Rise of the Tomb Raider Thoughts

RotTR

A game steeped in controversy over the exclusivity deal Rise of the Tomb Raider from Crystal Dynamic is the sequel to the 2013 reboot

What it’s about…

After struggling to deal with the events that unfolded with the Yamatai a year earlier Lara becomes engrossed in trying to restore the reputation of her dead father “Lord Croft” whose unfortunate demise came due to an obsession with Kitezh and immortality. After being warned against following the same path by his ex-partner Ana, Lara gets caught up in trying to uncover the truth to the secrets of Kitezh whilst fighting against the mysterious Trinity paramilitary organisation who are also trying to work towards the same goal.

Whats good?

Tomb Raider made bigger and better. It’s a fantastic sequel that takes what the reboot did and makes it bigger, more to do, longer game with a better story (more on that below) and the hub worlds are all much more fleshed out with plenty of collectibles to find. (more…)

16 more: New Backwards Compatibility list on Xbox One

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Microsoft came through on their promise to add more games to the backwards compatibility list this month with another 16 games just before Christmas, here is the list:

  • Braid
  • Deus Ex Human Revolution
  • Doritos Crash Course
  • Fable III
  • Halo: Reach
  • Hydro Thunder
  • Iron Brigade
  • Kane & Lynch 2
  • Motocross Madness
  • MS.PAC-MAN
  • Peggle
  • Portal: Still Alive
  • Spelunky
  • Splosion Man
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Zuma’s Revenge!

For me it’s a good list, I think there is some genuinely good games which people will be happy about in general, getting a lot of highly rated XBLA titles on Xbox One is important too as they are the digital back catalogues which a lot of people will have. (more…)

Knack Thoughts

Knack

Knack was a new IP directed by PS4 lead architect Mark Cerny which released at the PS4 launch over 2 years ago so I’m a bit late on this one but I recently played and finished it and found it to be a game I had some things I wanted to write about!

What it’s about…

You play as a Knack, a little fellow made of mysterious ancient relics (and voiced by Halo 5’s Spartan Locke too!) bound together by Dr Vargas. The story starts off as a quest to defeat the rising tide of the goblins led by Gundahar who has been attacking human settlements and interweaves with in fighting involving a rich maniac wannabe whose intention is to use much bigger relics than those used to power Knack to rule the world, basically. Knack is a big relic given a consciousness and can gather many smaller relics to grow bigger and cause more destruction as well as use various elements (like wood and ice) to give him different abilities. He can also collect sun stones which help unleash more powerful attacks.

Whats good?

The character designs are really good, I like the cartoony style which looks nice and they were definitely what stood out for me the most and this also translates quite well into the cut-scenes which look equally stylish and are nice to watch. (more…)

Kojima and Sony: A Natural Fit

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Last night Kojima and Andrew House announced the new studio from the Metal Gear Solid creator as well as a partnership with Playstation for the title – a new IP to come to Playstation 4 first followed by PC later on.

For me as a Kojima fan I’m really happy that he is getting stuck straight back in as a game developer and creator, no break (outside of the holiday Konami generously gave him…) but right back into the fold and is making something brand new, not MGS or Silent Hill or anything. Choosing the right partner was also important he in Sony he knows well and I think they will give him plenty of freedom and time to make what he wants, I’m sure he has an idea for the sort of thing he is interested in making and Sony will be aware of that but it shows a lot of faith from Sony to sign it when there is nothing tangible to show yet.

The other thing I’m pleased about is that for now at least they are an independent studio with a partnership, they have a good backer in Sony who don’t need this title now and by that I mean with the success of the Playstation 4 they aren’t relying on specific tent pole releases to kick them into gear and get the platform going, they have shown a willingness to delay titles like The Order 1886 and Uncharted 4 out of the holidays as they needed more time, this is good for Kojima and his new team. (more…)

Halo 5 Guardians Thoughts

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343 Industries first attempt at a Halo game had its highs (the campaign) and its lows (the multiplayer) but it was still a decent game overall and I think that as a first attempt at a Halo game it was a good effort for them to get their feet under the table with a great campaign but they made some wrong choices with the multiplayer and leaned too much towards Call of Duty and not the Halo that people wanted. It was certainly a good learning experience for them though and Halo 5 will ultimately decide what they took from Halo 4.

The good news for me is that I feel that 343 have proven with an excellent Halo 5 Guardians that they do listen and do understand the Halo franchise, I’ve had a lot of fun with the game and I think that any questions of their suitability to develop the franchise have been washed away in a sea of exploding plasma grenades.

So lets break this down between the campaign and multiplayer… (more…)

Baseball Riot Review

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Baseball Riot by Crimsonland developer 10ton Ltd is the follow-up to Tennis in the Face and is a humorous physics based puzzle game which is out now on Xbox One, Windows (10/mobile), Apple TV, iOS and will be launching on PS4 and PSVita in January.

The game has a simple premise, you play as former baseball player Gabe Carpaccio who is on a quest to destroy the evil Explodz Inc corporation who produces energy drinks, you travel through the US defeating a number of goons who have been corrupts by Explodz Inc including opposition fans, catcher, umpires and more.

To progress on each level you need to knockout all the enemies and you can collect up three stars along the way, to complete a level you must knockout the players but you don’t need to collect all the stars, the challenge is bouncing the ball to knockout the goons and collect the stars in the 3 balls given. The puzzles are nice, relying on bouncing off walls and objects which avoiding hazards like glass to hit enemies and finish the levels, collecting all 3 stars is preferably to help you progress to the next region. (more…)

Gears of War 4: Hopes and Improvements

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Stat and achievement tracking

Despite Gears of War 2 having the first proper achievement stats which end up becoming an OS feature in Xbox One and having a detailed War Journal of stats, Ultimate Edition is weirdly thin on this, they should have an incredibly detailed section on each achievement so you can see your progress.

There are multiple achievements for winning matches on every map, game mode etc yet they make it quite difficult to see which ones you have left to get, maps in particular is a bit of a nightmare and disappointing.

Also it shows you your progress via and a pop-up for some achievements in-game but doesn’t track them via the achievements app which seems silly to me. I love stats and they’re also very useful so hopefully they improve a bit with that for Gears of War 4.

Horde Mode 3.0 (more…)

Sony PSX Conference Hopes and Expectations

PSX

With Sony’s PSX conference in about 3 and a half hours I thought I would give my hopes and expectations for it.

A more tightly produced show

At Paris Games Week Sony had a decent amount of content to show but did it in a largely waffly way, the presentation was lacking and there was a lot of what seemed like filler going on. Let the content speak for itself, show it off, give real details on what is being shown and then move on, if that means having a shorter show but is more tightly produced and come across better then people will like that.

Also waiting for applause is a big no for me too.

Sony Bend’s new IP

I liked Uncharted Golden Abyss on PSVita at launch, it’s probably my favourite Uncharted game as well although that could be due to my Vita goggles, but they are allegedly working on something new and its been a long time, I would really like to get a tease for what that project is. New IP is king for me so anything you show will be greatly appreciated, I will also take a new Syphon Filter. (more…)

Microsoft Studios – Current Projects and Studios list (December 2015)

December 2015 Edition

First-Party Studios:

  • 343 Industries – Halo 5: Guardians DLC (Xbox One) / Halo: The Master Chief Collection updates (Xbox One) / Halo Wars 2 (Xbox One/PC)
  • Decisive Games – Unannounced strategy game
  • Lionhead Studios – Fable Legends (Xbox One/PC) / New IP
  • Microsoft Casual Games – Casual Games for Windows 10
  • Mojang – Minecraft (PC/Mobile/Hololens) / Cobalt (Xbox One/Xbox 360/PC)
  • Press Play – Project Knoxville
  • Rare –  Sea of Thieves (Xbox One/PC)
  • Team Dakota – Project Spark (Xbox One/PC)
  • The Coalition – Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) / Gears of War Ultimate Edition (Xbox One/PC)
  • Turn10 – Forza Motorsport 6 DLC (Xbox One)

Second-Party Studios (publishing relationships or contract work): (more…)

The Game Awards 2015 World Premieres & Award Predictions

TGAs

For me the big thing about the show is the world premieres, with announcements like Skyrim, The Last of Us and Dark Souls II at previous “Video Game Awards” also produced by Geoff Keighley I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for tonight.

Here are the games that we know will definitely be at the show:

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider DLC (confirmed for pre-show)
  • Goat Simulator special announcement (Pre-show)
  • Far Cry Primal
  • Quantum Break
  • Mortal Kombat X new character reveal
  • Special Oculus announcement
  • Walking Dead Michonne
  • Rocket League Surprise
  • Shaq Fu

(more…)