Take off those Pegasus Boots, hang up your tunic and gather around. This game forms the tale of one of Nintendo's most famous Hero's, Link. The Legend of Zelda A link Between Worlds forms the seventeenth game spanning over twenty five years in which we see Link cast in a familiar land. You can read a ton of reviews and articles about the storyline of A Link Between Worlds so rather than dwell on that here I want to ask: Are we teaching an old dog new tricks or are we seeing groundbreaking new game gimmicks? Or are we just having plain old fun? Let's find out.
For those of us that look back fondly on the 1992 classic A Link to the Past, we are instantly familiarized with the 'top-down' view of Hyrule Castle. The title of the game spans boldly across the scene and the camera pans in a circling motion. I am instantly happy. The nostalgia and warmth spreads through me like fire as I am reminded of my first experience with a Zelda game back in the early nineties. HERE is where the 3D capacity (if you choose to play it in 3D) of this game looked Spectacular and the game hadn't even launched.
Exploring the land of Hyrule is as captivating and charming as it ever was. In fact, my experiences within the first five minutes of the game play seemed tantalizingly smooth which elevated the satisfaction of my gaming pallet. Well Done Nintendo. Adding to this, I have read that the game was developed to output 60fps, which, in turn, enhanced the stability of the 3D effect. The actual game play is run on the top screen of the 3DS whilst the map takes stage on the bottom screen and I must say that this works great! I took an easy glance downwards to check the map which also includes new functions of 'pin dropping' and the ability to zoom on to closer sections of the map. Already, I was impressed and SO HAPPY to have purchased A Link Between Worlds.
A Link Between Worlds boasts 'never before seen dungeons and puzzles'. Hmmmm of course that is not a shocker as this is a new game in its own right! It was, however, a while in which I had the chance to dive in to the deep boughs of my first dungeon. Now I do not wish to spoil this game for anyone.....so I won't. What I will say is that A Link Between Worlds does a beautiful job of introducing brand new features. 'Merging' is a skill that transforms Link in to painting within a flat walled surface. Donning a 'Crayola-esque and cell shaded' appearance, I found myself traversing blissfully around corners within walls and through small gaps that even the smallest of swords would not penetrate. AMAZING!!! Naturally, this opens up Hyrule in a way that A Link To The Past seemed unavailable. I like this new sense of freedom.
'Slicing our way to Success' seems to be more of a choice in this game. Earlier on we are greeted by a character named as Ravio who takes up residence in Link's house after the opening scene. From the on-set of the real action, items are available to rent from Ravio (for a small fee). I was able to choose whether I could rent these items or go ahead with a lighter inventory. I found this useful as I ventured deeper in to the game BUT it was a huge pain in the arse during the first dungeon. Not only were the items taken away from me once I had died but I had to start from my house in order to re-rent the item! (thankfully the fast travel option opened up later in the game). Additionally, the items use small amounts of mana (purple guage) but the developers were kind enough to code it to 'self replenish'. Oh aren't we spoilt?
Colour popping aesthetics. Yes, that is what I see. The graphics paint a colourful world of Hyrule and surprisingly of Lorule too. I have always been incredibly soothed beyond satisfaction with the graphical capabilities in a Zelda game. A Link Between Worlds follows an exceptional suit.
So are we teaching an old dog new tricks in this game? Absolutely not. Link is as crisp as ever and looks very sexy in 3D. A Link Between Worlds seems to have precision balance of 'nostalgia versus new features'. I am loving it! If you're loving it too then you can help me to maintain this blog by buying the game via this affiliates link or by clicking on the graphic below and note that there is Free delivery to Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada of the biggest games, tees, gadgets, clothes and more.
NOW GO AND RESCUE PRINCESS ZELDA.
Have YOU played this game? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Juicy Game Reviews
Let's get one thing straight here.... This is not a review. Minecraft is arguably one of the most talked about, searched, viewed and played games of this generation. I do not want to fall in to the trap of conceiving another review about this stunningly conceptual world we now know as Minecraft. My goal here is simple. To blog about my VERY FIRST experiences with the game.
Until recently I had never entered the creative, yet soothing world of Minecraft. I happily purchased my copy on the Playstation 3 approximately three weeks ago and boasted bashfully on my YouTube Pick Ups video "I'd always been against Minecraft until now". Somebody asked me "Why were you against it?" My answer was simple. I was naive in thinking that this game had no goal, no real purpose. I was proven VERY wrong.
I muscled straight in to 'Survival Mode'. Now for somebody that had never played Minecraft, I realized that this was a bad mistake. Dropped in to the middle of this snowy, vast and barron land, I found myself frustrated at having to mine for materials. I desperately wanted to create my first dwelling so as to escape the snow and monsters that crawled around the map as soon as night fell. I found myself uttering phrases like "Shit I'm outta wood" part way through laying a floor. Off I went to 'chop, mine and gather' until I was satisfied I could complete my first house. This did not happen. I quickly became dissatisfied with the lack of progress. Not to mention my frequent pummeling by Creepers, Skeletons and Zombies. What was my response?
I embarked in to the endless and fruitful round of 'Creative Mode'. HEREIN LAY THE POSSIBILITIES OF MINECRAFT! I found that all of my supplies were unlimited thus, wasted no time in building my first house. As an intently visual person, I am drawn to bright colours, symmetry and 'expensive' aesthetics. Gold Ore and Glow stones were therefore my material of choice of erecting the walls of my very first home in Minecraft. I soon became transfixed in to laying every block on top of one another and felt obsessed with my imagination overflowing on to the screen before me. THIS IS AMAZING! Why was I so against this game? What a fool I was. Before I knew it I had created the shell of a mammoth three story tall house equipped with two balconies and a roof that was inspired by the blocks of Tetris. Should your pallet fancy a taste of the insides of my house, rest assure as I plan on doing a house tour video on my YouTube channel as this pad has been kitted out rather nicely. My rampant crosshair did not stop there. I added a completely non-sensical underground library complete with beds, wall torches and labyrinthian steps! Oh yes, I am officially a Minecraft fan girl. Bring it on!
As time ventured on, so did I. This game is an absolute corker. My imagination danced erratically each time I popped this disc in to my Playstation 3. Five hours passed, six hours passed, village trades, 'flying' characters, it's all here in the limitless world of Minecraft. I am elated with this experience. My only regret is that I did not discover it sooner. Juicy Game Reviews will see you out there.
You can leap in to your own world filled with whatever your imagination desires by purchasing Minecraft via this affiliate link.
Over the last few days, I have been amazed at what The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014 had served on to our gaming plates. Yes, a tasty menu of games is upon us and Far Cry 4 was amongst some of the most exciting titles I had seen.
So what do we know? I want to take some time to answer that question and hopefully excite you as to what adventure lays before you from DEEP within the jungle. Far Cry 4 is set against a Himalayan backdrop within a place called Kyrat. Game play footage from E3 showed just how delicious Kyrat looked with its fluttering prayer flags that added a splash of tasteful colour as we passed by. Himalayan Mountain ranges naturally stood in the distance. I wondered how far we are going to be able to venture, up to, in to or over them? This was a great tease from Ubisoft.
As I have many stamps in my own passport from South East Asia I am used to seeing both Buddhist and Hindu shrines and temples littered within the Angkorian jungles of Cambodia and on the busy roadsides of Bangkok. As Far Cry 4 adopts a Himalyan setting, I was expecting to see the boastful, glowing sandstone structures of temples and BOY DID WE SEE THAT! Yes, it would appear to me that Ubisoft have, yet again, captured an enchanting environment for gamers to explore. I am excited to see more in November.
So who exactly are we and why are we traversing the mysticism of Kyrat? We are Ajay Ghayle, a man who had traveled to his native home to scatter his mothers ashes. But that is too easy! Ajay finds himself caught in the middle of a civil war. HERE is our gaming formula:
Himalyan beauty + Civil War and jungle Warfare x Innocent civilian = Far Cry 4
Here I am assuming that the story shall evolve with 'revenge' as Ajay's motivator to progress, explore and develop his skills. Yes, revenge!! Ubisoft showed us footage of Ajay's bus being ambushed by (of whom I perceived to be) Guerrilla fighters. With a few rounds being pumped his way, a nasty bastard in a bright purple suit talking rather sadistically and a few items set on fire, I predict Ajay will be incredibly pissed off!
The game developers of Far Cry 4 have announced new features from the games predecessor, Far Cry 3. We will now be more under threat from nature (as if we weren't already) as aerial attacks pose a threat to the player. Naturally, we'll need to be more vigilant. I like the sound of this as it equates to A challenge! What else, a grapple hook, a cross bow, the ability to kick items toward an enemy, drive and shoot AND (my personal favourite) driving takedowns. To top this off, I want to mention a point that struck me as I analyzed the game play footage. Sound effects. These have been an integral part of my likability of previous Far Cry games. The sound of the rope tightening as Ajay clings to it mid-swing or the delicate parts of a clip clinking against other parts of a gun as Ajay reloads his weapon. In my opinion, THIS aspect is an under-reported yet satisfying trait of Far Cry. I instantly noticed this in Far Cry 4 and I LOVE IT!
Far Cry 4 had pushed my expectations beyond belief with my next point. A point that received the loudest roar from the crowd at E3! Players will be able to invite their PSN friends in to their game EVEN if they do not own a copy of the game! Erm...mind blown! This point also had a good reception when I announced it on my 'TheGebs24' Facebook page. So I guess that is minds blown right?
Far Cry 4 is set for Worldwide release on November 18th 2014 and will be available on Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC and I cannot wait!
Gemma ~ Juicy Game Reviews
My first 'wow' moment for Watch Dogs came when I saw the first loading screen of the main character; Aiden Pearce. A still and steady shot in which Aiden is looking directly and intently at us through the screen. There appeared to be a determination in his eyes that made me feel full of anticipation about playing this game. The texture on the peak of his baseball cap looked incredibly real whilst donning that 'slightly tattered look'. It was easy to pick out the reflections from within his focused eyes, that made me question 'what is he looking at?' As a gamer, I was raring to go before the game had even progressed passed this screen.
Upon entering the virtual world of Chicago, I felt a slight sense of agitation as the graphics didn't appear to be as slick as I had wanted. THAT was my first thought about the actual gameplay and particularly as the first loading screen had teased me with such immense detail. Despite this, I soon adjusted and found that I became very satisfied with the graphical ability that Ubisoft had provided.... to a point. I would have preferred to see more texture in certain areas of the game play. The vehicles in Watch Dogs adopt a high tint from light sources when stationary and in transit. I tested this by smashing the crap out of door panels on cars in the hope that I would see some intricate detail from damage. BUT STILL, the damage maintained the high tint as though it had just been waxed. I am being picky here but this is the truth.
Hacking, hacking and more hacking. This sandbox experience is littered with plenty of hacking opportunities ranging from pulling basic information about civilians, emptying their bank accounts, hacking traffic signals to cause an accident, opening locked gates to switching between city surveillance cameras. This experience feels endless from which I found a freedom that I had not found in any other sandbox game. Let's elaborate. I tested how far I could go from my main character by hacking city surveillance cameras. I switched from one to the next before I could not find a further camera to dive in to. I counted a total of six cameras before this happened. Geographically, this was PRETTY far away from where we left Aiden stood, blending in to the crowds in the streets below which makes for a fun experience. I'm certain that I could go further. Here's a test for you guys. Try this and count how many cameras you can go. Leave a comment below!
Hacking is incredibly simple. It's all done from Aiden's smartphone and is 'one touch' in third person mode. I would have preferred a more challenging experience. In reality, hacking (note: I do not condone hacking) is a tricky affair so it would have been nice for the game to allow for this. A broader range of hacking mechanisms would have made for a more immersive experience.
Stealth, parkour style movements and the plain old 'run and gun' approach are all present in Watch Dogs. In my opinion there is nothing unique about the combat system. Weapons are easily accessed using the weapon wheel; crouching, standing, auto-aim, running, vaulting, swimming and hacking are typically resting under one button all depending on how you choose to approach the game. For some players this is satisfying. For me, it was neither.
Driving seems to be where Ubisoft have applied more than a measly level of effort to the gameplay. Each vehicle has a category, for example, 'heavy' and 'sports car' to name two. Your vehicle category will affect your driving ability so CHOOSE WISELY. I didn't do so well when trying to evade police detection in my cement truck! Additionally, WE HAVE BULLET TIME in vehicles!! I can hear some of you say "thank fuck for that". I certainly did. It really helps during the high speed chases in which you are caught weaving in and out of a labyrinth of vehicles on the highway. What didn't help me was the transition! The transition in and out of bullet time is very rigid. There appeared to be a crystal clear 'beginning, middle and end' when I activated my slow motion driving ability. I totally preferred Franklin's bullet time driving in Grand Theft Auto V. Oooopppss!! I made a comparison to GTA V. Like so many other reviewers, it is difficult to avoid this natural comparison between these two games. I suppose the ultimate and most obvious question is which game is better? That is for you to decide.
There is an average of 20 hours of campaign time but I preferred to address the side missions and even lose myself from within a digital trip. WOW! I found this to be a very clever way in which I could escape from the main campaign missions for an hour. I enjoyed approaching the shady looking guy in the street in order to purchase this digital narcotic experience in which I came a HUGE spider trashing through the city. I was guided by prompts on what to do next and, if passed, I was awarded with XP to upgrade my next trip! An all around winner here!
Watch Dogs is a tactical vigilante sandbox extravaganza. A lot of my peers have said comments like 'I'm holding off on this one'. Yes the game has it's flaws. Watch Dogs doesn't even claim to be Grand Theft Auto V. It is its own experience in which you play as a hacker hero that is trying to seek revenge on those responsible for killing his niece. It lacks polish as I have pointed out but overall, I am loving this game.
Watch Dogs is available for the Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U and PC. You can purchase your copy here which helps to support the maintenance of this blog. Alternatively, you can click the graphic below.
It been a long battling journey since Wolfenstein 3D shot on to our PC's back in 1992. William Blazkowicz was just as much of 'our hero' back then as he seems to be in the latest installment in the Wolfenstein franchise, Wolfenstein: The New Order. Yes, Congratulations to the developers, Machine Games. We are enthralled, yet again, from deep within the walls, trenches, stone and steel structures that you wrap around our main man. The Nazi's won the war and we need to fight as part of the resistance. Here are my initial impressions of this game.
When I first popped Wolfenstein in to my Playstation 4, waited for the usual reel of load screens and had placed my difficulty setting, solemnly, on to 'Bring em on' I was instantly hit with back story from Blazkowicz. I felt an instant connection as I viewed his dream like state in which the game teased us on Blazkowicz's softer side. Before I could explore this, the story began to 'rev the pedal' for action and the First Person Shooter experience began.
I can honestly say that I was not impressed with the game within the first hour. It felt too familiar. I was gunning down Nazi's, leaning around corners and walking the linear paths that the game design forced me to take. Now I am going to retract that 'Congratulations' I made in paragraph one! But read on as I played on..... Things just got better!
In one of my YouTube pick up videos recently, I talked about a key moment in which the game made a turn for me. Without spoiling it for you, I felt the game open up completely after I stormed the first castle. No longer did I feel locked in to the linear lines of trenches. I now had choices, CHOICES as a player. I like choices. Choices also become an integral part of the game as you progress but don't worry, I won't spoil it for you. Do I take the left ladder or the right? Behind the staircase or skirt around it? Do I stab or shoot his ass? Okay...Let's re-award that 'Congratulations' back to the game developers. You sneaky bastards. There I was thinking that I had made a mistake spending £45 on this game and now here I am thoroughly enjoying this deep immersion of Wolfenstein. I also found that a stealthier approach to the game (at this point) was giving me great pleasure in choosing my path. 'Kill The General', that was my order. I crouched as I crept silently through the halls; knife in hand. With the General in my sight I continued to adopt a light footed approach before stabbing him in the neck. STEALTH RULES for me. Obviously, I believe this to be a smarter approach as I tried the 'running and gunning' but found myself locked within a cobweb of Nazi's firing back at me. OUCH.
The game does a fantastic job of story telling. As I said, we are greeted earlier on with Blazkowicz's dream that demonstrates our hero's softer side. I found this to be a very strong element to this game. I have played MANY first person shooters that have been way too mindless, have very little story and no depth. Wolfenstein: The New Order is the polar opposite for me. Plenty of depth, we see the unfolding of characters that is paced with great voice acting, texture and clarity and I was mesmerized by our man, Blazkowickz's tender moments amidst a cut scene back drop.
So here we go, this is a fantastic first Person Shooter experience. Crammed full of story, intrigue, unique characters and GUNS! Wolfenstein: The New Order is available on Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC. For me, this is not a battle between consoles but experiencing a quality game (albeit my first hour) on a platform of your choice!
With a 20 year presence in our gaming world Mario Kart now makes it eighth appearance in the series and whilst it holds the eighth crown, the game is the first of its kind to be in full High Definition.
Is this game worth the hype though? The hype soon died for me as my delivery was almost two days late but as soon as the front door rattled, I ran down to greet that courier so quickly that no banana skin could have stopped me in my tracks. Having spent around six hours on the game, I am happy to report a pleasing experience. Naturally, the environments within the tracks are as aesthetically pleasing as one could expect. The vibrancy of the green hills in Moo Moo Meadows, the radiant warmth of the yellow sand in Dry Dry Desert and the boastful coloured blocks donning Donut Plains 3 all helped to provide me a truly warming experience. And what better way to help us glide through these tracks than with a total of 30 playable characters, 14 of which must be unlocked. I noticed that each character has a completely unique feel. I started with Yoshi, as he has always been my favourite in the MK series. He felt somewhat 'average' in his speed, handling, cornering and general fierceness. I soon switched to Ludwig, one of the earlier unlockable characters. Ludwig completely improved my game with a MUCH quicker speed boost from the start line, higher agility and surprised me with his likability from the get go. YES.... that is important. Ludwig had a likability factor that created a more immersive experience as I continued to race through Twisted Mansions and Rainbow Road. My advice is to 'branch out' Branch out with your characters. I have been guilty, on previous Mario Kart Games, of sticking with the same character of which I now recognise as a bad decision if I was going to progress with Mario Kart.
Musical appeal?? Hmmmm.... This is an easy one. The music in Mario Kart 8 is less than tasteful. Allow me to paint a picture. Think back to 80s game show, The Generation Game, The Price is Right and other shit like that. Remember? Now go and play Mario Kart 8 and you may notice that the music almost mirrors these shows. It is dated. It is disappointing. Does this take the edge off from the gameplay? In my opinion, yes it does. There are so many fantastic games that are defined and recongised by a strong soundtrack and this game IS NOT one of those games.
Which brings us on to the tracks. Most now know that there are 16 new tracks and 16 re-made tracks from previous Mario Kart games. I'll be blunt here: I prefer the re-made tracks. I almost screamed when I first started to drift around the cautious corners of the Donut Plains 3 from the Snes. As I continued to tear up the tarmac GBA Mario Circuit and the DS's Cheep Cheep Beach I realised something CRUCIAL. I am not playing Mario Kart 8 for a 'new' experience. I am LOVING and PLAYING Mario Kart 8 for the nostalgic experiences. I may be slammed here but hear me out..... I would love to see a FULL HD re-make of the first Mario Kart.
Multiplayer modes are a fantastic experience whether you are playing locally or against the fast fueled action from gamers worldwide. Typically, I have always found all multiplayer modes to provide a much faster platform in which to showcase your shell shoving accuracy. Jessica and I are safely addicted to Mario Kart Multplayer, not only on our Wii U but on our Nintendo 3DS handhelds too.
Overall, Mario Kart 8 is fun fueled experience and I would highly recommend gamers both old and new to give Mario and his friends a place on their gaming shelf.
Watch my unboxing of Mario Kart 8 on YouTube here.
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