Friday, 30 May 2014

Top 5 Games Of May 2014!

5. Kero Blaster
Photo from www.playism-games.com
Kero Blaster brings back that pure 2D side scrolling shooter genre that was last seen in games like Metal Slug and Contra, with a perfectly paced but challenging campaign. You play as a walking frog who somehow owns a company that makes teleporters. Now, there are these creepy black monsters destroying your teleporters, so what's Froggy McFroggerson going to do? Well, he's going to advance through a series of fun, original levels with classic silent dialogue, all while fighting challenging giant bosses and huge waves of enemies. Sure, it's short, but you'll want to play it all over again after. Well done Japan!

4. Watch_Dogs
Photo from watchdogs.ubi.com
Probably the most hyped up game this year, along with Destiny, Watch_Dogs doesn't disappoint. With amazing looking graphics, a dense city with tons of things to do and other 100 hours of gameplay, Watch Dogs is a game that will keep you glued to your seat and binge eating Doritos and drinking Mountain Dew for a long time. The fact that you can hack most things in the city means that you can be the unofficial mayor of Chicago. Raising bollards, changing traffic lights and disabling helicopters is all in your power, plus you can resort to good old fashioned guns (My favorite being the grenade launcher) and your trusty retractable baton if things go old school. Plus, you can play chess in a coffee shop, if it floats your hipster catamaran.

I'm Like, Forget You, Go-oo-gle!

Photo from archive.uboachan.net
"Don't be Nervous, Nervous Ron!" (Trevor Philips, 2013)

All you paranoid peeps out there can now sleep safe, as Google have launched a "Right To Be Forgotten" Page (Announced on their Legal page), where people from Europe can request that links to their social media profiles are taken off Google and therefore can't be searched, after a recent ruling by Europe's high court says that everyone in Europe has the right to keep their social media profiles off of search engines. Bing would do it, but does anyone even work on Bing anymore?

Anyways, Jason Hennessey, principal of EverSpark Interactive (An SEO company), said to USA Today that links wouldn't be deleted from the whole of Google, just the European search engines, so creepy Americans, Asians, Africans or Oceanians (Or whatever they're called) can still search for Europeans. Yay.

Will you be pulling off your social media profile from Google? Or do you not care? Tell us in the comments below! 

(Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/05/30/google-eu-right-to-be-forgotten-privacy/9763051/)

The Month Ahead: June 2014

Please note that all release dates are for Europe; sorry 'Murica!

June 3rd: WildStar
Photo from www,hardwareheaven.com
The game with the best Level Up screen ever, WildStar is one of the most anticipated MMOs of this year, and it should be! Taking place on the giant planet of Nexus, WildStar has you creating your own character, with the ability to choose what faction you're on, what class you are and what path you take, plus you can buy your own customizable house! The combat system if simple and fun to use, and what's more, even though WildStar is an MMO that you have to subscribe to, you don't have to pay with your own money! If you have enough in-game currency, you can buy 30 day passes, so your wallet can keep safe. Yay verily.

June 4th: Ultra Street Fighter 4
Now, I know that this is the millionth Street Fighter 4, but hear me out. There are 5 new characters to play as, and even though some return from Street Fighter X Tekken, they have been changed to become easier fighters to play with. There are also 6 new stages, 1 of which is somehow set in the Jurassic Era. Huh. There are also 3 new fighting mechanics (Which I can't explain because I don't understand gibberish), and the ability to upload online matches straight to YouTube. Surely the fact that there are more changes than I can fit in this paragraph assures you that Ultra Street Fighter 4 isn't just a rehash of a rehash of a rehash of a rehash of a rehash. Did I count right?

June 6th: Murdered: Soul Suspect
Photo from www.edge-online.com
Developed by Airtight Games, the people that made crazy professor-fest Quantum Conundrum, Murdered: Soul Suspect is all about solving the case of your own death, while making sure that demonic spirits don't kill you. You're free to roam the city of Salem, Massachusetts, solving crimes and figuring out who killed you so can escape Dusk, a creepy take on Limbo. People have been comparing it to Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, but I assure you that it couldn't be more different, with a creepier, darker setting and more action-centered gameplay mechanics.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Quickie Review: iON Bond!

The science of attracting and repelling, in the palm of your hand.
Image from: http://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/31/30981/ScreenshotSat02.png

In iON Bond, a mobile game by Stewart Hogarth, the objective is simple: join up all of the same coloured iONs with each other using the idea that there are positive and negative symbols, that if two are the same, they repel each other and that if two iONs are different, they attract each other. You can link two iONs with bonds, and those will cause them to either repel or attract, depending on their charge. Some iONs have no charge, and require iONs of the same colour to be pushed (or pulled) into them. It's a relatively new and unique mechanic for a puzzle game, but while bonds can be made easily, the way they are broken (swiping across them) is quite unresponsive, and it is irritating when you nearly complete a level, only to break a bond just a teensy bit too late and fail. 

The art style is basic and relaxing, with colourful curls and curves appearing whenever two iONs come together, but the music is kind of non-existent, with just a constant drone-type sound throughout. I understand it may reflect the calm minimalism the art style has, but after a while it becomes slightly too stale.

My verdict overall is that it is a charming and unique game, with a long play time and relaxing art design, but its sound design could be a little bit more varied and its gameplay could have been smoothed out for the more difficult levels.

3/5

Leet Break

Hi guys!

I'm sorry that I didn't posted yesterday or the day before. I'm really trying to play as much Watch Dogs as I can so I can get it reviewed ASAP. Anyways, there's going to be a couple articles today, and the review should be up Saturday or Sunday!

Sam

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

How To Get Into Gaming Journalism

This journalist is happy because he has enough money to buy a stock photo, unlike me!

Gaming Journalism is a job that many people dream of. A job where you can spend all your time playing games and writing about them. A job where you travel to places like Germany and Australia to go to the latest events. A job that grants you exclusive access to things that the public can't see. Still, it involves a lot of time, writing and hard work, so instead of just telling you tips from me, a 13 year old kid who hasn't even scraped the surface of gaming journalism, I've enlisted the help of 3 of the finest video game journalists I know: Jon Hicks, Editor of Official Xbox Magazine UK, Luke Albiges, Deputy Editor of Play Magazine, and Tom Bramwell, Editor-In-Chief of Eurogamer. Bring on the advice!

The first bit of advice is that if you want to be successful, you can't just report the news. As Tom Bramwell says, "At Eurogamer we really value originality and clarity in our content. If you're able to to uncover an interesting story and tell it in a way that makes it appealing to the broadest possible audience, that's exciting to us.". Whether you want your articles to be informal, comedic, sarcastic or anything else, knowing your own style and exploiting it really helps to attract more readers.


Today's News in (Witty) Bullet Points

Photo from www.wildstar-online.com
Hey guys, I've just made a new article that happens every weekday. I just feel that it's hard to choose which news to cover, so I'm just gonna talk about the other bits of news that I miss out on, so you don't!

  • NCSOFT have released the Features Trailer for their upcoming WildStar game. If it includes, Pandas, World Of Warcraft will officially be announced dead. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGSqb-pNZK0.
  • The Offiical Launch Trailer for Infinity Runner, a game where a werewolf attacks a spaceship, has been created by Wales Interactive. Whywolf? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGSqb-pNZK0
  • New screenshots of the other other social driving game World Of Speed have been revealed by My.com http://www.strategyinformer.com/pc/worldofspeed/screenshots.html
  • Illegal video downloading website Torrentz.eu has been suspended. Dangit, now I have to pay a £6 Netflix subscription.
  • Microsoft have urged Windows XP users not to download a hack that lets people seemingly download security services. OK, this one just hits me in the early childhood.
There you go, that's all the news of today compressed into tiny, hard to interpret tidbits!


Beyond Gotham? M-m-m-more Like Beyond Your Mum!

Photo from your mu- sorry, www.jeffamsbaugh.com
MLG QUICKSCOPE JOKE.

Sorry about that, I don't know where it came from. Anyways, exciting news today, as Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham has been announced in a Warner Bros press release for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, PS VITA, 3DS, Wii U and PC, and will be released in Q4 2014, probably (My guess) November. Once again, like LEGO Batman 2, the other superheroes and villains of DC will be in the game. The story is that Brainiac (Superman's nemesis, not the amazing TV show) is going to shrink Earth so he can put it into his collection of worlds using things called Lantern Rings. This means that Batman and co. will have to journey to the Lantern Worlds to collect the rings so they can save Earth. Still, it would've been better if it was about Richard Hammond plotting to destroy all of the world's microwaves. One can dream.

Anyways, the features described on the press release sound amazing. There will be more than 150 characters (105 in the handheld versions) to play as and unlock, ranging from Superman to the ever famous (But unconfirmed) Brainiac Goon #2. Also, like the LEGO Marvel and LEGO Batman 2 games, there will be an original storyline (Described in the paragraph above.), which is always good. Also in the game, you can hack into computer terminals a la Watch Dogs (Wait, that released today, didn't it) and play Virtual Reality mazes, games and other things. Spider Tank is sadly unconfirmed. Also, locations like the Hall Of Justice and other DC landmarks will be in the game too. Now all we need is Arm Fall Off Boy (Seriously, he's real) and this will be game of the year!

What do you guys think? Do you still like the LEGO series of games? Or do you think taht it's gotten stale? Tell us in the comments below!

Monday, 26 May 2014

NintenDOs and NintenDON'Ts

Photo from developersaccomplice.co.uk
OK, lets all admit it: even though great games like Tomodachi Life and Mario Kart 8 are coming out soon, and Super Mario 3D World was one of the best games of the year, Nintendo as a whole aren't as good as they used to be. With the Wii U failing and big money losses, Nintendo need a plan. Luckily, I have one. It's just they won't listen, because I'm a 13 year old kid who thinks he knows what he's talking about and is virtually unknown on the internet.

NintenDO : Port (Some of) Your Games To Other Consoles
Photo from en.wikipedia.org
Yes, I know. Nintendo games have a sort of whimsical magic to them that would look out of place on another console, but a huge amount of money could be made from porting some games to other consoles! It's no secret that games like Super Mario 3D World, the new Super Smash Bros and other first party Nintendo games don't really utilize the Wii U's motion control, and a PS4 or Xbox One controller would be perfect for a fighting game like Smash Bros. Also, with the success of games like Skyrim and Dragon Age, a full blown Zelda RPG wouldn't look out of place on a console! Another viable option would be to port classic collections as downloadable games for other consoles, much like Nintendo did with the NES Remix games, as many gamers with a console would have never played the original Super Mario Bros and would jump at the chance to play it for the first time.

NintenDON'T: Abandon The Miis
Photo from characters.wikia.com
The Miis are pretty much the symbol for Nintendo, so getting rid of the Miis and Miiverse would be a terrible idea. Instead, Nintendo should take a leaf out of Ubisoft's (Uplay) book and integrate Miiverse into every one of their games. I'm not saying they should do DRM or anything like that, I'm just saying that they should give out rewards in games depending on hwo many Nintendo games someone has played, and other things like that.


Sunday, 25 May 2014

End Of The Week Extravaganza; May 25th!

THE GOOD
Photo from www.titanfall.com
After the Capture The Flag and Pilot Hunter playlists were removed from Titanfall's PC version due to lack of demand, Respawn Entertainment have reversed their decision and have now announced that the Capture The Flag playlist is coming back, but with a slight difference: the matches will probably be a little more laggy. In a post on the Titanfall Blog, Respawn said that less than 1% of all Titanfall owners actually played Capture The Flag, so this meant that it was very hard to get into a game if you wanted to play it. To solve the problem, the Capture The Flag matchmaking system will allow players from other continents to join your game, which means that you'll now be able to easily find CTF matches. Previously, players could only play Capture The Flag by either making a Private Match or by it randomly appearing on the Variety playlist.

THE BAD
Photo from en.wikipedia.org
Zenimax Media, the company that owns id Software and Bethesda Softworks among others, has sued Oculus VR because they claim that Oculus used Zenimax personnel and property to make money, without obtaining a license to use any. Examples of this include John Carmack (Pictured) moving from id Software (Owned by Zenimax) to Oculus VR, and the fact that Oculus used Doom 3 (Developed by id Software) to show off their Rift without asking for permission. This might mean that the $2 billion Facebook used to buy Oculus will probably be going to ZeniMax if they win the court case, meaning that Oculus will be right back where they started. Sad face indeed.

THE PUGLY
Photo from www.eurogamer.net
Now, a free update and a new mode being added on to any game would usually be a great thing, but with FIFA 14, a game riddled with microtransactions and a pay to win Ultimate Team mode, it's pretty bad. The new FIFA 14 Ultimate Team: World Cup mode is basically Ultimate Team with all the players in the World Cup. The first thing wrong with this already is that there's already a 2014 FIFA World Cup game without an Ultimate Team mode, so why didn't they just add it to that game? The worst thing, though, is that this new mode will have untradeable players, meaning that the only way that you can players and consumables is by buying packs. What happens if your players are out of contract and you don't have enough coins to buy packs? Well, you'll just have to buy packs with REAL MONEY, or you won't be able to play. Grrr.

What do you guys think? Are you glad that CTF is back in Titanfall? Do you think that ZeniMax should be suing Oculus? Tell us in the comments below!

Raucous Reviews: Max: The Curse Of Brotherhood (Xbox 360 Version)

Photo from www.videogamesblogger.com
Don't you just hate it when your brother plays with your stuff and you banish him to another dimension, and then he expects you to rescue him? Blimey O'Riley!

  • Name: Max: The Curse Of Brotherhood
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Age Rating: 12+ (Europe), Everyone (North America)
  • Publisher: Microsoft Studios
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One
In Max: The Curse Of Brotherhood, the objective is simple: rescue your brother Felix (Who you sent a different world because he played with your stuff) from the aptly-named Lord Mustacho. The means to get to Mustacho, however, are complex, innovative and beautiful. Sure, there's some platforming to be done in the game, but by using Earth, Wood, Vine, Water and Fire powers, you can solve puzzles, kill enemies and mostly kill yourself. Not that you're supposed to, of course.

The platforming isn't special at all, since you all you do is run and jump. But, then again, that's all you really need to do when you have a huge magical marker. Speaking of the Magic Marker, it's one of the most innovative game mechanics I've ever seen. There are certain interaction points where you can perform elemental actions. At Earth points you can raise a pillar of rock to help you get to high places, at Wood points you can create branches which you can use to cross gaps, at Vine points you can create vines to swing from, at Water points you can create streams of water that can fling you to different places, and at Fire points you can shoot fireballs. All of the effects look beautiful, but the thing that's so great about the elements is that they all connect.

Photo from segmentnext.com
For instance, vines can connect to branches, so that means you can make vines longer so you can cross longer gaps. Every single element can interact with another, and this is where Max: TCoB really shines. Using this mechanic means that the game can have more complex, hard and better puzzles, and it's safe to say that the Magic Marker mechanic is one of the most imaginative and best I've ever seen in a game.

Difficulty-wise, the game is excellent. On the surface, I thought that Max would be another throwaway platformer, but some puzzles (Especially in the later levels) perplexed me and took a good 10 minutes to solve. One memorable and hard puzzle was when I was greeted with a bomb-throwing troll that was inaccessible by platforming, two water points and a vine point. After brainstorming for a long time, the answer clicked: I would use the first water point to grab onto the vine. This meant that the troll would throw the bombs higher and therefore nearer to the other water point. I then used that point to deflect the bomb back onto the troll, killing it. Overall, the difficulty is perfect.

Sadly, at some points, the game is frustrating. The are many times in the game where you are chased by a huge monster, and if you die, an unskippable, long cutscenes plays before you can restart the chase again. I felt that this disconnected me from the game at times and was overall very boring.

Photo from destructoid.com
The length of the game is about 10 hours, plus a couple more if you want to collect all of the Amulet pieces and destroy all of Lord Mustacho's surveillance eyes. The difficulty also helps keep the game long. Still, the game is actually quite fast paced, with many chase sections and time limits that keep you on your toes. The length, the difficulty and the excellent gameplay mechanics all add up to a meaty slice of gameplay cottage pie served with a side of peas and a choice of new potatoes or radishes.

For an Xbox 360 game, the graphics are well done. The water effects stun me the most, with crisp, crystal clear effects. The backgrounds of the worlds look great, and the main characters look fine, but sometimes the floor can look grainy and badly textured, and the huge monster called the Beast doesn't look very good either.

The voice acting is nothing really special, with Max being the confident one, Felix being the "HELP HELP HELP" one, the Old Lady being the helpful, gameplay tip-conveying one, and Lord Mustacho being the unspectacular, bad one. Still, the score is very nice, with chase scenes having a tense, suspenseful effect, but the music at the start of the game is the best, as it has soothing, calming beats that help you explore the new crazy world you just got yourself into. The animation is mostly fluid and perfect, but the final boss fight had a few stutters and glitches for me. Still, a it's a very well presented game, more or less.

Photo from www.shacknews.com

THE VERDICT
Overall, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a memorable and innovative game. The mechanics are thought up very well and make the game and puzzles much better than any other, and the difficulty is hard, but rewarding. There are some great high octane sections to play out, but long winded, unskippable cutscenes ruin the tempo of them quite a bit. Still, the game is presented very well, and some of the effects are gorgeous. Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is so innovative and out there that the only game I could possibly compare it to is the original, Max and the Magic Marker. In conclusion, The Curse of Brotherhood makes owning a Sharpie a fun, imaginative experience.

8.3/10
Inovative Mechanics
                                                                                                 Frustrating chase sections
Gorgeous Effects
                                                                                                  Uninspired voice acting
Fluid Framerate

High Octane Sections

A big thanks to Derek Reeve from Press Play for sending us a review code!