Video Game Review – Gears of War 4

Nath sometimes reviews games for us. This is one of those times. He’s been playing Gears of War 4 on Xbox One.

We currently live in a world where all films in the cinema are currently superhero movies (not complaining about that), sequels that people thought were overdue but really should’ve stayed locked away and remakes of films that probably didn’t need remaking. It seems like the video game industry is going that way too. We’ve had Doom (or Doom 4), Uncharted 4 and soon the Final Fantasy 7 remake. The next game to come into this endless sequel cycle is Gears of War 4.

Before I get into the review, I would like to say that I am a massive Gears of War fan. I truly believe it is one of the greatest game series ever created, maybe even the greatest. The gameplay is fantastic, the voice acting is top notch and the storyline is engaging. I have also played Horde a lot as well, even managing to complete the 50 waves with a great team of four (Editors note from Adam – I was one of those four!). When Gears 4 was announced I was excited but I didn’t feel like the game needed a sequel as it could potentially ruin one of my favourite series. However, with it being an Xbox One exclusive and a Gears game, I went into it with an open mind.

Please be aware this review has spoilers.

The game begins with First Minister Jinn commemorating the 25th anniversary of the victory against the Locust. During that time, an elderly Hoffman recounts the battles he faced during that time, including the end of the Pendulum Wars, E-Day and a battle at Anvil Gate at the end of Gears 3. You play a squad member in each memory as a tutorial which is a great start to the game. There are new weapons to play with and new gameplay to enjoy too, which I will explain later.

Once this is done, you meet J.D., Del, Kait and Oscar. J.D. and Del were once part of the COG but had deserted, a crime punishable by imprisonment. They now lead a raid party to help Kait’s mother, a leader of an outsider village. Their aim is to steal a Fabricator, basically a box of tricks to give power to the village. During the raid, they come across a new enemy called DB, also known as killer robots and these come in all shapes and sizes.

After stealing your box of tricks, you head back to the village which gets attacked again by the robots and you use the fabricator to build defenses in order to hold the base. After a successful defense, people start disappearing from the village, including Oscar and Kait’s mother.

You decide to meet up with your father (Spoiler Alert) Marcus Fenix. Marcus, now an old man, is bitter that his son joined the COG and even more annoyed that he has deserted it and put himself in grave danger. Nonetheless, he agrees to help the group as he fears the “Swarm” may be another version of the Locust. He takes them to a mine where the locust bodies were dumped to see if they can get a clue, but all they have done is opened a big can of worms. A mighty big can of worms.

It is truly a fantastic campaign. The gameplay isn’t too different from the Gears of old, however there are some added extras. You can now vault over obstacles and if there is an enemy behind it, you have the opportunity to stun the enemy in order to execute them. My favourite feature is the pull-over. If you are one side of the wall and there is an enemy on the other side, you can pull him over the wall and stab them. This however, can only be done on Drones.

The new enemies mainly consist of DB’s and the Swarm. DB’s are basically killer robots. They range from small ball-like exploding robots to unmanned armed helicopters. They are supposed to be Peacekeepers, but it seems someone has upgraded them to kill instead.

The Swarm are the new locust-type enemies. Drones are similar to grubs, however there are some interesting new enemies. Particular favourites are Pouncers, basically large dog like creature that has the ability to throw quills from its tail. It has the ability to pounce on you and maul you to death unless you can shake it off or someone shoots it off.

There is also another enemy called the Snatcher, clue is in the name here. It is a large enemy with a tail with the ability to take you down with one shot, a sort of sniper tail. Doesn’t sound too bad, however if your team doesn’t revive you, he will snatch you and the team have to shoot you out of it’s stomach or he will literally run off with you.

The weapons are mostly the same, but there are some interesting new ones too. Overkill is basically a shotgun that fires 2 shots for 1 bullet, making it very powerful. My favourite is the Buzzkill, basically a large cannon that fires circular saws at the enemy. If you miss, they bounce off walls and take out what you may have missed.

There is only one thing that lets the game down, which is the friendly AI. I play the game a bit gung-ho, I will likely charge and shoot at the enemy. There isn’t an issue when fighting normal enemies, however when fighting the Snatcher, I did get hit by that tail. Normally the team will try and revive you but when the Snatcher sees a downed enemy it runs towards it like me towards a bucket of chicken and eats you whole. Now if there are no enemies about, the team will shoot you out, but if there are other enemies, your team ignores you and lets you to be carried off to your impending doom. It is very annoying, it happened so many times during one particular moment.

Horde 3.0 is the newest version of Horde available in this game. Again, it is not too dissimilar to old Horde, but instead of set areas where you can place things like in Gears 3, you have a Fabricator that allows you to place barriers and turrets wherever you want. It means you can choose where you want to setup camp, although I am yet to find the best place to hide in each level. To spend money, you have to collect it from the kills you make and place that into the Fabricator in order to spend it.

There also classes for Horde in order to diversify the team. They are split between Soldier, Heavy, Sniper, Scout and Engineer. They come with different load-outs and bonuses for your game ahead. So far I have only made it to wave 20, so Horde does seem a lot more difficult now, mind you I am playing with people online instead of my friends who are good players (Editors note – except Alex and Tian).

In conclusion, the new Gears franchise has a decent start and to make things better, it comes with all the previous Gears games so I can replay the first series again. I think it is much better than the Halo franchise that has resurfaced too. The Coalition have done a fantastic job taking this on and they should be commended for it. Overall it receives 9 Buzzkills to the face out of 10. Some slight improvements are still needed but it is a fantastic start.

Nath

You can pick up Gears of War 4 through our handy-dandy Amazon link here, and we get a little taste from your purchase!

I Want to Be the Very Best – Pokémon Go Launch

 

Nath sometimes writes for the site. This is one of those times.

Unless you have been living under a Geodude for the last few weeks, you may have heard that Pokémon Go has been released across the majority of the world. The app has taken the world by storm, it is now one of the most downloaded apps in history and is currently on 10.8% of android devices. However, does the app live up to the hype? Hopefully this review will give you some clarity.

The Premise

The start of the game is similar to the Pokémon games of old. This time  it is Professor Willow who offers you a choice of 3 Pokémon: Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. The 3 Pokémon appear on your mobile phone screen and you tap the one you want to start off with. There is a hidden Easter Egg where if you walk away from these 3, you can catch a Pikachu instead. I went for a Charmander in this scenario as I have always started with one. To catch him, your phone camera turns on and you can view the Pokémon via your screen.

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Once you have caught your first Pokémon, you will then have to visit Pokéstops in order to obtain items and experience. This means the app is forcing you to go outside in order to explore certain points of interests around your home town. I managed to visit one and swipe to obtain a few extra Pokéballs, then a Rattata turned up nearby. So like an eager Pokémon trainer, I went to catch my first Pokémon. To do this you simply point your camera at the Pokémon and swipe the screen to throw the Pokéball at the Pokémon. Doing so, earns you EXP, stardust (used to level up Pokémon) and candy (this allows you to level up or evolve your Pokémon)

Levelling up Pokémon is done by either giving it a mixture of stardust and that Pokémon’s candy in order to increase it’s combat power, or giving it a load more candy to evolve it. Increasing combat power doesn’t give you experience, but evolving them does, so the key would be to evolve the weaker Pokémon and level up the stronger ones to make them stronger.

Once you have a strong enough team, you can then head out and start taking down gyms. Before you do this, you have to choose a team to be on: Team Instinct, Team Mystic or Team Valor. There isn’t a benefit to choosing a certain team over another, so I chose Team Valor. Once you are at a gym, you can then battle your Pokémon. This is done by tapping the phone to use your Pokémon’s normal move to build up power for it’s special move. You can also swipe to dodge the rival Pokémon’s attack. If you win and take the gym down, you place your own Pokémon there to defend it.

Additional Features

There also many features of the game which I thoroughly enjoy, mainly the egg hatching, as the only way to hatch eggs is by walking the distance that is needed to hatch them. There are 3 egg distances, 2km, 5km and 10km. The 2km ones are for fairly common Pokémon whereas the 10km are for the more rare kind. I have managed to hatch 2 5km eggs and 1 2km egg. The 5km eggs produced a Staryu and a Paras and the 2km egg produced a Magikarp. I don’t have a 10km at present, but it will be egg number 1 when I do get one. It also seems that location doesn’t restrict you to what type of Pokémon you can catch. I once caught a Goldeen in the middle of a field, with no rivers, lakes, sea or puddles around me.

I suppose the best feature is how well the online community have responded in regards to the app. There are numerous pictures online of funny encounters with Pokémon, my personal favourite being one with a Magikarp in a frying pan. Twitter has gone mad with PokémonGo fans as well, lots of people sharing what they’ve caught, the hilarious names they’ve been given and the problems people have faced.

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It has also been noticed by the media too, there have been many horror stories related to PokémonGo. You may have seen the news story about the girl who stumbled across a dead body whilst searching for Pokémon. I really hope that doesn’t matter to me. My favourite story is the Pokémon Challenge issued by Twitter users. This is a series of challenges that trainers must to do to cross it off a checklist. There is no prize, only pride but the first challenge was to place a Pokélure (a lure for Pokémon to come to) at a hospital. I did wonder why until I realised what they were trying to accomplish. Unfortunately there are children who are ill and cannot leave hospital for days, maybe even weeks or months at a time. So the whole point of the lure was to bring Pokémon to the hospitals so they can continue playing. I was genuinely touched by this story and it was fantastic to see how well the online community has taken to this game.

I did see a story recently where one user walked into an open road and got hit by a car. The girl blamed the app for this, however it clearly states that when the app is loading to be aware of your surroundings.

Problems

There are of course some issues with game. The servers have gone down a fair bit since release which has angered the community. The excuse mainly being that the developers didn’t think it would be so popular. I’m sorry but this is a terrible excuse, people like me in their late 20’s have wanted to catch Pokémon in the real world since the games first came out on the original Gameboy. The servers are back up and running which is great, but you do wonder what is going to happen when other countries get hold of the app.

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Another issue is the battery life. Most smartphones use up a lot of battery anyway but this app is the ultimate battery drainer. You can turn on battery saver mode in the game and put your phone in stamina mode (Android users only) but it still drains. You will need to invest in a power bar if you plan on going on an adventure for a large amount of time.

There are also some questionable Pokéstops and Gym locations. One stop nearby to me is the Royal Mail Sorting Office. I mean seriously, it is not a point of interest but if it does get me a few potions then I can let it slide. There are some Pokéstops in rough areas of the USA and teenagers are already getting their smartphones stolen by wandering into those area. There is also a Gym right outside someones house and he is getting very aggravated that people seem to be loitering outside.

The biggest problem is crime caused by the game. There have been a lot of reports of trespassing on other peoples properties in order to catch rare Pokémon, as well as a lot of people using the app whilst driving to essentially drive-by stops, gyms and catch Pokémon. It is only a matter of time before we see a news article saying that someone has crashed their car trying to catch a Dratini or something and this needs to be taken into serious consideration.

Conclusion

That being said, I have now been playing the game for almost a week and I have to say it is fantastic to be a Pokémon addict again. I have assembled a strong team and have started to dominate gyms around where I live, much to the annoyance of certain kids who have shouted at me to leave the gyms alone. I have also caught one of the rarest Pokémon in the game (Aerodactyl) and have evolved many other Pokémon in order to complete my Pokédex. The app, even though as a bit clunky to begin with, will forever go down as one of the most popular apps ever created, bringing together a fantastic online community. I have to say a massive congratulations to Niantic for creating such a fantastic app and for attempting to resolve server issues as quickly as possible. I will give the app 9 towns full of Rattatas out of 10. There are a few things that need sorting out still and features that need fixing. Server crashes happen quite a lot at the moment and this does need resolving as it’s not just me that is getting irate about it. That being said, this is something that can be resolved hopefully in the long run. Also this is the first 151 Pokémon available, there are still many more to be added into the game. I am loving this game and I’m sure that I will be continue to play for this many years to come.

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Stardew Valley: Farming Crack Simulator

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A more chilled out stream this week where we play my latest addiction; Stardew Valley. Stardew is a farming game from a one man team with influences from other crack-addict gamings such as Harvest Moon. It’s utterly delightful and I can’t stop playing. If you’re weak of will and empty of pocket, maybe skip this one…

~Kii

Final Fantasy XIV: Sproutling Adventures

Hey all! I return! With streaming! Most Fridays you can find me on my Twitch Channel gaming. Currently I’ve been playing a lot of Final Fantasy XIV (You may have wondered where I’ve been for the past six months. The answer is, in Eorzea) so I’ve rolled a new character for you all to watch me bumble through a class I’ve never played!

I’ve also uploaded the streams to Youtube, sadly the first one is missing but I’ll fill you in. I hit things with arrows until I was level 10. There ya go, all caught up.

Enjoy! and I’ll see you all next week ♥ ~Kii

Video Game Review – Far Cry Primal

Nath sometimes reviews games for us. This is one of those times. He’s been playing Far Cry Primal on the Xbox One.

So the franchise that really doesn’t know what it is releases a new game that isn’t connected to any of the previous games whatsoever. The first game had an ex special forces agent trying to rescue a journalist, the second is tracking down a mercenary in Africa who has turned two fighting factions against each other, the third is where a tourist is abducted by pirates but escapes and tries to rescue his friends and the fourth is where you try and overthrow a self appointed king in the Himalayas. These are just the main games, there are many spin-offs as well, with Far Cry Primal being the latest of these from Ubisoft Montreal. Is it still just another mediocre game in a mediocre series, or is it something completely unique in it’s own world? Please note this review may contain spoilers.

 

 

You play a hunter called Takkar, who is part of a tribe of humans called Wenja, a tribe that is dying out in the world due to the oppression of the cannibalistic Udam tribe and the pyromaniacs of the Izila tribe. Your main goal is to rescue your tribe, set up a camp/village and allow your tribe to prosper. Very simple premise to begin with and a fairly valiant quest seeing as you are tribe looking to survive instead of eating each other or setting fire to everything.

You arrive in the valley of Oros, a new land where many animals lives and exotic plants grow, after being chased down by a sabre-tooth tiger. You meet a gatherer who attempts to help you set up a safe place for the Wenja tribe, but along the way you meet a lot of interesting and colourful characters, including one guy who pisses on you and thereafter refers to you as “Piss face”. Each character can allow you to learn new skills, craft new weapons or look for certain resources, plants or animals.

The world is a mixture of rivers, grassy plains, forests, caves and snowy areas. It is a sandbox-style game, where you can explore the world Oros and it’s many beasts, as well as performing small side-quests along your journey. It isn’t as big as Fallout 4, but you still have a lot to explore.

The gameplay is brilliant. The variety of weapons is fairly small, mainly limited to clubs, bows and spears, but also including throwing shards, bait bags and sting bags (basically mini bee hives). My particular favourite is the spear, mainly because you can just poke things constantly or if you have a keen eye, can throw from a long distance and cause some serious damage. One of my favourite skills is the beast master ability, where you can tame some of the wild animals of Oros. Of course, you don’t really want to tame a deer, they aren’t going to do much, but having a sabre-tooth tiger as your wingman has some excellent advantages. Apparently the badger is supposedly a handy sidekick too, I’ll let you know if I find one. (Editor’s note – Nath did find one. Apparently it took out a Mammoth)

The storyline is pretty decent, nothing too complicated, just making sure your tribe survives. There are a lot of side-quests and it is easy to get distracted from the main plot. However, like Fallout 4, the side-quests can ultimately make you overpowered for the main quest, but who cares if you have a bear as your backup instead of a jaguar?

There some drawbacks however. The game does rely on you creating weapons and ammo using the crafting method which means you do have to do a fair amount of foraging. It’s not too bad I guess, but if you want that particular bow, you sometimes have to skip to the other side of the map to obtain the resources instead of the area you wanted to be in. However, you can skip this by sleeping which allows your daily resources to become available from all the hunters and gatherers in your village.

The weapon wheel can be a bit complicated too. There’s quite a few things you have to do to select the weapons you want. For example if I want my short bow, it’s LB, followed by the left stick to highlight the bow, then left/right to select the bow I want. What makes it worse is that the gameplay doesn’t pause. You can see the pack of wolves surrounding you whilst you’re trying to get your best club out.

In the end the game is breath of fresh air in a video game landscape populated by guns and ammo. It is nice to see something different for a change that isn’t a Call of Duty: Something, or Assassin’s Creed: Something, or FIFA 20 or whatever number it is on now. I’d give Far Cry Primal 8 spears to the face out of 10. It will almost certainly will be in my top 5 games of the year I think, but probably won’t make number one (unless Doom turns out to be a complete disappointment)

Nath

Adam’s Top 5 Video Games of 2015

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be sharing our top 5s of 2015, from everyone who writes here at The Lost Lighthouse. This time Adam will go through his favourite 5 video games of the year.

I’m taking a quick break from the depths of writing my PhD thesis to write about some of the things I actually cared about this year. This time it’s my favourite video games released in 2015. Of the various things my misguided attempt at a doctoral level qualification has taken from me, the spare time to actually play video games is probably the most felt. Also video games are expensive and I’m incredibly broke. As such, I’ve only actually played five games this yeah (at least that came out in 2015. I also played the incredible Transistor). So this was really just an exercise in picking which order they go in for me. All of these games were played on PS4.

5. Fallout 4 (Bethesda Softworks)

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The above is part of the reason why Bethesda’s latest installment of everybody’s favourite huge, sprawling post-apocalypse sandbox game is only number 5 on my list. After months of rumours and speculation, details of a new Fallout began to emerge and in November it was finally released. Now due to my heavy work load right now and general state of being very busy (and leaving my PS4 in London over Christmas), I haven’t finished the main story yet. I have however pumped a lot of time into the game, completing a lot of side missions and doing a large amount of world exploration.

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Let’s talk about that world, as a way of kicking off with the good about the game. The world is stunning, as long as you look at it from a distance. While the post-apocalypse trope of a colour palette heavy in browns and greys is definitely present, ‘The Commonwealth’ is densely packed with a lot of interesting scenery and locations to interact with. The storyline so far has been relatively engaging. I don’t really care about my missing son, but the shadowy Institute is intriguing and the return of certain organisations on unprecedented scales is an interesting inclusion. The world really lives through the side missions though, many of which are not only engaging but incredibly enjoyable too (my favourite so far is The Silver Shroud).  The combat mechanics are unchanged for the most part, so the V.A.T.S. system is back and still a lot of fun.

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Now for what I don’t like, and I’m just going to rattle through them. Feel free to discuss them in the comments! The UI is not great, and any changes have not improved things from Fallout 3 or New Vegas. The graphics, while not the be all and end all of a game, should really be better at this point especially for the character models. The dialogue system, previously a big part of Fallout, has been stripped back to make you feel like a passenger in what is largely otherwise a shooter, rather than a participant in an RPG. I have yet to see the point in settlements, and the user interface in building and interacting with a settlement is horrible, likely the reason why I have no desire to spend any more time doing it. While I do enjoy the crafting aspect for weapons and armour, having this and the base construction in the game means that almost every piece of junk in Fallout is worth keeping, and every location contains more crap than you and your companion can carry. As such, I’ve spent probably about 40% of my playtime hefting junk around and either selling or scraping it.

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But for me the biggest issue with Fallout 4 is the glitches and bugs. There has been a lot of comment online about this, which largely seems to boil down to this being something you expect and accept in a Bethesda game. I don’t really see it like that, and this is probably the first time I’ve really had a problem with it. With limited time and money to play games these days, having a full price game be released as a bit of a glitchy mess doesn’t hold water with me. Weapons disappearing, enemies floating, corpses janking around ruining the desolate quiet of a vault. This is why it bothers me. These games are about immersion, and every time I see my companion get stuck in a wall or I fall through the world it takes me completely out of it. Sure they’re working on fixes all the time, but I’m reaching the point where I want games to just be finished properly when they come out.

 

4. The Order 1886 (Ready at Dawn)

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Speaking of a game that was finished, The Order 1886 was the first game I played this year (I reviewed it over here). I liked it a lot. The gameplay was a bit heavy and reminiscent of a clunkier Gears of War, but it wasn’t bad. The story was interesting, succinct and well-paced and while it ultimately didn’t quite deliver on the promise of alternate steampunk Knights of the Round Table supernatural beast hunters, with the very few instances of actually fighting monsters either shockingly easy and repetitive or relegated to quick time events, while the rest of the game was spent shooting ‘rebels’ and other humans for reasons that were never made abundantly clear other than waving around the word ‘conspiracy’, it was a satisfying plot that I enjoyed.

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The game wasn’t particularly long, in fact many said it was far too short for a full price game. I clocked in around 7 hours for my playthrough, and I was fairly defensive about the length in my original review, while also decrying the debate as generally oversimplified. However, since I completed it I really haven’t felt any compulsion to revisit the game. I’m not really sure what that says about it or it’s value. Saying that, it remains the best looking game I’ve played so far on the latest console generation. Despite it being a largely drab and grey trudge through Victorian England, it was stunning to look at and I really enjoyed it.

 

3. Mad Max (Avalanche Studios)

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This one snuck up on me, as it would probably have totally passed me by if I hadn’t been swept up in the Fury Road fever this year. Instead, I actively made the decision to pick up this new Mad Max game over Metal Gear Solid V, due to it’s reasonably positive if not stellar reviews and the fact that I was fairly sure it would be an easier game to pick up and put back down for short gaming stints, making it better for taking breaks from working and avoiding getting so engrossed that I waste hours on it. Fortunately I turned out to be right about that, but more fortunate was how much I ended up loving this game for all of it’s simplicity.

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Set before Fury Road, with a somewhat tenuous link to characters in the film, you play as Max after having the Interceptor stolen and being left for dead. You ally yourself with a mechanic, and slowly modify a rusty frame to an armoured ‘Magnum Opus’ capable of driving across the Plains of Silence to freedom. The game is another big sandbox environment, as you drive around finding scrap for your car, fighting off raiding parties, taking down War Boy camps with your fists and limited shotgun ammo and helping your allies thrive, while trying to outrun sand storms and stop Lord Scrotus and his minions. In essence, you just drive around and blow stuff up. And it is incredibly fun. The game’s only real let down is that it is very repetitive. The map is studded with scavenging locations, and each of the 4 allies you meet along the game require the same things from you. A lot of it is extraneous, but useful for completing the game. That said, there are some very fun and unique missions, like driving through the Underdune – a network of tunnels that was once an airport, now home to the nocturnal Buzzards.

 

2. Bloodborne (FromSoftware)

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Second from top for me this year is the PS4 exclusive Bloodborne from ‘Souls’ creators FromSoftware. A grueling, Groundhog Day style trial-and-error endurance experience where you spend most of your time dying. A lot. But it’s the sort of game that makes you think tactically, commands your full attention, tests your ability and ultimately rewards you for it. As a hunter, you wade through scores of the crazed residents of the town of Yharnam, feral beasts and huge, hulking monsters. Each time you finally figure out how to beat a boss and ‘Prey Slaughtered’ pops up on your screen, you feel an immense satisfaction and a real feeling of earning it.

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The game itself is beautiful. Well, beautiful if you like heavily gothic surroundings and grotesque monsters. Halfway through the game you enter a sort of nightmare realm, while everything takes on a deeply Lovecraftian slant, including horrific beasts that cling to the huge buildings around you that you can’t attack… but get close enough and they can attack you. My flatmates described this as the game they’ve enjoyed watching me play the most, I expect in part because of the surroundings, but likely also due to my reaction to the difficulty level of the game – swearing my head off every time I felt like I was unjustly killed, even thought it was probably due to me not paying enough attention. It happened a lot.

 

1. Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios)

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My favourite game of the year is likely a little predictable for me. As a huge Batman fan, I’ve always been extremely impressed by the Arkham games (at least the Rocksteady ones) for not only capturing the ethos and feeling of a mixture of the best Batman comics and Batman: The Animated Series, but also managing to create gameplay that makes you really feel like you are being the Batman. Easy to control combat that looks brutal yet elegant, stealth that combines technology and fear to take down foes, and detective work to put together a case. This third installment from Rocksteady is their final Arkham game, though there isn’t a doubt in my mind that WB will be back with more.

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Scarecrow is working with the mysterious ‘Arkham Knight’ and his militia army, and using an overwhelming force and seemingly hundreds of drone tanks they bring Gotham to it’s knees. Batman must prevent them from poisoning the city with fear toxin, while figuring out the identity of the Knight and putting a stop to their plans. Along with a few new tricks, like the hugely satisfying fear takedown, Bats also finally has the Batmobile – less a car in this incarnation and more of the personal tank of the Christopher Nolan films, able to speed around at huge speeds before transforming into a combat mode complete with missiles, stun guns and a huge cannon – to be deployed against drone tanks only. While feeling hilariously overpowered, the Batmobile has been successfully deployed in much the same way as the hand-to-hand combat was for the first time in Arkham Asylum – it’s very easy to feel like a total badass with it. The one drawback? I get the feeling Rocksteady were very, very proud of their new toy. So much so that the Batmobile is shoehorned into missions and situations that feel totally unnatural, to the point that it is essentially overused.

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The main plot is an exercise in escalation, in an understandable trajectory from the first game until now. But it’s a very enjoyable superhero tale with some very well deployed twists, some less well deployed twists (I may have seen the identity of the Arkham Knight coming a mile off due to my familiarity with the comics, but it’s telegraphed very clumsily and out of nowhere a couple of hours before) and a huge climax. The side quests are even better than they were in Arkham City, once again drawing from the extensive rogues gallery (some of which were extensions of side plots set up in that game). For every one that fell a little flat, like the Hush sequence, there were excellent scenarios like ‘The Perfect Crime’.

The only issue I have with the extra content like this, which was the same as the previous games, is that while I can suspend my disbelief in general for superhero antics, it is physically and temporally impossible for all of this to occur in one night. Equally unbelievable is that with the city in such dire peril, you’d take some time out of saving it to capture Man-Bat or train Azrael. Maybe leave them to tomorrow Bruce? Or even just have the plot take place over a couple of days. Scarecrow and the Arkham Knight go to ground for a day or two, and while the Batcomputer checks up on some leads you start cleaning up some other problems in the city? Whatever. It’s really a tiny and slightly pointless complaint, really just brought about by overthinking things. Ultimately, this was a great game. Unless you tried to play it on PC.

 

Top 5 Games That Desperately Need a Remake

Nath sometimes writes for the site. This is one of those times.

Seeing as 2015 will probably be seen as the year of the remake, with so many films and games being reproduced with younger actors (in some cases better actors) and older games going through an HD makeover. However, I do feel some brilliant games from the past are being left behind. Here is a list of games I believe need a HD remake. I have not included any games that have a remake coming up such as Pokemon or Final Fantasy 7 because they would be in the list otherwise.

5. Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Technically this is a remake of the granddad of first person shooters (sort of), however it makes the list because it is truly a fantastic FPS. You start off escaping a castle and helping the resistance fight against the Nazi’s but throw in some Nazi occult factions, zombies and genetically made super soldiers, you have some absolutely fantastic and hilarious battles on your hand. There are also 2 stealth missions too, and proper stealth missions. If the alarm is raised then it is game over.

The multiplayer was also brilliant, you could choose to be a commander, medic, engineer or soldier and if you are attacking a base, most of the time you have to blow up an objective whilst the other team defends it. There are also capture the flag options too.

This game was a particular favourite of mine, even my dad loved playing it (albeit with cheat codes) and it does need a remake. The Wolfenstein games that followed had nothing to do with the original storylines and seem to have gone off on a somewhat weird tangent.

Chances of this happening – 2 electric legless mutants out of 10. Probably not going to happen for a few reasons. iD is now owned by Bethesda and they are concentrating on the Doom franchise more than this one, and there have been 2 mediocre games that have followed this one so it is probably unlikely that it will happen.

 

4. Oddworld: Stanger’s Wrath

OK now we are getting a bit more serious. Stranger’s Wrath is an absolute hidden gem from the creators that brought you Abe’s Oddysee and Exoddus, two absolutely fantastic games. Now with Oddysee already getting a remake and apparently Exoddus is in the works (which I will be getting), surely this game deserves it.

Set in a Wild West version of Oddworld, Stranger is a bounty hunter who is also trying to uncover his identity. Quite simple really, but the gameplay is absolutely fantastic. A mixture of first person shooter and third person action and adventure.

This game did port to mobile devices but I found it too difficult to control. It needs a good old fashioned controller.

Chances of this happening – 7 slingshotted bugs out of 10. With other Oddworld games in the making, it is probably very likely, however it is not as popular as the other Oddworld games.

 

3. Metal Gear Solid

Of course this game needs a remake, it would be amazing to play the original storyline again but with a bit more stealth and the first person shooter aspect enabled for it. Everyone has to admit the storyline to this game is epic, as well as the characters introduced. Solid Snake, Liquid Snake, Revolver Ocelot, Sniper Wolf etc.

Coupled with some great voice acting and brilliant gameplay, this game is well deserving of a remake. I believe it is better than some of the sequels it spawned too. The likelihood of this happening is about 1 “!” out of 10. Hideo Kojima (producer of the series) seems to be no longer working for Konami and Konami seem to be interviewing for new staff to take over the series. They even barred Hideo from accepting a reward for MGSV at the 2015 Games Awards. Such a shame, but there’s always hope.

 

2. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

legacy

 

This game fully deserves a remake, I can’t stress that enough. This is probably the first game I played with amazing voice acting incorporated. Might be a bit difficult to do it now seeing as the guy who voiced the Elder God is dead (same guy who voiced Frolo form Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, don’t ask me how I know that) however the whole point of a remake is to remake it. I imagine we can find a new voice for the Elder God.

Regardless of this, as well as quality voice acting, the storyline is brilliant. Vampire who out-evolves his master is cast aside and thrown into a 1000 year oblivion. Then rescued by an Elder God to enact his revenge. What more can you ask for? It is absolutely brilliant, The series intertwines with the Blood Omen series and is finally finished off in Defiance with an absolutely brilliant ending.

I have already written a “Why haven’t you played this” review of it. Honestly get yourself a Playstation, get this game and play it.

Chances of this happening – 2 dimension shifts out of 10. Made by Eidos Interactive, now defunct but owned by Square Enix Europe and let’s face it, they have more important remakes going on at the moment.

 

1. Chrono Trigger

I’m putting this as number 1 whether people like it or not. This game deserves a remake and people have been trying. There was even a few fan made remakes created before Square Enix came along with their cease and desist orders and promptly put an end to the production. I’m no business man, but if there are fan games being made, surely there is a demand for the remake.

Again this is a game I have reviewed previously, however I’m mentioning it again for a reason: because it is brilliant. Arguably one of the best RPG storylines ever, with a fantastic battle system. Each character having an element assigned to them and also the prospect to combine their abilities in order to unleash some devastating attacks.

Chances of this happening – 6 time travel gurus out of 10. With Square Enix taking so long to create a Final Fantasy 7 remake, I think this game is a long way off it’s remake, but it may only be a matter of time before this graces our screens again.

 

Nath