#egmr » A-G http://egmr.net Let's Talk Games — Videogame News, Reviews & Opinions Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:00:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Avengers: Age Of Ultron Could Be Joss Whedon’s Last Marvel Movie To Prevent A Burnout http://egmr.net/2015/01/avengers-age-ultron-joss-whedons-last-prevent-burnout/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/avengers-age-ultron-joss-whedons-last-prevent-burnout/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 09:00:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166309 When Marvel revealed its release slate for the next few years it was imposing and chaotic just to look at. Since 2008 Marvel has become perpetual motion device that would […]

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When Marvel revealed its release slate for the next few years it was imposing and chaotic just to look at. Since 2008 Marvel has become perpetual motion device that would make Da Vinci proud. Now imagine being a cog in that relentless machine.

Welcome to life as Joss Whedon. Actually, not really. He still has heaps of fun doing what he does, many of us would love to do what he does and let’s not forget his many career successes. Also, he’s pretty great on Twitter.

At the end of the day he’s still human, somewhat.

Joss Whedon kicked Marvel’s cinematic universe into high gear when he brought its individual heroes together for The Avengers, then he kept the universe moving with Agents of Shield while Marvels rolled out its next phase of films. More recently he’s been hard at work on Avengers: Age of Ultron. The trouble is that the pace at which Marvel works is exhausting to say the least.

Fresh to the Marvel madness are Captain America: Winter Soldier directors Anthony and Joe Russo are rumoured to be up for Avengers: Infinity Wars Parts 1 & 2 after they wrap up on Captain America America: Civil War. It might be for the best before Whedon has a psychotic break from reality and stab Robert Downey Jr in the eyes after one too many snarky quips.

After the great work they did on Winter Soldier, I’m very excited to see the Russo’s tackle Civil War. Pending that we’ll see whether they’re up to the task of something far bigger like Infinity Wars.

The obvious downside is that Whedon won’t be around to helm the third and foruth Avengers films.Judging by comments Whedon made in a recent interview with Empire, the man needs a break from Marvel. At least in terms of the films.

“I couldn’t imagine doing this again. It’s enormously hard, and it [will] be, by [the time I would make ‘Avengers 3 & 4′], a good five years since I created anything that was completely my own. So it’s very doubtful that I would take on the two-part Infinity War movie that would eat up the next four years of my life. I obviously still want to be a part of the Marvel Universe – I love these guys – but it ain’t easy. This year has been more like running three shows than any year of my life. It is bonkers.”

Effectively, either Whedon gets to take time away from the Marvel cinematic universe to create something quirky and all his own (Like Cabin in the Woods) or he turns into a lesser Thanos (better known as the Mad Titan).

This is actually the first time Whedon has brought up the possibility (or lack thereof) of him taking control of future Avengers films.

More than anything, I think being confined within the parameters of the Marvel universe (as fun as that may be) can be stifling to someone like Whedon if he doesn’t get to completely cut loose.

I’d love to see Whedon do another fun genre deconstruction like Cabin in the Woods or maybe that Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog sequel that everybody, including Neil Patrick Harris, is really keen on.

Do you think Whedon needs a break or should simply work on a smaller project within the Marvel universe? Hell, perhaps he should go help Zack Snyder over at Warner Bros with the DC movies. It’s quite possible that Whedon may not be intensively involved in future Avengers films after Age of Ultron but he could still serve as a producer or get involved with the script.

In case you’ve forgotten, this is the wall of release dates we have ahead of us:
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1st, 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17th, 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6th, 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4th, 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5th, 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28th, 2017, Black Panther on November 3rd, 2017, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4th, 2018, Captain Marvel on July 6th, 2018, Inhumans on November 2nd, 2018, and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3rd, 2019.

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Birdman Has More To Do With The Gaming Industry Than You Might Think http://egmr.net/2015/01/birdman-gaming-industry-might-think/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/birdman-gaming-industry-might-think/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166256 Birdman is one of the movies currently generating huge amounts of Oscar buzz and while it may not be a great film per se, it’s got a lot to say […]

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Birdman is one of the movies currently generating huge amounts of Oscar buzz and while it may not be a great film per se, it’s got a lot to say about critics in the entertainment industry and generally what it means to be relevant and stay relevant when the world has an attention span of 140 characters. A fair amount of that relates to gaming as well.

I’m still very much undecided about whether Birdman was a great film or simply one that is great to analyse and examine. There is a difference. Regardless, there were moments that had me truly transfixed and I left the cinema in a bewildered daze. This is because the film takes the arguably level approach of posing many questions but drawing few conclusions and answers. The onus is on the viewer to do that based on what they’ve been presented with.

It’s also the type of film where it is entirely possible to reach multiple interpretations based on the film’s themes and subject matter so consider this my take on things. It’s entirely possible that I’ve got an apocalyptically poor grasp on the film so any and all discussion is most welcome.

I’ll try to keep things spoiler-free because this really is a film you should be going out to see for yourself. However, a brief synopsis is perhaps necessary. Birdman is the story of a washed-up Hollywood star Riggin Thomson (Michael Keaton) trying to restart his career by writing, directing and starring in a Broadway production. Hi-jinx ensue.

One of the few things the film doesn’t leave open-ended is its views on critics. It sees us vultures, looking for something to prey on in order to get attention. Looking at our reviews, the bad ones always get attention. Nobody actually cares about Rugby 15. It also accuses critics of using buzzwords and labels in the pursuit of generating interest on social media. Terms like “apology DLC” or “pay to win” that have been absorbed into the gaming zeitgeist.

One of the central concerns of the film is that of Michael Keaton’s character, Riggan Thomson, fighting to stay relevant. However, it subtly opens us up to the notion that the critic upon whom his relevance rests (because the success of the play he’s putting on rests with her) is similarly fighting for relevance in an age that cares only for superhero films and Hollywood happenings.

You know what? Birdman’s assessment of critics and the people who write about games or movies or theater is not far off.

We try to remain relevant. Miss a day of news and you’ve generally missed something that got people talking. Publish a story too late and people have already formed their own opinions, it’s old news. This isn’t a complaint against the pace of the industry. The fast pace keep us actually keeps us alert and on the lookout.

Even with our headlines and especially review titles, we try to create a headline that makes people want to read the article or click that link. If we don’t then it no longer matters what is inside the article because you’ve given the reader no incentive to venture into the article. This is the nature of things and something we’ve had to accept.

The one parallel that really struck me is Birdman’s portrayal of a critic with an agenda. She doesn’t believe a washed up Hollywood star has a place hamming it up on Broadway so decides she will burn his play in her review regardless of how things go on opening night.

This was a very pertinent issue last year with a huge call for critics and reviewers to talk about the game rather than using reviews as a vehicle for whatever soapbox they want to hop onto. That’s something I absolutely agree with.

Perhaps it’s a little belated but Birdman provides fresh impetus to bring it up ahead of all the major releases of 2015. Thank heavens Dying Light got delayed.

A review should focus on the game itself rather than any agenda or gross bias a writer may have. Let’s take a fairly benign example. Many reviews praised Sunset Overdrive last year but while some loved the humour, others didn’t. The important thing is that most rated the game regardless of whether they loathed or loved the game’s humour.

So what’s my point?

Go see Birdman.

Well, maybe also that it’s fairly incisive in its assessment of maintaining relevance within entertainment. Especially for those covering it. More specifically in the importance it attaches to reviews. One single critic could ruin the play for Riggin and similarly, a spate of unfavourable reviews can ruin a game’s launch. It’s a surprisingly accurate comparison for how things are in the gaming industry.

To conclude, if you want a surprisingly fitting snapshot of critics, being relevant and the over importance of reviews go see Birdman. In-line with what Birdman does, I’m going to ask questions rather than answer them.

What draws your attention to a review, what makes you read a specific review?
Do you generally read the reviews of people who share your tastes and will likely agree with you on a game?
What makes a good review?

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Comments Of The Week — “Can’t Get Enough Of Internet Explorer” http://egmr.net/2015/01/comments-week-cant-get-enough-internet-explorer/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/comments-week-cant-get-enough-internet-explorer/#comments Sun, 25 Jan 2015 13:00:40 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166234 There isn’t too much to care about in gaming right now. Your focus should instead be on getting your fill of all those films with Oscar buzz hovering over them. […]

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There isn’t too much to care about in gaming right now. Your focus should instead be on getting your fill of all those films with Oscar buzz hovering over them. It’s not like you’re getting ready to play Dying Light or anything after it got delayed (again).

Meanwhile, Microsoft is trying to do things differently with Windows 10 and making it free to existing users for the first year. Netflix is coming to SA at some point before we all die or get shoved into the dark ages and Star Wars Episode VII will do well if it has less than 6 lens flares per minute.

  • Hulk Smash — You won’t like me when I’m angry! Always posts rage comments.
  • TRoLoLoL — Everything is a joke.
  • The Fanboy — BioWare is MINE!
  • Consolefag — PC Sucks, etc.
  • The NeoN — PC is legacy. PC is the best.
  • The Elitist — I’m better than all of you. Don’t type to me in that tone of voice.
  • The Spammer — Cannot. Help. Myself. Must. Comment.
  • Gandalf — Loves long walks on the beach and philosophy. Also, types long comments.
  • Most Valued Commenter (MVC) — Everyone takes interest in what you have to say.
  • The Michael — It’s everywhere!
  • The Hater — Nothing is good enough!
  • Mr/Mrs Likable — Most Likes on a Comment.

There’s a great chance that we’ll add more as we go. Perhaps you have some ideas of labels we should add. Let us know in the comments.

Every week we’ll leave one title out. It’ll be your job to suggest a winner in the comments.

On the next page, you’ll be able to find the winners.

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Watch Old People Play GTA V… But Somehow Not Judge It To Pieces http://egmr.net/2015/01/watch-old-people-play-gta-v-somehow-not-judge-pieces/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/watch-old-people-play-gta-v-somehow-not-judge-pieces/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:00:09 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166192 The React channel over on YouTube is mostly just funny but it also serves up some fresh perspective once in a while when it puts a demographic outside of its comfort […]

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The React channel over on YouTube is mostly just funny but it also serves up some fresh perspective once in a while when it puts a demographic outside of its comfort zone. For example, I’m pretty young (clocking in at 21) but watching a video where teenagers were given the original GameBoy put into perspective how much I might have missed had I been born a few years later. Perhaps not the best example but I’ll stand by it because it’s a Friday and none of you care anyway.

Today it’s something a little more interesting. As gamers we generally consider people outside of gaming as seeing GTA as the cesspool of all evil and the reason why those dang whippersnappers do so many drugs and get involved with gangs.

How far outside of gaming can you get? Well, senior citizens are far removed from console wars, pre-order bonuses and the evils of gaming as can be. So what happens when you toss GTA V at them?

It turns out they kind of have fun because that’s what the game is made for. It’s an interesting watch to see what people’s first impressions of something such as GTA V are.

It’s also pretty damn hilarious watching them be the exact opposite of a good criminal. Some of the elderly folks seem to have a knack for crime though.

Ultimately most of the elderly folks playing became degenerates who took delight in punching people, kicking cars and generally just being bad.

Best line? “I hit a woman for the first time in my life, and I’m having fun!”

Thanks a lot, Rockstar. Look what you’ve done to these sweet old folks.

Next time, they’ll be made to play something truly diabolical like Assassin’s Creed: Unity or something off Steam Early Access.

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Competition: Win A Cooler Master Octane Gaming Combo http://egmr.net/2015/01/competition-win-cooler-master-octane-gaming-combo/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/competition-win-cooler-master-octane-gaming-combo/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:00:56 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166129 What’s the best way to kick the new year into something resembling a gear? A competition of course! PC Master Race? Or has Evolve has so garishly dubbed it “PC […]

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What’s the best way to kick the new year into something resembling a gear? A competition of course!

PC Master Race? Or has Evolve has so garishly dubbed it “PC MONSTER Race.” We’ve got something a little cooler in mind. If you can handle painfully bad puns then continue reading to find out what we’ve got to give away.

We ended last year by giving away a couple of gaming mouses so we’re keeping in line with that by giving away a mouse and keyboard (sorry, console gamers). Not just any mouse and keyboard though, the very sexy Cooler Master Octane bundle.

Below is a look at some of the key specs and features of the bundle.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Still not convinced? Be sure to read our review of the combo.

Here’s How To Enter
  1. Comment in this article noting that you are entering to win a prize. This serves as your entry into the competition. What you say isn’t important, but making sure that you do something is important.
  2. Once you’ve commented here, comment on any and all articles published between 22 January 2015 and 1 February 2015. We’ll count two comments per person, per article as entries into the competition. In other words, we’ll better your odds if you visit us daily and comment on articles, from here on out. (You won’t necessarily win if you have the highest comment count, however it will increase your chances.)

Bonus Entries

  • You will be able to obtain bonus entries if you interact with us on YouTube.
  • We will select random videos from which to add bonus entries. Each comment on YouTube counts for two entries.

The main idea here is that the more you interact with us, the better your chances of winning. We’ll do our best to make interacting worth your while. Just remember, there is a great bundle up for grabs.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Like the one ring of power, there can only be one winner for the prize. The winner will be announced on 2 February 2015. The winning name will be drawn through the use of a randomiser and reading the markings on the bones of slain dragons.

Best of luck to everyone entering!
Things to remember:

  • Terms and Conditions apply
  • Competition closes at 23:59 on Sunday 1 February 2015.
  • The winner will be announced on Monday 2 February 2015.
  • Comment on this article to enter, so we know you’re trying for the prize.
  • Only two comments per person, per article will count as entries. Please, no spam.
  • The winners will be chosen by randomiser.
  • There can only be one winner per prize.
  • The winner will be contacted through the email address they used to comment.
  • This competition was made possible by Cooler Master.

 

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Toast On Jam: Don’t Expect Anything To Change In 2015 http://egmr.net/2015/01/toast-jam-dont-expect-anything-change-2015/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/toast-jam-dont-expect-anything-change-2015/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 09:00:32 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165944 Is this article going to be a little cynical? Yes. Should you read it anyway? Probably not. I learn from my mistakes. Correction, I learn almost exclusively from my mistakes. […]

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Is this article going to be a little cynical? Yes.
Should you read it anyway? Probably not.

I learn from my mistakes. Correction, I learn almost exclusively from my mistakes. The harder I fall, the more I learn. Never mind what Michael Caine or Isaac Newton tell you about falling. Suffice to say, in the past calendar year I’ve done a lot of falling.

Let’s devote some time to figuring out how to pick ourselves up and making sure it stays that way. You all know the line by Gandhi about being the change you want to see in the world. As with anything in the entertainment industry, it needs to be a touch more passive aggressive. Nothing is going to change for you, don’t expect anything to change for you, so the best you can do is to change yourself. Don’t fall for the same things over and over again. Fool me once, right?

After an uproarious year you may think that change is on the horizon and hey, it may well be. I’d like to hope so but don’t bank on it. Things could stay the same but there’s also sufficient evidence to suggest that the state of the gaming industry will get worse. The only way to face this head on is with unbridled cynicism.

Well, not the only way. There are also pills, alcohol, staying positive, looking for silver linings and a few other things which aren’t nearly as fun to make a column out of as cynicism.

Expect nothing and nothing should ever disappoint you. In fact, rather be active than reactive as most of the internet is. Rather expect a publisher to slap pre-order bonuses and other shady business practises onto a game than get surprised and outraged by it when they actually do.

2015 is really just 2014 2: The Leftovers so you should probably expect things to get worse.

Last year alone we had Ubisoft developing congenital foot-in-mouth syndrome, saw the rise of macrotransactions and pre-order culture became an epidemic. Not to mention diminishing returns, developers having to backtrack and constant delays.

Pushed out of 2014 alone we have Dying Light, The Order: 1886, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Battlefield: Hardline, Evolve, Batman: Arkham Knight, The Division and probably some more. There were honestly too many to keep track of. Or perhaps I just don’t care to remember all their names. Cynical indifference! Or maybe it’s ataraxia?

We’re barely three weeks into January and already Dying Light has been hit by another delay (albeit only of physical copies outside of the US) and Evolve has steadily declined to become the darling of pre-order culture.

Most major game reveals now come prepackaged with obligatory hard-sell infomercials for the associated pre-order bonuses, season pass, pre-ordained DLC but not the spreadsheet required to figure out what the hell comes with each of the game’s nine different retail versions. All of this before we’ve seen even a lick of pre-rendered “gameplay footage.” Now, before The Order: 1886 has even had a chance to release we’ve seen a trailer for the game’s first bit of DLC. Advertisement for an optional extra to a product that isn’t even available yet.

If somebody tried to sell you a replacement set of brakes for the new car you just ordered, you’d probably be just a little suspicious and probably decline. In gaming it’s all good.

The simple solution to this rising tide of corporate entitlement and objectivism in the gaming industry is a good pair of jade glasses. Unfortunately nobody really makes those anymore so 3D glasses will work just as well for spotting the lies, deceit and shady business practises.

By all means, don’t hate on every single game and find fault with it. That’s our job as super ethical games journalists. I’m still quite excited for The Witcher 3 and Batman: Arkham Knight. Hell, I’m even rather keen to get my mitts on Uncharted 4. However. I am wary of the fact that The Witcher 3 has received a hefty delay, Arkham Knight received a delay and pushed pre-order bonuses on us from day one, Uncharted 4 is an unnecessary sequel. As a result, I’m looking forward to all three games while still squinting in their general directions. This, despite the fact that CD Projekt RED, Rocksteady and Naughty Dog are among the developers I hold in the highest regard.

Of course, first and foremost is to not get swept up by the hype train. We all saw what became of Destiny. Evolve looks set to become the next Destiny with a stock game that fails to hold onto players without having to rely on additional content. At best it will be this year’s Titanfall.

The Order: 1886 will be nothing special as will Battlefield: Hardline and quite possibly The Division. Dying Light is mostly just a next-gen Dead Island. The Witcher 3 will be great regardless and Arkham Knight will at the very least be better than Arkham Origins.

Aside from one of those assessments, they’re all on the pessimistic side of things but honestly on the more realistic side too. Rather be surprised by a game than disappointed. I love to be proven wrong because I want games to be great but the facts speak for themselves with Watch Dogs and Destiny and Titanfall being what they are but Shadow of Mordor coming out of nowhere to steal the show last year.

Last year I wrote about 2015 needing to be a better year, needing to be the year when this console generation really comes alive and sets its benchmarks. That’s not going to happen if moving a company forward trumps moving the medium of gaming forward at every turn. Progress is being hindered by greed and the best we can do is not give into it.

Last week, Marko wrote a very necessary article about learning from our mistakes. So in 2015, buy less games and be more careful with what games you spend your money on. You really don’t need to buy games at launch and it is always safer to wait and see what state the game is in upon release.

I love games and I love gaming but the industry doesn’t deserve your trust nor does it deserve your defence of its practices. Be smarter in 2015, save yourself some time and money. If things are going to change it’s probably going to be for the worst.

TTFN!

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Final Fantasy XV Wants To Shock You With Realism http://egmr.net/2015/01/final-fantasy-xv-wants-shock-realism/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/final-fantasy-xv-wants-shock-realism/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:00:14 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=166024 We’re still talking about the latest entry in a series with characters named Lightning, giant swords, anime styling and has the word “fantasy” in the title, right? More or less […]

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We’re still talking about the latest entry in a series with characters named Lightning, giant swords, anime styling and has the word “fantasy” in the title, right? More or less but it is at least shaping up to be something different.

For starters, Final Fantasy XV started life as Final Fantasy Versus XIII but was in gestation for so long that it seemed more prudent to turn it into something new altogether. The great thing is that after the painfully slow Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XV should have much faster gameplay thanks to its Versus platform.

So let’s move right along to that whole shock and realism thing.

In a recent interview with Travel Garage TV (which has unsportingly been blocked from being embedded here) lead designer Wan Hazmer described how things will be different this time.

He uses Back to the Future II as a working example of providing the viewer with a culture shock. In it, everybody from 2015 acts perfectly normal about hoverboards, flying cars and all the rest because all of this is pretty normal for them. This serves as a culture shock for Marty as well as the viewers. The unacknowledged irony is that Final Fantasy and JRPGs in general have been doing this to western audiences for a few decades now.

Regardless, that’s a key difference that Final Fantasy XV has in its design philosophy and creative process. Hamzer and his team want the game to serve as a culture shock to everyone but in a way that seems realistic and logical rather than preposterous and fantastical.

The idea of Final Fantasy XV’s creative process is to “provide that culture shock,” but making it realistic at the same time. The last thing the team wants is to make people think “wow, this is so fantastical, but why the hell is it there?”

That’s why I think this Final Fantasy is very different from the rest. Because it all starts from that process first. We think about the culture first.

An interesting point that Hamzer also makes is that the team defines the experience they want players to have and then go about designing mechanics to get the player there.

Truth be told I’m not one to care much for Final Fantasy but a few members of the EGMR team certainly are and it’s always interesting to peek inside a developer’s mind. The trouble is whether all this talk will translate in the finished product.

To end off, you Final Fantasy fans may need some reassurance after whatever Final Fantasy XIII. Hamzer thinks that fans will love Final Fantasy XV.

See, a developer on the game thinks that the game he’s making is something you’ll like. You’ve got nothing to worry about.

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Watch Dogs 2 Won’t Be As Generic And Unimaginative http://egmr.net/2015/01/watch-dogs-2-wont-generic-unimaginitive/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/watch-dogs-2-wont-generic-unimaginitive/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 12:00:59 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165949 Watch Dogs also known as Watch_Dogs also known as Assassin’s Creed: Hacking While Wearing An Iconic Hat. The hacking was rudimentary at best, the game took no real risks and […]

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Watch Dogs also known as Watch_Dogs also known as Assassin’s Creed: Hacking While Wearing An Iconic Hat. The hacking was rudimentary at best, the game took no real risks and it felt as though a lot was being held back for the sequel that had already been greenlit before the game even released.

Despite this the game was a good amount of fun. That count for something, right? Right?

All in all, Watch Dogs provided a decent foundation for whatever franchise Ubisoft has in mind. After all, it was said in no uncertain terms that Ubisoft won’t give a game the go ahead unless it can be turned into a franchise. It’s not a leap to then infer that ideas were held off from the first Watch Dogs to not only play it safe but avoid running out of ideas for the sequel.

Watch Dogs 2 will take a different approach with more of a focus on being imaginative and at least taking a few risks.

In a recent interview with GamesTM, creative director Jonathan Morin explained why the first game felt reserved and how the chains are coming off for the sequel. By Ubisoft standards anyway.

“The challenge when we made the first game was to create something that would make people dream about something else”, said Morin on the first game.

Morin added that the first game was not “perfect in any way” and that some elements which didn’t work only became clear upon release. He said it, not us. Okay, we actually did say it. Right at the beginning of this article. Possibly even to the point of being redundant.

“With a sequel, there is more pressure to push a brand forward and we now have to appeal to fans in a new way. You have to carry on taking risks,” said Morin about the inevitable Watch Dogs 2.

We’d like to see Watch Dogs 2: Aiden Pearce Gets An AI Personality (not the official title) have a more interesting story, better characters, be a little more imaginative and provide more variety to the hacking than one-button hacks with a lot of third-person shooting. Better driving mechanics wouldn’t hurt.

What do you want to see from Watch Dogs 2: A Crack in Time (also not the official title)?

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Comments Of The Week — “I’m Too Poor To Follow That Link” http://egmr.net/2015/01/comments-week-im-poor-follow-link/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/comments-week-im-poor-follow-link/#comments Sun, 18 Jan 2015 13:00:13 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165934 Welcome back. 2014 was an uproarious year and we’re ready for whatever 2015 has to throw at us. So far things have been relatively quiet but isn’t that always the […]

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Welcome back. 2014 was an uproarious year and we’re ready for whatever 2015 has to throw at us. So far things have been relatively quiet but isn’t that always the case right before a storm?

While we were away not a whole lot happened and that’s a good thing because we’re looking forward to not missing a single beat.

  • Hulk Smash — You won’t like me when I’m angry! Always posts rage comments.
  • TRoLoLoL — Everything is a joke.
  • The Fanboy — BioWare is MINE!
  • Consolefag — PC Sucks, etc.
  • The NeoN — PC is legacy. PC is the best.
  • The Elitist — I’m better than all of you. Don’t type to me in that tone of voice.
  • The Spammer — Cannot. Help. Myself. Must. Comment.
  • Gandalf — Loves long walks on the beach and philosophy. Also, types long comments.
  • Most Valued Commenter (MVC) — Everyone takes interest in what you have to say.
  • The Michael — It’s everywhere!
  • The Hater — Nothing is good enough!
  • Mr/Mrs Likable — Most Likes on a Comment.

There’s a great chance that we’ll add more as we go. Perhaps you have some ideas of labels we should add. Let us know in the comments.

Every week we’ll leave one title out. It’ll be your job to suggest a winner in the comments.

On the next page, you’ll be able to find the winners.

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What Does The 2015 List Of Oscar Nominations Get Wrong? http://egmr.net/2015/01/2015-list-oscar-nominations-get-wrong/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/2015-list-oscar-nominations-get-wrong/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 12:00:57 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165881 The dust has barely settled on the red carpet from the 2015 Golden Globes and already we’re being hit with the list of nominations for the 87th Annual Academy Awards […]

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The dust has barely settled on the red carpet from the 2015 Golden Globes and already we’re being hit with the list of nominations for the 87th Annual Academy Awards aka The Oscars aka that show which gets a fair number of things wrong and wouldn’t have given Heath Ledger an Oscar if he wasn’t dead.

2014 was a pretty great year in cinema for anyone paying attention. We had the likes of Snowpiercer, Boyhood (which people insist is great or pretentious), Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Imitation Game, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Theory of Everything, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Foxcatcher, Gone Girl, The LEGO Movie and Nightcrawler.

All in all, a pretty great set to choose nominees from. We’ve already given you a look at the bottom end of the scale with this year’s Razzies. Let’s take a look at the top end. The supposed creme de la creme. Although in all truth, the Academy is stuck in its ways, always favours Americans, takes itself too seriously and The Golden Globes may not have the prestige but certainly does things better.

There aren’t any major surprises in the big awards and you’ll notice all three of this year’s big comic book films are in the running for an award in the smaller categories.

Best Motion Picture

  • “American Sniper” Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan, Producers
  • “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers
  • “Boyhood” Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson, Producers
  • “The Imitation Game” Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers
  • “Selma” Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
  • “The Theory of Everything” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten, Producers
  • “Whiplash” Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster, Producers

 

Achievement in Directing

  • “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu
  • “Boyhood” Richard Linklater
  • “Foxcatcher” Bennett Miller
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson
  • “The Imitation Game” Morten Tyldum

 

Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role

  • Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher”
  • Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”
  • Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game”
  • Michael Keaton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
  • Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”

 

Performance By an Actress in a Leading Role

  • Marion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night”
  • Felicity Jones in “The Theory of Everything”
  • Julianne Moore in “Still Alice”
  • Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”
  • Reese Witherspoon in “Wild”

 

Performance By an Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Robert Duvall in “The Judge”
  • Ethan Hawke in “Boyhood”
  • Edward Norton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
  • Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher”
  • J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”

 

Performance By an Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood”
  • Laura Dern in “Wild”
  • Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game”
  • Emma Stone in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
  • Meryl Streep in “Into the Woods”

Morton-Tyldum-The-Imitation-Game

Best Animated Feature

  • “Big Hero 6” Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
  • “The Boxtrolls” Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
  • “How to Train Your Dragon 2” Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
  • “Song of the Sea” Tomm Moore and Paul Young
  • “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura

 

Achievement in Cinematography

  • “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Emmanuel Lubezki
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Robert Yeoman
  • “Ida” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
  • “Mr. Turner” Dick Pope
  • “Unbroken” Roger Deakins

 

Achievement in Costume Design

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Milena Canonero
  • “Inherent Vice” Mark Bridges
  • “Into the Woods” Colleen Atwood
  • “Maleficent” Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
  • “Mr. Turner” Jacqueline Durran

 

Best Documentary Feature

  • “CitizenFour” Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
  • “Finding Vivian Maier” John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
  • “Last Days in Vietnam” Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
  • “The Salt of the Earth” Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier
  • “Virunga” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

 

Best Documentary Short Feature

  • “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
  • “Joanna” Aneta Kopacz
  • “Our Curse” Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki
  • “The Reaper (La Parka)” Gabriel Serra Arguello
  • “White Earth” J. Christian Jensen

 

Achievement in Film Editing

  • “American Sniper” Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
  • “Boyhood” Sandra Adair
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Barney Pilling
  • “The Imitation Game” William Goldenberg
  • “Whiplash” Tom Cross

 

Best Foreign Language Film

  • “Ida” Poland
  • “Leviathan” Russia
  • “Tangerines” Estonia
  • “Timbuktu” Mauritania
  • “Wild Tales” Argentina

 

Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

  • “Foxcatcher” Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy” Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White

 

Achievement in Original Score

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Alexandre Desplat
  • “The Imitation Game” Alexandre Desplat
  • “Interstellar” Hans Zimmer
  • “Mr. Turner” Gary Yershon
  • “The Theory of Everything” Jóhann Jóhannsson

 

Achievement in Original Song

  • “Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
  • “Glory” from “Selma”Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
  • “Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
  • “Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

 

Achievement in Production Design

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
  • “The Imitation Game” Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald
  • “Interstellar” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
  • “Into the Woods” Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
  • “Mr. Turner” Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts

 

Best Animated Short Film

  • “The Bigger Picture” Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
  • “The Dam Keeper” Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
  • “Feast” Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
  • “Me and My Moulton” Torill Kove
  • “A Single Life” Joris Oprins

 

Best Live-Action Short Film

  • “Aya” Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
  • “Boogaloo and Graham” Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney“
  • Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)” Hu Wei and Julien Féret
  • “Parvaneh” Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
  • “The Phone Call” Mat Kirkby and James Lucas

 

Achievement in Visual Effects

  • “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
  • “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy” Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
  • “Interstellar” Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
  • “X-Men: Days of Future Past” Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • “American Sniper” Written by Jason Hall
  • “The Imitation Game” Written by Graham Moore
  • “Inherent Vice” Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
  • “The Theory of Everything” Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
  • “Whiplash” Written by Damien Chazelle

 

Best Original Screenplay

  • “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
  • “Boyhood” Written by Richard Linklater
  • “Foxcatcher” Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
  • “Nightcrawler” Written by Dan Gilroy

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For the most part these nominations are on point. For the most part. First off, you’ll notice no Gone Girl (aside for a very deserved nomination going to Rosamund Pike) nor any mention of Snowpiercer or The LEGO Movie. Gone Girl is not Best Picture material but David Fincher’s direction and the screenplay adapted from the novel are more than worthy of nominations. The same can be said of Snowpiercer’s impeccable visual language and style. The LEGO Movie most definitely deserves to be up for Best Animation as should Jake Gyllenhaal for Best Actor for his performance in Nightcrawler.

American Sniper is perhaps a surprise for just how many nominations it has picked up. Herein lies perhaps the most telling giveaway to the Academy’s biases. Of course the war movie directed by Clint Eastwood will get a ton of nominations. Not to detract from the film, all indications suggest it is a great film but it also just happens to fit the Oscar mould.

As pointed out by a good friend, the Academy also has a tendency to judge films holistically so those nominated for best screenplay or best cinematography aren’t necessarily the best in that regard but rather have a good screenplay or cinematography and are better overall movies than those that truly deserve nominations in those specific categories. Often enough the list the Academy comes up with will be fine but each year some films don’t get the recognition they deserve.

What are your thoughts on the list of nominees and predictions for the winners?

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What Were The Worst Films Of 2014? http://egmr.net/2015/01/worst-films-2014/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/worst-films-2014/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:00:31 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165827 2014 was not a great year in gaming. It was, however a rather fantastic year for movies. In the past year alone we’ve had works such The LEGO Movie, Captain […]

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2014 was not a great year in gaming. It was, however a rather fantastic year for movies. In the past year alone we’ve had works such The LEGO Movie, Captain America: Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy, Birdman, 22 Jump Street, Snowpiercer, Boyhood, Gone Girl, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Nightcrawler and plenty more which I’ve forgotten because I have the memory of someone with 10% of their brain being used.

As with any year, there were also some terrible things out in cinemas and even straight to DVD/Streaming services. The Razzies tends to fixate on those low-hanging fruit. Golden Raspberry Awards Foundation has announced the nominees for its 35th annual Razzie Awards and there are plenty of films here that everybody should unilaterally and unquestioningly hate. There are also a few that might be considered “love to hate” types.

Where the likes of The Imitation Game, Boyhood, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Theory of Everything will lead the way on the above ground awards circuit, down in the sewers it’s Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas that could steal the show at this year’s Razzies.Not surprisingly, also among the nominees are the likes of TMNT, Transformers 4: Age of Extinction and Expendables 3.

New to the proceedings is a more upbeat award for past Razzie winners who have since turned their lives around. The Razzie Redeemer, as they’re calling it.

Below is the complete list of nominees:

WORST PICTURE

  • Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas
  • Left Behind
  • The Legend of Hercules
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Transformers 4: Age of Ex-STINK-TionWORST ACTOR
  • Nicolas Cage / Left Behind
  • Kirk Cameron / Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas
  • Kellan Lutz / The Legend of Hercules
  • Seth MacFarlane / A Million Ways To Die in the West
  • Adam Sandler / Blended

 

WORST ACTRESS

  • Drew Barrymore / Blended
  • Cameron Diaz / The Other Woman and Sex Tape
  • Melissa McCarthy / Tammy
  • Charlize Theron / A Million Ways to Die in the West
  • Gaia Weiss / The Legend of Hercules

 

THE RAZZIE REDEEMER AWARD (New Category!)

  • Ben Affleck (From RAZZIE “Winner” for GIGLI to Oscar Darling for ARGO and GONE GIRL)
  • Jennifer Aniston (From 4-Time RAZZIE Nominee to SAG Award Nominee for CAKE)
  • Mike Myers (From RAZZIE “Winner” for LOVE GURU to Docu Director of SUPERMENSCH)
  • Keanu Reeves (From 6-Time RAZZIE Nominee to Critically Acclaimed JOHN WICK)
  • Kristen Stewart (From RAZZIE “Winner” for TWILIGHT to the Art House Hit CAMP X-RAY)

 

WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Cameron Diaz / Annie
  • Megan Fox / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Nicola Peltz / [Transformers: Age of Extinction]
  • Brigitte Ridenour (Kirk’s Sister) / Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas
  • Susan Sarandon / Tammy

 

WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Mel Gibson/ Expendables 3
  • Kelsey Grammer / Expendables 3, Legends of Oz, Think Like a Man Too and [Transformers: Age of Extinction]
  • Shaquille O’Neal / Blended
  • Ah-Nuld Schwarzenegger / Expendables 3
  • Kiefer Sutherland/ Pompeii

 

WORST DIRECTOR

  • Michael Bay / [Transformers: Age of Extinction]
  • Darren Doane / Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas
  • Renny Harlin / The Legend of Hercules
  • Jonathan Liebesman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Seth MacFarlane / A Million Ways To Die in the West

 

WORST SCREEN COMBO

  • Any Two Robots, Actors (or Robotic Actors) [Transformers: Age of Extinction]
  • Kirk Cameron & His Ego / Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas
  • Cameron Diaz & Jason Segel / Sex Tape
  • Kellan Lutz & Either His Abs, His Pecs or His Glutes / The Legend of Hercules
  • Seth MacFarlane & Charlize Theron / A Million Ways To Die in the West

 

WORST SCREENPLAY

  • Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, Written by Darren Doane and Cheston Hervey
  • Left Behind, Screenplay by Paul LaLonde and John Patus,Based on the Novel by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
  • Sex Tape, Screenplay by Kate Angelo and Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Written by Evan Daugherty and Andre Nemec & Josh Applebaum,Based on Characters Created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman
  • [Transformers: Age of Extinction], Written by Ehren Kruger, Based on Hasbro’s Transformers Action Figures

 

WORST REMAKE, RIP-OFF OR SEQUEL

  • Annie
  • Atlas Shrugged #3: Who Is John Galt?
  • The Legend of Hercules
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • [Transformers: Age of Extinction]

They tried to make an Atlas Shrugged film? What is this world coming to?!

It’s hard to argue with that list, although it does seem to pick on a few movies rather than spread the hate around. What are your thoughts and where has this list of nominees gone wrong? Should Interstellar or Lucy or The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies have made the cut?

Some of those directors are perfectly average but their films wree awful. In cases such as Transformers 4, it was bad but embraced its silliness to produce a decently entertaining popcorn flick and TMNT was decent. Perhaps Luc Besson should’ve been up for a worst director award with his collision editing in Lucy.

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Time Travel And Telltale Style Storytelling Converge In Life Is Strange http://egmr.net/2015/01/time-travel-telltale-style-storytelling-converge-life-strange/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/time-travel-telltale-style-storytelling-converge-life-strange/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 12:00:35 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165551 Gone Home meets The Walking Dead meets Heavy Rain meets Twin Peaks meets Veronica Mars. That more or less sums up the buzz currently surrounding the new game from the […]

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Gone Home meets The Walking Dead meets Heavy Rain meets Twin Peaks meets Veronica Mars. That more or less sums up the buzz currently surrounding the new game from the folks who brought us Remember Me in 2013. It’s called Life is Strange. With any luck this one will be more memorable.

Name: Life is Strange
Genre: Twin Peaks Sim
Players: 1
Multiplayer: N/A
Platforms: PC,PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3
Developers: Dontnod Entertainment
Publishers: Square Enix
Release Date: 30 January 2015 (Episode 1)
Price: $19/£12.59/R220.95 ($5/£3.30/R57.50 per episode)

Telltale Games has not only brought episodic gaming back into popularity but has also managed to drag point-and-click adventure games back from the dead. Ironically with The Walking Dead. Now, while Telltale attempts to market its kool-aid in different flavours, French developer Dontnod is experimenting with its own brand of episodic adventure gaming. However, much like the kool-aid that wiped out an entire town, there’s a twist. Instead of poison, the secret ingredient here is time travel! (which can be its own poison in the wrong hands).

Life is Strange takes place in the fictional small town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon (not to be mistaken for the also fictional city of Portland, Oregon). Side note: oregano is the Parmesan cheese of herbs. So far so classic adventure game setup. You play as Max Caulfield, a high school senior who returns to Arcadia Bay after a five year absence and is reunited with her childhood friend, Chloe Price. As these things go, Max is barely back when fellow student Rachel Amber mysteriously disappears. Of course there’d be mystery surrounding someone with two first names, they always have secrets.

Before we go any further, it’s worth mentioning that once again Dontnod had some significant trouble in securing a publisher. Remember Me had a number of issues and just one of them was in production when the studio needed a publisher. Everyone told them to change the female protagonist to a male. Everyone except Capcom. Life really is strange.

Well, you know what they say about history, right? Life is Strange suffered similar troubles due to the game featuring a female protagonist. Eventually Square Enix picked up the game and all is well again. You can find out more about it in the developer diary below.

With adventure games being on the rise again and a healthy murder mystery premise, Life is Strange seems to have a good concept behind it and could be something worth looking out for just based on that. It gets better.

These narrative heavy games rely on player choice to spice things up but the trouble is that you’re never sure how much of an effect your choices will really have until much later and unfortunately they don’t always have much of an effect at all. Life is Strange may or may not have more meaningful choices but it does have an added layer to its decision making.

Time travel! (hot tub not required)

Time travel is a little broad a term. Max has the ability to rewind time up to a certain point. Through the magic of game design, these points are called checkpoints. Yes, someone made a game mechanic out of the age-old habit of reloading a checkpoint or past save file in order to change your decisions.

The idea is to see how the butterfly effect takes effect. For example, players might redo a section to make the best short-term decision but in the long run this could have far worse repercussions than the seemingly “bad” decision. Of course, being able to simply rewind and do things differently takes the weight out of decision making and could easily devalue the entire player-driven narrative. It’s unclear how Dontnod is going to avoid this.

In addition to Max’s Prince of Persia powers there’s all manner of weirdness abound in Arcadia Bay. Aside from the obvious Walking Dead comparisons there’s a strong Twin Peaks atmosphere to the game.

Life is Strange also features a great deal of things for players to interact with giving it a Gone Home vibe. Not just because of the female protagonist. There’s a distinctly indie tone to the game in the way that Valiant Hearts and Child of Light felt indie in a year when Ubisoft did some horrendous things in the triple-A sector.

Much like The Walking Dead you’ll notice that Life is Strange isn’t a visual powerhouse. Instead of cel-shaded graphics, it rather opts for cartooney graphics fueled by Unreal Engine 3.

Suspected Selling Points
  • Time travel and experimenting with the butterfly effect
  • Interesting concept
  • Adventure games are gaining popularity

 

Potential Pitfalls
  • Dontnod doesn’t have anything in the way of a reputation to go by and Life is Strange could end up like Remember Me
  • The game could easily feel cliched and uninspired
  • Time reversal mechanic could take the weight and tension out of decision making

There’s a fair bit that Life is Strange has going for it and we’d certainly like to see a different studio’s take on the episodic adventure games that Telltale has built its success on. The comparisons to Twin Peaks and Gone Home give the game appeal but ultimately its fate rests in how well the time reversal mechanic is handled. Furthermore, the butterfly effect and repercussions from player choices will need to be felt in order for Life is Strange to make good on its promises. Given Dontnod’s previous venture, we’d recommend waiting until reviews are out.

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Publishers Tried To Force Male Protagonists On Life Is Strange Developer Dontnod Entertainment http://egmr.net/2015/01/publishers-tried-force-male-protagonists-life-strange-developer-dontnod-entertainment/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/publishers-tried-force-male-protagonists-life-strange-developer-dontnod-entertainment/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 12:00:36 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165658 Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. A developer has a pretty interesting idea for a game. They’ve even begun early stages of development and the game just happens […]

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Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

A developer has a pretty interesting idea for a game. They’ve even begun early stages of development and the game just happens to have a female protagonist. Unfortunately this means that a lot of publishers frown upon their game saying, “It’s good stuff but make the protagonist a grisly white male and we’ve got a deal.”

This is exactly what Dontnod Entertainment experienced when they tried to secure a publisher for Remember Me. Ultimately, the game had issues above and beyond the supposed problems that come with having no Y chromosomes in your protagonist.

Eventually, Capcom of all companies picked up Remember Me. However, it seems neither party was happy with the union because that partnership didn’t last. Once again Dontnod was all alone, once again the studio had a new game in the works and once again the studio needed to find a publisher.

Once again, the game has a female protagonist. You can see where this is going.

In an industry that maintains it is being more progressive than ever with females in gaming being promoted not only in terms of development but also the games themselves, it’s hard to believe any of that when studios like Dontnod are being turned away by publishers because their game doesn’t have a male protagonist and they’re not willing to change that.

The game is called Life is Strange and by a twist of fate manages to sum up Dontnod’s troubles.

Eventually Dontnod found solace in Square Enix and without much of a fuss it seems.

“Square is basically the only publisher that didn’t want to change a single thing about the game,” said studio creative director Jean-Maxime Moris. “We had other publishers telling us ‘Make it a male lead character,’ and Square didn’t even question that once.”

The woes with securing a publisher are detailed in the first dev diary for Life is Strange up top.

Games with female protagonists are nothing new. However, just last year there was a huge furor surrounding AC: Unity and Ubisoft’s refusal to have playable female characters. That’s Ubisoft though. Sony was plenty happy to oblige Quantic Dream with Beyond: Two Souls although thatgame had the star power of Ellen Page. Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead: Season 2 featured Clementine as the only playable character and did exceptionally well in 2014 but the studio operates very much independently.

Bizarrely, Life is Strange is a lot like The Walking Dead with narrative-heavy episodic gameplay pivoting around player choices and interactions. The difference is that it also has some Twin Peaks elements and time travel. Surely that should be enough to sell a publisher given the detritus that makes it through to production these days.

Is it really then that hard to have a female protagonist in a triple-A game who isn’t named Samus or Lara?

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The Latest Trailer For Avengers: Age Of Ultron Features Some Epic Hulkbusting http://egmr.net/2015/01/latest-trailer-avengers-age-ultron-features-epic-hulkbusting/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/latest-trailer-avengers-age-ultron-features-epic-hulkbusting/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 09:00:24 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165711 The first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron was pretty creepy but also so deliciously awesome and filled with nibbles of information to pull from it. It will also go […]

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The first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron was pretty creepy but also so deliciously awesome and filled with nibbles of information to pull from it. It will also go down as doing the strangest thing to Pinocchio outside of all the associated porn and weird artwork. I’m of course talking about the song, that song.

While the first trailer gave us glimpses of all the film’s major players, the audio was very much focused on Ultron. As if James Spader won’t steal the show anyway in the film with his performance of as Ultron.

The new trailer is shorter, a little messier and slightly creepier. It also features a little soundbite from each character more to remind us that they all have voices than to serve any purpose.

Regardless, the trailer redeems itself ten times with exactly 27% of the reason people want to watch this film – to see Robert Downey Jr don his Hulkbuster armour and throw down with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk. That wrestling training in Foxcatcher is going to come in handy.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is due out at the end of April.

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Uncharted 4 Artist Breaks Down How To Make Video Games Beautiful http://egmr.net/2015/01/uncharted-4-artist-breaks-make-video-games-beautiful/ http://egmr.net/2015/01/uncharted-4-artist-breaks-make-video-games-beautiful/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 12:00:27 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165586 Beauty is an extremely subjective thing to judge (unless we’re talking vapid beauty contests), making it harder to produce with a vast and varied audience in mind. How do you […]

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Beauty is an extremely subjective thing to judge (unless we’re talking vapid beauty contests), making it harder to produce with a vast and varied audience in mind.

How do you make Nathan Drake, a chiseled white male, more attractive? It seems simple enough. Make him more chiseled and… whiter? No, that can’t be right. The simple answer is that it is not enough to have great character models. The environments need to be stunning as well, they need to make you feel different things.

Andrew Maximov is a fresh face at Naughty Dog and currently working on making Uncharted 4 the prettiest and best game ever. He recently hosted a lecture at the Art Institute of California in which he presented a reworked version of his GDC 2013 analysis on beauty in video games.

Typically you see a beautiful environment in a game and the scenery sparks something in you. The colours, the shapes, it strikes certain emotions but you can’t quite explain the mechanics of it all. That’s where Maximov comes in.

His lecture breaks down beauty in games and much like with cinematography in films it’s something we don’t consciously take note of until it’s shown to us. Then it can never be unseen. Much like when someone points out an annoying tick to you.

Maximov talks about balancing multiple and diverse elements in order to create beauty. Something that is more familiar is taking something from artwork to a high visual fidelity final product and retaining the original DNA of the artwork.

Maximov’s take is very, very interesting and quite an engaging watch.He also uses Uncharted 4 as a very relevant example.

Think back to Uncharted 2. In your mind certain sections of the game are very clear in your mind and carry certain feelings with them. That’s no accident. It’s actually a very important part of how Naughty Dog handles colour in their games.

What’s important here is to realize that making it pretty never comes as an afterthought. For example all of our Uncharted games, actually starting from 2, had a Color script, which is basically a script of… colors, for every single level of the game consecutively, because we want to be able to kind of pull back and see the progression of our colors in the scope of the entire project, and how they enhance the mood, and how they work with you to make sure that you feel the change of scenery, because there’s also a change in color. Because they influence you differently.

I strongly urge you to watch the whole video.

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Comments Of The Week — “I Just Saw “Ubisoft” And Nearly Peed My Pants” http://egmr.net/2014/12/comments-week-just-saw-ubisoft-nearly-peed-pants/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/comments-week-just-saw-ubisoft-nearly-peed-pants/#comments Sun, 21 Dec 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165511 This is it, the final CotW for 2014. Things have begun winding down (unless you’re Sony or North Korea) and everyone is going on holiday and gearing up for Christmas. […]

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This is it, the final CotW for 2014. Things have begun winding down (unless you’re Sony or North Korea) and everyone is going on holiday and gearing up for Christmas. We’ve been winding down too with our last few straggling reviews going out and our awards dominating the week.

It’s been one hell of a year. Let’s hope 2015 has more games and less bugs, patches, pre-orders, scary hashtags and a whole lot less Destiny.

We’ll be taking a break for a little while. TTFN.

  • Hulk Smash — You won’t like me when I’m angry! Always posts rage comments.
  • TRoLoLoL — Everything is a joke.
  • The Fanboy — BioWare is MINE!
  • Consolefag — PC Sucks, etc.
  • The NeoN — PC is legacy. PC is the best.
  • The Elitist — I’m better than all of you. Don’t type to me in that tone of voice.
  • The Spammer — Cannot. Help. Myself. Must. Comment.
  • Gandalf — Loves long walks on the beach and philosophy. Also, types long comments.
  • Most Valued Commenter (MVC) — Everyone takes interest in what you have to say.
  • The Michael — It’s everywhere!
  • The Hater — Nothing is good enough!
  • Mr/Mrs Likable — Most Likes on a Comment.

There’s a great chance that we’ll add more as we go. Perhaps you have some ideas of labels we should add. Let us know in the comments.

Every week we’ll leave one title out. It’ll be your job to suggest a winner in the comments.

On the next page, you’ll be able to find the winners.

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Competition Winners: Razer Orochi Gaming Mouse http://egmr.net/2014/12/competition-winners-razer-orochi-gaming-mouse/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/competition-winners-razer-orochi-gaming-mouse/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:30:07 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=165052 The competition that was run courtesy of Razer has come to an end (cue sadness) but with that comes the announcement of not one but two winners. One of them […]

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The competition that was run courtesy of Razer has come to an end (cue sadness) but with that comes the announcement of not one but two winners. One of them just had to comment on lots of articles while the other managed to guess our game of the year.

In accordance with the EGMR scientific process we released two mice into a maze with 30 possible exits (it’s a really big maze). Whichever exits the mice arrived at determined the winners.

  • Aaron
  • geijin

We’ll be in touch shortly to confirm how you will repay us for the unique way in which we “randomised” the draw process. In all seriousness, we will be in contact shortly but feel free to contact us first to expedite the process.

Congratulations again to the winner and better luck next time to everyone else. Perhaps Satan Santa will bring you something nice for Christmas.

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EGMR Fun Awards 2014: Biggest Gaming Sins http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-fun-awards-2014-biggest-gaming-sins/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-fun-awards-2014-biggest-gaming-sins/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:00:31 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164920 Jesus died for our sins. That’s what they preach in Church, right? Well, he didn’t die for these sins. Every industry has its quirks and foibles. The bed bugs, the […]

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Jesus died for our sins. That’s what they preach in Church, right? Well, he didn’t die for these sins. Every industry has its quirks and foibles. The bed bugs, the niggles, annoyances and the downright inexcusable things. Gaming is like everything else, it’s got its evils and those are best addressed with a little quote from Mace Windu, in his infinite Jedi wisdom:

“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.”

That. That’s what the people committing these sins deserve. Vengeance looks a lot like one hundred angry honey badgers.

The Rundown

In some countries the worst sins will get you stoned. These sins are so bad that anybody caught committing them should be stoned on sight. Don’t even bother to check whether you have the right person, just walk up to them, look them straight in the eye and… 420BLAZEIT. Then, while they’re high and intoxicated, start throwing cartridges for ET on Atarai 2600 at them. Consider the list that follows here a watch list. Something to look out for in the games you’re playing. In any case, that’s how religion works. In order to absolve yourself of your sins you need to stone other sinners. Or burn them at the stake. It depends entirely on how good you are with fire.

 

The Nominees
Barely Functional Servers

driveclub review egmr

The future of gaming is online, right? That’s kind of a problem when you’re being told for the dozenth time that the server connection has failed. Why does this qualify as a sin? When you buy a game, the least you expect is for it to work. If a big part of said game involves playing online then those servers had better damn work. If server load was underestimated or servers simply can’t cope with any sort of load then chances are that someone isn’t doing their job. Spotting this sin can be hard. Often times you’ll be made to feel as if it’s your fault. “Is my internet not good enough for you, oh glorious video game?” Rest assured, if the game is coming from the likes of Sony, Ubisoft or EA then there’s a good chance any connectivity issues will be their fault. Go forth, you are absolved of your guilt!

While we’re at it, there’s no excuse for promising dedicated servers and then delivering P2P. That’s lying, man, and lying gets you scorched genitalia.

 

British Accents

review ac unity egmr

There’s nothing inherently wrong with British accents, except for the weird excuse for English that the folks of Liverpool try to speak. Screw those Scouse buggers. In fact, British accents can be pretty great, just watch Downton Abbey. British accents are then what you might call a contextual sin. It’s like contextual controls except they actually work. Generally eating isn’t frowned upon but eating another person is kind of bad. Unless you can prepare that person as an exquisite meal that would make the Michelin Man’s mouth water. In that case you’re kind of excused.

British accents are only sinnable when they don’t belong. Why are characters in any fantasy setting British by default? Is it because 23% of Wales believes that dragons are real? Most inexcusable of all is giving characters from foreign countries British accents. It started with games like Prince of Persia but this year packed one of the biggest sins where British accents are concerned — British accents in a game set in France made by a studio based in a French-speaking country and published by a French company. Yeah, that’s a pretty terrible offence. 100 lashings for you, Ubisoft.

 

Day One Patches

Sniper Elite 3 Review Small

The internet is a delightful thing. Except when people use it for evil. Which is pretty much all the time. For example, right now someone is searching for child porn, another someone is uploading child porn. I could be both those someones (sometwo?). In the old days, a game released and that was it. That’s not quite the case anymore.

  1. A game releases
  2. It has a colossal day one patch waiting for you
  3. It still has issues
  4. It needs another patch

Repeat steps 3 to 4 until people stop complaining or stop caring.

That reality is rather horrific when you’re staring down the face of a 16GB patch. As if Early Access wasn’t Sodom and Gomorrah rolled into one already.

 

Having to Start From Scratch in Sequels

Far-Cry-4-six1

You know what’s really annoying? Having to start from scratch. New ID, new documents, new face, new city. All because of one bestiality allegation. Even worse is eagerly getting the sequel to that game you really liked only to find that all the awesome gadgets and skills you had by the end of the first game are locked and you need to start from scratch. Worse still is when the methods by which you unlock said awesomeness become ever smaller hoops to jump through. Eventually you’re gonna get stuck, fatty. We’re not really sure what that metaphor means, you figure it out.

It’s a cardinal sin when the best a developer can do is give you the same stuff they gave you the last time and lock it away with contrived reasoning. That’s a bad excuse for not innovating. It doesn’t count to just rename something or make it look slightly different.

 

Lack of QA Testing

Unity bug

What’s the most basic thing you expect from a game? That’s right, white male protagonists. If a game isn’t doing that then it’s already batting with a handicap. Unfortunately, The Klan no longer has the pull it used to over the gaming industry. Short of white male protagonists, we could always expect decent QA testing. You know? That process where people actually playtest a game and say things like: “this is broken,” or “it makes my eyes bleed,” or “who decided that people want so much lip shine?”

The answer to that last question is Maybelline. Maybe.

Not doing your job properly is a sin, as decreed by the Amish scriptures. As such, any developer that releases a game without properly testing it as best they can is a huge sin. Punishable by some butter-churning-related form of torture.

 

Remember children, only sinners and heathens make bad games. Making a good video game is the easiest way to get into heaven and unlock those 72 virgins.

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EGMR Awards 2014: Controversy Of The Year http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-controversy-year/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/egmr-awards-2014-controversy-year/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164895 With gaming getting more controversial (as it gets more mainstream) and with this year having been especially controversial we decided to throw a new award into the mix this year. […]

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With gaming getting more controversial (as it gets more mainstream) and with this year having been especially controversial we decided to throw a new award into the mix this year. We love controversy over here, some might even say we thrive off it. That’s not true, we thrive on the tears of disappointed gamers and gummy bears. The logical thing to do then is to place a great, illuminating spotlight on all of the year’s biggest controversies and let’s just say that there was no shortage of controversy to choose from in 2014. As we showed yesterday, it’s been a busy year for PR companies trying to spin controversies away or make them look good.

The Rundown

What does one have to do in order to be listed among the year’s biggest controversies in gaming? Nothing quite so pedestrian as murdering a woman in the name of misogyny or confessing to owning a David Cage body pillow. It’s rather simple actually. These are the controversies that defined 2014 by leaving a lasting impression and at the very least causing a significant stir around the web. If people were up in arms about it then it probably has a shout at being on this list.

 

The Nominees
#GamerGate

GamerGate

Is it about ethics in games journalism? Is it about misogyny? Is it about Zoe Quinn’s sex life? Is it about Adam Baldwin wanting to crowdfund another season of Firefly? There’s much debate about what #GamerGate is exactly and frankly, we couldn’t really tell you ourselves. Well, we probably could but it would take a really long time. Regardless, #GamerGate popped up a few months ago and is showing no signs of going away. It has divided developers and gamers and been at the centre of numerous controversies from the #Quinnspiracy to doxxing to #StopGamerGate to publications being called out or blacklisted for shady practices with PR companies/publishers. It’s all happened in and around the #GamerGate name.

 

Ubisoft

watch dogs preview egmr

I was asked to type up this award because I’m generally impartial and sometimes indifferent. That said, I wish Ubisoft death by 100 angry armadillos. It is boggling for a company so successful to have such a knack for causing controversy. It was just one thing after another for the French publisher with Far Cry 4 being called racist, Assassin’s Creed: Unity rejecting playable female characters because they’re hard to animate, Assassin’s Creed: Unity running at a lower framerate and resolution than promised, Watch_Dogs having visuals enhancements locked away on its PC version, Watch_Dogs receiving a substantial visual downgrade, Assassin’s Creed: Unity releasing in a horrid state, Assassin’s Creed: Unity reviews being embargoed till midway through release day and probably a few more things that we’ve repressed from our memories.

In short, Ubisoft loves to stir the pot.

 

Rise of the Tomb Raider Exclusivity

Rise of the Tomb Raider 2

Console exclusives are great. They provide incentive to go either way. Otherwise choosing between an Xbox One and PS4 might be nearly impossible. So what went wrong when Microsoft announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider would be an Xbox One exclusive? To put it quite simply, Sony fanboys and fangirls started wailing and gnashing their teeth. It hurts quite a lot when you play a game and find out that the sequel will simply not be available on your platform. Of course, Bayonetta 2 fans don’t seem to be complaining. The problem came in with how coy and thrifty Microsoft and Square Enix were being with their information in not outright confirming that yes, Rise of the Tomb Raider would be an Xbox One exclusive. They left it to speculation and dissection of their words for just a little too long and then the confirmation sparked further yelling. This earns a nomination because gamer entitlement is a thing and because it came as a genuine surprise. As the best controversies always do.

 

Phil Fish

philfish-postmain

In and of himself, Phil Fish is a walking controversy. Wherever he goes, controversy blooms like lens flare in a JJ Abrams movie or flowers of Flower. Last year, Fish had a meltdown and quit Twitter. As any self-respecting toddler does when he gets beaten on the playground. He also cancelled Fez II to really show those meanies up. It’s almost cute. Except it really isn’t. This year Phil Fish returned to Twitter to become the foremost running commentary on the events in Ferguson. Before that though, Fish was demanding that YouTubers should be paying him in order to use Fez in their videos. In other words, they should pay him to market his game. Whichever business school Fish went to, it seems pretty amazing. It gets better though.

In August, Phil Fish told everyone who wanted Fez II to “shut the fuck up” because it is never going to happen. Why? Simply put: we don’t deserve it. Nobody on Earth is worthy of his glorious gaming creations.

 

ResolutionGate

resolutiongate-1024x576

It has the word gate in it and is therefore obviously controversial. One of the taglines of this new console generation has been 1080p and 60fps. That’s what games are supposed to release at. The trouble is that they almost never do. A few will manage either of the two. A small handful nails both and most just settle for being sub-par. Which is actually now par for the course. Funny how a sliding scale can work. Throughout the course of the year we’ve had developers tell us that 30fps is better for gaming, more cinematic, better for pregnant women, less likely to give you cancer and is actually capable of granting psychic abilities overtime. The same for why a lot of games are in 900p or 720p or use some nifty trickery to look 1080p but aren’t.

It might not be such an issue if people didn’t make it such an issue. Resolution and framerate used to be a concern of the PC master race, not the console plebeians. These days, it’s news when a game’s framerate and resolution get announced and it is almost always cause for lashing out.

 

And The Winner Is…

It wasn’t Ubisoft, because as much as we love to dislike them (and they came close to winning (losing?)), they’re always up to no good and they simply weren’t at the heart of this year’s biggest controversies. Better luck next time, you cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

We don’t want to take away a single thing from the remaining nominees, they tried their best but in the end simply were not controversial enough.

 

#GamerGate

GamerGate

#GamerGate is showing no signs of going anywhere and has not only changed the landscape of social media for many but also they way we look at things in the industry. When something is so controversial that another hashtag pops up against it, there’s not much room for competition.

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Review: Shadow Warrior Is Delightfully Dumb But Deft http://egmr.net/2014/12/review-shadow-warrior-delightfully-dumb-deft/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/review-shadow-warrior-delightfully-dumb-deft/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:00:43 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164936 Visit review on site for scoring. Shadow Warrior comes from the same era as Doom, Duke Nukem and Syndicate. The latter two have already had their severely disappointing reboots and […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

Shadow Warrior comes from the same era as Doom, Duke Nukem and Syndicate. The latter two have already had their severely disappointing reboots and id Software is working on a new Doom that promises to be something worthwhile. So what happened when someone took a game from 1997 about demons, incest and katana-wielding assassins? A pretty good game actually.

Shadow Warrior follows Lo Wang, an assassin who starts out the game trying to buy a rare katana for his employer. Wang is something of an Asian Deadpool – witty, self-referential, wise to tropes and mighty handy with a katana or firearm. It’s just a pity that it often falls flat or serves as merely filler noise. The humour is quite hit ‘n miss but when it finds the mark it can be pretty good. Right in the beginning for example, Wang will start cracking Legend of Zelda jokes while looting freshly laid corpses.

The game’s narrative looks as though it will be a vacuous excuse for dragging the hero through areas but it holds up rather decently, if predictably. It’s a very mythological tale and a rather Japanese one that may not agree with everyone.

One thing folks may agree upon though is that Shadow Warrior is not a pretty game. It looks good enough but in motion often looks like something that was made when the PS3 was but a fledgling console. It is a graphically underwhelming creature with too much bloom, dull textures and amorphous character models. Thus is made baffling by the presence of constant loading and framerate drops.

Where Shadow Warrior truly excels though is in its gameplay. It takes a very basic, stripped down approach to gameplay with a lot of old school mechanics and design choices. A fair amount feels as old school as it is and not necessarily in a good way. The heart of the game is in those mechanics that have been made with and old school mentality but modern sensibilities. The result is a combat system that feels rewarding, badass and fun.

Players have access to a variety of blades and guns, each with its own quirks and tricks. There’s also a giant purple dildo because Saints Row exists and cannot copyright a giant purple dildo. While Shadow Warrior brings some ideas to the table with its mythology-infused combat and upgrade system, it does borrow from other games too. Fortunately, it never feels like a straight copy-paste.

Guns are as simple as point and shoot in this game with a very arcadey feel to them, as one might finds in anything from the 90s. They work well enough but we’d recommend avoiding the use of guns purely because it then allows you to sample the games sword mechanics. Think Metal Gear Rising Revengeance’s cutting mechanics but faster, more intuitive and vastly more rewarding. That’s what wielding a katana in Shadow Warrior feels like. Make a sharp diagonal slash and an enemy might lose an arm. That doesn’t mean they’re not still coming after you though. You have to land a critical strike to down an enemy and mastering the katana is hugely satisfying. This will however, vary between levels. The higher up you go, the more control you have over your blades.

Speaking of enemies, they come in two flavours: human and demon. The humans are all more or less the same but the demons come in a few different shapes and sizes. You can also make enemies out of rabbits and eventually they’ll just have sex in front of you. They all behave and go down pretty much just as easily. Despite the wide dearth of weapons on hand, the enemies are all more or less the same to deal with (bosses excluded). This means that there is no real change in tact or even a need for change in weapon. One size fits all pretty much.

Fortunately, this lends itself to the design style of “attack first, ask questions later.” It’s not meant to be a cover shooter where you have time to think. It’s a fast-paced action game with one hell of hook – no cover shooting whatsoever. The game wants to keep you constantly on the move with combat being both satisfying and a rather refreshing.

In fact, Shadow Warrior on the whole is something of a breath of fresh air. It cares not about peas, it’s a game designed to be fun and by golly, it manages to be good fun. Is the fun enough to overlook its issues? No. Is it enough to warrant that price? No. Is it worth at least trying out? Most definitely.

Players can upgrade Wang and his abilities through a slow and clunky upgrade menu which provides either weapon upgrades, skills or Ki abilities. The upgrade system is reminiscent of The Darkness II but a little deeper and possibly a little less necessary. In fact, if you enjoyed The Drakness II then Shadow Warrior may delight you too.

Its need to be so strictly old school is both a boon and a blight on Shadow Warrior. On the one hand, it manages to modernise old mechanics or at least preserve them very well. On the other, it’s a singleplayer game with minimal replay value and not a hugely long campaign for the price of a more complete game. One simply cannot pay that much for something worth only a few hours of entertainment at most.

It’s not trying to be anything profound, nor is it trying to set any benchmarks. Shadow Warrior is simply out here to show people a good time and it mostly succeeds at that. It has clearly been made with some amount of passion and knowledge of what fun is to normal people. Not to mention bringing all that fun while still making old school mechanics feel exciting and relevant. It’s certainly not easy.

 

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Competition: Place Your Bets To Win A Razer Orochi Gaming Mouse http://egmr.net/2014/12/competition-place-bets-win-razer-orochi-gaming-mouse/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/competition-place-bets-win-razer-orochi-gaming-mouse/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 09:00:04 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164791 We’ve currently got a competition underway where you can win a pretty cool Razer Orochi gaming house. If you’ve entered it then good luck, if you haven’t then there’s still […]

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We’ve currently got a competition underway where you can win a pretty cool Razer Orochi gaming house. If you’ve entered it then good luck, if you haven’t then there’s still time. However, let’s be honest that your chances of winning are probably slim with so many entries. That’s just the truth.

Not to worry, we’ve got you covered with a surefire way to double your odds. Welcome to the EGMR Ponzi scheme. You see, we’ve got not one but two Razer Orochi gaming mouses to give away.

Here’s the list of specs in case you need reminding:

  • Orochi is designed for notebooks and can be used either wired or wireless via Bluetooth 3.0
  • It has an ambidextrous form factor
  • 6400dpi 4G laser sensor
  • 30 hours of projected battery life for continuous use
  • LED on scroll wheel

While the last competition is being run through comments on the site, this one is a tad easier. With our awards underway, it seemed apt to tie the competition to them.

 

Here’s How To Enter

It’s rather easy. All you need to do is comment on this article with your prediction for our winner of Game of the Year. Which game do you foresee us crowning as the best game of the year?

Those who guess it right will go into the prize pool and a winner will be drawn at random.

The winning name will be announced on December 19.

Best of luck to everyone entering!

 

Things to remember:

  • Terms and Conditions apply
  • Competition closes at 23:59 on Thursday 18 December, 2014.
  • The winner will be announced on Friday 19 December, 2014.
  • Comment on this article to enter, so we know you’re trying for the prize.
  • The winner will be chosen by randomiser.
  • There can only be one winner per prize.
  • The winner will be contacted through the email address they used to comment.
  • This competition was made possible by Razer.

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Prometheus 2 Could Include Michael Fassbender Seduction Technqiues http://egmr.net/2014/12/prometheus-2-michael-fassbender-seduction/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/prometheus-2-michael-fassbender-seduction/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 12:00:41 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164634 No, seriously. Ridley Scott mentioned Michael Fassbender, seduction and Prometheus in one breath. A few years back Ridley Scott did what the butterfly effect and years of psychotherapy will tell […]

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No, seriously. Ridley Scott mentioned Michael Fassbender, seduction and Prometheus in one breath.

A few years back Ridley Scott did what the butterfly effect and years of psychotherapy will tell you, don’t obsess over the past. He didn’t listen and the world got Prometheus. Granted, it featured Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace in her underwear so perhaps not the worst thing to ever exist. It was still pretty bad… or quite good. Prometheus was a polarising one.

Regardless, Prometheus and Terminator: Salvation foretold the current era we’re in where everything from the past is being remade or revived. Robocop had its turn, Jurassic World is on its way and so is Star Wars. Ridley Scott is dabbling in another classic with a Blade Runner sequel on the cards.

First however, the Prometheus sequel is going to happen and exist as a sequel to a prequel to the Alien series of films. That description alone sounds awful. Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender are set to reprise their roles as Shaw and David. the latter being an android.

Ridley Scott just wrapped up his take on The Bible with Exodus: Gods and Kings and in an interview with MTV News was of course asked about some of his more interesting projects currently in the works. When asked if Prometheus 2 would follow on directly from the first with Shaw and David, his answer was quite clear:

“You have to. You can’t have a person go off into the galaxy and have a person who’s still got his head off. Once that head goes back on, he’s really dangerous, but he’s also very seductive. So maybe he’ll persuade her to help him put the head back.”

The first film left David’s motivations as a mystery, though this was perhaps down to them simply not being explained. However, Scott suggested that the sequel would have David once again pulling the strings from out of sight.

Furthermore, Scott touched on bringing back one of his most revered and influential works – Blade Runner. Till today it remains an uncanny blend of noir and sci-fi that is expertly crafted.

On the topic of Harrison Ford, who will be appearing in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he was was apparently blown away by the script for Blade Runner’s sequel.

“Harrison and I really get on rather well. I sent him (the script), and he said ‘That’s the best thing I’ve ever read.’ So it’s very relevant to what happened in the first one. I’m not just doing a sequel with lots of action and see how far we can with the special effects. Because you can’t really. With Blade Runner, we landed on a somehow very credible future. It’s very difficult to change that because it’s been so influential with everything else.”

Another thing about Blade Runner was its very unique, very grounded design that felt tangible rather than outlandish and fantastical. It was a hard-boiled dystopia and that aesthetic is a crucial aspect which needs to be preserved in any sequel.

“I think the key is to keep the design in its place. Otherwise, it just kills the credibility of what you’re watching. An explosion that’s too big, you go “How did he survive that?” and you’re right out of the movie.”

I think I speak for everyone when I say that hopes are rather low for a Prometheus sequel and that none of the films associated with Alien can quite beat the original. However, what do you make of Blade Runner 2 and does Ridley Scott still have it in him to make a great sequel?

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Spider-Man’s Cinematic Future Is Looking A Little Confused http://egmr.net/2014/12/spider-mans-cinematic-future-is-looking-confused/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/spider-mans-cinematic-future-is-looking-confused/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164591 What do you do when Tobey Maguire in camp and a critically panned pair of rebooted films has your character’s cinematic future dangling by a web? Call in the experts. […]

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What do you do when Tobey Maguire in camp and a critically panned pair of rebooted films has your character’s cinematic future dangling by a web? Call in the experts. Sony may just be outsourcing it’s redemption song for Spider-Man.

The Sam Raimi trilogy of Spider-Man films served their purpose in setting the bar for superhero films in this century. The third part in that trilogy did more bad than good though and was ultimately what accelerated the need for a reboot of the cinematic franchise.

The trouble is that the reboot has the right ingredients and Andrew Garfield is a great Spider-Man but simply fell flat for the majority of people. The sequel promised to be everything the first entry wasn’t but somehow fell even flatter. Perhaps it had something to do with being a 130 minute trailer for the next few movies.

The aftermath of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that the Venom film is in jeopardy, Andrew Garfield may be out of the picture in favour of a soft reboot and honestly, Sony’s grand plans for Spider-Man may be crumbling.

The upshot is that these troubles open Sony up to be exploited by Marvel. Marvel has plans to bring their Civil War story to the big screen but the trouble with that is that it sort of needs Spider-Man to work properly.

Rumours have been going around that in the wake of ASM 2, Sony was open to lending the character rights to Marvel for the purposes of Civil War. Now, recently Sony was subject to hacks that we’d like to believe had something to do with The Interview. A film in which James Franco and Seth Rogen are recruited to kill Kim Jong-Un. Either way, leaked documents have confirmed those rumorus about character lending according the Wall Street Journal. In addition to Civil War plans, Marvel wanted to make a new trilogy of Spider-Man films that would allow Sony to retain some “creative control, marketing, and distribution [rights].”

Sadly, the talks broke down for unknown reasons and it seems as if a collaboration between Sony and Marvel is off the table for the foreseeable future. Instead, Sony’s plans to reinvigorate Spider-Man will come in the form of an animated film.

Wait, what?

The answers to Spider-Man’s cinematic woes is an animated film? Allow me to explain.Sony’s plans for live-action films with Sinister Six, Venom and two more Amazing Spider-Man films are still on. In addition to that will be expansion into animated films starting with a little number by the wizards behind The LEGO Movie.

Spider-Man has enjoyed animated success of late with the Ultimate Spider-Man Disney XD series. It makes sense then to exploit that with the likes of Chris Lord and Phill Miller. It’s not clear yet whether the pair’s involvement will go beyond producing but we can only hope it extends to writing at the very least.

Once again, the WSJ reports that Sony has a “Spidey Summit” planned for January 2015 in order to discuss what’s next for Spider-Man. Amidst all the speculation such an event might actually be exactly what Sony needs.

If Sony was to adjust its plans for Spider-Man and have a little less studio interference (as it has been criticised of) what sort of changes would you want to see brought in? What do you make of a Spider-Man animated film?

Personally I think it’s safe way to go and with Lord and Miller at least involved, there’s a chance the animated film will outdo anything the ASM films did.

One thing’s for certain, Sony needs to figure out what it needs to do with Spider-Man to prevent a derailing.

Also, imagine if Fox teamed up with Sony for a Deadpool-Spidey crossover. Just… just imagine it.

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Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 Promises To Show The Worst Of Its Characters http://egmr.net/2014/12/guardians-galaxy-2-promises-show-worst-characters/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/guardians-galaxy-2-promises-show-worst-characters/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:00:32 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164463 Guardians of the Galaxy is perhaps one of 2014’s biggest hits and, to many, one of its biggest surprises. A movie with such a disparate group of characters managing to […]

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Guardians of the Galaxy is perhaps one of 2014’s biggest hits and, to many, one of its biggest surprises. A movie with such a disparate group of characters managing to not only draw so much star power in its leading roles but also stand out as one of 2014’s cinematic highlights? It’s easy to see why DC suddenly became extremely eager to make Suicide Squad happen.

While DC is playing an aggressive game of catch-up to Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy fits very neatly and very perfectly into Marvel’s cinematic universe as mapped out on Kevin Feige’s back in ink in 2007.

Guardians has easily been Marvel’s riskiest move since giving Mickey Rourke money and it paid off spectacularly.

It’s then rather reassuring to hear fresh news on the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy. Word is that it will be worse than… oh, wait. My bad, only it’s characters will be worse. No, no that’s not right either. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will show fans just how bad its leading characters really are.

That sounds about right.

In an interview with CBR, director James Gunn revealed that he knows exactly where the sequel is headed and exactly where it isn’t. Now, had this movie done just barely well enough to scrape a sequel together then it might need to play things safe but just how well Guardians has done will factor into how Gunn approaches the sequel and the risks he’s willing to take.

“I think my biggest surprise was just how much they latched on to nearly everything. My surprise was how much they liked the humor in the movie. How much they liked the visuals. How much they got the visuals. How they saw what they were. How they were different from other movies that were coming out. There were a lot of things in the movie that people would probably enjoy, but I didn’t know that people would get it in such a specific way, that they would understand the movie so incredibly well. That was a great joy for me seeing that. And it definitely influences me.”

This is the same man who did Super. A film where Ellen Page rapes Dwight from The Office and Nathan Fillion is Jesus. For huge audiences to resonate with a film of his is a feat. Granted, Guardians is hardly filled with mass appeal fodder. A talking raccoon, weird Ent creature and green Zoe Saldanha are just some of its quirks.

Of course, there is a school that argues Guardians succeeds with its quirkiness because it draws on a very familiar style from the 80’s. Right down to its soundtrack. You know what? I don’t disagree.

This sort of familiar but unfamiliar outside of the box thinking is what made Guardians the success it is. Expect that to follow through in the sequel:

“But then it’s also about, who do I fall in love with? The truth is, before Guardians, I don’t think very many people would have said, “Oh, the character that is going to be most people’s favorite is Groot.” I don’t think anybody would have said that.

“There’s a process of discovery, and I’m not sure the characters who were the favorites from the last movie are going to be the favorites in the next movie. It’s really about listening to the audience, but then keeping myself as open to discovery as possible, because I think that there’s a lot of things that have gone unexplored and characters that have gone unexplored.”

While it moved at a breakneck pace, Guardians found time to open viewers up to many aspects of Marvel’s cosmic universe and some of that will be explored in Guardians 2 but what Gunn is most interested in unravelling is not the plot threads but rather the characters;

“The Guardians are going to continuously change. I think that some of the characters are probably worse than what we think they are, and other characters are better than what we think they are. It’s going to be interesting to learn a little bit about that as time goes on.

“Really, it’s just about walking forward in an elegant manner. When you go forward with a group of characters… you’re understanding these characters in a new way, you’re developing a new kind of story about their lives and who they are and where they’re going. And if you’re doing that, if you’re walking forward, then you can’t just repeat what you did before. That’s going backwards. That’s not understanding the character.”

In all its fun, we may have forgotten that ultimately the Guardians are all criminals, outlaws and even murderers. That nature doesn’t go away and perhaps Guardians 2 won’t shy away from that. Since they’re all depraved perhaps we’ll get a dark comedy. I certainly wouldn’t say no to that.

What do you make of Gunn’s statements and how do they fit into your vision for Guardians of the Galaxy 2?

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Toast On Jam: Let’s Write 2014 Off As More Than A Little Messy; 2015 Needs To Be Better http://egmr.net/2014/12/toast-jam-lets-write-2014-off-little-messy-2015-needs-better/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/toast-jam-lets-write-2014-off-little-messy-2015-needs-better/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 10:00:25 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164345 Alternate title: This Console Generation Needs To Come Alive In 2015 Or Else I don’t pretend to not be cynical. Sometimes I’m a little too cynical. I perform a light […]

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Alternate title: This Console Generation Needs To Come Alive In 2015 Or Else

I don’t pretend to not be cynical. Sometimes I’m a little too cynical. I perform a light bit of astral projection, look back and myself and think, “how the hell does that fool enjoy anything?” Then I ignore that voice. Like I ignore all the voices. Was 2014 a bad year in gaming? It was mired in controversy and far too many issues but it was not a bad year. It’s easily been a better year than 2013. Despite a midyear release slump that was worse than any before it. That said, it’s hard to ignore that this new console generation has yet to really explode.

Last year, as the new consoles were coming in we looked back at the past eight years and all that the PS3 and Xbox 360 had given us. It was interesting to reminisce but also to give ourselves a reference point for the new consoles. Two articles which stood out were ones we did on game which set the benchmark in their genre and games we described as gateway drugs into the previous console generation. These were effectively the games which set the tone and established a standard for not only what was possible within each specific genre but also what the then new tech was capable of.

Games such as Assassin’s Creed (2007), Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007), Uncharted (2007), The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006), Gears of War (2006), BioShock (2007). These are games that will stay with us forever not only because they are absolutely great works of entertainment but because they pioneered. They paved the way forward in gameplay and graphics. This signaled the start of an era where video games were on par with major films. In scope, in budget, in acting and more.

You’ll notice something with those games. They all released within a year of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 being on the market together. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have turned one already and much like babies, they’ve had teething problems. Unfortunately, we have yet to really see anything that can compare to Modern Warfare or Assassin’s Creed or even Oblivion in how ahead it is to anything that was capable on the old consoles.

A case could be made for Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis System or for Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s absolutely breathtaking visuals (when they work). Possibly. Don’t get me wrong, there are some truly great games on the new consoles but nothing quite yet that is any meaningful distance ahead of what the old consoles can do aside from graphically.

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are both great consoles but there is still no genuine justification for that new tech. There’s enough reason to get the new consoles because of the games coming out on them but few have a justifiable reason for not simply releasing on the old consoles and indeed many still do.

This new generation is fundamentally different from the last one because in its first year the bast majority of games released across both generations. Now, that’s not nearly as bad as God of War II releasing on PS2 a full year into the PS3’s lifecycle but it does present an issue. If I can get all these games on my PS3 or Xbox 360 while losing out on very little then what’s the point of upgrading to those expensive new consoles? There’s no easy answer. Furthermore, developers aren’t pushing gameplay and game design so much as they’re pushing visuals and social features.


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Social features can exist on anything though, just as those folks with a 3DS. The fact that I can use Share Play while playing Far Cry 4 or snap a selfie in GTA V and post it to Twitter are all nice things. Sure enough. That does not enhance the gaming experience though. It merely puffs it up and adds some trimmings. Interconnected experiences are great but it’s worthless if you’ve done nothing to enhance the gaming experience at the core of this social interaction. If all I wanted was social interaction that amounts to playing a game then I’d hit up Omegle and scar myself for life.

Another issue troubling this generation is that publishers want faster turnaround times for games that take longer and more money to produce. The end result? Every single game releases with a day one update. That’s your best case scenario. Worst case is that the game releases in a broken state, with a day one update and still has issues weeks later.

To reiterate, 2014 has by no means been a bad year in gaming. Far from it. I’ve enjoyed plenty of games this year and urge you to play as many of those that have released as possible.

That said, this generation cannot stagnate so early on with reproductions of franchises we’re far too familiar with. I’d say the notion of the new IP is dead but there are more or less as many new IPs as we’ve always had. There are just far more games and far too many of those are sequels that don’t necessarily need to exist but do in the interest of coin.

A perfect parallel can be drawn between this year and 2007’s Assassin’s Creed. The franchise and risen and writhed in the years between but 2014’s Unity promised a return to form that would harken back to the old style of gameplay but with all the wonders of the new technology. It wasn’t. It was a mess that could hardly hold a stable framerate let alone bring any fresh and exciting gameplay to the table that we hadn’t already seen around the time of the first Assassin’s Creed. What we did get though was a game so interconnected that it couldn’t go five seconds without reminding us of its companion app, companion site, stat-tracking service, Uplay, co-op and on and on. Is this the direction of innovation these days?

We cannot expect gaming to grow on the same exponential curve, it will level out at some point, perhaps stagnate and then surge again. As we’ve seen in the film industry too. The trouble is that gaming doesn’t seem to be growing anywhere and seems very comfortable where it is. Breaking new ground merely means risking more revenue these days.

2014 revealed a number of issues with the games currently releasing on the new consoles and uncovered a host of teething pains with the PS4 and Xbox One. A console generation is a marathon rather than a sprint. A fair but unimpressive first year is to be expected but many of the present issues in the way games are being made need to weeded out in order to truly make 2015 the new consoles truly come alive with possibility.

 

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Competition: Win A Razer Orochi Gaming Mouse http://egmr.net/2014/12/competition-win-razer-orochi-gaming-mouse/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/competition-win-razer-orochi-gaming-mouse/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 09:00:39 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164408 Mice are hard to come by, mouses even harder for an honest and hard-working PC gamer. Or that weird kid who plugs a mouse into their internet fridge. Whoever you […]

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Mice are hard to come by, mouses even harder for an honest and hard-working PC gamer. Or that weird kid who plugs a mouse into their internet fridge. Whoever you are, don’t worry. We got your back. Well, maybe not all of you since after all there can only be one winner. Or can there?

Razer has bestowed upon us a lovely little Orochi gaming mouse to give away. Why should you care? A few reasons. Firstly, it’s free. Secondly, this:

  • Orochi is designed for notebooks and can be used either wired or wireless via Bluetooth 3.0
  • It has an ambidextrous form factor
  • 6400dpi 4G laser sensor
  • 30 hours of projected battery life for continuous use
  • LED on scroll wheel

Seriously, that last one is enough to pique my interest.

Here’s How To Enter
  1. Comment in this article noting that you are entering to win a prize. This serves as your entry into the competition. What you say isn’t important, but making sure that you do something is important.
  2. Once you’ve commented here, comment on any and all articles published between 9 December, 2014 and 18 December, 2014. We’ll count two comments per person, per article as entries into the competition. In other words, we’ll better your odds if you visit us daily and comment on articles, from here on out. (You won’t necessarily win if you have the highest comment count, however it will increase your chances.)

Bonus Entries

  • You will be able to obtain bonus entries if you interact with us on YouTube.
  • We will select random videos from which to add bonus entries. Each comment on YouTube counts for two entries.

The main idea here is that the more you interact with us, the better your chances of winning. We’ll do our best to make interacting worth your while. Just remember, there is a great bundle up for grabs.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Like the one ring of power, there can only be one winner for the prize. The winner will be announced on 19 December, 2014. The winning name will be drawn through the use of a randomiser and small amounts of dark magic.

Best of luck to everyone entering!
Things to remember:

  • Terms and Conditions apply
  • Competition closes at 23:59 on Thursday 18 December, 2014.
  • The winner will be announced on Friday 19 December, 2014.
  • Comment on this article to enter, so we know you’re trying for the prize.
  • Only two comments per person, per article will count as entries. Please, no spam.
  • The winners will be chosen by randomiser.
  • There can only be one winner per prize.
  • The winner will be contacted through the email address they used to comment.
  • This competition was made possible by Razer.

 

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The Witcher 3 Delayed Again, CD Projekt Profusely Apologises http://egmr.net/2014/12/witcher-3-delayed-cd-projekt-profusely-apologises/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/witcher-3-delayed-cd-projekt-profusely-apologises/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 07:00:46 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164407 What’s this? A game has been delayed, in this day and age?! Say it isn’t so! Oh, the humanity! Exclamation marks are tiring. Let’s settle down for a bit. The […]

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What’s this? A game has been delayed, in this day and age?! Say it isn’t so! Oh, the humanity! Exclamation marks are tiring. Let’s settle down for a bit. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt AKA What to Do With Your Life After Dragon Age: Inquisition was delayed out of a 2014 release for a few reasons.

Firstly, to give Dragon Age a shot at winning Game of the Year awards and secondly because the game simply needed more time. Fair enough, CD Projekt RED were upfront and forthcoming about why they needed to delay the game.

Of course, they were merely following a trend of getting the hell out of dodge (2014 in this case) with other titles such as Batman: Arkham Knight, Battlefield: Hardline, The Division and others. It’s hardly a surprise at this point for a game to get delayed. It seems to either be that or it will release in a fragile state. It is however, a little surprising when a game gets a double delay.

The Witcher 3 has just been pushed back from its February release to May 19 on all platforms. In case you didn’t know, that’s just in time for Dean’s birthday. Or Bracken’s. This is one of those psychology tests, whichever one you choose to associate the release date with determines your sanity.

A double delay is cause for concern in my books. That said, CD Projekt has been very apologetic about the delay and released an open letter to fans in which they explain the delay:

Dear Gamers,

Ever since we started working on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, we knew it would be an ambitious game. We wanted, and still aim, to give you an incredible experience, an epic adventure in a vast, completely open fantasy universe.

The sheer size and complexity of The Witcher, key features of the title, have had a decisive impact on production. Now, nearing the end of our work, we see many details that need to be corrected. When we release the most important game in our studio’s history, we must be absolutely sure that we did everything we could to limit any bugs to a level that will allow you to enjoy the game thoroughly.

With this in mind, we took another look at current workloads and what they mean for the team. Even though everyone is working at full speed, we concluded that we need another 12 weeks, so we are shifting the release date of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to May 19th, 2015.

We owe you an apology. We set the release date too hastily. It’s a hard lesson, one to take to heart for the future. We know what we want to do to make Wild Hunt one of the best RPGs you will ever play. And we continue to work hard to achieve just that. So, we apologize and ask for your trust.

Thank you for the all support you show us on a daily basis. We truly do appreciate it. It has fueled us in our passion since the start and will continue to do so.

The Board of CD PROJEKT SA

It doesn’t change the fact that the game is still delayed by three months but an explanation and apology go a long way. Furthermore, we can only hope the game benefits greatly from these delays. CD Projekt is perhaps one of the few that can be trusted to deliver along with the likes of Naughty Dog.

What do you make of the delay? Do you think the game was delayed in the wake of PSX to add a section in which Geralt slaughters the griffon from The Last Guardian to try and explain why Sony has forgotten about the game?

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The Inaugural Game Awards Were More Or Less What Gamers Needed http://egmr.net/2014/12/inaugural-game-awards-less-gamers-needed/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/inaugural-game-awards-less-gamers-needed/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 07:00:07 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164344 How does one go about piecing back together a community that has become so fractured? The simple answer is that you don’t, not realistically. Of course, gaming isn’t a tiny […]

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How does one go about piecing back together a community that has become so fractured? The simple answer is that you don’t, not realistically. Of course, gaming isn’t a tiny little industry with a very singular target market. Fragmentation is to be expected but not erratic and violent splintering and annexing.

It’s been a rough year for gaming with a lot of controversy and plenty of warring and arguing going about. We have often needed reminders that we play games for entertainment on the most basic level. That’s been forgotten far too often among all the arguing and bickering.

After a year like this, gamers need a reason to remember why we play games and why we love them so very much. Of all places, that reminder seems to have come from Geoff Keighley with his newly birthed The Game Awards.

The awards show served as a celebration of gaming, a three hour long one, but a celebration nonetheless. Very little emphasis was placed on the actual awards and more on people in the industry and people who are passionate about games.

Some of the highlights would have to be Tim Schafer, Roberta and Ken Williams, Imagine Dragons and not to mention all the games on show. It was a show full of people who love games.

At times it felt more than a little like E3 and the term “world premiere” will lose all meaning after you’ve heard it for the thousandth time. It was not without its issues but The Game Awards has its heart in the right place and I’m looking forward to next year’s show.

Ultimately, and for the most part, The Game Awards felt honest.

Below are the winners for you to argue about and up top is the full show for you viewing pleasure.

Best Shooter

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Sledgehammer/Activision
  • Destiny – Bungie/Activision
  • Far Cry 4 – Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
  • Titanfall – Respawn/EA
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order – MachineGames/Bethesda

Best Action/Adventure

  • Alien: Isolation – Creative Assembly/Sega
  • Assassin’s Creed Unity – Ubisoft
  • Bayonetta 2 – Platinum Games/Nintendo
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – Monolith/Warner Bros.
  • Sunset Overdrive – Insomniac/Microsoft

Best Role Playing Game

  • Bravely Default – Square Enix
  • Dark Souls II – From Software/Bandai Namco
  • Divinity: Original Sin – Larian Studios
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – Bioware/EA
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth – Obsidian/Ubisoft

Best Fighting Game

  • Killer Instinct: Season Two – Iron Galaxy Studios/Microsoft
  • Persona 4 Arena Ultimax – Arc System Works/Atlus
  • Super Smash Bros. 3DS – Nintendo
  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U – Nintendo
  • Ultimate Street Fighter IV – Capcom

Best Family Game

  • Disney Infinity 2.0 – Avalanche Software/Disney Interactive Studios
  • Fantasia: Music Evolved – Harmonix/Disney Interactive Studios
  • Mario Kart 8 – Nintendo
  • Skylanders: Trap Team – Toys for Bob/Activision
  • Tomodachi Life – Nintendo

Best Sports/Racing Game

  • FIFA 15 – EA Canada/EA Sports
  • Forza Horizon 2 – Playground Games/Turn 10 Studios/Microsoft
  • Mario Kart 8 – Nintendo
  • NBA 2K15 – Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Trials Fusion – RedLynx/Ubisoft

Best Online Experience

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Sledgehammer Games/Activision
  • Dark Souls II – From Software/Bandai Namco
  • Destiny – Bungie/Activision
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft – Blizzard
  • Titanfall – Respawn/EA

Best Mobile/Handheld

  • Bravely Default – Square Enix
  • Monument Valley – Ustwo
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft – Blizzard
  • Super Smash Bros. for 3DS – Nintendo
  • Threes – Asher Vollmer, illustrator Greg Wohlwend, and composer Jimmy Hinson

Best Remaster

  • Grand Theft Auto V – Rockstar Games
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection – 343 Industries/Microsoft
  • Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire – Game Freak/Nintendo
  • The Last of Us – Naughty Dog/Sony
  • Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix

Best Narrative

  • South Park: The Stick of Truth – Obsidian/Ubisoft
  • The Walking Dead Season 2 – Telltale Games
  • The Wolf Among Us – Telltale Games
  • Valiant Hearts – Ubisoft
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order – Machine Games/Bethesda

Best Score/Soundtrack

  • Alien: Isolation – Christian Henson, Joe Henson and Alexis Smith, The Creative Assembly/Sega
  • Child of Light – Coeur de pirate, Ubisoft Montreal
  • Destiny – Marty O’Donnell, Bungie/Activision
  • Sunset Overdrive – Boris Salchow, Insomniac Games/Microsoft
  • Transistor – Darren Korb, Supergiant Games

Best Independent Game

  • Broken Age Part 1 – Double Fine
  • Monument Valley – Ustwo
  • Shovel Knight – Cellar Door
  • Transistor – Supergiant Games
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter – The Astronauts

Games for Change

  • Mountain – David O’Reilly/Double Fine Presents
  • Never Alone – Upper One Games
  • The Last of Us: Left Behind – Naughty Dog/Sony
  • This War of Mine – 11bit Studios
  • Valiant Hearts: The Great War – Ubisoft

eSports Player of the Year

  • Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larsson – League of Legends
  • Xu “Fy” Linsen – Dota 2
  • James “Firebat” Kostesich – Hearthstone
  • Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund – Counter-Strike: GO
  • Matt “NaDeSHoT” Haag – Call of Duty

eSports Team of the Year

  • Samsung White – League of Legends
  • Evil Geniuses – Dota 2
  • Edward Gaming – League of Legends
  • Newbee – Dota 2
  • Ninjas in Pajamas – Counter-Strike: GO

Trending Gamer

  • Evan “Vanoss” Fong
  • Jeff Gerstmann
  • PewDiePie
  • StampyLongHead
  • TotalBiscuit

Best Fan Creation

  • BEST Zelda Rap EVER!! By Egoraptor
  • Luigi Death Stare by CZBwoi and Rizupicorr
  • Mine the Diamond (Minecraft Song) by Tobuscus
  • Minecraft – TITAN City by Colonial Puppet
  • Twitch Plays Pokemon by Anonymous

Developer of the Year

  • Blizzard
  • Monolith
  • Nintendo
  • Telltale Games
  • Ubisoft Montreal

Best Performance

  • Adam Harrington as Bigby Wolf, The Wolf Among Us – Telltale Games
  • Kevin Spacey as Jonathan Irons, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Sledgehammer Games/Activision
  • Melissa Hutchison as Clementine, The Walking Dead: Season Two – Telltale Games
  • Trey Parker as Various Voices, South Park: The Stick of Truth – Obsidian/Ubisoft
  • Troy Baker as Talion, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – Monolith/Warner Bros.

Most Anticipated Game – (To be voted on by fans)

  • Batman: Arkham Knight – Rocksteady/Warner Bros.
  • Bloodborne – FROM Software/Sony
  • Evolve – Turtle Rock/2K Games
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – CD Projekt
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – Naughty Dog/Sony

Game of the Year

  • Bayonetta 2 – Platinum Games/Nintendo
  • Dark Souls 2 – FROM Software/Bandai Namco
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – BioWare/EA
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft – Blizzard
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – Monolith/Warner Bros.

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Comments Of The Week — “No One Can Get More Rapey Than Cosby” http://egmr.net/2014/12/comments-week-no-one-can-get-rapey-cosby/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/comments-week-no-one-can-get-rapey-cosby/#comments Sun, 07 Dec 2014 13:00:48 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164333 South Africa is descending into darkness, good thing we embrace it. The same way we embrace our tears every night. This weekend is a big one. It kicked off with […]

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South Africa is descending into darkness, good thing we embrace it. The same way we embrace our tears every night. This weekend is a big one. It kicked off with The Game Awards, Geoof Keighley’s new baby after the VGX left gamers feeling sterile. As I type this out I’m watching TGA and the show definitely has it’s heart in the right place. It’s far from perfect but has been created as a celebration of gaming and that’s a pretty great platform to start on.

The rest of the weekend was devoted to Sony’s PlayStation Experience with some huge announcements and you can catch our full coverage of both events tomorrow.

On the site we suffered from the usual post-competition slump in comments so thank you to those who have stuck around. You’re special (and maybe not in a good way).

Elsewhere, more tips on how to have a good time in Dragon Age: Inquisition, we finally followed up on that GamerGate article we put out about a month ago and we previewed a holiday. Also, we sportsed hard, we sportsed so hard. Finally, if you ever find yourself on the receiving end of a rape threat, just do this.

Also, also that podcast thingy. We did it. This week saw our last podcast of the year so your ears can stop bleeding for a little while still.

  • Hulk Smash — You won’t like me when I’m angry! Always posts rage comments.
  • TRoLoLoL — Everything is a joke.
  • The Fanboy — BioWare is MINE!
  • Consolefag — PC Sucks, etc.
  • The NeoN — PC is legacy. PC is the best.
  • The Elitist — I’m better than all of you. Don’t type to me in that tone of voice.
  • The Spammer — Cannot. Help. Myself. Must. Comment.
  • Gandalf — Loves long walks on the beach and philosophy. Also, types long comments.
  • Most Valued Commenter (MVC) — Everyone takes interest in what you have to say.
  • The Michael — It’s everywhere!
  • The Hater — Nothing is good enough!
  • Mr/Mrs Likable — Most Likes on a Comment.

There’s a great chance that we’ll add more as we go. Perhaps you have some ideas of labels we should add. Let us know in the comments.

Every week we’ll leave one title out. It’ll be your job to suggest a winner in the comments.

On the next page, you’ll be able to find the winners.

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Oprah Winfrey Could Control DC’s Suicide Squad Comprising Tons Of Star Power http://egmr.net/2014/12/oprah-winfrey-control-dcs-suicide-squad-comprising-tons-star-power/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/oprah-winfrey-control-dcs-suicide-squad-comprising-tons-star-power/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 12:00:18 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164273 DC has had Suicide Squad on the cards for a little while now and it’s more than a little surprising that something has peculiar and relatively unknown like the Suicide […]

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DC has had Suicide Squad on the cards for a little while now and it’s more than a little surprising that something has peculiar and relatively unknown like the Suicide Squad would get its own film, let alone be the second film to release after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Long Titles That I Can’t Be Bothered To Type Out But Will Make Fun Of By Typing An Even Longer Title. That is, until Guardians of the Galaxy existed.

DC needed an equivalent band of ragtag characters with plenty of individual quirks who need to learn to work together.

The Squad was recently announced, alongside Marvel’s own big announcements, and it packs an insane amount of star power. Granted, Guardians of the Galaxy featured Zoe Saldanha, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace and Josh Brolin.

First, a little background on the Squad.

Much like any team, there are no real fixed members. It’s the same with the Avengers, Justice League and even Guardians of the Galaxy. The basic premise of the Suicide Squad is that it comprises criminals sent on black ops missions by ARGUS (DC’s answer to SHIELD) in exchange for time off on their life sentences. They’re controlled by Amanda Waller (DC’s answer to Nick Fury, who also happens to be African American) who keeps them on a leash by means of explosive collars. Plenty of them also happen to be members of popular DC heroes’ rogues galleries.

The question then for the Suicide Squad film is not only who will be playing who but who there is to play. Here’s the list:

  • The Joker – Jared Leto
  • Harley Quinn – Margot Robbie
  • Deadshot – Will Smith
  • Boomerang – Jai Courtney
  • Enchantress – Cara Delevingne
  • Rick Flagg – Tom Hardy

Talk about an A-list team.

We’ve got Bane and the guy who starred in the movie that foreshadowed Batman v Superman. Not much can be said about Cara Delevingne except that she was in Anna Karenina and that that is a film. Her character though, Enchantress, is a sorceress who has been compared to Scarlet Witch. Deadshot is a well-known villain of not only Batman but also Green Arrow and perhaps Will Smith has the charisma and style to pull off the character. Meanwhile, Tom Hardy’s Rick Flagg is an elite soldier and that’s all you really need to know. Boomerang may be familiar to those of you who watch Arrow and The Flash, he’s a regular Green Arrow rogue and actor Jai Courtney will be familiar to those who actually watched Divergent.

If you’re unsure who Margot Robbie is, she’s the same actress who held Leonardo di Caprio at arm’s length away from her vagina the way the Academy holds him away from an Oscar. Essentially, she’s got the perfect blend of crazy and sexy to play a very convincing Harley Quinn. Jared Leto has arguably the same qualities (I have a small mancrush on him) but also brings an extreme amount of acting talent and a knack for theatricality. Not to mention the right physique for a very classic Joker.

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The film will officially take inspiration from The Dirty Dozen and unofficially from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It is set to be directed by David Ayer who is making a name for himself as an action director to look out for. especially with his latest film, Fury.

There’s been no word yet on who the “villain” of the film will be but there are talks of some very interesting options being on the table for Amanda Waller. But first! A press release.

BURBANK, Calif. – An all-star roster of actors has joined Warner Bros. Pictures’ new action adventure “Suicide Squad,” bringing DC Comics’ super villain team to the big screen under the direction of David Ayer (“Fury”). The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, Warner Bros. Pictures.

The film will star two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith (“The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Ali,” upcoming “Focus”) as Deadshot; Tom Hardy (“The Dark Knight Rises,” upcoming “Mad Max: Fury Road”) as Rick Flagg; Margot Robbie (“The Wolf of Wall Street,” upcoming “Focus,” the “Tarzan” movie) as Harley Quinn; Oscar winner Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “Alexander”) as the Joker; Jai Courtney (“Divergent,” upcoming “The Water Diviner”) as Boomerang; and Cara Delevingne (“Anna Karenina,” upcoming “Pan”) as Enchantress.

In making the announcement, Silverman said, “The Warner Bros. roots are deep on this one. David Ayer returns to the studio where he wrote ‘Training Day’ and brings his incredible ability to craft multidimensional villains to this iconic DC property with a cast of longtime Warner collaborators Will Smith and Tom Hardy, and other new and returning favorites: Margot, Jared, Jai and Cara. We look forward to seeing this terrific ensemble, under Ayer’s amazing guidance, give new meaning to what it means to be a villain and what it means to be a hero.”

Ayer is also writing the script for “Suicide Squad,” which is being produced by Charles Roven (“The Dark Knight” trilogy, upcoming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”) and Richard Suckle (“American Hustle”). Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Colin Wilson and Geoff Johns are serving as executive producers.

So who could fill the role of Amanda Waller? Nick Fury was easy, Marvel just had to find the angriest black man around and that man is Samuel L. Jackson. Of course, Nick Fury used to be white. Similarly, there are different interpretations of Waller. The more common one is a woman as tough as nails who looks like a high school principal and embodies the nickname “The Wall.” The alternative is the New 52 version who is sleeker, sexier and more of a field agent than a master puppeteer. The former would make for a more interesting character and lead to a more diverse film, personally.

According to Variety, Warner Bros and DC are currently considering Oprah Winfrey, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer for the role of Amanda Waller. The film only goes into production in April so there is yet time for that decision to be made. However, can you imagine Oprah as the intimidating leader of a global organisation? Neither can I but perhaps the casting directors know something we don’t. I’d rather side with Viola Davis, who is apparently great in How to get Away With Murder. I have no insights on Octavia Spencer and purely know the actress by name. The only thing Oprah has going for her is the classic Waller physique, more or less, and could well be a red herring in all this.

Suicide Squad is set to begin filming in April with an August 5 2016 release date. Hey, didn’t Guardians of the Galaxy release around that time this year? Huh, what a coincidence.

This year we got a taste of the Suicide Squad on-screen in the fun but ultimately average animated film Assault on Arkham. This could perhaps serve as a reference point for how the Squad operates.

There’s nothing wrong with so many A-list actors being cast for a film based on an otherwise unknown team but one wonders whether DC and WB are going for big name appeal on this one. The casting all seems to fit rather well though.

What are your thoughts on the casting choices and the characters chosen to represent the squad? Remember, this is a team that has included Bane and Great White Shark.

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Review: PES 2015 Feels Like An Early Build Of A Better Game http://egmr.net/2014/12/review-pes-2015-feels-like-early-build-better-game/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/review-pes-2015-feels-like-early-build-better-game/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 12:00:40 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163977 Visit review on site for scoring. The most consistent compliment I’ve been able to level against PES games over the years has been that they offer a nice alternative experience […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.


The most consistent compliment I’ve been able to level against PES games over the years has been that they offer a nice alternative experience to FIFA. In the same way that when you tire of fried fish you might try sushi. Sure, in large doses it could give you mercury poisoning but it’s tasty once in a while.

Actually, that’s a terrible example. I love sushi.

PES 2014 was, by all accounts less than decent. It was not terrible but it was uninspired, lethargic and shoddily put together. PES 2015 shows glimmers of a better game, a game that tries harder but for the most part is another entry in a series that has given up and seems to have rolled over.

This year’s FIFA offering is certainly no stellar creation but it at least feels like it was put together by people who care and who are conscientious of the fact that a human is going to be playing the game. There is an intangibly good atmosphere about FIFA games. On the other hand, PES 2015 feels lifeless, emotionless and utterly uninterested in the user experience.

A few years ago PES was trying very hard to catch up to FIFA and came very close by our account. PES 2015 feels stripped bare with dull menus that feel outdated, poor UI layout and navigation, constant loading for everything, inconsistent visuals and ultimately and experience that fails to hold one’s interest for any significant length of time.

For the first time in memory, PES has a soundtrack that isn’t terrible. It’s just unfortunate that it comprises only 10 songs. This wears thin very quickly. So too with the commentary which is laughably poor. On his debut Di Maria scored in my Master League campaign and the commentator’s remark was, “he’s finally delivered.” In a different match, the game was about 18 minutes in when the commentator lamented, “And we’re still without a goal here.”

One might say it is hard to pinpoint PES 2015’s problems but that would only be sparing it embarrassment.

The menus are drab, dull and slow. All the information and features are there. Youth Squad, transfer negotiations, scouting, transfer news, team management, admin and settings. However, it’s all tucked away in those incongruous black boxes – the menu items. It makes navigation rather tiresome.

I could drone on about how awful and antiquated the menus are but there are other things to moan about. We wouldn’t want to bore you more than we usually do. The game modes remain very much unchanged. A smattering of online modes with exhibition matches and leagues to compete in is available as per usual. For more consistent play there’s Be A Legend and Master League as well as the dearth of licensed cup competitions. It’s a marvel that Konami manages to secure licensing for the UEFA Champions, UEFA Europa League, Copa Santander Libertadores and more. Maybe it’s shear luck or perhaps it’s a great display against FIFA. Regardless, Konami always manages to pull out all the stop to make these competitions feel as close to the real thing as possible with all the right music, atmosphere and intensity. Playing the Champions League remains a more interesting experience than the vanilla game modes.

Be A Legend remains unchanged. Players can choose to be an existing character or create their own, as per usual. Focus points can be earned through good performance and used to improve your player’s training regime. You’re encouraged to keep abreast of your team’s transfer activity to know whether it’s time to get out. Playing as Tom Cleverley for Manchester United (with an emphasis on passing in training) this never became an issue strangely enough. That’s another thing that has generally been an issue in PES but seems worse than ever this year.

It’s understandable that Konami has neither the resources nor the licensing to reproduce every team and their kits. Man Blue and London FC are testament to that. However, a wannabe pundit with a Twitter account has a better grasp on who has transferred to which team than the folks who made PES 2015. Transfers ended in August, the game released in November and yet most of the big pre-season transfers haven’t been implemented in PES 2015 when you start up the game without downloading the patch currently available. It’s more than just an irksome oversight, it speaks of a team that simply could not put in the effort to do some fact-checking let alone testing that all the game’s little features work as they should. More on this in a bit.

With regards to Master League, players have a few options. Either manage a team as it exists or manage the team in name but with a squad of low-level players. It’s a nice concept, allowing players to build up their own team from mediocrity rather than start off with a league-winning team. Transfers are better than before but a little too easy. There is an indicator which displays how pleased a player and team will be with your wage and transfer fee offers respectively. As soon as the indicator goes green it means you’ve almost assuredly secured the transfer. Scouting seems to be of little use. Each player comes attached with an availability rating and scouts seem to only suggest players with a low availability rating. A neat little touch is that as the manager you are kept abreast of club financials after each game based on income and appearance or performance bonuses for players. It adds no value to the experience but is a neat touch nonetheless. There’s even a great feature which allows you to simulate the match but view it unfold either in the standard in-match view or on a more tactical screen that displays players information and game statistics. At times you might even feel like Louis van Gaal with his notebook (Ryan Gosling action figure sold separately).

The trouble with it all is that it feels dull, lifeless, mechanical. There is no excitement or atmosphere about either of PES 2015’s big game modes and this isn’t really a new problem but rather one that makes itself bluntly more apparent than before.

Things get sadly worse on the pitch. Player AI is inconsistent with players sometimes synching up perfectly and other times being gormless traffic cones. At first glance this may seem to be brilliant AI design for a human game but player performances and AI swing so wildly from one end to the other that it would only be realistic in a world where David Moyes won the award for best manager… but also the award for worst manager… at the same time… while saying his acceptance speech in Spanish… atop Diego Maradona’s mummified remains.

Player collisions are a little better weighted than previously, as is passing. The same cannot be said of shooting, dribbling or directing passes. A pass will go where it wants and sometimes in the direction you wish it to go. PES used to benefit from a very precise degree of dribbling control, even if specific skill moves were difficult to pull off and unintuitive. Alas, dribbling in PES 2015 is a little more haphazard and imprecise than before. Shooting lacks weight and feels feeble even with the most powerful boot behind a shot.

The control scheme is far less bafflingly complex than before but controlling players and putting plays together still feels clumsy and awkward. Jittery player animations don’t help either. Some games suffer from button memory but PES 2015 suffers from mistaking user inputs and a default control scheme that expects players to have seven fingers on each hand.

A big part of PES 2015 is that structurally not a whole lot has changed. Not really anyway. However, what has changed is any soul that the series had. PES 2015 is devoid of an identity. It is dull and devoid of any atmosphere to heighten the experience beyond being a somewhat competent football game. There is little reason or incentive to stick around after sampling what the games has to offer.

As far as gameplay goes, it should be an improvement in theory but fails to impress in practise. Controlling players simply doesn’t work fluidly and overall the game feels stilted. From the ever-loading menus to the staccato gameplay.

Graphically, PES 2015 is an improvement on its predecessor but not nearly less inconsistent. Visuals swing between uncanny and “who the hell is that” not only in player likenesses but also the quality of the rendering. Player animations are jittery and remain robotic. Players move more or less in the same way rather than with their own individual personality.

PES 2015 is by all accounts a better game than its predecessor but in small and inconsequential increments that fail to make up for the new shortcomings it brings with it. Perhaps they’ll get it right next time but PES 2015 has plenty of ideas that fail to incite change or even imbue the game with any sense of a direction or life. It’s a plodding affair that lacks depth, character and attention to detail. Let alone features that work as they should.

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To Be Ignorant Of #GamerGate Is To Be Part Of The Problem: An Alternate Perspective http://egmr.net/2014/12/ignorant-gamergate-part-problem-part-two/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/ignorant-gamergate-part-problem-part-two/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 09:00:46 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=164068 We’ve spoken at some length about #GamerGate in not only our podcasts but elsewhere and in other places. It wasn’t until more recently that we delved into GamerGate. We wanted […]

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We’ve spoken at some length about #GamerGate in not only our podcasts but elsewhere and in other places. It wasn’t until more recently that we delved into GamerGate. We wanted to do so with as much fairness as possible and without perpetuating any wrongful messaging or contributing to the harm caused to what many say are the original and true intentions of the banner.

The first part of our approach to addressing GamerGate and launching into a discussion and examination on it involved reaching out to someone level-headed and open to earnest discussion on the pro-GamerGate side of the imaginary fence. Friend of the site and someone whom we very much respect, Gaming Anarchist came to the fore as a prime candidate. We engaged him in a discussion on how misunderstood and misrepresented #gamergate has been in media as well as the sheer hostility that it has created among gamers and their attitude towards said media. We afforded Gaming Anarchist the opportunity to speak his mind with some open-ended questions. You can read his full response and our accompanying commentary along with it here.

As with any instance in which two extremes exist, we feel that there is merit in both sides of the discussion, or argument as it were. While Gaming Anarchist presented one side of the coin we required another to balance our discussion on GamerGate, someone from the other side of the imaginary fence. The side which is against GamerGate. It took us a little longer than we expected to find someone level-headed and open to discussion on the side that is against the GamerGate hashtag but we eventually discovered an ideal candidate right under our noses. You may know him as grim AKA Paul Nain. He is also perhaps one of the most eloquent people we’ve had to pleasure of interacting with.

In the interest of fairness and perhaps a dash of laziness we aksed grim the same set of questions we posed to Gaming Anarchist and left it similarly open-ended for him to express himself.

To begin with grim gave us an overview of GamerGate, where it comes from and where it’s currently at. Much of it may sound familiar from snippets of news here and there as the months have gone on. However, he presents it from an interesting perspective in that he purports that GamerGate has not accomplished much as per its apparent focus on ethics in games journalism.

It’s important to understand the terminology involved, the origins of that terminology and the consistency of its use. Secondly, where possible I’ve attempted to obtain independent verification, but if there’s anything I assert as fact and evidence exists otherwise, please call me out on it. I’m going to try and whizz through the GG origin story as quickly as possible since it’s been stated and restated ad infinitum at this point. Essentially, in the light of accusations made toward Zoe Quinn about whether or not her relationships with individuals attached to the industry have afforded her undue positive exposure, the term Gamergate is coined by Adam Baldwin on the 27th of August. Naturally any attempt at deducing the intent behind his tweet is pure speculation. However, one can glean a picture of his social platform with relative accuracy, and that platform has for quite some time been staunchly conservative and showing a strong disdain for anyone associated with the term SJW. It’s also known that Baldwin is not a gamer and had at that point no interest in the industry. So whilst alleging that his tweet had far more to do with Quinn’s liberal ‘SJW’ stance than it had to do with corruption in the industry remains speculative, I’d argue that it’s nevertheless a reasonable deduction.

Within a day, the number of tweets using the GG hashtag is over 4000, within days in the tens of thousands. And it’s this moment that I believe is the most crucial to understand and explore if we hope to broker a reconciliatory dialogue. How did the hashtag explode so quickly? At that point, the conversation around Quinnspiracy has been percolating for just under two weeks , and the issue has escalated to threats and allegations of harassment and doxing. The conversation is still very much focused on social politics and targeting SJWs, and Kotaku’s name begins to make an appearance as a site with pronounced ‘liberal and SJW’ leanings. There are perhaps four or five instances of potential conflicts of interest noted in articles written by Nathan Grayson, Leigh Alexander, Nathan Grayson and Danielle Riendeau. It’s interesting to note that these instances involved mainly indie games and opinion pieces, and were allegations that relationships had not been disclosed. We’re not talking allegations of bribery or collusion with studios here, but they were friends or roommates and said nice things about their projects. I’m not condoning a lack of disclosure, simply establishing the level of corruption. So by the time the hashtag is coined, there’s already an entity to disseminate the information.

These were not the only the factors at play though and the media perhaps as well as other personalities within the gaming community added fuel to that #GamerGate fire with articles and statements which sent many gamers into a frenzy. The catch is that they may not have all been justified in their reactions.

This is all compounded by a number of opinion pieces that appear between the 28th and 29th of August that discuss the state of the industry with varying degrees of emotion, and ask questions about what the identity of gamers should be. The tone of some of these opinion pieces is understandably highly emotive, and these articles are labelled the Gamers Are Dead pronouncements from this point onward. A few important factors to state here; firstly that this isn’t the first time publications have asked questions about the state of the community. Secondly, that most of the articles do not actually attack the gaming community but are a challenge to the community to take a stance against harassment and elitism. The only article that could arguably be construed as antagonistic is that of Leigh Alexander writing for Gamasutra, but I’d challenge everyone to read and reread that article a number of times before passing judgement on what her message is. And it can’t be overstated enough that these were opinion pieces, and as such the author is free to make whatever statements he or she pleases. It’s the publication that would have to deal with any negative fallout, but if the editorial team deems the risk worthwhile, if a reader takes offense to what is said the same channels open available in every other form of media are available to them. Stop reading the publication, address a letter to the editor, but the notion that actively campaigning to have advertisers remove content is an appropriate response, seems ill advised . Had the articles been guilty of hate speech, then perhaps a case could be made, but campaigning against a website asking for a greater degree of self reflection is skirting the absurdity of campaigning against a website because it gave the latest CoD a 4 out of 10.

Again, why the rapid spread of the hashtag? It’s been shown on countless occasions that gamers have a tendency to react like an itchy triggerfinger. Many gamers perceived those articles as a direct attack, the irony being that of course most of the articles pushed forward the notion that being a gamer shouldn’t be a defining characteristic of your personality, and that’s exactly why they were deemed as a personal attack. So we have a small community that’s been maintaining the Quinnspiracy dialogue, and a bigger community who feel as if their very identity has been called into question. No corruption of any merit has as yet been exposed, this is truly in almost every sense an us vs them scenario, whether it’s us vs SJWs or us vs the gaming media. And as history consistently testifies, us vs them is an incredibly incendiary foundation that tends to rise or fall based not on the strength of the passions involved, but upon the validity of the cause.

He then went on to suggest that the hashtag is perhaps the biggest hindrance to open and meaningful discussion and we are somewhat inclined to agree with him given that whenever some manner of construct is created, there are immediately two kinds of people – those within and those without.

A last point, and then I’ll finally get around to answering your questions. Gamergate has defined the narrative as pro-GG or anti-GG, but this is an egregious misrepresentation and one that is specifically designed to put one side on the back foot before they’ve even made a single assertion. What do I mean? Well, as GG likes to repeatedly remind us, the movement is about ethics in the videogame industry. Which immediately means that the use of the term anti-GG paints anyone not in the GG camp as being inherently against ethics. This is patently absurd and untrue, and is probably the source of my greatest frustration with GG. I believe that the industry should adhere to ethical conduct. I might disagree as to whether it needs to be an industry wide certified code, but if publications make an effort to inform the reader as to what they consider as unethical, and ensure that they are responsible for adhering to that, I’d be happy. Instead of creating a platform where GA and I can agree, GG is in truth the biggest hindrance to achieving what it constantly asserts as its goal. Anti-GG, which is a term I personally believe to be useless, is simply the position of disassociation with the elements of GG who overtly target feminists and SJWs and believe harassment is an effective tool to achieve their ends. You cannot disassociate with a movement and still be a part of it. Note, I say with a movement, not elements of a movement. This is an important distinction which I’ll illustrate as follows; the feminist movement began as a desire for men and women to be have the same access to rights, both human and civil and social. If men can vote, women should be able to vote as well. As time has elapsed, misandrists have emerged beneath the banner of feminism and caused serious damage to the perception of modern feminism. In this instance, feminists can disassociate with that particular element without needing to disassociate with feminism. GG did not originate as a movement for a better use of ethical policies in the industry, but rather a framework for undermining a particular demographic whose social and political views they disagreed with. You can’t distance yourself from that and still claim to be a part of the movement.

All good so far? Don’t worry, there’s plenty more reading to be done on your part.

Given his views on what the banner currently represents, we then asked grim what positives could be derived from all the activity under the GamerGate umbrella. As you might imagine, it wasn’t the easiest question to answer.

This was a hard one to grapple with, because I do see members of GG who jumped on board because they sincerely believed it would provide a platform for positives changes in the industry. I do believe that many assumptions have been tested for the better, such as seeing another affirmation of exactly how diverse the community is. It’s possible that certain individuals who may never have interacted under other circumstances, have overcome long-held discriminatory views. On a personal level, it’s certainly made me examine more closely my own views on ethics in the industry. But I have a serious problem with assigning those positives to the banner of GG, when in reality they are all products of a greater focus on self-reflection. And who, might I ask, has been calling for self-reflection within the community for years before GG ever began?

This is an important revelation for anyone to make. While you may take issue with a banner or a hashtag, the people under it cannot be lumped into a single entity. Seeing the value in some over the shouting of others is a vital part of establishing discussion rather than prolonging argument.

We followed this question up by asking whether the GamerGate banner is even necessary and what can be done beyond or outside of it as well as where it has failed in its current form.

The banner is absolutely not necessary, it never has been. The issues in the industry that need to be seriously addressed aren’t being swept beneath the rug or hidden away by a secretive conclave of journalists seeking to shape the narrative (as the so called smoking gun of the Gaming Journalism Professionals would have us believe), they’re easily observable by anyone who bothers to give the industry even the slightest bit of attention. These issues exists, not because the gaming media embrace corruption or are intent on breaching ethics wherever and whenever they can; they exist because games journalism is inherently compromised. Symbiotic relationships abound, evidenced with examples such as Game Informer’s constant access to news stories no other outlets are made privy to. This leads to issues like the recent Shadow of Mordor debacle.

The question is not whether or not instances of ethical breaches are in and of themselves a warning sign of a far greater problem; such instances will always occur regardless of how staunchly enforced a standard code of ethics may be. The health of an industries ethics should be measured by the frequency and scale of breaches, and whether or not they have resulted in any measurably negative consequences. Beyond the GG banner is really the only conversation worth having at this point, and one I’ve been ready to have for weeks. Yet asking members of GG to move beyond the need to associate themselves with the banner is for some inexplicable reason like asking them to cut off an arm or a leg. Why? Is GG of the opinion that if they have no banner to march beneath, their cause will disappear? That within GG, members who have worked together and found common interests and common ground will suddenly abandon them? The media will pretend as if nothing happened and continue to suppress the voice of the people? No, because what GG has achieved thus far is equivalent to, as a recent article on Deadspin so aptly put it, accusing reporters who have become friendly with team coaches of corruption, whilst ignoring the relationship between the ESPN and the NFL. I apologise for the America-centric reference, but I couldn’t think of a local equivalent.

The banner has failed at personal accountability, the banner has failed at holding adherents back from resorting to petty personal feuds and playground namecalling that is irrelevant and of benefit to no one, the banner has failed at highlighting sufficiently genuine instances of corruption and or serious breaches of ethical conduct, the banner has failed at discouraging hateful rhetoric, the banner has failed at being able to identify when proponents are joining as a means of serving their personal agendas, the banner has failed at removing the term SJW from the discussion. The banner has embraced individuals such as Mike Cernovich and the Return of Kings group simply because ‘they agree with us’, displaying the utterly misguided ‘she’s cool’ mentality when it comes to individuals such as Christina Sommers, who became the GG authority on feminism and sexism, not because GG has bothered to analyse her opinions on the subject but because she supports the cause, thereby making her the ‘cool feminist’ when in actual fact the term is still used in a derogatory manner toward any other self-indentifying feminist who doesn’t support GG. The banner has failed at comprehending what cultural criticism is and why, no matter how strongly they might disagree with Anita Sarkeesian, her work is completely irrelevant to a discussion of ethics in the industry. To name but a few.

It may not exactly be shocking that someone who is against GamerGate as a banner feels that the banner is unnecessary but his reasoning is sound and ties very strongly into why the banner has failed in his eyes. Accountability. So if GamerGate is not a necessary construct, what needs to be done about unethical practises and how should press and gamers interact?

think I answered this partly in question 2, but I’ll elucidate. I do believe that to a large degree the industry is self regulatory. Dishonesty in a review is an incredibly hard thing to hide, and an even harder thing to recover from. Writers live and die by their most recent articles, and in many instances their careers are never able to outlive certain controversies, such as Jim Sterling undoubtedly being haunted by his AC2 review for the rest of time. We all tend to formulate a blueprint for how we filter gaming media; we prefer certain reviewers over others, we’ve identified that sites do hold biases to some extent, and often we visit those sites precisely because we rely on those biases to formulate an accurate assessment. The media should be held accountable for the manner in which they report coverage, but at the same time I would hope that the gaming community are independent thinkers with the realisation that the manner in which the media exists is largely due to how we’ve shaped it. There are absolutely practices that need to be fought against, but not in the manner in which GG have conducted themselves. As a community, our power is not in our ability to write countless emails to Intel asking them to pull their advertising, it’s in voting with our wallet and with our time; in not making purchases where we believe that an ethical line has been crossed, and in not visiting sites we believe are breeding grounds for dishonesty.

Following on from this, grim shared his thoughts on how GamerGate should function moving forward. Again, he stands behind the ideals but cannot see a future for the banner. Furthermore though, what can the media do as far as ethics goes and given the massive spotlight that has been placed on the matter in recent months?

As to the way forward with regard to GG, there is no way forward with GG; the sooner the term is abandoned, the better. As for ethical policies in the industry, if you are invested in Kotaku or RPS or Egmr or IGN etc, then discuss your concerns through the channels those sites make available. Tell the editor you would like clarification on what their ethical policy is, make suggestions, offer constructive criticism. For example, Kotaku have recently taken the stance to not review games on release, but to avoid the pressure normally associated with getting a review out by spending as much time with the game as is needed. They’ve also done away with the number review system and for all the flack they get, Stephen Totillo has thus far been transparent and quick to deal with any allegations of misconduct, as well as engaging with a variety of GG supporters and has held roundtable discussions with amongst others Totalbiscuit on the state of ethics in the industry. For a website that’s supposedly one of the worst transgressors, they sure do seem to be doing a lot of innovative work.

Well, this follows on from the previous question. A good start is to address the area of a policy of ethics. Do you have sufficient trust in your writers that even if they report on acquaintances they’re professional enough to remain unbiased? Do you decide you’d rather not put your writers in the situation and ensure there is never any personal connection involved? I certainly don’t believe that a one size fits all code needs to be implemented; allow your readers to participate in the process. Be willing to take a stand that might damage your access to perks like prerelease reviews etc, if you believe the issue is important enough. But don’t lose sight of what marks your publication as different from the pack either. Your differences are to be celebrated, not criticised.

This is by no means the longest article we’ve ever published so stop your whinging. However, we do hope that it was one of our more informative ones and that you feel perhaps a little enlightened. Granted EGMR is relatively a very small fish in a massive ocean when compared to established publications such as Kotaku or IGN, but I feel our absolute freedom to be ourselves and be gamers first can positively contribute in situations such as these, and we can work together with the community for the betterment of the industry, even if it only helps in some small way or on an individual-level. To that end, whether you agree with everything that has been said by grim or not, it stands to reason that you can appreciate it and express your opinion towards it honestly and constructively, because if you wish to grow and refrain from extremism, you’ve got to hear all fair sides to a story. This isn’t about squabbling, but about learning.

We hope that this two-part series has enhanced your understanding of #GamerGate and contributed positively to your attitude and mindset regarding the banner. We’ve heard from both sides from people who are perhaps not moderate but who are willing to listen to what the other side has to say and engage in a dialogue rather than a monologue. These are two people we can learn from and we hope that you walk away from this with a little more consideration not only for ethics and social issues but also that we should band together as a community against bigger issues than in-fighting. Let’s move on from here in a positive way, because at the end of the day we’re all gamers and no one can dispute that we collectively want the industry and its community to grow and be the best that it can be.

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Arkham City’s Ending Makes Arkham Knight Strange Territory For Batman http://egmr.net/2014/12/arkham-citys-ending-makes-arkham-knight-strange-territory-batman/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/arkham-citys-ending-makes-arkham-knight-strange-territory-batman/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 07:00:50 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163978 The Arkham games are not narrative powerhouses. They don’t tell incredibly memorable or unique stories for Batman but they certainly tell great pulp tales. As much as I love Arkham […]

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The Arkham games are not narrative powerhouses. They don’t tell incredibly memorable or unique stories for Batman but they certainly tell great pulp tales. As much as I love Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, that’s just the truth of it. That said, Arkham City had a surprising ending and one that should make Arkham Knight’s Gotham feel quite different.

At the end of Arkham City Joker dies. Not in the comic book, soon to be resurrected way but rather the permanent, carried out by Batman kind of way. Enough time has passed that this shouldn’t count as a spoiler. That’s a pretty big deal considering that Joker served as the primary antagonist for all three Batman Arkham games thus far.

Where exactly does one go after Joker? What happens to Gotham? The nature of Batman’s universe is that something will always facilitate the madness. Perhaps that’s where the Arkham Knight comes in. He’s new, different and operates very differently to Joker.

Presently, Scott Snyder has been doing some great things with and without Joker in the comics. Zero Year proved to be a fantastic Riddler story as well as a reskinning of Batman’s origins. Meanwhile Death of the Family and (presently) Endgame put a very bright spotlight on the nature of the relationship between Joker and Batman. Perhaps Arkham Knight will pick up on that in the aftermath of Arkham City. How exactly is Batman affected by Joker’s death? For better or worse, the Clown Prince of Crime is a very necessary part of Batman’s existence and an essential counterpoint by which Batman measures himself.

In a Reddit AMA, Rocksteady revealed some interesting things about not only how the ending of Arkham City influenced Arkham Knight but also what the direction was behind the new Batsuit.

“I think it’s quite the opposite,” Rocksteady’s Gaz Deaves wrote.

“[Writer Sefton Hill] has said that when they started work on Batman: Arkham City, they had the vision of the final scene Joker’s death almost from the start, and looked at the story from the perspective of the events that would lead to that point.

“With Batman: Arkham Knight, that ending is the point that we jump off from, asking ‘what happens when Joker is removed from Gotham’ and looking at the fallout from those events.”

On the topic of that Batsuit, it’s almost no surprise that the Batmobile has something to do with it.

“We wanted to highlight the interaction between Batman and the Batmobile – you’ll see that the suit mirrors the design of the car in a lot of ways,” Deaves said of the new look.

“The new suit impacts gameplay as well, as it enhances some of Batman’s abilities, particularly in the way the Batman and the car work together.”

In case you didn’t notice it, up top is the latest trailer for Arkham Knight. Batman: Arkham Knight is due out in June next year on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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Star Wars: The Troll Awakens – The Internet Reacts To The New Trailer http://egmr.net/2014/12/star-wars-troll-awakens-internet-reacts-new-trailer/ http://egmr.net/2014/12/star-wars-troll-awakens-internet-reacts-new-trailer/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 12:00:59 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163940 You didn’t really think we were going to sit this one out while the entire internet had an opinion, did you? Granted, this is a trailer for a JJ Abrams […]

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You didn’t really think we were going to sit this one out while the entire internet had an opinion, did you? Granted, this is a trailer for a JJ Abrams film so people shouldn’t put too much stock into it. He does operate on the principle of pre-release marketing serving as a ubiquitous mystery box by which to tease some intrigue that his films simply don’t have.

Up top is the original trailer and despite whatever issues you might have with it and the silly looking lightsaber exhaust ports, the moment the Millenium Falcon appears in time with that fantastic John Williams score, you can’t help but get goosebumps.

Fun fact: the voiceover in the trailer is delivered by none other than motion capture king, Andy Serkis so make of that what you will.

With JJ Abrams at the helm, of course the first thing to be poked was his penchant for lens flare and the surprising lack of it in this teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A few folks took it upon themselves to correct that deficit.



It didn’t stop there. Darth Maul may have wielded a double-sided lightsaber and General Grievous handled more shafts than a pornstar but you can’t go adding little mini sabers to a lightsaber like Xzibit consulted on the prop design. These next few gems come courtesy of Dorkly and GeekXGirls.

This... would actually be pretty great at parties. If the Jedi ever had any fun.

This… would actually be pretty great at parties. If the Jedi ever had any fun.

Let the Holy War begins.

Let the Holy War begins.

Let the other Holy War begin.

Let the other Holy War begin.

Pimp My Sith

Pimp My Sith

Last but not least, there’s a slightly more interesting take on the trailer. What if George Lucas did it? Well, it would be a lot busier, that’s for sure. It gives one an appreciation for Abrams’ comparatively minimalist approach to what he chooses to put into a shot. This trilogy will certainly have a very different visual grammar and style.

JJ Abrams has yet to produce a truly great film and his take on Star Trek has been decent thus far but nothing special. I hope that with practical effects, plenty of natural locations and a constant reminder of where the prequels went wrong that Abrams may be able to produce on Star Wars and show the world a film he can be remembered for. He’s certainly not talentless.

A word of warning going forward, any trailers that release for The Force Awakens should not hold much meaning to you. Abrams is infamous for his Mystery Box; teasing some of intrigue in the plot when there really isn’t much to it and the trailers simply wrap it all up in an interesting way. Granted, that’s the point of a trailer but Jurassic World also got its first trailer recently and had a very different tone.

Regardless of what I think of Abrams as a director, what reservations I may have about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I am eager to see it when it releases in December next year. What did you make of the trailer and what direction do you want the film to go in? Especially given that it is to setup a new trilogy.

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Comments Of The Week — “How To Train Your Dragon Age: Inquisition” http://egmr.net/2014/11/comments-week-train-dragon-age-inquisition/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/comments-week-train-dragon-age-inquisition/#comments Sun, 30 Nov 2014 13:00:03 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163931 Something something Dragon Age: Inquisition something something. That’s really all that happened this week worth caring about. If you happen to care about Dragon Age (and why wouldn’t you) then […]

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Something something Dragon Age: Inquisition something something. That’s really all that happened this week worth caring about. If you happen to care about Dragon Age (and why wouldn’t you) then we’ve got a little discussion going for you to join in on and some tips on how to not play the game.

If you’re one of those people who simply couldn’t get enough then we did a review about sober Irishmen, burlap children and this year’s second-worst remaster. Elsewhere, Ubisoft is trying to buy you off, Activision are up to their old tricks and Cavie is doting on BioWare again.

We also did one of those podcast thingies. Predictably focused on Dragon Age too.

  • Hulk Smash — You won’t like me when I’m angry! Always posts rage comments.
  • TRoLoLoL — Everything is a joke.
  • The Fanboy — BioWare is MINE!
  • Consolefag — PC Sucks, etc.
  • The NeoN — PC is legacy. PC is the best.
  • The Elitist — I’m better than all of you. Don’t type to me in that tone of voice.
  • The Spammer — Cannot. Help. Myself. Must. Comment.
  • Gandalf — Loves long walks on the beach and philosophy. Also, types long comments.
  • Most Valued Commenter (MVC) — Everyone takes interest in what you have to say.
  • The Michael — It’s everywhere!
  • The Hater — Nothing is good enough!
  • Mr/Mrs Likable — Most Likes on a Comment.

There’s a great chance that we’ll add more as we go. Perhaps you have some ideas of labels we should add. Let us know in the comments.

Every week we’ll leave one title out. It’ll be your job to suggest a winner in the comments.

On the next page, you’ll be able to find the winners.

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Is Ubisoft Trying To Make Amends For A Year Of Bad Blood With Gamers? http://egmr.net/2014/11/ubisoft-trying-make-amends-year-bad-blood-gamers/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/ubisoft-trying-make-amends-year-bad-blood-gamers/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:00:28 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163804 2014 has not been Ubisoft’s year. Not by a long shot. The publisher has gone from one controversy to the next and it’s all culminated in Assassin’s Creed: Unity, hailed […]

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2014 has not been Ubisoft’s year. Not by a long shot. The publisher has gone from one controversy to the next and it’s all culminated in Assassin’s Creed: Unity, hailed as the epitomy of next-gen gaming prior to release, being a decided mess rivaling Assassin’s Creed III when it launched a couple of weeks ago.

Ubisoft has garnered a lot of bad blood from gamers this year with small issues around Watch Dogs and nothing but issues around AC: Unity but it seems they’re trying to repent, just a little bit anyway, for their sins.

Due to the fact that AC: Unity released in a state of undress, Ubisoft is apologising by way of free DLC and a free game to season pass holders.

It doesn’t change the fact that one of the most expensive games with one of the biggest development teams and years of supposed franchise pedigree behind it released like the cobbled together weekend project of a group of second-rate game devs.

Those who purchased the game will receive the Dead Kings DLC absolutely free. But wait, there’s more! Those who were crazy enough to pre-order and get the season pass (or worse still purchase it) will receive the DLC (which they already own anyway) as well as a free game of their choosing.

Unfortunately, Ubisoft won’t spot you $60 to of buy Dragon Age: Inquisition but they will give you one of the following for free if you own the Unity season pass: Far Cry 4, The Crew, Just Dance 2015, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag or Watch Dogs.

The system by which to claim your free game isn’t in place yet but Ubisoft Montreal and Toronto CEO Yannis Mallat extended the company’s apologies:

The launch of Assassin’s Creed Unity was a highly-anticipated moment for me and for our development teams around the world who dedicated a tremendous amount of energy, passion and skill to the game’s creation. For us, it was the culmination of years of work on new technologies, the development of multiple innovations — including an all-new game engine — and an evolution of the Assassin’s Creed franchise’s core pillars. More importantly, we know that it was a highly-anticipated moment for many of you as well, as you looked forward to taking part in the first truly next generation Assassin’s
Creed game.

Unfortunately, at launch, the overall quality of the game was diminished by bugs and unexpected technical issues. I want to sincerely apologize on behalf of Ubisoft and the entire Assassin’s Creed team. These problems took away from your enjoyment of the game, and kept many of you from experiencing the game at its fullest potential.

We’ve been working hard to fix the problems players are reporting, and the patches we have released so far have resolved many of them. Today, we’re releasing our third patch, which fixes a variety of specific issues related to the game’s stability and performance, matchmaking and connectivity, gameplay and menus.

To show our appreciation for your continued support, we’re making the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Unity Dead Kings DLC free for everyone. For Season Pass holders, we will also offer the choice of one additional game from a selection of Ubisoft titles for free.

A heartfelt apology can go a long way but this long after the game has released it simply doesn’t feel heartfelt. It’s Ubisoft’s characteristic delayed damage control.

It’s pretty awesome damage control with free DLC and a potential free game but it is still damage control. By all means, take the gifts Ubisoft is giving but don’t thank them for it because they’re not doing you a favour. They’re undoing a screw up.

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Competition Winner: Far Cry 4 Bundle http://egmr.net/2014/11/competition-winner-far-cry-4-bundle/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/competition-winner-far-cry-4-bundle/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 07:00:22 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163803 The competition that was run courtesy of Megarom has come to an end (cue sadness) but with that comes the announcement that a lot of you have lost and one […]

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The competition that was run courtesy of Megarom has come to an end (cue sadness) but with that comes the announcement that a lot of you have lost and one lucky pot of ashes has won themselves a hefty Far Cry 4 hamper.

In accordance with official EGMR tradition, we hunted a tiger, taught it to play piano and let its sweet melodies select a winner at random through the power of music.

  • Leon Beukes

We’ll be in touch shortly to confirm how you will repay us for the unique way in which we “randomised” the draw process. In all seriousness, we will be in contact shortly but feel free to contact us first to expedite the process.

The rest of you are welcome to contact us too, we do everything except christenings because of an incident and restraining orders.

Congratulations again to the winner and better luck next time to everyone else. Perhaps Santa Satan will bring you something nice for Christmas.

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Guillermo Del Toro Offers Up Pacific Rim 2 Details http://egmr.net/2014/11/guillermo-del-toro-offers-pacific-rim-2-details/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/guillermo-del-toro-offers-pacific-rim-2-details/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:00:43 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163762 If you haven’t watched Pacific Rim by now then there is something grievously wrong with you. You don’t have to have enjoyed it, I mean it was a childhood fantasy […]

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If you haven’t watched Pacific Rim by now then there is something grievously wrong with you. You don’t have to have enjoyed it, I mean it was a childhood fantasy come to life centered around Power Rangers style battles. It’s certainly a whole lot more fun when compared to other takes on humanity’s last stand or kaiju.

A big part of what made Pacific Rim feel unique and great is Guillermo del Toro’s very eclectic and individualistic style and approach. Don’t believe me? Go watch Pan’s Labyrinth.

To the delight of nerdy types everywhere Pacific Rim 2 is a thing and it is happening with a currently slated release for April 7 2017. Smack in the middle of Marvel and DC’s plans to outdo each other through film.

So where will humanity be in Pacific Rim 2? Well, that might not matter as much because according to an interview with Collider, del Toro confirmed that the sequel will be set a few years after the events of the first film and focus a little more on the kaiju world.

“It’s a few years after the first one. It’s not an immediate follow-up. It is the world having been freed of Kaiju, what happens to the world after – what happens to the Jaeger technology once the Kaiju are not a threat. It’s quite a jump.”

There’s no reason to focus on the same characters as the first film and the great thing is that del Toro has built an incredible world to explore through the eyes of different characters. Del Toro was mum on whether Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi would be reprising their roles as Raleigh and Mako but confirmed that two characters would definitely be returning – Gottlieb and Geiszler.

“I think that two of our main characters like in the first one are Burn [Gorman] and Charlie [Day]. They are really, really – I mean, honestly, they are probably the guys I have the most fun writing along with Hannibal Chau so just from a purely selfish drive, I like writing them. I love writing for Charlie and Burn. I mean, [Burn’s] in Crimson Peak for that reason, because I love working with him. You’re gonna get a lot of that, but the Kaijus are very different and you’re gonna see a very different type of the robots I think. It’s gonna be quite a different adventure.”

Day’s character of Newton Geiszler was highly fascinating for his obsessions with understanding the kaiju and could make for something great to explore in the sequel. It doesn’t hurt that I adore him from watching too many seasons of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to be good for my health.

What do you want to see from a Pacific Rim sequel?

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Christopher Nolan Is The Best And Worst Component Of Interstellar http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-interstellar/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-interstellar/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:00:31 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163063 Christopher is a brilliant filmmaker. Some may disagree and more than a few are rubbed the wrong way by his snobbery, insistence on gritty realism and recently discovered need for […]

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Christopher is a brilliant filmmaker. Some may disagree and more than a few are rubbed the wrong way by his snobbery, insistence on gritty realism and recently discovered need for a twist in the plot. M. Knight Shyamalan; ‘nuf said. Nolan is one those directors regarded as an auteur for his very noticeable visual style and the theological themes his films explore.

That particular style and his stringency for adhering to it is what is both great and flawed about Interstellar.

Spoilers will probably follow. Maybe. Read on to find out.

Interstellar is a space opera that promised to be unlike any other. It has the requisite drama, character theatrics, booming orchestral soundtrack and of, course, space. However, where it excels is in twisting these norms with Nolan’s typically darker and grittier themes. It’s a gothic space opera. Instead of showing us the wonders of space and marveling at how far we’ve come (and have yet to go) in the way that 2001: A Space Odyssey did, Interstellar focuses on the claustrophobia of space and the toll it takes on human life. It’s a very different take on space than we’re used to. A fresh perspective.

Intention is all good and well but it doesn’t necessarily translate to a great movie. 2001 had brilliant intentions, fantastic direction and magnificent sound. It may be as old as my mother but it holds up bloody well today and if Interstellar left a bad taste then 2011 will get rid of it in no time. The trouble is that because 2001 set the benchmark so long ago we need something like Interstellar to re-invent the genre in a way that Gravity wasn’t quite brave enough to do.

While the concept is great behind Interstellar, it’s music is oppressive in a distracting way at times, the themes are all over the place and sometimes nowhere. The plot however is perhaps most worrying. Nolan is known for great narratives in his films but The Dark Knight Rises (which I maintain is a great film though not flawless) had a very predictable plot with a predictable twist and holes all over the place. Interstellar follows that course by having a plot that falls apart in its third act, convolutes itself for the purpose of fabricating an absurd twist and leaves plotholes behind as it reveals more of itself. Yes, it steeps itself in hard science but ultimately forsakes that for the power of love as if Huey Lewis and the News were still relevant.

Typically space brings with it beautiful sweeping, tracking shots of the stars, the planets, our heroes’ ship. Interstellar features some of that but for the most part concerns itself with emulating the claustrophobia of being out in space. Sure, it’s gorgeous out there but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re stuck in a little box with imminent death centimeters away. It’s a perspective that doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise from Nolan but one that is very refreshing (though initially and rightfully unsettling).

It’s a pity then that this claustrophobia and the isolation of Cooper and Brand, not only in space but also time, is undercut by Nolan’s overzealousness with the editing scissors. Deeply emotional moments in the film such as when Cooper receives a message from his adult daughter are conveyed brilliantly through Matthew McConaughey’s acting but get cut short by interspersing this moment with something else back on Earth rather than letting the moment play out uninterrupted. There’s an overeagerness for juxtaposition without any real purpose for it. Similarly, epic moments or moments of tension are ruined by absolutely banal or meaningless shots as if the Ranger shuttle were a car or as though everybody in the cinema cares so deeply about the interlock mechanisms. This sort of editing and shooting works well if you’re going for an abstraction of what’s going on rather than a humanisation and again, this plays perfectly into Nolan’s established style. It’s all what we’ve come to expect from Nolan in his films.
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This is why Interstellar works quite well up to a point. Many will tell you it’s when they pass through the wormhole that things fall apart for Interstellar. I’m inclined to agree. Till this point the core theme seems to be an open lament of how damaging and illogical the human condition is. How ruinous it can be. We ruined our own planet and are about to ruin our own chances of survival. Everything sort of works in favour of that voyeuristic detachment but then they pass through the wormhole.

Suddenly it’s evolving into a deeply emotional story and this could have been a great twist of the established theme up till that point but Nolan doesn’t know how to do emotional. He only knows what he thinks human emotion looks like. For example did you know that love is Anne Hathaway explaining it in a very robotic and inorganic way? Neither did I. Kudos for trying something different but Nolan was simply out of his depth here and his detached, tell don’t show style grinds against the story he tried to craft. Resulting in a film that tears itself apart.

After passing through the blackhole, the science makes a little less sense and the plot starts tying itself into knots for the purpose of uncoiling in a massive, mindblowing finale. It doesn’t work.

It’s by no means a bad movie and a very valiant effort at not only for doing something a little different with space but also for a well-established director trying something a little outside his comfort. Unfortunately, Interstellar collapses under its own ambition and sucks in parts of what could have been a very great film.

Interstellar is proof that Nolan has his limits and could do with a secondary influence from time to time. It’s one part bold, new space opera and another part maligned, mangled mess. I do hope Christopher Nolan tries something like this again but with someone that compensates for his shortcomings. Like Gravity, Interstellar was a good experiment but where Gravity was beautifully put together, Interstellar was put together by a man who didn’t quite understand how.

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Review: LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Fails To Leave The Troposphere http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-lego-batman-3-beyond-gotham-fails-leave-troposphere/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-lego-batman-3-beyond-gotham-fails-leave-troposphere/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 07:00:35 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163509 Visit review on site for scoring. It’s a LEGO game. That about sums up what LEGO Batman 3 is and is not. The franchise, as purveyed by Traveller’s Tales, is […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

It’s a LEGO game. That about sums up what LEGO Batman 3 is and is not. The franchise, as purveyed by Traveller’s Tales, is steeped in gameplay so stoic it would make Assassin’s Creed proud and quirkiness that would make James Gunn giggle. Barring the tie-in licensed game, this is the first LEGO game to release in the wake of The LEGO Movie so there’s a bit of pressure on LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham to be something more… a symbol. Oops, I went all Batman Begins on you there.

Sadly, it fails to break out of the franchise’s established norms.

There is no doubt that Traveller’s Tales makes good games. Their games are a throwback to the good ol’ days when a game could appeal to kids and grown-ups alike in its gameplay and humour. The trouble is that their games sometimes feel like they come from that era. LEGO Batman 3 is scarcely any different and that’s a problem.

The premise of the game is suitably silly and yet something of a throwback to the sort of big crossover event you might’ve expected in the 70’s. Brainiac appears on the scene and after years of supposedly shrinking cities for his collection he decides it’s time to escalate. He proceeds to kidnap a member from each of the respective Lantern Corps so as to harness their powers to shrink entire worlds. The Justice League ends up joining forces with a few members of their Rogues gallery in order to thwart the alien menace. The story is never important in these things but gives a suitable reason to get everybody together and hopping from one Lantern planet to the next in the hopes of stopping Brainiac. There’s a little more to it than that but really, what you’re interested is the humour and quirky character interactions. In this regard, LEGO Batman 3 does it really well at times but often finds its large ensemble cast to be too unwieldy.

The banter from characters such as Robin and Flash is gold and the little self-referential quips between characters is great. It’s more or less what you’ve come to expect from Traveller’s Tales. Since this is called LEGO Batman 3, the game is filled with tons of little Batman easter eggs and extras from Batmite to Adam West to every Batmobile you’ve ever seen. For characters at large, if they’ve got a costume or version from popular culture then it’s in here. man of Steel, Arrow, the Dark Knight trilogy and more, those character skins are all here. I can’t say much for the Ryan Reynold’s Green lantern though. When TT does fanservice, they do it right. They’ve even shoved a little extra random in here with Conan O’Brien showing up out of nowhere and the single biggest Batfan, Kevin Smith, being a playable character. It’s plenty quirky right down to Robin finding Dr Fate’s helmet, using it for funzies and blocking out Brainiac’s mind-control beam thanks to it.

The trouble is that this ridiculousness and this fun factor is hard to maintain and it is often non-existent as far as character interactions go purely because at any given time you’ll have around four playable characters on-screen and TT doesn’t quite know what to do with all of them. The character dynamic then either feels flat or unbalanced.

Credit where credit is due though, just about everything in the game takes heed of the source material surrounding each character and that level of care should not go unappreciated. So.. uhm.. I guess this is us appreciating it.

The lack of character balancing carries through to gameplay. It’s largely the same as you got in LEGO Marvel Superheroes albeit now with DC character (duh) and a little less freedom. That’s because there is no city to free-roam about in. Players can explore the Watchtower, Batcave and Hall of Justice but not Gotham City at large. As such every level has been packed with things that necessitate a revisit once free play is unlocked on that level. It’s good enough for adding replay value but feels like a step back for the franchise.

A cool new addition is that most characters have, in addition to different skins, different functional costumes. For example, Batman has Sonic, Sensing, Space, Electricity, Demolition and Arctic suits. Other characters have a similar variety with eight being the maximum. This is pretty useful and could have added an extra dimension to gameplay if it didn’t make accomplishing tasks so one-sided. For example, a system needs to be put online in a control room; most of the various tasks will be done by Robin with one thing being done by Killer Croc. This carries through to most levels. It leaves most of the playable characters on-screen feeling like fodder more than integral to moving forward in the way that Marvel Superheroes did.

Despite having a few variations in the stock gameplay here and there, things remain largely the same and are starting to feel mechanical. A few controls and contextual prompts have been improved and tweaked from previous games but it all feels exactly the same and in no way fresh. If the game kept the momentum up with its humour then that wouldn’t be problem but as it stands, LEGO Batman 3 can feel a bit a of a drag at times.

The reworked control scheme means that it’s easier to switch to the necessary character for a specific task but freely switching between characters for, I don’t know, fun perhaps is a chore. It’s fortunate then that the game design doesn’t really necessitate character switching as much anymore. More often you’ll play as a single character for most of a stage and frequently switch between their various functional costumes.

In the wake of Assassin’s Creed: Unity it’s disheartening to come across another game that simply holds onto the issues and bugs of its predecessor. I encountered a few graphical, object detection and contextual control issues that have existed in LEGO games for some time now.

Ultimately, as a piece of fanservice filled with easter eggs, in-jokes and fun takes on characters you’ve come to love then LEGO Batman 3 is a good piece of quirkiness and DC culture. However, as a game it is starting to show signs of series fatigue. The game is still fun enough but that’s just it; it’s good enough and apparently that was good enough for Traveller’s Tales.

With The LEGO Movie setting new standards for LEGO-based media entertainment there was a chance for LEGO batman 3 to match that on the front of videogames. Instead, it fails to even rise above its predecessor and quite frankly, LEGO Marvel Superheroes is a better game.

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[UPDATE] Competition Winner: Assassin’s Creed: Unity Bundle http://egmr.net/2014/11/competition-winner-assassins-creed-unity-bundle/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/competition-winner-assassins-creed-unity-bundle/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 06:00:39 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163585 The competition that was run courtesy of Megarom has come to an end (cue sadness) but with that comes the announcement of the lucky baguette who has won themselves a […]

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The competition that was run courtesy of Megarom has come to an end (cue sadness) but with that comes the announcement of the lucky baguette who has won themselves a hefty Assassin’s Creed: Unity hamper.

In accordance with EGMR policy we’ve spilled the blood of a newborn otter and sat in a meditation tent for 72 hours to determine the winner of this most auspicious competition.

  • Haig Tait

We’ll be in touch shortly to confirm how you will repay us for the unique way in which we “randomised” the draw process. In all seriousness, we will be in contact shortly but feel free to contact us first to expedite the process.

The rest of you are welcome to contact us too. We’re lonely. Like, really lonely.

Congratulations again to the winner and better luck next time to everyone else. Remember, if you didn’t get lucky this time our Far Cry 4 competition still holds a chance for you.

[Update]

Due to the fact that he’s an anarchist with a huge heart (that wasn’t really interested in winning this competition to begin with) Haig asked us to give it to someone more deserving. You know that really emotional moment in the Hunger Games when Jenniffer Lawrence volunteers as tribute to save her sister? That’s pretty much what Haig did. Yeah, we think he’d look good in a ponytail and hunting gear too.

The AC: Unity hamper will therefore be going to Raidz for her crimes against humanity. A big thanks to Haig for welcoming Raidz to the EGMR community with this amazing display of kindness.

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Comments Of The Week — “THAT MIDGET IS SO F***ING AWESOME” http://egmr.net/2014/11/comments-week-midget-fing-awesome/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/comments-week-midget-fing-awesome/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 13:00:14 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163571 There was no shortage of games to play this week. We shared our opinions on how mediocre Assassin’s Creed: Unity is, how out of this world the new Call of Duty […]

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There was no shortage of games to play this week. We shared our opinions on how mediocre Assassin’s Creed: Unity is, how out of this world the new Call of Duty is and how long it will to complete Halo’s Master Chief Collection.

Elsewhere, Bracken displayed rampant CoD fanboyism once again, there is a way to have a little more privacy on WhatsApp and The nominees for the Game Awards have been announced. Also, Ubisoft continued to try and explain to us what is actually wrong with Unity. Also, we did a thing and GTA is controversial again.

Also, there is now a new Excuse to See Jennifer Lawrence in A Darkened Room (Part 1).

Also also, enter our competition to win a copy of Far Cry 4.

  • Hulk Smash — You won’t like me when I’m angry! Always posts rage comments.
  • TRoLoLoL — Everything is a joke.
  • The Fanboy — BioWare is MINE!
  • Consolefag — PC Sucks, etc.
  • The NeoN — PC is legacy. PC is the best.
  • The Elitist — I’m better than all of you. Don’t type to me in that tone of voice.
  • The Spammer — Cannot. Help. Myself. Must. Comment.
  • Gandalf — Loves long walks on the beach and philosophy. Also, types long comments.
  • Most Valued Commenter (MVC) — Everyone takes interest in what you have to say.
  • The Michael — It’s everywhere!
  • The Hater — Nothing is good enough!
  • Mr/Mrs Likable — Most Likes on a Comment.

There’s a great chance that we’ll add more as we go. Perhaps you have some ideas of labels we should add. Let us know in the comments.

Every week we’ll leave one title out. It’ll be your job to suggest a winner in the comments.

On the next page, you’ll be able to find the winners.

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Valve Takes Steps Towards Cracking Down On Developers Exploiting Early Access http://egmr.net/2014/11/valve-takes-steps-towards-cracking-developers-exploiting-early-access/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/valve-takes-steps-towards-cracking-developers-exploiting-early-access/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:00:14 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163480 Steam’s Early Access is great for developers who require extra funding or cannot do as extensive QA testing as bigger studios can afford. That is, in theory. Plenty of things […]

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Steam’s Early Access is great for developers who require extra funding or cannot do as extensive QA testing as bigger studios can afford. That is, in theory. Plenty of things are fantastic in theory, foxes for example, but in reality they attack your chickens and become the subject of really weird songs. Similarly, in practice Early Access has been riddled with vapourware, lies, shockingly unplayable games and worse.

Jim Sterling has been a forerunner in pointing out these atrocities and frankly, as a creative medium it is shocking that a developer would even consider putting out something unplayable and full of assets borrowed from elsewhere. Thankfully, Valve has begun taking steps towards cracking down on these developers and cleaning up Early Access with new guidelines and rules.

“Steam Early Access is a way to invite customers to get involved with your game as you develop, so that you can get the feedback you need to make better informed product decisions and to ensure the best outcome for your customers and fans. When you launch a game in Steam Early Access, there is an expectation by customers that you will continue development to a point where you have what you consider a ‘finished’ game. We know that nobody can predict the future, and circumstances frequently change, which may result in a game failing to reach a ‘finished’ state, or may fail to meet customer expectations in some other way. We work hard to make sure this risk is communicated clearly to customers, but we also ask that developers follow a set of rules that are intended to help inform customers and set proper expectations when purchasing your game.”

The new rules for Early Access are non-negotiable and developers must comply in order to stay in the program. They’re also made with the consumer very much in mind. Developers must state that a game is in Early Access when handing out keys off-site, no specific promises should be made about future events or content, lastly Valve wants parity in that developers must have consistent pricing on Steam and elsewhere.

“We work really hard to make sure that customers understand what they are buying when they get an Early Access title on Steam. But we’ve seen that many of these titles are sold as keys on other websites where there is no explanation of what Early Access is or what the current state of your product is now versus what you hope to achieve.”

“For example, there is no way you can know exactly when the game will be finished, that the game will be finished, or that planned future additions will definitely happen. Do not ask your customers to bet on the future of your game. Customers should be buying your game based on its current state, not on promises of a future that may or may not be realized.”

“We expect Steam customers to get a price for the Early Access game no higher than they are offered on any other service or website. Please make sure that’s the case.”

The second is perhaps the most interesting. It will certainly result in more vague descriptions but hopefully will eventually lead to developers only releasing on Early Access with a marketable set of features rather than a half-baked sham.

Next up we’ve got the guidelines and though these aren’t strictly compulsory, it does give us a reference point for what good developers should be doing.

Don’t launch in Early Access if you can’t afford to develop with very few or no sales.

There is no guarantee that your game will sell as many units as you anticipate. If you are counting on selling a specific number of units to survive and complete your game, then you need to think carefully about what it would mean for you or your team if you don’t sell that many units. Are you willing to continue developing the game without any sales? Are you willing to seek other forms of investment?

Make sure you set expectations properly everywhere you talk about your game.

For example, if you know your updates during Early Access will break save files or make the customer start over with building something, make sure you say that up front. And say this everywhere you sell your Steam keys.

Don’t launch in Early Access without a playable game.

If you have a tech demo, but not much gameplay yet, then it’s probably too early to launch in Early Access. If you are trying to test out a concept and haven’t yet figured out what players are going to do in your game that makes it fun, then it’s probably too early. You might want to start by giving out keys to select fans and getting input from a smaller and focused group of users before you post your title to Early Access. At a bare minimum, you will need a video that shows in-game gameplay of what it looks like to play the game. Even if you are asking customers for feedback on changing the gameplay, customers need something to start with in order to give informed feedback and suggestions.

Don’t launch in Early Access if you are done with development.

If you have all your gameplay defined already and are just looking for final bug testing, then Early Access isn’t the right place for that. You’ll probably just want to send out some keys to fans or do more internal playtesting. Early Access is intended as a place where customers can have impact on the game.”

These are all things that people have been asking for since Early Access started up and something that developers should heed. The likes of Day Z is one if the biggest Early Access titles and has even been suggested to be getting a PS4 version but has yet to get a full release and it’s creator has in fact left the studio of development. That’s more than a little worrying.

Will these rules and guidelines fix Early Access? Maybe a little but the skeevy and conniving developers who have been exploiting it will continue to find ways to do so without true accountability for their actions. Of course, those investing in Early Access need to also be made abundantly aware of what they’re getting themselves into. You’re not paying for a game, you’re paying to be part of a development process that might hopefully lead to a game.

Early Access is not without merit but it’s got some way to go in order to lose all the bad rep it’s racked up. If triple-A developers ever start using Early Access, as some such as DICE have been considering, then the platform will surely go to the dogs. There has to be another rule which states that Early Access is only available tot hose who need it. Double Fine should not be doing Early Access and nor should the likes of Telltale or Supergiant or any of the bigger independent studios.

What’s your take on Early Access and what needs to change before we can see it become a respectable platform?

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Play Sunset Overdrive For Free This Weekend http://egmr.net/2014/11/play-sunset-overdrive-free-weekend/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/play-sunset-overdrive-free-weekend/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:00:25 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163506 While our opinions on just how good Sunset Overdrive is may vary here at EGMR, we can all appreciate that it’s a good game and one that should at least […]

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While our opinions on just how good Sunset Overdrive is may vary here at EGMR, we can all appreciate that it’s a good game and one that should at least be applauded for trying to be a little different and a lot of funny. As such, if you own an Xbox One then you really should not have a reason to not be playing it.

Right now Microsoft is giving you absolutely every reason to be playing Sunset Overdrive.

The game may have just released a month ago but as a gift to all those who have invested in an Xbox One over the course of its first year, Microsoft is giving you free access to Sunset Overdrive. Not a demo or a slice of the game but the full game and its eight-player co-op mode.

Beginning on November 22 at 12.01 Eastern Time (5:01am UK), the game will be open to Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One for 24 hours.

Players will be able to earn achievements and save their progress which will be carried over should they choose to buy the full game.

Insomniac Games is also set to show off a number of new Sunset Overdrive weapons during a Twitch stream on the Xbox channel next Monday, November 24, at 10am PT 1pm ET / 6pm UK.

As anniversary celebrations go, this one is pretty great. If you have an Xbox One then do it. Do it now.

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Behold, The 2014 Game Award Nominees http://egmr.net/2014/11/behold-2014-game-award-nominees/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/behold-2014-game-award-nominees/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:00:32 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163504 Gone are the VGAs and never again will the VGX plague our nightmares, this year sees the birth of the Game Awards. Geoff Keighley’s new baby has a board of […]

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Gone are the VGAs and never again will the VGX plague our nightmares, this year sees the birth of the Game Awards. Geoff Keighley’s new baby has a board of prominent figures from around the videogame industry and the goal of being more of a celebration of this industry.

Now, the nominees were recently announced and the list is, well… interesting. There are a few omissions, a few surprises, plenty of expected entries and most telling of the year we’ve had in gaming is one category in particular. Best Remaster. I kid you not, that is a thing that’s happening.

Jury-voted categories:

Game of the Year

  • Bayonetta 2
  • Dark Souls II
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • Hearthstone
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Developer of the Year

  • Blizzard
  • Monolith Productions
  • Nintendo
  • Telltale Games
  • Ubisoft Montreal

Best Independent Game

  • Broken Age: Act 1
  • Monument Valley
  • Shovel Knight
  • Transistor
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Best Mobile/Handheld Game

  • Bravely Default
  • Hearthstone
  • Monument Valley
  • Super Smash Bros. 3DS
  • Threes

Best Narrative

  • South Park: The Stick of Truth
  • The Walking Dead Season Two
  • The Wolf Among Us
  • Valiant Hearts: The Great War
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order

Best Score/Soundtrack

  • Alien Isolation
  • Child of Light
  • Destiny
  • Sunset Overdrive
  • Transistor

Best Performance

  • Adam Harrington as Bigby Wolf, The Wolf Among Us
  • Kevin Spacey as Jonathan Irons, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Melissa Hutchison as Clementine, The Walking Dead Season Two
  • Trey Parker as Various Voices, South Park: The Stick of Truth
  • Troy Baker as Talion, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Games For Change

  • Mountain
  • Never Alone
  • The Last of Us: Left Behind
  • This War of Mine
  • Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Best Remaster

  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
  • The Last of Us Remastered
  • The Master Chief Collection
  • Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

Best Shooter

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Destiny
  • Far Cry 4
  • Titanfall
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order

Best Action/Adventure

  • Alien Isolation
  • Assassin’s Creed Unity
  • Bayonetta 2
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Sunset Overdrive

Best RPG

  • Bravely Default
  • Dark Souls II
  • Divinity: Original Sin
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth

Best Fighting Game

  • Killer Instinct Season Two
  • Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
  • Super Smash Bros. 3DS
  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U
  • Ultra Street Fighter IV

Best Family Game

  • Disney Infinity 2.0
  • Fantasia Music Evolved
  • Mario Kart 8
  • Skylanders Trap Team
  • Tomodachi Life

Best Sports/Racing Game

  • FIFA 15
  • Forza Horizon 2
  • Mario Kart 8
  • NBA 2K15
  • Trials Fusion

Best Online Experience

  • Call of Duty Advanced Warfare
  • Dark Souls II
  • Destiny
  • Hearthstone
  • Titanfall
Fan-voted categories:

Most Anticipated Game

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Evolve
  • Bloodborne

eSports Player of the Year

  • Matt “NaDeSHoT” Haag
  • Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund
  • Xu “Fy” Linsen
  • Martin “Rekkles” Larsson
  • James “Firebat” Kostesich

eSports Team of the Year

  • Ninjas in Pajamas
  • Evil Geniuses
  • Samsung White
  • Edward Gaming
  • Newbee

Trending Gamer

  • TotalBiscuit
  • Jeff Gerstmann
  • PewDiePie
  • Evan “Vanoss” Fong
  • StampyLongHead

Best Fan Creation

  • Twitch Plays Pokemon

  • Luigi Death Stare

  • Best Zelda Rap EVER!!!

  • Minecraft – TITAN City

  • Mine the Diamond (Minecraft song)

It certainly makes for an interesting list. What do you make of it?

The event will take place in Las Vegas at the AXIS Theater in Planet Hollywood on December 5 at 9pm ET / 6pm PT / 2am UK. It will be viewable on PSN, Xbox Live, Wii U, Steam, Twitch, YouTube, Kotaku, IGN, GameSpot, Kotaku, Niconico and MLG.

 

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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains That Convoluted Interstellar Ending http://egmr.net/2014/11/neil-degrasse-tyson-explains-convoluted-interstellar-ending/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/neil-degrasse-tyson-explains-convoluted-interstellar-ending/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:00:04 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163436 Interstellar is, for better or worse, Christopher Nolan’s most human tale. At its very core are dealings with love, the human condition, survival and a lot of it is kind […]

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Interstellar is, for better or worse, Christopher Nolan’s most human tale. At its very core are dealings with love, the human condition, survival and a lot of it is kind of lost in Nolan’s need to tell rather than show. That said, Interstellar does have the underpinnings of a very different space opera, even if it borrows quite a bit from 2001.

On a technical level I had a number of issues with the editing, more than a few of the shots and with the soundtrack occasionally being oppressive (even for Hans Zimmer). Despite that, I felt it was a fresh take on space exploration and admired that much of the pseudo-science was grounded in real, hard science. Right down to the modelling of the black hole.

While I may have had issues with the film throughout, many others (Caveshen included) felt that the movie was great up until that final bit whereupon the film rather collapsed in on itself.

Now, here on EGMR we have a certain love for Neil deGrasse Tyson so we’ll jump at any excuse to see him talk science. He was in the camp of people who had more than a few issues with Interstellar and has a number of things he doesn’t quite understand about the film:

  • If you can poke through a tesseract and touch books, why not just write a note & pass it through.
  • Stars vastly outnumber Black Holes. Why is the best Earthlike planet one that orbits a Black Hole
  • Who in the universe would ever know the titles of all their books, from behind, on an bookshelf.
  • How a pickup truck can drive with a flat tire among densely planted corn stalks taller than it.
  • If wormholes exist among our planets, then why can’t one open up near Earth instead of Saturn.
  • Gotta tell you. Mars (right next door) looks waay safer than those new planets they travelled to.
  • If you crack your space helmet yet keep fighting, the Planet’s air can’t be all that bad for you.
  • Can’t imagine a future where escaping Earth via wormhole is a better plan than just fixing Earth.
  • In this unreal future, they teach unscientific things in science class. Oh, wait. That is real.

Now, with that picture painted you can watch the video up top wherein Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how the science behind ending of Interstellar could work. It’s only a short, three minute video and it certainly feels like not enough time for him to say all that there is to say but it’s courtesy of Business Insider and The Wolf of Wall Street showed us pretty clearly how folks in the business sector behave.

That said, three minutes is enough. If you know what I mean. It hardly explains anything aside from perhaps the basics but it’s a fun explanation nonetheless.

What are your thoughts on Interstellar not only as a film but a work of science fiction?

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X-Men Apocalypse To Feature A Young (And Hopefully Far More Interesting) Jean Grey And Cyclops http://egmr.net/2014/11/x-men-apocalypse-feature-young-jean-grey-cyclops/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/x-men-apocalypse-feature-young-jean-grey-cyclops/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 12:00:01 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163385 2014 may have been a disappointing year for gaming thus far but it has been one hell of a year for cinema. We’ve gotten some truly great movies out of […]

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2014 may have been a disappointing year for gaming thus far but it has been one hell of a year for cinema. We’ve gotten some truly great movies out of the comic book sub-genre and with Marvel steamrolling ahead on their future plans for both the universe at large as well as Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America specifically, what are Twentieth Century Fox’s plans for X-Men? The obvious answer is X-Men: Apocalypse but what exactly is the film going to entail aside from En Sabah Nur, the 80’s and a complete lack of Michael Fassbender’s penis?

Well, for one thing the film will feature a young Scott Summers and Jean Grey in its 80’s setting. Now, the previous X-Men films had decidedly awful interpretations of both characters with Wolverine effectively usurping Cyclops as the leader and thereby leaving him with little to do on-screen. Meanwhile, Jean was neither the strong telepath to be reckoned with nor the intimidating Phoenix. She was more of an annoyance than anything really.

If Apocalypse can at least stay a little more true to the characters then that’s already half the battle won. The other half would be casting the right actor and actress for the roles. It’s hard to judge casting choices with young actors who don’t have an expansive body of work and can very well turn out a brilliant performance with the right circumstances.

TheWrap has a scoop on possible casting consideration for both roles.

Up for Jean Grey the names currently floating about are Elle Fanning (Maleficent), Hailee Steinfeld (Ender’s Game) and Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass). Given her performance in Maleficent, I would knock Fanning out of contention immediately. Hailee Steinfeld displayed a quiet intensity that could translate well into a portrayal of Jean Grey while Chloe Grace Moretz’s work in Kick-Ass and Carrie speak for what she can bring to the role when it comes to Phoenix-ing out. Either would seem like a good fit.

With regards to casting Scott Summers, it seems the intention was to go for someone a little less known. Your potential boy Cyclops forerunners are Charlie Rowe (The Golden Compass, Red Band Society), Ben Hardy (EastEnders), and Timothee Chalamet (Homeland, Interstellar). The only one I recognise is Chalamet and can honestly not say much for what any of them may be able to bring to the role.

Rumour has it that Bryan Singer has thus far met with Moretz and Fanning with screen tests yet to take place. With X-Men Apocalypse only due out in 2016, a little care in casting the right people for two very important roles would be appreciated by fans who had to put up with them in the first three X-Men films.

Apocalypse will serve as a close to the arc started by FRist Class and will focus a lot more on the relationship between Mystique and Magneto. However, with rumblings of Cable making his debut in the franchise at some point, it would make sense to give some attention to Jean and Scott as his parents. Summers and Grey could also serve as a counterpoint to the relationship between Magneto and Mystique.

What would you like to see from X-Men Apocalypse and aside from the names mentioned, which young actors may be suitable for the roles of Scott Summers and Jean Grey? I vote Jaden Smith for Cyclops because of his smouldering gaze.

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LEGO Batman Film Will Toy With Every Iteration Of Batman We’ve Ever Seen http://egmr.net/2014/11/lego-batman-film-toy-every-iteration-batman-weve-ever-seen/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/lego-batman-film-toy-every-iteration-batman-weve-ever-seen/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:00:57 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163386 Earlier this week, the masterminds behind The LEGO Movie Phil Lord and Chris Miller weighed in on equal representation in the sequel due out in 2018. Before we get there […]

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Earlier this week, the masterminds behind The LEGO Movie Phil Lord and Chris Miller weighed in on equal representation in the sequel due out in 2018. Before we get there though they’ve got LEGO Batman and Ninjago on the slate.

With 22 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie having propelled Lord and Miller to the status of untouchable comedy Gods, it’s time to see what their more immediate projects will look like. Of course, Ninjago and LEGO Batman need to be quite different for The LEGO Movie to prevent series fatigue from setting in by the time the 2018 gets here. So how exactly are they going to be different?

For starters, Lord and Miller will be involved in LEGO Batman but animation director from The LEGO Movie, Chris McKay, will be heading up the film. The same goes for Ninjago with Charlie Bean taking the helm there. In an interview with Empire, Miller discussed how each film will differentiate itself:

“The thing is about these movies is that each of them have their own tone and their own voice. We’re doing this Ninjago one with Charlie Bean, we’re working on the Batman one, and each one of them feels like its own movie, but obviously they all exist in the universe that the Lego movie existed in, and so finding that balance has been part of the trick.”

Lord described the approach as Avengers in reverse. Instead of building and then culminating, they’ve started big and are now tearing the world they’ve built into its individual components. It’s not far off from what DC is doing with Batman v Superman and then Justice League.

Batman was one of the standout characters from The LEGO movie for simply being such a hilariously different take on the character that poked fun at his mythos. With Batman hot in pretty much every medium from gaming to film to comics, you can expect LEGO Batman to draw on that and channel it into the film’s humour.

Miller put it like this:

“Rest assured that every era of Batman filmmaking will be acknowledged. There have been so many interpretations of Batman and there is so much to play with there.”

I cannot wait to see what the movie serves up in answer to not only the Keaton and Bale era Batman but also the new, Ben Affleck Batman. I certainly wouldn’t say no to a few jabs at the comics for fans.

Is it just me or are you equally excited for more of Will Arnett’s incredibly hilarious and kinda weird Batman?

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Telltale’s Game Of Thrones Is Going To Tell A Very Different Tale http://egmr.net/2014/11/telltales-game-thrones-going-tell-different-tale/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/telltales-game-thrones-going-tell-different-tale/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 08:00:14 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163309 Telltale Games has established itself as a studio to be reckoned with as long as the weapon of choice is a character-driven point ‘n click adventure game. The studio’s modus […]

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Telltale Games has established itself as a studio to be reckoned with as long as the weapon of choice is a character-driven point ‘n click adventure game. The studio’s modus operandi is typically to take an existing franchise and craft its own stories within that world. They did it with Sam & Max, The Walking Dead. The Wolf Among Us and now they’re daring to touch Game of Thrones.

How exactly does one go about telling a story more compelling than the intricate web woven by George R.R. Martin? It seems an arduous task but Telltale seems up to the challenge and given the success of The Walking Dead games, the developer has been greenlit to produce Game of Thrones in their unique way for a few years to come.

Name: Game of Thrones
Genre: Deforestation
Players: 1
Multiplayer: None
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360
Developers: Telltale Games
Publishers: Telltale games
Release Date: December 2014
Price: N/A

It would be crazy to start afresh somewhere in Westeros so instead Telltale will be avoiding the big houses such as Tyrell, Stark, Targaryen and Lannister. Instead the series will follow House Forrester, a house which is mentioned in A Dance with Dragons and hails for the northern fortress of Ironrath. If the name didn’t give it away, they control a forest. The first season has been given a six episode run, a little decadent given Telltale’s standard penchant for five episode per season. Regardless, it will delve into events occurring parallel to seasons 3-5 of the TV series. Over the course of the six episodes, players will control one of five members of House Forrester at a time. Each players actions will affect the others and ultimately the fate of the house. That, in and of itself, presents something quite different from Telltale’s single perspective in other games. This opens players up to more complex narratives and of course for at least one of the playable characters to die. It’s not Game of Thrones spoilers if there’s no certainty that it will even happen.

The story will incorporate some of the big houses but in a unconfirmed capacity. Typically, fans can rest a little more easily when the creator is involved in branching projects such as this one and while George R.R. Martin may not be directly involved in Telltale’s Game of Thrones, his PA Ty Corey Franck has been serving as a story consultant on the project. It’s important to note that Telltale is not attempting to add to canon here but rather flesh out events that are fixed within the timeline of the books.

We know precious little about the precise direction that Game of Thrones will take but the first episode is titled Iron from Ice so make of that what you will. It will certainly be refreshing to see Westeros from a different, fringe perspective that isn’t the Night’s Watch. Telltale’s contract is with HBO and as such any changes that the TV series has made will follow through into Game of Thrones (not to be confused with the other Game of Thrones).

What then of the gameplay? You might expect it to be the typical adventure style gameplay we’ve come to expect from Telltale but the developer has promised a bigger scale while still keeping the narrative very intimate and character-driven. Much like the source material. Also on the cards are “large battles” which could mean anything from five guys beating down on each other in a courtyard to something a little more epic… like five guys throwing down on the edge of a cliff.

With The Wolf Among Us Telltale showed that they are not afraid to get gory and explicit so it’s likely that their vision of Game of Thrones will not stray too far the aesthetic and style established by the TV series. The real questions is whether we’ll have to play through the sex scenes because I still have scars from Heavy Rain.

Visually, Game of Thrones is once again departing slightly from the established Telltale style with a little less stylisation but still cel-shading. It’s a hard look to pull off without the heavy stylisation of TWD or even more so TWAU so the visual style may take some getting used to.

 

Suspected Selling Points
  • It’s Game of Thrones
  • Telltale’s pedigree speaks for itself
  • A different take and perspective on the source material

 

Potential Pitfalls
  • It could fall flat when compared to the source material
  • Too much of the same

Telltale’s take on Game of Thrones promises to be something a little different to what we’ve seen before from Game of Thrones and the developer alike. Telltale’s Game of Thrones could make for a fascinating game.

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Review: Assassin’s Creed: Unity Is Vapid, Bourgeois Excess At Its Most Maddening http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-assassins-creed-unity/ http://egmr.net/2014/11/review-assassins-creed-unity/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 12:00:58 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=163064 Visit review on site for scoring. I leap onto a rooftop, silently moving from one guard post to the next, neutralising snipers with expert efficiency. I bound down to a […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

I leap onto a rooftop, silently moving from one guard post to the next, neutralising snipers with expert efficiency. I bound down to a locked door and opened it with the key I’d stolen but moments ago from a guard in a tavern. I make my way into Notre Dame and begin preying on the unsuspecting guards around the upper level. Down below, I see my target on the move and I make a dash for the confessional box down below. I wait for him in there. He enters and through the grating comes the blade that ends him. I exit the booth and leave the way I came. Like a shadow. I was never here. Aside from the yet to be discovered trail of bodies in my wake.

This is Assassin’s Creed: Unity at its best. Its maddening, frustrating best. In these furtive moments I’m a little closer to the AC sequel I’ve dreamed of.

I’ve got a special bond with the Assassin’s Creed franchise. For better or worse, Assassin’s Creed was the first game I avidly followed pre-release and when it finally did release (and I got a PS3 for this game) I was absolutely blown away. This was an experience unlike any other I’d had before. It’s an anecdote I always bring out when it comes time to discuss the latest Assassin’s Creed and so here we find ourselves; a generation later and we’d be remiss to not draw the circumstantial parallels between the first and the seventh or eighth major Assassin’s Creed title.

With Unity, Ubisoft Montreal set about going bigger than ever before while at the same time going back to the basics of what made the original so unique. The result is an inversion of those things which made the first game so fantastic.

Assassin’s Creed was a little minimal in its gameplay and world but had heaps of soul, passion and depth. Unity has none of those. Perhaps the only true connection is that they both show just what their respective generation is capable of.

With each successive AC title things have changed, drifted further away from the core that was established in the first two games. However, through all of it each game still had that unmistakeable AC charm and DNA. Perhaps the greatest compliment I can pay of Unity, looks aside, is that (when it works, when the stars align) it is the first time since the first two Assassin’s Creed titles that I have truly felt like an assassin.

The trouble is that between that great feeling and you lays a labyrinth of woes and troubles.

Let us begin with the obvious. Assassin’s Creed: Unity is incredibly pretty. Character models could be a little better but cutscenes are a treat and Paris is absolutely breathtaking. However, this comes at a hefty cost. Remain motionless and Unity is one of the best cases for what the rendering power of the new consoles can achieve but take a brisk run and you’ll find Unity to be something else entirely. A game so in need of a stable and optimised engine that at best it will frequently stutter, at worst the framerate will chug. It’s nowhere near what you may have endured in Assassin’s Creed III but it is awfully noticeable. The difference here is that AC III was pushing old tech to its limits whereas Unity has no excuses. It is poorly optimised and poorly tested. Worse still is that loading times are a little on the long side. Not just initially but also when fast travelling between places. There is little point in dating a beautiful person if half your time is spent waiting for them to put their face on or get their hair just right. On the topic of hair, Unity does do hair rather well, miles better than Tomb Raider at any rate.

One of the big features that Ubisoft touted with Unity is how the game’s engine renders hundreds and thousands of NPCs at one time. Indeed it can and the crowds of Paris are absolutely incredible to wade through but try walking through a crowd without the framerate suffering. Aside from framerate peeves, you’ll also encounter characters passing through each other, walls, and a host of other collision detection foibles that highlight how this is a stunning game without being technically stunning. Let us not forget NPC and enemy animations that are largely copied from the previous game.

Essentially, I respect the ambition with the visuals but I cannot excuse the lack of thought that went into making it work properly in a way that doesn’t ruin the visual splendour.

Speaking of ambition, the game’s narrative has none. This is scarcely a surprise after all the series has been through but with Unity there is little evidence to suggest the script was even edited. It’s a bit late now, we’re over 800 words in, but I guess a proper introduction is in order. Assassin’s Creed: Unity takes place during the French Revolution and follows Arno Victor Dorian. As a young boy his father his murdered and then as a young man his adoptive father is also murdered and there is a pattern here. Arno is wrongly accused for the murder, gets tossed in the Bastille and breaks out when the prison is stormed. He then becomes an assassin. The game follows his path of redemption, revenge and revolution. At least, that’s what it should say on the box. Instead it’s a cobbled together hodgepodge of excuses to kill people and Arno proving that he really should be exiled from the Creed. There is a totalitarian lack of logic, a disregard for any cohesive connecting thread and a final act that collapses in on itself. You’ll find the plot bouncing from one antagonist to the next until they’re all dead.

Arno himself is equal parts brash, charming Ezio and pig-headed, annoying Connor. He’s also a bit of a dolt, just for good measure. There’s even a love story here. There is nothing to get emotionally invested in because it’s all written as if someone once heard how to write an interesting story but couldn’t quite recall how to do it. So instead he jotted down whatever he could remember onto his hand and then those scribblings got smudged.

This was to serve as something of a soft-reboot for the franchise of whatever semblance of a plot Ubisoft still has going but there is hardly one to speak of. There is even less of a present day plot to speak of so we simply shan’t.

Unity takes place almost entirely in Paris, with some brief and obligatory stints in Versailles. Unity’s Paris is dense, dirty and overflowing with people. This also perfectly describes the game’s chaotic map. It is a veritable clusterfuck of activity. Much of it existing for activity’s sake and being derivative of other activities you’ve done. You won’t walk 10 meters in any direction without finding something to do. The trouble is that much of it bears no meaning or significance and is really just busy-work. To ram the point home allow me to run through the list of activities available to players: co-op missions, heists, Brotherhood missions, campaign missions, Paris stories, Café Theatre activities, Nostradamus Enigmas, murder mysteries, citizen opportunities, cockade collection, chests, rifts and more. I cannot even recall all that there is to do in this game. If you’re an achievement whore, you may be groaning at how much this game is going to make you work for that 1000G. If you’re a fan of games that you can pour weeks into then you might delight at all this content.

Some of it warrants a bit of explanation. We’ll get onto the game’s multiplayer aspects a little while from now but your above ground base of operations is the Café Theatre and as such you can earn an income from it. Initially this is a pittance but by completing activities for it and performing renovations, you will increase the revenue the place brings in. Quite different to this would be a Rift mission which is effectively a server bridge within the Animus which can temporarily take the user to a different time period. This usually entails jumping around and collecting tokens to beat your high score. Very original. Perhaps more interesting and new to the series is the concept of murder mysteries. You investigate a scene and then use Eagle Vision to sniff out clues and potential suspects. It’s a neat little breather to actually solve a murder rather than commit one for once. There’s a checklist of evidence to find and chances are that once you’ve found all the evidence then pointing a finger at a suspect and accusing him should lead to the correct person being accused. It’s pretty basic but is a nice little addition as side content goes. Meanwhile the Nostradamus Enigmas caught my attention most. Completing all of them unlocks a medieval Assassin’s uniform. They each comprise three riddles with each in turn leading you to the location of the next. It’s a great idea and something I looked forward to but fails in just how absolutely idiotic some of the riddles are. They’re not difficult but rather obtuse and vague. In order to solve them one would need to do more reaching than Tom Hanks did in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons combined.

Some of the side activities are great fun and all in all there is no shortage of variety here. However there is little to no reason to be doing most of what these side activities would have you do. A fair amount of it is a little irrelevant and incoherently disjointed a la Assassin’s Creed III. This dawned on me while doing a Paris Stories activity that saw me following a crazy woman who claimed to be having visions and then murdering certain people she believed were out to kill her. Yes, that really happens.

What then of the much-hyped co-operative gameplay? I wish I could tell you but Ubisoft’s servers were down for a third of my time with the game and refused to matchmake me with anybody thereafter (am I that hard to love?). There was one occasion where I got into a co-op mission with a few folks. Unfortunately, they were brutes who wouldn’t know stealth if it blared an airhorn in their faces. The mission did not go well. I attempted a few co-op missions on my own (you’re allowed to do this) and fared somewhat decently without a Boy Wonder at my side. Structurally they vary. Sometimes you may have to assassinate someone, other times it’s a heist, once it was a prison break. The missions can be good fun with the right friends and that’s where clubs come in. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Create a club, invite some friends, play together, profit. It’s more or less the central conceit of DriveClub and while I didn’t get the opportunity to truly test this feature out, it looks interesting. Aside from simply naming your club, you can also specify which mission type you prefer and whether you’re in it for fun, immersion or to complete the game in its delicious 100% entirety. Performing missions under your club earns it points for upgrades and the like. It may just be a more fleshed out system than DriveClub. If only it wasn’t as non-functioning as DriveClub.

The game’s campaign comprises 12 sequences and barring the degenerating mess that is the final two, there is the general structure of each sequence being capped off with a big assassination mission, much like in the original game. The mission variety aside from these assassinations is nothing new and there are certainly missions that you’ve encountered at least a half dozen times before. There are investigations, tailing and the usual ho-hum selection of mission variety on offer. A few redeeming factors are that tailing is far less frequent and a lot less irksome with losing the target simply meaning you must look for them again rather than getting desynchronised. Also, every mission in a given sequence leads up to the big assassination. What of these assassination missions? These “blackbox” missions that put players in an area and allow players to almost craft their kill. For starters, it doesn’t quite work that way.

Instead, you are put into an area and the target will be marked out on the map along with two opportunities to either aid the assassination, gain access into a building, cause a distraction or provide an easy escape. I don’t know about you but having ways in which to make the mission run smoother marked out on a map is not my definition of blackbox. You’re still very much being told what to do. You could ignore the opportunities and do your own thing but the game is telling you what to do in order to get the perfect kill. To put it lightly, Hitman: Blood Money did it better and that was before the first Assassin’s Creed even released. With regards to these opportunities, sometimes you’ll have to figure out how to use them to your advantage, other times you’re explicitly told and too much of the time they just exist without any real indication of how they’re useful or relevant. That’s good design right there.

All that said, as I mentioned in the beginning, these assassinations can be extremely entertaining and great fun. They may just be one of Unity’s standout features. However, for every satisfying assassination, there was one that fell a little flat. Often enough though it’s not the assassination that is disappointing but rather the inconsistent game design and gameplay tainting your experience.

Let’s talk about stabbing people. It’s a good stress release. Now let’s talk about gameplay mechanics.

They’re a little laughable. When it all works it is an absolute treat (if a little outdated) and when it doesn’t, it really isn’t. With Unity, going back to basics extends not only to mission structure but to gameplay as well. Over the years we’ve joked about this series becoming Warrior’s Creed with the mantra being, “stealth is nothing, counter is everything.” You could fend off waves of enemies with continuous counter-attacks. To its credit, AC IV: Black Flag made it a delightfully deadly art to behold but you were the furthest thing from an assassin. However, Unity wants to break the habit with combat that is tougher and will steer players towards the game’s stealth mechanics. It’s hard to say if it does because the minute you give me the most basic stealth mechanics, I will attempt to be a ninja. However, I did get into frequent altercations due to enemy awareness of me that swung wildly between entirely oblivious and pointing me out in the middle of a crowd from 200 yards away. In these instances, ranged weapons and distractions are your friend but if you plant your feet and fight then it is simply a matter of countering and striking as before but in a less fluid manner. Another cause for getting into fights or failing a mission was the trademark instability of Assassin’s Creed gameplay at times. Enemies will attack with greater ferocity and take a few more strikes to bring down but you’ll be more than capable against five enemies or less. I can vouch for this and I am far from the most proficient combatant. That said, enemies will fire at you more than ever before and unless you’re well-protected, two or three bullets is all it’ll take to flatten you.

With regards to stealth, the series has always been rudimentary at best. This time around you’ll get just enough to qualify Unity as having stealth gameplay. Players can hide or duck behind cover, adopt a disguise, pick locks or use phantom blades from a distance (effectively the same as blow darts in the previous game). It may be extremely basic but it is functional enough to be enjoyable. The addition of disguises and lockpicking is welcome even if disguises are hilariously terrible for a game that looks this good. Unity’s idea of a “disguise” is becoming a clone of whoever you’ve chosen to disguise yourself as. Not stealing their clothes but becoming them. Whether they’re a balding farmer or a red-cheeked whore.

Antiquated is the word I’m looking for. You cannot create a game in this age, with that level of visual technology behind it and expect me to believe that this is the disguise system you could concoct. Again, there are games from before Assassin’s Creed even existed that did a better job.

One area of intrigue is Unity’s character customisation. There are many, many options and I do think that, again, this is one of the game’s strong points. There’s the usual selection of weapons and consumables but added to this are a whole lot of hoods, coats, waist wraps, breeches, bracers and boots. Each comes with its own stats boosts and will determine whether your version of Arno is suited for combat or stealth, speed or survivability, ranged or melee. For example, a high profile hood increases your radius for Eagle Vision but also increases your risk of getting spotted by guards. It’s all a fine balance of trade-offs. Of course, once you’ve chosen the pants that are best you can deck it all out in a colour combination of your choosing.

It sounds pretty great and offers a bit of depth. However, much of the gear is only unlocked through co-op missions which rather forces you to be sociable. Fret not though; you can get by just fine without those unlockables. Worse still is the selection of skills that players can purchase in any of the four key areas – Ranged, Health, Melee, Stealth. Things like that disguise system and lockpicking can only be acquired through purchasing. More perplexing is that things previously available to the player such as double assassinations and double air assassinations have to be purchased just the same. It’s understandable that a player who plans on fighting their way through the game may have no need for disguises but double assassinations? This could have been a great opportunity to allow players to add to their skillset in addition to the base skills we’re used to but instead it’s another case of locking off content we’re used to having by default.

The biggest offense of Unity’s varied and intriguing upgrade system is just how many currencies you need to manage. There are regular Florins for purchasing gear and weapons, Synch Points are earned for completing missions and will get you those skills, Creed Points are earned by completing any number of “assassin-like” activities such as vanishing after being sighted and go towards colour options and upgrading your owned gear. Then there are Helix Points which, as far as I can tell, are earned in-game but at a very slow rate and can be used to “hack” items i.e. get them without having the sufficient coin. To get a decent amount of Helix Points you’d need to buy a pack of them with (here it comes) real money. It is very obvious that unless you are going to grind for a long time then the Helix Points packs are your best ticket to getting the top-shelf stuff. Ubisoft has implemented microtransactions like this before but never quite so obtrusively and certainly not as cavalierly. The most expensive pack will set you back $99 and you might need a few of these if you want to unlock the really good stuff. That said, you can get by just fine with the stuff you unlock through regular gameplay. In fact, the final gear I ended the game with was pretty great and was perfect for my stealth approach.

It’s hard to label each of Unity’s gameplay issues but they are certainly there. Aiming doesn’t always work the way it should, combat feels laborious and the collision detection issues meant that on more than one occasion I was killed by a phantom spear passing through a pillar and failed to kill an enemy who should’ve been Hannibal’s next meal five swings of my blade ago.

On the flipside of that are some great animations and improvements to parkour. Arno moves with a lot more momentum and realism behind him (thanks to that bloke Ubisoft hired to consult them on parkour) and there are some great kill animations. For example, running up to an enemy and hitting X (Xbox) will either have Arno do a twirl and slit the guy’s throat or slide to trip the enemy up and then pounce down upon him with that sweet blade. With regards to parkour, Ubisoft has not only improved the act of climbing up but now by holding Right Trigger + B, Arno will swiftly descend in a manner most graceful and badass. As with a lot of things in Unity, when it works, the parkour is absolutely fantastic but it is mired by the same issues that troubled previous games where contextual controls will only work upon the incantation of secret words and Arno will often get stuck somewhere or arbitrarily jump off a massive building or simply refuse to do what you’re trying to do.

One of the criticisms I had planned to level against Unity is that it never quite feels as if you’re actually in the French Revolution. Yes, you get involved in a number of key events in the revolution and meet plenty of key personalities from the era but it somehow feels disjointed and removed from what you’re being told is going on. This is in part due to the fact that Arno is very much only focused on his own little exploits. On one hand I’m tempted to say this could be a wise choice as it’s perhaps a better representation of what it might have been like to live through the revolution. Sure, all these things happened but people were still trying to live their lives. It resonates with one moment where Arno ponders, “Do you think things will ever go back to the way they were before?”, because he genuinely does not know that these events will shape history. On the other hand, the game actively involves us in the revolution but without giving us real context or relevance to what’s going on or what we’re doing it. That information is there but it’s not presented in an attractive way. Instead it comes by means of database entries and chances are that if you’re the type to be reading those then you already know a good deal of it anyway.

Perhaps part of the barrier to me feeling that I was actually in 18th Century Paris was the accents. It sounds like a nitpick but hear me out. Everybody either has British or somewhat American accents in this game and it just makes it sounds very much like Black Flag. The voice acting is by no means bad, it simply does not fit with the world of the game. So at some point I switched the language to French and while I still felt like the game didn’t truly want me to feel immersed in the French Revolution, it did help sell that I was actually in Paris. I would honestly recommend French if you have no problem with subtitles.

Another nitpick but symptomatic of a larger issue is the intrusive HUD. The map is overflowing with so many things that it is hard to make out what’s what without zooming in too much. Icons will appear all around you and fill the periphery of the screen. During certain activities you’ll get a checklist (with clues for murder mysteries or opportunities in assassinations) which strips any organic user agency away from the experience and instead replaces it with mechanically following what the game instructs you to do. If you can, it doesn’t hurt to turn off some of the HUD display features. It’s as if Unity is afraid to leave its player unattended.

It’s baffling that a game could bring in so many changes and yet suffer from historical issues of the series. As a soft reboot, a back to basics, Unity has not been a complete failure but it is far from a fresh start for the series. A koala in a tuxedo is still a rapid and feral creature.

It seems almost as if for everything it gets right, Unity gets three more wrong.

Generally I’m a little lenient on Assassin’s Creed games because they still offer an experience unlike any other and a true opportunity to get lost in whatever time period the game has you running amok in. However, Unity will not get that same leniency.

I had no expectations of it being anything revelatory, nor did I entertain illusions that it may be for the new consoles what Assassin’s Creed was for the PS3 and X360. It would be absurd to expect that from Ubisoft in its current state.

That said, at almost every turn, Unity sacrifices substance or even a high level of quality for excess. A lot of what you do will be meaningless, there is no purpose to it and certainly no connecting motive tethering all the disparate elements of gameplay together. Perhaps that may not be too bad if the activities the game would have you do were not so derivative of each other and done in such a half-hearted manner. Some might worry that Assassin’s Creed is running out of ideas. Quite the opposite, in fact. They’re implementing half-baked ideas all over the place rather than developing said ideas into some worthwhile contribution to gameplay. When you’ve heard the same lines repeated a dozen times, you stop caring about the pretty city and start getting annoyed at the tedious dialogue. So much guff will only get you so far.

Far too often, Unity frustrates with gameplay that, while still good fun, feels outdated and primitive at times. As a result of this we have the same primitive issues that have been plaguing AC titles for years. Unity may serve as a suitable popcorn game where you can switch your mind off and simply run around doing things and stuff but flick your mind back on the lack of substance can become a problem. All its many activities serve no purpose, Arno has no reason to be doing half of them aside from, “because the developers put it there.” Unity may have the ingredients of a better, greater game but they are put together in an inept fashion. Undercooked, unwashed and tossed together in a dirty pot. A little more care and effort might have gone a long way at the expense of a few sundry bits of gameplay.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity is not the shining pinnacle of next-gen gaming, nor is it the new gold standard. It is exactly how not to approach this generation of gaming. All the features, all the polygons are for naught if the problems from the previous generation are being carried over. It is hard to excuse a game that insists on shoving hundreds of animated NPCs on-screen at a time at the cost of a stable framerate, improved animations and object detection that doesn’t cause characters, walls and floors to go through each other. Somehow, it stops being fun when I’m still experiencing the same issues and bugs that I was experiencing back in 2010.

I still had my fun with Unity and it is by no means a bad game. It is simply not a good one. As long as that base Assassin’s Creed DNA courses through a game’s veins, it will be very hard for it to be unequivocally bad. However, Unity shamelessly ignores what was wrong with the AC core that already existed and simply tacks on more. Perhaps most telling of the vacuum that Ubisoft appears to exist within is the fact that the “new features” still feel antiquated and outdated. To Ubisoft they’re revolutionary. It is clear that not a whole lot of effort went into fleshing out any of the new features or activities beyond a conceptual stage.

Last year I lauded Black Flag as a more cohesive, better put together game than its predecessor and something that could serve as a functional model for for the series going forward. Especially since Ubisoft is showing no sign of slowing down. Unity doubles back on that and puts us, arguably, further back than we were before.

For all its new-age visuals and back of the box marketable additions, Assassin’s Creed: Unity feels neither like a step up nor even a sidestep for the series but rather a step backwards. Given the opportunity to leap forward onto the new generation of consoles, Assassin’s Creed once again stuck within its comfort zone and tacked on even more bug-ridden features.

It’s more of the same and really, that’s everything wrong and right with Unity.

The post Review: Assassin’s Creed: Unity Is Vapid, Bourgeois Excess At Its Most Maddening appeared first on #egmr.

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