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Category Archives: Reviews

Titanfall Xbox 360 Review

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There is no denying the impact Titanfall has had on all things Xbox One. Microsoft used the game’s release to unofficially relaunch the Xbox One brand. Accessories, system updates and the full version of Twitch all came together for the launch of Titanfall which along with the UK exclusive price drop for the Xbox One bundle boosted sales of the Xbox One massively. Reviews were high and player feedback generated a natural hype that only served to drive the wave that was Titanfall at full speed…

But for Xbox 360 gamers waiting to join in the fun, it was suddenly announced it was to be delayed by two weeks . Then once it launched on Xbox One, it was delayed yet again, for another two weeks. The reason was, as EA put it “just needs a little more time to get it right”. Respawn was not working on the Xbox 360 version, it was instead giving to Bluepoint Games to take care of the development. Known for successfully doing HD Remakes, there was much doubt with this version due to the delay. I have played Titanfall on Xbox One and on PC from the previous Preview events I have attended up to the Titanfall release so I was most interested and at the same time worried for the 360 version. No gameplay footage was shown before release, little to no push was given to it by either Respawn, EA or even Xbox so the doubt was justified. Finally released for Xbox 360, it was time to see if the wait was worth it.

The Xbox 360 version of Titanfall is essentially exactly the same game as the Xbox One and PC versions of the game. Naturally it lacks the New Gen shine and polish visually than » Continue Reading.

Kinect Sports Rivals Xbox One Review

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The first real endurance Kinect game that aims to get you shaking, jumping and bouncing around your living room all in the name of supposed fun and competiveness is available now on Xbox One. Kinect Sports Rivals from Rare and Microsoft Studio’s is a collection of mini-games with a funky soundtrack and all-new Kinect Sports Rivals Hub. Sadly despite the bright funky on-screen colours and new cartoon-like muscle men Avatars, the game is a lacklustre bore-fest that will rather have you dancing at the menu screen to club-hit songs from Neo and other popular artists instead of wasting all that energy listening to one of the worst gaming coaches in history. That’s right, an irritating coach aims to guide you through every single course before you can even jump right in and play the game – I found the grating voice and pointless tutorial missions enough to force me to switch off and play again later.

Kinect Sports Rivals was previously delayed from its original intended release date for improvement, but what it strikingly noticeable  from having played Kinect Sports on Xbox 360 is that latency and accuracy is (or at least appears) perfected on next-gen. Kinect on Xbox One is very responsive and I was very impressed with the Avatar generator within Kinect Sports Rivals that was able to just scan me right into the game and magically take my attributes and overlay them as part of the cartoon-like muscle men. A few tweaks for hair colour and facial hair was needed here and there, but the process felt very futuristic and left me feeling all warm and fuzzy that gaming technology was able to do this. It was if ‘Finally’ we have the Kinect technology that Microsoft portrayed the Xbox 360 Kinect to be – and » Continue Reading.

The Wolf Among Us: Episode 3 ‘A Crooked Mile’ Review

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The third and middle chapter to the five episode series ‘The Wolf Among Us’ by Telltale Games, is now out on Xbox 360. As we are now three episodes in, it is almost impossible to now proceed without giving away spoilers to the first two episodes so please bear that in mind before reading on.

A Crooked Mile begins following the dramatic reveal at the conclusion of Episode 2, Smoke and Mirrors. The strong theme of player choice is once again thrust upon the player as you must make decisions straight away with the game using adding pressure by forcing you to make those decisions quickly. Time is very much a theme for ‘A Crooked Mile’ as both decision making and story telling become far quicker then both previous episodes, the heightened pressure to make the right choice will have you second guessing almost immediately what the decisions you make. I did find that by now in the third episode, my choices were made more by reflex when the time to pick one was short.

The end of Episode 2 saw the character Ichabob Crane become the chief suspect in Fabletown’s Sheriff Bigby Wolf’s investigation of the serial killing of female fables. The dark sinister obsession Crane has developed for Snow White has led to him hiring prostitutes and forcing them to use a Glamour, to have them take on the image of Snow White just before their untimely and very gruesome death. With the need to find Crane wading against the desire to protect Snow White, Bigby sets off to find Snow to both protect her and to get her help to continue the investigation.

One of the brilliant things that ‘The Wolf Among Us’ does is force you the player to face the consequences » Continue Reading.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review

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An over-priced dumbed down stealth experience has landed on the Xbox game store as Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. A mere two hour at most game which will act as the prequel to the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is what appears to be a highly polished arcade title at best and a disappointing basic clone of Splinter Cell.  Ground Zeroes is basically absolute shit and not worth the expense or effort – it should never have been released.

The gameplay is centered on Camp Omega with two main objectives of Search and Rescue. You, as Snake, must infiltrate the camp stealthily to locate both a kid named Chico and a woman by the name of Paz who are hidden in different locations within the camp alongside other unnamed prisoners. Both is within easy reach of each other and once located you simply call in a helicopter and get them inside – it is not until you have rescued both that the mission is over and the game ends. Once you have completed the mission you can return to do some basic Side-Ops missions, but considering the lack of environments and challenges, you could end up thinking just what is the point?

There is only one main location to play within Ground Zeroes and that is Camp Omega during night time hours. It features many guards and a range of internal locations where you can hide, but it’s a small to barely medium sized location with a few heli-pads and a range of vehicles to control if you want to circle the camp in quicker time than stealthily on foot. Guards are AI’s which are relatively simple and even when the camp is on its most maximum alert status, they barely search » Continue Reading.

THIEF Review

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Thief is the fourth title in the Thief series, developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. In case you’ve never heard of the series, they are stealth video games in which the player takes the role of Garrett, a master thief in a fantasy/steampunk world resembling a cross between the late Middle Ages and the Victorian era, with more advanced technologies interspersed. The story within the latest reboot is set several hundreds of years after the events of the original series in the same universe. Clues to the backstory are hidden among documents, plaques, and letters. Don’t be confused, this particular titles protagonist is also called Garrett.

I’ve been a fan of the Thief series since 1998 when Thief: The Dark Project was released by Looking Glass Studios. The games contain a hidden a joy, sneaking into a building and tracking down your target loot whether a painting, vase, piece of jewellery or a letter. The Thief games have always made shadows your friend, and in many ways they were a pioneer when it came to experimenting with lighting in games. As a player, you use the shadows to hide from the guards and as such, hoping they don’t see you. The series from the start has always been about stealth and not confrontation, and this is no different in Eidos Montreal’s take on the game.

So, you the player take the role of Garrett, a master thief who has been hired to steal the Primal Stone. On route to the Primal Stone’s locations, you run into Erin, a female thief of whom Garrett is already acquainted, and discover that stealing the stone is a two person job. Once you reach the location of the stone not all goes to plan and things turn sour leading » Continue Reading.

The Art Of Castlevania Lords Of Shadow Hardback Review

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Martin Robinson, an award winning journalist and features editor for Eurogamer is back with another entertaining and insightful hardback having previously published ‘Halo: The Art of Building Worlds’ and ‘The Art of Deadspace’ through Titan Books – his latest release is ‘The Art of Castlevania Lords of Shadow’, and it coincided with the retail availability of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 .

The Art of Castlevania Lords of shadow will take readers on a journey into the art production of both the original Lords of Shadow and the sequel, Lords of Shadow 2. Featuring a stunning display of concept art with detailed creator commentary through-out you will have a comprehensive insight into the fantasy world and the minds of the creators behind the popular Konami franchise. The book offers and exclusive look at Gabriel Belmont, the evolution of a legend and how Hideo Kojima helped influence the final design model during Lords of Shadow’s inception to reflect the tragedy that consumed Gabriel’s heart and the emotion that informed his story. As the main protagonist, within the art book it also details the struggles that the design team faced as they aimed to recreate one of the biggest characters for the rebooted franchise taking him from an initially planned barbarian figure to a dark and disturbing Dracula with a sombre disposition.

Further reading will inform you into the thoughts of the well-known Scottish actor, Robert Carlyle who takes on the voice acting of Gabriel and Dracula and how he even helped change the direction of the first ever trailer for Lords of Shadow. If you are a fan of the Castlevania franchise, then The Art of Castlevania » Continue Reading.

Titanfall Xbox One Review

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Titanfall is the Xbox One’s most successful title to date and already the hottest selling game of 2014 thanks to a marketing push that is working its charm across the globe. In the UK alone Titanfall has helped the Xbox One sell almost double units in the first week, but what makes the sci-fi shooter such hot property? I would say it is largely due to capturing the magic of Call of Duty in its early days and successfully breathing new life into a genre that was once dominated by Infinity Ward and Treyarch. Titanfall is EA’s Call of Duty killer, at least on Xbox One – finally the software giant has found a weapon against Activision that may take pursuit where both Crysis and Battlefield have failed to take Call of Duty off its throne!

Titanfall is a real next-gen multiplayer shooter.

As popular as Titanfall is and we’re only a week after release in the UK, whether the hype will last is in EA’s court. For a game with no real story driven campaign, the foundation of the gameplay is purely multiplayer based in a similar fashion to Xbox 360’s biggest online failures: ShadowRun and BRINK. Having taken E3, Eurogamer and other preview events by storm, the real charm of Titanfall is all thanks to the developers Respawn Entertainment; a team comprising of key original Call of Duty founders and staff who helped create the Modern Warfare franchise. No doubt born from the minds of experience and the imagination no longer constrained to a theatrical war against Russian Military, Titanfall is a winning mix of objectives and large scale maps that will transport you into a sci-fi fantasy to satisfy the competitive online beast you have lurking in your soul. Where other multiplayer only titles have » Continue Reading.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Review

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I have been a fan of Final Fantasy games ever since Final Fantasy VII completely changed me as a gamer. Final Fantasy, is a series that is as much about big story telling, characters you get connected to on an emotional level as much as it is about gameplay and giving you an experience what will be unique to you as a player, but one which others who enjoy Final Fantasy games will resonate with. When the first chapter of the Final Fantasy XIII was released back in March 2010, I had high hopes that the Xbox would finally get to have its own Final Fantasy legacy. Sadly, they got just about everything wrong you could get with a Final Fantasy game. It was on-rails, limiting how much freedom you to explore its world and the main character and hero of the story Lightning who had all the personality of a cement brick! Fans were less than pleased with this game, so when its sequel and middle chapter of the trilogy, Final Fantasy XIII-2 was released in 2011, it was a refreshing change to find they had moved the story this time to the sister of Lightning, Serah who now three years after the climatic ending to the first game was now in search of Lightning as well as trying to save the world using time travel – it was a much better gaming experience.

The question is, can the final chapter of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy live up to the last game, or will the failings of the first creep back into the series as we once again return to the story as Lightning, on a journey of redemption?

Not that I want to spoil the ending of Final Fantasy XIII-2, but kind of » Continue Reading.

Hauppauge HD Rocket PVR Review

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I have always wanted to try out Game Capturing. I felt that it was a vital tool when writing about video games to show gameplay backing up points I make about a game whilst reviewing it as a video can sometimes show in more detail far more then text on a page. With Youtube offering a completely free way of editing and sharing videos, the only thing required was a game capture device. Many companies offer choices in kit to help make this happen and the leading company is Hauppauge. Recently at a Press Preview event of Titanfall, for the first time I was given the chance to use game capture to record gameplay of a new game in order to share it with the TiX community, that device was the Hauppauge HD Rocket PVR.

What makes the HD Rocket PVR stand out, is the unique feature of the device being designed to be used as a portable game capture device. The ability to take it with you to a friends house, take with you if you are gaming in a different location from home or for me as a writer to preview game events to capture gameplay. Whenever I thought about doing Game Capture recording, before the New Generation of consoles including the PVR ability, was of cables across my front room connected to my laptop and playing around with settings before actually loading up any game. The Rocket does away with all these shenanigans and presents the user with a quick and easy set up which only requires a console, a TV and a USB flash drive.

Set up took literally less then five minutes, it actually took longer moving my entertainment stand out the way and back again then it took to get » Continue Reading.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of Z Review

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I have always been a fan of the animation TV series of Dragon Ball Z, followed each version and the animated films that have sprung from it. The natural spin off for that franchise has been its many video game series released over the years. Some have been good and some have been utterly terrible. I have played a good few of those games, none really captured me as a fan of the source material though. Could ‘Battle of the Z’ be the one to finally grab my attention?

Dragon Ball Z : Battle of Z is a team focused mission based Action game. You will get to recreate all the big fights from the Dragon Ball Z sagas as you put your team of either AI Controlled or human controlled via online co-op, against the big evil characters from Dragon Ball Z history. The missions vary from taking out low level goons to mixing it up with stronger challenges and characters leading into boss battles before moving on to the new saga. The missions will dictate which characters are available for selection. You will play as both sides, good or evil, as the missions progress with some characters being unlocked as a result of completing the missions.

As a fan of Dragon Ball Z, on paper the above should sound like music to my ears. What better way to celebrate the show you enjoy by getting to recreate its biggest battles in a video game. Sadly, the execution of the idea leaves the experience more then just a little flat. Each character has their own special moves but I found the combat to be nothing more then a mess of button mashing trying to get something exciting on the go during the fight. Taking out waves of » Continue Reading.