Would You Kindly Get Me Into the Gaming Industry? GameJam Special Part 2 of 2 – The Delirium

Our contributor Nathan continues his journey into games design.

So we left off on Saturday morning where I am tired, grouchy and a little hungry. I was the last of the team to wake up and I had heard that everyone had had an awful last night too, especially our developer. He had close to 1 hours sleep whilst the rest of us were nearer 3. We collected our thoughts and went to breakfast or “breakfast”. I then loaded up my bag with a few cans of Monster and had a strong black coffee as this day would be hell.

It started off great though, we had the sound implemented, the artwork uploaded and the basic coding completed by lunch. We were very close to a basic game which was amazing, spirits were high and we went for “lunch”. After lunch, we carried on and decided to add a newer and harder level when the first level is completed. I began designing and the artist was creating more artwork for the next level, the developer was fine tuning the code for the game and the captain started watching the football results. Needless to say I was a little annoyed by this, even though I too wanted to see the results, so I downed a can of Monster and asked him to prepare some animation for beating the level.

So the afternoon rolled on, the game was looking good, however we started having problems with the code. We couldn’t get the transition from the first level to second level working correctly. We could get the level to reset and start again, but this would restart the music and looked more of an animation than a game. It was starting to look bleak, but we persevered regardless.

As the late afternoon/early evening started, I knew Arsenal, my favourite football team, were playing in an FA Cup semi-final. This also happened to be the captain’s favourite team too. I thought excellent, a chance to bond over something as I didn’t like him so far. I asked the other guys if they didn’t mind us every now and again heading off for a few minutes to check the score. They were fine, however after a while I stopped and started working on some artwork to help the artist. I asked the captain for help too as this was his specialty, but after he submitted his work, I was actually appalled. We’d spent an hour coming up with some good artwork, using the appropriate tools and effects and he submitted uncropped pictures in a word document. I was speechless, but what could I do. I couldn’t tell the guy his artwork was terrible so I added to it. And by added I mean changed it a little bit. And by changed it a little bit I mean discarded it completely because a toddler could have done a better drawing. And it turned out he’d been watching the entire football match where most of us had been working.

But I stopped and decided that the group needed “dinner” so we headed down to the cafe. Actually I’ll take the quotation marks out of dinner as it wasn’t so bad this evening. We came back and started working on the code again. I was a little bit useless at this point as I couldn’t help with the coding, so tried to research it and see if we could get anywhere with it. The captain decided to go to bed at around 10 but the rest of us carried on.

After the research failed, I started working on our presentation which had to be done on the Sunday afternoon in front of a panel of representatives from the gaming industry. Needless to say I was shitting myself, not literally, but that could have happened, I had a lot of caffeine. So I started working on the presentation and delirium was definitely settling in, a lot later than I anticipated. I started off by trying to summarise what everyone had done as part of the group, the developer did all the coding, the artist did some amazing artwork and animation, I contributed to the sound, some artwork, designed the levels and organised the team. I then started writing about what the captain had contributed. And it came to me, he had contributed nothing in a 24 hour period. I didn’t know what to do, it was awful, we struggled through the day with the art and the code and he didn’t even help. This was a mess, we had been struggling to get things working and he had done nothing apart from watch football and submit some poor box art.

The captain emerged at around 2 whilst we were all working. I took him outside and asked him what he contributed to the game, he tried to come up with an excuse for box art, idea and some artwork. I asked him if he could do the presentation as he was team captain and to make him realise what he had contributed.

At 4 in the morning, the captain had passed out and we decided to call it a night as the game had a few levels and we could transition from to the other with ease. The game only needed polishing the next morning. We managed to find a lounge where we could sleep. I gave the developer the couch as he had all the weight on his shoulders. I managed to make a bed out of 8 cushioned office chairs and actually had a decent nights sleep. We set an alarm for 7 so we could carry on in the morning.

We woke up at 7 and returned to our workstations where the captain had said he had written the presentation. We were thrilled and decided to head down for “breakfast”. After a few coffees and one can of Monster I checked the presentation and it was terrible. I couldn’t be bothered to argue with him so I asked if I could make some adjustments and asked the other guys if they liked to contribute. They said they didn’t want to contribute, however the captain had other ideas.

I’m not sure if he realised how terrible the presentation was or whether he was going power crazy, but he turned round to the other guys and said you need to contribute, I am the captain and you should do what I say. I had to step in at this time and say if they don’t want to contribute then they shouldn’t be forced to. He didn’t like that and he hated it even more when the other guys said I should do the presentation. He was angry so I said he could do it, just be prepared.

Presentation time and we were first out of all the teams to do it. I was nervous, however the captain was confident and said he was prepared. The judges consisted of members of the industry so we had to shine. The presentation started with the captain introducing the team and then the game. They were intrigued and started asking questions and the captain was struggling to answer. His cop-out was to introduce me to talk about it and I wasn’t happy but I went on to wing it. It went pretty well and they enjoyed the game and I got a pat on the back from the members and the mentors for taking the responsibility.

The captain decided to leave the event right after the presentation. He asked to add us on Facebook, but we decided against it. We explained to the other teams that he had contributed nothing and that we had to sort out everything he did submit. They were shocked at his performance as a captain but they admired that we carried on regardless to make a working game.

After the presentation of best game and best team (neither of which we won) we left the University of Bedfordshire knowing we could be proud of our achievement. The artist and the developer were brilliant hard-working individuals and I would love to work with them again. The captain can go die in a hole somewhere. He contributed no work, ballsed up the presentation and left early. He wasn’t going to be invited back into the team.

Now I bet you’re all wondering if the entire GameJam was worth it. Well in a 48 hour period I had about 6 hours sleep, ate some very questionable meals, hurt my back, became delirious, argued with co-workers and hadn’t showered and washed in 2 days and felt terrible. However it was all completely worth it, we developed a working game in a 48 period with a team of 3 people and somehow managed to wing a presentation together. We had some fun together and got to meet some interesting people and I will probably go next year, but as a captain and try and win the damn thing.

Nath

Video Game Review – Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2

Adam infrequently reviews games weeks after they are released because he has a job and can’t complete them fast enough. Potential minor spoilers (for Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite too) included.

Burial at Sea Episode 2 is the final piece of DLC (and the second story based DLC) for 2013’s Bioshock Infinite. It was released for download on PSN, Xbox Live and for PC on the 25th March, developed by Irrational Games and published by 2k. It is PEGI 18 rated. Don’t worry, I will touch on Episode 1 (released back in November 2013), but it was quite a bit shorter and frankly only served as a set up for Episode 2. I should probably mention at this juncture that while I won’t explicitly spoil anything, the very setting and nature of both episodes can spoil the ending of Bioshock Infinite. Therefore, if you still plan on playing the full game (and I suggest you do), stop reading here.

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Still here? OK. So Episode 1 of Burial at Sea put you once again in the shoes of Booker DeWitt, but this time in the underwater city of Rapture, the setting for the original Bioshock and Bioshock 2. He is soon contracted by Elizabeth to track down a missing girl, only this time Elizabeth appears as a sultry femme fatale rather than a scared imprisoned young woman in need of rescuing. Being back in Rapture, vigors are now plasmids again, splicers and Big Daddys can be seen around, and the odd familiar face makes an appearance. It is fun, and the story is certainly intriguing, but it is a bit on the short side. It clocks in at around 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and it cost £9.99 when it was released. I understand quality over quantity, but the episode moves along at breakneck speed without giving you much to explore around the core story, so the quality that is there seems almost wasted. It was still enjoyable, and if you opted to go for the season pass (£15.99) you basically pay for Episode 1 and the combat based DLC Clash in the Clouds, and get Episode 2 for free. I found that Episode 1 was in fact the precursor for Episode 2 anyway.

So in Episode 2, you actually play as Elizabeth. You are still in Rapture, continuing the same story, but for reasons I don’t want to spoil, Elizabeth has lost her ability to open up tears. She is not only therefore stranded in Rapture unless she can find away to regain her powers and a way out, but she has also lost her advantage over aggressors. As such, the game is much more stealth-based than any Bioshock prior to it (especially Infinite). This makes for an interesting shake up in the gameplay, giving you opportunity to drink in the dank, oppressive surroundings of the city we know so well at a time just before the total fall into chaos. You crawl into vents and creep around to get the jump on unsuspecting enemies, and a smack to the back of the head or a tranquiliser dart are much more effective than a handgun or shotgun. You get to utilize Elizabeth’s intelligence and studious nature in a few problem solving situations as well.

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Elizabeth herself is a lot of fun to play as, and is a great character in herself. I found that in all the characters introduced in Infinite, she was the one who almost felt alive. Many of the supporting cast felt a bit flat, with very few exceptions. Elizabeth talks to Booker via radio throughout the story, bouncing ideas of him as she attempts to find a way out of her situation. This involves helping Atlas, well known from the first Bioshock. However, at this stage he isn’t even trying to hide his ruthless nature. The story intersects with that original story in a couple of interesting ways. For example, we witness first-hand the grisly ultimate fate of Dr. Yi Suchong, where previously in the first game we only found his body and an audio recording of his death. We are also forced to experience a fairly grim torture scene, and I’ve seen plenty of comments on the subject elsewhere on the internet. It was unpleasant, possibly (probably) unnecessary, but I don’t think it bothered me all that much and it certainly made me feel the tension and the stakes.

Burial at Sea ends by going to great lengths to actually link Bioshock Infinite to the events of the first Bioshock. I’ll leave you to judge how neatly it does this, and what you think of the ending. Personally, I wasn’t a big fan of it, but I appreciate what they were trying to do. The execution wasn’t bad at all either, and I have always wanted the games to link in some small way (though I think just having Rapture as the destination inside one of the infinite lighthouses was probably enough for me), but the ending itself just didn’t ring true to me. It took the grandeur and scale of the end of Infinite, and made it feel all seem meaningless.

Despite this though, I enjoyed Burial at Sea Episode 2 a great deal. It took elements I loved about all 3 Bioshock games before it and introduced some interesting new gameplay elements, gave me the chance to control a different sort of character to the standard brawny male protagonist typical to this sort of experience, and it all took place in one of my favourite fictional locations of all time with very much updated graphics. Rapture looks gorgeous in this instalment. However, I do wish that this was actually a full game. The length was fine for what they were aiming for, and at around 3-4 hours for the same price as the first episode, a lot more value for money (quality and quantity!). But I wanted more of this Rapture, with this character as the lead. What really would have worked for me would have been Burial at Sea Episode 1 to be a Ground Zeroes-style prequel episode to full-length stealth-based game with Elizabeth in Rapture, as Irrational’s swan song for their contribution to the Bioshock universe they created. This will do nicely though.

Score: 8 Aces in the Hole out of 10

 

Would You Kindly Get Me Into the Gaming Industry? GameJam Special Part 1 of 2

Our contributor Nathan continues his journey into games design.

Course update: Everything is going well, which is great news. There will be another article regarding this shortly, however I thought it would be best to share my experience at Train2Game’s GameJam 2014. Please note that I will be protecting the identities of my team name and the members of my team.

It all started off earlier this year where I registered my interest in taking part in the GameJam, an event where fellow students on the course take part to create a working game in 48 hours. Teams were decided by using a matchmaker and I ended up in a team with 5 other students, 2 artists/animators, 2 developers and a QA tester/level designer. My role was designer, a job that oversaw the project and helped out where I was needed.

Now we started off well and came up with a team name that was a mix of everything we submitted, however then things took a turn for the worse. We did not hear from one of the developers from the word go so we had to rely on just one. The game’s theme was decided without my input but as it was my first Jam, I thought it was best not to intervene and go along with it. However, the team captain decided to go along with a dictatorial style of leadership which needless to say, annoyed me greatly. He started assigning jobs to the team members that weren’t best suited to their skills. I should have had a job researching and documenting the game’s assets, sounds, scenes and objects, but I was told to do the artwork. An artist was telling a designer to do the art work. This is when I started asking questions about his leadership. I then said I couldn’t do the art, but here are some ideas I had for the game including characters and scoring system. This went down well with the group, but it was obvious I ruffled some feathers with the captain.

The next major issue was my holiday mid March. I explained to the team that I was going to be away for a week, but I would still be in contact and pick everything up when I get back. The team seemed fine about it, except the captain. Surprising right? He said that it was a big problem and that I wouldn’t be able to go to the GameJam. I spoke to our assigned mentor and he said it was fine, just as long as I could make the event. I explained this to the captain and he proclaimed that I would have to pick up where I left off when I got back. Now my feathers were ruffled and I’m not someone you want to annoy because I can be a real stubborn asshole when I want to be.

So I get back from my holiday and not a lot of progress has been made. I add to the team as much as I can and then learn that our QA tester had to drop out as he couldn’t get the time off work. This meant we were down from our team of 6 to 4. Things weren’t looking good and started to think maybe I should drop out too because I didn’t like the idea and I didn’t like the captain. However I persevered and went to the event.

I arrived at the University of Bedfordshire apprehensive at first but a quick pint settled that. I finally found my team mates and had a quick hello before venturing into the lecture theatre for our introduction. This is where I learnt that all the work leading up to the event may have been in vain, as there could be a theme set for the entire event. I was hoping for a theme as I wasn’t 100% with our idea. Unfortunately, no theme was selected which meant we would have to do our original idea.

So we went into our computer lab and gathered round to have a discussion about our game. Now as we only had one developer, our idea had to be scrapped as the developer only had capabilities in 2D and our idea would not work in that format. I was relieved and we started planning our new idea. I was tasked with designing the levels, researching games and downloading and cropping the sound. The artist and the captain were of course responsible for the artwork and the developer had the monumental task of developing the code. We were doing really well to begin with, had some basic artwork, the research and sound was solid and the code was starting to take shape on a basic level. However we had to stop at 1:30 am as the developer was stuck and the only person who could help him had gone to sleep. We decided to call it a night and enter our “sleeping area”. This was a cold, hard computer lab floor and thank god I had a sleeping bag and a pillow otherwise I’d be one grouchy bastard in the morning. Nevertheless, the door to lab was constantly smashing against the door frame every time came in, I probably got around 3 hours sleep total. Grouchy bastard was an understatement the next morning.

Stay tuned for part 2 where I encounter a mix of anger and delirium.

Nath

Video Game Review – South Park: The Stick Of Truth

Adam infrequently reviews games weeks after they are released because he has a job and can’t complete them fast enough. Potential very minor spoilers included.

South Park: The Stick of Truth was released in the EU on March 7th, developed by Obsidian and published by Ubisoft. It is PEGI 18 rated for swearing, violence and sex. The most notable thing about SOT, as a licensed game based on a beloved TV series, is the direct involvement of the show’s creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Putting aside how badly other licensed games often turn out without this, I remember (in the before time, in the long, long ago) playing the N64 game slinging snowballs made with yellow snow at turkeys, or trying to drive through Spooky Vision on South Park Rally on the Playstation. Both of those games were pretty terrible, and had very little involvement from Parker and Stone other than voice acting. SOT however, feels like a labour of love.

It is very much like playing a 10 hour episode of the series, and the game is a sort of mash up between parodies of Lord of the Rings, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, and Game of Thrones. Character creation is fairly standard, choosing your basic look (which changes almost immediately so doesn’t really matter) and your character class (Fighter, Mage, Thief and Jew. Yep). You are the new kid in town, amidst some vague mystery surrounding your mute character, and your first quest is to start making friends, keeping track of them using a mock Facebook that acts as your various menus. Here you are recruited by the human faction (led by the Wizard Cartman) to defend the Stick of Truth from the elves (led by Kyle). You are taught magic, which is entirely based on different types of fart, and sent on various quests to gain loyalty from other factions and investigate the deeper story that begins to unfold. In typical South Park fashion it becomes hilariously over the top, the stakes manage to get higher but everyone in the town actively dismiss it, leaving the kids as always to sort the mess out.

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I said this game was a labour of love. It is also a love letter to the 17 seasons (over nearly 20 god damn years, there’s terrible ‘old’ feeling again). The story covers so many moments and characters from the entire run, from Professor Chaos to ManBearPig, anal probes to underpants gnomes (who shrink you and fight you underneath your parents while they are having jerky, unsettling cartoon sex). Even every item you pick up is some form of callback to a random episode of the show. By the end of the game I had, amongst other things: 4 Alabama Man figures, 6 Nazi armbands, the Biggest Douche Award, a driedel, a torn condom, a Guinea Pig Costume, Mr. Twig, a used syringe, lice, a Stupid Spoiled Whore doll and 9 copies of The Poop that Took a Pee. They all serve zero function other than to sell for cash, but they are fun all the same.

In the spirit of the show, Stick of Truth is predictably offensive. So offensive in fact, that over here in the EU we got a censored version off the game. What this meant was that at several points in the game, when Ubisoft decided the game went too far, we got a censored screen poking fun at the censorship and us for not being able to play this particular segment. Here is an example:

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This happens at two major points in the game, and several times at each. The first involves anal probing (the image above was taken from one of those scenes), and the second involves a visit to the abortion clinic. The latter involves your character, in disguise as a girl, trying to access records at the clinic. But to gain access, you end up being seen by Dr. Poonlover, who offers you a booster seat, and then apparently performs an abortion on you. Not that that makes any sense, but as I didn’t see the scene I can’t tell you how graphic it is. This is shortly followed by a scene where you perform an abortion on Randy (also dressed as a woman) in what the censor screen called a fun mini game. I assume it is the same as a moment very late in the game where you carry out a short mini game on a machine, which seemed really weird and out of context without the earlier go at it.

I’m going to be honest, while the language used in the censor screens was funny, the fact that censoring had occurred at all bothered me a great deal and took me out of the game experience somewhat. First, I don’t understand why the EU version was censored, (and on consoles only, the PC version remained intact) while in the US it was fine to ship in its entirety. It seems so arbitrary. Second, in my mind there is plenty left in the game that is just as bad as what is censored. In the same abortion clinic level, you fight Nazi zombie foetuses. You fight crawling, biting foetuses which spout random authoritative German, and explode like a balloon full of blood when you defeat them. You see an old man’s dick near the end of the game. You miniaturise yourself and crawl up someone’s arse, chopping down semen and broken condoms, passing pool balls, flash lights, bats and using a dildo to clear a path through shit. These things aren’t censored at all, and I find it really odd that anything is. I’m not defending the content, but my issue is censoring at all. This is an 18 rated game. That alone should mean the title ships intact, especially if it was fine to sell in America. It wasn’t the ratings board who censored it, it was the publisher and I just think that makes no sense to me. And censoring some offensive stuff and not others makes even less sense. I found this to be a real shame, because any of it would have been fine in an episode. I can only assume that being interactive makes the player more complicit in the action, maybe they thought it would make people uncomfortable. What would have been a better way to handle it would be like that infamous Call of Duty level, just whacking up a screen saying ‘your character is about to perform (insert obscene act here). If you would like to skip it, press O. If you would like to play it, press X’.

The game itself is very satisfying, if a little short. Quests do get a little bit repetitive and fetchy, but continue to be thematically entertaining. The gameplay is pretty easy, and if any fights give you any trouble you are probably trying them too early. This happened to me once on a side quest, but its unlikely to happen in the main quest as you level up pretty appropriately. The visuals are probably the best part, looking exactly like the show without trying to do anything flashy. I did experience the odd glitch in the game, but nothing game-breaking. Overall I would definitely recommend this game, despite the censorship and length, although if you aren’t a South Park fan a lot of what makes the game so fun will likely be lost on you. Hands down my favourite part is the mission to Canada, entirely because of the way the mission and the location are presented. I won’t spoil it though, but I think anyone would agree that it is perfect and makes total sense for the South Park take on ‘the land in the north’.

Score – 7 Anal Probes out of 10

Why Aren’t There 22 Million Serial Killers on the Loose?

Nath has a go at folks who blame real world violence on the video game industry

I’ve gone and done it. I wasn’t going to write an article on it, but I feel as if something needs to be said about video game violence. It is a topic I have debated with friends and family over the years, and in the modern day of gaming, it is a very touchy subject.

First things first though, lets not argue against something that is painfully obvious. Video games are violent. Of course they’re violent. You’d be stupid to argue that they weren’t violent. How do you kill enemies in Dead Space? Shoot off their limbs. How do you get the “Judge, Jury and Executioner” achievement in Gears 3? By executing enemies with all the weapons. Case and point.

Now you’re probably wondering why I’ve even bothered to write this article when I’m agreeing that video games are violent, it’s because it’s not the violence I’m trying to defend, it’s the accusations against the industry itself. I literally hate people who sit there and say people who play video games are more violent than people who don’t. If you are one of these people, then I really can’t respect your opinion, because it so freaking ridiculous.

One example would be Michael Bloomberg on the release of Grand Theft Auto 4. He said “I do not support any video game where you earn points for injuring or killing police officers.” First of all Mike, if you had played the game, you would’ve known that you probably would’ve got points for killing police officers, but your wanted level would’ve gone up almost immediately, and eventually you would be arrested or killed. Secondly, ever heard of Die Hard With A Vengeance? Or CSI:NY? Maybe even the Godfather? Let’s face it, it’s not just Grand Theft Auto 4 which is making New York look unsafe. Die Hard has a lot of people dying throughout the film, CSI:NY is based upon murders that occur in New York and The Godfather has mob wars and shootings across the city. How can you be so blind and immediately point the finger at Rockstar? You were mayor of New York City, how could you be so blind?

Another classic example is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and the infamous Moscow airport level.

Let’s not beat around the bush, it is a pretty gruesome and violent level, however what people seem to forget is that you have 3 options:

1. Play the level, shoot a fuck load of civilians, upset some people, get branded a serial killer.

2. Play the level, don’t shoot your gun, get called a pussy.

3. Skip the level at the start, never play it, live your life wondering what you could’ve missed.

There you go people, you have a choice, but say you went with option 1, does that make you a serial killer? If that were the case, there would be, at maximum, 22 million serial killers in the world right now and I’d be one of them. I haven’t killed anyone and I don’t plan to. I’m pretty certain that can be said of most people. People will claim that the Norway attacks in 2001 were because of Call of Duty, but apparently it was used for training more than anything else.

I will say though that the language used online in this game is definitely some of the worst I’ve ever heard. I’ve upset a lot of people with some of the things I’ve said, but I have to turn my headset off and shut off all conversations with other online players as they are just awful, annoying little racists who apparently have sex with my mum all the time. Parents are often complaining about the language they hear online and I won’t lie, I have 2 complaints against me for foul language. But what really annoys me is, why are you letting your 10-year-old child play a game that is clearly made and rated for adults? If you let them play online, of course they are going to hear all this swearing from other players and you wonder why they start swearing.

Also let’s face it, it’s not just adults that are swearing online either. I have been called every name under the sun when playing online, especially from teenagers. And you’re now swearing at me and I imagine your parents are sitting there listening to your foul language and letting you carry on. It’s a good thing that my headset is now muted, because you have no idea how many profanities I can throw back at you. Seriously parents of the world, if you’re going to let your kids play games like this, then either mute the headset or play with them and punish them or others who swear at your children.

When it comes down to it though, video games are violent, but you can’t blame the industry for the violent behaviour of single individuals. There are too many other factors to consider into whether why someone is violent. You could argue that violent video games don’t help the cause, so why do you let those individuals play them? There needs to be less finger pointing at the video industry and more fingers directed towards the people that are playing them. The video game industry is constantly trying to find ways to tackle violence in games, even introducing the similar certification classification for films. Maybe more needs to be done, who knows? But what I’m going to say is think about every aspect before you blame video games, because the video game community is not a violent place. If it were, then the title of this article will be worryingly true.

Nath

Why the hell haven’t you played Chrono Trigger yet?

Every few weeks I will write an article on what I believe to be the best games you need to play before you die. These are games from all platforms and all differing in genre and gameplay, whether you play them or not is completely up to you, but I’d recommend it – Nath

I imagine most of you has played this, but I’m putting it in any way as it is one of the best RPG games ever made. The characters, storyline and gameplay are absolutely fantastic and it has 14 different endings! That means you can play it 14 times, how epic is that!

 

It was first released in 1995 for the SNES by Square, now known as Square Enix, it has gone to be redeveloped for the Playstation 1, Nintendo DS and Smartphones. You play the silent protagonist called Crono, who has large red spiky hair and is armed with a sabre and lives in 1000AD. You go visit the Millennial Fair in town to see your friend’s experiment with someone you bumped into and basically everything goes to shit because otherwise there would be no game. You have to go back in time and rescue your friend but whilst that happens, you end up being transported forward in time to 2300 AD where the apocalypse has happened and friend you bumped into decide it would be better to try to stop this from happening. Basically a giant shit storm and you have to be the good guys and stop Fallout 3 from becoming a thing.

The is the premise of the game, your party travels backwards and forwards through time in order to prevent the apocalypse from occurring. Simple storyline for an RPG game, but the way it engrosses you is brilliant as you are constantly wondering where you’ll end up next and what might happen in each era you visit. All the characters are from different eras too, Chrono, Lucca and Marle are from the present. You later find Robo the robot (not very imaginative) from the future, Ayla from the prehistoric age and finally Frog, a talking frog with a sword. That’s a frog with a sword. You shouldn’t need any convincing.

The gameplay is simple, easy to understand and very fun. Each character has their own magic element, but when a new technique is learnt, they can be combined with other characters to make extremely powerful combos. Some are done with 2 characters and some with all 3.

I know some of you may be thinking that the graphics aren’t great, but if the storyline and the gameplay is solid then graphics don’t matter. Seriously, this game is worth your time and energy. I genuinely believe it is up there as one of the greatest RPG games ever created. Happy cycloning.

Nath

Kill it so I can wear it

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The problem with playing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate almost exclusively in multiplayer is when I return to my solo game I’m pretty much THE shit. For those of you that don’t know, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a game where you hunt monsters (ironic, I know) and when you’ve killed or captured them, you get bits of them which you can make into weapons and armour. It’s like pokemon, if you were the one beating the crap out of Pikachu, then making a sword out of him and proceeding to beat the crap out of his mates with your new zappy sword. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate has three tiers: Low Rank, High Rank and the Holy Grail of G Rank. Because I’ve racked up nearly 200 hours playtime, almost exclusively in multiplayer, I made G rank my bitch quite a while ago and am currently wearing some kind of demonic overlord as a fine hat. Cue me returning back to my solo village and the townspeople are being terrorised by something that I wore as a shoe twelve levels ago.

Whilst the single player is fun and engaging, it’s the multiplayer that really shines for me in this game. Not because I get to pwn all the n00bs online as MH3U is a purely PvE game, but because I get to play with my friends in my living room. It’s understandable as to why this game is on Nintendo consoles since it incorporates something Nintendo adores; being physically social with people whilst gaming.

Part of the great functionality between the Wii-U and the 3DS really gets to show off in this franchise. I have Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on my (Pikachu) 3DS XL (suck it) and my partner has the game on our Wii-U. However will we play together?? OH WAIT THEY THOUGHT OF THAT. The Wii-U acts as a hub which up to three 3DS handhelds can connect to and Lo! You’re all in the same lobby and can run around beating things in the face with their brethren to your heart’s content! Again, it plays into the game’s hands as Monster Hunter is not afraid to use ‘old skool’ difficulty when it comes to big monsters. You’re fighting a poisonous dragon, it’s not going to be easy thus it’s great to have a friend around to distract it (read: Be bait) so you can chug and antidote.

I personally think that more games need to abuse this feature. I can’t count the number of times we’ve ended up having a pizza party with everyone playing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate whilst we hunt the thing the lowest level person wants to wear next. A lot. Because Brachydios needs to drop that damn gem so I can upgrade my Dual Swords DAMMIT!

 

Kii