#egmr » Timothy http://egmr.net Let's Talk Games — Videogame News, Reviews & Opinions Tue, 02 Sep 2014 09:45:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Upcoming PSN Games To Look Forward To http://egmr.net/2012/07/upcoming-psn-games-to-look-forward-to/ http://egmr.net/2012/07/upcoming-psn-games-to-look-forward-to/#comments Fri, 06 Jul 2012 12:00:32 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=89051 After my relatively recent feature on upcoming Xbox Live Arcade games to enjoy in the near future, minus Outland (admittedly a booboo on my part), I thought it would be […]

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After my relatively recent feature on upcoming Xbox Live Arcade games to enjoy in the near future, minus Outland (admittedly a booboo on my part), I thought it would be appropriate to do the same for its counterpart, PSN. Now there’s no way, short of doing a 15 page article, one can include every game with any substantial detail, so I won’t; it’s going to be a list of what is considered worth looking forward to. Forgive me if I miss a few. Some of these have appeared as preview write-ups already and while I won’t include as much detail for them, for obvious reasons, I’m including them for the sake of a nice and amalgamated list.

 

Dust 514

The first of two already previewed games, Dust 514 definitely deserves to be here. A free-to-play MMOFPS that intrinsically links to, affects and is affected by Eve Online for the PC; it’s not only a first for the PS3 or consoles in general, but an all round great looking game.

If you’re not interested in reading the preview — please do, I wrote it (self-promotion achievement earned) — then here’s the lowdown. Dust 514 is a futuristic Battlefield-esque game that centres itself on taking out the opposing teams Mobile Command Centre (MCC), though there will almost assuredly be some variations on that mode of play. One player will be given the keys to the MCC hammer and the responsibility of guiding and controlling their team by means of an RTS-styled perspective. The rest of the game is pretty standard, including war machines each capable of their own brand of vehicular manslaughter; bespoke vehicle upgrades; infantry classes and abilities; and well… a lot of neat sci-fi orientated gadgetry. Beyond that, well for one it’s entirely free, and two, you’ll have the unique opportunity of playing a new hybridised style of game that affects and is affected by the EVE universe… I know, I know, I said that already, but it’s a large part of Dust 514’s appeal. You’ll get to collaborate with those EVE players and not only give each other support but help one another conquer the universe for your particular faction; now tell me you’re not in the least bit interested.

Expected: 2012.

 

One Piece: Pirate Warriors

While this is mostly fan service to myself — an admittedly massive, massive fan of One Piece — it’s also one of the only non-fighting, non-RPG, anime games I’ve seen in a while. I’ll be the first to admit fanboyism for One Piece, but in this case it has made me relatively jaded and I have hated the god awful-entirely mediocre-attempts to make a One Piece game for the Wii and DS. As such, and the fact that I’m actually excited for a One Piece game shows some potential for… not so much greatness but more goodness (if ‘goodness’ isn’t a word, it is now).

One Piece: Pirate Warriors is a Dynasty Warriors styled game and will take place from the ‘East Blue Saga’ all the way up until the ‘New World Saga’; talk about potential for length, that’s 517 episodes worth of content. What’s more is the game is intended to be the ultimate One Piece game, encompassing that same sense of comradery and grand adventure personified by the series and manga. With that and the stonking amount of opponents, playable characters and cameos, well it’s just as much a tribute to the greatest anime of all time (that’s right, I said it) as much it is a potentially good game.

Expected: 2012.

 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

What can be said about Counter-Strike that hasn’t been said already? You’re either a fan of its particular style of gameplay and accuracy mechanic or you aren’t. That said, Valve, having now officially developed everything they possibly can so as to procrastinate with working on the new Half-Life, are certainly hoping to win over lost fans as well as gain many new ones with CS: GO.

So what’s new to CS: GO? Well other than being the first Counter-Strike game on console, it’ll also introduce new weapons (like Molotov cocktails), equipment, avatar models and gameplay modes. The two new modes are ‘Arms Race’ and ‘Demolition’, both of which will be introduced post-launch. ‘Arms Race’ is a squad based death match where each successive kill rewards the player with an improved weapon and the first to reach a predetermined weapon wins; I’m sure you’ll recognise the similarities of this new mode with particular mods already present in the Modern Warfare series and CS: Source. The other new mode ‘Demolition’ is similar to ‘Arms Race’ except each kill results in a subsequently weaker weapon; this sounds like a great mode and brilliant way of maintaining a persistent balance between the more skilled players and the less. All-in-all there are some awesome little tweaks and enhancements to CS: GO that make it a definite improvement over Source and gives it the potential to do brilliantly.

Expected: 21 August, 2012.

 

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD

The second of two already previewed games, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is an HD remake of the first two games all wrapped into one spectacular tribute to old school. That means the best of the levels, old school trick attack and horse modes, a more arcade style of play and a classic indie/punk soundtrack. The soundtrack, apart from the HD visual upgrade, is really the only other, mostly new, aspect to the game. Actually, while the genre stays the same to some degree, the specific songs do not-minus a relative few-and it’s a heavy downgrade in my opinion, though that could just be my taste in music. There’s really not much more that I can say that hasn’t been said in the preview already. I know I’ll be getting it, that’s for sure.

Expected: Q3, 2012.

 

Rainbow Moon

And now for something completely different, to be fair though, it’s probably more refreshing than different. If you’ve ever played Final Fantasy Tactics or Disgaea, you’ll have a good idea of what a strategy, or tactical, RPG is. They’re largely RPG orientated games that provide finite strategic mechanics or elements to create a sometimes vibrant and excellent departure from the norm; the best examples that come to mind being Final Fantasy Tactics and Valkyria Chronicles. Rainbow Moon is a PS3 exclusive that aims directly at that niche and adds challenge, colour and a few other little niceties to appeal to those fans of the sub-genre. Its biggest departure from other tactical RPG’s is an open world, non-linear, structure that not only adds a lot more depth to the mechanics of the game but is rather odd since limited exploration has been a defining point of many tactical RPG’s so far. The rest of the expected mechanics are all there though and if you enjoy a game with a heavy emphasis on statistics, equipment and the inevitable grind (A.K.A levelling), well Rainbow Moon is for you.

I’ve had a look at quite a few gameplay vids, something I suggest you do as well, and from what I can see so far, it looks to be a little gem. That’s especially the case when you’re given the option of setting the game to normal or hard and how well equipped you’d like your character to start; as a glutton for punishment and a good challenge and the eventual sense of achievement earned for overcoming those odds is what tactical RPG’s are all about for me. It’s one of those love/hate genres and I know for a fact that as a fan I can’t wait to give this game a crack.

Expected: July, 2012.

 

Legasista

If tactical RPG-esque grinding isn’t what you want from an RPG, how about a good old fashioned dungeon crawler? Legasista is an anime inspired dungeon crawler that puts you a world where science is in the past and scientific knowledge has become the stuff of myth and curse alike. Making use of a job-like class system with a huge assortment of loot, abilities and the inevitable levelling and mastering of characters required; Legasista, despite its somewhat simple anime aesthetics, is a pretty deep RPG. Throw in the chance to create custom (bespoke) characters, along with a team of formerly rival adventurers who eventually accompany Alto-the protagonist-along his journey, and the ability to interchange them mid-combat for varying styles of play; well by all accounts, you’ve got a convincing little dungeon crawler.

Expected: August, 2012.

 

In Conclusion:

So that’s it, that’s my list. Rainbow Moon should be out relatively soon so keep an eye out for it if tactical RPG’s are your thing. I know there are more upcoming PSN games like: Okami HD, Jet Set Radio (effectively an HD remake), Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles & The Darkside Chronicles, but like I said, this is a limited list. So if you’ve got a PS3 and have a little pocket change lying around, not that I do, keep an eye on the PSN store because there are a range of great looking games coming to you this year.

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E3 2012: Some Halo 4 Multiplayer Gameplay With A Pinch Of Spartan Ops http://egmr.net/2012/06/e3-2012-some-halo-4-multiplayer-gameplay-with-a-pinch-of-spartan-ops/ http://egmr.net/2012/06/e3-2012-some-halo-4-multiplayer-gameplay-with-a-pinch-of-spartan-ops/#comments Fri, 08 Jun 2012 12:45:03 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=86864 We’ve all seen the E3 2012 footage of Halo 4′s campaign — something that dearly impressed me, however we all have varying opinions. Thing is though, Halo has always been […]

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We’ve all seen the E3 2012 footage of Halo 4′s campaign — something that dearly impressed me, however we all have varying opinions. Thing is though, Halo has always been the gaming beast it is because of its multiplayer suite, and that’s what we all really want to see.

Luckily for us, fantastic looking multiplayer (and a little Spartan Ops) gameplay is available. If I have anything to say on the matter, it’s that 343 Industries have exceeded my expectations and Halo 4 is in perfect shape to be my most played E3-announced game, this year.

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Preview: Dust 514 http://egmr.net/2012/06/preview-dust-514/ http://egmr.net/2012/06/preview-dust-514/#comments Wed, 06 Jun 2012 16:00:12 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=86623 How does a free-to-play MMOFPS where you play as a mercenary, well more an immortal soldier, battling for the control of thousands of planets currently residing within the elaborate and […]

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How does a free-to-play MMOFPS where you play as a mercenary, well more an immortal soldier, battling for the control of thousands of planets currently residing within the elaborate and persistent EVE universe and lore sound? Sounds like a great concept; not just the intermingle and interplay among the EVE players on PC and Dust 514 players on PS3, but the concept of a free-to-play game of this scope and calibre on a console is nothing but a great step forward for console play. Anyway, that’s Dust 514 in a nutshell; now let’s get straight into the wet and slippery-that’s right, I said wet and slippery-of it.

Name: Dust 514
Genre: MMOFPS
Players: 48 (24v24)
Multiplayer: Competitive Multiplayer
Platforms: PS3
Developers: CCP Games
Publishers: CCP Games
Release Date: Q2 2012 (So Soon’ish)

Let’s get all the little niggles and any potentiality for confusion out of the way first. Firstly, Dust 514 takes place entirely within the already existing universe of EVE Online; you know that space ship MMO thingie. Secondly, you’re not technically immortal in the sense you’re thinking of, it’d make for a pretty pointless game if it was; instead, your consciousness is transferred into another body immediately upon death. Thinking about it, that’s pretty much just respawning. Dust 514 has been kind enough to provide a reason-in its universe-for the ability to respawn, how kind of them. The objectives are to capture and control the planets and associated resources, amass wealth and build empires; Dust 514 seems to be speaking my language.

So what do you do between, before and after amassing said wealth? Well you battle with and against other players of course; each player being capable of gaining control of territory on a planet. Now here’s where Dust 514 gets ambitious and if successful, will be rather epic. As I’ve said before, Dust 514 takes place in the massive-9 year old-EVE Online universe. In that time it has amassed hundreds of thousands of players and an equal number of individual planets. This means that there is the potential for multiple conflicts to be occurring on differing planets, each planet consisting of multiple territories and more than one occurring on a single planet; this means there is a dynamism and chance for multiple battles to affect the others across a solar system or even galaxy. Now I admit that’s an extremely optimistic and an entirely grandeur perspective, but can you blame a nerd for dreaming?

So planetary warfare, what exactly does it involve? As you’d expect of such large scale FPS battles, there will be a command structure of sorts. Squad Leaders will effectively take charge of regular infantry squads and there will be a designated commander in charge of the entire ordeal. Said commander will have an RTS-styled perspective of the battlefield from his Mobile Command Centre (MCC) and is afforded the ability to deploy ground emplacements and installations; these ground emplacements will also act as spawn points for the regular infantry. Infantry aren’t negligible pawns of war however and are perfectly capable of calling in support vehicles; these vehicles will consist of fighter aircraft, tanks, buggies and all the regular vehicular assortments you’d expect from this style of game. Moreover, vehicles are anything but bog standard, they’re meant to be bespoke extensions of a player’s deeply customisable experience and each vehicle is capable of tailored-to-the-situation weapons and capabilities. Of course this infers that there are customisable classes and there most certainly are; from heavily-armoured snipers to quick-footed scouts and the many nuances in-between. And in this pre-Modern Warfare era, what would classes be without individual abilities to level up, so there’s that too. To be honest I’m not entirely sure how far customisation goes but so far it seems to be quite thorough, here’s hoping it remains that way in the final product.

Objectives and sub-objectives will vary according to circumstances and particulars of the territory you’re currently waging war in. Essentially however, you’re main objective will be to destroy your opposing team’s MCC. In order to keep the battle ever-escalating there will be a non-persistent currency known as ‘war points’ which will allow the purchase of said installations and vehicles. The reason for the non-persistence of war points is in order to prevent any particular player or team from accumulating points and dominating each game. Perhaps a video to demonstrate this-for those of you can’t be bothered to read-is in order, though it isn’t exactly going to demonstrate everything I’ve elaborated upon, it should suffice.

So what else is there that I can say? Well let’s start with the fact that Dust 514 is free-to-play (FTP), now that’s a lot of game you’re getting for no asking price. On top of everything, as if that wasn’t enough already and all we really want to do is shoot things, Dust 514 players will in some sense interact with the EVE players. This will largely occur in factional disputes where planets and solar systems are won and lost according to the factional wars within EVE; these changes will affect Dust 514 territories and Dust 514 battles will equally affect EVE players. There is always potential for growth and the developers have announced that there are some other interactions currently being explored but that’s for a review rather than a preview. Best of all is Dust 514, though we can only take the developer’s word on this right now, will not be pay-to-win. Suffice it to say, the micro-transactions and purchasable content will not give paid-for players a serious advantage over the non-paying players., which is always great news in the free-to-play world.

So that’s all I know about Dust 514 so far. I’d love to have made this a hands-on preview instead; unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to play Dust 514 yet. I will do what I can to test it out and report back to you guys on its progress. For now, and of what I’ve seen of Dust 514, I know I’m keen to play this AAA FTP MMOFPS, what a mouthful.

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Brace Yourself: Xbox Live Arcade Games To Look Forward To http://egmr.net/2012/06/brace-yourself-xbox-live-arcade-games-to-look-forward-to/ http://egmr.net/2012/06/brace-yourself-xbox-live-arcade-games-to-look-forward-to/#comments Tue, 05 Jun 2012 15:00:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=86425 There is invariably little to no reason to do this feature; E3 has basically usurped, by means of being generally awesome I admit, any and all interest in the gaming […]

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There is invariably little to no reason to do this feature; E3 has basically usurped, by means of being generally awesome I admit, any and all interest in the gaming medium and without a shiny E3 tag on my feature, well who’s going to read this? That said, and having just extradited any interested in this article–with my last smart ass comment-to the current authority that is E3, I’ll try get back on to topic for what littler readership this feature maintains. The reason for this feature then, I know the love those of you at eGamer have for the games currently floating around the ever ethereal Xbox Live Arcade: be it Limbo, Braid, Fez, Shadow Complex or the many other currently residing there. In any case, there are a few more great games coming our way, having already made their presence known in Xbox Marketplace, and I thought it appropriate to let you all know about them.

With their potentially imminent release I’ll try including a release date; however, knowing the frailty that is release dates on Xbox Live Arcade, try not to take these too seriously. Some of the release dates having been retracted moments after being put up and well, this is South Africa; we’re basically an afterthought, an after taste for the rest of the world and will most likely have some form of delay. With that in mind, these games look like a huge amount of fun and worth whatever wait we will most likely incur. Just a side note: Outland is out in rest of the world already and so expect it sooner than the rest; in fact, it could be ready for download right now.

 

Seems no one told Sega or Nintendo that they’re grandparents because Outland is the illegitimate love child between Super Metroid and Ikaruga. If you’re not familiar with Super Metroid or Ikaruga, well first things first, I need your house address so I can come over and slap you in the face. Mass Slapocide aside, Outland is essentially an action platformer (that’s the Metroid aspect) that makes use of a dark/light mechanic initially thought up for Ikaruga. You get blue (light) and red (by process of elimination I’m assuming dark) enemies and obstacles that the player can only overcome with the use of the energy of the opposite colour. The game consists of challenges–ranging in difficulty and creativity-that require alternating between these energies with the correct timing and finesse. This all happens in accord to some pretty aesthetics and has gained a reasonably good reception elsewhere. My only issue is how late we’re getting the game, other than that it looks like a great addition to many a gamer’s library.

 

 

As far as I can gather, though I don’t pretend to have done the most extensive of searches, Elysian Tail is a collection of interconnected stories within the same general universe but set across varying media forms. Dust-technically Dust: An Elysian Tail- is an absolutely gorgeous hand-animated and painted 2D action-RPG set on the world of Falana, contained within the Elysian Universe. Its intent is to chronicle the protagonist ‘Dust’ and his journey to liberate an oppressed village, while rediscovering his supposedly turmoiled past. This is all while being aided by an ancient sword, Ahrah, and his helpful if unreserved sidekick, Fidget; those are the developer’s words however. What I can see is an orgasmic use of colours and contrast; plenty of polish, character fluidity and variety that goes in accordance with the fantastical world it’s based on; that and a great combat system to boot. Of course there is more we need to know before it’s a sure-fire hit but what are you waiting for? Well the game to be released for sure, but that’s a mere formality. I know I’ll probably be picking this one up.

 

 

Far from the colourful-almost picturesque-aesthetics of Dust comes Deadlight, its heavy use of shadows is an almost antithesis to the colours of Dust in some sense. It’s a bleak and dystopian world and having been rejected from the latest Modern Warfare game, the zombie union has managed to get its workers hired as the antagonist enemy of Deadlight. So zombies and apocalyptic events aren’t exactly original anymore but that’s not what will define Deadlight. What will define Deadlight is the physics based action and platforming, the immense attention to detail and an extremely strong 1980’s urban styled setting with a very believable Seatle. Gameplay wise, Deadlight weights your odds in favour of flight rather than fight and each encounter with the zombie horde is a tense moment where the scares are meant to arrive from your inability to survive such odds. It all seems to have come together remarkably well and I personally can’t wait to take a crack at it.

 

 

Known for games like ‘Drawn to Life’ and ‘Scribblenauts’, 5th Cell are the last developers you’d expect to create a 3rd person shooter, though in all fairness, it is quite an original concept. It’s an online multiplayer shooter, which for 5th Cell is extremely original, but what makes it original for us gamers is the entirely cover based movement mechanic. What I mean by that is you cannot roam free out of cover, instead, you need to select a cover spot and your character will move towards it. While moving towards said cover, in a sort of on-the-rails fashion, you are able to move to some degree and of course completely capable of firing at your adversaries. All of this means a more strategic take on the standard cover-to-cover affair and relies on your thinking to choose the appropriate cover to take and your ability as a gamer to take out the enemy while moving to or from behind cover. This and a range of abilities and unique maps, plus the ability to take cover on the walls as well as the floors means something I’m looking forward to testing out; no doubt you are too.

 

 

With recent attempts on the Tony Hawk franchise receiving mixed opinion, some gamers favouring the Noddy prize for pure mediocrity and others just downright hating them, there is a (somewhat dubious) need to reboot the franchise. Thing is though, Activision-being the omniscient company that they are-have realised they already have a guaranteed hit on their hands and a sure fire way to get gamers enjoying Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater once again. Gamers have wanted recent Tony Hawk’s games to resemble the original couple and so Activision has done just that; throw in the first two games with a pinch of new visuals and there you go. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is just that; it plays like and is in fact exactly the same as the first two games, down to position of the hidden tapes, challenged runs and all your favourite locations. Oh, oh, and having listened to each song of the game’s announced soundtrack; well it isn’t nearly as good as the original but definitely suits the style of game. I’m not really sure if that’s a positive or a negative but you’ll have to decide.

In Conclusion:

So that’s all there is to it for now. I’m sure there will be many to add once E3 is all said and done, for now let’s enjoy what the big blockbusters have to say for themselves. Besides, AAA titles are kind of attention maniacs and if we worry more about Live Arcade games rather than them they might go all emo on us and suck, ‘I Am Alive’ much…

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5 Total Conversion Mods To Love http://egmr.net/2012/05/5-total-conversion-mods-to-love/ http://egmr.net/2012/05/5-total-conversion-mods-to-love/#comments Wed, 23 May 2012 15:00:52 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=84513 I’m not sure about you but my gaming backlog is a mile long and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. More than that, and as I continue to […]

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I’m not sure about you but my gaming backlog is a mile long and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. More than that, and as I continue to discover gaming specials, budget bin prices and those Steam specials that seem to forsake me to a library of games –growing quicker than I can manage to play- well it’s fast spiralling out of control. But in that spirit of gaming, in the eternal bliss that is an unforeseeable end to gaming, I thought to reinvigorate some of the older games not getting the playtime they once commanded. It’s a shame really because thanks to a few truly spectacular ‘total conversion’ mods, many of these have a new set of legs. Now I realise there is a potential to add to the issue of too many games, too little time, but I’m hoping that seeing –and potentially trying these mods out- will allow gamers to see that you don’t always need a new game in order to enjoy something new. As for what classifies a total conversion, well as long as it changes enough of the gameplay dynamics (or structure) that is in fact a different game, well then it’ll be good enough for me.

Nehrim: At Fate’s Edge, is a total conversion for Oblivion and trust me when I say it’s good enough to justify a replay despite all the mods being added to Skyrim’s Steam Workshop. Having been in development for over 4 years there is a lot to this game and there are many moments when the mod feels far superior to the game it’s built on.

With about 50 hours and more than 60 story-driven-quests worth of content, as well as synchronised voice acting, new equipment, spells, creatures, races and video sequences; well it’s not hard to see what there is to offer. But the magic isn’t just in what’s added, it’s how you experience the game. It’s more linear than Oblivion, granted, but it also has so much narrative attached to and driving each quest, with many more highly scripted events and little tweaks that make the game enjoyable and somewhat more challenging than vanilla Oblivion. Just watch the video and see what I mean, this is so much more than a simple skin and mechanic tweak.

Link: Nehrim

 

 

It all apparently began with a blaster-model and the idea to create a non-commerical Star Wars themed FPS game. And Galactic Warfare does just that, it’s a great amalgamation between the Modern Warfare gameplay mechanics and Star Wars, with plenty of love lathered all over.

With all your favourite Star Wars areas, characters and the recognisable weapons Star Wars is known for, that in combination with the fantastic gameplay behind COD4 and you’ve got a fantastic idea for a mod and an overall excellent mod. So pick your favourite between the Rebel Alliance and Imperial Forces and may the force be with you.

Link: Galactic Warfare

 

 

As much as I’d like to, I can’t put it much better than the description given for the game in ModDB itself.

“The Stanley Parable is an experimental narrative-driven first person game. It is an exploration of choice, freedom, storytelling and reality, all examined through the lens of what it means to play a video game.

You will make a choice that does not matter

You will follow a story that has no end

You will play a game you cannot win

…it’s actually best if you don’t know anything about it before you play it :D”

 

Link: The Stanley Parable

 

 

Looking at the image and video it’s easy to tell this is a mod of game; what’s not so easy to figure is that it’s a mod for Crysis Wars. That is until you play it and see the gorgeous visuals and extremely detailed mech paradise this total conversion mod manages. I’m not sure about you but I remember the MechWarrior franchise and with all the art and animation slathered into this mod, well it reminds me so dearly of the things I miss as a child. What makes this most intriguing is the blend between FPS and Simulation genres in a unique massively multiplayer type of experience. Take all of that; throw in a variety of vehicles, weapons, game modes and a ‘Battlefield’ feel and you’ve got quite an awesome little recipe going. Watch the video and then just try and tell me you didn’t immediately break out and reinstall Crysis Wars.

Link: Mechwarrior

 

 

“The year is now 2019. The Tiberian World now stands with a very uncertain fate. The two most powerful and influential forces on the planet are trapped in a never ending dead lock of war and combat.”

Sounds like every other Tiberian flavoured Command & Conquer game right? Well it kind of is; Twisted Insurrection is a stand alone, total conversion, based on Tiberian Sun. The great thing is it adds a lot to the tried and trusted formula; like new units, structures and environments that perfectly suit what made Tiberian Sun so great. The music and look is spot on; there are an absurd amount of improvements and changes made to each patch and the gameplay is extremely enjoyable and if anything, quite challenging. If you’re a fan of the old-school RTS or just never had the chance but enjoy the genre; well this is for you.

Link: Twisted Insurrection

 

 

In Conclusion:

So that’s it for now, and wow this feature is being posted late, better late than never I always say; just don’t tell Dean ok XD Besides, I really think these mods are worth looking into and having tested them all I would happily vouch for every single one of them. F.Y.I. and if you’re interested in finding more mods of this type, check out ModDB.
 

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Torchlight 2 Beta: First Impressions http://egmr.net/2012/05/torchlight-2-beta-1st-impressions/ http://egmr.net/2012/05/torchlight-2-beta-1st-impressions/#comments Thu, 17 May 2012 11:15:18 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=84070 Complaints and berating aside, having (strike: tried to) played Diablo 3, I must concede it’s undoubtedly an awesome game that easily does more good than it does wrong. Having said […]

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Complaints and berating aside, having (strike: tried to) played Diablo 3, I must concede it’s undoubtedly an awesome game that easily does more good than it does wrong. Having said that, and in an attempt to appease the anger many must be feeling over Diablo 3’s gameplay changes or networking infidelity, I offer up Torchlight 2 as the next best thing. Actually, it’s the best thing since Diablo 2… scratch that, it’s better than Diablo 2. Don’t believe me, well here’s why.

I’m assuming of course that you haven’t been convinced by the beta gameplay video I posted, and if not, why not?!

Title: Torchlight 2
Developers: Runic Games
Publishers: Runic Games
Players: 1-4
Platforms: PC
Expected Price: R160 (It’s a Steal)
Release Date: ‘Apparently’ One Month After Diablo 3′s Release

Torchlight was an awesome little RPG, it had everything you wanted and more; like pets, fishing, side dungeons and stupid amounts of loot, that being said, it had its own little foibles to address. Chiefly among the things on the list of features missing was co-op multiplayer, I know, it’s a biggie, but despite that however, Torchlight was a critical success and a firm fan favourite. So what is Torchlight 2 adding to that formula? I think the more accurate question would be along the lines of what isn’t Torchlight 2 adding? Four new and thoroughly unique classes; eight (and counting) differing pets; a much larger and more dynamic (it’s randomised world gives a lot of variation) overworld that links to an absurd amount of extra paths and dugeons; unique attack animations for each and every weapon and ability; a larger, more varied skill tree; new abilities and options for your pets; and MULTIPLAYER! Anyone who reads that impressive list of additions and still isn’t interested has no soul and I pity you.

So, those classes then, what are they?

  Engineer: “The workhorse of the Empire, the modern Engineer’s strength lies in his Ember-fueled, steam-driven armor—a technological marvel devised by top scientists at the Industrium (the Empire’s academy of science and technology), and crafted personally by the Engineer as his journeyman project.” The engineer seems to serve as a ‘sort of’ tank, semi-support unit, by means of constructing various support machines, with extremely hard hitting abilities to make him/her, when alone, more than a match for the adversiaries you’re sure to encounter.

  Beserker: “Driven by a lust for adventure and a savage determination to win fame, fortune, and glory, Berserkers wander the wild places of the world in search of formidable foes, fabulous treasures, and the sheer joy of a worthy challenge.” If you imagine the Barbarian from Diablo 2 and 3, well then you sort of have an idea of the Beserker. The difference is the Berserker is not as much of a tank, having lower health and armour than the engineer, and more a pure damage ruffian that uses totem-like forces to increaser that.

  Embermage: “At the forefront of the Empire’s colonization of Vilderan are the Embermages—highly-trained spellcasters renowned for their skill, dedication, and arcane power. No Imperial army is complete without these fierce warrior-wizards in the vanguard.” Embermages are exactly what it says on the tin, nukers who make use of the varying elements and hard hitting spells to pummel the enemy into submission.

 

  Outlander: “Born to roam, Outlanders are the vagabond adventurers of the world. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, and even races—but all share a lust for travel and excitement, an appreciation of eldritch lore, and an appetite for danger.” Think of the Outlander as a Diablo 3 Demon Hunter, making use of magic and ranged weaponry, but that uses less dark forces and more martial arts as well as the occasional relic.

 

As far as class building and their skill trees are concerned, well it’s all very Diablo 2. There is plenty of choice and lots to wrack your brain over. As you’d expect, each class maintains 3 unique skill tabs, complete with the appropriate skills, both active and passive. Each skill tree adds a lot of diversity to its class and the skills give you all the needed stats and info needed to make an informed choice. Best of all, they are primarily affected by the attribute your class most ascribes to, as well as your weapon or magic DPS, which means that no class should fall by the wayside as their abilities will continue to improve rather than remain stale.

Loot wise, well you carry all the equipment you’d expect, though there are some awesome tweaks that just make so much sense. The most obvious example would be the requirements to equip items to your character. In previous games of the genre there was always a worry that favouring specific attributes (like magic for example) on say, your mage, would mean any really good equipment that required even a modest amount of strength would be lost to you. In Torchlight 2 however, each piece of equipment comes with an attribute requirement and a level requirement, and they’re mutually exclusive of one another. By that I mean, if you meet the level requirement then you don’t need to meet the required attribute; so an item you’d not be able to wear due to your dexterity being too low can now be worn by your embermage when he eventually reaches the required level, that is assuming the attribute required is harder to reach than the level. It’s all very well thought out and everything works so well together that you’re never really left wanting more from the system.

There’s still a lot to learn from playing the beta but so far I can say that there is a lot to do in the game. The dynamic nature of the maps allows for a good amount of variation and there are so many awesome areas to travel to and discover. More than that, the game just spits and shouts of polish, running as smooth as silk and portraying so many little animations and particle effects you’d never notice but are there because Runic Games took the time and love to put them there. Characters are affected by the armour you equip them with, giving awesome little detail tweaks to your character, as well as your pet being able to not only return to town to sell your loot as before, but can be tasked with bringing back certain consumables like potions and scrolls. Beyond that there is still the fishing game which allows you to use fish as unique consumables for your pet, each giving varying stat boosts and temporary transformations into creatures and beasts you’ve encountered in your travels. And let’s not forget that you can pick up scrolls of spells, which aren’t part of your skill tree, each allowing you to add yet more abilities to your character or pet; it’s a great idea and allows for more range and diverse builds.

For now that’s all I have to say, well except for the fact that I really love Torchlight 2 and it’s shaping up to be the best game of its type… ever. The only thing that trumps it is that if you pre-order it on Steam you get the original Torchlight for free; now is that a deal of a life time or what. And as for those of you who are loving Diablo 3, as I am, I know you’ll love Torchlight 2 as well; don’t not get it because you want to be stubbornly loyal to a single franchise.

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5 Upcoming Games Worth Knowing About http://egmr.net/2012/05/5-upcoming-games-worth-knowing-about/ http://egmr.net/2012/05/5-upcoming-games-worth-knowing-about/#comments Tue, 08 May 2012 11:15:49 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=83101 BioShock: Infinite, Halo 4, Borderlands 2 and Resident Evil 6 to name but a few; these are the games we know, we’re excited for and that makes each day of […]

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BioShock: Infinite, Halo 4, Borderlands 2 and Resident Evil 6 to name but a few; these are the games we know, we’re excited for and that makes each day of varsity, school or work worth drudging through. That being the case, there are always other interesting or worth-knowing-about games that (for one reason or another) seem to go mostly unnoticed until someone makes a little list like… well a list this. One game is almost certainly due in 2013 and another is more a truly amazing indie game than a AAA title, but all are worth knowing about.

 
 

Spec Ops: The Line

Spec Ops: The Line (or ‘The Line’ for the sake of convenience) is a primarily third-person shooter with emphasis on squad-based tactics. You, as the player, control one Captain Martin Walker (no relation to our favourite Texan Ranger I’m afraid) who is accompanied by a Delta Force team assigned to rescue an Army Colonel who remained behind in Dubai during some incident.

The Line makes use of a rather interesting and relatively unique dynamic terrain, that being the natural sandstorms of Dubai, in order to provide a dynamic terrain that changes and reacts during gameplay. The game also promises random sandstorm occurrences at varying levels of intensity. I know I’m looking forward to seeing more from this sandy tactical shooter.

 
 

Quantum Conundrum

Everyone knows the lyrics to the original Portal’s outro song; every gamer takes every opportunity to say the “cake is a lie” at any baking goods reference; and all nerds alike go nuts for anything Portal like. What I find strange then is how little hype or fanfare there is around Quantum Conundrum. It’s probably because there are no Valve logos to be seen, which makes sense I suppose.

What Quantum Conundrum is, is Kim Swift’s (one of the key brains behind Portal who did not remain at Valve) take on alternate dimensions and puzzle goodness. And as for the important similarities between Quantum Conundrum and Portal, well there are also as many key differences; there is much more character and narrative for one. Quantum Conundrum places you in the role of a nephew looking for his eccentric uncle and inventor extraordinaire named Professor Fitz Quadwrangle. It’s an FPS centric Portal-like puzzle game that makes use of different dimensions, each with their own unique matter and physics properties; dimensions you need to make use of. It’s got a fluffy dimension, how could you not want to play it?

 
 

Hawken

Hawken is quite simply the best looking, most awesome mech game I have seen in my life; which is a surprise when you consider how relatively small the development team behind this indie title is. It’s high octane; adheres to a fast pace though realistic feel; and maintains both action and strategic elements alike. Take that and wrap it up in the gorgeous visuals it packs and you have an insane multiplayer mech shooter worth your interest.

 
 

Command & Conquer: Generals 2

BioWare are trying something completely new here, something completely alien to them (see the word play). I know I for one am excited at the prospect of a new Generals game. So when one of the best design and development studios around takes an RTS epic like the Command and Conquer series and uses the monster Frostbite 2 engine to power the beast; well I get a little giggly.

It promises a return to the Command and Conquer staples; a dark and gritty story that takes place after the events of the original C&C Generals; and one new unnamed faction (it’ll probably be the Reapers). Let’s just hope it restores the faith in the franchise that so many fans lost after Red Alert 3 and Command and Conquer 4.

 
 

Sins Of A Solar Empire Rebellion

As far as I’m concerned, Sins of a Solar is the interstellar strategic king. It’s got immense depth, variety and strategic nuance but is relatively easy to learn and challenging to master. There is a lot to learn and with the new standalone expansion ‘Rebellion’, there are two unique factions (loyal and rebellious) and all the associated layers strategy introduced for each race.

So with effectively 6 factions and all the new content introduced through previous expansions, like the starbases, Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion aims to push the strategic boundaries even further. This in addition to the visual tweaks, upgrades and an emphasis on using Steam makes Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion the de facto standard sci-fi RTS.


 
 

In Conclusion:

All of these games have definite promise; one or two show the potential for greatness even. The point is, these are the games I’m looking forward to, I’m awaiting with starry eyes and anticipation; so I share these with you, go forth and spread the message of their existence.

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5 Free-To-Play MMOs That Are Worth Looking At http://egmr.net/2012/04/5-free-to-play-mmos-that-are-worth-a-looking-at/ http://egmr.net/2012/04/5-free-to-play-mmos-that-are-worth-a-looking-at/#comments Mon, 30 Apr 2012 15:00:48 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=82271 Do you need a little break from all the awesome AAA titles released this year so far? No, well are you tired of playing the same awesome free-to-play games like […]

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Do you need a little break from all the awesome AAA titles released this year so far? No, well are you tired of playing the same awesome free-to-play games like Team Fortress 2 or League of Legends every day? No again huh… hmmm, well I have a proposition for you nonetheless. I know every gamer likes to try new things but buying games for the sake of something new has inherent risks, I mean, we’re not all made of money. Ok, so I admit, we’ve all got big gaming backlogs and what I’m proposing is you avoid that backlog even further. But still, these games are free-to-play, interesting and should provide you with something a little different at least. Now I’m not promising they’re great, or even good, but they’re different and that’s all you need sometimes. That said, they are MMO’s, so a little time investment is required before you know whether you like them or not. The reason I chose MMO’s over the countless free indie games is it’s easy to Google the best indie games, make a list and give them a try. MMO’s are a different story and you have to rely on some rather poor sources and/or very so-so sources like forums in order to decide what’s best. That being the case, I made this little list so that your task is that much easier.

Keep in mind that they are not necessarily going to be good for everyone so rather than rattle off facts that I think will make them appeal to you; I’m going to tell you what makes them different and let you decide. What’s the worst that could happen, you waist a little time testing and deleting the ones you don’t like? So that said, let’s get on with it:

The original Monday Night Combat is a relatively successful 3rd person shooter that took elements from the ever-so-popular DotA and created a relatively enjoyable and uniquely blended gaming experience. Super MNC does the same thing but introduces more depth, balances and attempts to make itself even more unique an experience than the last. Just imagine waves of creeps spawning, enemy goals to destroy and class based heroes to use; sounds like DotA right, well that’s because it is quite similar in many ways. Chiefly among which is it’s free-to-play and available on Steam right now. I’ve given it a try and being able to play as the hero from a 3rd person perspective, add guns and some comical relief, makes this DotA-like experience worth the penny… oh wait, you don’t pay anything.

 

 

A free-to-play 2D side scrolling, Streets of Rage styled MMO with quite a few varying heroes, multiple paths of advancement for each and some nifty visuals; what’s not to like. You really don’t need to play long before you’ll know exactly whether you like this one or not. Best of all is that you can finish the entire game without paying a single cent, though you will need more patience and (perhaps) ability than the average paying player. This is because you get less chances of recovering mid-stage and will more often than not go back to a checkpoint if you don’t want to cash out for things like extra lives and such. Despite this, it’s an enjoyable game and worthy of at least a couple hours of your time.

 

 

Ok so its 3rd person ground combat isn’t that great and there are still a couple of odd tweaks needed here and there. But for a totally free game that allows you to come close to matching the paid players with a little extra time investment and an awesome space combat system that makes the time invested worth it; well why not give it a try, especially if you’re a fan of the series or Sci-fi games for that matter. More than that though, there’s a whole lot of content, plenty space battling to do, mechanics and features to enjoy and a bunch most would happily pay for and again, you don’t have to do anything for any of it. Ok so I rattled of some likable facts this time, but hey, I’m not perfect.

 

 

On the surface Rusty Hearts isn’t that different from the multitudes of Eastern inspired and designed cel-shaded MMO’s. Look a little deeper and you find an epic little brawler with plenty of colour, pizzazz and depth to make most other free-to-play MMO’s of the genre to seem quite spartan. It offers crafting, side missions and everything you’d expect from a bigger open world MMO but packages it into a faster paced and real time brawler. For all those gamers who like the idea of an MMO but can’t be bothered to deal with the monotony of click-action-wait-click-action-wait.

 

 

Well this is less interesting and more awesome, that is if your interwebs connection can handle the current lack of South African servers. Tribes Ascend is throwing away the common FPS practice of corridors, realism and assault rifles and replaces it with the tried and true Quake, Unreal Tournament and well Tribes formula. With an awesome, and continually growing, community as well as a slightly different take on class based mechanics that makes use of weight above all else, with much larger open areas than your used to in games like Quake or even UT; well let’s just say there’s a reason so many in South Africa are pleading Hi-Rez Studios to allow for some South African servers. If you want something different from your shooter but can’t be bothered to fork out any cash, well Tribes Ascend is for you.

 

In Conclusion:

I know there are others; in fact there are a whole lot more games I added to this list. These are the games that require an investment of time to come to terms with and perhaps, Freeman willing, to enjoy. Should you guys have any other games to add to this list, lay them out in the comments so I can give them a bash and perhaps write up a review or two. I love League of Legends, Team Fortress 2 and have tried DotA 2, Lotro and so many more free-to-play games; all of them have something going for them and you could spend all your time playing each and every one, never spending a single Rand again. I just thought these get a chance as well. Super MNC and Tribes Ascend are my current top choices among these, what do you think?

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5 Current And Upcoming 3DS Games To Make You Regret Your PS Vita Purchase http://egmr.net/2012/04/5-current-and-upcoming-3ds-games-to-make-your-regret-your-ps-vita-purchase/ http://egmr.net/2012/04/5-current-and-upcoming-3ds-games-to-make-your-regret-your-ps-vita-purchase/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 11:15:27 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=80592 There is a very basic reason behind the 3DS’s current lead over the PS Vita, and the DS’s lead over the PSP for that matter, a superior gaming library. That’s […]

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There is a very basic reason behind the 3DS’s current lead over the PS Vita, and the DS’s lead over the PSP for that matter, a superior gaming library. That’s not to say that will remain the fact and if last week’s article on upcoming PS Vita games has anything to say, winds of change might just blow on through. For now though, I thought I’d make all those 3DS owners wishing they owned a PSP Vita or those considering (as well as already owning) a PS Vita reconsider those thoughts. There are some definite hits from 2011 but what I’ve done is list 2 currently released and 3 potentially upcoming titles for 2012 that are almost sure fire ways to kick the PS Vita in its superior technology nether regions.

 

Released:

Despite a couple minor foibles that come associated with needing the Circle Pad Pro in order to be at its best and a couple narrative hiccups; Resident Evil: Revelations is a brilliant iteration to the series. Its reviewer scores match the general fan consensus, that the re-introduction of the exploration, puzzle and survival-horror elements many felt missing from RE4 and RE5 is a simple but awesome move by Capcom. When you consider you get all of that, a well paced and brooding atmosphere, some of the 3DS’s best visuals and an awesome little story that takes place between RE4 and RE5; all on the convenience of a portable handheld console, why wouldn’t you want this game?

 

With fans, critics and newcomers to the series all (but a few) thoroughly enjoying Kid Icarus: Uprising’s welcome return; I thought it appropriate to preach this game to you. It’s not perfect by any means; there is the occasional frame rate drop, it can be uncomfortable to play for long periods of time, gets a bit long winded at times and there are a couple other niggles. Even then, this game is choked full of character and dialogue that is witty more often than not; awesome Star Fox styled sections of play; an interesting and enjoyable multiplayer; plenty of weapons, items and play styles to try; among many other things. The strengths far outweigh the weaknesses and it’s a total blast.

 

To Be Released:

One of the better looking Kingdom Hearts adventures with all new lore, stories, characters and a refined battle mechanic promises an awesome experience to any fan of the series or genre. It’s a great series that interweaves Disney and Final Fantasy so seamlessly and perfectly that you can’t believe someone wrote this stuff down. That plus the portable package, technology behind the 3DS and a lengthy campaign into our childhood promises a game to remember.

 

The greatest multiplayer game to grace the Wii, Monster Hunter Tri, an altogether excellent RPG styled action game that inspires mass scale addiction and ridiculous sales numbers is coming to the 3DS. It’s promising plenty of content, free-roaming and stupid plenty of monsters to beat down, how could you say no?

 

Elite Beat Angel meets Rhythm Heaven, with an awesome anime aesthetic and catchier than the flu tunes. If you’re a fan of thoroughly addictive rhythm games, you’ll love this game. If not, well, play Elite Beat Angel and trust me when I say you will be soon enough.

 

In Conclusion:

Love it or hate it, and with this year’s library of releases, the 3DS is going to sell like a lot better than last year. If you’re a fan or already own a 3DS, I doth my hat to you. If not, well you’ll come around sooner or later. Just make sure to weigh up future releases when deciding between the two current-gen portable consoles.

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Review: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City http://egmr.net/2012/04/review-resident-evil-operation-raccoon-city/ http://egmr.net/2012/04/review-resident-evil-operation-raccoon-city/#comments Mon, 16 Apr 2012 15:00:28 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=80546 Visit review on site for scoring. Let me start by saying I had way too much expectation for this game; post-release however, and a couple reviews as well as articles […]

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Let me start by saying I had way too much expectation for this game; post-release however, and a couple reviews as well as articles later and that expectation came crashing down around me. Good thing they did though, I would’ve been sorely disappointed had those expectations reached the game. I think it was the potential behind Resident Evil: Operation Raccon City’s (RE: OCR) concept and premise that brought about such unrealistic expectations. Think about it, an almost purely co-operative and multiplayer Resident Evil; designed from the ground up to feel, play and handle like one. Had RE: OCR been anything like the game I pictured in my mind, it would’ve been great; unfortunately it isn’t that great and falls somewhere between a disappointed-but-not-entirely-horrid-meh and mediocre.

RE: OCR opens to an inspired title screen that immediately conveyed images and thoughts of past Resident Evil glories; as soon as I went into campaign mode however, well it went downhill. You’re supposed to be able to experience the campaigns story as a cooperative multiplayer experience, and failing that, with bots as replacements for any empty teammate positions. Naturally, none of my friends own RE: OCR yet and so I opened my campaign to the public, expecting 3 to join my game within a couple minutes. After multiple tries of absolute bupkis, I tried for one last attempt, certain someone would join, luckily 1 managed to join my game and the two vacant spots were taken by bots. Not that the teammate I ended up with was much better than the bots, who are particularly bad in their own right. Ok so they’re rather stupid and will do all in their power to get killed, steal the relatively few healing sprays and never use them and well… well they got on my nerves, put it that way.

Maybe I should explain the story, that’s always been a strength of the Resident Evil franchise right? Well RE: OCR places the player in the role of the USS, Umbrella Security Service, Delta team, who are tasked with acquiring a sample of the G-virus before Dr. Birkin can defect and escape with such a precious company asset. As one would expect, and as the universe of Resident Evil has pre-ordained, Delta team fumbles the mission and this leads to the outbreak Raccoon City undergoes. Delta team are then tasked with removing any evidence that can point to Umbrella’s involvement and kill any and all survivors because well, well Umbrella have always been like that; who knows how they keep screwing up, nonchalantly killing everyone and getting away with it. In the grand scheme of things though, Resident Evil games have never been particularly good at explaining the events at large; instead, they’re particularly good at the finer the details, the protagonist, antagonist and the narrative around these characters. By making RE: OCR an almost purely multiplayer experience however, Slant Six Games has lost any and all of that finer point charm and what’s left is a generic set of characters with more plot holes than there are zombies.

Fortunately, and as an elite USS team, each squad member is a specialist of some sort and has appropriate passive as well as active abilities to compliment their weapon choice. An example would be Lupo, assault specialist and Delta team commander, who is capable of increased armour, reload speed and can deploy abilities like incendiary ammo and temporary invincibility as well as infinite ammo sprees. There is some balance to be found here and when cooperating with other players, rather than idiot bots, unsure of what character they are, you can get a relatively enjoyable experience for brief periods of time. It won’t last long however and your only respite from the campaign, a campaign fraught with a mediocre story, sloppy controls, a lacking experience and some of the most annoying quick time events ever imagined is a reasonably enjoyable multiplayer suite.

Mutliplayer contains all the classic modes wrapped up in Resident Evil flair. So there’s team death match; survival, which is more capture the flag than anything; hero, which revolves around killing and defending particular heroes from the story; and some variation of those modes. As part of both the campaign as well as multiplayer modes, there is the chance the player will become infected which, left untreated, will result in the player joining the zombie horde and being given the task of killing the remaining players. There are a few other nifty features like run-and-gun and so on, which while new to the Resident Evil franchise, aren’t executed particularly well and are missing a lot of needed polish. It’s that prevailing feeling that everything from the set pieces of each level, to the visuals and gamplay, all of it meets the minimum requirements and no more. RE: OCR does just enough to avoid being classified as a bad game. But when you compare it to a majority of the Resident Evil franchise, well it’s not exactly a proudest moment.

If you’re a diehard fan and are determined to buy a resident evil game, I suggest waiting for Resident Evil 6 or perhaps Resident Evil: Revelations for the 3DS, which is actually a relatively awesome Resident Evil experience packed into a portable package and far superior to RE: OCR.

 

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Indie Review: Vessel http://egmr.net/2012/04/indie-review-vessel/ http://egmr.net/2012/04/indie-review-vessel/#comments Thu, 12 Apr 2012 15:00:31 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=80181 Visit review on site for scoring. In the indie gaming world, there is one unquestionably popular genre, 2D physics based puzzle platformers. They are the dominant breed and any new […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

In the indie gaming world, there is one unquestionably popular genre, 2D physics based puzzle platformers. They are the dominant breed and any new indie game attempting to make its name, especially in that genre, will almost certainly have its work cut out for it. That said, if a game were to stand out, it’s usually for a reason, and with Vessel we have a darn good reason.

So let’s skip the introduction to this show and tell and get straight to the meat and potatoes; which without some unique gameplay aspect to draw you away from the million other titles, Vessel has no hope. Fortunately for Vessel’s sake, and for the sake of the player who has to cash out a higher than normal price for an indie game, you get a very meaty game with plenty of gameplay girth to back it up. As you’ve no doubt surmised, Vessel uses physics based puzzle mechanics and standard platforming to comprise most of its levels. The difference here is the introduction of some rather unique water and AI based mechanics.

The premise for the game is the protagonist’s most prized invention, a fluid species that runs and powers the machines of this steam punk era, now changed and corrupted for the worse. This species, the Fluros, in an act of rebellion, lock professor M. Arkwright, that’s you, outside of your lab and starts to play haywire with your machinery, creating a mutated and squishy uprising you need to prevent. In order to do so, you need to manipulate the fluid and fluros powered machinery by using a series of switches, pipes, controls and levers to get the fluros to operate more buttons, doors and other such devices out of your reach; or that need simultaneous activation. To further along your cause, not that the fluros need your help, with their insatiable need to press lit up switches, you are given seeds. Seeds, when introduced to the appropriate fluids, transform into specific fluros that then go on about their business. As they follow their own paths, you use the machinery, fluid and a trusty storage tank strapped to your back to manipulate them into doing your liquid based bidding.

It’s all very well devised and despite a lengthy 10 or so hour game, that’s ages for indie games of this sort, there is almost no end to new and enjoyable puzzles, challenges and things to see; it’s one of the best paced games I have come across. On top of that is an almost perfect learning curve that gently guides and maintains the appropriate challenge throughout the game. Vessel doesn’t let you get off so easily all the time however and will make short work of your steady pace and confidence with the occasional brain buster or massive, multi-tiered, multi-levered puzzle. It’s all in good fun though and while you’re able to reset any puzzle you think you’ve made a mess of, there are a couple ways of doing some and all provide a nice sense of accomplishment. That, in addition to secret content and puzzles makes Vessel one of the most packed and well worth the cash indie games in a while.

It’s not all perfect, no game, especially with such a small dev team ever will be. Fluid physics can act up or get a bit wonky now and then and the fluids physics don’t always play nice with your character. It’s very infrequent however and you’ll be enjoying the quirky look and enjoyable sound track to the game; though the sound track can get a bit repetitive and the odd extra song wouldn’t hurt. The other slightly lacking feature was the narrative which never really reveals enough, or when it does, with a quick enough pace to satisfy your curiosity. At the end of the day however, it doesn’t really matter as the gameplay is more than enough to satiate any fan of the genre or one that wants a very enjoyable physics puzzle romp.

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Mega64′s New Console Skit Expresses User’s Opinion Of The Rumours Around The New Consoles http://egmr.net/2012/04/mega64s-new-console-skit-expresses-users-opinion-of-the-rumours-around-the-new-consoles/ http://egmr.net/2012/04/mega64s-new-console-skit-expresses-users-opinion-of-the-rumours-around-the-new-consoles/#comments Tue, 10 Apr 2012 15:00:11 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=79959 So I saw this video the other day, and what with all the new console rumours floating around, I thought it appropriate to share with the rest of you. It’s […]

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So I saw this video the other day, and what with all the new console rumours floating around, I thought it appropriate to share with the rest of you.

It’s a bit of a nerd downer but a funny skit nevertheless and expresses many of our opinions quite well, check it out…

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5 Upcoming Vita Games To Sway Your Wallet http://egmr.net/2012/04/5-upcoming-vita-games-to-sway-your-wallet/ http://egmr.net/2012/04/5-upcoming-vita-games-to-sway-your-wallet/#comments Mon, 09 Apr 2012 11:15:31 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=79722 Though slower than many predicted, the PSP Vita is gaining in popularity. Until the inevitable price drop, coinciding with this year’s apocalypse (it is 2012 after all), there won’t really […]

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Though slower than many predicted, the PSP Vita is gaining in popularity. Until the inevitable price drop, coinciding with this year’s apocalypse (it is 2012 after all), there won’t really be enough of a user base to justify a mass catalogue of games. However, and until then, for those of you unable to decide whether to finally take the plunge, break the bank and buy a Vita, I made this little list of five games that might sway your decision into getting one. Some are more known than others, but all are more than capable of convincing me to get one.

 

Resistance: Burning Skies

Despite Insomniac Games having closed their chapter on Resistance, the resistance will continue on with Resistance: Burning Skies by Nihilistic Software. Taking place in August 1951, the date the Chimera invaded the eastern coast of America, you play as Tom Riley, a fire-fighter now protagonist determined to do what it takes to survive; though a bit of heroic shaping and character building is almost certainly part of the process. Planning to make full use of the Vita’s dual analog sticks, other touch features and online support; Resistance: Burning Skies looks to be a pretty epic little shooter, especially if it’s as good or better than Resistance: Retribution.

 
 

Gravity Rush

Think of Gravity Rush as a cross between Devil May Cry with gravity altering features akin to Inversion, only more open to manipulation. Your heroine character is set out to save her future in a world collapsing around her. A plot I know we’ve all heard before but when you introduce a great art style that really makes great use of the tech behind the Vita; gravity manipulation mechanics that allow for shifting from the walls of buildings to ceilings and back to good old dirt; and some solid fighting mechanics plus a bunch of Vita functionality tucked in for good measure, well you’ve got one hell of a game. The video I provided is a little slow in the beginning and is in Japanese for the most part, but I promise it’ll win many a Vita fan over.

 
 

Mortal Kombat

Do I really need to explain this? Mortal Kombat for the Vita will support all of its bigger brother’s features as well as all the downloadable content that was made available subsequent to its release, at no extra cost. This, in addition to the little Vita touch features like wiping the blood off of the screen with your finger, makes for a unique situation where the portable version of a fighter is superior to its home console counterpart. So I reiterate, need I say more?

 
 

Grand Knights History

Produced by Vanillaware and promising to deliver an aesthetically pleasing and thoroughly enjoyable JRPG to Sony’s little console that could, Grand Knights History looks to be another great Vita seller. Controlling 4 players of one of 3 classes, each with unique customisation routes of look, weapon, the potential for differing abilities and fighting formations makes Grand Knights History a nifty little game. Its story is slightly generic and involves the usual warring 3 (or so) states but also allows for one more interesting little feature. Multiplayer allows for groups of players to each represent one of the warring kingdoms and so compete against each other online. All-in-all, and if Japanese critics are anything to go buy, Grand Knights History is one fairly decent JRPG package.

 
 

Sound Shapes

It’s hard to describe Sound Shapes. With nothing more than the image provided you might pass it off as another aesthetically simple indie game for a portable console; though it would be a reasonable assumption. However, and this is why you need to pay attention, Sound Shapes is a fantastic idea that makes use of music and sound and uses it, in collaboration with the Vita’s many touch features, as the mechanic for creating some brilliant puzzle gameplay. Watch the trailer and you’ll see what I mean. Despite not having an absolute release date, and composing of only a limited colour palette, Sound Shapes has created quite the little hype storm.

 
 

The Conclusion

This is a mere taste of the variety and quality of some of the games you can expect. While games like Little Big Planet, Super Monkey Ball and a couple others were ignored, these 5 should do just fine in persuading those on the verge to make the leap. Alternatively, wait for a price drop and enjoy the many million triple A games planned for the bigger consoles. I know what I’m doing, see you on the other side.

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In A Nerd’s Honest Opinion: When Writer’s Block Attacks http://egmr.net/2012/04/in-a-nerds-honest-opinion-when-writers-block-attacks/ http://egmr.net/2012/04/in-a-nerds-honest-opinion-when-writers-block-attacks/#comments Fri, 06 Apr 2012 09:00:42 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=79426 A couple horrible weeks later and I still have nothing to write, nor the motivation to express any idea that did come to mind. But this column is fast approaching […]

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A couple horrible weeks later and I still have nothing to write, nor the motivation to express any idea that did come to mind. But this column is fast approaching its schedule and the best I can do is be arbitrary and nonsensical, a bit like Caveshen has done in previous columns, it’s actually quite effective at hiding your lack of ideas; note to self, it only works when you don’t tell people that’s what you’re doing. So, a couple ideas that in some way relate to gaming, I can do that.

Firstly, and for the large majority of the (upset-prepubescent) gamers who stomped and yelled enough to get BioWare to finally do something about it; just remember, you didn’t actually get BioWare to do anything. Who did was the dedicated fan, those who offered criticism and constructive advice rather than spite and contention. Your prize instead is a facepalm and me telling you that while you may be excitedly expecting a better ‘extended’ ending from Mass Effect 3, I ask you to keep expectations to a minimum. I have no doubts the extended ending will improve things, not that I hated the original endings, but if it makes things worse, oh god I hope it doesn’t; but should it, let’s just say we at eGamer cannot handle another couple weeks of anger and moaning, Azhar is more than enough. The rest of you should go find your zen and play a game that encourages a calmer spirit, like the recently reviewed Journey, or look at this kitty pile, it’ll help, I promise.

Next on my agenda, and having finally set a whole lot of time aside to properly enjoy a few games, I’ve got some suggestions that you might find helpful. These are the games I’ve recently started playing seriously and I recommend them to anyone with appropriate platform. First on the list, Killzone 3; let me start by saying that while we all know the singleplayer is awesome, I found the multiplayer component to be an absolute gem online and with the multiplayer component currently free, though somewhat limited when compared to the paid for version, I suggest anyone with a PS3 to download it and give it a bash. It’s got some seriously enjoyable modes and the gameplay is unique enough to distance itself from Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3 and all the other current juggernauts. The best thing is the community are actually a great set of gamers from what I’ve seen so far and because of the current inflow of noobs to the game, thanks to its free-to-play nature; you won’t be totally outclassed by veteran players. So there’s plenty of space to improve and dominate those less fortunate than yourself.

Next up, and to give Mass Effect 3 some positive press, Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer component is scary addictive and an illegal amount of fun. I’ve played Gears of War’s horde mode and Halo’s fire fight enough to know that whatever Mass Effect 3 stumbled upon must be the nerd equivalent of pure cocaine. It’s so good Caveshen and I can be found playing it almost every night and I predict that the new multiplayer DLC, marked for release some time soon, will cause us to seclude ourselves from society, become hermits and die alone, but happy nerds.

With the recent release of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations, and having Azhar give me an absolute earful about the original in the series, I decided to pick up Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm. A dozen hours of play later, and while it doesn’t have nearly as many fighters or as much content as its more recent iterations, the game is another gem. It’s a great fighter with some with some enjoyable quirks, will cater to both the fans and newcomers to the series equally and for those who couldn’t give a damn about Naruto, it’s an epic party game. It’s very rare these days but that’s because no one dares return it, there’s always a reason to break it out, invite over the mates and kick some tail.

So that’s it for my obtuse and final Friday column. I’m moving to a Monday feature slot from now on, and reading this column I suspect I know the reasons; though you can look out for some hopefully epic features in the near future. I think I need to find my own zen before I return to writing columns… or maybe I just need the right idea.

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Review: Birds of Steel http://egmr.net/2012/03/review-birds-of-steel/ http://egmr.net/2012/03/review-birds-of-steel/#comments Thu, 29 Mar 2012 15:00:46 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=78258 Visit review on site for scoring. With last year’s Ace Combat review, a Top Gun: Hard Lock review in the foreseeable future and today’s Birds of Steel review, well I’ve […]

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With last year’s Ace Combat review, a Top Gun: Hard Lock review in the foreseeable future and today’s Birds of Steel review, well I’ve sort of become eGamer’s official flight game reviewer. I don’t exactly remember climbing into the proverbial cockpit and signing onto all these reviews, but I don’t mind; flight games seem to be reliably decent and even good with the case of Birds of Steel. Birds of Steel, unlike the flight games I’m accustomed to, which are usually modern arcade fighters, is a WWII flight combat simulator. More than that though, it’s chocked full of content and from the opening menu screen you know you’re dealing with a game taking itself quite seriously. The WWII appropriate soundtrack immediately soars from my speakers (pun intended) and was really quite good; it made sure I was in the mood to swap lead with any and all opposition who crossed my Spitfire’s crosshairs.

Of course, and with my experience of flight games, I know that more than anything, an overly complex control scheme or bad controls instantly destroys any appeal or enjoyment. It’s never fun when you fly into the ocean, which is easier than you might think, or crash while coming into land, only to have to start the whole mission over again. In this regard however, Birds of Steel is an easy game to learn and difficult to master, the way it should be. And if you’re having second thoughts about the realism the game proclaims, you can always set the difficulty of control to simplified and it becomes very tolerable, even with little to no experience. Knowing that no controls will ever be perfect however, and because WWII planes didn’t exactly break the sound barrier, or get anywhere exceptionally fast, Birds of Steel has appropriately placed checkpoints throughout its many missions. And boy does it have a lot of missions and modes to enjoy. From historical campaigns that give you the relevant historical context and plenty of archived footage to entertain and enlighten you; to something like 100 other procedural missions; a mission editor; a dynamic campaign mode and many multiplayer modes.

Dynamic campaign allows you to relive many of the greatest historical battles of the era and gives you a chance to change things for the better or worse. You can not only pick the side you fly for but choose the missions you partake in and all your efforts, whether you succeed or fail in a particular mission, changes the results of the battle. It’s not exactly world changing but it’s a nice concept that is executed well and I enjoyed it. Multiplayer modes are just as varied and start with simple cooperative missions where you and your friends fly as a single squadron to opposing team versus modes. The versus mode offers a few variations on capture orientated missions and comes down to holding areas and watching your opponents points drop quicker than yours. There are also tournaments and special events that allow you to enjoy limited offer missions and awards should you take part and win. All you need to enter is an online connection, the appropriate rank and plane and you’re good to go.

The multiplayer modes can be more fun than the large scale battles the single-player mode offers and dogfighting another player, relying only on ability thanks to the lack of guided missiles, is quite satisfying when you wipe them from the sky. Experience is achieved by doing all sorts of acts throughout the single-player and multiplayer missions and rewards you with higher ranks and the superior planes that accompany those higher ranks. It actually works surprisingly well and has, on more than one occasion, inspired me to re-attempt a mission in order to get the experience needed to afford and try out all the new planes available.

Speaking of which, each plane is quite well detailed and although the large areas you fly through could use the extra pixel or two; it’s a better looking game than almost any other flight simulator and I never had a single performance hiccup. The only thing better than the look of the planes is flying into a massive aerial battle with smoke, explosions, AA fire, planes diving and destroying each other around you and you trying to nail that one who got away; Birds of Steel does that and does it fairly well. All-in-all, Birds of Steel is a good game and an even better flight combat simulator. I had my doubts about it when I got it delivered to me one early Friday morning, mid-Mass Effect 3 I might add, but I was wrong. It’s far from the perfect flight simulator and still maintains that proud flight simulator tradition of the occasional tedious minute where there’s nothing to do but fly toward a checkpoint. Other than that however, it’s worth looking into.

 

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In A Nerd’s Honest Opinion: A Lawsuit Against Mass Effect 3 Is Not The Way http://egmr.net/2012/03/in-a-nerds-honest-opinion-a-lawsuit-against-mass-effect-3-is-not-the-way/ http://egmr.net/2012/03/in-a-nerds-honest-opinion-a-lawsuit-against-mass-effect-3-is-not-the-way/#comments Fri, 23 Mar 2012 09:00:16 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=77571 When you don’t have a sound idea, writing a column can be quite a difficult thing. And since it hasn’t exactly been the best couple weeks of my life, in […]

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When you don’t have a sound idea, writing a column can be quite a difficult thing. And since it hasn’t exactly been the best couple weeks of my life, in fact, I’d compare them to a week or two of Chernobyl, I need to go into this with a relatively easy topic. I think I’m going to talk about something that affects Mass Effect 3 and BioWare, you know, because we haven’t beaten this dead horse just quite enough. Instead of directly talking about Mass Effect 3 however, I think Azhar and Caveshen have that more than covered; I’m going to try and consider some of the negative ramifications for gaming if the lawsuit against Mass Effect 3 and BioWare were to be successful. More than that though, I want to argue that demanding something from BioWare is childish and there are much more constructive ways of achieving a goal.

 

[Point 1] – The Subjectivity of Gaming

A game is an entirely subjective experience, a product of consumption it may be, nonetheless, the experience of said product is a wholly unique one, depending on the player of course. On that basis, no one person or group (unless by a staggeringly immense majority) should be able to sue a game developer on the basis of an unsatisfied or unfulfilled gaming experience. Not only is the disappointment or anger you might feel subjective, but subjectivity is too vague and baseless as a reason to hold someone accountable. It has to be something reproducible and apply to many people before you have any grounds; and as most lawsuits of this nature are singular, there really is no ground to stand on. Now I’m not saying this specific claim was entirely a subjective complaint, I’m saying that this cannot be part of your reason for filing a lawsuit; though if you read the entirety of the claim then you’ll see it is based on subjective disappointment.

The lawsuit in question, from one SLICKK, accuses BioWare of deceit and not meeting the promises made to the ending of the Mass Effect 3 story in their PR campaign. But who gets to decide he’s right? His experience of the ending, and his proposed faults, like closure, multiple endings and the like are all effectively subjective things. Closure is just a feeling; at best a psychological trigger in your brain to tell you a narrative has been successfully completed. If some feel closure after the end of Mass Effect 3, and many certainly did, then this claim is entirely his feeling and cannot be a valid reason to sue a developer. Remember, you need objective claims, if we allowed subjective claims then every negative feeling is effectively new grounds for a lawsuit and we cannot have that; it’d quite literally be like shit hitting the fan.

And what if someone wants to hold the view that a majority believe it to be in violation of BioWare’s promise? Well like I said, if it’s a vast majority then maybe the lawsuit would have grounds but there is no majority here. A majority, assuming Mass Effect 3 sold a million copies, to which it has actually sold a whole lot more, would be about 500 001 people. Unfortunately, the largest group I’ve seen is the ‘Demanding a better ending to Mass Effect 3’ Facebook group and that seems to have less than 60 000 people. And to them I ask, what gives the few the right to demand something that will affect the majority? This is why demanding and strong arming, like lawsuits, are horrible ways of encouraging BioWare to change its ending. The game is functional and he got all he paid for, and what if the new ending is not what he wants either? Should BioWare change it again, should the minority be allowed to repeatedly demand BioWare to change something until we are all satisfied? And what if the change upsets a new group? This is a cycle that will continue until the end of time, unless more constructive and reasonable actions are taken. The developer is exercising their creative right; we need to learn to either accept it or do not and don’t buy another product of theirs. I whole heartedly agree that gamers have the right to be angry, to be pissed, and to throw their gamepad through their TV; but no one has the right to go over to someone else’s house and kick their shit into a mess because you didn’t like something they own as well.

 

[Point 2] – The Ending is just that, an Ending.

One thing I want to make clear; the ending can be bad and people can dislike it, but do not say that it is all you have at the end of the series. I have heard many say that after everything, that after all you have given or sacrificed for the game, all you have to take with you is a crumby ending. Because that’s not what you came away with at all, and you didn’t sacrifice anything, unless you count hours of enjoyment a sacrifice; because if that’s the case then you’re going to have to tell your girlfriend, family or wife that your time together is a sacrifice and not something you do because you choose it. Mass Effect, in fact any game, is the entirety of the experience; you came away with hundreds of hours of enjoyment, discussion, joy, tears and all the times you defended replaying Mass Effect 2 for the 5th time. The ending is not the experience you should take away from anything; it’s the journey that made Mass Effect what it is. Now I know for many that sounds like nothing more than preachy, airy fairy gibberish, but it’s true for so many others. I have practically shed tears for this series, loved characters and it’s given me more hours of entertainment and joy than I care to share; I cannot in good conscious sue BioWare for 5 minutes I disagreed with, even if I hated it immeasurably.

OK, rant over, what I’m saying is that after all they’ve given me in Mass Effect as a gaming experience, one of the greatest gaming experiences to have ever graced this planet I might say; I’m not going to go and screw them over with a lawsuit just because I’m having a tantrum. Boycotting is fine; actually starting a group that supports charity in order to persuade BioWare to see otherwise is better. Giving constructive criticism and using positive feedback are all things I’m 100% for and encourage; but as soon as you try to sue them, or just complain without any form of criticism for BioWare or its fans to work with, well then I just lose all respect for you.

 

In Conclusion… for now!

I actually have a lot more to say and I’m going to be expressing it soon; hoping to deal with the ramifications for the rest of the industry should this lawsuit prove successful. I would now but if I made this any longer I know every comment to this column will be tl;dr and I don’t want that. So for now, let this bubble and brew.

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The Humble Bundle For Android #2 http://egmr.net/2012/03/the-humble-bundle-for-android-2/ http://egmr.net/2012/03/the-humble-bundle-for-android-2/#comments Thu, 22 Mar 2012 15:00:32 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=77544 Just the other day we told you about the very awesome ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ Indie Royale bundle. It had some really awesome games and I’m happy I got mine in […]

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Just the other day we told you about the very awesome ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ Indie Royale bundle. It had some really awesome games and I’m happy I got mine in time but now there’s already a new bundle and this time it’s courtesy of The Humble Bundle.

Now usually I wouldn’t announce two indie bundles so close to each other but fortunately this indie bundle is for Android. Now I know some people are looking for a good deal on Android games and so, well here you are.

This week’s bundle includes Canabalt; Zen Bound 2; Cogs; Avadon: The Black Fortress and for paying above the current average you get Swords & Soldiers as a bonus. They’re all brand new to Android and are brilliant little games for a platform like Android. Check them out and enjoy.

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Preview: Starhawk http://egmr.net/2012/03/preview-starhawk/ http://egmr.net/2012/03/preview-starhawk/#comments Wed, 21 Mar 2012 11:15:37 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=77238 Imagine a sci-fi 3rd person shooter, let’s call it Battlefield 3 in space, and then add the strategic like ability to build structures like defences, the odd armoury and you […]

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Imagine a sci-fi 3rd person shooter, let’s call it Battlefield 3 in space, and then add the strategic like ability to build structures like defences, the odd armoury and you have quite an interesting mix. Warhawk was a release title for the PS3 and people still readily play it today, even today; Starhawk promises to build on that success and add an all new single-player. It’s been in the cooking pot for a while and will almost surely please the fans, but does it have what it takes to win over the many new players since the PS3’s release?

Title: Starhawk
Developer: SCE Santa Monica Studio/LightBox Interactive
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Multiplayer: 2 Player Split-screen, 32 players online
Platforms: PS3
Genre: 3rd Person Shooter
Expected Price: TBA (Will Update)
Release Date: May 11, 2012

So let’s start with the new, Starhawk introduces a new fangled single-player mode to the fray; something the developers of Warhawk toyed with but eventually removed. Like the opening trailer I so graciously included suggests, Starhawk takes place in the distant future and seems to have a little Fire Fly western feel to it. That said, Starhawk’s story revolves around one Emmett Graves, a former rift miner, then partially mutated outcast and now hired gun. Rift mining is the collection of a mysterious and powerful energy that when exposed corrupts and mutates the receiver into a vicious mutant known as an Outcasts. Outcast raids have become rather prevalent in this sector of the galaxy and one of their attacks on Emmett’s rift mine is the reason he and his brother are exposed and corrupted. Emmett is obviously pissed, and that’s to put it mildly, as anyone would so rightly be, and now acts as a hired gun for anyone having trouble with the Outcasts, the root of all his pain and suffering.

That all sounds like a decent concept for a story and the game’s mechanics make for an interesting approach to the game; but what we’re really interested in is the multiplayer experience Starhawk promises. Starhawk took Warhawk’s multiplayer and expanded it to include a host of new features and refine old ones. The basic concept is 32 player (online) team-on-team retribution and destruction in space, on planets and a variety of massive maps to take your fancy. There will be an array of vehicles at your disposal and all sorts of weapons to deploy and unleash on your opposition. The king of these vehicles, the hawks, are flying mech-suits that are to be used as scouting, advanced combat and hit-and-run platforms; though there really are all sorts of strategies and ways with which to ruin your opponents day. There will also be a split-screen co-op mode available for those, like myself, lamenting the loss of split-screen in many of today’s games.

The most important new feature, other than single-player itself, and will be part of single-player, is called ‘Build & Battle’ and will allow the player to drop all sorts of defences, munitions and buildings at a whim. It’s supposed to introduce an RTS feel to the game and even though the story mode is only predicted to be about 5 hours, it seems to be a welcome addition to having nothing at all. You will also be able to earn experience and effect your online character giving all sorts of benefits, as one would expect from an experience based system. That plus the much improved visuals seems to make Starhawk a worthy successor and massive improvement to the popular Warhawk. I’m hoping to play some public beta and once I do I’ll make sure to keep you guys informed.

Beta multiplayer footage seems to be more appropriate than a multiplayer cinematic trailer.

All-in-all, Starhawk is taking itself very seriously and seems to have what it takes to keep its multiplayer component going for the long run. If you’re looking for a new game to consume yet more hours of whatever life you have left, and you own a PS3, well then Starhawk could be for you. The single-player is a little harder to judge but we’ll have to leave that for its release this May.

 

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An Indie Royale “St.Patrick’s Day Bundle” http://egmr.net/2012/03/an-indie-royale-st-patricks-day-bundle/ http://egmr.net/2012/03/an-indie-royale-st-patricks-day-bundle/#comments Fri, 16 Mar 2012 15:00:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=76871 As you’re no doubt aware by now, we at eGamer like to notify you when certain Indie groups are offering indie bundle specials. We know you love indie games, cheap […]

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As you’re no doubt aware by now, we at eGamer like to notify you when certain Indie groups are offering indie bundle specials.

We know you love indie games, cheap prices as well as a good deal and Indie Royale’s St.Patrick’s Day Bundle is the most recent indie special. Just remember to buy earlier rather than later because as more purchase the bundle, the price slowly rises; though never really enough to disqualify the price from being a significant saving and a great deal.

Containing Hard Reset, Jolly Rover, Vertex Dispenser and DLC Quest for about $5 is a real killing and I’m about to purchase mine; especially since all 4 of these are worth more than the price of the whole bundle. Oh and if you pay more than the minimum then you get Lair of the Evildoer as a bonus, how’s that for a deal?

Check out the Indie Royale site, there are always more and upcoming indie bundles if you aren’t interested in these.

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Indie Review: I Am Alive http://egmr.net/2012/03/indie-review-i-am-alive/ http://egmr.net/2012/03/indie-review-i-am-alive/#comments Thu, 15 Mar 2012 15:00:10 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=76713 Visit review on site for scoring. Originally planned for a full retail release until it was decided that a shorter, smaller, downloadable game would be more appropriate; I Am Alive […]

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Originally planned for a full retail release until it was decided that a shorter, smaller, downloadable game would be more appropriate; I Am Alive finally arrives for download. So was it worth the wait, should it have remained a full release or is this exactly what we need in a downloadable game? Well there’s certainly a lot of promise behind the premise to I Am Alive. Surviving an apocalyptic class event, appropriately named ‘The Event’, and navigating a now dystopian city, all the while trying to survive in the midst of a more ruthless, less forgiving, humanity; it certainly has its charm. It’s apparent I Am Alive was meant to walk the path less taken, and I’m not just talking about avoiding some insatiable need for every developer to add zombies, as if wiping out most of humanity isn’t enough. Instead, I Am Alive gives you control of an average Joe, a man barely able to find his way in this new world.

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What I enjoyed was that instead of the usual no questions, only shooting bravado we are accustomed to in these sorts of games; I Am Alive sticks you with a man who has only managed to maintain his sanity and a thread of humanity with the thought of returning to his family. Unfortunately, it’s a narrative that lasts for about as long as it takes to traverse your first couple objects and soon reduces itself to the more tedious acts of survival; like fetch quests, random combat situations and Uncharted style climbing throughout the city.

I Am Alive tries to emulate a world’s end situation by making use of a combination of situations like limited rations, stamina and health recovery as well as making each fight a life-or-death situation. On paper it’s quite a good idea though its execution has left much to be desired. The climbing situations quickly become frustrating when quirky controls mean you stumble your climb just enough for your character to run out of stamina mid-climb and so fall to his death repeatedly. Moreover, many of the fight situations are actually trial and error and never actually allow for much variety in approach; attempting anything different usually results in your death. This is because the control scheme makes use of the same button configurations for many of your actions and is so fussy about your exact position, context and how you’re facing that many of the planned combat situations become inelegant slash fests or hoping you have enough ammo in your gun, which you won’t. This wouldn’t be so bad if the enemies dropped ammo as they are supposed to but a couple annoying bugs have meant they do not drop as often as they should. Even the bow, which is meant to provide a reusable arrow, can fall victim to glitches and you’ll find your arrow disappearing after taking out only one of a few gang members now approaching you. Finally, the interesting, and supposedly more realistic narrative, quickly simplifies itself into encountering every human as being either a ruthless thug or immobile, scared survivor. It left me cynical as to the nature of the world this game takes place in and I lost even more interest in the game’s premise.

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Plot wise, and for all the good the opening cinematic and initial game sequence made, I Am Alive tapered off from its heroic and fundamentally human tale of survival to a quest monger who could do nothing but errands for other survivors. Sadly the camcorder sequences meant to deliver the story do no more than tell tad bits of your character’s journey, despite the potential for a very interesting cinematic style. Even worse is a sudden, anti-climactic, and what can be best described as wonky ending that left me completely unsatisfied. You can use the slightly more challenging survival mode as a challenge to survive rather than a told journey but the game really isn’t enjoyable enough to warrant this.

Visually, I Am Alive looks quite good for a game coming in at under 2gb and its aesthetic suits the game quite well. There are plenty particle and moving cloth effects to keep those enticed by eye candy entertained. It’s certainly not the best looking game but does brilliantly for a downloadable one. It is extremely gray though and there is very little colour to behold; though this is almost certainly the point given the dust, rubble and apocalyptic nature of the world around you. While I may empathise with the developer however, I cannot completely sympathise; it is too bland, too free of colour and only manages to insinuate the tedium in many of the games quests. If I Am Alive had a better gameplay mechanics, more refined controls and an interesting narrative worthy of the hype I’d happily accept the gray colour as homage to the struggle and dystopian nature of the world around you. Unfortunately it doesn’t, so I won’t.

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5 JRPG’s To Look Forward To In The Coming Months http://egmr.net/2012/03/5-jrpgs-to-look-forward-to-in-the-coming-months/ http://egmr.net/2012/03/5-jrpgs-to-look-forward-to-in-the-coming-months/#comments Wed, 14 Mar 2012 15:00:24 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=76616 These days JRPG’s have a very love/hate relationship with gamers. Some, like myself, can’t get enough of them, auctioning away our organs to afford them, and nothing will quell the […]

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These days JRPG’s have a very love/hate relationship with gamers. Some, like myself, can’t get enough of them, auctioning away our organs to afford them, and nothing will quell the hunger for more; others either do not get them or just despise them altogether. JRPG’s are a unique breed of gaming genre; they’re supposed to involve the weird, quirky and many of the mechanics gamers dislike about JRPG’s are a vital component of their DNA. That said, there exists the occasional JRPG that everyone and their mother will love, the best example of this would be Final Fantasy 7 through 9. Having finished Final Fantasy XIII-2 and now craving something more, I thought I’d make a list of the JRPG’s you can look forward to this year; games that hopefully entice even the stoutest disbeliever. There’s a variety here, one even on a portable console, and you can bet your bottom dollar (uhm, I mean Rand) that some of these will be properly good games.

Platform: PS3

With its release date still M.I.A, hopefully something to be amended at this year’s E3 or the TGS, Final Fantasy Versus XIII is possibly the most anticipated JRPG to grace the Earth and nerd side of the moon in a long time. Final Fantasy Versus XIII might be contained within the same universe as Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2, but it goes off on an extremely exciting tangent from there.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII focuses on Noctis Lucis, a complex and mysterious figure with a large burden to bear. Noctis is the heir to the last city-state controlling the crystals, crystals usually resembling some aspect of remarkable power in Final Fantasy lore. As is the nature of all things in Final Fantasy, an enemy has emerged to steal the crystals and their power. The story revolves around that plot point and Nomura has promised a much deeper tale than would usually expect from Final Fantasy. Let’s just say that I am keen to see where this plot is taken and I hope they don’t spoil it.

Gameplay wise, Versus XII is taking what Kingdom Hearts did, giving it a more realistic feel and building on that. It will maintain magic, items, summoning and all that chocolaty goodness Final Fantasy is known for, but will use real time battles and dynamic locations to extend Versus XIII into a more strategic and action orientated RPG combat system. This will work in unison with real time cinematic events that the player will play through; hopefully achieving a more fluid ‘Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children’ kind of feel. Add a traversable map, plenty of exploration, mix well and you get one hell of a Final Fantasy.

Platform: PSP

A game currently available in Japan, Final Fantasy Type 0, for the PSP, is a more action orientated Final Fantasy game. It maintains a turn base approach but in no way limits you to action-wait-action and instead provides gameplay similar to Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. You’ll have a group of diverse heroes that travel from town to town, discover missions and empty enemy strongholds of any adversary you come across. It sounds like a simplistic formula but Square Enix has given it a lot of attention and tried to make it as exciting as they can; something that has gone over well in Japan.

Being in the same universe as Final Fantsy XIII, XIII-2 and Versus XIII, Type 0 maintains a plot revolving around crystals and the struggle for the power they possess. More than that though, Type 0 places the player in the role of students who need to defend their nation from attack; an attack that has already overcome two other nations. It’s all rather meaningless until we get to experience it and see how well, or badly, it’s done; but from what I’ve seen so far, the game certainly seems to be brilliant for a PSP title.

Platform: PS3

And now for something completely different. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is, for all intensive purposes, a Studio Ghibli film in the form of an RPG game. This is an absolutely awesome premise to me, as huge a fan of Studio Ghibli as I am, and the art style has just blown me away. That’s because it was co-developed by Level-5 and Studio Ghibli and I can’t express how excited I am. Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbour Totoro, (technically) Nausicaa, Ponyo and many others; I love them and if you’ve seen any of these you’ll have an idea of what to expect. They’re sort of Alice in Wonderland cross Japanese lore and myth and don’t really have a Western equivalent. The art style goes hand in hand with this idea and is about as close to looking like an anime as I have seen.

The gameplay is as JRPG as you can get and as much as I appreciate the new styles Square Enix, and studios like them, are attempting; sometimes I like a JRPG to be exactly what it always was. There may be the unique oddity, aspect or approach that differs from a stock standard formula but it all generally boils down to that quirky system the fans can never get enough of.

As I said before, the story and plot are all straight from the minds of Studio Ghibli and involves a boy named Oliver who, and with the help of a fairy named Shizuku, travels to an alternate reality where his mother may still live; his mother who died after saving him from drowning. It seems to hold all the same fantastical creatures and places you can expect and I personally can’t wait. Its release date may fall into 2013 if we’re unlucky but is certainly worth the wait for.

Continued on the next page –>

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Hands-On: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations http://egmr.net/2012/03/hands-on-naruto-shippuden-ultimate-ninja-storm-generations/ http://egmr.net/2012/03/hands-on-naruto-shippuden-ultimate-ninja-storm-generations/#comments Thu, 08 Mar 2012 09:00:53 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=75198 Most, if not all, anime fighting game sequels prescribe to the same successful formula; add more characters; improve a couple features here and there; give more extra content; sell. Naruto […]

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Most, if not all, anime fighting game sequels prescribe to the same successful formula; add more characters; improve a couple features here and there; give more extra content; sell. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations, that name is way too long to keep repeating, so Naruto Generations, makes good on this formula and is definitely an evolution rather than revolution of the series. Some have cried foul, and with DLC you can see why; I guess they’d prefer the characters to be made available through DLC rather than having to pay full price for this game. Naruto Generations however, is not content with merely giving us a few extra characters and sending us on our merry way. Instead, Naruto Generations is going in jutsu blazing, see what I did there, and has more than enough to convince us to part with yet more of our life savings.

Title: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations
Developer: CyberConnect2
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Multiplayer: Versus
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Fighting
Expected Price: R 499
Release Date: March 30, 2012

As ‘Generations’ might imply, the story mode in Naruto Generations covers both the original series and up until the kage summit of Naruto Shippuden. This has meant that both younger and older incarnations of each of the relevant characters have been included as playable fighters. That’s a lot of story to get through and in order to remove a borderline insane play time for a fighting game; the story mode has been altered to consecutive fights with animated cut scenes in between. Anything more than that would have just been too much. However, and while the game generally revolves around Naruto’s adventures and perspective, there are character expanding side stories that will cater to the lives of other crucial support characters. Beyond that, there is unique anime developed by Studio Pierrot, the studio responsible for the Naruto anime, which will provide previously unseen looks onto the Naruto universe. It’s all been carefully considered and has plenty of juicy detail for the fans of the series; much more than you’d expect from the average story mode in a fighting game.

Combat is similar to its predecessor and relies primarily on a single button for all the melee combos, with the occasional input of a direction. It still limits combat to a certain extent and removes some of the tournament quality to it but keeps the game easy to pick up and enjoy. The rest is kept quite similar and maintains an awakening mode, a powerful transformation for any weakened character; a unique jutsu as well as ultimate jutsu for every character; and a status bar that limits the amount of repeated replacement jutsu, which is actually new. This of course means you need to block more and cannot solely rely on dodging every attack, though the status bar is capable of recharging if left to its own devices. More than that, the overall gameplay has been tweaked to be faster and more balanced, catering to the pace one would imagine a fight in Naruto would actually go down. I have played the demo, hence the ‘hands-on’ part of the title, and can tell you that the gameplay feels slightly more responsive, slightly more refined and just that much better that its previous iterations. Cyberconnect2 has done a good job of balancing button combinations, movesets, jutsu and character balance to create a very enjoyable fighter; even if you are not a fan of the anime. One other point to mention is the inclusion of collectible cards that aid in customising your fighter online as well as give you certain advantages in battle.

Online as well as local versus modes are very similar to Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, though 72 playable characters this time around seems like a great improvement to the game. There are also 15 support characters that can be used only as support and cannot actually be chosen as your main fighter. And just for the uninitiated, you can have up to two support characters in any battle and they provide… well support in battle; from blocking incoming attacks, to using jutsu on your opponent and in the right circumstances a very powerful combo that includes your support as well as main character. All in all, the online lobby looks to have been given a good tweaking and with all the gameplay improvements as well as characters it’s a sure fire winner in my books.

Visually, Naruto Generations is very similar its previous two iterations, though that’s a good thing in this case because the Ultimate Ninja Storm series is one of the best examples of cel shading on any console. I’d say it actually looks slightly better and some of the jaggedness, a.k.a. aliasing, has been removed from the characters; this gives it an even cleaner and closer to the anime feel and look to the game. With all the animations done for the new characters and considering all the detail put into the character models, I’d say Cyberconnect2 has put every resource into making the best Naruto game they possibly could.

With over 70 playable characters, unique and original anime as well as a substantial story mode; Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations looks to be a smasher of a fighter and an anime fan’s wet dreams. It’s an extremely fun multiplayer game, both online and as an offline party game; I mean I’ve already planned a little nerd gathering at my house for around this game’s release date. As far as I’m concerned, there is a lot Cyberconnect2 could’ve had added to this latest iteration of the Ninja Storm franchise, but at the same time, they have certainly added more than most expected. If its predecessors are anything to go by, this could quite possibly be the finest anime fighter to date.

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Indie Review: Shank 2 http://egmr.net/2012/03/indie-review-shank-2/ http://egmr.net/2012/03/indie-review-shank-2/#comments Wed, 07 Mar 2012 15:00:06 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=75206 Visit review on site for scoring. The people closest to you are in danger and you’re their only real chance of rescue, so what do you do? Shank the fools […]

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The people closest to you are in danger and you’re their only real chance of rescue, so what do you do? Shank the fools of course; at least, that’s Shank’s idea of a rescue. Shank 2 is a continuation of the original’s 2D beat ‘em up brutality and takes the action to a new level. There are more weapons, more baddies, more violent ways of silencing your foe and it’s all rendered in an awesome drawn and painted style, giving it that Saturday morning (perhaps Samurai Jack) kind of feel; so, what’s not to love? If you’re a fan of 2D beat ‘em up action and a balanced as well as enjoyable challenge; Shank 2 is definitely for you.

The original Shank took revenge plots to its gruesome and 2D extremes, Shank 2 shies away from that and instead gives Shank (the man, not the game) a much needed vacation somewhere in South America. Unfortunately, and as is the way with these sorts of things, a military regime, originally formed to remove the country of its many cartels, has risen to a more dictatorship sort of power. This leads to a revolution Shank couldn’t be bothered any less about; that is until an old friend is kidnapped. Shank then decides that the only way to save this friend is to slaughter everything that moves; what follows is a visually glorious and blood spattered romp. That’s about as far as the story goes and though you travel through areas like swamps, shanty villages and industrial harbours; it really makes no sense why you are in any of these places or why this has anything to do with the resistance and dictatorship.

That’s beside the point however; the plot is merely a tool, albeit a blood soaked shank, to take you from one enemy encrusted area to another. Fortunately, this slightly disconnected world gives plenty of reason for multiple enemy and boss types, giving a welcome comical edge and variety the original Shank lacked. Speaking of gameplay, and if you’re going to play Shank 2 on PC, I highly suggest you use or invest in a gamepad. The keyboard and mouse layout is hopelessly complicated and has the weirdest and most frustrating direction approach I have seen in a 2D game like this. What I mean is that in order to face an enemy you need to place your cursor at the end of the screen (or close to it) you intend on facing. If, like me, you have a habit of placing your cursor over the enemy you’re trying to mutilate on say the right of your character, but the cursor is still closer to the left of the screen, Shank will face left and flail his weapons in the complete wrong direction. This can be amended with a gamepad and takes almost all of the frustration out of the game; it is no longer a labour to play, it’s a treat and extremely enjoyable. The gamepad controls are smooth, responsive and suit the style perfectly, allowing you to pull of all the magnificently violent combos you wish.

The gameplay in Shank 2 is well refined and the pacing is just right. There’s only the briefest of moments between slaughtering your foes and that’s only to allow you to experience some rather decent platforming sections. That’s not Shank 2’s speciality however, what Shank 2 does best is 2D beat ‘em up violence. Animations are almost perfect and you can pull off all varieties of combo and counter on your overconfident enemies. Depending on the character you pick, did I mention you can play through the game as a variety of unlockable and unique characters, each with their own style of weaponry. You need to choose a heavy, ranged and munitions type weapon for each level and Shank for example: packs a shotgun, pistols and throwing knives as his ranged weapons of choice. Each weapon has its strengths and weaknesses and allows for a welcome bit of distinction to each players attempt. Best of all, Shank, bad ass though he may be, will have a tough time overcoming each level as they are quite challenging and depending on your intended difficulty give a well balanced test of your abilities. This is especially the case when confronted with one of the many bosses; all of who have their own weaknesses and formulaic attacks which I suggest you learn because if you’re defeated you’ll have to restart the battle with the boss’s health replenished to full. It’s a fair challenge and never overly taxes your ability, and even when it does, there are plenty of checkpoints to keep you right in the action.

Shank 2 is a fun game, but it’s even better to look at. If the many environmental hazards and traps don’t catch your eye, the scenery and art style will. Its comic book look is perfectly executed and throws so much detail at you, given its drawn and painted aesthetic, it’s hard to believe. To accommodate the look is an audio track littered with the kind of action intense songs you’d expect and others, fronted by some awesome guitar work, to go with the South American theme. I enjoyed the sound quite a bit, especially the Santa style guitargasms that appropriated many of the levels.

As awesome as this all sounds, it is only one of two modes, the campaign mode that plays out this way. The other mode, survival mode, is a unique twist on multiplayer support and one that I enjoyed:

Survival mode can be best described as a 2D fire fight (Halo) or horde mode (Gears of War) and involves protecting 3 cache supplies from wave after wave of enemy. As you’d expect, there are all variants of enemy, including large bosses; the enemy types that frequent the campaign; and the bombers whose job it is to take out your supply cache points. There is also the opportunity to buy unique powers and reinforcements for use against the many comical waves you’ll have to hold back. They’re quite fun and all have a purpose; I quite enjoy the boar which repeatedly runs up and down the tier (or level) you purchased it on, making sure to ram any enemies between it and the wall.

Survival mode seems to have replaced the original Shank’s cooperative campaign as its multiplayer and allows for another player to join in on the brutality. It’s certainly a lot easier with a friend, without which, you can’t revive yourself and its game over once you die even a single time. Even better is the opportunity to choose among multiple characters to play with; each with their own unique strengths, weaknesses and unique weapons to choose from. It actually allows for a bit of strategy, not that it matters much once the crazier waves start spawning in and it becomes a mad dash to defend as much as you possibly can. It’s a well thought out mode and I was surprised at how enjoyable and well executed it is; something to really make Shank 2 worth the purchase. It may not be as good as a cooperative campaign in some aspects but has a much higher replayability factor and remains fun for quite a while. This is even true when you’re stuck with a partner you don’t know (courtesy of online play) and you both have your own agendas in mind; that is until the levels get increasingly difficult and you start to work together. It’s simple but fun nonetheless.

Despite its lack of a cooperative campaign and somewhat lacklustre story, administering only occasional above average moments, for the price, Shank 2 goes above the call of duty. It’s an improvement and evolution of the original’s formula; take one beat ‘em up, add a bit of Tarantino, God of War and a graphical novel; and hot damn do they work well together. I’ve played quite a few rounds of survival mode and I’m yet to tire of it; though we’ll have to see what the soon to be released Mass Effect 3 has to say about that. All in all though, Shank 2 is a fun game, full of beat ‘em up cameos, a good challenge and even among some of the best current beat ‘em ups, there’s plenty of reason to buy it.

 

 

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What We Want From GTA V http://egmr.net/2012/03/what-we-want-from-gta-v/ http://egmr.net/2012/03/what-we-want-from-gta-v/#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2012 15:00:07 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=75065 There’s no Las Venturas or San Fierro but Los Santos is back, back and it’s oh so much bigger and better than before. There’s no doubt that GTA V is […]

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There’s no Las Venturas or San Fierro but Los Santos is back, back and it’s oh so much bigger and better than before. There’s no doubt that GTA V is going to sell 25 million units, align the planets, make Duke Nukem a better game, cure cancer and be named game of the year by 99.99% of gaming critics; that said, we’re still pretty adamant about what we at eGamer want from GTA V. We’re not talking about story or character, Rockstar has almost certainly written a thousand pages of script and looking at GTA IV or Red Dead Redemption we doubt it’ll be anything less than exceptional. Instead, we’re talking about the mechanics, the content and alchemic formula that will make up GTA V’s chocolate nougat centre. So with that in mind, I thought I’d collect the ideas of my fellow half-wits, I mean colleagues, as well as my own, and put them to paper… or uhm, screen.

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And we quite literally mean that; so much extra content that even the PS3’s mighty Blu-ray is bulging at the seams; bank heists, property ownership, business cartels, golf, BMX racing and a whole lot more. That’s all well and good, wanting a disk so packed with content that other games are making fat jokes about it, but what we also want is a touch of quality to each aspect. Rockstar are the kings of content but some things have always lacked while others have shined. If GTA V is to be the game we’re dreaming of, each and every side mission or miscellaneous activity must be much more than stripped down basics. We don’t just want planes; we want to be able to race planes. We don’t just want to be able to own a business and collect money from it every few days; we want to be able to shoot the inefficient employees and find better ones throughout the city. We want to be able to sky dive to a bank heist, and potentially be able to pull tricks while doing so. We want to be able to customise our cars beyond what even Need for Speed offers; that’s what GTA V must be about. I know that’s a stupidly ambitious list of content to expect, but if we set our expectations low we’d be doing Rockstar a disservice.

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We don’t for one minute want GTA V to be too realistic, and at the same time, we don’t want GTA V to be another Just Cause 2 or Saints Row 3; a balance is needed. Realism seems to manifest itself as annoyances in past games, like having to eat or exercise; this is not The Sims. Cars can have realistic physics and we’d love them to have a real feel to them, but that does not mean we want to have to refuel them. Speaking of physics, we want some of the tasty physics found in GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption, but at the same time, we don’t want that physics killing us every time we attempt to land our harrier (did I mention we want harriers) on the top of the tallest building.

Like the picture we included suggests, we want easter eggs, easter eggs that go way past realism. We want a big foot who survived the slaughter in Red Dead Redemption and as many cameos as Rockstar can squeeze in. I’m linking this to realism because we don’t want these things removed in the name of a realistic setting. Rockstar can have NPC’s that farm, gym, sleep and work; crop dusters scheduled to well… crop dust; public services like a running subway and all the little details they’re known for; but don’t let that realism remove psychotic serial killer clowns, a lesbian biker gang, a giant cock monument and a jet pack hidden at Mt. Chiliad. Let the lighter side of Vice City and San Andreas shine on through Rockstar; use as many stereotypical, insulting and nostalgic cameos as you can.

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So that’s what we want from GTA V, though it’s just the tip of the iceberg, a small portion of what we expect from GTA V. There’s actually so much more we could talk about; maybe that’s what our next pod cast should be about. GTA V will cause large scale rioting, countless high school shooting controversies, allow for Kratos and Chuck Norris to finally do battle and blow minds; we just want it to be our minds that are blown. If you guys have anything to add or contribute to, just make sure to put it down in the comments; we’d greatly appreciate that. Now all we can do is wait and see.

 

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Indie Review: Smash ‘n Survive http://egmr.net/2012/03/indie-review-smash-n-survive/ http://egmr.net/2012/03/indie-review-smash-n-survive/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2012 15:00:21 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=74953 Visit review on site for scoring. When Dean emailed Adam and I (the resident indie gamers that we are) and asked someone to review Smash ‘n Survive, I was, well […]

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When Dean emailed Adam and I (the resident indie gamers that we are) and asked someone to review Smash ‘n Survive, I was, well I was looking forward to it. I had heard about it and read a review somewhere that was quite positive about this indie Twisted Metal/Burnout clone. It must’ve been late and I must’ve been suffering from cancer of the brain when I read it because well, well it’s not that great. Let me get this out of the way right now, Smash ‘n Survive is not a bad or horrible game, just a very boring one. In some sense boring, or lacking character as I like to call it, is worse than being bad; bad games are at least good for making fun of. So what’s so average about Smash ‘n Survive?

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The game is very 1990’s to start, you know, heavy metal, car, fire, brimstone and all that you’d expect from Twisted Metal on the PS1. The problem, well Twisted Metal 1, a game from 1995, did it better. So what went wrong? Well Smash ‘n Survive presents the player with 3 game modes: campaign, versus and game mode. Game mode does exactly what you’d expect and provides modes from racing to checkpoints to a destruction derby styled mode creatively named ‘Mosh Pit’. Versus provides multiplayer versions of those aforementioned modes and is one step up because not only does it let you verse other human opponents but removes the horribly bland A.I from the game. The A.I. is predictable and unimaginative, resorting to the same collision and run tactics again and again. The final mode, campaign mode, is the exact same as game mode except that it alternates the mode you’re going to play and you unlock cars each time you successfully complete a round.

There are apparently 40 cars to unlock, not that I’ve seen them all because I couldn’t manage the will power to complete campaign mode. More than that, they’re supposed to offer varying styles of driving and all feel unique. From my perspective however, I didn’t notice anything beyond looking different and slightly better or worse turning and breaks. It just feels so disconnected and there’s almost no sense of speed or control, it’s numb and as I’m sure any racing fan knows; that’s the worst possible fate for a racing game. Even the weapons fitted to the vehicles, something supposed to make the game more exciting, all felt weak and nothing really stood out. The problem is quite simple, when you compare this to games as far back as the PS1, games fraught with issues and glitches; it still underperforms and makes almost no attempt to differentiate itself in any way. And don’t forget it actually has to compete with a brand spanking new and soon to be released Twisted Metal. I suppose an online versus mode might have saved Smash ‘n Survive from such a judgement but well, it doesn’t have one; this in a game with 6 players versus. I mean if I invited 5 friends over for a console session, something we usually reserve for Halo and Guitar Hero nights, and presented them with this, unless heavily drunk, they wouldn’t be my friends anymore.

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Graphically, Smash ‘n Survive is above average and its musical score certainly fits the game, though a bit droning and headache inducing. That said, the tracks and arenas you race in are as bland and grey as you’re going to get; though I suppose it does make the slightly better cars stand out. It’s really hard to recommend a game that makes almost no effort to appeal to the senses or any faculty of enjoyment. You could assume I’m an idiot and buy it anyway, but with free flash indie games better than this; honestly, why would you bother?

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5 Games That Need A Sequel http://egmr.net/2012/02/5-games-that-need-a-sequel/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/5-games-that-need-a-sequel/#comments Wed, 29 Feb 2012 15:00:42 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=74807 Last year I put out two articles related to remakes and franchises that I would love to see revived, well I missed a few. This time I’m talking about those […]

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Last year I put out two articles related to remakes and franchises that I would love to see revived, well I missed a few. This time I’m talking about those games you either played and have never forgotten about or heard about from a friend who well, can’ shut up about it. Some franchises don’t need sequels, others (I won’t mention names [cough COD]) need to seriously re-evaluate what they’re doing with themselves. These games however, well let’s just say they need some new life, badly, and a new game from any of them would just make my life a whole lot better. I realise something is always missing from these sorts of lists and before you say anything, make sure to check my two previous articles for a game I have mentioned before; like of course I’ve already talked about the Playstation 1’s Final Fantasy games. And yes, I realise many of these games have spiritual sequels and one is already sequel. That said, here’s the games I feel need a sequel:

Whether you’re a fan of Square Enix’s latest outings into the Final Fantasy franchise or not, you have to give The World Ends With You a try; all you need is a DS that is. It presents a unique plot that definitely differs from most of the stories one expects of a JRPG, though still heavily anime inspired (think Bleach). More than that, it presents a lead character that unlike every other JRPG ever made, has a darker more anti-social presence to him. What’s better than a JRPG that breaks with tradition and provides an interesting and unique plot? Well a JRPG that breaks the mould with a distinctly different combat system that not only matched the capabilities and strength of the DS console but made for a thoroughly enjoyable game.

Now imagine all of that and more on the 3DS, though I see no reason not to include the Vita in all of this. Both of their systems would provide all the power needed to make an even prettier (more visually diverse) sequel. That, plus all the new ways of playing out combat and with Square Enix running wild in the plot department; it certainly seems like there is potential for a game to go beyond its previous title.

Continued on next page –>

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Indie Review: Crumpled http://egmr.net/2012/02/indie-review-crumpled/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/indie-review-crumpled/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2012 15:00:44 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=74619 Visit review on site for scoring. In keeping with Adam’s recent review of the flash game Arcane Arena, I thought it appropriate to introduce you to one of the best […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

In keeping with Adam’s recent review of the flash game Arcane Arena, I thought it appropriate to introduce you to one of the best free flash games I’ve ever played, and I’ve play a lot. Crumpled takes the standard platforming puzzle mechanic and adds more than enough creativity to make it thoroughly enjoyable. Instead of simply manoeuvring through a level populated with obstacles, requiring some sort of pre-thought and careful action; Crumpled adds… well it adds a blob. This blob plays an important role and you’ll want to grasp its usefulness fairly quickly if you want any chance of completing the more difficult levels. As the player, and through using the WASD keys, you control a little stick figure capable of using parkour like jumps and climbs in order to overcome the obstacles between you and the end of the level. The difference being, you are also given control of a shape shifting blob (through the mouse) that when given specific colour coded powers is capable of shifting into a number of shapes like a rectangle and square. In order to succeed in Crumpled, and as I’m sure you might’ve guessed, you need to control both stick man and blob in combination; using the blob to bridge gaps, break falls and activate buttons for the stick man.

crumpled-2

The controls are, at times, a bit tricky and controlling both the stick man as well as blob will require a bit of finesse if you’re to have any hopes of accomplishing the more difficult levels. There also seems to be quite a bit of thought involved before each leap as there are numerous ways of approaching each obstacle, some more dangerous, risky or fool hardy than others. Failing a manoeuvre could mean falling to your death, touching poison or a couple other stick man crippling obstacles. What’s more is there are combo points that are allocated to those players capable of pulling off pre-determined combos throughout many of the levels and doing so, or completing a level in a quick time, will result in a medal for your hardship. The final interesting twist is the inclusion of a slow-mo power that when used slows down your stick man so that you can provide safe landing and move your blob to the next landing point before your stick man falls to his demise. It’s well executed, refined and very responsive (expect for the very occasional blob slow down); all in all a very polished mechanic and heaps (or should I say leaps) of fun.

crumpled-3

The aesthetics of Crumpled is even better and provides a very believable doodled drawing look to the game. The audio is populated with laughter, talking and all the noises you’d expect of a classroom and makes for a great presentation; it feels as though you’re playing a game on your exam pad, and looks like it too. The music has a French violin and guitar track and works almost perfectly with the game. I know there are many indie games that have taken this scribbled approach to their visuals but trust me when I say Crumpled is one of the best.

There’s not much more to Crumpled. It’s a great game that makes use of some thoroughly enjoyable mechanics that I would’ve happily paid to experience. If you have flash installed on your PC, well of course you do, then go to this link and play it now.

 

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Beyond Mass Effect 3 http://egmr.net/2012/02/beyond-mass-effect-3/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/beyond-mass-effect-3/#comments Fri, 24 Feb 2012 15:00:17 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=74161 OK so this is just the early stages and I want to give this idea some real effort; consequently, I need a bit of thinking to do. What am I […]

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OK so this is just the early stages and I want to give this idea some real effort; consequently, I need a bit of thinking to do. What am I on about you may ask? Well I’m talking about the next Mass Effect game. I know some have read and despaired about Bioware’s plans to continue Mass Effect past Mass Effect 3 and Commander Shepard’s story. They think it’s a milking of the series and when we consider Call of Duty or perhaps Halo, it should be just left at its 3rd outing. Well normally I might agree but not in this case. My reason is Bioware plans to continue the Mass Effect universe rather than the particular series we have come to know and love (and even marry in Cavie’s case). The Mass Effect universe is too well developed, too well written and certainly worth continuing rather than abandoning altogether. If you think about the kind of stories left to tell, I’m sure you’ll agree there is plenty of potential left in the recesses of our Milky Way galaxy.

So my first attempt will to give you a bit of an idea as what to expect from a non-Shepard Mass Effect game; and particularly as an RTS game in this feature’s case. It’s a bit half-assed right now but given a bit of time I’m going to have a concept for an FPS, one or two other little mysteries and some more development in the RTS department.

I thought Star Wars: Empire at War was a good model for the kind of space battles we’d expect from Mass Effect. I don’t want a slow resource builder; I want an RTS that demands constant attention, action and an inflow of capital (allowing for the player to concentrate on the action). Rather than control units in a single map (sort of like Command & Conquers approach), use a galaxy map that demands the player to manage multiple theatres of war. As you control and lose assets you gain abilities, units, resources and other misc tech. Furthermore, and once a battle is initiated, you control the individual units of your deployed fleet, kind of like Empire of War did. I especially like the idea of hard points on each ship that the player can target or control for variances in strategy. So maybe the dreadnought class ships have hard points the player can upgrade into whatever they feel most suits their particular strategy. Damaging these hard points, not necessarily limited to the large ships, would result in reducing your opponent’s ships to their basic functions and a greatly limited strategic potential.

What would be especially good is if some sort of hero unit could be implemented, capable of being levelled up like that of DotA and who could greatly affect the outcome of a battle. I think there would have to be a limit on how many could be deployed however. That plus the ability to customise and potentially design your own fleets right down to the hard points, but eliminating the resource gathering for simplistic click-and-fight (easy to learn, hard to master) combat really makes me keen to play Mass Effect RTS. Sad it only exists in my mind.

I think ground battles will go down best as a sort of Halo Wars approach. Again, simplistic resource gathering where building a resource collection hub will result in an inflow of resources is best. Once that is done, the player is able to deploy a set amount of units he brought to the particular theatre of war. Instead of needing to build on site, the player needs to develop squads off world and deploy them in ground battles. I know that isn’t exactly like Halo Wars and is instead more like Empire at War again but the next part of my plan will be like Halo Wars. The player gets very intricate control over a smaller army than they might be accustomed to in other RTS games. This would give more unique advantages and abilities to each squad, as is done in Halo Wars and I think would better suit the style of strategic movement we are accustomed to in Mass Effect. The resources would be to upgrade squads while planet side and would relate to Dawn of War’s squad management. So you could restock a squad of its units or upgrade tech mid-battle. But once all squads are down there is no restocking or recovering from defeat.

I also want to reiterate the use of hero units and perhaps a sort of Command & Conquer: Generals power system that makes use of resources to deploy all sorts of nifty abilities mid-battle. Imagine a dreadnought bombarding an enemy’s position as a sort of super weapon ability, sounds cool doesn’t it.

 

In Conclusion

That’s the basic premise and I need to work on it and the rest of the genre specific approaches to Mass Effect. I just wanted to give you an idea of what you could come to expect from the continuation of the Mass Effect universe. And if you’re not convinced there is a reason to continue a universe now saved from the ultimate enemy. Well just imagine the untold story of a planet attacked by Turians during the First Contact War or the thousands of other possibilities. Just remember there is so much more than just Commander Shepard’s story, as great as it was. Damn, now I really want to play this game, I’m going to find a mod for Empire at War (perhaps a Stargate mod) and hope it satiates my hunger for Mass Effect RTS.

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In A Nerd’s Honest Opinion: 4 Trailers To Be Amazed By http://egmr.net/2012/02/in-a-nerds-honest-opinion-4-trailers-to-be-amazed-by-column/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/in-a-nerds-honest-opinion-4-trailers-to-be-amazed-by-column/#comments Fri, 24 Feb 2012 09:00:36 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=74134 Wow, I watched way too much Stargate: Atlantis last night; actually, I recommend any and all fans of sci-fi to watch Stargate: Atlantis. That’s not the point though; the point […]

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Wow, I watched way too much Stargate: Atlantis last night; actually, I recommend any and all fans of sci-fi to watch Stargate: Atlantis. That’s not the point though; the point is that this column is about watching and enjoying some videos. Don’t worry, it’s not going to be clips of Stargate, though I am thoroughly tempted to do so. Instead it’s going to be 4 trailers I recently watched that blew my mind; giving me the proverbial nerdgasm. And just to be clear, this trailer orientated column is exactly because I’m tired, lazy and still recovering from the holy grail of sci-fi, Stargate.

So let’s get down to brass tax, and while I realise you may have seen most of them they’re still worth the reminder of the gaming year to come; so here are those videos:

Borderlands 2

96.5% more Wub Wub, and look at all those weapon variations. Quite frankly if you’re not impressed by that kind of arsenal orientated lootage, then you have no soul.

Mass Effect 3

OMG, this trailer made me want an invasion of Earth, just so that I can whoop some intergalactic ass. Husks, Reapers and so many multicoloured pew-pews my eyes lit up like a Christmas tree; what’s not to love?

The Witcher 2

The Witcher 2 was awesome on PC and despite knowing it’ll be superior to the Xbox version, simply taking technology into consideration, this trailer is good enough to convince me otherwise. That’s some trailer.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations

Call me a fanboy, call me an anime geek; that doesn’t change the fact that I loved this trailer. It had plenty of info, fight scenes, cut scenes and content to make even the non-Naruto fan get excited about this game. Don’t believe me, check out the comments on my article about upcoming anime games and see.

So that’s it, what did you think. I know I missed some trailers out but I can’t for the life of me remember them. If you guys have anymore, make sure to add them to the comment section below.

 

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9 Mods To Break Out Half-Life 2 For http://egmr.net/2012/02/9-mods-to-break-out-half-life-2-for/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/9-mods-to-break-out-half-life-2-for/#comments Wed, 22 Feb 2012 15:00:50 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=73731 Be it Half-Life 2: Episode 3 or Half-Life 3, I have a feeling we’re going to be waiting a while before we get a chance to play the next episode […]

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Be it Half-Life 2: Episode 3 or Half-Life 3, I have a feeling we’re going to be waiting a while before we get a chance to play the next episode to the grand emperor of all FPS games. Despite this, and while browsing my favourite mod site (ModDB), I thought I’d let you guys in on a bunch of Half-Life 2 mods. Not only is it a reason to break out your copy of HL2 again but they’re all very interesting or thoroughly enjoyable, give them a try and tell me what you think. So let’s get to pouring some secret Source all over these mods.

Mod Link:

“In No More Room in Hell, you will play as a single individual in a group of survivors made up of 2 to 7 other individuals who have banded together with the common goal of escaping the zombie nightmare. The tasks that you and your fellow survivors must accomplish depend on the map, and what kind of gamemode it falls under.

Teamwork is extremely vital in No More Room in Hell, making it appealing to those who want a more slow paced co-operative experience. Stick with your teammates, make sure you’re within shouting distance, because no one can help you if they can’t hear your screams for help! Conserve your supplies; if you have any extra ammo or weapons however, share them with your fellow teammates so they can shoot off that pesky zombie who’s about to grab a bite off of your arm. Be observant, you may miss some vital shotgun or an important objective item if you look around carelessly. Be cautious and alert when you’re about to engage with combat against the undead menace; one bite and it can be all over for you.” A long description but that says anything you wanted to know about this mod.

Mod Link:

“Follow the adventures of Milena and her psychic teddy bear totem in a world where psychics and normal humans coexist. In this adventure she enters into a mysterious realm inside a painting and must try to find her way back out into the real world amidst the labyrinth of intrigues and conspiracies inside the painting world.”

If this doesn’t sound like an awesome mod, nothing will. Embrace something so unique you would barely recognise Half-Life 2, well except for the use of the Source engine that is.

Mod Link:

“Titan: XCIX is a first person adventure that takes place aboard the ill fated star ship of the same name. When an accident rips apart a lone ship on a routine mission, the crew find themselves fighting for survival, and each other in a unique Single Player experience, that’s been in the making for the past two years.”

Check out the video, I’m sure you’ll agree that Titan: XCIX looks to be an interesting use of the Source Engine.

Mod Link:

If you haven’t heard of Garry’s Mod then you’ve definitely been living in a cave. Garry’s mod is quite simply the work of a genius, a genius who’s had too much time on his hands, but a genius nonetheless. It’s simple really, and if you can’t be bothered to read the description in the mod link, it’s a purely sandbox approach to the Source engine. You can build anything, do anything (almost) and have a tremendous amount of fun. Watch the video and be amazed.

Mod Link:

“Overwatch is a cooperative asymmetric multiplayer Real-Time Strategy Shooter (FPS/RTS hybrid).” It’s similar to Natural Selection 2 and has a very unique set of mechanics to accompany it. It’s a load of fun and I encourage any to play it; you’d be surprised by how well the strategic elements work with the Source engine.

Continued on the next page –>

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Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2 http://egmr.net/2012/02/review-final-fantasy-xiii-2/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/review-final-fantasy-xiii-2/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2012 15:00:55 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=73138 Visit review on site for scoring. Watching the opening scene for Final Fantasy XIII-2 made me rethink my approach to this review. Rather than give you plenty of detail any […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

Watching the opening scene for Final Fantasy XIII-2 made me rethink my approach to this review. Rather than give you plenty of detail any Wikipedia page can do, or tie you down with every aspect of the game, something every other review has already done; I’m going to tell you why you should play Final Fantasy XIII-2. I realise that’s spoiled any chance of the game getting a bad rating but Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a game of special circumstance. Final Fantasy XIII has as many fans as it has haters and Final Fantasy XIII-2 is supposed to amend the things the previous iteration did wrong, as well improve on every aspect of its bigger brother. That’s quite a claim, though having played through a large majority of the game I can happily say Final Fantasy XIII-2 has done more than enough to win back the love of its audience. Maybe I’m crazy, maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about and through pure fanboyism have fooled myself into thinking that. So I’m going to lay out the game on the table and let you decide whether you think I’m right or just plain fanboy crazy; though the foam around my mouth as I type this doesn’t exactly bode well for my cause.

So what’s first? Well the first major issue Final Fantasy XIII had to contend with was the linearity of the game. Final Fantasy XIII-2 blows its original out of the park by introducing a paradox and time component. The just of the game is you, as Noel and Serah, need to travel back and forward in time solving paradoxes (or conflictions in time). The result of which is a massively improved scope for adventure and exploration. Not only are you free to travel to multiple times and locations at any point, as you unlock more and more, but are able to reset them and explore different endings. This isn’t forced upon you and there is almost no back tracking at all. It’s all very well done and encourages exploration as well as travelling to areas you might not be expected to go yet; to challenge your characters against higher levelled monsters, similar to a world map of the older Final Fantasy’s if you think about it. At the end of the day there is a huge scope to play with and you may do it all or skip it all, it’s your choice; just the way we like it.

What’s better than plenty of exploration and an encouragement to adventure beyond the confines of the story? Well side missions and bonus content like a Casino (in Serendipity) and an Arena (called the Coliseum). There are chocobo races, quizzes, secret bosses and all you’d expect from a Final Fantasy game. It’s executed well and despite the occasional cheesy mission or fetch quest, I thoroughly enjoyed the variety. The only real downer to an otherwise well executed time travelling mechanic is the initial load times between time points; it’s not Deus Ex long but it’s long enough to be noticeable.

Combat is another improved aspect, the paradigm system remains but with a few tweaks. You’re now able to tweak your paradigms to a couple of different ways and of course there’s the monster mechanic. The monster mechanic, as many of you must know by now, replaces the loss of most of the characters from Final Fantasy XIII; though it’s done relatively well. Each monster has an assigned paradigm and levelling them up through a slightly different crystarium system to your characters allows you to improve their usefulness in combat. That, plus the ability to transfer and infuse passive abilities to each monster allows for quite a diverse combat system. You can also customise the look of your monsters through the use of aesthetic items but they’re just that, purely aesthetic and completely up to the player. Each monster also posses a feral link ability, a sort of monster limit break, that can be used once their feral link gauges are full. They all offer unique strengths, some good, some meh, and in concert with the new systems of Final fantasy XIII-2, it’s a much improved and more enjoyable system. More than that, it means a new joy to grinding because being able to accommodate rare and unique monsters to your party through training and side quest makes grinding more than worth it again; Final Fantasy XIII-2 is making good on the staples that it lost in Final Fantasy XIII don’t you think?

Before I continue, I should make note that the levelling-up crystarium system of Final Fantasy XIII-2 is much simpler than its previous iteration, despite looking strategically complex. Moreover, and I suppose I should introduce what some will consider the elephant in the room, quick time events. Quick time events are part of each monster’s feral link ability, most boss battles and a large majority of the more intense cinematic. I know some will sigh at the mention of quick timing events but worry not, they’re done surprisingly well; though I’m sure you think I’m saying that out of some fanboy love. In fact, they allow for a couple options at some points, so press either ‘X’ or ‘Square’ to initiate slightly different sequences that give a nice little difference to an otherwise tired mechanic. Of course there are paradox puzzle events, something shown in most of the gameplay trailers prior to the game’s release; they’re basically a variety of puzzles used to interconnect certain story elements and side quests. These paradox puzzle events are interesting enough to break up the pace and challenge the mind but never quite enough to justify some of the puzzles that seem to be there just for the sake of doing so. The final feature, do you see how much has been added, is the fragment feature that allows for learning more of the game’s lore, unlocking awesome quirky abilities for your character as well as Mog. Mog is a fantastical creature, inspired by the moogles of past games, who not only acts as Serah’s weapon but allows for you to search for hidden and hard to get items, adding more to that exploration value I was raving on about.

Story wise Final Fantasy XIII-2 is much the same as it previous iteration, one potential sore point for some of the (ahem) ‘haters’. Its style can be quite convoluted at times and is of course of anime descent; if you’re not into that sort of thing then I would say the rest of the game more than makes up for itself. Personally I enjoyed the story and characters such as Snow who kept me emotionally connected to the game, except for the odd occasion, and there is a lot of potential in it. Remember, Final Fantasy is not a western RPG and its story is designed for a certain audience. Any fan of previous final fantasy games may really enjoy this story, or not, you decide.

There are a lot of other little changes made to the game that make it easier to pick up and play as well as enjoy. Tutorials aren’t forced upon you and you can skip any at any time, as well as many of the features and mechanics of the game are introduced fairly quickly. It’s all done well enough not to need the first 6 hours to introduce mechanics like the last game did. Moreover, and after you start up a loaded game, Final Fantasy XIII-2 will tell you the story so far and catch you up with anything you might have forgotten. It’s done quite well and shows effort and care put back into the game. There is the occasional rough spot and places were less some areas seem slightly inferior to others but nothing is especially bad or frustrating.

I saved this last point because it was the one aspect of Final Fantasy XIII that people didn’t complain about, the aesthetics of the game. The visuals are just as good as the previous game, even better at some points and I suppose a little worse at others. Overall the game can suffer very infrequent slowdowns but it’s not surprising considering the extra detail crammed into the game. The only aspect that seems to have suffered is the audio where there are some songs that seem more suited to the heavy rock of Devil May Cry and a couple other electro pop songs with. While seemingly appropriate, it made me miss the songs of the previous game. The audio track has its moments but at other times let me down.

All in all, Final Fantasy XIII-2 is an improvement over Final Fantasy XIII in every way, audio track aside, and I can’t see nearly as many people hating on it. It really is a vast improvement over the previous game and the addition of DLC promises to add extra challenging battles, side missions and content to extend your play time into the hundred hour category. Final Fantasy Versus XIII will probably be a superior game but it’s going to have to work extremely hard to win me over from Final Fantasy XIII-2

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Anime Games To Look Forward To In 2012 http://egmr.net/2012/02/anime-games-to-look-forward-to-in-2012/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/anime-games-to-look-forward-to-in-2012/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2012 11:15:57 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=73040 There are plenty of great games coming out this year and we’ve decide to make a list of those here. Not just any list however, a list of anime inspired […]

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There are plenty of great games coming out this year and we’ve decide to make a list of those here. Not just any list however, a list of anime inspired or based games to warm the heart and soul of any anime fan. You don’t have to be an anime fan to look forward to them though, these are the games we feel will appeal to everyone.

Name: Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations
Genre: Fighting
Multiplayer: 2-Player Competitive
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Developers: CyberConnect2
Publishers: Namco Bandai Games
Release Date: March 30

Ultimate Ninja Storm is the de facto anime fighting game these days and has sold millions in the name of quite an enjoyable fighter. Now with over 70 characters, completely original anime produced for the game and both series included in one game; let’s just say both Azhar and I are fighting to review this game, we’re that excited about it.

Much of the mechanics are assumed to be similar to the previous Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, though tweaked to give faster more, more dynamic combat. If you’re in any doubt about how awesome this game is, watch the video and if you’re a fan of Naruto you will want this game. If anything this game is a blast to play online and I know exactly what I’m doing first once I get a hold of it.

Next entry on the next page.

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Preview: Armored Core V http://egmr.net/2012/02/preview-armored-core-v/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/preview-armored-core-v/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2012 15:00:14 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=73008 Armored Core V is a mech game at its mechiest. Large robots, plenty of firepower and slick and agile movement; this is the formula all Armored Core games comprise of. […]

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Armored Core V is a mech game at its mechiest. Large robots, plenty of firepower and slick and agile movement; this is the formula all Armored Core games comprise of. I’m doing this preview because I wanted to see if anything was different from the last couple of Armored Core games. I like the idea of mech games but the execution of most leaves a somewhat sour taste in my mouth. Armored Core IV was OK, but that’s just it, it was just OK. So what can we expect from Armored Core V?

Title: Armored Core V
Developer: From Software
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Multiplayer: 2-10 competitive multilayer
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Action-Simulation
Expected Price: R435 (BT Games)
Release Date: March 23

Story wise, and despite being so close to release, there’s virtually little to no mention of what story Armored Core V intends to tell. This is no shock as Armored Core isn’t known for a particularly strong plot or narrative; I suspect From Software are trying to improve this in Armored Core V but well, who can be sure. Armored Core V is supposed to be a sort of ‘big step forward’ in the series, though how this is the case I haven’t had the faintest. Sure there are gameplay changes, changes to various modes and such but that all says minor improvements over past games, so your guess is good as mine.

The largest change to the series is undoubtedly its multiplayer mode. The developer claims limitless potential, that Armored Core V’s multiplayer component will be the thing all multiplayer fans need. While I’m not sure it’s as grand and spectacular as the developers claim, I mean no developer is going to say their game is mediocre, it is still to be seen whether Armored Core V can rise up above what Armored Core IV offered. Sure, there are the differences in mode and mechanics, but whether that translates to a qualitatively better experience will only be known once the game is tested and put through its paces by its player base.

Here’s a sample of the kind of multiplayer experience you should expect from Armored Core V:

An important aspect of Armored Core V is the concentration of strategy rather than fast reaction times. This is because the mechs are much smaller than previous iterations and so reduce the game from being purely about your skill and instead how you move, your ability to navigate, make use of geographical features so on. Many of the levels are placed in urban environments to reinforce this new approach and while it certainly aids the combat, it has a drastically negative effect on another aspect; that being the visuals which I’ll get into later.

The next video is supposed to show what multiplayer will look like given some serious players and a half decent game; you’ll have to excuse the cheesy operator commentary, he’s been paid to sound more professional than I imagine any gamer would. In multiplayer you can have up to 5v5, which includes one operator per team. The operator’s job is to watch over the battlefield, update their team on the match and assist in strategizing. I can’t say I can see many signing up to be the operator, a potentially far less interesting position but that all depends on how enjoyable the multiplayer is I guess.

Here’s where that negative aspect comes in, Armored Core V’s visuals. So far I have a mixed opinion on the games visual quality. I’m aware that what we’re seeing is easily misinterpreted through video quality and the build of the game we’re witnessing but I have a few reservations. Don’t get me wrong, the mechs have plenty of detail and easily surpass most mech games. The problem is that environments have the same problem the last Armored Core had, very bland and usually quite gray or brown environments. Maybe that’s how it was intended, maybe it alleviates some extra polygons for all the pixels those energy weapons seem to through around. The problem is a bland background can sometimes reduce from the game. More importantly, and what worries me is the fact that it makes all the objects you need to target quite difficult to distinguish, them being grey themselves, which reduces much of the game to locking on and using the now highlighted and targeted enemy just to see them. Worst of all is how much strain this game puts on your eyes. I’m not sure what it is, whether it’s an effect of the textures, anti-aliasing or some other graphical quality but watching Armored Core V was like watching a heavy 3D movie without the glasses, a bit of a colourful mess. This isn’t helped by the fact that your HUD is swimming in a sea of flashing orange, shapes a plenty and warnings everywhere. Let’s just hope From Software can clear this up in time for our release.

There are many unanswered questions and Armored Core V will certainly need to answer those in order to satisfy western gamers enough to purchase it. Armored Core has all the customisation you’ve come to expect and isn’t holding back in that aspect. The problem is the entire mech game genre is very niche and Armored Core V will have to revolutionise it if it intends for new gamers to be interested in them.

 

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What We Want From Doom 4 http://egmr.net/2012/02/what-we-want-from-doom-4/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/what-we-want-from-doom-4/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2012 15:00:07 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=72829 Now that the dust of Rage has settled, and whether you enjoyed the game or not, we think it’s time we start to talk about and imagine the next Doom. […]

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Now that the dust of Rage has settled, and whether you enjoyed the game or not, we think it’s time we start to talk about and imagine the next Doom. Doom 4 is more than just a rumour; id has talked about their plans to develop Doom 4 ever since I can remember, perhaps even before I saw anything of Rage. We also know that Doom 4 is supposedly going to change the formula for what makes a Doom game; large environments, vehicles and so much more possibility, we just can’t wait. That said, we felt like we should exercise our imagination and list you a few things we’re expecting from the newest sibling of a truly hellish family.

The one thing Doom always got right, creatures terrifying enough to write home about.

If Rage proved anything of the id Tech 5 engine, other than the occasional texture catastrophe, it has some very capable AI. With a bit of tweaking Doom 4’s enemies should be able to stalk, patrol and attack like no other AI currently can. Sure, scary monsters are a prerequisite of the Doom franchise, but with some properly good AI they can be elevated to new heights of terrifying. Speaking of monsters, we want Doom 4 to herald in a new era of terrifying, we want monsters that make the Hell Knight and Pinky Demon look like fluffy squirrels by comparison. We want those fire ball chucking imps to stalk us in hunting packs; we want the monsters to push the boundaries of what we’ve come to expect from a horror shooter.

Because the BFG is the only weapon any nerd ever really needs.

Doom has always had memorable weapons, especially its shot gun and the BFG, now we want more. Hell’s creatures are walking this world and we want humanity to defend itself with brutal weaponry to make even the biggest of demons shriek in terror. Even better, we think a collaboration between Hell’s technology and our own, say like a nail gun retrofitted to fire the pried out teeth of Hell Knights, that would make we want to play a game. It’s been too long since a game got creative with its arsenal. There are some exceptions like the Resistance series and Painkiller but certainly not enough; Doom 4 has the license to get away with the most absurdly brutal of weaponry, make us proud id.

Don’t give us monsters as a result of genetic mutation (cough Doom movie), give us the real hell.

Doom 4 needs to put us face to face with something horrifying, locate it in some reality we can relate to, something that brings the story home. Tell us a tale of a past humanity, a humanity that descended into hell, leaving us to start again. If not that then give us a version of hell not easily forgotten and make sure not to erase the personality of the character we’re portraying by placing all concentration on the hell we have to face. Doom 4’s scare must come from its plot as well as mechanics and fancy graphics; a story to chill our bones is something we’d dearly love from Doom 4.

I realise this is Rage OK, it’s the best id Tech 5 shot I could find to represent open environments.

We know that the id Tech 5 engine is being improved for Doom 4 and will push way past what Rage accomplished, at least that’s what we’re told. So give us some large environments that equal or exceed Rage. Just one side note, don’t make the environments so overblown that they take away from the dark and tense atmosphere Doom 4 should create. Narrow corridors need to be used but not so much as to reduce Doom 4 to Doom 3 with the occasional large area.

Fricken torchess, what a cheap way to create tension and an atmospher… well it worked.

We don’t want amnesia scary and neither do we want a game so consistently tense that is upsets the pace of its plot. A balance is needed; there should be locations of rest and the occasional puzzle to challenge the intellect. Don’t get us wrong though, when it gets tense and brooding, we want it so overpowering that we need to take the occasional break to watch Cartoon Network and get away from what we’ve just experienced. If id can do that, Doom 4 will be an epic game. Doom needs to more than just reinvent itself, it must separate itself by means of atmosphere; it must eat wimpy gamers for breakfast.

 
 

The Conclusion

Doom 4 is almost surely in development, this coming straight from Bethesda, despite some rumours to the contrary. With the id’s promise that Doom 4 will be a large leap from what we’ve come to expect from the series as a whole, I can’t wait to see what Doom 4 has in store for us. The technology and talent to make a killer game is certainly there. If you have any ideas or input for what you’d like to see out of Doom 4, feel free to comment and divulge your ideas for the hellish monstrosity that is Doom.

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Indie Review: PixelJunk Eden http://egmr.net/2012/02/indie-review-pixeljunk-eden/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/indie-review-pixeljunk-eden/#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2012 15:00:53 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=72747 Visit review on site for scoring. The PixelJunk series of games is a leading light as far as simplicity and originality goes. Some, like PixelJunk Shooter and Monsters, have been […]

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The PixelJunk series of games is a leading light as far as simplicity and originality goes. Some, like PixelJunk Shooter and Monsters, have been more successful than others but all have tried to do something different from one another and other games of this ilk. PixelJunk Eden is certainly not new and actually made its debut release in 2008 on the PS3; it’s 2012 however and PixelJunk Eden has finally found its way onto Steam.

PixelJunk Eden is a rather unusual puzzle platformer and certainly provides a unique experience for any willing to give it a try. As the player you control what’s known as a Grimp (the amalgamation of grip and jump) and must find and collect the ‘Spectra’ throughout each garden. Each garden represents a level containing multiple Spectra to collect, the collection of which will lead to the completion of that particular level and opportunity to retry the garden in order to collect each remaining Spectra. Each garden contains plants that the Grimp is able to jump and grip onto, this allows for reaching higher dormant seeds which when enough pollen is collected can be activated, extending a plant from said seed and allowing for higher and higher exploration.

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In order to collect pollen the player must either jump through or use a thread provided to swing through enemies which when defeated are turned into the needed pollen. If the player manages to take out multiple enemies without touching another surface they will accumulate combo chains which allow for greater amounts of pollen from each subsequently defeated enemy. It’s worth mentioning that later on there are increasingly difficult enemies that will attempt to shoot at your Grimp, cut your thread or just take you out all together; it can make for a surprisingly tense situation in what is supposed to be a quite relaxed game. There is also a synchronisation meter which when depleted will cause a failed level and so must be sustained with the collection of crystals placed throughout each garden. It’s strange that PixelJunk Eden should have such a meter which continued to hurry me up and force my hand when what I really wanted to do was play the game in a relaxed fashion. It’s a strange mechanic but works to add to the difficulty if a challenge is something you’re looking for. One nice feature, new to the game and available (for now at least) only on the Steam version, is the ability to warp back to a last resting position. Trust me when I say this will make your lives so much easier after falling from way up and not wanting to scale the entire garden again.

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The gameplay can be quite enjoyable and is certainly unique, though I found myself somewhat wanting more. I think it could just be me, many others quite enjoy the game, but I found it a little too slow for my taste. It’s strange but despite the enjoyment I got from the game I still found myself thinking about playing another game instead, something that doesn’t usually happen when I’m playing a game. Don’t take this as a negative criticism but rather as a remark that any player preferring a slightly faster (perhaps more intense) and altogether more energetic experience will have to look elsewhere. My only real criticism is the keyboard controls can be a little unresponsive and I’d advise a gamepad; it’ll compensate for the weird feel of the mouse as the controller. Sadly multiplayer didn’t make the Steam port but the game is as good as it’s going to get and I can’t imagine anyone missing it.

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The one thing I will say for PixelJunk Eden is it certainly has the aesthetics of an original game. Its artistic look is easy on the eyes and prevents the screen from ever feeling too cluttered. The electro sound track definitely amplifies this and I recommend you try out the game with a set of headphones; it’ll certainly give you an impression you won’t soon experience. If ever you were going to try out something new but a high price kept you at bay, then get PixelJunk Eden, it’s definitely for you.

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Games I’m Most Looking Forward To This Year (Part 2) http://egmr.net/2012/02/games-im-most-looking-forward-to-this-year-part-2/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/games-im-most-looking-forward-to-this-year-part-2/#comments Mon, 13 Feb 2012 15:00:23 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=72438 There are a lot of awesome games coming out this year, and if you know this site well enough you’d know how many times we’ve raved about the games of […]

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There are a lot of awesome games coming out this year, and if you know this site well enough you’d know how many times we’ve raved about the games of 2012. The title of this article is a bit deceiving because it actually isn’t the games I feel with the most potential or that we’re looking forward to most. Instead, they’re the games, for some reason or another, we’ve forgotten about or barely mentioned. Enjoy the list and feel start to feel the strain on your wallet.

Name: Brothers in Arms: Furious 4
Genre: FPS
Multiplayer: Single-player, Multiplayer, Cooperative
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Developers: Gearbox Software
Publishers: Ubisoft
Release Date: Q3 2012

Inspired by Inglourious Basterds (watch it if you haven’t already) and a far less serious approach to Gearbox’s tactical shooter, Brothers in Arms. Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 is a casual co-op shooter based in an alternate reality World War 2 that promises to be violent, nazi bashing and oh so satisfying. Someone has already compared it a mash-up between Borderlands and Bulletstorm, now that has gotta make you want to play this game.

Name: Far Cry 3
Genre: FPS
Multiplayer: Yes (Modes Currently Unknown)
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Developers: Ubisoft Montreal
Publishers: Ubisoft
Release Date: March 2012

Taking what Far Cry 2 did to a whole new level, and not to mention Far Cry’s original roaming ground, a tropical jungle, Far Cry 3 is looking to be a staunch contender for shooter of the year. With plenty of characters and a plot to keep you guessing, Far Cry 3 looks to be one to look out for.

Name: Overstrike
Genre: Action
Multiplayer: Single-player, Multiplayer, Cooperative
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Developers: Insomniac Games
Publishers: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Q3/4 2012

A 4-player cooperative action game that places 4 misfit agents in situations demanding hi-tech gadgetry and some rule bending. Insomniac is known for its humour in Ratchet & Clank and is making sure it comes through and really shines in this new shooter IP. I can’t wait to see what aspects they’ll be taking from their more recent Resistance 3.

Name: GTA V
Genre: Action-Adventure
Multiplayer: Yes (Modes Currently Unknown)
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Developers: Rockstar North
Publishers: Rockstar Games
Release Date: 2012 (Release Date Pending)

Whatever you’ve heard is nothing but rumour and speculation, though that certainly hasn’t diminished our craving for a new GTA game. Be it more San Andreas or Vice City styled, or a truly next-gen experience as suggested, I know I’ll love it. The only question is how will they deal with multiplayer considering the current multiplayer aspects within in GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption?

Continued on the next page –>

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In A Nerd’s Honest Opinion: Final Fantasy XIII Didn’t Suck http://egmr.net/2012/02/in-a-nerds-honest-opinion-final-fantasy-xiii-didnt-suck/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/in-a-nerds-honest-opinion-final-fantasy-xiii-didnt-suck/#comments Fri, 10 Feb 2012 09:00:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=72090 What to talk about? Well I really want to speak about Final Fantasy XIII-2 but considering I’m doing the review on that, I’d just be shooting myself in the foot. […]

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What to talk about? Well I really want to speak about Final Fantasy XIII-2 but considering I’m doing the review on that, I’d just be shooting myself in the foot. What I will say is it’s awesome, one extravagant step forward and will even please some of the most hardcore opponents of Final Fantasy XIII. I suppose I could diverge from my norm and talk about something political or of consequence among the gaming community but well, that’s a lot of thinking and I don’t do thinking this late at night. Doom 4 was my other idea, but I think I’ll leave that for next week, sly hint about Doom 4 feature next week initiated.

No, actually I will talk about Final Fantasy XIII, more specifically, the reason I enjoyed it despite its apparent failings for many a Final Fantasy fan. I could go on and on about its strengths, weaknesses, what it did wrong, what it did right and still I might never get anything though to the stalwart haters. Instead I’m going to make two simple arguments and let you decide whether there’s anything to my ramblings.

Firstly, Final Fantasy XIII is by no means the 13th (was tempted to use XIIIth) game in the series. In fact, it’s probably like 20 or 30 something; I’m including all the Tactic games, games like Dirge of Cerberus and the Crystal Chronicles series. Anyway, the point is there are a lot of them and if then Square and now Square Enix didn’t constantly mix it up, the series would be dead long ago. What I’m trying to argue is that people are always harping on about sequels too often being just more of the same, yet when Final Fantasy XIII tries something different, it gets hated on. Sure it was missing some of the staples we all love but it didn’t promise to be anything more than it was. Final Fantasy XIII had a great story and a new and enjoyable combat system. The story wasn’t meant to be dark, tense, or in any way like Mass Effect. This is a Japanese game, inspired by Japanese ideas, if you expect a Western style of story you’d be what I like to call a little slow. Finally, don’t knock on characters by calling them anime like, that’s the point of the series, every game has been like that. Each character personifies a particular strength and weakness of humanity and in this sense it was done well. There was a lot of personality in the story and the plot is supposed to some second to the characters. Whether you dislike or loved Snow, you almost certainly did because he represents something about someone you didn’t like. It was a bit linear but if you enjoyed the story then that’s all you need. I agree I would’ve preferred more to the game but what it had it did well and I can’t fault a game for that. It would be like faulting a Ferrari for not having rocket boosters just because they’d make the car better than it is.

The other aspect, the combat that is, was actually very well done and much better than most give credit for. If you were one of those that just button mashed the auto combat button, don’t complain then that was all you needed to do. In most of Final Fantasy VIII I could spam summoning and would’ve cake walked most of the game, the thing is, I didn’t because I wanted challenge and to strategically invest in combat. Well Final Fantasy XIII allowed for the same thing. Its paradigm mechanic was the strategic element and how you used them was what made it fun. Swapping to defensive and healing paradigms; then to buff and debuff while staggering the opponent was all very entertaining and brilliantly executed. Because you could defeat an enemy with a single star ranking and moving on doesn’t make the game easy. What gave some challenge, though I admit not enough, was trying to get 5 stars for each battle. That required more than just spamming auto combat and was exactly where the enjoyability of the combat lied.

At the end of the day, some loved Final Fantasy XIII and others didn’t. I respect those that disliked it for what it did wrong but to like it for what it didn’t have and then hating on it is a different matter altogether. I don’t hate Final Fantasy IX because it went back to the fantasy style of old rather than the sci-fi of the last two games.

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Review: Soul Calibur V http://egmr.net/2012/02/review-soul-calibur-v/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/review-soul-calibur-v/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2012 15:30:58 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=71740 Visit review on site for scoring. Fighting games and I have a real love-hate relationship. I really enjoy them; right up until a friend comes over, hits the gamepad with […]

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Fighting games and I have a real love-hate relationship. I really enjoy them; right up until a friend comes over, hits the gamepad with their face and ends up winning matches. The other possibility is I practice, unlock every character and refine my skills, only for the game to then become less enjoyable with friends because I can just cream them. There are exceptions to this however, take Mortal Kombat for example, it’s not only fun to master but easy to enjoy and all my friends actually bought it. So Soul Calibur 5, is it any good? Well I should say so, it may be my first real experience with the Soul Calibur series but I know the genre well and it was definitely better than I expected.

Let’s start with the story, well Soul Calibur 5 definitely takes its story quite seriously, more serious than most in fact. Soul Calibur 5, in true fighting game style, leaves little to be desired and despite trying hard is quite cheesy. It’s called 1607 A.D., taking place 17 years after Soul Calibur IV and revolves around a young Patroklos searching for revenge and the two swords Soul Calibur and Soul Edge. Without giving too much away it is rather predictable and not exactly award winning but that really doesn’t matter does it. The story pushes you forward and keeps combat from being nothing but match after match, occasionally letting you duke it out against adversaries you otherwise wouldn’t get to fight. It is interesting at times and despite its flaws, much more enjoyable than many of the dry story modes served up with most fighting games.

Apart from the story mode, there’s all the sorts of offline modes you’d expect; arcade mode, versus mode, a quick battle mode, a training mode and a legendary souls mode. Legendary souls mode is for the more hardcore player and offers a more difficult arcade mode. Quick battle mode presents you with 4 custom characters (I’ll get to that in a minute) to which you can either challenge or swap out for 4 more characters to challenge. Each battle earns you titles, experience to level up and occasionally a fighting style. Of course there’s an online mode and contains all the features you’d expect from a current-gen fighting game; ranked matches, unranked matches and a rather interesting mode called global colesseo. Global colosseo mode places all players who join into a sort of randomly generated tournament where you move up as you win matches, leading to the two best players to duke it out in the finals. I did try this mode and it was very enjoyable but be warned, there are some insane players coming off of previous Soul Calibur games.

The result of playing online with little to no experience.

Character creation, told you I’d get to it, is back and far more creative and approachable than in Soul Calibur IV; and even more so as you unlock items by levelling up your rank. In character creation you are allowed to customise almost every aspect of what your character wears and what colour or pattern that item should have. This aesthetic skin is placed over the fighting style of a chosen character within the game and makes for a great way to individualise yourself from everyone else who chose the same character. Speaking of characters, there are a few new and many old faces to pit against each other. Of course guest character Ezio from Assassin’s Creed is present and has quite a unique fighting style to match his personality and well… career. It’s one of the larger rosters in the series and maintains a balance of unique fighters who each makes use of a very specialised fighting style. I’m surprised they wrung so much balance out of a weapon system that would seem to make combat quite chaotic.

Gameplay is where Soul Calibur has seen its biggest changes and quite a large change to what was considered the staple mechanics of the Soul Calibur series. Critical finishes and its accompanying soul gauge have been removed so there are no more instant kill opportunities in Soul Calibur V. Armour remains destructible but there is no longer a meter to gauge how destroyed a piece of armour is; the only sign your armour is wearing down is when it shatters off of your character should they take too many heavy blows. Additionally, and to allow for a set of super moves, rather than instant kills, there is a new super gauge that as it fills allows you to use ‘brave’ and ‘critical’ edge attacks that deal heavy damage. They work well enough and seem to balance out the style of combat the character uses; so some more damaging but harder to get in and this will correspond with the tank like character Nightmare. 8-Way-Run (I’m sure they could’ve thought of a better name) allows characters to easily side step their adversary with a quick double-tap of either up or down; something that is crucial in this game as blocking is nowhere near as effective as avoiding an attack all together. I should say that this aspect of combat is rather balanced and means that you can either block, a far easier move to execute, but leaves you open to grabs and other moves. Or you can dodge, which is harder to do as the opponent may read your manoeuvre, opening you to attack but also allowing for retaliation if done right. The final mechanic is called ‘just guard’ and if done correctly results in a ‘perfect’ guard, allowing for a considerably shorter time required countering the opponent. All in all the combat is quite balanced and seems to favour all styles of combat while not making any specific character overbalanced or open to exploit. There are a few characters who are still able to spam a move and create annoying situations though I am yet to play a fighting game where that isn’t the case to some extent.

Yoshimitsu using a critical edge.

Speaking of gameplay, the A.I can be quite brutal at times, something you’d expect from a fighting game, but can also be a bit dim-witted at the easier settings. That’s easy to get around and a quick change of the difficulty will fetch a more suited experience. There is one strange occurrence however, and seems to occur in modes like quick battle where different levels of character difficulty are meshed into one mode. What seems to happen is you’ll choose an adversary who seems relatively easy for the first round and about half way into another round when all of a sudden their difficulty kicks up 10 levels and you get creamed. The other aspect of A.I that might frustrate those new to the series, and without at least some modest level of skill, you might find the last stages of story mode to be surprisingly difficult when all previous matches were far less challenging. None of these A.I faults are game wrecking but can be annoying at times.

The one clear improvement over any other iteration in the series is obviously visuals. Soul Calibur V is a very pretty fighter and makes every effort to squeeze all the detail it can into its characters and levels. To work wonders with the visuals is a fitting and enjoyable sound track as well as smooth framerates, something vital to any tournament level fighter. Soul Calibur V is definitely one of the better looking fighters and makes up for what it lacks in some of the characters voices.

Soul Calibur is an enjoyable game, a great online fighter and will look good for a time to come. Its gameplay isn’t exactly new and employs many of the same characters the series has carried over since the first iteration. It’s definitely an evolution of the series rather than a revolution and despite being the same Soul Calibur we’ve come to expect, it does it rather well. The few hiccups it has are easily outweighed by its strengths and while it may not be my favourite fighter ever, it is far from my least.

 

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Games To Satiate Your Hunger For Diablo 3 http://egmr.net/2012/02/games-to-satiate-your-hunger-for-diablo-3/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/games-to-satiate-your-hunger-for-diablo-3/#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2012 15:00:40 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=71326 Features removed, game redesigns, release date unconfirmed and the hunger for Diablo 3 grows. Diablo 3 may come out tomorrow, ok probably not, though we might only see it at […]

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Features removed, game redesigns, release date unconfirmed and the hunger for Diablo 3 grows. Diablo 3 may come out tomorrow, ok probably not, though we might only see it at the dawn of 2013. Luckily, and for all those loot heads out there, those who need an isometric RPG this year, we’ve compiled a list of five games to compete with Diablo 3. Some of these games are relatively light on detail and we’ll give you a video of each to accommodate any info we have. We can’t be sure any of these games will release before Diablo 3, but we’re hoping their developers have stepped up their game in order to compete with Diablo 3. So without further delay, here’s that list — across five pages.

Name: Torchlight 2
Genre: Isometric, Action RPG
Multiplayer: Yes
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360
Developers: Runic Games
Publishers: Perfect World
Release Date: Early 2012 (Pending Confirmation)
Preview: Torchlight 2

Runic Games CEO Max Schaefer, one of the lead designers on Diablo 2 and now assisting on Torchlight 2, along with lead developer Travis Baldree are confident Torchlight 2 will be an indie AAA. Runic Games are not only planning to improve every aspect of Torchlight’s gameplay, as we’ve already talked about in the lengthier preview, but plans to improve on the original’s sales figures; which hit the millions. Furthermore, and with a modestly cheap price, mod support and a multiplayer component over and above the original game’s single player only experience; Runic Games are staring Diablo 3 straight in the eyes and aren’t budging.

Torchlight 2 has a lot of content and sports a very refined and much improved Diablo 2 style of play. And with diverse classes, pet and fishing mechanics returning and a whole bucket load of other nifty little extras; Torchlight 2 is looking to put up a serious fight.

 
 

Next entry on the next page.

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More Ways To Save On Indie Games http://egmr.net/2012/02/more-ways-to-save-on-indie-games/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/more-ways-to-save-on-indie-games/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2012 15:00:16 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=71312 Remember the Humble Bundle, it’s a great way to buy some enjoyable indie games and contribute to the developers as well as a chosen charity, well now there’s the ‘Indie […]

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Remember the Humble Bundle, it’s a great way to buy some enjoyable indie games and contribute to the developers as well as a chosen charity, well now there’s the ‘Indie Gala’.

The Indie Gala is quite similar and really only differs in two distinct ways. Firstly, the bundles include music albums that closely link to the games being offered and secondly, that there is a limited amount available rather than a time with which to make a purchase.

So with relatively cheap prices, a good cause and still over 37000 bundles left, make your purchase today. And if you’re not sure about the titles available check out the site, there are a few combinations to choose from and they’re all pretty awesome.

 

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What We Want From Final Fantasy Versus XIII http://egmr.net/2012/02/what-we-want-from-final-fantasy-versus-xiii/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/what-we-want-from-final-fantasy-versus-xiii/#comments Fri, 03 Feb 2012 11:15:20 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=70859 Just in case you haven’t seen the sort of gameplay to expect from Final Fantasy Versus XIII This is not a wish list and this isn’t a list of features […]

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Just in case you haven’t seen the sort of gameplay to expect from Final Fantasy Versus XIII

This is not a wish list and this isn’t a list of features or mechanics we hope to see in Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Instead, this is a look at a couple of the features we are almost certain about the game, features we want done right. I like Final Fantasy XIII and know I’ll enjoy XIII-2 just as much, if not more. However, I think Versus XIII is something new, something different and a chance for Square Enix to evolve the entirety of the JRPG genre. So for that sake, and for the sake of Final Fantasy XIV, which will happen, we want Versus XIII to do well so that it excites that fire back in Square Enix. We want it to affect how Final Fantasy XIV is done and perhaps make Square Enix enough coin to fund remakes of Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IX. I’m a long time fan and veteran of Final Fantasy and will be taking experience from previous titles and applying that to the features of Versus XIII.

1) Final Fantasy has always had some sort of statistic based level up system with which to improve characters. Final Fantasy XIII’s for example had a crystarium system, which while working well enough, never had much depth to it. That’s why we want a more complex, or at least a more in depth, level up and equipment system from Versus XIII. More than that though, it shouldn’t be overly convoluted and instead must be simple to learn but difficult to master. However, and even if it’s done right, the most important thing we’re looking for is a diversity of approaches and paths to level up. While it may seem it a bit silly to ask for the ability to separate your characters from your friends in a single player JRPG, despite everyone experiencing the exact same story, we still think it necessary. Previous Final Fantasy games were more replayable and gave a meaning to grinding because you could develop your own characters; independently catering to the strategies you have in mind. Final Fantasy XIII removed a lot of that by forcing everyone to take the same level up path. If Versus XII makes good on this and this alone, I know it’ll be a much better game for it.

2) A well designed level up system is all well and good but has no real point without a great battle mechanic to accompany it. Versus XIII is taking a more real time approach to battles, not dissimilar from Final Fantasy XII’s system. As such, we immediately know that for a magic system to work, it’s going to need some definite balancing. The reason is Final Fantasy XII, as real time as it was, eliminated almost any need for magic by making it slow and limiting in effectiveness. This time we want it relative from start to finish. Each character is also promised to have unique traits and abilities like (of who seems to be the main character) Nocturnis who is able to equip all weapon types. Or another character, as seen in the gameplay video, is able to aim with his weapon allowing for more precise and so I would assume critical hits. The final thing I would argue for is that the summon system be made more versatile and above all remain useful. That’s right, there is a summon system and I can’t wait to see if you get to directly control the each individual summon. Just make sure they don’t get too weak by the end of the game like you have done in other Final Fantasy games Square Enix.

3) Versus XIII has promised and shown a far more realistic atmosphere, set of characters and environments than ever done before. Above all else, the game seems a whole lot darker than we’ve been used to. That’s great and I love the experimentation with new plot styles and tones of story but Square Enix needs to keep it in check throughout. Like all JRPG’s, there will be some influence from anime and manga, this being the case, I don’t want Versus XIII to make the same mistake as many manga and anime series do; that is to be too dark too much of the time. At the end of the day, Final Fantasy is about overcoming an evil or obstacle and improving in the end. So keep this in mind Square Enix. Also, and knowing Final Fantasy has a habit of revealing weird and unrelated bosses near the end, please don’t just reveal some weird omniscient being at the end of the game; keep us guessing but not at the expense of story. Final Fantasy IX for example was very well done and sported a great story but the last boss had almost no relation to the game.

4) Joy of joys, a traversable map and airships are back, reminiscent of games before FFX; let’s hope they do it correctly. Just in case, we want areas not pertaining to the main story and that, like above, link to side missions and stories. Large open maps are great and providing vehicles to traverse them is a great sign of their size and hopefully scope as well as detail.

5) This final feature hasn’t been confirmed but we’re implying it from what we’ve seen. We want more choice, more options. I realise that JRPG’s and western RPG’s are a different breed and I want it to remain that way. I don’t believe that all RPG’s should be like Mass Effect and being told a story rather than shaping it has its appeal; I love Final Fantasy for being a story book. That doesn’t mean that we don’t want more to the world, more side stories and chances for the inquisitive player to learn more about their characters. Reward the extra effort and time spent by giving those players who have invested some love into the game. I don’t just mean bonus summons and ultimate weapons, although I sorely missed that from Final Fantasy XIII. I just want the kind of effort put into the gameplay and main story to be put into side stories. It’s the small things.

At the end of the day, and judging by the videos and screenshots we’ve seen, Final Fantasy Versus XIII is going to be one hell of a game. I just hope it does more than that, that it evolves and moves the JRPG genre onto a new level. I love western RPG’s but sometimes you just gotta give those JRPG’s some love

 

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Indie Review: The Cat That Got The Milk http://egmr.net/2012/02/indie-review-the-cat-that-got-the-milk/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/indie-review-the-cat-that-got-the-milk/#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2012 15:00:14 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=70754 Visit review on site for scoring. ‘The Cat that Got the Milk’ is a simple and short game, in fact, the most complicated part of the game is the title […]

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‘The Cat that Got the Milk’ is a simple and short game, in fact, the most complicated part of the game is the title itself. If that puts you off however, let me assure you that despite its simplicity this game is a whole bunch of fun.

The Cat that Got the Milk is a charming, almost puzzle-like game where the player directs a small object as it moves from the left of the screen to the right. Moving the cat (I guess it’s a cat) up or down prevents it from moving towards the right; letting go of either direction means it continues on its incessant journey to the right. As the cat moves, it’s the player’s job to direct and avoid any objects in its way; any collisions will mean a return to the beginning of the current stage. And that’s it really, well Ok, some of the obstacles move and some are quite difficult, requiring a bit of patience, but that’s about it.

Now I’m sure you’re all familiar with how addictive simplistic gameplay can be, take Peggle for example, and ‘The Cat that Got the Milk’ doesn’t fail to deliver, making sure to keep you playing until you’ve finished every stage. That’s not always a good thing when some of these zombie state games can go on for hours and hours; happily though, The Cat that Got the Milk (I keep wanting to say ‘that got the hat’) his actually short and sweet. To compliment this, the game uses abstract art to represent the level and obstacles that need navigating and create a very pretty looking game in the process. Just look at the screenshots and tell me you aren’t attracted by the looks of it. If anything the game is even more aesthetically pleasing when viewed as you play it, though the encouraging and enjoyable audio track certainly helps.

Heed my advice; The Cat that Got the Milk will test your reactions. Not your speed or reflexes but the way you would normally play a game of this nature will almost certainly cause quite a few collisions. If you’re not exactly sure what I mean, play it and you’ll begin to understand. It requires a quick yet more relaxed sense of play and as a jumped up (and easily frustrated) individual I found the change of play style enjoyable.

All that’s left to say is download and enjoy it, here’s the link, have fun.

 

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Humble Bundle Comes To Android http://egmr.net/2012/02/humble-bundle-comes-to-android/ http://egmr.net/2012/02/humble-bundle-comes-to-android/#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2012 15:00:15 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=70652 Check out the video above, it’s awesome. By now I’m sure you’re acquainted with the ‘Humble Bundle’ and the idea behind it. If not, it’s basically the opportunity to buy […]

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Check out the video above, it’s awesome.

By now I’m sure you’re acquainted with the ‘Humble Bundle’ and the idea behind it. If not, it’s basically the opportunity to buy a collection of indie games at one packaged price. What makes this unique is you choose how much to pay and how that payment is distributed among indie developers, charities and the organisers of the Humble Bundle.

The current Humble Bundle contains EDGE, Osmos, and Anomaly: Warzone Earth; all of which are for Android this time around. Plus, and for those who pay above the average contribution, which is currently about $5.92, you also get a copy of World of Goo.

It’s a great way to contribute to organisations that need the donations and score yourself some awesome Android indie games in the process. So go check out the most current Humble Bundle if you’re interested .

 

 

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Indie Review: SOL Exodus http://egmr.net/2012/01/indie-review-sol-exodus/ http://egmr.net/2012/01/indie-review-sol-exodus/#comments Tue, 31 Jan 2012 11:15:46 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=70421 Visit review on site for scoring. SOL Exodus is here, Freelancer fans it’s time to rejoice… well I mean there’ll probably be a sequel to look forward in the future, […]

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SOL Exodus is here, Freelancer fans it’s time to rejoice… well I mean there’ll probably be a sequel to look forward in the future, and that’ll be cool right. SOL Exodus says it’s a current-gen ode to past greats like Wing Commander and the aforementioned Freelancer, but who really believes what it says on the can. Maybe I’m being a bit unfair, SOL Exodus does promise, well at least the developers promise that, SOL Exodus:

SOL: Exodus is the first downloadable, 3D space-action game that leverages the power of modern graphics technology to deliver epic space battles featuring enormous capital ships, hordes of spacecraft, and beautifully rendered planetary battlegrounds in an action-packed, cinematic presentation reminiscent of TV shows and movies.

So I’ll give it a fair chance and compare the game’s presentation to its supposed promise.

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Well the first part mentions that SOL Exodus is the first game to offer beautifully rendered visuals and modern graphics. I assume then that Seamless Entertainment (that’s the developer) hasn’t heard of X3 because well, I’m sorry to tell you this but they use modern graphical effects too and are a lot better at it. The game’s textures aren’t half bad but are nothing to write home about. The rest of the game’s aesthetics are quite good for an indie game but not quite good enough to warrant such a rave write-up about them. The biggest problem by far is that this attempt to do such detailed graphics, as an indie team, means that the rest of the game suffers.

To SOL Exodus’s credit (it’s kind of annoying to use caps lock for ‘SOL’ every time), it does make a genuine attempt to be cinematic and action-packed. If this was 2002 then it would most certainly be exactly that; however, this is 2012 and SOL Exodus really doesn’t cut the mustard. The cinematics are full of simplistic scenes and cheesy one-liners, it just feels like an old game and the story doesn’t really help. The story tells the tale of a Commander trying to save humanity; sounds very Master Chief or Commander Shepard-like doesn’t it? Well the problem is it’s all very generic and has no defining detail to separate it from every other space game ever invented. You’re supposed to be saving humanity with the aid of an A.I. I can’t remember, so I’m going to call her Cortana, and as Commander What’s-His-Name you use your fighter craft to defend against and thwart the efforts of COD (a concept I’m sure Azhar will approve of). COD is a fanatical religious group and I know COD stands for something but well, I don’t really remember that either. It’s all quite forgettable and I just don’t feel like I want to save this version of humanity. Religious fanatics (who I’m going to call the Chaos Space Marines rather than COD) are too overused and only really work if done well and let’s just say these particular Chaos Space Marines aren’t exactly winning SOL Exodus any prizes.

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Gameplay wise, SOL Exodus isn’t as action-packed as I was lead to believe, this seems to be a trend now. There’s nothing wrong with the controls and the whole shooting-enemy-fighters mechanic seems solid and polished enough, but that’s again as far as it goes. The game doesn’t distinguish it in any way, it’s just fly to ship; shoot ship; change target; shoot next ship; rinse and repeat. There’s almost no variety in weaponry and the upgrade system is very limited offering only to give you a couple extra missiles or hull integrity for each point invested. It seems like Seamless Entertainment tried too hard to get what they thought an arcade space shooter should be like and forgot to make a game we’d love and enjoy instead. There is a hacking component to combat against the larger enemy ships where you can disable or change the target of their own arsenal or things like engines. The problem is it isn’t fleshed out enough and seems tacked on rather than integrated into the entire experience.

There is one aspect to SOL Exodus that remains completely faithful to the statement made by the developers, it is downloadable. Unfortunately, and in a year so full of AAA titles that they’re literally leaking out of my ear, I really can’t suggest such a generic indie game to anyone. Don’t get me wrong, there are some upcoming indie games to blow the pants off many AAA’s, like Torchlight 2 for example, but this is certainly not one of them. I don’t like to be mean about any game, that’s Azhar’s job, but I certainly can’t say anything nice about SOL Exodus either.

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A side note to this is the hacking mechanic of SOL Exodus is called torchlight, and well as I heard torchlight I kinda wanted to play that and not play this. I wonder, is it fate?

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Fallout Fantasy http://egmr.net/2012/01/fallout-fantasy/ http://egmr.net/2012/01/fallout-fantasy/#comments Mon, 30 Jan 2012 15:00:36 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=70354 If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy VII and have a copy of Fallout 3 lying around, then brace yourselves for a mod of pure epicosity. Mako Dawn is an […]

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If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy VII and have a copy of Fallout 3 lying around, then brace yourselves for a mod of pure epicosity. Mako Dawn is an ambitious mod that uses Fallout 3 to place you in one of the most fantastic worlds ever created, well at least according to me and Final Fanatasy VII’s hardcore fans.

Read this and imagine how cool it will be when it’s finally finished, if it’s ever finished.

“Set just prior to the events of the original game, this total conversion aims to recreate the Shinra tower as shown in the 1997 RPG Final Fantasy VII in full 3D. Take any object, use any weapon, interact with anyone. Work to gain access to each floor and unravel company secrets as you ascend – or destroy – the corporate hierarchy.”

And despite the relatively few pictures so far, to which they’ll only really make sense to Final Fantasy VII fans, I’m really excited, can’t wait.

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Indie Review: Unstoppable Gorg http://egmr.net/2012/01/indie-review-unstoppable-gorg/ http://egmr.net/2012/01/indie-review-unstoppable-gorg/#comments Thu, 19 Jan 2012 15:00:08 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=69256 Visit review on site for scoring. Tower defence has been made popular by its many mapped iterations within Warcraft 3. Since then, a horde of clones and wannabes has moved […]

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Tower defence has been made popular by its many mapped iterations within Warcraft 3. Since then, a horde of clones and wannabes has moved in to make a quick buck off of that success, subsequently creating a tower defence genre in itself. From mods, to maps to games in their entirety, I have always been a fan of the tower defence genre. That being said, it’s one of those genres I don’t get to spend a whole of time rummaging playing. As such, I usually find myself playing the first couple stages of any tower defence I come across, then, and if it’s a decidedly addictive waste of a few weeks, well I keep playing.

Unstoppable Gorg is a tower defence genre that pays homage to the 1950’s and all the wacky black & white sci-fi that ensued from that period. The theme is executed well and employs old school aesthetics to drive it home. The 1950’s styled audio track is a charming attempt that suits the brightly styled visuals really well. I must point out that the audio track is used a little too often, though it never quite managed to get on my nerves. The cinematics between each stage is done as a black & white news report, the kind you’d expect from the period. I especially enjoyed all of the special effects I would imagine occurred, like the clear use of models held up by string for ships and space stations. Gorg himself, the alien overlord set on destroying all of humanity, makes the odd appearance and I’ve laughed a couple times at the whole presentation, and believe you me, a chuckle a day keeps the nerd at play.

So it looks and feels good, but in a genre defined by a singular game mechanic, that of tower defence, Unstoppable Gorg needs to do this well for me to bother with the purchase. In this regard I’m happy to report, Unstoppable Gorg’s claim to be revolutionary as a tower defence game is done very well and I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. I feel I should explain what makes Unstoppable Gorg so revolutionary. Rather than be another standard, run of the mill tower defence, Unstoppable Gorg, rather brilliantly, has added the ability to place your towers (or in this case satellites) on specific points within the orbits around the space stations you’re protecting. Once the towers are placed on these points, you are able to freely rotate those orbits and so reposition your towers to best suit the changing routes of the attackers. Moreover, each tower is able to continue shooting while being repositioned, thereby allowing the player to keep towers continuously focused on specific enemies. Finally, the enemy attackers are able to attack your towers and so towers need to be switched and repaired, or need to move to avoid fire altogether. It’s not overly complex but the ability to rotate your orbits, and so move your towers, puts a demand not only your strategic ability but your quick thinking tactical side. Because of this, and rather enjoyably, Unstoppable Gorg has a relentless pace at times, an enjoyable change from the usually slow approach to standard tower defence games.

On top of the revolving orbit style of play, Unstoppable Gorg gives the ability to place other support styled towers that aid by collecting research points and additional cash. Research points allow the player to upgrade towers before the start of play, upgrades that can make quite a difference if used correctly. The other enjoyable addition is set challenges within each stage of play. Completing challenges, like don’t let your home space station take damage, grants you with the opportunity to better any stage you’ve already attempted as well as unlocking new challenge levels that will test you even more. This adds to an essential aspect of any tower defence, replayability.

All in all, Unstoppable Gorg is a thoroughly enjoyable tower defence that has become one of my favourites alongside the likes of Plants V.S. Zombies and Defense Grid. If you’re looking for a tower defence game, Unstoppable Gorg is it. There are a couple that are just as good as Unstoppable Gorg, but none of those have the charm or quite frankly, the awesome 1950’s theme to them. Emperor Gorg is like one of those evil bad guys from Power Rangers and he wants to destroy you, so buy the game and show him what’s what.

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5 Games You May Not Know But Should http://egmr.net/2012/01/5-games-you-may-not-know-but-should/ http://egmr.net/2012/01/5-games-you-may-not-know-but-should/#comments Wed, 18 Jan 2012 15:00:48 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=69086 It’s quite simple really, these are the games you may not know about or have passed up for other titles. This article is our attempt to persuade you otherwise, because […]

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It’s quite simple really, these are the games you may not know about or have passed up for other titles. This article is our attempt to persuade you otherwise, because these have the potential to be awesome.

Developer: Valve, Hidden Path Entertainment
Publisher: Valve
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Mac

To be honest this wasn’t on anyone’s radar until one particular voice in eGamer pointed out it should be. CS: GO is seen by many as a fruitless attempt to revive a dying series; we see it as a new hope. While Counterstrike is certainly still quite popular, it isn’t going from strength to strength anymore. In fact, its competition with behemoths like Modern Warfare, Battlefield 3 and Halo has meant its community has dropped several magnitudes in size. CS: GO hopes to bring back the appeal of what once was.

First of all, CS: GO is not free to play like some have assumed, instead it will be a retail purchase. The best thing about CS: GO is that Valve is taking community feedback very seriously and massive changes are made seemingly overnight to appeal to the many eSport and CS fans tasked with feedback. The changes are making sure to keep CS: GO competitive but fun and accessible enough to target more than the l33t player. Its introduction of separate casual and competitive modes should further improve this. Moreover, there are many other features made to improve its odds in a very competitive genre; like new weapons and a thorough rebalancing of the old ones, a focus on competitive 5v5, LAN support, ranked ladder play and a new money system. All of which make CS: GO sound appealing to us.

Developer: 38 Studios, Big Huge Games
Publisher: EA
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3

What is there that hasn’t been said? It seems as though we all know Kingdoms of Amalur so well, though that’s probably because we at eGamer have been so faithfully looking forward to it, it’s come up in a fair share of articles.

While we have already talked about some of what Kingdoms of Amalur has to offer, it’s easy enough to just think of it as Skyrim and God of War’s illegitimate love child. It really is going for a world as rich as Skyrim’s and a combat system that favours the likes of God of War and Devil May Cry. That’s all well and good but can it pull it off? Well judging from what we’ve seen so far, we definitely think so.

As far as mechanics and the finer points of gameplay are concerned; Kingdoms of Amalur has a well thought out fate and destiny RPG mechanic that allows for a diversity of play styles as well as customising your character. The fate and destiny mechanic allows the player to focus or find a balance between all the standard classes of RPG like mage, warrior and rogue. It allows for rewards in approaching the classes with your own unique investment into the skill trees of Might, Finesse and Sorcery. As you invest in specific skills across the three trees, certain destinies are presented to you and act as the pre-emptive class system. Speaking of which, combat does use some variance on button timing and pressing, as well as the occasional boss fight quick event, but does not take away from the strategic nature of RPG combat.

The other thing to get excited about is the many factions and the size of the world promised. Kingdoms of Amalur may not be the biggest game ever but it certainly isn’t small by any means. Factions mean while let the player get missions, destinies bonuses and loot unique to that faction; think of them as Skyrim or Oblivion’s guilds.

It’s not a lot and there are gameplay videos that certainly paint a better picture than what I have said here. My goal is to get you aware, if you remember Kingdoms of Amalur my job is done; if it sucks though, blame Caveshen okay.

Developer: Runic Games
Publisher: Perfect World
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360

There isn’t a whole lot to go on with Torchlight 2. Still, knowing its goals are to improve upon the original Torchlight says a whole lot. The original Torchlight had a lot going for it and was a brilliant example of a modern interpretation of a Diablo like isometric RPG. Its only flaw was a lack of multiplayer and Torchlight 2 will address this through both online as well as LAN support.

There’s a lot I could say about the game, and in fact I already have, so check out this preview of Torchlight 2.

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Preview: Torchlight 2 http://egmr.net/2012/01/preview-torchlight-2/ http://egmr.net/2012/01/preview-torchlight-2/#comments Wed, 18 Jan 2012 09:00:52 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=69010 Developed by Runic Games, former founders of Blizzard North, Torchlight 2, like its recent prequel Torchlight 1, is rather predictably an isometric RPG. As equally predictable however, and as you’d […]

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Developed by Runic Games, former founders of Blizzard North, Torchlight 2, like its recent prequel Torchlight 1, is rather predictably an isometric RPG. As equally predictable however, and as you’d imagine from the former members of Blizzard North, Torchlight is a gem of an RPG experience and easily rivals the greats like Diablo. In fact, Torchlight can very much be likened to a new and improved Diablo for the modern age. Its only shortcoming was the absence of a multiplayer component, though the game was awesome without it. Despite this however, Torchlight 2 is on its way and this time its packing multiplayer.

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Name: Torchlight 2
Genre: Isometric RPG
Multiplayer: Yes
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360
Developers: Runic Games
Publishers: Perfect World
Release Date: Early 2012 (Pending Confirmation)

Except for a few gameplay videos and slide presentations, there’s not much to go by with Torchlight 2. In fact, much of Torchlight 2’s pre-release marketing campaign has been focused on selling the idea that Torchlight 2, in comparison to Torchlight 1, is an improvement in every conceivable facet as well as the all important addition of multiplayer. Just in case you’re not familiar with Torchlight 1, and seeing as explaining it is the best way of making you aware of what Torchlight 2 has to offer, here is a brief account. Torchlight was by all accounts a clone to Diablo 1 and massive improvement of a similar RPG called Fate. What made Torchlight different was in the details and it was more a modern interpretation and thorough improvement than a unique game in itself.

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As such, there were three classes, skill trees and a single town on top of the mine (not church) you had to descend. On top of these things there was a pet system. The pet system granted you a permanent companion, either cat or dog, that was capable of carrying additional loot for the player. What’s more was the pet’s ability to independently travel to town with said loot, sell it and return back to the player with your profits in paw. Of course your pet was able to fight by your side and made an effective team mate in tough situations. There was also a fishing mechanic which unsurprisingly allowed you to catch all manner of fish types that, and when fed to your pet, would transform said pet into a number of creatures with useful support, defensive or offensive abilities. The other great mechanic was the addition of portals that transported the player to limited level dungeons that would end in experience and well, more loot. It was a clever way of increasing play time and giving more ways of raiding for loot without having to do the same levels of the mine over and over again. There were a few other things but suffice it to say, Torchlight was an awesome little RPG.

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Torchlight 2 is offering the same kinds of mechanics, but expands on classes, the size of the world, multiplayer and making it all-in-all more like Diablo 2 than Diablo 1. I like to think of Torchlight 2 as continuing the fine trend of recreating a Diablo experience with modern gaming technology and will be a brilliant addition to this year’s Diablo 3 release.

Speaking of new additions, the classes will include the Engineer, a steampunk inspired technological character sporting a heavy melee; the Outlander, a light magic wielder and overall ranged wanderer; the Beserker, a fast striking warrior using animal-themed powers to overwhelm and batter enemies; and finally, the Embermage, a highly powerful elemental mage. The other addition is much larger and better randomly generated areas which promise more variety; so from deserts to forests, Torchlight 2 is going far beyond traversing a dingy mine. What we’re not too sure about right now is the exact details of the multiplayer component of Torchlight 2; though, and like everything else, Runic Games is keeping it hush. What we do know is its co-op based and will include, thank god, LAN support. And while there’s no confirmation of what the player limit is, Runic Games seems to think round about 4 players is best per game.

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The other aspect about Torchlight was its modability. This meant there were all kinds of downloadable graphical mods as well as new classes, spells and monsters to combat. All of this will be returning to Torchlight 2 and should make for an even better experience.

For some the news that Torchlight is more a Diablo clone creates a bit of a sore spot and so they refuse to play it. I don’t quite get it myself because Torchlight had enough variation and polish to make it a better game than Diablo, clone or not. I know huge fans of the isometric RPG, like Diablo and Titan Quest, and believe me when I say they might be more excited for Torchlight 2 than Diablo 3. Take that with a pinch or perhaps a mountain of salt but let that seep in. At the end of the day there really isn’t any reason not to get both, I know I am.

 

 

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Minecraft Says No To SOPA http://egmr.net/2012/01/minecraft-says-no-to-sopa/ http://egmr.net/2012/01/minecraft-says-no-to-sopa/#comments Mon, 16 Jan 2012 11:15:57 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=68777 No one really thinks SOPA is a great idea, and in fact, most think it’s downright detestable that free speech should be cast aside for corporate profit. Minecraft’s developer Notch […]

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No one really thinks SOPA is a great idea, and in fact, most think it’s downright detestable that free speech should be cast aside for corporate profit. Minecraft’s developer Notch agrees and voices his opinion; “No sane person can be for SOPA,” he said. “I don’t know if we’re sane, but we are strongly, uncompromisingly against SOPA, and any similar laws. Sacrificing freedom of speech for the benefit of corporate profit is abominable and disgusting.” This is understandable as SOPA will be especially devastating to indie development and its associated communities. Moreover, it’ll seriously impair eGamer and many sites like it.

As such, Minecraft will be going dark on January the 18th in protest. This is only the start of protests to come and it’s a good start to rejecting a law that will negatively impact the internet, no matter where you live.

If you’re not aware of the SOPA act, just Google it, there’s plenty to learn and get angry over with the first couple searches.

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In A Nerd’s Honest Opinion: Batman: Arkham Awesome http://egmr.net/2012/01/in-a-nerds-honest-opinion-batman-arkham-awesome/ http://egmr.net/2012/01/in-a-nerds-honest-opinion-batman-arkham-awesome/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2012 09:00:38 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=68485 Most successful gaming series end on a trilogy; this is especially the case with a series as well received as the Batman Arkham series. As such, I’m going to assume […]

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Most successful gaming series end on a trilogy; this is especially the case with a series as well received as the Batman Arkham series. As such, I’m going to assume a third Batman Arkham game is on the way some time next year. In honour of that impending title, and so Rocksteady has time to take my advice into consideration, a little wishful thinking never hurt anyone, this piece is dedicated to providing some ideas for said game.

Ok, so how best to arrange this? Well a list of 5 or so ideas should do, though my lists usually imply some sort of ranking order within the ideas listed. In this case however, ranking ideas would suggest some are more important than others and instead I want each one to be considered with the same determination. I’m going to suggest a list of 5 ideas that all need equal consideration, they need to collaborate and they need to intermingle with one another for the most effective Batman game.

Plot

For the game to feel fresh and innovative, it’s going to need to avoid being based entirely around Batman V.S. one or more of his long standing super villain rivals. It’s a great structure for video games; however, Arkham Asylum just did it too well and Arkham City exhausted almost every possible bad guy worth fighting. I propose Batman has to work with a villain instead, and in process had to hurt a particular set of civilians or aid that villain against his will. While that may not sound like Batman’s usual practice, he’s not being forced to do so by said villain. Instead, there is some other sinister force endangering Batman and he needs to collaborate in order to survive. Moreover, and if Batman does not collaborate with his rival super villains, he will be unable to prevent the loss of millions of lives and destruction of Gotham. This plot will allow for morale choices to be made by the player, choices that say, could affect whether a group of innocent people die or a super villain goes free. It’s a relatively basic idea and definitely needs working on, but it certainly has merit and will push Batman’s character to its absolute limit. Forcing Batman and the player to weigh up choices on a moral scale will not only present a more interesting story in itself, but through testing Batman’s fundamental beliefs, it’ll give us a chance to see the more human side of Batman.

Characters

I think this will come down to which villains he’d encounter? Not Joker obviously, perhaps the Riddler or Ra’s al Ghul. We can assume then that Batman as well as the villains are trying to escape and are only capable of doing so with the aid of one another. The game could revolve largely around Batman but needs sections where you play as the villain. Perhaps there are situations where Batman falls into a trap and the player is given control of the villain setting up said trap, as a sort of flashback event. I think another great idea for the plot would be the inclusion of at least one other character from within the DC universe but outside of Batman’s, like The Flash, Green Lantern or of course Superman for example. Even if you never get to play as them, their presence would indicate an even more dangerous situation than if Batman were to tackle it alone. Even better, and by making the threatening force a villain from another DC universe, someone considerably dangerous but that presents an entirely new challenge to Batman, having no idea of that person’s or group’s weaknesses or psyche, would make a great plot device.

Location

This is difficult, I mean, how do you trump the size of Arkham City or the detail of Arkham Asylum? Remember, it can’t be too out there, it needs some level of believability. I think that a few linked locations, potentially outside of Batman’s comfort zone, say not in Gotham, could have definite potential. Somewhere where he isn’t familiar with his area and must do more than usual show up and kick ass. Instead, he might need to scout ahead and tactically retreat to consider his options. Furthermore, and outside the range of his bat cave, Batman must once again rely on others to overcome the loss of access to the usual resources he has at disposal. This will not only add reason to aid a particular super villain but will force Batman into a more survival rather than detective style of play.

Gadgets

Perhaps, and as mentioned in ‘location’, Batman is far from home and must make do without all his gadgets. In order to do so, he must either create what he can out of what he can find or make use of a variety of the villain’s gadgets. This would not only allow for an interesting and new diversity to Batman’s arsenal but further the plot of working with the villains as well.

Aesthetics

There isn’t that much to say really, obviously the visuals need to match the setting decided upon by the developers. The one addition I would suggest is that the game needs to accommodate according to character. This would mean that when playing as a super villain, perhaps Riddler say, you would see world as graphical novel, this also better represents the flash back state of the game. It would be difficult I know, but not impossible.

Now I know many of the ideas would be hard to implement, chief among which would be the change of aesthetic to accommodate the character change. Though my biggest point is that while many might look upon another Batman as a weakening of the series, one sequel too many so to speak; there is potential for so much more from this franchise. The Batman Arkham series is brilliantly designed and well executed; now all they need is to break the comfort zone with the plot and its accommodating devices in order to create a truly awesome Batman game.

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