All posts under Feature
Life Is Strange

By on February 2, 2015 at 1:34 pm

‘“You can’t go home again”, said Thomas Wolfe. But here I am.’

This quote, spoken by protagonist Max if you choose to have her observe an aerial photo of her home town, permeates throughout the entire episode (and also giving a nice nod to the obvious aesthetic influence of  TheFullbright Company’s Gone Home). Max has returned to the small town she grew up in after five years in Seattle; she also discovers early in this first episode that she can rewind time and relive moments, changing their outcome and acting upon new knowledge she has picked up.

This is, on every level, a game about returning to the past and the self-reflection that comes with that.

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The Witcher 3

By on January 29, 2015 at 9:25 am

During our time at Namco Bandai’s headquarters, we managed to sit down with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s senior level designer, a handsomely bearded chap named Peter Gelencser. In between adjusting his badass bracelet made out of skulls and making pretend monster noises with a toy Godzilla action figure that was also in the room, Peter answered my ridiculous questions about Wild Hunt.

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By on January 28, 2015 at 11:05 am

If being part of the gaming industry for a few years has taught me anything, it is that people will inherently distrust anything I say if I sound like I’m too excited about it. Would that I was getting paid by the companies for my opinion! And so, as a naturally exuberant person, I hope you appreciate the effort it will take me to calm my farm about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, because I want you to believe me when I say I loved it.

The last time you heard from me, I was trying to convince you that Dragon Age: Inquisition was worth your time. I stand by what I said, but it seems like some people were disappointed because the hype train had led them to believe they were going to fight actual dragons IRL or something. Okay, so you won’t be able to fight monsters in real life. But if you’re looking for a monster fighting simulator, may I suggest The Witcher 3?

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By on January 22, 2015 at 1:30 pm

At a recent Evolve event in Sydney’s 2K headquarters, I had the chance to catch up with Turtle Rock’s Jon Bloch, a producer on Evolve. After getting some answers on the game’s PC support, I changed tack a little and asked about why the Wraith monster was deliberately female, and what that meant for the game. Here’s our somewhat rambling and inconclusive conversation below.

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Warlords of Draenor Competition

By on January 21, 2015 at 3:28 pm

At the end of last year, we asked you to compete for the chance to win some awesome World of Warcraft gear — to travel back in time, just like the mighty heroes of Azeroth did, and get phat loot, just like they also did. Verily, etc, you made your entries, and we judged them (sorry it took so long).

Let me begin by saying that you are all winners, but very specifically the following people are the biggest winners. Let’s have a look…

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Satellite Reign

By on January 15, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Satellite Reign, one of the few local Kickstarted titles to funnel its way into a proper office not too far away from my own in Brisbane, has been ticking all of the Early Access model boxes. Since they escaped the 30-day Kokoda Track that is a crowd sourcing campaign, they have been hard at work, keeping their backers updated roughly twice a month for the last year and a half. Bravely, they asked us if we would like to take a look at the recently released Alpha, ensuring that what we would see is only a tiny taste of what was to come.

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By on January 15, 2015 at 9:24 am

Evolve is only one short month away (launching here on February 10), there’s precious little time left to decide if you want to get in on day one of this monster hunt. Earlier this week we popped into 2K’s offices in Sydney for some more hands-on time with the game and a brief chat with the Jon Bloch, one of the game’s producers.

Here, in one place, is everything you need to know before picking this game up on PC.

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Blackguards 2

By on January 14, 2015 at 1:49 pm

The first Blackguards game came out in late 2013/early 2014 and considering the not-insubstantial gap between it and its successor, not much has changed. So let’s get this out of the way first and save both of us a lot of time and repetition — if you liked Blackguards there is a near-100% chance that you will like Blackguards 2. In style, theme and gameplay, it’s very similar.

Now that’s not a bad thing, not at all. I think we’ve all probably said at least once in our gaming careers, “I don’t want a new game/sequel/spiritual successor, I just want more of that game,” and it’s clear that Daedalic Entertainment are trying to cater to that market. Blackguards 2 is still turn-based, still hex-grid, and still a strategy RPG.

So if you’ve played and enjoyed Blackguards, I’m going to assume that you’ve stopped reading, and start again like it never happened.

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Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

By on January 6, 2015 at 12:42 pm

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was one of those weird sleeper hits where Crystal Dynamics just kind of made and released it without any fanfare, and when people discovered it and had a play around with it they quickly realised that it was actually pretty bloody good.

A lot of people will tell you that it was so good because of its great exploration, or the smooth and satisfying twin-stick combat, or maybe just the great and well-thought-out co-op gameplay. Sure, yeah. These things are true. But what carries it for me is the absolute straight-faced absurdity of the game, and I’m pleased to report that Temple of Osiris, the recently-released sequel to Guardian of Light, delivers that in spades.

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Halo 5 Guardians

By on January 5, 2015 at 12:53 pm

The Master Chief Collection, the heavily patched Halo compilation that grants its owners the very occasional pleasure of online matches should the stars align perfectly during a full moon, has taught me a lot about the current online Halo environment. I last put serious time into Halo in the months after Halo Reach’s 2010 release, and before that I’d spent a few fun weeks in Big Team matches of Halo 3, hooning around in Warthogs with friends. I reached a level of competence with Halo, if not actual commendable skill – I could consistently not embarrass myself, and occasionally excel in some measurable way.

The people playing the Master Chief Collection, and now killing me repeatedly in Halo 5, almost definitely did not stop playing Halo in 2010. Like JC Denton in the Deus Ex ending I chose, they merged with the system and became digital gods, capable of impossible feats. My first few matches in the Halo 5 beta were genuinely embarrassing, my kill/death ratio so poor that I would actively mute my teammates before each game in anticipation of the deserved drubbing they were likely to give me as I lost the match for them – which is a real possibility in this beta, as every match is a four on four fight and individual performance has a substantial impact on the team’s score.

The first two weeks of the beta have given me a chance to get killed repeatedly across six different maps and two modes, and to wrap my head around the little changes made to the core game.

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Warlords of Draenor Competition

2015 is nearly upon us, and what better way to celebrate the new year than by hiding away on your computer and playing thousands of hours of World of Warcraft? That’s right — there is no better way. To help you along on this quest we’ve stolen* a bunch of stuff from Blizzard’s headquarters, including Collectors Editions that you can’t buy anymore, and an exclusive Warlords of Draenor standee.

evolve wraith

By on December 19, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Last week, was invited along to 2K Games headquarters in Sydney for a few hours of fun with the third monster, the Wraith. Unlike the “fighter” of the Goliath and the “wizard” of the Kraken, the Wraith is a fast, vicious, fragile assassin character who darts in and out and divides and conquers. You can see the official trailer here, but take a look inside and see what happens when Joaby takes the Wraith out for a spin.

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Heroes of the Storm

By on December 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm

I’m a big fan of Heroes of the Storm — taking a very controversial stance that it makes other MOBAs, in fact, “look like crap“. So when I spotted Blizzard’s John Hodgson, Technical Designer on Heroes of the Storm, hanging around outside my house, I decided to invite him in for coffee and ask him questions. Here’s what he had to say.

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the crew-580w-4

By on December 16, 2014 at 4:39 pm

When I think back on my time traversing the open-world of street racing and smuggling in The Crew, two events spring to mind. The first is the long hours I spent waiting, tapping away on my laptop patiently as the hour-long video I’d recorded on the weekend uploaded to YouTube.

I wanted to play but couldn’t, in the full knowledge that my experience would be interrupted, courtesy of the persistent open-world Ivory Tower had created. The Crew is an online-only game, and while server crashes, unsavoury opponents and unstable conditions had been largely absent from my experience — a state of affairs that is far from a given these days — I was forced to curb my enthusiasm.

The second was when my excitement at breaking new ground by visiting the sun and sand of Las Vegas was rudely interrupted by a decidedly bizarre cutscene. A hacker by the name of Roxanne chose to introduce herself in a diner by “hacking” the phone of the protagonist, Alex (nice name), and demanding his help in finding her sister, who had become lost in the underground world of the 5-10 gang.

What was less necessary was the sexual advances that followed only a few seconds afterward, as if Ivory Tower were concerned that they hadn’t met their Hollywood quota of shoehorning enough love interests into the game. The framing and the tone deafness of the flirting was brief, but jarring.

These moments sum up The Crew perfectly – an enjoyable open-world racer, frequently, but only briefly, interrupted by infuriating slices of incompetence, whether that be the teleporting frustration of a player in the United States sending you off-course during your skill run, the presence of microtransactions, no dynamic weather and the most aggressive rubber-banding I’ve ever seen, to mention a few.

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