When I first heard about WildStar, I was really rather skeptical. It seemed like a bad Borderlands rip off made into an MMO. The classes sounded similar, the aesthetic looked vaguely similar, and I was not in the mood for a game the seemed to be trying too hard. Well, I got beta access and decided to give the game a whirl. I've got to say, if I wore a hat I'd be eating it now - this game is nothing like I expected.
Do you like your systems buggy and unstable? Do final releases feel too safe for you? This one’s for you: Microsoft is launching a new program for “select” Xbox Live members to test out new Xbox One features before they hit the main stream.
When Matt Stone and Trey Parker set out to make a South Park RPG, their main guideline was that it had to look and feel like the TV show. It wasn't enough to encounter familiar characters; players had to feel as though they were navigating that world itself. The Stick of Truth is fully successful in that regard.
Players take on the role of "the new kid", a 9-year-old boy who has just moved to South Park and has a mysterious past. When designing your character, there are a ton of options. These will change your interactions with other players - everything from your skin tone to class choice is fodder for hilarious jokes from Cartman. On one preview play through, we played with a spray tan, ginger hair and a cow t-shirt, prompting Cartman to ask if we were Kyle's mom; when I played with black skin, a huge afro and hipster clothes, the game even changed the parents' style to match.
There are four classes to choose from: Fighter, Mage, Thief and Jew. As you might expect, each gets unique traits and abilities. The first time I saw Stars of David fly out of a damaged enemy due to a special attack from the Jew class I nearly wet myself laughing.
While combat is turn-based, it's not just a matter of "press A to win". Players can select actions from a range of options in their attack wheel. Actions will need to vary based on enemy stances, armour or skills. Additionally, when attacked, players have the opportunity to block - if all attacks are successfully blocked, the player can counter attack. Combat is very fast and certain abilities have the possibility of harming the player as much as the enemy - what would else you expect when Butters tries to play with hammers?
In fact, the combat in the game is very difficult and expects a high degree of strategy from the player. Sure, you can successfully take on more difficult enemies early on in the game, but you will need to use your healing items, special attacks and abilities in just the right way. Combat adds a deeper level to the game, taking it beyond an opportunity to explore South Park in an interactive adventure - it is truly an impressive RPG.
Despite being 2D like the TV show, the game offers a huge open world the explore. Sure, I was only able to explore the town of South Park, but there was more than enough to see. As long as you stay on the side walks or use pedestrian crossings, you can go anywhere in the town. In this way, the game feels like a fully open-world game, without breaking from the 2D background design. Each house can be entered and explored, as can all the shops. Upon checking out the one business, I was treated to Chef singing "Simultaneous Loving" in the background while looting the items available. In the next store, "Taco Flavoured Kisses" was on the radio as I spoke to different characters and found a side quest.
Within each area, there is some degree of platforming as you move up ladders and across obstacles. You can use your environment to your advantage in combat, taking out enemies with a variety of objects rather than needing to fight your way through each and every one. This small amount of puzzle solving varies the gameplay and will appeal to those who prefer to out think their opponents rather than relying purely on brute strength.
The Stick of Truth has a pseudo-Facebook system that allows you to make friends with tons of characters in South Park. This brought back memories of Suikoden as I tried to collect all the characters as friends. Some people require you to complete extra missions, or have a certain number of friends before they will interact with you. Checking your friend-feed can give advice on quests, or just offer hilarious commentary as you go. Friends can also provide you with side quests or random funny dialogue. In this way, interacting with every person you come across becomes interesting, enjoyable and rewarding.
The aesthetic design is fully in line with the TV show and franchise. The character models are like those in the show, and even the walking animations are the same. Beat up an enemy and they'll whimper as they limp off screen. Each enemy is unique and even has funny and relevant names. Despite the fairly simple design that South Park is known for, nothing feels repetitive or meaningless.
Truly, the core of the game is laughter. Whether it's from discovering weird South Park themed Easter eggs, or the hilarious character interactions, or even the hilarious in-joke side missions, the whole experience makes the game feel like the series has come to life. My hour with the game was far too brief - there was so much to explore and discover. I honestly can't wait to play the full game.
It was a mission playing The Elder Scrolls Online Beta this weekend for a variety of reasons. In the end, I managed to log a bunch of hours with my awesome Red Guard character, but is this the next big thing or will the hype train pass us by on this one?
Blizzard is well known for making games that keep gamers hooked for months, if not years. World of Warcraft has a huge open world to explore, a world that is packed with lore and tons of quests. StarCraft II has the competitive and strategic edge to it, encouraging players to keep getting better and better. For me, what keeps players hooked to the Diablo franchise is the appeal of loot as well as the challenge of besting some of the toughest enemies.
A little while back I was given the honour of spending some quality time with the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer; giving the new game modes a try as well as trying out some of the new kill streaks.
In 2 weeks time the hits on the site are going to drop off a cliff while everyone is taking a sick day to head around Los Santos and we really don’t mind. We’re likely going to be doing the same thing and we know you’ll be back, we’re like Herpes.. you can leave us for a bit but you know we’ll be back.
By Kyle Haward
Hearthstone, Blizzard’s free-to-play online trading card game which draws upon the famous lore of the World of Warcraft universe is colourful, quirky and addictive game. With possibilities of launching rocks at your opponent from a horde catapult on the interactive map to summoning dragons on the board the game doesn't lack the appeal of the Warcraft franchise.
By Rob Valentine
Every time I hear the Fox engine mentioned I get a little shiver. I’m a long-time fan of the MGS series so when I heard that Konami were going to be using Fox for their upcoming PES title, I was actually pretty keen to give it a spin.
Mario Kart 8 is coming to the Wii U – and while you could, justifiably, say that ‘s yet another damned numbered Mario branded sequel coming from Nintendo, does it really matter if it’s a ton of fun? Because Mario Kart 8 certainly is just that.
Many things can be said about the previous title in the Call of Juarez series, unfortunately since this is a respectful site not many of them can be reproduced here. So when a preview disc for Call of Juarez: Gunslinger landed on my desk I can’t say I was ecstatic about the opportunity. how wrong I was.
Can you believe it’s been a full 5 years since the original GRiD was released way back in 2008 and now to commemorate the end of the current generation of consoles Codemasters are releasing the much anticipated sequel to the game, GRiD 2.
I'm not one to believe that a single piece of software can save ailing hardware, but Kenji Inafune's latest work has been instrumental in revitalising the Vita in the land of the Rising Sun. It's true that Japanese and Western tastes are not always in sync, and sometimes there's probably a lot of eye-rolling from both sides of the artificial cultural divide.
From the very first moment, the very first time you see anything, Bioshock Infinite immediately draws parallels to the first game. You’re out in the ocean, with a large lighthouse towering above you. The first time you see Columbia; the hidden city, floating in the sky, it immediately forces you to recollect your first glimpse of the fallen underwater dystopia of Rapture. You know, from that moment, that you’ll be drawn in to a world that will captivate and mesmerise. It’s unmistakably, and undeniably Bioshock.
Earlier this year EA Games opened up application for their closed SimCity beta and like the fans we are we applied for this access. Unfortunately not only did we not get chosen but we also weren’t invited to the media previews that the rest of the world appeared to get.