Trailers

On the Eve of War – Destiny Taken King

Here we sit on the eve of The Taken King finally landing on our consoles and I find myself very excited. I have taken Wednesday and Thursday off work even. I’ve spent the weekend working on the new subclass quests for my Warlock with my clan. We also had a bit of a go on the new Crucible mode called Mayhem. For those who may not know, Mayhem is a new mode where your super and grenades recharge very fast. I only ever play Crucible with my clan, because they make it fun, and Mayhem was fucking awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun in The Crucible. Supers and grenades going off everywhere; bodies flying all over the place. It was great. I must thank my awesome clan, the Guardians of Sarcasm, for making Crucible fun. I never would’ve gone in there without them. Thanks guys.

 

Bungie did a series of live reveal streams on Twitch as well that allowed us to see some of the strikes and public events. They have done some serious tweaking to the Strikes that looks great. Bosses that tag team and then double team you. The new public events look really interesting. They’ve added in a some variables that should keep the events fresh and fun. I can’t wait to play then with the guys. So here you are, below are the videos from the Bungie live streams.

Enjoy and I’ll see you on the other side of the release.


E3 2015 – More of my Destiny (The Taken King)

After the last expansion bringing us into the Reef and closer to the Awoken, I was hoping we’d get more in the next expansion. My character is an Awoken so I have a vested interested, but they’re also very mysterious and that makes me want to know more. Instead though we get to see Crota’s daddy come for revenge. Not the most original plot device, but I’m sure it will be fun nonetheless.

~Donna


E3 2015 Female Assassin Hell Yea!

Ubisoft were sneaky bastards and they added another video to their YouTube channel several hours after their conference at E3. I love this one over them all too. So far we’ve only really had 1 female assassin, Aveline. I have no words for how much I loved Aveline and I’m really excited to be playing Evie in Syndicate. We know that you can play as both Evie and Jacob, but it hasn’t really been made clear how much choice you have between the two. I hope that I can choose to play Evie at any time and point.

Until then though we do have this prety awesome little show of Evie in action.

~Donna


E3 2015 Final Fantasy 7 Remake – Yes Really

I’m sure that by now you all know that Squeenix is finally doing that Final Fantasy 7 remake. I love Final Fantasy; it’s a top 10 favourite franchise. I can remember playing them on the NES and the Super NES and then later in the 90s playing bootleg ROMs of 2 & 3. I would go to the ends of the earth for Final Fantasy. I saved and bought a Playstation just so I could play Final Fantasy. I really love these games.

Oddly hearing the news of a remake of FF 7 didn’t fill me with the super excited joy like it did so many people, including these guys. Although watching them react did make me happy.

 

I think maybe the movie industry has burned me on remakes of anything. So many bad remakes just makes me wary of any type of remade thing. I mean, I am happy for it and I will buy it of course, but I just wasn’t brimming with excitement. I’m sure it will be awesome and I’ll love it, but right now I’m a bit underwhelmed. SO what do you think?

~Donna


E3 2015 Dishonored 2

You have no idea how crazy it makes me to spell dishonored without a U. Repeatedly when doing searches I will spell the word right then realise I’ve not spelled it the American way. These are the things that make me crazy. Well one of them anyhow. Still, seeing yet another game with a female lead made me all kinds of happy. Sure you can play as Corvo, but I’m happy that we get to have the choice and Emily and Corvo have different abilities so there is a real decision to be made.

I’ve watched the video a few times now and I’m very intrigued by that smoke ability Emily seems to have. This is going to make sneaking and surprise attacks a thing of joy Not to mention the possibilities of run the fuck away quickly. We don’t see much gameplay, but we do get to see some beautiful design on show. The art direction was rather stylised previously and from this small clip it looks like they’ve taken it one step further and I really like what I see.

Next year is going to be full of some very awesome games.

~Donna

 


E3 2015 Charting Uncharted

When it was announced the Amy Hennig was leaving Naughty Dog I must admit I did panic a little. She’s been the awesome force of the story behind Uncharted since the beginning. I feared that Nathan Fillion Drake just wasn’t going to be the same without her. As more information came out it became clear that some of the other driving forces of previous Uncharted games would be at the helm of A Thief’s End, I felt a little more comforted. Now of course the E3 trailer is out and it’s 7.5 minutes long. I think this may be the longest gameplay trailer for E3, or at least that I know of.

Watching this I laughed and I did a little squee. There are a couple places where it gets a little tense. It’s over 7 minutes long and in that time they really do show you a variety of gameplay, but they also show us that the wit is still there. After seeing this I’m so excited you’d think I was a 6 year old who got into the bag of jelly babies and ate them all. Totally bouncing off the walls.

~Donna


E3 2015 It’s All In The New

We don’t get nearly enough new IPs in the gaming world. Publishers like to go for the tried and true, but it can get boring. So it was nice to see a couple of exciting new IPs at E3 this year.

The top of the new list for me has got to be Horizon Zero Dawn. We’ve seen some wonderful post apocalypse setting in games like Fallout, but if this trailer is anything to go by then we’re in for something special. Living robot animals! The world of the Old Ones has slipped away and the remaining humans have had to learn to survive. It looks just awesome and I really don’t want to have to wait until 2016.

 

EA showed us a nice little light hearted game called Unravel. It’s a platformer with some new mechanics for getting from point A to point B. It looks like a bit of fun to be had.

 

Media Molecule have been busy busy little beavers. They’ve created two games. The first is Dreams which looks like a jumble of weird things. Who knows what it’ll turn out to be, but it definitely hs my interested. MM is good at quircky and unusual. Speaking of they’ve also got Tearaway Unfolded coming. There is a previous Tearaway game on the Vita, but it’s still a new IP and looks like a lot of fun.

 

 

For those of you who love your multiplayer and have been wishing there was a melee game for you, well there is. Ubisoft announced For Honor last night. This is a 4 vs 4 team medieval melee kill everyone game. Forced multiplayer isn’t my thing, but this still looks pretty awesome.

 

I’m sure there were more announced today but these are the ones that have caught my eye so far and look promising.

~Donna


E3 2015 Assasin’s Creed Syndicate

The Ubisoft conference has just ended and for me the highlight was Assasin’s Creed Syndicate. This really isn’t a surprise to anyone who has been following me over the years. I’m really excited to be playing a female assassin again. I loved playing Aveline in Liberation so much and I really want a full console AC game with a female. For now though I’ll just have to settle playing Evie.

So below is the AC section of the Ubisoft presentation, but also a new gameplay trailer. Enjoy.

~Donna

 


E3 2015 Bethesda Conference

I have waxed lyrically about the highlights for me from Bethesda, but there was so much more. There was Dishonoured 2, Elder Scrolls and Battlecry as well. So here’s the full Bethesda show for all your viewing pleasure.


E3 2015 DOOM!!

I remember when the original DOOM game was released. It was a new and wonderful thing. id created a new and interesting genre of game and we all took to it like ducks to water. I spent so many hours playing it and later playing Quake. I fell in love with id as a developer and they still hold a special place in my heart. They made me fall in love with adventure and showed me a new perspective that has shaped gaming for over 20 years.

There have been misguided attempts at DOOM games in the past and we try to forget them. This time though it looks like id has decided to go back to the things we loved about DOOM and been very true to that creation so many years ago. Watching the extensive gameplay portion of the video we can see that the focus is clearly on killing and those awesome guns.

Of course there will be multi-player as one would expect. Judging from what they’ve shown us there will get both competitive and co-operative. This makes me very happy as I usually con’t enjoy the competitive multi-player modes in games. To go with this they are introducing a simple and easy way to build out own maps and even mix up the game modes. I remember struggling to make Quake levels back in the 90s, so this will be a welcome feature. I foresee a lot of fun levels in my building future.

Enough babbling though, have a look for yourself.

~Donna


E3 2015 – Falling in Love with Fallout 4

At E3 this year Bethesda have made their very first appearance. They had a lot to show us, but Fallout 4 was definitely the highlight for me.

This time we’ll likely be in Boston, as is evident by the statue of Paul Revere in the trailer. The character we see in the video is wearing a Vault 111 jumpsuit, so one must figure that we’re not too far from Vault 101 of Fallout 3. Still, you never know; it wouldn’t be the first time we were misled by a game developer just too fool us. They certainly didn’t confirm the location in the presentation.

Nothing in the presentation doesn’t excite me. A flash to what is and what was just sends my imagination sky rocketing. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that if Bethesda did nothing different other than the story, many of us would still be very happy. We know though that we get so much more to go with our story and adventure. There will not only be weapon and power armour crafting, but we get to build our own little town. I don’t know about anyone else, but I bet I lose whole days to the crafting in addition to the random wandering of the landscape.

We get a peak into the character creation as well. You do get to play as a male or female and you have complete control over your features to a level not seen before. This time your chosen sex seems to be less superficial so chosing your looks actually my have more use.

There’s a whole bunch of little goodies in the Fallout 4 presentation though, such as a peak at the collector’s edition.

~Donna


Fuck Yes More Borderlands!!! (Pre-Sequel)

I was watching the Borderlands Pre-Sequel E3 trailer again for like the millionth time and I realised I had said absolutely nothing about it here. So, new Borderlands coming in October. If you think I don’t have it pre-ordered then clearly you don’t know me. Not even caring that it’s on the PS3, it was ordered the second I found out about it. At first I kind of wondered why they had released it on previous gen, but then I got to thinking about it and figured it made sense. Your games linked together so it makes sense that the third likely would as well. I’m not sure it matters really where they release it, but just that they do.  I lost count of the number of times I played through Borderlands 2 with the hubby. I know that game inside out.

So being a highly anticipated game, I’m practically counting the days until it’s released. For Borderlands I would return to my PS1 if it meant I could play it some more.

Watch the videos; the first one has a Moon Dance!

~Donna


Kill All The Nazis – Wolfenstein : The New Order

My first exposure to Wolfenstein was in the early 90s when Wolfenstein 3D came out. I was just beginning to get interested seriously in computer hardware and building PCs. Of course the best reason to build your own computer was to play all the best games. I’m sure you can see where this is going. These first entries into what would become the FPS genre of gaming were where I spent so many hours. There was no way I could pass this up even though I didn’t pre-order it.

Ya know it may be 2014, but taking a guy out while he’s taking a piss. Yes, I am a grown adult, but this still made me laugh. It’s just so over the top that it seems right in Wolfenstein. Besides, these have got to be the laziest guards ever.

Now I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I suck at being sneaky. Still though, this time I have managed to be as sneaky as a super sneaky thing. Only a little alarm but generally got through without having the whole of the camp coming after me. I tried to not move around real fast in this one and I did a bit of panning to show off how it looks on the PS4.

There is an easter egg in Wolfenstein that I’m eagerly looking forward to. I know where to go to get to it, but I’m not quite far enough in yet. Soon though I will be able to play the first level of Wolfenstein 3D. This one little easter egg alone makes buying the game worthwhile. I’ll make sure to get a video when I get in there though.

More soon, I promise.

~Donna

 


All I Need Is A Little Transistor

Every now and then a indie game dev will come a long and put out a game that immediately draws my eyes to it. SuperGiant Games has done just that with their recent release. Transistor is such a beauty to behold that when I watched the trailer for it I just didn’t care how it played; I needed to see more of it. This is a game that has some wonderful graphics. It’s like you’re interacting with a painting.

Have a look at this little video I did to show this very thing off. It started raining and things got a little fuzzy like rain drops on a windscreen.

 

So the story has a very Noir crime detective feel to it. Like 1930s type old school detective noir books. Bad guys and bad things went down in the place you’re singing at. Your character Red doesn’t speak. Her voice was stolen by the bad guys when they invaded the place, but your sword does talk. The sword is holding the “soul” of a man who appears to be your greatest admirer. The narration has this third person feel since Red doesn’t speak. If you play this on the PS4, go into the settings and turn on the controller speaker. All of the narration then comes out at your hands like you’re holding the sword. It does so much to the immersion.

 

 

The gameplay isn’t anything new, hit bad things with your big sword called Transistor. Now you can just hit things with the abilities your garner and combine or you can go into a screen freeze and chain moves. When you come out of the freeze the moves action as you planned them. This is especially useful when fighting bigger bad guys.  As you go through the game and the city, called Cloudbank, you gather other “souls” which give you abilities. These abilities can then be used as is, combined with other abilities to make something new, or they can be boosted with skills you earn. This makes for a lot of options when you’re playing and something isn’t working.

 

 

I have really enjoyed this game. It has some wonderful ideas about combat options, but above all that it is so amazing to look at. The artists at SuperGiant Games should be commended for the wonderful visuals they have provided. It’s indie developers like them that take something so simple and they give you something so interesting in return. I would put this game up on the same shelf as Flower and Journey. It is a game I recommend everyone play.

~Donna


Microsoft and Sony Conferences – E3 2014

In case you haven’t seen the Microsoft and Sony conferences at E3 for this year, below are video links for both.


My E3 Picks

So a few of my own highlight from yesterday’s announcements and I’m going to start with my top of the heap favourite. When I heard this news today I actually whooped a little. They’re remastering Grim Fandango.

Of course we have the beauty of the next Assassin’s Creed game. I’m really excited for this. It looks like the free running and combat has been changed and it looks good. I’m also happy to see more building interiors and a floating waypoint.

Then we have the wonderful news of another Uncharted and another Far Cry on the way for our loving joy.

And lastly we have a little puzzle game with some lovely art and should be with us soon; Valiant Hearts. Visually very stunning and just my sort of game.

 


Peeking In On Watch Dogs

I may or may not give up a full review of Watch Dogs, but I can assure you that I’ll be posting more videos to add to these ones. Last week I took Thursday and Friday off of work so that I could have a 4 day weekend of playing nothing but Watch Dogs. I have been waiting for a very long time for this game and I may be a little more than a little obsessed with it. This is of course more than my normal gaming obsession. I am pretty sure that someone has been peaking inside of my brain when they were coming up with ideas.

There’s something i need to say though before I go any further. Fucking stop comparing Watch Dogs to GTA!! I swear, if one more reviewer compares it to GTA I may kill someone. Yes Watch Dogs is a sandbox game. Yes it has main and side missions. Those are all traits of sandbox games, not just GTA. I love GTA, but it isn’t the be all end all of sandbox games. So stop fucking calling it a wanna-be GTA game. It’s not.

Okay, I suck at driving in any game. I rarely get to where I want to be in a very good condition. I will run into other cars and mow down pedestrians hopefully without blowing up my car. Now, driving in Watch Dogs isn’t the best. Some of the cars can be a little like driving bricks with wheels, but it is possible to get from point A to point B in one piece. Mostly this is aided by their nearly indestructible vehicles. I almost never get anywhere without side swiping a dozen cars and running head long into at least one car as I attempt to turn a corner.

I always try out the motorcycles in any game that has them cause I’m less likely to end up hurtling down the road as a fireball if the controls for it are any good. Usually they aren’t very good. This time though the motorcycles are my preferred mode of transport. Between the robustness of their structure I don’t blow up as often and I can actually go pretty fast.

Of course if I happen to misjudge an intersection I might get an impromptu flying lesson.

That second video is a little bit of showing off of the PS4 as well. Riding a motorcycle at night in the rain with a thunderstorm and it looks awesome. How could I not share that.

It’s not all about the cars though, you can steal the boats too. I have found this especially useful when I’ve managed to trigger the cops and they want my head on a platter. Solution; find a boat. I am generally very impressed by the NPC AI, but the cops are kinda stupid in this respect. Somehow they just become blind when you reach the water even if there are helicopters.

I’ll be back with more I’m sure, but for now here’s some proof that it’s not all about the videos. A lovely moody shot of our hero against the Chicago skyline.


Proof of a Differnt Way of Thinking

So, I was flipping through my Steam featured games page and found 7 Days To Die which is currently on sale. I watched the video I’ve linked below and it made me so super happy that I barely have words. Have a look.

Now, the game itself doesn’t really interest me, but what it represents gets me all kinds of excited. The game itself is the amalgamation of Minecraft, Walking Dead and Skyrim basically and that is great. What has me excited though is that this clearly shows that game designers are thinking in different directions and gamers are clearly showing that this new way of thinking is what they want to play. The game was heavily funded on Kickstarter and was also part of Steam’s Greenlight games.

This is only 1 example, but it’s a good example of what can happen when designers don’t decide to just make a clone of a successful game. I can’t even count the number of Minecraft clones out there all trying to capitalise on its success. The age of Indie games has come back again and as they begin to make more games that are outside the set genre and confines, the more likely the big boys will begin to notice. It won’t be an overnight change, but I think it can happen. The last year has seen some very interesting games get published. With the new generation of consoles and increased indie support by the console makers; I think we can see some more mainstream companies begin to broaden their thinking.


Coming Back to Raid Tombs and Kick Ass (Tomb Raider)

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Like so many franchises, Tomb Raider has gotten a reboot. I went into this high hopes for the story since it was written by Rhianna Pratchett. While I will never forgive her for Mirror’s Edge, she did write the Overlord games which were wonderful fun.

I was not disappointed.

Rhianna gave us a believable beginning to an iconic gaming woman. A story that builds on the genius that is a young Lara that isn’t so self assured. From the beginning we are presented with someone who is not only smart but also insecure. She knows she’s right, but she doesn’t have the years of experience behind her to be the confident Lara we’re all used to seeing. I like this a lot. It shows a humble, if smart, beginnings of the confident woman. As we travel through to very well crafted story, she becomes more sure of herself. By the half-way point we’re seeing that familiar Lara and by the end you know she’s gotten a taste for something that she’ll never turn away from again.

I will say one thing about the whole “threat of rape” thing that was spinning a few months back. Yes she is threatened in this way, but she’s threatened with horrible-ness through the whole game, including murder. So yea, she is threatened, but it’s nothing to write home about.

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Gameplay is what you would expect. Plenty of running and shooting and climbing ever surface in sight. The controls are all very easy to use straight out of the box. There are some quicktime events, but they’re unobtrusive and not a pain in the ass to do. I’m notoriously terrible at aiming shots in games like this but he aim assist saved me. So even if you’re rubbish at aiming, like me, don’t worry. I used the fucking hell out of the bow & arrow too. That thing was so awesome to use as an alternative to guns. One of my only complaints is that here really just wasn’t the amount of puzzles that I’ve come to expect from a Tomb Raider game. There are puzzles that are integral to the game, but it just felt a little lacking for me. You could tell what your upcoming tools would be simply by having a look around at what you couldn’t climb. Sure it was a little predictable, but I can forgive it this one thing.

I really liked the music and sounds of the game. They conveyed mood and drama very well. I didn’t find annoying, repetitive or boring. There’s not a lot I can say about the music than that.

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Visually the game is stunning. You have this deserted island full of mystery and wonder surrounded by this impossible storm. The world around you is rendered in a very believable way and really has been thought out and deigned nicely. It felt like a lost island filled with a mythical ancient story just waiting to be discovered. Also, video games have had hair issues for a long long time, but this has made some great improvements. On the PC version you get to use the TressFX engine which is a special engine for just rendering the hair. Just wish it had been in the console versions too.

Ya know  really did like he prequel a lot. My only gripes are the lack of more complex puzzles and it really felt kinda short. Even with doing a lot of exploring and completing about 90% of the game extras outside the main storyline; I only got about 16 hour of play from it. I know that’s pretty much normal these days, it still feels like it’s too short. This isn’t uncommon for me though, I don’t want the goodness to end.

Go get the game. It’s definitely worth it


On The Border of Borderlands 2

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I originally bought Borderlands 2 for The Hubby as he was a great fan of the first game. This time though he managed to rope me into playing it through with him using the co-op.  So we played through it together even though he’d already finished it and maxed his character and all that jazz. I very fast found myself becoming addicted to this game. We easily clocked up a good 20 hours of play that first weekend.

Many games have multiplayer, but usually it’s over the internet only. Not a lot of games have same machine on screen co-op and I’m always so happy to find ones that do so that me and The Hubby can play together. Although I have no idea how people with normal sized TVs do this. Ours is 50 inch and it’s barely big enough. TV size may be a post for another time. So, the fact that there was a co-op on same screen/system in the game made me happy. It was there in the first game too, but for some reason the first game just didn’t grab me like this one did.

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So we’ve finished it now and we’re currently on our second run through on the harder setting and it’s proving to be quite the challenge. On normal mode with 2 players, the game already scales things to be harder since there is more than one player. This is actually rather impressive. I watched The Hubby play it on solo and compared it with what we’d seen in normal and harder modes; there’s definitely a difference. The first thing is the amount of bad guys for you to kill, but also their toughness is subtly more hard to kill if you’ve got 2 players compared to one. In the Vault Hunter hard mode there are very obvious differences. The Badasses really are badasses and make you earn the XP you’re getting from them. The un-armoured Maniacs who run at you are suddenly Armoured Maniacs and a bit more of a challenge.

It’s brilliant. Seriously, Gearbox are fucking brilliant. The co-op is absolutely masterful.

I don’t know if I can explain the intelligence that the developers have coded into the co-op and the difficulty differences. They didn’t just decide to throw more bad guys at you just because there is 2+ people playing or to just crank up the hardness of those you gotta kill. No, they gave it some thought and it really makes the game that much more fun to play.

Intelligent difficulty instead of fucking hard for the sake of being fucking hard.

This intelligent design carries through all that they’ve done with the game. The button mapping (at least on the PS3) is smart and easy to use and remember. The inventory/mission/maps/etc screens are simple and easy to use. Something that made me extra happy is that they made it easy to compare weapons.  Nothing annoys me more than not being able to easily see if the big gun I jsut picked up is better than what I’m using.  With an easy interface, everything falls into place wonderfully for Borderlands 2.

The above would be nothing though without all the other bits and bobs that make a game great, like the sound and video.

Gearbox have taken that extra step with the graphics that leads you so much further from the photo realistic-ness of so many games out there. Yes it’s cell shaded and beautiful, but it’s also very stylised. This stylised approach really helps with world immersion and looks rather fabulous to boot. I really cannot fault the visual style and approach.

Now I really can’t say how much I like the music choice for the game. The title song is by The Heavy and is a song titled Short Change Hero. This song sets the scene well as the unlikely hero for the game and has this funk blues thing going on. The composers did a good job of integrating little riffs from the title song throughout the gameplay. You’ll end up humming this song hours after you’ve stopped playing. Of course the downside of this is that while you’re in the middle of your work day humming the song, you’ll end up really craving the game. I speak of this from experience as I’ve bought the album with the title song on it and now it keeps getting stuck in my brain.

So for the story we’re looking at the repercussions of the vault being opened in the first game. Your primary nemesis is Handsome Jack, but like any bad guy he’s a bit of a nasty character. Generally I’d say the story is a “World Domination” scheme, but getting there is so much fun and very not run of the mill. You can expect Killing, great characters and plenty of car driving action. I don’t want to give any of the story away. Even though I didn’t play the first Borderlands game I had no problem getting stuck into the story of this instalment.

Seriously, if at this point you think I have anything but a massive addiction and obsession with Borderlands 2, then you’ve not been paying attention. The game is fun, has a great sense of humour. It looks fabulous with a very well done cell-shaded art style. The gameplay is easy even if, like me, you’re a bit shit at FPS games on consoles. The game is very well put together and Gearbox should be very proud of what they’ve done here.

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Preview Time! – Ni No Kuni : Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)

Studio Ghibli has stepped back into the game developing scene (the last time being back in 2003 with Garakuda Studios to make Magic Pengel). This time around they’re working with Level5 studios, famous for the Professor Layton series, to create Ni No Kuni : Wrath of the White Witch, a J-RPG exclusive to the Playstation3  and released in the UK later this month.

The game is set in the magical world of Ni No Kuni and revolves around thirteen year old Oliver who, along with a fairy called Drippy, travel across the enchanting world in order to save Oliver’s mother. Along the way  Oliver will meet new team members; all with their own set of special skills.

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The demo was released on the PSN back in December, containing two sections that give players a glimpse into the games wonderful gameplay.

There’s ‘The Deep Dark wood – An errand for old father Oak’ which shows of the over-world  with its eagle-eyed view of the map , beautiful wide open landscapes and monster sprites roaming across the land. The over-world seems reminiscent of Dragon Quest 8, (which is no surprise as both games are developed by Level5 Studios). The part of the demo also shows you how players will interact with NPCs and how the locket mechanic works and how spells work outside of battle.

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Next there’s ‘ The mountain of Fire – Eruption interruption!’ which takes place later in the game. This part  is a time trial in which you have to navigate  Oliver  up to the top of an active volcano in under 3 minutes whilst manoeuvring along the tiny pathways on the volcanoes side and dodging sudden bursts of lava from the wall.This part also introduces the villain for,  Shadar ; an evil wizard with a deadly power that can corrupt a person’s heart.

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Both parts contain a boss battles that make use of an interesting battle system that fuses real-time and turn based components.You can battle as Oliver, or any of the familiars that he acquires through out the game; other members of your party will act off their own initiative using  their own familiars, or you can  either give them an order to act in a certain way, or control them directly, leaving control of Oliver up to the AI.

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Before this preview ends I do have a few gripes about the demo, both are minor complaints though. I found the English voice acting to be rather annoying, but not completely terrible. Plus there’s always the option to use the Japanese voices with English subtitles which is a nice addition. Unfortunately that’s the other problem I came across; Drippy with the English voice acting has rather thick accent and they try to recreate this with the written dialogue.  It can be annoying to read; especially if you have the Japanese voice acting on.

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In the end I found the Ni No Kuni demo to be fantastic, an amazing glimpse into what I hope will be a wonderful game. I have high hopes for the full version, which will be in stores on the 1st Febuary.

~HeadphoneGirlZ


Just Dance 4

Considering that I’m such a lazy gamer, I’ve been infected with the sudden need to dance, and party, and just be lively. After meeting the Ubisoft Reflections guys in Newcastle, I got a shot at Just Dance 3 for Xbox 360 and it was a barrel of laughs! Still unsure of whether I should venture out and grab Just Dance 4, I took a trip to the Metro-centre where the same guys were helping GAME celebrate it’s release. I had a blast there too, and quickly decided to rush out and buy the latest instalment of Just Dance.

Song List

Like any music game, the songs available are important to the player. Previous Just Dance games failed to disappoint with songs such as Funky Town, Barbra Streisand and Party Rock Anthem. The new game also has a great range of songs, making playing JD a great addition to any party. I’ll name a few I can think of:

Las Ketchup – Asjere (The Ketchup Song)

One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

Flo Rida – Good Feeling

Maroon 5 – Moves Like Jagger

Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give you up

So there’s a few of the songs available and it keeps to the tone that was set by the previous titles. There are a few songs that I wish weren’t there, but that’s all down to personal preference. I don’t quite understand Skrillex for example, but I’ll still give it a go.

Some songs are better with more people

Dance Move Precision

Like all dance games, they ask you to complete a few moves and they grade you with an overall star rating and a mini grade for how you pull off each move. Whereas Dance Central make their grading of moves a little more visible (around the dancers feet and glowing limbs if you do it wrong) JD places it above your character and next to your dance-card.

You do get better scores for better precision, naturally. However, when the game has you twirling, ducking, weaving, and more it’s very hard to see what you’re meant to be doing, and you start to ignore your grades.

Just Sweat Mode

Just Sweat is the JD equivalent of a dance workout. There are multiple classes in which to choose from, sorted by the style of music they use, and add in a few extra short routines specifically for the workout such as stretching. There are a few workout length choices too, ranging from 10 mins to 45 mins, and I’m sure I saw a 1 hr workout in there somewhere. Nevertheless, I tried them all out in a bid to get fit for Halloween…

They are pretty good I must say. I started at 10 mins but it didn’t seem like long enough for me. I was only just working up this sweat that the mode had so promised me, but was soon to regret choosing a 45 minute cheerleader workout. My shoulders are still sore now, probably has more to do with the fact I’m rather unfit. The routine was great, it lets you know when they are cool down sections and intense sections, and tells you the calories you’ve burned at the end. My only issue with the calorie count is that, unlike DC where they ask you for weight, this game does not, so it makes me wonder how it’s calculating this…?

Downsides

I can’t really think of the downsides of this game, but if I had to share what I thought was bad…

– I couldn’t play this on the Wii because every time I do, I seems to whack myself with the Wii-mote. It’s hardly a complaint but when you do hit yourself it really hurts.

– Playing certain songs by yourself allows you to realise how lonely you are. Barry White’s song is a 4 player dance group and you can look really silly doing it alone. The same with Asjere, Time of my Life and Time Warp. Forever Alone 😛

– Justin Bieber (but that’s down to preference)

– With bigger dance groups you need more space otherwise it becomes difficult. The Wii doesn’t have so much of a problem, but the Kinect needs to see everyone and they all need to be in the right place otherwise it goes a bit nuts.

– Not enough DLC songs but I suppose the developers need a little more time to add them.

– There’s also the problems that accompany most motion gaming, such as calibration of the sensor, which can become a little irritating but it’s not a major issue.

Quite a fun game

In conclusion I’d say that Just Dance 4 is a great party game and is a lot more fun when with friends, as you can have a laugh at each other whilst doing the silly routines they have planned out for you. It’s still good as a 1-player game but it feels a little more like a chore after a few songs. Plus, after a while a few of the songs you’ve never heard before start to grow on you. Just need some more songs to dance to and I’ll be happy.


The Sun Rises – Okami HD (PS3)

Okami HD is the remastered version of the PlayStation 2 title made by Clover studios and published by Capcom which was released in the UK back in 2006.

Set in the ancient land of Nippon (Japan); you play as Amaterasu, the reincarnated goddess of the sun who has been sent back to earth. Together with your little sidekick, a woodland sprite named Issun, you travel across the country in order to destroy the malevolent forces that are wreaking havoc on the land and its inhabitants. Over the course of the game you discover  new locations, take on ferocious creatures and collect new powers for Amaterasu’s ‘Celestial Brush’, making  better equipped to fight off the demons.

So what has been added to the PS3 HD version?

Well first up is obviously the graphics; the stunning sumi-e style art is back and now in glorious 1080p. Every detail is  a lot clearer than both the PS2 or Wii versions with cut-scenes and gameplay continuing to be pretty much indistinguishable from each other.

The music is elegant and fits perfectly with any setting, whether it’s a wide open field or the lair of a ferocious beast.

The combat is an excellent combination of melee action and the Celestial Brush, making Amaterasu a force to be reckoned with. The brush can be used outside of battles as well. You can use it to with help solving puzzles or just so you can change it from night to day; the Celestial Brush is a handy tool. There’s also a levelling system for the brush. Doing good deeds or by defeating bad guys will give you ‘Praise’. The ‘Praise’ can then be spend on enhancing your brush or gaining another life orb.

As it’s an HD remake on the PlayStation 3 the game wouldn’t have been complete without a trophy system. While some are challenging to get, most are just arbitrary achievements that you get for just playing the game normally, which to me seems pointless.

Speaking of pointless, Okami HD is compatible with the Playstation Move. Now, I don’t own the Move controllers, but I did try playing the Wii version of Okami when came out in 2008. If the Move controller is anything like the Wii version of Okami then it may be better to steer clear.

One last thing , I’m surprised that Capcom or Clover didn’t look into adding a remote play functionality for the Playstation Vita; considering the dual touch screens it seems like a fairly good idea; but oh well.

Overall Okami HD is brilliant remaster of a severely underrated PS2 game; Everything  fits perfectly together to deliver a wonderful game that leaves me feeling nostalgic. With an interesting plot , breathtaking graphics and a wide array of diverse characters, this game will keep you entertained for a long time to come.

~HeadphoneGirlZ


Heart of Darkness – Spec Ops: The Line (PS3 / 360 / PC)

Normally, I steer clear of shooters. I’ve never been that great at them and I find the storylines to be more about making the military seem like an amazing occupation, rather than showing people the horrors of war and the devastation it can cause. So, when I started hearing reviews of Spec Ops : The Line and its different approach to the modern military shooter, I decided “what the hell” and picked up a copy myself.

Made by Yager Development and Published by 2K Games; Spec ops : The Line is set in Dubai 6 months after a cataclysmic sandstorm has destroyed the city. You play as Martin Walker, the  Captain  of the Delta Squad, which is comprised of Walker and his two partners Lieutenant Alphanso Adams and Sergeant John Lugo. Their squad is sent out to Dubai on reconnaissance in order to confirm the status of Colonel John Konrad, commander of the 33rd Battalion of the US Army, and any survivors, then radio for extraction. But as they make their way through the ruins of the city they discover that the 33rd Battalion has gone rogue and is committing increasingly harsh and brutal crimes against the civilian population with the stated intent of maintaining order.

The gameplay is very similar to most modern shooters, get to cover and shoot. Your squadmates each have their own unique skill; Lugo will snipe any  enemy you point at, whereas Adams will throw grenades, which can be helpful sometimes, but most of the time it’s easier to shoot them yourself as the AI has got fairly bad aim. There’s also a sand mechanic which, whilst interesting, is rarely needed. Some enemies will be taking cover near or under windows, shoot the glass and sand will fall on top of them and clearing the path for you. You can only carry one gun at a time, picking up new ones from enemy soldiers. Also, ammo is scarce, leaving the player to make every bullet count. The moral choice system is very clever, giving players the option to deviate from the standard good vs bad dialogue options and make their own choice. The aesthetics are well done as well. Despite being set in a war zone, some of the scenery is stunning and paired with the use of both an original score and licensed music sets the tone perfectly.



There’s also a multiplayer mode made by Darkside Game Studios. It is set before Walker and his squad were sent to Dubai during the initial war between ” The Exiles” and “The Damned” 33rd infantry . There are several different maps and competitive game types, as well as community leaderboard’s and challenges. There is also a class system  with four standard classes and a class that’s specific to the faction you pick : Officer , Sniper , Gunner, Medic  and Scavenger for the Damned or Breacher for the Exiles.




Overall  I found that Spec Ops : The Line to be a very interesting game. Unlike a lot of shooters that make you feel like a hero for gunning down wave after wave of enemies, the game will make you think about your actions and what you could’ve done to avoid killing that enemy or how you handled that situation. In the end  Spec ops was a pleasant surprise, full of interesting plot twists and a storyline that portrays Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and  dissociative disorders very well. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys their shooters, but would like to see them evolve beyond the stagnant state they’re currently stuck  in.