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Category Archives: Reviews

Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition review

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Last year Capcom brought 2014’s DmC to current consoles with a definitive edition. Now, 2008’s Devil May Cry 4 sees the same treatment, jumping over to the Xbox One with enhancements and new features. Loyalty is divided between the two versions of Devil May Cry, and now fans of either style can dive back in and slay demons to their heart’s content. However, with such a significant gap between Devil May Cry 4’s original releases, can this refreshed version still compete?

It turns out it certainly can, achieving a high level of visual clarity as well as a refreshingly bright colour palette sees it stand toe to toe with the majority of refined re-releases. It also enjoys some new features, but underneath it all are the same issues that plagued it back when it first released, making for a compellingly intense action experience but not the most coherent one.

Style over substance is clearly Devil May Cry 4’s philosophy, and its special brand of over the top action is an enjoyable spectacle. It all starts off with you jumping into the shoes of series new comer, Nero, and after a cut scene introduction you’re battling series favourite and previous protagonist, Dante, in a tutorial combat scenario. Your three weapons are broken in during this sequence, with swordplay, gunplay and demon hand-play, all introduced as you fight against a cocky Dante, who’s just blown the heads off seemingly innocent people. Wall running, bullet dodging and blocking, and insanely showy sword combat is unabashedly shown off before Dante scarpers and you take to the streets only to find demons invading. It’s now up to you to slaughter the demons and chase Dante down. However, things aren’t quite what they seem, and soon a convoluted plot unravels.

It’s a story that » Continue Reading.

Quantum Rush Champions review

Quantum Rush

The demand for futuristic combat racers is alive and well. Sadly, with Nintendo remaining tight-lipped on the prospect of another F-Zero after an eleven year hiatus and the closure of Wipeout developer Studio Liverpool (Psygnosis), the prospect of a future racer is decidedly unlikely.

It is into this arena of fallen and disused giants that GameArt Studio stride with a singular purpose.

Quantum Rush Champions is GameArt’s less than tentative foray into the world of high-octane, futuristic combat racing. Packed with features, weapons, power ups and a faux techno soundtrack, they have aimed to not only live up to the legacy of its predecessors, but to expand upon it.

First up is the conventional career mode. Selecting from one of the three manufacturers on offer, each with their own benefits and drawbacks; one has faster speed and greater boost but can overload if overused, one has greater defensive capability but reduced speed, and the third has greater control but reduced defence and acceleration.

Once you have chosen, you are presented with a series of challenges for each of seven classes, with varying levels of difficulty and rewards. Completing these challenges to an adequate degree unlocks customisation parts for that class of ship, which made sufficient difference to performance to improve your potential in other challenges. These range from the expected time trial, single race, and demolition modes to the more outlandish Courier mode; where you must compete to pick up packages littered around the track, and boss mode, which along with being more combat focused, is also essential to unlock the next tier.

Arcade mode gives you the opportunity to play any of the missions from the tiers you have unlocked, and as such, allows you to practice the challenges you have yet to face or change the options, allowing you » Continue Reading.

Tales from the Borderlands Ep.3 review

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After the fairly mediocre Episode 2 I was hoping the story would begin to pick up its pace and leave me wanting more, thankfully Telltale have done the job.

It seems fairly standard from Telltale to have a mid-season dip where they try not to give too much away storywise and try to develop the characters, as you play through the third episode you appreciate a bit more what the second episode was trying to do.

At the end of the second episode you were left with a choice, and the third episode starts off just after that point, and it’s not long before the action begins. I had more fun in this episode, there were plenty of QTEs and for the first time some caught me off guard resulting me actually seeing the ‘game over’ screen a few times.

New characters enter the fold again and it really helps open up the story, different relationships are explored which I really enjoyed taking part in. The humour also felt more natural, which is good because the game felt like it was constantly trying to prove that Borderlands was funny, we all know the series is but it felt like they were trying to throw the laughs down our throats.

Tales from the Borderlands has always been a great looking game and episode three actually looks even better, there are some beautiful scenes with some wonderful use of colour. This was the first episode I remember that didn’t suffer from any freezing too.

I’ll admit that when I first started playing tales I wasn’t expecting too much from it, but after this episode I’ve realised just how good it is. This episode alone is probably one of my favourite from all of the Telltale Games, which is saying » Continue Reading.

Batman: Arkham Knight review

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I’ve been hankering for an 18-rated Batman game for a long time. The last Batman title I played was LEGO Batman 3, which while fantastic, was more 60’s Batman than current Batman. I’ve made my position clear on how much I’d like an 18-rated movie. Will Batman: Arkham Knight fulfil my need for a more violent and edgy game?

Firstly, the game itself, if you opted for a digital copy, is a whopping 40-odd GB. It took an absolute age to download, even on my super-speedy up-to-152MB broadband. In the end, I altered the power settings on my hardware and left it overnight. It had finished by the time I’d had a damn good sleep.

It was with trepidation that I fired the game up – the wait had nearly bumped me off! The first thing that hits you is the visuals. They pound at the eyes like so many gossamer sledgehammers. They are simply sumptuous. I could wax lyrical about the batsuit, how it glistens in the rain, how the wind rush affects the cape as you take to the air in glide mode, how detailed the features are, how the environment is as dark as the mood of the City of Gotham as years of relative peace is shattered by a single act from the game’s main protagonist, The Scarecrow. I can’t though, I’ve only got a certain number of words to play with.

As we all know though, visuals alone don’t make a game. It has to play well. Rocksteady has made noises about how this is the final chapter in the series for the Batman Arkham series. They’d have to top the likes of the maligned Arkham Origins and improve on the quirky combat elements that weren’t to everyone’s taste.

At first the sheer » Continue Reading.

ASTRO Gaming A50 wireless (Gen 2) Xbox One headset review

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A few months ago I put ASTRO Gaming’s A40 + M80 MixAmp Xbox One edition to the test, and boy was I impressed. Now it’s the turn of their prized headset, the ASTRO A50, but will the 7.1 Dolby Pro Logic IIx headset live up to its £250 price tag?

Like the A40, the A50 comes exquisitely packaged in a high quality gloss box that is clasped shut by magnets and wrapped with a cover sleeve. Within the box the contents are proudly displayed in molded plastic, but like the A40, there’s no hard case included, however, the A50 does come with a neat stand that, although tricky to assemble, looks great, proudly displays your A50 and houses the Tx MixAmp neatly beneath it.

The headset is of the same quality build and style of the A40, with soft touch plastic, shaped cushioned earpads and unidirectional swivel meaning the headset can be adjusted for maximum comfort, giving my ears that same feeling of being “hugged”.

The non-removable mic boom is attached to the left ear and when in the upright position, the mic is muted. The left side is also where the charge and audio cables connect; unfortunately the A50 isn’t completely wire free. A micro USB (that’s included) can be connected to charge the non-removable lithium-Ion battery, although the cable is rather short, perfect in length for charging when stowed but not so good should you run out of power mid-game – during which time I used my Xbox One controller play and charge cable. When low on power, the headset will give you several warning beeps before cutting out, with the battery life at around 8-10 hours – considerably less than the awesome battery life of ASTRO’s A38.

For » Continue Reading.

Le Tour De France 2015 review

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Le Tour De France 2015 is another installment in the Tour De France franchise by Cyanide studios which puts you in the heart of competitive cycling in the annual Tour De France event. As you can imagine it’s a racing game where you compete against others, (lots of them) to win a series of races and become the overall champion. However if you’re into your race games then clear all your thoughts and ideas from your mind as this isn’t a fast paced racer with lots of options and customizations to keep you tinkering for hours but in fact a hard long slog with a huge dose of strategy behind it. If you are a keen cyclist, into the Tour De France or just fancy a change in pace then this is definitely the game for you so don your Lycra, grab your gel packs and prepare to get sweaty.

Compared to other games I have seen in the past Tour De France 2015 doesn’t just put you in charge of a single racer but an entire team and this is where the strategy comes in. You can only at any one time focus on a single rider within your team, deciding when he sprints or drafts whilst all the time watching his energy to make sure he doesn’t burn out. Like in real life, the quicker you pedal, the longer you climb hills or sprint, the more energy your burn until eventually you run out, at which point you can watch the world and all the other racers pass you by. If you do feel you are starting to fade then you switch riders to one of your team mates or even call one to come up and take the lead so you » Continue Reading.

Halo: Hunters In The Dark book review

Halo Hunters in the Dark Featured Image

New York Times bestselling author Peter David and is well known for his work across comic books, novels, televisions, movies and video games. Peter was the writer behind The Incredible Hulk comics for nearly 12 years and TV shows like Babylon 5 and Young Justice. This isn’t his first novel set within a game universe however. In 2010 Peter wrote The Balverine Order, a novel set between the events of the Fable II and Fable III video games for Xbox 360.

 

Synopsis / Summary

It is 2555, more than two years after the Master Chief went missing-in-action following a decisive conflict on Installation 00 – the massive, extragalactic Forerunner construct known as the Ark – as part of the final chapter in humanity’s bloody thirty-year struggle against the overwhelming forces of the Covenant. Now, as a tenuous peace exists between the humans and the Elites, a startling scientific discovery is made… and the riddle behind its Forerunner origins could very well seal the fate of the entire galaxy within a matter of weeks. In order to unravel these dangerous secrets, a heroic, hastily formed coalition of humans and Elites must attempt to overcome their differences as they embark on a covert mission back to the Ark—an astonishing, enigmatic place beyond comprehension from which few have returned and where mortal danger awaits them all.

Halo: Hunters in the Dark is the 15th novel-length book in the Halo franchise and the second to be released in 2015. Set in 2555 (two years after the end of Halo 3, the novel follows a joint UNSC/Sangheili expedition to the remains of the Ark to solve a mystery that threatens everyone in the galaxy.

Hunters in the Dark is a solid piece of fiction and an awesome addition to the Halo universe. The story » Continue Reading.

Elder Scrolls Online review

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Good things come to those who wait. That’s what I kept telling myself when the console version of Elder Scrolls Online was delayed shortly before the official release date in April 2014.

The wait is now over, but much has changed in the interim. Like most MMOs, frequent updates have been released for the PC version and a decision was taken by Bethesda Softworks to do away with the subscription fees, bringing ESO in line with other successful Buy to Play titles like the Guild Wars series.

This meant that we received all of these changes in the ESO Tamriel Unlimited edition that hit shelves this month.

ESO continues the tradition of every Elder Scrolls game since Morrowind; introducing you to the game imprisoned in some fashion before revealing you to be the Vestige, the one person that can stand against (insert antagonist here). This time around, it’s Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination, who through manipulation and subterfuge has torn the veil between Nirn, the realms of men and mer, and the realms of Oblivion. Further machinations from his subordinates has resulted in the fall of the emperor and set the Ten Races of Tamriel on a collision course to occupy the currently empty Ruby Throne, whereby distracting the races from the imminent threat from the Daedric Prince.

Elder Scrolls Online is no “tour de force” in terms of its graphical fidelity, especially in comparison to recent titles. Given the delay in release, and the nature and scale of the game, I didn’t expect ESO to be a Witcher 3 beater regardless, and anyone who did is obviously not aware of the different requirements needed for a persistent open world single player RPG and a persistent open world massively multiplayer online RPG. That said, for a » Continue Reading.

SteamWorld Dig review

SteamWorld Dig

With its Western, 2D side-scrolling aesthetic and crisps visuals, this steam punk mining adventure shows no sign of its age as it debuts on the Xbox platform, and fortunately the tunnelling, treasure-seeking escapades of SteamWorld Dig’s robot protagonist, Rusty, is still as enjoyable and compelling as it was in 2013. However, it doesn’t last very long, and the procedurally generated structure only really provides replay for the most dedicated of excavators.

Mystery surrounds Rusty’s recently inherited mine, after his Uncle Joe disappears within its depths and is presumed deactivated. But you need to know for sure, so travel to this remote location below a tiny one mechanical horse town, to see for yourself what’s going on. With some encouragement from the town’s locals, you decide to prospect and mine for treasures, and as you delve deeper into the mine, discover unusual technology and underground structures that could reveal your uncle’s fate.

It’s all intriguing enough to keep you digging, but you can expect to solve all mysteries within three hours, with a fair chunk of that time committed to reacquiring treasures you’ve dropped from dying. Indeed, this mine is full of giant lice, crazed humans, mechanical turtles, and plenty of environmental hazards, all conspiring to dismantle your frail, metal body. You’ll die fairly often as you figure out the mechanics, delve deeper into the unknown, dangerous territories, and get impatient with reacquiring what you drop. It’s seldom unfair and largely the difficulty is well-balanced to offer a challenge without undue frustration, having your dropped loot stay behind despite multiple deaths is a forgiving feature for example, however, this balance is predicated on you steadily upgrading your tools.

As you stuff your pouch with treasures it soon fills up, forcing you to emerge from the mine and sell you » Continue Reading.

Badland Game of the Year Edition review

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About two years ago a side scrolling platformer under the name Badland appeared on iOS and took the world by storm receiving many awards. This game has now made its way onto consoles in the form of Badland Game of the Year edition and I’m just hoping it lives us to its reputation.

The game of the year edition comes in the form of the core game with some nice enhancements in the form of graphics, all the DLC and co-op and multiplayer modes, so we are not off to a bad start, but what is Badland..?

Badland itself is a side scrolling puzzle platformer where you take the form of a Clony, a very dark little critter that can just about fly, it looks like an angry bird with attitude, and your main task is to traverse from one end of the forest to the other, sounds easy doesn’t it? However the forest is a dark mechanized world where at every point there is something wanting to slice and dice you up preventing you from reaching your goal.

Still sound easy? Well, apart from the death-dealing, saws, spiked gears, chains, falling debris preventing you from reaching your goal there is also the screen itself. As you start to navigate your way through the level the screen starts to also move to the right on its own accord, bringing a sense of urgency to the game. So not only do you have to contend with dodging all the above you also have to now worry about the getting caught by the screen. If your Clony gets caught or stuck the level itself will catch you up and swallow you whole leading to game over. This forced me on many occasion to rush through the level and many times » Continue Reading.

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