Tag Archives: THQ

De Blob review

De Blob has been out for quite a number of years now, first appearing on the Nintendo Wii in 2008 De Blob has now reached a wider market and is taking a seat amongst the great on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Developed by Blue Tongue Entertainment and Blitworks, De Blob is a story of good against evil, The evil INKT Corporation has declared ‘Color is a Crime!’ and leeched Chroma City of all its beauty and interest. The race to rescue Chroma City has just begun, and only De Blob can save the world from a black-and-white future with his unique abilities to colour the world back to life.

De Blob is suitable for anyone that can lift a controller and use it, it’s a very simple game with simple goals, however, it is an amazing bit of fun. Now I’m the first to admit that I can act like a child, but can I see a game through the eyes of one without putting my grownup head on? I doubt it. To see De Blob from as many angles as I could, I recruited my sons to play the game and review it. My eldest is eleven years old and plays a wide range of games, so here’s a De Blob review through the eyes of a child:

De Blob is a third-person platformer arranged around the theme of painting and mixing colours. De Blob is a friendly character in Chroma city, however, the INKT Corporation has turned the city from colourful, bright neon to a dull, dark and murky place by inking all of the buildings, landmarks and plants. It’s your job to make everything colourful and neon again. A simple tutorial teaches you how to combine colours and paint the world, with De Blob changing colour dispending on what he runs into, and needs to avoid running into ink.

The graphics are good considering its age. You transfer from city to city with the colours you chose. I didn’t like the music that plays during a mission, I was expecting music that reels you in and makes you want to do the missions, instead, it just irritated me.

In some games a slow start is often a side effect of a complex game slowly teaching you it’s mechanics, here, however, I found De Blob provided a quick tutorial and never really developed into anything more interesting or engaging than the simple elements it taught in the beginning. Saying that, I did enjoy playing the game with my younger brother and it’s a great family game to play when all of your family is bored. I will rate De Blob 7.5/10. I think the game is aimed at younger children as I got quite bored after a while doing the same thing over and over again.

So in a roundabout way, I think he liked it, for a short time anyway, I certainly did enjoy playing De Blob but like Alfie said it didn’t grab you long enough to want to play it for any length of time. The controls were simple, however, the camera did you no favours as it didn’t follow you, and at times just made controlling De Blob a bit of a dizzy nightmare. My youngest son however, who is six, thoroughly enjoyed it, to the point where he was playing nothing else. Graphically De Blob is basic and serves its purpose but generally, I think it was probably best leaving a game released in 2008 right where it belonged, because there are plenty of games on the market that appeal to the younger gamer and De Blob could easily be overlooked.

Thanks to Xbox and THQ Nordic for supporting TiX

Darksiders II: The Deathinitive Edition review

Even after Vigil Games were disbanded and parent company THQ closed their doors, it’s terrific to see the Darksider series resurface with an enhanced re-release of the second game in the series, Darksiders II, now aptly subtitled the Deathinitive edition. But how well has the title aged over the last three years?

Fortuantely things are looking good for the second horseman of the apocolapyse. Death rides into battle, slicing and dicing foes whilst exploring puzzle-filled dungeons with the same spectacular combat and extensive world to explore, now with all DLC content neatly woven into the main story, a little extra crispness, as well as some new textures and visual effects.

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Following on from the original game, Darksiders II puts you in the role of War’s brother and fellow Horsemen, Death, on a quest to absolve War of his crime of unleashing Armageddon on Earth. As the plot thickens you visit multiple realms and meet supernatural forces and individuals you must destroy, barter with or aid in order to further your quest.

It certainly has a familiar flow to proceedings but it’s well paced and makes great use of the narrative and its inherent intrigue. Borrowing biblical references aplenty, Darksiders II adds additional depth to the unique picture of the apocalypse that its predecessor painted. It’s a significantly bigger and more detailed universe this time around and the enhancements make it all the more vivid thanks to new, fancy lighting and reworked textures that bring elements such as wood, steal and water to life with a little more clarity. Additionally the bulky, stylized art style ages well and adds a unique and attractive aesthetic.

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The main quest alone takes a good 20-30 hours to see through, and the multiple side quests – although many rely heavily on fetching a certain quantity of a particular item – offer options to deviate from the critical path and experience more spectacular locations and boss encounters.

Much like with the original Darksiders, the Zelda-esque aesthetic is a prominent theme, with each realm you visit acting as an open-world hub to access several dungeons. The dungeons themselves are sprawling caverns, castles and ruins filled with puzzles, enemies, loot and traversal challenges, all sporting a smart and visually stunning design that makes excellent use of Death’s abilities in each discipline.

Finding keys to locked doors and pulling, pushing, placing and rotating a whole host of realm specific objects gradually opens the way forward and gives you a slight mental workout in the process. Meanwhile, ledges, ceiling hooks and walls covered in vines will have you wall running and using abilities such as Death Grip to pull distant objects to you or you to them, or even creating portals on certain surfaces or splitting yourself in two to activate multiple pressure pads. It’s Soul Reaver meets Prince of Persia and it’s a mostly brilliant experience that’s just as much puzzler as it is platformer, although the occasional camera and direction miscommunication can frustrate and cause an unfair death or two. In fact the camera does like to fight with you a little and even induced some nausea on occasion.

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Combat, however, is the meat of the experience and it’s a remarkable system. What starts off as button mashing soon reveals itself as a much more nuanced mechanic. The two button system allows you to mix two different weapon types, styles and speeds into a precision foray tailored to your foe. Additionally the World of Warcraft loot categorisation of weapons – ranging from standard to rare with stat and elemental traits to match – further feeds into the effectiveness of your attacks. Then there’s the option to upgrade possessed weapons by feeding them other items, increasing their stats and adding traits. As your enemies become savvier and more aggressive your attacks must become more effective to match and your dodge more precise, and this marvellous system grants you the flexibility and means to fight back with grace and purpose. Additionally a levelling system allows you to spend skill points on mage or warrior abilities, granting you some powerful new attack options. The combat is so much deeper than it initially seems.

The adventuring through dungeons, puzzle solving and combat does get repetitive though. The environments shift at a steady pace with enough new elements added to keep you engaged and challenged, all driven by the narrative, but you’ll likely to get bored with the ‘find these three things’ quests as well as several puzzle sequences repeating but to different scales. The boss fights, however, are a worthy reward for your perseverance.

Boss fights are varied, challenging and a fascinating spectacle. One moment you’ll be fighting an Angel or Demon, the next a huge tree-like creature or stone golem. Each encounter challenges you to use your combat and traversal abilities to their pinnacle and it’s hugely satisfying to win.

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The spectacle, however, isn’t restricted to boss encounters, everything looks terrific. Characters, weapons, armour and architecture all sport a Warhammer/World of Warcraft aesthetic with chunky, defined edges and a bright and varied palette. A smooth and large spectrum of animations for enemies and Death in combat fill the screen and is a delight to witness. Enemy variety is perhaps the least impressive trait, though, with more than a few similar looking creatures luring in each location, and the level of detail certainly can’t match the more contemporary titles on the market.

Indeed, Darksiders II is an exceptional action adventure title, with level and combat design that sets the standard for the genre. The repetitiveness from a lack of objective and enemy variety is a shame, an unfortunate side effect from the length, and with such a gap between this release and its predecessor it’s a shame to not have a better recap for War’s adventure, but otherwise Darksiders II is excellent and the Deathinitive edition is absolutely worth your investment.

Thanks to Xbox and Nordic Games for their support 

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South Park: The Stick of Truth Brings A Holy Trinity of Trailers

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The guys and girls over at Ubisoft have today released a trio of hilarious trailers for the upcoming South Park: The Stick of Truth.

These trailers see the return of the vastly popular Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo as well as his family, among many other surprises.

Now these trailer require age verification, so you’ll have to sign in to your Youtube or Gmail accounts. Check out the trailers down below:

Those of us that have been looking forward to this game have felt the sting of many a delay. But it seems that this game has survived the untimely demise of THQ, and looks to finally be coming out. South Park: The Stick of Truth brings its lewd, rude, crude humour to the Xbox 360 on March 4th in North America and March 7th in Europe.

 

Saints Row IV Review

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I remember playing the first Saints Row title and being over wary about just how similar it was to Grand Theft Auto franchise. It lacked a personality of its own, it was a mish-mash of copied ideas and features, predominantly GTA, but also from elsewhere. Now there is Saints Row IV which although still suffers from the ‘It’s kind of, soft of, just like GTA’ bug, does have its own crazy, insane, off the wall, and graphical personality of its own. The last Saints Row game didn’t really follow any rules, especially not in terms of open world game play. IV didn’t read the rules either, and it’s probably one of the things I enjoyed the most. From THQ to Deep Silver, Saints Row IV was always bound to peak our interest. Let’s take a look.

 Morning Mr President, hope you slept well? Thought you should know that we are under attack from Aliens.

No, seriously that is how the game begins. There is no working your way up to presidential status, you start the game as (publicly) the most powerful figure in the world; the President of the United States of America. And what would YOU do as President if the world came under attack from Aliens and they wanted to blow up the Whitehouse? I am pretty sure it wouldn’t be same, and probably make a lot more sense than if you also happen to be the leader of the 3rd Street Saints. Let’s be frank, the 3rd Street Saints don’t exactly do things like normal folk. The Aliens, aka the Zin Empire are led by a bad mother-f****r (blame the game for teaching me swear words!) called Zinyak, and Zinyak is ready to enslave us all. After some extremely over top alien ass-kicking you will eventually succumb to Zinyaks strength and find yourself placed inside a simulation designed to recreate an individual’s personal hell where you’re expected to live for an eternity.

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Now I don’t want to be spoiling the game for you, but if Saints Row IV had stolen many more ideas from The Matrix Trilogy, we’d likely be seeing Neo and Trinity running rampant. As you play the game you discover them all if you don’t already know.

The story won’t be winning any BAFTA’s, but then it wasn’t designed too. You progress through rescuing your crew from their own simulations, turn them into bad ass alien butt-kicking superheroes and then when ready, deliver a whole can of ass whooping to Zinyak and his posse. (Come on, I sounded gangster, right?) You’ll see the plot twists coming from light-years ahead but it won’t matter much as it’s all about the comedic delivery of the story and just how outlandishly inappropriate it can be that will keep you playing until the end. And as a critic of this game before release, I can genuinely say it was the thing that kept me going… it certainly wasn’t the visuals.

Visually the game didn’t actually disappoint me mainly because I knew it was going to look like a glorified piece of DLC. There were a few bugs and more than one occasion of textures popping in and out… let me know if you see the alien face near the beginning, you’ll know what I mean when you get there. We all knew the graphics weren’t going to be spectacular anyway. Volition and Deep Silver never once tried to hide the fact that IV was going to be running the same engine as The Third, EXACTLY the same engine which was a little curious to begin with. I mean, I know NextGen is now knocking on the door, but surely a small investment to tweak the engine would have been a more favourable approach? Regardless, what is done is done and I don’t think either party will think they miscalculated this one.

Talking of visuals, let’s talk about the single biggest most annoyance of the entire title. Seriously, this annoyed me so much I stopped playing one afternoon because it hurt my eyes. In order to make the game look and feel like a simulation (ultimately a video-game within a video-game), almost everything; from pedestrians, to walls and shrubbery will flash with a grotesque pixellation. I am not the only person to find this incredibly difficult to put up with, I’ve read numerous reviews listing this as top peeve. There are other slightly pesky moments in the game, all intentional and designed to remind you of the ‘game-within-game’ style digital world you are stuck in. Cars driving upside down, pedestrians with super loooooooooong necks or googly eyed characters. At first they are amusing, but that amusement is short lived.

Music in Saints Row IV is extremely important and this time round the game leans heavily on Dubstep, a genre not really to my taste, but I know is popular out there in the ‘real-world’. The use of the genre is very much tongue-in-cheek however and if you haven’t already seen it, here’s the Dubstep Gun in action.

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If you have taken time to read this then the likelihood is you’ve either played a previous Saints Row title or have been tempted too. Well whether a newcomer to the franchise or a die-hard fan, you honestly don’t know what you are getting yourself into. Instead of playing like other, normal open-world games; Saints Row IV will have you jumping and running up the sides of buildings, gliding across half of the city in a single leap and punching your enemies clear out of orbit… all within only a couple of hours of getting started. Basically it’s  ‘here have some superpowers and cool toys, now go have fun’ kind of gameplay.

The game does one thing really, really well and that’s it makes us, the player, have fun. There are three main aspects to Saints Row IV: the main story missions that you’ll complete in order to reach the end of the game; the side-missions, to upgrade your crew into their superhero counterpart, unlock weapons and unlock abilities; and the open-world activities, of which there are hundreds to get lost in. You can spend your time hacking open the various shops in the world so you can buy stuff from them, taking part in the various races, the series’ staple insurance fraud and more, or you could just run around for hours collecting Clusters (small collectables that allow you use to purchase upgrades for your special powers). All of which, lead to hours of mindless entertainment.

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I begrudgingly agreed to review Saints Row IV, I genuinely believed it wasn’t a game I would enjoy. I will admit it, I was wrong. Saints Row IV is a game that couldn’t give a rats arse what people think about it, which makes this review just ever so ironic. It will poke fun at you, the world, the game itself, the genre and anything else it damn well pleases. It will do this and not apologise, it doesn’t have too. The story makes little sense outside the basic concept of ‘aliens invade, aliens kill, human(s) fight back’. We play games to have fun, right? To escape from reality and do something you never normally would in the real-world. Well with Saints Row IV you will I promise have fun whilst escaping reality and doing a whole heap stuff you’d never be able to do in the real-world. If you don’t laugh playing this game, you shouldn’t be playing games.

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Saints Row IV Commander in Chief Edition Announced

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Deep Silver who had acquired the Saints Row IP from THQ announces today an awesome Commander in Chief Edition for their upcoming instalment to the series Saints Row IV. It will be available as a Pre-order and as a First Edition in Europe.

The free world are under attack from an alien invasion in the ‘land of the free’, and it’s up to you and your gang to save the world, Saints-style. To help you combat the alien terrorists you will encounter, the Commander in Chief Edition comes fully loaded with a Screaming Eagle that fires rockets out of its talons and can invoke the “Sonic Scream” attack, leaving your enemies dazed, confused and likely scarred for life. Additionally, if you’re going to save the world you should look good while doing it, which is why the Commander in Chief gives you a limited edition American iconic ‘Uncle Sam’ uniform decked out in the American flag colours, red, white and blue! And since you need the best fighting tools available [read: most ridiculously overpowered weapons ever conceived], Volition and Deep Silver are giving you a stimulus package, “’Merica Gun”, full of incredibly astonishing fire-power: mini-guns, flame-throwers, machine guns and rocket launchers are yours for the taking.

The Commander in Chief Edition will be available in addition to the standard version and the Collector’s Edition. Pre-order now to secure the version that suits your presidential leanings best.

Developed by Volition, Saints Row IV will launch on current generation consoles and PC on August 20, 2013, in North America and August 23, 2013, in the rest of the world.

XBLA: NEXUIZ Servers Shut Down As Part of THQ Death

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Xbox LIVE Arcade game Nexuiz has been dealt a bitter blow as part of the THQ closure – tonight the servers on the Xbox LIVE Arcade version of the game has been closed down.

Nexuiz was originally a 2005 PC title available for free and heavily based on the popular Quake games, but it was first announced as an Xbox LIVE Arcade digital download in 2010 when Crytek confirmed that they had licensed the Cryengine 3 for Nexuiz under development by Illfonic. This was not a direct port of the PC game for the current-gen console, instead it was a new modernised game with futuristic worlds, but keeping the same fast-paced-old-school action. Illfonic had created the best first-person-shooter that money can buy for just a mere 800 MS Points, and now if you never had the chance to play it – consider the Xbox 360 version DEAD!

We rated the game 8/10 in our review as part of the Xbox LIVE Arcade House Party Promotions around this time last year. The developers confirmed the XBLA loss on Facebook today:

As some of you know, the Xbox Servers are now offline. It was fun while it lasted on there and we are glad you guys enjoyed the game! Unfortunately, the Xbox Servers were controlled by THQ and in the current state, cannot be maintained anymore. Since the PC servers are different and can be controlled 100% by IllFonic, they will remain online and functional. Thanks!

Nexuiz by rights should be removed from the Xbox LIVE Arcade as it will now be a total waste of money!

Crytek So Committed To Homefront 2 They Bought The IP

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Crytek has today announced the acquisition of the IP rights for the Homefront franchise following an auction of assets by THQ recently. Their first association with the game began in autumn 2011, when they announced they would be creating the second game in the series in partnership with THQ. Sadly following THQ’s recent decision to file for bankruptcy and the eventual sale of assets, THQ is over, however as previously reported – Crytek submitted the highest bid to secure the rights to the Homefront franchise. Continue reading Crytek So Committed To Homefront 2 They Bought The IP

South Park: The Stick of Truth Trailer

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Last weekend, THQ, Obsidian and the guys over at Comedy Central gave us a real treat with this brand new trailer for South Park: The Stick of Truth at the SPIKE Video Game Awards. We can now see the lore behind the “stick of truth”. As well as cameos from some of our most beloved characters such as Mr. Slave, the City Wok guy, and everyone’s favourite character…Kevin. Continue reading South Park: The Stick of Truth Trailer