Console Obsession http://www.consoleob.com My Wordpress Blog Sat, 30 Jul 2016 09:45:46 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 A List of Characters in Gaming who Received a Makeover http://www.consoleob.com/features/a-list-of-characters-in-gaming-who-received-a-makeover/ http://www.consoleob.com/features/a-list-of-characters-in-gaming-who-received-a-makeover/#respond Fri, 29 Jul 2016 20:55:23 +0000 http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25442 As game franchises progress, sometimes they need a little change in order to keep things fresh, and while some franchises make simple changes that fans and players readily accept, others take more risks and make drastic changes, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. This can also apply to the main protagonists of the games, so here we take a look at some characters that have visited the virtual surgeons knife.

Bayonetta – Bayonetta 2

Bayonette

Starting off with more simple changes, in Bayonetta 2 the eponymous heroine has had enough of her long hair being a good target point for enemies and so decided to give herself the chop, opting for a simple, shorter and more manageable do. After all, who has time to mess around with their hair when there’s fighting off legions of supernatural enemies to be done? And it’s not just her hair that has been changed. Bayonetta’s clothing has also been altered, becoming more geometric, straight lines being used where possible, which can be seen in the diamond shapes in the fabric down the backs of her legs. Some aspects of Bayonetta’s outfit has also been coloured blue, reflecting the sequels ‘water’ theme and even though Bayonetta’s back is still on show, her chest area is now closed. All of the aforementioned changes were made to reflect her poise and sophistication. These alterations came about due to the developers wanting to express Bayonetta’s wild personality, feeling that she isn’t the type of character who would show up with the same style twice; given this, if there ever is a Bayonetta 3, then do expect another redesign for the character.

Max Payne – Max Payne 3

Max_Payne

Another simple change, Max Payne shaves off all of his hair in Max Payne 3 after blaming himself for a characters death, swearing off alcohol and changing his appearance in order to go undercover to save said character’s other half after she is kidnapped. A change made to distance himself from his past mistakes, it also sees Max growing a beard, wearing a very snappy Hawaiian t-shirt and donning pilot shades, a stark contrast to his usual neo-noir style.

Harry Mason – Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Harry_Mason

Clearly someones memory has been shattered here, because Harry looks nothing like his original character. Of course it’s expected that a main character will need to have a few changes made as more advanced-looking games are released, though the developers could easily have upgraded the original. Instead, they opted for adding glasses, reflecting his profession as a writer, and Harry’s hair style and clothing are also slightly different too. Original Harry seemed more muscular with a chiselled jawline, with a hardened expression and wearing a simple grey t-shirt under his brown jacket, with his hair slicked back. Shattered Memories’ Harry Mason, in all honesty, looks less confident than previously, though is much better suited to his original personality. There’s no major changes to Harry Mason though and fans have easily accepted his new, geek-chic look.

Yuna – Final Fantasy X-2

Yuna

While the next female on this list has now been less sexualised, Yuna is a different story. The once innocent-looking Yuna made her return in Final Fantasy X-2, but with less clothing and more of an attitude, complete with a new, spiky hairdo, reflecting her new persona. Her long blue skirt has been replaced by denim short-shorts, allowing her to show more leg, and her white top is more tight-fitting and low-cut, allowing her to show more arms and chest, making Yuna look less mystical and more like a typical, rebellious teenager. Her redesign came about thanks to fans praising her characterisation and sex appeal, though her new look in FFX-2 received a mixed reception. Still, if fans found her sexually appealing in her original outfit anyway, then it defies belief why the developers felt they needed to enhance her sex appeal with these changes.

Lara Croft – Tomb Raider (2013)

Lara-Croft

On to more radical changes now, and Lara Croft is probably one of the most well-known redesigns in recent years. Thanks to the rise in ‘female empowerment’ and the move to have more natural-looking female characters in games, Lara Croft’s formerly voluptuous assets, that had had male gamers drooling over their controllers for years, had been all but removed from the reboot of Tomb Raider in 2013. Going for a more natural look, Lara now looks more down-to-earth and like the every-woman rather than the sexualised pin-up that pandered to the male gamer demographic. That’s not to say her new look is terrible: Lara now looks a lot younger – the reboot is a prequel, of course – and is much more relatable, with her new natural look possibly being inspired by such actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson. All in all, Lara is now, on the whole, a better role model for younger female gamers.

Link – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

If there’s one character that has been under the virtual surgical knife numerous times, it is The Legend of Zelda’s Link. There are many iterations of his character design, depending on the style of the game he’s appearing in. It was 2002’s The Wind Waker on the GameCube, however, that proved to be the most controversial redesign for the character yet and remains so to this day, with many thinking that he looked too cartoonish and childish in comparison to earlier games in the series such as Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. His signature green clothing, lightly coloured hair and blue eyes are always present, even though his overall physical features and art style change. However, this could be about to change with the upcoming Breath of the Wild on Wii U and NX, with Link dressed in a blue tunic and with the character now becoming gender-neutral.

Sonic the Hedgehog – Sonic Boom

Sonic_Boom

Probably the one change that has been added to every other list of this type, it is Sonic in Sonic Boom. For the new game, and accompanying TV show, Sonic and his friends were all given makeovers. Sonic’s look isn’t the most drastic of all the characters featured, with him retaining his overall usual look, except for a few minor alterations and additions. Sonic now looks taller and leaner to reflect his agility, has a few extra added quills and was given a brown scarf, used to protect his face from dust and soot when he runs. Certain parts of his body are covered in sports bandages, and his arms are now blue, keeping in tone with the other characters. Personally Sonic’s new look doesn’t bother me, but Knuckles, on the other hand, is a whole different story.

Bomberman – Bomberman: Act Zero

Bomberman

A controversial redesign, Bomberman’s new look in 2006 did not impress a lot of people. His usual cute look was ditched in favour of a more serious, dark tone, probably one of the most drastic changes on this list, though one where the lesson was very much learned. Perhaps the designers wanted to give Bomberman an excuse as to where he actually pulls those bombs out from, making the simple, bobble-head-like character into a scary human-robot hybrid, with realistic human proportions layered with robotic armour. With some darker and more mature games being so popular, perhaps the developers (Hudson Soft) saw an opportunity to cash in and so we were given this very different Bomberman in the hopes they would have a new and popular series on their hands, changing their ailing fortunes for the foreseeable future. How wrong they were.

Chris Redfield – Resident Evil 5

Chris_Redfield

So just what happened to Chris Redfield after his appearance in Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles? He hit the gym and was probably taking steroids, given his very different and bulky new look in Resident Evil 5. This was around the time when fans began to think that Resident Evil had started to lose touch with reality, with characters now becoming less human, and more superhuman, with only Wesker really having an excuse as to why he had also bulked up so much. Jill Valentine was also given superhero fighting powers in Resident Evil 5, even being given a superhero-style costume. The same goes for Ada Wong who is well known for her stylish flips and kicks, though it was Chris’s transformation that had fans talking the most. With the Resident Evil games moving more towards action rather than survival horror, Capcom probably wanted to make Chris look more militaristic in the same vein as characters featured in the likes of Gears of War, though the change didn’t go down well with fans. Chris continued this bulked-up trend in Resident Evil 6 and Revelations, though with the series looking to get back to its more relatable and realistic roots, hopefully Chris will be looking more like his old self soon enough.

Dante – DMC: Devil May Cry

Dante

Another drastic change that had fans up in arms, DMC: Devil May Cry even went as far as to flip the bird at its fans. Here saw the iconic Dante become more ‘westernised’, changing his pizza-eating, boss-teasing, confident and fearless persona into an angsty, broody teenager, and even chopping his famous white hair off and changing it into a rather generic brown short-cropped style, with fans even going so far as to call him ’emo’. Needless to say, the change did not go down well with fans at all. This transformation was to make Dante more appealing to gamers in the west, because clearly players in the west hate Japanese gaming, turning their noses up at unpopular titles such as Pokemon, Street Fighter, Final Fantasy, Yakuza, Legend of Zelda and the like (I am being sarcastic, if you didn’t realise). There’s even a point in the game when a white wig falls on Dante’s head and he quips “Not in a million years.”, flipping that aforementioned bird to the fans. As with Chris in Resident Evil, hopefully in the next DMC game Dante will also be back to his old self, appeasing all of those wronged fans.

The Prince – Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

Prince

Another character that went down the bulked-up, broody route, The Prince had a slight change in appearance in The Forgotten Sands, his usual agile, athletic physique and humorous persona swapped for a much more generic, broody, troubled hero, complete with fabulous new flowing locks. Looking more medieval than Persian, it’s hard to imagine someone so heavy-set being able to pull off all the flipping, swinging, wall running, parkour-esque movements that is prevalent in this game, the tone of the game overall becoming more serious and less cartoon-like, much like its main hero.

Sam Fisher – Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Sam_Fisher

A name that surprisingly doesn’t get a mention on many lists like this, Sam Fisher got the Benjamin Button treatment in Splinter Cell: Blacklist, ageing backwards at least 20 years and losing his iconic voice, which was swapped for a much younger tone. Another change that did not go down well with fans – myself included – the change was an odd choice, considering Blacklist was not a prequel and with the game being released in chronological order, meaning Sam should have been older. With his 30 year old daughter, Sarah, being more prevalent in Blacklist, it didn’t help matters that the new Sam looked and sounded like a 35 year old; it is certainly strange listening to him interacting with his daughter, knowing he is older but them looking and sounding around the same age. With Splinter Cell: Blacklist not selling very well, it remains to be seen what will happen next with the franchise, though it would have been much more respectful to his voice actor, Michael Ironside, had they just retired the character all together and focused on an entirely new protagonist instead.

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Quantum Break Xbox One Review http://www.consoleob.com/reviews/quantum-break-xbox-one-review/ http://www.consoleob.com/reviews/quantum-break-xbox-one-review/#respond Thu, 28 Jul 2016 11:09:45 +0000 http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25557 Publisher: Microsoft  Developer: Remedy Entertainment  Genre: Action

Players: 1  Age Rating: 16+  Other console/handheld formats: N/A


We’ve seen TV series’ based on games before, although we’ve never had a TV series inside a game before, until now. Quantum Break is exactly that, a combination of a game and a TV show and, what‘s more, some of the decisions you make in the game affects the story in both the game and live action series. This is a multimedia experiment on a scale like never seen before.

Don’t worry, this is first and foremost a game though, which means that you won’t have to sit through a 20 minute live action episode before you are able to play it. The story, while loaded with almost every cliché in the book in terms of its characters, is more than likeable enough and is made even more so by stellar performances from the likes of Aiden Gillen as Paul Serene and Lance Reddick as Martin Hatch. Not forgetting the novelty of having a TV series inside a game, and it’s uncharted territory for both forms of entertainment to link up in this way. Things can get confusing from time to time, but this is to be expected from a narrative about time travel. The story sees the protagonist’s best friend turning on him when they both gain time-based powers after an experiment goes awry with a time machine, which results in the fracture of time and the looming end of everything. To add extra richness to the story, you are able to find text and audio files dotted around the game’s environments, which slows the action down somewhat, but they’re definitely worth a read in order to draw as much information out of the story as possible.

The game is split into five acts in which you largely play as the rather generically named protagonist Jack Joyce, but at the beginning of each new act you briefly take control of the antagonist Paul Serene, and you are then able to make a decision that will somehow affect the plot of the live action episode that is about to play out as well as future events in the narrative in the game itself. As Serene is able to see into the future, you are able to listen to an overview as to what to expect to happen based on each decision you make during these so called junctions. You are also able to return to these points at any time in order to make the opposing decision, altering the timeline and how things pan out once again.

quantum-break_3

The weapons in the game are a generic selection, although when you combine your time-based powers with the excellent shooting, it doesn’t matter.

No expenses have obviously been spared with the game as a whole, and this definitely goes for the streaming live action series as well, which has been crafted so expertly that it fits in beautifully well with the rest of the game. The live action portions were created by Lifeboat Productions, directed by Ben Ketai and feature a number of well known actors, and each episode is certainly a nice way to give you a pause from the rest of the game, giving your hands a break, all without having to leave its fractured universe. That’s something developer Remedy have done so well with Quantum Break as a whole, the excellently executed pacing – the action, the occasional platforming sections, the slower paced moments and episodes from the live action series are all perfectly spread out, which helps maintain interest in the game.

Quantum Break is a third person shooter although, thanks to the amazing time-based powers that Jack Joyce has acquired, there’s more to it than that. With excellent animations and a very reliable context-sensitive cover system that sees your character ducking his head automatically when next to cover, the shooting is great as it is, but combine this with a range of god-like powers, and the game gets even more visceral and varied in its brand of action.

Joyce’s different powers have various capabilities. The most basic is the Time Vision, which highlights enemies red as well as highlighting other notable things such as laptops, ammo bags and explosive barrels. It’s useful when you aren’t sure where enemies are or to get an idea as to the sort of number you are going up against, although you are only able to make use of it when you are standing still. Time Dodge, meanwhile, sends Joyce into a quick forward dash, which is handy to swiftly get into cover. When it comes to the powers that can actually be used against enemies, these include Time Stop, which allows you to temporarily stop enemies and bullets, making for much easier targets. Time Shield puts a protective dome around you, with enemy bullets bouncing off, while your own are still able to be fired out, penetrating it from the inside, and Time Rush allows you to run forward and even take out enemies in your path with a melee attack. Finally, Time Blast is one of the most powerful and satisfying attacks, sending any enemies flying that are caught up in its crushing force.

After exhausting an individual power, that power then enters a cooldown period before you are able to use it again. It’s combining all your powers as well as the gunplay that adds so much depth to the action, meaning that the game is no typical third person shooter. As you eventually have a fair few abilities at your disposal, it can take quite a lot of time before you are able to remember what button does what on the controller though, but you might just find that you need a little practice.

During the game, you might come across a Chronon Source, and Time Vision indicates when one is nearby. When you collect enough of these, you are able to upgrade Joyce’s powers, perhaps making it possible to fire out more Time Stop’s before the power needs to cooldown, or causing the Time Shield to last longer, and so on. Jack Joyce is a very powerful and almost superhero-like protagonist to begin with, but he becomes even more so through upgrades.

The enemy AI is very aggressive in its approach towards you, and they really will do everything in their power to drive you from your place of cover, forcing you to move on. As Joyce doesn’t take too much bullets before he is killed off, you must use cover as well as your Time Shield and the rest of his powers sensibly to survive each enemy onslaught. There isn’t a huge variety of enemy types, although there’s just enough to hold interest, with normal guys, guys with big guns and protective shields, and guys who zip around the levels to contend with.

The game also features some infrequent time-based puzzles, allowing you to rewind time at certain points, stop moving objects, and make use of your dash ability whenever speed is of the essence. While they offer a welcome respite from the action, the puzzles are never as interesting as, say, Life is Strange, and are largely rather unimaginative and unchallenging to solve. For a game based around time manipulation, this is one of the most disappointing aspects of the game. The occasional platforming sections fare better, and these never outstay their welcome.

quantum-break_4

He might not have a fancy name or costume, but Jack Joyce is basically a superhero.

Another disappointing thing about the game is the final boss, who is absolutely horrendous in so many different ways. I really did have to mention it, as I had to wonder to myself as to what on earth they were thinking during the development of the game. The only memorable thing about this section is just how badly designed everything is, and the game would have definitely benefited from a better way to bring events to a climax.

I mentioned that no expenses have obviously been spared in the development of the game, and the visuals are amongst the finest on the console. The character models have an amazing level of detail, and each actor’s individual facial performance was fully captured to give the game its superb facial movements. The lighting is also excellent, and the system has such attention to detail that the eyes of characters even capture light realistically, which is a rarity. The sections in which time is faltering also look superb, and to see people and objects frozen in time just makes the fractured time theme of the game all the more believable. Finally, Jack Joyce’s powers are all the more fun to use when they look as good as they do in the game, and the muffled sound effects during certain sections also assist in giving you the very real feeling that time is broken.

As long as you don’t rush through it, the game takes around 8-10 hours to complete a play through. As you are able to make different choices and find various collectibles, all of these things add some replay value to the game, although as it’s a linear action title, this certainly isn’t going to be the type of game that might have you playing for months and months on end.

As a merging of two different types of entertainment, Quantum Break is an experiment that has more than paid off though. True, the game would have benefited from far better puzzle design, a far better final boss fight, and has a fair amount to learn and remember in terms of its controls, but this is still a very well made game with a very well made live action series, and thanks to the high production values as well as the care and attention that has been applied to both, they complement one another perfectly. The spectacular action in the game itself is also fantastic, with excellent gunplay, varied powers and some beautiful visuals, which all comes together to make for a highly recommended game.


8/10


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Dangerous Golf – Three Fields Entertainment Interview http://www.consoleob.com/features/dangerous-golf-three-fields-entertainment-interview/ http://www.consoleob.com/features/dangerous-golf-three-fields-entertainment-interview/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 06:08:41 +0000 http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25506 A number of us enjoyed the recently released Dangerous Golf here at Console Obsession, and it was a remarkable achievement for Three Fields Entertainment, a small indie start up of just 11 people. We spoke with Creative Director Alex Ward about the challenges experienced during development as well as other aspects of the spectacularly destructive golf game.


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your company and as to how Dangerous Golf came about?

I’m Alex Ward and I’m Creative Director of Three Fields Entertainment. I co-founded Criterion Games in 2000 with Fiona Sperry, who is now CEO of TFE. We’ve been making video games together since 1999. We’ve directed games such as Burnout, Burnout 2, Burnout 3 Takedown, Burnout Revenge, BLACK, Burnout Paradise, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and Need for Speed Most Wanted. We decided to leave Electronic Arts back in 2013 and form our own studio. We’re an 11 person team. Most of the team used to work with us at Criterion.

There’s only 11 of you at the moment, are you hoping to expand the company? Or keep things small and simple?

We’re a small independent development studio. We’re always looking to hire talented people who want to be part of something small. I think we will grow, but only slowly. Resumes to jobs@threefieldsentertainment.com!

Dangerous_GolfI bet when you were brainstorming games for Three Fields Entertainment’s first release, a Burnout-style racing game was one of the suggestions? What about a Black-style FPS?

Actually, neither of those were ever on the table to be the first title. We’ve been making driving titles for thirteen years. We were happy with every single one of them, but we were itching to try something new. New ideas are the lifeblood of the industry. If we wanted to carry on doing the same sorts of games then we would have stayed at Electronic Arts. We want to do a driving title next. BLACK was an opportunistic title for the PlayStation 2 hardware in 2006.

What other titles were suggested for the game before deciding on Dangerous Golf?

We didn’t have any. We trademarked the name on the first day we all got together as the new Studio.

You are proving to be very much a player focused company, and the recently released update is proof that you are listening to feedback; will the game continue to evolve over time?

No. As we said earlier, we’re a small indie team. Tiny by comparison to almost all other teams operating on the platforms we develop for. We’ve always listened to feedback and our customers and we all take that really seriously. Whilst we’d love to be able to add more levels to the game – the reality is that we just can’t afford to do so.

I would have loved to have had a traditional English pub to smash up in the game, can you let us know if any planned environments didn’t appear in the final game? If so, what kind of environments were they?

You’re quite close. Sports Bar was a level we toyed with for a few weeks. Tables, chairs, bottles, glasses, taps, kegs, neon signs – that sort of thing. A cross between “Cheers” and something like a “Hard Rock Cafe.” Perfect setting for a golf game really.

I was completely in awe at the amount of destruction that you can cause in the game as well as the richly detailed environments, was it a complicated thing to get everything working together?

Yes. Thanks for noticing! It’s a game that had never been attempted before, on hardware none of us had ever worked on before, built using Unreal Engine 4 – which none of us had ever used! We were excited about making a physics based game where the player got to play with a dynamic environment. So far, most games have very static environments. That means that not much can move around, be knocked over or destroyed. If destruction does happen, it is often cleared away quickly for technical reasons. We wanted players to be able to make a mess, and then get to continue to play in that mess.

The game has removed a lot of real life golf rules, were the rules ever morDangerous_Golf_3e similar to real golf during its development?

Not really. We figured that most golf games were pretty boring unless you really loved the sport itself. We much prefer to throw away the rule book. There’s no point, unless you’re trying to offer a true simulation of something. Dangerous Golf is about taking risks to earn big scores. So the whole golf concept of PAR and Stroke Play would not work within that premise. In real golf, you have to play it safe to avoid unnecessary Strokes. The lowest number of shots wins. In our game you play for Score not Strokes. We like to think about things purely in game terms and be freed from any restrictions. We created a new sport, and with that we got to create the Rules. Golf games are about precision and deliberation. Instead, our game set out to be a cross between the Crash Mode from Burnout 3:Takedown and Midway’s NBA Jam arcade game. (BOOMSHAKALAKA!)

During development, was there ever the inclination to make the game zanier and more cartoon-like than the finished product?

In short, yes and no. Yes to pushing the boundaries and putting in things that had never been tried. That gave us stuff like using Glue to stick to the walls and Bucket Blasts (which came from landing in a Mop Bucket one day). We also toyed with ceiling based Flags and being able to flip gravity around.

Replays would have been very welcome in the game, why weren’t they included?

Replays sound fun to everyone who hasn’t had to spend time implementing them and testing them for a videogame development. They were the final work that was completed on the penultimate night of development on the first Burnout title – and the bane of our lives on the second. Dangerous Golf runs a very intense physics simulation the whole time, and doing Replay work would have eaten up a huge chunk of our development time. We chose to focus on things we felt were more important – such as getting Friends and Global Leaderboards and Online Play running. Remember, we’re a tiny team with just three engineers!

Is there anything else that you would have loved to have in the game but, for one reason or another, weren’t able to?

We would have loved to have all three versions run at the same resolution. And we would have loved to have been able to run nVidia’s’ Flex liquid simulation work in the console versions. PC owners with high-end GPU’s can turn this feature on.

I found the online options quite disappointing, as I wasn’t able to properly see what my opponents were doing, I’m guessing that, in some ways, online multiplayer was difficult to implement for such a small team?

Team size wasn’t the constraint there. The constraint is that players are interacting with over 3500 dynamic objects in the Holes. Modern shooters mainly only network player positions of 24 people on consoles. Networking incredibly intensive physics simulations is a challenge for a massive development team – and even more so for a tiny indie like us. It is the same reason why games like “Just Cause 3” don’t have networked simulations. Throwing physics around online is incredibly tough.

Dangerous_Golf_5Has the game met your expectations in terms of sales so far?

No, not yet. We pooled our life savings to start our studio and to start making games. We’re a 100% player supported Studio. Every copy sold directly supports our 11 person development team. The money goes to the people who actually make the game. So a big thank you to everyone who has bought our work so far!

Real life golf is so boring compared to Dangerous Golf, would you agree with this statement?

Well, we have heard some rumours that the PGA Tour might try a few Holes in the toilets at Augusta next year – so we’ll have to wait and see.

Who is the best Dangerous Golfer in the office?

It’s rumoured that one of our engineers was born in a secret government facility. He’s half man, half machine.

Any hints as to what you might be working on in the future?

It’s no secret that we’d like to get going on a driving title next.

I was surprised at the 3+ pegi rating, does this mean that impressionable youngsters might end up playing a real life version of Dangerous Golf in their living rooms and damaging everything from the TV to their mother’s finest China?

Well, it will serve her right for frittering away her money on tasteless tat, won’t it?


Thanks to Alex Ward for answering our questions.

Dangerous Golf is now available to purchase on PS4, Xbox One and PC. You can read my review here.


 

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News – Sonic Mania will prove to be a nostalgia trip for many http://www.consoleob.com/news/news-sonic-mania-will-prove-to-be-a-nostalgia-trip-for-many/ http://www.consoleob.com/news/news-sonic-mania-will-prove-to-be-a-nostalgia-trip-for-many/#respond Sat, 23 Jul 2016 11:46:20 +0000 http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25517 There’s a new Sonic the Hedgehog game coming, and this one is the kind of 2D Sonic platforming game that made the Hedgehog with Attitude popular in the first place.

Sonic Mania features re-imagined zones from the likes of Mega Drive classics Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic CD. The game will also feature some brand new zones to play through.

The game features Sonic, Tails and Knuckles as playable characters, and there’s new moves such as the Drop Dash.

As you can see in the debut trailer below, the game also features retro-style visuals in line with those from earlier games in the 25 year old series. Sonic Mania is due for release next spring on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

The game is being developed by SEGA of America in collaboration with PagodaWest Games. Developers Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley, who worked on remastered Sonic games for mobile devices, are also working on the game.

Missing out on Sonic’s 25th anniversary year, Sonic Mania won’t be released until the spring of next year on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

There’s also another Sonic game on the way, which sounds similar to Sonic Generations in the way that it features both modern Sonic and classic Sonic. The currently untitled game is in development at Sonic Team and is due for release on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo’s NX console in time for Christmas next year.

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10 Second Ninja X PS4 Review http://www.consoleob.com/reviews/10-second-ninja-x-ps4-review/ http://www.consoleob.com/reviews/10-second-ninja-x-ps4-review/#respond Thu, 21 Jul 2016 15:56:39 +0000 http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25484 Publisher: Curve Digital  Developer: Four Circle Interaction  Genre: Platformer, Action

Players: 1  Age Rating: 7+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One


There’s not a whole lot that an average person can do in 10 seconds, but that’s exactly the amount of time that you are given to complete each level in 10 Second Ninja X. It quickly becomes understandable as to why the developer chose a ninja character as the main star – you really do have to have reflexes like a ninja to make any headway in this game.

10 Second Ninja was first released on the PC, but 10 Second Ninja X is the first time that the game has also appeared on consoles. With 60 brand new levels as well as the HD remastering of all 40 levels from the original game, this is a hugely enhanced package in comparison to the original PC version.

The game has cute and colourful cartoon visuals, but please don’t automatically think that the game is going to offer you an easy ride because of this, as this isn’t the case at all. This is one game that should definitely not be underestimated. While 10 Second Ninja X is a very simple game, it’s also one with a very steep difficulty level that asks for lightning quick reactions from your fingers, which might put some players off.

The beginning of each level is where the game intends you to put your brain to good use. The 10 second timer doesn’t start ticking down until you begin moving, so this allows you to plan your attack. The objective of the game is to kill all the cartoon robots within the very short allotted time, so having an idea as to what route you’ll take and the order that you’ll be taking out enemies in is a wise decision.

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With trapped animals released from destroyed robots, the game has a strong Sonic the Hedgehog vibe running throughout, and I also found a likeable enough sense of humour in there.

Each level takes place on a single screen, and the faster you complete each stage, the more stars you will receive for your troubles. Getting the potential perfect three stars on each and every stage is a mammoth task, and only the true ninja-like amongst us will be able to achieve this. With further obstacles being added as you progress, such as electricity and crumbling and rising platforms, and an always climbing difficulty level, the game just keeps on getting trickier and trickier.

The pint-sized ninja lead is equipped with a sword as well as three shurikens in each level, and it’s working out where it’s best to make use of each weapon as well as your jumping ability that will get you the most success in the game. Once you run out of shurikens in a level, you are unable to replenish them, which means knowing the best way to use them and making sure not to waste them are two very important things. You’ll also get your hands on a grappling hook on some stages.

Luckily, each level can be restarted with a single button press, and plenty of players will be doing this time and time again in a bid to improve on their previous attempt. I really can’t stress how difficult 10 Second Ninja X is, and it may be the cause of quite a number of controllers thrown across rooms.

As further batches of levels need to be unlocked with the stars you earn from level completion, unlocking more is quite the task in itself. There’s no disputing the fact that this is one very tricky game that requires masses of patience, and only certain players will be willing to stick with the game because of this. It can take plenty of attempts to earn a single star on many of the levels, so earning all three stars is often a very tall challenge.

The lack of replays is a missed opportunity, as completing a level and witnessing how you were able to do it again would have been welcome. As would being able to view the replays of the top players to get an idea as to how they set quick enough times to be sitting on or around the top of the online leaderboards. Ah well, there’s always YouTube.

All in all, if you are able to see the appeal of the game and have the desire to improve your skills to get the most out of it, then this may prove to be a popular choice, as this is one very well made puzzle platformer with a very unique twist. When things go your way and you earn a full three star rating for your skillful efforts, you really do feel like a ninja of the highest calibre. 10 Second Ninja X can be one hugely satisfying and exhilarating game, but it’s also a very, very challenging one.


7/10


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News – Batman – The Telltale Series release date revealed in new trailer http://www.consoleob.com/news/news-batman-the-telltale-series-release-date-revealed-in-new-trailer/ http://www.consoleob.com/news/news-batman-the-telltale-series-release-date-revealed-in-new-trailer/#respond Tue, 19 Jul 2016 15:18:00 +0000 http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25452 Not long to wait until the first episode of Batman – The Telltale Series, as it is set to be released on PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac and iOS and Android devices on August 2nd, which is two weeks from today.

As previously mentioned, a Season Pass disc will also be released for the game on September 16th, which will feature the first episode, Realm of Shadows. You’ll gain access to the other four episodes when each individual episode becomes available.

The series is of course notable for focusing on Bruce Wayne as much as it does Batman.

To see what sort of things can be expected from the story, take a look at the newly released trailer here. Please be aware that the video is behind an age gate.

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News – Rise of the Tomb Raider coming to PS4 with extras http://www.consoleob.com/news/news-rise-of-the-tomb-raider-coming-to-ps4-with-extras/ http://www.consoleob.com/news/news-rise-of-the-tomb-raider-coming-to-ps4-with-extras/#respond Tue, 19 Jul 2016 14:22:48 +0000 http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25444 When Rise of the Tomb Raider is finally released on the PS4 on October 11th it will be under the title of Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration and, along with the game, feature some extras over the original Xbox One and PC version.

Amongst the additions is a brand new chapter titled Blood Ties that can be played with or without the PlayStation VR. Blood Ties sees Lara’s uncle claiming that he is the rightful owner of Croft Manor, although, playing as Lara, it’s up to you to explore her home to prove that the fancy place does indeed belong to her. The Lara’s Nightmare mode also allows you to defend the manor from a zombie attack and rid the place of an evil presence.

The game will also include all the previously released DLC, an extreme difficulty level, which takes away checkpoints. There will also be a new expansion for the online co-op Endurance mode.

You will also be able to play the game as five classic Lara Croft models, and I don’t mean updated models either, but rather actual past models, which is sure to give many of us a laugh.

With the almost year long wait for PS4 owners, they’ll be happy to learn that plenty of effort has obviously gone into this port. If you own the game on Xbox One or PC all the new content (bar the VR support) will be offered as paid for DLC, or if you have purchased the Season Pass, you’ll be able to receive the content for no extra charge.

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News – Xbox One S launching early next month http://www.consoleob.com/news/news-xbox-one-s-launching-early-next-month/ http://www.consoleob.com/news/news-xbox-one-s-launching-early-next-month/#respond Mon, 18 Jul 2016 17:25:34 +0000 http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25438 The Xbox One S will be released on August 2nd at the price of £350, and will come boxed with an updated controller, which has a stronger signal as well as a textured grip and Bluetooth support. You’ll also be able to buy the updated controller on the very same day.

The Xbox One S is 40% smaller than current Xbox One models, has a built-in power supply, and is the first console that allows you to watch Blu-ray movies and stream video in 4K Ultra HD with High Dynamic Range (HDR). HDR will also help games look better thanks to a higher contrast ratio between lights and darks.

The console will initially be available with a 2TB hard drive, although coming later will also be 1TB and 500GB models which will be priced at £300 and £250 respectively. Microsoft has yet to announce any firm release dates for these two models.

If you haven’t got an Xbox One yet, it seems that now may be a good time to get one in your home.

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Layers of Fear Xbox One Review http://www.consoleob.com/reviews/layers-of-fear-xbox-one-review/ http://www.consoleob.com/reviews/layers-of-fear-xbox-one-review/#respond Mon, 18 Jul 2016 09:34:11 +0000 http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25365 Publisher: Aspyr Media, Inc.  Developer: Bloober Team  Genre: Psychological Horror

Players: 1  Age Rating: 16+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4


If you want a game full of mind-trickery, then this is the game for you. The story follows a painter who wants to finish his masterpiece, and it is your mission to find 6 objects throughout 6 chapters to complete this final painting. The story is as generic as they come – about a man burdened by his family life who is trying to finish the aforementioned painting, driving him to insanity as his life starts to take its toll on his talent, his skills starting to fade and turning him into an aggressive, resentful monster towards his family. It is very predictable, though in Layers of Fear, it is not the story that is the main focus. It does a decent enough job to drive the game, though emphasis here has definitely been placed on trying to mess with your mind, and scares, lots of jumpscares.

Played in first person view, you are in a Victorian-style house, one that is empty and where things start to go bump in the night. You control the main character and explore different rooms of the house, finding notes, letters and the other usual items that can be found in such a game, the story unfolding as you move forwards. Layers of Fear is a very atmospheric game and does a good job of pulling you in with its slow and steady build-up. With 6 chapters, each one is more surreal than the last, leaving you wondering what on earth could happen next.

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The mother ghost in this game has nothing on my mum if she found me drawing on the walls…

The star of the game are the visuals, the graphics wonderfully detailed and especially when the house begins morphing around you and how rooms keep changing as you enter through doors. Lots of doors. The game starts slow and steady, with minimalist happenings going on, you mostly wandering around the house, opening cupboards, bedside cabinets, wardrobes and oven doors, searching for those aforementioned notes and letters that give you more insight into the plot; the start very much feels like a walking simulator. At the start of the game is where I found the jumpscares to be the most effective, a simple piano slamming shut, a knife flying at you from nowhere, fruit tumbling out of a painting – simple yet unexpected moments that made me jump, and things certainly get a lot crazier from there.

Later in the game is where the visuals work their best, with you coming across a gramophone that, as you turn it, morphs the room around, the room changing from ordinary-looking to dark, twisted and angular, revealing a necessary item. The world becomes far more vast as the story moves onward, the house you are in becoming a maze of corridors, rooms and puzzles that you have to solve in order to progress.

What makes something scary to me, however, is that it must be relatable; in my everyday life I have to have had some experience with whatever is going on in the game. No, I don’t live in Victorian times and don’t live in a Victorian house therefore can’t relate to living in the era the game is set in, but just the fact it takes place in a regular home, with bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms with everyday items, that makes the game relatable enough – most of us are fortunate enough to live in a house and get creeped out if a stair creaks at night time, and that is why I found the first part of the game to be the scariest, because I could relate. However, I must admit I wasn’t too enamoured by the second half of the game and ending, where things really do enter nightmare/dreamland mode; yes, the visuals are impressive, though they never really quite reach their full crescendo and instead of feeling scared, all I felt was puzzled as to what the heck was going on.

Of course the game is a psychological horror and shows the main characters mind spiralling out of control, his obsession to finish his ‘magnum opus’ becoming all consuming, though at this point the game had lost me. What kept me playing is my curiosity about how it would all end and not because I was finding the scares, story and exploration enjoyable in these later sections. Towards the end I felt as though the experience had played out enough and what was happening completely broke the immersion and became more of a game where weird things was happening as opposed to things happening that drove the story along.

Also you soon find out that there’s no real threat to your character in the game; you can’t die. À la Silent Hills, the character is grabbed by the enemy, shaken up a bit, then dropped, only to pick himself up, dust himself off, and continue on. After this any fear you experience is greatly diminished and the game sorely needed some type of penalty for getting caught, such as having to start all over, just something that would make you want to avoid the enemy.

Layers of Fear also ticks all of the horror game cliches – a twitchy ghost, babies crying, looping corridors, puzzles, doors leading nowhere or disappearing, unstable main character, Ouija boards, phones ringing, being grabbed but not killed, eerie paintings, things doing random, creepy things; it’s definitely Silent Hills meets Amnesia – it’s not an original game to say the least and can be added to the library of games that take place in a house where things get very strange very quickly.

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This is probably one of the best sequences in the game; it has you actually doing something while something else happens as a result, rather than just jumpscaring you.

As mentioned there are a few puzzles in the game, though they aren’t the most clever puzzles that you will come across. One includes phoning a number, finding the ringing phone, answering, dialling a new number and then finding the next ringing phone and so fourth. As mentioned there is a Ouija board puzzle, something to do with a draughts boardgame and another puzzle that has you inputting a number into a lock after finding the combination… so not the most taxing of puzzles, but enough to break up the exploration.

Saying all that though, Layers of Fear kept my interest and I did complete the game, even if I did find the second half rather underwhelming. I think a lot of gamers that play these types of games, even though they aren’t entirely enthralled by the experience and get a feeling of déjà vu, there is still a certain sense of mystery and intrigue that manages to keep them coming back for more, even if it is just to question what on earth the developers were taking when they came up with such ideas. For the most part the game is very linear and has you following a set path, though another positive is that there are multiple endings for you to uncover depending on your actions during the game, so does offer some replayability, if you wish to play through a second time. However, Layers of Fear probably isn’t worth it’s current price tag of £15.99 though – if you want to wile away a few hours and are in the mood for a few scares on a rainy night, then definitely give this a try when it is on sale only.


6/10


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News – Overcooked out of the oven next month http://www.consoleob.com/news/news-overcooked-out-of-the-oven-next-month/ http://www.consoleob.com/news/news-overcooked-out-of-the-oven-next-month/#respond Sun, 17 Jul 2016 16:06:34 +0000 http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25415 Ghost Town Games’ charming cooperative and competitive cooking game Overcooked has an August 3rd release date on PS4, Xbox One and PC, which means that you won’t have to wait too long to get involved in preparing some virtual food in time to please your virtual customers.

Overcooked is another downloadable indie game with a focus on local multiplayer, with the possibility of up to four players at once cooperating or competing in the kitchen. 28 campaign levels, 9 versus levels, 14 chefs, as well as a variety of bizarre kitchens, which includes a pirate ship, a haunted house, a volcano, and even one in outer space.

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