Heavy Bullets

Heavy_Bullets_-_Key_ArtNow that Heavy Bullets has actually received a full release, and my colleague Dedwoods42 is not available to do a follow up on it, the task has fallen on my shoulders. Following up on his stellar preview will be difficult, but I will try my best.

Let me start by saying that I found Heavy Bullets frustratingly addictive. It reminded me of spending all my money on House of the Dead, just to try and get a step further in the arcades. This is partially due to the Perma-death aspect of the game (that’s right- if you die it’s back to level 1) but not limited to it. I feel that games like this don’t really need a great story to drive them. The developer hasn’t provided a whole pre-game book to read, instead we have been given a few lines to explain there is a virus in the mainframe and you have been tasked with going in and resetting it. The reward? $5000. Fair bargain I’d say. This is more than enough story for me; I just want to shoot things.

This is my first Rogue-like game, and if they’re all like this then I’d happily scoop them up all day. What I really enjoy is the fact that is procedurally generated, which makes it damn hard! Death has never felt so inevitable, or so enraging! After having a few runs on this trying to progress – but falling prey to hidden worms, or a fatal wasp sting. I have devised myself a plan. You can bank money and power up objects to use in future lives, which is helpful. As the game is procedurally generated, sometimes the right power up machine or bank won’t appear when you most need them to.

Heavy_Bullets_1One gripe I have with this game is that no descriptions are given for the power ups. I was faced with a pair of sparkly stripper heels over a silver heart and I didn’t know what to choose. As is always the case, trial and error prevails. I feel that the life insurance and last will upgrades do need a description though, but I suspect that’s me not being used to the genre. I will say that the game offers many power-ups, but I can’t really tell you what they all do. As Dedwoods stated in his preview, the stripper heels give you a heightened perspective, by about 9 inches! I found the backpack was probably the most useful, giving you the ability to carry more than one power-up and toggle between the one you want equipped. Other than this my money is mainly spent on extra life hearts- giving you the ability to take more damage and red potions. There are more typical power-ups, such as missiles, but if you are a half decent shot I don’t find these as necessary as, for instance, the knife (close range one hit kill – if you remember to use it!)

Anyway, back to my completion plan. So far I’ve established you need to save as much money as you can, it’s best to probably have a few play-throughs, gather up money and store it. Having one item slot sure is a drag! The reason I would save so much money is for potions and life upgrades. Sometimes shops are few and far between, and as the game is procedurally generated they are never in the same place. This makes for a challenge: An incredibly frustratingly addictive just-one-more-go type of challenge.

Heavy_Bullets_3What’s perhaps so positively mystifying about this game to me is how all the elements complement each other; there is something beautifully enticing about the colour scheme – mixed with the amazing soundtrack from Doseone and the voxel-ish graphics. This game is like Minecraft on LSD with a revolver. The monsters further complement this sentiment. It draws me in like a moth to a flame, every time. Which is something that even Minecraft couldn’t do, perhaps that’s why I find this indie title so impressive. I haven’t before this found much of a solid footing on the indie scene.

One thing I really enjoyed about this game was how eco driven it is, you can have more than 6 shots for your revolver, but why would you need them when you can recycle your shots fired? Recovering you’re expended rounds adds a little extra challenge.  With a great soundtrack that makes you feel like an 8bit gangster, courtesy of Doseone and a colour scheme that for some reason reminds me of a GTA: Vice City sunset. I could see Heavy Bullets in an arcade cabinet in the back of an arcade where many kids would spend their weekends, crowding round watching as their friends spend their allowance to destroy the variety of enemies and bosses the game chucks out at you. If you wish to read the Preview – CLICK HERE

Score 8/10

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front Review

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Battle Academy 2 does what it says on the tin. It delivers a turn based strategy set in WWII on the Eastern Front, which is renowned for some of the most brutal battles of the war time. This game offers control of both the German and Russian forces of WWII. I understand in its predecessor you had the opportunity to command British, Canadian, US Polish and Italian troops. I suppose as both games have the same time setting it would just be repetitive if anything to include these factions.

Whilst Battle Academy is not the most aesthetically pleasing TBS game out there, it does play remarkably well.  In the beginning, you are given a handful of soldiers and tanks to learn the basics of gameplay. This works well in teaching you how to manage your militia, however by the end you are controlling a full army and moving everything each turn makes for some long winded turns; ultimately resulting in long campaign chapters.

The campaign takes place in a variety of landscapes, from large cities, to open fields, forests etc. Where your mastery of tactical warfare will be challenged most is in the desolate urban cities. For example, enemy militia hide in buildings dotted around the city. Your vehicular forces can’t see in buildings, so leading with them down a street, you are bound to lose a few to enemy forces camped up in the buildings. The trick (that I learnt the hard way) is to lead with your ground forces which can identify hidden enemies, but cover less ground per turn. This, coupled with the sheer volume of your forces later in game becomes a tiresome task. When you enter the barren Russian countryside your tanks really get to shine.

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The thing I liked most about this game is that it has consequences for actions. For instance, if you choose to move quickly, your accuracy will be cut as a consequence. On top of this dynamic, if your forces remain unseen, they get a huge bonus on their attack turn. In this respect, the line of sight system works wonderfully (just as long as you utilise your foot soldiers first). How you manoeuvre the map, is completely up to you. But it doesn’t come without consequences, as you traverse the landscape it becomes more about which troops are expendable to you, as you swim through shark infested waters.

This game is a no risk no reward type, and as such, taking risks in this game you never are sure what the complete outcome will be. The AI is competent in being prepared for the dice roll though, and while this never feels unfair, the game does get predictable in the sense you can figure out where the tanks will be sat waiting for you.

Hats off to Battle Academy for not boring us with cut scenes of the WWII story we have heard in about 10,000 variations though. Instead of all that we are graced with a quaint little comic book style opening/loading screen. I commend Battle Academy for this, at this point the WWII story has been used so many times it’s become a drowning whale in the gaming universe for me personally. So in this case it’s a “Thank you for not sharing” situation.

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Now with all the above being said and done, this game shines bright in one aspect above all – its skirmish mode. Once I had finished ploughing through the pre-made maps/campaign segments. You can spread your wings and take flight into your own generated worlds. How they are generated is your choice with a number of variables to choose from, most notable being map size and cover sparsity/density over the area. This mode to me is what truly makes this game in all honesty. I felt more than happy to play this over the out of the box campaign, because you can make a map that suits your tactical style or something completely different which makes you move outside your comfort zone.

I can see this games appeal to people who often play TBS games and war fanatics alike. It’s very two tier in the sense that you can play casually, or you can go to the very bones and learn the game inside out. It offers enough flesh for casual players like me to bounce on and bounce off. This back with a really strong skirmish mode makes for a lot of re-playability as you decide what does, and doesn’t work for you. This game truly is strategy down to its core.

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DEVELOPER: SLITHERINE

Available Now on Steam HERE

Lichdom BattleMage Review – Xaviant’s Beautiful Monster

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First thing’s first, forget all that you know about the stereotypical Mage in RPG games.  It will only serve to contradict in this game.

Now, with that in mind- or out of mind. Picture this, a Mage without a mana bar or cast cooldown. A magical menagerie of spell crafting possibilities only limited by your creativity and preferences. With that picture in mind, you have the basic premise of Lichdom BattleMage. When I first saw this game on Steam I couldn’t wait to get stuck in, I knew straight away that this would be something right up my alley and it definitely did not disappoint.

In this story of revenge, the motive is set differently depending on whether you choose to play as a Male or Female. In both situations, a loved one is taken from you. You are knocked unconscious and awaken to your city being taken over by the Cult of Malthus. When you awaken, Roth – an immortal mage (who requires a “Dragon”) has bestowed upon you the magical braces. The proverbial key to the Arcane armoury.

However after the tutorial, the story becomes a bonus- there to explore if you wish, but not crucial or imposing on the gameplay, which is clearly the true focus here. For the most part, the story is told through echoes, which are just that- echoes of a previous “Dragon” passing through the same areas that you are. These answer questions about the history of the world and enemies that you face, whilst also delivering the fate of the previous “Dragon”. For me personally, this is a welcomed bonus as it fills out the world and universe in which Lichdom is set. Although I’m not entirely sure that the story should take this much of a back seat.

The journal makes a good reference point at any time throughout the game, as it not only fills out as you progress through the story but it also helps navigate and understand the crafting system. With tips on how each of the components will affect each school of magic as they become available to you. Trust me, the Journal is something you will frequently reference if you want to understand the crafting system and create strong spells. It is not enough to simply create spells from legendary loot, upgrading augments is as important as finding strong spell shapes. The one reason that the crafting system is so confusing, is because of the upgrade system. Literally all loot is upgradeable- you can use shapes to upgrade augments and vice-versa, leading to seemingly endless possibilities. Some loot can be upgraded multiple times.  I found myself studying the crafting system for hours, and this is something I found fruitful and rewarding in the game. Crafting extremely powerful spells consumed me almost as much as using them.

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Whilst Lichdom is a linear game and not Open world, not once did I feel confined or the need to roam. The game is cavernous, spacious, deep and visually beautiful, achieved with Cry Engine 3. Each level plays out in a different environment, jumping from an ancient underground city ruin to a snow covered mountainous region reminiscent of Skyrim, to a rich desertscape with a beautiful oasis for you to explore, the game really does not need to be open world. Some of the settings are visually astounding, clearly the game has a gifted art and design team.

The checkpoint system, which also integrates with the loot rarity system are sometimes far between, but not outrageously far. This game does make you work though. It really makes you work because when you die, your loot rarity is reset to one- giving you only the most common loot items.

My main disappointment with the game was the lack of enemy variety. Whilst it is not a major issue seeing as though the enemies get obliterated in many, beautiful ways (for instance, exploding in to a flurry of ice shards) it does seem like a bit of a cop out. These enemies have no weaknesses or strengths either. So there is no real incentive to use anything other than your favourite schools of magic, which range from your expected lightning, fire and ice all the way through to necromancy (my personal favourite) and corruption .

Some questionable voice acting choices were made here also- no matter how preferential you are to Troy Baker & Jennifer Hale I feel like there voice acting took me out of the setting of the rest of the game, the dialogue for the characters feels a little bit too modern for my liking.

Whilst Lichdom offers me the chance to be the super badass mage I always wanted to be, it does fall short of the mark in a few areas. One being the enemies or lack thereof however I can’t honestly say this was a big deal for me. The crafting system is very complex and I could see why this would be a turn off for some, but for me personally it was an enjoyable and new take on the crafting experience. Perhaps the biggest let down is the story that whispers behind the warfare, in my opinion it should have been more prominent. This game does what it set out to do- make the mage a total badass but it makes you earn it and rethink your tactics over and over again to do so. It’s as much an action RPG as it is a strategy game. How you approach the battle is up to you. How you make progress depends on your choices of growth and with Fable meets Skyrim Graphical qualities and exquisite settings, this game is definitely a  joy to play.

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Developed By Xaviant

Release: 26th August 2014

Available on Steam now: HERE

Price: £29.99

 

 

Gaming Headsets – Why I Swear By Them

all_products_header_final_1I remember when multiplayer gaming was a console, BYOC (bring your own controller), a cartridge and split screening with friends (Goldeneye, anyone?). Nowadays it’s all online and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as your friends can no longer screen watch to figure out where you are.

I remember back when I got my first gaming headset, it was my first EUROGAMER EXPO and I was overwhelmed with everything on offer to see, play and buy.  That’s when I clocked my first gaming headset on the Turtle Beach stand. I couldn’t afford to splash out on an expensive headset at this point so I bought a pair of the X12’s -which to be fair were quite expensive back then for me. Knowing very little at this point about gaming peripherals, I wasn’t aware of how much difference they could make to how immersive the game felt and give you an edge in multiplayer games such as Call Of Duty.

HP_USB_Tx_2014It’s safe to say as soon as I got the headset home and started playing with them it felt like playing the game without them was pointless, it was as if the TV may as well have been muted. The spectrum of sounds I was able to pick up on with my new investment was amazing to me. I found myself only using the headset, it was a necessity not only for multiplayer, but for any game I played. The difference truly was phenomenal. If I was playing without a headset it felt like I was trying to eat soup without a spoon. I still play with a headset to this very day, on any game.

Although now, I have upgraded my headset (albeit I should really upgrade them again) to the XP500 MW3 Edition, these beast’s had it all, the Bluetooth chat adapter (which is pretty standard nowadays) customizable chat and game volume controls and customizable pre-sets for your favourite games! It was, and still is an amazing headset. With these I find it easy to get lost in any game for hours, everything is crystal clear and sounds boom beautifully that you wouldn’t be able to hear from standard TV sound.

audio-main-1Where Gaming Headset’s really shine though, is Multiplayer. You will find there is so much more depth to the games audio then you ever could possibly comprehend when you start using a headset. Sound cues that you would miss- such as a claymore going off, a silenced gun being shot in the distance, an enemy scattering just around the corner from your position, someone casting a plasmid trap in the next room in Bioshock 2 multiplayer…… All become accentuated and pinpointed, which massively gives you the upper hand over non headset users and allows for you to react accordingly.
In conclusion I swear by gaming headsets for all aspects of gaming, I will honestly say you haven’t truly experienced Skyrim until you have had the epic battle music drummed into you skull in 5.1 surround whilst battling a dragon to the death using magic – it makes you feel like a God.

Microsoft Xbox- Phil Spencer in Charge. Is He Listening To the Consumer?

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With Microsoft Trying to evolve and move on from the PR disaster that was E3 last year, with Don Mattrick at the helm, Phil Spencer has taken the reigns. Whilst this is not breaking news, it is interesting to see what decisions he is making for the future of the console on the lead up to E3 2014. It seems that every week since he has been in charge we have been littered with info and news regarding the console- things we would usually expect at E3. But with his “Games, Games, Games” policy, it looks like E3 will be just that, with only a few moments of eyes on console features.

Whilst this is good for everyone and generally a step in the right direction in terms of the console and what consumers have been asking for since the console reveal at E3 2014, I personally hope that he does not simply forget the shortfalls of the console. Since its rocky release, there have been plenty of issues on all fronts of the system. For instance, loading times when swapping between a game and a message, Xbox Live Party issues, the resolution differences between the two consoles (however with the recent release of Wolfenstein:The New Order in 1080p/60fps on both consoles, it just goes to show what wonders a decent engine can do).

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In some cases, steps are already being taken to even out the performance difference with the release of a Kinect-less Xbox One for the same price as a Playstation 4. Whilst this is a good move for reeling in those paranoid about the NSA, its a bit outrageous in terms of what you actually get. A console which is less powerful for the same price and missing a large part of its UI which is integral for the full experience. Lets face it, the console has features that are simply inconvenient to use with out voice commands.  Especially with load times of some apps being very slow at times.

In any case, I think that a lot of the bad press and drama seen around last years announcement of the console was created by the walking joke that is Don Mattrick. Coining terms like ” we have a console for those without internet, its called the Xbox 360″ (with regards to the always online status before the DRM U-turn) just goes to show he did not have the consumers interest at heart. I mean, most companies don’t, but at least they pretend they do. At least now he has his wish, working to create online only Facebook games. I wonder if after the abortion that was last E3 he was thrown out, he knew this and then created as much bad press as he could.

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At least Phil Spencer seems to be listening to some of the outrage and cries of the consumer who feel slightly robbed, at the end of the day we didn’t buy a games console to have Sports Channels as Apps and interface-able TV, we bought it for the games. Whilst going Kinect-less is a good move, it is worth mentioning that there will still be releases for it and continued support, we can also expect to see External HDD support, to what extent however is still unknown. I should think it will be like on the Xbox 360 . I just hope that with the games being Phil Spencer’s main concern,  he keeps refining the system and ironing out the little niggling kinks. He seems to be listening to what people want, which can only be a good thing.

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An Honest (and very angry) Review- M0B1US

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Developed by: Mental Universe

Platform: iOS

Price: 69p

M0B1US is a simple obstacle avoiding game, one which I despised from the moment I began playing. It was clear that this game was radically under developed, uninspired and about as drab as dry toast.

I simply cannot fathom how Mental Universe think this is worth any money whatsoever, I for one would not pay to play. If you have seen the YouTube advert of the game, you need not buy it, that is honestly the whole game. Who wants to run around the same four walls dodging two types of obstacles over and over again? I’m good for that shit, thanks.

This game was pitched as a “Multi-directional endless runner”, well that is a completely misguided statement, you run in the same direction endlessly going up and on all sides of your screen, so basically you could play this game with a piece of paper and imagination, except that might actually be worth playing.

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Upon playing the game you are met with a rather confusing, cluttered screen. The worst part is this is the screen you play on. Yep, the whole game is one screen, no background, just some horrible polyphonic ear rape and a cluttered screen of shit that nobody cares about, quite frankly it’s obvious this game was created in three weeks. It’s outrageous that something made in 3 weeks is even being marketed as anything but free. The fact it’s 69p is just an insult and you will feel betrayed and demoralized if you buy this.

The below are features that are actually listed by the developer-

Features:

– Fast-paced gameplay

– Simple, one-touch controls

– Futuristic, techno soundtrack

– Run around all 4 sides of the screen

– Game Centre leaderboards”

 

Let me just say, that’s all that’s listed because that’s literally all there is. Trust me once you play this game, you will more than likely be clearing your smashed iDevice up and claiming insurance than uploading your high score to Facebook.

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As I am writing a review on this title I had the displeasure of rigorous play, and after that rigorous play, these were my findings-

The controls have awful registration, sometimes it did not even register my touch input, inevitably making it impossible to even get a decent run. Not to mention a bug which I was able to replicate a few times- basically the game is going on even before you hit the start button, so I found that when I hit start sometimes my character would become stuck in the obstacle. This actually rendered the app useless and resulted in having to restart it.

The graphics do not even make sense, to be honest the running platforms are a little reminiscent of a cheap toned down Pac-Man championship edition, but the runner looks like a little piece of 16bit shit. It’s so obvious this game was not thought about. It’s like they said – “ let’s try and make something quick to make a quick buck and hope no one notices”. Surprise, it’s so noticeable. I really hope this game damages your reputation, because it sure as hell damaged my emotions.

I won’t quote the other review comments that were posted, but let’s say absolutely none of them were remotely positive, more neutral… as if to be nice. But this game does not deserve nice. This game actually disgusted me so much to the point where not only do I not like it, I absolutely fucking hate it. Hey ho, another disgrace on the digital market place.

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Everything Wrong With Titanfall

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First things first- I absolutely love this game, so before you get the wrong idea and call me a fanboy you should bear that in mind.

This game is another that came with high expectations, with people blowing bubbles up its arse left, right and centre. Being dubbed “the CoD killer”, it really had to give an experience of fresh air to the FPS genre. For the most part it delivers, and what it does deliver on it does perfectly. But, to me, there are aspects of the game which feel rushed, disappointing and lacking in the variety department.

The campaign-which is just a collection of multiplayer matches with a bit of extra dialogue, feels like a last minute addition that to me felt less than a half-arsed attempt. The small dialogue sections are entirely pointless, ultimately you’re just playing a collection of Attrition and Hardpoint Domination. The teams are locked in so if your team are entirely new to the experience and absolutely useless, expect to lose every game in the entire “campaign”.

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The distinct lack of Titan variety, considering that titans are a massive part of what makes this game so fresh. They have really skimped in this department, with only three to choose from, two of which are unlocked by playing both sides of the (collection of matches) “campaign”. The only real choice is the Ogre Titan, with the highest defence. Whilst three is a good number in terms of variety, I think with this game three is just not enough. The addition of future Titans is something that has been ruled out as “too much work to undertake”. With how much this game relies on Titans to sit worlds apart from usual FPS games, I think this is a department they shouldn’t have skimped on.

The lack of variety in terms of create-a-class. Out of all of the weapons there is only one or two maybe worth using, all others are useless at range or due to the sheer speed of pilots. In fact I find each category and the choices inside are actually underwhelming. With a game so solely based on multiplayer I can’t understand why it feels so bare in this area.

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Generation challenges are a shocking idea. You reach level 50 and then if you haven’t already, you’re asked to deviate out of your comfort zone to use some of the worst weapons and more horrible equipment of the game to get a particular amount of kills. This is awful, as it means if you get to rank 50 and haven’t touched any of the equipment challenges required to access the next generation, you will left sitting at 50 until you complete the challenges. For instance get 250 kills with the EVA-8 shotgun, why would you do that?! The maps are pretty huge and a shotgun is probably the least useful weapon to use!

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All-in-all I love this game and its clearly focused on user experience and fluidity over features, which makes for an undeniably AAA feeling game.  But with a title so focused on multiplayer and with literally no single player at all, could the things mentioned really be so overlooked? I believe the game could have been something so much more, the game is wonderful as it is- but it would be so much better if it were the same game with more customizability. I expect that more weapons and maps will become available through DLC, we may even see some titan weapons. Sure thing is we won’t be seeing anymore titans.

An Honest Review: Thief

 

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Thief was meant to be a reboot of the franchise (original game, Thief: The Dark Project -1998 and the much loved games that came after)- that is something that comes with the pressure of high expectations. I know that I, for one held great anticipation for this game. With that in mind, does this game really deliver a great experience? Not just for fans of the franchise, but newcomers alike?

Being one of the newcomers to the franchise, I came up feeling indifferent to this game. It has some truly great elements and I believe from my research it stays true to the franchises “first-person sneaker” style. The elements of the game I really enjoy are also the ones that let it down- what was great in the beginning soon becomes tiresome, and this same play-by-play runs systematically throughout the whole game. The environment layout is practically all the same, each with perfect cover in place to sneak between and enemies that will walk the same tracks over and over so you can time your moves.

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The story starts with our antagonist anti-hero- Garrett, making his way through the city to meet Erin, a fellow thief and one he seems to have history with. They play kiss chase through the city until they reach Northcrest Manor in search of the Primal Stone, where they stumble upon a ritual taking place to activate the said magical relic. Erin and Garrett begin fighting- the result is the supposed death of Erin and Garret blacking out, to awaken back in the city.

The game is basically Garrett’s journey to finding out what truly happened to Erin. Whilst the opening chapter makes for an interesting one, the rest of the story falls flat. Every chapter feels so similar – a big building to loot whilst dodging your enemies line of sight and satisfying your craving kleptomaniac urge, whilst finding and uncovering an extra little piece of Erin’s story via hallucinations. It all becomes grey after a while, when the game play is so much of the same all of the time, it becomes hard to play for long sessions, which means the story becomes meaningless.

Thief however does make for an interesting conflict of interest, on one hand I found myself wanting to collect every single piece of loot I possibly could. On the other hand I really wanted to play the game and not kill a single person! It isn’t possible to do both. Trust me I have tried (although you can go back and play chapters again). It really brings out the OCD collect-it-all part of me, which I’m pretty sure I developed from a deep love of Pokémon cards as a child.

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I can honestly say that this game is quite gorgeous, as dreary and dark as it is- it’s done in such a style that works perfectly in keeping with the timeline and style of the narrative. It’s almost looks like a toned down Terry Pratchett novel.

One thing that also lends itself the Terry Pratchett novel comparison for me is the side quests. I found the side quest actually more enjoyable then the main story, they added a breath of fresh air which was much needed when I felt like the game was getting stale. The individual story of each side quest was a kooky oddity-which felt worlds away from the main storyline. I will not divulge too much on these because I believe they are one of the games greatest assets.

What I believe is the games greatest let down is the controls and fluidity of the player movement. This is the same frustration I have with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the controls feel blocky and square. I mean that your character feels rigid, which in fact inhibits the stealth side of this game more than anything. The same problem made Deus Ex which was a beautiful game, feel dated and impaired. This feels, at least to me, to be an Eidos Montreal trait and ultimately a headache for me as a consumer.

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My experience had with this game is one of great expectations met with something entirely unexpected. The game as it is, is beautiful with out a doubt and at points even scary (I will leave that for you to discover if you choose to play).  It brings a unique play style that makes you think about how you can approach situations with the resources at hand – it does this; although truly no matter what way you do it there will only ever be one outcome. This in turn leaves the game feeling inevitably boring after long periods of play. I found it impossible to play for more than a few hours at most. The truth is I really wanted to like this game, and it has a few jumpy parts and good scene settings, but does that make up for the lacklustre story and blocky controls?  In my honest opinion, whilst playing through the really well orchestrated sections, you forget about the shortcomings and get absorbed into an exquisite yet spooky experience. But sadly, these sections are few and far between.

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Developed by: Eidos-Montréal 

Published by: SQUARE ENIX, Eidos Interactive

Xbox One Version Reviewed (Also on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and PC)

Rumour: Activision Due To Change The Lead Platform For Call Of Duty To Playstation 4

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Industry insider – FamousMortimer (the guy who first leaked intel on call of duty resolution differences between consoles) has dropped another bombshell regarding the franchise. On 18/03/2014, he stated that  “The PS4 is above and beyond all projections and publishers are re-calibrating to this. I heard that Activision is going to make a public announcement about COD changing to the PS4 as lead platform.”

The source would have been discredited had it not been for his previous, correct leak on the franchise.

(Full post can be read here)

Now you may be wondering what this actually means; well it means that Playstation will receive content before Xbox and at the end of the Call Of Duty adverts on TV you will see Playstation (not Xbox) in the UK at least. So if you bought an Xbox One for Call Of Duty DLC primarily, you may be shit out of luck.

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There are a few reasons this actually makes sense. One of which being Microsoft really promoting the release of Titanfall, which was named as Call Of Duty’s biggest competitor and seemingly getting very cozy with EA. Although in all fairness I don’t think they’re comparable as they both feel and play completely different. Also, Microsoft and Activision’s Contract is up, the contract which named Microsoft as lead console and scored priority DLC, actually expired end of 2012 (Link Here).

Not to mention that Activision have been getting friendly with Sony on the production of Destiny- the latest title from Bungie (which is also being marketed with the Playstation stamp). 

Word on the street is that the Call Of Duty 2014 title being worked on by Sledgehammer was also previewed at the Destination Playstation Event earlier this year- usually the game previews are revealed at Microsoft events.

Now, the issue with Last Gen platforms was that they weren’t built around PC architecture like the Xbox One or Playstation 4, this is why each Call Of Duty played better on Xbox 360 than on the PS3; because they were natively built for Xbox360. With this Generation I don’t think we will have this issue as each console is built around PC architecture, meaning that the games can be developed (and ported) on a more level playing field.

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All in all,  I believe we know that Activision are just money grabbers, like almost any publisher. With the PS4 making more sales than the Xbox One we all know this move is a viable one. But what does that mean for the consumer? Well, honestly I don’t think it means an awful lot. The only change will be DLC content swapping priority. Although as it stands this is a rumour, I think soon enough it may come to fruition. I suppose we will have to see what happens at E3 2014, this will surely shake things up.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments section or hit me up on Twitter @Markjay11. Feedback is always appreciated.

** I contacted activision to see if they could comment on the above, at the time of writing I have yet to hear anything.**

Everything That Is Wrong With Call of Duty: Ghosts

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Everything That Is Wrong With Call Of Duty: Ghosts    **SPOILER ALERT**

Call of Duty: Ghosts has come under a lot of fire for many reasons and I understand why. The game itself feels less like any other Call of Duty I’ve played, I find it disappointing- but it would be important to say I don’t hate the game. I feel indifferent to it. To me it just doesn’t feel like Call of Duty. So I’ve decided to go through and highlight some of the games shortcomings and list exactly where I think this Call of Duty game has gone awry, and where it is too much of the same.

It all starts with the Campaign. Am I the only one with a bad case of Déjà vu?  During the first mission, ODIN is unleashed and Logan (played by you) and Hesh manage to survive the blast from a flying gas tanker. Once you awaken you may think you were playing a remake of the last mission from Modern Warfare 2. It is in fact a cut scene that has been recycled. The fact they seemingly did this does them no favours, when people all over the internet are claiming that every game is a re-skin of the previous. It takes more than four years for CoD fans to forget what many consider the greatest Call of Duty of all time.

The Campaign also doesn’t deliver as much of a punch as previous core games of the series. It’s not as emotionally captivating as the Modern Warfare series – it doesn’t take us through as many twists and turns as the Black Ops series. It feels almost hollow, with the main focus being on becoming a ‘Ghost’- which y’know, is the most important thing during the end of the world- well that and your attack dog.

Multiplayer… Now where do I begin? Since day one it has been riddled with spawning issues, framerate issues, a lack of what I would define as good killstreaks. Seriously unbalanced weapons and not to mention some very poorly designed maps.

I have video -clips in my OneDrive/XboxOne uploaded of some serious spawn killing, I’m sure other seasoned players can testify to this, as do the videos I have linked on this piece.

I’m not just talking about camping in or near a spawn and picking off people as they run out. I mean people spawning in front of me and me in front of them.  Now, you would think that as the maps are so huge this should NOT be happening, that there would be a radial spawn field that would make sure there are no opponents within that specific area before you spawn. What makes me laugh, is there has been several updates yet none really seem to address the problem.

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The frame rate issues have only really came about since the update that prepared for the Onslaught DLC pack. Although it is less noticeable on smaller maps- maps like “Stonehaven” have been affected with reports of between 45-60fps fluctuations on this map particularly. Also the field order for the map “Containment” creates a plethora of frame drops, leaving the experience feeling partially broken. Whilst aiming down the sights of a sniper rifle you will get about 30fps, frame rates are also dropping because of explosives and effects that use an alpha base. 60fps is what Call Of Duty is really known for, yet some report frame rates below 20fps and it’s yet to be fixed.

Before fix

After Fix


The kill streaks: In the beginning we had bulletproof dogs and invincible squad mates, now that they have leveled and balanced them to a degree. But what’s the point in going for high kill streaks when in all honesty-they suck? Gryphon’s are useless, unless you’re a perfect shot- they almost always take two shots (with explosives?). LOKI is pretty useless because of the sheer amount of buildings to hide in (same situation with Helo Pilot), not to mention how long it actually takes to fire and for the shot to be received.  Rather than kill streaks they should just allow you a pack of IED’s for your kill streak. How often can you escape an IED? Even with lightweight and marathon if you tripped that IED you will most likely die even if you’re the other side of a wall.

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The maps are generally pretty awful. A lot of them are far too big, and offer far more to campers than to people who enjoy fast paced action (which is what Call Of Duty WAS). It seems like you have to run 3 miles to see anyone, only to get killed by someone who has just spawned behind you and shot you in the back. There are FAR too many head glitching points, the game seems to give unfair advantage to those willing to use the dirty tracker sight and sit in one place the whole game.

OVERALL , I can honestly say I don’t hate the game, I’m just disappointed with it. It doesn’t offer much in terms of mixed game play, like previously stated- it seems to ally itself with CoD campers. I am a rush player, and have found I have to slow myself down and adapt to this game. I honestly think that maybe Infinity Ward is tired. With Respawn Entertainment (seemingly the talent of Infinity Ward) releasing Titanfall later this month it will be interesting to see how many players will actually remain on Call of Duty: Ghosts.

I think there is a possibility that the combination of Raven, Infinity Ward and Neversoft may be removed from the cycle if Sledgehammer does well and IW do not step up to the plate with their next game.  All the problems with this game so far seem like amateur mistakes; maybe these are something to do with Raven and Neversoft? I don’t know, but this is not what I expected from Activision and Infinity Ward.

 

Author: Mark Kerry

Platform Played: Xbox One

Videos Courtesy of DigitalFoundry and satantribal