Saturday, 5 July 2014

One For The Fallen

With Crytek UK on the verge of bankruptcy, I'm going to pay tribute to the 3 game studios that 2014 has already claimed.

                                                                            Irrational Games
With the studio finally closed after BioShock Infinite Burial At Sea Part 2 was released, Ken Levine has now created another studio with 15 former employees, focusing on replayable games, while the other 75 employees have found jobs at other studios. Still, its crazy to think that a studio with such modern concepts started way back in 1997, when it was founded by Levine, Jonathan Chey and Robert Fermier. It was two years before they released their first game, System Shock 2, a horror masterpiece that made you feel alone and weak. It was so successful that Irrational opened up a studio in Australia, with Jonathan Chey moving there, but also cancelling the development of Deep Cover, a game Irrational was working on. With that setback, Irrational started development on another game, The Lost, which was canned in 2002 after a dispute with publisher Crave Entertainment, but that same year released Freedom Force, an excellent hack n slasher with such famous superheroes as Minute Man. They even made an entry in the famous Tribes series! Still, its crazy to think that, with artistic games like BioShock Infinite, Irrational still loved to make brutish, tough shooters, and with SWAT 4, they didn't hold back. It was also the first ever game that companies could advertise in! Anyways, soon enough, Irrational were making the game they're probably most famous for, BioShock, which blended action, horror and discovery elements to make a beautiful mishmash of a game that won many a game of the year award, and 6 years later released the 3rd game in the series (And their last ever game) BioShock Infinite, an artistic adventure that was long-awaited. My personal favourite of Irrational's has to be the original BioShock, as it had  one of the greatest twists in gaming and patented a lot of mechanics.

                                                                          Airtight Games
Only closing a couple of days ago, Airtight Games had only gone a month after releasing their latest game, Murdered: Soul Suspect, before they were shut down, a real shame considering that MSS had such an interesting gameplay aspect and huge potential. What's even worse is that Airtight had only been developing games since 2010, with the release of shooter Dark Void, a game (Like Murdered Soul Suspect) that had huge potential and innovation, but was restricted by lack of resources. Still, 2 years later, Quantum Conundrum was released, arguably the highlight of Airtight's portfolio. It had great puzzles (Aided by former Valve employee Kim Swift) and had a charming atmosphere, and was favoured by critics. After taking a 2 year break to develop games for iOS and Ouya, Murdered: Soul Suspect was released. Sadly, you know the story from there.

                                                                Mythic Entertainment
What's so sad about Mythic's sour end is how this once whimsical fantasy developer's last game was a desperate money grabber that seemed to pooh pooh everything that was magic about the Dungeon Keeper franchise. Releasing games since 1990, Mythic have been a respected and honourable studio for years, and with some of my personal favourites like Independance Day Online, have made many great MMOs.  From shooters like  Silent Death Online, a superb spaceship fighter that had so much replayability, to text adventure games like Dragon's Gate, Mythic Entertainment were one of the industry's best all rounders, and it's sad to see them go.

                 

Please Don't Cry(Tek)

Hugely sad news, as more than 100 staff from Crytek UK (Makers of the Timesplitters series and currently developing Homefront: The Revolution) quit their jobs on Wednesday, having not been paid since April, according to Kotaku. This due to financial trouble, although Crytek haven't gone into the reasons why. It hasn't been smooth sailing for Crytek as of late, with a dispute with Microsoft leading to a Ryse sequel being cancelled (Oh noooo), and now it seems like Homefront: The Revolution will be in development limbo, unless publisher Deep Silver injects more money into the project, as per the rumor.

Now, I've narrowed it down to 2 big reasons why I think Crytek UK lost money. #1 is the sales failure of Crysis 3. Sure, you may be thinking "But it was on top of the sales charts in most countries!". Well, that is true, but its only real competition was Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, plus EA admitted that it didn't meet sales expectations, and with Crysis 3 being Crytek UK's first game since 2008, this didn't bode well for them.

Reason #2 is that they are a big studio. Spending so much money on a game that you're developing while trying to pay over 100 employees with the disappointing amount of money you made from another game isn't exactly an award winning recipe for money management, and with Crytek UK hiring people from Rare and Swordfish Studios in the past couple of years, that can't have helped financially. Let's just hope that Crytek UK can survive rough patch, and that all the former employees can move to other studios.

What do you guys think the reason was? Too many employees, or poor Crysis 3 sales? Tell us in the comments below!

(Sorry about the lack of pictures, it'll be like this for a couple of days.)

Guten Tag, Apfel

Seems like Apple want to use the wisdom of Tag Heuer to make.... the iCar. Yeah...

Exciting news today, as Tag Heuer (A Swiss watch company) have confirmed in a statement that Vice President of Sales Patrick Pruniaux will be leaving the makers of luxury come Monday for Apple, the makers of luxury-priced things that aren't quite as luxury. Burn. Anyways, this is pretty much all we need to (Unofficially) confirm that the iWatch is coming, Apple's first foray into the wearable world. Companies like Samsung and LG are making smartwatches, and with Google's Wear OS for smartwatches, its about time that the Silicon Valleyites make their stand and release their own.

Alternatively, there's always the iDrill, a 60s colonel who shouts at you and calls you fat unless you're pumping iron. Any takers?

Still, with Apple stealing a Tag Heuer employee, it raises a question: Are smartwatches killing the watch industry? You may think that, because of the high prices and quality, watch companies will always be making profit, but with smartwatches becoming a cheaper alternative that can do a lot more than a conventional watch, people may start to switch to the electronic variety. Still, nothing shows class and style more than an expensive watch, and a plastic Pebble doesn't compare to a £1000 Rolex.

What would you rather have? A smartwatch or a conventional watch? Tell us in the commrntys below!

(Sorry for the lack of pictures, it'll be like this for a few days because my tablet doesn't support them)

Friday, 4 July 2014

Sorry!

Hu Guys!

I'd like to apologise for the lack of videos and posts lately, my laptop has broken and won't be back for a bit, but I promise I'll get some posts up this weekend!

Sam

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Anytime Reviews: Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

*Transformation Sound*
Image from:http://cdn.wegotthiscovered.com/wp-content/uploads/rise-of-the-dark-spark-header.jpg
The newest installation in the Transformers game franchise, but this time developed by Edge of Reality instead of High Moon Studios, and published by Activision, serves as a prequel to the very well received Transformers: Fall of Cybertron and War for Cybertron, and a continuation to the less well received movie, Age of Extinction. Playing as both Autobot and Decepticon, you find that a dangerous, powerful relic called the Dark Spark has been captured by the bad guys: mercenaries led by a bot called Lockdown, and also find out the struggle to capture the Dark Spark which took place on Cybertron. Its a very simple, predictable storyline, and one that struggles to keep your attention up.

The gameplay is fun and floaty at least, with a variety of weapons and some abilities for each Transformer to use, not to mention their vehicle forms which feel arcadey and smooth- although that feature is hardly even used, and each Transformer feels the same. Gadgets and weapons are unlocked via leveling up and opening gear boxes, which have Tech and Hacks inside. Tech are single use items giving you specific advantages, such as health or a sentry drone. Hacks modify the gameplay to make it more difficult and reward you with an XP boost.There's a rechargeable shield and a health bar which you recharge via pickups.

Image From: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3903/14341092231_f60aa53cfb_b.jpg
 The levels are usually slightly open, but for the most part it's very linear, with some collectibles for replayablility. There is a sudden difficulty spike for some unknown reason in the second stage, as a type of enemy (a floating yellow orb) kills you in a couple of hits, but other than that it is quite easy, with pickups galore to make sure you don't run out of ammo or die, which makes it a chore to play against generic enemies which never change apart from the occasional flying bot or titan. Even though it may be fun, too much of something will in fact get repetitive. Speaking of titans, they messed up goddamn Grimlock, the T-Rex. The game seems to not be capable of handling such big bots, and time stops when you execute people and the controls and fiddly, and its really underwhelming. The game lasted around 7-8 hours, with a simple wave mode which no one plays at all instead of the brilliant competitive multiplayer present in the previous two, which is strange as it is about two warring iconic factions.
IT DOESN'T EVEN LOOK AS HD AS THIS--^
Image From: http://d1vr6n66ssr06c.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Tranformers_Dark_Spark_Shockwave.jpg
The visuals, to put it bluntly, are sub-par. The textures are flat and poorly detailed, and there are many graphics bugs and glitches (I even crashed once for no apparent reason). The cutscenes even have glitches, and some of them look worse than actual gameplay.

There is plenty of colour on Cybertron anyways, but Earth looks really poor, looking worse than the games before it (and they were on last gen!). The detail on the actual robots are good as well as the voice acting, which from what i've seen, stays accurate to the old TV show which gave each robot personality, so it has some redeeming factors.
Image From:http://www.tfw2005.com/transformers-news/attach/4/0/5/9/7/10363383_825993497420578_3960394708347208592_n_1401343852.jpg
I was really disappointed in Rise of the Dark Spark. I played some of the previous two and they were significantly better than this one. All this has to offer is a bare bones story with good voice acting and below average visuals, with repetitive gameplay. And its ending commits a horrible crime: Sequel Baiting of the highest order. If there is infact a sequel, it has to live up to its predecessors, and surpass one of them *cough cough*.

5/10

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Raucous Reviews: Air Conflicts Vietnam Ultimate Edition

Image from www.egmnow.com
Back in 'Nam, you had to press O to shoot your flares...

Name: Air Conflicts Vietnam Ultimate Edition
Release Date: Out Now
Age Rating: 16+ (PEGI)
Publisher: bitComposer Games
Platform(s): PS4

Air Conflicts Vietnam is all about flying planes and choppers, and taking down those god damn Communists (Or Americans, in some game modes) by whatever means nescessary, by guns, bombs or deforestation.

First up are the two campaign modes, Joe Thompson's Story and Lost Letters. The former is about (You guessed it!) Joe Thompson, where you take control of his journey throughout the war and hear his musings. The latter is about the story of a Japanese flyer talking about how he shot down a man he later met. Both campaigns are full of both plane and helicopter sequences, and are mainly objective-based missions. The objectives are fine, the only problem is that between every objective is a cutscene, which can get quite annoying as you play through the campaigns. Also, a lot of the missions seem a little lazy at some points. For instance, in one mission you have to spray Agent Purple over a forest to deforest it, but there is no real time deforestation, and if you spray the agent over flat plains of land, the forest's "health bar" still goes down. It's little things like this that can sometimes eat away the experience a little.

Also, the characters seem a little uninspired: there's the "strictly mission briefing" guy that occasionally makes quips, the "We do this to stop Communists" guy and other uninteresting personalities. Still, there's a very cool  gameplay mechanic that I haven't seen in a flight sim yet. A very cool squad system is implemented into the game, which lets you switch between different pilots and their planes. If you run out of bombs, switch to another plane. If you're attacked by some MiGs, switch to a fighter! If there are too many AA guns for your Chinook to land, switch to an attack chopper! This mechanic makes ACV much better and more interesting, and helps it stand out from the crowd.

OK Glass, Don't Be That Guy

Image from www.knowyourmobile.com
Now you can watch Inception while watching Inception! Inceptionception!

As you may know, Google Glass was released in the UK for a wallet-friendly price of £1000, and with Google's "Don't Be A Glasshole" guide becoming pretty public, some people in Britain are becoming a bit wary of what the Glass is capable of. One of them is Phil Clap, head of the Cinema Exhibitor's Association, who,in a statement, urged cinema companies to ban Google Glass from their screens, as they could be used to bootleg films. However, Google has just stated to "simply ask wearers to turn it off before the film starts". Well, they may be at bit biased, but I can't be sure.

Still, despite the fact that cinema companies are hugely against bootlegging and will take as many precautions as possible to stop it, Google Glass does have some limitations that wouldn't make it the bootlegger's choice.  For starters, it can only record for a maximum of 45 minutes, so unless you can travel back in time and record a Charlie Chaplin film, you're stuffed. Also, the Glass is hugely conspicuous and would require the wearer to keep their head still the entire time to make the bootleg DVD worth buying.  Also, it's £1000, so you might have to save a bit of pocket money if you want it. Just a little.

What do you guys think? Do you bootleg DVDs? And if so, what is your name, address and social security number? Tell us in the comments below!

The Month On Gold (July 2014)

Image from www.gamescombiscoito.br
With the second month of Games With Gold on Xbox One upon us, and the service for Xbox 360 still continuing, let's see what Phil "Exclusively on Xbox One" Spencer has in store for us.

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition (Xbox One)
Image from blog.eu.playstation.com
Probably one of the most high-profile games coming out this month, Xbox One owners will get this reference-filled Mexican fest for free - on it's day of release, may I add. Containing the original Guacamelee! in all of it's comicy goodness, as well as new bosses, levels, enemies and abilities, STCE is a fine addition to the Games With Gold lineup. However, since it comes out tomorrow, Gold subscribers won't be able to get it until then.

Max: The Curse Of Brotherhood (Xbox One)
Image from videogamesblogger.com
Sure, Max: The Curse Of Brotherhood was free last month, but it'll also be free until the end of this month, so you have no excuse not to play this beautiful puzzler. Said puzzles are logical and hugely challenging, making for a rewarding experience, plus the graphical quality of Max's powers look crisp and detailed. While you may think that it's a kids game because of it's simple dialogue and presentation, it's a really a whole lot more complex, and actually quite underrated.

Monday, 30 June 2014

The Month On Plus (July 2014)

Image from nowgamer.com
A couple of days ago, the July lineup for Sony's Playstation Plus service was announced, so here are next month's free games!

Towerfall Ascension (PS4)
Image from www.pcgamer.com
Kickstarting this month's free games for PS4 gamers is one of the biggest indie hits the console has had so far, Towerfall Ascension. This homage to the great couch multiplayer games of old will be sure to get you and your friends shouting, screaming and swearing at each other as you wildly shoot arrows in glorious 16-bit graphics. A game that shows my couch multiplayer is so good and worthwhile, Towerfall Ascension does a great job of compiling classic gameplay with cool new features. Right on target.

Strider (PS4)
Image from www.edge-online.com
An ode to the mostly forgotten Capcom character Strider Hiryu (Who hasn't had a game made for him since 1999), Strider is an over-the-top game where bullets count for nothing, as long as you can mash Square quick enough. More open ended than other 2.5D games, Strider encourages exploration by hiding powerups and secrets in nooks and crannys. Carlo, in his review of the game a couple months back, saying that Strider "is a good fast paced arcade title, worth the £12 or so".

Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Month Ahead: July 2014!

July 2nd: Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
Image from blog.us.playstation.com
If you haven't played Guacamelee! yet, now you have no excuse. Already out for PC and PS3, this pop-culture lovin' Mexican-fest is coming to PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and the Wii U in all of it's macho goodness. With stereotyping, tons of references and a whole lotta' laughter, Guacamelee! is a game that will quite happily slam a sombrero on your head, wrap you up in a poncho and shoot at your feet as you dance La Cucharaca. Not only do you get the original Guacamelee! game in this spicy package, but you also get all of the DLC and new game areas, bosses, abilities and enemies to dropkick into oblivion. Muy bueno.

July 2nd: Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution 2
1
Image from www.eurogamer.net
I, for one, am hugely surprised at how under-the-radar the release of Civ Rev 2 is. Sure, it's only on mobile devices and it's bigger brother Civilization: Beyond Earth is coming soon, but this "lite" twist on quite complex series of games still has a cult following, yet Firaxis really haven't seemed to blow their trumpet about this one. Still, as long as it doesn't contain microtransactions, this iteration of Civ Rev looks just as fun as the original, with easy pick-up-and-play gameplay and 16 leaders to choose from, including new some new additions like Gandhi and Winston Churchill (above). Now you can win the space race, build the UN or conquer the world on your way to work!

YouTube Update

Hi guys!

Any of you who watch our CMTS Gaming YouTube channel (That's right, all 7 of you!) may have been wondering what's behind the lack of videos recently! The answer is: my laptop's WiFi receiver is in a bit of a pickle, but as soon as it's fixed we'll be back to our old schedule. If you don't know what the schedule is, it's pretty simples: at least 1 video in the week (Depending on if Joe or any others post videos and if I have the time to edit more than 1 video) and 2 videos on the weekend! Hope you've been liking the channel!

Sam