliver a story we didn’t believe in to keep the game “mass market” or enable it for more people. We feel that’s the wrong way to go about it. We said we love the story and we don’t want to jepoardize that.”

It will certainly be interesting to see how far Rocksteady has gone with Batman: Arkham Knight that it had to earn a mature rating. I have great admiration for Rocksteady for this (as if I didn’t have enough love for them already), although I’m sceptical of how much a Mature rating could hurt sales for Batman, which has sold more than free drugs. It’s worth pointing out as well that Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, and if I’m not mistaken Assassin’s Creed, are all rated as Mature as they come yet they’re among the best selling games in the industry.

And who are we kidding, parents will buy their kid a Batman game regardless of what rating it has. If Little Johhny can already get his hands on Halo, Battlefield and Call of Duty, you can be damn sure he’s getting his grubby paws all over Batman too.

The timing of this article couldn’t be better as well because a new trailer has only just been released, titled “Gotham is Mine” and giving you plenty of Scarecrow. I’d suggest you give it a watch up above, as it’s pretty legit.

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Big Things Happening At Telltale Games As It Prepares For “Most Ambitious Project Ever” http://egmr.net/2015/02/big-things-happening-telltale-games-prepares-ambitious-project-ever/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/big-things-happening-telltale-games-prepares-ambitious-project-ever/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 11:00:48 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167776 After Telltale Games exploded onto the scene with its massive hit episodic series The Walking Dead: Season One, the little studio went on to release The Wolf Among Us and The Walking […]

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After Telltale Games exploded onto the scene with its massive hit episodic series The Walking Dead: Season One, the little studio went on to release The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead Season Two, and this year began Tales From The Borderlands and Game of Thrones. Telltale Games shows no sign of slowing down or stopping despite having four projects to their name already, three of which are certainly ongoing. Now it seems that big things are happening over at the studio that we can’t really call ‘little’ anymore, in preparation for its “most ambitious project ever”.

It’s big news ladies and gentlemen as Lionsgate has officially announced that it has invested in Telltale Games. That’s a “significant investment” according to the press release, and furthermore Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer will actually be joining the Telltale Board of Directors.

The investment will enable “the two companies to explore opportunities to co-develop existing and original IP into episodic games and television”.

That’s not all, as it’s been revealed that former EA CEO John Riccitiello has also joined Telltale’s Board of Directors.

Telltale CEO and co-founder Kevin Bruner commented on both new recruits to the Board of Directors, stating, “I’m thrilled to have these industry giants join us as we continue to define exceptional interactive scripted entertainment.”

Riccitiello had his chance to make a statement as well.

“Telltale has created something entirely new. Their games combine linear storytelling and gameplay in an entirely new way that is fresh, unique, and compelling,” Riccitiello said, also expressing his excitement to partner with Telltale.

Here’s where things get a little more interesting though and less business-like. A couple of weeks ago Bruner (Telltale CEO) was hinting at the studio’s new IP, describing it as “its most ambitious project ever”. Bruner, in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, has now outlined the concept of a “Super Show”, which turns out is what he was hinting at previously, and may have something to do with the new IP.

In the interview Bruner describes a “Super Show” as an episode that will be part normal television show, with another part that brings in interactive content.

“A ‘Super Show’ episode combines one part of interactive playable content with one part of scripted television style content,” says Bruner. “Both pieces, when combined together, are what make an actual Super Show ‘episode.’

Big things are certainly happening at Telltale Games. The studio has four games currently under its belt and most of those will be continuing. It has a big new IP in the works as well, and who knows what else. The studio is definitely being stretched as far as it possibly can, and it stands to reason that more licenses are probably wanting to fly under the Telltale episodic banner, given that it already has the prestigious names of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.

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Star Wars Battlefront Features On Sony List Of All 2015 PlayStation Releases http://egmr.net/2015/02/star-wars-battlefront-features-sony-list-2015-playstation-releases/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/star-wars-battlefront-features-sony-list-2015-playstation-releases/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 07:00:55 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167684 It’s easy to understand why Star Wars: Battlefront is one of the most anticipated games of the year. The franchise itself is certainly making a massive comeback in 2015, as in […]

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It’s easy to understand why Star Wars: Battlefront is one of the most anticipated games of the year. The franchise itself is certainly making a massive comeback in 2015, as in addition to the game we’ve got Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens hitting theaters on December 18, and Star Wars: Battle Pod out to revolutionise your arcade experience. Not ours here in South Africa though, sadly. Now the unfortunate part for the gaming side of things is that we don’t yet have any game footage, official information or a release date for Star Wars: Battlefront. We only have the strong speculation that the game will be arriving in time for the new movie.

That’s where Sony comes into the picture, over zealous as they are. A recent post on the PlayStation Blog has listed every PlayStation title to release in 2015, including PS4, PS3 and Vita games. The list is split into three tables, showing off games that are available now, games with confirmed release dates and all those without any official dates pinned down. However there’s a strong certainty that all the titles on the massive list will release this year, and it’s not the first time Sony has done such a list.

But what do you know, Star Wars: Battlefront is featured on the list too!

While EA has yet to make any formal announcement about the release of Star Wars: Battlefront, this is definitely looking like good news for Star Wars eager beavers. Of course Sony could have just been jumping the gun here or working off what’s out there right now, but I have the strong feeling that we’ll see Battlefront in all its glory at E3 this year.

Other exciting or interesting titles on the ‘unknown release date’ part of the list include Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Until Dawn, Ultra Street Fighter IV, Carmageddon: Reincarnation, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Storm 4, Persona 5, Ratchet & Clank, Tom Clancy’s The Division and The Forest. There are plenty others on the list, so you’d best run through it if you’re looking forward to a game and hoping it’s set for this year.

All things considered, if you thought 2014 was a lacking year for games then 2015 definitely looks like it’s doing everything it can to do you one better.

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Spawn Has Freedom To Appear In Mortal Kombat X http://egmr.net/2015/02/spawn-freedom-appear-mortal-kombat-x/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/spawn-freedom-appear-mortal-kombat-x/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 12:00:27 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167658 Mortal Kombat fans are currently salivating in anticipation of a new character reveal set for this month. With rumours flying around that Predator could be included as DLC, and even Spawn could feature in […]

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Mortal Kombat fans are currently salivating in anticipation of a new character reveal set for this month. With rumours flying around that Predator could be included as DLC, and even Spawn could feature in the game, little can be expected of the reveal. However, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane has stepped forth from the dark corners of the earth to add gasoline to a fire, and get quite excited.

Cameos in fighting games is nothing new. Famously, in Soul Calibur IV (my favourite game in that series) we had Darth Vader on PS3, Yoda on Xbox 360 and The Force Unleashed’s Star Killer in both. There was Kratos himself in Mortal Kombat 2011 on PS3, with Nightmare on Elm Street villain Freddy Krueger featuring as a DLC-only character. And let’s not forget Mortal Kombat vs DC, where our comic book heroes faced off against our favourite uppercut experts.

The story for Mortal Kombat X goes like this. McFarlane has come out and said that developer NetherRealm Studios actually has free access to the Spawn character for use in Mortal Kombat games, according to an already established deal with Warner Bros. Interactive.

McFarlane, speaking in an interview with GamerFitNation (via Polygon), said that NetherRealm Studios have a “window of time” to use Spawn in their games, so if the developer wishes he could very well appear in Mortal Kombat X quite easily.

“They have access to be able to use the character in a couple of their games, if they want to,” said McFarlane. “Again, it’s up to their discretion. I gave them a window of time, so I’ll just leave it to them to do what it is that they want.

“Eventually, they’ll phone me and they’ll go, ‘Hey, we want to use him here. Is that OK?’ Well, technically, it’s OK because we’ve already said yes. They just are letting us know. I don’t know if they’re ever going to use him.”

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see Spawn in Mortal Kombat X, and I haven’t even got around to reading the comics yet! Don’t fret it’s on my list, but I’ve always found Spawn awesome. I recall the Spawn character being my first forum signature when I was a youngling, and a major part of what got me into Photoshop all those years ago.

Mortal Kombat X will release on April 14 on PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360.

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Review: The Order 1886 Is Inoffensively Fun, But Amounts To Little http://egmr.net/2015/02/review-order-1886-inoffensively-fun-amounts-little/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/review-order-1886-inoffensively-fun-amounts-little/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 14:00:41 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167503 Visit review on site for scoring. The Order 1886 is Ready at Dawn’s first attempt at making it big on the grand stage, backed by the experienced SCE Santa Monica […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

The Order 1866 - preview 5

The Order 1886 is Ready at Dawn’s first attempt at making it big on the grand stage, backed by the experienced SCE Santa Monica Studio. It’s been a peculiar journey to its release, with The Order barely having a fraction of the hype and promotional marketing you’d expect from the usual big triple A releases. Weirder still is that the initial footage for the game was rather dull and unremarkable, yet things only picked up a month before release. It was a surprisingly low-key game, with Ready at Dawn keeping things pretty close to the chest. While that could have either lead to pleasant surprise or the reality that there just wasn’t much to show, we think the final result is quite indicative of its level of marketing hype. It’s a low-key game, to tell the truth, and is content to just show up, do its thing and walk off the stage without resulting in a standing ovation or causing a riot. It hasn’t done anything drastically wrong, but the final product certainly isn’t the next big thing for Sony’s black box.

Evidence of its desire to not make too big a deal of itself is frequently shown in its story. The game is rooted in alternate history London — a remarkable choice of setting — where an old order of knights exists to keep people safe from half-breed monsters. Their secret is the Black Water elixir that can heal all wounds and extend their lifespans to centuries. You’ll take on the role of Sir Galahad as he journeys through the kind of narrative setup we’ve seen many times before, with the proud order obviously having some dark secrets and its resistance not actually being so bad. The room for originality exists with the setting, although it’s grossly underused. In the sense that the game has a rich backstory, but a shallow plot that barely even explores any of it. The half-breeds are interesting, but not really explored or interacted with past some fights. And it’s more revealing in the way you’ll not get to see or breathe in the world, due to such a constrained focus. It’s just sort of there.

The story itself is serviceable, but could have been really good if its genuinely smart ideas were expanded or focused on. It’s almost as though it makes meek attempts at pushing out of its comfort zone, but quietly sinks back into it out of fear of standing out. It also suffers from nuances such as cliched dialogue, predictability and starting the narrative in the future for no reason other than to artificially create intrigue and unintentionally just tell you who won’t die in the story. All of that could have been forgiven if it wasn’t for the fact that the game just barely uses much of its rich back story or the setting or even its own strongest elements, such as the half-breeds. More so it’s tragically inconclusive despite good ideas and interesting revelations toward the end. The Order 1886 could have been much more than a serviceable story, but it fails to aspire to much more than that. Hell, it could have gone on for five hours longer, but ends so abruptly you’ll be damn surprised.

The-Order-1886-Lycan

The game benefits most from its setting with the gorgeous art direction. The Order 1886 honestly is one of the most beautiful games you could play. It’s jaw-dropping most of the time, but we loved how subtle it is with that fact. The game never tries to vomit its visual prowess or spectacle all over your face, instead focusing on its smooth cinematic transitions between gameplay and cutscenes which happen so fluidly and brilliantly that sometimes you may not even know you actually regained control over your character. It’s incredible as a cinematic experience and in the way it can flow between gameplay and cutscene with the kind of grace that makes them not feel like separate entities. The Order 1886 is definitely raising the bar right now as a seamless visual and cinematic spectacle.

Perhaps what’s more impressive than that is how absolutely impeccable the game is in its performance. When you consider that today even massive budget games like Assassin’s Creed Unity can run like complete shit, it’s a pleasant (if not a little sad) surprise that The Order 1886 is a beast of a game. In my entire playthrough — which spanned around seven or eight hours — I encountered a single visual bug and one insignificant instance of frame rate dip during a massive fight with lots going on. That’s to say the game doesn’t just look ridiculously good, but plays that way too. Even loading times are non-existent, never breaking up gameplay. Fair enough graphics don’t make a game, but any sane person would argue that even an amazing game can be reduced to a mess if it’s technically inept. For that, Ready at Dawn can be proud of their achievements here.

However it’s in the gameplay where The Order 1886 misses most of its opportunities and makes its mistakes, over and above the unambitious story. It can be strange at times, as it often feels as though Ready at Dawn were switching back and forth between creating their own game and trying to tick all the boxes of what you’d expect in a modern action title. The perfect illustration of this is in how you’ll engage in a boss battle with a Lycan, which is absolutely awesome, and use unique weaponry like an arc gun or thermite rifle, but then you’ll also be a party to forced stealth sections with unimpressive mechanics, mundane hacking and lockpicking activities and minor just-because platforming. It’s another case of a game just lacking the confidence to be completely itself and wanting to appease all the players it possibly can. Fortunately nothing ever feels bad to play in The Order 1886, as all of its mechanics are functional enough to work without any frustration, but it doesn’t really excel at much of what it does or build on the few unique scenarios and encounters it offers.

The Order 1886 - Preview 4

We’ve seen a bit of a deal made out of its quick-time events, but we didn’t find them too upsetting. They’re reminiscent of Heavy Rain in their fluidity, and they mostly serve to compliment the cinematic feel. They never angered us or made the mistake of arriving unexpectedly, which probably would have caused us to throw a controller through the screen. The real tragedy is in missed opportunity. A telling example of this is in how you only ever fight small lycans, apart from once early on where you engage in a fantastic boss battle with an elder, and sadly that’s the extent of the usage of the half-breeds. Despite the existence of vampires in the game, you never fight one. The final boss fight is basically a repeat of that initial elder encounter. That is to say the game does have standout moments and ideas to differentiate itself from its competitors, but fails to explore them. You’re constantly waiting for more boss battles or unique encounters, but they never come as the game remains trapped in familiarity.

The gunplay is as you’d expect, with very competent cover and shooting mechanics. The great part is how stunningly visceral it feels thanks to the amazing audio and visual experience and fantastic environmental destructibility. It’s also helped by a small variety of unique weaponry such as with the earlier mentioned arc gun, which can blow someone’s head clean off with a bolt of electricity, and the thermite rifle, which is a really effective human cooking tool. As is the story with most of the game, gunplay does the job and not a whole lot more than that. One area of disappointment is the melee combat because while it’s animated very well, especially contextually, it amounts to nothing more than a single button press for an instant kill. The game would have benefited much more from a system like that of Uncharted or The Last Of Us, which both have a great feel, offer good brutal feedback for the player and add more freedom to the gameplay, but at present it severely lacks variety.

What may divide players’ enjoyment of The Order 1886 is in how restrictive it can feel due to its emphasis on its cinematic experience. You’ll only draw your gun when you enter a combat scenario, you’ll only go into stealth mode when the game forces it on you, and you’ll only make use of platforming when the game wants you to. Weirdly it’s almost like an on-rails experience in a sense. You’re either going to love the smoothness of the cinematic experience and appreciate how effortlessly and fluidly the game moves from scene to scene, or you’re going to find it to be an unremarkable bore. Neither of those perspectives would make you wrong, since we can understand either. In that way it’s easier to stomach how The Order 1886 is currently making the rounds as a love-hate game, and there’ll be plenty of debates on that front. Which is strange since there aren’t going to be a whole lot of talking points or memorable moments from the actual game, thanks to its lack of ambition.

The Order 1886 - Preview 1

In the end the extent to which The Order 1886 will satisfy you depends largely on how you see its cinematic experience and how much you’re expecting out of it. In truth it’s an average gameplay experience elevated by its incredible visuals, astounding technical achievements and at times brilliant execution of its cinematic experience. Beneath all the beauty however it’s a game that’s competent in its mechanics but unremarkable with them. It has a rich backstory, but is completely unambitious with its narrative. It has the potential to be far more than it is, but is content with dousing itself in familiarity. It overshadows its own strengths in its bid to be accepted by all, but none can say that it’s a bad game. The unfortunate reality is just that no one will be talking about it or remembering it come the end of the year, and we’d be surprised if it even makes it to the end of the month as a hot topic. In no uncertain terms The Order 1886 is disposal entertainment, and sadly it can probably get by on being that.

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Project Cars Gets Delayed Again, But Everything Will Be Alright http://egmr.net/2015/02/project-cars-gets-delayed-everything-will-alright/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/project-cars-gets-delayed-everything-will-alright/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 07:00:53 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167398 Project Cars, also known as the sexiest piece of ass on the racing streets, has unfortunately got another delay just as we were about to reach the final hurdle. The […]

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Project Cars, also known as the sexiest piece of ass on the racing streets, has unfortunately got another delay just as we were about to reach the final hurdle. The game was originally scheduled to release in November of 2014 but got delayed to March, which is short of two weeks from now. However developer Slightly Mad Studios has now officially announced another delay for the game. Oh, the inhumanity! How could this be?

Once the shock, awe and tears have passed (I’ll give you a moment), I’ll have you know that it’s not too bad of a delay. Project Cars will now be releasing on April 2 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, and the reason for the delay is in order for Slightly Mad Studios to make some final improvements.

Slightly Mad had the following to say on the Project Cars delay:

“Moving a release date was not an easy decision to make, as we know our fans are eager to get their hands-on on Project CARS”, said Slightly Mad Studios head Ian Bell.

“But we know that these extra days will allow us to provide the best game experience that our fans deserve. We assure you the wait will be worth it when the game does arrive early April”.

That’s quite the promise, wouldn’t you say?

In honesty we haven’t covered Project Cars a whole lot in recent history. We made a big deal out of it back July 2014 when it was revealed that the game had acquired a publisher. We revisited our excitement towards it at rAge 2014 in a video interview, and it very nearly made the list of our most anticipated games of 2015.

It would be a gross understatement to say that people are pretty damn excited for this game, especially because of how incredible it looks visually. We’ll have to wait a bit longer now to see whether it lives up to that hype. In the mean time we’ve got plenty to keep ourselves occupied with, including two major PS4 exclusives.

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The Last Guardian’s Silly Trademark Drama Cleared Up http://egmr.net/2015/02/last-guardian-still-development-silly-trademark-drama-cleared/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/last-guardian-still-development-silly-trademark-drama-cleared/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:00:06 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167378 Yesterday I covered the news of Sony failing to renew its trademark for The Last Guardian, which prompted some fears and tears of many fans around the world as they prepared […]

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Yesterday I covered the news of Sony failing to renew its trademark for The Last Guardian, which prompted some fears and tears of many fans around the world as they prepared themselves for the worst, for perhaps the hundredth time. I pointed out in that article that it may very well be an error of negligence or time, especially since the trademark had required renewal in the past. Sony has moved to clear that up today, and explain the reason behind their failure to renew it.

As stubborn as ever about The Last Guardian aren’t we, Sony? You really can’t make this shit up. I will maintain my stance that you can’t be this obsessed about keeping a game alive despite all hope being lost unless you actually have confidence that it will see the light of day. As for when that will be, it’s a whole other jar of potatoes. Wait do you even keep potatoes in a jar?

Sony gave their explanation to Videogamer, stating for the thousandth time that The Last Guardian has not been cancelled, but no reason was given for the failure (or decision) not to renew the trademark. Sony has since filed a petition to revive the abandoned trademark — since that’s what the cool kids do these days — with the statement reading as follows:

Applicant has firsthand knowledge that the failure to file an SOU or Extension Request by the specific deadline was unintentional, and requests the USPTO to revive the abandoned application.

I suppose it was simple negligence, as I said yesterday. Or an accident.

However the present status of the trademark U.S. serial number 85700141 (The Last Guardian in other words) has been changed to: “Application revived and is awaiting further action”. So it was just another bump in a long road that has had so many bumps it’s not even a road anymore, but an endless camel’s back. An immortal camel, if you will. That’s what The Last Guardian is.

Fans will be happy to hear that The Last Guardian is still in development, and we’re still wasting our time writing about that same fact year after year, feeding a cancerous hope that will probably lead to the extinction of the human race at some indeterminable point in the future.

Let’s put a bet on it. If we get The Last Guardian this generation, then we’re also going to get Half-Life 3 this generation. Deal? If I win, I will take my payment in Dota 2 cosmetic items. If you win, you can just feel good about yourselves for a while.

You can look over the petition document if you’re interested, or only believe what your eyes see and not what some two-bit hack writer on a gaming site says.

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The Order 1886 Is Attracting “Uncanny Haterade”, And It’s Strange http://egmr.net/2015/02/order-1886-attracting-uncanny-haterade-says-dev/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/order-1886-attracting-uncanny-haterade-says-dev/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 11:00:18 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167363 It’s funny that I’m writing about this because a day or two ago I was telling my colleagues that I’m really confused by the negative obsession going on with Ready at […]

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It’s funny that I’m writing about this because a day or two ago I was telling my colleagues that I’m really confused by the negative obsession going on with Ready at Dawn’s The Order 1886 presently. I have previously said that I’ve been impressed by how Ready at Dawn has kept their game close to the chest in a time where games usually blow their load well before release, as with The Order 1886 my interest only peaked a month ago from the latest trailer. It was definitely a contrast to the boring gameplay shown before. Yet for a game that has been rather low-key by triple A advertising standards, for some reason it has become a target for eyebrow-raising things, getting scrutinised for its length, quick time events, cinematic gameplay and I even saw an article about how it represents what’s wrong with modern gaming too. Talk about giving things a chance, am I right?

Why not love it or hate it after the reviews land or after playing? It’s a new IP, not the next Assassin’s Creed, and I’d say it’s pretty much done nothing to stand out and be applauded or warrant the negative publicity.

Developer Ready at Dawn has stepped out to speak about the unrest on the internet about the game, calling it a “bandwagon of negativity”.

According to The Order 1886 game director Dana Jan, the subject of the length of the PS4 exclusive has been blown out of proportion by inaccurate and/or irresponsible reporting. For example it blew up that the game could be finished in five hours, but that wasn’t emphasised as a speed run as the story spread all over the web.

“We have this uncanny ‘haterade’ for our game no matter what,” Jan told Develop.

“People are looking for something to throw at our game, some reason to hate it. I’m excited to hear what people who have actually played the game think about it, how do they feel about the quality and the quantity? I think by and large that most people are going to be satisfied.”

Jan believes the negativity is a bit more than the usual pressure of a publicised platform exclusive game.

“It’s more just shocking that for a game that isn’t out yet, for a franchise that is brand new, the amount of negativity is just…” he said.

“I just feel like these days it’s so easy to be negative and I think the internet is the new playground for bullies. Who goes out of their way to really go and say something positive, right?

“If you go out to a restaurant and you have a good time, do you go online immediately to post something? But if you have a bad experience, you’ll jump on because you want to warn people about it right? It takes a lot more effort to say something nice than to say something negative, and I think people are excited to jump on some bandwagon of negativity.

“I don’t think people need to go out there and be unbiased supporters of our stuff or anything either. I want them to make up their own minds about the game period. It just seems like the pendulum swings the other way so frequently. I mean, we’ll see, right?”

Jan also commented rather humourously that the team places bets on how many posts into a NeoGAF thread they’ll reach the first ludicrously negative comment. However, a number of NeoGAF posters have been key in revealing that five hours is far from the average and ordinary playtime, so they’re not too evil, and did the game some justice during this time of strangeness.

The article over at Develop contains more discussion, as well as a piece on the game’s length if you’re that worried.

Look, The Order 1886 could turn out to be anything, from terrible to great. If it’s bad, I’ll be more than happy to declare that in my review and move on with my life. But I am at a loss as to why the game is getting so scrutinised before release as if it did something to warrant that. Maybe there’s just nothing else releasing and we needed some pot stirring? Your guess is as good as mine, and I’d love to hear some reasons down below.

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Sony Abandons The Last Guardian Trademark — Is It Time To Mourn? http://egmr.net/2015/02/sony-abandons-last-guardian-trademark-time-mourn/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/sony-abandons-last-guardian-trademark-time-mourn/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 07:00:13 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167275 If you ever wanted to find the mother of all development hell stories, Team Ico’s The Last Guardian would certainly make the top five at the very least. The once proud […]

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If you ever wanted to find the mother of all development hell stories, Team Ico’s The Last Guardian would certainly make the top five at the very least. The once proud and incredible developers of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus have sadly been reduced to endless head-shaking and bouts of disappointment for gamers. While Sony continues to emphasise that The Last Guardian has not been cancelled and is still in the works (it’s just not ready for a formal announcement), we continue to accept the reality that perhaps it’s time to let go. The previous brief episode involving the game was when Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida commented on The Last Guardian’s absence from E3 2014, and speculation pointed towards a TGS 2014 reveal. That didn’t happen either, and it’s been radio silence ever since.

Out of the blue, however, we caught wind of something new regarding The Last Guardian, courtesy of the NeoGAF detectives. Hold your virtual horses, as it’s actually potentially bad news. Well it may not be, as it could mean a number of things. Either way it would appear that Sony has elected not to renew its trademark for The Last Guardian in the United States of ‘Merica.

This would be according to the game’s listing on the website of the office of patent and trademark in the US, which tells us that Sony has not extended its trademark for The Last Guardian.

The following screengrab is picture proof of this, with reference to serial number 85700141.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Negligence, maybe? Just the consequence of too much time elapsing without results? History repeating itself? Two out of three of those are certainly correct, as Sony has previously abandoned a trademark it had for The Last Guardian before (serial number 77750563), so this isn’t the first time. Would you believe that? I absolutely wonder how the hell you can believe in a project so much that you’re willing to pour money and endless headaches into it despite it having literally nothing to show for itself. That’s some determination, or some new meta marketing tactic.

Before you panic, however, keep in mind that not only has this happened before with The Last Guardian, but it also may not be indicative of the game’s current status of development. In other words, it may not spell doom and gloom for the game. The Last Guardian may simply have undergone a name change. Or the expiration date went past Sony, and they need to get on that. Whatever the reason, it may not be the end of the world, although I doubt it does anything to inspire confidence among the fans who already are living atop a mountain of dead hopes and dreams.

So no, it’s not time to mourn just yet. I’m still placing my imaginary money on a bet that the game will be unveiled as a new-look PS4 game, because you can’t be as stubborn as Sony is with something like this and not have some kind of confidence that a result will be produced. Who knows, maybe Sony are just delusional fools.

What are your bets on, if you still care enough to have them at this point?

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Dissecting The Hitman: Agent 47 Trailer And Its Lack Of Relevance To The Franchise http://egmr.net/2015/02/dissecting-hitman-agent-47-trailer-lack-relevance-franchise/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/dissecting-hitman-agent-47-trailer-lack-relevance-franchise/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 07:00:52 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167217 The eternal struggle that is gaming meets Hollywood never seems to have a happy ending for the actual fans of whatever game is being adapted. You don’t need me to […]

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The eternal struggle that is gaming meets Hollywood never seems to have a happy ending for the actual fans of whatever game is being adapted. You don’t need me to remind you of all the horrors we’ve had to endure in the past, from Max Payne to Far Cry to Street Fighter and many others. Those are memories best left for removal via lobotomy. The Hitman franchise has been somewhat of a strange cookie in that it first had a feature film in 2007 simply titled Hitman, starring Timothy Olyphant. It’s now got a second chance with an upcoming rebooted movie Hitman: Agent 47 (playing off the name of the original game, Hitman: Codename 47), with Rupert Friend in the lead role. The famous bald assassin is certainly making a comeback, since over and above the movie for this year we’ve also got a next-gen Hitman game in the works by IO Interactive. The weekend saw the release of the first trailer for Hitman: Agent 47, but unfortunately it left me and more than a few fans pretty disappointed based on first impressions, and the apparent lack of respect to the source material.

There’s a reason why game to movie adaptions just don’t work out for fans of the games. Gamers and fans want the movie to be like the game and to respect the source material, but the studios want the movie to appeal to the masses and serve as a possible entry point for newcomers to potentially acquire interest in the game after viewing the movie. Is there somehow a middle ground between those two arguably fair desires? We’ve yet to find one, but I can admit that some things from games just wouldn’t translate well in a movie. However it’s important to point out that before I dissect this trailer, I am a giant Hitman fan, with Blood Money being one of my favourite games of all time. It came out nine years ago in 2006, but I still talk about it with endless fond memories. I adore this franchise, and while I can’t wait for the new game, the movie is a whole different story.

To be blunt the 2007 Hitman movie was a bad film and it didn’t really do the source material justice, ending up as a typical Hollywood action flick. Although I can still give it credit for actually making little bits of effort to appease fans with moments that would make players knowingly smile, whether it was via the Hitman theme song, the signature 47 walk, the Hitman Silver Baller pose, the disguises, the rubber duck, the sniper rifle and bomb in a suitcase, the bathroom execution with the syringe, the blood splatters and the fun appearance of the video game Hitman: Blood Money. The new movie, Hitman: Agent 47, on the other hand bares absolutely no resemblance to the game whatsoever from the trailer. When I watch it there’s literally nothing about it that says Hitman to me other than the barcode, the use of a disguise, the silver ballers and the name. You may argue that it’s too early to judge based on one trailer, and fair enough to that, but if you pay attention you’ll see just how typical it is and probably come to the conclusion that you’ve seen this trailer a hundred times before. There’s the gung ho action hero with the ‘cool’ lines (that stolen one from Rorschach), the token babe to make the main dude have feelings, the explosions everywhere, the one-man-army action scenes, the promise of ‘conspiracy’ and even the predictable destructive vehicle crash scene at the end.

I truly get the studio’s desire to make the movie appeal to the masses, but would people really not enjoy a movie about a perfect killer? Does every action movie need to have the same script? The Hitman games were never known for a brilliant story, but it connected the jobs and gave the game a unique identity. Is it an impossibility to structure a movie around the origins of 47 (as depicted in the first game), his paid jobs and his subsequent exit from the organisation, told in Blood Money? Even dabbling in his inability to find inner peace as depicted in the second game can work. Is it too much to ask for a Hitman movie where 47 can get a fucking Silent Assassin rating for once? It really feels like you could replace 47 with anyone in this trailer and it would make no difference to the movie. Sure, the full movie may be different. There’s always that possibility. It could include similar nudges to fans as the 2007 film, or there could just be some great action scenes, as the trailer does show, but it’s just such a disappointment to me and other fans that we can’t seem to get a movie that is actually true to the main character at least. Of course the movie could be more relevant to the source material, but the trailer (which is selling the movie) shies away from exposing people to the actual point of the franchise.

Hitman is the assassin. He’s not a damn Assassin’s Creed lead. Look I don’t actually mind the action or the explosions. Shit gets real sometimes. Everyone enjoys action. 47 gets his cover blown on occasion and forced into fights. But Christ could we get sold some subtlety at least? Some evidence of a tactical execution? I do appreciate that it’s mentioned that 47 is an “engineered human”, but the trailer sells the “agent program” like any other conspiratorial organisation. 47 is a clone, a freak of nature built in a lab in secret to kill, who has no hesitation about committing murder, who later becomes a contract killer for the worldwide organisation known as the ICA or Agency. Sure in the second game he finds some brief desire for peace, but he never truly becomes humane. He’s not public knowledge or a typical action hero. Yet in the very first scene of the trailer 47 is captured by the police and already exposing what he is (in the name of exposition I guess), and it seems the fact that he’s “engineered” is common knowledge among authorities, like this is a Bourne film or something.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the movie is at least entertaining, but it’s hard to be excited when it fundamentally isn’t being sold as Hitman. I’m probably a right old sucker for still wanting to watch it (I guess they win?), being a massive Hitman fan and all, but nevertheless I’d love to hear your thoughts on the trailer above. Maybe I’m just being pedantic? I just feel there’s so much that is unique about the games and that would make for an excellent movie, whether you’re drawing from the origins in Codename 47, the mental state of 47 in Silent Assassin or the intelligence of the murders and striking characterisation of him in Blood Money, and it’s a pity that none of it is being used. Perhaps I’m idealistic in saying that I wish that a Hitman film would be sold as Hitman, and studios had the confidence to try to get people to be interested in the source material, and not another generic action flick. But that’s what sells at the end of the day, and ideals don’t make the cash I suppose.

As a final comment, 47 is totally bald, a complete chrome dome, so I’m not sure what’s going on with Rupert Friend’s fade over there. Drop your comments below.

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Witness The Evolution Of Batman In Cinema From 1943 To 2014 http://egmr.net/2015/02/witness-evolution-batman-cinema-1943-2014/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/witness-evolution-batman-cinema-1943-2014/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 07:00:22 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167159 Batman wasn’t always the dark, gritty, obsessive bad-ass that we know today. Long before Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns – one of the most influential and greatest Batman stories ever told — […]

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Batman wasn’t always the dark, gritty, obsessive bad-ass that we know today. Long before Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns – one of the most influential and greatest Batman stories ever told — the character often dabbled a lot more on the campy side of things. By that I mean it often got quite ridiculous. And there’s certainly no need to dig up painful memories with the likes of Batman and Robin. Sorry George Clooney, everyone including you knows you done fucked up with that one.

You may laugh, cringe or tear your eyes out at the depictions of Batman from many years ago, but the fact remains that characters begin somewhere, and evolve over decades. Batman is no exception to that. If you’re someone who is curious as to how Batman has evolved over the years, specifically in cinema, you’d be pleased to know that filmmaker Jacob T. Swinney put together an epic video highlighting Batman in film dating back all the way from a 1943 serial to the Nolan trilogy and beyond.

If you’re a Batman fan, or even just a comic fan, the above video is an absolutely awesome way to kill some time on a chilled Friday.

Below is a list of the films used in the supercut:

  • Batman (1943 serial)
  • Batman and Robin (1949 serial)
  • Batman: The Movie (1966)
  • Batman (1989)
  • Batman Returns (1992)
  • Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
  • Batman Forever (1995)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)
  • Batman Begins (2005)
  • The Dark Knight (2008)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
  • The Lego Movie (2014)

As we know the next appearance of the caped crusader in film will be in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, followed by a solo Batman film and The Lego Batman movie in 2017. Of course in June this year we’ll get Batman: Arkham Knight in gaming, so there’s a shit load of the Dark Knight to look forward to over the next few years.

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Remember The Ratchet & Clank Movie? Insomniac Details PS4 Game To Go With It http://egmr.net/2015/02/remember-ratchet-clank-movie-insomniac-details-ps4-game-go/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/remember-ratchet-clank-movie-insomniac-details-ps4-game-go/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 12:00:47 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167122 If your memory is crap like mine, you may have forgotten that in April 2013 Insomniac unveiled plans for a Ratchet & Clank animated film to be released, well, this […]

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If your memory is crap like mine, you may have forgotten that in April 2013 Insomniac unveiled plans for a Ratchet & Clank animated film to be released, well, this year. It will feature a script written by Insomniac senior writer TJ Fixman, and will serve to expand the universe of the two popular characters. However in addition to that it seems the rather busy Insomniac Games, who most recently released the quirky Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive, will also be developing a PS4 game to go along with the movie. We’ve known about a game, but now the studio has detailed it.

The PS4 game will re-imagine (not remaster) the original Ratchet & Clank, bringing completely new gameplay and redone graphics built from scratch for the PS4. I’d venture a guess and say that the game and movie will be releasing pretty close together, if not on the same day.

Insomniac Games’ official statement is as follows:

Ratchet & Clank have been a part of our lives at Insomniac for over 12 years. To this day, the series inspires us with the promise of new planetary adventures, propulsive action, and intergalactic wonder.

In 2015, we have the rare (actually, for us, unprecedented) opportunity to expand Ratchet’s universe simultaneously in two forms. We’ll continue our involvement with the Ratchet & Clank feature film. And we’re excited to announce that we’re also developing a game that shares the film’s vision of Ratchet’s origin story. As featured in Sony’s press conference, the game re-imagines the original Ratchet & Clank, with updated gameplay and completely new visuals built from the ground up for the PlayStation 4.

Our California and North Carolina studios are making the game together, marking our deepest cross-country collaboration to date. Many of the original developers responsible for the very first Ratchet & Clank game have an opportunity to create the stunning Solana Galaxy that they–and our fans–have always wanted to see. Longtime Design Director Brian Allgeier, Studio Director Chad Dezern, and Game Director Shaun McCabe will lead the project.

The last Ratchet & Clank outings we had were Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus on PS3 at the end of 2013, followed by the Ratchet & Clank HD Trilogy in 2014 for PS3 and Vita. After that Insomniac Games moved on to develop Sunset Overdrive for Xbox One, but now it seems the masters of quirk will be coming back home for the returning franchise.

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Bethesda Announces First Ever E3 Press Conference — Is It Time For Fallout 4? http://egmr.net/2015/02/bethesda-announces-first-ever-e3-press-conference-time-fallout-4/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/bethesda-announces-first-ever-e3-press-conference-time-fallout-4/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 07:00:50 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167061 The annual E3 press conference is the biggest there is as far as gaming events go. Admittedly it’s become far more about PR, marketing and appealing to potential investors even […]

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The annual E3 press conference is the biggest there is as far as gaming events go. Admittedly it’s become far more about PR, marketing and appealing to potential investors even if that means misleading consumers about the quality of a demonstrated game. Even so it’s still a great hype machine and more often than not we’re treated to some spectacular announcements, surprises and awesome game footage. However despite the magnitude of the event Bethesda has never pitched up for it, and by that I mean they’ve actually never held a press conference of their own. Well, for the first time ever in 2015 it looks as though that’s about to change.

The news broke yesterday on the publisher’s official blog that Bethesda Softworks will officially be hosting its own E3 press conference for the first time ever when the event kicks off in June. As usual it will run over three days from June 16 to 18, and this year will be held in Hollywood, California. For us not fortunate enough to be able to attend the event, there’ll be plenty of ways to livestream the keynotes from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and the various publishers over the trusty interwebs.

Now this is significant because — and let’s be honest here — a publisher that has never held an E3 press conference before certainly won’t go to the great trouble (it surely costs a fortune to get a keynote at E3?) of all this just to advertise The Elder Scrolls Online updates and future plans.

Bethesda’s known projects so far include BattleCry, the next DOOM game and the PS4 and Xbox One versions of The Elder Scrolls Online. I sincerely doubt that Bethesda will be announcing a new Elder Scrolls game given that Skyrim released in 2011 followed by the Legendary edition in 2013, while The Elder Scrolls Online came in 2014 with the console versions set to release this year. That’s more than enough Elder Scrolls action, leaving the Fallout franchise in the dark.

Therefore I see three outcomes in front of me. Either Bethesda wants to mass market Fallout 4 after the enormous, mind-boggling success of Skyrim or they’ve got something huge to announce regarding the series, possibly that it’s taking an MMO route or something. The third outcome would be that Bethesda has a big new IP in the works and is set to unveil it. You never know with E3 and the answer could be all of the above or only one, but I’m willing to put my KFC money on Fallout 4 being announced or at the very least teased. We can dream together, surely.

Or I could be wrong and Bethesda has actually been so inspired by the superhero craze that it’s been hard at work on a giant shared universe between Skyrim and Fallout. Speaking of did you ever get around to watching Skyrim vs. Fallout last month?

Alright then. Place your bets and let us know down in the comments below what you think Bethesda is up to!

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Valve Opens Up Virtual Items For All Steam Games http://egmr.net/2015/02/valve-opens-virtual-items-steam-games/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/valve-opens-virtual-items-steam-games/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 12:00:49 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167049 Valve are famously known for their obsession with “hats”, which came from Team Fortress 2 cosmetic items. Currently these virtual items are rampant in Dota 2, and a massive source […]

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Valve are famously known for their obsession with “hats”, which came from Team Fortress 2 cosmetic items. Currently these virtual items are rampant in Dota 2, and a massive source of success among creators and players. The best part? They’re purely cosmetic and visual (able to change animations, spell icons and particle effects) and don’t affect gameplay whatsoever. You go, Valve. Show them all how it’s done.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a whore for Dota 2 items.

Now if you happen to also be a fellow whore, or you’re just a fan of creating, buying, trading and/or selling cosmetic virtual items on Steam, then Valve has just brought you the great news in a recent Steam update.

Valve has now allowed every Steam game and software developer the ability to make use of Valve’s virtual item economy. That means cosmetic items for all! Basically (as if it could be explained any simpler than that), item makers for any Steam game can now deliver their creations into players’ hands more easily, and these items can be traded or sold on the Steam community marketplace.

“With this service, a game can easily drop items to customers based on playtime or can grant items based on specific situations or actions within the game,” wrote Valve in the update. “These items can be marked as tradable through Steam or sellable via the Steam Marketplace. Developers can also configure recipes for crafting different combinations of items that result in more rare, unique, or valuable items.”

The enormous success of Valve’s cosmetic items will be branching out to other games, and that’s not just good news for players but for content creators as well, because they can actually focus their efforts on microtransactions that don’t tamper with or ruin gameplay, but just give players some extra enjoyment and love for their game. Perhaps this will get abused in some way, and only time can tell that, but for now the idea is good and it works wonders in Counter Strike: GO, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2. Basically Valve games.

Do you buy into cosmetic items? What are your thoughts about this? Sound off in the comments below. We love to chat.

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EA Gets As Close To Confirming Titanfall 2 For PS4 Without Actually Saying It http://egmr.net/2015/02/ea-gets-close-confirming-titanfall-2-ps4-without-actually-saying/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/ea-gets-close-confirming-titanfall-2-ps4-without-actually-saying/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 10:00:31 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167053 Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall — one of the most overhyped titles of 2014 — has not long been rumoured to be moving over to other platforms after the first game. It […]

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Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall — one of the most overhyped titles of 2014 — has not long been rumoured to be moving over to other platforms after the first game. It was a pretty good effort, as we said in our review, let down mostly by its lack of content despite being a full price purchase. Obviously we’ve long known that Titanfall would eventually spawn a sequel, and recently EA has issued a statement on the game’s future with regards to platforms.

Today during a Technology, Internet & Media Conference in San Francisco, Blake Jorgensen (CFO at Electronic Arts) came as close to confirming Titanfall 2 for PlayStation 4 without actually explicitly saying it, because we all know that in this business you can’t say anything straight up. Them vulturous journalists and all. I kid, I kid.

Jorgensen’s official statement goes like this:

Last year it was on the Xbox only; in the future, we haven’t yet announced, but we’ll probably have another Titanfall game. It will probably be a bigger footprint than just a single platform. I think that’s a huge positive for us.

That’s it, folks! Yeah sorry, there’s no Titanfall 2 announcement here. It simply adds more weight to the reality of Titanfall 2 on PS4.

Given that the PS4 is the most successful console so far this generation (by successful I’m referring dominantly to sales), it would do great things for Titanfall as an emerging IP to land on it. Jorgensen also highlighted that it would be a “huge positive” for Electronic Arts if Titanfall 2 made it over to PS4.

For Titanfall, it would be the best thing for it as far as sales and exposure go. For me personally I’m not too interested in Titanfall given that online shooters have largely overstayed their welcome with me, and it will take something like PayDay 2 to get me interested again. I prefer single player shooters, like a proper loner. But hey the more platforms the merrier.

The original game was released on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC, so it wasn’t exactly a strict exclusive. What it is, however, is a game that needs quite a bit of expansion to justify a full sequel.

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Evolve Has A 3GB Day One Patch — What Does It Actually Do? http://egmr.net/2015/02/evolve-3gb-day-one-patch-actually/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/evolve-3gb-day-one-patch-actually/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 07:00:26 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166910 Turtle Rock Studios and 2K Games’ Evolve once showed a ton of promise, but ever since the recent DLC controversy, among others, people have become somewhat more sceptical towards it. Despite that […]

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Turtle Rock Studios and 2K Games’ Evolve once showed a ton of promise, but ever since the recent DLC controversy, among others, people have become somewhat more sceptical towards it. Despite that the game is dropping in on the 10th of February, which just so happens to be tomorrow. If you’re one of those excited for the game, know that you will have to get through a sizable day one patch before you’re able to play. Since the point of the game is multiplayer, you might want to think about this purchase if you’re a South African human strained for cap.

The day one patch for Evolve — which will be out on PC, PS4 and Xbox One — will be a sizable 3GB large. What does it actually do to justify that size? Well, a few things. The first is that it will come with balancing tweaks so that all Hunters, Monsters and whatnot are tuned up.

Evolve will also have better loading times as a result of the patch, which you may possibly notice if you had a go at the alpha. It will also bring matchmaking and network bandwidth optimisation, as well as add connectivity to work with Evolve Hunters Quest, which is the free iOS companion app for the game that I would be surprised if you cared about.

Finally, changes will be made to the Elite skins for Hunters and Monsters based on fan requests. There will be updates and replacements made and these will be available for players who unlock them by earning them.

Ideally Evolve will end up being a good game, as it did make it onto our awards list of the five most anticipated games of the year. Prior to the DLC controversies, mind you. Worst case is that it ends up confirming our fears. We’ll have a review up for you as soon as we’re able to.

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Persona 5 Finally Gets A Trailer, And The Fanboys And Fangirls Go Crazy http://egmr.net/2015/02/persona-5-finally-gets-trailer-fanboys-girls-go-crazy/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/persona-5-finally-gets-trailer-fanboys-girls-go-crazy/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 07:00:46 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166869 It’s been an emotionally draining ride for fanboys and girls of the Persona franchise, especially when considering that Persona 5 was first said to be in development in 2010, with rumours of […]

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It’s been an emotionally draining ride for fanboys and girls of the Persona franchise, especially when considering that Persona 5 was first said to be in development in 2010, with rumours of that occurring a year before even. However the game was only confirmed to be in the making by director Katsura Hashino in 2012. I’m sure you can begin to see where this is going, and it really has been more than four long years of waiting to see something surface for the game. Luckily for fans in September 2014 it was announced that Persona 5 would be coming to PS4 in addition to PS3, and at TGS later in the month we got treated to a teaser trailer and some game details.

However at long last, during its marathon livestream, Atlus finally unveiled a new trailer for Persona 5, which you can watch above, and its arrival has sent fanboys and girls into a frenzy, based on comments I’ve read in reaction to it. And before you ask, yes there is gameplay in the trailer.

The trailer delivers to fans what they’ve been wanting to see, namely the unveiling of the “Phantom”, the characters and new gameplay, as well as the game’s sense of style. There’s also a glimpse at the game’s menus. Unfortunately there’s no release date provided, so a vague ‘2015’ is all we have to work with. But at least there’s gameplay!

With regards to the characters revealed, the trailer shows off two more protagonists, namely Ryuji Sakamoto and Anzu Komaki, and a pet Persona Morgana. It appears from the footage that the Hero and the Phantom are one and the same.

In the gallery below you’ll find some promotional images, and of course if you want to find out more you can pay a visit to the official website.

I’m not exactly a huge Persona fan, due to lack of exposure to the series, but the reactions alone to the trailer have got me excited to see more of Persona 5. Of course the trailer itself is pretty sweet, especially if you’re usually into anime. Give it a watch regardless, it may pique your interest.

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Mortal Kombat X PC Specs Revealed — Will Your PC Be KO’d? http://egmr.net/2015/02/mortal-kombat-x-pc-specs-revealed-will-pc-kod/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/mortal-kombat-x-pc-specs-revealed-will-pc-kod/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 12:00:21 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166841 Typically publishers officially release specifications for the PC versions of their games and then we proceed to wave our e-peens around to see whether we can get the most out […]

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Typically publishers officially release specifications for the PC versions of their games and then we proceed to wave our e-peens around to see whether we can get the most out of the game. In the cases of those with more flaccid e-peens, it’s make-or-break nervousness to see whether the game can actually be played. However with NetherRealm’s highly anticipated Mortal Kombat X (that’s ‘ex’ and not 10), the PC specs were quietly disclosed in an easy-to-find-place, but without much of an hurrah.

Mortal Kombat X’s Steam page was recently updated to reveal the minimum and recommended PC specifications for the upcoming new entry in the Scorpion-is-the-best-character series. If you’re prepping yourself to either cry or raise your head with pride at your inglorious or glorious rig, you may do so once consulting the specifications list down below.

Before that though, NetherRealm will be featuring new fighting styles, an entirely new story (if you care) as well as a varied cast of new and returning characters (you would have never guessed!) in the game. We also got an announcement for a live-action Mortal Kombat series back in October last year, and just yesterday we got a full look at the various collector’s editions of the game, so the heads are definitely rolling on this one.

Take a gander down below and let us know whether your PC will rise to victory or be dealt a stunning fatality by the PC specifications of Mortal Kombat X.

Minimum PC Specs

  • OS: 64-bit: Vista, Win 7, Win 8
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz | AMD Phenom II X4 965, 3.4 GHz
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 | AMD Radeon HD 5850
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Hard Drive: 25 GB available space

Recommended PC Specs

  • OS: 64-bit: Win 7, Win 8
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3770, 3.4 GHz | AMD FX-8350, 4.0 GHz
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 | AMD Radeon HD 7950
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Hard Drive: 40 GB available space

Mortal Kombat X will be out on April 14 for PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

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What We As Gamers Often Take For Granted http://egmr.net/2015/02/gamers-often-take-granted/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/gamers-often-take-granted/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 07:00:02 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166781 Picture the world for gamers seven to ten years ago. Go a bit further down memory lane if your age allows you to do so. I’d like you to have […]

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Picture the world for gamers seven to ten years ago. Go a bit further down memory lane if your age allows you to do so. I’d like you to have that mental image firmly in your mind, given that it’s what you personally perceive that former gaming world to be like to you. To some it may be a utopia, while to others it may be a relic better left with the dust it’s gathered. Regardless of your position, I’m sure that we can at least agree that it’s a common but no less unfortunate habit of people to see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is and the future less resolved than it will be. With that in mind my objective is to remind you of something that we as gamers take for granted today, but it’s a privilege we have that a great many of us certainly did not all those years ago.

Allow me to tell you a brief story. Like any normal human after a certain period of time I realised recently that it was time to get a haircut. Well that was random. Bear with me though, I certainly do have a point. Off I went, albeit reluctantly, and hoped it would be over quickly. As per usual I engaged in light chatter with the person cutting my hair. For some reason or another it came up that I’m a writer, currently pursuing the self-publishing thing for novel(s), and of course a writer for a gaming website. Suddenly she (the person cutting my hair) proceeded to actively engage in enthusiastic discussion about games with me, ranging from favourite titles to new releases to game recommendations. I’m sure as a gamer you can relate or understand how awesome that experience was, especially given that wherever you cut your hair is probably the last place you’d expect a keen gaming discussion.

Just picture discussing BioShock with your barber. In before BarberShock. Pretty sweet, ain’t it?

In the middle of the intense happiness I felt over the exchange, I stopped to consider what a great era we live in. To explain what I mean let me go back to the thought experiment that I opened this very article with. For me growing up gaming was a huge passion of mine but also one that always made me feel like a geek or outcast for being so crazy about it. It was made to feel like an anti-social activity by family, and I was made to feel like a nerd for it in school. Don’t get me wrong. I was never picked on or bullied and got along just fine with most people, but I couldn’t exactly strike up easy conversation about games with anyone in those days. The circle was pretty small. And no matter how much I loved games or loved to talk about them, it never really felt like it was a “normal” everyday enjoyment except with a select few people. Perhaps your reality may have been different, but that was mine.

Today gaming is a completely different ballgame. It has become a global phenomenon, contains something for every kind of person, allows for gigantic freedom in independent creation with low barriers to entry and the production values and sheer scale of the industry rivals or even surpasses what Hollywood is capable of. This boom doesn’t just apply to gaming, but even to comic books (you could say ‘geek culture’), which needs no explanation further than this image. Of course gaming going ‘mainstream’ comes at a cost, and our industry is still immature and in need of evolution, as was wonderfully highlighted by my colleague in a recent piece about the five biggest problems facing modern gaming. Those are problems we deal with as they come, and ideally we continue to see the industry mature as a result. But just for these few minutes divorce yourself of those issues.

The story I told above is just a story; one of many, many moments of connection to other gaming enthusiasts in ordinary, everyday conversation. When I talk about games these days it feels as normal as talking about football, movies or taste in music. There is not a second’s worth of hesitation in me when I talk about writing about or playing games, even to people much older than me. Whereas four or five years ago it was a different story. This is an exceptional milestone, because there are few things better than being able to live and breathe your passion in an environment that accepts and furthermore encourages it. A lot of that has to do not just with me growing up over the years, but also with the world’s attitude towards gaming and the industry evolving over time. It’s a product of growth.

I thus felt it necessary and rather joyful to remind you of a privilege you have that you may not even be taking notice of. Even if you can’t personally relate to my reality, I have little doubt that you can relate at the very least to the magnitude and presence gaming has in our world today, compared to those years ago. Whatever problems with the industry you have today, surely it cannot be overstated how much gaming has grown in such a short time. If you think about it ten years is really not that long. It’s a little over one generation of consoles. And we haven’t even tapped all that games can be yet.

Ultimately gaming is a norm of society, and a massively popular form of entertainment. It’s a hobby of inclusion. Yet we often take it for granted nonetheless, and forget where we are compared to where we were. As we have discussed many times in the past even the term ‘gamer’ itself has become pretty much irrelevant, in the same vein as something as meaningless as ‘movie watcher’ or ‘book reader’, given that games can be played in nearly any form by anyone. Perhaps I also take some joy out of the fact that geek culture is not just popularised, but cool in this era. Pretty much only dinosaurs will look at games and wonder what the living hell those things are.

To conclude, this is our present reality and it’s one we know quite well. Nothing of what I told you should be news to you. It’s merely a reminder of what I feel many of us often take for granted, especially when talking about the state of gaming today and being highly negative about it. Obviously that negativity is justified most of the time, but it doesn’t hurt to remember that it’s not all bad, and in fact we’re far better off than we were in so many ways. In no uncertain terms, this is our time.

By all means sound off in the comments and share your personal stories on this subject with us. We’d love to hear what you have to say.

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7 Minute Video Convinces Us That Lego Skyrim Is The Lego Game We Need http://egmr.net/2015/02/7-minute-video-convinces-us-lego-skyrim-lego-game-need/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/7-minute-video-convinces-us-lego-skyrim-lego-game-need/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 07:00:18 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166745 Perhaps for some Lego is a distant, joyful and nostalgic set of memories, but for many around the world it’s still quite the phenomenon. Even in our very own gaming […]

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Perhaps for some Lego is a distant, joyful and nostalgic set of memories, but for many around the world it’s still quite the phenomenon. Even in our very own gaming scene Lego continues to rule the world, with Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham being the last title to surface. Previously we had Lego games based on The Hobbit, Marvel Super Heroes, Indiana Jones, Star Wars and probably every other series that exists in the multiverse. Then there’s still last year’s Lego Movie and the upcoming Lego Batman movie to consider, so you pretty much get the point that Lego is the bees brick’s knees and you better back off if you intend on judging it, you cretinous destroyer of hopes and dreams.

Turns out however that while all those franchises are great in Lego form, our lives are actually empty and meaningless because we don’t have Lego Skyrim.

The Guildmaster Studio decided to show us how we’re all hollow shells and rusty traps by putting together a seven minute long exceptionally accurate re-creation of the opening of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, right down to the bloody character creation moment. The YouTubers used stop motion to achieve it, as expected, and it’s insanely impressive and packed with little details that will make any gamer smile. If you don’t smile, then you’re probably a SJW. Yeah, I went there.

I’m sure if you spent some time on YouTube or Google you could find dozens of Lego stop motion projects, from almost any franchise you adore. I mean back in December 2012 we even wrote about a Lego Portal 2 effort. But do you know how you could be totally happy with your KFC and all the existential peculiarities that come with it, only to one day glimpse the return of the Double Crunch and realise that nothing at KFC could satisfy you ever again besides that burger? I’ve probably lost you or you’re gearing up to say some shit about KFC (never say shit about KFC), but the point is — if you didn’t catch it — that Lego Skyrim is the Jesus of Lego game ideas. Once you see it, you will want it.

Obviously the video above is not for a game, but it’s very easy to see how that will could be a game idea — sadly though one that won’t become a reality. Nevertheless watch the video up above, because gaming rules and stuff, and be sure to keep tabs on the channel if you’d like to one day see episode 2 of this Lego Skyrim series. You know, because these days you have to have a sequel otherwise the patriarchy will end you.

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The PC Master Race Prevails With Ridiculously Stunning Alien Isolation Mod http://egmr.net/2015/02/pc-master-race-prevails-ridiculously-stunning-alien-isolation-mod/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/pc-master-race-prevails-ridiculously-stunning-alien-isolation-mod/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 07:00:11 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166614 Last year’s Alien Isolation, brought to you by Creative Assembly, may have walked a fine line between masterpiece and disaster (read our review on that one), but there was little doubt that it was […]

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Last year’s Alien Isolation, brought to you by Creative Assembly, may have walked a fine line between masterpiece and disaster (read our review on that one), but there was little doubt that it was one of the best attempts at horror to come out of the decaying triple A scene for years. It made quite a success of itself not just critically and commercially — going on to sell over a million copies –but especially with fans around the globe. Not like that other bastard Aliens game from 2013.

One of the extraordinary achievements of Alien Isolation was its stunning art direction which truly captured the essence of the movies. It was achieved by Creative Assembly’s rather OCD approach to it all, as the developers used some 3TB (yes, Terabytes) of images from the original Alien concept art in addition to movie and studio photos from 20th Century Fox in order to get maximum authenticity out of their game. However, despite how good Alien Isolation ended up looking, you can always count on the PC master race to get right in there and take things to a whole new level, graphically.

Thanks to a particular modder known as de:mo, we’ve recently got our hands on ridiculously stunning screenshots of Alien Isolation running with SweetFX, and the result is absolutely insane — and probably terrifying too if you had to play it. I don’t know about you, but these are some of the best interiors I’ve ever seen in a game. It’s all in the gallery below, which you can check out as you fathom how you’re possibly going to deal with the Alien when it will only look even more real than before.

Modding is a pretty amazing thing, and one of the best parts to being a PC gamer. Just yesterday I was raving about a Portal 2 mod that acts as a full game which looks good enough to be Portal 3. But if you want other classic examples of incredible visuals achieved through modding, look no further than what’s being done with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and still with Grand Theft Auto IV. Keep in mind that Grand Theft Auto V is around the corner on PC, releasing in March. You can only imagine what modders will do with that one.

Check out the gallery down below, and marvel at the amazing power of mods.

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This Portal 2 Mod Is A Full Game That Looks Good Enough To Be Portal 3 http://egmr.net/2015/02/portal-2-mod-full-game-looks-good-enough-portal-3/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/portal-2-mod-full-game-looks-good-enough-portal-3/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 07:00:18 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166585 Valve lovers sort of have to find a way to live with the beloved developer’s way of doing things, and one of those little things includes the apparent impossibility of […]

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Valve lovers sort of have to find a way to live with the beloved developer’s way of doing things, and one of those little things includes the apparent impossibility of a third game in any series. We’ve given up trying to find a suitable conspiracy theory as to why Valve hates the number three so much, but all in all you have to respect a developer who only puts out games it strongly believes in and knows will be great. There’s also that pesky curse of trilogies to consider, where third entries often disappoint because artists went all out on the second entry, and can’t figure out how to top things from there.

As much as it is respectable, and we certainly don’t want Valve churning out games that diminish in quality with each successive entry the way Ubisoft does lately, some fans would be left a little sad at being unable to have more of what they love, short of simply replaying the existing games that is. Enter the lovable creatures called modders, who take the Source engine and proceed to run wild with creativity, opting to give us variations of what we love often at very high quality.

One such notable endeavour is Portal Stories: Mel, an upcoming mod for Portal 2 that has been in the making for three years. It’s bringing an entirely new story with its own dialogue and over 20 levels, new gear and a new feel with a new protagonist to boot. It’s essentially a whole new Portal, that’s getting delivered to you for free, taking into account that you already own Portal 2 of course. To speak frankly Portal Stories: Mel actually looks so damn good that I wouldn’t be surprised if you could fool one of your friends into thinking it’s Portal 3.

I mentioned a new character up there, and it’s sort of true. You have three guesses to decipher that in Portal Stories: Mel you’ll take control of some person called Mel. Oops, I gave you the answer. No matter. Interestingly enough the character of Mel was originally meant to be the main character of Portal 2, but she ended up being scrapped because it was actually about ethics in games journalism. Alright perhaps not, but you’ll definitely be getting a different perspective of the Portal world by playing as a survivor of the “Aperture: Science Innovators Short-Term Relaxation Vault.”

Oh and before I forget, there’ll also be a kick-ass prototype portal gun from the 1970s for you to use.

The game has been Greenlit on Steam, so it’s definitely coming your way in the near future. For now you can check out the video up above to give yourself a taste of what you can expect, as well as follow the game via its Greenlight, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Does Portal Stories: Mel look good enough to be a Valve game? Do you think you’ll end up playing it? Sound off in the comments.

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Star Wars: Battle Pod Will Awaken Your Pod In Select Arcades Before The Movie Does http://egmr.net/2015/01/star-wars-battle-pod-will-awaken-pod-select-arcades-movie/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/star-wars-battle-pod-will-awaken-pod-select-arcades-movie/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 07:00:32 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166507 The era of Star Wars was a pretty amazing one as a youngling, what with all the movies and spin-offs, awesome Lego and actually great games to enjoy. If you […]

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The era of Star Wars was a pretty amazing one as a youngling, what with all the movies and spin-offs, awesome Lego and actually great games to enjoy. If you fancied yourself as a Star Wars fan I imagine that becoming a participant to the famous space or air battles was always a wet dream of sorts, yet the only opportunity to experience it that I can recall came from the excellent 1998 action game Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. However we’re going to be revisiting that glory with Star Wars: Battle Pod, a promising gaming experience that us South Africans sadly can’t experience.

That, my friends and dear readers, is what we call a buzz kill.

There’s a bright side though. You can watch the Star Wars: Battle Pod video released by Disney Interactive to see what all the fuss is about. Developed in collaboration with Bandai Namco, Battle Pod aims to bring you a new kind of immersion in Star Wars dogfights. The catch is that it’s currently only available in “select arcades”, and that’s because you play the game in a monstrous dome that closes off the outside world and brings on the feels and squeals.

The video describes how the dome tech aims to bring you the highest level of immersion, with atmosphere created via both physical means and audio excellence. Some examples given included players having air blasts shoot up at them while playing, or feeling their chair rumble.

This dome technology was actually developed for a Gundam arcade game, namely Gundam: Senjou no Kizuna to be more specific. It’s a pretty popular thing in Japan, as is the collosal Gundam franchise.

You should definitely check the video out and see how ‘Merica and Japan united to bring you the Star Wars experience you deserve, but won’t be able to experience because you’re geographically disadvantaged. Ah well, it makes for pretty cool viewing nonetheless.

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The Entire Game Of Thrones World Is Being Built In Minecraft, And It’s Kid Friendly http://egmr.net/2015/01/entire-game-thrones-world-built-minecraft-kid-friendly/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/entire-game-thrones-world-built-minecraft-kid-friendly/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 07:00:26 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166407 I’d like to put it out there, before I even get into what this story is about, that I know the series is called A Song Of Ice And Fire […]

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I’d like to put it out there, before I even get into what this story is about, that I know the series is called A Song Of Ice And Fire and I know the world is called Westeros, you purist freaks. However most casuals will probably associate with ‘Game of Thrones’ and that’s the world we live in, so back to reading your books and feeling all superior! Alright, I’ve got that off my chest. Strap in ladies, gentlemen and everything in between, because this is a pretty kick-ass story of Minecraft being used for the greater good of all mankind. Slight exaggeration, but the recreation of the entirety of Westeros in Minecraft is one hell of an awesome cause nonetheless.

Allow me to introduce you to Westeroscraft, a project that’s been long in the making. Its aim is simple: build the entire Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire – get over it already) world in Minecraft! It started out as a small project with just a few people on board, but after showing some of it off to the public via Reddit and such the creators gained huge traction and subsequently a massive following. The Project lead Jacob Granberry has stated that the team of crafters currently consists of some 125 active members on the server at present. With great manpower, team work and a bunch of mods, the team has created something absolutely mind-boggling. If your mind is not boggled, then please destroy it and buy a new one, available via a $99 microtransaction.

If you’re a cynical half-breed who is no fun at parties, your comment would probably be something along the lines of “wow, these losers sure have a lot of time on their hands” while you smugly shake your head and prepare for a night of cat videos and vines. If you are one of those cretins, please let us know as we welcome all species fairly. However to those who are actually interested in this heroic endeavour befitting of a Nobel Prize, project lead Granberry had the following to say on progress:

I would say the world is at around 70% completion. Since we last spoke, we’ve developed a custom launcher for the game that comes packed with our WesterosBlocks mod which includes over 50 new custom blocks and textures specifically made for our server. So, we completely repainted our map with new textures, and some of our old builds we are building over bigger, better, and more realistic. That Kings Landing render from a few years ago? Yea, we are remaking that entire city again.

If you want to become involved and help change the world, go over to the Westeroscraft website. If you’d like to just watch, you may do that too. There’s a great video up above that will give you full insight into the work being done and what the capabilities of Minecraft are. Of course it will also dazzle you at what dedicated individuals are able to achieve when they set aside their differences and rage and unite to create something for the enjoyment of the universe.

The only downside sadly is a distinct absence of boobs, because Minecraft is kid-friendly and thus by extension the world of Westeros is kid-friendly too. The silver lining however is that Westeroscraft can be enjoyed by anyone, whether human or not. Take a peak at what these wizards of our time are up to, and try and tell me that it ain’t just freaking cool.

This gaming thing, man. It’s totally legit.

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The Order: 1886 Might Not Be As Mundane As We Thought http://egmr.net/2015/01/order-1886-might-not-mundane-thought/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/order-1886-might-not-mundane-thought/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:00:53 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166344 The Order: 1886 has come under a lot of scrutiny as of late for being a rather dull-looking shooter, based on footage we’ve been shown over previous months. However the […]

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The Order: 1886 has come under a lot of scrutiny as of late for being a rather dull-looking shooter, based on footage we’ve been shown over previous months. However the latest trailer went some way into reigniting excitement for the game, showing a few things we’d have loved to see those months ago when we had our magnifying glasses out. Although it should be noted that it’s quite interesting how the game hasn’t been marketed excessively and there hasn’t actually been a ton of information as we expect from triple A games who like to blow their load long before release. This may actually bode well for the game and give it a chance to surprise us, or if you’re highly cynical be a sign of there not being much to show. You be the judge of that as we give you everything we know about The Order: 1886.

Name: The Order: 1886
Genre: Orderly
Players: 1
Multiplayer: N/A
Platforms: PS4
Developers: Ready at Dawn, SCE Santa Monica Studio
Publishers: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: 20 February 2015
Price: $60

The Order 1866 - preview 5

We actually don’t want to understate how curious and refreshing it is to see a triple A game so close to release yet without an ocean of information, hundreds of screenshots and hours of footage to obsess over. Whether that spells bad news or the potential to surprise is entirely up to you, but at the very least it’s uncommon. Speaking of uncommon, The Order: 1886 has a rather unconventional yet incredible setting, taking place in an alternate history London where a bunch of old people who call themselves knights band together in an Order in order to keep the world safe from half breed monsters. Those would be half man, half animal things, like the Lycans. The game’s premise states that a small number of humans took on bestial traits in the seventh and eight centuries, and war broke out as humans feared them. Despite humans outnumbering the half breeds, the animal strength possessed by their opponents put them at a disadvantage over centuries of conflict.

It was only a couple of hundred years later that the humans found hope with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Despite King Arthur’s and his group of nerds’ best attempts at taking the fight to the half breeds, the order realises there’s a losing battle up ahead. However in what can be described as a mysterious twist of fate The Knights discover a peculiar liquid called Black Water, which significantly lengthens their lifespans and gives them enhanced healing capabilities. Sadly, despite the advantage the half breeds continue to win, until the Industrial Revolution turns the tide with inventors far ahead of the era. Suddenly thermal imaging, Zeppelins and powerful new weapons are available for The Knights, and give them a new edge against the half breeds. Fast forward to the present day, 1886, the war is still on, but the humans almost have control. But they get screwed over again as a new threat rises with the lower class citizens rebelling against the rich and the social order, with the Knights supporting the upper classes and nobles. Them damn rich kids!

That’s where you as the player come in, stepping into the shoes of Grayson, also known by his title Sir Galahad. Teaming up with Sebastian Malory (Sir Percival), knight-in-training Marquis de Lafayette and Isabeau D’Argyll, also known as Lady Igraine, Galahad has been at war against the order’s enemies for centuries. The whole premise is pretty much what we know for certain about the story at this point. Obviously you will carry out the order’s wishes and take the fight to the rebels, because shooters must have human opponents to kill in humane ways, and the half breeds, although the lid has been left pretty tight on how those battles will be. We did get a glimpse of a Lycan encounter though back at E3 last year, which showed an interesting fight that blended gameplay and scripted cinematics in quick succession. That’s something that could turn out to be quite exhilarating in action or frustrating, and we’ll let you see what you make of it in the footage below, from last year.

The game has often been spoken of as the PS4’s Uncharted due to the famous series’ influence on it. That was before, you know, the actual Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was announced. With regards to the gameplay we’ve mostly seen cover shooting and close quarters melee combat reminiscent of The Last Of Us in some ways, but the latest trailer for the game has teased some more of it. We glimpsed a little bit of platforming, some kind of airstrike device and of course a few examples of the advanced weaponry, which could really spice up the ordinary. There was the electrical gun which straight up blew someone’s head clean off, and there was some kind of high powered shotgun that obliterated another poor sod’s legs. The focus on visceral action was always clear from the immense sound of gunfire and the destructible environments. We’re still in the dark about the rest of the weapons, but it appears that if you’re a fan of Uncharted and The Last Of Us, and fancied some kind of supernatural twist on those kinds of games, The Order: 1886 may be where to start looking.

Going back to that point about blending cinematics and gameplay, I’ve read that it’s a core part of the game that works really well and seamlessly for the most part with minimal distractions in the transitions, but there can be one or two non-action instances where you momentarily may not be sure if control was handed back to you. It’s mostly communicated to you through tooltips, designed to be subtle to not disturb the moment. It definitely has the potential to make for a highly cinematic and visceral game packed with immersion if done correctly, which could be a win. The game’s extreme attempts at immersion however could potentially give rise to gameplay obstacles, such as with the very zoomed-in camera during stealth sections. Speaking of it was nice to hear that the The Order: 1886 is opting to make things slightly more challenging, with a small example being that stealth kills need to be timed correctly otherwise they could lead to instant death or alerts for you. That could also be irritating if the game decides to be unfair in certain segments. When taking gameplay risks like these, it’s make-or-break with the execution of it all, so we’ll only really know when we play the final product.

The Order 1886 - Preview 4

Some may understandably groan at all the talk of the game being ‘cinematic’, but from what we’ve seen we’d say that The Order: 1886 is offering a bit of freshness in that regard. As mentioned, it’s the kind of gameplay approach that can often be make-or-break material. Based on our readings and own gameplay experience at last year’s rAge, the game aims to pose a challenge, so if pulled off perhaps that could open the door to some replayability on higher difficulty levels. Of course we’re also speaking to the non-trophy whores here. While we don’t have a firm figure in mind, insiders have claimed that the game will be about 8-10 hours in length, which fits the standard more or less. Whether there’ll be reason (or necessity) to stay after that remains to be seen.

The Order: 1886 has been in the works since 2010 according to the Ready at Dawn CEO and creative director Ru Weerasuriya, so it has an ambitious four-year development cycle behind it. We think it’s fair to say that gamers should expect it to be technically impeccable because of that. Based on all the footage we’ve seen we’re in no conflict about the fact that the game is looking mind-blowing, and coupled together with the awesome setting it’s clear that visually we may be getting a true next-gen experience. It was confirmed earlier this month that the game will run at 30 FPS, so I guess it’s impossible for it to be any good according to the freaks you’ll find in the dark corners of the internet. Pleasingly though the game has been shown to run exceptionally smoothly, so ideally we’ve got an experience that is locked at 30 FPS like a stubborn crow.

The Order 1886 - Preview 1

The game is purely single player, opting out of an obligatory multiplayer offering of any kind, which tells us Ready at Dawn has its priorities in check at least.

Suspected Selling Points
  • The incredible setting in particular has great potential for the game, as does the graphical power.
  • Using electrical guns to decapitate people. Visceral violence, yo.
  • The half breed foes may enable the game to deviate greatly from being a standard shooter.
Potential Pitfalls
  • Our fears could be proven true with it just being a boring shooter.
  • Ready at Dawn has only really worked on the PSP, and while their track record there with God of War and Daxter is great, it’s their first attempt on the big stage.
  • There’s some added pressure on the game due to a few PS4 exclusives falling short of the hype.

The Order: 1886 has had more than its fair share of critics and doubters along the way, and that has probably led to many not expecting a whole lot out of it. Given that, the game is either going to surprise us or it’s going to prove the doubters correct, so there’s not much room for big disappointment here. Nevertheless despite the absence of detail-overload, which is refreshing, The Order: 1886 is looking a whole lot more promising than it did months ago. And in the end it’s extreme focus on immersion and seamless blending of cinematics and gameplay could separate it from the competition, in addition to its fantastic setting and awesome graphics. The Order: 1886 is Ready at Dawn’s chance to make a name of themselves and become a new big player for Sony’s first party team, so fingers crossed that they pull it off, with the help of SCE Sony Santa Monica of course. Mark February 20 on your calender!

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Dying Light Has An In-Game Tribute To Left 4 Dead And Valve, And It’s Funny http://egmr.net/2015/01/dying-light-game-tribute-left-4-dead-valve-funny/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/dying-light-game-tribute-left-4-dead-valve-funny/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 07:00:49 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166369 Dying Light is just releasing now, except for those delayed physical copies outside of the US of course. While we won’t get physical copies for another month, it doesn’t mean […]

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Dying Light is just releasing now, except for those delayed physical copies outside of the US of course. While we won’t get physical copies for another month, it doesn’t mean the US and any outlets and gamers who acquire the digital version can’t give us all the feedback we need. That includes fun things stumbled upon in game, such as with this in-game Easter egg slash tribute slash troll to Valve, developer Turtle Rock Studios and the popular 2008 zombie-survival game Left 4 Dead.

In case you suffer from short term memory loss, Left 4 Dead was the four player cooperative zombie-slayer that played a huge part in bringing about the ginormous zombie trend in gaming. It would appear that Techland, developer of Dying Light, had it fondly in mind when creating their successor to Dead Island. It’s always nice to see banter between developers in good spirit, and this particular move by Techland is pretty funny to boot. In the game if you happen to keep your eyes open for a very specific bakery in the game, you may come across the Easter egg in question.

Behold: Left 4 Bread.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Here’s hoping Valve and/or Turtle Rock Studios decide to respond in kind. And it probably won’t be with a Left 4 Dead 3, since Valve doesn’t believe in trilogies, unless it’s with episodic additions as in Half-Life 2. But even that didn’t get to an episode 3.

Another incident of developer collusion in the pursuit of humour and fun that I can recall is when Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw of the Escapist’s Zero Punctuation inadvertently challenged the developers of Prototype and Infamous, Radical Entertainment and Sucker Punch respectively, to create an embarrassing image of the rival’s protagonist in order to decide which of the two games were better than the other. Yahtzee had been left with equal points for each in his versus video, and hilariously the developers actually banded together and responded. Needless to say unicorns were involved for Alex Mercer and Cole, and I’d advise you to take a Google on that if you’ve never heard of it.

What are your fond memories of developers acting together in good spirit? What do you think of Left 4 Bread? Will Half-Life 3 ever happen?

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Could The Last Of Us Movie Be Decent If It’s “Pretty Faithful” To The Game? http://egmr.net/2015/01/last-us-movie-decent-pretty-faithful-game/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/last-us-movie-decent-pretty-faithful-game/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:00:49 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166322 I’ve had some of my most terrible memories from game-to-movie adaptions, and other such live action attempts at otherwise awesome things. There’s the Far Cry movie, which you should consider […]

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I’ve had some of my most terrible memories from game-to-movie adaptions, and other such live action attempts at otherwise awesome things. There’s the Far Cry movie, which you should consider yourself fortunate if you’ve never heard of it, there’s the Max Payne thing and notable other abominations like Dragon Ball Evolution or Street Fighter. When I say ‘abomination’ I mean that not even the most hardcore fan living in perpetual self-denial would be able to say these films are good.

Yet we still seem to be getting them, with reference to The Last Of Us, Hitman and Assassin’s Creed movies. It would be three, if that last one isn’t cancelled. Dealing with that potential tragedy, what exactly is the sweet spot for these kinds of movies? Is it making radical changes to core elements of the game to make it translate to a movie? Is it purely fan service or staying as true to the game as possible? Is it somewhere in the middle of that? Yes, it’s of course a case-by-case basis, but we don’t really have many examples of stellar game-to-movie adaptions to take inspiration from at present.

With The Last Of Us movie though the direction seems to be remaining faithful to the game while making some big changes. According to writer Neil Druckmann (who is actually from Naughty Dog as well), The Last Of Us movie will be doing exactly that. Druckmann is hoping to keep the soul of The Last Of Us in tact despite making some changes and taking some liberties in the transition from game to movie.

“[It’s] pretty faithful to the game,” he told GameInformer, seen and transcribed by Gamespot.

“There are some big changes, but the tone and what the story’s trying to say is pretty faithful to the game.”

Previously Druckmann said that the movie’s story would be quite different to the game’s, and that he was having trouble translating it. I suppose it’s good to hear that there’s more of a direction in place now then? He’s working on a second draft of the film’s script at present, so things seem to be proceeding.

Druckmann directed The Last Of Us and is currently co-directing Uncharted 4, in case you doubted his credentials. The Naughty Dog man (that sounds offensive) said that the writing process for the movie is coming along “really well”, and that a group of actors have already completed a read through of the first draft, and we know that’s impressive because reading is hard.

The film is being produced by Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Spider-Man) and will be distributed by Screen Gems. It has yet to acquire the rest of its talent. Although Arya Stark could be Ellie, and the actress seems keen on the idea, so that’s a plus.

Are you looking forward to the movie? Do you think it has a chance? How do you think game to movie adaptions should be approached? That’s if you believe they should even be made to begin with.

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