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.**

Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare Review

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Walking on Sunshine?

I don’t think I’ve ever played a game that makes me grin quite so much as Garden Warfare.  Based around the popular tower defense game, PopCap HD have chucked the traditional PvZ elements in a blender, and with a big glug of ‘Pixar-esque’ graphics, and a pinch of Team Fortress gameplay, they have quite honestly produced something that’s far more refreshing than anything, TitanFall included, that I’ve played in sometime.

When Two Tribes Go To War

The game is played from your standard over the shoulder, or stem I guess in this case, perspective. Movement feels good although some of the warriors jumping seems a bit stingy especially considering the many options for getting high up in the various levels.  Having generally steered clear of 3rd person multiplayer shooters, it took me a good few hours to get proficient with aiming but it was well worth persevering, taking down a Zombie All-Star with a Gatling Peashooter or decimating a Chomper with the Baseball Cannon really is satisfying, as is the ding of a bell with each enemy vanquished.

Whilst most of the major franchises in the online shooter genre still include single player campaigns, even though quite a few people never touch them- PvZ is a straight up multiplayer game.  A four-player co-op mode – Garden Ops, is a standard horde survival affair, waves of increasingly tough Zombies will try to overrun your garden. Teamwork is essential and with nods to the original tower defence game, you can place your favorite plants from the original game in pots to help defend your patch. In other game types the Zombie team can also summon undead minions from shallow graves scattered around the levels.

Twenty four player battles are offered for two of the other modes, and if you’ve played a recent Battlefield game they will immediately feel familiar. The Vanquish mode is first to fifty kills with teams of up to twelve on each side. Gardens and Graveyards finds the Zombie team attacking a series of gardens against the clock, get more Zombies than Plants in the control zone for forty seconds and you take the garden and you are off to the next, very reminiscent of Rush.

A Welcome Mat and a Classics mode only offer the 2 modes previously mentioned, with everyone playing with base level Plants and Zombies.  Until this week, that was as far as different game modes went.  The Garden Variety Pack- a free DLC pack has added Gnome Bomb. Its an eight vs eight race to collect the randomly spawning aforementioned Gnome and take it to the opposing teams respective Garden or Graveyard and then detonate it, do this three times and your team wins.  Content and game modes do appear a bit on the light side, but with the Garden Variety pack just the first free download with more to come, I think the future is looking rosy.

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Prime Time

This is the sort of game that consoles and big TV’s are meant for, the game looks absolutely beautiful.  I haven’t got a clue what resolution it’s rendered it, and I couldn’t care less, as the bold colour palette and strong visual design are quite simply spot on.  The eight playable characters, 4 zombies and 4 plants, have been brought to life in such a vibrant and animated way that even a cold hearted Call of Duty veteran couldn’t deny how adorable and well crafted they are.  The Sunflowers petals sway as you rush to revive a fallen teammate, the Zombie Engineers builders bum wiggles as he rides his jackhammer to attack the next garden. Get yourself into a serious firefight and its like November the 5th on acid, streams of peas, sunbeams, and zombie munitions fly all over the place with barely a framerate drop in sight if that sort of thing bothers you.

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Wired for Sound

Sound design is also excellent, when you spawn in, whichever character you chose will give a different version of a cry for battle, plants generally sounding sweet and full of joy, zombies quite often an intelligible mumbling with the odd “brains” thrown in, but all  the funnier for it. Weapons zap and corn bombs boom with satisfying depth especially if you use headphones or a surround sound system.  Music though is not quite as polished, it’s pretty much limited to the menu’s and serves its purpose, I’ve yet to discover is there is a recreation on There’s a Zombie On Your Lawn but I’m hoping so!

Smells like Nirvana?

So far it all sounds like its smelling of roses, well, maybe the roses are plastic and I’m really smelling a plug-in air freshener.  Garden Warfare is not without its faults.  The Levels, whilst gorgeous to look at and generally fun can feel a bit empty, especially if you end up in a less than full server.  I played a game last night- Team Vanquish, but instead of the full 12 vs 12 we had a total of six players, three on each team. Apart from taking minutes to find someone to shoot at let alone kill, the game really dragged on. 50 kills when its 3 vs 3 on a huge map really takes a while, I wasn’t smiling at the end of that match.  It’s worth noting that this game is running on EA’s servers rather than Microsofts, understandable considering that this is only a timed exclusive for both xbox consoles and I’m sure its a problem that Popcap HD will be eager to solve.

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On The Grind

As much as Call of Duty isn’t for me anymore, one thing I’ve always liked, not including the latest instalment is the straight forward grind of progress and unlocks.  PvZ on the other hand takes some working out.  Kills and in game actions including reviving and healing teammates earn you coins, and your coins can be exchanged for sticker packs of varying cost.  Stickers can include, customisation bits, which there are literally thousands, you want your Zombie to wear a tin of corned beef as a helmet? You got it. Peashooter with Splinter Cell Optics? Its all yours. Consumables are also included in these packs, Plants for plant pots and also Zombies to raise from the dead.  The more expensive the pack the higher the chance, or rare or super rare stickers- which can include complete new skins and weapons for both Plants and Zombies.  At the minute this in game currency seems pretty balanced and it promotes good team play. However EA being EA and given their track record, the cloud of microtransactions are on the horizon and it remains to be seen how this will affect the balance of nature and decay in PvZ.

The other form of leveling comes with character specific challenges.  Complete a challenge and you earn a star for that character, collect so many stars and your character levels up, unlocking new abilities.  I’m a bit on the fence about this, it does encourage you to play in ways that you might not ordinarily do, but combined with the coin currency it really does seems a bit too complicated, I’m still unsure how both of these things affect your overall rank, it works but its all just a bit muddled.

Sound of Silence

My one last gripe, I wish I had the ability to completely mute whole game lobbies.  Whilst I’m a fan of kinect and I’m looking forward to seeing what uses developers can come up with, the fact that this game is aimed generally at kids also means that every kinect thats plugged in unless their parents are savvy enough to turn the function off, can be used as a microphone for game chat.  Jesus christ, I played a whole game the other day whilst some child somewhere was detailing everything he did at school that day to his parents, I played a full 20 mins with Britney Spears blaring out through my TV.  Whilst you can mute individuals in the lobby, these seem to reset after each match and I would love an option just to mute the whole lot.

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Garden Rules

If you’re looking for a twitch shooter, don’t plant your seeds here, but if you’re after some refreshing fun, with surprising depth of character classes, laugh out loud moments, and simply beautiful visuals, feel free to sow your oats.

Whilst not a new IP, Popcap HD has taken the biggest step in innovating an established franchise I can remember for a long time.  Whilst I’m not sure what they could do with Bookworm or Bejeweled, I’m definitely eager to see what their next full title release will be, Peggle Master Kart anyone?

If you’ve got kids, Garden Warfare is a no brainer, they will love it, what’s more surprising is that you might well love it more.  It’s not for everyone, but thats not necessarily a bad thing.  If this game came out next year it could easily be overlooked, but with the current lack of games whilst the “next” gen still in it’s infancy, Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare is a breath of fresh air and is more than deserving of its spot in my game collection.

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Developed by PopCap Games

Published by Electronic Arts

Xbox One Version Reviewed (Also available on Xbox 360)

Reviewed by Prided Llama

 

The Last of Us Review

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The Last of Us begins with an emotional opening sequence which sets the theme for the rest of the game, not to give away too much information to those who haven’t played the game. We are then located 20 years after the viral outbreak and placed in the shoes of survivor- Joel. Currently living a fairly quiet life based in a quarantine zone in Boston. Joel is soon to be pushed to his limits as he is hired to smuggle 14 year old Ellie out of the zone to find the Fireflies, an anti-government group trying to restore civilisation to the world.

Ellie’s personality is the entire opposite of Joel’s; when we first meet her, she’s joyful, adventurous and eager to greet the outside world. Their relationship is the main focus point, as we follow their brutal journey across the crumbling remains of America.

As Ellie and Joel progress through this harsh reality, we begin to see them develop, becoming closer together. Ellie is consistently curious about everything she views, questioning all the new substances around her. Regardless of the current situation; she still has a mature attitude towards all that’s happening around her. There isn’t time to be a child in this world. The very few moments when she has the chance to be are precious and important- so they tend to stick in your mind.

TLOU Infected

We’re soon lunged into multiple encounters with the infected, areas consisting of clickers (infected given their name due to the sound they make). These are one of the most terrifying enemies you encounter, as you shuffle slowly through poorly lit corridors, listening carefully for the possibility of one of them to slowly catch up behind you. They’re attracted to any sort of sound, if you happen to create even the slightest bit of noise, they will be hunting you down within seconds, creating a scene where only quick reactions will keep you alive. They can kill you almost instantaneously. If you think that was bad enough, they also alert every other infected in the nearby vicinity, exposing Joel’s current location. The enemies which will usually appear in these situations are known as runners and they will attack in large packs; they’ll continuously pound Joel if they reach him- trapping him making it difficult to escape and as a result Joel tends to end up losing a chunk of vital health depending on the games difficulty settings.

TLOU Hunter

Another type of enemy includes the ‘hunters’ who are ruthless humans trying to survive, using any means necessary. They have formed large packs and live by killing anyone who enters their boundaries unwittingly. They give an impression vision of what ordinary people could really transform into when there’s nothing left to lose.

The combat system allows you to play around with different tactics; some situations are best matched for stealth, attacking enemies quietly from behind since Joel will take significant damage when running head first into an enemy. From experience, diving in with guns blazing typically turns out to be a bad idea. One gunshot will stop Joel in his tracks, slowing you down and causing you to take even more damage, getting stuck in these positions can often force you to run and hide to get a better advantage in tough situations.

Ellie is beneficial in fights although a non-playable-character for a good chunk of the game, she will warn Joel as to the position of enemies, which will allow you to have extra time to consider your options. She can also help when Joel’s in a severely bad situation by lugging bricks and bottles at enemies to stop them in their tracks. Occasionally Ellie will finish an enemy off, using her only weapon for a long period of the game, a knife.

Joel is clearly middle aged, his running is slow paced when out of battle, his movements are cumbersome and he lacks the ability to jump long distances, making you find ladders and planks of wood to reach difficult places and even relying on the help of allies especially Ellie to progress.

There are long stretches of the game where there is very little combat, which allows the player to look and experience the breath-taking surroundings, so few games take the time to do. This also allows time to scavenge useful items to ‘craft’ with. Crafting is an essential necessity throughout the game, such as medical supplies, smoke bombs, shivs and other necessities  which can mean life or death during tricky encounters. Joel will also infrequently come across training manuals; these will upgrade your weapons capability which is certainly useful.

TLOU Road

Some technical issues can take some of the realism away from the game, for example, Ellie or another companion will clearly walk into an enemy’s line of sight and they simply ignore her existence. But if her visual presence ignited combat each time, I’d rather they ignore her than produce an unwanted battle when otherwise avoidable.

Naughty Dog has created a story driven experience that will most certainly be remembered, this is something which future games should aspire to be. The Last of Us is a realistic representation of a catastrophic fungal outbreak. The harsh realities of what people will do in order to survive.  However we have also been shown Ellie, proving that there is some decency left in the world, something that is truly worth fighting for.

SCORE: 9 out of 10

REVIEWED by: Rachel Ellis

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment   

Developer: Naughty Dog

Released: June 14, 2013         

Platform: PS3

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls Review

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Diablo 3 – Reaper of Souls Review | PC | Blizzard Entertainment

Somewhere in the lowest echelons of humanity, nestled in between the child abductors and Michael Gove, there is a special place for the rubberneckers and those who can’t wait to glory in the misery of others. The kind of people who are quite happy to cause a 20 mile tailback in order that they might have a good old stare out of their window at a car accident on the other side of the road.

What is it that these people want to see? Are they looking for a severed arm on the central reservation? Perhaps some brain matter spread across the windscreen of the smashed up vehicle. Personally,  I have a grim determination to not look at the aftermath of an accident if there’s nothing I can do to help – I don’t want to see something that I’ll wake up with night sweats dreaming about years later. So, those people who are happy to ruin your day by slowing down to stare, how do they feel when there’s nothing to see?

Probably about the same as all those dullards who have been polishing up their ‘error 37’ jokes ahead of the launch on Monday of the long awaited expansion to Diablo 3, Reaper of Souls. Yes, we rightly gave Blizzard a load of shit about the terrible launch of their online-only title when it dropped in May 2012. Error 37 was the code applied to the failure to connect to a server – and there was a great deal of that at launch.

Diablo Dong

Indeed, at launch, Diablo 3 was a bit of a fuck up all over the place. It quickly became apparent to players that the loot system in this latest iteration of the well-loved franchise was broken and that the Auction House (which ultimately lead to the real money trading of ingame goods) was less than ideal. Basically, Diablo 3 – despite looking pretty and somehow retaining a bit of a community – was a lame duck with no decent end game.

Fast forward then to 2014, and I’m here to tell you that not only is Diablo 3 now finally an excellent video game but that you should buy it and its expansion, Reaper of Souls. The launch of which was absolutely seamless, I might add – kudos where it’s due, Blizzard. No matter what AAA releases follow this year, if you invest £50 of your hard-earned into this, then you’ll be getting tons of fun and value for money. That’s all we ask, right?

DIABLO 3 – WHAT’S CHANGED

First up then, Diablo 3. For the uninitiated, Diablo is a loot gathering, isometric, action RPG. You play through 4 Acts, leading up to a final encounter with the titular villain. As you do so, your character progresses from fragile, weedy derp to fire, lightning and holy light spewing killing machine by levelling up and acquiring better gear.

Thanks to the Loot 2.0 system that Blizzard put into D3 ahead of the RoS launch, this process of getting new gear is now a lot more fun. The holy grail for players – the legendary items – now drop with greater frequency and do much more interesting things for the player. You are also much more likely to receive loot drops that are usable by your class. The frustration of a run through the game resulting in a mere 2 legendary items, neither of which you can use, has been eliminated. As such, nearly every game session you play is going to result in you getting something that will upgrade your character – which means every game session feels fun and worthwhile.

The story in D3 is nothing to write home about, but the level settings and creature designs are certainly effective enough. Even though the tropes are familiar, the visual sheen applied by Blizzard’s design team makes exploring the world a good experience.

Diablo remains far too easy on ‘normal’ skill levels, but then it is all about pushing on through the difficulties once you have beaten the game and gathered your first decent set of equipment. It’s fair to say that the good times don’t really start to roll until you’ve beaten the game at least once, but it’s designed to be played and replayed – at least until you stump up for the new content.

Diablo III

REAPER OF SOULS – WHAT’S NEW

Epic Spoiler Alert  –  you kill Diablo at the end of the Diablo game. Shocking, right? So Reaper of Souls needed a new bad guy for us to boo and hiss at – and gets just that in a stunning cinematic that introduces the expansion pack. Malthael is Death – and he’s a bit of a git – something that is established by the fact that he wants to kill all humans. A bit like Futurama’s Bender, but not as cute.

I get the feeling that two distinct teams worked on the design for Reaper of Souls. One team designed things like Pandemonium, with its twisted fortress and shifting portals; perhaps they also designed the City of Westmarch with its winding alleyways and interesting architecture. The other team said, “Meh, let’s just do a sewer level with rats in. Everyone loves that.”  So the extra act that RoS adds to the campaign is a bit of a mixed bag visually, but plays just as well as the main game. Loads of great loot to find and an additional helper to get for your area hub.

Joining the weapon crafting Blacksmith and the magic jewel creating Jeweller, we now get a Mystic who enables players to ‘re-roll’ elements of their magic items. This means you can fine tune your favourite weapons to suit your play style as well as customise their appearance to match legendary items you’ve picked up previously – a nice touch that means you don’t have to sacrifice looking like a badass for merely being one.

Barb Avalanche

Aside from the extra act, there is Adventure Mode, which is really where the big impact of Reaper of Souls can be felt on the game play. Instead of grinding through those Acts again and again as you did in vanilla D3, once you’ve beaten the game once you can undertake ‘bounties’. Rather than a delicious coconutty chocolate treat however, these bounties are level-specific challenges which take place across different maps within the acts. Collect enough bounties and (apart from the XP and loot rewards) you will can undertake missions in the Nephalem Rifts, completely randomised loot runs which could drop any crazy combination of enemies and bosses on you for big rewards.

The last major addition is the new character class – the Crusader. A melee and mid range fighter, the Crusader is one of those great characters that starts off looking puny and ineffectual but quickly ends up (to borrow a quote) a mean motherfucking servant of God. With a glowing red, spectral horse – because, why the hell not?

The auction house is gone now – but that just means there are fewer shortcuts to getting a decent character set up. Expanding the level cap to 70 also means that even people with great gear for their level 60 characters who may have grown tired of D3, have a reason to come back and upgrade.

Path of War

I got into Diablo 3 in January, and for the last two months it has made writing about other games very difficult indeed. Now that the expansion content is here, I can envisage at least another couple of months solid gaming on this title from me. I’m the first to happily admit I have the attention span of a coked-up butterfly when it comes to games and for something to hold my attention for this long is very rare indeed.

Reaper of Souls is the delicious icing on top of an already sumptuously moist gameplay cake. It offers great options for bitesize or lengthy session gaming, with a pretty nice multiplayer community to boot. The chances are that you could easily get hooked by this game and find yourself running the dungeons of hell and pathways of heaven for, literally, years to come.

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Karlos Morale

out now for PC

The Five Best Videogame Dogs

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There’s a lot of hype circulating around that upcoming Ubisoft game Watch Dogs, which the publisher wants stylised as WATCH_DOGS ­because it looks cooler or something. The problem is at the International World Group Meeting of Videogame Journalists we all got together and decided that all intellectual property must be put into italics within our content, and italics do nothing to that silly underscore in WATCH_DOGS and it mocks the entire thing so no journalist will ever go for that. So I’m just going to call it Watch Dogs and you should too.

Well anyway, Watch Dogs is coming your way at the end of May, unless you only have a Wii U for some reason and in that case you’ve got no-one to blame by yourself. And what better way to get excited about this than celebrating some of the best videogame DOGS as we WATCH the release date draw nearer! (Disclaimer: I did not get paid to write this it’s not worth getting upset over)

With that being said, let’s take a long at the top 5 videogame dogs, and it should be noted right now that PaRappa from Parappa the Rapper and Sam from Sam and Max are not on this list despite both being pretty cool videogame dogs. The reason for this is because they both wear human clothes at all times, and here at Frugal Gaming we consider people who dress up their dogs equal to people who take “Before and After” pictures when they shave their genitals.

There will also be no mention of the dog from the PlayStation 2 game Dog’s Life; because I want you at least think that more effort went into this list than just putting “dog game” into Google.

Best Videogame Dog #1 – Rush from Mega Man

Mega Dog

Rush is pretty much like Inspector Gadget crossed with Brain, the Swiss army knife of canine companions. Debuting in Mega Man 3 he basically replaced the lazily named “Items 1-3” from Mega Man 2 and became a cute little addition to the series that could be put on the box art (although Capcom USA decided not to in their wisdom, and instead opted for a picture of Mega Man shooting a robot in the groin)

As cool as Rush is there seems to be a dark history behind his appearances in the games. In Mega Man 3 he acted as a highly functional springboard and fully controllable jet, in Mega Man 4 the jet was only partially controllable and other than that you went where Rush gosh-darn wanted you to go, and by Mega Man 5 even the springboard thing wasn’t useful anymore. When Mega Man 6 and 7 came around though everyone was sick of his nonsense and Rush got smashed into pieces and Mega Man just flew around while wearing him as a jet pack. By Mega Man 9 Rush’s spirit was crushed and he was back to his basic coil and jet functions and never stood up for himself again.

Man, that’s sad. But we’ll never forget the times where Rush stood up for all of dogkind and would hilariously drop Mega Man to his death while flying over huge chasms if he wasn’t fed enough.

Best Videogame Dog #2 – Mira from Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill Dog

This is the little cutie from the infamous “dog ending” from Silent Hill 2. If you’ve got a bunch of the other endings in the game and do some other arbitrary stuff you can unlock this joke ending; where protagonist James Sunderland stumbles into a control room to find Mira standing on a little swivel chair and realises the entre experience was being manipulated by her the whole time.

Here’s the thing though, the Silent Hill 2 designers have said the game has no true canonical ending, in series lore it’s later revealed that James went to Silent Hill and disappeared. So the Mira ending is canonically just as viable as the other endings! Silent Hill 2 is a pretty good game; so the fact a dog could have such natural instincts for subtly, horror and narrative pacing is incredible, so Mira deserves some props for that. Also, she wears headphones that don’t actually cover her ears in any way, which all modern science confirms to be inarguably adorable.

(I am aware that Mira also appears in endings for Shattered Memories and Silent Hill Origins, but that is lame fan service trash so there will be no discussion of either of these games, so there.)

Best Videogame Dog #3 – The Frisbee Dog from Wii Sports Resort

Wii Dog

It was between this and the Duck Hunt dog, and after some soul searching and intense thought it can be concluded that the Frisbee Dog (I’ve decided that’s its name) is way better.

Here’s the thing with Frisbee Dog, he never ever misses your Frisbee when he runs out to catch it, and he looks so happy about it. When calibrating the Wiimote for each throw you have point directly at the Frisbee in his mouth as he cheerfully wags his tail and shudders in anticipation. The only time Frisbee Dog fails to make a catch is when your throw is so god-damned pathetic that it goes flying off the screen. In which case on your next throw Frisbee Dog will stare at you in angsty frustration (seriously!) until of course you pick the Frisbee back up again, where he instantly re-hypes himself because all he wants is to catch more Frisbees.

This is so much better motivation than the Duck Hunt dog, who laughs at you if you screw up in a gargled 8-bit kind of way. The problem is the Duck Hunt dog is a jerk, a jerk that you can’t ever shoot in the face no matter how much you try, so who cares what he thinks. But screwing up and disappointing Frisbee Dog, the most adorable and capable companion you could ever have, that’s some deep psychological stuff. It’s like when you’re busy and only have time to take your own dog for a five minute walk, then he stares up at you as you unhook the lead as if to say “…are you freaking serious…?” It eats away at your soul.

Best Videogame Dog #4 – Missile from Ghost Trick

Ghost Trick Dog

Oh dear, this is some unfortunate overlap, I already wrote a critically-acclaimed review of the critically-acclaimed Ghost Trick on this very site. But screw it, Missile is one of the best parts of that game and we’re talking about cool dogs so let’s go for it.

Missile is cool because he talks exactly how people imagine their dogs think. Of course dogs don’t really think anything; they’re scavenging pack animals whose instincts don’t expand much further than eating, pooping and sleeping. Let’s ignore all that though and get cutesy, Missile is adorable because he’s constantly talking about loyalty and getting confused by real world human objects. On top of that he’s a Pomeranian which are pretty much “broken tier” on the canine calendar of cuteness. SPOILER ALERT: He also dies at one point and comes back with the powers of the dead, and uses them to the full extent of their powers just to save his mistress.

Oo er, that was probably actually a bit too spoilery, I should probably leave this here. Consider the remainder of this paragraph a reminder that if you own a Nintendo DS or tablet device you should probably be playing Ghost Trick right now.

Best Videogame Dog #5 – Wonder Dog from umm, Wonder Dog

Wonder Dog

For those that don’t know, which is probably the vast majority of people reading this, Wonder Dog was a side-scrolling 2D platformer that came out for the Sega (Mega) CD and Amiga in 1992. The game also blows so don’t worry about playing it.

It’s seriously hilarious how much Wonder Dog sucks, in the sense that it plays like a collection of decisions made my businessmen who have never touched a videogame before, or if they have they washed their hands for 15-20 minutes straight afterwards. Using the Sega CDs FULL MOTION VIDEO the game starts out with a stupidly long opening cutscene that looks like something you’d see on Newgrounds.com in 200. It’s filled with dog puns and a story about Wonder Dog coming from a planet of dogs sent to Earth (it’s the Superman story, don’t worry about the details). After crashing on Earth in an extremely phallic spaceship he meets some kid and bonds with him like any other dog, but the kid’s dad won’t let him take Wonder Dog home, so the CHASE IS ON as you run through colourful worlds to find that kid again I guess.

The game itself is ridiculous, levels are called Zones instead of Acts so you don’t notice they’re ripping off Sonic (I noticed), there’s seriously a collection of levels called “Planet Weird”. Wonder Dog’s attack is shooting cartoon stars, but he bounces them off the ground like the fireballs in Super Mario Bros, but like he smashes the stars into the ground and they go flying uselessly towards the top of the screen. Whereas the Mario fireballs are delicate and deliberate in their bounce (and unlike Wonder Dog, aren’t the main way to attack enemies), the stars in Wonder Dog capture the game feel of a bunch of change falling out of your pocket when you pull out your keys. You have to play it to appreciate how stupid it is (don’t though).

Most hilariously of all, there’s a picture of Wonder Dog’s face on the GUI at the bottom of the screen, where he looks increasingly worn down as he takes hits like in freaking Wolfenstein 3D (the game pre-dates Doom). It’s unbelievable how much Wonder Dog is just a collection of crap thrown in a pot and vaguely packaged as something sellable, I flat out refuse to believe that anyone working on this knew anything about videogame design.

Here’s the thing; Wonder Dog is still actually kind of cute, as stupid as the opening cutscene the bit where he cries in it is still a bit of gut punch. There’s nothing worse than seeing a dog crying (partially because it’s physically impossible) even if does run around dressing like Mario and ripping off Sonic and dying a lot because he doesn’t control well. The only conclusion for this is; Wonder Dog is vaguely likeable based purely on the fact that he’s a dog, and isn’t that the best advertisement for dogs ever? Even freaking Wonder Dog on the Sega CD couldn’t find a way to make dogs rubbish, and that is why Wonder Dog gets a spot on this list, even though I’ll never think about him or his crap game ever again.

And with the best dogs in videogames ever set in stone and agreed upon by all, I’ll end this here. To make up for the fact that I stubbornly ignored him for no real reason, here’s K.K. Slider to play us out:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cICKPQzh0c]

If you’d like to, you can also totally follow me on Twitter @Lesmocon

Post Master Review

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Post Master | PC | Excalibur Productions

Postman Pat,
Postman Pat,
Postman Pat ran over his cat.

Blood and guts went flying,
Postman Pat was crying,
You never saw a cat as flat as that.

Let’s face it. Postman Pat was shit, wasn’t it? The boring, cock-nosed arse would tootle around Greendale in his stupid little van with his cat sat next to him – probably contravening all sorts of health and safety edicts from the Royal Mail – and get involved in everybody else’s business. Poor Farmer Lancaster couldn’t go five  minutes without Pat asking to borrow a ladder, sheep or somesuch. It’s no wonder the program ended in controversy when Mrs. Goggins went on a kill crazy rampage and slaughtered every soul in the village.

Mind you, it was Pat’s annoying insistence on helping every stranded animal or tangled kite that made the program watchable. If it was just a bloke going around dropping off letters to people, it would have probably been kind of boring. You need drama to really get excited about the postal service – the kind of drama that is severely lacking in Excalibur Production’s latest opus, Post Master.

Nailing down exactly why I would suggest you not spend your hard-earned money  on this ‘game’ is tricky, but that’s what we’re here for. If nothing else, we can all learn a little something about what we want from our video games.

Postmaster Interface

Problem One  – Such interface, very wow.

Turn on the game for the first time and it fails to inspire confidence from the get go. The menus look like something which no-one wanted to design, so they asked a passing colourblind tramp if he wouldn’t mind taking a look at some slides. Seriously fellas – that was the best you could do? Your front-end sets the tone for what we’re going to expect from the game, and it screams cheap and throwaway.

You get to choose a company name, logo and colour scheme for your fleet of delivery vehicles and then it’s off into the exciting world of delivering stuff. The game takes place on an isometric city map that looks like a cast-off from an early build of Sim City 4. It manages to be both spartan and cluttered at the same time through- some clever trickery, like showing every building in the city. But those buildings are completely meaningless beyond the post they generate – which is viewed on a second map. That second map is full of icons and no tool tips but it is, at least, functional once you’ve worked out what’s going on.

Vans in Operation

As an indie developed title, we can perhaps overlook the dated looking graphics and hideous interface, but a little more graphical pizzazz could have helped to elevate this title and make it more appealing to play.

Also, grey text on a white background? That made me want to claw my eyes out.

Problem Two – Bro, do you even sim?

Pick a site for your first Post Office, hire some staff, purchase vehicles, set routes etc. Sounds like you’re building up to some to some hardcore simulation action here, but after the initial build-up, it just stops dead. So you build your fleet, you expand your operations throughout the city but then what?

The cities you serve grow, but you don’t need to achieve total coverage of the cities so there’s no compunction to change up your operations. The game doesn’t give you anywhere near enough information to be able to successfully micromanage your business, as data on variable costs vs. income for the different staff ratios or fleet configurations is absent. All you can do is watch your money counter tick upwards and operate on the basis that bigger is better. If you’re in the market for a simulation game, subtlety and depth is where it’s at. Sadly the economics of this title simply aren’t fleshed out enough to be interesting.

You don’t have to be clever, or even have anything above a rudimentary understanding of the game mechanics in order to be successful. There’s no challenge here – and no challenge means no fun.

PostMaster Van

Problem Three – Why should I care?

The million dollar – or in this case £10 – question. Why should you buy this game, when there are so many other worthwhile ‘Tycoon’ style titles out there? I seriously can’t think of a single reason. Nothing about this game makes it fun to play. Even a throwaway facebook game knows how to give feedback to its player – to reward them for a job well done (or a farm well clicked at least). Where Post Master really fails to earn its corn, is its determination to not reward the player for playing. You don’t get a satisfying response from the game for doing anything, good or bad. I’m not talking about game winning actions here, but if I unlock a new vehicle, I want a satisfying ‘vroom’ noise. When I reach a currency milestone, I want a ‘ker-ching’ noise – these things might not sound important, but their absence leaves the game dulled and worse – ponderous.

I think, when all is said and done, that the worst crime this game commits is being boring. The developer’s decision to not allow you to really speed up time absolutely cripples the game. Yes, there are different speeds you can run at, but even the fastest is painfully slow. Frankly I think this is because there’s no end game to this – there’s nothing out there for you beyond the first few hours of play. Let you get too far ahead, and they run the risk of highlighting what a shallow experience Post Master offers.

With business games, the cut and thrust of finance and expanding your empire is the heart of the thing. You could make a decent game out of ‘Glue Factory Tycoon’ or ‘Empire of Carpets’ if you can make the acquisition of money and growing your reach exciting enough. Whether that be through struggling against an aggressive AI, or negotiating your way through the minutiae of financial options to find that slight tweak to get you ahead of the curve, it needs to be engaging and rewarding.

Post Master rewards you with nothing. I can only suggest you respond in kind.

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Review by Karlos Morale

Post Master is out now on PC

£9.99

Metal Gear Solid 5 Ground Zeroes Review

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Developer: Kojima productions

Publisher: Konami

Platform: Playstation 4

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes sees Big Boss make his first outing on the new generation of games consoles, in what is effectively a teaser for the full game arriving (hopefully) next year- in The Phantom Pain. For all intents and purposes, this is the Tanker mission for MGS2 or the virtuous mission in Snake Eater. The only difference is that Konami are charging you around £30 for this experience and releasing it a year in advance of the full game, in an attempt to showcase the new Fox engine that is running on the PS4, and in turn raise the anticipation levels for the release of the Phantom Pain in the future. So the big question is, is this game worth buying?

The first aspect of the game I noticed when I started playing it is just how stunning it is graphically, the opening cut scene (Kojima may have cut back on them but he will never stop having them) looks beautiful. It introduces you to the Ground Zeroes mission. This mission follows on from Peace Walker that was released on the PSP (then re-released on the PS3 a few years ago). This mission is set at night and in the rain, this gives the opportunity to  showcase the incredible lighting effects, whilst you hide in the shadows with searchlights scanning the ground around you. But it is during the day where you truly see a huge leap in graphics that the PS4 is able to produce, a lifelike world is created, each enemy has an individual and distinct look to them. There are no copy and paste armies chasing you, even the grass sways perfectly in the wind as clouds move slowly overhead affecting the sunlight shining down, I have not seen anything as photo realistic so far on the PS4.

MGS Rain

The transition from cut scene to gameplay is seamless. I couldn’t visibly discern any drop in the visuals and this is very welcome. I have often previously felt cut scenes running at higher detail draw you away from the game. Big Boss himself really does looks life like, he is not only voiced by Kiefer Sutherland but his facial animations have also been captured from the actor and this is evident as the voice perfectly matches the facial expressions. Sadly, Snake does not say too much in this game, so it is hard to judge how well the switch from David Hayter voicing snake has been handled in too much depth, but early impressions are that the voice of Kiefer does match this older Big Boss fairly well.

Metal Gear Solid games have always been about stealth and this one is no exception. Set in the mid 1970’s there is no Soliton radar to help you out. This game feels similar in style to Snake Eater, my personal favourite of the series, and whilst there is no radar you do have a pair of binoculars that you can use to tag enemies to help you keep track of them as they move around the map. These binoculars also have a directional microphone, great for listening in to conversations between the guards to give you small hints and clues.

MGS Day

The game encourages you to sneak around and stay undetected, the core of the MGS series, but this is no mean feat when you find yourself on an army base full of guards. Even with the ability to keep track of enemies they have keen eyesight, especially in the daylight. They can even spot your shadow as you hide behind a wall and will come to investigate if their suspicions are aroused. Like previous games, you are armed with a silenced tranquilizer pistol. Ammo is scarce and if you do knock your enemies unconscious, you have to hide their bodies as their comrades will investigate anything out of the ordinary. Yep, it’s classic MGS.

When you do get caught, and you invariably will do, a new mechanic in the game is activated. You get a couple of seconds in what is called ‘reflex mode’ to get in a quick head shot on the enemy before he can call for reinforcements or simply find the best route for escape. This option can be turned off in the options if you want an even bigger challenge than hard mode already is. At no point in my time with this game have I felt it is unnecessarily hard or easy, the gameplay feels well balanced and this is due to the open ended nature with which you can play the game.

Ground Zeros is set in a sand box world. You can go anywhere on the map and the missions can generally be completed in any way that you wish or can think of. Sneaking is obviously favourable and feels the most satisfying but if you want to go in all guns blazing then there is nothing stopping you grabbing a rocket launcher and literally blowing your way through the front gate. It is this choice that made the game so great for me. Early on in the game you have to get through a closed gate, in the past you would have had a more specific way of achieving this task, but not now. I have got past this point using three different ways, I have snuck around and found a side entrance, I have hidden myself on the back of a truck as it goes through, and I have also planted C4 on a vehicle and blown both the vehicle and the gate up letting me walk through or even drive. All of the vehicles in the base are drivable, nothing feels off limits. You really can play this game in a way I have not experienced before.

MGS Night

In the run up to the release of this game, director Hideo Kojima, announced that the campaign mission could be completed in a couple of hours, this had many people angry that such a short game could be released and charged for. I did complete the initial mission in around two hours on my first playthrough. But it doesn’t end there, this simply unlocks four other ‘side’ missions and if you collect all of the XOF patches also the Deja Vu Mission exclusive to Playstation.

I have played this game for over ten hours and still do not feel that I have completed it, there is so much more to do if you choose to and completing the missions is just the start. The open world allows and actively encourages you to try out new routes and methods. After playing this I am very excited to play the Phantom Pain- especially if it is around 200 times larger as Kojima has suggested. Essentially by making me feel this way, the game has succeeded in its aim.

If you are a fan of Metal Gear games then this is well worth the £20 it cost to purchase, if you aren’t or have never played a Metal Gear game before then I still recommend that you try it out. Few games give you the freedom that Ground Zeroes does, the missions may be on the short side but they really are incredible to experience.

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Also Available on PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Reviewer: James Holland. 

Assassin’s Creed- Hardly a French Revolution

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When Kotaku reported on supposedly leaked screenshots for a new Assassin’s Creed game, my heart sank. For a franchise with almost endless possibilities, why does it feel like it’s already running out of steam?

Assassin’s Creed can pretty much do whatever it wants. The fact a game has managed to get away with the premise that it can take place in any period of time is an amazing feat of cheekiness, but it’s constantly squandered with boring fare. Who can honestly say they were looking forward to free-running up and down trees in 3?!?!

We were given a glimpse of the scope of the franchise in 4. Such a drastic change in time and place led many to believe that we were in for similar, fresh new experiences with this year’s sequel. But from what we’ve seen of the new screens and setting, it looks boring.

AC Original

They’ve chosen Paris. A safe, mundane choice which will no doubt rehash the exact same plot from the past 4 games, told through the eyes of a ‘loveable rogue’ protagonist that the main player base can identify with. Yes it’s supposedly set during the French Revolution, but we’ve had revolution in 3. We’ve had Europe in 2. It just feels like we’ve been here before. And in a series that has written itself a blank cheque in terms of scope, why are we treading familiar, boring territory?!?

The gameplay of the franchise is intuitive, but only serves to make you appreciate and interact with the environment. The location is the star of the show here, and always has been. When the third instalment was released it was met with a lukewarm reception, and a large part of that was the setting. The cities all felt similar, and the woodland sections were sparse and uninteresting to traverse. In order to make a game that makes you want to get lost in it, they have to choose inspiring locales, worthy of exploration. Although it’s ridiculously early to say, I just don’t think Paris will be good enough.

But why does it have to be like this? Ubisoft earlier this year squashed rumours of a game based in the Far East, which to me seems like a perfect refresh, something this franchise badly needs.

Imagine if the game was set in Feudal Japan, and had you playing as a Ninja fighting the Samurai. The parkour elements are made for this kind of setting, and the stealth mechanics needed are already a big part of gameplay. Imagine the history and story they could tell with this kind of game, and how good the art direction would look. They could even forget the Abstergo aspect altogether, focus on a new Animus company based somewhere in Asia, introducing a new story arc and characters. Doesn’t all this already sound exciting to you?!?!

AC Horse

As always, no matter where the franchise is set, it will sell incredibly well. It always does, because it’s a solid, fun game at heart. But in not taking risks, has Ubisoft set up the franchise for stagnation as time goes on? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Today the trailer was released, confirming the games release.

DayZ: Boys Will Be Boys

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Write your own Adventure

Back in the misty eyed years of my youth when summer meant six weeks of doing whatever we liked and the weather was genuinely balmy, my mates and I used to get on our bikes and head down to our local country park, we’d take whatever food we could scavenge from cupboards and fridges, stock up on sweets and fizzy drinks. A few times we managed smuggle an air pistol out of a certain someones garage and with a ready supply of pellets we would head off with mischief in mind.  We would shoot at trees, empty cans of pop even to my shame, at birds, although we never hit anything. It was all about making our own fun with our imagination.  Trying not to get spotted by anyone of remotely adult age and generally boys being boys.

DayZ I feel hungry

Every time the I hit the play button on Steam, I’m reminded of those long summer days.  No goals or targets apart from what you set yourself, DayZ for me and also some of the people I play with is fast becoming the greatest story in video games that was never written.

To me, narrative has long been the most important single thing that makes up your average game, flashy graphics, multiplayer, bombastic set pieces can only take you so far, they can even be a detriment but its the story that can, if told well, knit all the other elements together.

I Feel Hungry

The opening lines of Dayz, written in ugly but functional font is the only part of the story that the developers have shared with you.  No middle and no end, the only narrative you are given is to  feed your hunger, quench your thirst and survive.  How you do this and the story you weave is entirely up to you, its this tangible sense of freedom and also the fear that goes with it that makes DayZ, even in it’s broken, often frustrating alpha state worth every penny of the £19.99 it costs.

You will die with alarming frequency in your first few hours in Chernarus, a fictional post Soviet state where Bohemia has set this post apocalyptic zombie survival mmo rpg fps/tps sim. Survive for a few hours and each item of clothing found or weapon brandished will increase your confidence and feeling of security, but death is never far.

You Are Dead

My first death came from starvation, I had tins of beans but with no way to open them, my life slowly ebbed away. Second, I was mauled by a zombie, and they are the least threatening thing about the game.  It was my third death at the hands of  fellow survivors that brought home the reality of life in Chernarus, give people free reign to do as they please, with little consequence and they will generally be absolute bastards, myself included if the mood takes me.

My third death, I had stumbled upon a group of three fellow survivors in the wilderness, who by the look of the automatic weapons they pointed in my direction had survived for some time.  Forced to kneel, I was stripped of my clothes, tins of beans and my most precious item, a tin opener. They ordered me to run and run I did, with no idea of direction, they laughed and took potshots, as my pant wearing behind disappeared over the horizon. I spent the next couple of hours getting increasingly lost which led me back to my first death of starvation.  I’d rather they had shot me.

Death comes, and can also be delivered with such variation and creativity in DayZ that I actually don’t mind the dying part, at the end of the day it all leads back to “I feel hungry” which is the greatest starting line of the best story never written.

DayZ Carnage

Friends ‘till The End

DayZ played by yourself can be good, searching abandoned towns for loot whilst not knowing who or what could be round the next corner leads to some genuinely tense moments, even on relatively empty servers I’ve died more than a few times at the hands of fellow players also struggling to eke out a meager existence.

Playing with friends is where this game really comes into its own, and the best stories tend to unfold. A general night involves everyone legging it across the the rather large map to a wherever seems best at the time, tins of beans, cans of pipsi and stories of our survival or sad demises are then shared before heading out. With whatever food we could scavenge from abandoned buildings, fizzy drinks looted from derelict pubs and maybe the odd weapon smuggled out of the local police station.  We then tend to head off with mischief in mind.  We shoot at zombies, fellow survivors, even each other, although we quite often miss. It’s all about making our own fun with our imagination.  Trying not to get spotted by anyone who looks remotely dangerous, and generally men being boys.

Fascination

For a game that is so upfront with its current failings, even the steam store page has a warning that the game is in alpha and bugs are rampant,  DayZ is maturing nicely. Dean Hall, the brains behind the game and his team of developers are rolling out constant updates and the game itself it not expected to enter beta until the end of the year.  Over one million steam users purchased DayZ in the first month alone, and the £20 million plus revenue is now clearly being put to use with the team recently doubling in size.  The current focus of the the upcoming updates included hunting, cooking, improvised weapons and barricading.  Vehicles and persistent in world objects are also on the horizon, along with a slew of other features that will make Chernarus that much more believable, being able to open a fridge to look for fodder may sound a bit daft but I cant wait!

DayZ on the run

Quite a few people have bemoaned the £19.99 it costs to access the alpha, beta and full release, lets put this into perspective.  A game about to be launched on a high street near you costs £20 to £30, depending upon your platform of choice.  Said game, not including side missions and infamous cutscenes can be completed in 10 mins. Depending upon which way you look at it, millions of us have also paid upwards of £30 for a AAA online fps experience this year which although released as complete has been far more buggy and broken the the DayZ alpha has ever been.  I’ve just clocked my 91st hour in DayZ and I’m sure that I’ll still be playing in a year to come, that is quite possibly one of the most frugal gaming propositions there has ever been for me.

DayZ Drinking

If you are tired of being handheld though games, herded down corridors, finishing a game and thinking what was that all about or just the the yearly churn of juggernaut franchises whose only reason for existence is to boost the bottom line of multinationals, give DayZ a try.  Bring your wits, your cunning, your  imagination, press play and write your own adventure.

 

South Park: The Stick of Truth Review

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South Park – The Stick of Truth | PC

Dev: Obsidian Entertainment | Pub: Ubisoft

All together now…

“Shut your f*cking face, Uncle F*cka!”

This new South Park game is an RPG featuring all the ‘Park gang in some typically outlandish situations involving aliens, Canadians, MenBearPigs and Taco Bell. Despite its troubled development and changes in publisher, SOT has actually ended up a high quality, polished product which manages that very difficult job of appealing to hardcore fans of the series as well as newbies.

South Park owes quite a debt to Double Fine’s awesome kid-starring role player, Costume Quest. Both games use the mechanic of a child’s imagination powering their struggles with real-world assailants, you and your little friend’s dressing-up games turning you into superheroes. Where Costume Quest was Halloween themed, Stick of Truth draws on the comedic value inherent in the generic fantasy RPG. Once it has had its’ fun with those clichés however, it expands its scope to something with greater breadth.

South Park Line up

Like the TV program upon which it is based, South Park pushes the boundaries of taste. Quite to what extent this will impact upon your enjoyment of the game is up to you to decide. If you think that jokes about rape, abortion and cancer have no place in your video games, you should steer well clear of this title.

For those of you who remain, South Park’s irreverent and crude world is there for you to explore. You will wander around, collecting loot and weapons whilst periodically getting into turn-based encounters with a variety of enemies. Attacks are often gross – more extreme examples include a female character throwing her used tampon at the boys. Farting on your foes is frequent, but for the most part it’s fairly standard ‘hit-enemy-A-with-weapon-rinse-and-repeat’ fare. Although one of the summons does involve Mr. Slave sucking enemies up his ass – so, you know, it rarely gets boring.

It does however offer quite different experiences depending on your familiarity with the franchise.

South Park Classes

There’s no way I’m writing five separate reviews for five different types of people who might approach this game, dude. That’s weak.

Seriously.

You guys?

GODDAMNIT!

1. Review for: People who read the opening quote and immediately starting singing the song and farting. You remember watching the movie when it came out in cinemas.

You’ve probably already bought this game from ASDA, and good for you! It’s like playing a 20 hour long episode of South Park, featuring all of your favourite characters from the series. No anal probing is left unreferenced. The experience is going to be one long fist-pumping exercise in nostalgia and gross-out jokes with some annoying ‘game’ elements littering your good time. You know what to do though, right? Hell, you already completed COD: Ghosts this year and totally smashed your mate Darren off the park in FIFA so you’re still a gamer.

This game has an autosave feature, so when Jo-ann tells you it’s time to ‘switch that thing off now’, you won’t lose any progress. Isn’t that super?

2. Review for: People who watch South Park all the time. You have a plush Cartman in your house and know what Kenny says in the opening credits.

You should definitely buy this. Trust me. You’re going to think this is a laugh riot. Matt and Trey wrote the script for the game and all the voices are present and correct. The Goth kids are suitably surly and – if you choose – Butters can take a major part in the action.

You’ll be quite happy to spend endless hours finding any extra little collectible and secret thing – and it will all be worth it.

3. Review for: People who remember South Park from the early days and watch it occasionally. You clicked on the link and laughed at the song.

This game could be for you – it depends on how much you’re going to enjoy the RPG experience. To get the most from the game, you’re going to need to explore every nook and cranny in this town. How do you feel about adding a couple of hours to the title as a result of searching for those last couple of Chimpokomon? You get an achievement out of it…

Try to complete the whole thing in a weekend if you can, or your enjoyment will wane. There are some pretty obvious optimal equipment sets and team mates to have, so you should be able to power through the game without much challenge.

4. Review for: People who don’t give a shit about South Park, didn’t click the link, but have an interest in RPG titles.

Tough sell, as this game is South Park through and through. The role-playing in this isn’t quite enough to sustain the game by itself – as the game points out, a lot of the questing is generic and pointless – and a lot of the rewards are just further references to the show. The game doesn’t want to throw up too much in the way of a barrier to you progressing through the main story, since it’s very pleased with and excited by the jokes it wants to tell. Not to say that SOT is a bad game by any stretch – it’s just that you’ll enjoy it less than your mate who is a big South Park fan.

5. Review for: The easily offended, who thought South Park had gone away years ago.

Just no.

Turn around.

Flee.

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At the end of the day, South Park – The Stick of Truth is the definitive South Park game without being a truly great RPG. It has many things going for it, but the shallow combat and under-developed item system means that an important chunk of the game is weak. Couple this with the facile puzzles and you have an entertaining one-shot title that uses gaming as a vehicle to provide some laughs. You get to decide for yourselves if it’s the kind of humour you enjoy.

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Reviewer: Karlos Morale

South Park: The Stick of Truth is out now for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3