All posts under Review
Reaper of Souls

By on April 17, 2014 at 4:23 pm

I’m not ashamed to admit that I ragequit over the state of Diablo 3 at launch. After finishing the game once, I’d had enough. The regular and inconveniently-timed-for-Australians server maintenance, latency, and the fact that I couldn’t choose to play offline all led to me coming away from one of my most anticipated games of all time with a sour taste in my mouth. I was frustrated that the sequel to a game that I had played almost exclusively offline came with a whole slew of features that I didn’t care about, which explicitly precluded me from playing the game the way I wanted to play it: offline, with no latency, and with local network multiplayer only.

Not quite two years later came the release of Reaper of Souls, the new expansion to Diablo 3. I was drawn in by the conversation surrounding the new content, I was tempted. Nearly two years of learned lessons, patches, and improvements to a game that I had so sorely wanted to love. Perhaps this was the time for forgiveness, for a second chance? The news that Australian servers had been rolled out was enough to push me over the edge. I was going back to Sanctuary.

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Betrayer

By on April 10, 2014 at 11:00 am

The year is 1604. Washed up on a beach after the (presumed) crash of your ship, you expected to find a thriving colony on the edge of the new world. Instead, what you find is an island full of ghosts, demons and a mysterious cloaked woman on a quest to locate her twin sister. Betrayer is easily one of the more ambitious indie titles I have seen in a while, with an opening so ominous, confusing and daunting it put me instantly on the back foot. Soon you’ll find your first “base” of sorts, Fort Henry — but from there, the mystery only deepens as the game forces you to evaluate your surroundings and discover clues to what has occurred. Why are there human remains solidified in place? Why does this bell create instant darkness? Why are these souls begging me to find their loved ones?

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The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot

By on March 13, 2014 at 1:44 pm

It’s been an interesting road for The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot, Ubisoft’s first true F2P experiment — a sort of Dungeon Keeper-meets-Diablo with a side of Netstorm: Islands at War — from its first, hilarious, announcement trailer back in 2012 to the rocky balancing of “Pay” and “Play” during the closed beta. It’s a tale of two games: on the one side, we have a hack and slash grinder that offers what’s on the box — oodles of loot, tons of gold, creative mobs, traps and other nasties. On the other, the game forces you to defend your existence in the game’s floating plan, building up your own castle with the very same mobs and tricks that you’ve struggled through already, albeit with the advantage of creative placement and a touch of your own skill and prowess.

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Shadowrun Returns Dragonfall

By on March 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Dragonfall sucks, because it’s awesome. Hey, what-who? It does. You know why? It’s so much better than the base game that it should be the base game. It is what everyone’s introduction to Shadowrun Returns should be, such is the intensity with which Harebrained heard the critique and used it to affect improvement in just about every area that needed it. It if does anything wrong, it’s that new players aren’t able to play it straight up, ‘cos it’s DLC.

And what DLC. My goodness.

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South Park: The Stick of Truth

By on March 4, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Obsidian Entertainment is RPG royalty. It makes sense, then, that any content provider would kill to task such an esteemed team of designers and developers to produce a game worthy of their precious licences. With this in mind, it is easy to reconcile the double and triple-takes exhibited by any and all that heard that Obsidian would be producing a videogame based on, of all things, South Park.

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Loadout

By on February 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm

As life goes on, you get bored with the surface of things. Things that are pure aesthetic, like Michael Bay movies, lose their luster. Immediacy is not that fun anymore. There is no realisation to divine here, only a headstone to spitfire youth and choices made under the duress of $5 jugs. The depths of things are where your mind goes now. You start to see the subtext in great art – in movies, books, graphic novels with assassin nuns – where before it was something that stretched you, required your head to hurt. Now it is just plainly there: “This is actually about Ronald Reagan’s hair.” It is one of the joys of aging past the 24/7 boner stage. Then you play a game like Loadout.

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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

By on January 21, 2014 at 10:04 am

This game is not for the faint hearted. This game is not for people who give up easily. This game is not for people who find using tactics and analysing the subtle movements of their opponents in a brawler entertaining. This game is not for people who like getting their hand held. So, now that I’ve scared off a sizeable chunk of the possible readers for this particular review, let me be honest straight off the bat — Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a great tactical brawler. It’s bloody, brutal and features all of the fantastic dialogue, music and fan service that stalwarts of Konami’s iconic series are used to.

The only caveat is, really, is that you understand the fantastic pedigree of its developer — Platinum Games — creators of awarded technical brawler Bayonetta. God of War this is not, my friends, as button mashing and wall jumping have been replaced by pin point accuracy and careful move analysis. You have been warned.

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walkingdeadclementine01

By on January 8, 2014 at 12:52 pm

It was with a heavy sense of trepidation that I launched episode one of The Walking Dead: Season 2 (TWDS2). While I felt that enough time had passed since I last gazed into the grim reflection on humanity that is Telltale’s adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, I was concerned that seeing the world from Clem’s eyes may once again cause me more anguish than I can bear. What I found, though, was that taking on the role of Clementine didn’t make the experience as uncomfortably personal as I had expected. In fact, it removed one of the most interesting things about the game.

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DarkOut

By on December 12, 2013 at 7:47 am

The latest title to take a leaf from the Terraria-side of the family almanac is DarkOut, a thoroughly ambitious indie darling that has been shuffled through an extraordinarily long 2.5 year development period. But there’s been a lot to show for it — the game has a gorgeous art style, randomly generated environments with tons of biomes, bunkers with AI survivors, vehicles and a host of other goodies shoved into every algorithm that spawns a brand new world. This world is also notoriously creepy too; if you’ve ever seen Pitch Black, well, so have the developers — this planet is dark, dank and teeming with creatures primed to make your skin crawl.

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X Rebirth

By on December 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I’m done with this game. I’ve had enough. My reserves of willpower and my fortitude for being screwed over are spent. No more.

X Rebirth, despite graduating from release to version 1.18, is utter chaos — not of the colossal and awe-inspiring kind space-fans expected, but of an infuriating, hair-pulling, IQ-destroying nature. Every positive carries at least two negatives, both of which probably cause the game to crash or your save to be corrupted.

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Rocksmith 2014

By 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.

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Need for Speed: Rivals

By 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.

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Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag

By 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.

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State of Decay

By 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.

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SimCity

By on November 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm

SimCity has come a long way, in terms of both content expansion and damage control, since its disastrous launch back in March. Even putting aside the complete mess around servers, multiplayer and DRM for a moment, there were still huge concerns about the sheer number of game breaking bugs, alongside the claustrophobia of a tiny square patch of land where I’m expected to build Sydney inside Canberra.

I could count on my fingers the number of features that worked correctly as opposed to the ones that didn’t — traffic, RCI, resource sharing, chat, land claims, global market — all originally touted as next-generation city-sim features which instead became the stuff of embarrassing memes and gifs, plastered across the heavily traffic’d front pages of Reddit. Maxis and EA fell on their swords, dropping freebies of DLC and EA back-catalogued sweeteners to keep gamers on side. It was a two pronged attack — making sure people didn’t punish EA in the long run, on top of keeping player populations active — because without a community, there really is no SimCity.

Cities of Tomorrow aims to turn over a new leaf, not only by introducing a plethora of new systems and new resources, but also attempting to salve a lot of the frustration that comes with the territory.

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GeForce GTX 780 Ti

By 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.

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XCOM: Enemy Within

By 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.

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