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:
Animations are OK
Erm... Imaginative?

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

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 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
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
Simple and easy to play

Weak Points:
No power-ups, abilities or boosts
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
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
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: