Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2

Prepare for Titanfall

When Titanfall was originally unveiled prior to its release in 2014, it was widely anticipated to be the refreshing jolt that multiplayer first person shooters needed at the time, and for the most part Titanfall did the job. While it was certainly lacking content and any satisfying sense of progression, it introduced the most polished, fast, and fluent mobility system in a multiplayer FPS ever seen for its time, combined with strategic Titan battles scattered throughout matches. Regardless of how good it was, Titanfall was incredibly successful on the Xbox One and PC, so it was only natural that Respawn Entertainment were to do a sequel, but does it fix the problems of the first game?

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Titanfall 2 sports 6 individual, and unique Titans.

Become One

One of the biggest complaints about the original Titanfall, was that it lacked any meaningful campaign. What was given to us simply teased the universe, as a story unfolded over a number of multiplayer matches. There was no single player experience in Titanfall, and Respawn definitely listened to the outcries of fans begging for the opportunity to further explore the universe. Titanfall 2 features a single player campaign, which unfortunately only lasts about 5-6 hours (depending on difficulty and how you play) it is, hands down, the best shooter campaign I have had the privilege of playing this year. You play as Jack Cooper, a simple rifleman fighting for the Militia against the IMC in an intergalactic war. The Militia launch an assault on the IMC, but during the battle Cooper is almost killed by enemy Titans, only to be saved by a Militia Pilot known as Captain Lastimosa. The result of this battle sees Lastimosa pass away, and in his last few moments he establishes a link between his Titan and Jack. I won’t go any further to avoid spoilers, but Titanfall 2’s story is an absolute treat to experience, albeit it’s predictability. I constantly interested in the relationship between Jack and his Titan, BT-7274, and furthermore in how it developed. They have some genuinely funny moments together, and some of the writing is truly excellent. The villains in Titanfall 2 are fairly substandard, but are very well voice acted, and they’re generally a quite likeable bunch in terms of bad guys. One thing that really surprised about Titanfall 2’s story, was that I very quickly became invested into its characters, and I honestly shed a tear at the end of the story. It’s refreshing to see so much effort put into the story of Titanfall 2, Respawn really did listen to the fans, and they delivered in a spectacular fashion, even if it could’ve been a few hours longer. Titanfall 2 is a shining example for single player FPS experiences.

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All of the Titan’s feel balanced, and none of them feel under-powered.

A True Twitch-Shooter

What made Titanfall so refreshing and new when it originally came out, was its fast paced mobility system. With the ability to wall run, double jump, and to properly utilise both of these tricks to quickly traverse maps, Titanfall revolutionised what it meant to play a first person shooter. It was truly genre-bending, refreshing, new, and now it managed to stay at the top among other twitch-shooters in terms of mobility, that is, until now. I say until now because Titanfall 2 takes the seat upon that throne with ease, improving on almost every single aspect of what made Titanfall’s gameplay great in the first place. Wall-running, jumping and sliding feels truly exhilarating, and it’s something I will never get tired of doing, but more on that later. One of the shining stars of Titanfall 2 is it’s fantastic level design – ESPECIALLY – in the campaign. It’s been so thoughtfully crafted, and well put together, everything feels so natural as you move through each level. Titanfall 2 has some excellent platforming throughout the duration of it’s campaign, and more importantly, it gives you breathing room when you need it most, which leads me on to my next point. Titanfall 2 is incredibly well paced, I never ever got had a dull moment playing Titanfall 2’s campaign, and I honestly enjoyed every single sweet second of it. Some of the mechanics Titanfall likes to play around with in the campaign are truly innovative, and never overused. I don’t want to go into detail, because these things should be experienced by yourself, but Titanfall will mess with a mechanic, and do away with it once it starts to wear out. It’s truly fantastic level design, and each and every moment of the campaign had me enthralled, especially during the high octane set pieces that regularly occurred. Anyway, enough of me gawking over the campaign, because arguably, Titanfall 2’s main attraction is its multiplayer. For the most part, it’s more of what Titanfall brought to the table, with some minor changes that further refine and improve it. For those who are unaware, Titanfall works on a fairly simple system, as you play as a Pilot (soldiers), you’re ever building towards Titanfall, which calls down a massive hunk of metal robot called a Titan. Titan’s are significantly slower than Pilots, but dish out tons more damage, and my god are they terrifying to go up against if you don’t have one of your own. Titanfall 2 does away with the variations of Titans that Titanfall had, and instead replaces it with 6 different Titans, all of which are unique and different. Whether you use the shotgun-toting, sword wielding Ronin, or the extremely healthy Scorch, all the Titans feel very balanced, each with there own weaknesses and strengths. You’ll definitely have a favourite, but all of them are a threat, and none of them should be underestimated. Titan gameplay is as satisfying as ever, as 1 on 1 duels feel like a strategic game of chess, where one slip up could mean the need for an ejection. Pilot gameplay is incredibly fast paced, and the parkour system is as innovative as ever. You can build up momentum by chaining wall runs, double jumps, and slides, and once you get going it’s incredibly hard to stop. Titanfall 2’s weapons feel futuristic enough to be unique, and one in their own, and while they need some balancing, most of them are in a good position as is. The level of customisation in Titanfall 2 has been significantly increased since the first game, further personalising your Pilot, weapons, and Titans. New to Pilots, are Tacticals, which significantly change up Pilot gameplay, giving them the ability to turn invisible, make use of a grappling hook, or use a deployable shield. They further add to Titanfall’s fantastic multiplayer, and I hope they stay in future installments. Gone, are the burn cards from the original game, and they’re now replaced by Pilot Ordnance. You can choose to have one active at any time, and they range from map hacks to homing explosive ticker bots. They’re a neat addition, but I feel like keeping burn cards would’ve been a better option if they had been balanced a bit more. Titanfall 2 plays it very safe with all of it’s game modes, but that isn’t a bad thing. There’s the usual capture the flag and domination, and Titanfall’s signature mode, Attrition has made a return. The only one real unique mode in Titanfall 2 is Bounty Hunt, which sees players killing Pilots and grunts to earn cash that can be deposited at the end of a round. There’s nothing quite like sitting on a large sum of money while you wait for the depots to open up. One problem with Titanfall 2’s multiplayer is that, much like the first game, there’s no satisfying sense of progression. I’m finding myself slowly pulling away from the multiplayer, and the initial hook that was there has started to fade now, which is quite unfortunate.

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Titanfall 2’s matches comprise of a number of Pilots, and AI controlled bots.
The World though a Titan’s Eye

Another area where Titanfall 2 excels in is in its visuals, performance, and overall polish. Titanfall 2 looks amazing, at 900P for the whole experience. Environments are well detailed, character models are polished, and the game in general is just really nice to look at. I never experienced any bugs in Titanfall 2, and the whole expereince ran at 60FPS, no stutters, no frame-drops, and it was beautiful. The net code is also fairly strong here, with minimal lag and connection issues.

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The customisation of Pilots and Titans, while limited, is a good start towards a bigger system.

Verdict: 9.5/10

Titanfall 2, in my opinion, is a shining example of what a modern shooter should be in gaming today. Although its campaign may be short, it’s truly fantastic, with an excellent story, stellar level design, and incredible pacing. Multiplayer has the additions it needs to make it better than it was, and the fine tweaks may have hurt the formula a bit in the long run, but there are some definite positive additions too. It’s no lie that I absolutely adored Titanfall 2, and I cannot urge you enough to buy and play this game! It needs more people playing it, and it’s a shame it had to be overshadowed by other major releases, which was a horrible move by EA. Titanfall 2 needs the publicity it deserves.

Positives

-Fantastic story

-Excellent level design

-Unique and well-balanced Titans

-Quick, high-octane, fast-paced mobility

-Technically sound

Negatives

-Short campaign

-No real incentive to keep playing

Thanks for reading guys, up next is Dishonored 2! Thanks again, Harry :).

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 🙂

Mafia III

Mafia III

Family Is Who You Die For 

Mafia’s one of those franchises that has left a big mark on the genre it fits into, and it really brought up how interesting organised crime can be in a video game in terms of narrative and gameplay. Naturally, from the success of Mafia II, we knew we’d see a third instalment, but is it any good? A new cast of characters with a few returning ones, and the brand new setting of New Bordeaux, Mafia III is pulling out all the stops in order to rise to the top of open world games.

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New Bordeaux is in Louisiana, and is a reimagined version of New Orleans.

New Bordeaux, 1968

Mafia III’s strongest point for the entirety of it’s 20-30 hour campaign, is definitely its story, and the way that it’s told. Mafia establishes what it’s going for right away, with an opening interview with various characters talking about Lincoln Clay, who takes the centre stage for the duration of Mafia III’s story. Lincoln is a Vietnam War veteran, a killing machine who still suffers from the things he did and saw done during his time in Vietnam. Mafia wastes no time establishing who Lincoln is, and I found he was an incredibly likeable character, and the cracks in his moral compass definitely show. Without spoiling too much, Lincoln is screwed over by Sal Marcano and the rest of his mob, setting him on a path of revenge against the mob boss and his family. It sounds extremely cliche, and it would be if Mafia III didn’t deliver it in the way that it does. A majority of the story-telling in Mafia is done through interviews from experts of a particular, or through characters from the story itself. It’s hard to describe how it really works, but trust me when I say it’s excellent, because it truly is. Characters are likeable, well established, and well voice-acted, and Sal Marcano serves as a good villain and antagonist to Lincoln. Supporting characters like Donovan, Father James, and the returning Vito Scaletta had me smiling every time they came onto the screen,and there were moments where I legitimately laughed to some of the things they said. The story also has 3 separate endings, and what you get depends on the choices you make throughout the duration of the campaign. Finally Mafia has some really interesting commentary on the racism and gender equality of the time it’s set in. I found it genuinely confronting that police always had their eyes trained on Lincoln when he was nearby, the ever-underlying presence of the KKK and Lincoln’s refusal to kill females also had me surprised. Mafia III easily has one of the best narratives I’ve experienced this year so far.

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All the mobster weapons that you think would make an appearance definitely do.

A New Breed of Mobster

Mafia III doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from its predecessors or other entries into the open world crime genre in terms of gameplay. It’s fairly standard, but that isn’t a bad thing, and it’s definitely not Mafia’s biggest downfall. Mafia starts off incredibly strong, with a solid opening act/prologue that really sets up the characters and the story, but then it takes a turn for the worst, and that’s Mafia’s gameplay structure. Mafia’s gameplay structure, is it’s biggest problem, and when I say biggest, I mean really big. Most of the game comes down to Lincoln shutting down rackets, luring out the boss, assassinating the boss, and then rinse and repeat. This is easily what 60% of the game is made up of, and after a while it gets boring, monotonous, and the story missions are few and far in between to be help break up the pacing. That being said, every single story mission is fantastic, and incredibly to playthrough, with multiple set pieces to keep the action and octane up, but they simply aren’t enough to redeem the rest of the game. Fortunately enough, Mafia III’s combat systems are handled fairly well, with a simple but robust stealth system, tight gunplay, brutal melee combat, and fun driving mechanics. As you take down rackets, you can allocate them to 1 of 3 underbosses, all of which have specific bonuses, and allocating rackets increases the amount of cash you can collect from them. It’s also worth mentioning however, that the underbosses that don’t get territory start to get angry with Lincoln, and they can actually decide to leave your mob. It’s a really interesting mechanic which gave the choices we’re given a lot of meaning. What bothered me quite a bit about Mafia, is that there’s very very minimal customisation in terms of Lincoln’s attire, cars, and weapons. There’s a fairly low number of cars to choose from once you get access to them, weapons can’t be given extra attachments, only upgrades to accuracy, ammunition etc. and Lincoln can’t be customised in any way, shape or form.

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The subject of racism, is something that is explicitly explored in Mafia III, and it was refreshing to see it was handled properly.

Beautiful New Orleans

Mafia also manages to consistently excel from a technical stand point, albeit some minor downfalls. Mafia III looks beautiful, and the entire game is a treat to look at, textures are nice, lighting is beautiful, effects are solid, and the overall art style of the world is amazing. I loved seeing the difference between the bustling streets of The Delray Hollow as opposed to the crocodile infested waters of the Bayou. Mafia III’s performance is passable, the entirety of the game ran at a solid 30 FPS on the Playstation 4, with minimal dips, and no bugs apart from one very funny texture glitch I had, which fixed itself almost instantaneously. One thing that really stood out to me was Mafia’s authentically awesome soundtrack, and I always found myself with the radio on because of it, however it did make the lack of a custom soundtrack option very apparent.

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The various rackets you takeover really show what New Bordeaux is like as a city.

Verdict: 6.5/10

Mafia III simultaneously does so many things right, but so many things wrong at the same time, and it just so happens that the things it gets wrong are the vital ones when it comes to game design. It’s definitely not a terrible game, it’s quite enjoyable if you can get past its repetitive nature, but as it stands, I can’t recommend Mafia III at full price unless you’re really interested. As good as the story is, it doesn’t save the fatal mistake Mafia makes with its gameplay structure.

Positives

-Fantastic story and storytelling

-Brilliant story missions

-Great set of characters

-Tight gunplay, robust stealth, solid melee combat

-Beautiful open world

Negatives

-Extremely repetitive gameplay

-Minimal customisation

Thanks for reading guys! I wish this one was a lot better, but it definitely wasn’t a terrible experience. Up next is Rise of the Tomb Raider, and so far it’s been absolutely amazing. Harry :).

 

 

 

 

ReCore

ReCore

A Core Idea

It’s not often that we see a first party triple-A title on any of today’s consoles, so when ReCore came along I was naturally shocked we were receiving a game like itself for such a low price. Naturally, I was looking forward to ReCore simply due to the fact that ex-Metroid Prime developers were working on it, and that was part of the inspiration for ReCore’s design. Well, ReCore’s out now, and has been out for almost a month, does it live up to the games it’s so heavily inspired by? Or does it trip over its own ambition to be a bigger game than it can possibly be?

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If you can’t tell, ReCore has a thing for the colour yellow.

A Home Away from Home

In the early 2020’s in the universe of ReCore a disease called the Dust Devil Plague began to tear apart and ravage Earth, slowly rendering it uninhabitable. The Mandate launches and has launched several missions the the planet Far Eden, to process the planet and optimise it for human life. Robots known as corebots were sent to complete this process, with the first group of settlers, and the terraforming of Far Eden began. Roughly 200 years later ReCore’s protagonist, Joule, wakes up and find the Far Eden is far from being fully terraformed, and that almost every single corebot has gone rogue for some unexplained reason. As supposedly the only living human on Far Eden, it’s Joule’s job to find out what happened to the terraforming process, and to start it back up again so that the people in orbit of Far Eden can settle in. It’s a fairly intriguing story at first, but once it all starts to come together it becomes fairly predictable and boring, with a main antagonist that’s just as weak as his motivations. Joule herself is fairly likeable, as are her corebots, and most of voice acting is fairly passable. I can only recall one moment where the story managed to pull on a heartstring or two, but that was the full extent of it. It’s a fairly weak plot, which had a lot more potential in the long run, but it definitely could’ve been worse.

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Mack is easily one of Joule’s cutest companions.

Survival Starts in the Core

ReCore primarily plays as a third-person shooter with heavy platforming, exploration, and the inclusion of some light RPG elements. You’ll regularly find yourself moving from one dungeon to the next, or maybe you’ll do some exploring every now and again. ReCore’s gunplay feels tight, responsive, and fast paced, and it suits the game perfectly. Joule’s primary and only weapon is a rifle that’s quickly modified and upgraded in the first few hours of the game, in addition to 2 corebots. Joule can use a variety of different corebots, all with their own unique effects and damage outputs against different enemies. ReCore works off of a fairly simple system in combat, each corebot has a colour corresponding to its core, and they take more damage from the fire mode corresponding to that colour, and as you fight, your combo is built up, increasing your overall score. Combat was the one thing in ReCore I enjoyed no matter how far I was into the game, and there was something truly special about skillfully dodging and weaving through projectiles while firing bursts of coloured rifle energy at different targets. ReCore manages to excel in combat, but that seems to be the only thing it does right, at least for the second half of the game anyway. Exploration in ReCore is entertaining, but only when it’s of your own volition. ReCore’s biggest problem is that pads out game time in an incredibly dull, repetitive sluggish way. To enter a specific dungeon, ReCore requires Joule to have collected a certain amount of Prismatic Cores that are scattered around the open world and in dungeons. Early on this isn’t a big problem, but once you reach the final level you’re required to collect 20 cores, and then 5 more for each level up. It drained me, and it was extremely challenging not to stop playing ReCore each time I found out I had to collect more. It doesn’t help that ReCore’s exploration is fairly bland, with samey dungeons and huge masses of sand to trek across with no environmental sights to see anywhere. To make this process even more strenuous, Joule can only have 2 corebots with her at any one time, which means that if you need a certain corebot for a certain dungeon that you don’t have, you have to go back to the nearest fast travel point in order to get said corebot. Lastly ReCore has a few survival elements to it’s gameplay, throughout the world you’ll find various crafting parts and blueprints in order to make better parts for your corebots, making for some pretty unique customisation and upgrading. The one problem with upgrading my corebots was that I never really felt like it made a massive difference in the long run. Lastly is platforming, ReCore is quite keen on platforming and luckily it’s good platforming. It’s fairly challenging, but controlling Joule is tight and precise, making for an enjoyable time.

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ReCore’s platforming is fairly challenging. 

A Bland Wasteland

One area where ReCore fails to excel in at all is in the technical front, or at least from my experience. I had inconsistent frame rates, various bugs, slow loading times, slow down, and the game in general just looks really bland. It’s low resolution, low detail environments sculpted around passably detailed character models. Some of the dungeons have some interesting art design but they never reach the full potential they have. Areas feel copy and pasted for the most part and visually, I was never terribly interested by the way ReCore was taking its art design.

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Joule’s corebots are acquired fairly quickly through various means. 

Verdict: 5/10

ReCore sets out to do something that is now alien to the market of gaming. ReCore definitely is not abysmal, it’s just very average. I can see what ReCore was going for, and I still think it had a lot of potential to be something great, and I still do. I hope Armature can learn from their mistakes, and release another game that fixes the mistakes ReCore made. If you’re really interested in it, wait for a price drop, but for now, ReCore isn’t worth it’s asking price when it becomes more and more boring.

Positives

-Tight and precise control

-Slick, elegant, fast paced combat

Negatives

-Weak story

-Exploration is boring

-Bland world

-Need for use of specific corebots

-Unnecessarily padded out game time

-Bugs, slow loading times, inconsistent frames, and very average visuals

Thanks for reading guys, sorry this one took so long. Had some problems getting it started up and all that stuff. Up next is Mafia III – Harry :).

BioShock: The Collection

BioShock: The Collection

There’s always a lighthouse. There’s always a man. There’s always a city.

If there’s a few games I know i’ll always have a blast playing, one of them is definitely BioShock Infinite, and while for whatever reason I can’t say the same for the first two games, doesn’t mean they aren’t gaming gems. If i’m being perfectly honest BioShock, and BioShock Infinite are some of my all time favourite games, and naturally enough I was consumed by hype and excitement when I learned about the first few leaks of an alleged BioShock collection. A trio of fantastic games, two of which visually overhauled to look the part in today’s day and age, packaged with all the downloadable content released for them? I was down right from the very beginning, but does that mean you should be too? If you haven’t played any of these incredible games, yes, you most definitely should be interested in BioShock: The Collection, I can’t say the same if you have played all three, but if you’re looking for a reason to revisit them, trust me, this is reason enough.

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Rapture looks absolutely stunning on the PS4.

BioShock – Would you kindly?

It’s hard to believe that the original BioShock was released more than 9 years ago now, when it stunned the gaming industry with it’s strong mechanics, excellent story, and intriguing setting. I didn’t become familiar with the world of BioShock until BioShock Infinite was originally announced, and once it was, I went back and played the first two games so I could fully enjoy what I believed would snatch up game of the year for 2013. You play as Jack, the sole survivor of a mysterious plane crash that occurred in the Atlantic Ocean, with the only land nearby being a lighthouse. You travel inside and enter a bathysphere, which takes you down to the 1960 under water city of Rapture. A dystopia created by Andrew Ryan and Frank Fontaine, and it’s your job to figure out how to get back to the surface. BioShock’s story is still extremely entertaining, and if you’re unaware of what happens, you will be genuinely gobsmacked at what occurs throughout the 10-15 hour story line. BioShock’s gameplay is definitely the game’s weakest link compared to what we have today, but for it’s time, BioShock was revolutionary, and it moved the FPS genre right along, popularising it in the process. It’s still fun to play, and it’s still got some interesting mechanics, with various guns and plasmids at your disposal, but it definitely feels aged and old. Scattered around the game now are Golden Reels, which players can find and pickup to later watch director commentaries focused on specific parts of the game. They’re well worth finding, and provide some real insight into what Irrational were going for when making BioShock. One thing i’m extremely pleased about is that BioShock looks amazing on the current gen consoles, and the texture overhauls work a treat in the environments of Rapture. Textures look sharp, character models are detailed, and there were moments were I stopped just to take it all in. This is 1080p in all it’s glory and honour, while the game consistently runs at a smooth 60 frames-per-second. If you haven’t experienced BioShock before, now is the time to do it.

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Big Daddies are as terrifying as they were, if not more.

BioShock 2 – Love is just a chemical. We give it meaning by choice.

Set 2 years before the events of BioShock, you play as Subject Delta, the 4th Big Daddy ever created. The opening cutscene shows Subject Delta in Rapture with his little sister, Eleanor, when they are suddenly separated by Eleanor’s mother. Using the mind control plasmid, Eleanor’s mother makes Subject Delta commit suicide, 10 years later, Delta awakens, and seeks to find Eleanor, driven by their previous connection to each other. Without spoiling too much, BioShock 2 does a great job at plot twists and presenting the unexpected to us. Just when we think one thing is going to happen, another takes it’s place, it’s truly entertaining, although I find the first game to be more riveting. Unfortunately BioShock 2 doesn’t come with the multiplayer function of the original game. BioShock 2 also comes with the story DLC, Minerva’s Den which is just as good as the main game, and has a really enjoyable story line too. BioShock 2’s gameplay, much like BioShock is its weakest link. Playing as a Big Daddy is really interesting and the new plasmids and weapons are fun to play around with, but that doesn’t stop it from feeling aged. BioShock 2 definitely does not fail on the technical front, it looks just as good, if not better than BioShock and always runs at 60 frames-per-second much like it’s predecessor. I much prefer how the settings and environments look in BioShock 2, and the new updated graphics show them in a whole new light of beautiful HD quality.

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Areas like the Adonis Suites look fantastic in BioShock 2.

BioShock Infinite – Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt.

BioShock Infinite to me is the strongest of the trio, and I just can’t get enough of it, it’s a truly incredible game. You play as Booker DeWitt, and without much context, you’re rowed to a lighthouse in the middle of no where with one goal; find a girl named Elizabeth and bring her back to New York. After progressing past a dead body, a scene of torture, you reach the top of the lighthouse, and enter a rocket powered room which shoot up into the sky taking you to the floating city in the sky of Columbia. The story has so many twists and turns and it has some legitimately tear jerking moments throughout it’s 12 hour campaign, with an ending that will shock you, confuse you, and leave you dazed for hours. It’s a very deep, meaningful ending, and I urge you to find further explanation on it if you haven’t already. BioShock Infinite easily has the strongest gameplay out of the three, it’s fast paced, challenging, and fairly open in terms of letting you do things how you want to do them. The new vigors are awesome and fun to use, and the new weapons feel extremely powerful and have a lot of punch behind them. New to BioShock in Infinite is the Sky-Hook which allows Booker to travel on Sky-Lines, attach to Sky-Hooks and brutally execute any enemy who’s unfortunate enough to survive anything that should’ve killed them. It’s a great addition to the game, and one I never got bored using. Infinite comes packaged with Clash in the Clouds which acts as a challenge mode, but the main DLC is Burial At Sea Episodes 1 and 2. These are fantastic DLC stories and although they’re on the short side, I get a serious kick out of playing through them. Both episodes are set in Rapture and they follow and alternate Booker and Elizabeth after the ending of the main storyline. I won’t go any further to avoid spoilers, but Episode 2 is hands down one of my favourite parts of BioShock Infinite. It provides a really new, unique type of gameplay that we’ve never seen in BioShock before and I absolutely adore it. Infinite on current gen consoles isn’t as impressive as it sounds, having played Infinite on PC, the updated visuals and frame-rate doesn’t impress me as much as the other two games, but if you played Infinite on last-gen consoles, you’ll definitely see the difference. Don’t get me wrong, it still looks beautiful and runs amazingly, but the PC version was already doing that.

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Elizabeth in Burial At Sea is entirely different from the Elizabeth we know from the main story. 

Verdict: 9.5/10

If you’ve never played BioShock before, I cannot urge you enough to go out and buy this collection. These games are amazing, and they deserve all the attention and recognition they get. If you’ve played them before, the visual update and DLC makes the package worth a second visit, just keep in mind that if you own BioShock and/or BioShock 2 on PC, you get the remastered versions for free.Fantastic stories, beautiful visuals, solid frame-rates, and enjoyable game play albeit aged. This is the definitive way to experience BioShock if you’ve never treated yourself before. PLAY THESE GAMES!

Positives

-Engaging story lines across all three games

-Beautiful visuals and consistent frame-rates

-Strong mechanics

-Infinite has awesome game play

-All the excellent downloadable content

Negatives

-No BioShock 2 multiplayer

-BioShock and BioShock 2 feel aged

Thanks for reading guys, up next is ReCore, hopefully that’ll be up tomorrow or the day after.

Harry.

 

Destiny: Rise of Iron

Destiny: Rise of Iron

Rise Up, Guardian

It’s really hard to believe that Destiny originally came out 2 years ago on current and last generation consoles. For some, Destiny was a colossal disappointment and they quickly separated from it, never to touch it again. For others however Destiny became a game we’d regularly play, spending hour after hour grinding, trying to get better gear in order to fully max out the level of our Guardians. As time went by, expansions were released, and the game got continuously better. With the release of The Taken King, more players got started with their journey to become legend. I’ve been playing Destiny on and off since day 1, and I was incredibly pumped for Rise of Iron towards release, so I decided to come back and see what’s new. So is Rise of Iron worth it? Is the Destiny Collection worth it? Hell yes it is!

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Rise of Iron’s story follows Saladin and the Iron Lords.

Become an Iron Lord

Rise of Iron follows your guardian through a plot revolving around Lord Saladin and the other Iron Lords. A virus named SIVA has been recklessly used by the fallen, modifying and splicing their own bodies to become “Perfected”. SIVA was created during the golden age so it could be used to create anything a civilisation could need, providing you can harness it. What Saladin thought he had sealed away forever comes back from the darkness, his worst nightmare becomes a reality.It’s a fairly standard storyline by Destiny standards, but it definitely does the job better than any other in my opinion. The cutscenes are awesome, and there were legitimate moments that made me feel sad. My one gripe with the story of Rise of Iron is that it’s incredibly short and can easily be finished in an hour, but the story isn’t the only draw. The new strikes are fantastic, innovative, fast paced, and just fun in general. I never have a dull moment doing The Wretched Eye strike, and some of the revamped strikes like Summoning Pits and Sepiks Perfected are entertaining as well. The new gear is also worth the grind, exotics like the Trespasser, and Outbreak Prime feel unique and individual. The new armour sets also look incredibly awesome, with the raid gear sets being my favourites. Speaking of which Rise of Iron’s raid is utterly fantastic. Definitely my second favourite raid, and comes real close to topping Vault of Glass in terms of how much fun I have doing it. The mechanics are interesting, and well developed with new encounters, I’ll have absolutely no problem doing it every reset. The new hub area is pretty awesome as well, and the Plaguelands as a patrol area is really fun to explore. Archon’s Forge is a surefire way to get some good gear if you do it enough, and it feels like a better version of Court of Oryx. One thing Rise of Iron does extremely well is a sense of progression, no matter what I was doing, I always felt like I was progressing and further developing my guardian. Destiny is still one of the prettiest games on the PS4 right now, and with the new HDR update, new and old areas look incredibly pretty. I encountered minimal bugs and connection issues, and the game always managed to stay at 30 FPS, apart from one section in the raid which didn’t bother me that much if i’m being honest.

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The entrance to the raid is quite glorious. The entrance being a giant Servitor…..

Verdict: 9.5/10

Rise of Iron manages to successfully expand and improve Destiny’s content exponentially, with a ton of content to get through, awesome strikes, an amazing raid, solid new exotics, interesting new areas, and an enjoyable, albeit short storyline. Destiny: Rise of Iron is well worth the money, and if you consider giving it a go, I urge you to, it’s utterly fantastic and I finally feel like Bungie have done what they set out to do. If you want to get into Destiny, I have to recommend Destiny: The Collection, it’s definitely the cheapest way to get the full experience, with the base game and every expansion in the box. Don’t just shrug Destiny off, it really is awesome now!

Postives

-Enjoyable story

-Solid raid

-Awesome gear

-Interesting new areas

-Fun strikes

Negatives

-Story is a bit too short

Thanks for reading guys, sorry I took so long to get something up. I got put behind due to an issue with ReCore, but a review for that will be up soon. Next will be Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 2: Children of Arkham, followed by the Bioshock Collection and finally ReCore. Thanks for being patient guys.

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.