Category Archives: Featured

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E3 2013 Probably Won’t Be As Lame As Last Year

E3 Logo, E3 2013, E3 2012, Sony, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Microsoft

For us video gaming enthusiasts E3 is a pretty exciting time of year. People who are not into videogames might find it a bit weird that we’re all captivated by men in suits talking about their products on stage to an audience of journalists, or related Twitter feeds. This rabid hunger for video game news was arguably why E3 2012 was kind of, well, lame.

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DmC: Devil May Cry

DmC: Devil May Cry, Box art, ReviewDmC: Devil May Cry is the latest entry and reboot of the Devil May Cry franchise, featuring a brand new cast and storyline. The title is so different compared to previous releases that it has spawned massive controversy, revealing the very worst in the games industry. Gaming outlets would insult fans and constantly revel in trying to show them up. Conversely, fans would focus on any minor gripe that they could to project DmC as a failure.

As a fan of Devil May Cry, myself, it’s hard not to be disappointed. The characters that I enjoyed have been replaced, the series has become darker and less crazy, and even the gameplay has been altered to fit Ninja Theory’s artistic designs.  Regardless, DmC is a reboot, and such changes are to be expected. I defended the game from some of the sillier criticisms from the start, but does the game actually deserve the criticism it gets? Is it the failure that fans claim?

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Ninja Theory
Genre: Action//Hack-and-Slash, Brawler; Fantasy
Platform: PlayStation 3(Reviewed), Xbox 360, Windows PC
Release Date: 15th January, 2013 (NA/EU); 17th January, 2013 (JP)
PEGI: 16+

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The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker Logo for HD Retrospective

4 Things You’ll Love (Again) in Wind Waker Wii U

The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker Logo for HD Retrospective

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is a divisive game for some fans of the Zelda franchise. Some hail it as the literal second coming of Christ, others despise it for its gorgeous, “cartoonish” cel-shaded graphics and “boring” sailing. The truth is most people don’t really care about rating every Zelda game every single day, and that most people enjoyed Wind Waker and recognise that it’s a real nice, solidly put together game, and one of the best games on the Nintendo GameCube (alongside Super Mario Sunshine, Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes and Bratz: Rock Angelz). Have you been living in a cave since 2000? Or did you simply contract amnesia? Here are some of the delights in store for you from Wind Waker Wii U, and some of the “tun[ing] up the overall gaming experience” we might see.

1. Exploring the Great Sea

One of the most noticeable things about Wind Waker is the water. It’s all over the place. That great expanse – The Great Sea – is the Hyrule Field of Wind Waker, so expect to be seeing a lot of it. The Great Sea is much larger than Hyrule Field, though, consisting of 49 sections in a 7×7 grid, most of which contain an island of their own, all of which contain at least one oddity of some sort. A lot of the islands are completely optional and don’t even have to be explored, which makes it all the more rewarding and exciting to do so. You can control the wind to make sailing faster, and eventually unlock fast travel, so most of the time the sailing isn’t even a drag. Some people found using the Wind Waker in the middle of sailing a little bit time-consuming and irritating, but it’s possible that the Wii U controllers will allow this to be much more seamless as part of the “tune up”. Will this mean that people who hated the sailing in Wind Waker the first time will suddenly find it enjoyable? Probably not. But it may be that the people who loved it the first time will find it even more enjoyable. At the very least the people that enjoyed it the first time will find the same amount of enjoyment from it again, and that’s all you can really ask for in a remake. Prepare to set sail.

2. The Best Collectables

If there is one thing people love in Zelda games it’s collectables. Optional items, hidden rupee caches, pieces of heart – you all know the drill. If you excitedly confront a Zelda fan and tell them you’ve just beaten a Zelda game but have not collected all of the heart pieces they will likely scoff in your face. Wind Waker had arguably some of the hardest, but most fun collectables. On Windfall island you can obtain a pictobox – a camera – and after a slightly convoluted (though normal by Zelda standards) side-quest you can obtain an upgrade that allows you to take colour photographs. Take these to the sculptor on Forest Haven (accessed by mind-controlling a seagull into hitting a switch) and he will make you a sculpture of the subject of the photograph (if it’s good enough). There are 134 of these detailed, great-to-look-at models to collect. And they require a playthrough on New Game + to unlock too, so you can get pre-pictograph ones (mainly a few boss monsters). They are great to look at in the Gamecube version, but imagine how they will look in glorious 1080p. Very 1080p-ish, probably. Who wants to bet that there will be an option to use the gamepad as the pictobox too? That would be kind of neat.

3. Tingle (Tuner)

If there’s one thing better than an enjoying a finely crafted Zelda experience it’s enjoying a finely crafted Zelda experience with a pal. However, there are just some times when sitting on the couch and occasionally swapping the control back and forth while one of you eats pizza or uses the bathroom isn’t enough. That’s where the tingle tuner comes in. What’s that? You didn’t know Wind Waker had a co-op mode? Well I’ve got news for you: it does. As all six people who owned a GameCube/Game Boy Advance link cable will tell you, you can plug your GBA into a controller port and by using the tingle tuner a second player can control Tingle. Tingle is more of a supporting role, having access to a map on the GBA screen, and has the ability to help the player by locating treasure of even dropping bombs into the fray. Gee, sounds an awful lot like some of the asymmetric multiplayer that utlises the Wii U’s Gamepad – I wonder what Nintendo will do with this re-release.

4. Atmosphere, and the Rest of the Game

Because it’s just a really great game, packed with the classic and fun dungeoning you love, pirates, and a haunting tale about the repercussions of a post-Ocarina of Time world without their Hero of Time. Just as equally as you have the iconic Windfall Island with its happy music and cast of quirky characters with numerous delightful side-quests, you also have unnerving and unsettling elements – terrifying tornadoes, ghost ships, giant octorocks. Just like the sea the game is based around, Wind Waker was a game both beautiful and slightly unsettling. The remake looks like it will make the game even more beautiful, and will hopefully accentuate the unique atmosphere that Wind Waker carried so well. While Nintendo haven’t gone into specifics about what “tun[ing] up the overall gaming experience” actually means, it’s clear there’s a lot of sweet things they could coerce from the already solid frame – most of which involve using the GamePad to increase the flow of the game. Only time will tell for sure, but there’s a lot of reasons you should love Wind Waker, so it only stands to reason you should love all of those things again in Wind Waker Wii U.

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The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man Box Art, ReviewHaving been a fan of Spider-Man for years, the kid inside of me is always excited when a new Spider-Man game hits the shelves. The Amazing Spider-Man is more than just a game though, it’s an extension of the movie which I also thoroughly enjoyed. Following up from the movie, this title is set in the aftermath of Dr. Connors’ discovery. Needless to say, there are spoilers for the movie.

Publisher: Activision
Developer: Beenox
Genre: Action-Adventure//Sandbox, Fantasy
Platforms: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PlayStation 3, Windows PC, Wii, Wii U, 3DS
Release Date: 29th June, 2012 (EU)
Rating: 16 (PEGI)

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Dante poking his heart.

Game Fan Destroys Journalism out of Spite

Dante poking his heart.

Rare is there a case in which a videogame was met with such vitriol as DmC: Devil May Cry. The new Devil May Cry even generated animosity between fans and the gaming press, but ultimately, the press failed to highlight either side of the debate like good journalists should. Yes, this is one of those articles again, and so soon after the last one.

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Resistance: Burning Skies

Resistance, Burning Skies, PlayStation, Vita, Box art, ReviewResistance: Burning Skies was a game that caught my interest a fair bit, simply as a result of my own skepticism regarding the success of emulating a first-person shooter on a handheld device.  Would Burning Skies be as lacking as expected, or would it be able to take advantage of the PlayStation Vita’s hardware to finally deliver a good first-person shooter experience?

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Nihilistic Software
Genre: Action//First-Person Shooter
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Release Date: July 12th, 2012 (JP); March 29th, 2012 (NA); June 1st, 2012 (EU)
PEGI: 18+

Taking place in August, 1951, the east coast of North America is under an alien invasion. Despite the bleak situation, fire fighter Tom Riley stands up in the fight against the Chimera, motivated by his desire to return to his family.

Burning Skies keeps to the same structure as its console brothers as a first-person shooter in which every weapon has their own unique alternative fire. The PlayStation Vita lacks the extra buttons to emulate the experience efficiently. Instead, the title takes advantage of the Vita’s touch screen to enable alternative fire–a method which meets great success. It’s definitely nice to see developers take advantage of the Vita’s “gimmicky” features effectively, rather than using it as an actual gimmick.

Visually, the title also successfully portrays its setting which furthers the player’s immersion. Regrettably, there are some graphical issues and blurred textures leading to a slightly less visually appealing experience. Additional details, such as closing in on the face of an enemy Chimera that Riley has just attempted to melee and not even making some of their complicated faces messy.

Resistance Burning Skyies, Gameplay Screenshot, Review

Riley accidentally interrupted a good game of Chimera hopscotch.

Despite Nihilistic’s effort though, the story was somewhat dull. There was a lack of real character development throughout the campaign. Enemy units became repetitive to the point that completing the story got less challenging, rather than more difficult. The title’s approach to upgrading weapons was interesting in concept; however, each weapon upgrade was easy to find and, disappointingly, wasn’t even very useful. The campaign length is short too, spanning roughly eight to nine hours long. This is pretty average for a first-person shooter, but it also loses the potential Burning Skies had to engage the player in such a way that they could be immersed even further into the possible lore. As it stands, the fictional world just wasn’t explored enough.

Multiplayer is composed of the most common three multiplayer modes to launch with a title: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Survival. In Burning Skies, the player can compete in matches across six maps with up to seven other players. For some strange reason, players who have not completed the title’s single player campaign will be kicked off of the multiplayer mode and forced to start the campaign.

Ultimately, Resistance: Burning Skies feels like a relatively average shooter. It doesn’t perform spectacularly, but despite a few minor hiccups (and one bizarre design choice regarding locking the multiplayer) it delivers an adequate experience and nothing more. Fans of the franchise will probably plough through the campaign once and then forget about it.