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

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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

Video Game Review – Halo 5 (Xbox One)

Nath sometimes reviews games. This is one of those reviews.

Here it is, the latest instalment of the Halo franchise, the game that made the Xbox a success (probably) and they are still cashing in on the name. I am now starting to think it is loosely linked to Pirates of the Caribbean as they both had brilliant first instalments, followed by a trilogy that was pretty good and that’s where it should’ve stopped. However we got 2 more instalments that weren’t as good as the originals and now feel like the franchise is being cashed in on. Please note that this review contains spoiler alerts.

I’ll be honest, I did enjoy the first three games, especially the first one, Humans Vs the Covenant then suddenly the Flood intervenes and tries to mess everything up on the halo. Since Halo 4, the Flood and halos don’t seem to exist any more, in fact there are no halos in Halo 5. Instead of the Flood, we have the Prometheans, an ancient race that have their own weapons and unique fighting style. I don’t like them to be honest, the Flood had a somewhat zombie element about it, the Prometheans are just another Covenant but with better weapons (apart form the Plasma Sword and that is still in the game).

Nevertheless I started playing the game with an open mind and first things first, there is a new Spartan, Spartan Locke and he commands the team Osiris which contains Nathan Fillion so off to a brilliant start. But the storyline failed to grip me in any way. You play as Spartan Locke and the Master Chief throughout the game. Spartan Locke is brilliant leader and character, but the Master Chief seems to have changed, normally straight and to the point, does missions without being asked, however he decides to venture off and search for Cortana.

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The gameplay is the standard Halo gameplay, you run around with 2 weapons battling through numerous enemies using a mixture of shooting, throwing grenades and punching aliens. Maybe stumble upon a vehicle or mounted weapon or too and utilise that to it’s full potential. The only new things about the gameplay is the ability to charge into enemies, which I saw as a bit of a copout to be honest. There are some new weapons or vehicles I think but nothing catches my eye.

There is a very good level on the Elite homeworld, but that’s about it. I found this very disappointing, only 1 decent level throughout the entire game. Plus the hint system is too easy to use, if you’re stuck, just press down and the game tells you where to go, they could’ve made it a bit more difficult to solve problems.

The only decent thing about the game is Spartan Locke, if there is a Halo 6, I hope we see more of him and less of the Chief. Looks like the baton has to be passed as 343 industries have Spartan Locke the new face of Halo.

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The multiplayer does save the game a little bit, there are the standard games modes, Team Slayer being my particular favourite, however Warzone has now been introduced. Warzone is where you have to establish a base and take over 3 markers before the enemy team does before attempting to wipe out their base. Throw in some boss fights and Covenant anarchy and it makes it very enjoyable. You also gain points when you are playing and you can purchase better weapons when you respawn. I have enjoyed playing this mode more than the actual game itself.

The rest of the multiplayer is pretty standard, however I do seem to be playing the same map over and over again, maybe a bug in the system that needs addressing. The power weapons (Sniper Rifle etc) seem to respawn at random moments but you are told when they do so you all rush in and try and obtain it. I find the Light Rifle to be a bit more useful, it is basically the Promethean Battle Rifle but with a bit more accuracy.

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All in all, the game isn’t brilliant. I wish I hadn’t paid full price for it, definitely one to look out for in pre-owned sections. The storyline could’ve been better, I feel like it’s been banking on a great idea since the Xbox days but taking the best part out and putting a mediocre part in. In my opinion, I don’t think there has been a decent Halo storyline since Reach. I would give this game 5 annoying Promethean Dog things out of 10, needs a better storyline, but an OK game overall.

Nath

I Wanna Be the Very Best – Pokémon Go

Nath is excited about Pokémon Go. Like, really excited guys.

I have been a Pokémon fan for many years now. I watched the cartoons, saw the films, played nearly every game and collected the cards. Safe to say that Pokémon has made a lot of money out of me over the years, but I did think that it was somewhat lacking a little bit as with all the latest technology that was available, there was a distinct lack of a 3D port. There is a free-to-play one online I believe but still something that should be looked into.

 

However, September 10 2015, a massive announcement was made, particularly for the fans of the franchise. Pokémon GO, a Pokémon game app on your smart phone that links to a Bluetooth device that sits on your wrist that uses real world location information to capture, battle, train and trade virtual Pokémon. This means you can be a real life Pokémon master. Words cannot describe how excited I am about this. The release is due in 2016 and will be available on iOS and Android devices (sorry windows phone users).

Early notes say the app is free to purchase but there will be in-app purchases like most apps available. I haven’t found any details regarding the wristband as of yet, all I know is it will flash and vibrate if you run into a Pokémon in the real world. This is a massive benefit for myself as my job does take me all over the UK so hopefully I can explore most locations and hopefully capture a variety of Pokémon. No doubt I may have to start with a Rattatta or a Pidgey, but still Pidgey will eventually evolve, I never bother with Rattatta to be honest. I certainly don’t want to be running through forests to try and capture Beedrills, I hate bees.

I believe this a fantastic move by Nintendo. To be honest they did say they wouldn’t enter the smartphone market, but this first move is absolutely fantastic. It also also means it will force children who play Pokémon to go outside whilst trying to find Pokémon. Maybe in the future they can set gyms up around the world or hold Pokémon tournaments like they do in the series in order to see who is the true Pokémon master. I would sign my name up for that in a heartbeat.

However there could be some issues along the way. My first thoughts are how many Pokémon will they release into the world. My knowledge of Pokémon goes up to Platinum and that’s about it. I could think of a team consisting of anything within that range, but anything after I would be stuck. If the original 150 are released then I would be absolutely fine.

Another problem is what are the in-app purchases? Pokéballs? Master Balls? Pokémon Centres? We will need more information, but I imagine this will come in time. Will there be a currency system used in the current games as well? Can you buy currency with real world money? I certainly hope not as the game will be flooded with money and would cause further problems.

Also what about water Pokémon? My phone is waterproof but I don’t want to be searching for Gyarados in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Also it rains a lot in the UK, will we just be inundated with water Pokémon and will my Charmander die in the rain?

Aside from the potential issues, I do believe this is something we can get excited for. Being a real-world Pokémon master would be epic. I’m sure going outside has it’s benefits too. I imagine it may get a bit annoying though if I say I want to go to a beautiful part of the UK and then suddenly stop and say “OMFG there’s a rare Pokémon here, stop I have to battle it.” It won’t matter though, I will be the the very best that no one ever was.

Nath

Late Video Game Review – Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

Nath sometimes reviews games. This is one of those reviews.

Firstly I must apologise for not submitting a review for the latest Batman: Arkham Knight. I have been very busy with work and studying so had no time to write a full review but in short it is brilliant, go and buy it and play it to your hearts content.

However after playing it I found an empty void, I tried a few different games to fill it, such as the new Witcher game however, I just didn’t get into it, I found The Evil Within boring so I got stuck playing Call of Duty: Ghosts for a while. I noticed the latest Metal Gear Solid installment and thought I would give it a go. I am a fan of the series, however I find the games a bit hit and miss. The first Metal Gear Solid on Playstation was fantastic, and the same could be said for Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater. However, Guns of the Patriots I found very boring, it was more an interactive movie than a game, but I carried on nonetheless. I didn’t play Ground Zeroes but I was told it wasn’t completely essential, instead I went in head first to the Phantom Pain. Please note, there are spoiler alerts ahead.

It can be said that is a little different from the other games, however I had heard that Ground Zeroes was similar. It is not a linear, one way stealth game, it is an open sandbox style game with 2 maps. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to use stealth to infiltrate camps and take out enemies, but you can use your surroundings to your advantage. You get the tranquilizer gun to take out your enemies instead of killing them (which gets you points and points mean prizes) and an arsenal of sniper rifles, assault rifles, rocket launchers etc at your disposal. You also develop your base for your army and send out your squad mates on missions. But how do you hire your army? Well you don’t. You kidnap them and basically hope they join or put them in jail until they join. And how do you kidnap them? By using a giant balloon that flies stunned or asleep enemies into the air, which by the way is hilarious.

The gameplay is brilliant, you do have to use lots of buttons to shoot like the old games but this didn’t bother me at all. You can also restrain enemy soldiers and interrogate them and then choose to kill them or not. I mostly suffocate them and then kidnap them. Each soldier is usually ranked from S++ to E on skills in Intel, Support, Combat, Research, Medical and Base Development. Upon leveling up each area, you can develop new weapons and vehicles.

The storyline is excellent, it is mainly developing the base by carrying out missions and side missions. Side missions usually include extracting highly skilled soldiers, recovering blueprints and saving prisoners. The main missions are a lot more difficult and for some reason Mr Hideo Kojima decided to put credits before and after each mission. This is fine, however the credits show you who you can expect to meet during the mission which gives the game away. It’s slightly annoying as you now know what to expect in each mission. There is something I do love about the missions however. You can be sneaking through an enemy encampment and reaching a group of people to extract when suddenly, Hideo Kojima throws a curve-ball of Japanese lunacy to your prim and proper stealth game.

I won’t spoil it for you, but there are many weird and wonderful characters throughout the game that you need to look out for, however the one you most definitely will have seen is Quiet, the scantily clad sniper. You have an epic fire fight with her and then after much deliberation, she becomes your ally. She is very useful but she doesn’t always follow you. She’s not useful for stealth missions however, as at the beginning she only has a rifle that kills and as I said before, not killing people means prizes. You can equip her with a tranquilizer rifle if needs be, hopefully that will make stealth missions a lot easier.

Another aspect of the game I thoroughly enjoy is the Easter Eggs within the game. There are diamonds and resources to collect as well as posters, but the best item to collect is the cassette’s of 80’s music. They are dotted about each map and when discovered, they are added automatically to your playlist. And of course you can play them as you are playing the game, it makes the stealth harder but a lot more fun. I won’t lie, listening to Europe’s The Final Countdown whilst waiting to blow up some tanks is hilarious, but there are other classics available such as David Bowie’s Man Who Sold the World and Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart.

All in all it is a truly brilliant game, lots of action and adventure and a gripping storyline full of twists and turns along the way. I would give it 10 hilarious sheep extractions out of 10. Probably one of the best Metal Gear Solid games ever made and certainly one of the best games I have played this year. Fallout 4 isn’t too far away and I’m sure it will be epic, but it’s going to have to be spectacular to knock this game down.

Nath

EGX 2015 – Indie Games Part 4: Punch Club, Void & Meddler, Odonata

Adam and Kii once again head to EGX to check out some upcoming video games!

On our second indie focused day at EGX 2015 Kii and I split up to cover as many games as possible. It became pretty pretty obvious that we weren’t going to get to everything, but we tried our best! This is my final indie round up article (find the first three here here and here), and I’ll be talking about Punch Club, Void & Meddler, and Odanata.

 

Punch Club (PC, Mac, Linux & Mobile)

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Over in the Rezzed section I found Punch Club, developed by Lazy Bear Games and published by tinyBuild. This is a tycoon style fighting simulator, where you learn new fighting skills, work to keep yourself fed, train and try to find out who killed your father. In the short demo I played I did some benchpressing, got a job delivering pizza and brawled with some random street thugs, before eating a burger from a bin, tripping out and meeting someone who looked oddly like a Teenage Mutant Ninja… Alligator?

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The game is packed with 80s/90s references and has a really nice twist on the standard tycoon formula, and as a tycoon/RPG hybrid has the potential to be incredibly addictive. Lazy Bear Games are aiming for release later this year on Steam and mobile platforms.

 

Odonata

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Next up in the Leftfield Collection I had a go on Odonata, a top down 3d sandbox game in which you have to construct defences around your base to prevent enemy attackers, in this case weird looking metallic spiders, from destroying your data core. You can outfit your base with conveyor belts and automatic robot arms that can convert the scrap from the spiders your guns take out into supplies. The art style and automation of your base is really interesting, and the demo I played was fast paced and tricky (I failed 3 times). This was the first time the developers Rob Laro and Anneka Tran have showed off the game, and it looks like it’s going to be well worth keeping an eye on.

 

Void & Meddler (PC & Mac)

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Whilst still in the Rezzed section I sat down for about 40 minutes in front of Void & Meddler from NO cvt, a 6 act point and click adventure story set over 3 episodes, the first of which is out on Steam in October. Inspired by synthwave and 80s noise rock, this cyberpunk story takes Fyn, a tired and disconnected hipster who basically hates everything, through a search across the city for her memories.

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Like all good point and click adventures, I basically had to comb over every single inch of each scene to find out what to do next, and even then one of the developers had to point out the fairly esoteric use of a guitar pedal that I had picked up. Fyn is aggressively pretentious and the dialogue reads like a cyberpunk noir, over the top and grungily bratty, so while it does make it difficult to root for Fyn it is very entertaining. Almost like playing Ghost World, mixed with Blade Runner. NO cvt are aiming to release the first episode on Steam in October.

 

And that is it for my coverage of EGX this year. We tried to cover as many games as possible, and over the next few days we’ll be getting Kii’s thoughts on some of the games she played, along with a podcast special at the end of the week where we’ll talk about EGX 2015 in general. Make sure you check out all of these awesome