Category Archives: Videogames

Comparing Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft’s 2014 Christmas Holiday Lineup

I recently wrote a piece on this very website (which you can check out for yourselves here) on the top 20 games of Q4. Now on that list there was quite a few exclusive games from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, and it got me thinking – which publisher has the strongest lineup? And just how much of an affect is it going to have on the sales of each respective console? Let’s start with Nintendo, shall we?

 

Nintendo’s Wii U Lineup

Never count Nintendo out. Never. They may be playing second fiddle to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One right now, and they may continue to do so for the rest of the generation thanks to the Wii U’s lack of power, but Nintendo’s strong point has always been their first-party software – and this year is no different. With Mario Kart finally getting DLC, an experimentation in the Zelda franchise with Hyrule Warriors, a new face in Bayonetta to be welcomed to the family and the ever popular Smash Bros. franchise making its debut on Wii U, it’s a pretty good time to be a Nintendo fan.

 

Hyrule Warriors (Sep 19) 

Hyrule Warriors

 

Starting things off early this holiday season for Nintendo is Hyrule Warriors, and it certainly isn’t your pro typical outing from Link. A mixed reaction from fans upon its initial reveal, but a little shake-up to a franchise once in a while isn’t a bad thing. But is it just going to be Dynastary Warrior’s in Hyrule’s clothing? We don’t have long left to find out.

 

 

 

Bayonetta 2 (Oct 24)

Bayonetta 2Bayonetta is one of my favourite games of all time. And it’s no coincidence that the developer – Platinum Games – is also one of my favourite developers. And honestly, it wasn’t until recently that I really got excited about the sequel, thanks to the recent Bayonetta 2 dedicated Nintendo Direct. It looks like more of the same zaniness from the first game and like every good sequel it looks to be bigger, better and more badass (thanks Cliffy B). It’s an interesting move from Nintendo to acquire the rights to Bayonetta, and perhaps a sign that more mature first-party titles may follow suit. It’s also smart of them to be including the original with every copy too. Let’s just hope the sales do the quality of the game justice. 

 

Super Smash Bros. (Nov 2014)

smash bros wii u proper

By far Nintendo’s big blockbuster title this holiday season, and arguably the biggest title of this year. Smash always sells in abundance, but if, like me, you felt slightly let down by the previous outing on Wii Smash Bros. Brawl, then you’ll agree with me that Nintendo has something to prove with the franchise. New characters, stages, weapons etc are nice and all, but I can’t help but feel the beat ’em up formula may be starting to wear a little thin. At least on console anyway, but more on the handheld version later.

 

 

Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 1: (Nov 2014)

Link on a motorbikeOk, not a physical release like the rest of the lineup on here, but hey, it’s kind of a big deal that Mario Kart – for the first time ever – is receiving DLC. Or as Nintendo call it, AOC (Add On Content). Most exciting of all is that Nintendo is branching outside of the Mario franchise, as this  is a Legend of Zelda themed pack that will see Link playable for the first time ever alongside Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach. 8 new tracks, four new karts and three new characters to keep things fresh. God bless you, Nintendo!

 

Nintendo’s 3DS Lineup

The 3DS is trumping the Playstation Vita’s sales, and in terms of the lineup for Q4, the 3DS is trumping the Vita in that regard too. With an impressive catalogue of games on the Wii U this holiday season, the 3DS most definitely isn’t slacking either.

 

Smash Bros. (Oct 3)

Smash Bros 3DSI wrote about how I think the Smash Bros. formula on console may be wearing thin, however the handheld version intrigues me. Smash – as we all know – is all about the local multiplayer. So just how will this translate on to the smaller screen of the 3DS, which is predominantly single player oriented? That’s for Nintendo to figure out and for us to find out in October.

 

 

Pokémon Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire (Nov 21) 

Pokemon Omega RubyPokémon Ruby and Sapphire is the best generation in the Pokémon series, and I’m giddy at the prospect of taking a trip down nostalgia lane. Pokémon games always sell – we know that much. But we’re just little over two months away from its release and it really does feel like Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire require a bigger marketing push. Here’s to hoping the Ruby/Sapphire remakes get their own Nintendo Direct.

 

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (Nov 28)

IPersona Qt really wasn’t until Persona 4: Golden launched on the PS Vita in 2012 that I first got into the Persona franchise. And given that Persona Q is the first Persona game on a Nintendo platform, I have to wonder just how many hardcore Nintendo gamers in the west have their eye on Persona, or have delved into previous games on other platforms.

 

 

Sony’s Playstation 4 Lineup

The delay of The Order: 1886 really has tipped the scales out of Sony’s favour, as they’re missing that big, meaty, AAA high octane shooter this holiday, and without it they now have a fairly soft lineup with just Driveclub and LittleBigPlanet 3. LittleBigPlanet 3 will also be coming to the Playstation 3, but outside of that it’s clear that Sony’s main focus is on the PS4. Perhaps their investment in Destiny was Sony’s best move yet in the current generation lifecycle so far, then.

 

Driveclub (Oct 8) 

DriveclubWhen Driveclub was first delayed it really weakened the Playstation 4’s launch lineup last year. However that delay may now come back as somewhat of a blessing to Sony, because if it did come out last year, then all Sony would have to offer in terms of exclusives this year is LittleBigPlanet 3 – and that would be a lot of weight on Sackboy’s shoulders. I’m no driving game fanatic, but the buzz surrounding Driveclub seems to have been very positive. Time will tell if the year of extra work has paid off though.

 

LittleBigPlanet 3 (Nov 19)

Little Big Planet 3I’m sure there are some diehard LBP fans out there that were disappointed to find out that Media Molecule had moved on from the franchise, but the reveal trailer at E3 should have put some minds at ease. It certainly looks like a LittleBigPlanet game – which is a good thing – but this time some friends of Sackboy are coming along for the ride to shake up the formula. LittleBigPlanet 3 faces some stiff competition in the jam-packed month of November, but Sony will be hoping the Playstation faithful pull through. 

 

Playstation Vita

It’s never a disappointing time to be a Vita owner, because it’s always going to be great to own the best handheld gaming system of all time that has a library chock full of killer games. However, in terms of looking at the system’s future and the seeming lack of support, the Playstation Vita could have a short lifecycle – and that’s worrying to say when it’s not even three-years old at this point. There could be one saving grace for the Vita this year though, and that’s SCE Japan’s Freedom Wars.

Freedom Wars (Oct 29)

Freedom Wars

 

Freedom Wars is the highest-selling Vita game in Japan, but whether it will be received as well in the west remains to be seen. SCE Japan are one of Sony’s most prolific developers though, so here’s to hoping they deliver the goods and give Vita owners a reason to be excited this holiday season.

 

 

 

Microsoft’s Xbox One Lineup  

The lead up to the Xbox One’s launch was somewhat rocky to say the least, as policies were reversed, messages were changed and even executives were changed. The removal of Kinect in June of this year was the turning point of the console for me though, and they have a very strong lineup of games to close Q4. Microsoft have locked down timed exclusive deals with Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed as well, although honestly both franchises have seen better days.

Forza Horizon 2 (Sep 30)

Forza Horizon 2

As I mentioned earlier when writing my piece on Driveclub, I have very little knowledge and interest in them. A lot of people do though and the Forza franchise has become a big staple for Microsoft that may have even taken over the number 2 spot from Gears of War. Forza Horizon 2 gets a week head start before Driveclub’s release, and it will be interesting to see which fares better both commercially and critically. It will also be out on the Xbox 360 as well, which should boost a few sales overall.

 

 

Fable Legends Beta (Oct 16) 

Fable Legends BetaEver since the brilliant Fable 3 launched almost four years ago in 2010, the franchise has gone in a new direction – and it hasn’t been for the better. Fable Heroes was a cute XBLA game that ultimately lacked depth, and Fable: The Journey was a Kinect-only game that can’t be faulted for ambition, but ultimately can be faulted for being an unresponsive Kinect game. Fable Legends is still an experiment in itself as it shifts focus from a singleplayer experience to a multiplayer centric one, and the beta could either win a lot of people over or lose them.

 

Sunset Overdrive (Oct 31)

Sunset OverdriveThere was a hole left in the heart of Playstation fans during Microsoft’s 2013 E3 press conference, the day Insomniac Games’ logo showed up to reveal they were in a partnership with Xbox. Sunset Overdrive looks to set the developer back on track after the bump in the road that was Fuse, and it looks like a pure blend of Infamous and Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding. It’s a shooter alright, but one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s been a long time since I’ve booted up my Xbox One and I think Sunset Overdrive is the perfect reason to boot it up again. This could be the start of something beautiful between Insomniac and Microsoft.

 

Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Nov 14) 

Halo MC CollectionWe was all expecting to see the announcement of Halo 2 Anniversary Edition at Microsoft’s E3 this year, right? And we got that.. but we wasn’t expecting to also be getting Halo 3, 4, Combat Evolved, the Nightfall digital series and access to the Halo 5: Guardians Beta all packed in as well. Phew. The Master Chief Collection certainly can’t be accused of lacking content and bang for your buck, then. I’m not even the biggest Halo fan – I’m much more of a Gears of War guy, actually – but how, if you’re a gamer, can you not be looking forward to the release of this behemoth?

 

 

So I think it’s fair to say that the Sony has the weakest lineup of the three then, with Nintendo leading the charge in first place and with Microsoft in a close second. Whether you’re a Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft fan – or two out of three or all three – there should be enough variety to keep you happy just in time for christmas.

The 20 Hottest Games Of Q4 2014

As us gamers know, Q4 – the three month period between October and the end of the year – is the prime time slot for videogame releases. It’s Christmas time, and generally speaking it’s also  the time where people aren’t as tight with their wallets, making it the perfect time to close out the year with a slew of new releases. Each and every year I ponder as to why some smaller games risk releasing and getting lost in the shuffle with bigger budget, bigger name titles such as your Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed etc, but alas I’m not a videogame developer or publisher, just a consumer with an appetite to play a wide array of games. And luckily for me there certainly isn’t a lack of games being released between now (September 7) and the end of the year. So below I’ve compiled a list for you – and myself – with what I believe are the top 20 games being released in Q4. And yes you may notice that there is no Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty in my list, and no it’s not because I’m a ‘hipster’ that doesn’t play AAA games, it’s simply because only 20 games could make the cut and I think the Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed franchises have seen better days. So, shall we begin?

20) Massive Chalice (PC/Mac – Q4 2014)

Massive Challice

Well somebody had to come in last place, but hey – at least it made the cut. I’m not the biggest PC gamer but the fact that this game is being developed by Double Fine, it at least has my interest. I actually backed Massive Chalice on Kickstarter over a year ago when the Double Fine/Kickstarter craze first began, so my money has already been spent and I’m not getting it back, regardless of how the game turns out.

 

19) Costume Quest 2 (Multiplatform – Oct 7) 

Costume Quest 2

I liked the first Costume Quest, but I didn’t love it. It had a cute and fun premise with a humorous story, however it was the repetitiveness of the game’s combat that let it down. I’ve got to admit that I was surprised to hear a sequel was being made, given that Double Fine doesn’t usually do sequels, but here’s to hoping the issues from the first game get ironed out.

 

18) Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric / Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (Wii U/3DS – Nov 21) 

sonic boomHow many times has Sonic been reimagined, re-skinned and/or rebooted? I don’t know, but it seems like a lot. And with each new iteration, it just feels like Sonic fans are the ones losing out. However, with the 3DS and Wii U versions launching simultaneously and with a TV show to follow, I’m willing to go out on a limb here and say that Sonic Boom looks like the reboot that might actually pay off for the series. Fingers crossed right up until release day though, because Sonic fans have been let down plenty of times in the past.

 

17 Freedom Wars (PS Vita – Oct 29) 

Freedom Wars

It’s very disheartening to know that the Playstation Vita isn’t even three years old and Sony seems to have all but given up on it. Freedom Wars is the highest-selling Vita game in Japan though, but whether it will be received as well in the west remains to be seen. Outside of Freedom Wars there really isn’t any exclusive games for Vita owners to get excited about, so it really does have a lot of weight on its shoulders. SCE Japan are one of Sony’s most prolific developers though, so here’s to hoping they deliver the goods and give Vita owners a reason to be excited this holiday season.

 

 

16) Run Sackboy! Run! (PS Vita, IOS, Android – Oct 2014) 

Run Sackboy Run

There’s not exactly a shortage of endless runners on the app store, but don’t take that as a complaint; especially not when there’s gems like Rayman Jungle Run on the market. So who’s to say Sackboy can’t join in on the fun and wet the appetite before the release of Little Big Planet 3? Sounds like a smart move to me, especially if it’s free!

 

15) Game of Thrones (PC, PS3, 360 – 2014) 

Game of Thrones

I was very skeptical when Telltale Games announced they were making a Game of Thrones videogame, and actually I still am skeptical. Why? Well firstly because their previous games The Walking Dead and Fables are comic books that fit Telltale Games’ art style, making it a smooth transition from paper to Playstation, whereas Game of Thrones is very realistic visually, therefore I don’t think it will work with a comic book art style. Secondly, it’s slated to be released this year but yet all we’ve had is a teaser trailer. Stranger things have happened in the videogame industry but honestly I can see this one being delayed to 2015.

 

14) Tales From The Borderlands (Multiplatform – Q4 2014) Tales From The Borderlands 

Admittedly I’m not the biggest Borderlands fan out there. I find the gunplay to be unbearably repetitive – especially when playing alone – and I find it to be needlessly hard in parts. However I do like the art style and the humour of the game, which is why I’m very much looking forward to seeing the Telltale Games do something different with the franchise outside of repetitive shooting.

 

13) Broken Age Act 2 (PC/Mac – Q4 2014)                                                                               

Broken Age Act 2Tim Schafer has a bit of a (bad) reputation for failing to hit deadlines. Although he also has a reputation for making great games – and he proved that once again with act 1 of Broken Age. I’m sure it was said in one of the Kickstarter backer documentaries that Act 2 of Broken Age was scheduled to be released in April 2014, but here we are five months later in September and there’s still not a set-in-stone release date. I wouldn’t be surprised if Act 2 gets pushed back to 2015, but honestly I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

 

12) The Evil Within (Multiplatform – Oct 13) 

The Evil WithinShinji Mikami. A name that should resonate well with gamers, as the creator of the Resident Evil Series can pretty much be called the creator of the survival horror genre in videogames. The only reason this game isn’t higher up on the list is because Shinji – while having made some classic games – has also made some real duds, particularly with his last release Shadows of the Damned. It will be playable at this years Eurogamer Expo in Earls Court and it will be the first game I plan to play. So whilst it currently sits in the number 12 spot of my most anticipated releases, that could very well change after some hands on time.

 

11) Killer Instinct Season 2 (Xbox One – Oct 15) 

KI Season 2Season 1 of the rebooted Killer Instinct was my first time playing the Killer Instinct franchise, and I soon found out that it isn’t particularly noob-friendly. Even though I suck at the game and I didn’t find the combat/combo system to be accessible for casual fighting game players like myself, I still loved the game and really sunk some time into it. The outlandish and interesting characters with the game’s great graphics are what appealed to me most, and I can’t wait to see more of the same in season 2.

 

10) Hotline Miami 2 (Multiplatform – Q4 2014) 

Hotline Miami 2As I said earlier, I’m not the biggest PC gamer. I generally tend to ignore the PC marketplace as a whole, but when Hotline Miami came out in 2012 it had garnered enough buzz critically and commercially that I couldn’t help but be intrigued. Fortunately the game was ported to Playstation Vita in June of last year and I believe it to be one of Playstation Vita’s best game. Fortunately Hotline Miami 2 will be launching concurrently on Playstation platforms with the PC release this time, but again it’s another game that we haven’t heard too much from and I have to question if we will see it see this year.

 

9) The Witness (PC, PS4 – Q4 2014) 

The WitnessBraid was a special game. Jonathan Blow is a special game developer. Braid was the first Xbox Live Arcade Game I ever purchased, and it was the first game – upon release in 2008 – that set a trend for years to come with the increased popularity of not only independent videogame developers, but the increased quality of indie games, too. It’s been a long time since Braid was first released though – over six years, in fact – and his second game, The Witness, has been a long time coming. Thankfully the wait is almost over for Jonathan Blow’s second game, and I’ve got a good feeling that it could be a contender for game of the year.

 

 

8) Super Smash Bros. (3DS Oct 3 – Wii U Q4 2014) 

Super Smash BrosYou know the formula by now: Nintendo characters – and some third party characters – brawl in a variety of 2D stages. So simplistically brilliant and no coincidence that the game sells in abundance with each new iteration. Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Wii U will be the fourth and fifth entry in the series, and I have no doubt that the Wii U version will be universally loved by Nintendo fans, but it’s actually the 3DS version that I’m most looking forward to. It will be the first time Smash Bros. is playable on a handheld and I’m interested to see how it fares as a predominantly singleplayer experience.

 

7) Ori and the Blind Forest (Xbox One, PC – Q4 2014) 

Ori and the blond forestE3 is the place for the big developers and publishers to showcase their games, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the debut of Ori and the Blind Forest during Microsoft’s press conference this year. And it’s a testament, really, that Ori was the one game that stuck in my mind when the conference was over, considering the amount of game trailers that were shows. It seems like most indie games have fled to the Playstation 4 and Vita either as exclusives or timed exclusives, but it looks like Microsoft may have secured themselves a gem with Ori.

 

6) LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS4, PS3 – Nov 19) 

Little Big Planet 3I’m sure there are some diehard LBP fans out there that were disappointed to find out that Media Molecule has moved on from the franchise, but the reveal trailer at E3 should have put some minds at ease. It certainly looks like a LittleBigPlanet game – which is a good thing – but this time some friends of Sackboy are coming along for the ride to shake up the formula. With The Order: 1886 being pushed back to next year, there really is a weight on Sackboy’s shoulders this holiday season, as it’s now just one of two big Playstation 4 Games – with the other being Driveclub – that are going to have to bring home the bacon for Sony in Q4.

 

5) Sunset Overdrive (Xbox One – Oct 31) 

Sunset OverdriveThere was a hole left in the heart of Playstation fans during Microsoft’s 2013 E3 press conference, the day Insomniac Games’ logo showed up to reveal they were in a partnership with Xbox. Sunset Overdrive looks to set the developer back on track after the bump in the road that was Fuse, and it looks like a pure blend of Infamous and Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding. It’s a shooter alright, but one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s been a long time since I’ve booted up my Xbox One and I think Sunset Overdrive is the perfect reason to boot it up again.

 

4) Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (3DS – Nov 28)

Pokemon Omega RubyRuby and Saphire are by far my favourite generation of Pokémon games. I have very fond memories of my 9/10 year old self playing Ruby and Sapphire with my friends on our Game Boy Advances at TGI Fridays one night and then on another night at a friend’s house for a sleepover.   So yes I am very much looking forward to be taking a trip down nostalgia lane with Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, and I can’t wait to be addicted to Pokémon once again.

 

3) WWE 2K15 (Multiplatform – Oct 31) 

WWe 2K15I’ve got a good feeling about this year’s WWE outing from 2K Games. Yes it is essentially a rebranding, updated and improved version of last year’s game – much like every other sport game – but this is the first WWE game for next generation consoles and it’s also the first time Sting will step foot into a WWE ring (albeit in a videogame). The new rivalry mode looks to match the excellent attitude era and 30 years of Wrestlemania modes from WWE ’12 and ’13, and the only real disappointment is that this year’s special edition is a Hulkamania edition, not a Sting centric edition – which, you know, would have made sense given that it’s kind of a big deal that Sting is with the WWE in some way, shape or form for the very first time.

 

2) Bayonetta 2 (Wii U – Oct 24)

Bayonetta 2

 

Bayonetta is one of my favourite games of all time. And it’s no coincidence that the developer – Platinum Games – is also one of my favourite developers. And honestly, it wasn’t until recently that I really got excited about the sequel, thanks to the recent Bayonetta 2 dedicated Nintendo Direct. It looks like more of the same zaniness from the first game but like every good sequel it looks to be bigger, better and more badass (thanks Cliffy B).

 

 

 

1) Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Xbox One – Nov 14) 

Halo MC CollectionWe was all expecting to see the announcement of Halo 2 Anniversary Edition at Microsoft’s E3 this year, right? And we got that.. but we wasn’t expecting to also be getting Halo 3, 4, Combat Evolved, the Nightfall digital series and access to the Halo 5: Guardians Beta all packed in as well. Phew. The Master Chief Collection certainly can’t be accused of lacking content and bang for your buck, then. I’m not even the biggest Halo fan – I’m much more of a Gears of War guy, actually – but how, if you’re a gamer, can you not be looking forward to the release of this behemoth?

 

 

So there you have it. Those are my top 20 games I’m most looking forward to between now and the end of 2014. Whether or not all of them will actually see the light of day in 2014 is doubtful, but maybe that’s a good thing for gamers’ bank accounts.

Comparing September’s Playstation Plus To Xbox’s Games With Gold

It’s that time of the month again! Yes, that time. The time where Playstation Plus and Xbox Live Gold members rejoice as Sony and Microsoft give us our free games for the month. But which subscription service has the best offering for the month of September: Playstation Plus or Xbox Live Gold? There’s only one way to find out.. Read on below!

Velocity 2X (PS4) VS Super Time Force (X-One)         

Super Time Force

 

I bought Super Time Force for the Xbox 360 before I bought my Xbox One, so I’m glad to see I don’t have to pay for it again. And having played throughout it again I can gladly say that Super Time Force is the best game on Xbox One and is currently my frontrunner for game of the year. It looks great, has a fun soundtrack, has quirky characters and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Oh, and it’s also hard as nails. You’re guaranteed to have a great… time playing it.

 

Velocity 2XI played Velocity and it’s upgraded version Velocity Ultra on the Playstation Vita and thought they were the perfect fit for Sony’s handheld. I was planning to do the same with Velocity 2X, but I actually ended up playing about 90% of it on the PS4. It just looked so good on the big screen and felt so right with the dualshock 4  that I couldn’t put it down. If you’re familiar with the Velocity series then it’s more of the same space shooter goodness, but this you can actually leave the ship, as platform elements have been added. I wouldn’t say Velocity 2X is Playstation 4’s best game, but I would say it would be up there in the top four or five.

Sportsfriends (PS4) VS Crimson Dragon (X-One)

sportsfriends

Upside: you don’t need to like sports to play this game. Downside: if, like me, you’re predominantly a single-player gamer, then I’m you’re out of luck because this is local multiplayer only. If you do have friends though, (which I’m sure you do) then this game is an absolute blast. Possibly the most fun since Wii Sports, but perhaps a little too late in the Playstation Move’s lifecycle to make the save.

 

crimson dragon

 

Full disclosure: I only played Crimson Dragon for around 15 minutes or so. So no, I can’t judge the full game. Why I only played 15 minutes though? Because it was a lifeless on-rails shooter that has got to be the worst looking game on Xbox One. So yes I am disappointed in Microsoft for overlapping it into this month’s Games With Gold – even though it was an offering from last month – and no I won’t be playing it again this month.

 

 

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3) VS Halo Reach (X-360)

Playstation all-stars

Can you believe it has been almost two years (November 20, 2012) since Playstation All-Stars first released? Sadly it was a game that came and went without much staying power from the Playstation faithful – and that’s a disappointment considering it’s essentially a dream game for hardcore Playstation fans. It makes me sad just thinking about it actually that the game only reached 1 million sales. And not to say that 1 million copies sold is a bad feat by any means, but in comparison to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros series that sells in abundance, it’s no surprise we haven’t seen a sequel. But hey, on the upside it’s free, and here’s to hoping that one day we do see a sequel.

 

Halo Reach

 

We’re just a little over two months away from Halo: The Master Chief Collection, so it was a real smart move by Microsoft to release the prequel to all four games included in the collection and wet the appetite even more for Halo fans. This month will also mark the four year point from when it was first released in 2010, and it feels just like yesterday that I was playing it for the first time in the multiplayer beta. Time just flies by some time doesn’t it? Given that it’s free this month, I wonder how many people will be playing multiplayer given that Destiny is out this month, too?

 

Hoard (PS3) VS Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine (X-360)

Hoard PS3

Ok, hands up; who had never heard of this game before it was announced on this month’s PS Plus lineup? (My hand is raised.) Admittedly before writing this piece I only played about 10-15 minutes of Hoard to get a feel for it, but honestly that 10-15 minutes might be the only time I ever spend with the game. The short of it is this: It’s a top-down game where you play as a dragon and you have to wreck havoc on a village and collect as much gold as possible. What is it with dragons and bad games this month? It’s certainly the weakest of this month’s PS Plus lineup, but hey, 5 out of 6 isn’t bad and it’s certainly better than Xbox’s 3 out of 4.

monaco

 

I actually bought Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine when it came out in May of last year, but I honestly can’t remember a whole lot about it. That may be a bad sign but actually I think I don’t remember much about it because it was a fairly short game that I completed in a few days and also just because I play a lot of games and have a bad memory. But having played through a bit of it to jog my memory, it’s a less difficult, less violent Hotline Miami, but with it’s own 8-bit blocky art style and ambient soundtrack. Don’t let this one go over your head, folks.

 

Playstation Vita: TxK, Joe Danger

TXK

Considering Microsoft doesn’t have a handheld console on the market and considering that Nintendo doesn’t offer a paid subscription service, the Playstation Vita has no real competition in regard to its two free (or more) games each month. As well as Playstation All-Stars and Velocity 2X being available to play on PS Vita, this month’s Vita exclusive game offerings are TxK and Joe Danger. TxK is a remake of Tempest 2000 and is a mechanically simple space shooter that you might play here and there for five minutes at a time, but honestly it isn’t meaty enough to hold on to for any longer.

Joe Danger ps vita

There’s been so many iterations of Joe Danger across numerous platforms that at this point I’m losing track. What I do know is that Joe Danger Vita offers Joe Danger 1 and 2 and it’s the perfect fit for Vita. And you get to play as Sackboy from Little Big Planet and Iotah from Tearaway.

 

Games With Gold September 2014

 

 

 

 

 

So once again Playstation offers three more free games than Microsoft does for the second straight month in a row, with the Vita having no handheld competition and also thanks to Microsoft disappointingly rolling over a game from last month’s GWG promotion in Crimson Dragon. We’re still waiting for Microsoft to make good on their promise and give us two free Xbox One Games each month instead of rolling one over from the previous month, but until then they’ve got a lot of catching up to do with Playstation’s superior offering. However, it is still a strong month for Microsoft with Super Time Force leading the charge on Xbox One and with Halo: Reach on the Xbox 360, and it rivals Sony’s two biggest offerings of Velocity 2X on Playstation 4 and Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale on the PS3.

Playstation Plus September 2014

 

Four First-Party Sony Studios That Could Reboot Crash Bandicoot

It’s hard to believe that everyone’s favourite bandicoot is eighteen this year, but yet unlike most 18th birthday celebrations, there doesn’t seem to be much cause for celebration; there hasn’t been any sign of Crash in quite some time (he was last seen on the Playstation 3 in Crash: Mind Over Mutant in 2008.) We know Activision have the rights to the franchise, but Crash obviously isn’t on the top of their priority list. Now with this is mind it got me thinking – what if Sony brought back the rights to Crash Bandicoot? And just who would develop it?

 

1) Insomniac Games  (Spyro The Dragon, Ratchet & Clank) 

Crash:Spyro

In the mid-to-late 90s there was only one other game that rivalled the popularity of Playstation’s mascot, and that rival was Insomniac’s purple dragon Spyro. Although Insomniac – much like Naughty Dog – focused on more mature games during the Playstation 3’s lifecycle with the Resistance franchise, they’re no stranger to action platformers as they’re also the team behind the popular Ratchet and Clank series. It would certainly be interesting to see the creators of Spyro take on Crash Bandicoot, even if it is a long shot.

2) SCE Japan (Puppeteer, Knack)

Knack:Crash Bandicoot

The chances of Sony giving the rights of Crash to a prolific Japanese studio is doubtful, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think of the possibilities. Knack was a simple yet under appreciated Playstation 4 launch game, and it’s a game that I feel people may have been too harsh on. Sure it didn’t reinvent the wheel of what a 3D action platformer should be, but its simplicity was executed well and it introduced a great, quirky new character to the Playstation ecosystem in Knack. Also, the director of Knack – Mark Cerny – was the creative director of Crash Bandicoot. A coincidence? I think not.

 

3) Media Molecule (Little Big Planet, Tearaway)

Crash Bandicoot LBP

Media Molecule are certainly the most AAA creative team out there today, and along with their creativity that they bring to their games is their charm. They’ve proved they can do 2.5D platformers with LBP and they’ve also proved that they can do 3D platformers with Tearaway (Playstation Vita’s best game, if you didn’t already know). Is creativity and charm what the Crash Bandicoot needs? Or does it need to go back to its roots?…

 

4) Naughty Dog (Crash Bandicoot) 

Naughty Dog

An obvious pick, but who better to reboot the franchise than the studio that created it? It does seem unlikely, however, that Naughty Dog would take on Crash again, given their more recent approach to AAA blockbuster mature games in the Uncharted series and The Last Of Us. It would be nice to see Crash come home after all these years though would it not?

So that’s it! That’s my four picks for who should take on Crash Bandicoot if Sony was to regain the rights and reboot the franchise? Who would you like to see take on the Crash Bandicoot franchise?

Envisioning A Gears of War Collection For Xbox One

When gamers think of Xbox, they think Halo. It’s Microsoft’s number 1 exclusive franchise and has been ever since Halo: Combat Evolved first arrived on the scene in 2001. Master Chief is the face of the company – their poster boy, their golden goose – and doesn’t seem to be running out of steam. And here we are in 2014 on the brink of Halo 2’s 10th anniversary and its being celebrated in style. At this year’s E3 – as if you haven’t already heard – Microsoft unveiled Halo: The Master Chief Collection for the Xbox One. Not only graphically remastering Halo 2’s campaign and select multiplayer maps, but also included is Halo: CE Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 4, the Halo 5: Guardians beta and the Halo: Nightfall digital series. A pretty cool treat if you ask me and I’m sure Halo fans will agree.

Halo; The Master Chief Collection

 

So now that Halo is receiving the full works, what about Microsoft’s number 2 exclusive franchise Gears of War? We know Microsoft now owns the franchise after purchasing the rights from Epic Games, and we also know the newly formed Black Tusk Studios is working on the next iteration in the Gears of War franchise. But before you know it November 2016 will be upon us, and not only is that a potential release date for the next iteration of Gears, it will also mark the 10th anniversary of Gears of War 1. And as of writing this a Gears of War collection is the second most requested post on Xbox’s feedback website, only being beaten out by people wanting backwards compatibility with the Xbox 360. There’s a demand for it to happen then, and only time will tell if it actually does. Regardless though, this post is just one Gears fan’s vision and potential ideas what the collection could include.

Gears Collection Vote

1) Dedicated Servers For Gears 1 & 2. 

Gears of War 2’s multiplayer is well documented upon fans, and anyone who played it at launch will tell you one thing: it was broken. Lag plagued Gears of War 2’s multiplayer upon launch, to people spawning without a weapon, ridiculous bullet delay even to the point where you had no other choice but to quit – and possibly for good. Many gamers quit Gears of War 2’s multiplayer because of the online issues it had and it may have even been such a bad online experience for some that they never returned; and dare I say the experience was off-putting enough that they might have even quit the franchise for good. Plus Call of Duty: World at War also released in the same month as Gears of War 2 so potentially there was a lot of players that switch over to Cod and players just never returned. Epic obviously learned from their mistake as Gears of War 3 and Judgement had dedicated servers and GoW 3 even had a public multiplayer beta six months prior to launch.

Gears of War 1’s multiplayer didn’t always run smoothly either, however it faired much better because players could choose to host or join a game, whereas GoW 2 seemed to select the host randomly and subsequently caused problems when the host’s connection was weak. This is why it’s pivotal for the Gears Collection to have dedicated servers, and it may even entice players who originally played GoW 2’s multiplayer but quit  early on and never returned.

Broken Gears of War 2 Disc

2) Horde Mode For Gears 1 

Ignoring the lag in GoW 2’s multiplayer for a second and you may remember that GoW 2 introduced the now fan-favourite Horde mode. Now purists out there that regard Gears 1 to be best Gears game may want to see it stay untouched, however I don’t think many will complain about the addition of a new mode, especially when Horde has proven to work – and work well – on many of Gears 1’s maps that were remastered for Gears 2 and 3. So yes, Canals, Gridlock, Mansion, Subway, Tyro Station, Fuel Depot and War Machine were all remade and playable in Horde mode for Gears 2, and Bullet Marsh, Raven Down, Clocktower and Gridlock were playable in Hoarde 2.0 in Gears 3, leaving the question as to why there would even to be Hoarde in Gears 1? Well there’s still plenty of Gears 1 maps that have never been remastered and playable on Horde mode, and those maps are Mausoleum, Rooftops, Old Bones, Garden and Process. Gears of War: Judgement never had a horde mode either but it did have the somewhat similar Survival mode.

Gears 1's 10th anniversary

3) Beta Access For Gears of War 4

Now this one’s obviously going to depend on when Black Tusk plans to release Gears of War 4. It may even launch before November 2016, therefore an inclusion of beta access in the GoW collection is out of the question. However, if Gears 4 isn’t released by the end of 2016 then the inclusion of a multiplayer beta is a logical one. The Gears 3 beta was a great treat for the fans to get hands on with the multiplayer early and wet the appetite before the game’s actual release, as well as providing Epic with player feedback and statistics.

gears 3 beta

4) It Would Be a Test For Black Tusk To See Which Gears Game Is Most Popular

Including all four Gears of War games into one package could be a very interesting experiment, especially in terms of the multiplayer side of things. Black Tusk could very easily monitor the popularity of each Gears game online and could then mould the multiplayer in Gears 4 around whichever game has the most active multiplayer community. If the collection was to release on GoW 1’s 10th anniversary then of course a lot of the focus would already be on Gears 1 and therefore people would be more naturally inclined to play for nostalgia, but Black Tusk could also see which maps and modes are popular too.

Black Tusk

5) A Developer Diary Video Celebrating Gears’ 10th Anniversary   

Yes maybe casual gamers who pick up the Gears collection would just rather play the game(s), but for hardcore fans that have been there from the start, a peek behind the curtain to see how the sausage was made is always interesting. There was a great developer diary included in the special edition of Gears 2, and this time they could take it one step further by interviewing current employees at Black Tusk to ex employees at Epic, and, of course, an interview with the Gears of War Godfather Cliff Blezinski would be a nice treat for fans as well now that he’s moved away from the Gears franchise.

Cliffy B

6) Team Deathmatch for Gears 1 and 2

Adding Team Deathmatch to Gears 3 was probably the biggest risk Epic has made on the multiplayer side of things (excluding the exclusion of Locust from multiplayer in GoW: Judgement, that is). Gears of War 1 and 2 was mainly built around round-by-round multiplayer, and if you died early on in a match then, well, you had to spectate for the remainder of the round. That was the price you paid, until Team Deathmatch came into the fold. Gears of War, to me, will always be about it’s two core multiplayer modes – Execution and Warzone – however the risk of including TDM has obviously paid off as it’s proved to be a wildly popular mode in both GoW 3 and Judgement, right up until to the moment I’m writing this where most people are playing TDM. In this day and age of fast-paced first-person shooters like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo and now even Titanfall, players have become accustomed to respawning instantly after dying, and the thought of having to watch a teammate whilst dead instead of jumping right back into the fold is a daunting one – especially to casual players. I can’t imagine diehard Gears fans would like to see TDM in Gears 1 or 2 – especially not in 1 – but again, if it’s included and proves to be the most popular mode, then it could be a risk worth taking.

Gears 1 Multiplayer

7) A Kill-Cam And Video Editor

Gears of War 2 allowed you to take photos when you were spectating in multiplayer, but I really feel like Gears has needed to step up for a while now and include a full in-game video capture and editor. If you get an amazing headshot or clutch 4v1 and you want the world to see it then you should be able to do just that. And what about being able to edit your own videos too? Everyone loves a good montage, but what about a comedic video series? The possibilities are endless with video. Plus Black Tusk could run weekly video series such as top ten kills of the week, top players of the week, and biggest fails of the week, which would not only be fun for the community but they could involve them by allowing players to vote and by rewarding active players in the community.   A kill-cam seems like an obvious inclusion to me also, as it would be nice to see from the perspective of the player who killed you, especially if it’s a nice headshot or a frag grenade thrown from afar. Kill-cams have been prevalent in first-person shooters for many years now but not so much in third-person shooters. Plus it would mean that ultimate end of round humiliation for the player that’s killed as they’d have to watch themselves being killed.

gears photo mode

 

So there you have it. There are my seven things I’d like to see included in the (as of right now hypothetical) Gears of War Collection. But what would you like to see in a Gears of War Collection? Would you even want one at all? Be sure to let me know on Twitter @icon162. Thanks guys, I hoped you enjoyed reading it!

Has The Delay of Watchdogs and Driveclub Tipped The Scales in The Xbox One’s Favour?

ps4 xbox one

 

Not only did Watchdogs get delayed earlier this week, but the PS4 exclusive Driveclub did as well. That’s minus two big games for the PS4. Watchdogs isn’t a PS4 exclusive and this is also a minus for anyone who has the Xbox One version on pre-order, however this is a much bigger blow for PS4 owners. The PS4/Watchdogs bundle was reportedly the most pre-ordered bundle around the world, therefore stores and websites were having to contact everyone with that bundle on pre-order to give them the sad news. Those picking up Playstation Plus and expecting the PS Plus edition of Driveclub are also left out in the cold, then, too. What if Watchdogs and Driveclub were the two games they were going to pick up on launch day? Disappointment is what. Their pre-order is secure, sure, but are they going to want a PS4 now? Are Killzone: Shadowfall and Knack strong enough to compete against the Xbox One’s Forza Motorsport 5, Killer Instinct, Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome?

 

Although It’s too early to jump the gun and say which console is going to have the better games until they’re actually out, from a buyer’s perspective Xbox One has more exclusive games; which isn’t something we could say about the Xbox 360 throughout this whole current generation. As it stands the PS4 has 32 playable games at launch, and the Xbox One has 21. (It should be noted that some games that are included on the PS4’s list are already available to buy on the PS3.) It’s going to come down to quality over quantity at the end of the day, but having more games to play at launch is something that Sony surely won’t shy away from boasting about. All’s fair in love and console war, after all.

ps4 bundles

Minus the Watchdogs and Driveclub bundles

I’ve heard some people say that both launch line-ups aren’t particularly strong. To those people, I point them to previous console launches. Even with the absence of Watchdogs and Driveclub, this is one of the strongest launch line-ups ever for a console. The absence of blockbusters like Watchdogs and Driveclub now gives the chance of two Playstation Network games to step up to the plate: Resogun and Contrast. Both games have now been added to the Playstation Plus Instant Game Collection, and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from this generation, it’s that everyone loves a free game. Sony have focused a lot of their Playstation 4 promotion towards Indie games and developers, and what better way to get people interested, who may of otherwise been skeptical about these two unheard of new IPs, than to give them away for free.

 

I also can’t help but feel that the Driveclub delay might actually help Driveclub out in the long-run. Gran Turismo is Playstation’s top exclusive and biggest seller, and with GT6 coming out so soon after the Playstation 4’s launch – December 6  – some racing fans may have skipped on Driveclub and opted to wait for Gran Turismo anyway. Now, though, Evolution Studios don’t run the risk of having Driveclub be overshadowed by GT6, and not forgetting that it may have been out-shined by the hugely popular Forza Motorsport 5. There’s usually a drought of games after a console launch, but now though Driveclub can stand on its own and release at any time during the first half of 2014 where it’s going to be in competition with very little else.

A whopping £80 more expensive than the standard PS4 unit.

A whopping £80 more expensive than the standard PS4 unit.

 

So it’s not all doom and gloom, then. In fact, the light at the end of the tunnel is bright in spite of these delays. I’d be very interested to know what you think of the recent delays, and I’d also be interested to know if you are or aren’t picking up an Xbox One or PS4. Feel free to use the comment section below or get in touch with me on Twitter @icon162

 

 

 

Out This Week

Welcome to another addition of Out This Week, the weekly feature that highlights the week’s biggest new releases in videogames and movies. So read on below to see what’s out, what’s hot and what’s not.

Videogames: 

The Last Of Us DLC – Abandoned Territories Map Pack (PS3) 

TLOU Map Pack

The first batch of DLC launched for The Last Of Us this week, but while it wasn’t the single-player component – which we want the most – we are getting four new maps to play on the great multiplayer mode for £7.99. Even though I’m not a big fan of season passes, I am tempted by The Last Of Us’. They haven’t released what the other two pieces of DLC are going to be included in the £16 DLC, though it’s bound to be another map pack and, hopefully, the single-player component. You also get a 90 minute making of video to sweeten the deal.

Sonic Lost World (3DS/Wii U) 

sonic lost world

There’s been a lot of Sonic games. A lot. At this point in time, there’s more bad Sonic games than there are good ones. Although I only played a short demo at this year’s Eurogamer Expo and I haven’t played the full game yet, I can say that Sonic: Lost World is no Mario Galaxy, unfortunately, that some fans may have been hoping for. It’s received very polarising reviews around the board, though, and it currently holds a 62 rating on Metacritic. So, not the worst rated Sonic game by any stretch of the animation, and maybe a good one to get the kids for Christmas. Speaking of games for kids…

 

Skylanders Swap Force (Wii/3DS/Wii U/360/PS3) 

skylanders swap force

I’ve never played a Skylanders game and I probably never will, because the games aren’t exactly targeted at twenty-year-old males, though If I was a little kid again then I know Skylanders Swap Force would’ve been the talk of the playground. The game looks colourful and fun enough, and it’s actually outshining Sonic with an 85 rating on Metacritic. Interestingly enough it’s been released on the Wii — is anyone still playing their Wii?

 

Movies: 

Captain Phillips  

Tom Hanks Captain Phillips

It seems like it’s been a while since I’ve seen Tom Hanks in a film, and I almost – almost – forgot how good of an actor he really is. Never have I seen an actor portray someone in a state of shock of so well. It’s a powerful film that’s made even more tense just knowing that it’s based on a true story. If you don’t know the true story of what happened to Captain Phillips, then you’ll probably be better off going into the film not knowing the outcome. The pirates in the film all deserve credit as well for bringing the story to life and commanding as much screen time as Hanks. One of this year’s best.

 

Escape Plan 

escape plan

Both Arnie and Stallone have been in their fair share of poor movies as of late (excluding Expendables, of course) but, believe it or not, Escape Plan is the first movie that sees these two action icons slug it out in a good old fashion prison fisty-cuffs. Why on earth 50 Cent is playing a computer expert in the film is beyond me, though, and those who have seen the film are reporting that he’s terrible in it. So listen up, singers/musicians: stop being terrible in movies. Yes, I’m talking to you, Rihanna. Rant over. If you do like your action meaty and your story cheesy, then Escape Plan is the one for you at the cinema this weekend.

 

That’s it for this week, guys, but be sure to check back next week to see what’s being released in the world of videogames and movies.