All posts under Feature
Doom

By on July 28, 2015 at 9:14 am

Doom 3 was a surprisingly slower-paced sequel to fast-paced predecessors. It emphasised horror and had just as many troughs as it did peaks. You should absolutely not expect that kind of treatment of the material with id Software’s 2016 take on Doom. It’s fast as hell and has distilled a lot of what was great about the first two games in the series, splicing it into an unholy union of old-school mechanics and contemporary design.

In terms of multiplayer, it’s more Strogg than hell spawn, borrowing heavily from id’s other big dormant shooter IP, Quake, while simultaneously cheekily appropriating from Quake’s biggest foe, Unreal. Doom’s single-player is mostly under wraps in terms of the story – although the team hinted at the story being on par with the first two games – but the multiplayer was fair game for us to get our hands on at QuakeCon 2015.

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Fallout 4

By on July 27, 2015 at 10:06 am

Bethesda Game Studios last three games – Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Skyrim – have all received a lot of love from the Game of the Year category. That’s the no-pressure titbit that the vice president of marketing and PR at Bethesda, Pete Hines, led with in his brief introduction to one of the main events at QuakeCon 2015: an exclusive presentation of Fallout 4.

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avcon_indies_2015

By on July 23, 2015 at 3:31 pm

There’s nothing like an indie area at a convention to remind a games journalist how comparatively easy their job is. On all three days of AVCon, Adelaide’s favourite anime and videogame expo, I walked in at midday and spent a few hours sauntering around the Indie Games Room, playing incredible feats of artistic achievement and chatting with the nervous, exhausted geniuses who made them, all the while making a mental list of the five games I’d end up briefly covering in this article afterwards.

It’s impossible to do full justice to the level of quality of our local game developers: I didn’t play a single game all weekend that wasn’t admirable in some wonderful way. But still, here are the awards we’d hand out if we could afford the precious metals and plaques.

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Heroes of the Storm

By on July 21, 2015 at 3:45 pm

When Heroes of the Storm came along and stripped out much of what makes the MOBA genre so insanely difficult for new players to learn, hardcore players rejected it almost immediately.

It was a “MOBA for casuals”, it “wasn’t difficult”, it “wouldn’t have staying power”. By allowing new players to feel accepted and competent within a much quicker period of time, older players instantly felt upset that their experience wasn’t being valued. They figured that this accessibility was due to an innate lack of challenge or depth – in much of the same way many people derided Hearthstone in its infancy.

But confusing accessibility with a lack of difficulty is a common mistake.

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battlecry

By on July 16, 2015 at 1:05 pm

It is going to be an extraordinarily rough year for any developer or publisher who wants you to spend money on their team shooter. There are at least three new heavy duty contenders (including Dirty Bomb, Overwatch and, now, BattleCry) competing with a host of established F2P offerings like Team Fortress 2, Warface and Blacklight.

BattleCry enters the arena at an unusual time – after a a brief public showing at PAX last year, its developer team promised me that they had gone back and worked over a number of the complaints players had with hit registration and class differentiation. So it was with interest that I took an invitation to jump the queue at Bethesda’s E3 booth, strapped on some headphones and feel into the world of BattleCry.

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pax_aus_2015

By on July 13, 2015 at 1:39 pm

As we approach this year’s PAX Australia — October 30 to November 1, don’tchaknow — we’re as painfully aware as everyone else that those elusive 3-Day Passes, valued at $160 each, are all sold out.

If only there was some sort of gaming website that was giving them away! Wait, hang on a tick, I’m getting a call [indistinct whispering]… Oh! Okay! We are giving away two 3-Day Double Passes. We are. There you go.

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Batman: Arkham Knight

By on July 9, 2015 at 4:10 pm

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT.

DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED THE STORY OF BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT.

Gotham City is under siege. Its citizens have either fled or huddle indoors while gangs of deranged villains roam the streets with impunity. Batman’s villains, finally sick of the Dark Knight, have teamed up to take him down once and for all. Under pressure and in a race against time, Batman glides and swoops through the open world, fighting against overwhelming odds and chasing down collectibles and side missions while the Joker screams and laughs at him every five minutes.

What Arkham game am I talking about here? Don’t worry if you’re puzzled, we’ll come back to it.

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Batman: Arkham Knight

By on July 6, 2015 at 4:58 pm

Dark Rainy City is a tough place. That’s why Scary Mask Man is here to bring his two-fisted brand of justice to the dark, rainy streets — and this time he’s up against his old foe Fear Man and his new foe, Mystery Bad Man. Join Scary Mask Man as he punches crime to within an inch of its life (but not any further, because Scary Mask Man has sworn a solemn vow never to kill).

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EVE Valkyrie

By on July 2, 2015 at 1:49 pm

I’ve been in the very lucky position to go hands-on with quite a few different VR technologies over the past few years. From the original Oculus DK1 to Sony’s Morpheus to Razer’s OSVR, it’s plain to see that everyone is foreshadowing that our screens are going to be sitting a lot closer to our faces in coming years. At E3 2015, I got a chance to play EVE Valkyrie on the Oculus Rift consumer model. It was amazing.

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Rainbow Six Siege

By on July 1, 2015 at 3:10 pm

There are few things more satisfying than successfully executing a well laid plan. I still have fond memories of the map, dot and line system of the original Rainbow Six titles – where engagements were planned via a series of drawn lines, frantic circles and a few small arguments in regards to breach locations and what equipment to bring. Then there were the coordinated actions, that beautiful shock and awe moment when all four members simultaneously blast/rappel/storm one or many locations at once before the tangos even know the cavalry has arrived. Part of that appeal was the inevitable failure that accompanied a woefully nieve takedown plan — but then you just re-evaluate, and start again.

Ubisoft has taken yet another departure in its latest re-imagining of Rainbow Six, which they’re calling Siege.

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Ghost Recon Wildlands

By on June 29, 2015 at 4:51 pm

To be honest, Ghost Recon was not a title I expected to see at this year’s E3 — and after its out-of-nowhere reveal of Wildlands at the end of Ubisoft’s press conferences, I was ushered behind the curtain for my closed door session to find, sadly, that it was a strictly hands-off demo only.

Wildlands is Ghost Recon‘s first proper gameplay evolution since its inception, and from its fairly decent linear shooting roots Wildlands, like many other titles this E3, has expanded its scope to reduce its reliance on scripted gameplay and allow players to create their own unique experiences.

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Destiny the Taken King

By on June 29, 2015 at 3:21 pm

If you clicked on this and wanted to know whether The Taken King is fun – it is. It’s a solid continuance of the Destiny story, alongside a bunch of new PVP and PVE content. If you are a Destiny fan, what this DLC offers is a solid effort that you will likely enjoy.

But I’m going to break preview protocol a little now and talk about why I don’t think this expansion is good value for money.

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Just Cause 3

By on June 25, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Originally a semi-serious attempt at producing a title where you attempt to take down of a totalitarian regime, Just Cause quickly evolved into arguably the best sandbox for creating almost every type of explosion you can think of.

In its two previous incarnations you could hijack vehicles, crash them into other vehicles, buildings, military installations, small towns and blow up almost every object in the world. There was some element of a story, sure, but no-one actually cared about it. Square Enix seems to have taken this to heart: during our hands-off gameplay demonstration of Just Cause 3, they didn’t even mention the story at all…

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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

By on June 24, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Possible spoilers for Human Revolution within.

I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed that my first look at the long-awaited Human Revolution sequel was a hands off demo. But as was the case with many titles at this years’ E3, the games announced and shown are not actually going to out for at least 6-8 months. As a result, what we’re seeing is usually pre-alpha — largely feature complete, but without a lot of the polish and shine that will come through on the final release.

Still, there was much to see and what I did feast my eyes on was both revealing and as the same time a little relieving – enough has changed to be different, but the bulk of what made the original great is still shining through. Welcome to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

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Dark Souls 3

By on June 24, 2015 at 4:06 pm

It was in a very tight, dark and ominous meeting room upstairs in the back of Bandai Namco’s media area that Dark Souls 3 was very unceremoniously unveiled to me and a number of other press. Two representatives from the developer team, one who only spoke Japanese alongside his very patient translator, gradually walked us through about 20 minutes of footage (no hands-on for us, I’m afraid), highlighting a number of changes while being very careful not to spoil anything nor inadvertently reveal any information they weren’t ready to divulge.

But what I could see, frankly, was that Dark Souls 3 was looking utterly gorgeous.

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Total War Warhammer

By on June 23, 2015 at 5:38 pm

Let’s face it – Warhammer has always been crying out for an opportunity to hit the wide, digital, battlefield. Thousands of units, sprawling, epic, battle arenas with volcanoes, castles and the like. So it was with great excitement that Tim ordered me with great haste to Deep Silver’s media room, where I was offered a cold cranberry juice and the opportunity to check out a hands off gameplay demo of Total War: Warhammer. I was not disappointed with the results (although the cranberry juice was a little sugary for my liking — America, right?).

Total War: Warhammer is not your father’s Total War. Gone are the historical restrictions that once prevented the developers from branching out into the unordinary. With the license in hand, Creative Assembly have started cracking apart the engine to allow all sorts of weird and wacky additions to combat.

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XCOM 2

By on June 22, 2015 at 5:51 pm

There were few titles I was looking more forward to checking out than XCOM 2, after it dropped out of nowhere just before E3. So it was with a little bit of disappointment that I  discovered 2K did not have a playable build, and instead I was treated to a closed door demo of the new title via a full mission, played out in realtime.

It’s been two years since XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and in a departure from most sequels, our friends at Firaxis have decided to take an unusual tactic for the setting. As was the case with most play throughs of the original, in XCOM 2 canon, Earth lost.

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razer mamba

By on June 22, 2015 at 4:53 pm

The Razer-staple Mamba mouse is changing for the better. Last week, as part of Razer’s E3 product launch, they demonstrated the capabilities of the new device, headlined by the 16,000 DPI laser sensor, dual click force customisation, and the addition of its “Chroma” LED colour system. As is the case with most of their hardware, Razer mean business when it comes to ensuring quality and backing up their claims with facts. Not one but three very expensive looking machines filled the small meeting room in the West Hall, each with a mouse filling a custom cut hole. My guide Cherry flicked them on with a flourish and invited me to check out the monitors.

The first two machines monitored click force as relative to travel pressure (I’m honestly not kidding here, check the pictures), showing how the new, simple screw mechanisms on the bottom of the mouse allow each button to supply individual force. Like your buttons to be ultra quick and responsive for those MOBA and RTS micro movements? Or maybe a little more dense and secure for those shots. I was skeptical at first, especially since I didn’t honestly think it mattered… until I set my right mouse button to be quite firm and the left quite light. Oh my. I could get used to that sort of control, thank you very much.

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The Division

By on June 19, 2015 at 3:12 pm

The scenario behind The Division is one of those Tom Clancy archetypes that really gets my shadowy organisation blood flowing. People trained as sleeper cells of sorts that spring into action when serious disaster strikes in order to retain security is a fantastic idea for a game – namely because very few have considered it as an option. As each cell operates independently, but under the same organisational umbrella, what happens when central control has been destroyed? Do the cells start forming their own loose coalition government, or do they end up morphing into warring factions?

The Division leans towards the former but offers a small taste that the former may end up being a possible dilemma that could very well be faced. In a closed room session at Ubisoft’s E3 booth I was offered a chance to go either way. I was teamed up with one other journalist and a member of Ubisoft Montreal’s developer team, who gave us a short rundown on the controls, loadouts and our mission – to enter the “Dead Zone” and secure territory.

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razer forge

By on June 19, 2015 at 2:00 pm

From the moment the Ouya broke onto the scene and broke Kickstarter records, many people have asked: is there even a need for a device that offers mobile gaming options for home use? The common (mis)conception is that many people would prefer to use a console or PC with their TV simply due to their versatility and accessibility. The problem with this argument is that not only are you limited by price (good luck finding an Xbox One or PS4 for less than $400), but what you’re paying for is generally well and truly overpowered for what many people actually use. I have friends who own a PS4 but spend 85% of the time watching Netflix and Hulu Plus on it, with nary a Blu-Ray entering its bowels through the optical orifice.

Unfortunately Ouya turned out to be what many originally expected — underpowered, poorly designed, and lacking a critical mass of quality software. Which it got the size right, its controller was a hot mess of cheap engineering and little quality control, coupled with a user interface that took too long to get right. But there’s still hope for a product to fill this gap — announced earlier this year, I got a chance to check out the Forge TV at Razer’s E3 booth.

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Recent Features
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