Tag Archives: Portal

Magnetic: Cage Closed review

Magnetic-Cage-Closed

In the future, where the world is on the verge of total nuclear war, victory at all costs is the buzz phrase for warden Keene, the man in charge of Facility 7. This complex houses the preeminent research of Curiatis Corporation in the continuous cold war against an unseen enemy. On the verge of all out war, all moral complexities are outweighed by the over-riding need to stay one step ahead of the competition.

You are Prisoner XE-47623, a death row inmate transferred into the facility as a test subject in their advanced weaponry division with one goal; succeed at all costs and earn a reprieve. You are presented with a requirement to fulfill testing of the Alexandr Durov prototype  or “Magnet Gun”.

Warden Keene provides you with the physical challenges in the test environment where Dr Karen Womberg challenges you to the only form of morality that seems to exist within this world. These choices represent the multiple paths that make up the nine variable endings that can be encountered during your exploits.

Cage Closed wears its influences proudly on its sleeve. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then Valve should be somewhat gratified. The silent female protagonist immune to fall damage, future tech weaponry, puzzle rooms, and predilection for the use of boxes; all point to a less than subtle homage to Portal, while the focus presented on moral quandaries have the mildest echo’s of The Stanley Parable.

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The Magnet Gun has two main abilities; Push and Pull. As you progress through the levels and more prototypes are released, this will be upgraded to have three power levels, though it is possible to complete the challenge rooms using only the highest power, I did find that using the lowest setting allowed for more precise action when manipulating the small boxes found throughout the levels.

Initially, the challenges focus on maneuvering boxes around and activating switches to progress, but as the weapon is upgraded, so too are the “motivational hazards”, with fire traps, spike squares and chlorine pumps requiring you to use the magnet gun in more elaborate ways. Focused use of the Push allows you to propel yourself away from active magnetic plates, and conversely Pull can drag you to platforms otherwise unreachable by standard movement. Utilising and mastering these abilities is essential to completing the trials set out in front of you.

For the most part, the game works perfectly. The physics involved in the puzzles feels natural and responsive, yet at times small frustrations occur. Occasionally the boxes fail to respond to the magnet’s pull and more than once I have found myself being attracted to the box, and typically directly into hazards, instead of the other way around. This becomes increasingly annoying during the latter stages as death typically resets the puzzle and some of the final rooms have very convoluted and elaborate solutions.

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Narrative is primarily provided from the exposition of Warden Keene and Dr Womberg, and while it does a good job of setting the scene, there just doesn’t seem to be enough substance to be found in the story especially with the specifically weak endings. Although I only observed just over half of those available, none of them appeared to have much substance.

A few other niggles also crop up, in the pacing. Loading times are a constant frustration, as each intersecting room requires a further load screen before transition. This in itself is accompanied by long sections crawling through vents and standing around in a refurbished shipping container when you are being transferred from your cell to the evaluation area.

All in all, Magnetic: Cage Closed is an accomplished puzzler that fails to emerge from the shadow of its predecessor. With finely balanced progression and competent physics it goes a long way to making up for a lack of story. For those of you missing your time with GLaDOS and looking for something to fill the gap while we wait for Valve to announce Portal 3, Magnetic: Cage Closed can sufficiently fill that void.

Thanks to Xbox and Indigo Pearl for supporting TiX

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Lego® Dimensions story trailer released

LD_GameplayScreen_137_bmp_jpgcopyWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today released the story trailer for
LEGO® Dimensions™, the upcoming entertainment experience that merges physical LEGO® brick building with interactive console game play.  The game features an original story that combines characters and worlds from 14 of the most popular entertainment brands including DC Comics™, The Lord of the Rings™, TheLEGO® Movie, The Wizard of Oz™, LEGO®  Ninjago, Back to the Future™, Scooby-Doo™, LEGO® Chima™, Doctor Who, Jurassic World,Ghostbusters™, The Simpsons™, Portal™ and Midway Arcade.

In the game, there is an ancient planet at the centre of the LEGO® Multiverse inhabited by an evil mastermind, Lord Vortech. It is said that he who controls the Foundational Elements that this planet is built upon, controls all of the Multiverse. Lord Vortech has vowed to be that ruler, summoning characters from a variety of LEGO® worlds to help him find these building bricks of LEGO® civilisation. Some have agreed, others have rebelled, and only the combined powers of the greatest LEGO® heroes can stop him.

When a mysterious and powerful vortex suddenly appears in various LEGO worlds, different characters from DC Comics™, The Lord of the Rings™ and The LEGO® Movie are swept away. To save their friends, LEGO® Batman™, LEGO® Gandalf and LEGO® Wyldstyle journey to locations beyond their wildest imaginations, and they soon realise that Lord Vortech is summoning villains from across different LEGO® worlds to help him gain control. As his power grows, worlds mix, unexpected characters meet and all boundaries are broken. Our heroes must travel through space and time to rescue their friends before the vortexes destroy all of LEGO® humanity.

LEGO® Dimensions will be Launching 29th September this year.

 

 

Portal Pinball review

Zen Studios are certainly back on form. Their Star Wars: Rebels table was highly authentic and enjoyable, and their latest table, Portal, follows in its footsteps with just as much care and attention to detail as any other property they’ve turned into a pinball experience.

Indeed the Portal pinball table is smashing. Dialogue has been expertly lifted from Valve’s puzzle series and repurposed to fit this table and your actions within it spectacularly; with GLaDOS taunting you, Wheatley encouraging you, and the companion cube silently loving you. Moreover, the miniaturised GLaDOS and Wheatley, residing near the top of the table, look fantastic, GLaDOS in particular with her fully animated motion and reactions to lazers being refracted by cubes and aimed at her.

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Moreover, series protagonist, Chell, stands ready to the bottom left with her trusty portal gun, ready to create portals and re-appear above her starting position or across a light bridge to a platform on the right above the ball launcher. The ball launcher itself is a digital computer display of the power you can generate when launching the ball, however, on the launch lane are a set of collapsing tiles and portals, time your launch and get the right power and you can jump through one and start the round off with a nice score bonus. Indeed, it’s a visually stimulating and attractive, feature rich table.

However, it’s also a visually busy table, with the aforementioned features and table details that represent the minimalist and clean white Aperture Science labs as well as the darker, grimier foundations, all vying for your attention alongside the fast pace of the ball. The table is also complex, of course there are the portals which pop up where you’d otherwise see targets and drops, teleporting the ball to other parts of the table. They’re terrifically implemented to fit with the expected play of a pinball table but match the aesthetic and theme of Portal. Tight lanes mean hitting a specific one can be a challenge, even more so when physics altering goo is splashed onto the table. Add two extra flippers, one on the central lane and the other on the left, and the additional options to fling the ball around and rack up speed and points multiplies further. It all results in a fast and frantic experience that’s equally challenging and awe-inspiring.

Portal Pinball 2

Fortunately, the missions can be completed in any order and you can choose which of the six to tackle each time you activate them, keeping the focus on fun pinballing action rather than narrow parameters and potential frustration. Overcome them all and you get to face GLaDOS in a final showdown.

The Portal pinball table is brilliantly authentic and oodles of fun to play while offering a stiff challenge for pinball veterans. It’s another spectacular example of Zen Studios capturing the essence and personality of a property and converting it wonderfully into a pinball experience. What will they think of next?

Thanks to Xbox and Zen Studios for their support

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Portal pinball heading to Pinball FX

Valve and Zen Studios have teamed up with Aperture Laboratories to reveal the “Aperture Science Heuristic Portal Pinball Device”, proving that persistent experimentation is not only the hallmark of good science for the benefit of mankind, but also incalculably fun!

Due for release during the week of May 25, you’ll need to guide Chell and Wheatley through test chambers by navigating portals, using aerial faith plates, defeating turrets and facing other obstacles, and battling against GLaDOS as you attempt to escape the facility and reach the surface. Team up with ATLAS and P-Body for their Cooperative Testing Initiative Multiball and wreak havok on the Turret Factory by discovering Ratman’s hidden mini playfield. The table will cost £2.49/$2.99.

 

ThisisXbox Top Ten: Video Game Companions

After having spent some time playing the astounding Bioshock Infinite (which we scored a staggering 10/10), it got us thinking about about Elizabeth’s character. Is she the perfect companion? We thought we’d run through gaming’s most extravagant companions to see how she would stack up to the rest. We define a companion as either an AI controlled partner or just someone talking down a headset to help enhance the story and your objectives.

Let’s run down the top 10 right now.

 

10. 

Rush (Megaman 3, 1990)

Rush

 

Rush is Megaman’s trusty robotic dog who would appear to help Megaman get past tricky obstacles by using his ability to transform into a submarine and by using his springboard coil to bounce extremely high. Rush has appeared in almost every Megaman game since and has also made a handful of cameos in several Capcom fighters.

 

9.

Captain John Price (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, 2007)

Captain PriceIf you were ever asked to name one Call of Duty character, 9 times out of 10 you would name Captain Price. A former member of the SAS, Captain Price is a no-nonsense soldier that alongside Soap MacTavish, goes through hell to stop the man who initiated World War III, Vladimir Makarov. Captain Price’s quick quips and charming British narcissism makes him a favoured companion amongst this list.

 

8. 

Cortana (Halo: Combat Evolved, 2001)

Cortana

 

Cortana is a digitized clone of Dr. Elizabeth Halsey, who became centric to the Halo universe since the beginning. Guiding Master Chief on his journeys through thick and thin. Even having something of a starring role in 343’s Halo 4. Cortana is a fan-favourite amongst the Halo fandom, and it seems that she will be for a long time to come.

 

7. 

Claptrap (Borderlands, 2009)

ClaptrapClap Trap (CL4P-TP) is a Hyperion manufactured general purpose robot that you will often see slumming around town in the Borderlands series. His particular brand of humour which involves outdated pop-culture references and pushing dubstep upon the player, has made him accepted annoyance. Borderlands fans often speak highly of Claptrap, and it’s clear that with the unavoidable Borderlands sequels to come, Claptrap will definitely be involved.

 

6.

Miles “Tails” Prower (Sonic the Hedgehog 2, 1992)

TailsTails appears to be some kind of genetically mutated fox with two tails (hehe, I get it) that give him the ability to fly. He is one of the most famous sidekicks in history, next to Robin and Luigi, he may be THE most famous sidekick. If you weren’t aware (which I astonishingly wasn’t until I was way into my 20’s) that his name is actually a play on words meaning ‘miles per hour”, you may facepalm yourself into oblivion, much like I did. Tails wormed his way into our hearts with his annoying cries of “SOOOONIIIIIIIIIC”, and he will forever live there. What a guy.

 

5.

Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect, 2007)

Garrus VakarianGarrus Vakarian is the popular Turian from the Mass Effect series. A former C-Sec soldier and the most badass member of the Normandy crew, Garrus had military training at fifteen and is the crew’s resident sniper. A character so awesome, that he brushed off horrific facial scars with a witty comment like  “Ah probably for the best. They were all ignoring you and hitting on me. ‘Bout time you got a fair shot.” when referring to the lovely space ladies. Garrus is cool, calm, collective, funny, and extremely badass. It’s a shame he couldn’t be higher up the list.

 

4. 

GLaDOS (Portal/The Orange Box, 2007)

GLaDOSWell this is a first. An antagonist making it as a top companion. GLaDOS is the central core to the inner working of Aperture Science. The Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System lives solely to test. When the protagonist Chell awakens from a coma, GLaDOS is ready and waiting to throw test after test after test at the newly awakened mute. It is truly GLaDOS’ humour that makes this machine a top companion, the writing staff at Valve truly have created a character for the ages in this machine. They certainly couldn’t top it. or could they?

As an added extra, check out this amazing post credits song performed by GLaDOS herself.

 

3.

Otacon (Metal Gear Solid, 1998)

OtaconHal Emmerich, code-named Otacon is a scientist and chief engineer of Metal Gear REX. Also best friend of Solid Snake. This relationship makes for some of the most hilarious codec conversations in the entire series. Listening to Otacon’s conversations with Snake about being trapped in compromising positions and even about Otacon urinating all over himself, means that the bond between the two makes for one of gaming’s best relationships.

 

2.

Elizabeth (Bioshock Infinite, 2013)

ElizabethElizabeth didn’t quite make it to number one, even though she is gaming’s most perfect companion. Her relationship with Booker DeWitt develops as the game goes on. Her frail naivety develops into a strong independence. Her knack for not just being a damsel in distress is what makes her interesting. Booker wouldn’t survive his journey in Columbia without Elizabeth, and it’s easy to see why she is one of the most popular new characters in the last few years. I would hope that her story doesn’t end with Infinite, and that there are at least some glaring references when 2K make the next installment in the series.

 

Well after all that, who made the number one spot? It’s tough to find a character as whole as Bioshock Infinite’s Elizabeth. But the number one isn’t even a good character, he makes it there for the sole reason of being the funniest character in the history of gaming. So, let’s check out who it is…

 

1. Wheatley (Portal 2, 2011)

WheatleyWheatley is hands down the funniest character in gaming history. Voiced by lanky Western English comedian Stephen Merchant, all of his country charm is transfused with the robot nature of a Portal robot. In Portal 2, GLaDOS is still the villain, but Wheatley is the hero that saves the day. Bringing you through several of Aperture Science’s most rigorous tests to help you defeat GLaDOS and end her reign of terror. But don’t take my word for it, just check this out.

 

Thanks for checking out another ThisisXbox Top 10, come back next week for our next installment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Telltale Games’ Poker Night 2 Announcement Trailer

TELLTALE, INC. POKER NIGHT 2Telltale Games are very well known for making amazing point and click adventures such as The Walking Dead, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, and the Sam & Max series. But if you’re not a PC gamer, you might not be aware that they have made a very popular poker game known as Telltale Games’ Poker Night.

Continue reading Telltale Games’ Poker Night 2 Announcement Trailer