E3 2014 – The GregHorrorShow Round Up

Mordor E3

So another E3 has been and gone. 2014 was not quite as dramatic as last year’s XBox One Vs PS4 launch shenanigans but there were plenty of great games to see.

So in no particular order, here are my favourites from the show:

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RAINBOW SIX: SEIGE

I have been waiting years for a new Rainbow Six game and while we had seen (the now defunct) ‘Patriots’ game last year, Ubisoft have revealed their newest Six title in the shape of ‘Seige’. Looks very shiny and could be quite tactical if playing with the right people. I’m in!

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UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END

We knew this one was coming but we had no idea just how good it would look. The above was from in-game assets running on a PS4. Aside from looking amazing, Sully was *confirmed* which makes it a must buy for me immediately :) They kept saying ‘one last time’, I’d love to see Drake go out with a bang. The series deserves an amazing send off.

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THE DIVISION

Another big hitter from last year, The Division is still a way off but this gameplay demo showcased just how great this title could be. Fingers crossed it can live up to the hype.

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NO MAN’S SKY

Speaking of hype, another title I’m hoping doesn’t drown under the hopes/dreams of the gaming community is No Man’s Sky. Initially revealed late last year it still looks super cool and different to most other stuff out there. The world is procedurely generated so there will be plenty of surprises in store!

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ASSASSIN’S CREED: UNITY

Black Flag won me back over after III’s poor showing and the switch to 17th Century France really appeals to me. Four player co-op will be awesome if implemented well and keeping this just on the newest consoles means we should see a big improvement in AI and graphics (hopefully).

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FAR CRY 4

This looks superb. More of the same in a different location and better graphics. That’s fine with me! Hopefully the story will last the distance this time out rather than collapsing in on itself half way through.

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THE WITCHER 3

The first two Witcher titles were very well received and this is the first time Geralt has appeared on Playstation – fortunately you don’t need to have played the other games to enjoy this stunning fantasy epic. I look forward to exploring the world CD Projekt RED have crafted.

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RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER

I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s Tomb Raider reboot – looking forward to more of the same and hopefully some more character development. Maybe skip the multiplayer though Crystal Dynamics?

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DESTINY

This one has definitely snuck up on me a bit as I wasn’t massively keen but Destiny had a good showing at E3. It helps that I got into the Alpha over the last weekend and that it was especially awesome :smile: Coming on like a cross between Borderlands and Mass Effect… well, do I need to carry on?!

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BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT

I never played the non-RockSteady made Arkham game from last year, so I am definitely ready for a new Batman game and this one looks gorgeous. Hopefully RockSteady can keep the gameplay fresh and nail a great story as well.

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THE ORDER: 1886

Unfortunately this was a game that ended up delayed into early 2015 but I still think this will be a stand out PS4 title. Graphically it looks excellent and the seamless interchange between gameplay and cut scene is super impressive. Victorian London Steampunk? Yes please!

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BLOODBORNE

I never played the Souls games on PS3 so my hype for this game is mainly based on a combination of how great it looks and the fact that MisterOggy has been raving about the Souls games recently. Seems as good as time as any to jump in and this is being made by the guy who created the original ‘Souls’ title.

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There was plenty of other great stuff on show including Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor (a third person action adventure game set in the Lord Of The Rings universe), Dead Island 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition. I also thought Cuphead, with it’s old-skool cartoon vibe, looked fantastic. I was pleased to see Mass Effect 4 confirmed but there wasn’t much they could show. Same goes for Star Wars Battlefront. Ubisoft’s WW1 game Valiant Hearts continues to interest and is actually out in a few weeks.

Cuphead E3

Another one that looks great is 5 player Evolve, where it’s 4 v 1 but the 1 is a huge monster :smile: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was as insane as ever but it looks great and I will definitely be picking it up. I thought Fetch was one of the best (and underused) characters in Infamous: Second Son so the standalone DLC ‘First Light‘ could be really interesting. I liked the look of Inside but I did feel it felt a bit too similar to Limbo for my liking, at least from that trailer.

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Overall I thought it was a pretty great E3, although it’s a bit disappointing that a lot of the best games shown are not going to be out until 2015. There is still plenty to look forward to though – what did you guys like the look of? Was there anything not listed about that you thought might be cool?

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Infamous: Second Son – Review (PS4)

Infamous SS MAIN

I am a big fan of the Infamous series and Second Son was one of my most wanted games for the new generation of consoles. With Sucker Punch’s Playstation expertise, could this be an early killer app for the PS4? I wish the answer was a resounding ‘yes’ but despite some fantastic high points, and coming 6 months after the release of the PS4, Second Son still suffers from early console-cycle jitters.

Let’s start with a positive. Graphically I’m not sure I’ve seen a better game… ever. The lighting, the rain, the neon. I could go on and on and before I do stop, I must mention the cutscenes – Infamous: Second Son has some of the most well crafted scenes I’ve ever seen – a testament to the amount of facial motion capture they did. They are also among the best acted, with some great, believable performances.

Gameplay-wise the enemy AI is robust and will not hesitate to flank you and hide behind cover when necessary. Encounters felt challenging but enjoyable for the most part, although there were a few frustrating boss fights thrown into the mix. Luckily, Second Son does a decent job of giving you different options so that you can change tactics on the fly. You begin the game with smoke powers and as the story progresses you’ll unlock neon and a few others (which I won’t name so as not to spoil it). The powers each have a distinct look which is really cool but unfortunately all of them are essentially just the same set of attacks in a different art style. It’s a real shame because it feels a bit like a wasted opportunity – if they had given the powers a genuinely different feel it could’ve been a game changer. As it is they are still fun but you’ll likely find yourself finding a favourite and just sticking with that.

Infamous SS 1

Second Son tells the story of Delsin Rowe, a graffiti artist turned superhero. Delsin is, unknowingly, a conduit for superpowers – having the unique ability to absorb and use other conduits powers. Conduits have been labelled ‘Bio-Terrorists’ by the government and the D.U.P (Department of Unified Protection) are sent in to capture any conduits they can find. When the D.U.P endangers the local people, Delsin and his brother Reggie (a sheriff) find themselves thrown into a battle with this dark, government force. Along the way you’ll meet other conduits that Delsin can nurture or prey on as you look to sort out the situation he’s found himself in.

The story is fun and the characters are definitely memorable which is why it’s all the more disappointing that great side characters like Fetch and Eugene are barely used. I would have loved to see more missions with accompanying characters so you had a chance to get to know them better. This for me was probably Infamous: Second Son’s biggest crime, especially with how well crafted the characters felt. It felt like a mis-step to introduce these cool characters and then just brush them aside until the final act.

Infamous SS 2

Infamous: Second Son is a graphical powerhouse that I had a lot of fun playing. It tells a good story in a concise timeframe (around 10 hours) and the animation in cutscenes is something to behold. In spite of all that I do feel that the side characters could have been developed more and while the gameplay is decent, it is more of the same from the last two games. That isn’t a big issue for me but people should be aware it is not with fresh gameplay that Second Son makes it mark… graphically however, it stomps most other titles into the ground.

Rating: 8/10

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MXGP – Review (PS3)

*This piece originally appeared on TheSixthAxis and can be viewed HERE*

MXGP is the officially licensed game of Motocross, featuring all the bikes and riders of the sport. The names were unfamiliar to me as I don’t follow Motorcross but by the time I’d created a custom rider and hit the track I was trying too hard to stay on my bike to worry!

As you would expect from a licensed product, the game has a full suite of modes that enable you to jump straight into a random race, hold a Grand Prix (race weekend), take part in the Motorcross Championship (as your favourite rider) or even start a career with a created rider. There are also online options for a single race, ‘Seasons’ mode or Time Attack, so you are well catered for across the board.

The racing itself is fun with a different take on control – here the left stick controls the bike, with the right stick distributing the rider’s weight. It’s an interesting system but you won’t need to use it much when on the ‘Base’ setting that the game starts you on. Even on the highest level of ‘Pro’ I found it wasn’t really needed for cornering but I definitely had to balance my weight to the front or back going uphill or downhill. If you don’t strike the right balance you will find yourself face down in the mud.

MXGP creates some great crash moments, where your rider will tumble realistically off his vehicle and hit the ground. However I do feel this could be a little bit more refined – on some occasions a very slight knock would see my rider thrown in a very over-the-top pratfall that just didn’t make sense in the context of the crash. Another issue I stumbled across on more occasions than I would’ve liked, was my rider coming off his bike without good reason. This was especially problematic at the edge of the track and caused me a few frustrating moments.

Graphically, the game looks good and you get a nice sense of speed from gameplay. The track deforms as you ride around it, which is a great touch because it can slightly change the racing line in later laps, and even the effect of the wind rustling under the rider’s shirt gives an impression that you are tearing around a racetrack. Unfortunately, on the PS3 version I played, there was some noticeable pop in – I suspect this may be down to the game having to keep track of the deformed race area. It wasn’t a game breaking issue but it did take you out of the moment at times.

As I mentioned above, aside from one off races or championships, the main crux of single player action is the Career mode. This allows you to create your own custom rider and work your way up from MX2 racing to the big time of MX1. This mode will be a big time sink for players because of the way MX rules work – as well as Practice and Qualifying, riders also race the track twice within the weekend (with points awarded for both races).

So, even if you decide to skip the preliminary rounds you’ll still need to get through two races to complete each event. My one complaint about the races was that at times they felt a little too long (especially having to do each course twice) but that’s a personal preference.

The Career mode is good fun though, with you starting out as a wildcard before receiving offers for different teams as the season progresses. You will get team objectives and an additional bonus if you finish ahead of a pre-chosen ‘rival’. The team manager and your agent will often drop you an e-mail to give you updates or set an objective. In addition to this there is also an option to check social media and see what the fans and other riders are saying about you. It’s a nice touch and, along with the post race info on how many fans you’ve gained/lost, lends some depth to the MXGP world.

As well as solo play there is also the option to take on fellow gamers online with a single race or ‘Season’ mode. In a single race you will be battling it out with up to 11 other racers and you will race with whatever number of people are in the lobby. The game also allows players to mix settings in single race, so riders are racing with whatever set up they feel comfortable with. This seems like a smart move as it won’t split the userbase straight out of the gate (excuse the pun).

For Season mode, if you don’t have 12 people in the lobby it will fill the race with AI riders so there are always 12 of you. Points are then distributed accordingly after races. The online was stable, I had one lost connection in 10 races, and there was no slowdown or other visual issues.

Rating: 7/10

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Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – Review (PS4)

ACIV Main

Truth be told the Assassin’s Creed series has been in decline of late. Brotherhood was, for me at least, the pinnacle of the series with both Revelations and Assassin’s Creed III failing to live up to expectations. With Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag can Ubisoft arrest the slide?

Following the conclusion of the Desmond Miles arc in Assassin’s Creed III, here you take control of an unnamed protagonist who has taken a job at Abstergo Entertainment – a games company making historical adventures. As you’ll know if you played any previous titles, Abstergo is a present day front for the Templars. What’s interesting in this title is that you are able to spend time exploring this game company even outside of missions that require you to do so. Your job involves using the Animus (a kind of virtual reality system) to explore the memories of people from historical periods. And for Black Flag that is 18th Century pirate Edward Kenway who also happens to be the grandfather of Connor, the player character from Assassin’s Creed III.

The first thing I noticed was a definite shift in tone following III’s bratty Connor and serious story. Black Flag indulges in pirate lore and gives us a cast of fun, if at times sinister, crew mates and fellow pirates. Kenway falls into the assassin fold rather than trains for it but luckily he’s a natural and it doesn’t take long for you to get caught up in the ever raging Assassin v Templar war.

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The game looks fantastic, certainly on the PS4 version I played, with rich foliage and some great water animation. The cutscenes are nicer looking versions of the PS3 ones and you have to consider how much better Black Flag could’ve looked if it wasn’t spread across current and last generation consoles.

Naval combat returns from III but here it is a main facet of the game, rather than the side activity it was in the previous game. It is easy to get to grips with and I found that I hardly used fast travel while playing – I was happy to just sail wherever I needed to go. As well as enemy ships you will now also need to deal with storms and you’ll have the option of deep-sea diving and hunting sea life, if you wish to.

Gameplay has been refined and Kenway’s animation is much improved. There is still the odd bit of clipping through objects but for the most part you are in a believable recreation of the Caribbean of the time, even docking in Kingston for a while :smile: Climbing has been streamlined and there are lots of ways to take on enemies. Life bars on assassination targets, one of my biggest criticisms of Assassin’s Creed III, seem to have been fixed. So you can sneak past guards and kill a target without raising the alarm.

ACIV 2

Main missions still have a similar feel to others in the series and are beginning to show their age a little at this stage. For example, there must be a more interesting way of structuring an eavesdropping mission? For the most part I didn’t mind the missions but there were a few that felt a little repetitive and unoriginal. There are a wealth of side missions and collectibles though, so you won’t be short of something to do if you want to take a break from the storyline.

To be honest that’s how I’d recommend playing Black Flag. If you just mainline the main story you’ll likely find yourself doing a lot of similar stuff whereas doing some side stuff between each mission, for me at least, kept the game fresh and I had a thoroughly enjoyable playthrough that clocked in at just shy of 24 hours. If you don’t like the Assassin’s Creed games there isn’t much new to tempt you into picking up Black Flag but if you haven’t ever tried a title in the series this is the most accessible yet.

Multiplayer returns and once again has been refined. I really enjoy the mechanics and gameplay of the online offering for the Assassin’s Creed games and it finally seems like Ubisoft have ironed out some of the kinks that were frustrating users previously. The main one is the stun mechanic which now seems to be less about confronting your attacker and is now deployed when you’ve fooled your pursuer into killing the wrong target.

ACIV 1

If you spot a pursuer now your best bet is to try to escape and if you can’t do that your other option is to trigger a ‘contested kill’ where you are still assassinated but your killer only gets a handful of the normal points they would for a more subtle kill. This remains, for me, one of the most underrated online offerings out there.

Overall Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a step in the right direction for the series. The lighter tone and interesting setting make for a very fun experience. As I mentioned above you can’t help but wonder though, if this version was held back slightly by being across all consoles (including PS3 and last gen hardware). I can’t wait to see what Ubisoft deliver this year with Assassin’s Creed Unity, which is only being made for the new consoles.

Rating: 8/10

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MOST WANTED 2014 – PS4 EDITION

MW PS4 2014

A few weeks ago I took a look at the upcoming slate for PS3 and Vita to give you a taste of the titles you should be keeping an eye out for. Well, as promised, here’s another look at upcoming games – this time focusing on the shiny PS4.

This is a much bigger list with a LOT of titles to talk about – so grab a cup of tea or coffee, settle in and prepare to get hyped about what’s coming up this year (and maybe beyond).

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Infamous: Second Son

I loved the last two Infamous games on PS3. Both were great fun, with good characters and a cool comic art style for cutscenes. Well now that Cole McGrath’s character arc is done, Infamous is moving to the PS4 and we have a new hero/villain in Deslin Rowe – voiced by the ever fantastic Troy Baker (of Bioshock Infinite and Last Of Us fame). Firstly the graphics look stunning – check out the video above. I can confirm it does looks that good, having seen it first hand at a Sony event last year. Secondly we’re promised more fun with moral choices and the decision to be a good guy or a bad guy. Infamous: Second Son is the first *big* PS4 exclusive game release since the console’s launch and it’s shaping up to be a great one. Roll on March!

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Murdered: Soul Suspect

Murdered: Soul Suspect was on my list for PS3 games I was looking forward to, only for Square Enix to confirm a few weeks ago that the game would also be coming to the PS4! Soul Suspect focuses on Detective Ronan O’Connor who must solve his own murder from beyond the grave. As if this wouldn’t be difficult enough he’ll also need to fight off various demonic enemies as well. I’m intrigued to see how this one plays out as I think it’s a really cool idea for a game.

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Galak-Z – The Dimensional

At first glance Galak-Z seems to be another bullet-hell shooter in the mould of old classics like R-Type or the more recent Sine Mora. However there is a lot more going on here than is readily apparently from screenshots. AI plays a bigger role than usual for a game of this type – for example, enemy ships will fall back and radio for assistance if they get the chance. Despite appearances this isn’t a twin stick shooter – Galak-Z controls much more like old arcade games with a button for thrust rather than stick movement (think Asteroids). Add to that a superb cartoon art-style and you have a pretty interesting concept.

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Child Of Light

Child Of Light is another game with an interesting art-style and it sees you taking on the role of Aurora in an RPG with some platforming elements. Aurora is a young girl from Austria in the year 1895 who contracts a mystery illness, falls unconscious and awakes in a fantasy world that she must fight her way out of. I’m not a huge fan of RPG games (aside from Persona 4 Golden) but this game looks beautiful and has the potential to be really fun and challenging.

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Lily Bergamo

Coming from Suda51, the man behind titles like Killer7 and Shadows Of The Damned, Lily Bergamo is a bit of an unknown quantity. We know it’s a Playstation 4 exclusive and that it has a wicked cool look that contrasts colour and black ‘n white. The above is all we’ve seen of it but I can’t wait to find out more – the game is scheduled simply as 2014 so hopefully we will get more info at E3 in June.

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Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Here’s one for the gamers jaded by the recent Assassin’s Creed games – a third person action adventure game set in the Lord Of The Rings universe that seems to be influenced in all the right ways by Ubisoft’s Assassin juggernaut. The video above is lengthy but gives you a great feel for the game, which will be set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. You’re back from the dead as Talion (a ranger) and you are trying to track down whoever killed you (and your family). The trail leads to Mordor and who knows what you’ll find there!

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Helldivers

Helldivers is a top down shooter in which you are part of the Helldivers unit, tasked with battling the alien enemies of mankind. Battlefields are procedurally-generated so you won’t come across the exact same level twice, which should help add to the longevity of the game. Helldivers features a single player campaign and (up to) 4 player co-op content, so this will be a good title to jump into with friends. One of the great features already confirmed is the ability to play cross platform, so whether you have the PS4, PS3 or Vita version you should always have someone to play with! Helldivers is cross-save as well as cross-play so if you’re making good progress on PS4 and want to transfer to your Vita to carry on during your commute to work/lunchtime then you can. This is definitely a title worth keeping an eye on.

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Transistor

Transistor is a turn-based strategy game in which you take control of Red, a singer who has found herself in possession of a sword, the Transistor of the title. Over the last year lots of people have being going missing from Red’s world and she feels this sword may have something to do with it. She now finds herself being pursued by a band of assassins who also want Transistor, an impressive weapon who can talk to Red and help her out along the way. Transistor mixes the ability to move as you wish in real time with the ability to stop time and plan your next attack. When Red’s ability bar is full you can pause the action and set up a succession of moves to take out enemies, which are then played out at super speed. Which is totally badass.

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Watch_Dogs

Ah Watch_Dogs – delayed and pushed back. Doesn’t always bode well (especially after that really terrible trailer was accidentally released looking like a PS2 game) but I have faith in Ubisoft, particularly having played the excellent Assassin’s Creed IV on PS4. In Watch_Dogs you are Aiden Pearce, a man not afraid to use his hacking talents to get what he wants. In a surveillance heavy world you’ll be doing your best to fend off the authorities and complete your mission. Regardless of hold ups and a lack of recent news on the title, the video above still fills me with hope. Come on Ubisoft, make it as awesome as it can be and we’ll all be happy :smile:

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Deep Down

Deep Down was one of the graphical highlights from the PS4′s reveal event and since then we’ve learned some facts that have changed our idea of what this title is. Initially thought to be a single player game it turns out that Deep Down is, wait for it as it’s a bit of a mouthful… a free-to-play fantasy online role-playing game. Got all that? So firstly it’ll be free to play – great news. It will be an online RPG – again, great stuff. Deep Down also had another trick up it’s sleeve. After convincing the world it was going to be a Skyrim-a-like fantasy game it takes places in both that environment *and* also New York in 2094. Well, it certainly won’t be boring!

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Destiny

When the guys behind Halo have a brand new game coming out people tend to take notice. And Destiny is no different. Coming on like a bigger and more social version of Borderlands the game takes place 700 years into the future, after the collapse of what was the golden age of space exploration and colonizing of planets. Now we share Earth with various alien races and as one of the last Guardians you and your team will be asked to investigate and stamp out alien activity. The game is a first person shooter with some role playing aspects and it looks like it’ll be great fun with friends.

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Alien: Isolation

Ok! Ok! Let’s clear the elephant from the room. Aliens: Colonial Marines was one of the lowest ranked games I’ve ever reviewed. This is *not* made by the same people or is it even the same type of game. Replacing Colonial Marines run ‘n gun playstyle with the horror of the original Alien film, Isolation puts you in the shoes of Amanda Ripley – daughter of series stalwart Ellen Ripley. The game is set 15 years after the events of Alien and 42 years before the events of Aliens. You will be investigating your mother’s disappearance and getting hunted by a Xenomorph while you do it. I think this looks pretty cool and at some stage someone will have to make a good Aliens game this century. Right guys? Right?

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Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

Gaming industry legend and MGS creator Hideo Kojima is drip feeding us Metal Gear Solid V – first up is Ground Zeroes, due for release in March. MGS V: Phantom Pain comes after that but it’s likely that will be 2015 at the earliest. Anyway, you know what you’re in for with Metal Gear Solid – crazy, fun, stealth action. Unfortunately, the series veteran voice actor David Hayter has been dropped so Keifer Sutherland is lending his dulcet tones to Snake. If you’re not a fan of MGS this game isn’t likely to get you on board but it looks amazing – check out the graphics in the video above – and I am a fan of the series so I’m really looking forward to this one.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I haven’t played any of the other Witcher games but the developer has reassured newcomers they will be able to get straight into the game regardless (don’t they always!). Hopefully that will be the case as the previous titles are very highly thought of and I haven’t heard many people talking negatively about the series. You will be playing as Geralt Of Rivia, the aforementioned Witcher, as he travels across the world in the concluding part of his story. This game looks amazing and should have the gameplay to back it up as well.

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Mirror’s Edge 2

A collective sigh of relief occurred when a sequel to the wonderful but not commercially successful Mirror’s Edge game was announced. Rumour has it that this will actually be a prequel to DICE’s title and will tell the origin story of Faith, the first game’s protagonist. Not much is known about this one but the first game was really cool and pretty innovative so I’m looking forward to seeing what EA bring to the table this time out.

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Tom Clancy’s The Division

The Division is one of those games that I use to show people how good games on the PS4 can look. With improved graphics and a huge amount of destructability, The Division looks like it’ll be a powerhouse when it hits the new consoles. Based on real world research that estimates a global pandemic would see society fall apart in just 5 days(!), the game takes place after just such an event and you’ll be fighting for survival against other players as well as the game’s AI. It certainly looks like an interesting set up and seems like another title that will be great fun with friends.

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The Order: 1886

The Order: 1886 is one of the games on this list I’m most excited about – graphically it looks amazing and I love the sound of the story. Set in London, in an alternate steampunk-esque universe, The Order: 1886 sees you take on the role of Galahad – one of a handful of knights from an ancient order that are sworn to protect mankind from all kinds of mutants that roam the city. This is a third person action adventure game with an interesting take on QTE events. It is thrilling to have a game set in London, with a stylized Whitechapel recreating the old days of city life.

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No Man’s Sky

Hello Games that made the wonderful Joe Danger titles are a small team. So imagine everyone’s surprise when No Man’s Sky was revealed unexpectedly at the VGX awards late last year. This is a game in which you travel on foot and by spacecraft to explore a procedurally generated world. The idea is when you start the game you will have no information on your surroundings and will need to investigate to find new planets/territories. Sounds really interesting and it has a cool art style.

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DRIVECLUB

DRIVECLUB is a racing game with a difference. The entire game is laced with social aspects that permeate through races as you drive. For me this is a really smart idea and means that as you race for position against other drivers you will also be compared to your friends via PSN. Not in terms of race time or position but more abstract things who took this corner best, or who was fastest in this stretch of track. It should, hopefully, lead to a much more immersive game because even if you’re losing a specific race you can pick up some XP by beating your friends along the way. A reduced version of this game is planned to be released free for Playstation Plus subscribers so keep an eye out!

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Uncharted

I absolutely love the Uncharted series so I was stoked that Naughty Dog announced a new game, which will be exclusive to the PlayStation 4. The trailer above shows us a map of Africa, specifically Madagascar, so if the game takes us there it could be a really interesting setting. Because the voiceover wasn’t Nathan Drake people are undecided as to whether he will actually feature in the game or if we’ll be playing as one of his ancestors in an earlier time frame. I hope it does feature Nate, Elena and Sully (at least!) but I have faith in Naughty Dog and can’t wait for whatever they deliver!

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Cyberpunk 2077

Unfortunately it looks a lot more likely that Cyberpunk 2077 will hit in 2015 but it’s definitely one to keep on your (long term) radar. It’s an RPG title based on a tabletop RPG game and is unsurprisingly set in a dystopian cyberpunk universe. The developers have said the game can be played in first or third person view and will feature a highly customizable main character as well as a varied and interesting game world. Count me in!

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Still with me? Yep, it was a touch on the long side BUT it is a great time to be a gamer and these ‘new’ consoles have kicked off a boom in gaming.

If you haven’t jumped aboard the PS4 train yet this year will give you plenty of gaming reasons to consider it – I think for most people the end of this year will be the tipping point, as great games continue to be revealed.

So is there anything from the list you guys are excited for? Or anything I missed that you’re looking forward to?

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Battlefield 4 – Review (PS4)

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Battlefield 4 has had a lot of problems since it’s release last year – furious gamers not able to connect to the servers or having the game crash whenever they do. Stuttering, laggy, unplayable. There is even a save bug for the campaign. However since I started playing it online (around Christmas) I have had very little problem with it. The occasional bit of lag here and there, yes, but nothing out of the ordinary. I also have never been disconnected from a game or not been able to connect. I don’t doubt people are having problems, I just wanted to flag this up so anyone reading this can take this into account – I’m reviewing the game as I played it and I haven’t had those issues. I’d recommend checking out some other reviews for a more rounded view.

Ok, with that being said let’s get into it. I’ll start with the campaign. Battlefield 4′s single player content is a lot better than the previous game’s offering. Battlefield 3 was painfully average and Battlefield 4 feels like a step up. It is your usual story of the US army, this time facing off against the Chinese. It’s still not the best campaign I’ve ever played but it has some real showstopping moments that showcase the power of the new systems so it’s definitely worth checking out.

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Moving on to the main focus of the game – multiplayer. The switch to PS4 means that for the first time, at least for many of us former PS3′ers, we can enjoy the full 32v32 (instead of 12v12) Battlefield online experience. And it makes a huge difference. The maps are bigger, obviously, but also the sense of scale is massively increased. And it is easier than ever to jump in and get involved.

This isn’t due to any ‘dumbing down’ of the gameplay or mechanics – in fact I’d say it’s possibly the opposite. Shooting feels a lot more similar to Bad Company 2 rather than Battlefield 3. Shooting while moving is a lot more difficult which is great as it adds an ebb and flow to the gunplay. The reason the game is more accessible is simply that DICE have done a great job of giving out more points for doing teamwork.

Spotting enemies and vehicles, healing teammates, dropping ammo for allies and anything remotely team based nets you a lot more points than previously. I recently had one round where I went 1/20 (don’t ask!) but racked up thousands of points and came third in my team (out of 32 players) by assisting my squad and capturing flags.

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You also have the option of taking on the role of Commander, whereby you’re looking at an overview of the map, distributing aid, advising your team and making high value enemy targets. This can also be played on tablet via the Battlefield app so you can get on the battlefield even if you aren’t at home.

Graphically the game is excellent and the horribly named ‘Leveloution’ is superb, bringing some real drama to rounds. Leveloution is essentially a giant showpiece event that changes the landscape of the game map. We’ve had similar stuff before but never on this level and never with this interactivity. In one map a skyscraper has a capture point on the roof but if the building sustains enough damage the whole thing collapses and the capture point now appears down on ground level in the rubble. The feeling of being on that roof, hearing the warning siren for it’s imminent collapse, jumping off the side of the building and parachuting to safety while it collapses cannot be over stated. DICE are masters of stuff like this (remember the base jump in Damavand Peak on Battlefield 3?!) and it adds something to the experience you simply won’t find elsewhere.

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Battlefield 4 on Playstation 4 is a big step up if you’ve only played console Battlefield before, both graphically and in terms of size. There is a decent campaign in the mix here but the glorious multiplayer is where it’s at. However as I said in the opening of the review, a lot of your enjoyment will depend on whether you can actually play the game online due to the issues it has had. Without issues this is a superb offering.

Rating: 9/10

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MOST WANTED 2014 – PS3 / PS VITA EDITION

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Well it’s already February and it’s been a tad quiet on the game release front so far. But fear not! There are plenty of great games coming soon(ish) so here’s a look at what you should be keeping an eye out for.

Originally this started out as an article covering all formats but there was just too much stuff! So first up will be PS3 and Vita, with PS4 games coming in the next installment.

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PS3

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Well there isn’t a massive amount for Playstation 3 that’s on my radar to be honest, so this will be a shorter section than the Vita one! I’ve already shelled out for the entire Second Season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead (above pic), we have had one episode so far (Clem – yay!) and I can’t wait for the rest. Aside from that I’m interested in Persona 5 but my main question on that is whether to wait for a Vita ‘Golden’ version. Not much is known about it but I loved Persona 4 Golden so much I will definitely play this at some stage!

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VITA

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There is still a misconception that the Vita doesn’t have any games – I busted that myth a while ago and it looks like 2014 is set to give us some real handheld treats. Some of these may have appeared on other systems before but I’ve never played them so I’m keen to try out the handheld version!

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Fez

Fez is a puzzle/platform game in which you rotate the world to progress. It has a fantastic art-style and is recognised as a top quality game by everyone that I know who played it. The player character, Gomez, has his world turned upside down when he receives a fez that allows him to manipulate the world around. Fez seems like a great game to play on the go.

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Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number looks set to continue the overkill of the first game, which was a fast paced bloodfest that required sharp reflexes to get through. Hotline Miami was one of those games you just couldn’t put down and you can expect more of the same from the sequel. Wrong Number takes place before and after the events of the original Hotline Miami so will tie in nicely with the storyline and will further flesh out the back story of ‘Jacket’.

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Velocity 2x

Velocity 2X is a sequel to Velocity Ultra and gives us a chance to get out of the spaceship we’ve been flying in previous titles to kick some ass on foot as well! You play as Kai Tana, who blacked out while traveling through a wormhole in space. Unfortunately she’s stranded somewhere inhabited by a race called the Vokh. The gameplay is as you’d expect for the flying sections and the on foot stuff is just as slick. We’ve been promised moon bases, space stations and alien planets. Bring it on!

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Volume

Volume is a tactical stealth game in which you play as Locksley, a vigilante who uses distraction and sneaking to commit his crimes. The game is a retelling of the Robin Hood story set in the near future and it looks fantastic. Mike Bithell’s previous game ‘Thomas Was Alone’ is awesome so this is definitely one to watch out for.

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Gravity Rush 2

I really enjoyed Gravity Rush, it remains one of the best exclusives the Vita has to offer. So I was most excited to see a follow up game teased. Kat awoke with no memory but had the ability to influence gravity. It looks like she may have some new powers judging by the trailer above and I’m keen to find out where the game is heading story-wise.

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Hyper Light Drifter

Hyper Light Drifter doesn’t seem like the sort of game I would usually get super excited for. But I thought this looked really cool as soon as I saw it. A 2D action role-playing game that sees you playing a character that has a mystery illness. As you search for a cure you’ll be using technology that only you have access to in a bid to defeat enemies and save yourself. Just look at that art-style… superb!

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CounterSpy

CounterSpy is a stealth game that is played from a side scrolling, 2D perspective. Taking place during an alternate history cold war (!), this game sounds super cool. The developers have some background as well – while this is their first indie game, some of them previously worked at LucaArts and Pixar.

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Murasaki Baby

This one looks dark as hell, no surprise I suppose given the game director’s history of working on titles like Killer7, No More Heroes and Shadows of the Damned. You play as Baby, a little girl who has a mouth (complete with sharp teeth) on her forehead. You’ll be guiding her through a world full of children’s nightmares. Again this is another Vita title with an excellent art direction and one I’m looking forward to playing.

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Rogue Legacy

Rogue Legacy was a bit hit last year and is set to hit the Vita sometime in 2014. The game is a platformer in which you must explore a randomly generated dungeon. It’s a bit like the excellent Spleunky but here when you die your abilities are passed on to one of three random ‘heirs’ who you control on the next run through. An interesting idea for sure and apparently very addictive.

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Frozen Synapse: Tactics

Frozen Synapse: Tactics is a turn based strategy game that sees you as part of a resistance, taking on a corrupt government in a dystopian, cyberpunk future. Which sounds pretty excellent to me. This isn’t a fast paced action title though – you’ll be carefully planning moves for your soldiers in advance and watching how things pan out in skirmishes between resistance and the government.

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Football Manager 2014

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As much as I’m looking forward to Football Manager on Vita I’m also a little apprehensive that it was swallow up hours of my gaming time. This a much more in-depth version than the previous PSP titles and as usual I expect to have great fun guiding a lower league club to the very top! This also has cross-save with the PC version of the game so you can play wherever/whenever you want.

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Freedom Wars

Freedom Wars is a battle action, co-op focussed game which takes place on Earth in the year 102013 (!). Humans now live underground and anyone arrested for a crime is presumed guilty. Prisoners can reduce their sentence by fighting giant monsters up top. If it plays as fun as it sounds this could be a real blast to play with friends.

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Helldivers

In Helldivers you’ll be battling the alien enemies of mankind as part of an elite government unit. The game is a top down shooter with procedurally-generated battlefields, so you won’t come across the exact same level twice. Helldivers features a single player campaign and (up to) 4 player co-op content, so this could be a title to grab with friends and get yourself online.

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Persona 4: Dancing All Night

As it says in the title this is a dancing rhythm game for the Vita. Not usually my cup of tea but I’ll play anything that furthers the story/world of Persona 4. Seems like you’ll still be fighting demons but this time by dancing as opposed to hitting them with blunt/sharp objects. Oh and Atlus, please sort getting Persona 4 Arena onto Vita soon. Or, like, now.

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So what do you think folks? Which games have your interest for the year ahead?

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