Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1

The Dawn of All-Out War

Battlefield 1 blew up the internet when it was originally announced earlier this year, and saying it blew Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare out of the water would be an understatement. For some reason, people seemed to be craving boots on the ground/World War 1 shooters, and DICE listened. So does Battlefield 1 live up to the the hype? Or is it just another flop much like Hardline was? Battlefield 1 excels in some areas, and others, well, not so much.

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Battlefield 1 treats World War 1 with respect, while still not shying away from the horrors that took place.

A Short War Story

Battlefield’s 1 campaign comes in the form of War Stories, where you can play 6 different War Stories set during World War 1. They last about 45-60 minutes each, racking up to a total of about 5-6 hours of playtime. Each War Story is varied, and has a different set of characters, but this unfortunately works against what War Stories was going for as a campaign mode. There simply isn’t enough time spent with the cast of the 6 stories, and there’s only 2 or 3 characters that I really grew to like, for the game to do away with them quickly. It’s just disappointing because Battlefield 1 had so much potential to have an incredible campaign, it’s just a shame corners were cut instead and this is what we got. It simply isn’t long enough, isn’t engaging enough, characters don’t get the time to develop, and while they are varied, I found myself enjoying some War Stories a lot more than others. War Stories leaves a lot to be desired, which is incredibly disappointing when you realise the potential Battlefield 1 had for an epic campaign, I can see where DICE wanted to go with the theme and unrelated plots, but it just doesn’t work out.

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Battlefield 1’s levels of destruction are a marvel to look at.

The War to end all Wars

Battlefield 1’s gameplay, while very safe, is incredibly entertaining, and has a few new tweaks that make small but somewhat meaningful differences. It’s nothing genre-bending, and for the most part it’s just more Battlefield, but that definitely isn’t a bad thing. The World War 1 era does a lot for Battlefield’s 1 setting, weapons feel impactful, satisfying, and truly of the era the game so respectfully borrows from. Melee combat is brutal and fast, with varying weapons and potential bayonet charges. The weapons act the way you would assume you would, while still keeping gameplay fast paced and entertaining. Vehicles are an absolute joy to control and use, flying Bi-Planes is exhilarating to say the least, and tanks feel like an entire army when you’re in control of one. Where Battlefield 1 really shines, is in it’s incredibly multiplayer. It’s fast paced, frenetic, fairly well balanced, and while it lacks content, it definitely doesn’t feel bare-bones. It has your common class based combat, and each class has different primaries to use, the one problem I have with the class based system is that there simply aren’t enough weapons to unlock and work towards. Battlefield 1 ships with new and old modes such as Conquest, Team-Deathmatch, Domination, Rush, War Pigeons, and last but definitely not least, Operations. Conquest is one of Battlefield’s classic modes, with two teams going head to head over capture points, on a large map with vehicles, and multiple spawn points. Team-Deathmatch and domination are fairly self explanatory if you’ve played a multiplayer shooter before, and Rush puts two teams against one another, while one team tries to plant and detonate bombs, while the other team tries to defend against the other team and disarm any planted bombs. War Pigeons is somewhat of a gimmick mode, with either team frantically trying to capture a pigeon in order to write a note and send it back to HQ, it’s entertaining for a few games, but gets old quick. Operations on the other hand is handled extremely well. It takes very realistic scenarios from the war, and one team has to attack another by capturing points, taking territory, and pushing the other team back to their home base. Operation games take about 45 minutes, but they’re always entertaining to play. Battlefield 1’s maps are open, beautiful, and for the most part destructible, providing a battleground that is ever changing as the match goes on. The level of destruction here is incredible, and it’s really hard not to watch a blimp fall from the sky in an explosion of flames and debris. One new tweak to the Battlefield formula is the addition of character kits, similar to the ones found in Star Wars Battlefront. They spawn on the map at random intervals, providing players with armour, flamethrowers and more. They’re extremely strong, and have potential to change the tide of a match, but they aren’t as unbalanced as they were in Battlefront. Battlefield’s 1 gameplay definitely isn’t lacklustre, just don’t expect anything revolutionary.

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An armoured train barges through one of the multiplayer maps halfway through a match, which is quite the spectacle. 

The Beauty of War

If there’s one thing that you can rely on with Battlefield, it’s that each and every time a new game is released, it’s a technical marvel, and Battlefield 1 is no deviation in that regard. Battlefield 1 looks incredibly, and is easily one of the most beautiful current-gen games out right now. On Playstation 4, the game runs at 900P, 60 FPS, albeit a very inconsistent 60FPS. Sometimes the game just can’t keep up with everything on the screen, causing some slow down, but it’s definitely not a deal breaker. One thing that really stood out to me was the attention to detail, with mud caking my guns when I was near the ground, and rain water would wash it all off again, I was consistently blown away by the little things. One thing that Battlefield 1 gets perfect is it’s sound design. Battlefield 1 sounds absolutely amazing, and I absolutely love the sound of firing round after round, with artillery going off in the distance, and Bi-Planes flying over your head. It all sounds beautiful, and it’s all handled so damn well.

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The amount of detail in Battlefield 1 is absolutely mind blowing. 

Verdict: 8/10

Battlefield 1 is definitely the boots on the ground shooter Battlefield fans have been waiting for. While it’s multiplayer, visuals, sound design, and gameplay is handled exceptionally well, a very mediocre campaign, inconsistent frame-rate, and somewhat lacking content hold it back from being perfect. Battlefield 1 is definitely a good game, but by no means is it perfect. If you’re into your multiplayer, and you’ve been craving World War 1, I cannot recommend Battlefield 1 to you enough, otherwise it’s a bit of a tough sale with the asking price as it is.

Positives

-Fun, albeit very safe gameplay

-Some stand out multiplayer modes

-Beautiful visuals

-Diverse and destructible maps, making for ever-changing battlefields

-Incredible sound design

Negatives

-Lacking content

-Inconsistent frame-rate

-Short, forgettable campaign mode

Thanks for reading guys, up next is Titanfall 2, and it should be up in the next few days!

-Harry 🙂

Metroid Prime: Federation Force

Metroid Prime: Federation Force

A Rocky Reception

To say Metroid Prime: Federation Force has been under fire since its announcement is definitely not a lie. The game has been hated on and generally dismissed by Metroid fans and I honestly don’t blame them. As a massive fan of the franchise, I was initially disappointed that all we were getting for our favourite bounty hunters 30th anniversary would be a spin off. I never completely dismissed Federation Force, in fact I always knew I would pick it up just to see what it’s like. I was pleasantly surprised with just how much I enjoyed Federation Force, and while it may not be the Metroid game fans are looking for, I can still recommend it to those who might be interested.

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The decoy can be used to distract enemies

Post Prime 3

Federation Force’s story takes place after Prime 3 and the destruction of the planet Phaaze. The Federation Force is testing a brand new system to where they put Federation troops into mechs in order to deal with various threats. The space pirates make a sudden return and it’s the Federation’s job to find the source of them and deal with it. From there on it’s a fairly standard storyline with some expositional dialogue before and after each mission, however the final boss and ending caught me off guard. It’s fairly enjoyable, but nothing spectacular.

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Different enemies can be found on different planets

Not Metroidvania

Federation Force’s biggest different from a standard Metroid game is definitely its gameplay. Federation Force is a mission based cooperative first person shooter. Playing different missions progresses you through the story and you can play with up to 3 other players either online or locally. If you want to play Federation Force solo, you can but bosses can start to drag, it’s not as fun, and sometime the game can get a little overwhelming. To compensate for this you can equip the lone wolf mod, doubling damage and defences to make the game more bearable. Speaking of these mods, they’re hidden within each level, adding good reason for exploration. At the end of the mission, mods are shared among players, and players can pick what mods they want based on score. Federation Force is set on 3 different planets, Bion, Excelcion, and Talvania each varying in environments and hazards. Bion is the deserted hot planet, filled with reds and oranges. Excelcion is the ice planet, with tons of snow, water and glaciers. Last but not least is Talvania, serving as the Space Pirates home world, which also lines up thematically with a factory. Before each mission items can be chosen from a pool for players to use, from missiles to healing pods. It’s important to have a few people to take always heals and elemental shots. Shooting is fairly fluid, and controlling the Federation troops was tight and responsive. Gyro controls are incredibly helpful when they’re needed and I often didn’t have a problem with using them. Certain levels have sections where you need to get out the mech and proceed as a little trooper through a section of a level, keeping the game varied. One thing I can absolutely praise Federation Force for is its mission variety across the entire game. Each mission is different, and none of them recycle any areas or objectives from past missions. What’s really cool is that simple mechanics early on in specific missions are further explored and developed in later missions. I was always doing something different in Federation Force and that kept me on my toes. The last component of Federation Force is Blast Ball, a 3 v 3 soccer match. It’s entertaining at first but quickly gets boring and I doubt it’ll keep you hooked for too long.

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Space Pirates have a new look as well

Looks like a Metroid Game to Me

Federation does  good job at staying stable on the hardware of the New 3DSXL. I never experienced any frame drops, keeping the experience at a buttery smooth 60FPS the entire time. The art style of Federation Force heavily reminds me of Prime 1, and I was surprised to see just how much some of the environments in Federation Force reminded me of Metroid as a whole. The game doesn’t look amazing sure, but it definitely doesn’t look bad. Textures and character models are fairly detailed and some backdrops are absolutely gorgeous to look at.

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There’s a free demo for Blastball on the Eshop if you’re interested.

Verdict: 8/10

Metroid Prime: Federation Force really did surprise me with just how much I enjoyed playing it. It’s sure as hell not what I wanted for Metroid’s 30th anniversary, but as a spin off it does its job damn well. Solid mission variety, a decent story, and strong performance make Federation Force worth your time, Metroid fan or not.

Positives

-Loads of mission variety

-Multiplayer is fun and connections are stable

-Planets are unique

-Exploration is rewarded

Negatives

-Playing solo can be tough sometimes

-Blast Ball eventually gets boring

 

Thanks for reading guys. One last thing for you Metroid fans out there, if you haven’t heard already (i’m sure you have) a fan made remake of Metroid 2 has surfaced on the internet and it’s fantastic. If you’re craving a new Metroid experience look into it, it’s a truly fantastic Metroid game and deserves all the recognition it can get! Up next is ReCore, Harry.

 

 

 

Overwatch

Overwatch

Big Promises

It’s been a long 17 years since Blizzard have released a brand new IP. They originally had Titan in the works, but when Titan came crumbling down due to development issues, Overwatch was salvaged from the rubble. Overwatch is Blizzard’s brand new team based hero shooter. The hype surrounding this title was real, and for good reason too. After countless closed betas and a free open beta, the full game is finally out, but does it fulfill the promises it made?

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Overwatch was an organisation of all kinds of weird and wonderful heroes, consisting of all kinds of oddities, robots, and humans.

The Omnic Crisis

When robot manufacturer Omnica made a technical breakthrough, it seemed the world of Overwatch was about to enter another golden age, not too long after the last. Omnica’s automatic construction machines had complex software algorithms, that could be self improved, and soon enough most automated machines on every continent would have this software. These automated machines were known as Omniums. After a short while, these Omniums started to break down, and independent analysis discovered that Omniums would never meet the full potential of growth and output that Omnica had promised. With this fraud discovered, Omnica was shutdown, along with all the Omniums. It didn’t take long for the Omniums to reawaken, and launch a campaign against humanity. The self growth of these Omniums became too much for any army to handle, and their motivations behind what they were doing are unknown. With humanity on the brink of losing the war, and with all hope seemingly lost, a small nimble team of scientists, engineers and soldiers took on the Omnic threat. This group carried out multiple highly secretive missions, that ultimately led to the end of the Omnic armies, and the Omnic Crisis as a whole. This team of 6; Morrison, Reyes, Amari, Liao, Lindholm, and Wilhelm went down in history as legendary, and more importantly, as the founders of Overwatch. Over time, Overwatch grew, acquiring more and more talented agents in its mission for global stability. Overwatch was a symbol of hope for humanity, and an entire generation was raised to see Overwatch’s agents as the heroes among us. Epidemics were solved, medical breakthroughs were made, and crime rates were at all time low. Overwatch wasn’t without it’s critics, but most criticism was dismissed as paranoia or fantasies. After the discovery of a division called Blackwatch, and internal problems to do with leadership and methods, Overwatch fell, and the Overwatch initiative as a whole was shut down and deemed illegal. Years passed without Overwatch’s presence, and in the process tensions and crime has worsened, and Overwatch is needed more than ever. Which is exactly why Winston, a former member of Overwatch, relaunches the initiative, regardless of the consequences.

Overwatch doesn’t have a campaign or story mode, but I wanted to give some insight into the lore and origin of Overwatch. I find it really interesting, deep, and unique to look into.

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This is Commander Morrison, the former leader of Overwatch.

Not Quite a MOBA

There was a common misconception that Overwatch was a first person MOBA among consumers when Overwatch was originally announced, but the truth is that it’s far from it. Overwatch is a 6v6 multiplayer hero shooter, making it Blizzard’s first attempt at an FPS, and I can assure you, they’ve done a damn fine job. Overwatch feels great to play, each weapon is individual and unique, and each hero has a different feel when you use them, they truly are the star of Overwatch. There are currently 21 heroes, and they’re all unique, individual, and bursting with character. They contribute so much to Overwatch’s overall atmosphere and gameplay, whether it be the lines they come out with, what they say to each other based on previous lore encounters, or screams of victory when using an ultimate ability. Each hero has 2 normal abilities, and an ultimate abilities that are gained by dealing damage, playing objectives and more. These ultimate abilities have potential to change matches in the favor of your team, and are easily the most influential part of Overwatch’s short but sweet matches. Heroes are split up into 4 different categories, and they all explain themselves fairly well; Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support. Each map and game mode will be played with a different hero, and Overwatch encourages switching heroes on the fly in order to counter enemy teams. It’s a refreshing  way to play a hero shooter, and it keeps games varied and interesting. One thing that isn’t varied however is the fact that Overwatch comes with a grand total of 12 maps and 4 game modes, being Escort, Control, Hybrid and Assault. You’ll experience all the game has to offer in 3 to 4 hours, and without competitive play, the asking price can seem a little too much. However, Blizzard have promised that all future maps, heroes, and game modes will be offered as free updates, and competitive is to be released sometime this month. If you’re willing to keep playing Overwatch until more is added, the asking price is well worth it, and free content isn’t the only reason to keep playing. Overwatch has a solid progression system that rewards players who consistently play. You earn EXP for each game you play, and when you level up, you earn a free loot crate. Said loot crates can give you skins, voice lines, icons, and in game currency, all of which is purely cosmetic, which is the reason why micro transactions in Overwatch are perfectly acceptable in my opinion. You can pay real money for these loot crates, but all of it’s cosmetic, so Overwatch never becomes pay to win. Earning a new portrait border every 11th level also sweetens the deal.

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Soldier 76 is designed to play like a standard Call of Duty character, but even then he has some unique differences.

The Future Is Now

If there’s one thing you can rely on when it comes to Blizzard, it’s polish, and Overwatch is no exception. I haven’t encountered one game breaking glitch throughout my 40 hour experience. Connections have been perfect, and apart from the odd server disconnect (which are quickly fixed) the game never crashed once. Overwatch looks beautiful, from the snowy map of Nepal to the sun scorched Temple of Anubis, Overwatch never fails to be a treat for the eyes with its bright, cartoonish art style. The game always ran at a solid 60 FPS for me without any drops, no matter how hectic fights got. Overwatch doesn’t have high system requirements either, making it widely available and playable for many.

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Particle effects all look fantastic and unique.

Verdict: 8.5/10

In my opinion, Overwatch delivers on most of the things it promised it would. It’s a fantastic game, an incredibly well designed shooter that I can’t stop playing. I keep on coming back for more, and i’d have it no other way. I just hope it can keep me hooked until we get some free content, and until competitive is released to the public. I’m going to be honest. If you’re the type of person that gets bored of a game easily, I can’t recommend Overwatch to you right now. It’s simply not worth it, but, if you’re willing to stick with it and keep playing it, or revisit it when future content is added, it’s well worth the asking price.

Positives

-Interesting lore

-Fantastic shooting mechanics

– Unique Heroes that are bursting with character

-Extremely polished, with strong visuals and performance

Negatives

-No competitive play yet

-Not enough content on launch

Thanks for reading guys! Up next is Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, and that should be up tomorrow. -Harry.