We’ve all asked it right? Which game series do you prefer? Tomb Raider or Uncharted? I’m sure we’ve all answered it too. I know I have. I grew up with Lara from her launch: October 26th 1996 and it’s safe to say that I’ve played every Tomb Raider game since. Like it or not Lara Croft has been one of the most influential video game characters of all time not just for her on-screen presence but for changing the way girls talk about games. I know that she certainly gave me some welcomed confidence back in the mid-nineties. There was a time when I thought the Tomb Raider series had lost its was a little. Angel of Darkness was an all time low point for me. I remember trading my copy of Grand Theft Auto Vice City to get a copy and was left feeling rather underwhelmed. Angel of Darkness felt too Cosmopolitan. Too sure of itself. Too City Like. Needless to say I never finished it because it was not Tomb Raider.
Since then a lot changed in the gaming world. Nathan Drake came in to our lives to provide us with a new sense of adventure! Uncharted, unlike Tomb Raider has been very consistent in terms of gameplay, story, character relationships and authenticity. The entire Uncharted series feels alive. The global sense of adventure, and wonderment were believable. Nathan and Lara have travelled the world but who did the better job? Can you choose between Uncharted and Tomb Raider? The latest instalment’s; Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and The Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration served up remarkable gameplay mechanics but let’s un-pick this a little bit more shall we? I will not be focusing on the details of each games story, however but more about the overall pulling power of each game.
No Man’s Sky has not been without scandal. Is scandal the right word to use? Right now I am starting to think that No Man’s Sky is a big fat satchel of lies. Lies that have been uncovered by hundreds of very angry gamers since it was released less than one month ago. I’m very guilty of something though: I like No Man’s Sky. I’d go as fat to say that I really enjoy the hell out of No Man’s Sky. No Man’s Sky forces me in to a state of relaxation, contentment and gives me an odd sense of achievement. No Man’s Sky is a huge break away from the frantic First Person Shooter genre or the over stimulated, unjulating, pulse popping maps of a Call of Duty game. It is empty, it is solitary and it is captivating. No Man’s Sky is simple. It’s beautiful. It’s ambient. It’s peaceful. I never know what I am truly going to get when I pick up my PS4 controller and slap on my PlaySonic 3 headset. All I know is that when I dive in to No Man’s Sky I feel content. It’s certainly a thriving and rewarding experience albeit with gritted teeth.
I adore the distinction No Man’s Sky has given me. So why are fans so angry at Hello Games and in particular Sean Murray? It’s simple: He lied. He outright lied about gameplay features and mechanics. In an interview with Game Informer shown here Sean Murray was asked “will you be able to play with your friends?” He replied “yeah”. There were a ton of questions asked by the Game Informer editor Jeff Cork in which Murray’s answers were seemingly untrue. You cannot play with your friends and you cannot war with factions. You cannot join factions and nobody has found any mechs. What is going on?
I went in to No Man’s Sky without following the hype. I missed every interview Sean Murray gave and it was not until the final hour that I started to feel the excitement. I knew what I wanted to know about the game and I can honestly report that I am enjoying the experience this far in. Like many of you I was upset when No Man’s Sky got delayed and like many fans I put out a video to air my thoughts over certain Indie Developers feeling as though they can take the cake. There’s always a theme when our beloved video games get pushed back and it goes along the lines of we want more time to make the game as good as possible for the fans. Unfortunately this cannot be said for the now infamous No Man’s Sky. Sean Murray’s baby is getting ripped to shreds in the Twitter feed of Hello Games. On a blog post released by Murray on the No Man’s Sky website he liked the following:
Playstation 4 VR is almost upon us. Gamers across the globe are bracing themselves for the next level of gaming. On October 13th 2016 the Virtual reality experience on the Playstation 4 will be an absolute reality. A lot of you guys have been asking me "Gemma will you be buying the PS4 VR headset?". Up until E3 my answer was simple: "no'. As soon as I heard about the Resident Evil 7 game being compatible with PS4 VR I started to re-think my initial hesitation. As each new PS4 VR game is announced it looks more and ore likely that I will be buying it. The PS4 VR game line-up is looking pretty solid right now and a few titles have already wet my gaming palette. The obvious choices are the go to Triple A titles like Fallout 4 VR and DOOM VR. What about the the other titles that will be gracing PS4 VR? Here are 5 PS4 VR games that I think look phenomenal.
#1 Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil 7 or rather Biohazard 7 in Japan is due for release on January 24th 2017. Having beat the Resident Evil 7 demo it is incredibly clear that Capcom took a completely new angle on the latest instalment of good ol' Resi. It felt less about dodging hordes of the undead and more about survival. I could not help but compare it to the vibe of the P.T demo; intense, twisted, shrouded in mystery and left me yearning for more. Games Radar reported Resident Evil 7 was in development before P.T came to fruition. Konami beat Capcom to the table in terms of delivering their demo first. How gutting must that have been for Capcom Developers?
Resident Evil 7 is not one to be missed on PS4 VR.
We all had our predictions of what the Bethesda E3 2016 Conference was going to bring. At E3 2015 Bethesda knocked the ball out of the park with the long awaited announcement of Fallout 4. It rapidly became one of the most anticipated Video Game releases ever! A year has now passed since that moment which brings us to E3 2016. Most of us were talking about a new Elder Scrolls Game but when I awake this morning a part of me felt disappointed that the Elder Scrolls game we’d all hoped for was not announced. Should we be disappointed in Bethesda? Hell no! Having now watched the full Bethesda showdown I am packed full of anticipation for the new games: Prey, Dishonoured 2, Skyrim Special Edition and Quake. Let us not forget the new Fallout 4 DLC and Vault-Tec Workshop functions, Fallout Shelter and Bethesda’s VR development.
Arcane Studios smashed it
Prey and Dishonoured 2 are on their way! The team behind the original Dishonoured game are developing the Prey reboot on PS4, Xbox One and PC. It looks stunning. From what we saw we awake as Morgan on Monday March 15th 2032. The new Prey takes place on a Space Station that becomes overrun with an Alien infestation. Arcane confessed that our protagonist will use “wits, weapons and mind bending abilities” to counteract the alien infestation. It all sounds very intriguing and I’m excited to see how Prey’s development unfolds for the rest of the year.
We can expect to see a release for Dishonoured 2 on November 11th 2016 but what can we expect to see in the gameplay? Arcane showed a lengthy gameplay trailer. There’s a large emphasis on stealth and two players to choose from. It seemed like choice is a large feature of Dishonoured 2. Out of the entire Bethesda E3 conference I was the least excited about Dishonoured 2. It didn’t look overly stunning and the gameplay seemed too familiar.
Elder Scrolls VI….Not!
I’d be lying if I said I was not disappointed with the lack of a new Elder Scrolls game. When you think about it logically though there was never going to be an announcement of Elder Scrolls VI. The time difference between each major Bethesda games is immense. There was four (five for the PS3 release) years between Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Oblivion and a five year gap between Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Skyrim. You might be saying ‘five years have passed since Skyrim was released so surely that means Elder Scrolls VI should have been announced right?’ Wrong. We are locked in to a gaming culture of HD remasters which is exactly what happened here. Instead we are getting Skyrim Special Edition on the PS4, Xbox One and PC. This caused a divide in the gaming world. I’ve been reading comments on Youtube and Twitter that indicate Skyrim Special Edition was not the HD remake fans were asking for. What do I think about it? Initially I felt deflated as I had my hopes set for Elder Scrolls VI but I’m warming to the idea of exploring Skyrim all over again so I definitely be picking up a copy on October 26th.
Doom & Quake Champions
I will never get enough of Doom updates. Where you one of the people that grew up playing the original on Shareware? I was and I loved it. Overall I’ve been incredibly impressed with the new Doom game as it dives back in to the core of brutality. So what can we expect from the ID team in the upcoming months? The first DLC pack drops very soon: Unto the Evil and includes new armour packs, guns, a new demon and three new maps! I didn’t expect an update this quickly considering Doom was released only last month. ID knows how to treat the fans well. If you are yet to play the new Doom be sure to download the first level from the campaign completely FREE on the PS4, Xbox One and PC (for a limited time). I also envy the lucky people at E3 who will have a chance to try Doom in VR!
There was not a great amount of detail about the upcoming Quake Champions (PC only) but it seemed more about diverting people’s attention to Quakecon in August. I’m certain there will be a lot of die hard fans of the original PC version that will snap Quake Champions up in a heartbeat. Not me though.
Fallout 4 & Fallout Shelter
Fallout 4 will be seeing a whole heap of new additions. Contraptions, Workshop and Vault-Tec will add extra creative dimensions to the Wasteland experience. Nuka World peaked my interest the most with a display of elaborate buildings and new grounds to explore a little bit like Far Harbour. So what do I think to this? I’m not the kind of Fallout player that gets excited about building in Fallout 4. In fact it completely turns me off. I hate doing it in the game as it stands so I will not be purchasing the three additional build content. Nuka-World on the other hand is more the direction I want to take my Fallout 4 ventures. The core elements of Fallout, for me, are not routed in building, yet are more about roaming. Nuke-World looked like an eclectic market of craziness. I cannot wait to explore it.
Fallout Shelter seemed to hold quite a bit of air time at E3 2016. Not only is it coming to PC in July but there’s a while new heap of features to get you jumping inside your Vault Suit. Now dwellers will be able to visit popular Fallout 4 locations like Red Rocket and take on new enemies. Seeing Fallout Shelter at E3 again made me realise that I need to get back on it and join over 50,000 million other players online.
The Bethesda E3 2016 Conference was my most anticipated alongside Sony’s (which is yet to come). Overall I’m really happy with the pickings; in particular with Prey in 2017. Bring it on Bethesda, bring it on!
By Gemma @Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
Ever since the 8-bit days of the Nintendo Entertainment System I have been hooked on the four green dudes from the sewers: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As an adult I can vouch that I am still partial to watching the classic 80s Cartoons on YouTube and I’m certainly not shy when diving in to session of TMNT IV: Turtles in Time on my SNES. I often wonder why the franchise has become so popular in the Video Game world? Perhaps it has been the steady consistency of TMNT video games over the years that have kept fans involved? Or perhaps it’s down to the evolution of the TMNT cartoons that have barely gone off the air since I was a little girl? Whatever the reason I’ve wondered if it was possible to ever fall out of love with such a prolific franchise?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants in Manhattan had a lot of hype around it. The trailer looked stunning and the cel shaded graphics really seemed to transport the franchise back to the comic book roots from the 80s. The Foot, Bebop & Rocksteady, Shredder; everything looked great in my humble opinion. Platinum Games were given the task to bring the four green dudes alive on the PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC but did they create a good enough games to satisfy the longest standing fans? I played through the campaign and was left feeling a little underwhelmed!
A really bad idea…
TMNT video games are rooted within a cooperative campaign. Not just cooperative but what us gamer might call Couch Co-op. It might seem to soon to start talking about dislikes but there is no couch co-op. Why? A lot of fans would have loved to have experienced this feature but unfortunately the rise of the online multiplayer culture triggered the demise of classic couch co-op. Call me old fashioned but this sucks! TMNT Mutants in Manhattan does hold a slightly redeeming feature. It may come as no surprise that you can flick between the four green dudes at any point throughout live gameplay. Each turtle has their own Ninjutsu abilities that can be developed by gaining experience points after each level. This slice of RPG element to Mutants in Manhattan made me smile. It worked well and I enjoyed changing my abilities around after each level. Naturally, some abilities are more useful than others. I doubt many of you will be overly thrilled with the Boost Jump!
Levels, levels and more levels
I’ve always preferred the TMNT side scroller action games as opposed the the 3D levels. Mutant’s in Manhattan held my attention reasonably well. Reasonably! The first level took place on the streets and on rooftops of Manhattan. The city looked bland and became repetitive very quickly. Unfortunately this was a recurring theme for all of the levels. Okay at first but frustratingly monotonous. I got the feeling that Platinum Games rushed TMNT Mutants in Manhattan to coincide with the release of the new TMNT film. That’s a classic move from the big wigs but it comes at the cost of compromising quality.
There’s no denying that TMNT Mutants in Manhattan looks absolutely stunning. The cel shading is top notch in all areas. I’ve started to become less and less interested in graphics over the years as I feel story carries a lot more weight to a video game but I think the call shading is one of the stronger points.
I’ve read a lot of comments from fans that doubt that battle mechanics saying things like “they feel sloppy”. That’s a new one on me. I went in to Mutants in Manhattan with a closed view of what to expect as I’d heard some very average things about it. With that being said you’ll have an option to barrel in to the tutorial mode at the beginning of the game. I’m glad I did this as there’s more to the controls than one would expect in a TMNT game. How did this translate in to real time game action? Pretty well. Switching between turtles seem fluid and executing the Ninjutsu moves were great. Think fast paced hack & slash and you'll have a good idea of what to expect from the combat. There were a few occasions where there appeared to be too much going on at once which led to some stuttering of frames. Typically this occurred during the boss battles (which took some serious killing!). Again, it seemed a little rushed. Whilst pulling off crazy Turtle combos felt great it wasn’t as great losing some frames.
Should you buy it?
This is an easy question to answer. In fact I can give you multiple:
If I were to transport back to the mid-nineties I’d be stood in a computer shop called Gordon Harwoods. I would have been the only girl in our little group of friends. We’d stand for hours playing Doom on the PC during the school holiday’s and every now and again we’d ask the store clerks to put the cheat code in for us. What a ton of fun we had! Ever since then I have been a huge fan of the Doom franchise. Even in Doom’s worst moments (ahem the Panasonic 3DO Port) I’ve still enjoyed picking up the super shotgun and hunting imps.
Doom, developed by Id Software in 1993 had been embedded within hearts of gaming community ever since so it it didn’t surprise me that fans (including myself) felt a little apprehensive on whether Id Software would get it right. There was something about Doom; the atmosphere, the heavy music and vibe that I felt was missing from Doom 3 on the original Xbox. As the announcements poured in that Id were developing a new Doom game I started to question “will it be a disaster?”. Even the great John Romero hasn’t worked on a Doom game since Doom 64 (1997 Midway Games).
There are definitely more seasoned players on Dark Souls 3 than myself. When I first played a Souls game I went in thinking: I’ve completed Oblivion and Fallout 3 so I’ll destroy Dark Souls. What a ridiculous theory that turned out to be. I totally respect the countless hours of playtime the full time streamers put in because that what it takes to master a Dark Souls game. What I’d give to be a full time gamer! Having put out this video explaining my initial thoughts on Dark Souls 3 it had been interesting to read your comments on how you guys had been finding the game. A lot of you indicated that Dark Souls 3 was too hard which made for an incredibly shallow gaming experience. I can completely empathise with this because it’s exactly how I felt when playing Demon’s Souls, Dark Soul, Dark Souls 2 and Bloodborne. I simply didn’t understand what it took to be good at a Soul’s game…. until now and I still have a lot to learn.
Dark Souls 3 got a worldwide release on March 24th 2016 and slots right in line with the same tones of the previous games; dark, gothic, passionate, serious and deadly. Deadly being the formative concept; a concept that trickles through the Soul’s games like blood through veins. FromSoftware made some subtle yet staggering changes to the dynamics of the gameplay mechanics compared to its predecessor, Dark Souls 2. Players’ agility seems a lot more fluid, both in combat and general motions, weapons move and respond with more validity which made my character feel incredibly powerful. I noticed this at the very start of the game. One to two (maximum) swipes with my Knight’s sword easily slayed oncoming foes which resulted in me dying a lot less in the earlier stages of the game. I started to gain some patience in Dark Souls 3. A smoother start, less deaths and more fluidity in gameplay mechanics all had me hooked. It was the total opposite in Dark Souls 2. I died more, felt less powerful and weapons seemed less effective. Needless to say that I gave up pretty quickly.
I can safely say that I’ve been a fan of horror games since Resident Evil broke out on the Playstation 1. For me, horror games are like a escapism within escapism. Whether it’s hack and slash, survival horror or Zombie gut busting horror, I always feel compelled to pull back the layers of whatever is thrown at me. Speaking of Layers; Layers of Fear was released back in February 2016 by Blooper Team; a dev team that I’d never heard of until now. My question was: Did Blooper produce a significant enough game to win over the hearts and minds of current generation gamers?
Layers of Fear adopts a twisted style of gameplay to say the least. Our main protagonist is a nameless painter who appears to be slap bang in the middle of a psychotic breakdown amidst his efforts to produce his masterpiece. Psychotic breakdown is a easy way to describe the overall vibe and setting for our main guy but ultimately this sets the tone and story for our main campaign.
We are tasked to find six items within a Victorian Manor or rather Labyrinth. The level of distortions can be intense within the manor as we often come across doll-like apparitions, sounds of babies crying, muffled voices through walls and the odd scribbling’s a child’s handwriting all over the walls. After thirty minutes of playing this all seems like pretty boxed-standard stuff for a horror game which made me question at how shallow the depth’s or rather layer’s really were? In conclusion, incredibly shallow. I rarely felt scared, I rarely felt trapped and Layers of Fear became predictable very quickly. I never felt stuck on any puzzle the game presented me with. In star contrast; we all remember the P.T demo (*cries at the cancellation*) don’t we? Now that was intense. That was scary. I got lost in such a small space. That ‘L’ Shaped corridor had me cursing like a sailor! Layers of Fear is nowhere near the same level of horror, intrigue or disgust.
Layers of Fear is top heavy with story which seems to be drip fed to you through various clues within the mansion. Unfortunately these clues don’t come quick enough as I found myself becoming very frustrated with wanting to know what happens? Usually I adore the suspense and build up in games but Layer’s Fear gives you nothing to chew on. I literally felt like there was going to be no end to the madness within the mansion! What’s more is that I noticed a lot of repetition of inanimate objects: the same pair go glasses, the same military medal, the same door knobs lamp shades and books. Remember me saying Layer’s of Fear is incredibly shallow? Well there we go. I would have had a more immersive experience if this were not the case; it felt like a lazy attempt to dress up the experience when all it did was dress it down.
Whether you're playing Layers of Fear on the PS4, Xbox One or PC, your attention may be held for an hour at best. The monotony killed it for me. I preferred the pace and setting of Outlast. At least in Outlast I felt as though I was getting somewhere, I felt the fear of being slaughtered by some trapped, tormented soul and it lasted longer than two hours! This is probably one of the shortest reviews I've ever written but this is literally everything I have to say about the abysmal experience of Layers of Fear. Sorry guys! Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
It’s been a while since I played through a Tom Clancy game. In fact it may have been back on the Playstation 2 with Ghost Recon so it’s fair to say that I went in to The Division with an open heart and an open mind. Now, running on current gen hardware and PC the next Tom Clancy instalment launched on March 8th 2016 with The Division.
We are in Manhattan and we are in the middle of the post events of a smallpox pandemic. This pretty much destroyed New York City as we knew it and instead created a crime fuelled dystopian society. What was once a bustling city, full of tourists, workers and success transformed in to a war zone with tired looking people, collapsed surroundings, danger and disease. Ubisoft play this out with a reel of fictitious news castings at the beginning of the game. This did a great job at setting the tone and hype for the campaign that was about to ignite. From there, I could create my player attributes and off we ventured in to the dangerous Manhattan streets.
The Division is an open world MMO with some seriously tasty RPG elements. A Role Playing Game you might ask? I wouldn’t categorise The Division as an RPG at all as we all know it’s a third person shooter but as I said there are elements in The Division that often made me question: should this have been a RPG? Ubisoft tastefully threaded the two genre’s together to produce this explosive adventure. The levelling up system seemed a little complex at first but as with any game I acclimatised pretty quickly. I was shocked at how quickly I picked up the how to’s actually. I recall watching a lot of the Beta footage and thinking at how cluttered the interface looked but don’t let this fool you. The Division is surprisingly user friendly and what’s more my hiatus since Ghost Recon didn’t affect my approach in to the game either!
Guest Blog by John M @RoundEggFilms
Have you ever spent a night alone, deep in the wilderness, with civilization far and away from view? Have you ever wandered the vast expanse of a mid-western nature reserve, with friendly faces few and far between? Have you ever gone rock climbing? Navigated thtough rough, treacherous trail ways without the use of a GPS? Well I can safely say that I’ve never done any of those things. I probably never will. But after playing Developer Campo Santos’ flagship title Firewatch (a story oriented first-person walker) I felt as close to those experiences as humanly possible, without ever having stepped away from the comfort of my PC. Fire watch is also available on the Playstation 4, OS X and Linux.
Firewatch, as the name suggests, follows the story of Henry, a middle aged lost soul of sorts who takes on the lonesome job of fire safety lookout near Yellowstone National Park. His motives for this sudden, drastic change in lifestyle boils down to the result of a “choose-your-own-adventure” segment at the game’s onset. Although your choices are limited, this unique method of exposition succeeds in drawing you closer to Henry, a man whose troubled past haunts you as if you were somehow inadvertently responsible for it.
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