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

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

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

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.

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
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
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: