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starcraft 2 legacy of the void

By on October 1, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Good news everyone! With Legacy of the Void fast approaching next month, Blizzard are hosting a little soiree at their offices in Sydney — and they want to invite ten of’s finest readers! I tried to talk them out of it, explaining that you were all “too busy” and “weren’t toilet trained” but they were insistent, so there it is: we have five double passes to give away to the event.

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Assassin's Creed Syndicate

By on September 28, 2015 at 8:47 pm

It’s a common theory that the Assassin’s Creed games seem to swing through a Microsoft Windows-style cycle of peaks and troughs. AC2 was good, Brotherhood was okay. Revelations was good, but AC3 didn’t rate that well. Black Flag was good, but Unity was buggy… look, you get the picture. If we follow this theory to its natural conclusion, this year’s AC instalment — Syndicate — should be another high point, and I’m pleased to report after several hours of hands-on action that this appears to be the case.

But nothing in the world of Assassin’s Creed is ever wasted. As Black Flag built on the technology of  AC3, Syndicate is built on the bones of Unity. Where Unity was beautiful but laggy, Syndicate is simply beautiful. Where Unity’s parkour was was clunky, Syndicate’s is elegant. Where Unity’s map looked like somebody had loaded icons into a shotgun and fired it, Syndicate is pared-back and focused.

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Destiny: The Taken King

By on September 23, 2015 at 4:20 pm

One thing becomes clear when you boot up Destiny following the release of The Taken King: you’re supposed to feel dread. That overwhelming sense of awe and discovery that was inspired by Year One’s theme has taken an ominous turn. The composition that once played while I was in orbit — one of my favourite pieces of video game music — has now been replaced by an arrangement that sounds just that little bit more sinister. There’s a change in mood here that starts with the soundtrack and permeates through the level design.

That being said, the latest chapter of the story has been brought to life by a small, but memorable cast of characters, many of whom had appeared from the beginning but have only now found their voice. Cayde-6, voiced by Firefly and Castle star Nathan Fillion is the primary quest-giver for the fight against Oryx. Fillion doesn’t just provide mission briefings, he’s the star of several cutscenes and also provides colourful mid mission dialogue.

Nolan North of Uncharted fame replaces the unfairly-maligned Peter Dinklage in the role of your Ghost. Both actors turn in stellar performances, and while the script isn’t written to elicit much of an emotional response, the added dramatic flavour makes it that little bit easier to complete a strike, story or patrol mission for the three hundredth time.

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By on September 22, 2015 at 5:19 pm

Imagine if someone built a computer model of your brain — complete in all ways, so lifelike and complex that it was impossible to tell it apart from a real brain. Uploaded into a body and able to move around, learn and feel — what is the difference between the simulated you and the real you? How would you know if you were the original? And what would happen if more copies were made, different snapshots of you at different times?

SOMA asks questions like these. SOMA is everything I love.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition

By on September 22, 2015 at 2:45 pm

The final story-based DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition is being touted as the answer to all of your questions. If you’ve played the game you’ll know which ones I mean. You know, how after [spoiler], [spoiler] goes on to [spoiler] and we all go, “say whaaaaaat?”

While some of those questions will be answered, those answers will mostly leave you with more questions. And those answers are hard-won by having to actually play through the DLC, so don’t come into Trespasser expecting to sit down with [spoiler] and have a chat over tea and biscuits while they explain all the ins and outs of their cunning scheme to you.

But you know what is interesting about Trespasser? I can’t believe I’m saying this but: the questions it leaves you asking. Mostly because they seem to pretty heavily suggest not only that there will be a fourth Dragon Age game, but that it is already in development, with a setting and a vague story already decided.

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By on September 18, 2015 at 10:27 am

It’s strange to acknowledge my attachment to guns. Fictional guns, no less. This Tuesday night at 7pm, however, the moment I’d been dreading for about a month came to pass. My two most reliable tools got locked away in my vault in first person inventory space manager and MMO-lite, Destiny.

My Gjallahorn, the exotic (for those not in the know, the highest grade of rarity) rocket launcher that was key to undoing any end game enemy, was now ostensibly useless. An uncommon machine gun of the filthiest green was presented early on as a more powerful replacement. My Vision of Confluence, the lynchpin of loadouts that felled Crota, Atheon and Skolas, was now holding me back from cracking Destiny’s new missions and its latest mystery, the Light system.

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Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

By on September 9, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Open world games have become bloated. Fire up the latest Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry and you’ll be greeted by a world map cluttered with “activity” icons. There are so many things to do in those games, but in the grand scheme of things, not much actually happens. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the opposite kind of open world game. The things you do are quite limited in variety, but so much can happen while doing them.

This is a game which casts you as someone the world perceives to be the greatest soldier who ever lived. Everything you do in The Phantom Pain‘s open environments  is about living up to that name. You drop into a point on the map via helicopter, infiltrate compounds and outposts, extract prisoners, sabotage equipment, and assassinate high-value targets. Various combinations of these objectives amount encompass almost all of the main story missions’ goals. Though it sounds threadbare and repetitive, it works – because after giving you that objective, The Phantom Pain just lets you play, and almost never throws a wall up in front of you.

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By on September 4, 2015 at 9:25 am

The hotly-anticipated Destiny expansion, The Taken King, launches very soon on September 15.  In an exclusive livestream to me last night while I was asleep, Bungie revealed all the changes you can expect as part of this blockbuster expansion. I don’t know anything about Destiny, so I’ve transcribed everything as best I can. Please enjoy.

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