Saturday, 28 February 2015

Batman Arkham Knight: What I'm Excited About

Hi guys,

Today we will be looking at Batman Arkham Knight, I'm sure it is a game that you all have heard of, and most of you either want it or are getting it at launch. I have played both preceding games in the "Rockstar Trilogy", those being Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. There isn't a single other game that does collectables as well as the Batman games, that may sound inconsequential compared to the main game, it may also sound like that is the only bit I like. Neither of these is the case, rather it is a near perfect game, which I believe has perfected the collectibles. Although somewhat short(only by 2011 standards, 10-12 hours is a positive hoard of gaming these days) the campaign is truly amazing. Back when I first played it I wasn't massively into the Batman universe, I liked the look of it, but didn't always know who was on screen despite the reaction of Batman making me think I should know the enemy currently inhabiting the screen.

Where should I start on the gameplay, not just the combat but also the stealth are incredibly addictive. Spurred on by the combat training rooms(unlocked from specific collectibles), which throw Batman into a room and either expect him to beat them all to a pulp and earn points for it, or stealth his was through an entire room of enemies. Neither of which is easy, especially when the difficulty ramps up the the near god like skill required to get three stars(or batarangs) on the later levels. There are also a whole heap of side quests which are perfectly fitted in to the world, without the player feeling like anything was shoe horned into the world.

Anyway enough about the previous games, and why I love them. We are here to look at Arkham Knight, the third instalment in the series from the parent developer Rockstar. Unlike in previous games where the main villains are ones we already know the previous lore of Batman, in Arkham Knight(as the title suggests) the main antagonist is the newly created Arkham Knight, who is adorned in high-end military gear which is designed to look similar to Batmans trademark armour. There is rife speculation about who is under the mask of the Knight, though I care not for these discussions as I eagerly await the nail biting moment when the Knight takes off his mask, though there is no indication that he will ever take his mask off! The whole of Gotham has been evacuated after Scarecrow issues a threat against all citizens who stay within the walls of Gotham. We don't yet know how or even if the city will then be divided up by the respective villains, Penguin, Two Face, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and more are making a triumphant return to Gotham. The size of Arkam Knight's City is apparently 5x the size of our previous superhero playground in Arkham City, and with an increase in size comes a new way to transport the Batman around. No longer will the famed and incredibly fun cape be the only way of traversing the city, now we will have the Batmobile to wreak havoc on the villains unwittingly residing on the streets of Gotham. The Batmobile has been the one feature that I have taken some warming to, but with every new trailer that is released, my excitement for the new transportation mode grows. The Batmobile appears to be just as armoured and weaponised as the Batman himself, with cannons and more have been spotted rising from the sleek body of the vehicle.

If you couldn't tell from the whole tone of this above spiel I am incredibly excited for Batman Arkahm Knight to be released in early June(no hype for this game at E3 the!), oh and have I mentioned that this is the last Batman game Rockstar are releasing. It is unclear if they will pass the franchise over to another team like the did for Arkham Origins, but I personally would suggest this will be the last outing of Batman we will see in gaming for quite some time. When this was first announced I was obviously sad that this was going to be the last one in the series, until someone pointed out that Rockstar are still going to be making games. So which franchise(hopefully superhero) will they turn their expert gaze to next? Or might they tread their own path with a new IP being released from their doors in a few years?I am not one to answer this question, but I sure as hell am excited both about Arkham Knight at the future of Rockstar.

That is me done for now, and I am just left to thank you for reading, and to tell you that this new page on my site dedicated to Batman Arkham Knight, will be updated in the future leading all the way up to my review! So stay tuned!


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Too Many Remastered Games?

Hi guys,

Today we will be talking about possibly quite a controversial topic, the remastering of games. I say it is controversial, because there are people who think that remasters are brilliant, and those who think it is a lazy way to earn more money, so let's take a look at that!

First of all, I very much support the remastering of certain games, there are games such as The Last of Us. I never had the chance to play this game while I still had a PS3, and sorely missed the fact that such a famous, flagship game of Playstation wasn't in my history books. So I went out and bought the remastered version, which also included the Left Behind DLC, which got nearly as much critical acclaim as the base game. Probably the most famous remaster on PS4/XOne is GTA V, which I played on the PS3, and thus chose not to sink more money into a game that I had already played. Here is the clincher though, I Chose to save my money and not buy the re release of the game, there was no element of dragooning me on Rockstars part seeing as I had bought the PS3 version of the game.

However I do think there are certain situations where a remaster isn't really necessary, for example the recently leaked and then confirmed Darksiders 2 remastered edition for the PS4. This is where I part ways with the theory of remastering games, I never played DS2 of PS3, nor did the reviews/player feedback inspire me to launch myself from my house to go out an buy it. Then if we look at DMC:Definitive Edition, this is another game that I never played on last gen, but again it never appealed to me so we can add this game to another I will not be buying given the new opportunity to play it now. As it stands I only own two remastered games, TLoU and Tomb Raider, neither of which I played on last gen, but both of which I am highly enjoying now I have been given the new chance.

There is only one other remastered game that I feel is worthy of a mention today, and that is Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, firstly a way better name than Definitive or Remastered editions. Secondly I view this game as having three parts to it, Borderlands 2, Borderlands The Pre-Sequel, and all the DLC. As you may know I did have BL2 back on the PS3, and I loved it so much that I deeply regretted getting rid of it. Also I never had any of the four sizable expansions for it or the 5 themed bosses they later released, all of which are being bundled into the game. Plus I have never touched The Pre Sequel, and I am incredibly excited to play this collection later in the year when it is released. I would definitely say that the Handsome Collection is in my top 3 most excited games coming out this year.

All in all, even the games that I don't deem worthy to be remastered, I still think they should be, because it brings those games to a new group of people. Let us not forget that it is a pretty risky thing to release a remastered game, because if everyone thought of it as money grabbing and no one bought it, they the company's would lose immense amounts of money, which based on the continuing trend of remasters, I would say they are making a prophit! Lastly I want to share with you all some of the games from last gen that I would like to see brought onto the next generation(yes I still call the PS4/XOne next gen), the entire Uncharted series released in one game(doesn't need the MP-to speed up the process), I would like to see a MGS collection released, as these were games I have never played, but would love to with a new coat of paint on them. Lastly there is the Bioshock collection, again I haven't played any of those games, nor will I get the chance to now my PS3 is gone.

What do you think about remastered games, and would you like to see some specific games remastered? Let me know on Twitter!

Thank you very much for reading,

Thursday, 12 February 2015

James Marsden Owner and Director of FuturLab

Hi guys,

I am very happy to bring to you all today an interview with the wonderful James Marsden, owener of FuturLab. He is the reason we all have the wonderful series that is, Velocity. There is no excuse for you not to have played it as it is truely amazing, and it has been part of PS+! I hope this interview gives you an insight into the working mind of James and FuturLab, I would pay particular attention to the last answer!

1: Was it daunting taking the Velocity series onto next gen?

It was a little daunting trying to find the right people, but honestly once we hired the team there were no worries, at least from me.


2: Is there any more DLC planned now Critical Urgency and Dual Core have been released?

That’d be telling…


3: How did Velocity 2X come to be part of the Instant Game Collection for the PS+?

Our goal has always been to make our partners look good, and in the case of the Velocity series, it’s been making PlayStation look good. Of course we care about the players, but our business relies on companies like PlayStation coming back to us for great content. Velocity 2X, which was predicted to be a GOTY winner by us, and ultimately proved to be, given away for free made PlayStation Plus a really great deal. That makes Sony happy, and ultimately leads to a stronger relationship between PlayStation and FuturLab. There’s also the benefit of huge exposure that we couldn’t have created by ourselves.


4: All the games you have released have been on Playstation platforms, have you every thought of making the console jump?

We’re interested in building long term relationships based on quality and trust. Up to this point we’ve found Sony to be the most welcoming of all platform holders, so it’s been easy for us to make a call about who to work with. Doors have opened to us since the success of Velocity though, so we’ll never say never.


5: Have you thought of expanding Velocity into other areas, such as graphic novels, or maybe a film?

We’d love to do that, but really those kind of things need mainstream success and a huge amount of financial backing; neither of which we have!


6: Where would you like to see FuturLab in 5 years time?

We are good at generating new ideas with relevance, depth and artistic integrity, so I’d like to see a portfolio of successful game franchises under our belt, not just Velocity.


7: What academic route did you take to end up in your current position?

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school. I followed a friend to Art College purely by accident, and discovered that I had some value for the first time. I followed that path to a Fine Art degree, but I’m no artist as I can’t draw very well. It was only after leaving University – completely unemployable – that I realised there was a huge opportunity in web and Flash development. So I taught myself how to write code, and started FuturLab to make Flash games. It was a golden era for creative people back then, as there was so much advertising/marketing money sloshing about as people fought for attention on the internet.


8: Did you ever feel you had bitten off more than you could chew with the Velocity games when you co-wrote and co-produced the soundtracks as well?

Nah, I had at least a decade of untapped burning passion, and it flooded into my work. I was so excited to be working on music with Joris de Man.


9: How did you find out you were getting the GOTY award for the PS Vita category from Gamespot? How did you then feel?

I just saw that someone had tweeted about it. After sticking my neck out about it just a few months earlier, it felt good! Confirmation that we know what we’re doing! =)


10: When can we expect the next major announcement from FuturLab?


There you go guys, what do you think the announcement will be? Thanks again to James for doing the interview with me, and thanks to you all for reading it!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Advanced Warfare: Bal-27 Inferno Review

Hi guys,
One of the amazing new features in AW are the weapon variants, there are two elite variants for each weapon, and they usually are better in some way than the base version of the weapon. As you may know the Bal-27 is the best assault rifle in the game, so obviously the elite variants of the Bal are very good. I have been lucky enough to get both Elite variants for the Bal from supply drops, and today I will be doing a review/class guide for you all! If you would like a review for the Obsidian Steed(the other elite variant, then just tweet me!).
The Bal-27 base weapon is available from level one, so don't worry about not having the base variant unlocked when you earn this. The tweaks that make this weapon so good are, 10% increase to rate of fire(quite common in variants, but nearly always with a damage reduction!), 20% tighter hip fire spread(a smaller area that your bullets can go when not aiming down sights), and the only penalty with this weapon is a whopping 30% reduction in ADS(Aim Down Sights) time, but I don't really notice the difference much, but if you want to reverse the affects of this then you can use the Quick Draw grip(earned after 10 Headshots). This may not strike you as overly amazing, but just that little 10% increase in RoF(Rate of Fire) produces a massive change in the time-to-kill. Meaning that if you take this weapon into a gun fight with a normal Bal-27 you are going to be winning more of those fights, just because of the weapon you are using. 
      You should think of this weapon as a SMG(Sub Machine Gun-eg ASM1) variant of the Bal-27, while still holding onto the damage stats of an Assault Rifle(AR). You probably already knew this but never delete this weapon if you get it from a Supply Drop!
Now looking at the attachments for this weapon that I use, the Stock I like to use on all ARs, though sometimes I replace it with something like Quick Draw Grip, especially with this weapon. Then we have the Foregrip, I find this invaluable for the Inferno, especially with that increased fire rate, it may be the way I think of the weapon but it may have slightly increased recoil, which this counters beautifully. Lastly there is the Suppressor, or silencer, this is the first stage a many that I employ to not let the enemies know where I am as much of the time as possible. For a player like me, who doesn't play TDM much the Parabolic Microphone isn't used by players too often, so by and large I can always stay of the enemies mini-map! I nearly always run three attachments on my weapons, so that third attachment costs me two slots(one for the attachment, and one for the Wild Card).

Moving onto my Perk selection, in the Perk 1 slot I always run Low Profile, as it shields you from appearing on the enemies mini-map when they have a UAV active. This is another part of my stealth build, as I mentioned previously staying of the enemies mini-map is one of my highest prioritys when creating my class, and Low Profile helps be immensly.
Peripherals, is a perk I run on literally every class I use, it extends the size of the mini-map so you can see further away from you, it also doesn't show the death icons above enemies you have killed, which is very useful, again to not let the enemies know where you are!
Moving onto Perk 3, this is where I employ the use of my second Wild Card and get a second perk from the third tier. Blast Suppressor is beyond essential in AW, I personally am exo-boosting all over the map, so for non of these movements to show up as pulsing red icons on the enemy mini-map is incredibly useful. Unlike previous CoDs Hardline only takes 100 points off your score streak, rather than a percentage like some games before. I swap Hardline out for Scavenger depending of what I am looking to achieve, whether it be long killstreaks with the same weapon, or my streaks faster!
Next looking at my scorestreaks, these are the thing that change the most in my classes. As you can see above when ever I run with the Care Package, I always put Support, Better Odds and Double Tap on, to almost guarantee that I get a good result, I always earn one per match sometimes two, despite the high cost! I have also run with the Bombing Run, with no modules attached, this is partly because there is nothing good to attach in my opinion, and partly because it bumps up the price of it! Other than these two I run various other scorestreaks, so look out for another post in the future where I give my suggestions about what modules to run of what scorestreaks!
Lastly there is my Exo Ability, which is always Overclock, no matter the class. I use this to suit my play style, which is quite objective based, so I can race to the OBJ as quickly as possible, both from spawn and from around the map! Occasionally I run the tier 1 perk, Overcharge to give me more time overclocked, but I feel you get enough time with the normal counter!
That wraps up my review/class guide for the Inferno variant of the Bal-27, all in all, this is an absolute monster weapon, and certainly in my top three best Elite Variants in the game! So I am giving the Bal-27 Inferno a rating of 9.5/10!
Thank you very much for reading, have you checked out my first vlog on You Tube:

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Dragon Age Inquisition: First Impressions

Hi guys,

I hope you have all had a brilliant Christmas and a smashing New Year! One of the games I gratefully received this Christmas was Dragon Age Inquisition, and today I will be giving you my first impressions after spending about 20 hours with the game. I have played as an Elvish Warrior. When you boot up the game you will be prompted to select a class, race and difficulty, I went for Warrior, Sword and Shield, Elvish and Normal. You then get to customise the character who will embody your journey, I spent about 40 minutes creating my character which is more than I have ever spent in customisation before! Once that is complete you will watch a few cut scenes and then be released into the first mission with your first few companions. This mission will come to a crescendo with a boss battle which was highly enjoyable, but the fun really happens when you are released into the fully explorable world. Don't worry about being overawed by the size of it, you are given certain sections of the world to explore, then as you progress the story/explore more you will unlock new hubs to work your way through.
     Bioware have done a stellar job in making both the world and characters feel believable, in what time I have spent in the game I have already grown attached to specific characters and most importantly taken a disliking to certain groups. Within your inquisition you have advisers and companions, what is really nice to see is that non of the characters in those two groups are annoying.
     This game does have it's fair share of glitches, and does give throw back memories to Skyrim, in more ways than one! However none of these glitches ever massively affected my gaming experience, the worst one I have had was when I booted up the game one time and found there was no sound, however I only had to exit the game and relaunch it and I was fine. Randomly catapulted enemies and glitched characters in cut scenes aren't all that rare, but as I said, they are never more than amusing! Whilst we are on minor flaws of the game, I don't like the emphasis the game puts on Power. If you haven't played the game yet, or are indeed playing the game but are in the infant hours of your adventure, then you won't really know what power is, let me explain. Power is earned by closing rifts, recruiting agents, completing requisition orders and setting up new camps. That may sound like quite a long list, but I feel like more quests should give Power as a reward, and maybe for every five locations you discover in one hub, you get a Power point. My problem is that Power comes to, at least personally, me quite slowly, and when some of the "main missions" need 20 power to unlock them, I feel like the game is forcing me away from those missions, in favour of exploring the world. I have no problems exploring the world, it is just that the choice of doing the main missions isn't in my hands all the time.
     Moving on from that slight niggle, let's look at the combat! This is ludicrously fun, it feels incredibly satisfying when you co-ordinate your teams strengths and weaknesses to come out of a battle with a victory. Even when all four of your squad die,(which doesn't happen unless you take on enemies above your level) I have never felt like I was cheated into death. There is about a 50-50 split when my squad dies as to if I want to just walk away and come back to those enemies later, and sometimes I go back into the battle more prepared and actually nearly always beat them!
     Tying into the combat are the classes in the game, at the beginning of my voyage I got annoyed every time I would get a weapon or piece of armour locked to another class, such as rogue or mage. Then I realised that the people who fight with you aren't just there as AI, but they are fully controllable! With each character having the ability for you to equip any peice of armour of weapon you acquire! This means that no matter what mood you are in there is a class, and probably a character with you to suite. Whilst we are on the topic of combat, I feel I should mention the tactical camera. I personally don't like embarking on 
All in all from what I have played I would highly recommend this game to anyone, especially if you are an RPG fan! It is shaping up to be one of if not the best games I have ever played and I can't wait to play more of it.
Signing off,