By Bennett Ring on December 5, 2013 at 8:16 pm
Despite my well-earned reputation as a PC elitist, I’m actually platform agnostic (sound of editor snorting with laughter).
I don’t give a damn about the brand or cost; I simply follow my retinas to the best visuals, and my fingertips to the most interesting mainstream experiences (I’m sadly not a fan of indie or retro gaming). While the PC has been the rock in my relationship with games, I’ve had lengthy dalliances with the SNES, PS1, Xbox and Xbox 360, yet I’ve always returned to Ye Olde Faithful, drawn by the allure of its constantly evolving hardware.
With the release of two next-gen consoles, I figured I’d share my impressions of the new consoles from a PC lover’s perspective. Rather than just give you the specs of each, I’m going to talk about them from an experiential perspective. How do they look, sound, operate and play compared to the PC?
By James Pinnell on December 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm
One of the things I generally complain about to fellow journalists and friends is that lack of “surprise” that increasingly comes from entering a new game.
Developers and publishers constantly promise new mechanics, experiences and technology, but generally fail. As games become more expensive to produce, bigger studios start to feel the pinch from their overlords — niche systems, ideas and creativity don’t sell franchises, and those franchises that make incremental changes rather than wholesale overhauls allow for players who want to be comfortable. After 20-odd years of gaming, I don’t want to be comfortable anymore — which is why I’ve been enjoying the flood of new indie experiences that actually attempt to work against the status quo.
But it’s not just new experiences — it’s also refined ones. These five games were the titles I played this year that delivered those surprising moments — whether improving on classic systems, creating new ones or just making great use of creative prompts, such as humour, sadness or even politics. We’re coming up on the end of the year, and GON’s official GOTY awards are not far away – but this feature is designed to reward those titles that may not be showered in kudos, or simply forgotten on top of all the BioShocks and Last of Us‘s that whitewashed Metacritic this year.
By Jess Colwill on November 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm
To think it’s been more than a year since I reviewed the original Rocksmith. It’s not required reading, but if you’re interested in Rocksmith 2014, it’s probably not a bad idea to go back and read my review of the original since, in essence, it’s the same game and many aspects of the review will be a comparison between the two, with highlights of the changes. But let’s dive right in.
Rocksmith 2014 has done everything right. That’s the bottom, top and middle line. It’s taken everything I didn’t like about the original and added, modified or otherwise changed it until the game became an almost perfect iteration of the original Rocksmith. Almost perfect.
Alas, like with so many good things, when you fix one problem, others stem from the result.
By James Pinnell on November 27, 2013 at 12:03 pm
About a month ago, my intrepid editor provided me with a task — create two PC systems that either matched or surpassed both new consoles in terms of power, storage, speed and flexibility, while still managing to stay within the price points of both. This was never going to be easy — both the Xbox One and the PS4 are loss leaders for their respective benefactors, relying on a combination of software sales and subscriptions to make up their bottom lines.
So with that in mind, I’ve taken a few liberties with pricing. The RRP of the Xbox One is $599, and includes all the respective cables and controller(s). I’ve also added 2 years of XBox LIVE Gold for $160, since it’s needed to play online and have access to apps like Internet Explorer, Netflix, YouTube and SBS on Demand. The PS4 escapes a little better, with an RRP of $549, I’ve also added 2 years of PS Plus for $140 but omitted the cost for the optional camera since it’s not required for play. That leaves me with $759 and $689 respectively. They also need to offer 1080P @ 60FPS at a decent visual level for at least 3 years.
Yikes. Let’s do this.
By Alex Walker on November 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm
Rivals is a safe gamble, combining the worlds of Most Wanted and Hot Pursuit into the fictitious Redview County. The events are pretty much the same as Hot Pursuit’s — Interceptor, Hot Pursuit, Races, Time Trials (Rapid Responses for cops). Events are strewn throughout the open-world in the same fashion as Most Wanted: pull up the to requisite spot, slow down, hit a button and off you go.
Head-to-head and random pursuits are more satisfying, since they can be triggered at 20 or 200 kilometres an hour. Rivals feels its most natural when you’re scouring the world, running into an opponent, hitting the sirens and then spending the next 10km weaving in and out of traffic while you dodge EMPs, spike strips and the odd hairpin.
But the Alldrive system, which allows you to connect to a lobby of five other cops or racers (which can be changed just by parking in a garage), isn’t complete, and there’s a heap of engine issues and strange design decisions that mean that almost all of the changes Rivals tries to bring to the series just don’t work.
By Tim Colwill on November 26, 2013 at 10:40 am
After toying around with the new Crusader class over the weekend (watch that here), we’ve now moved on to the very interesting new Adventure Mode which forms part of the new Reaper of Souls experience.
In Adventure Mode, you can transport yourself to anywhere in the game, from Act 1 all the way to Act 5, and pick up Bounties by killing various monsters and participating in events. Seeing this as a great chance to both explore Act 5 and the new Bounties system at the same time, we jumped right in.
By Tim Colwill on November 25, 2013 at 12:27 pm
We’ve been plugging away at the Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls beta over the weekend, crushing skulls and smiting heretics as the new Crusader class. While we were ploughing through the ruins of Tristram yet again, we happened to record some footage at the same time. Here, below, you can see the Crusader in action including skills like Punish, Slash, Shield Bash, Sweep Attack, Shield Glare and Iron Skin.
By Jason Imms on November 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm
When it was announced that Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag would be open-world, and focused on the antics of a pirate-slash-assassin, it was easy to assume that Ubisoft were panicked, scrambling to find something, anything that would serve to draw a disillusioned fanbase back into the fold, even if only for the sake of morbid curiosity.
In reality, however, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a strong and focused change in direction for the series. The key to this change is found in the protagonist, Edward Kenway, and one simple fact of his personality: Edward could not care less about the Assassins, the Templars, or their damnable causes.
By Tim Colwill on November 21, 2013 at 3:45 pm
Gamers across Australia and the world are queuing up tonight in anticipation of the midnight launch of the PC, the brand new gaming platform whose incredible graphics, online functionality, and flexibility herald a new generation in interactive entertainment.
By Alex Walker on November 20, 2013 at 10:41 am
State of Decay inspires equal parts admiration and frustration. At times I’ve cursed at the monitor, walked out of the room and then furiously badmouthed the game to my housemate. Other times, I’ve quietly swung my lead pipe, tossed firebombs into infested warehouses, reversed over hordes of zombies for the hell of it and not realised that it’s four in the morning, and I needed to be asleep three hours ago.
By Tim Colwill on November 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm
Usually when I get emails asking cryptically for my address I reach for the phone to call the police, but when NVIDIA does it it I’m quite happy to provide — and so it was the next day that a shiny GeForce GTX 780 Ti turned up unannounced in the mail. My current card is a GTX 670, so stepping up to the next series (and beyond) seemed like a good chance to test just how far I could push my rig, as well as seeing whether it was actually possible to pull a playable frame rate out of a maxed-out Metro: Last Light. Let’s take a look.
By Patrick Vuleta on November 14, 2013 at 2:33 pm
John Rau, the South Australian Attorney-General, just called for a review of the several games rated MA15+. Murder simulators such as Splinter Cell Blacklist, Killer is Dead, and The Walking Dead. Apparently these games had been released as 18+ in some countries, but only MA15+ here. Some were not happy about this lack of moral standards.
Earlier this year, Mr Rau also claimed this discrepancy meant games were not receiving rigorous attention at the review stage. However, Australia’s classification system is different from that of other countries, so perhaps we should make our own decisions. We need to develop our own Australian standard of what is fair game.
By James Pinnell on November 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm
XCOM: Enemy Within expects that you already know everything that there is to know about XCOM. It also expects that you quite enjoy XCOM, and Yes, Indeed Sir, you would like some more. A lot more.
But let’s be clear — regardless of how Enemy Within has been marketed, it is almost certainly a DLC in sequels clothing. There is no overhaul here, no real move to address the few niggles that frustrated in the original title. What there is, however, is a slight deviation into an alternate course.