Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Review No. 101 Super Smash Bros. for 3DS - 3DS (12+)

Strong Points:
Superb gameplay
(Mostly) Brilliant balancing
Lots of content
Lots/variety of characters
Lots/variety of modes
Lots/variety of items
Lots/variety of stages
Lots/variety of music
Lots/variety of collectables
Lots of unlockables
Solo modes are good
Great fun to play
Local connection is very good
Trophy Shop is helpful
Customisable moves allows for a more varied playstyle
Intensity system in Classic Mode is helpful
Online is split into For Fun and For Glory which is useful for both casual and competitive players
The 3DS enables quick pick up and play matches
Can be used as a controller for the Wii U version
Omega Forms for stages are great

Weak Points:
You can get multiple copies of the same customisable move/trophy (and it records it as such)
No way to sell extra trophies/customisable moves
Online is shaky and laggy
Characters can appear very small on battles with more than two characters
No amiibo support (although this is promised)
Smash Run can take some getting used to
No co-op play for solo modes (besides All-Star and Multi-Man
Trophy Rush isn't very good
Loading times are very long

Rating: 95%

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Review No. 100 Defy Gravity Extended - PC (3+)

Strong Points:
Strong, core mechanics
Music is good
Lengthy playtime for a game of its price
The concept of gravity is used in many different ways
Very cheap
Quite varied level design
Some truly great solutions to problems
An epilogue adds a lot more to the game
Good gravity physics

Weak Points:
The graphics aren't great
Some levels have your Gravity Shield permanently on, turning it into a basic platformer (although this is better used later on)
The platforms can go through walls
A bit buggy
Huge difficulty spikes
Story isn't very fledged out

Rating: 65%

Monday, 29 December 2014

First Impressions: Sanctum

There are some games that have interesting concepts and yet fail to pull them off. This is not one of them. By that I mean that it manages to pull of its interesting concept, really, really well. And that interesting concept is a tower defence game with FPS elements.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

First Impressions: Don't Starve Together

One thing that struck me when playing the original Don't Starve game was how great it would have been to be able to not starve with a couple of friends. The reason for this is that, in the game, you generally have to plan ahead and think of multiple different things at the same time. For example, you need to get food, wood, grass and sticks in order to survive but then you also need things like a science machine or chests in order to progress. And on top of all this, you only had until winter before things started to get really hard. Because you were only one person, it meant that your progress was really slow unless you got a good seed or knew the game very well. But now, with a second (or 5 other players) player you can give different jobs to different people and progress much quicker.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Rant No. 1 - 'Elder Scrolls' 'Online'

On paper, the Elder Scrolls Online was an amazing concept. Skyrim with friends. What more could you want? Well, how about an actual Elder Scrolls game, like we were promised?

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

First Impressions: Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

How do you begin a remake of a cherished childhood memory? How do you change an old 2D game into a new, 3D one, without losing the magic that made the game good in the first place? These are the challenges that Pokémon ORAS faced and, judging by their opening sequence, they may have succeeded. But why, you might ask? Read on to find out... (But be warned as there are spoilers).

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

App Review No. 76 Kitty Jetpack

Strong Points:
Colourful
Animations are OK
Erm... Imaginative?

Weak points:
Flappy bird rip-off
Nyan Cat rip-off
Laggy
Overuse of ads
Rate button is where the play button should be
The currency does absolutely nothing
Completely stupid concept
Unpolished 

Rating: 29%

Monday, 22 December 2014

Rant Feature

Hello everyone, it's Harry here and I have come to tell you some exciting news! We have a new feature! *Roaring cheers and applause*. And even if you don't like it (and I don't know why you wouldn't) this is the perfect place to argue about it. Why? Because it is a new rant post feature.

In this feature we have decided to let our authors let their hair down and rage (or even, occasionally, politely argue) about games or gaming conventions that really annoy them. For this reason we have allowed (censored) swearing. If you don't like one of our author's opinions then it's your turn to bring out an argument against them, in the comments. However, please don't insult/threaten them and if you do, then your comment will be deleted.

We hope that these posts may become a fortnightly occurrence but, at least, for the first few, this may not be possible especially if we want the quality of topics to keep at a certain standard. For this reason we are also accepting topics and posts from you, our readers! Please email them at gamesreviewsandotherstuff@gmail.com along with the name you want to be addressed by (again, no obscenities please).

The first post will be posted this Saturday and will involve Euan arguing about a rather Elder (or not so Elder) topic, so be sure to check back then.

Goodbye for now, Harry

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Review No. 99 Team Fortress 2 - PC (18+)

Strong Points:
Fast paced
Big variety of classes
A lot of different game types
Worth not being F2P
Lots of weapons
Humorous
P2W isn't available - weapons mostly balanced

Weak Points:
New content added lots, too bad it's not weapons or maps
End of the Line
Only 50 backpack spaces for F2P
Not all weapons can be brought from the shop
Crates/key system is a bit rubbish

Rating: 90%

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Review No. 98 Skyrim - Xbox 360/PC (16+)

Strong Points:
Great graphics
Great story and lore - none less expected from Bethesda, to be honest
Massive open world - invisible walls are well disguised and is impressive for the time
Loads to explore - non-crucial dungeons can be entered at any level and will level with character
Console commands (PC) - useful but can be too tempting for a legitimate playthrough
Modding community (PC) - personalize your game

Weak Points:
Controls are easy to forget - keyboard controls are crowded and sometimes confusing (eg: T to Wait)
Fights are repetitive
Easy to get overpowered - especially levels 30/40+ using magic
You get lag (PC) - depending on computer (only best can handle 100 exploding chickens!)
Side quests get boring - fetching and delivering, etc
NPCs are sometimes unrealistic - if they don't see you commit a crime they won't attack you, there's no need to run away from the body or put your weapon away etc.
Landscape is nearly always fields and stones and/or snow - can be repetitive
Graphics haven't aged as well on consoles

Rating: 98%

Friday, 19 December 2014

Review No. 97 Sid Meier's Civilization V - PC (12+)

Strong Points:
Great, realistic look
Hexagonal tiles introduced - more chances to surround, flank, and generally plan against individual troops and cities
Options - so many options with construction, research, use of land, placement of cities and troops, and so much more
Expansions - two DLCs are out - Gods and Kings and Brave New World, with a third on its way.
Doesn't get dull, even over long periods of time
Single player's good - even without internet this game is pretty fun
Multiplayer is really good - hours and hours more fun to be had here
Active and Passionate modding community - can only be used effectively in single player, but there are a few gems to find here

Weak Points:
Games are LONG - we're talking 24-36 hours for a large map (2 players, 22 NPCs)
Can be difficult to just 'jump' into - better to get help from someone who knows the game
Turn based - this could be annoying to some, but I don't mind it

Rating: 92%


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Review No. 96 Anno 2070 - PC (12+)

Strong Points:
Great aesthetic - has a distinct style to the UI and the game itself
Interesting options - class etc. matters
Units are fun to test - each one does something different, or has different attributes
War is not necessary - possible to play peacefully easily

Weak Points:

Uplay - can't be played from Steam directly 
Price - is a little overpriced at £15
A little old - graphics can look a little dated and the story is a little clichéd

Rating: 82%

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Review No. 95 Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition - PC/Xbox 360 (16+)

Strong Points:
Great story - leaves gaps you need to fill in and guess (I prefer this)
Rewarding game-play - joy from completing complex, difficult challenges
Requires planning and strategy - more enjoyable and realistic
Loads of areas - each area has a completely unique look to it
Humanity is an interesting mechanic - more humanity means more chance of finding rare items
Loads of weapon choices - over 100 weapons to choose from (non class-specific, but rely on you having things at certain level)
Traditional fantasy RPG - levelling things like endurance, vitality and intellect, Dark Souls feels like a classic game
DLC is rich with content - two or three DLCs as good as the game itself, if not better (if you like a tougher challenge, that is)

Weak Points:
Lacks a skills tree - can't learn new moves without specific equipment (like the wood grain ring which gives you a faster roll, for example)
Levelling system Feels Clichéd - similar to countless other RPGs
Prompts for controls in tutorial level are for Xbox Controller - keyboard game-play is hard to get used to, controller is needed rather than 'optional'
Requires a high degree of skill - extremely difficult for casual gamers
Rage incurring - dying is a major setback... and happens frequently unless you know the game really well
Runs with lag on standard laptops/PCs - fast PC recommended
Consoles graphics poor (on console)

Rating: 83%

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

First Impressions: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

This is the second version of the superb fighter/mascot hall of fame Super Smash Bros. 4 and is for the Wii U (hence the name). This one, while lacking the portability of its handheld little brother, packs much, much better graphics and animation as well as a load of new mode options. As this is a First Impressions, I haven't had a chance to try them all out yet.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Review No. 94 Terarria - PC (12+)

Strong Points:
Millions of items to create and use
Loads of different biomes to explore
A wide variety of enemies to fight, including bosses
Great single player and multiplayer
Just options. So many options...

Weak Points:
Can be difficult to just 'jump in' without prior knowledge or help from friends
Games can get repetitive (starting over and over)
Competition - games like Minecraft may be more well-known and have the 3D advantage.

Rating: 92%

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Review No. 93 Assassin's Creed II - PC (18+)

Strong Points:
Strong parkour - definite improvement from the first Assassin's Creed
Scale - definite improvement on size (both horizontally and vertically)
Collectibles make sense - give you upgrades etc.
Voice acting - great, although some lip-syncing problems on PC

Weak Points:
Combat is dumbed-down - less stealth and alert things - more below
PC controls - are really confusing
Doesn't link with one - the end of 1 and start of 2 don't really work

Rating: 80%

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Review No. 92 Fable 2 - Xbox 360 (16+)

Strong Points:
Great levelling system
Easy to play - learn controls quickly
OK graphics - especially for an open-world game from 2008
Learn about the world through loading screens - interesting and occasionally funny notes
Different music in different Places - flows well from area to area
Dungeons are different and exciting
Killable quest characters - an element missing from newer games
Abilities are useful - will is fun to mess around with in busy streets
Efficient travel - can fast travel from any location (indoors or out) to any place you have already been

Weak Points:
3rd person view only
Not much replay value - story becomes dull
Little character customization
Terrible multiplayer - shared camera, P2 has no options at all
Invisible walls - can swim 10m into the sea before hitting a wall
Limiting in places - can't swim underwater, can only follow one path, etc.
Loading screens are really long


Rating: 96%

Friday, 12 December 2014

Review No. 91 Fallout 1 - PC (18+)

Strong Points:
Good story
Very strategy-centric - hexagonal tiles mean that strategy is key
Variety in weapons
Lore is really interesting - expected from Bethesda

Weak Points:
More RTS-like than the newer RPGs, although RPG elements are there
The graphics do not work on modern machines - many graphical glitches/missing textures on my machine
Combat is action point reliant - can be pretty dull
Game mechanics are not very well explained - trial and error as opposed to tutorials or testing grounds
Once you die, you lose your character (may be a welcome challenge for some, but I am not a fan)
No auto-saves (adds to annoyance of above point)

Rating: 54%

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Review No. 90 Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit - Xbox 360 (12+)

Strong Points:
Expansive world to drive in - map in the in depth review
Police chases are exciting (whichever side you're on)
Stunning graphics - better than Forza 4 (a contemporary) in my opinion
Great Audio Track - real songs used, and most of them are really cool
Easy to Learn, Difficult to Master - always presents challenge (even when you think you've finally mastered those twists on Oakmont Valley)
You can free drive wherever you want, in any car you want

Weak Points:
Races can be boring
Some missions are REALLY DIFFICULT (missions where you can't damage the car in any way)
EA force you to buy cars with real money

Rating: 76%

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Review No. 89 One Finger Death Punch - PC (7+)

Strong Points:
Responsive combat - reacts the moment you press the button
Easy to learn, hard to master
Graphic design is solid - not too fancy, but is over the top and hilarious in places
Nice to pick up for a few hours

Weak Points:
Looks a little like a flash game
Can get repetitive quickly
Quite a large difficulty spike

Rating: 70%

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Review No. 88 Forza Motorsport 4 - Xbox 360 (3+)

Strong Points:
Decent single player - career mode and free play, as well as others
Excellent split-screen - although two players only
Graphics are great - although don't age well
Weight behind cars and corners - really feel the turns through controller vibration
The Line - useful and shows you when to brake, and can even do it for you

Weak Points:
Menus can be annoying
Top Gear (and other) brands - shoehorned in everywhere and to little effect
LOUD - hard to balance audio with only high/low settings for sfx and music
Auto-Steer - can swerve you into walls if you stray too far off, and can be annoying at some starts

Rating: 63%

Monday, 8 December 2014

Review No. 87 Titanfall - Xbox One (18+)

Strong Points:
Fast Paced
Parkour is smooth and works well
AI can kill you - smart bots
Titans feel powerful - as they should
Unlocks are exciting - the "wow that's really cool" moments other games lack

Weak Points:
Online only - no offline/story mode
Campaign is weak
Sprint controls are annoying
Can feel a little samey after a while

Rating: 81%
 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Review No. 86 Assassin's Creed - Xbox 360 (18+)

Strong Points:
Decent Characters (in the animus) - Altair (your character) is awesome, and some historical names pop up from time to time
Great Mechanics - free-running works really well, although accuracy can get frustrating
Epic Plot - a story that gets twisted more and more as you progress
Beautiful World - Israel looks beautiful, even when sprinting through it

Weak Points:
Freezes on Occasion - may just be my Xbox but is an issue
Annoying Main Character - Desmond is boring and slow and doesn't have the common sense to understand his situation
Weak ending - looks at something and credits - disappointing and has no link to Assassin's Creed II or III

Rating: 83%

Saturday, 6 December 2014

App Review No. 75 Amazing Thief

Strong Points:
Plain, not very distracting background
Fun
Addictive
Simple and easy to play

Weak Points:
No power-ups, abilities or boosts
Frustrating
Flappy Bird-like
Absolutely no personalisation or customization options
No upgrades

Rating: 69%

Friday, 5 December 2014

App Review No. 74 Billionaire.

Strong Points:
Lots of buildings
Lots of things to do at the start
Nice risk and reward gameplay
Nice graphics 
Nice sound effects 
Tap to speed up is a helpful mechanic
Lots of people to beat on the leaderboard

Weak Points:
No confirmation button when you use crystals (the premium currency) 
Big gap of nothing to do at about halfway through and at the end of the game 
Lots of buildings have high threat 
Threat level under 0 isn't displayed
Nothing to do once you've gotten to the top of the leaderboard
Upgrades are very expensive (both money and time-wise) and are pretty much useless

Rating: 68%


Thursday, 4 December 2014

App Review No. 73 Storm the Train

Strong Points:
Nice, pick up and play gameplay
Lots of weapons
12 cgharacters adds strategy
Missions are more varied than some games
Lots of upgrades
Challenge modes add more to the game
Not too hard to get coins
Daily sales help getting upgrades easier
Addictive
Competitive
Eagle-7 is quite helpful
Surplus Store makes getting weapons slightly easier

Weak Points:
Only three trains
XP (Jewels/blueprints as of version 1.5) eventually becomes useless
Enemies are, mostly, just reskinned on different trains
Not enough clothes (we need customization!)
Takes a while to get going
Games Faction Ltd keep changing the formula of the game so you have to restart every time they want to change something

Rating: 80%



Wednesday, 3 December 2014

First Impressions: Thief

Right then so WASD is to move, fair enough. Shift to run? Great. Control to... walk slower? Not my first choice but fine. C to crouch? Ahh, I get it, might change it, but I get it. Oh, and space to jump, makes sense. Let me just test that and... nothing. OK then, let me just check options and... space to jump, climb and swoop. So this should work, *space*... nope, nothing. I'll just ignore that then and progress further on in the story.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

App Review No. 72 The Battle Cats

Strong Points:
Lots of levels
Lots of cats
A variety of cats
Lots of levels and class changes
Lots of upgrades
Lots of enemies
A variety of enemies
Challenge mode and event stages add more challenges for more experienced players
Well paced rewards keep you coming back
Nice, cartoony graphics

Weak Points:
Can get repetitive
New enemies don't appear very often after the first chapter
Daily rewards end after a month
Not many basic cats compared to special cats
Storyline is rubbish and un-thought out
Stats are hidden
Treasures are randomly acquired

Rating: 94%


Monday, 1 December 2014

Video Game Character of the Month - December 2014 - Garrus Vakarian - Mass Effect

Video Game Character of the Month
December 2014
Garrus Vakarian
Mass Effect
Overview:
Garrus Vakarian was requested in last month's Video Game Character of the Month (Samus Aran), I was entrusted to do this as I am doing a Mass Effect review shortly. A cheeky bit of info about Garrus:

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Review No. 85 The Wonderful 101 - Wii U (12+)

Strong Points:
Innovative gameplay
Good storyline
Great music
Good graphics
The enemies are mini puzzles, themselves
Lots of collectibles
Great for making your own playing style
Lots of varying types of gameplay (platforming, hack and slash, shooter and boxing(?))
Makes great use of the Wii U gamepad
Challenging
Great voice acting
Bosses are big and brilliant
Colourful cast of characters
Its cheesy and it knows it

Weak Points:
Difficulty spikes
Graphics can be a little too shiny 
Harder difficulties aren't unlocked straight away, forcing multiple playthroughs through the same story for a real challenge
Some of the Wonder Signs are hard to draw/very similar to others
You aren't allowed very many items
Credits are hard to earn
Hard to get a good score (die and its goodbye platinum, gold and silver trophies)
Ultimate form doesn't actually do anything
Two player requires a pro/classic controller

Rating: 90%

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Review No. 84 Half-Life - PC (16+)

Strong Points:
Superb gameplay
A great range of weapons
Music is atmospheric
It's challenging
Puzzles are good
You will have to use all the weapons
Some genuinely surprising answers to puzzles
Storyline is good
You will be on edge for the whole game - no hand holding here
Lots of different types of gameplay - platforming, shooter, stealth, puzzler etc
Being able to save whenever you want to is very helpful

Weak Points:
Graphics haven't aged very well
It can be ridiculously hard (I had 5 HP for the majority of the game)
Some of the mechanics (i.e crouch jumping) can be hard to learn
There are no cutscenes so you can miss information
Some glitches
The enemies AI isn't great/sometimes too good (can see through walls occasionally)
HP restore points aren't very evenly spaced
Difficulty spikes

Rating: 90%

Friday, 28 November 2014

Review No. 83 Halo: Spartan Assault - PC (12+)

Strong Points:
Lots to do
Lots of replay-ability
Lots of varied weapons and abilities
Lots of varied missions
Lots of varied enemies
Vehicle sections!
Nice, quick levels
Scoring system is good
Soundtrack is good
Graphics are good
Feels like a training program for the main games

Weak Points:
Assault ops take a ridiculous amount of time to do
Allies AI is terrible
It's hard to get XP
Takes a while to load the menus once you've completed a mission

Rating: 85%

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Review No. 82 Brink - Xbox 360 (16+)

Strong Points:
Good character customization
Balanced character size (Light/Medium/Heavy)
Cool Abilities
Smoothly integrated parkour

Weak Points:
Needs more difficulty settings (there are three but "easy" is hard)
Samey mission objectives
Identical characters in every mission
Location is implausible in a lot of ways
Uncoordinated AI
When doing a 'capture the flag' style mission, returning the 'flag' is ridiculously easy

Rating: 58%

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Review No. 81 The Legend Of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass - DS (7+)

Strong Points:
Fun story
Nice use of the controls
Epic music
Dungeon gimmicks are cool
Follows up from the Wind Waker well
Multiplayer is very fun

Weak Points:
Some puzzles are too hard
Big difficulty spikes

Rating: 79%

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Review No. 80 Sonic Rush Adventure - DS (12+)

Strong Points:
BLAZE IS BACK!
More platforming, super speed fun
Sea adventure as well as land
Great music (again)
Graphics are good for time is was made
Bosses are quite creative

Weak Points:
Controls are more confusing
Getting the Chaos Emeralds is random compared to the first
Johny races are hard as he just rams you at the end of the race
Doesn't make sense unless you have played the first game

Rating: 76%

Monday, 24 November 2014

Review No. 79 Sonic Rush - DS (7+)

Strong Point:
Great Music
Good Gameplay
Fun Story
Nice use of both screens in the final fight
Gimmicks are actually good
Character backstory
Good adding a new character

Weak Points:
World 2 is water and the hardest world
Big difficulty spikes
Weird Ending
Boss can be uber hard

Rating: 76%

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Review No. 78 Game and Wario - Wii U (7+)

Strong Points:
All the minigames are really fun
Nice use of the Wii U gamepad
12 are single player so you don't need friends to play
Chick-N-Win is very cool as you swap tokens for prizes
Over 200 bonus items
Will keep you entertained with friends for hours

Weak Points:
Only 16 games
Not enough multiplayer minigames
Some bonus items are rubbish
Short finishing time if you play solo

Rating: 78%

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Review No. 77 Animal Crossing: New Leaf - 3DS (7+)

Strong Points:
Ability to change a lot of your town
Can have 4 people on one game card to live in the same town
Lots of bugs, fossils and fish to collect and donate to your museum
Online visiting to other towns is fun
People can't spam your place unless you let them come to your town by opening it
Dream suite allows you to visit other towns even if you don't have any friends
Swimming is a nice addition
You can create your own town tune and flag
Graphics are surprisingly good for a 3DS game
Controls are easy to pick up
Gifts can be nice to receive
Ability to send letters with gifts is cool
Quests can be good as you will gain gifts as rewards
Characters have really different personalities even on different games
Awesome accessories

Weak Points:
Some of the characters that already live in the town are really annoying
Place is really small
You have a choice of 4 places and can't change where anything is
New villagers can be annoying on where they choice their house to be
Quest can be repetitive
Voices can be stupid as they say each letter out loud and character voices are dumb as they make no sense

Rating: 92%


Friday, 21 November 2014

App Review No. 71 break.BEAT

Strong Points:
Great re-imagining of a tried and tested concept
Nice music which changes depending on how well you play
Backround changes depending on how well you play
Game unlocks more rules, tips and power-ups as you progress
Good range of power-ups
Retro style
Addictive

Weak Points:
Graphics are a bit fuzzy - especially the blocks
Pacing is a bit odd - slow at parts and then really fast
The blocks don't have many visual clues about what power-ups they will give
Can get repetitive
Some bugs - ball gets stuck going horizontal
Closes as soon as you lock your phone, go onto notification centre, multi-tasking or control centre



Review No. 76 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D - 3DS (12+)

Strong points:
Good graphics
Fun minigames
Good music
Ocarina was good
Storyline was good
Nice travelling in time gimmicks
Cool items
Great bosses
Side quests are good

Weak points:
Very slow to start off
Water temple "too hard" for some
Not very fast at first when moving, best way to move is running backwards
Legendary sword isn't the best in game?!
Side quests are hard to find

Thursday, 20 November 2014

App Review No. 70 Angry Birds Star Wars 2

Strong Points:
Lots of familiar characters reimagined as Angry Birds
Lots of levels
You can play as the Pork Side as well as the Bird Side
Great Angry Birds physics gameplay
Star Wars soundtrack
Medals let you buy characters to get out of a difficult situation
Infinity Use characters allow collectibles to be obtained easier

Weak Points:
Telepods, being able to buy characters and lots of powers makes the game less skill based
Collectibles can be frustratingly difficult to get




Wednesday, 19 November 2014

First Impressions: Half-Life: Opposing Force

This is the first of the two expansion packs for Half-Life and places you in control of a US Marine (Adrian Shephard), which as the first game points out, is actually the enemy, hence 'Opposing Force'. This is interesting as it gives you a second perspective on the story you played previously in Half-Life (and of the soldiers that you previously just brutally murdered).

Monday, 17 November 2014

Review No. 75 Just Cause 2 - PC (18+)

Strong Points:
Massive world to explore
Lots of weapons
Lots of vehicles
Lots of collectibles
Lots of fun
Good humour
A few twists
Good challenge
Nice graphics and scale
Grapple mechanics are excellent and great fun
Ninjas!

Weak Points:
Joining one faction doesn't affect the other one's
Not much variety in terms of enemies
Patchy voice acting
Story is a bit generic
Physics engine for vehicles is not very realistic



Friday, 14 November 2014

First Impressions: Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 1

What makes a one of the best Mario Kart games ever better, you ask? How about more tracks, more karts and one incredibly happy Link. Yes. Link from the Legend Of Zelda is in Mario Kart! (or should that be Nintendo Kart?) Cat Peach and Tanooki Mario also make an appearance. All of them have their own unique animations, sounds and logo's, which shows that Nintendo doesn't believe that DLC just means different skins.

Note: I will be giving awards to the tracks and they are for the DLC tracks only.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

First Impressions: Payday: The Heist

Think of the GTA V heists without the preparation and you get Payday: The Heist. Add in co-op play and hostages as well for good measure. And money. Lots of money. This game is great to play with up to four friends (you can play with the AI as well) and puts a fast-paced spin on the heist genre. You begin with scouting out the area and finding your target, security camera's etc. When you are positioned, press F (or whatever key you have binded) to begin. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

App Review No. 69 Dash Up!

Strong Points:
Clean graphics
Colours change and are not too distracting
World best is shown which gives you something to aim for
Sound effects are good
Strong gameplay
Addictive
Three modes add variety whilst keeping the core gameplay

Weak Points:
Frustrating
A bit buggy
Can crash
Hitbox is quite big - no room for error

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Walkthrough No. 3 Fire Emblem: Awakening, Train Your Team!

The Walkthrough:
This isn't going to be a complete walkthrough as the game tells you what to do mostly, this will focus on recruitable characters, DLC and the like:

Friday, 7 November 2014

Author Update (Again)

Right, so some good news this time! As some of you may have noticed, Martin has returned to us! Most of his old posts will be reposted systematically over the next few weeks as well as some new posts that he has been writing/has written in the time he has been away. However, the rating's of the old reviews have gone back on the rating page already, with the new ones being added when the post it published. Please give him a warm welcome back!

Also, we have a new writer! Olimg (of Space Engineers review fame) has joined us and is currently writing posts on all manner of sci-fi shooters such as Brink and the Mass Effect series. Please welcome him as well and I'm sure that you'll enjoy reading the posts that he puts up in the future!

Well that's it for this author update so I'll leave you to get back to (hopefully) enjoying reading and commenting on the blog.

Update:
More good news! Euan has now returned to us as well and is bringing all of his posts back (as well as some new ones!). As well as this, he may start work on a new section which is arguably (*hint*) going to be very interesting. Please welcome him back!

Also, we have another new writer! Thomas Stacey has joined us and in currently writing many, many Minecraft Mod reviews. Please welcome him as well and I'm sure (yet again) that you will enjoy reading his posts in the future!


Goodbye for now, Harry

Monday, 3 November 2014

First Impressions: The Escapists/Velocity 2X

The Escapists:
In my brief time with The Escapists (it was a timed demo) at EGX, I learnt a few things. Firstly, prison life is a lot more organised than I had previously thought, with allotted times for exercise, food and work all planned out. Secondly, if you don't stick to this schedule, cause a disturbance or steal items for your escape (and get caught) you will get punished. Thirdly, this makes it very hard to escape as you will get so caught up in the mind-numbing activities that they give you that it is very difficult to even think about how to escape. But as this was a demo, I was given some clues, a shovel and a night free from the guards (the disembodied voice which was giving me instructions paid them off). And just as I was about to start the great escape which would rival any escape in the history of escapes, my demo... Stopped. I was out of time. And so with that my chances of escaping. Until next time we meet. I will beat you The Escapists. 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Video Game Character of the Month - November 2014 - Samus Aran - Metroid

Video Game Character of the Month
November 2014
Samus Aran
Metroid
Overview:
I've been meaning to give this character the award for quite a while (as I have with quite a few characters really, not to detract from this character's greatness though) and thanks to the release of Super Smash Bros. I was reminded to do so again. And, anyway, she deserves it really, (and if it helps to prompt Nintendo to carry on the series, all the better!) 
Anyways, a bit of information on Samus Aran:

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

First Impressions: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

(Warning: the amount of turns are not completely accurate)

Turn 1:
Right, I've made planet fall and started with a free Worker thanks to my Cargo choice as well as 3 Energy and 1 Health in every city due to my Colonists choice. My Spacecraft lets me start with 100 energy and I also belong to the Kavithan Protectorate which makes my Cities and Outposts grow quicker. I've landed on a hexagon containing some Food, Production and Energy and set my Worker on making a Plantation next to my City so as to increase my food production. I've also set my Explorer off to find some resource pods. Finally, my city has been set to produce another worker and I am researching the Pioneering technology so as to get Colonists. Oh, and I am on standard sized world, standard difficulty and a Terran planet, by the way.


Friday, 24 October 2014

First Impressions: Bayonetta 2 (Demo)

With this game coming out today, I thought I'd download the demo and have a go. Not knowing what to expect, having never played the original Bayonetta, any doubts I had about this game quickly evaporated. From the gorgeous graphics (who said the Wii U couldn't take it, eh?), to the swift and surprisingly deep gameplay, to the games characters and their great humour, to the absolutely bonkers storyline, enemies and powers which are becoming a trademark of Platinum, this game is looking to be awesome! The demo starts with a short cut-scene before throwing you into a tutorial where you learn the basics, like how to evade and attack as well using the Witch Time and Umbran Climax special abilities. Witch Time happens when you evade an enemies attack at the last possible second and it slows down time so that you can get close to an enemy or run away. Umbran Climax is activated by pressing L when the magic gauge is filled up and it strengthens the attacks of Bayonetta as well as regenerating her HP for a short period of time.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

First Impressions: Kingdom Hearts 2/Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep

Kingdom Hearts 2:
Surprise! I know we said that we would wait before doing this First Impressions but we just couldn't wait! So, enjoy! Now I played Kingdom Hearts 2 on my PS2 years ago and absolutely adored it (along with all the other games in this brilliant series). From the story to the control scheme, this game was spectacular. So when I heard that it was coming out on the PS3 with the Birth By Sleep, I immediately went and pre-ordered the limited-edition version of it (which comes with a Kingdom Hearts themed pin!)  And then I saw it was coming to EGX, so I got tickets for that and went to play this game, among the many others at EGX. After watching someone complete the Beauty and The Beast level, and seeing the great improvement of graphics, not just between this remaster and the old version but between KH1 and KH2, I jumped into the Nightmare Before Christmas level. Now I noticed a few things from my time playing it (and watching every cut-scene), These included: the quite vast differences in controls between KH1 and 2, the masterful storytelling still being there and fact that the characters mouths actually moved most of the time in the cut-scenes instead of just being on a 2D plane. The actual level consisted of defeating some heartless, going into Santa's workshop, defeating some more heartless, going out of Santa's workshop, beating a few more heartless then going and fighting a boss. And I found it to be one of the most enthralling sequences at my time at EGX.

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

First Impressions: Splatoon

Well who thought that we'd ever see this, eh? A shooter from Nintendo! I know, it's unbelievable! But, once you start playing it (or even when you watch a video) you begin to see how much of a Nintendo'fied shooter it is. And this is, by no means a bad thing...

Monday, 20 October 2014

First Impressions: Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (Demo)

This game is already shaping up to be one of the best Pokémon games of recent times!

From just the demo (which is a special version that includes islands and events that aren't in the main game) I've seen/heard/done many great things including flying on Latios/Latias (Hoenn has never looked so good as from the air!), revisiting the music of my childhood (Pokémon Emerald was the first Pokémon game I'd played), battled Team Magma and Aqua, caught a Mega Glalie and seen a Pokémart! 

Sadly I haven't been able to go into the Pokémart or any other buildings yet due to it being a demo but I have been able to talk some of the people including Gym Leader Flannery. The demo is set in Mosdeep City and the plot is that you are helping Stephen Stone with various jobs (such as finding a Skitty or battling some trainers) around various islands. However, first of all you have to fight some Team Aqua members in front of a space centre, fight some more Team Aqua members and Team Magma members in a forest, fight the two admins of the group (who for some reason have teamed up to defeat you) and finally catch a Glalie (Steelix in Japan). And to aid you in your quest is either Combusken, Marshstomp or Grovyle (who later evolve and then can mega evolve as well). After the first mission you get control of all four of these Pokémon so you can test them out in preparation for the main game.

But it's not just preparation that you can send to the main game but also Glalie, Pokéballs and other rewards! Playing through it every day is also said to give you a reward (which I suspect to be Mega Metagross as Stephen hinted at it). Not that I need an extra excuse to keep playing of course.

The final new things that I have seen is the upgraded Pokénav which has been changed into four different versions. The demo only contains one, which is the Buzznav. This Nav acts as a continuous news feed on your bottom screen and makes the games world seem more alive as you see things that have normally been confined only to in-game TV screens. Another new thing is the ability to 'Sneak Walk' which has you moving extra slowly and apparently lets you sneak up on Pokémon. Sadly, I haven't been able to test out this feature in the demo version but as soon as I get the full game, I will be sure to do so. Finally, the battle screen has been revamped so that the buttons look like something from a comic book.

Overall, the game looks absolutely brilliant so far and I can't wait to play the full game this November! Until then...

Goodbye for now, Harry  

Saturday, 18 October 2014

First Impressions: Romaia/Trials Frontier

Romaia:
Well, first of all lets talk about GGG. Graphics and Gameplay are Great. The particle effects are amazing and the feel of the ship is even better. I'm not sure about what it was that I was meant to be doing but what I was doing was flying around and shooting random things. And as I played, I discovered things. For instance I found out that I could press space bar to boost and press the right mouse button in order to fire homing missiles. They were a lot of fun to use. The only purpose I could find for playing this game was to shoot things that appeared randomly around the map as well as running into key's and a couple of other objects of interest. However, as for an overall goal, I have no idea. Even so, as I said in the Live Blog, I still came third in the day's leaderboard. Overall, it looks good and I may have to get it sometime, even if just to figure out the point of it (although also so that I can shoot things and fly the ship again).

Trials Frontier:
Choose your bike. Drive straight. Go up a hill. Possibly do a trick or two. Die. Respawn further on. Drive forward again. Jump through the finish line. Repeat. 3D graphics, 2D gameplay. Um... there's motorbikes... and peddlebikes (which both go at almost the same speed). I don't really know what else to say. It was quite competitive but... it should be an app. There I said it. Now that that's out of the way, I'll explain a bit more about the app (sorry, game!). It's set on a 2.5 D plane and, as far as I could tell, the only direction you could go was forward. But rather than a flat track, you have to race up and down ramps and over gaps in order to beat the opposition (which could be up to three other players). When you die, you get to have a quick break until the other player reaches your ghostly figure in the distance. Then you respawn and have to pick up your acceleration quickly in order to reach and overtake the other player. This mechanic makes it much more than a drag race with the fastest bike winning. It makes it more of whoever can keep track of where the players are, who wins. Overall, it looks good but, unless there are extra modes, should definitely be an app rather than a full game.

Goodbye for now, Harry

Monday, 13 October 2014

First Impressions: Project Cars

Wow, is this a realistic car game. From the perfectly laid out track out of Silverstone and the little details of stands and cones, to the physics of the cars hurtling round corners and the damage done to your car when you collide with the opposition and even the name screams unforgiving realism. This game ain't no Mario Kart, that's to be sure.

Me and Harry both had a go at the Silverstone track and while we did get better at the end, we soon realised how one mistake can make a huge difference. From being used to playing Mario Kart, where even if you are in last place, you can quickly make up the places, I saw 1st place zooming ahead of me, perfectly following the driving line and leaving me in its dust.

Now while you could just follow the racing line, if you want to win, you have to take risks and so going on the inside at full speed is actually a good option (carefully 'nudging' the other car out of the way is good as well). However do look out for when the racing line turns red. Slow down at that point or you will lose control of the car and crash or go off the track.

This is the part I felt was a bit unfair. If you went off the track and then drove back on, the game would think that you tried to take a short cut and so disqualify your lap time! However, if you want realism, then you just have to take the unforgiving nature of it as well.

All the cars are very detailed and even in third person view you can see the driver turning the wheel (you can even turn the wind wipers on a off!).

Overall I found this to be a great driving experience and definitely a game I will look in to (when I get around to buying a PS4).

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

Some pictures of our driving and a video of part of Harry's lap:

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

First Impressions: Flockers/Prison Architect

Flockers:
This game, in the vein of Lemmings, tasks you with using sheep as building block, to solve puzzles in order to get their sheep friends to the end. Building blocks are made by placing semi-transparent squares onto the landscape that the sheep will then walk into and fill. The other sheep will then jump up their buddies in order to get to the top of a platform/sheep tower. The sheep can also be used to form barriers as well as stairs which, combined with some of the landscapes own mechanics (such as a weighted lift) brings about some interesting challenges. The game can also be, mercifully, sped up by pressing the fast forward button which will make your sheep bound over (or past) to the next puzzle, and therefore means that you don't have to wait for that one straggler that was left behind. I mentioned Lemmings at the beginning and the other way that it was similar is the harshness of the deaths and the general stupidity of the sheep. For instance, a sheep that was left behind decided that it would be a good idea to walk off a cliff and explode into a bloody pile of guts. Great. It adds a reason to keep them alive, I guess.


Prison Architect:
Well, what to say about this game. Well, I'm pretty sure that if you got into it (and had the motivation to do so) you could play this game for hours on end without realizing. However, as a quick demo, it wasn't great. This is because of two things. One, I didn't really know how to play. I tried going through it logically (placing the foundations and then the walls, rooms etc) but it kept wanting me to do it in a different order. And then I found out that you have to wait for the builders to build your prison and that it has to be to a certain spec and that you only have a certain amount of time and money and... it was a lot to take in, in a five minute playthrough. This leads onto the second reason: it's all about micromanaging. This is the games ace in the hole (I imagine that micromanaging a prison to the best standards would be great fun) as well as being the reason why I didn't enjoy it at EGX. If I've got a spare day or two (which isn't very likely) then I might pick this up but, for now, I didn't really enjoy it too much.

Goodbye for now, Harry 

Monday, 6 October 2014

First Impressions: TRI/Tupla

TRI:
This game is about triangles, platforms and a graphic style in the essence of Borderlands. And foxes. I started this game halfway through as someone left the game without finishing it in EGX, so it took me a little while to learn the basic's but soon I found out where to go. The game is separated out into levels and the idea is to collect three fox statues and put them on their respective podiums. There are also golden foxes which act as collectibles and give you more information about the game. The actual gameplay consists of creating triangles (TRIangles that is) so as to create podiums and get across areas. The triangles are yellow if you can use them and red if they are too steep etc. to get to the place you need to go. The storyline is told by the spirits of the world and they also serve to tell you the controls etc. Overall, this is a charming little game, with very nice graphics and an intuitive gameplay mechanic.

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

Tupla:
The words I would use to describe this game are as follows: beautiful, crisp, puzzling, intuitive and... creepy. From the short playthrough that I had in this game, I got a definite sense of being spooked. This might have something to do with the fact that one of the characters you control is a ghost/levitating person that can move objects from far away; the fact that the other main character (his sister?) goes insane and dies if he's too far away; the clean graphics style that gives the atmosphere a sense of emptiness that's brimming with secrets and the general feel to it. This was a great feeling that, for me with my choice of games, was relatively new. The puzzles were also great and really had me thinking and the central gameplay mechanic of two characters that weren't physically tethered together but still had to be close was great. Overall the game was smart, beautiful and creepy in equal measures. And it was brilliant for it.

Goodbye for now, Harry 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

First Impressions: How To Be A Tree/Haunt The House Terror Town

How To Be A Tree:
This is an odd one. You are tasked with being a tree from a floating eye, who keeps talking to you, saying how great it would be to be a tree until you press the arrow keys and... move. That's right. Move. Using the left and right arrows to move and the up and down arrow keys to grow/shrink, so as to traverse different terrain, you have to find out your life purpose and why you are a tree. This includes travelling to the dreamworld, so as to meet your ancestors. Who are also trees...

Haunt the House Terror Town:
Well, the title explains it all really. You are a ghost and you have to haunt the house. You can do this by possessing various pieces of furniture including a gramophone, a chandelier, a piano or a table. Then, once you've possessed the desired furniture, you can do all manner of ghostly things such as: scuttling, swinging, playing eerie music and suddenly appearing in daemonic form from the top of a gramophone. Good times. Do these things next to the inhabitants of the mansion and they'll start to get the spooks, shaking and muttering until they eventually run away screaming. And, with multiple rooms to explore, the ghostly fun doesn't have to end! No, seriously, it doesn't as I don't actually think there's an end. I mean, I scared the inhabitants witless and nothing, bar faster running, happened. Now, I don't know if this is just because it's a demo but a score or multiple levels or something would have been nice. Anyway, the graphics are cute and cartoony which should keep you from being scared witless by my horrifying apparition! Ha, ha ha *cough*! etc.

Thanks for reading, Satamer
And
Goodbye for now, Harry

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Video Game Character of the Month - October 2014 - The Last Dragonborn - The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

Video Game Character of the Month
October 2014
The Last Dragon Born
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Overview:
Nidro nu tiid fah faal Dovahkiin wah kron prestigious Bodilir Kred Edil do faal Tik. Nunon wah saag, Zu'u dreh faal Laat Dovahkiin ni pah do niin. Ol naan astute (or ni koraavnu readers fen ahmin Zu'u los ahk ni writing daar overview ko vomedaas tinvok. tinvok do dovah. Nuz waan hi los ni bozul ko Dovah tinvok med zey (Edit - rokro really ni ruz hi vis unstiid rotun nii het: http://www.thuum.org/translate.php
Now for a little bit of info on the Dragonborn:

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Live Blog: EGX 2014

11:42:
Just about to go to EGX in London! Looking forward to playing all the new games and seeing all the exhibitions. If you're going what are you looking forward to playing the most? Mine would probably be Splatoon while Satamer's is Smash Bros. although there are many great games there. 
See you there!
Goodbye for now, Harry

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Review No. 74 Space Engineers (Alpha) - PC (3+)

Strong Points:
Great damage system
Weekly updates
Workshop contains easy download mods and worlds
Designers listen and act on community’s wants and wishes
Dedicated servers
Growing a lot of support even though it is in alpha
Video Tutorials on the YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/SpaceEngineersGame)

Weak Points:
Bugs (as expected, it is an alpha)
No pressurization
No food or water option (for immersion nuts)
No random generation for asteroid shapes (Position and ore are though)
No setbacks when using drones over ships


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

25,000 Views Extravaganza! *faints*

OMG! (Oh My Games) we did it guys! Mario, Master Chief, Kratos, Gordon Freeman, Pac-Man and Red the Bird (we serve all here) have left the building! Jokes and clichés aside thanks to everyone for helping us get to this all-important mile stone (1/4 to 100,000). From the writers who work tirelessly (they say) to get the reviews to the readers who read and respond to all these posts (it's the circle of gaming) thank you. And with all the cheesiness out of the way, next comes the stats:

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

First Impressions: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS (Demo)

Well, after being able to finally download the demo (my internet wasn't working for a while for some reason) I started to play. And then kept playing. And playing.

Monday, 22 September 2014

App Review No. 68 True Skate

Strong Points:
Lots of tricks
Fluid movement
Great graphics
Range of skateparks and customisation options
Lots of missions
Addictive
Intuitive touch mechanic
Amazing freeplay
Good sound effects

Weak Points:
Skateparks and unlimted slow-mo, wheel colours etc. can only be purchased via IAP's
All other purchases can be made with True Credits, which are extremely hard to get
Missions are repetitive and not as good as freeplay
Can get boring after a while
Tricks are just variations of a core few
Control scheme is hard to grasp at beginning
There are IAP's in a paid game!




Friday, 19 September 2014

App Review No. 67 Boom Beach

Strong Points:
Nice, strategic gameplay
Lots of upgrades
Great animations
Great variety of units
Fight style is innovative
In game and social battles are good
Lots of defences
Upgrade and build times are small
Resource bases are great
Diamonds are easy to get
All gunboat powers can be used with each other and all are helpful
Submarine makes it easier to get resources
Filling in a world map adds a sense of achievement
Being able to keep the troops that live after a raid enables multiple raid sessions
Statue's adds the option to improve your base even further
Dr Terror stages are a great way in which to get resources
Daily Rewards are also a good way to get resources
Task Forces are good and add another reason to attack bases
Operations are a brilliant idea and add another reason to attack bases 

Weak Points:
Unbalanced gameplay (much easier to defend than to attack)
Difficult to get certain resources (a surplus of some, none of another)
Your basically impenetrable base leads to less of a reason to keep playing
The upgrades can feel insignificant
No social aspects (clans/neighbourhood) (no longer an issue as of version 18)
No chat function (no longer an issue as of version 18)
The graphical changes between upgrades aren't as big as Clash of Clans


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

App Review No. 66 Swipe the Arrows

Strong Points:
Good, strong gameplay
Three separate modes
Clean graphics (in black and white mode)
Colour mode can be turned off
Addictive

Weak Points:
Colour mode is strange and disorienting
You can't choose which colour you have in colour mode
Sound effects aren't great
Can be frustrating

Saturday, 13 September 2014

App Review No. 65 BREAKFINITY

Strong Points:
Good, classic Breakout gameplay with a twist
Nice, classic graphics
Good powerups
Nice controls
Nice sound effects
Some variety in levels
Everything can be paid for through in game crystals or by watching a video
Defence Shield is a nice add on that makes it slightly easier
Addictive
No ads (other than videos that you can choose to watch)!

Weak Points:
Only three upgrades for power ups
Only one mode
Not enough powerups


Thursday, 11 September 2014

App Review No. 64 Swing Copters

Strong Points:
Clear graphics
Sound effects have a retro feel to it
Unlockable characters
Easy to learn, hard to master
Challenging
Randomized layout means the app will always be different
Addictive

Weak Points:
Pretty much impossible to master
Sometimes too challenging
No tutorial or learning curve
Frustrating
Leaderboards seem to be, again, hacked
Slightly harder to learn than Flappy Bird
Gameplay is not quite as simple as Flappy Bird



Tuesday, 9 September 2014

App Review No. 63 Circle the Dot

Strong Points:
Nice, clear graphics
Good sound effects
Interesting gameplay idea

Weak Points:
No music
Based on luck instead of skill
Very one note
Only one mode
Frustratingly difficult


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

App Review No. 62 2048

Strong Points:
Crisp and clear art style
Simple gameplay
Challenges add more stuff to do
Multiplayer is a good extra
Addictive gameplay

Weak Points:
Can get repetitive
Can be rather frustrating
Challenges can be very hard from early on


Monday, 1 September 2014

Video Game Character of the Month - September 2014 - Mega Man - Mega Man

Video Game Character of the Month
September 2014
Mega Man
Mega Man


Overview:
Mega Man is apparently as 'mega' as his name suggests due to him winning this award. See if his name had been Rockman (I'll get onto that) then he wouldn't be 'mega' he would just be a 'rock'. Bet he's glad he had to endure an identity crisis now!
Now for some quick information on Mega Man:

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Review No. 73 Tomb Raider - PC (18+)

Strong points: 
Great graphics
Amazing animation
Nicely paced story
Lots of customisation and upgrades
Lots of collectibles
Quick time events are nicely spaced and needed
Good, likeable characters
Brilliant voice acting
The development of Lara's character is great
Big open world

Weak points:
Some weapons are more situational than others
The second half of story is much better than the first
Quick time events and animations, may stop you doing something if it's in-line with the story
Confusing storyline
The death sequences are quite gruesome and unnecessary
The tombs are quite simple
Emotional story and player's own actions don't quite match up
Some crashes and bugs



Tuesday, 26 August 2014

First Impressions: Half-Life

This is one of those games that I decided to start playing for a little while before doing something else. I then played it for two hours straight (and would have kept playing if I hadn't gotten stuck on what I was meant to do).

Monday, 18 August 2014

Review No. 72 Mario Kart 8 - Wii U (7+)

Strong Points:
Lots of items
Lots of racers
Lots of customization options
Graphics are phenomenal
Music is great
Tracks are brilliant
Bikes are back and are more balanced with the karts
Online mode is the best it's ever been
Mario Kart TV is a great addition

Weak Points:
Battle mode is bad
Some characters could have been different (*Cough* Rose Gold Peach *Cough*)
Anti-gravity could have been used in better ways (i.e. loop-de-loops)
Two player separate screen racing (the GamePad is here now, so there is no excuse)


Friday, 15 August 2014

First Impressions: Nosgoth

In a world where vampires and humans fight in arenas beautifully crafted out of stone and blood comes the tale of a gamer who only got the game because of the free weekend on Steam. Delve into a world of regenerative health, third person perspectives and no jumping. And it is brilliant.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

First Impressions: Robocraft

I think I'll start this First Impressions with how the trailer described the game to me, just before I bought it. "It's Minecraft combined with World of Tanks," it said. And, I think that is quite an accurate description.

Monday, 11 August 2014

App Review No. 61 Zombie Tsunami

Strong Points:
Good, 3D graphics
Nice change to the regular endless runner gameplay
Lots of varied powerups
Lots of missions
Lots of hats
Changing backgrounds makes the game seem more alive

Weak Points:
Powerup upgrades get very expensive, very quickly
The hats don't do anything except change the aesthetics slightly
Animations aren't as good as the graphics
There is no measurement of how far you've gone

Friday, 8 August 2014

App Review No. 60 Don't Touch the Spikes

Strong Points:
Clean graphics
Good music/sound effects
Different gameplay (lack of side-scrolling)
Lots of birds to collect
Lots of modes
Modes have variety while still sticking to the core gameplay
Addictive


Weak Points:
Frustrating
Records the amount of times you've played
Birds get very expensive, very quickly
Difficulty spikes (get it?)



Wednesday, 6 August 2014

App Review No. 59 Timberman

Strong Points:
Addictive
Easy to play
Lots of characters
Nice retro graphics and sound
Good level of challenge

Weak Points:
Repetitive
Not much to do
Long loading times starting up
Leaderboards are full of hackers with impossible scores



Sunday, 3 August 2014

App Review No. 58 Galaxy on Fire: Alliances

Strong Points:
Good, strategic gameplay
Just enough base resources (3)
Not enough advanced resources (2)
Lots of planets
A variety of planets and species
A variety of buildings
A variety of ships
Amazing graphics
Good sound
The alliance system is good
Three servers
The premium currency is easy to get without paying
(Mostly) Good community
Lots of in-alliance ranks

Weak Points:
Lots of overpowered players
Not much to do
An active alliance is needed
Lots of inactives
The planet limit is too small
The ship limit is also too small
Later levels become boring
No story driven quests beyond the tutorial
The game is not quite taken far enough
Server strength can be weak


Friday, 1 August 2014

Video Game Character of the Month - August 2014 - Link - The Legend of Zelda

Video Game Character of the Month
August 2014
Link
The Legend of Zelda
Overview:
Link, The Hero of 'Insert Power Here'. This will be an interesting VGCOTM as, really, I should be doing about 17ish versions, due to the Link in these games not really being the same Link in each game. Anyway, here we go.
A quick bit of info on Link: 

Friday, 25 July 2014

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

First Impressions: Tomb Raider

This Tomb Raider reboot re-imagines the origin story of Lara Croft and portrays here as a scared young woman (with surprising acrobatic skills) who is stranded on a desert island with her crew after trying to find the mysterious kingdom of Yamatai and getting shipwrecked. Without giving to much away, the next scene involves a tomb... obviously.

Monday, 21 July 2014

App Review No. 57 Everlands

Strong Points:
Nice, clean graphics
Strategic gameplay
Easy to learn, hard to master
Good storyline adds to the depth of the game
Hexagons are a good shape for the tiles (not too easy, not too hard)
Duel Mode adds more content
Animals are an innovative idea for fighters
Each animal has a specific power and strategy
The AI is quite good

Weak Points:
Multiplayer Mode (Duel Mode) isn't great
Some of the writing is bad (grammar and spelling-wise)
Some animals are overpowered
Some animals are underpowered
Some of the animals' attack directions (while working in favour of their real life physiques) can be really bad for their ability


Saturday, 19 July 2014

E3 2014 Roundup: Microsoft

Now that all the main buzz of E3 is over, I think that it's time to roundup all of the conferences, sneak peeks, information and interviews into three posts. The third and last of these is on Microsoft. This post will contain information on the main conference followed by info on each of the games and finally rounded off with some opinions! Obviously, the following paragraphs contain spoilers.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

E3 2014 Roundup: Nintendo

Now that all the main buzz of E3 is over, I think that it's time to roundup all of the conferences, sneak peeks, information and interviews into three posts. The second one of these is on Nintendo. This post will contain information on the main conference followed by info on each of the games and finally rounded off with some opinions! Obviously, the following paragraphs contain spoilers.

Friday, 11 July 2014

E3 2014 Roundup: Sony

Now that all the main buzz of E3 is over, I think that it's time to roundup all of the conferences, sneak peeks, information and interviews into three posts. The first one of these is on Sony. This post will contain a brief bit of info on each of the games along with some opinions on the announcements.  Obviously, the following paragraphs contain spoilers.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

First Impressions: Space Engineers

This is a game that I was waiting the whole Steam Summer Sale for. The main reason was that it would stop my friend from continuously bugging me to get it but the second reason was that it looked cool. And I wasn't wrong on either point (thankfully). Also, sorry about all the brackets (I got a bit carried away!)

Saturday, 5 July 2014

First Impressions: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

One of the many games I got from the Steam Summer Sale was Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valve's version of Call of Duty, Battlefield, Medal of Honor, Killzone, Titanfall and... You get the idea. Anyway, the game's good.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Video Game Character of the Month - July 2014 - Doodler - Doodle Jump

Video Game Character of the Month
July 2014
The Doodler
Doodle Jump
Overview:
Why do you jump? This was a question asked to The Doodler one day. His response was simple: a quick pellet to the face and up some more platforms. He still declines to talk about his jumping obsession and I have simply given up asking him (what?! A pellet to the face really hurts, you know!) Anyway, here's a quick bit of information about The Doodler:

Thursday, 19 June 2014

App Review No. 56 Two Dots

Strong Points:
Lovely, clean graphics
Lots of levels
Nice challenge to levels
Very addictive
5 lives mean you can't play all the time so you have more time to do other things
You can compare your score to your friends via Facebook
Music is nice
Using squares makes the game more strategic
Daily Quests and Supply Crates are a big help to some of the more challenging levels

Weak Points:
5 lives mean you can't play all the time if you have nothing else to do
Power ups and lives can only be brought via IAP's
Lives take slightly too long to refill
Big difficulty spikes
Connecting dots can be unresponsive
Can get slightly repetitive

Saturday, 14 June 2014

App Review No. 55 Bloons TD 5

Strong Points:
Great tower defence gameplay
Lots of varied towers
Lots of varied stages
Nice, cartoony graphics
Powers are good
Split path tower upgrades add more depth to the game
Stat upgrades can help you if you're stuck on a level
Daily challenge, random missions and special missions adds more content to the game
Levelling unlock system is good
Kill count is a nice little thing

Weak Points:
The jump between difficulties (both stages and modes) is quite big
Certain levels are a lot harder than others (big difficulty spikes)
You can only have one speciality at a time
The specialities aren't that good
Enemy variation is only as much as this enemy is slightly harder to kill and releases smaller enemies that are slightly easier to kill
It can lag on later levels
No story, why are we popping bloons??

Sunday, 8 June 2014

First Impressions: Alien: Isolation

It was actually my Dad who played this game at EGX (as readers of the Live Blog will know) but, due to him not having enough time to write this post, he has given me the information and opinions to write it. I'll try my best anyway, so here we go!

Friday, 6 June 2014

First Impressions: WATCH_DOGS

I have been looking forward to this game for well over a year. Until it was delayed. Twice. I was originally going to get this game on the Wii U as it is the only next-gen console I have but since that has been delayed again, I settled for buying it on the PC.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

First Impressions: Starcraft II

This is a game that I have been meaning to play ever since I first saw it in a demo at PC World. And while it has taken me almost four years to get around to it, I finally have. Or at least the free version anyway.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

First Impressions: Mario Kart 8

I have been waiting for this game with bated breath ever since it was first announced. I have not been disappointed.

Video Game Character of the Month - June 2014 - Space Invader - Space Invaders

Video Game Character of the Month
June 2014
The Space Invader
Space Invaders
Overview:
Ah, the humble Space Invader, so mysterious, so minimalist, so evil actually. I mean, seriously, they come to Earth for no reason, without any explanation and trap us on a 2D plane with minimalist graphics (and don't tell me that's just part of the game as that's what they want us to think).
Anyway, here's a quick bit of information on the Space Invader:

Monday, 26 May 2014

App Review No. 54 100 Balls

Strong Points:
Crisp and clear graphics
Nice, reaction based gameplay
Different premise
Addictive

Weak Points:
Not too much incentive to keep playing besides competition
Only one mode
Can get boring during a long game



Friday, 23 May 2014

First Impressions: PS4/Xbox One

The first thing I noticed about the PS4 was the graphics. The first word that came into my head about the graphics was astounding. And I mean it, the graphics were just amazing. Enough said.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Review No. 71 DLC Quest - PC (3+)

Strong Points:
Nice graphics
Great concept
Funny satire
Good level of difficulty
Two different modes
Lots of DLC
DLC is brought through the games currency for once

Weak Points:
Very short
Frustratingly difficult to find all coins and DLC packs
Quite a bit of backtracking