Tag Archives: multiplayer

Sea of Thieves closed Beta preview

The long awaited Sea of Thieves finally releases this March, and to tease us further- and presumably iron out some of the bugs – the closed Beta has kicked off. We were lucky enough to set sail and enjoy what’s on offer in the multiplayer focus pirate sim, and so far we’re impressed.

Sea of Thieves

Indeed, the beta is pretty bare bones but gives you a pleasant feel for the missions and multiplayer hijinks, both cooperatively and competitively. Three options are available in the lobby: solo players and two player crews receive a two gun, single mast sloop while four players receive an eight gun, three mast galleon. The experience of sailing each of the ships is significantly different; turning circles, sail positions, multiple decks, everything is scaled up and made that much more complex to meet larger player numbers. It’s great.

The sloop is small enough to manoeuvre quickly and allows the helmsman to see ahead of them without too much obstruction. Meanwhile, the sails of the galleon easily block the view of the helmsman, leaving you at the mercy of your crew to help navigate the high seas. However, even with good visibility, navigating to specific islands really requires two people, the aforementioned helmsman as well as someone reading the map in the captain’s quarters and shouting up compass headings. Additionally, the sails need raising and lowing to manage speed, as well as angling to best catch the wind. Then there’s the dropping and raising of the anchor to stop and start your vessel, the arming and firing of cannon, and the patching up of holes and bailing of water to keep you afloat. There’s plenty of jobs for the crew to get involved with, and after a little practice you can become a well-oiled machine of pirating.

Sea of Thieves

Managing your ship is but one aspect of the experience, combat with other vessels and island fortresses, as well as going ashore on islands to search for treasure are also present. Right now the treasure seeking is facilitated through missions – or voyages as they are known in Sea of Thieves. These can be purchased from a vendor at outposts then activated in the captain’s quarters. You’ll be given a map of an island which you need to find on the ship’s larger map, sail to the island, then dig at the red cross, or sometimes you’re offered a destination and a riddle to solve to determine the whereabouts of the treasure. These span different lengths of time, with half day voyages taking you to one destination and full day ones taking you to multiple.

Completing these voyages means finding treasure chests then bringing them back to an outpost to sell them, granting you gold you can use to purchase new items. Currently, at least two of the stores appear to be closed, a mystical shop and the blacksmiths, however several others offer new equipment to buy as well as cosmetic items. The missions can then be repeated but fortunately the island destinations are random so it’s not a matter of returning to the same old islands again and again. Still, it does get repetitive after a while.

Unfortunately, beyond these treasure seeking voyages the islands don’t currently hold any mysteries or treasures to entice you to explore. The teasers and trailers over the past two years promise much more than the beta offers, it’s just a shame we can’t experience any of it just yet. However, sunken treasure can be found from the ruins of ships, with some of these treasure chests inducing a status effect on you while you carry them, so exploring the oceans has at least some reward. And venturing into the depths and facing off again sharks is truly terrifying, despite the cartoon visuals.

Sea of Thieves

Speaking of visuals, Sea of Thieves looks stunning. The carton visuals are crisp and full of character, meanwhile, remarkably realistic lighting really bring everything to life. Add to that some of the best water visuals I’ve ever tipped my digital toe in, as well as excellent, thundering cannon and firearms sound effects and a varied assortment of pirate themed music you and your crew can play with the instruments you carry, and you have top notch presentation.

But of course, the true meat of the game is when you face off against other players. The complexity of efficiently managing a ship mixed with the intensity of player verse player combat results in some heart pounding and truly enjoyable competitive multiplayer. Meeting another vessel on the ocean and exchanging fire through cannons, pistols and the neat sniper rifles you also hold, proves to be thoroughly entertaining, especially as you patch up holes in your vessel and desperately bail out water to try and keep her afloat. Additionally, firing yourself or a crew mate via the cannons onto an enemy ship is hilarious each and every time.

You can get a small taste of the combat and hilarity that can ensue from a meeting of two player ships in our video below:

When you die it’s off to a wonderfully creepy ship of the damned while you wait for a door to open and bring you back to life, which only take a minutes or so. When back amongst the living you respawn on or near your ship, allowing you to get back into the fight very quickly. This is a blessing and a curse. For those that have died, it’s a relief to so quickly get back into the action, but for the victors it means respites are few and far between and stealing another crew’s vessel isn’t really viable. Stealing treasure chests, on the other hand, is absolutely possible, so some good old fashioned pirating can still be done without resorting to sinking your victim’s ship, although the temptation is mighty strong. And if your ship does go down, all the treasure chest aboard are lost but a merman appears to teleport you to an outpost where a new ship awaits. It all works together to make the action intense and satisfying yet the lull after the battle short enough so the defeated can get back to pirating before any frustration kicks in.

Right now, beyond the odd cannon emplacement firing at you from an island, a few skeletons rising from the earth, and those terrifying sharks, there’s not much to fear during exploration. We’re sure they’ll be more to come when Sea of Thieves launches in March, and we can’t wait to see it. Already we know islands will hold more mysteries to uncover and a Kraken lurks beneath the waves, what we hope to see are AI ships we can engage, more quest givers beyond the creepy chap in the tents at outposts, More ship variety supporting large groups of players or fleet support for multiple groups, but I guess time will tell as to what the full package contains. Certainly, from what we’ve seen so far, we’re impressed and excited for March.

Vermintide – Karak Azgaraz DLC review

Fighting the Skaven horde is a highly enjoyable and challenging pastime that we at TiX Towers have enjoyed immensely. The Karak Azgaraz DLC gives us precisely the excuse we need to dive back in, providing a short, three mission adventure where players attempt to warn the dwarven hold of Karak Azgaraz of the approaching vermin horde.

Indeed, the thousands of vicious and bloodthirsty rat people that you’ve slain so far in Vermintide has failed to stop their attack against the civilised folk of Warhammer, namely the humans, elves and dwarves. The exhilarating and immensely satisfying medieval slaughtering must continue if you stand a chance at saving the dwarven hold of Karak Azgaraz. Therefore, you and up to three allies must gather again to slice, dice, shoot, and set ablaze the vermin in intense objective-based combat scenarios, first to the outlaying settlement of Khazid Kro then the Grey Mountains.

Khazid Kro places you in a narrow, claustrophobic settlement. It’s dark and dank and ideal for the waves of Skaven to come careening towards you and your party, as you frantically try to work your way through tunnels, all by the guidance of NPC dwarf Halgrim Halgrimsson. He tasks you with taking out the Skaven tunnels with some explosive barrels in order to obtain a keystone for use in the later missions.

With the tunnels destroyed, it’s up to the mountains in search of The Cursed Rune. A gruelling ascent through snowy terrain provides a nice variety of location to the majority of other missions in the base game, with a good old fashioned Skaven onslaught awaiting you at a vault that holds a crucial casket you need.

The DLC concludes at the peak of the mountain, where you must light a beacon to warn Karak Azgaraz of the Skaven threat. It’s a terrific little side-story with the same excellent intense and highly enjoyable combat of the base game.

Indeed, Karak Azgaraz is another excellent adventure for Vermintide players to enjoy, but it’s hurt by the surprising lack of players. For a title we celebrated as a game of the year last year, it’s baffling why we aren’t seeing more players in matchmaking. Perhaps a complete edition including all previous DLC will help mend this issue, and we hope it does, because this is some of the most fun you can have in a multiplayer title, and this DLC is more of a good thing, if a little short.

Thanks to Xbox and Fat Shark for supporting TiX

For Honor Season 2 coming May 16

Ubisoft have announced that For Honor Season Two, Shadow and Might, will launch on May 16th.

Shadow and Might will bring new content to For Honor, including two additional heroes, two extra maps, new customisation items and gameplay updates. Maps and gameplay updates will be free for all players at the start of Season Two. New heroes, the lethal Shinobi and the fierce Centurion, will be available for free immediately for Season Pass holders on May 16th, while all other players will be able to unlock them with their in-game Steel on May 23rd.

In the war between the three deadly factions, Knights, Vikings and Samurai, two new Heroes enter the battlefield:

•Shinobi (Samurai Assassin) – The Shinobi are silent warriors able to move with a dancer’s grace and kill with precision thanks to a lifetime of disciplined training. They wield the traditional Japanese Kusarigama.

•Centurion (Knight Hybrid) – The Centurion sees the battlefield like a chessboard. Equipped with the reliable standard issue gladius, Centurions can bypass enemy defences through strategic close-quarters combat.

The two new maps, Forge and Temple Garden, will expand upon the selection of multiplayer battlefields. Additionally, Season Two will introduce a new level of gear rarity – Epic gear – that will increase the maximum gear score along with a balancing overhaul for the entire gear stats system.

Coinciding with the end of Season One, a new title update (Update 1.06) was released on Windows PC to improve network stability while introducing new gameplay changes and hero balancing. The update is planned to release on consoles very shortly. For Honor will continue to be supported post-launch with additional content and consistent gameplay balancing updates.

Overwatch hits 25 million players

The official Overwatch Twitter account has announced that the hugely popular class-based online shooter has hit the milestone 25 million players.

Huge congratulations to Blizzard.

Yooka-Laylee multiplayer trailer

Yooka-Laylee’s release is only a few months away, and we’re getting pretty excited for this 3D platformer. And now we have a better idea of what Yooka-Laylee’s multiplayer will entail, thanks to a multiplayer reveal trailer.

Looks like the multiplayer will offer a host of mini-games for local play with up to four players, or solo competing for high scores. We can’t wait.

No campaign co-op in Dead Rising 4

The hotly anticipated forth entry in the Dead Rising series is due to release in a mere few weeks, and fans are giddy with excitement. However, that giddiness might take a bit of hit with news that you won’t be able to play through the story of Dead Rising 4 with a friend after all.

This information comes fresh from a Twitch stream on the ExpertZone_Community channel, where members of the development team at Capcom Vancouver confirmed that the story of Dead Rising 4 will be single player only.

Instead, the co-op multiplayer will allow up to four players to experience an entirely separate mode with different characters. Here you’ll play short objectives, in the style of mini-games, rather than free roaming through the mall.

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It certainly feels like we were all misled about the co-op content on offer here, and with other series staples like the time limit, survivor escorting, eating food to regenerate health, and Frank West’s voice actor changing, this latest entry in the series is sounding less a less like its predecessors.

And what might be the final nail in the coffin for some fans is the news that a time limit based single player mode is coming as DLC. Indeed, making people pay extra for features the series is known for that are otherwise missing, isn’t the smartest move.

Halo Wars 2 – Blitz Mode, Tactical Combat meets Card Based Strategy.

Check out the latest video to come from 343 Industries and Creative Assembly, as they discuss the multiplayer modes available in the up and coming Halo Wars 2 along with a new style of gameplay called Blitz.

As you can see from the video, Blitz is a mix between real time strategy and a card based game. Players get to create a deck of 12 cards based on their chosen Commander, deploying these cards onto the battlefield in real-time during the match. As like other card based games, every card/unit carries an energy cost, the more powerful the unit the higher the cost to play it. Strategy will play key as in the heat of a battle do you spend your energy points on smaller units to build up your forces or save your energy so you can deploy Wraiths or Warthogs. Only you can make these decisions.

Halo Wars 2 Blitz Mode.

Blitz mode will come in two variations, Firefight and PvP. Firefight will be a PVE mode that can either be played by yourself or with up to two other friends against wave after wave of increasingly difficult enemies. PvP will come in its normal fashion of ranked and unranked matches of 1v1, 2v2 or 3v3.

For more information about the up and coming game modes in Halo Wars 2, check out Xbox Wire, or the Official Website. Halo Wars 2 is due for release on February 21st 2017 on Xbox One and Windows PC.

Obliteracers review

Obliteracers is a quirky, cute and very colourful top-down racer from developers Varkian Empire. I’m going to get it out the way and compare it to Mario Kart then I promise I won’t do it again. It’s definitely no Mario Kart, phew now lets get on with the review.

Obliteracers is an intergalactic racer that offers up to 16 on-screen players battling it out to be the last one standing. On the track lies a selection of weapons from oil slicks to rockets that can be used to slow you enemies or completely take them out of the race. Not only are the weapons a threat but if you fall behind the pack and screen camera catches up with you you’re also out of the race.

Your kart is equipped with a shield that you can use anytime, it comes in handy especially as it’s quite easy to miss the powerups. The difference between this and Mario… Sorry!!…any other kart racer is you’re not battling to get a place on the podium, it’s purely last racer standing. The main focus of Obliteraces is clearly the multiplayer aspect, however, if you want to play by yourself then there are a selection of campaign races for you to participate in. The single player section is not difficult but there are some tweaks thrown in just to mess with you a bit.

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With so many players on the screen things can get quite hectic and if you’re not watching properly then it’s easy to slip off the track into oblivion. The locations vary form track to track, there are beaches, ships and even sky tracks to race, however, the location does not have an affect on the race. It would have been nice to have various things happening dependant on the location but there’s nothing of the sort, unfortunately. That being said, in it’s defence each level is very colourful and has amazing visual design.

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Available modes are a little disappointing, two of which are practically identical. Survival mode is exactly that, while Endurance mode and Knockout mode requires you to earn points to win. However, Endurance allows knocked out opponents to re-spawn immediately. The modes offer nothing new in terms of gameplay or challenges, that is except for Leader mode. This is more about you against the pack, and offers a bit more of a challenge as they all focus their fire on you. The only way to win this is to make best use of the drift and boost feature to stay well ahead. It’s worth remembering there are no laps in Obliteracers it’s always points or last racer standing.

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Obliteracers is a fun and at times hectic multiplayer experience. The singleplayer does not add much to the game and certainly doesn’t offer any sort of long-term reason to go back to it. With friends Obliteracers excels, there is no denying that, it’s just a shame more of it’s mechanics weren’t put to better use to cater for the singleplayer offline. Overall Obliteracers is worth a pop, keep it in your library for those impromptu sessions with the kids or friends. The camera is fixed which sometimes make locating your racer difficult, they did include a handy little feature though that when you wiggle the left stick it highlights exactly where your player is.

Thanks to Xbox and Varkian Empire for supporting TiX

Black & White Bushido coming to Xbox One

Endemol Shine Group have announced the launch of games developer and publishing label Good Catch, along with their upcoming Xbox One release Black & White Bushido.

Black & White Bushido is already available on PC through Steam but the Xbox One version is set to add online multiplayer, two new difficulty levels, and some gameplay and graphical enhancements.

Black & White Bushido is a 2D brawler for up to four players, taking the gentle game of hide and seek and injecting it with razor sharp samurai swords. Each of Black & White Bushido’s arenas are divided into distinct monochrome sections which the two opposing forces, Team Light and Team Shadow, must use tactically to secure victory. Lurk in the dark or blend into the light before launching an attack on an unsuspecting enemy.

With five different arenas to choose from, players can engage in one of three modes, capture the flag, death match or training, and can play in 4 player local and online multiplayer plus a single player challenge mode.

Rivals of Aether preview

Another day, another game. My gaming journey through 2016 continues and I have another title in front of me to trial. Rivals of Aether is an ID@xbox game available through the Xbox Preview Program. Dan Fornace is the mind behind this classic styled beat-em up.

First impressions are good as it’s loaded up, which took about a second as the whole game is only about 180mb. I’m a sucker for retro graphics and as the pixelated start screen pings up its a plus point straight away, and although I hadn’t heard of the game until today it has the word ‘fighting’ in its description, as I have a penchant for anything ‘shooty’ or ‘fighty’ it’s another plus point. This is a side view brawler and the first and most obvious comparison is Super Smash Bros. Not just in the style of the game but in the emotions it elicits as you play. It harks back to the games of the 90’s in look, feel and sound. The music is spot on, being a great blend of catchy cheese that makes for an exciting soundtrack to your button bashing combo’s but without being too distracting or intruding. From the get go I have been pulled in by the game, ‘its general vibe’ for lack of a better description is great and all the little bits add up to create a solid all round package. It’s a little limited in some places (Preview Program situation accepted) but I think this may at least achieve cult status if not picked up by a bigger audience.

Rivals of Aether (Game Preview) (2)

Each fight takes place in an arena (in the currently available game modes, more on that later) and they too pay some homage to classic games. They are beautifully designed and many have interactive points that can act as an aid or a hindrance in the heat of battle, like a water jet to knock back your foe or a rising tide of fire to avoid. They all have a few staggered levels to bounce around on without sides, and you try to knock your opponent out of screen shot. Instead of health bars you have damage percentage which starts at 0% and goes up, the higher you get the damage, the further they get knocked with a blow and easier they are to get off the edge of the arena. The game is easy to pick up and play and it’s simplicity adds to its charm. I could easily see myself sitting down with some friends and battling it out for a few hours. It’s tense, fast paced stuff and each round is gripping. It has four player local multiplayer with a team match option in the verses mode, and you can also set it to tournament mode to create your own mini tournies for you and your friends to play.

Rivals of Aether (Game Preview)

As I like to do, I’m going to make another comparison, or rathe, two smashed together: this is Pokemon meets Street Fighter (circa 1999). It’s almost a Pokemon after dark. I imagine this is where Charizard might come to fight if he needs some quick cash, or Hitmonchans addiction got the better of him and he was forced out of the regular Poke league and started fighting on the underground circuit. Sorry, I’ve got distracted by the thought of a 18+ Pokemon show with scandal, drugs and an underground fight club. I’d watch that. Returning to Rivals and how we got to the dark depths of illegal Pokemon fights, the characters are crazy. All based around animals and elements each with a unique power. The base for their special move is one of the four classic elements: fire, air, water and Earth. They have a small number of other moves as well, simple attacks that combo in sets of three. I have two that I really like and serve as example of the crazy nature of them. Zetterburn is a Lion . . No, a Bear? A Lionbear. With a flaming mane and tail who chucks fireballs and burns things. Then there’s Kragg, a sort of armadillo/turtle who can hurl rocks pulled from the ground and summon pillars of rock up from below. They make up two of the characters from the warring civilisations in the game-world. The fighting system keeps in line with the rest of the game and is simple, a short set of tutorials is available including a character specific level to learn each of the unique moves available. I love the characters, each one is designed well with great animation and they are pretty badass.

Rivals of Aether (Game Preview) (3)

So, in a quick re-cap: cool retro graphics, awesome retro soundtrack, great character design and animation. It’s important to remember that this game is available through the Preview Program and as such is still a work in progress, so bare that in mind. Now, I’ve said a few times that the simplistic nature of the game is a plus and adds charm, which it does, however, despite there being a few moves to learn the fighting is limited. There are no big combo patterns to use and between standard attacks and special moves there are barely ten distinct attacks for each character. Any big fan of this genre who plays the likes of Tekken or Dead or Alive, or any of the other bigger fighting games of the last few years, may find the fighting a touch lacklustre. If you favour the classic arcade games of yesteryear or play Super Smash Bros. then this will be up your street. Also, despite loving the available characters, there are only eight, which in my opinion is a bit low. It could do with getting into the teens for longer playability.

I was unable to play story mode, abyss mode or do the advanced training which I will chalk up to it being in preview and they are still under development, the story mode is tipped to be like street fighter as a side-scroller which for me would add a lot to the game. The online section of the game took some time to find a match (again, a new release preview game and numbers will probably grow) however, after a few minutes of searching I found an exhibition match. I promptly had my ass handed to me three times in a row which means either I’m terrible or the level of player ability online is quite high. Personally I prefer the second option. The game had no problems connecting and so far I’ve found no bugs or suffered any crashes, which are issues you half expect in a preview game.

In conclusion, I have enjoyed Rivals of Aether and I’m sure any fan of classic fighting games will too, but it is a touch limited in its offerings at present. It is still being worked on and the coming options are sure to add to this already very fun little game. As with a lot of indie titles I don’t see this dominating most console’s for months at a time, maybe some long sessions into the night. However, it will be a great party game or filler between your big titles and favourites, and there will be some out there, perhaps converts to Xbox who miss the party games of a certain Japanese hardware producer, who may find the game they have been looking for.

Thanks to Xbox and Dan Fornace for supporting TiX