Fallout 4 Season Pass details Announced (And Price Rise).

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Here are details from Bethesda’s press release. at last giving details of forthcoming DLC.

 

The good news? It’ seems meaty.

The possible bad? The season pass has just gone up in price.

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A note from Bethesda Game Studios:

 

Since Fallout 4 launched, we’ve been blown away by your support for the game. It stands as our most successful title ever and that couldn’t have happened without you. It’s been truly inspiring, the stories, images and experiences that you’ve created. And now it’s time to share with you some of what we’ve been creating – our first series of add-ons: Automatron, Wasteland Workshop and Far Harbor.

 

Automatron

Price: £7.99

Release:  March 2016

 

The mysterious Mechanist has unleashed a horde of evil robots into the Commonwealth, including the devious Robobrain. Hunt them down and harvest their parts to build and mod your own custom robot companions. Choose from hundreds of mods; mixing limbs, armor, abilities, and weapons like the all-new lightning chain gun. Even customize their paint schemes and choose their voices!

 

Wasteland Workshop

Price: £3.99

Release: April 2016

 

With the Wasteland Workshop, design and set cages to capture live creatures – from raiders to Deathclaws! Tame them or have them face off in battle, even against your fellow settlers. The Wasteland Workshop also includes a suite of new design options for your settlements like nixi tube lighting, letter kits, taxidermy and more!

 

Far Harbor

Price: £19.99

Release: May 2016

 

A new case from Valentine’s Detective Agency leads you on a search for a young woman and a secret colony of synths. Travel off the coast of Maine to the mysterious island of Far Harbor, where higher levels of radiation have created a more feral world.  Navigate through the growing conflict between the synths, the Children of Atom, and the local townspeople. Will you work towards bringing peace to Far Harbor, and at what cost? Far Harbor features the largest landmass for an add-on that we’ve ever created, filled with new faction quests, settlements, lethal creatures and dungeons. Become more powerful with new, higher-level armor and weapons. The choices are all yours.

 

 

And more important, that this is only the beginning. We have plans for more.  More than £45 worth of new Fallout adventures and features throughout 2016.

 

Given the expanded DLC plan, the price of the season pass will increase from the current £24.99 to £39.99 on March 1, 2016. However, if you already purchased the season pass for £24.99, nothing changes – you still get everything at no additional cost— the full £45 offering of add-on content for the original price of £24.99. In addition, if you didn’t buy the season pass yet, there is still time:  Anyone who buys the Season Pass for £24.99 before March 1st will get all £45 worth of content. This is our way of saying thanks to all our loyal fans who have believed in us and supported us over the years.

Want a chance to play these add-ons early? We’ll be running closed betas for each of the add-ons for consoles and PC. And you can sign up right now on Bethesda.net. In order to apply, you’ll need to create a registered Bethesda.net account. We’ll be selecting applicants in the upcoming weeks. Players accepted into the beta will receive a code to redeem the content. The beta is the full version (complete with achievements) and those participating will not have to purchase the add-on.

Beyond add-ons, we’ll continue to offer free updates to the game, including new features like the recent weapon debris for PC, and increased draw distances for consoles, as well as more optimizations to gameplay and quests. And something that we’re really excited about, a complete overhaul of Survival Mode that changes how you play the whole game. Food, sleep, diseases, danger and more.

We’re also hard at work on the Creation Kit, which will allow you to create and play mods absolutely free. We’re currently testing both Survival Mode and the Creation Kit now, and more details will be forthcoming.

Fallout 4 Review

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It’s 1978, I’m 10 years old. The WWII sirens are wailing overhead, frightened to the core with all of my school. Here we are, huddled in lines in the playground and this is drill in case of a nuclear explosion in London. Welcome to the Cold war in 1970’s London.

Apart from this pointless drill filling us with dread and fear, we had propaganda films, documentaries, leaflets. Destruction was inevitable and even in our innocent tender years; the government wanted us to be fearful.

The cold war was a time filled with real panic, an Orwellian invisible war. I’m talking a stream of propaganda with the intent purpose of making a painful and hellish radiation sickness death certain for all. We actually used to have drills at school for the four-minute warning. Sirens would go off and we would have to gather in our playground, already aware at a young age that we were fucked if this shit went down.

Thankfully we can laugh at it now and we have new invisible enemies. Thank God for Daesh.

And thank goodness for Bethesda, for making the Fallout games and satirising the origin of that period.

I’m in a strange position writing this review. By being late to the party and getting my thoughts on paper, seeing what I can only describe as a backlash against Fallout 4.

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Let me start by saying Fallout 4 is without a doubt, one of my top 3 games of the year. I’m 35 hours in and still haven’t even fondled the main story with any gusto. Fallout 4 isn’t a flawless game, but given Bethesda’s reputation with having ‘buggy games’, it almost is. That could also be one of its problems and a reason for the backlash.

Let’s do the good old potato analogy, every writer worth their salt uses this….. Surely.

Chips? We all love chips? Oooookay! OK!! I promise never to use the chip analogy again! But you het the poin.

Both Fallout 3 and New Vegas (NV was developed by Obsidian, but the same flaws were present) were tasty chip-shop tucker. Scrumptious, large, well-cooked morsels with lumps and all. Those black bits you get on common garden chips are the bugs; we can cut them off if we’re PC gamers or bite around them and wait if we’re console gamers.

Fallout 4 is one of those fancy triple cooked chips. Cooked in the finest clean oils, none of those black lumps are really present; they’re cooked in the safest of kitchens. That is from my perspective Fallout 4’s weakness and strength. Bethesda have seemingly played it safe, and concentrated creating a game that works, rather than taking risks and facing backlash for a game that doesn’t work. It’s a bit clean and dare I say ‘safe’ in comparison to its ancestors.

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So how does it all play? Very well in fact. Fallout 4 has polished the combat and made action much more akin to erm….. Action games. Now, a lot of people are screaming that the game has been dumbed down and is shallow. I can see and value that perspective, but in all honestly I firmly feel that making a game ever so slightly more accessible doesn’t equate to dumb. For the record, I’ve been playing Bethesda RPG’s since Morrowind, so I have seen the transition from what I see and clunky to accessible, I don’t perceive this as a negative. Getting more gamers into the genre is good for gaming. It also has to be said that Fallout 4 is a challenging game, the difficulty is challenging on normal, and you can up the challenge if you so wish.

There’s now base building. It works, it is a nice distraction. Yes, it could have been further developed and more engaging. But it does work and if creation is your thing, there’s a lot of play to be had here, if you’re a compulsive type gamer that loves seeking out materials and spending time planning and creating, it doesn’t do a bad job, it just needs some refining and I really hope it does come back and evolves in future games.

The moral system was another example of a black-lump on a chip in the previous Bethesda Fallout games, lacking real nuance and approaching morals with a very binary approach. You will still have your face shot off for accidentally picking something up that doesn’t belong to you. Now, there is room to manoeuvre and with the addition of more varied companions to aid you in your shenanigans, these allow for a more varied approach to morals and how you choose your righteous, or not righteous so paths.

Certain NPC companions will approve or disapprove of your moral choices. Some like you doing good deeds, others like the scumbag raider thieving mentality. Piss an NPC off too much and they will refuse to travel anywhere with you. This actually lends itself to a more unfettered style of play? Want to be murderous? Change to a less moral companion. This isn’t a massive game changer; it does encourage using different companions, which does add another dimension to your adventure.

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How’s the story? There is one?! Of course there is! But the real meat and bones are your encounters, the exploration, the finds, the small encounters, the side quests. The game is crowded with them.

From your first steps out into the wasteland, you find yourself on a quest to find a loved one, but at a much faster pace than previous iterations, you find yourself swallowed by all there is to do.

I get the backlash, I can see and understand people’s misgivings about the game. Yes, character animations are ropey. Yes, it’s more action orientated. Yes, I’m having a fantastic time with this game.

As I said, 35 hours into the game and I haven’t even thought about following the story. More importantly, I never want the game to end. For myself, that’s a sign of not just a good game, but a classic game.

It may be less of an RPG in the eyes of some, but in many ways it’s a much better game. Hopefully we will see some risks being taken in future DLC and dirty-filthy potatoes in the form of chip-shop chips.

Score 9/10

Pro’s

Not just a massive world, but a world filled to the brim with discoveries.

Fast paced combat

I never want it to end

Cons 

Sacrificed some aspects of depth

seemingly not many risks taken in development

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood Review

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Wolfenstein: The Old Blood capitalizes on the winning formula of its predecessor and also tries some new things to freshen up the gameplay. Whilst these things don’t always pay off, it’s always a treat to watch things unfold as you plow your way through an alternate-history Nazi Germany.

The Old Blood is as a prequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order and follows B.J Blazkowicz as he infiltrates Castle Wolfenstein. The game is split in two very distinct parts (it was originally planned as two-part DLC) and while the first feels like more of an extension of the previous game where players have an option to approach areas slow and steady, utilize stealth and approach each level in a methodical way. Or, you could just dual wield your machine guns and mow through stacks of enemies, the choice is entirely yours. The second part, which takes place after you have escaped Castle Wolfenstein, feels like a complete departure from the first half of the game. The sudden introduction of Nazi Zombies to the mix takes away the player’s choice with how they approach each area. The game becomes a generic feeling run-and-gun experience through increasingly smaller passages as it directs you to a rather satisfying end boss experience.

The levelling system persists from The New Order and is slightly stunted to recognize the shorter length of the game. The system rewards you for playing in different ways – kills with certain types of weapons or stealth kills are the most common – and it feels like you’re earning the rewards they offer. This structure allows you to see a lot of play you may not have seen previously, challenging you to change the usual First Person shooter monotony to include something fun and memorable.

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The Old Blood looks fantastic. Castle Wolfenstein is wonderfully presented, at first, from a cable car in all its glory and then the internal locations offer up a number of different areas to see from a prison to catacombs and a library. You never bore of the same old walls and corridors because the game moves at such a pace it keeps things fresh and constantly on the move. The setting completely changes in the second half and you spend far too much time playing through the same old village scene that looks identical to the last thirty minutes you’ve just played through.

The Old Blood suffers when trying to piece together the narrative direction. Where the first game spent a lot of time with exposition and set up to truly allow you to invest in the characters you aren’t given the same opportunity here, so when one of the main characters is killed you don’t have that same feelings of guilt or remorse. The villain in the first half is an excellent uber-Nazi who terrorizes you through your time in Castle Wolfenstein, but impact is lost in the final battle with him as you are given no indication that the large armour clad enemy you are fighting is actually him. I only come to realise who I had just defeated with a single line of dialogue spoken right at the end of the fight. A little time spent on building this battle up and perhaps a small cut scene as an introduction would have gone a long way to selling this fight and what it actually meant to Blazkowicz. The Old Blood feels like it’s been built as an excuse to allow you to slaughter another army of Nazis rather than an addition to the overall narrative of the Wolfenstein story.

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Judging Wolfenstein: The Old Blood as a single product is difficult; on one hand you have a first half that plays and feels exactly like its predecessor which is fantastic and on the other you have a second half that takes some unnecessary risks with the well-worn zombie concept which removes the key open ended structure that is so enjoyable. The game suffers from being a standalone product compressed into a singular existence rather than two separate DLC packs that could be judged on their own merits. The lack of a real story may result in a loss of motivation to keep playing.

Ultimately, the game still feels fantastic to play and the change at the midpoint does freshen things up, even if I quickly tired of simply mowing down zombies. You’ll spend a good 8 hours getting through everything and is a must buy for anyone who enjoyed The New Order or for someone looking for a first person shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Pro’s

  • Extremely fun to play
  • Looks fantastic and constantly changing
  • Player choice in first half challenges your play style

Cons

  • Lack of a good, solid story
  • Zombies are overused in everything and no different here
  • Second half feels a lot more of a generic shooter

Score: 8/10

 

The Evil Within PS4 Review

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The Evil Within Review

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Developer: Tango Gameworks

Platform: PS4

It’s raining, dark clouds fill the sky, the merciless cold tightens its grip. With uneasy steps you make your way to the entrance of Beacon Mental Hospital, the scene of a reported multiple murder. Playing as Detective Sebastian Castellanos, you have been sent here to investigate the scene; it’s dark and mysterious past haunting your every step. With great unease you slowly push the great wooden doors, pausing as the smell of death welcomes you. Mutilated bodies are scattered across the grand entrance hall, their blood has covered every surface. The uncomfortable silence is broken with a feint cry for help, someone has survived.

Bound by your feet and hung from the ceiling, your eyes slowly open as you wake. Blood trickles from an open wound, running down your arm and dripping onto the tiled floor. A substantial man stands in front of you, his beaten face partially obscured by a makeshift metal mask, his clothes are drenched in blood. Turning away he approaches one of the neighbouring bodies, your can’t quite move your head enough to witness the barbarism, but the sound of metal as it slices through flesh is enough to send a wave of panic running through you. The muffled screams fall silent, paying you no attention, this butcher walks past carrying a dripping torso into the adjoining room. You notice a knife protruding out of the chest of another nearby victim, it promises the hope of survival.

online_brain_1399631051The opening minutes of Shinji Mikami’s latest offering, The Evil Within, are horrific, frightening and a little confusing, setting the tone for perfectly as we follow Sebastian through this nightmarish world. Each section is played out in the form of chapters and until later on in the story, it is often unclear exactly what is happening. It is an interesting idea as you’re kept constantly on your toes, you never know what is going to transpire or indeed where. You can be safe in the knowledge however that is it going to be gruesome.

The environments created here are in equal measure beautiful and disturbing: Devastated buildings, blood soaked sewers, abandoned villages, all speak of horrifying torment and are genuinely unsettling places to be. Couple this with masterful use of lighting and you will find yourself within a world that offers very little comfort. Adding further to the distressing surroundings are the convincing sound effects. Crackling fire, heavy footsteps, grinding metal, tortuous screams are all expertly handled and likely to live long in the memory.

Mutilated creatures, known as the Haunted, will hunt you mercilessly. These human-like creatures are harrowing in appearance, from their faces stricken with barbwire, to the rudimentary weapons all suggest a death that will be swift and violent. Thankfully there are various ways to dispose of our would-be slayers and this will change depending on the scene. Guns blazing is an obvious choice but, with limited resources that’s not always the best option. The Haunted are capable of absorbing a considerable amount of damage and a steady hand is required if you are going to take them down. One headshot is often not enough, a well-placed shot may indeed scatter parts of their brain, but this won’t stop them, their pursuit is relentless; this can lead to very tense and unnerving encounters, praying you have enough ammunition to stop the onslaught.

village_headshot_1399630550With this is mind a stealthier approach maybe your best chance of survival. Most unaware enemies can be killed instantly with a sharp shiv delivered swiftly to the base of the skull. Their unpredictable movements will make this challenging, they twitch, seemingly uncontrollably and will quite often turn quickly as if they sense your presence. Bottles can be thrown to distract them or lure them into well placed traps, but with a limited throwing arm this is not easy. This does nullify the use of stealth somewhat and you will find that you will rely on your shooting skills, no matter how nerve shredding this might be.

Your arsenal of weapons steadily increases as you progress. Early on you will find a fairly weak pistol, thankfully it’s not too long before your firepower increases. Worthy of special mention is the crossbow, capable of firing various types of bolts it is easily the most diverse weapon you will find and the most satisfying to use. You can set traps using the proximity mines or simply freeze the Haunted in place and shatter their ice-covered bodies into tiny pieces. Let’s not forget the matches: All enemies are susceptible to fire, find a corpse and you should set it ablaze before it reanimates and hunts you down. Careful timing and a steady nerve and it’s possible to burn a host of undead with a single flame.

online_village_knifefight_1399631055Scattered amongst the ruins is a substance simply called ‘green gel’.  You are able to use this at various stages to upgrade your equipment or abilities. Do you want more health or extra stamina? Perhaps your weapons need to be more powerful or you may need to increase the amount of munitions you can carry. Careful management is needed as it can make the between life and death.

Sadly, The Evil Within is not without its flaws. The wonderfully dark plot loses its way at times and some of themes are not fully explored. Sebastian himself is a little wooden as the lead character, he seems undisturbed by horrors he is witnesses which can detract a little. The cut scenes don’t quite have the graphical splendour that they deserve and the daunting level of difficulty will no doubt alienate some. If you can get past these faults however what you will find is another example of why Shinji Mikami is considered one the finest architects of survival horror. This is not a masterpiece, but with extraordinary levels of butchery, disgustingly beautiful presentation and wicked storytelling, it’s not far off.

Score – 9/10

Reviewer – Ian 

Wolfenstein: The New Order PS4 Review

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Publisher: Bethesda Studio

Developer: Machine Game

Platform Reviewed: PS4

Release date: 23/05/2014

May 5th 1992 saw the release of  Wolfenstein 3D and whilst Right Said Fred were sitting top of the charts with ‘Deeply Dippy’, id Software were treating gamers to one of the greatest and most important video games ever created. For the fans of first person shooters such as Call of Duty, Battlefield or Medal of Honour, none of these games would be here today if it wasn’t for Wolfesnstein. This was the first game where your view of the world was from your characters perspective, Doom and Quake are often given credit for beginning the trend but, it was Wolfenstein that started it all. This was the birth of the first person shooter, this was genesis.

Fast forward to present day and we have the release of Wolfenstein: The New Order. A game that promises to stay faithful to the original in form of gameplay whilst presenting with today’s more sophisticated form of storytelling. Boasting veterans from Starbreeze Studios, developers of The Chronicles of Riddick and The Darkness, Machine Games certainly have the pedigree but, have they been able to pull it off?

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It is July 1946, we join our returning hero, William B.J. Blazkowicz, as he takes part in a titanic raid against a Nazi fortress in a last ditch attempt to put an end to General Wilhelm ‘Deathshead’ Strasse  and his merciless human experimentations. Sadly the mission is a failure and our hero suffers a severe head injury. Residing in a Polish asylum for 14 years, Blazkowicz awakes from his vegetated state just as the Nazi’s try to execute him and close down the asylum. It’s here that he is almost overcome when he learns the harrowing truth that the US has long since surrendered, the Nazi’s won the war and have continued with their reign of terror.

To elude any further with regards to the narrative would be tantamount to stealing. This really is a game that you have to experience for yourself. This is one of the most astounding examples of storytelling to grace this genre, it can hold its own with likes of Bioshock, true praise indeed.

An excellent plot is one thing, but it would be sadly wasted if the gameplay was a failure, this is a videogame after all. Thankfully, it’s almost evolved as much as the story telling has. Most areas can be approached in numerous ways. You can run and gun and lay waste to everything in your path or you can approach it a little more strategically, using stealth and cunning, something which is definitely recommended on higher difficulty levels as this world can be brutal and unforgiving.

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The presence of Nazi commanders in certain areas only further increases the need to use a stealthier approach. Kill these silently and they are unable to raise the alarm which, once sounded, will increase the amount of enemies attacking you, this will be relentless until the commanders have met their end. Killing them quietly you will also gain access to their knowledge of collectables within the vicinity. The souvenirs vary in usefulness, enigma codes can be used to unlock more game modes, music continues the wonderfully dark ‘what if ‘theme, recordings shed light on the past. Collecting all the items will require at least two play-throughs. At one point, early in the game, a decision must be made with regards to saving one of your comrades. This ruthless choice effects abilities you will have for the rest of the game which, in turn, will open different pathways through each level.

Character design is excellent, some of the scarred and tortured flesh on view is horrifying. At times you’ll want to avert your gaze as some of the scenes are brutal and gory in equal measure. Mechanical, oversized enemies move with purpose and a real sense of menace. Weapons feel powerful and fire with authority. The ability to dual wield most of the guns make you feel unstoppable. Couple this with some of the awesome set pieces and at times you will be left breathless. The excellent visuals have been accompanied with some wonderfully disturbing sound effects which when it it’s all fused together provide a very bleak and terrifying world.

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The feeling of ‘what if’ haunts you throughout the whole campaign and yes, whilst in can be quite preposterous at times, there are enough instances that may will make you shudder and question your own morality. Enemy characters have been so well implemented that you will genuinely wish they meet a painful and unsavoury end. It is very rare to come across such mature themes, perhaps because it is based upon a time of such human atrocity however loosely but, for me, the hatred and disgust is real.   

Combing the truly excellent story with the loving nostalgic nod to the titles heritage is a master-stroke. It may be intended for the slightly more mature gamer, the storyline is often brutal and some of the more horrific scenes are certain to leave a lasting impression. At times the game may feel little old fashioned and it may, on occasion, miss the mark in terms of ambition but, overall Wolfenstein A New Order comes highly recommended.

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