#egmr http://egmr.net Let's Talk Games — Videogame News, Reviews & Opinions Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:00:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 Prepare To Cry At Kojima’s Metal Gear Goodbye http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/WHwa8APpZFM/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/prepare-to-cry-at-kojimas-metal-gear-goodbye/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:00:20 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175119 Konami has recently moved to the top of my, and almost everyone else’s, shitlist. They’ve systematically destroyed their own brand by being one of the worst game publishers that have […]

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Konami has recently moved to the top of my, and almost everyone else’s, shitlist. They’ve systematically destroyed their own brand by being one of the worst game publishers that have ever existed. Hell, EA seem tame compared to them now. Seriously, Pachinko machines of our favourite franchises, ditching AAA games in favour of the cancerous mobile world and most tragically, treating their employees like absolute garbage. One such employee is the legendary Hideo Kojima. A man that has brought so much joy into people’s lives with the widely beloved Metal Gear franchise.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain releases in a week on the 1st of September and the hype has skyrocketed with the widespread critical acclaim the game has been receiving. Insanely high scores everywhere with the lowest I’ve seen being 88 out of a 100. Kojima can be justifiably proud of his accomplishment, delivering one of the best rated games of the year so far, but this moment is also bittersweet.

This was Kojima’s last hoorah for the Metal Gear franchise. After Konami’s dreadful treatment of him, he will leave the company and possibly not work on another Metal Gear game in the future. This sad but triumphant moment is highlighted in the MGS V launch trailer that just released, which was directed by Kojima himself.

The trailer follows all of the iconic Metal Gear games across the franchise’s illustrious history with famous scenes and fan favourite moments playing in abundance. The song, Quiet’s Theme, is also a bit of a tearjerker and while I’m not the biggest Metal Gear fan, since I haven’t played the franchise as much, I was still touched by the passion I saw. While the latest installment is a triumph and the trailer had every right to celebrate it, it still felt more like a mournful goodbye from Kojima.

His baby, his loving creation, has now reached its pinnacle and it’s time to say goodbye. The goodbye isn’t on good terms because it was instigated by a horrible, ignorant and downright despicable company. Everyone say it with me:

Fuck Konami.

And praise Kojima. You did good, buddy.

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Desktop Graphics Cards Hit A 10-year Low In Q2 2015 http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/4igK04aGLwI/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/desktop-graphics-cards-hit-a-10-year-low-in-q2-2015/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 13:00:43 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175100 PC gaming is dead, yet never has it been more alive. We have DirectX 12, Virtual Reality, high resolution displays and a multitude of games to play demanding the pixel […]

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PC gaming is dead, yet never has it been more alive. We have DirectX 12, Virtual Reality, high resolution displays and a multitude of games to play demanding the pixel prowess of AMD and Nvidia’s best. Yet, for some reason people are just not buying graphics cards anymore. The sales of actual desktop PCs has been decreasing for a long while and this is reflected in an causally related downturn in the shipments of discrete graphics cards for desktops, which dropped to 9.4 million units in Q2 2015. According to John Peddie Research, the sales of graphics cards dropped 16.81% compared to the previous quarter while desktop PCs decreased by 14.77%. Of more concern with the desktop GPU industry is the gutting of the attach rate of add-in-board graphics boards to desktop PCs, which have declined from 63% in Q1 2008 to 37% in Q2 2015. Up until 2014 graphics card sales have hovered around the 15-12 million units per quarter, but after 2014, they have been taking a sharp dive ever since.

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As reported earlier, and now confirmed by JPR, the market share of the two primary graphics card producers have achieved two extremes: one great for NVIDIA, sitting at it’s highest market share to date of 81.9%. AMD on the other hand has declined to a 10 year low of 18% in Q2 2015. In it’s glory days AMD as we know it today was not even called AMD, but ATI, and had a remarkable 55% of the market in Q3 2004, it’s highest ever. But after a series of less than stellar releases and really impressive cards from NVIDIA, especially the GTX 980 and GTX 970, AMD lost it’s greatest percent of market share with a year: 20%

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Now although the percent of sales s decreasing, it’s merely a symptom of wider adoption in the PC ecosystem–the people more likely to get a gaming graphics card already have one, and there are only so many new PC gamers created every year. It’s also been made clear by JPR that even though less cards are being bought, the purchase of high-end expensive graphics cards are increasing and that even though Tablets and integrated graphics are stealing some marketshare, PC gaming is gaining momentum, just not on high sales volume. To me this means that PC gaming is taking its spot as the premier gaming platform in terms of technological advancement in VR and high definition gaming. It’s not that it’s never been the most expensive platform(it always has), but I think now the actual market is starting to embrace that idea in the amount and type of graphics cards it buys

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Realise Your Knitted Godzilla Fantasies With This Mega Yarn Yoshi Amiibo http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/yEf4KZVdUAQ/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/realise-knitted-godzilla-fantasies-mega-yarn-yoshi-amiibo/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 12:00:11 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175108 Not content with your regular sized Yarn Yoshi amiibo? Well now is the time to strike fear into the hearts of children with this Mega Yarn Yoshi amiibo. When Nintendo […]

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Not content with your regular sized Yarn Yoshi amiibo? Well now is the time to strike fear into the hearts of children with this Mega Yarn Yoshi amiibo.

When Nintendo originally revealed the Yarn Yoshi amiibo, it brought with it a rather refreshing idea. Instead of limiting their toys-to-life products to glorified statutes, they decided to turn them in to actual toys. It would seem that the original three colour variations were not enough, and so Nintendo will be releasing a giant Mega Yarn Yoshi in November.

This larger figure will retain the original functionality of the Yarn Yoshi amiibo, just with a little more friendly dinosaur to go around. In Yoshi’s Wooly World, using a Yarn Yoshi would spawn a second Yoshi for you to control with your main Yoshi. The Yarn Yoshi were also usable in other titles that made use of Yoshi amiibo, such as Super Smash Bros. and Mario Party 10. The only other change besides the size is that the amiibo chip is now placed on the foot of the Yoshi, which is probably far more comfortable than the bottom where it was previously situated.

Mega Yoshi SMAAASH

Mega Yoshi SMAAASH

This announcement comes some more amiibo release dates. The last of the Super Smash Bros. amiibo have now been dated, with Rob, Duck Hunt Duo, Mr. Game & Watch and the Mii fighters being released on the 25th of September. Star Fox’s Falco will be releasing on the 29th of November, which coincides with the release of Star Fox Zero.

While I like the idea of the Mega Yarn Yoshi, the €40 price tag will probably destroy our wallets locally.

So with all the new amiibo on the horizon, are you looking to add any to your collection? Or have you been avoiding the plastic devils like the plague?

YarnYoshiAmiibo

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Grow Home Voted Into The Instant Game Collection http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/ddnDiWCTMsw/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/grow-home-voted-into-the-instant-game-collection/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 11:00:57 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175106 In July, Sony announced that PlayStation Plus members would be able to vote for certain games to appear on the Instant Game Collection — the list of games that Sony […]

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In July, Sony announced that PlayStation Plus members would be able to vote for certain games to appear on the Instant Game Collection — the list of games that Sony provides to PlayStation Plus subscribers free of additional charge every month.

The service, dubbed Vote to Play, launched this month, with the games due to make it into next month’s PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection. The games on offer: Ubisoft’s pseudo-indie platformer, Grow Home, nordic undead beat-em-up, Zombie Vikings, and artsy strategy board game Armello.

The voting has since concluded, and it seems it’ll be Ubisoft’s title gracing our consoles next month, receiving 44% of the votes.

However, it’s not all bad news for players who want to have a go at some zombie slaying or methodical board gaming action — Zombie Vikings and Armello will receive discounts in the month of September.

This means that Grow Home will be first on the list of the PlayStation Plus lineup for September 2015, which places it alongside 2013’s Twisted Metal and a slew of other indie titles which will be available for download on September 1st.

The full list is as follows:

  • Grow Home (PS4)
  • Super Time Force Ultra (PS4 & PS Vita)
  • Twisted Metal (PS3)
  • Teslagrad (PS4 & PS3)
  • La-Mulana EX (PS Vita)
  • Xeodrifter (PS4 & PS Vita)

Last month’s games will be shifting off the service on the same day, so pick those up if you haven’t yet. That list is as follows:

  • Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (PS4)
  • Limbo (PS4)
  • God of War: Ascension (PS3)
  • Sound Shapes (All)
  • Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones (All)
  • CastleStorm Complete Edition (PS3 & PS Vita)

I personally voted for Zombie Viking  because I’m a big fan of 2D side-scrolling beat-em-ups, but I’m not too displeased with  Grow Home being on the list.

Are you happy about the outcome of the Vote to Play poll for September? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Review: Feist Is A Tense Platformer Reminiscent Of Limbo http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/KnYnuRCjHvU/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/review-feist-not-limbo/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 10:00:12 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175010 Visit review on site for scoring. They say “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck”. Feist might look […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

Feist - by yourself

They say “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck”. Feist might look just like Limbo, but that’s as far as it goes. The striking silhouette on broody background visuals and defenseless-looking character you meet in the first few moments put the game into a strange space for its first impression, a set up of expectations that the rest of the game deliberately turn on their head. This is no clone of Limbo’s gameplay, tone, themes, or feel, and even the visuals go into places Limbo does not, and this elevates Feist from being a moody platformer to a game that holds its own in comparison to what has become a classic.

The first moments of Feist introduce us to a rogues gallery of furry, malicious-looking troll-beast-things that have some small fuzzball in a cage, and then the player takes the role of another fuzzball breaking free from a trap. Like Limbo, the protagonist is something not equipped to face the dangers that loom ahead. The game then becomes a journey across dark forest, into a mine, and through a misty bog, all three environments packed with dangers. Both games trade on the feeling of being dwarfed by seemingly insurmountable odds that require you to “try and die”, and reflect that in their similar broody visuals.

But the gameplay quickly shows Feist is a different game entirely. Where Limbo is mainly straight platform danger-avoidance, Feist lives up to the echo of its name. Your little fuzzball is no stranger to scrappy fighting, and as the game progresses you are forced to go toe-to-toe with the nasty beasts. There are no slow-build-up spider instakills in this game. Instead, the dangers require you to grab the nearest rock or log or stick and fight back powered by adrenaline and panic. Each encounter has a fight-or-flight feel to it, and the game is less dodging deadly traps and making difficult timed jumps than it is a running battle against a hostile environment.

Feist - mine

Another way Feist takes Limbo as inspiration, but goes in new directions, is its experimentation with environment. Both games use the mood of gloomy colours and dark shadows to set a tone of despair. But Feist chooses to avoid the gradually mechanising environments of Limbo to focus instead on an unforgiving natural landscape. While Limbo is a journey through the afterlife, Feist is unflinchingly real, and the player is a small creature in a big ecosystem, the tiny prey animal choosing to fight back against the predators. The sense of rebelling against an uncaring world is captured in the bleakness and beauty of the visual world, especially in the backdrops and the presentation of another fuzzball on a spit early on. The game also explores the silhouette aesthetic, with the mine section standing out as something very powerful – using the pinprick of light that reflects a creature’s eyes in the pitch dark to really ratchet up the tension.

Through this, Feist manages to become its own game because, ultimately, the story drives a different feel and a shift in mood and tone that completely shatters the similarity between it and its inspiration. The soundtrack shifts to unsettlingly forest-like, complete with sounds like the hooting of predatory creatures and pounding drums, and the final showdown in the swamp is a blend of surreal beauty, terror, and by this point channelled aggression. Where Limbo drives you deeper into hopelessness in the face of the uncaring afterlife, Feist drives you to rail against it, by giving the player some agency. Feist is the ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ to Limbo’s ‘Ash-Wednesday’. Or, to save me from being called pretentious, Limbo is the opening of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, whereas Feist comes in after the guitar solo.

Feist - swamp

It doesn’t mean you’re going to fight your way out easily. Even the Flies, Inchworms, and Ticks that make up the common enemies can gang up and kill you with little difficulty if you aren’t careful. The beasts which make up the major bosses are even scarier. Here Feist can feel a bit like Dark Souls – the bosses can be dealt with by exploiting their weaknesses, but mess up and they’ll wreck you. Getting tossed into a wall and then crushed by flying logs is your punishment for carelessness. And each boss adds new dynamics to keep you continually swearing, panicking, and on the edge of your seat.

What works well here, though, is the pacing of the game. The game is compact, with the difficulty increasing along with your confidence, teaching you how to face the beasts and encouraging you as a player, as well as the fuzzball character, to feel more able to take down these creatures. The tightness of the narrative is in part due to its short runtime – clocking in about 3 hours in total (depending on how long you spend on mastering and passing each spike in challenge). It’s a difficult line to walk between being very short but satisfying and well-made, and too short for the price. What we will say, though, is the shortness of the narrative doesn’t allow you to forget the other fuzzball in a cage which you need to save. Any longer, and it would seem very unrealistic to expect it not to have become fuzzball-on-a-spit as well.

And in the end, it is this short quest to save another of your kind that gives the story a wonderful emotional heart.

Feist - teleporting what??

 

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What Would You Like Us To Discuss On This Week’s EGMR Offensive? http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/G0CHAsAYIvc/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/what-would-you-like-us-to-discuss-on-this-weeks-egmr-offensive-7/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 09:00:51 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175088 We’d like to take this moment to congratulate Oliver Snyders, formerly from El33tonline, on publishing an actual honest to god book! I know right, who reads anymore. Congratulations sir, you […]

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We’d like to take this moment to congratulate Oliver Snyders, formerly from El33tonline, on publishing an actual honest to god book! I know right, who reads anymore. Congratulations sir, you can now literally tell people you wrote the book on gaming.

Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would attempt to answer them. With our new podcast, the EGMR Offensive, we want to try something slightly different.

We want you to suggest topics for us to discuss. Because it’s a much more topic-based podcast, we’ll be discussing a few of the biggest news stories for the past week or two. So we thought, why not just ask you guys and see what you’d like to hear us talk about? This article is your opportunity to do just that.

If you would just like to ask us questions as usual, then by all means do so. However if you have some hot topic you’d like us to dig our teeth into, then by all means do that too. Either way, the comments section is your friend. Go wild.

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Is Nintendo Going Discless With The NX? http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/l3z36zqHMVc/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/is-nintendo-going-discless-with-the-nx/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 08:00:07 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175082 Laptops have increasingly been ditching disc drives in favour of a sleeker form factor and saving on unnecessary hardware. Most users have no need for DVD or Blu-ray drives with […]

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Laptops have increasingly been ditching disc drives in favour of a sleeker form factor and saving on unnecessary hardware. Most users have no need for DVD or Blu-ray drives with streaming and downloads being the preferred delivery method for our personal cocktails or media drugs. Who even buys physical PC games anymore?

Consoles on the other hand still contain disc drives in order to double up as DVD and Blu-ray players in addition to gaming still being a medium very much rooted in physical copies. Publishers and console manufacturers alike are trying to steer us towards streaming and downloading titles, something which is predicated on sufficient internet speed and storage space. Nintendo seems to be taking the plunge and giving users no options with its rumoured new console.

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Rumours regarding Nintendo’s NX console, which is set to replace the three year old Wii U, have been flying around the internet and the latest comes courtesy of a patent filed by Nintendo. The patent was filed earlier this year and has just now bee published with the USPTO. the late Satoru Iwata described the NX as a “brand new concept” and not simply a replacement for the current console. Ditching disc drives would certainly validate that claim.

The patent describes a “stationary gaming device” with no optical drive in sight bur rather memory card slots. A functional diagram mentions third-party SD cards as an example of how the device will work.

It is likely that the SD card slot is there to facilitate a new physical format for Nintendo which will be similar to what Sony has done with the Vita. This may suggest what Nintendo has in store for its new handheld console too.

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It also sounds like the device will be built to utilize streaming. From the Background & Summary section: “In recent years, high-speed communication such as ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) or optical communication has widely been spread. Such high-speed communication is utilized to allow a server apparatus or the like to distribute a game program to a game apparatus. When a game program is obtained through communication, a user can enjoy playing a game using a game apparatus without purchasing a recording medium such as an optical disk.”

Patents get filed all the time without necessarily being acted upon but something this detailed and specific generally points to tech which will be realised, at least in part.

You may also notice that the controller schematic denotes a display unit which means the controller concept established with the Wii U’s gamepad will live on.

While ambitious, this design can likely allow for the NX to take on a very compact form, silent operation, no risk of disc drive issues (I’m looking at you, Sony) and most notably, a lower price point than if it included a disc drive. Furthermore, streaming and fast internet is no problem in Nintendo’s major markets. Countries such as South Africa will get somewhat shafted by this but we’re a speck in the global market.

All the NX then needs is substantial storage space and external storage support.

What do you make of this proposed NX model?

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Fuse Half-Life 2 And Hotline Miami And You Get Half-Line For Free http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/2s9pjCCtDMg/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/fuse-half-life-2-and-hotline-miami-and-you-get-half-line-for-free/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 07:00:23 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175077 I love indie. Sometimes the most genius and fun ideas come from these independent studios and individuals, and today I can tell you about another such example. Meet Half-Line, a little indie […]

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I love indie. Sometimes the most genius and fun ideas come from these independent studios and individuals, and today I can tell you about another such example.

Meet Half-Line, a little indie project inspired by Hotline Miami and Half-Life 2. 

Taken on their own both Half-Life 2 and Hotline Miami are incredible games, yet no one in their right mind would have thought of combining them. No one besides independent developer Thomas Kole that is.

Kole is deeply fond of both games, radically different as they are, and through experimentation found a way to combine them both into a game for everyone to enjoy. Kole states on his website that he “made this game as a declaration of [his] love for these 2 games, and as an experiment in game design.”

The game, called Half-Line, takes the frenetic isometric gameplay of Hotline Miami and fuses it with the aesthetic, atmosphere, charm and weaponry of Half-Life 2. The result looks pretty epic, and you can quickly sample it with the trailer above.

Half-Line contains eight levels designed after areas in Half-Life 2, in addition to a level editor, a forum to upload your created maps and “relentless Gravity Gun fun.”

The best part though is that Half-Line is available as a free download on itch.io, so grab it and enjoy it.

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Horizon: Zero Dawn Lies Somewhere Between Skyrim And Assassin’s Creed http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/iERHNdGp5_4/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/horizon-zero-dawn-lies-somewhere-between-skyrim-and-assassins-creed/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 15:00:29 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175061 That’s with regards to the RPG elements which I honestly didn’t know it had. Horizon: Zero Dawn was one of those unexpected game reveals during E3 2015. A new IP […]

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That’s with regards to the RPG elements which I honestly didn’t know it had. Horizon: Zero Dawn was one of those unexpected game reveals during E3 2015. A new IP and a radically interesting IP at that. A Brave-like archer woman in a post-apocalyptic world filled with mecha-dinosaurs. That might sound like it comes from my mad-lib collection/dream journal, but it’s a real thing. While we knew that the game isn’t going to be entirely linear like Guerrilla Games’ previous offerings, it seems it may be more open than we thought.

While we already knew there were going to be RPG elements, we didn’t know the extent of it. Is it like Skyrim where there are massive skill trees, multiple progression paths and a ton of different combat options or is it akin to something like Remember Me or Tomb Raider where there’s only a small selection of skill upgrades that don’t really have any significance on the game?

GamesRadar recently had an interview with Hermen Hulst, managing director and co-founder of Guerrilla Games, and asked exactly how deep these RPG elements will be, among other things. The answer was ambiguous, but we are given a ballpark to work with:

I guess you’re wondering where we are on that spectrum of, on the one side more action-orientated games like Assassin’s Creed, and on the other hand you have your Elder Scrolls and these kinds of series. I think we’re in-between. We have elements in both directions, and that probably puts us somewhere in between.

Vague as vague comes, but we can conclude some things based on that answer. For one, the RPG elements will be a bit deeper than the watered-down versions of games such as Assassin’s Creed. That’s a positive sign since, at least in my opinion, these RPG elements often add nothing of significance. While they are still there and are a method of progression, they don’t affect the game in any meaningful way. Basically it’s you going into a menu and pushing a few buttons to unlock more stuff to do.

Then there’s the other side of the spectrum with the Skyrim comparison where the RPG aspects make up the majority of the game. Leveling up and skill gaining is an essential component rather than an auxiliary feature. Horizon doesn’t seem to be going that direction either.

A bit of both seems to be an excellent compromise. I actually expected the game to be Tomb Raider-esque when I first witnessed it, but it seems I might be wrong in that regard.

However, all of this will be put to rest when the game is eventually showcased and as Hults said:

It’s really difficult to talk about how deep the role-playing experience is without being able to show it yet

Stay tuned kiddies. Horizon: Zero Dawn will release in 2016 on PS4.

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Competition: Win A Cooler Master Hyper 612 CPU Cooler http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/Ca2pu7fJZOg/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/competition-win-a-cooler-master-hyper-612-cpu-cooler/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 13:30:03 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175028 So, you’ve just managed to buy the latest swanky new i7 6700k or i5 6600k processor from Intel. You’ve dropped one month’s mortgage payment on a piece of silicon and […]

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So, you’ve just managed to buy the latest swanky new i7 6700k or i5 6600k processor from Intel. You’ve dropped one month’s mortgage payment on a piece of silicon and Intel has not even included a lowly CPU fan for their new Skylake processors.

Cost saving gone too far or Intel assumes you’ll just have an aftermarket cooler lying about ready to cool their CPU. If you happen to be a fresh PC Master Race convert, chances are you don’t have a CPU cooler. This then is just the right sort of paraphernalia to help make your new build feel at home, and clock the socks off your new CPU. To get an inkling of the performance you can expect from this cooler and my thoughts on it, read our review.

Front Box

To win this darling cool piece of tech, all you have to do is comment with a tech related question on this week’s Ask Marco article. That’s it! Make it a good one.

 

Things to remember:
  • Terms and conditions apply.
  • You can only enter by commenting in this week’s Ask Marco article, not here.
  • The winner will be the commenter with the most suitable question for answering in the next Ask Marco article.
  • The winner will be contacted using the email associated with their Disqus comment profile.
  • This giveaway was made possible by Cooler Master.
  • The winner be announced in the next Ask Marco article.

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Ask Marco: Why Do Power Supply Units Still Have Floppy Drive Power Connectors? http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/CBgMKRaL8Hg/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/ask-marco-have-you-tried-turning-me-on-and-off-again-2/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 13:00:53 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175012 It’s been a while since the last time we spoke, and there are various issues about why it’s been a while since I’ve posted the second Ask Marco. Firstly there […]

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It’s been a while since the last time we spoke, and there are various issues about why it’s been a while since I’ve posted the second Ask Marco. Firstly there were not many entrants, and secondly, like, life, bro. In any case, I am here giving you all my undivided atte….

So questions! I realise that the first prize on offer was a tad….specific, especially towards a particular demographic within a demographic, within yet another demographic: PC gamers with a fondness for hybrid mechanical tenkeyless keyboards from Cooler Master or other non-backlit tenkeyless keyboards.

It was a stretch that we’d get any participants, but I thank the few that entered and offered me some questions to answer! Since there were only 3 comments in the last article I decided to rely on a random number generator to spit out a winner. And the lucky winner is:

DoomGuy POItjie

Congrats! We’ll be contacting you via email.

As a consolation to the other two participants I thought I would answer all the questions in the previous Ask Marco as best I could.

So down the rabbit hole we go…

 

Why do modern Power Supply Units (PSU) still come supplied with a Floppy Drive Power connector?

To answer a question with another question: Why do modern day cars still burn fossil fuels? The simple answer is: Convention and convenience. The most convincing argument I can make after searching for current use cases of Floppy power connectors(also known as Berg connectors) are that it’s simply an established convention within the ATX 12V standard and does not make much sense to change. There is actually a fair amount of legacy based machinery that still use old 3.5” drives to load up schematics and operating parameters. Although you get floppy drives powered by USB and other connection types, the mini-molex (another name for the 3.5” Floppy power connector) is not exclusive to only powering floppy disk drives.

Power-Supply-Fundamentals,8-F-312639-13

Image fromTom’s Hardware

Although their use case is diminishing, they can still be used to power internal older internal card-readers and other devices that generally run on a 12V and 5V rail—much like anything powered on a standard 4 pin molex connector. Looking at the schematic you’ll see that a Molex and mini-Molex pretty much use the same parameters, yet their configuration is reversed. This is why a simply converter can be used to turn your “useless” Floppy power connector into another bog standard molex plug. Also, you can’t deny the cool factor of a 3.5” floppy over other storage.

cdvsfloppydisk
Next up we have Rochelle (rad)’Roachy’ Smuts who asked:

 

What is the difference between topre switches compared to traditional cherry mx switches?

I’m glad you asked Rochelle, since the differences are quite nuanced, and the clues to which are actually within the name. A switch is just like it sounds, and like a light switch or circuit switch, you have an on position and an off position. Although you get many different Cherry MX key switches, they all follow a very similar design in order to register a key press. Cherry MX Switch has 3 main components: a spring mechanism, a 2 point gold crosspoint contact between a movable leaf and a static portion, and the actual stem itself (denoted by colour), which has its own defining characteristics, such as a blue switch’s tactile feedback or a red switch’s smooth and linear feedback. Just have look at the two different profiles on the red switch and brown wwitch to see what I mean.

Brown Switch

Red switch

As you push down on the keycap the stem moves downwards and the movable leaf moves over the stem’s unique outline. At a certain point it makes contact with the static portion, which closes the electrical circuit and registers the key press. The key press is registered in mid-stroke, essentially before the key is bottomed out, so you’ll find that typing on a mechanical switch can result in a faster and more pleasant typing experience as it requires less force from your fingers to actuate the key and less travel distance for your fingers.

The Topre switch is a capacitive switch which is an interesting hybrid between the benefits of membrane keyboard and mechanical switches. Although I’ve only had the pleasure of using one Topre switch (like Cherry MX, there are multiple types) I must admit to preferring the Topre switch, especially for typing. Even the Topre switch in the CM Novatouch is a modified version of a purple switch used in RealForce keyboards, it’s modification being the inclusion of a Cherry MX compatible stem so Cherry MX keycaps can be used (like the ones being given away)

CM Nova

The Topre switch is a hybrid capacitive switch, sometimes referred as “semi-mechanical” since they have elements of both membrane and mechanical switches. It makes use of a plunger, rubber dome (electrostatic layer) that sits atop a conical coil/spring attached to an underlying PCB. In Cooler Master’s version they have added a Cherry MX compatible purple stem to the “plunger”. The way the switch operates is also very different to a mechanical switch–when pressing down on the keycap it depresses the plunger, which in turn depresses a rubber dome cap to which a conical coil/spring is attached. This coil makes contact with the PCB and registers a key press.

Topre

It’s important to note that the way key presses are registered are completely different between Cherry MX and Topre switches–whereas Cherry MX and other mechanical switches use a Gold crosspoint system to register a press, Topre switches are capacitive switches, which means a press is registered when there is a change in capacitance due to the flattening of the conical coil coming into contact with the PCB, which then activates the switch.

That’s pretty much it in a simplified format. The presence of a rubber dome cap in the mechanism has meant the switch feels like a membrane based keyboard, but the use of a conical spring/coil has meant that it does not have any of that “mushiness” to it and maintains tactile response to the key presses, which also require a Cherry MX like force of 45g to actuate. Since there is no leaf or sliding mechanical bits, the travel of the key press is incredibly smooth and the debounce (return to optimal typing position quickly) is excellent. If you want to read more around the topic yourself, here are some handy links:

GeekHack | Overclock.net | Deskthority

If you want to see my extended thoughts about their use in the CM Novatouch, have a look at my video review.


Moving onto the last question, smuroh asked:

 

What would you class as an I.D.1.0.T problem with keyboards?

Is it ironic or poetic that having answered some questions that people have about tech, this is most likely the single biggest problem in computing and technology, and the cause for much heart attacks in the Western world and equally as much job creation for techies in India.

IDIOT

It’s a larger problem related to the PEBCAK branch of problems. By PEBCAK I mean Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard, which ladies and gentlemen, mean you and I. We are often the cause for most concern when it comes to our computers and the term I.D.1.0.T is used by tech savvy people in derogatory ways to refer to the peasants who buy pre-built computers and always click “express install”.

To specifically answer smuroh, the way I would class a I.D.1.0.T problem with keyboards is most likely something along the lines of what I did last year. Upon installing Win 8.1 I managed to accidentally click on the keyboard and language settings for the UK. Upon using my system for a few days I noticed that the alternate function of my number “2” was not bringing up a “@” but a (“). Never encountering this issue before I took to local tech forum Carbonite asking how to solve this problem that “just happened”.

I was promptly called a noob and told to change my keyboard and language settings.

With my head held in shame I changed it back and was finally able to tag people in tweets again. It was not a fair trade, exchanging my reputation for tweetability, but such is life.

 

The Next Prize…

So, we have to the end of this Ask Marco segment and I want to thank all of the participants for their questions! We’ve got another prize to give away, and this time it’s something a lot more people can make use of: A Cooler Master Hyper 612 CPU Cooler. Read the review for the Hyper 612 here.

Front Box

Like the last Ask Marco segment, all you have to do to enter is ask some tech related questions in this article’s comment section. Maybe you want to overclock your CPU? Maybe you need some advice on some new parts for your computer? Ask away and you could win some new parts for your gaming PC!

 

Things to remember:
  • Terms and conditions apply.
  • The winner will be the commenter with the most suitable question for answering in the next Ask Marco article.
  • The winner will be contacted using the email associated with their Disqus comment profile.
  • This giveaway was made possible by Cooler Master.

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Have You Played Mega Man Battle Network 3? http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/pXW1Pd__C28/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/played-mega-man-battle-network-3/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 12:00:42 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174857 When the question of, “So what is your favourite video game?” gets thrown out, you’ll often find the answer given is either something along the lines of, “There are too […]

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When the question of, “So what is your favourite video game?” gets thrown out, you’ll often find the answer given is either something along the lines of, “There are too many to pick a favourite,” or else something terribly predictable.

Now when I say “terribly predictable” I do mean mentioning games like Half-Life 2 and Final Fantasy VII. We get it, they’re fantastic games and are worth all the praise you can throw at them, but are they really what epitomise the gaming experience for you? Are they really the first games you think of when you reflect on your gaming memories? Surely there must me something a little more personal, some game that you hold dear for whatever reason. There has to be some game out there that is outside of the popular picks that would be a more suitable favourite for you. If this is not the case and you do hold a prominent game as your favourite, it must be incredibly boring never having to explain your choice.

Abrasive statements aside, I feel like we all have a game that is special to us. We’re a culture of passionate fans, so let’s take the time to appreciate some of the games we feel are important as sometimes they are easily overlooked. So let me take some time to discuss with you my favourite video game, and by some time I do mean should probably get comfortable.
 

It would seem I've made my choice

It would seem that I’ve made my choice


 
Mega Man Battle Network 3 is the third entry in the Battle Network spinoff of the Mega Man series. Where the Battle Network (and subsequently Starforce) spinoffs differ greatly from the main Mega Man series is the exclusion of any focus on robots. This series is essentially a parallel timeline to that of the main series where, instead of a focus on robotics, society focused on the development of computers, networking and AI programs. This sets up the premise for a very different type of Mega Man game and a very unique style of game.

Enter the year 200X. The research of Dr. Tadashi Hikari (essentially the Dr. Light of the series) has resulted in the development of small computers, PETs (PErsonal Terminals), which are very similar to devices like smartphones except they house an artificial intelligence which is known as a Network Navigator, or NetNavi for short. This NetNavi is a customisable AI which comes complete with emotions. It is the responsibility of the NetNavi to help its operator perform tasks on the internet and protect the PET from viruses.
 

Googling gets a lot more intense in the future unfortunately.

Googling gets a lot more intense in the future.


 
Since there have been such great developments in the internet, it would be silly for the nasties of the online to not follow suit. So while Navis traverse the cyber world, there is the ever present danger of running into some viruses that are going to do a lot more than just shower you with less than desirable popups. This is why Navis are able to equip themselves with antiviral weaponry built into their programming but are also able to get further support through the aid of BattleChips, weapon programs that are sent through the PET to the NetNavi.

With all of this, a culture of NetBattling develops in society. Not to be content with just battling viruses, Operators will pit their NetNavis against each other in NetBattles, which are online duels to prove who is the superior Operator and NetNavi. This does set the scene for a rather complicated society, but what’s a JRPG without a little bit of confusion?

The series focuses on the adventures of Lan Hikari, an elementary school student who is more focused on his NetBattling than he will ever be on his academics, and his NetNavi MegaMan.EXE. Throughout the series Lan and MegaMan, along with a cast of quirky characters, get caught up in foiling the schemes of various net-crime organisations. In Battle Network 3, Lan and MegaMan participate in a NetNavi tournament the N1 Grand Prix, but not all is as it seems as the tournament turns out to be a front by the evil net-criminals of WWW (pronounced “World Three”) to intimidate the world and initiate the revival of the great net beast Alpha. Throughout the game the duo are taken to various weird and wonderful location in the the real and cyber worlds.
 

The closest I'll ever be to being on TV.

The closest I’ll ever be to being on TV.


 
I’ll confess to one thing right off the bat, the storyline of this game is nowhere close to being one of gaming’s greatest. It’s often cheesy and terribly riddled with tropes, but there is just a certain charm that it has that makes it feel special. Whether it is some of the intense situations and confrontations the player finds themselves in or the absolutely heartbreaking finale, the game manages to just charm its way into your heart to create, for me at least, a special experience.

An example of this is where, about roughly halfway through the game, one of our protagonist’s friends finds themselves in the hospital. While the friend in question is in no way in any trouble, it is another character Lan meets that steals the limelight here. Mamoru Urakawa has been hospitalised since the age of three due to his extremely rare heart condition known as “HBD”. While Mamoru has been fortunate to live with the disease for as long as he has, the effects of constantly relying on surgeries are taking their toll on him. When Lan meets the lonely, sickly boy Lan begins to make friends with him but Mamoru’s condition only continues to get worse, until he gets sent to the emergency room. During this operation a WWW operator Anetta causes the Tree of Life, that makes up the center of the hospital, to malfunction using her NetNavi PlantMan.EXE. The malfunctioning Tree of Life creates vines that render the hospital’s facilities useless in order to find a TetraCode, a part of the code that is required to unleash Alpha, that is hidden within the hospital. This means it is up to Lan and MegaMan to fight their way through the numerous hospital computers in order to stop Anetta and PlantMan, and save Mamoru’s life. This sets up for a rather intense segment of the game with a theme that still fills me with dread to this day.
 

Why does nothing good ever happen in a video game hospital?

Why does nothing good ever happen in a video game hospital?


 
It’s moments like that which, from a storytelling point of view, give the game a very strong narrative experience. The storytelling is however one of many aspects of the game that deserve praise. While the visual presentation was never going to be something to write home about (I mean, it’s a Game Boy Advance game) the aesthetic the game has gone with makes it feel like the game has not aged all that badly. It doesn’t do anything and so in the age of billions of pixels, please don’t discredit the game just for its visuals.

Now visuals are one part, and if you’re currently feeling like its presentation needs to do more to grab you, let me introduce you to the soundtrack. For me, this soundtrack does everything right. It creates suitable background music for the various stages as well as superb audio cues for the critical moments. I can still remember the moment when Great Battlers replaces the normal boss battle music as you face off against Navis in the N1 Grand Prix, or the heart breaking moment when Proof of Courage starts playing, signalling the sacrifice of a major character. I will even go as far as to admit that Wiping Tears is one of, if not the most emotional themes I can remember in any game that I have played. It’s things like engaging soundtracks that allow for gaming to offer us the experiences that they do, and this is one of the many reasons I hold this one so dearly. I do however want to take a moment to say that Surge of Power, the boss battle theme of Battle Network 6, is probably my favourite boss theme of any game, even if it is just for the first couple of seconds.
 

 
Now I’ve gone on at length about aesthetics and storytelling but that’s not all that there is to gaming. It fills me with a strange sense of pride that you can still appreciate this game even if those aren’t your sort of thing. Gameplay wise, there are two areas of play, the real and the cyber worlds. In the real world, you control Lan as he moves around from place to place, interacting with many interesting operators along the way. While moving Lan around the world you will find many opportunities for Lan to interface his PET with computers around the gameworld. This will send MegaMan into the cyberworld and this is where the real fun begins.
 

Aren't you glad nobody exclaims like this when they plug in a flash drive?

Aren’t you glad nobody exclaims like this when they plug in a flash drive?


 
Once you have gone into the digital world as MegaMan, the game starts coming into its own. It feels like the standard JRPG, running around, facing off against random encounters and visiting towns. When you’re running around inside of the various computers or internet, you’re greeted with a rather basic view, but each area has enough visual cues for you to know exactly where you are. While this may make the electronic world sound very simple, enough is put into the world to create varied and exciting differences in the world. This can range from using the right animal programs to scare off animal viruses and even making use of compression programs to allow for MegaMan to move along tiny walkways.

Now we come to the good part, and also the reason why this game is so difficult to classify. The combat of the game, or virus busting as it’s better known. The best way to describe it is real-time tactical role-playing, but have a look for yourself and see if that explains this.
 
MMBN3BattleStart
 
Where to begin here. The battle system is one of the reasons this series is so unique, there simply isn’t anything else out there like it. There simply isn’t anything out there to compare it to. So let’s take a crack at trying to explain this shall we.

Whenever you go into combat you are greeted with a chip select screen, where you will be selecting Battle Chips that will be sent to MegaMan to aid him in the battle. You can only send him these chips from this menu, which is available every time the gauge at the top fills up. MegaMan is able to attack with these chips as well as his MegaBuster, which is a simple attack that can be upgraded over time. Now it is important to note that the stage that you’re facing off on is separated into two different colours. This shows you where you are able to move and where your enemies are able to move. Simple right? So the premise of each battle is to damage your opponent until that number above their head reaches 0 (signifying that you have damaged their data enough to the point where they are deleted, if you want to get technical).

This simple premise sets you up for what becomes a very deep and intricate battle system. As you progress, you start finding more powerful Battle Chips and special combos that create what are called Program Advances which create devastating attacks. My favourite part about this is just how varied you can make this system for yourself, or keep it as simple as you like. You’re able to create intricate strategies that don’t just rely on choosing the right attacks, but require precision and perfect placement in order overpower your opponent. It takes the tedium of JRPG battle systems and replaces it with fast and frantic combat that requires attention to detail and makes every battle a memorable one.

Having a thousand different ways to defeat any opponent is great and all, but it means nothing if there isn’t anything interesting to battle. The viruses you encounter have some interesting designs and abilities that will constantly put your skills to the test. From literal data miners to electric launching bunnies, the viruses are varied and interesting but with enough visual cues to let you know what you will be facing and how strong you should expect it to be. These battles alone are good enough to keep you engaged, but this game takes it just a little further with some intense and well designed bosses.
 

I've found myself in a bit of a...bind

I’ve found myself in a bit of a…bind


 
While the bosses show definite inspiration from Robot Masters in the Mega Man series, their personality and the way you face off against them is what makes them worth their while. I know it is often the case that bosses fall into the trap of becoming too predictable with their movements and attacks, but these do not. It is possible to learn to read what they are about to do, you are only given a tiny window to do so and even then it’s all on you to actually pull off any dodging or counter-attacks. I’ve always felt that these bosses were some of the most rewarding I had ever faced off against in a game, rewarding not only your game knowledge but also your dexterity. I can remember one fight in particular, the first time I had faced off against BeastMan.EXE. I remember being as well prepared as I possibly could for that fight, but the speed and ferocity with which he attacked was just too much and it took me quite a few attempts to beat him. It was not that I went and simply grinded my way to victory, but rather picked up on his tells so that I could try and defeat him.

This is one of the games where I had never felt cheated by combat. At no point did I feel like the game was making use of cheap tricks to create a sense of pseudo-difficulty, but rather I had to learn to adjust to the game to progress. It is this battle system that I wish could be brought into modern gaming as I feel like it could be taken to new heights and be improved upon in leaps and bounds. I can say for certain that if someone were to pick this idea up and run with it, they could create absolutely incredible gameplay. I know I’ve probably gone on about it too much, but considering I still go back to playing this game after all this time should be a testament for the love I have for it.
 
MMBN3BassChip
 
Call it fanboyism, call it whatever. I shamelessly enjoy this game and I feel like it should be at least experienced by many more people. This is a little bit of a strange concept to throw around, sharing the experience of a video game, but much like a good book or a beautiful piece of music, I feel like it’s something that should be done. I haven’t even been able to get into great detail about why I find the ending so heart-breaking or even the ridiculous amount of post-game content there is, but I obviously have to leave something for you all after you go out and find a copy for yourself to enjoy.

If you’ve managed to get this far, I hope I’ve been able to convince you to, if not give this incredible game a try, reflect on your favourite game or at the very least give a little bit of thought towards the many incredible experiences you’ve probably had in your gaming life. I think it’s absolutely incredible that I can go on at length about a game I played when I was still in primary school and more so that I can still appreciate that same game many years later.

So how about it? Are you going to give Mega Man Battle Network 3 a chance? If not for the numerous reasons above, maybe do it because it perfectly describes my spirit animal.
 

Me IRL

Me IRL


 

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NHL 16 Trailer Deals With Player Feels http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/m8GDAKKCmyI/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/nhl-16-trailer-deals-with-player-feels/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 11:00:23 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175016 The NHL franchise is currently gearing up for its yearly release in NHL 16, which is entering trailer season. Its newest trailer looks at player morale — and how players will be able to […]

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The NHL franchise is currently gearing up for its yearly release in NHL 16, which is entering trailer season.

Its newest trailer looks at player morale — and how players will be able to manage their team’s morale in the “Be a GM” mode, which has been a mainstay of the ice hockey franchise.

Though not as immediately accessible as the Manager modes in the FIFA series, which allow the player to simply jump in and play, “Be a GM” offers players in-depth control over their team, formations and specific tactics while requiring them to balance this with their wage cap and team expectations.

The addition of a “Player Morale” system is another facet to this managerial experience, and one that will have an on-ice impact too.

Players in NHL 16 will have individual personalities which managers will have to deal with in the training room. This means that different things will affect them mentally on the ice, either raising or lowering their morale. For example, some players may react badly to losing a fight or sustaining an injury, while others may simply be able to deflect it, but may take a larger hit from conceding a goal or being substituted frequently.

Managers can counteract this by giving them more playtime, chatting to them, or holding team meetings — all of which could have mixed consequences.

Balancing the individual personalities of your players will be crucial in ensuring they play to potential in-game, and building your team to ensure that your players’ individual demands complement one another’s will also be crucial.

Though it may end up a superficial mechanic more than anything else, the inclusion of mental attributes certainly adds some credibility to the idea of NHL as a holistic sports simulator. Certainly it will be interesting to see its effects on the game.

NHL 16 will release on Playstation 4 and Xbox One on September 17, with a “Legacy Edition” launching for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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Life, The Universe And Gaming: How The Witcher 3 Shatters The Illusion Of Player Choice http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/6B1TxKmLW1Q/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/life-the-universe-and-gaming-how-the-witcher-3-shatters-the-illusion-of-player-choice/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 09:00:59 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174955 Last week I wrote about appreciating the women in the games we play, the ones that are done well anyway. Thanks to the sixty-or-so people who gave that column a […]

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Last week I wrote about appreciating the women in the games we play, the ones that are done well anyway. Thanks to the sixty-or-so people who gave that column a read. Elsewhere on the internet, someone is highlighting games that they claim are exploitative and objectifying of women, without any references and despite being easily counter-argued, and getting thousands if not millions of views for it. Call me Sodium Chloride, but if that isn’t a commentary on the state of the human mind, I don’t know what is. Either way, this is why we can’t have nice things.

All the same, I’d like to keep trying to have nice things. So in that respect I would like to humbly continue from my previous column, wherein I promised that we would discuss further the very important characterisation, writing and player choices presented in one The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I do also understand that it’s been many months now and I cannot stop going on about how great The Witcher 3 is. To you I must ask: Would you rather someone who spent that long enjoying something, or someone who went week-in and week-out finding something to pick apart in all your favourite games? I like my method, what about you?

The idea that player choice is an illusion is not something new. In fact, it’s one of the core tenets of game design. You cannot account for an infinite number of outcomes, and in that way gaming has always been limited compared to real life. Ambitious titles such as BioWare’s Mass Effect 3 found this out first-hand, with the end-game-state effectively dumbed down to a count of three, despite hundreds if not thousands of variables in play. Put simply, you could make a thousand choices and because games are designed to be closed systems, you will only ever have a finite number of endings.

But that’s okay, if you understand how to use it to your benefit.

So you get a set opening, and a set conclusion. Perhaps the end-state might vary slightly but ultimately the narrative reaches some overall conclusion. “The good guys won” for example. That’s perfectly fine. The strength then comes not in the choice or worded differently, the cause, because we already know that’s an illusion in a closed system. Instead, the strength comes in the result of the choice; the effect. The repercussions of your actions.

And that, friends, is what The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has nailed down to an absolute tee.

The perfect setup for a sexy sitcom

The perfect setup for a sexy sitcom

Repercussions are a powerful thing. In the real world, they’re what ground us, and what guide our decisions. Let’s say you wanted to buy second hand because it’s cheaper than buying brand new. You could take a loan from a bank, but that would incur interest over time and require some form of financial stability as well as a valid credit rating. You could opt to buy from a dealer who offers a better interest rate for the car and does not require a credit rating, but will charge you more than if you bought privately. As a last resort, you could visit a loan shark who will give you the cash immediately but require a hefty return that is payable in the short term. How do you decide? What motivates you? What guides your ultimate decision? The repercussions of your actions are what matter here. In the end you will get the car, but what will it mean to own that car?

This is an example of playing within your boundaries. There is a forgone conclusion (owning a car) but the variables are emphasised, even if they are also limited. The variables, then, become more important.

To use an example more suited to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, you’re questing your way through an area when you come across a group of bandits who are sacking a village. The villagers, terrified. Their lifelong possessions, stolen. Their families, beaten. It’s unbearable to you. The bandits tell you to keep moving, but instead you show them the shiny edge of your blade. You clear through them as if navigating a grassy field with a bulldozer. One of their ilk gets away, flees into the nearby forest. The villagers and their belongings are safe. You’re a hero. You think you’ve done well. You continue your questing. Later, a group of bandits approach you and fight you. The one who got away brought his friends, and they want revenge. For good measure, they returned to the village, raped the women, castrated the men, and razed the entire thing to the ground when you were off elsewhere.

Are you really a hero, or did you just condemn a village to its doom?

Repercussions. Cause, effect.

Most other games try very hard to show you that doing the right thing always leads to you being the best possible version of yourself. It’s great for a children’s nursery rhyme. But in reality, it’s a little different.

This is the power of having a forgone conclusion, and spending the core of your effort focussing on what it takes to get to that conclusion.

It is CD Projekt RED doing a simple “point A to point B” journey in the most intricate and elegant way possible.

"Quick, everyone. Look important!"

“Quick, everyone. Look important!”

We can go even further with this, and here’s where it gets potentially spoilerific so I’m going to add a tiny SPOILER WARNING here just in case.

When Dragon Age II first came out, I sang its praises quite a bit. I valued the way it handled player choice and ultimately tried to craft a story that was bigger than the contained parts of the narrative. In other words, the way it used a single character’s story to set up something much larger. Then The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings came out, and blew Dragon Age II clean out of the water. I had no excuse, I had no further argument, The Witcher 2 simply did everything better. This is very much the case once again, where Dragon Age: Inquisition, our game of the year last year, was lauded for its many victories in story-telling, characterisation, and sheer audacity at times. And yet with The Witcher 3 it once again is made to look a little childish by comparison.

Many folks have discussed the topic of sex in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It does happen, it can be gratuitous at times, and it’s not very difficult to find. I spent the first ten or so hours of the game not seeing a thing, but the sex did happen and once it started, I found I was able to get lucky multiple times as Geralt. But here’s the thing, each time I did have sex as Geralt, it was consenting sex with someone who either wanted a casual romp, or someone whom Geralt loved dearly. Either way, no character was exploited, and the sex was just one part of a relationship, entirely natural to all parties involved (disclaimer: I never tried sex with a prostitute, because while that’s not despicable to me, it’s not how Geralt rolls). It was neither glorified, nor celebrated. It just was.

By contrast, BioWare’s Dragon Age (and Mass Effect) series have had sexual encounters with other characters form part of relationships the player character might undertake. For the most part sex with other characters is monogamous and happens as an end-result of a sub-quest involving romancing a particular character. The underlying issue here, is that sex is used as a reward. The ongoing pursuit of an interesting character that culminates in the bumping of uglies, and an unlocked achievement for your troubles. To its credit, Dragon Age: Inquisition did attempt, at the least, to continue the relationship further by allowing the player more scenes with their partner. But once the deal was sealed, there was little else to it. You could perhaps break off the relationship but what’s done was done.

But that’s not real life, is it? A real relationship is not just about the sex. In reality, you could very well get sex from a bunch of different (consenting) people — just ask anyone with an Ashley Madison account. In real life, it’s not the sex that matters but being with your partner. After sex, there is still a relationship there. The relationship remains intact even if you are off having sex with others, but what’s important is that if your partner did not know and they then found out, there would be… yup, you guessed it. Repercussions to your actions.

I played The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt as I imagined Geralt would. He was okay with casual sex because sex, to him, is not love. And yet, he was unattached. Not strictly speaking in a relationship. Yet he loved two women, Triss and Yennefer. When Geralt encountered Triss, and the opportunity arose, they had sex in a lighthouse and it was beautiful and natural, and nothing seemed wrong with that picture. Later when Yennefer wanted sex, Geralt could only oblige her. He is a man after all, and he loved her dearly. Ultimately, Geralt put himself in a position where he was sexually involved with two women, loved both of them, but could not choose.

And I kept expecting the ‘BioWare way of doing things’ where a dialogue option would pop up where I’d explicitly make a choice.

But the dialogue option never came.

In the end, Triss and Yennefer found out what Geralt had been doing, and they enacted their own plans for revenge. In the end, Geralt was left all alone. Loving two women, attempting to romance both women, ending up losing both women. Why? That’s right. Because of the repercussions of his actions. If he had only told Triss he loved another. If he had only spoken to Yennefer of his feelings for Triss. If he had only chosen for himself instead of trying to have the choice made for him, how differently would things have ended.

Once again, this is where The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ascends to an altogether different level of maturity. And that’s why taking issue with the sex in the game, in many ways, is as immature and nitpick-y as the games of old that thought of sex as an ultimate reward. For once, the sex wasn’t the point. Much like real life, or at least real life away from what pop culture tells us. The point was that people with feelings were involved, and that meant having to handle those feelings and be a human being about them. Actions. Consequences. Repercussions.

Choice.

Ooh look, a strong female character! Time to pick her apart to promote representation!

Ooh look, a strong female character! Time to pick her apart to promote representation!

And that brings me to the final talking point of today’s column, and that’s Ciri. Geralt’s adopted daughter in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is absolutely the star of the show, in much the same way that Jean Grey and her Phoenix Force was the star of the X-Men 3 movie, if the X-Men 3 movie was actually any good.

I’ve read a few articles online that talked about the sexualisation of Ciri and how her bra-showing low-cut tops made her look sexualised despite her being a daughter figure to Geralt. Sometimes I wonder if the people writing these articles look at their own daughters and get awkward boners…

All the same, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is in many ways, the story of a girl’s growth into a woman. And despite only being playable in shorter segments, Ciri with her elder blood ends up being the person who most effectively epitomises the idea of player choice in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Once again, let’s first talk about real life here. Not all of us are parents, but we all had some element of parenthood growing up. Consider what choices our parents made actually stayed with us. The way we interact with people. How we view those we deem to be less fortunate than ourselves. What we think of people who disagree with us. We typically form our own goals and dreams based on our experiences, but a big part of who we are was moulded long ago by our parents. In my case, my parents taught me that no matter what element of authority stands before you, if you feel they are wrong and you can prove it, you prove it to them. But you do it with respect. And that is a lesson that stuck with me all my life. But more than that, the way I interact with others, the way I treat those who are less fortunate, all of this comes from watching my parents as I grew up.

When you play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Ciri is the one who makes the decisions. As Geralt, you have various interactions with her, and the things you say have great impact. Only, the things you say hardly ever seem to matter in the context of the game’s narrative. In other words, nothing you say seems to have of any real importance to anything in the story. You could tell Ciri it’s okay to get angry, or you could have a snowball fight with her, and that has grave consequences later but in the moment it seems like nothing at all.

The point here is: It’s the little things that matter more than the big things.

Big things are easy. You want to save the world. You want to destroy the Wild Hunt. You want to restore Kaer Morhen. You want to help Ciri become a strong woman. But how? How do you do any of that? What is the vital context that is missing? Sure, you have a bunch of side-quests that are a means to the end, but just like in the sex example up above, what’s more important than the end-goal? That’s right, your choices. And your choices, no matter how small, are what ultimately influence Ciri’s growth as a person. Do you want to protect her, or empower her? Do you want to give her her freedom even if it puts her in the way of danger, or do you want to shield her from danger by limiting her agency? Do you want to advise her or let her make her own decisions? Do you want to calm her down or leave her to be angry? Ultimately you, as her adopted father, have a direct influence on Ciri based on how you treat her, both as your daughter and as a woman.

I played through the game expecting Ciri to empower herself. I picked a bunch of options that told her I supported her decisions but was still her father, and therefore wanted some aspect of input. I did not let her have all the freedom she wanted, opting to be firm but fair. I thought that was the best way to be a father. Imagine my devastation to discover what had become of Ciri in the end. She was not as empowered as I thought she would be, because I limited her too much. I placed too much emphasis on the big decisions because I thought only those mattered, but I paid little attention to the minutia, the nuance, the smaller more personal details of our interactions. I should have allowed her all the freedom she wanted, and trusted that she knew what she was doing. I should have taken the time to understand her, rather than preach to her about my methods. And I should have just been a companion to her, rather than a parent.

And once again we come to the simple conclusion that my choices as the player had real, and heartbreaking repercussions.

Not just consequence, but unintended consequence. Just like real life.

Girls just wanna have fun

Girls just wanna have fun

For all these reasons and more, I can only stand up and applaud CD Projekt RED for creating such a magical and at the same time crushingly honest game. More importantly, for showing us something that hopefully sticks with us and forms the filter for which we view other games from here on out (in the same way I can’t watch a movie in the same way after Mad Max: Fury Road). To perpetuate an often-used quote: It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

This is me standing up and applauding CD Projekt RED for creating a game that defiantly holds up a sign saying: Your choices matter. Good luck.

And that’s all I have to say about player choice in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. If you got this far, thank you for reading. If you didn’t, hey, your choice. Oh, and definitely check out Paul’s related piece which eloquently details Geralt’s relationships within the game. Let us know what you think in the comments okay? Awesome. Thanks. See you in two weeks.

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Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Required A Redesign To Prevent Players From Getting Lost http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/4u5LL7cRbds/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/mirrors-edge-catalyst-required-a-redesign-to-prevent-players-from-getting-lost/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 08:00:25 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175005 Like a number of games from its time, Mirror’s Edge was a proof of concept more than a game; a beta test if you will. It experimented with the concept […]

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Like a number of games from its time, Mirror’s Edge was a proof of concept more than a game; a beta test if you will. It experimented with the concept of a game all about minimalist design with the ambition of reimagining the classic platformer in a 3D space. It mostly succeeded with enough of a cult following to warrant a full-blown sequel in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst.

The trouble with expanding to a bigger world though is that some of the old systems underpinning the game would no longer work in the new open-world of Catalyst. One such system was the way in which player’s navigated the world.

In Mirror’s Edge all player’s had to do was follow the red markers and objects which stood out like blood on snow against the milky pallor of the city. The thing is that the original game was strictly linear whereas Catalyst is not. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst promises a sprawling world where players will be able to choose their own path.

Navigation and Runner Vision has subsequently required a complete redesign from the ground up. With a seamless sandbox free of loading times and a grappling hook to speed up navigation, DICE needed to tweak their design ethos.

In the latest issue of Edge, game design director Erik Odeldahl discusses the challenges of taking Faith on a open jaunt and how the team dealt with this arduous task.

“We had to redesign Runner Vision completely,” says Odeldahl. “We still wanted to keep that ‘follow the red objects to get to your objective’ [guidance], but since we can’t really know now which objective the player wants to go to, we let them place a waypoint on our 3D map. Runner Vision now works kind of like a GPS, in that it continuously recalculates a path for you from where you’re standing at the time to where you want to get to. And that obviously took quite some work, and we’re still refining it now.”

The idea is for player’s to not get lost because while the minimalist design of the city is brilliant and striking, it is also scant on landmarks and reference points. For a game that is all about constantly being on the move, having players stop every couple of minutes to check their bearing or have to backtrack would be ruinous.

Let’s hope they’ve nailed it or Mirror’s Edge Catalyst may not work as a sandbox experience. Worse still is the possibility that transposing the original game’s systems onto a sandbox environment may have caused catalyst to lose the energy and momentum that made the original so engrossing.

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Batman: Arkham Knight Interim Patch Delayed, And The Saga Grows More Pathetic http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/JWEIKzhdc98/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/batman-arkham-knight-interim-patch-delayed-and-the-saga-grows-more-pathetic/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 07:00:39 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=175002 It’s a done deal. The Batman: Arkham Knight PC saga is now among the most embarrassing and pathetic ones of this generation so far. We’ve had some real kicks in the […]

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It’s a done deal. The Batman: Arkham Knight PC saga is now among the most embarrassing and pathetic ones of this generation so far.

We’ve had some real kicks in the nuts. We’ve had the original Xbox One plan for world domination, we’ve had Destiny, we’ve had $40 season passes and we’ve had Assassin’s Creed Unity and all of the other Ubisoft shinnangins with it. Batman: Arkham Knight and Warner Bros have to join those ranks.

After reviewing the game on PS4 very favourably I’ve been waiting ages to get into my second playthrough on PC, but I’m still waiting. The last we heard about this was that Nvidia is helping Rocksteady and Warner Bros with the game, and that there was an ‘interim’ patch planned for release in August to address many of the issues.

It’s literally been more than a month later, and after all that time with zero communication or updates whatsoever, it’s been announced that the interim patch is now delayed.

What makes it worse is that it’s possible that there could be more than one interim patch. The initial plan was to make one interim patch before the game’s big re-launch update, but that seems a different story now.

An update on Steam states that the patch is going into testing and should be released “in the next few weeks.”

“The teams have been working hard to address the issues with the PC version of the game,” it reads. “We are happy to confirm that we are now putting the first interim patch into testing. If all goes well, we expect to issue the patch in the next few weeks. We’ll be sure to report back in the next two weeks on how the testing is coming along.”

The changelog for this interim update is as follows:

  • Reduced frame rate hitches
  • Optimized system memory and VRAM usage
  • Improved performance on all GPUs (requires the latest drivers)
  • Min Spec AMD GPU is once again the Radeon HD 7870 2GB
  • More Robust In-Game Settings, including:
  • Added the ability to change settings for Max FPS to 30/60/90
  • Added toggles for Motion Blur, Chromatic Aberration, and Film Grain
  • Added a “High” Texture Resolution value
  • Added Texture Filtering option
  • Added an Adaptive V-Sync option (NVIDIA only)
  • Added VRAM Usage Meter
  • Added Mouse Sensitivity Slider & Mouse Smoothing Option
  • Fixed low resolution texture bugs
  • Fixed hitches when running on mechanical hard drives (HDD)

The update also says that it’s working on skipping those annoying boot up splash screens, as well as fixing DLC/Season Pass Content and Photo Mode. However these things are a lower priority than the above.

Here’s a fun thought: try to wrap your head around the sheer insanity of being unable to play a game today that released on June 23. You’ll probably go mad like I have. Fair enough to Warner Bros they advised you to get a refund and pulled the game from the store, but even though they did the right thing (after the fact), there’s very little left to excuse what has happened to one of the year’s biggest releases.

What makes it all worse has been the complete absence of communication. Maybe it’s a naive view, but you’d expect that after a situation this damn terrible we’d be getting constant updates on what’s going on, and reassurances that things are actually happening. Sure you can make the argument that there’s no point updating if the patch isn’t ready, but the counter argument is: how on earth is a month of radio silence any better?

Communication is critical. I shouldn’t have to check the Steam news page, Google around and investigate forums constantly to figure out whether anything new has happened. It’s frustrating. Patience is actually one of my strong qualities, but I have a damn low tolerance for being walked over or given second rate treatment when my time and money is involved.

This is not a case of ‘shit happens’. This is a story of total neglect, deceiving customers, hiding who is actually in development of the PC product and zero quality assurance or respect for consumers. If you need a reminder you can read all about how Arkham Knight on PC was apparently outsourced to a small studio of twelve.

Congratulations Warner Bros, you’ve trumped the worst of Assassin’s Creed PC stuff-ups with this.

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Comments Of The Week: “Welcome To Hell, Soldier” http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/7Wgyfd6nMgw/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/comments-of-the-week-welcome-to-hell-soldier/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 06:00:37 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174948 Establishing a desirable setpoint is a tricky spot of bother and one we’re still working on. Comments were scant but views are picking up and that’s good news indeed. Last […]

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Establishing a desirable setpoint is a tricky spot of bother and one we’re still working on. Comments were scant but views are picking up and that’s good news indeed.

Last week, CotW made its muted return and this week we’re proving that we can be consistent.

Once again we pushed out a bunch of reviews and properly kicked off our new slate of weekly exclusive content. In additions to that podcast thingy, columns, This Week in Indie and previews we’ve got a whole host of new content.

Let me break it down for you:
Monday – Have You Played? & Comments of the Week
Tuesday – Best Gaming Moments
Wednesday – Preview
Thursday – Feature
Friday – Trailer of the Week & This Week in Indie

Questions? Cool, let’s roll right on then.

Without further ado, here’s this week’s best comments.

paul egmr

It’s only a matter of time before young Paul either goes insane or leaves. Regardless, he’s ours now.

 

Dom on Feast Your Eyes On This Incredible Darth Vader Limited Edition PS4 – Lel.original

Well done, EA. You put less effort into a special edition console for one of 2015’s biggest titles than you did for some random Kinect game.

 

Raidz on The Uncharted Collection Is Going To Be Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – cool cool cool. feeling pretty excited for this 0_0

One shy of being Abed.

 

AG_Sonday on My Story With Tony Hawk Games And Their Soundtracks – This got me all nostalgic for the days when I tried to ride a skateboard, failed and then lived out my fantasies of being Avril Levine’s skater boy through these games.

Stop judging me, it was the early 2000s. I was young, impressionable even.

 

Premature Procrastinator on Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition Brings The Vreems To Xbox One Screens – “Given the time on offer, more could of been done here”, Seriously? Ms only bought the gears franchise just over a year ago, which was when they offered black tusk studios the choice of making gears 4 and remaking gears 1, or continue with the new I.p they were working on. And you think they could of totally rebuilt all the gears games in that short space of time, as well as making the next entry in the series? Yeah right.

Here at EGMR we’re a family and like any family we like to make a spectacle of any occasion where of our members gets called out for their errors. Especially when said member is the indomitable Caveshen.

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Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition Brings The Vreems To Xbox One Screens http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/ahTiTG6_QOo/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/gears-of-war-ultimate-edition-brings-the-vreems-to-xbox-one-screens/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:00:21 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174891 If there is to be a defining moment in the Xbox 360’s long-running lifespan, it has to be the day Gears of War released. After much hype and anticipation, with […]

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If there is to be a defining moment in the Xbox 360’s long-running lifespan, it has to be the day Gears of War released. After much hype and anticipation, with a fresh not-oft-seen cover mechanic and a gritty, grey world that reeked of death and desperation, the original Epic Games developed Gears of War was a turning point for gaming and popularised all of the above, plus a lot more for the gaming industry. The kind of change that lasted for years to come. Cover shooters. Gritty, grey game worlds. A morose aesthetic of death and destruction. You name it, Gears of War was the patriarchal harbinger of a generation, with added chainsaw rifles.

So of-freaking-course they’re going to bring it to the new generation!

Name: Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
Genre: Third person shooter
Players: 1 – 2
Multiplayer: Online competitive, cooperative
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Developers: The Coalition, Splash Damage
Publishers: Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date: 28 August 2015
Price: $39.99

Let’s be honest with each other here, the one thing that is sorely missing from the Xbox One’s current games lineup is the new generation replacement for Gears of War. Gears of War had a massive following on the Xbox 360 but thus far has remained elusive on the Xbox One. The new, rebooted Gears of War title is still a ways off and in the meantime, people want their vreems man.

As it so happens, we live in a time when developers are (I’d say happily but I don’t honestly know if that’s the case) releasing remastered remake HD definitive editions of their games left, right and centre. To their credit Microsoft Game Studios have been doing this a bit better than other publishers, by fully recreating (from the ground up) their most popular game series to work on the Xbox One. To some this might reek of desperation, or a lack of direction. To others, they finally get to sample the oft-discussed but now-outdated Halo series, through Halo: Master Chief Collection. Or relive many years of nostalgic bliss with the Rare Replay that boasts some thirty game offerings from as far back as the 1980s.

Or, at last, get in on the chainsaw action with the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition.

It must quickly be established that the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is a not a complete digital recreation of the entire series, as I had initially been led to believe. In truth, it’s just the first Gears of War that has been recreated, with the sequels (Gears of War 2, Gears of War 3, and Gears of War: Judgment) releasing later as part of the Ultimate Edition via the Xbox One’s recently announced Backwards Compatibility feature, meaning they are just the Xbox 360 versions running on Xbox One. You won’t hear any complaints from most fans but given the time on offer (assuming developer The Coalition was aware of the Xbox One before the public) I want to hazard a thought that more could have been done here (UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention via the comments that Microsoft only had the Gears license for a year, so fair enough!). And hey, if not now, then maybe in the future. In the same way that 343 Industries released Halo: ODST to the Halo: MCC long after it launched.

Wishful thinking perhaps?

Still, at the $40 price point you can’t call Gears of War: Ultimate Edition overpriced for what it does give you, and the updated Gears of War does look the part. Dropping the dreary but artistically gorgeous aesthetic from the original, the Ultimate Edition brings refreshed, more lively visuals more in-line with current-day trends, and finally waves goodbye to the horrendous Unreal Engine 3 (sorry, but I hated it). It also reintroduces the previously PC-exclusive Brumak boss fight for Xbox gamers to sample for the first time, together with a few more “never before seen” chapters to sweeten the deal. Check out the video below for a neat little graphics comparison between the original Gears of War and the recreated Ultimate Edition. Trigger warning: Old, outdated graphics might disturb you.

From the official Gears of War: Ultimate Edition website, here is a full list of the changes introduced in the Ultimate Edition:

  • Remastered for Dolby 7.1 Surround
  • 90 mins of new campaign content from the original PC game
  • New Xbox Live achievements (1,250 Gamerscore)
  • Concept art gallery and unlockable comics
  • Modernized Multiplayer featuring:
    • 60 frames per second
    • Dedicated servers
    • Skill-based matchmaking
    • New game types – Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill (Gears of War 3 style), and new 2v2 Gnasher Execution
  • Total of 19 maps, including all DLC and PC-exclusive maps
  • 17 unlockable Gears of War 3 characters for Multiplayer progression
  • More Match customization including Actives, Respawn Time, Self-revive and Weapon Respawn
  • Modernized gameplay with smoother movement and updated controls:
    • Alternate Controls and all new Tournament Controls
    • All controls tuned for Xbox One
    • Adding the Gears of War 3 features you love: Enemy Spotting, Multiplayer Tac-Com, Improved sensitivity customization

But we don’t really care about all of that.

Question: Can you play Gears of War on your Xbox One now?
Answer: Yes.

Great success!

For the moment you will only be able to play the recreated, refreshed, reimagined Gears of War in the Ultimate Edition. Later this year the other three Gears titles will drop via Backwards Compatibility, and will work with your previous save-games (though I haven’t been able to source how exactly this is possible), feature the usual achievements, and allow you to cross-play with friends on both Xbox One, and Xbox 360 (presumably PC as well, but don’t quote me on that). So that’s kinda neat! Vreems for all!

While the mere existence of Gears of War on the Xbox One (and PC after many years, once more) is laudable, it does bear mention that the multiplayer component of the game, much like the singleplayer, is mostly contained within the original Gears of War, barring a few exceptions. What this means is, there is no Horde mode. This might be a deal-breaker for some (it was for me). This might also bring things back to a more traditional multiplayer style and hey, if you aren’t having any of the close-quarters gnasher shotgun madness, perhaps you need to go back to Assassin’s Creed the other Gears titles, when they’re available, might be for you?

To make the dearth of current multiplayer variety a little easier to deal with, Microsoft has allowed Ultimate Edition purchasers access to the Gears of War reboot’s multiplayer beta programs next year.

Here is another video for you to watch (yay for YouTube!) — this one, a behind the scenes look at what went into the creation of the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition remaster.

 

Suspected Selling Points
  • It’s Gears of War on your Xbox One (or PC).
  • Lower price-point with the promise of lots of content to come.
  • Cross-play and competitive multiplayer means loads of fun with friends.
Potential Pitfalls
  • The Xbox One’s matchmaking has proven troublesome, especially here in SA.
  • It’s still ultimately (heh) just a remaster.
  • They really could have at least tried to recreate all the Gears games.

For its price, it’s going to be difficult to resist Gears of War: Ultimate Edition when it releases next week. To tell the truth, while it’s not the best of offerings given that only one of the games in the series has been remastered, it nevertheless remains a genre-defining game that has found its way to a new generation of consoles. And really, that sort of pedigree sells itself. Add in the chainsaw-lancer madness and you’ve got yourself what will undoubtedly be a console-pusher, especially for fans of the series who want back in on the action. The question is, does that on its own hold up, or is this just going to be an expensive means of sating our desires while we bide our time until the new Gears of War releases? Time, and classy locusts, will tell.

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These Attack On Titan Game’s Screens Will Make Fans Cry With Joy http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/RKKgTVV0STM/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/these-attack-on-titan-games-screens-will-make-fans-cry-with-joy/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 15:00:07 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174864 It’s supposed to compensate for the tears they shed when they watched the show. I’m not a hardcore anime viewer, as much as I wish I could be. Watching over […]

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It’s supposed to compensate for the tears they shed when they watched the show. I’m not a hardcore anime viewer, as much as I wish I could be. Watching over 300 episodes of Bleach is the only real credentials I have and the only other anime I watch are relatively short and tight stories. The anime that appeals to me the most are the shows that play like a traditional TV series. 15 episodes in a season, tight story and no fillers. I don’t have time for 700 episodes where about 100 episodes can be dudes screaming or unusually long panning shots.

Two anime shows that fall comfortably into this preference of mine is Psycho Pass and Attack on Titan. Psycho Pass had a wonderful first season with an unbelievable amount of tension and intrigue that I just adored. I still need to watch the second season, but I unfortunately heard it’s not very good. Attack on Titan on the other hand, took my by surprise in more ways than one. The anime I was used to (Bleach, Dragonball Z, Pokemon) always had the good guys triumphing over the bad guys and everyone got resurrected roughly fifteen million times. Attack on Titan? Nope, everyone dies all the time and there is a constant air of misery. Great stuff.  I constantly say that it’s the Game of Thrones of the anime world.

If you haven’t watched Attack on Titan yet, go fix that. If you have, you’ll probably agree with me that throughout the season, I thought this anime would make for an excellent game with all of the three dimensional combat maneuver gear and the insanely stressful titan fights. Well, such a thing exists and it looks pretty convincing.

The Attack on Titan game for PS4/PS3 and PS Vita aims to stay true to the anime in style, theme and visuals. The above trailer gave us a sneak peak at what it may look like. The game will focus on the characters from the show and will be an emotional telling of a story on one hand and have insane visceral combat on the other. Just like the show.

The original voice actors will lend their talent as well. The combat will be dynamic with collapsing environments, multiphase titan battles and full use of the three dimensional maneuvering device. As for visuals, the gallery below will tell you. It looks pretty darn good. These are live screenshots taken on the PS4 and they look extremely loyal to the show.

This is actually the first time I’ve heard of this game which is coming in 2016 and I am so down. I’m imagining something akin to Shadow of the Colossus, but with far more death, tears and insanely fast combat.

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Dip Your MixStik To Make Better Cocktails http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/Px2Cnoz6WnY/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/dip-your-mixstik-to-make-better-cocktails/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:00:07 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174859 Fridays at EGMR are usually reserved for off-topic content. Fridays are also usually the day people want to kick back, relax and get inebriated. I know I could definitely use […]

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Fridays at EGMR are usually reserved for off-topic content. Fridays are also usually the day people want to kick back, relax and get inebriated. I know I could definitely use a drink after the day I’ve had, but that’s for another time. So, I was pleased to see I could combine some off-topic Friday content related to some Friday festivities. I’ve been around many drinking situations and experienced the multivariate ways of consuming alcohol–spirits straight out the bottle, whiskey on the rocks, pink shooters and colourful cocktails. All these varied drinking methods are quite easy to engage with at home, but I’ve found that when people suggest cocktails, that’s when the phones come out and we all trawl the app store and Google. The use of apps and technology to make a better cocktail is nothing new, but to find the best mix for the booze and mixture we have on hand, we usually just end up mixing them haphazardly anyway, partly because of our inexperience and partly because we already have alcohol coursing through our bloodstreams.

But what if there was an app that could help even the drunkest of people still able to make a killer Whiskey Sours or a sublime Mojito? A new device called a MixStik, a Bluetooth LED covered stick is going to be the helping hand you need. The stick gets paired with your phone, and then you simply select a cocktail recipe with the corresponding app on your phone. Once selected the stick lights up with colours that correspond to the drinks ingredients and portions. Then all you do is drop the stick into your mixing glass, fill it up according to the directions and correct proportions, and bask in the glory of a job well done.

Besides the dead-easy process, the app and stick have a few other things going for it. Have you ever had the joy of having left over liquor and other drinks at your house after a party? The MixStik comes equipped to handle this as you are able to input all the ingredients you have on hand and watch as the app figures out the best cocktail to get you plastered. The MixStik can also be set according to the type and size of mixing glass, so it gets the right amount of ingredients for the size. As of now the cost of the item is not that restrictive, at least for a nifty item to have if you entertain a lot of people regularly, so if successful on Kickstarer, it will launch at $39. It’s not exactly the cheapest electronic device ever, but in our hedonistic infused world, it no doubt serves an interesting purpose. Even though it’s marketed as something a bartender can use,  I definitely would not hire a bartender who uses this. If anything, this is a good way for a noobie bartender to learn the cocktails recipes and amounts before seeking employment. Watch the video below to see how a prototype works

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Man Attempts To Steal A PS4 By Hiding It…In His Pants http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/vbrRO1ndeW4/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/man-attempts-to-steal-a-ps4-by-hiding-it-in-his-pants/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 11:00:08 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174851 I can believe wanting to steal a PS4. I can dig that. I don’t necessarily approve of the action, but I understand the desire and the desperation. It’s a PS4. It’s awesome. […]

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I can believe wanting to steal a PS4. I can dig that. I don’t necessarily approve of the action, but I understand the desire and the desperation. It’s a PS4. It’s awesome. But I can’t understand, for the life of me, is the method that a certain would-be thief used to steal one.

It’s as the title says. He literally tried to hide it in his pants, creating the largest, most worryingly-shaped and bizarre hard-on you could ever imagine seeing.

Floridian Christopher Caldwell, 36, discovered the genius in Hammer pants, made popular by 1990s rapper M.C. Hammer. The idea of the pants is that it offers a large amount of room in the southern regions, where your potato resides.

The story goes that he tried to hide an entire PS4 console in those pants while shopping at a Port St. Lucie Walmart.

I don’t know if he hid the console in its box or took it out of the box and stuffed it down his pants. But let’s review. The console comes in a box that measures 18.8 inches long, 13.4 inches and 4.2 inches thick. That’s a hell of a lot of real estate to be shoving down there with your potato.

However, what makes this more bizarre is that Caldwell realised he had enough space for more goodies, and so decided to stuff a few accessories in his pants too.

When trying to casually walk out of the store with his giant bulge proudly on display, a security guard who saw the entire incident stopped him and put an end to the madness.

He’s now being charged for felony grand theft. That’s the end of that.

I laugh at the audacity, but I shake my head at the human. By the way don’t try this at home, kids.

 

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Trailer Of The Week: Battlefield 4 Night Operations http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/iSexdd-BozU/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/trailer-of-the-week-battlefield-4-night-operations/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 10:00:47 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174843 Who the hell cares about Battlefield 4 in 2015? What is this website doing? You may be thinking some of those thoughts, but I implore you to calm yourself, padawan. […]

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Who the hell cares about Battlefield 4 in 2015? What is this website doing? You may be thinking some of those thoughts, but I implore you to calm yourself, padawan. There is a reason behind this madness.

With that, welcome to the third edition of Trailer of the Week, affectionately known as TotW (pronounced ‘wot’). Last week we featured The Hateful Eight, which is actually a movie and not a video game, so clearly we are heretics.

Today we’re back to gaming, and we’re featuring a trailer for a new update for Battlefield 4, titled Night Operations. The update is set to release next month, and we’ve got ourselves the first peek at what’s in store for the new update.

Regardless of whether or not you like Battlefield 4, the cinematic trailer for Night Operations is fantastically well-directed and put together. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it even though I’m not that interested in the game and the update itself.

Below you can watch the trailer for yourself, because you’re most likely the best judge of what it is you think is awesome.

If you’re still unsure what this is about, the idea behind Night Operations is unsurprisingly about playing an existing Battlefield 4 map (Zavod 311) at night, where visibility is low. The new map, titled Zavod: Graveyard Shift, is included in the upcoming free DLC for the game.

Of course with visibility being low, tools such as night vision scopes, thermal imaging and scouting gadgets will become more important, which could make for some interesting gameplay.

You can find out more about the update at the Battlefield 4 website.

The trailer above gives you a peek at it all, and was created by the talented “Two Scotsmen”. I urge you to give it a watch, because it’s pretty great.

Let us know what you think, and if you felt there was a trailer that was more deserving of featuring here then by all means argue with us and tell us that we dress funny.

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A Cataclysmic Dawn: I Love Fallout Shelter For The Same Reasons I Loved Fallout 3 http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/mHPT4nAwKpc/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/a-cataclysmic-dawn-i-love-fallout-shelter-for-the-same-reasons-i-loved-fallout-3/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 09:00:24 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174837 Fallout Shelter is Bethesda’s mobile game, revealed at E3 and immediately launched for iPhone, with it recently being ported to Android. In it, you manage a Vault of your choosing, controlling […]

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Fallout Shelter is Bethesda’s mobile game, revealed at E3 and immediately launched for iPhone, with it recently being ported to Android. In it, you manage a Vault of your choosing, controlling its resource production, development and dwellers’ traits, with the traditional Fallout quirks.

It’s a very simple game — spending half an hour with it will probably teach you all you need to know about its core mechanics and barring perhaps a failed first attempt, you should have no issues constructing a fully operational vault. Yet, for the same reasons I loved Fallout 3, I can’t stop opening Fallout Shelter. 

Setting and lore

Fallout shelter

It may be relevant to note that I’m a massive fan of the Fallout universe’s particularly quirky history. Amongst all the heavy political commentary the game has to offer, it also has a world filled with intriguing and humorous characters, and a particularly absurd former 50s-esque pop culture (former meaning before nukes scorched most of the earth, of course).

While Fallout Shelter couldn’t possibly retain the level of immersion that other Fallout games thrive on, it still manages to drop a couple of references and hints to the outside world — or, in some cases, obscure bits of lore that they couldn’t possibly be aware of.

One example of this comes from a particular phrase from a dweller, mentioning that if they could have a pet they would like to have a chameleon, although radiation has probably “made it all weird.”

It’s an innocuous phrase, but one that links very closely with the origins of Deathclaws — the Fallout series’ most fearsome enemies. Deathclaws are one of the Fallout series most dangerous enemies being incredibly fast, remarkably strongly armoured and hitting harder than your average speeding bus. And they’re also heavily mutated chameleons.

Now to clarify, the Deathclaw’s mutations aren’t solely a result of the bombs being dropped, but rather military experimentation before the Great War, crossed with touches of FEV — the virus which created the Super Mutants — and a whole lot of mean and nasty thoughts. Over time, they lost their ability to camouflage (THANK GOD) and took their place as one of the apex predators of the wastelands.

Now, a simple wasteland dweller looking for a place to stay couldn’t possibly know that. Nor could your average civilian who lived before the war. It’s just a loving reference placed by the developers to give fans a little something to be excited about. The game is littered with little references and hints to the larger universe around it, and it’s a very charming experience as a result — even if not a particularly deep one.

Loving monotony

Fallout shelter 3

If Fallout Shelter is one thing it’s repetitive. You spend a lot of time harvesting resources and sustaining your vault, so you can grow it and harvest more resources. It’s monotonous, and a task which requires investment but not always attention. This is another of the parallels it has with Fallout 3.

Fallout 3 was a special game, but it was not particularly varied. A large part of the appeal to exploring was finding new loot and improving your character’s skills and abilities but in terms of what this would get you, the answer was usually better loot and easier exploration. Of course, a core difference here is that Fallout 3 had a definite endgame in Project Purity and a more concrete and meaningful progression system, but the core reason is the same.

The monotony was one of my key attractions to Fallout 3. It was methodical: you would explore to loot and improve your wanderer’s stats, improving both your character and your understanding of the world and greater universe around as you went. It may be structured differently in Fallout Shelter; instead of traversing the Wasteland you’re conquering it — standing as a monolith against Raiders and Deathclaws while growing both in strength and in literal size.

This may be monotony, but it’s a more loving monotony; it’s a monotony you’re willing to give yourself to because it’s rewarding and you can see quantifiable progress. It’s not something you’re playing for completion, but rather something you’re playing because you enjoy the experience it gives; the crafting of this type of mechanic is more a marker of how invested the developer was in their game than it is a sign of how limited their game is.

Fallout shelter 2

It is worth noting that Fallout Shelter has neither the scale nor, I imagine, the longevity of Fallout 3, but in the short term, certainly, it has managed to retain a couple of the traits which made Fallout 3 so appealing to me.

With Fallout 4 coming out in November, I’ll soon have some new post-apocalyptic landscapes to explore and discover and I don’t really see myself playing Fallout Shelter through that. Until then, however, I’ll just keep building down — and treasuring the game for what it is, before it loses its relevance.

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Bethesda Doesn’t Care What You Think Of Fallout 4’s Graphics http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/3rz_qTxVx3c/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/bethesda-doesnt-care-what-you-think-of-fallout-4s-graphics/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 08:00:24 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174838 The Doomsday Clock is at 5-minutes-to-midnight and the excitement levels for Fallout 4 are on the rise in the EGMR camp (see today’s column). Still, a lingering criticism of Fallout […]

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The Doomsday Clock is at 5-minutes-to-midnight and the excitement levels for Fallout 4 are on the rise in the EGMR camp (see today’s column). Still, a lingering criticism of Fallout 4 is the supposedly lacking visual quality of the game. Now, despite what RAGE may have misled you to believe, Bethesda has never really been one for visual prowess in its sprawling RPGs. The developer/publisher typically chases gameplay and depth of content first.

That said, Fallout 4’s visuals do leave a bit to be desired when you consider that Oblivion represented the developer’s first exploit on the then-new Xbox 360 and PS3 yet boasted some great visuals for its time. So what gives with Fallout 4 then? It is, after all, the company’s first big RPG to land on the new consoles. Quite simply, Bethesda aren’t really going to explain themselves because they don’t care much for those criticisms.

Speaking in an interview with Metro UK, the firm’s head of marketing Pete Hines said like all forms of entertainment, there is never “100% agreement on everything.”

“Very little surprises me after 16 years in this industry,” he said. “Generally speaking, we’re a form of entertainment. As with most forms of entertainment you never get 100 % agreement on anything.

“At the end of the day, whether it’s what the graphics look like or whether the gameplay is what you want or whether you like the setting, or whatever it is, everybody is entitled to their opinion. I put out information in the best way possible to give people a good idea, ‘Here’s what we’re doing and here’s what it’s gonna be like’.”

It may be easy to call Hines out on being dismissive of criticism and simply letting the silver-tongued fox known as Todd Howard soothe the masses. However, Fallout 4 promises a more colourful environment over the typically brown aesthetic of previous games. Think Mad Max: Fury Road with more of those colourful smoke flares and the fire-breathing guitar. The gameplay will also go deeper than before to offer a more meaningful experience.

Ultimately, Bethesda listened to fans of the previous games and what their feedback was on the likes of Fallout 3, New Vegas and even the first glimpses of Fallout 4. Hines said such feedback is “incredibly useful.”

This means there are plenty of people interested in Fallout 4, and they “still want to know more and give it a chance,” added Hines.

“So I’m just gonna talk to those people, like, I assume 100% of the industry is not going to buy this game,” he said, “and there are a vast number of reasons why they might not.”

To paraphrase, “all you haters can slowly die of radiation poisoning because the fans are going to be queuing on November 13 anyway.”

Fun fact: that’s a Friday. Well played, Bethesda.

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Splatoon Tournament To Make A Splash With Over $1 Million in Prizes http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/9808dhpl2jQ/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/splatoon-tournament-make-splash-1-million-prizes/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 07:00:52 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174817 Soon Japanese Splatoon players will be able to prove who is the best squid or kid to earn themselves a respectable amount of prize money. Nintendo, while relatively new to […]

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Soon Japanese Splatoon players will be able to prove who is the best squid or kid to earn themselves a respectable amount of prize money.

Nintendo, while relatively new to the scene, are no strangers to esport. Their support for their Super Smash Bros. games at recent EVO tournaments has seen the games find increased popularity among mainstream audiences. Since we have seen how big these popular Nintendo games can be, it comes as no surprise that they would set their sights on claiming some esports territory with their alternative shooter.

This event, which is to be hosted by the Kadokawa Dwango corporation, will be known as the Splatoon Koshien eSports Series. The series will see 40 events that will take place across Japan, starting on the 17th of September in Kukuoka. The series will then be wrapping up with the Grand Finals which are scheduled for the 30th to the 31st of January 2016.

On top of competing in Splatoon, participants of the tournament will also be able to play competitive games of Puzzle & Dragons for additional prize winnings.

While it is far from surprising to see Nintendo taking its popular colourful mess of a game to the esports scene, it will be interesting to see whether or not a similar event will find its way to the West. Nintendo has definitely gone out of its way to support the game, with regular updates adding new content and interesting content to the game, so whether or not they make the same sort of move in the West feels like it could just be an eventuality.

This slow but increased focus on structured competitive play by Nintendo could turn out to be a very interesting move on their part and one can only wonder if this direction is what will bring out of their ‘niche’ and into popularity.

I myself hope that the event is a major success, but I’m unfortunately not able to see it being as well supported in the West as it would be in Japan. I guess that means that we can only wait and see. We may even find something crazy coming out of this, like the next Splatoon event having a bigger prize-pool than Dota 2’s The International 5.

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The Night Is Coming For Cities Skylines http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/AjIkiWNFUdI/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/the-night-is-coming-for-cities-skylines/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 15:00:34 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174832 Cities Skylines was the ultimate “screw you” to the industry and more specifically, EA. Here’s this game that is what SimCity was supposed to be, which was cheaper than regular […]

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Cities Skylines was the ultimate “screw you” to the industry and more specifically, EA. Here’s this game that is what SimCity was supposed to be, which was cheaper than regular AAA games, can be played completely offline, has a stellar mod community and doesn’t throw DLC offers at your face every nanosecond. The game was a love song to how great gaming can be when it doesn’t antagonize and belittle us consumers.

A while back, developer Colossal Order stated that they will not release DLC “piece-by-piece” and would rather stick to the formula of big expansion sets to increase the possibilities within the game. This statement is now being realised with the game’s first expansion which is called After Dark.

The pack promises manifold new features in the form of an entirely new gameplay mode when night inevitably comes. Also added are taxis, bike lanes, prisons beachfront properties and so on. The main pull of the pack, however, is how things will change when night falls on your city.

There will be less traffic at night, but there will be more crime, just like in real life. There will also be a nighttime budget where you can allocate funds specifically for night activities. There’s also the obvious addition of your city lighting up in all of its glory, something that took quite a while to make a reality, for obvious reasons. There’s a lot of new lights, neon signs, street lamps and so on.

The expansion will release on the 24th of September for PC at $14.99. A decent price for what is being touted as a completely new experience.

I wish I had a PC good enough to run Cities Skylines because this is my kind of game for when I want to relax. Maybe one day soon.

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AMD’s GPU Market Share Slumps To 18%: Some Misinterpretions Of The Data http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/wbctSZHvP68/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/amds-gpu-market-share-slumps-to-18-but-tweaktown-author-misinterprets-data/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:00:38 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174811 A little while ago it was reported that at the beginning of the year AMD’s GPUs only accounted for a paltry 24% of the market according to Q4 2014 figures, […]

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A little while ago it was reported that at the beginning of the year AMD’s GPUs only accounted for a paltry 24% of the market according to Q4 2014 figures, while Nvidia was rocking a commanding lead at 76%. At the time Nvidia had their two stalwart Maxwell cards leading the market: the GTX 970 and GTX 980. Even with all the hullabaloo around their incorrect information regarding the GTX 970 memory configuration, it seemed like nothing could slow down the big Green Machine.

At the time of their 76% dominance, the world was not even exposed to their 12GB behemoth, the GTX Titan X or their cut down GTX 980 Ti and mid range GTX 960. All AMD had to conjure up all through the beginning half of this year were price-cuts to their aging Hawaii based R9 200 series and chumming the internet waters with details about their yet to be released R9 300 series (which later became known as the second tier GPUs, behind that of their new HBM powered Fury range of cards).

Once we arrive to the present, the Fury lineup has released and the R9 300 series, which have been little more than rebrands of older Hawaii and Tonga GPUs (with a sprinkling of Pitcairn and Bonaire). The market was already favouring Nvidia before they released their new Maxwell cards, but now that we’ve had an extra 2 quarters this year, TweakTown has released details contained in Mercury Research’s latest data set: Nvidia has jumped from 76% in Q4 2014 to 82% in Q2 2015, leaving a paltry 18% for AMD’s discrete GPU.

47105_06_amds-gpu-market-share-drops-again-even-release-fury_full

 

Now the report from TweakTown is at worst inaccurate, but at best slightly disingenuous. The reason for this is that the author claims the 18% market share is in spite of the release of new R9 300 and Fury series cards from AMD. I want to point out that the report from Mercury Research is labelled as Q2 2015, which covers a period from April 2015 to June 2o15, meaning that even though the numbers are wholly accurate, the assertion by the author that even with new AMD cards released AMDs market share has fallen in Q2 is simply inaccurate.

He fails to take into account that new AMD cards only released quite literally at the end of Q2 and in Q3(June/July 2015) so their impact on the Q2 market share numbers are minimal if entirely non existent. Based off his misunderstanding he then goes on to describe why AMD is in peril, and even though he does make astute points of the many reasons for the lack of Fury’s impact on AMDs market share, in light of any evidence about Q3 or Q4 market share numbers, he is pissing in the dark. Simply stating that AMD’s market share is down is entirely accurate; stating that it is down even with the introduction of new AMD cards is wholly inaccurate since their impact has not been measured yet. His points, summarily stated, are that in terms of the Fury X, they don’t offer much performance over the Nvidia GTX 980 Ti, are harder to fit into systems and, crucially, are in despairingly short supply, with only around 30 000 being available for 2015. In contrast Nvidia’s own Fury X competitor, the GTX 980 Ti, is easily available and comes in many flavours from AIBs. All valid points, no doubt, but only really valid in terms of early availability of the GTX 980 Ti and it’s impact of GPU market share. I guess from an adoption standpoint, the fact that market share for Nvidia went up from Q1 to Q2 2015 does mean that new desktop PC users either did not want to wait for the new AMD cards, or older users of AMD simply moved over to Nvidia.

It’s worth revisiting newer benchmarks of the Fury X and the GTX 980 Ti, now that newer drivers are available. Also, the assertion that performance benefits of the R9 390X and other rebranded GPUs are simply not accurate–they do in fact show increased performance and power efficiency, regardless of being rebrands: judge them on their merits, not their origin. The GTX 680 rebranded by adding faster memory to create the popular GTX 770, and now AMD has added faster and more memory to their cards to make them better for users who did not get a 290 or 290X. Of course it makes no sense for existing users of a 290 or 290X, but for people on older AMD or Nvidia hardware, the appeal is most certainly there.

As a bit of guilty conjecture, something the TweakTown authour should have stated and indulged in, the recent reveal that the first Direct X 12 game benchmark is heavily favouring AMD GPU architecture over Nvidia is just one of the few things that may show a different market share outcome by the time Q3 and Q4 reports are shown.

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Rockstar Editor Coming To GTA V on Consoles In Next Update http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/qe64OAWh9Ss/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/rockstar-editor-coming-to-gta-v-on-consoles-in-next-update/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 11:00:04 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174824 The Rockstar Editor in Grand Theft Auto V has been letting PC players do lots of cool stuff with Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online‘s missions and characters. When used in […]

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The Rockstar Editor in Grand Theft Auto V has been letting PC players do lots of cool stuff with Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online‘s missions and characters. When used in conjuction with the level creator, players have been able to set up epic scenes and set pieces in-game, without the use of any mods.

The only downfall to this so far has been for console players, however. While the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One contingent of GTA V and Online‘s community has access to the level and mission creator, the Editor — which is what players have filmed and edited in, is a fairly new feature which has been available solely on the PC port of GTA V.

However, console players will be getting a taste of the Rockstar Editor soon — as the game company has announced that they will be bringing it to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the next title update.

The announcement came in the conclusion to the most recent set of results of Rockstar’s most recent Rockstar Editor Contest — a contest which pits some of the community’s top movie makers together to create short clips showcasing what the game is all about.

The most recent competition was designed around the Ill-Gotten Gains updates, meaning community members had to create videos showcasing both their editing and creation prowess, while featuring some of the new content which was added into the game by GTA V‘s newest update.

The winner of the competition, whose video is embedded above, won a custom Rockstar  Logitech G910 Orion Spark Mechanical gaming keyboard, and a G502 gaming mouse, both with their Social Club ID and the Rockstar Editor logo laser-engraved into it, as well as a prize pack of GTA V gear and a $100 Rockstar Warehouse gift card.

The next Rockstar Editor Contest will see console owners given the opportunity to showcase their talents, when the next update rolls out with whatever bug fixes and content it may bring.

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Boardly Speaking: Airlines Europe http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/ZXyXY4bIsCQ/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/boardly-speaking-airlines-europe/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 10:00:31 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174672 In 2004, a fledgling publisher by the name of Days of Wonder was preparing to launch a new title. In hindsight, it’s not difficult to assume that much was riding […]

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In 2004, a fledgling publisher by the name of Days of Wonder was preparing to launch a new title. In hindsight, it’s not difficult to assume that much was riding on the potential success of the game. Designed by the award-winning Alan R. Moon, I imagine Days of Wonder were certain that the game was special. But as we’ve seen countless times over, it’s never just the objective quality of a game that equates to success – timing, marketing, early impressions, all of these factors can potentially sink a game that six months prior might have been hailed as a masterpiece.

That game was Ticket to Ride, and as of October 2014 three million copies of the game have been sold. I think it’s fair to say that as confident as Days of Wonder were, the popularity of the game exceeded their wildest expectations. Days have since published three stand-alone sequels, ten expansions and even a card-based spin-off. And perhaps most importantly, or at least for this review, Ticket to Ride is viewed the world over as the go-to gateway game that isn’t Settlers of Catan.

pic895117

Throw a stone, hit a boardgamer, ask him what his top five gateway games are, and I can almost guarantee Ticket will be one of them. Those observant folk among you will probably be wondering why I’m talking about Ticket to Ride if this isn’t actually a review for it. Why the need to establish how successful a game Ticket is? Simple really – because Airlines is not only the better gateway game, Airlines is the better game.

Now, I know that doesn’t seem like a particularly significant bombshell within the relatively pacifistic world of boardgaming, but believe me that was an epic mic drop. Well, it would have been, except that now I need to pick the mic up again so that I can attempt to justify this highly controversial stance.

As luck would have it Airlines Europe, published by ABACUSSPIELE and Rio Grande Games, was also designed by Alan R. Moon, so right off the bat my plight to convince you has been made a lot easier. It’s a refinement of his previous design Airlines, and at its core is a stock game in the spirit of Sid Sackson’s venerable Acquire. Wait! Come back! I promise not to use the word ‘stock’ ever again! It’s just a design mechanic! Catan turns you into a sheep collector for crying out loud!

 

Components

onkel_eklig

Opening the box should engage a pleasing sense of familiarity for Ticket veterans. The board is a large fold-out map of Europe, somewhat plain in terms of graphic design  – for necessity’s sake. There’s a deck of share cards, a stack of paper money and an assortment of tokens for victory points and the like. That subdued map? It’s brought to life by the 112 adorable plastic airplanes in a variety of colours. By the time the final game round arrives, you’ll be convinced Nyan cat was on the prowl. Had the board attempted a flashier and more eye-catching aesthetic, the ocular assault would have left no casualties.

A few criticisms though – there are some who enjoy the look and feel of fake paper money, but I don’t count myself among them. I have enough trouble hanging on to the real stuff to be taunted by counterfeit wealth. The minimal difference in colour tone between the red and orange planes may also present problems, although this can be easily fixed with a marker pen. Overall, the component quality is strong – Airlines is built for durability, and even though the game is now more than a decade old, the visuals don’t feel dated.

 

Learning to Fly
photo by bgg user ElCid91

photo by bgg user ElCid91

Theme in Airlines is of little importance, but if you prefer having at least a toothpick to chew on rather than thin air, consider it thusly: as a savvy venture capitalist, you’re looking to expand your portfolio by investing in a range of budding airlines, all competing for a gainful slice of Europe’s air-space. Routes link the various cities across the map, and each route between two cities can only be serviced by between one and three airlines. Each of the ten airlines has a base of operations, and any routes built must originate from this base. So for example, the Jolly Roger Airships (the brown planes) has Ankara as its base and routes can only extend from there. If a space is available between two cities, and the route can legally be traced by matching colour back to its origin, that route may be built by placing a matching plane.

These airlines aren’t assigned to specific players, but are in fact accessible to all. What governs a player’s decision to expand Jolly Roger’s reach instead of Air Amigos (yellow)? The aforementioned deck of share cards consists of a set number of shares that belong to each airline. Jolly Roger only has ten shares whereas Air Amigos has sixteen, and this translates also to the number of airplanes available for route-building. Stated plainly, up to sixteen yellow routes may be built, but only ten brown routes. Over the course of a game, players will draw share cards in an effort to perform basic set collection. Shares can be declared as dividends, the greater the number of matching shares, the greater the dividend.

But let’s break down the game turn – players may choose one of the following four actions:

  • Buy one or two routes and take a share card
  • Declare share cards as dividends – any number of shares from one colour, or a maximum of one share each of two different colours
  • Acquire Air Abacus shares by discarding either one share of any colour for one Air Abacus share, or three shares of any colour for two Air Abacus shares
  • Take 8 million Euros from the bank

Each available space along a route costs from 3 million Euros to as much as 8 million Euros. In order to buy a route, a player identifies the cheapest of the available spaces on the route of his choice, pays the bank and places a plane from the airline of his choice on that space. Along the perimeter of the board is a score track, with a token that represents each airline. Airlines begin the game in set positions on the track relating to the number of planes each airlines has in its fleet. Jolly Roger, by virtue of its rather miserly ten planes will begin further along the track than Air Amigos and its rather more impressive squadron. The cost of a route is also the number of spaces that airline moves along the score track – the more expensive the route, the further along that airline moves.

photo by bgg user takras

photo by bgg user takras

Players begin the game with 8 share cards, two of which are immediately placed in front of them. In subsequent turns, if players choose the Declare option, they will receive 2 million Euros for each share card played to the table. All declared shares must be visible to all players. The Air Abacus shares are unusual in that they don’t have an airline presence on the board – the interest players may have in acquiring them is purely based on their potential future value, which is greater than that of the other shares. If you’ve been paying attention, it’s at this point you’re wondering whether I’ve forgotten about those victory point tokens – just how are they allocated?

Before the game starts, three scoring cards are inserted at regular intervals into the share deck. When each of those cards are eventually drawn, a scoring round is triggered, with the game ending after the third round of scoring. The scoring track is divided into zones, and each zone awards victory points for airlines according to their position on the scoring track. For example, positions 11 to 15 fall into a single zone, and that zone offers four points for the airlines furthest ahead in the zone, two points for the next airline, one for the next and none for the last airline in the zone.

If red were in position 15, the player in possession of the most shares for that airline (declared only, not in hand) would receive four points. The further along the score track a zone is, the higher the value for each position in that zone. However, if two or more players hold equal shares, points are tallied according to the number of tied players and divided equally. Air Abacus isn’t represented on the score track, but rather each scoring round has a set Air Abacus value – in the third round the player with the most Air Abacus shares will receive 16 points, for example. The player with the most victory points, is the winner.

 

License Passed, or Airline Grounded?
photo by bgg user styren

photo by bgg user styren

After using that dirty word in my opening comments, you’ll hopefully have seen that the financial aspect of the game is really only a set collection and scoring mechanism. I’m certain there are those for whom terms like dividend quickens the pulse, but in reality playing Airlines is far more akin to the experience of playing Ticket to Ride. Sure, you have to manage your available cash, but this is really just another form of resource management. What set my heart all aflutter was the somewhat surprising revelation that Airlines is one big mind game with pretty plastic planes.

Why is David investing in the green airline if he’s only declared shares in yellow so far? Does he have a handful of green shares he’s just waiting to cash in on? Is he trying to tempt me to invest in green so that he can grab an interest in blue? Wait, Christa has already acquired three shares in Abacus, I can’t allow her such an easy romp to 16 points. Playing Airlines is an exercise in constantly second-guessing yourself. You can score points by riding someone else’s coattails, but your telepathic abilities better be finely tuned – bluffing isn’t only a viable strategy, it’s a highly enjoyable one too.

There’s a subtlety to Airlines that seeps slowly into the bloodstream – as simple as the decisions are, every decision is an important one. Patience is a rewarding virtue to have, but not excessively so. Wait too long, and your best laid plans will lose air pressure and plummet. Pacing is also excellent – since a player can only perform one relatively simple action on their turn, you’ll be reminded it’s your turn again before you’ve had a chance to figure out whether you did the right thing on your previous one. The game scales well, although the full compliment of five leans precariously over the edge where complexity clashes with elegant design. At lower counts, certain airlines are removed from the game, and though I haven’t played it with two, I get the impression Airlines shines brightest at three and four players.

I genuinely haven’t been able to identify any significant flaws in Moon’s design. I might highlight a few potential issues when discussing the game around the table, but nothing that moves me to write about it here. Your enjoyment of the game will really only come down to your own subjective preferences, rather than a particular mechanic that could be improved upon. The rulebook should have been more thorough in its explanation of scoring, but this is the kind of game where played once, the rulebook will likely not be opened again.

photo by bgg user Morillas

photo by bgg user Morillas

I started this review talking about Ticket to Ride, not only because it and Airlines share the same creator, but because of the magnitude of Ticket’s appeal. I’d surmise that the game’s success is not only because it showed thousands of households that boardgames could be played without dice, nor that its cultivated design makes a mockery of Monopoly – Ticket has become a beloved emissary for the hobby because of the subtle manner in which it engages players mental faculties. Simple in execution so as not to scare away players not accustomed to games with a host of moving parts and components, it nevertheless lights up the same synapses that a good game of cards does.

So what then makes Airlines Europe, at least in my opinion, the superior game? I worry that Ticket too quickly becomes the kind of game it was intended to transcend – that after only a few plays it falls into the trap of becoming routine. Put simply, Ticket to Ride has become a gateway for Ticket to Ride, and it’s a trend I see with Settlers as well. I can’t blame the publishers for putting out expansion after expansion, they do have a business to run. But this has resulted in a kind of isolated sector of the hobby where endless games of Ticket are being played in endless iterations.

Airlines has no official expansions beyond a few tiny promotional items, and that’s a testimony to how much depth the game possesses. Ticket is an elegant design, no doubt, but the ideal gateway game needs to retain depth. We tend to err when we assume that non-boardgamers fear games that are mentally taxingwe should absolutely be wary of overwhelming with rules and options, but depth and complexity are two very different concepts. Airlines Europe provides the simplified choices and elementary components of a Ticket to Ride, but it’s the way in which it coaxes strategy from new players with such nuance that elevates the game to greatness.

I’ve veered off course a little here, but I think importantly so. Ticket remains a fine game to introduce to those new to the hobby as well as to be enjoyed by us old-timers. Airlines is also not just a gateway game either, and these are important distinctions to make. We’re passionate about this hobby, often to an extent that causes concern amongst loved ones (but that’s an entirely different article). And this understandably means when we’re trying to spread the love, we underestimate – what if the novice flees in terror when confronted by just how far down the rabbit-hole goes? Caution isn’t a bad thing, nor is the process of gradual acclimation. But bluffing and planning and strategy and just a little bit of take-that are also great, and just as likely to win converts.

So, er…yeah. Airlines Europe is great. Go play it.

Review copy kindly provided by Boardgames.co.za

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The EGMR Offensive #14: Virtually Unreal http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/TpqHtss-TsU/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/the-egmr-offensive-14-virtually-unreal/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 09:00:39 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174730 Welcome to a brand new episode of our premier podcast, The EGMR Offensive. We have a lot to get through so buckle yourselves in and get ready for games, games […]

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Welcome to a brand new episode of our premier podcast, The EGMR Offensive.

We have a lot to get through so buckle yourselves in and get ready for games, games conferences, and games fads. There’s also mention of tech, trends, and Twitter. Oh, and we have a Steam Group now.

Here are the topics discussed during this week’s episode:

  • The Witcher 3 New Game Plus
  • Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain
  • Paris Games Week
  • Windows 10
  • Virtual reality, and other fads
  • Questions
  • Join our Steam group!

Keen on getting offended? Here’s how:

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | Android | RSS

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Sony Opens Beta Sing-Ups For A Possibly Massive PS4 Update http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/RP9lQXYYbE4/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/sony-opens-beta-sing-ups-for-a-possibly-massive-ps4-update/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 08:30:12 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174808 Since it’s initial in November 2013 the PS4 has received incremental expansions to its list of features with the likes of Share Play, Share Factory, Standby Mode and more. Full […]

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Since it’s initial in November 2013 the PS4 has received incremental expansions to its list of features with the likes of Share Play, Share Factory, Standby Mode and more. Full support for external storage is something we’re still waiting on though.

Ahead of most major updates Sony and Microsoft take the precaution of beta testing the updates with a closed group of guinea pigs. Sony is widening the net on this one though with beta sign-ups now open for PS4’s next big update.

Given the issues that Sony has had in the past year with the Standby Mode and Share Play updates initially posing huge problems for users, it makes sense to test the next big update as extensively as possible. My console is still plagued by the lingering issues of the last update with disc read and eject errors. There have been a couple of occasions where the console would not wake up from Standby mode and required a reset. On the last such incident some data was actually lost and my Arkham Knight saves were no longer accessible because they had been “created on a newer version of the software.”

I’m sorry, what now?

According to the PlayStation blog, the beta will start in September with users able to opt out or roll back to previous versions at any time.

Given the lengths to which Sony is going on this one, it could well be the big 3.00 although that may be reaching given that we’re only on 2.57 with the previous one being 2.55. If it is indeed Update 3.00 then rumours suggest we can expect YouTube streaming, Twitter video sharing and a bunch of new community features and enhancements. Proper support for external storage would be nice too.

It might be interesting to see some sort of shared social club across all games, perhaps a reworked revival of PS Home even. It’s just an idea that I’m throwing out but if Share Play can be supported then so can something like that with trophies and whatnot.

If you’re keen then sign-up for the chance to contribute to some honest to goodness QA testing. Something this industry is sorely lacking.

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Appreciate The Little Pleasures Of Gaming http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/5YBIfotAoqw/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/appreciate-the-little-pleasures-of-gaming/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 08:00:21 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=173693 How often do you take cognisance of the breeze brushing over the contours of your face or that appreciate that bite of pizza that’s just perfect or those moments when […]

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How often do you take cognisance of the breeze brushing over the contours of your face or that appreciate that bite of pizza that’s just perfect or those moments when you get green lights all the way to your destination? It’s the minutia that makes the minute to minute act of living worthwhile. They keep us going between the big emotional boosters if we allow them to and this extends into every sphere of life.

How often have you peeled away the rind of a clementine in one piece? It’s pretty damn rewarding.

Some people love to rush through everything at breakneck speed from one thing to the next, being as efficient and busy as possible. I used to be that person and it’s a horribly exhausting way to live your life.

Then I found God.
Kidding.

I simply learned to appreciate the little things and discovered that paying more attention to the games I play and allowing my senses to soak up all details really enhances the experience. For example, I could happily drift about the streets of Gotham in the Batmobile in Batman: Arkham Knight to get to my destination faster but I choose to instead glide there from rooftop to rooftop. Why? Firstly because I despise the Batmobile and secondly of all because it’s a far more enjoyable experience. You get to take in the sights of Gotham , chance upon random thugs, eavesdrop on random discussions and become far more familiar with the beautifully crafted city than you would by simply speeding past it all.

To use another example, I enjoy cycling and when cycling down a road you notice every bit of gravel, every imperfection in the road’s surface, all these little details that would otherwise go unnoticed. They’d simply blur into nonexistence.

You don’t have time to appreciate certain things when you’re rushing from one checkpoint to the next or one mission to the next.

With that rather lengthy build-up in mind, how about we take some time appreciate some of the little things, those microbial moments that make gaming so damn satisfying in between the bigger achievements and milestones.

 

Taking the Lead

forza egmr
You’re hurtling down a street or track, firmly holding your position when suddenly a misjudged corner or minor collision causes you to lose momentum. One… two… three cars pass you in quick succession as you regain speed. The race is nearly over so you go into serious business cap-backwards mode. Every line is near-perfect, every turn taken on the apex and soon you’re in the slipstream of those three assholes. You take one on the inside of the next turn, the next is taken out with a little body play and you breeze past the last on an expansive straight. The checkered flag drops and sure, you only came in at 4th but those last moments were electric.

We’ve all been there. You’re in the heat epic race in Forza or Need for Speed or Crash Team Racing and that moment where you overtake someone who’s been a bogey for you the entire race is so very sweet. Maybe you shelled some fool in Mario Kart. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be a big race. Any race has its challenges and those periods where you have a clean section or make a pass that’s been long in the making makes you feel like Lewis Hamilton or some other equivalent creature.

 

Boom! Headshot

zoolander egmr
Ah, the acrid smell of sulphur and oxidised iron. I won’t pretend to be anything but shamefully poor at any game which involves aiming a doohickey at a thingamabob and shooting a whatsit. In my defense I once nearly struck someone with an arrow from a compound bow. Mind you, it was completely unintentional. However, in that moment when the stars align with your sights and a slug hits the target right in the noggin, there is such delight in watching the body go limp and drop down. Motionless.

To be clear, we are still talking about games, mostly.

There is nothing worse than dropping a body only to see that the damn bastard is still alive or at least squirming and writhing. On one hand you want to see the life leave their pixelated eyes but you also don’t want to waste more bullets on the fucker.

There is something distinctly satisfying about a well-animated headshot and it’s certainly something to appreciate.

 

That’s What She Said

half life egmr
So you’re playing a game, just going about your business and wandering around as one does. Maybe you have a companion or none or a whole party. Regardless, the journey is rather dull if you don’t have good conversation to keep you going. Unless you are actually playing Journey in which case the droning voices of people who can’t stop singing its praises will be bouncing around in your head like free electrons.

In addition to being a rather barren experience, Destiny failed in part because the floating companion who keeps your character company was dull as… well, the rest of the game. On the other hand, wading through the dastardly Hinterlands in Dragon Age: Inquisition was made more pleasant with the right assemblage of party members. Hell, some people kept less useful characters around just for the banter they provided.

It doesn’t necessarily need to be the characters you constantly interact with either. Arbitrary overheard conversations are often loaded with witty, funny or interesting dialogue in any sandbox game worth its salt. It’s what makes a world come to life.

Nathan Drake isn’t lovable because he’s a cis white male racist with rugged good looks but because he’s got the affable banter of any Nathan Fillion character and the one-liners to match.

Nobody likes a game with a mute protagonist. That’s just boring. Shout out to Troy Baker and Nolan North who voice about 50% of characters you’ll see.

 

When the Bass Drops…

eminem egmr
Have you ever been out for a run when you hit that unscalable wall and feel your legs giving in but then suddenly that one song shuffles on, the weather is just right and you’re renewed with a sense of drive. You feel effervescent. Your legs feel solid. You’re on your way again, ignoring the strain. You’re probably thinking of Eminem’s Lose Yourself because let’s be honest, that’s the song that does it for everyone.

Similarly, there are moments in games where the soundtrack is just perfect. It melds so exquisitely with what’s happening on-screen and raises the experience to something so much more. Now you’re probably thinking of that moment in Far Cry 3, you know which one I’m talking about. That moment came again and again and again in Deus Ex: Human Revolution because the soundtrack so amazingly perfect. So too in Guardians of the Galaxy.

We’re audio-visual beings by nature, unless you’re Matt Murdock who is quite definitely a bat-snake-dolphin hybrid by nature. When the audio isn’t working with the video you get The Amazing Spider-Man ie the worst possible music for every single scene. When it works though, you get absolute magic. Nothing beats walking into Ammu-Nation while Danger Zone is playing in the background.

 

Dat View

deus ex egmr
Say what you will about the Assassin’s Creed series but once you get up to a good vantage point, the view is almost always breathtaking.

Whether it’s a glorious establishing shot or or just a visually juicy vista, there are some games which are just begging you to put the gun/sword/dismembered limb down and stare in wonder. Uncharted does this by the dozen. It actually rewards players who linger to enjoy the scenery and so does The Last of Us (giraffes!).

I’m a visual person, I adore excellent cinematography where the lighting, camera work and everything in the frame is unique or simply really well done. For reference, see True Detective S01E04. Whether it’s a beautiful view or suddenly switching to a different perspective, games have the power to do so much in terms of what we see and how we see it.

Why do we make a point of getting to the top of the highest structure as we’re given vertical freedom in any sandbox game? Quite simply because of the view. Other things too but we’ll ignore them because it undercuts my point.

 

Easter Eggs

arkham asylum egmr
Cheat codes to unlock fun extras and cool items may be a dead art, rebranded and commercialised as pre-order DLC, but easter eggs have long remained a staple of gaming.

It’s a delight to glide around in any of the Batman Arkham games and catch snippets of conversation referencing other heroes, other villains, little tidbits that prick the ears of anybody who knows the lore and cares to listen.

So too with games that reward experimentation and exploration. Who would have guessed that Far Cry 4 could be completed in about 20 minutes with just a smidgen of patience? Or that Just Cause 2 would contain several dozen easter eggs across its sprawling island of Panau from a Final Fantasy inspired strip club airship to the island from Lost.

These hidden gems, these little delights, add character to a game and remind us that what we’re playing was made by people just like us who love the same things we do. People who relish in referencing other games or pop culture or even the past of their own series.

 

Wrapping Up

wrap up egmr
The idea for this article first came to me way back in early July and, much like any real triple-A title, it’s taken a lot longer to release than it should have. The quality may also have suffered but that’s what post-release patches edits are for, right?

Would you kindly imagine being stung by a bee. Not so bad, right? It’s a tiny prick but then it’s innards are ripped out and you’ve claimed a victim of the apis genus. Now imagine being stung by about a thousand of them and you can finally understand why Nicholas Cage was never quite the same after The Wicker Man.

My point is that little moments, micro-experiences, compound. Each one enhances or minimises the other in a non-linear fashion and at the end of it all you can end up with a truly incredible experience; far greater than had you sped over those moments without even acknowledging their existence. All it takes is to slow down and enjoy the ride instead of rushing to from objective to objective.

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Review: Cosmonautica Is A Quirky Space Trader Full Of Character http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/DhK8j5hanqc/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/review-cosmonautica-quirky-space-trader-full-character/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 07:00:09 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174505 Visit review on site for scoring. The robot policeman asks me if I have anything to declare. Well, underneath the 15 tonnes of medicine I’m hauling, I have a stowaway, […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

Cosmonautica - Dead Parrot

The robot policeman asks me if I have anything to declare. Well, underneath the 15 tonnes of medicine I’m hauling, I have a stowaway, 29 tonnes of illegally smuggled whiskey, some secrets I liberated from a space pirate, and a hacker desperately trying to hide the lot as flowers, chocolates and bottled water. A tense few seconds pass as he scans my cargo and then sends me on through to untold space credits before my AI parrot loses her marbles again. Hopefully my crew doesn’t get into a row this time and incur either damages or extreme hangovers.

Cosmonautica wormhole

Cosmonautica is a pretty standard space trading simulator with a lot of character. You start with a pile of junk space ship, little more than a toilet, a vending machine, and a place to sleep, and set off to make your millions buying and selling computers, artificial DNA, games, and narcotics (among many, many others), fighting pirates on the outer rim, ferrying passengers, and generally working your way up from peanut captain to the commander of a great warship or trading galleon of the stars.

Where Cosmonautica, the debut of Chasing Carrots, excels is this mix of innuendo, vibrant visuals, electronic music, and irrepressible fun. Everything has conspired to present a wonderful retro-future, with great billboards like something from an 80’s sci-fi, and a score to match powered by electronic beats to carry you from planet to planet for interstellar misadventures. All of this complements the game’s focus on light-hearted humour, often playing on the risque nature of the space-smuggling business as you walk the fine line between legal trader and the dashing space rogue Star Wars and Firefly have made you want to be. Hire a mix of Pastafarians, Atheists, humans, aliens, fans of xenobiology or zero-gravity painting, stick them in a wallowing hulk called a Sealort, and ferry gamers from convention to convention to pay the bills on your newly-installed electro-disco.

cosmonautica space station

The game has two styles of play, a campaign focusing on learning about the identity of your slightly unstable AI parrot N1L, taking place in a relatively linear manner, and a proceedurally generated sandbox mode for those who just want to sell whiskey to the mining colonies of distant suns. This can give a lot of replay value, especially for fans of the pure space-trading simulator, which is what Cosmonautica does so well. The game does well to make you work at being a good trader. Flooding the market means you get fewer purchases next time you swing by with a crate full of books and art. Missions for specific kinds of goods are another great way to break up the back-and-forward between systems, as is the idea that certain systems supply specific kinds of goods, encouraging more exploration and research to widen your pool of markets and goods to supply.

To add more to the game, you can also try your hand at illegal smuggling of goods, outright combat with pirates on the outer rim, bounty-hunting work, and passenger ferrying missions. These help pass the time in the sections of the campaign where your movement is limited (more on that later). However, these sections could do with a little more fleshing out. The smuggling is fun the first few times, when you have a fear of getting caught. But as long as your hacker is good and you’ve got some camouflage researched on your holds, the threat is minor, and the payoff isn’t all that much more than selling the goods legally.

2015-08-15_00018

The combat, too, has its strengths and weaknesses. Depending on your choice of ship, you can have various combinations of turrets, torpedoes, and cannons. The three systems feel a little unbalanced, with torpedoes being horrendously powerful and only requiring you to get close before unloading hell, while the cannons are a little sluggish and not very effective. Some of the abilities and buttons are also not really explained – especially the mysterious button next to your flight pattern, which (the forums tell me) increases your evasion (sometimes?). All said, though, the combat does feel fun, and the ability to haggle and negotiate a peace between yourself and the pirates is a great addition – especially the fact that they will also attempt to negotiate if they’re being whipped. That said, sometimes their offers are a little nonsensical – offering less sometimes when they’re about to be turned into space dust.

Finally the story, which is a big part of the game’s charm. You meet a gallery of charming rogues and ruffians, sharing in escapades and getting introduced to the game’s features incrementally to prevent too much overload. However, sometimes the story gets in the way of itself, locking you down in a specific system for narrative reasons when all you as a player want to do is to roam the great celestial ocean looking for new ports to call into. In these moments the game can drag its feet unless you focus solely on the story missions, rather than trying to continue your capitalist spree of money making.

Cosmonautica aliens in berets

All told, what sticks out is that Cosmonautica does what it does with a lot of heart and fun. It isn’t perfect, though: I ran into a few bugs here and there, and the game isn’t all that challenging under the surface, once you’ve figured your way around the various bits and pieces. It looks like the developers have plans to expand in future updates, which could add more depth and gameplay options to entice more players, but this is a satisfyingly fun experience for fans of the genre looking to burn hours working to make the ultimate space trading ship.

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Fallout Shelter Players Have Experienced 118 Million Roach Infestations http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/XVMzu_J231A/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/fallout-shelter-players-have-experienced-118-million-roach-infestations/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 15:00:53 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174785 That’s almost as much as the average McDonalds gets in a year! Impressive stuff. Fallout Shelter is a beacon of hope in that massive cesspit of greed, the mobile gaming […]

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That’s almost as much as the average McDonalds gets in a year! Impressive stuff. Fallout Shelter is a beacon of hope in that massive cesspit of greed, the mobile gaming industry. I’ve written a comprehensive piece on how Fallout Shelter puts other free-to-play games to absolute shame. The game also gained massive financial success even if it doesn’t extort money out of you. I said in my feature that I wish Fallout Shelter gains as much success as it can because it deserves it and it seems that wish has come true.

Following its release on Android, the gaming sphere and even casual gamers are enamored with the charming little vault management game. With all of this success and flocks of people playing it, it seriously wouldn’t surprise me if the game’s revenue will surpass that of Fallout 4, even if that is a stretch. Don’t believe me? Here’s a picture that proves how much time people are putting into the game:

FalloutShelter_Infographic_v10-EN

Those are some mighty big numbers. People have made a lot of babies and survived a ton of attacks in this game already and now that the game is on both of the mobile platforms, those numbers are about to get even higher.

I myself have started playing it on my iPad, but due to my iPad not being as powerful I experienced performance issues, but I’ve now gotten the game again on my Sony Z2, which runs it buttery smooth. And I’m enjoying it all over again, this time with less roach infestations wiping out my vault thanks to my prior knowledge.

Have you been playing Fallout Shelter?

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Intel Demo 3D XPoint-based Optane SSD At IDF 2015 http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/tpWlqHsaqJ4/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/intel-demo-3d-xpoint-based-optane-ssd-at-idf-2015/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 13:00:54 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174757 SSD technology has been within the consumer arena for quite some time now, and I’ve said it before that it’s definitely time most PC gamers invest in some sort of […]

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SSD technology has been within the consumer arena for quite some time now, and I’ve said it before that it’s definitely time most PC gamers invest in some sort of SSD technology for their computers. Now instead of sitting twiddling thumbs, Intel and Micron have been developing a new technology called 3D XPoint, a new SSD technology they want to bring to market in 2016. As said back in July, the technology will allow impressive performance gains over existing NAND flash, and although no specifications were released, at the Intel Developer Forum yesterday, the SSD looked like any other high end SSD in a PCI-Express card form factor.

intel_optane_ssd_demo_1

According to Intel, the drive has IOPS (input/output operations per second) five to seven times faster than NAND based drive based on Intel’s own Intel DC P3700 series SSD. Intel has explained that the Optane SSD based off of 3D XPoint non volatile memory will also feature its own advanced system memory controller, interface hardware and software IP. If there is one drum that keeps beating about SSD’s over Mechanical HDDs, it’s the finality involved with modern SSD technology.

IMGP7761-635x423

The method of storing, reading and writing data to NAND memory, although placing minimal strain on the drive, do degrade the cells in the SSD, which eventually means the drive will fail. With this new technology, 3D XPoint will have much higher endurance, be up to 10X denser DRAM and even though modern interfaces like even PCI-express 3.0 will limit speeds, it still has massive potential to be tens or even hundreds of times faster than NAND flash.

intel_micron_3d_xpoint_b

The first chance we’ll have to scoop up these drives is in the beginning of 2016, which is actually around the corner (I can’t believe we’re in August already!). The fact that they were demoing the technology at IDF is proof enough that performance is there.

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LBX Trailer Shows That Fighting Mechs Are All That Matter http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/O20d5XA7QZI/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/lbx-trailer-shows-fighting-mechs-matter/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 12:00:49 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174759 Remember Medabots? If you do and you need more children duking it out with robots in your life, you may want to see this overview trailer for LBX: Little Battlers […]

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Remember Medabots? If you do and you need more children duking it out with robots in your life, you may want to see this overview trailer for LBX: Little Battlers eXperience.

After its reveal in the June Micro Direct, we hadn’t really seen much else of LBX: Little Battlers eXperience. So, with the game’s release on the horizon, Nintendo have released a trailer that provides a decent overview of what it to offer.

While it feels regrettable that Nintendo haven’t given this game all that much promotion or hype, this trailer should be more than enough to garner interest in Level 5’s mech-building title.

The game itself revolves around building toy-like robots that are pitted against each other like futuristic gladiators. The trailer boasts 130 LBX models to base your fighting machine off, with over 4,000 unique parts to customise them further.

There are also 20 arenas for you to duke it out in, each with a different battlescape (geddit? A landscape that you battle in? Whoever is paying for creativity is definitely getting their money’s worth). But while that’s cool and all, what would any brawler be without awesome, over-the-top special movies? Luckily, the game contains special attack routines which have some pretty intense animations.

All this combined with the ability to set your loadout with different weapons makes for what looks like some pretty entertaining gameplay. You can even compete in local wireless multiplayer multiplayer with up to six other players, just in case you ever needed to prove who has the better toy robot.

With the game’s release locally on the 4th of September, I’m quite looking forward to being able to scratch the mech-brawler itch on my 3DS.

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Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3 Beta Goes Live http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/XPgL2duTeCw/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/call-of-duty-black-ops-3-beta-goes-live/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:00:13 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174737 Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is out later this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, rounding up Treyarch’s wildly popular subseries in the Call of Duty franchise, and today the […]

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is out later this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, rounding up Treyarch’s wildly popular subseries in the Call of Duty franchise, and today the beta goes live for PlayStation 4 owners.

The beta runs from today (19/08/2015) for PlayStation 4 owners until Sunday (23/08/2015), and will go live for Xbox and PC players next Wednesday (26/08/2015) until next Sunday (30/08/2015).

If you want to get in on the beta, however, you’ll have to pre-order the game — which is weighing in at between R598.00 and R794.00 on Raru, and R599 and R795 on Takealot. From there, players have to redeem their beta codes at CallofDuty.com after which they’ll be mailed a beta token — which they’ll redeem on their network of choice (currently PlayStation Network only) and have the chance to play.

The game marks the debut of several new mechanics in the long-standing shooter franchise, which is often criticised for stagnation and the repetition of ideas. One of the core additions is the new traversal system, which has hints of Titanfall in its wall-running and parkour around the maps, as well as Advanced Warfare-esque Thurst Jumps and power slides.

The other big one is the Specialist system — a system which allows players to choose a pre-defined ability at the beginning of a match and use it to devastating effect as the match goes on. These range from a one-shot kill revolver to kinetic armour to keep you alive for just a little bit longer.

The beta is focused purely on competitive multiplayer, with three maps and seven modes featuring, including the returning Demolition. Zombies, unfortunately, will not feature until the main game releases.

The beta weighs in at around 12.5gb, so if you want to play it on South African internet before the weekend is out, downloading it now is highly recommended. Look out for our hands-on preview shortly after the beta expires.

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Review: RETSNOM Is A Bizarre, Beautiful, And Baffling Brain-Buster http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/UJiSQTOTrg0/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/review-retsnom-is-a-bizarre-beautiful-and-baffling-brain-buster/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 10:00:15 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174732 Visit review on site for scoring. I’m not quite sure what it is with writing reviews and being amazingly attracted to alliteration. But that’s a topic for another day. Retsnom […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

Retsnom - 2

I’m not quite sure what it is with writing reviews and being amazingly attracted to alliteration. But that’s a topic for another day. Retsnom (I’m not going to keep typing this in capital letters) is a strange little puzzle platformer from one-man team Somi, a developer based in South Korea.

The game aims to give players challenging and unique gameplay while also celebrating a retro style and minimalist design. To that end there’s plenty to like here, but also a few problems. None of which deter me from offering a recommendation though, so take that away.

Retsnom doesn’t tell you a whole lot about its story, but what you will know is that the protagonist has a daughter. Sadly she’s infected by a zombie virus. Don’t worry, despite the mention of the word ‘zombie’ Retsnom is as far removed from a post apocalyptic zombie story as you could imagine.

The only way to save your daughter is to visit the future laboratory to steal a certain medicine. However the future research team is hiding in a huge maze using mirrors, and you need to bend these to your will in order to progress. That becomes the primary gameplay mechanic of Retsnom, but we’ll get to this in a little bit.

As far as narrative goes Retsnom sticks to its minimalist ideals, perhaps a bit too much. The game has an interesting, creepy world and excellent sense of atmosphere, but the story is a bit too absent and it feels like a missed opportunity. The first time you see a zombie, it sounds haunting and may just freak you out despite being so pixelated, yet moments like that are rare. It would have been nice to see some more strange characters, more information about the world and more narration to add context and intrigue.

Retsnom - 3

The gameplay of Retsnom is where its intelligent design comes in, and its uniqueness. The game revolves around you bending the world to your will, as you can interact with any part of the environment and flip it using mirrors. It’s basically like reflecting a portion of the environment to change the landscape. You’re told beforehand that mirrors seem to reflect objects left to right, frost on the mirror’s surface makes images invisible and concave mirrors invert images upside down, and those are the rules that govern the puzzles.

In each level the idea is to collect a few ‘door pieces’ to construct the exit of the level, and the key to open said door. You’ll do this by manipulating the world with mirrors, creating platforms for yourself to get on, constructing new pathways and maneuvering yourself over to the other side of a wall. Reflecting the world correctly can also crush enemies beneath the weight of a wall, as well as save you from certain death.

Speaking of death, you’ll face it either with enemies in the world, lethal falls or getting into a position where you can’t make any further moves. While it’s only really falls that seem to pose the highest threat, you can face the latter fairly often if you make a mistake. Then you basically have to kill yourself. I’m not even joking. There’s a dedicated button for suicide, and it’s hilarious and creepy to watch your character bash his pixelated head on the ground until it’s a bloody mess.

Of course you can play this game like a troll and jump up and down randomly flipping the world around, and that’s part of the fun. However if you lack the patience to understand how the mechanics work you could easily land yourself in a heap of frustration. Progress may be slow in Retsnom as a result, but what’s great is that you can play it for a few minutes or even hours at a time and it’s all good. It can be a distraction, a challenge to get engrossed in or a world to get lost in.

The one issue with the game is that in addition to the slow pacing it takes a while for variety to get injected into the levels, which can make them feel a bit samey. In these instances a more present narrative and more intriguing signs of world building would have made a big difference. Otherwise the minimalist aspect is used well, and you won’t feel like the game lacks anything beyond those narrative flaws.

Retsnom - 4

One of the greatest strengths of Retsnom lies in its fantastic atmosphere and music. It’s really creepy, yet melancholic at the same time. Despite the fact that you’re looking at a retro style game, it pulls you in and can be haunting on its own. The game deserves high praise here, and it’s even more reason as to why more depth in the world and story would have gone such a long way.

For those who like to savour their games Retsnom can easily keep you busy as it features around 60 levels of mind-bending puzzles through five different worlds each with their own rules. At a price of only $4.99 that’s a great sense of content.

Levels can take you anything from a couple of minutes to a lot longer to complete depending on your degree of luck, skill and patience. Sometimes it felt like luck played a bit of a larger role than we would have liked, but that’s a small nitpick in the grand scheme of things and mostly the game requires you to understand its mechanics in order to get anywhere. Failing that you just won’t have a good time, and you can’t really just wing it and play.

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Toast On Jam: I’m Really Bad At Games And That’s Kind Of A Good Thing http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/io4uPjJmAOE/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/toast-on-jam-im-really-bad-at-games-and-thats-kind-of-a-good-thing/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 09:00:49 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174491 I really love gaming. It’s right up there with reading and breathing as hobbies go. Unlike most of my other hobbies though, I’m quite awful at gaming. I’ve also occasionally […]

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I really love gaming. It’s right up there with reading and breathing as hobbies go. Unlike most of my other hobbies though, I’m quite awful at gaming. I’ve also occasionally choked on air so there’s that. To use an example, I’m pretty great at eating desserts and competent in the kitchen but the same can’t be said with regards to gaming. Despite a few hauntingly poor reviews in my few years as an amateur critic of games, I do regard myself as adequate to the task. Meanwhile, when it comes to playing games I am horrifically bad at times.

It’s not that I’m incompetent, although I am. It’s more that I have the hand-eye coordination of a squint cyclops and have a micro-seizure all over the controller as soon as someone glances in my direction. Bracken and Azhar can attest to this.

The downsides are rather apparent: I’m pretty awful at any form of multiplayer (local or online) and can sometimes find normal difficulty to be a bit of a challenge. I do have dignity though so I try to avoid bumping it down to easy unless I’m desperate beyond reason.

Here we are, I’ve just prostrated myself before your judging eyes. Are you willing to hear me out before shooting me in the head?

You poor, naïve fool. You should have shot me while you had the chance.

What exactly is the upshot of being, at best, mediocre at gaming?

 

A different breed of appreciation

I once died during a cutscene.

I once died during a cutscene.


For starters, you don’t need to be good at something to appreciate it. There are people on the EGMR team who are phenomenally good at most games they play but we all love games in the same way. Narrative, visuals and pre-order bonuses can all be celebrated and adored without necessarily being much use with a controller in your hand. The mere fact that I’m not very good at a game does not neuter my potential to enjoy it for all manner of reasons. I believe my appreciation for gameplay though stems from the game allowing players such as myself to get by and possibly even do cool things without dumbing it all down to the level of an Assassin’s Creed title.

 

Easy does it

And so a BJ baby fetish was born.

And so a BJ baby fetish was born.


This brings me to my second point. It’s a tricky balancing act. Games such as Sunset Overdrive managed it rather well where even my twisted fists of kosher ham could grind, shoot and keep decent momentum for short periods. The gameplay was balanced enough to allow me to have fun, similarly with the old Tony Hawk Pro Skater games. A neanderthal like me is capable of pulling off some sick moves with a bit of effort while more adept folks will be able to do far more. A lot of games don’t quite manage it with many these days falling on the easy side (then again, that’s why the higher difficulty levels are there). This is perhaps why there’s been an increased appeal for the likes of Dark Souls which offers players an uncompromising challenge.

In effect, I gain extra insight into gameplay because I am something of an extreme case. The best way to test anything after all is to subject it to the extremes and see how it behaves.

Another benefit is that sometimes a small accomplishment really does feel like one. There have been boss battles which were simple for others but took me a couple of tries. As such, completing said battle was a silent victory for me; cause for momentary elation. It sounds rather sad and pitiful (because it is) but it certainly elevates the experience of gaming. Subsequently, due to the struggle that often merely above average encounters can pose to me, a game needs to try that extra bit harder to keep me playing. This serves as another litmus test for how engrossing a game is or how intensely it grips its players.

I recently played The Swindle, a game which is universally regarded as difficult. True to form I am utterly horrid at it but still managed to pull off a number of heists while getting to grips with the game’s mechanics. It’s a punishing experience but one that still welcomes sods such as myself. That right there is excellent game design.

 

Tactical Espionage Action

Mills: "What's in the box?"  Somerset: "Those don't look like your wife's legs."

Mills: “What’s in the box?”
Somerset: “Those don’t look like your wife’s legs.”


Going into any scenario guns blazing typically does not end well for my hapless character. The usual modus operandi then is to be tactical, use planning and strategy and stealth to make things easier for myself. After all, I have a brain but no reaction time (or aim). A game that should, logically, offer me the choice of a silent approach but doesn’t is doing something wrong.

As you might imagine, this makes stealth perhaps the genre of choice for someone such as myself when we’re looking for a challenge. It’s challenging in an altogether different manner and it’s brilliant.

Being bad at games requires you to approach things in a more considered and careful way, to use whatever is available to you and to really get familiar with the environment so as to exploit it where possible. It also means that recognising patterns can be really helpful.

 

Okay… so what’s the point?

game over egmr
I love games, always have. I may not be very good at playing games but I love them all the same. This was intended to serve as a peek inside the mind of someone who has awful fine motor skills, worse reaction time and the equivalent of gamer stage fright. Ultimately we all have our quirks, our defects and issues; those things which colour not only the way in which we interact with games but all forms of media. It’s what makes each individual perspective and experience of the same thing distinctly different.

We’re don here. You’re welcome to take a swing at me with a heavy object now, I’ll probably (not be able to) dodge it.

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Unsatisfied Fans Create Their Own Star Wars Custom PS4 Designs http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/cN861Wmq5Jc/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/unsatisfied-fans-create-their-own-star-wars-custom-ps4-designs/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 08:00:06 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174743 Earlier this week we reported on the limited edition Star Wars Battlefront PS4, which I personally thought looked awesome. Then again I’m a complete sucker for Darth Vader, so perhaps […]

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Earlier this week we reported on the limited edition Star Wars Battlefront PS4, which I personally thought looked awesome. Then again I’m a complete sucker for Darth Vader, so perhaps there was some bias on my part when it came to that.

However to my small surprise it turned out that quite a number of people were unsatisfied with it. As you would expect there’s a reddit thread going strong about this issue.

After reading the feedback I completely understand why. Some feel it’s just a stock PS4 with Darth Vader slapped on it, while others feel that it has missed plenty of opportunities to make itself unique, such as through the use of iconic (can’t take this word seriously anymore) Star Wars sounds and custom features.

An example of such a suggestion would be unique start up sound effects, such as Darth Vader breathing when you bring your console to life.

There’s even a meme floating around to make fun of the PS4 bundle, making a reference to an old Xbox 360 R2-D2 themed console.

Some fans, instead of only criticising it, decided to present their own designs on what could have been.

Below you’ll find some submissions.

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While I’m not particularly crazy about a few of these, I think the snow-white AT-AT one above is absolutely beautiful, and I’d love to own that console. I suppose the only problem with it from a technical point is that the PS4 uses a red light for specific reasons, while a blue light is its normal state.

Aside from aesthetics though as previously mentioned most people just wish for more features and custom sound effects to make the most of the opportunity. I can’t argue with that, but it does seem like these bundles are just for looks and good deals, to be honest.

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Rainbow Six: Siege Suspiciously Delayed By (Approximately) Six Weeks http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/r-HhdLaQf9w/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/rainbow-six-siege-suspiciously-delayed-by-approximately-six-weeks/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 07:00:45 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174734 Rainbow Six: Siege has been shaping up to be Ubisoft’s marquee title for 2015 given that the Assassin’s Creed title in any year is neither here nor there until it […]

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Rainbow Six: Siege has been shaping up to be Ubisoft’s marquee title for 2015 given that the Assassin’s Creed title in any year is neither here nor there until it releases. As is the Ubisoft (and the industry in general) tradition over the past few years, Rainbow Six: Siege is not going to release on time.

Last year a slew of games were pushed out of the chaotic October release window in favour of greener pastures, this year Ubisoft seems to just be doing it as a reflexive response. Rainbow Six: Siege was slated to release in the week of October 13 but has now been pushed back.

Last year Assassin’s Creed: Unity was delayed by two weeks for what was presumed to be polishing. What was actually done to the game in that remains a mystery given its state upon release and it was approximately a month and six patches later before the game was in a non-nightmare inducing state.

It seems that Ubisoft has split the difference and opted to just delay Rainbow Six: Siege for long enough that the game will release in a functional state.

Ubisoft announced today that Rainbow Six: Siege has been pushed back into December as a result of feedback based on internal tests.

“We felt there are adjustments and improvements we can make, including improving the co-op experience across all game modes, weapon and gadget balancing, as well as menu and interface navigation,” said the firm.

“We’re taking a little more time to make these changes, and we think it’s the right call.”

They’re still going ahead with the closed beta starting on September 24 with the additional time between then and release hopefully giving the team plenty of time to make adjustments based on external feedback.

Rainbow Six: Siege is now slated for release in the week of December 1. Technically that’s a delay of seven weeks but not if you’re bad at arithmetic and are really desperate for a numerical conspiracy.

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The People Want More Alice http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/ojMNyxoQk5o/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/the-people-want-more-alice/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 15:00:56 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174716 Not Alice in Chains or Alice Cooper, but I assume people into grunge and shock rock would want more. I am referring to American McGee’s interpretation of the classic fairytale, […]

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Not Alice in Chains or Alice Cooper, but I assume people into grunge and shock rock would want more. I am referring to American McGee’s interpretation of the classic fairytale, Alice in Wonderland. The games had a much darker tone and Alice was a more gothic interpretation of the prancing little girl in the fairytale. The games received widespread success with the original, released in 2000, being a favourite among many gamers and it was one of the hallmark platformers of its time.

Alice: Madness Returns, released in 2011, still branded the American McGee style and was intended as a sequel to the original. It featured some heavy adult themes, some truly disturbing creatures and a trippy/gothic/LSD inspired landscape. The game managed to freak me out a number of times which isn’t a very easy feat. I unfortunately did not finish it or  get a chance to play the original, but the people that have can’t recommend it enough.

The license for the franchise is currently at EA, our favourite publisher next to Konami and Ubisoft, and there is little to no prospect for a sequel. Maybe because Madness Returns did not perform too well commercially, even if it did have modest success. However, now fans are trying to take things into their own hands.

A petition has appeared appealing EA to allow American McGee to make a third game in the Alice series. It would be awesome if EA listened to the 11 000+ people, but as the developers themselves stated, it’s doubtful. However, they still remain hopeful:

While 11 000 people are not going to change the world, this at least shows that there is genuine interest for a new Alice game. I would definitely not mind a new-gen Alice game because I absolutely loved the aesthetic and tone of Madness Returns. Would you be behind a new Alice game?

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Ashes Of Singularity DirectX 12 Benchmark Results Are Not Strong For Nvidia http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/xV7AmjiVYiY/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/ashes-of-singularity-directx-12-benchmark-results-are-not-strong-for-nvidia/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 13:00:59 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174688 Recently Stardock released the first ever real world gaming benchmark to use the new DirectX 12 API. The game is more than a simple API draw call measurement tool of […]

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Recently Stardock released the first ever real world gaming benchmark to use the new DirectX 12 API. The game is more than a simple API draw call measurement tool of the 3DMark benchmark released a few months ago, which although an amazing look at the raw draw call delta between DX 11 and DX 12, was not in any way able to gauge real world performance since it was purely synthetic and theoretical. This Ashes of the Singularity benchmark, however, is built from the Oxide Nitrous Engine, which is an actual game engine built to use the DX 12 specifications. In plain English: it’s as much a benchmark as any of the Metro 2033, Crysis 3, GTA V or other game engine benchmarks used to gauge performance within that particular game engine. Tn this case it’s Ashes of Singularity and a pre-Beta release of Ashes Of Singularity.

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This then is why it’s so intriguing that Nvidia have attempted to damage control the way their hardware is handling this new and only real world DX 12 benchmark. As you can surely deduce, Nvidia GPUs are having a rough time in this particular DX 12 environment when compared to their AMD counterparts. It’s not that Nvidia cards do not see an improvement, it’s just that their improvements are dwarfed when compared to AMD’s.

In PCPerformance’s tests between an R9 390X and GTX 980, they recorded an average 80% jump in performance from DX 11 to DX 12 for AMD, while with Nvidia managed a sombre 30% improvement. Bare in mind what we have is essentially a cheaper AMD card which falls behind in a DX 11 environment managing to equal, and in most cases, outright beat, the more expensive Nvidia card. Conversely it just shows how much better Nvidia had DX 11 down for their cards compared to AMD. Digital Foundry produced a very telling video showcasing the real time FPS performance differences between DX 11 and DX 12 on AMD graphics cards.

 

In other testing by WCCFTech they go on to show how between DX 11 and DX 12, a GTX Titan X and GTX 780 Ti both manage to perform worse when moving to DX 12, while AMD cards perform better. Now the article is a mishmash of differing systems testing on different hardware configurations and resolutions so there is no parity between each system. However, what it does present is a clear trend: the lower performance of Nvidia GPUs(except the older GTX 770) compared to AMD GPUs when going from DX 11 to DX 12.

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The most impressive being the recently released R9 Fury card getting a 20.6FPS increase between DX 11 and DX 12, while Nvidia’s best, the Titan X dropping by 3 FPS. Overall I am not too convinced by WCCFTechs tests, although some of PCPerformance charts do show decreased performance on Nvidia cards between DX 11 and DX 12 at higher settings, it’s a far cry from being worse overall.

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Now it should be mentioned that the Oxide Nitrous Engine was featured during Mantle’s brief existence, but has since ported over to DX 12, which may skew results, but if it is, then Nvidia is not calling it out. Instead, Nvidia’s Senior PR manager Brian Burke is calling out bugs within the unfinished game benchmark, one of them being an MSSA bug which supposedly negatively affects DX performance:

This title is in an early Alpha stage according to the creator.  It’s hard to say what is going on with alpha software. It is still being finished and optimized. It still has bugs, such as the one that Oxide found where there is an issue on their side which negatively effects DX12 performance when MSAA is used. They are hoping to have a fix on their side shortly.

We think the game looks intriguing, but an alpha benchmark has limited usefulness.  It will tell you how your system runs a series of preselected scenes from the alpha version of Ashes of Singularity. We do not believe it is a good indicator of overall DirectX 12 gaming performance.

We’ve worked closely with Microsoft for years on DirectX 12 and have powered every major DirectX 12 public demo they have shown.  We have the upmost confidence in DX12,  our DX12 drivers and our architecture’s ability to perform in DX12.

When accurate DX12 metrics arrive, the story will be the same as it was for DX11.

As much as one can leverage some common sense assumptions that an unfinished game will potentially have some bugs that hamper performance (Although Ryan at PCPerformance did all their tests with MSSA disabled), the response by Oxide Games on their blog does sum up what I feel to be an adequate response regarding their benchmark as a useful tool right now:

It should not be considered that because the game is not yet publically out, it’s not a legitimate test. While there are still optimizations to be had, Ashes of the Singularity in its pre-beta stage is as – or more – optimized as most released games. What’s the point of optimizing code 6 months after a title is released, after all? Certainly, things will change a bit until release. But PC games with digital updates are always changing, we certainly won’t hold back from making big changes post launch if we feel it makes the game better!

Moreso, what’s a good story about DX 12 without Brad Wardell, CEO of StarDock (Publisher of Ashes Of Singularity and strong proponent of DX 12) from throwing his thoughts into the arena

I can understand the defensive nature of Nvidia attempting to deflect any unflattering performance benchmarks on one of the most anticipated APIs to launch in a long while. As unflattering as it looks at the moment, we just don’t know what DX 12 game engines will be around next year with DX 11 and DX 12 code paths and what to make of it. We should merely see this one singular benchmark as it is: a measurement of the performance for this particular game engine, just as we used to use Metro 2033 or Crysis 3 engines to determine which hardware preferred which game engine.

Now I know this scenario is different, since this is the first real world definitive showing of the DX 12 differences between GPU vendors, and that can leave an impression in the mind of PC gamers, an impression I suspect Nvidia are not so keen to let fester. This is obviously not helped by the assertion by Nvidia that the blame lies in badly optimised game engines, when I suspect if this were the case, AMD’s own hardware might not have performed as staggeringly well as they did. Perhaps a simple “we’re working on new drivers” would have sufficed. In light of this we should heed that this is not The “DX 12 Benchmark” but simply one relating to a specific game engine, a game engine of which there will be multitudes of in the years to come, and definitely some which may favour Nvidia hardware, whereas others AMD. All I and anyone here should care about is that as opposed to older DirectX version upgrades putting strain on older hardware and overall performance at launch, the move to DX 12 seems to be actually showing improvements in performance(at least for AMD in this particular title), and improvement is all you should care about at the end of the day.

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Review: Metro Warp Brings Aimless Walking Straight To Your Desktop http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/WPsdCIeaKm8/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/review-metro-warp-brings-aimless-walking-straight-desktop/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 12:00:19 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174624 Visit review on site for scoring. Admit it, you’ve all been walking while looking at your phone and accidentally walked into something or, and this if far more embarrassing, someone. […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

Admit it, you’ve all been walking while looking at your phone and accidentally walked into something or, and this if far more embarrassing, someone. Now imagine that everybody just walked while looking at their phones. Throw in some slight restrictions and some weird floating worlds and you have the premise for Metro Warp.

Metro Warp is a 3D puzzle game that requires you to guide oblivious pedestrians who can only turn left through 50 floating worlds, using obstacles to guide them to the exit. This is a very simple premise that does manage to grab you from the start, but it struggles to keep its grips on you.

Such a simple first puzzle, the rest of the game should be a breeze!

Such a simple first puzzle, the rest of the game should be a breeze!

The main idea of the game is to get a certain number of wayfarers through an exit on the map without having them collide with one another or fall into a pit of exposed wires. This sounds simple enough right? To make things a little more interesting, developers Another Yeti decided that they could only turn when faced with obstacles. This creates a sort of Lemmings-esque puzzle game where your objective is to guide the single minded walkers with the various obstacles the game provides you with.

It is important to remember the above details as, while they are quite easily picked up by simple observation, the game doesn’t like to tell you what is available to the player. To give you a basic tutorial, each puzzle has an entrance, an exit and an oddly shaped map that is contorted into strange shapes which occasionally have dangerous pits that are filled with live wires, not something you would want to fall into. As you know, the pedestrians you are meant to be guiding only walk in a straight line until they are unable to any further, to which they make the life changing decision to turn left and continue walking. Since you know this is the case, you the player have to guide these poor direction-less souls using one of the most important tools utilised in any metropolitan area, road signs. The signs available for you to place start off as simple obstacles, but you are later provided with signs that can change the turning direction of the walkers. There are even different coloured tickets that are required to enter the exit of the corresponding colour, which adds an additional depth to the game’s puzzles. This gives the player quite a few options for tackling the 50 puzzles the game throws at you.

The game’s puzzles are interesting, but sadly do not feel as rewarding as they could. The fact that they are 3D means that you are required to flip the map around to make sure you can see it from every perspective. So while the puzzles took a lot of fiddling with to complete, I didn’t feel any sense of achievement upon accomplishment. After figuring out what was available to you for a puzzle, it became a case of just putting down signs and testing out possible movement bit by bit until you find something that works. What is nice is that there is the option to stop, start, pause and adjust the movements of the pedestrians, which makes the whole trial and error process a lot more bearable. So in the end, while there were some challenging puzzles here and there, the simple methodical approach one has to make unfortunately kills the delight found in finally getting to the solution of a puzzle.

I always thought this is what forgetting about gravity would look like.

I always thought this is what forgetting about gravity would look like.

What is both nice and frustrating is that the game takes a non-linear approach to the players progression through the puzzles. Upon the completion of a puzzle, the player is presented with a number of options that they will be able to continue to. This is all well and good but there is no way to identify which of the puzzles you can move on to are the easier or more difficult ones. While this may seem like a rather pedantic criticism for something that isn’t really an issue considering you can just leave your progress on a puzzle to come back to at a later stage after doing an easier stage, it can attribute to someone losing interest in the game after having completed some more difficult puzzles but being forced to complete simpler ones to progress.

So while the gameplay is solid, it is tough to not feel that there could have been more done to separate it from other, more compelling puzzle games. It has its moments where it gets tricky but these are few between puzzles that have a very monotonous feel about them.

At first glance, the simple design doesn’t immediately jump out at you but after spending some time with the game I have to admit that there is a very simple elegance to the game’s visual presentation. There is, due to the presentation, no way that one could be confused about what is going on in the game. The important aspects of the puzzles are designed to clearly show their purpose, which is possibly why they opted to not include any sort of explanation to the player.

Two Entrances One Exit.

Two Entrances One Exit.

If it had been any other way however, I feel like the game would have been dead in the water. It’s quite obvious what and where the entrances and exits are, clearly communicated the way they are designed, and hazards and other requirements to finish are also quite clear and obvious. It was nice that, while it was not always clear as to what the player was able to do, the players could easily grasp the idea of what had to be done.

For those who may be worried that Metro Warp does not feature the adequate representation of the people who would inhabit a metropolitan area, the pedestrians have randomised sex and gender. It is just unfortunate that they are all depicted as business people, there may be others with different lifestyles who could also be walking aimlessly.

So if the game is relatively easy on the eyes, how does it affect the ears? The audio of the game is rather basic, with the only sound effects being that of the exit counter counting down as people enter it and a generic sounding error noise when something goes wrong. These sounds feel very plain and the addition of some walking sound effects may would have been welcomed, just to add that feeling that there is indeed movement happening when you click start.

You need the correct ticket for each exit? When did life become this difficult?

You need the correct ticket for each exit? When did life become this difficult?

What the game does do right is the soundtrack that is used as the background music of the game. The soundtrack of ambient electronic music facilitates a very calm feel for the game, creating an environment that is conducive to intense puzzle solving. The problem is that, while I did enjoy the music, I did find that it quickly became rather boring. The songs quickly found themselves being indiscernible from one another and even after enjoying the soundtrack I felt that the same song was getting repeated far too often. Its sound started off strong, but it inevitably played itself into a boring state of affairs.

On the whole, the game is totally playable and it is definitely possible to find some enjoyment in it. Someone who is not well-versed in puzzle games will definitely get something out of this title. It is fun and intriguing enough to keep you playing for a while, but it eventually doesn’t do enough to make you feel the need to play through until the end. Those who have been exposed to many a puzzle game may feel that, while the game does enough to warrant interest, it just doesn’t do enough to keep you interested in it. So while this review may seem very indecisive on the game, it is important for you to know that while the game’s presentation does well and that it stands to be a delightful challenge at times, you also have to make sure you have a firm understanding of what you want out of this title before making the decision to pick it up.

What's worse than walking into someone? Probably cracking your phone's screen because of it.

What’s worse than walking into someone? Probably cracking your phone’s screen because of it.

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My Story With Tony Hawk Games And Their Soundtracks http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/GmcfTfZSTEY/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/my-story-with-tony-hawk-games-and-their-soundtracks/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 11:00:08 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174673 I played my first Tony Hawk game when I was around 6 or 7. It was on the original PlayStation: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. It ignited a relationship with the series which […]

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I played my first Tony Hawk game when I was around 6 or 7. It was on the original PlayStation: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. It ignited a relationship with the series which lasted all the way through until around 2009, when I finally got my hands on Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground and shortly before I played skate. — after which the Tony Hawk series devolved into a gimmicky plastic skateboard and the skate. series thrived for two sequels.

The Tony Hawk series did more than give me a series of great but ultimately unsustainable skateboarding games, however. It affected my music tastes throughout the years, and changed how I listened to music in games early in my gaming history.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 ignited this too; as a 2000 release, it was an interesting microcosm of music at the time. Popular rap-rock featured in Rage Against The Machine and Alleylife, as well as punk-rock — notably in Bad Religion — and alternative rock with sprinklings of emergent rap and hip-hop.

The relatively meagre 15 tracks of its soundtrack vastly changed how I listened to music. I found songs I really enjoyed out of that soundtrack, and wanted to know who they were by and where I could find more.

My parents, having been alive and listening to music in the preceding 20 years, were able to help me a bit but it wasn’t until the advent of the internet that I was able to unmistakably find everything I was looking for.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 didn’t quite have the same impact on me, and it was only from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, which had a playlist more than double the size of its predecessors, that the series once again introduced me to music that would take me through my late childhood and adolescence.

Many of the bands featured did System of a Down (Shimmy, THPS4), Agent Orange (Bloodstains, THPS4), Bad Religion (You, THPS2), The Offspring (Blackball, THPS4) and others were often played off my devices in the mid- to late-2000s. And these were all found before I owned a PlayStation 2.

Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 (I unfortunately missed its predecessor, since I only bought a PS2 in 2006) and American Wasteland are the games in the series I remember most lucidly — the absurd competition against Jackass star Bam Margera across the world, and the quirkly 80s-esque “Save the Skate Park” narrative in Los Angeles are quite fond memories of mine.

However, just as with the then-defunct Pro Skater games, what lingers most memorably is Jimmy Eat World’s “Pain” and 3 Inches of Blood’s “Deadly Sinners” as I tore through the streets of zombie-filled New Orleans and Green Day’s “Holiday” and Strike Anywhere’s “Question the Answer” as I sped through Los Angeles, from Beverley Hills, to an oil rig off the coast of Santa Monica.

With the latter stages of the PlayStation, both games had quite extensive soundtracks which encompassed a number of genres and eras in lists of 53 and 63 songs respectively.

Despite playing through Project 8 and Proving Ground, at a glance I would not be able to tell you anything about them — either narratively or with their soundtracks. They may not have been awful, and by researching the actual track lists, there were certainly good songs about them, but they were not memorable in any significant way.

The most I can tell you about Project 8 is that it had a innovative way of performing flip tricks which let you control your skater’s feet in slow motion. There were very few big moments — no casino-busting anarchy to the sounds of various punk rock and hip-hop icons, but instead a filtered, clean experience with some background music.

It took out the air of rebelliousness from the Tony Hawk’s series, which even in its early days saw the player breaking open entrances to otherwise locked gyms in Pro Skater 2 to straight skating through Alcatraz in Pro Skater 4.

To a point, Proving Ground restored this, and had a soundtrack replete with songs from Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Beastie Boys, but it was launched a month after the release of EA’s skate. which made the Tony Hawk games mechanically irrelevant — and with a pretty strong soundtrack of its own too.

Although skate. was a new IP at the time, and Tony Hawk was the latest in a long standing series, Proving Ground could only do so much against a game that was just better.

Despite this, however, the Tony Hawk games will always hold a special place for me — because they throw back to a time when a smaller Bracken was seated in front of a 23-centimetre box television with his grey PlayStation controller discovering gaming and forming musical tastes.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 may be launching at the perfect time, with skate. seemingly vanished into the abyss after its third iteration. It’ll be good to see if its soundtrack — which already has its own Spotify playlist — and the game itself will measure up to what’s come before.

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SPJ Airplay Forced Off The Air By Bomb Scare http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/bDNnu1yDiYU/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/spj-airplay-forced-off-the-air-by-bomb-scare/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 10:00:50 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174634 So what are we calling this one? #BombGate? #EvacuationGate? #AirplayGate? The Society of Professional Journalists is one of America’s oldest organisations, focussing on ensuring that freedom of speech and highly […]

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So what are we calling this one? #BombGate? #EvacuationGate? #AirplayGate?

The Society of Professional Journalists is one of America’s oldest organisations, focussing on ensuring that freedom of speech and highly ethical reporting standards are maintained at all times. In this sense, they are a watchdog and a protector for the profession, and have been the go-to “high court” of a sort, for journalists for decades.

It seems only natural then, that the gaming consumer movement known as #GamerGate would garner its interest — the latter attempting to hold the same standards to games journalism over the past year despite massive backlash and accusations of sexism, misogyny, and harassment.

This past weekend in Miami saw the Society of Professional Journalists host #GamerGate at an event called SPJ Airplay. The event, organised by Michael Koretzy who took a massive interest in #GamerGate in the past few months and offered members of the movement a chance to have their voices heard in an open discussion panel, attempted to discuss the merits of the ideals eschewed by #GamerGate. Specifically tackling that tricky aspect of “ethics in games journalism”.

The morning panel (viewable above) went well enough, and saw some intriguing discussion between #GamerGate members and the neutral-party SPJ members (note: Invites issued to those opposing #GamerGate went unanswered or declined) with both parties reaching some mutual agreements, such as that ethics is currently an issue in games journalism, and harassment existed long before #GamerGate where the hashtag has been used as a scapegoat on occasion.

The afternoon panel (viewable below) was a different story, with heavy-hitters from #GamerGate including feminist political writer Christina H Sommers, Breitbart’s ever-outspoken Milo Yiannapoulos, and journalist Cathy Young. Their panel was cut short just as it was starting to take off, when the event was evacuated following a string of bomb threats called in to The Miami Herald resulted in the Miami PD taking the necessary precautions.

Of course, this isn’t the first time a #GamerGate event of any kind has been evacuated after a bomb threat; you might remember a Washington meet and greet that had the same problem earlier this year.

Whether people are for, against, or indifferent towards the movement, bomb threats are serious business. They waste taxpayer money, the time of officials, and cause massive disruptions. They are vile acts that should be condemned wholly. Yet they have happened all the same, and that’s the power of anonymity. At some point you can’t help but ask the question of why people feel so desperate to disrupt every attempt #GamerGate make to prove that they are not the monsters media has painted them out to be.

It should however be noted that whoever called in the bomb threat, be they for #GamerGate, against it, or a flaming troll, succeeded in disrupting the SPJ Airplay event, resulting in the rest of proceedings for the day being cancelled. Whatever message that sends is up to you.

We’ll be following up this quick report with a lengthier breakdown of the panels, time permitting, but for the moment let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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What Would You Like Us To Discuss On This Week’s EGMR Offensive? http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/IO3Ke-Yev1w/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/what-would-you-like-us-to-discuss-on-this-weeks-egmr-offensive-6/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 09:00:32 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174631 Where were you when the bomb (threats) dropped? Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would attempt to […]

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Where were you when the bomb (threats) dropped?

Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would attempt to answer them. With our new podcast, the EGMR Offensive, we want to try something slightly different.

We want you to suggest topics for us to discuss. Because it’s a much more topic-based podcast, we’ll be discussing a few of the biggest news stories for the past week or two. So we thought, why not just ask you guys and see what you’d like to hear us talk about? This article is your opportunity to do just that.

If you would just like to ask us questions as usual, then by all means do so. However if you have some hot topic you’d like us to dig our teeth into, then by all means do that too. Either way, the comments section is your friend. Go wild.

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The Uncharted Collection Is Going To Be Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/jdq6mmcRUxE/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/the-uncharted-collection-is-going-to-be-harder-better-faster-stronger/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 08:30:24 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174675 Before Daft Punk concerned itself with pedestrian things such as getting lucky, they were weirder, a lot weirder. Anybody seen the music video for Technologic? Anyway, someone at Bluepoint Games […]

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Before Daft Punk concerned itself with pedestrian things such as getting lucky, they were weirder, a lot weirder. Anybody seen the music video for Technologic? Anyway, someone at Bluepoint Games likely heard the above song just prior to entering a meeting on what changes would be made to the Uncharted trilogy for the Uncharted collection on PS4. Without thinking the hapless staffer blurted out, “harder, better, faster, stronger,” and so that’s exactly what Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is doing.

It’s already got the better part down with bumped up visuals and glorious master race 60fps 1080p. Making a game stronger might be a problem but the latest news on the collection certainly checks the other two boxes.

The Nathan Drake Collection features Uncharted 1-3 and will add two new difficulty settings to the games. You might expect these to be two additional levels of intensity over and above the previous highest difficulty, Crushing (which requires completion of the game to be unlocked). Instead, Naughty Dog has bookended the existing difficulty scale with Explore Mode, an easy breezy cakewalk for folks who want to glide through the game, and Brutal Difficulty which is exactly as advertised.

Over and above that Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection will boast a photo mode (because of course it would) in addition to a speed run mode. Speed Run Mode will fix a timer to the player’s HUD to keep track of how long it takes you to commit genocide.

No further details were given regarding this new mode but it’s assumed that speed runs will be classified by chapters as well as overall. In addition to this you can probably expect leaderboards tiered according to difficulty level.

Uncharted: the Nathan Drake Collection is out in October which gives you plenty of time to get through all the three games before Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End drops.

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Baymax Is Coming To Kingdom Hearts III In All His Inflated Glory http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/Wl5AQ6O33PY/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/baymax-is-coming-to-kingdom-hearts-iii-in-all-his-inflated-glory/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 08:00:20 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174674 Kingdom Hearts III is slowly taking shape with us finally having got a proper look at some gameplay this year. Yesterday Disney and Square Enix announced that in addition to […]

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Kingdom Hearts III is slowly taking shape with us finally having got a proper look at some gameplay this year. Yesterday Disney and Square Enix announced that in addition to its usual assemblage of characters there would be some additions from a few of Disney’s newest franchises.

The companies announced yesterday at D23 that the characters and world of Big Hero 6 would feature in Kingdom Hearts III.


To accompany it, some artwork was shown which features what looks like a new character, a counterpoint to Baymax quite possibly constructed from microbots. You can check it out above.

This is great news given the extremely fascinating location of San Fransokyo, not to mention the delightful creation that is Baymax. He had better have his winning personality in the game.

Of course, this also opens Kingdom Hearts III up to aerial combat and possibly a hint of aerial exploration. Just how much freedom players will get remains to be seen but verticality is certainly in vogue within game design currently.

Although Disney is tied up in a deal with EA to produce Star wars games, it’s too soon to rule out the possibility of Star Wars or Marvel characters making an appearance in Kingdom Hearts III.

Kingdom Hearts III has no set release window as yet so for now it’s a waiting game for Square Enix and Disney to drop some more information.

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The Silent Hills Successor Allison Road Needs Your Help http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/eGamerZA/~3/vO3CNltkBOM/ http://egmr.net/2015/08/the-silent-hills-successor-allison-road-needs-your-help/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 07:00:06 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=174668 At the beginning of July we introduced you to Allison Road, an amazing indie horror project determined to right the wrongs of Silent Hills’ cancellation. The would-be terrifying experience is […]

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At the beginning of July we introduced you to Allison Road, an amazing indie horror project determined to right the wrongs of Silent Hills’ cancellation. The would-be terrifying experience is heavily inspired by P.T, and looks incredible for a project under development by a small team of six at Lilith.

The game had a massive surge in interest and popularity once the media got hold of it, and now the developers are taking the next step to ensure that the best possible game can get made. They need the help of all of us, and I’m pretty sure it will be easy to give it to them.

Lilith is now promising to launch a Kickstarter campaign soon. While the PC version will of course be the lead platform for the game, it seems as though possible stretch goals for the campaign will include PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game.

This is one game you absolutely want to pay attention to, especially if you’re still wounded like I am over the cancellation of Silent Hills. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that Silent Hills was my most anticipated game of this entire generation after Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, so you can understand how excited I am for Allison Road.

Of course Allison Road doesn’t have the amazing mind of Hideo Kojima behind it, together with the exciting talent of Guillermo Del Toro. But what it does clearly have is the heart, passion and soul of six extremely talented indie developers, and let’s hope that that translates to an unforgettable horror game that fills the void of Silent Hills.

You can follow Allison Road via its website, Twitter and Facebook pages if you want future updates.

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