All posts by Halim Rhouila

Halim joined the thisisxbox.com team as a news writer and reviewer Dec 2012. Is a huge fan of Capcom's fighting games and is an avid gamer on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Bioshock Infinite: Burial At Sea – Episode One Review

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Irrational Games already had an absolute winner with the experience of Bioshock Infinite alone. Their first piece of single player DLC was always going to be a big seller, and many clamouring for their DLC after buying the season pass, it was time. All Irrational games had to do to make the general public giddy with excitement, was mention one word. One name rather, Rapture. So what with the game taking its glorious return to the where it all began, it was time to see if it could live up to the name, and to the expectations of the many who hold Bioshock in the highest regard.

So onto the content itself. Burial At Sea is set just before Rapture becomes the underwater haven that we know it as today, Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth are back together again for the adventure of a lifetime. Their mission is to find a missing young girl known only as ‘Sally’. Booker is well established in this implied alternate timeline in Rapture. He’s known as a bit a sleuth, a private detective that takes on any contract. Elizabeth is more of a mystery, much as she is in the single player campaign. Elizabeth has been given a wonderful fifties makeover. Complete with an elegantly fiendish looking outfit and cigarette. There are some characters and cameos you may recognise, but when I saw them I was pleasantly surprised. So I shan’t be ruining it for any of you fine folk.

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Gameplay offers much of the same in the way of weapons and vigors. The return of splicers does add to the excitement somewhat. Not that it changes much of the gameplay, it’s just feels good to dive right in at these bastards again. Ammunition is quite scarce here. This leaves you to come up with creative ways of tangling wih your foes. Such as luring them to a wet patch and using Shock Jockey to send several thousand volts of electricity to their brains. This section of the review is of course short. As I’ve said, there’s nothing new here. We’ve all played this before, it works well and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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Rapture looks just as stunning as it always has. Fans of Bioshock 1 and 2 will feel completely at home here. I spent as much time looking out of the windows and staring at the damp décor or Rapture as I did the first time I played the original Bioshock. Rapture as it always has been, is a marvel to experience.image_307100_16x9_940

For all my cries of “it’s very samey”, I don’t feel as though I was cheated out of a good experience while playing Burial At Sea. The story is fantastic, the graphics and the setting are wonderful as ever, gameplay although the same is solid to its core. The only area where this truly falters is its length. With minimal exploration, it can take less than an hour and a half to get through the entire thing. Although if you choose to play it in the true Bioshock way, it can take a lot longer. There is of course a lot to see, many audio files and bits of gear to find sprawled around the wet landscape. To sum it up in a sentence, Burial At Sea – Episode One is a good piece of DLC. It’s very short, but that is compensated for by the excellent narrative. The size of the content isn’t worth its price, I’m afraid. But it is still an excellent piece of work to play through. I can’t wait for episode two.

 

Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition Skyrim Mash-Up Trailer

The hotly anticipated Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Minecraft mash-up is out next week, according to Bethesda.

The pack contains over 40 downloadable skins, a Skyrim themed texture pack, as well as themed Skyrim menu. Here’s the meat of the DLC, over 20 songs from Skyrim itself will be making its merry way to the world of pixelated blocks.

The Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition Skyrim Mash-Up DLC will be available to download on November 20th for $3.99/€3.79/£2.69.

Check out the new trailer below.

Xbox One Has Full Screen Achievement Pictures

It has just been discovered that achievements for the Xbox One will come with full screen pictures. More exciting news for all achievement hunters. Whether or not these are preset images or a screenshot from the moment you earn the achievement, or both is still unknown. But this is some exciting news for the Xbox One.

Check out these images down below.

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New Ultra Street Fighter IV Gameplay Mechanic Announced

Capcom’s Tomoaki Ayano has announced the latest gameplay mechanic to come in the upcoming Ultra Street Fighter IV. Besides the Red Focus and the Double Ultra mechanics, we now have delayed wake-ups. This completely flips the script and changes the way everyone will play, especially grapplers like Zangief and T. Hawk as well as vortex characters like Seth.

This is a roughly translated statement from Capcom’s Saikyo Blog .

“We also have a third new battle system — Delay Standing… For you to experience!

Delay Standing allows you to alter the timing of your wakeup, making your rise take a bit longer than usual. With this, you can increase your options against opponents with strong okizeme!”

Ultra Street Fighter IV is due out in Q1 of 2014 on the Xbox 360 as both a downloadable upgrade to Super Street Fighter IV, and a full retail release.

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Xbox One’s Arcade Titles Have 1000 Gamerscore

It was hinted when the Halo: Spartan Assault achievements were revealed that Arcade titles on the Xbox One  could have 1000 Gamerscore when the One launches next Friday. After much speculating, this comment was released by a Microsoft employee. “On Xbox One games are games. All games follow the same policies for achievements and Gamerscore,”. That’s something that I couldn’t agree more with.

What this means is that downloadable launch titles such as Killer Instinct, PowerStar Golf, LocoCycle, Crimson Dragon and all future arcade titles, or I guess I should call them downloadable games now, will also have the 1000 Gamerscore benchmark.

Happy Hunting, fellow score-whores.

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Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Stealthily Gives 12 Minute Gameplay Video

What a wonderful way to kick off the weekend. Konami have released the Tokyo Game Show build of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, finally in English for us here in the west! From what I can see, CQC is absolutely amazing in this game, and it makes me giddy with anticipation.

Ground Zeroes is the prologue to Metal Gear Solid V and will be released in Spring 2014 for the Xbox 360 for £29.99/$29.99 at retail, and £19.99/$19.99 for the downloadable version. The Xbox One downloadable version is also out in spring 2014 and will cost £29.99/$29.99.

Check out the vid down below.

NBA Live 14 Demo Comes Out Next Week

EA Sports have today announced that the 4 year hiatus of NBA Live will be ended with a demo that comes out next Friday.

In the demo, you’ll be able to take control of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks and the Golden State Warriors. Their live stats will be updates in the demo just as they will in the full game.

The NBA Live 14 demo hits the stores on Xbox One next Friday the 22nd of November.

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Xbox One LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Given New EU Release Date

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With news flying out of every outlet in recent weeks of the PS4 bettering the Xbox One in framerate and pixel output, it became worrying that LEGO Marvel Super Heroes which was due out on launch day was going to be delayed until 2014. A lot of people, myself included, were worried that there may be underlying issues with the One that we are not yet aware of. As it turns out, the news is not so drastic. We’re still unaware of the reason for the delay, but the delay has now been shortened to a mere week. The new release date for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes on the Xbox One in Europe is now November 29th.

Again, grab your block building fun on November 29th. Rest easy, true believers.

Final Exam Review

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Final Exam is a 2D/3D (2.5D?) side-scrolling beat ‘em up much like the classic Streets of Rage developed by Mighty Rocket Studio. I don’t really have much to say about this release. It’s kind of barebones. I mean, reviews are usually supposed to be a cavalcade of humorous anecdotes about the writer’s experience, but my experience with this game was far from noteworthy. It wasn’t even bad, I happen to think that the game is fun. It’s just not very memorable or all that interesting.

Final exam is a game with very little plot. It starts with four friends on their way to their old high-school’s alumni ball, when all of a sudden *BLAMMO*, their car crashes when they avoid the silhouette of a giant beast. The game quickly throws you into a tutorial where you learn to battle aliens with a plank of wood, a gun, and some grenades. The plot is presented in true comic-book style. As you can see, the story isn’t very engaging. Nor is it meant to be. The game is simply supposed to be a fun romp you can play with your friends.

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The combat in the game is quite well done, linear as it may be. Mashing X will initiate 3 hit combos, holding up and X will launch aliens in the air for bigger combos a la Devil May Cry, and holding down and X will smash them into the floor. There are guns in the game, you aim with the right stick and press the right trigger to fire. This is how aiming works in all side-scrollers like Serious Sam Double D XXL and Contra. This is of course before you consider upgrades that are unlockable in the game.

The characters have the same four stats. The stats are HP, Grenade Damage, Melee Damage, and Firearm Damage. Again, much like Streets of Rage, each character has different statistics for each one. Three of the characters each have a defining statistic that makes them prolific in one area, this leaves only one character being completely well-rounded. You can increase these stats by finding collectibles hidden around the levels. This means that playing for the stats is eventually useless, as you can max out each character.

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The combat in the game is quite well done, linear as it may be. Mashing X will initiate 3 hit combos, holding up and X will launch aliens in the air for bigger combos a la Devil May Cry, and holding down and X will smash them into the floor. There are guns in the game, you aim with the right stick and press the right trigger to fire. This is how aiming works in all side-scrollers like Serious Sam Double D XXL and Contra. This is of course before you consider upgrades that are unlockable in the game.

The characters have the same four stats. The stats are HP, Grenade Damage, Melee Damage, and Firearm Damage. Again, much like Streets of Rage, each character has different statistics for each one. Three of the characters each have a defining statistic that makes them prolific in one area, this leaves only one character being completely well-rounded. You can increase these stats by finding collectibles hidden around the levels. This means that playing for the stats is eventually useless, as you can max out each character.

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The skill tree is upgraded by using SP. You earn one SP by clearing a level. For the third time, very much like Streets of Rage, each character has a special move that deals great damage. You use the SP you unlock to upgrade these abilities. You can unlock other abilities such as air-dodges and better air-combos.

The levels are massive and have different tiers. The design is a lot like Castlevania, nowhere near as complicated, mind. Just like Castlevania in the way that you can move up or down different planes of the level. They throw a catch-22 into the game mechanics. You earn more CP by exploring the level and finding more pickups. However, you lose CP for taking too long on a mission. This is a mechanic that I assume is supposed to make the game replayable. Each level has different objectives to complete, such as finding a pickup or escorting missions. These aren’t intrusive or boring or anything, but I don’t really feel that they add anything to the game whatsoever.

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The game has online and local co-op. These aren’t different modes, just the campaign with your friends thrown in. I only had the opportunity to do this once for a half hour or so, but I could feel that this was how the game was supposed to be played. A half hour in co-op and I had ten times more fun than I did playing any other part of the game.  I call it co-op, but it is definitely more of a competitive game. The person with the most points at the end of each round is rewarded much more than anyone else. You also cannot see your friends’ health bars. It’s a shame that I didn’t get to play this part of the game as much before writing this review. As once again, this is what the game was made for.screenlg5

To sum up, Final Exam was a good little bit of fun. It’s not excellent by any stretch of the imagination, but it is certainly adequate. The comic-book style has been done before, but there’s a reason for that. It works, fantastically. Level design is multi-tiered but there’s really nothing to that whatsoever. It seems to be in for the sake of being in. Combat is simple but very well-done, and the game will take you a good 5-8 hours to finish. Do not buy this game if you don’t think you’ll get a chance to play the online cooperative mode, as that alone is where all the fun is.

Final Exam is a game that tries to fool you into thinking it’s more than it is. It’s a bog standard side-scrolling beat ‘em up with the illusion of mass exploration and created combos. It’s like they do these extra things, but with the bare minimum. It’s isn’t bad by any stretch of the animation, it can definitely be a spot of fun. But it most definitely isn’t all that great. For fun with friends, turn to Final Exam. If you’re an introvert, just lie down and cry instead.

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Deadfall Adventures Review

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The archaeological wise-cracking adventurer has been a staple of the entertainment industry since George Lucas’ vision came to life in Raiders of the Lost Ark. We’ve seen the trend come and go, well in recent years it’s been back with a bang. The Uncharted series making waves over on the Playstation, and Tomb Raider surprisingly rebooting with one of the outright games of the year. Nordic Games decided to have a crack at the genre, and man did they ever fail. Deadfall Adventures just might be one of the worst games this year, even worse than the Activision Walking Dead. Oh, how much I loathed this game, let me count the ways.

You play as James Lee Quatermain, grandson of legendary adventurer Allen Quatermain. Quatermain decides to aid the US government in the retrieval of a powerful artefact.  James spends the majority of the start of the game speaking of his grand pappy’s ‘ridiculous tales’ of mummies and supernatural artefacts. Boy is he about to have a rude awakening. He shortly finds that these tales are in fact not quite as ridiculous as they first seemed. So from being a brash douche that couldn’t care less about the power behind the artefacts he was sent to obtain, he quickly becomes intrigued about such things and decides to carry on with the adventure. What with this being a game set in the 1940’s, it of course includes what has become a staple in this genre, Nazis! As if it wasn’t already a cheap Indiana Jones knockoff. The swastika on the armbands has been replaced with a funky black X, however. Full disclosure here, the story is nothing spectacular. Actually, it’s not even good…like, at all.

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I’ve never heard voice acting as bad I’ve heard on this game. You can see exactly what they are going for with Quatermain. They mean for him to be a wise- cracking, loveable man’s man much like your Indiana Joneses or your Nathan Drakes. But the voice-work is so canned and unlikeable that it make every cut-scene a chore. A special shout-out goes to the hilariously bad and stereotypical Germans in the game, “YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND ZIS POWER” is a phrase from ze game…ahem, the game that constantly echoes in my head.

Let’s talk graphics, or lack thereof. We’ve all heard the classic saying ‘you can’t polish a turd’, well they haven’t polished it, it’s just a turd. All the characters have dead eyes and even the shadows have jaggies. Now I have no problem with a game looking cartoony, but not when that is clearly not the intention. The environments aren’t so terrible, they’re not that good either, just not terrible. I’d go as far as to call them adequate.

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Time for gameplay. Deadfall is a first person shooter, so it handles like Call of Duty. If Call of Duty was developed in a war-torn gulag. I need to clarify this, the gameplay itself is not that bad. It’s just that it suffers from horrific frame-rate issues that hinder any kind of fun you could possibly have. Much like Uncharted, there are puzzles that are solved by looking in a notebook that was handed down by the protagonist’s grandfather. These aren’t so much puzzles than they are ‘look at this thing, put it inside there’. There isn’t any kind of challenge whatsoever. There is other equipment that you can access via the d-pad. Such as the compass, that knowingly points towards your destination as if it were handed down by Captain Jack Sparrow himself. There is also a flashlight that you need to beam towards mummies as they cannot be affected by bullet damage without it.

What would a game be without horrific tacked-on multiplayer? Deadfall adventures is no different. It controls just as badly as the single player game. It also features modes such as Classic Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Treasure Hunt Mode, and Co-op Survival Mode. There’s nothing to be said about the online aspect of the game that I haven’t already said about the single player. Of course, the game isn’t out yet so I couldn’t get much playtime due to a lack of players. However, I believe I had enough time to form a valid opinion about the multiplayer, and it’s just as bad as single player.

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To sum up, the story is meh. It’s tolerable but really not worth shouting about. The gameplay is also adequate but not without its problems. It looks pretty bad, there is no emotion in the character’s faces as well as their voice acting. Multiplayer is not a welcome addition to a game that quite frankly is already boring. Deadfall Adventures isn’t worth anyone’s good time, and I’d recommend staying away from it.

At this point in the current generation’s life-cycle, it really is a case of play hard or go home. When even games as big as Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Assassin’s Creed aren’t doing as well as they should due to the run-up to the next generation, time fodder like this really has no place on the market. Steer clear of this one folks, it’s a real shit sandwich.

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