Tag Archives: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment

Project Cars 2 review

The racing genre is nowhere near as saturated as it used to be, at least in regards to the sheer amount of titles out there. However, finding a gap within the genre to focus on is more difficult than ever, with the majority of racing titles covering every aspect of racing so thoroughly as to narrow or entirely eliminate most gaps. Project Cars 2 has therefore concentrated on delivering a true simulation for players to enjoy; covering a large variety of different disciplines but keeping the experience as realistic as possible. Still, the competition is strong and the timing of Project Cars 2’s release may limit its overall appeal.

Indeed, Project Cars 2 improves on the original by stepping up its realism to an impressive level. The huge variety and amount of cars each offer a unique set of handling challenges to master, making every aspect of a race a thoughtful endeavour. Simply pulling away from the starting grid requires forethought: do you gun it or ease into it? Where’s the sweet spot for traction and acceleration? What’s the turning circle like at different speeds? How does the weather affect the handling? All of these questions are thrown at you. You are driving in a simulation of immense realism and it therefore requires deep consideration.

It’s exhilarating stuff. There’s a mastery to conquer for each car and for each discipline that keeps you busy and engaged for countless hours. Learning how to drive through streets is a very different lesson to driving on a raceway, even if the cars are the same. Meanwhile, rally driving, etc. offer entirely different challenges for you to suss out. There’s so many things to learn, and with Project Cars 2 offering such as a wealth of cars, tracks and disciplines, the potential fun is endless.

Of course, this fun is only the case if you’re a driving enthusiast. Project Cars 2 has a niche market in mind. If you own and regularly use a full steering wheel setup, then this is definitely the title for you, otherwise, this focus on simulation driving is going to frustrate you hugely.

It’s a fight from the very first race. The aforementioned wealth of things to learn is an overwhelming burden on the average player. You’ll spin out simply from trying to pull away quickly from the start. Meanwhile, the dynamic weather can turn a clear day, with favourable conditions that you’ve mastered well enough to finish in a respectable position, into a wet or cold day, sending you flying off the track due to a misjudged corner or overtake. It’s a punishing game where each overtake is hard fought, each corner is an obstacle to be studied, and your car’s handling is best analysed through experience. Indeed, if you mean to master Project Cars 2, it’ll cost you considerable patience and time.

However, for some this exhausting and comprehensive schooling will certainly be worth it. There aren’t many titles quite this dedicated out there right now, or indeed even planned for the future. This is a title that you might otherwise expect from Codemasters, for its excellent attention to realism and detail. And even the likes of the imminent Forza 7 can’t quite compete at this level of authenticity. But of course, this is also where Project Cars 2 is likely to fail. Forza 7 will be far more welcoming to all levels of racing players. Project Cars 2 is purposely niche, and so its player base is specific, and you may very well not be their target audience.

For those that do live and breathe driving; that own steering wheel setups that put their actual cars to shame, and for those that drive not only to compete for position but for the love of mastering the machines, then Project Cars 2 is right up your alley. Moreover, you’ll be able to enjoy a remarkably attractive simulator at that. The vehicle models are exceptionally well detailed and realised, with equally well imitated cockpits to boot. Meanwhile, excellent lighting and weather effects brings the terrific variety of tracks to life, whether they’re the real raceways or fabricated ones. Additionally, the engine sounds almost force you to bite your lip in anticipation for the horse power you have the privilege of driving. However, the AI does occasionally let it down, with some odd behaviour when cornering creating an, often comical, sense of unpredictability, as well as the AI switching suddenly between aggressive and passive driving styles. Otherwise, Project Cars 2 does a marvellous job visually and audibly, bringing the experience of driving these cars in these wonderful locations to your living room.

There’s also plenty you can do outside of racing. Tuning your cars to suit your driving style, the raceway, or the weather you’ll be fighting against, is a considerable pastime in itself. Fortunately is very easy to do, with everything explained to you in plain English. In fact, that’s something Project Cars 2 does very well: explaining things. Each new screen greets you with a short, narrated explanation to help you on your way, and thanks to a clean and accessible UI, you’ll be diving into the career or playing quick races offline or online, with tuned or stock cars, swiftly and without confusion.

Project Cars 2 is aimed squarely at driving simulation fans, to the point where playing it without a steering wheel setup feels somehow sacrilegious. And it recreates the thrill and expertise of driving super cars, rally cars, F1, and multiple other disinclines exceptionally well. It is, however, also a difficult game to play, highly inaccessible to those less practiced with simulation driving. Meanwhile, Forza 7 is also about to be released, a title that will feature many of Project Cars 2’s strongest features with added accessibly, making this already niche title an even harder sell. If you’re a driving sim nut, then don’t hesitate to pick up Project Cars 2, otherwise, best stay clear.

Thanks to Xbox and Bandai Namco for supporting TiX

Tekken 7 gets its accolade on

Releasing just over a month ago, Tekken 7 has thrown quite a few punches amongst its community and from the dust Bandai Namco have created an accolade trailer.

“We are very pleased to see the warm welcome of TEKKEN7 from millions of players and the intense battles that are happening at this very moment throughout the world. After so many years, TEKKEN keeps demonstrating its leading presence amongst the fighting games thanks to a deep but flexible and balanced gameplay that allows both casual and pro players to have fun at all levels. This is now your turn to settle old scores and show your friends who will be the king of the Iron Fist. After all, all fights are personal!”,says Hoerdt Herve (Marketing & Digital VP of Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe).

You can check out what I thought of Tekken 7 in my review for TiX.

Tekken 7 review

Everyone has a Tekken story, whether that’s a tale from the first game, playing Tekken Bowl or laughing at the many ‘button mashing’ Tekken memes that have spawned over the years. For me the release of Tekken 7 brings back memories of crowding around a PlayStation with some mates for an afternoon of winner stays on. Tekken brings out the unexpected when fighting with friends – guaranteed to include plenty of “oohs” and “ahhs” from those watching the action.

Like the many Tekken stories that everyone holds dear, the newest entry comes with its own tale to tell. Story mode attempts to fill in the blanks between the ongoing feud between Heihachi and Kazuya, while loosely giving reason as to why Akuma has made the jump from Street Fighter to Tekken. Told via a series of CGI and graphic novel cutscenes, the story is told by a journalist recounting the events. Mostly it works, that is if you can overlook the nonsensical events and the dull tones of the journalist’s narration – he couldn’t sound any more disinterested even if he tried – this rubbed off on me slightly and I began to phase out of the story, and with lots of characters stepping in to have a turn, I cared less and less about the feuding of Heihachi and Kazuya.

Tekken 7

The story does serve as a loose introduction to the combat of Tekken 7, while offering no real direction on the intricacies of blocking, parrying and sidestepping, it (mostly) goes easy on you and offers an LB assist to pull off advanced moves. Throughout the story you will face off against numerous other fighters on the Tekken Roster and fight waves of grunt enemies. Fights follow the traditional 2-bout win, but are rolled together into one long battle. Often the second bout saw a more vicious and precise AI – I’ll happily admit to making full use of the shortcut button in order to win.

Tekken is all about combos and devastating moves are often only accessible at the end of a set of punches and kicks. With the face buttons mapped to left and right punch/kick, combos are fast and furious – it’s no wonder Tekken made a name for itself among button mashers. There’s no real difficulty to stringing complex moves together other than remembering which buttons are in the combo you’re attempting. This makes Tekken 7 instantly accessible to the newcomer – and annoyingly – to those intent on using a one-button smash to clinch victory.

Tekken 7

To master Tekken 7 you must persevere by studying the move list during practice or take to the Internet to find out which fighter suits your style best. Online fights are where you can really prove your mastery over a particular character – and while online has never managed to entice me before – I had a bloody good time fighting through the various tournaments.

Only suffering the odd disconnect – or is that rage quit? – There is nothing more frustrating when you progress to the final of your first tournament only for the host to leave. Pure nirvana was only three bouts away as I smashed someone who was ranked 10 belts higher than me 3-0. This is purely down to the strength of Tekken 7’s roster. It’s diverse enough for any player to find a fighter suited to their style. New players may find this too much of a hurdle to overcome, hoping for a pick up and play romp like Street Fighter, but Tekken 7 should be treated like EA’s UFC – there’s plenty to learn, just be patient and don’t treat it like other fighters.

Tekken 7

Beyond online bouts and the main story, there is very little content to get your teeth into other than character customisation options rewarded via treasure battles or unlocking a plethora of bonuses in the gallery, but this is mainly aimed at the hardcore Tekken fan. Not all characters get a say (or a battle) in the main story, so there is a single battle and story to uncover, some of which are rather amusing, but this really is clutching at straws to string out the longevity of the game beyond the online fights.

The best tool in Tekken 7’s box (besides the roster) is the Rage bar. Only available when your health has taken a pounding, you can unleash a super move that can often turn the tide of battle. If you don’t respect an opponent on the brink of Rage, then you will surely lose the fight. To combat this, the Rage super can be blocked and even reversed, if your timing is right and that is the crux of Tekken’s combat… timing. Button mash and your moves will be clumsy.

Tekken 7

Unfortunately Tekken 7 does suffer from one or two technical issues. The most annoying and frequent issue I suffered was long load times – a real pain when you’re battling with mates on couch co-op. Load issues even affected cut-scenes during the story, frequently freezing mid-animation. This aside, Tekken 7 is an excellent fighter. Reversing moves, parrying, double KOs and reversing grabs makes for a game that an audience will reward you with gasps – it’s certainly one for some sociable violence among friends.

Thanks to Bandai Namco Entertainment and Capcom for supporting TiX

Project CARS Update 1.3 now available

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Bandai Namco Entertainment and Slightly Mad Studios the developers of Project CARS, have once again listened to its community’s feedback and have released a major update to its game in the form of Patch 1.3. The contents of this latest patch can be seen below;

PROJECT CARS XBOX ONE PATCH 1.3 FIXED ISSUES

GAMEPAD CONTROLLERS

  • Added ABS brake rumble to Xbox One triggers, so that the impulse triggers will rumble on losing traction when braking. The amount of trigger rumble is controlled together with Force Feedback strength via the Force Feedback slider.
  • Improved the efficiency of the controller rumble effect, to help make the steering more responsive
  • Fixed an issue where moving the sticks from one extreme to the other would sometimes result in the steering getting stuck.
  • Reworked the Xbox One analogue sticks range and axis dead zones, providing much improved steering control.

WHEEL CONTROLLERS

  • Fanatec wheels – Fixed the issue with steering jolts that some users experience.

ONLINE

  • Fixed an occasional crash when advancing from Qualifying to Race.
  • Fixed an occasional crash when returning from a race to the Race Central.

DRIVER NETWORK TIME TRIAL

  • Set Time Trials starting time to 11am to match the PC platform. This ensures consistent track temperatures across all platforms, as track temperatures affect lap times.

DRIVER NETWORK GHOSTS

  • Enabled saving of community event ghosts. These ghosts are automatically stored online, and you can then download ghosts of other players’ laps for these events.

DRIVER NETWORK PROFILE

  • Fixed an issue where at times the miles driven on a particular track or with a particular car would be logged under the wrong car or track. This improves the accuracy of the player’s Affinity ratings.

TRACKS

  • Sakitto and Summerton variations – Corrected track info regarding number of turns and track length.
  • Sakitto Sprint – Fixed a crash that would at times occur when using time acceleration.
  • Cadwell variations – Fixed draw distance issues on various objects.
  • Oschersleben variations – Fixed odd lights around track and colour issues with the horizon.
  • Zolder – Fixed an issue where the player car would sometimes start in a closed garage.

AI

  • Fixed an issue where AI vehicles were sometimes sent to the pits due to low fuel on races where refueling is not allowed.

PIT STOPS

  • Pitstop strategy will now use the actual bar value for tyre pressures.
  • Fixed an issue where the Pit engineer would repeatedly inform the player that a pit crew member has lost a wheel nut during pit stops.
  • Fixed an issue where the Pit Engineer would call the player to stop for fuel when fuel consumption was disabled in options.

REPLAYS

  • Improved the smoothness of the sun, moon, stars, and shadow motion when rewinding replays of a race that had a high time acceleration.

 

This patch is available now to download.

Project CARS delivers first Community Livery Pack

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The game has only just come out and our lovely friends at Bandai Namco Entertainment and Slightly Mad Studios have already delivered their first Community DLC in the form of a Community Livery Pack.

This first Project Cars Community Livery pack has not only bold, creative designs and homages to iconic real-life liveries but also an accurate recreation of Deadmau5′ livery for his BAC Mono and whats more they have all been created by the gaming community.

This is the first in a set of free, yes free packs contains liveries created by actual players of the game, but if you think you can do better head over to Project CARS Official Forums and showcase your work! The best submissions will be included in future packs to come.

The Community Livery Pack is available now from the Xbox store and while you’re there why not check out the Free Car #1 DLC The Lykan Hypersport, which is also available to download.

It’s ‘Adventure Time’ for Xbox One with Finn & Jake

Adventure Time is making its way to Xbox One with a brand new title, Finn & Jake Investigations. Set in the Land of Ooo, the 3D adventure, developed by Vicious Cycle, will be available from November

We received a lot of fan feedback asking us to bring our next Adventure Time game to next generation consoles in 3D, and we’re thrilled to be delivering that and a lot more,

said Matt Scott, CEO of Little Orbit.

This new game is a complete departure from previous Adventure Time games. We have created an intriguing classic adventure game set in a richly-detailed 3D Land of Ooo where players can check out Land of Ooo locales, talk to characters, sharpen their creative puzzle-solving skills, defeat bad guys and just have fun.”

Check out the first two screenshots of the game below, it’s not much to go on, but I’m sure Adventure Time fans will be happy that the series is coming to Xbox One – and in 3D!

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9uUWqj5_2w

 

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin review

What makes a good game? For me, it’s being left to explore, to create my own adventures and take the game at my own pace. In some respects, I’ve just described what it’s like being in the playground at school, you decide where to go, who to play with and what games to play – Dark Souls II very much has this playground vibe, with one distinct difference – its playground is full of bullies only too happy to kick you to the curb at any opportunity.

Beating

Dark Souls II is wonderfully paced, although at first, I hated every moment. I was lost, out of my depth and feeling like unfair enemies were cheating me. Why did I feel like this? I can only put it down to the smoke and mirrors that some games use to make you, the player, feel like a bad ass. Strip away unbeatable combos and aim assist, give control back with little to no handholding or directional hints, and we become lost, disorientated and quickly overwhelmed. It was only after persevering with Dark Souls II and learning how to respect its two-button combat system that I began to appreciate its beauty and elegantly balanced difficulty.

In Dark Souls II, everything you achieve is exactly that… an achievement. Get through the entirety of the game (which I am still yet to do) and you really will have earned your progress and achievements. So far, I’m just over 30 hours in – I still have plenty to see and do – one thing is for sure, you need to put in a serious amount of hours to see and do everything in Dark Souls II.

world

I’ve died, I’ve sworn, I’ve almost given up but Dark Souls II has taken ahold of me. It’s addictive in its exploration – finding new things in areas you thought you’d completely explored or discovering a new enemy that you just have to beat to discover what’s beyond the door it’s guarding. The trick it employs is not giving you any idea of what you are meant to do or where you are meant to go – what I mean by this, is that in giving you complete freedom to discover and puzzle solve, Dark Souls II hooks you into its world and sucks you into becoming addicted to finding a way through its increasingly difficult odds.

This is the first time a Souls game has released on the Xbox One, Dark Souls II originally released on the Xbox 360 in March of last year, Scholar of the First Sin includes all of the previously released DLC and a lick of HD polish that makes the game run smoother and ups the resolution. As you might have gathered, unlike most sword and sorcery games, Dark Souls II cannot be stumbled through with mindless button mashing. If you’re clumsy with your attacks, you will be punished – death is a case of when and not if.

Run

You are an undead warrior, cursed to clutch on to your existence by feasting on the souls of others. You can claw back your humanity by using a Human Effigy, but these are limited and should you die, you’ll respawn at your last bonfire, back to your undead self and with a health bar that reduces every time you end up on the wrong side of a sword.

These bonfires are also used to fast travel, this is particularly useful if you need to spend any collected souls – you see, it’s not just your health bar you lose at death, any held souls are dropped at the point that you met your demise – fail to recover these in your next life and they will be lost forever – but it’s ok, you can just farm the enemies that respawn every time you use a bonfire right? Wrong. You can chip away at the enemies of Dark Souls II, killing them over and over will eventually remove them from the game world, making progress possible even in the hardest of circumstances.

PvP

You might feel alone in Dark Souls II, and while there are PvP and PvE events, I didn’t really experience these half as much as I would have expected. A dedicated matchmaking menu would have been much more to my liking. On occasion, other player spirits invaded my world, these always happened at the worst time. You can also call on player spirits to help you, or read the many messages inscribed in the floor that offer advice or insight at what lies ahead – you can even add your own.

At the heart of Dark Souls II is a stamina bar that determines whether you can block, roll or attack – with no stamina, you are pretty much dead in the water. Blocking stops the bar from refilling, it’s a great way to make you manage your attacks, blocks and rolls – discipline is a must – an enemy with a small amount of health left can still put you on your arse and defeat you, so resist going for a flurry of attacks and play smart. To make matters worse, your weapons also degrade – I never said this was going to be easy!

Castle

Progress through Dark Souls II can seem like you are trying to walk up an escalator that is going down, persevere and you will eventually get to the top. The sense of achievement is more rewarding than most of the other games out there today. I respect that many will find little to love at the fight mechanics of Dark Souls and how it punishes you for anything other than flawless combat; equally, many will find a challenging and rewarding experience.

The best thing about this game is the moment everything clicks. You might wonder if it will ever come, and if you don’t learn from your mistakes it won’t. I did learn and while the game didn’t become easier, I felt like I had a grasp of how to tackle each situation, and what attributes and equipment I needed to rank up first – it was a joyous moment and one of the most invigorating moments I’ve had gaming.

Scholar of the First Sin will give you a rough and tough ride, if you like to be slapped about and punished for putting a foot wrong then this is certainly worth your time… you masochist!

Thanks to Xbox for supplying TiX with a download code

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Project Cars has gone gold!

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Seriously, I kid you not… Project Cars, despite several delays, has gone gold – there’s no turning back now! Coming to the UK on May 8, with Europe and Australasia receiving the racer a day earlier.

There’s no official word on when the game will launch in Northern America, so watch this space.

After months of intense work on what will certainly be THE ultimate racing experience, we’re extremely happy to confirm that Project CARS has now gone gold and will release in EMEA territories on May 7th 2015

said Ian Bell, Head of Studio at Slightly Mad Studios

We know the wait for the game to be released was worth it, as we’re confident the quality and realism level we have achieved will provide our fans with the game they are all expecting. Finally, we are also delighted to reveal the final track list. With more than 30 locations, Project CARS offers the largest track roster of any recent racing game.

With the game finally going into production, there’s now a confirmed list of tracks that will be available from day one, which you can check here on the official website of Project Cars.