Thursday, 29 September 2011

New Writer joins Future Pixel

Hey everyone, Please join me in welcoming a new writer to the Future Pixel Blog - Boone (AKA Boonichiwa). He's an experienced gamer who is knowledgeable of every console on the market, and who has a passion for all games and their respective platforms. Thanks Boone for your contributions to the site, and your first article - 
How Nintendo can turn the tide for the 3DS

Guide to becoming a Gamer - AKA: The NOOB Enlightenment course



Although most of us are well-versed in all types of games and the different genre’s that they fall under, some people have never really played games at all, and need a bit of a lesson from us “wise ones” on how to start and what some of the more important rules are for when we do.
These are my 10 Rules for Gaming, and although these are for new gamers mostly, they also apply to the rest of us as well.
Let us enlighten the NOOBS on the art of PWNAGE!!!

Rule 1: Know thy Platform
Firstly, you need to pick a gaming platform to get started on. Regardless of whether you’re looking at a console or a PC, make sure you do your research before buying it. Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and Apple each have their strong points, but they also have their weak points with regards to their different consoles…..and also you as a person. Certain Consoles might cater to a certain target market so might not be the best choice. Check out the options on the internet, or go to your nearest gaming store to take a look at what suits you. While you’re there, take a look at the games available for each, and see If you think they’ll suit you.
There’s a second meaning to this rule as well.
Once you’ve made your choice and have everything set up, get to know your platform. Read the manual. Know your controller and which buttons are where. It will save you a lot of confusion when you start off, as many games assume you already know.




Rule 2: Find Strength in Enjoyment
Find games that are best suited to YOU. No-one else can dictate to you what games you should or shouldn’t play, because you are the only one who knows if you’re enjoying it or not. If you enjoy playing games like the Sims or even Tetris…run with it.
The more you play, the better you’ll get and the more confident you’ll be to try something else.

Rule 3: Losing is just one step closer to Winning
If there is one constant in games it is that you will always lose. Be prepared to die ALOT, then die again, then die some more. Don’t ever get too frustrated when losing. It only makes winning in the end that much more satisfying. Persistence is one of the main keys to become a master of your game. If it wasn’t….then no-one would play Call of Duty online ever.

Rule 4: Cheating is being lazy
Cheating in games is almost always going to make you enjoy your game less. Unlocking everything achievable with a cheat will give you less of a sense of reward for getting further, and will take away the challenge. Granted, with some games it is necessary….but only if the game is ridiculously hard and you’re hopelessly stuck.
Cheating in Online Multiplayer games is a sin….and if you do it…you’re going to hell.

Rule 5:Don’t play Multiplayer if you’re soft
Or more specifically, don’t use the chat function in the game, or a headset if you take insults and criticism badly. Swearing and constant insults are common (sometimes referred to as Smacktalk), and are sometimes very harsh, and unless you can give as well as you get…you may get a bit upset.

Rule 6: Do the research / Know thy game
Some games require some reading up on if you hoping to be good at it - Especially if you’re playing online. Knowing your way around a map, and using the right weapons can make a huge difference when you’re playing, and knowing the right strategies and Tactics can turn the tide when you’re in a tough spot.
Also, keep tabs on your enemies. You can learn much from how they play.

Rule 7: Everyone’s a NOOB
Being a NOOB (in other words, being a new player) is something everyone knows. 

We were all NOOB’s at one stage, and every game we play puts us back at that status. The biggest problem is that people have a tendency to forget that. When you become good at the game you’re playing, try not to be too harsh on others who are still learning, and help them if you can. You’ll be a positive part of their gaming experience. 

That way, if you decide to play one of Their favorite games they’ll do the same for you. Everyone wins.

Rule 8: Speak the language
Or, at the very least understand it. The constant string of acronyms used to shorten typing time in an MMORPG (good example – Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) is daunting to those who don’t know what they stand for.  

DOT, HOT, AFK, WTS, WTB, Aggro and numerous other terms fill the chat channels more than real words most of the time.

Rule 9: Watch the screen
Majority of games nowadays have what is called a HUD (Heads up Display). This is there to show you certain things about the game while you are playing.

The Health bar is a good example. It shows you how many hit points you can take, or how much health you have. When it runs out you die. 

Of course, there are many other statistics you may need to keep up with as well. (Magic, Rage or Stamina being just a few possibilities.) 

Rule 10: Save games, Save games, Save games!!!!
In Single player games, your greatest friend is your Save Game.

If the game doesn’t use checkpoints (where the game automatically saves), then save you game as often as you need. There is nothing more frustrating than having to go through half the game again because you forgot to save your game. Trust me on this one.  


So, these are my 10 commandments of gaming. If you break them you run the risk of affecting your gaming experience negatively....or maybe not, but at the end of the day it all comes down to your choice and your choice alone.
Happy gaming.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

How Nintendo can turn the tide for the 3DS


By now, most of us have seen the 3DS's "wonderful" add-on thumb-stick. The reactions have generally been more against it than for it, which is weird because it's kind of been something everyone wanted. I don't know how else you expected it to look, though I can agree that more functions would've been nice. What we all would like to know is whether or not Nintendo will be fully utilizing all the functions of the 3DS or will it be left to its fate like the Wii - a wonderful device that gave me many hours of playtime but all of a sudden seems to have no decent support. 3D is is one of those things that's been receiving mixed reactions. Some love, some hate, some love to hate and so on. I'll admit I hated the 3D before buying the 3DS, because I expected it to be a shallow gimmick. I was impressed, at first, by its clarity but only when I played "Resident Evil - Mercenaries" did I finally see a real use for it.


It makes 3D shooter environments easier to navigate and kill in. In Mercenaries I could headshot with ease with the 3D on, but turning it off made it harder somehow. Personally it felt like I was no longer just directing the character, but now adding to his success in a more
active way. Though I haven't seen many who feel the same way, I do think games like Mario 3D will be a lot more enjoyable now that the 3D world is experienced and not just seen.



What Nintendo is doing...

Apparently Nintendo feels shooting 3D movies is for the better. Hopefully this is just a stepping stone and they'll be getting publishers to utilize the 3D for more than just a "ooooh....3D" reaction.

Mii Plaza and Augmented Reality

One thing I always wished Nintendo did with the Mii's would be to get extra clothes and expressions through DLC, or even as rewards for buying and playing their games.

Imagine your Mii with a Mario Hat from Super Mario Galaxy, and a Luigi Hat from Super Mario Galaxy 2? Even a Mario moustache? The Mii Plaza on the 3DS seems to have much better online support, and that could mean updates.

And while they're at it, they could give us more adventures or puzzles or something. The pedometer is great and all, but using 10 coins to unlock things I will eventually unlock through good old "playing the game" is not a great way to use them.

Augmented Reality is a great thing to show off, but no one really seems to be using it. Shooting a flying head, or taking pictures of
Mario on your co-workers head starts losing its appeal after about 15 minutes.

What needs to be done, somehow, is incorporate your environment into a game - without the player even knowing. Monster's
spawn depending what colour is behind your 3DS, or a Silent Hill experience using your room.


What Nintendo is doing...

As far as the Mii Plaza is concerned, there are some "major changes"
coming.

What that means is anyone guess, but apparently a new adventure is coming and some better incentives to get more steps is
also en route.

No major news on AR integration or upgrading. I've seen some really impressive AR stuff on iPhones that already looks better than the 3DS' stuff. Nintendo better plan on doing something if they want to keep it a key feature.

Games?

The release titles were not great. Games that should've come out with the 3DS are Mario, Zelda, Kirby and Metroid games for sure, and Nintendogs and Sufferage Pushed Back 30 years: The Game for the ladies. Instead we ended up with Splintercell (what?), Dinosaurs 3D (whaaaat?), and Nintendogs 3D (WHAAA~ oh, wait). Ocarina of Time flew in to save the day, but haters decided it would still be fun to bash. Starfox 3D has also been met with mixed approvals. Dead or Alive : Dimensions was surprisingly well made with nice support for the motion sensor and decent 3D visuals.

What Nintendo is doing...

This doesn't just fall to Nintendo, but every time they do something weird a bunch of publishers get nervous. The price drop did seem to give a bunch of them some gas. Having Capcom announce they might be dropping the Wii and the 3DS doesnt help matters though. Mario 3DS, Mario Kart and even Kid Icarus look like exciting titles that will be using a lot of the 3DS' power, and surely this will boost sales for the 3DS once again, but unless some draw dropping, mind changing experiences are given to us, gamers are going to start supporting more and more apps and mobile gaming with iPhones or Android devices.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Project Blackout - first impressions of a MMO FPS


Earlier this month my girlfriend decided to try something a little different to her usual style of game.

With a new PC already set up and ready to go, and after a great deal of frustration in trying to transfer her Warhammer online installation over to the new machine, she started surfing the net to see what interesting Free to Play options were available.

Firstly, let me say that I always had the idea that "Free to Play" had an automatic subtext of "Not really that good" so I've always kind of strayed away from these types of games. I would generally rather go for the "heavy hitters" in the market that are worth paying the price for.

Of course, because it was late in evening and there were no shops that were open to go and buy these games, it was either download a game......or relinquish control of my Xbox 360. (I'm sorry, but not in the middle of playing Deus Ex. No chance of that.) So, as much as I may have advised against going the Free to Play route....I kept quiet.

So, there I was playing on my Xbox, with my girlfriend sitting by the PC searching for a game to play, the hours of the evening beginning to draw to close.

A while later my eyes drifted over to the computer, and to my surprise...there she was.....playing a very well degined and incredibly intense online first person shooter. Now, to many of us, when we think of an MMO, our minds almost immediately jump to games like World of Warcraft, Warhammer online or Guild wars.

This was a full-blown MMO First person shooter, and from the second I saw it, I knew a lot of work went into making this game. The game is called "Project Blackout", and in an instant changed my views on Free to Play games.

Granted, the game doesn't have the same graphical quality of most modern first person shooters like Call of Duty or Battlefield, but that may be a good thing - especially in countries like South Africa where lag is a constant pain.

I've played my fair share of first person shooters, but the first thing that got my attention were the maps. Well designed and definitely of the same quality as Call of Duty, there's plenty of variety and loads of cover.

Weapons are purchased similarly to Call of Duty, and through accumulated experience you can start upgrading your arsenal relatively quickly.

The game has all the usual game modes like Deathmatch, Demolition and Search and Destroy, as well as other interesting game modes that are unique to the game.

One of the more interesting game modes pits you against a horde of dinosaurs preventing your escape from the map.
Your teams objective is to accumulate points by getting to the exit at the other end (All the time avoiding velociraptors and a giant T-rex). My first thought when starting this mode was that you were playing against AI. Of course, I was proven wrong relatively quickly. After the first round, roles switch and you're the velociraptor. (or even the T-rex if you're lucky.)

So I guess I wrong about Free to Play games, and some of them are actually very innovative and great fun to play. This is one of those times I'm glad to have been proved wrong.

If you want to try it out, sign up and download it here - http://pb.ntreev.net/

Thursday, 22 September 2011

New ideas for great Games

All of us play games, but many of us have always wondered what it would be like to make our own game.

While a very select few of us have ever gotten the chance to do just that....the brilliant ideas that have popped into our heads over the years are still there.

I believe these ideas should be voiced, so that maybe.....just maybe....the developers can use these ideas to give us some of the greatest games we've ever seen.

I'll give you a few examples that I've been thinking of lately that would make an epic change from the usual games we play.

1.) Ok, bear with me for a second.

Many of us love our Military shooters, particularly Call of Duty and Battlefield. However, the realistic military shooter is not for everyone, particularly the multiplayer.

Some of us also love our fantasy games as well.

Imagine a first person multiplayer experience like these games, but with magic and medieval weaponry. To be honest, nowadays I find myself being knifed in Call of Duty more than anything else. Why not make it a sword instead. The levelling system of Call of Duty could remain intact, but instead provide you with new spells and variations on those spells as you progress. (The usual elemental spells, as well as shield spells and more.) Maybe new melee weapons as well, and the usual killstreaks replaced with the summoning of monsters. I'm pretty sure that many of you are thinking of other interesting variations as we speak. It's a pretty safe bet that if Activision had to create the same type of game with fantasy elements instead of military elements...it would do well.

2.) This one is a bit of a difficult one for the developer to pull off, but would certainly be an amazing success.

How about an MMORPG in space, where the developers create a new planet to explore every week. Each planet that gets added has new monsters and environments and need to be travelled to through space. Once the new planet is revealed, the coordinates are sent to everyone and they need to actively travel there via spaceship. Effectively what I would like to see is a space flight game mixed with exploration (both on-world and off-world) where there's a variety of diferent things to discover as you go along. (In other words, the best elements of Mass Effect, Spore and Star Control.)

These are just two of the examples I can think of, and I'm sure you can think of many more. Feel free to add on to these ideas if you want. And I'm sure you have ideas of your own.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Falling in love with the PC all over again


Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a confession to make.

Once upon a time when consoles were still in their early stages of development, I was a dedicated PC gamer. I always swore that the Mouse and Keyboard were the only way to play. Consoles were in their early stages of development, and the PC was the closest games got to graphical realism at the time.

Sure, I played console as well, but when I really wanted to get engrossed in a game, I played it on PC. I spent days and even weeks on games like Doom, Heroes of Might and Magic, and Mechwarrior. I couldn't wait to get to my friends houses to play Duke Nukem in Multiplayer.

With the release of the Playstation my favoritism started to wain a bit, and I began to play games like Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid and Dead or Alive.

I was tired of spending money on new hardware for my computer, only to have it change again over the next 6 months. I also got tired of installation times and patching games to work just a little bit better on my mediocre PC.

By the time the PlayStation 2 was out my focus had officially begun to change, and the thumb cramps started to disappear over time, just as my controller skills began to improve.


Eventually with the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 looking as good as they are, I only really played the few PC exclusives that held my attention, like Starcraft 2, World of Warcraft and Torchlight.

I even generally play First Person shooters on console now instead of PC, and although I missed my mouse and keyboard, I still enjoy them to this day.

Anyway, so my confession is just that - I had lost touch with PC gaming, even though it had been the root of gaming in my life.

A few days ago that all changed. My girlfriend got herself a new computer with ridiculously high specs and amazing screen. She plays games too, and to be very honest, more often than not she kicks my ass at almost any console game she puts her mind to. (It's more a compliment to her than an insult to me, because I don't suck at these games either.)

So I went and bought us Call of Duty Black Ops on PC, and even though I have it on console, I knew she would love it as well. (Her only reason for not playing on console was the controller anyway.)

Call of Duty Black Ops on PC with everything on full detail is a dream come true.(ok, a very violent and twisted dream as well.) I'm absolutely loving it, and being able to use the mouse and keyboard again seems to make me a much better player as well. I don't die nearly as much.

Needless to say I've been hogging the PC a bit, but I'll step back when she needs to use it, of course. I'm sure she'll be playing it for most of this weekend, and I'll be playing Xbox again as usual.
 
But hey, I won't be neglecting PC gaming either. I'm kind of ashamed that I did to begin with.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Child of Eden review


Microsoft's motion control peripheral for the Xbox 360 (Microsoft Kinect) is still relatively new, and so the interesting capabilities of the device have yet to be tested to their fullest. One of the latest games to come out with support for Kinect is the interestingly different "Child of Eden", and is one of the most responsive games available for the Kinect at the moment.

Child of Eden is a prequel to Tetsuya Mizuguchi's "Rez", and has a similar feel. The game uses sound, touch and a vast range of colors to instill a sense of depth and emotion.

The story behind Child of Eden, is relatively simple.You need to save Project Lumi (an artificial intelligence within the virtual world of Eden) from a virus that threatens to destroy her and Eden itself. There is a little more to the story, but that pretty much sums it up.

Story aside, this game is really all about the unique visual style and unusual gameplay. It's pretty much an on-rails shooter played inside a kaleidoscope. The effect of this is quite breathtaking, as elaborate colors and shapes fly across the screen at dizzying speeds.

The gameplay is fun and interesting with enemies selected by simply hovering you hand over the area on the screen and flicking your hand towards the screen to shoot at the enemies that you've locked on to. Your other hand is used to shoot a rapid-fire laser to eliminate enemies without locking on to them.

To be honest it doesn't really sound like much, but the combination of colorful visuals and effective use of sound really pulls you in. It is possible to play this game without the use of Kinect, but part of the enjoyment of this game is the interactivity and if you have Kinect, then I would suggest it over the use of the Controller.

Child of Eden will take you roughly 5 hours to finish, so it's not a very long game,.but it's definitely enjoyable and incredibly refreshing to play.

7/10

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Gears of War 3 Vault mod for Xbox 360 soon to be released


Gears of War 3 is due for release on the 20th of September, and as excitement builds for the release of the final part in the Trilogy, a new case mod for the Xbox 360 has been revealed to mark this momentus occasion.

Calibur 11 and Epic Games have pooled their collective talents to create a Gears of War 3 themed Xbox Vault to house your console that looks absolutely amazing.

Not only that, but the vault has been designed to integrate into your Gears of War gaming experience, with the LED glowing as you take damage within the game.


Other features include a cradle to house your controller, Gears of War 3 nameplate and custom painted "Bleed-out" chassis.

This Mod is due to be released on the same date as the game, and will only be available for the Xbox Slim model. (That includes South African buyers)

There will also be a competition available to buyers for a chance to win a life-size COG armoured suit with the C11 Logo.

So, follow up with your local retailer or game store around the 20 September to seriously customise your Xbox 360 with this fantastic modification.

.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Crysis 1 to be released on Console in October


Crysis 2 has been out for a few months now, and was a relatively successful with it's superb graphics, spectacular lighting and interesting gameplay dynamic. Unlike the original, it was released on multiple platforms and looked good on all of them.

The inclusion of multiplayer was a welcome addition as well, and although it was almost identical to Call of Duty in this regard, the extra powers available to you were refreshing.

It was a great game, but it was also criticized for being too linear and not as open as the original.  

The Original Crysis was released on PC in 2007, and was a benchmark for graphics that most machines struggled to handle with even the best of hardware. Developed by Crytek, it was the spiritual successor to their previous hit - Farcry.

Similarly to Farcry, Crysis was an open world first person shooter which allowed you to explore as you saw fit. At the time there was a great deal of debate as to whether it was possible for Crysis to be released on console. (the general consensus was that the graphics were too good for the Xbox 360 or even for the PS3)

Well, finally the debate will be put to rest.

Crysis is coming to console next month in it's full open glory, and we'll finally get to see if it's up to scratch with it's PC counterpart.

It will be available in October through Xbox Live or on the PSN Network, and will also support full stereoscopic 3D.

Syndicate Reboot on the way

For those of you who remember the original Syndicate game, this may come as welcome news, although this may not be like the syndicate we know and love.

Originally a tactical game in which you positioned a four-team group of cyborg agents to dispatch rival syndicates and enemy agents, it was a highly innovative game for it's time. Playing similarly to the original Xcom games. (Otherwise known as UFO), it placed a greater emphasis on real-time overhead combat as opposed to the turn-based approach of the X-com series. Equipment selection and research played a large role in how the game progressed and which weapons your agents used to get the job done.

Recently leaked information and screenshots of the game indicate that it will instead be a first person shooter with emphasis on upgrading your character with chips that enhance gameplay. (including the ability to slow down time and enhance vision to be able to see through walls.)


No news has been released on whether the game will include tactical options similar to it's predecessors, but considering that the new Xcom game due for release next year will now include tactical gameplay (after outcry from the fans on the initial first-person only approach.), it's a strong possibility.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Holday Gamer Buy Guide


Ah yes...the holiday season. Every year it's the same. Too little money and too many games. Some will fall by the wayside, while others must be played.

The amount of games coming out in time for Christmas this year is overwhelming to say the least, so it may be difficult for many of us to decide which games to buy.Of course not all of us like the same games, so that might make it a bit simpler to choose.(One would think.)

Here's a breakdown of  the types of gamers who'll be buying this year, and what games (or consoles) would best suit them.

If any of the below describes you, then this is what I would recommend.


The Casual Gamer / Borderline Gamer

"I don't have time to play games. I'm too busy working and I'm always on the move. Occasionally I get a chance to relax, so if I decide to play games, I'll play something that doesn't take up too much of my time. Also, I get bored easily, so give me games in 5 minute or 10 minute intervals and I'll be happy."

Consoles (all mobile consoles)

Nintendo 3DS
Sony Vita (possible release date extended to 2012 - unconfirmed)
Iphone 4
Iphone 5 (unconfirmed release for 2011)

Games
Super Mario - 3DS
Little Big Planet Vita - Sony Vita
Mario Kart  - 3DS
Street Fighter 4 - 3DS
Alive-4-Ever - Iphone
Fly Bird - Iphone
Numerous other Iphone titles.
The Sims 3 - 3DS


The Role Playing Game Wannabe Hero

"I like progression in my characters development, open environments, and well-rounded characters. The longest games are always the best. Give me options. Give me choice. I love my Fantasy games, but a little bit of Fallout or Mass Effect never hurt anyone. Sleep...what is that? I don't need it!!"

Consoles
Xbox 360
Playstation 3
PC

Games
Deus Ex Human Revolution - Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Dark Souls - PS3
The Elder Scrolls V - Skyrim - Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Lord of the Rings - War of the North - Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Heroes of Might and Magic VI - PC


The First Person Shooter Veteran

"I'm ready for any war, and I've been in all of them. I'll enlist in any army and I'm ready to take on anyone. My dogtags are there for the taking if you can get close enough Mo@#%^&^er!! If there's a game where I can pull off a headshot....I'm there!!."

Consoles 
Xbox 360
Playstation 3
PC

Games
Battlefield 3 - Xbox 360 , Playstation 3, PC
Call of Duty - Modern Warfare 3 - Xbox 360, Playstation 3
RAGE - Xbox 360 , Playstation 3, PC
Dead Island - Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary - Xbox 360


The Jock Gamer / Sports game fanatic

"I might play games, but don't call me a nerd or I'll smack you. Sports, sports and more sports. Don't really care what sport it is, as long as it involves a ball......Ok, racing games are good as well"

Consoles
Xbox 360
Playstation 3


F1 2011 - Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 - Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Fifa Manager 12 - Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Fifa 12 - Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Rugby World Cup 2011 - Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Need for Speed -The Run - Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - review

Not everyone remembers the original Deus Ex, so for many of you the mounting excitement over the release of this game would have gone unnoticed.

However, for those of us that did play it, this prequel to the original had a lot to live up to.

The game is set in 2027, before the events of the original Deus Ex (set in 2052) and the world is very much in conflict as to whether augmentation (the replacement and enhancement of organs and body parts) is ethical or whether it detracts away from what it means to be human.
The plot is filled with conspiracy and twists and turns that leave you wondering who is behind the series of disasters and terrorist attacks throughout the game.

I won’t go into much detail on the story however, because I’d hate to spoil it for you if you’re planning on playing it.

The Game starts off with a very linear approach to gameplay and has a similar feel to Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell, as stealth plays a large part in how you progress.Ducking behind cover is essential to avoid large groups of enemies converging on your position.


Once the introductory section of the game is over though, the choices offered become quite extensive and greatly impact the way you progress through the story. Deus Ex begins to feel more like Mass Effect after a while, with it’s brilliantly crafted dialogue and exploration.

There are also usually several different ways to access areas, with options to traverse rooftops as an example (avoiding conflict almost completely), or going in guns blazing.

Environments become more open as you find yourself walking though a futuristic and stunningly designed Detroit City. There are side missions that require some strategy in order to accomplish, and some of them are only accessible once you have certain augmentation upgrades.


Augmentations are used to upgrade your abilities as you play, and are available through gaining experience and Praxis points.

Praxis points are used to purchase upgrades that give you several useful abilities like being able to jump off a building with no loss of health or being able to pick up objects that were originally too heavy to carry or throw. Other examples include upgrading your inventory size and stealth abilities like seeing through walls.

Guns are also upgradeable, with options like adding extra ammo capacity or a laser site to give greater accuracy being some of the first upgrades to become available.


The way the RPG elements of the game are structured give it a great deal of depth when it comes to gameplay, and provide you with some very useful skills to use against your enemies, or to allow access to areas that weren’t available initially.

Other areas open up eventually, which give you access to shops where you can buy and sell equipment and “Limb clinics” where can purchase further upgrades and Praxis points for augmentation.

Even dialogue provides you with multiple options to choose from. (Sometimes with unintended consequences.)

Each individual aspect to this game is by no means brilliant on it's own, but there is a perfect harmony between First Person shooter combat, Stealth and RPG progression giving the player a complete and well rounded experience.


9/10

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Mortal Kombat - Would you like some Blood with your Guts?

Way back in 1992, when everyone used to frequent the arcades lining up to play Double Dragon or Street Fighter 2, a new Arcade Game started making the rounds.

That game was Mortal Kombat, and although it was also a fighting game like Street Fighter, it had a completely different approach. This game was not shy when it came to violence, with pixelated blood flying across the screen, and realistic looking characters. It also had was known as "fatalities" - A finishing move that tore your opponent apart at the end of a match.

Not everyone loved it of course, and there was much controversy over the amount of violence depicted in it. However, majority of  us gamers will always consider it a classic.

Midway (The Developer behind the Mortal Kombat series, and now called NetherRealm Studios) continued to add to the roster of characters with every sequel released, and inevitably tried their hand at 3D fighting games to compete against the likes of Tekken and Soul Calibur with Mortal Kombat 4 (weapons included as well).

The Numbered titles of Mortal Kombat ended there, and they continued to release games for the PS2, PSP and next Generation consoles. (Titled Deadly Alliance, Deception, Unchained and Armaggedon.)

Although these games were good, and more characters were added on each release, it began to feel a little stale, as it just seemed to be more of the same with nothing new to add to the genre.

In 2008, NetherRealm Studios decided to try something a bit different and released "Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe" which was a crossover with characters from both the Mortal Kombat Universe and the DC Universe. (Such as Superman, Batman, The Flash and WonderWoman.)

Blood and Gore were dialed down, and fatalities no longer held the same satisfaction that they did in the original game. Truthfully, I got bored of it very quickly.








Fast Forward to 2011 and the release of the simply titled "Mortal Kombat" (referred to as Mortal Kombat 2011.) and it's obvious that NetherRealm has learned from their mistakes.

This is the most violently gory game I have EVER played. There is literally no game that can top it in pure violent awesomeness and gore.

Characters show damage during a fight in the form of exposed flesh and bone, and the aptly named "X-ray mode" allows you to do close combat special moves that show cracking bones and breaking skulls.

Fatalities are back, and far more gruesome than ever before. Every bone, sinew and muscle is richly detailed and horribly torn apart in the elaborate scenes that end the fight.

I am surprised this game made it past the censors, but I'm very glad it did.
Environments and Arena's are amazingly life-like and add to the feeling of immersion that the game offers. Combat doesn't fall short either, as the system has been changed a bit as well.

Each Limb has been assigned a button, and fatalities are a lot easier to pull off. Less emphasis has been placed on special moves, and more on well-placed moves and strategy.

The Krypt makes a return with unlockable content that is acquired over time with gold earned.

With new characters released as DLC on a regular basis, (The latest being Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm street movies.) this looks to be a fighting game that will continue to amaze for a while.

Mortal Kombat is really fun to play, and even more fun when you beat your friends to a pulp. It is incredibly reminiscent of the original classic, but also very advanced when it comes to graphics and pushes the genre to new heights with fantastic gameplay.

8/10

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Alice - The Madness Returns Review

The first thing you need to know is that this is not Disney's Alice in Wonderland.
This is a twisted, violent and cerebral interpretation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland in which in this version Alice was put in an Asylum after witnessing the death of her parents, and Wonderland appears to be the dark imagined world inside Alice's own mind as she slips further into insanity.


The Original game (American McGee's Alice) was released in 2000 and used the Quake 3 engine and was a spectacular 3rd person action hit. It was well received and incredibly designed with creepy visuals and dark environments that pushed the original classic to new heights of madness.

Alice - the madness returns is the much awaited sequel to that game and improves on every aspect of it including gameplay, graphics and story.

I must admit, I was one of the many who were really looking forward to playing this game and when I started I was not dissapointed in the least.

The environments are just as twisted and dark as the original, while the enemies are a great deal more scary and imaginitive with a lot more strategy needed in order to beat them.

Switching weapons is smooth though, and once mastered will leave you with a great deal of options in how you want to take care of the evil creatures that attack you at every turn.

The Story is fantastically thought out and leaves you slightly disturbed, but incredibly involved in the plot after every chapter. Characters are well thought out, and become more and more twisted as you go along. (The First of these being the Cheshire cat, who's smile looks like the last thing victims see before being hacked to death in a horror movie.) Strangely enough he is supposedly there to help, and to point you in the right direction.

Aside from that, the game is also incredibly challenging as well, and will keep you occupied for a long time, as many areas need to be attempted more than once to get through, with platforming elements being the main reason. It's not so challenging that you get stuck though, and feels very rewarding when you progress.

I am ashamed to admit that I was only able to finish Chapter 1 after an hour of occasionally falling to my death or from crippling attacks.

This is a very enjoyable game, and although I only recommend it if you're not susceptible to strange nightmares, it's definitely worth getting if you enjoy good platforming and third person combat.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Nintendo 3DS ambassador programme games released


If you purchased the 3DS before August 12 at the original price (before the massive price drop), you were eligible for the Nintendo Ambassador programme.

What this effectively meant was that Nintendo was offering you 20 free games as compensation for missing out on buying it for the cheaper price.

You weren't eligible if you purchased the console after this date.

The first 10 games were released today, and all of them are well-known Nintendo classics from the original console.

These are the games available for download from today via the E-shop:

Super Mario Bros
The Legend of Zelda
Donkey Kong JR
Ice Climber
Metroid
Zelda II - The adventure of Link
Balloon Fight
NES open tournament golf
Mario and Yoshi
Wrecking Crew

Although difficult to find on the E-shop, they were there for downloading. (You need to go to the menu on the top left of the E-shop, Choose Settings/Other and then go to your downloads. If you go down the list these games are available for download.) It'll take a bit of time though, as you can only download them one at a time.

The next 10 games are Gameboy Advance games that will become available later this year including:

Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
Metroid Fusion
WarioWare, Inc.: Minigame Mania
Mario vs. Donkey Kong

And 5 titles to be announced at a later date. 

It's good to see that Nintendo is looking after their loyal customers, but this doesn't change the fact that they need to start releasing  more new games and new IP's to showcase the technology in order for the system to do well in the future.

I still have faith in Nintendo to do just that, but in the meantime all we can do is wait.
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