Click Me
Click Me


Category Archives: Media

EGX 2015: Just Cause 3 Impressions

Just Cause 3

Just Cause 3 had a much larger showing with row upon row of machines playing the latest incarnation of Avalanche’s unique open world action adventure. You reprise the role of Rico Rodriguez as he leaves the Agency and returns to his homeland only to be embroiled in the efforts to overthrow local dictator, General Di Ravello.

Those who listen to the podcast will know that while Greg and Neale have a distinct affinity for this series, neither Rich nor I got on very well with this series of games, but not being one to remained blinkered in what is or is not a good game, the plaudits that Greg and Neale lavished on its previous incarnation remained with me when I sat down to hear the opening introduction.

Those in the know and that have played previous games, will be glad to know that along with a much larger playground to explode, destroy and explore, Rico’s abilities have also had a tune up. Multiple Tethers are now available, and allow you to secure multiple items simultaneously; invoking a huge grin that remained with me long after I left the booth when I tethered an enemy soldier and an oil barrel to an elevated wall then watched the ensuing fireworks.

I can’t actually compare the graphics to its predecessor (having never played it), but I must confess that the land of Medici looks impressively stunning. The team member who showed me to the seat explained that although the map is the same size and scale as that of Just Cause 2, they had made it with navigating vertically in mind, so lots of towers and buildings were just ripe for scaling, and the newly included wingsuit meant jumping from a rooftop and careening across the map was not only easy, » Continue Reading.

EGX 2015 : Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Impressions

Assassins Creed Syndicate

The Assassins creed franchise has had its fair shares of up’s and downs. AC3, to many, was a lifeless, soulless husk that failed to capture the essence of the Ezio saga, while the technical issues of Unity left many feeling that the yearly iterations being pumped out by Ubisoft was a mistake. I freely admit, that I “was” one of the latter.

Rather than the cold hard ground that follows Unity’s failed Leap of Faith, Syndicate may well turn out to be the well placed hay cart.

With a setting that many have been crying out for since the series moved to Italy, and now with a female playable character which turned out to be a bit of a PR faux pas last year, Syndicate seems to be Ubisoft’s attempt to right past wrongs.

Actually sitting down and playing with the new characters, twins Jacob and Evie, shows first and foremost that the inclusion of Evie as a playable character is not just a superficial attempt to quell the masses. Each character plays according to their very different personalities. Jacob, brash and hot headed is a dervish in close combat while Evie, more reserved and contemplative is much more suited to long range and stealth approaches.

The inclusion of multiple simultaneous attackers is something that has been sorely cried out for as well since the game first released with the “gentlemanly conduct” one at a time combat being scrapped for a more visceral and exhilarating style of fighting, more akin to the Batman series, than to any of its predecessors.

Having been to London many times, it was a delight to recognise landmarks within the game and although limited in the demo, the scale of Victorian London is truly awe inspiring.

As I said at the start, I was one of » Continue Reading.

EGX 2015: Rise of the Tomb Raider impressions

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Microsoft had a decent showing in their booth, with Rise of the Tomb Raider the standout game for me. Lara’s latest adventures have been expanded somewhat from the trailer of a cold and unforgiving climb in her latest escapade and I can thankfully announce that along with a definite refinement of the control systems used on the reboot, we have actual Tomb’s to explore this time. Rather than the small-scale “shrine” style tombs of its precursor these ones feel particularly more in line with the tombs of the original series, with a sequence of puzzles and traps to navigate to succeed.

Combat and Stealth have also had a distinct overhaul although the trusty pick, bow and handgun all make a return for her adventures looking for the lost city of Kitezh.

With enhanced combat and stealth moves, as well as an improvement to what parts of the environment you can interact with, this looks to improve on the reboot on all counts.

Being built specifically for the current gen has allowed Crystal Dynamics to expand not only on the game mechanics themselves but also the look of the game as the visual effects and environments look a good deal cleaner and crisper than the previous incarnation.

Another one to watch closely.

EGX 2015: Star Wars Battlefront second impressions

Star Wars Battlefront

With a huge booth featuring a massive Tie Fighter, the queues to participate in the massive 20 vs 20 battles were ranging anything from 90 minutes to three hours in length. An introductory video gave some oversight of the collectibles on the battlefield and the controls for vehicles available and after a short wait, we were fired into our first massive, pitched battle. As the Imperial forces on Hoth, we got to experience first hand the sights and sounds that so far we have only seen in the strategically edited Battlefront video from E3 a few months ago.

As you arrive on the battlefield, you can see multiple objectives to capture. Relay points dotted throughout the map are held by Rebel forces and you are tasked with capturing these points and preventing the Rebels calling in fresh support to stop our AT-AT from destroying the shield generator.

Scattered throughout the environment are random pick ups which either grant you access to temporary improved weaponry or to unique and iconic star wars vehicles such as the AT-ST and Tie Fighters. Using these strategically can turn the tide of the battle, and on more than one occasion, helped us push forward to the front of the Rebel’s defences.

Those familiar with Battlefront will instantly click with the simplified load out screen. Once you have selected your armament, whether it be laser rifle, heavy blaster, hand blaster or the iconic E-11 Blaster Rifle, you are then able to pick between one of two gadget rotations. Hopefully this will be somewhat expanded in the full release. These include Anti-vehicle weapons, personal shields, thermal detonators and even jump packs.

What truly made this game stand out as the AAA of choice, for me anyway, was not how it played, but how it sounded. From the familiar » Continue Reading.

EGX 2015: Need for Speed impressions

Need For Speed

High on my EGX list was the Need For Speed reboot. After 22 varied iterations, I was unconvinced that a reboot could do anything for the series, and at this point I am still slightly unconvinced. Graphically the game looked stunning, but I did not find anything truly new or revolutionary to the gameplay. At the start of the demo we were allowed a few minutes to pick a car and tweak its settings to our liking. Those familiar with NFS Underground will recognise a lot of the configurations, but even those new to the series should be able to pick up and modify their car with ease.

The one thing that stood out at the E3 showing was the new “action” camera. In practice this worked perfectly, with the camera rotating out to an off bumper view as you drift around corners and not once did it feel like the camera hindered your control over the action.

Once out on the city streets, a wealth of races, time trials and sprints popped up allowing you to quickly compete in a variety of events throughout the city and with random police patrols it was not long before I was careening headlong down narrow alleys and pathways in an effort to avoid the inevitable jail time my reckless driving would entail.

Overall, although it does not seem much has changed, it appears to be as fun and exhilarating as any previous incarnation with a framerate that keeps the action flowing. If you like your arcade racers, this should be quite high up your purchase list.

EGX 2015: Mirrors Edge Catalyst impressions


With massive queue’s lasting upwards of 3 hours, the 8 berth showing of Mirror’s edge was a thing of beauty. The City of Glass is still the same dystopian society plagued with nondescript white buildings, pastel orange bill boards and red interactable environments, but beneath the rooftops lie the sprawling, dark, myriad of pathways that make up the undercity, which you can now explore. The cyberpunk feel to the entire introduction and technology, which attempts to retrofit an explanation for Faith’s ability to see these parkour markers, is a welcome addition to the game.

The new open world structure to the game reminded me of games like InFamous and Crackdown, and with the collectibles dotted about the area there is a ton of content on show already.

The graphics have been greatly enhanced from the previous title, with amazing lighting, reflection and model fidelity throughout. On the downside, we were limited to a small section of the world for the demo, and being a pre-alpha build it was all running on PC. This is now, without a doubt, high on my radar and if they can manage to get half the graphical functionality to run on the current gen consoles, this could be a very successfully title in the New Year.

EGX 2015: The main floor impressions


After five long years residing at Earls Court in London and following the success of last year’s Rezzed, EGX has transitioned to its new home 100 miles north at the Birmingham NEC. With this move came a new approach, as the larger NEC allowed for a much bigger show to be put on. That said, I must admit to being slightly disappointment with the content on show this year.

A large portion was devoted to games that were already out, have had a large deal of existing coverage or had massive pre-release demo/beta access available. Titles such as Mad Max, Destiny, Darksiders, Elite Dangerous, FIFA, Metal Gear Solid and many more took up more of the stands than the ‘to be released’ or teaser games that we have seen in years past.

So, instead of doing an in-depth of each of the games on show, most of which you probably know a lot about, I will pick a few that impressed me the most and also focus on some of the technology on show, and the huge selection of Indie games that took up a large section of the EGX Show floor.

New Technology at the show came from both the VR headsets residing at the Sony and HTC booth’s and although I did not get the pleasure of a hands on myself, discussions with those leaving the booths make me very excited about what Occulus can do for our big black box. On the other side of the hall the Leftfield and indie sections had some rather unusual controllers on display.

Mindfork, from Zaubug really made an impression with their “banana” controller. This was not a controller in the shape of a banana… it literally was a banana. Sensor wires were inserted into a banana that had been cut » Continue Reading.

EGX 2015: Cuphead impressions

Cuphead game

What a fantastic title Cuphead is going to be. The stylish 1930s animation inspired platformer is hard as nails, but it’s cutesy animation and humor is irresistible. It’s Itchy and Scratchy meets the original Popeye cartoons. Funny and very heart warming, but don’t let this trick you or take away your attention, because the action will swiftly kick you hard should you not give the game the respect it deserves.

Cuphead has a super smooth frame rate allowing the gorgeous visuals and subtle 30s animation filter to wrap the whole experience in something I wanted to pick up and hug – it’s going to be a huge hit in 2016 and I will be shocked if it doesn’t feature highly on people’s GOTY lists.

EGX 2015: The Division impressions


The Division plays super smoothly, combining third person combat, technology, cooperative gameplay and competitive multiplayer – that’s a lot for Ubisoft to handle and they’ve pooled all their knowledge and skills from their other titles to realise The Division.

Working with two other teammates, you must secure some loot from an NPC faction, with many other roaming factions lurking about the area. Should you engage them, they will attack you, and rather mercilessly too. As you make your way through the somewhat linear game space, it opens onto a plaza where other human teams meet head on – now it’s crunch time – do you engage them or work together to secure the area and escape on the chopper?

It seemed to be a blood bath on every game I watched and on the game we played, yep… I shot first and asked questions later. Signaling the extraction chopped means you must dig down and endure 1:30 minutes of relentless attack from gunfire, grenades and turrets from rival teams and the many NPC factions.


The cover-based combat is intense, and teamwork is the only way to win – there’s no room for lone wolves – that’s a one-way ticket to being dropped and forced to respawn, which makes you lose any loot you were carrying, forcing the whole process of extraction over again, this time with one of the rival human teams attempting to get out.

This was a mere taste of what’s to come when The Division launches in March 2016 and there’s so much more to this ambitious title – I got to experience a small dynamic to the game, which was super solid and nicely polished with graphics and textures looking super sharp.

Just from a small glimpse into the world of The Division, I really like what I’ve » Continue Reading.

EGX 2015: Star Wars Battlefront impressions


With limited time at EGX, first on my hit list was Star Wars Battlefront. Sure, there were other games on my list that I was more excited for, but the Star Wars fan in me was screaming to make this my first hit to see if the game could deliver on the Star Wars and Battlefront promises made by DICE.

Introducing our play session was a video deck of Admiral Akbar, and after a short briefing I was running across the surface on Hoth. It’s huge, open and rather intimidating. While there are pointers to objectives, you are left to your own devices, admittedly making me feel a little lost as to where I was going and what our objective was, which was to support an attack on a Rebel base with two AT-ATs in a 20 vs. 20 match.

To merely say that Battlefront looked stunning doesn’t nearly do the game justice enough. It was unbelievable. The draw distance, the textures, and the attention to detail – it was overwhelming – after I had finished playing, I wasn’t quite sure if I had just taken part in the new movie or played a video game. You really feel entwined into the Star Wars universe; you are a grunt struggling to fight for the Empire (or attempting to repel the invasion as the Rebels). The whole experience took me back to my childhood memories of the film and toys I grew up with.

The game played really well, and no it doesn’t play like a reskinned Battlefield! The game lasted for around 20 minutes, although it seemed to be over in the blink of an eye. I need more from the game to give a definite yay or nay, but with a beta about to kick off, I decided to » Continue Reading.