Console Obsession My Wordpress Blog 2016-09-25T13:17:56Z http://www.consoleob.com/feed/atom/ Chris Wigham <![CDATA[News – What to expect from Games with Gold next month]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=26134 2016-09-25T13:17:56Z 2016-09-25T13:17:56Z It’s that time of the month already in which Microsoft announce what is coming to their Games with Gold service. Read on to find out what can be expected in October.

First up is the charismatic and cartoon-y Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings on Xbox One, which will be available at no extra cost for Xbox Live Gold subscribers for the entire month of October. Following the cartoon-y Baseball game on Xbox One is jailbreak game The Escapists, which will come available from October 16th, and will remain available until November 15th.

Xbox 360 games will meanwhile include MX vs. ATV Reflex, which will be available from October 1st to October 15th, and then a day later on October 16th, apocalyptic survival game I am Alive will be available to download at no extra cost until October 31st.

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Louise Biddle <![CDATA[Dear Esther: Landmark Edition PS4 Review]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=26080 2016-09-25T12:43:59Z 2016-09-25T12:37:58Z Publisher: Curve Digital  Developer: The Chinese Room  Genre: Walking Simulator, Adventure  

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


From the team that made Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture comes the game that popularised the walking simulator, Dear Esther, a story driven game recognised for its complete lack of gaming mechanics and for challenging the idea of what makes a game a game.

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The graphics are some of the highlights of the game and make for a haunting atmosphere.

Any gameplay is minimal – at times you’ll use a torch and you can zoom the camera in and out – though mostly your only objective is to wander around an island in the Scottish Herbrides. Moving around, you reach certain areas that will then trigger dialogue from the forlorn narrator who is reading letters to a woman known as Esther. Story-wise, it can feel very confusing with its intent to be open to interpretation and whilst the voice acting is decent, I found that the way in which the narrator spoke was rather pompous, spouting sentences full of words that makes the story sound too overly dramatic. The narrator certainly isn’t a relatable chap, sounding more like a university lecturer than an ordinary human being; I certainly found myself numerous times asking who in the heck talks that way?

Mostly you’ll be walking around and taking in the scenery, and the graphics are certainly glorious, especially during one section that takes place in some caves. The water effects are some of the best and the way in which the cave walls look damp and moist brings the environment to life. The lighting in the caves makes it look as though you have reached somewhere magical and fantastical, green and blue lighting giving rocks and boulders an almost neon glow. Even the little mushrooms scattered about glow ominously. The environments have been done in such a way as to make you feel you are really there, drawing you in with small details such as the wind blowing and howling as you stroll through the vast hills. Dear Esther certainly succeeds in being a very atmospheric game. In motion, the game is like a picture come to life and easily draws you in with its mature tone. Any music in the game is also minimal though can be heard at pivotal points, and what is there is excellent. The times when there is no music has an equally large impact with only the sounds of the environment making the game feel all the more emphatic.

Unfortunately though, Dear Esther is a game that is supposed to evoke emotions and whilst at times I did feel drawn into the game, this is mostly thanks to the wonderfully recognised environments and not the story-telling. I felt confused by the story and, given that the game does have randomised dialogue, it can make for some questionable moments where you’ll be asking why the main character is saying such strange things, things that will only make more sense on a second playthrough. The only problem I have is with the narrator. His way of talking is not relatable and at times he even sounds a tad over-dramatic, elevating quickly between calmness and anger. Despite the dialogue sounding almost poetic, the narrator failed to draw any sympathy from me and at times it sounds as though he is talking in riddles. I also felt I never got to know Esther as a person; you find out certain things about her, such as why the narrator is reading letters to her, though you never really learn anything about her background or anything from her day to day life – she’s just a character that something bad happened to and you’re supposed to feel sympathy because of this, and the narrator has been sorely affected by it. There’s no real context behind it. There is a nice twist at the end that did catch me off guard, though with such a confusing story, it fell rather flat. A different narrator and style of storytelling would have been a much better option, having someone more down-to-earth and with a calmer tone that gradually begins to sound enraged as the story reaches its peak.

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There are objects in the game that you can find if you are looking closely that add a bit more depth to the story.

Being the Landmark Edition, the game does have additional content, although this only comes in the form of a directors commentary. This extra does add some sort of hunting/searching gameplay to the levels as the directors commentary is dotted about throughout the areas that you need to find. To hear the dialogue, you walk about as usual and walk into a speech bubble in the shape of a piece of lined paper. The commentary does give you more of an insight into the games design and even the story, so for those who are confused, the directors commentary will hopefully shed more light on what Dear Esther is actually about.

The game as a whole though made me feel as though I needed a degree in creative writing to fully understand what was happening – yes, it has been done in such a way that it allows players to pick at the story and come to their own conclusions and to encourage further playthroughs, though it comes across as very vague – at times I felt I could understand the story and then there were times that made me question my conclusions (which turns out was the developers intention, so well done!). Despite Dear Esther’s intent to encourage further playthroughs though, the story doesn’t ever feel as though it comes together; it’s a game that has an ending open for interpretation, but this only makes it feel incomplete and unsatisfying, raising more questions than answers. A lot of subtle detail has gone into enhancing the story, from the music to the design of the environment and what can be found in it, to the narration, though this will be one game that will make some players feel very smart and others feel very dumb indeed.


6/10


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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[RIVE PS4 Review]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=26094 2016-09-24T13:18:48Z 2016-09-24T13:18:48Z Publisher: Two Tribes  Developer: Two Tribes  Genre: Action/Platformer 

Players: 1  Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: N/A


There are a lot of things in gaming that just don’t exist in reality, and some of these things really are a Godsend. Take dying for example, if you die in the real world, you aren’t able to press a button to resurrect yourself in order to try again in the same way that you can in a game, and in RIVE restarts are massively important.

Dutch developer Two Tribe’s gaming swansong is a concoction of action and platforming in which you take control of a spider-like tank inside of an abandoned spaceship. Taking place across 12 missions with brief intermission sections, the game is explosive and intense, and it also offers a tall challenge to anyone brave enough to face it. The steep difficulty level of the game means that the default mode is actually called hard mode, so it goes without saying that plenty of frustration can be expected from the off.

It’s not as if RIVE is a completely unfair game though, as that’s not actually the case at all, although you may very well find yourself repeating sections time and time again before you are able to overcome them. The game does have a large number of checkpoints, it takes more than a single hit to kill you, and if you die a hundred times (which is very, very likely), soft mode unlocks, which makes the game slightly easier, although at the cost of halving your score at the end of the level. With that said, if you are chasing high scores, then soft mode isn’t for you, but if you are having difficulty making any real progress and just want to see as much of the game as possible, this little option may just be your best friend in the entire game. Once unlocked, soft mode can be toggled on and off at any time.

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Things get a lot more brutal than this, believe me.

RIVE’s difficult nature doesn’t only come from its army of enemies, but it’s also often in the way that the action is presented to you. This is a game that frequently forces you to multitask, as there are often lots of enemies to fight off as well as obstacles to contend with, all thrown at you at once. As frustrating as the game can get at times, RIVE’s brand of action is nevertheless a brand that is rarely uninteresting, and it certainly keeps you on the edge of your seat at all times.

The game uses the twin-stick shooter control scheme, which allows for 360 degree fire. Your Spider Tank is equipped with a machine gun that boasts unlimited ammo, but you also get access to a number of secondary attacks. There are four of these in the game, and you’ll unlock them by accumulating currency and making use of it at the upgrade station between levels, and you can also upgrade your armour here as well.

Secondary attacks include homing missiles, a shotgun, bouncing mines as well as an electrical attack, and when you have more than one installed in your tank, they can be switched between with a button press. Unlike the machine gun, these attacks are limited, which means it’s best to be more selective as to when to make use of them. If employed at the right time, the secondary attacks can get you out of some really tight spots.

Another thing that can help you get out of some tight spots is your tank’s hacking ability. You are able to hack certain enemy robots, and they’ll then fight beside you as long as they manage to stay in one piece; some attacking enemies, and others healing you. I like the hacking feature, although perhaps there could have been a bit more strategy to it, as it’s basic in the way that you rarely get any choice as to which enemy to hack. Even when you have four or five options at your disposal, there’s rarely any opportunities to hack more than one type.

Back to better things, and the game has a number of references to popular classics such as Asteroids and Tetris, and there’s actually a pleasing enough amount of variation, which keeps things from growing stale. When the tank isn’t walking around on dry ground, it’s floating in zero gravity areas or walking under water. It really does feel as if the game has everything, although none of it feels as if it has been forced into the game just for the sake of being there.

If you do manage to complete the campaign, a further two gameplay options are unlocked: Speed Run and Single Credit modes. With one mode tasking you with getting through the game as quickly as possible and the other only allowing for a single death, both modes are obviously aimed at the more advanced player, although if you manage to abstain from switching on soft mode, then you may very well be an elite player by the game’s end.

Being that it’s their final game, Two Tribes went all out to try their hardest to make RIVE the best game that they have ever developed, and this has also resulted in the gaming having plenty of personality. Effort has gone into everything from the visuals to the dialogue and music to make sure that the game isn’t one that could easily be forgotten.

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There’s not many bosses to face in RIVE’s campaign mode, although the ones that are present are decent enough.

Visually, RIVE has plenty of character. The game has an attractive cartoon-like art style, and the little tank you take control of is charismatic thanks to its animations. The game often also has plenty of things going on at once, which means that the explosive action is pleasing on the eye.

When it comes to its storyline, the game has personality thanks to its sense of humour. The bearded protagonist that is Roughshot coolly and cheesily wisecracks his way through the game, and I always looked forward to whatever he might say next. Other than its sense of humour though, the story never really goes in-depth, with the focus definitely being on the action. Lines of dialogue can also begin to get repetitive after awhile, particularly if you are forced to repeat a section over and over again.

Due to its mammoth difficulty level, RIVE is not the type of game that will appeal to everyone, but it also must be said that its skill-based gameplay rarely feels completely unfair. The game does have a generous helping of checkpoints, although that doesn’t mean that you won’t die many times, and it’s definitely a game that calls for swift reactions and the patience of a saint. When all is said and done, Two Tribes’ final title may turn out to be an excellent game with pleasing variety for those who have the patience to stick with it in the way that I was able to, but others will be turned off by the amount of frustration that may be experienced from as early as the second or third mission, with the game rarely allowing you to pause for breath during many of its heavy and brutal action sequences.


7/10


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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas Xbox One Review]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=26064 2016-09-21T14:27:32Z 2016-09-21T14:27:32Z Publisher: FDG Entertainment  Developer: Cornfox & Bros.  Genre: Action RPG 

Players: 1  Age Rating: 7+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4


You don’t have to play Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas for long to realise what popular series the people behind the game were inspired by. Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series has long impressed with its blend of exploration and combat, and Oceanhorn takes much of its inspiration from The Windwaker, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. Forgetting about its inspiration, this isometric action RPG is definitely an absorbing enough adventure that is well worth playing in its own right.

Oceanhorn may sound like a name for a fancy boat, although as the rest of the title suggests, it’s actually a sea monster. Playing as a nameless young hero, your father goes off on a journey in a bid to slay the sizeable monster, although he doesn’t return, so it’s up to you to find out what happened to him as well as to slay the creature. It’s a functional plot, but there’s little additional depth to it, and it’s largely forgettable as far as the cast of characters and memorable narrative events are concerned.

Oceanhorn’s world certainly fares better than its story. Like The Windwaker, you explore the world by climbing on board a boat, and setting sail across the ocean. At first, you have little interaction when in the boat, with it heading towards the instructed destination automatically, although you are soon able to fire a weapon from the vessel, allowing you to kill any enemies or remove any obstacles in your way as well as to collect items and coins as you sail across the beautiful blue ocean. The sailing is simple, but it’s also effective enough.

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The game has a stamina system, with the likes of dashing and defending yourself with your shield using it up. Stamina refills, however, after a short break from doing any of these things.

Across the duration of the game, you’ll discover new islands to set sail towards, and some of these islands are optional, which means that exploration and discovering secrets are a must if you want to see as much of the game world as possible. Talking to people as well as finding messages can unlock new islands, and upon heading to these places, you may discover that you can’t get to certain areas until you unlock a specific skill at a later point in the game, which means that revisiting particular islands can be worthwhile, and brings to mind the likes of Metroid and Castlevania. The game certainly succeeds in the way that it feels like a world that needs to be explored, and the adventure can potentially last for over 10 hours, which means that there’s more than a decent amount of content for the £11.99 asking price.

When it comes to the rest of the adventure, the puzzle design is basic but serviceable enough and, like they did with me, some of them may stump you for awhile. A lot of the puzzles involve you moving blocks around and hitting switches, and they don’t really get any more complex than this, which will surely be a disappointment to those wanting to be faced with an enormous and puzzling challenge. Still, these retro style puzzles will be welcome to many who are wanting to play such a classic action RPG, and it’s just enjoyable to attempt to explore each island from top to bottom as you try to hit 100%, heading into dungeons and caves and whatnot, and finding chests stashed away in hidden corners.

The combat is also as equally basic in its design as the puzzles, but, again, it does the job. You begin the game with only a stick to your name; although this is later replaced by a sword and a shield, and you’ll eventually also have a bow and arrow. The combat is relatively clunky in the way that it’s not always obvious when enemies are going to strike, which means that it takes the edge off any real tactical play. Still, like I said, it does the job well enough and also offers simple enjoyment, although more in depth combat wouldn’t go amiss in the upcoming sequel.

You’ll also get your hands on a handful of magic spells in the game, which includes wind, fire, ice, and more. These spells don’t only help out during combat situations, but they are also required to solve some of the game’s puzzles. You’ll also unlock helpful equipment such as bombs, a bow and arrow, trencher boots that allow you to jump across certain gaps as well as to roll out of the way of enemy attacks, and a fishing rod for when you fancy a spot of fishing. When mentioning some of that equipment, you can probably understand where the Metroid and Castlevania exploration comparisons come in.

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The simplicity of the sailing may be due to the game’s iPhone and iPad roots.

The game also has a likeable challenge system that presents you with a mountain of tasks to aim for over the game’s duration. To name a few examples, tasks include moving chests and other objects around 100 times, collecting your first 25 coins, killing three enemies with a single blow, and breaking walls with bombs 10 times. Completing any tasks will earn you extra XP, and once you have earned enough XP to reach a new level you are granted a new title (or Adventurer level) as well as various perks, which includes such helpful things as faster sailing, additional bombs, and more. It’s a system that feels very rewarding.

Oceanhorn is a beautifully eye-catching game in its entirety. True, this isn’t the kind of game that is pushing today’s consoles, but it’s a crisp, smooth and vibrant adventure all the same that is based on the maximum settings of the remastered PC version. It’s a game that looks utterly charming and it could quite easily be mistaken for a game that was developed in Japan as opposed to Finland. Captivating visuals are one way to draw you into a game world early on, and Oceanhorn manages to do just that with its colourful and inviting world. The music is also wonderful, which isn’t surprising considering that the likes of Nobuo Uematsu and Kenji Ito were involved in composing some of the tracks.

With simple combat, a forgettable story, and ancient puzzle design, Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas may not be the most taxing or innovative game in the world, but it’s certainly an absorbing one thanks to its beautiful and vibrant world as well as its successful sense of adventure. The game may not be up to the standards of the series that inspired it, but Oceanhorn is still a more than playable adventure in its own right, and one that deserves plenty of love and attention lavished upon it.


7/10


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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[News – Metal Gear Survive shown off in gameplay video]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=26073 2016-09-19T09:20:14Z 2016-09-19T09:18:52Z The first Metal Gear Solid game without creator Hideo Kojima at the helm was announced a while back, but Konami have now shown off the first gameplay footage of the spin-off game.

Metal Gear Survive is an interesting twist on the series, but perhaps it’s one that might have served better as downloadable content for Metal Gear Solid V as opposed to a full release. Take a look at Konami’s in-depth video below, and then you can draw your own conclusions about this four player co-op Metal Gear zombie game.

Metal Gear Survive is due for release on PS4, Xbox One and PC next year.

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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[News – South Park: The Fractured But Whole delayed into 2017]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=26071 2016-09-19T09:07:31Z 2016-09-19T09:07:31Z South Park: The Fractured But Whole has joined a list of games that has been delayed until next year.

The RPG follow-up based on the controversial show was originally due for release in December but is now set for an early 2017 release.

The most popular reason was given for the delay, that being that Ubisoft’s PS4, Xbox One and PC RPG needs a little more time to be polished up for release.

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Louise Biddle <![CDATA[Claire: Extended Cut PS4 Review]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25993 2016-09-15T14:20:06Z 2016-09-15T14:20:06Z Publisher: Hailstorm Games  Developer: Hailstorm Games  Genre: Psychological Horror  

Players: 1  Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One, PS Vita


If you thought Layers of Fears was a door opening simulator, then Claire: Extended Cut will certainly give it a run for its money. You control the titular Claire as she tries to escape from a mysterious hospital all whilst trying to avoid strange shadowy creatures and monsters with black holes where their faces should be. As with a lot of games of this type, story-wise there is some depth to be had though, unfortunately, it wasn’t the biggest draw for me. The game has you aimlessly wandering around so much that you tend to forget what the plot is about and it is also the type of game that you know will explain things somewhat towards the end. Claire is yet another game with a message about mental health and how it not only affects you, but the people around you. It delves into Claire’s psyche and the events that actually lead to her acting the way she does and it is when the story falls into place at the end where it garnered most of my interest, even if it is still predictable.

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There are save points in the game where you will respawn after you have died. Thankfully you won’t need to do everything you did before you died though, but it can lead to frustration getting back to where you were.

Gameplay-wise, for me the biggest problem with the game is that there is very little to do. There are puzzles, though they are few and far between; in fact there are only 8 puzzles to find in the game with some being relevant to progressing the game and others there just to give you a useful item. Other than the moments when you will be solving a puzzle, you’ll mostly be walking around, going through door after door, trying to find your way using the rather vague map (at least it was vague until an update was added recently, though it still doesn’t help much), and picking up items such as lock-picks, drinks, medication and batteries for your torch, the torch which I lost for some unknown reason and then needing to rely on a very dim lighter for the rest of the game; it does instruct you to press the right analogue stick to switch between the torch and lighter, though it didn’t seem to work for me. On occasion you will find other people trapped in the mad world with you and some will give you a task, which mostly consists of you finding and bringing them an item, whilst others only require you to speak to them and maybe choose from multiple choice answers. These people do play a slight part in the story and even though the tasks they give you expand the gameplay, for the most part you will still be wandering aimlessly around.

I completed Claire in 5 hours and 24 minutes on Story (Normal) difficulty, though have seen walkthroughs where the game has been completed anywhere from 3 hours up to 8 and as I have mentioned a lot of that consists of you not doing much at all. You’ll be heading down one corridor, checking your vague map, and then heading down yet another corridor or entering another empty room, and this can go on for quite some time. The map isn’t very useful as it isn’t always clear about what areas are blocked off or what corridors lead to what places, and you can’t scroll through maps of the previous areas to try and plan a route. At one point I was stuck in an area for a good hour or so, trying to work out where to go and when I did finally find my way out, it was only through sheer luck as I have no idea what I did to progress. Mostly I was getting so fed up I started wandering down corridors randomly and revisiting areas to make sure I hadn’t missed anything; after the fifth time visiting the same room, tedium did start to set in. What makes the map even more confusing is that it shows a 3D environment whereas Claire is 2.5D, and some of the doors I kept missing at first because they are partially invisible when walking down a corridor that has doors either side. Needless to say, the map does take some getting used to.

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The map can be rather confusing at times; it doesn’t show you what doors you have been through, so if you have been to an area, it will be highlighted green, and if you miss something there, it can lead to some confusion as you try to find your way back.

Another issue is that the environments all look pretty much the same, even when it is supposed to be somewhere different. At times there’ll be scenes that will add some variety to the environments, though the same colour palette of dark reds, greys, blacks, greens and browns will be used throughout, and this also contributes to the aimless wandering around as you enter a room or another corridor and wonder whether or not you have been here before; of course a quick check of your map will verify this, though for the most part, it will cause you to feel lost.

Another element to Claire is that Claire’s anxiety levels can change. Claire’s anxiety is utilised much better when you play on Hard or Nightmare mode, with more penalties as her anxiety increases. In Story mode, however, her anxiety levels don’t really have any impact on the gameplay at all and feels rather superfluous. For the most part you’ll find yourself not really taking any notice of Claire’s anxiety when playing Story mode and it only draws your attention when a rapidly-beating heart icon appears on-screen. There are many items that can be found to help calm Claire’s nerves, though in Story mode you’ll find yourself with quite a full inventory as you’ll rarely be using anything that helps to heal. On harder difficulties, there is definitely more of a survival horror sense as you’ll be managing your inventory and keeping a closer eye on Claire’s panic levels and health much more closely.

On her journey Claire is accompanied by her pet dog Ani, who warns you of incoming threats. I didn’t really see any purpose for Ani to be there either as you can plainly see any enemies, making Ani a bit pointless, though the dog is featured in one rather peculiar ending. Claire: Extended Cut does have multiple endings so offers a lot of replayability, and there are quite a few endings for a persistent player to find.

As for the threats in the game, there are two types of enemies to be found, one being the human-esque creature with a gap in its face and the other being a dark shadow with a white face, and it is these that are the most threatening. The human-like creatures don’t seem to bother Claire who can walk past them freely without bother, though it is some of the black shadows that will cause you the most trouble, striking at Claire as she walks past causing her damage and/or chasing her. The biggest shadow enemy in the game pops up from time to time to chase Claire through many corridors, though it is no more of a threat than the smaller shadows. The design of the creatures isn’t really that scary – in fact Claire didn’t scare me at all, and it was the mystery that kept me playing. A bit more variety in the enemies would have been welcome and some bigger threats would have made the game just that bit more intense. Playing one of the harder difficulties will give you more enemies that are much more aggressive, but they are still easy to avoid just by jumping and running past them – Claire cannot attack enemies in the game, instead having to avoid them or hide from them in cupboards, though I found just running past into another corridor was the best method to escape them. I never actually played the original Claire, so I cannot review the new features that are exclusive to the Extended Cut, though there seems to be a new shadow enemy in the game, not that it made much difference to me. Other than the one enemy there doesn’t seem to be any other new additions.

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You’ll find other people in the game; some will be easy to help while others require a bit more work.

Graphically, Claire is a pixelated game and it all adds to the environments creepy atmosphere; a game about the protagonists past should invoke nostalgic feelings and it does this very well. However, for me the game was a bit too dark and I found it difficult to see where I was going at times, even with the gamma full and the TV screen brightened. As I mentioned earlier I did have a torch, though for some reason I couldn’t use it again after a certain event occurred.

What gets off to a promising start and draws you in with what will seem like an intriguing, if predictable, story quickly becomes something rather tedious, with a huge lull in the middle of the game where not much of interest happens. Things pick up again towards the end of the game, though for the most part Claire does feel like a very empty game, where unexpectedly finding a glinting object fills you with hope that you have found something of importance only to then discover that it is just another healing item, lockpick, or a mysterious white butterfly.

The game fails to build any tension, even when playing the higher difficulties levels and a lot of the empty rooms that litter different areas also feel like filler and when you enter them for the umpteenth time, it does start to grate on you. Claire: Extended Cut plays at a steady pace, with a few random horror incidents here and there that feel more unexceptional than relevant, and although it does have multiple endings to find, the gameplay isn’t varied enough that casual players would want to play through again and again to find them all, and you would need to play through again as it is your actions and decisions that affect the outcome.

The challenge the game offers does slightly increase on higher difficulty settings, with more enemies on-screen that are able to cause you more damage, which is the only real added risk, and the only penalty for the more frequent game overs is trying to get back to where you were. Still, Claire: Extended Cut is a story-driven game and for first time players looking for a more fulfilling experience, I would definitely recommend you ignore Story mode and instead play either Hard or Nightmare mode, both of which are available right from the start.


5/10


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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[News – Assassin’s Creed The Ezio Collection announced]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=26046 2016-09-14T15:41:31Z 2016-09-14T15:39:22Z Assassin’s Creed The Ezio Collection brings together all the games that starred one of Assassin’s Creed’s most charismatic leads, the Italian assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze. The collection include Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, all of which will be coming to the PS4 and Xbox One for the very first time.

Ubisoft are promising enhanced graphics, as well as all the single player DLC released for each game, although the multiplayer has been left out altogether.

Also included in the collection will be the short films Assassin’s Creed: Embers and Assassin’s Creed: Lineage, which rounds the package off nicely.

Assassin’s Creed The Ezio Collection will be released on November 18th, so there’s not too long to wait before you are able to replay the games or play them for the very first time.

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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[News – Will it ever be released? The Last Guardian delayed again]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=26040 2016-09-12T17:57:41Z 2016-09-12T17:51:03Z The Last Guardian has been lurking about since 2009, and the release has got further away once again, with the game now set for launch on December 9th. The long in development game was due on October 25th before this most recent delay was announced, so at least there isn’t too much longer to wait.

Having been in development limbo on the PS3 and then switching development to the PS4, the game has quite the storied history, and this new delay has apparently happened because they required the extra time to iron some bugs out.

Coming from the team behind the excellent ICO, and Shadow of the Colossus, the game shouldn’t disappoint when it is finally released.

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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[Just Cause 3 PS4 Review]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=26006 2016-09-11T13:43:35Z 2016-09-11T13:43:05Z Publisher: Square Enix  Developer: Avalanche Studios  Genre: Action  Players: 1  

Age Rating: 16+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One


It has been six years since Just Cause 2 came along and proved itself to be one of the greatest gaming sequels ever, and for fans of the series it may have been quite a painful wait for this second sequel. With Just Cause 3 finally releasing last December, such fans were finally put out of their misery, but only now are we playing catch-up with our own review of the game.

The story of Just Cause 3 is typically largely uninteresting. Don’t get me wrong, it’s passable enough, and is coloured by a handful of amusing moments, but the series has never been one to engage with its storyline, and I have a strong desire to return to the action of the game whenever its story scenes are playing. For those that care though, Just Cause 3 has protagonist Rico Rodriguez going to the Mediterranean island of Medici, his birthplace. The island is under the control of General Sebastiano Di Ravello, a power hungry dictator with a fancy name and world domination ambitions, and it’s of course up to you to you to knock him down a peg or two.

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The game has an Autolog style leaderboard system, which makes things more competitive, with the players closest to your own times and scores listed. There’s leaderboards for everything, which includes longest wingsuit flight time, furthest grapple kick, most enemies killed with a single grenade, highest parachute climb, and so on.

Like Just Cause 2’s Panau, Medici is a beautiful and expansive place. In fact, the island is of comparable size to that of the one found in the second game, which means it’s absolutely massive, and it’s made up of three distinct regions. Poppy and sunflower fields stretch out in front of you, mountains rise into the sky and are topped with snow, golden beaches look inviting, windy roads climb and descend suddenly, towns and enemy bases sit in indiscreet as well as hidden places, and the blue sky and ocean make for a paradisiacal environment that is worthy of exploring as well as blowing up.

The South American hero that is Rico Rodriguez is once again an agent with many extreme skills; his parachute and his grappling hook now joined by the brand new wingsuit. The wingsuit actually fits so well into the Just Cause series that one has got to wonder why it took so long to be made available, and it really is an excellent addition. The wingsuit can be deployed while in the air with a single button press, and it’s exhilarating to see Rico soaring through the sky at speed. As it’s possible to combine all of Rico’s tools – parachute, grappling hook and wingsuit – it makes for a thrilling action game. The Wingsuit allows you to quickly move through the sky, the parachute allows you to sail slowly downwards, and the grappling hook gives you the unlimited potential to zip forward, and connects to pretty much any physical object. Used altogether, and Rico really is an action man of the highest calibre.

Take the protagonist’s grappling hook for example. This was much improved in the second game, and it has been improved again in this second sequel. The grappling hook now allows you to tether objects together, leading to great satisfaction and the potential to create your own memorable moments, as you tether vehicles, people and explosive objects together, and with the potential for up to six tethers, there’s plenty of room for exploration. With all of this said, Rico may not be the most interesting character in the world when it comes to his personality, but he’s certainly one of gaming’s finest action stars.

Driving and shooting also make their return. Even though many may not bother with it too much when they have got a handle on the parachute, the wingsuit and the grappling hook, the driving definitely feels the most satisfying it has ever in the series, and the shooting is fun in a dumb and explosive way, with witless enemies that are only a real threat when they are in large numbers. You can now also shoot while parachuting, which makes you less of a sitting duck while in the air, and you are also able to move to any position on vehicles while you are standing and doing your action thing on top of them as opposed to being rooted to the spot in the same way you were in Just Cause 2.

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Typically, the game has fast travel, although it works differently in the way that you need a flare in order to make use of it. Flare’s are earned by completing quick and random tasks, and they can be restocked at certain points on the map. If you take over an entire province, however, you’ll be able to freely travel to said province whenever you want to.

Moving on, and the game waives the use of typical currency, using beacons instead, and these beacons (replenished at certain places) allow you to get weapons and vehicles dropped in once the feature becomes available to you early in the game. These so called Rebel Drops allow you to request a vehicle and up to three weapons to be dropped in from the sky at once. You unlock weapons and vehicles that can be potentially dropped in by liberating areas on the map as well as completing story missions. It’s also possible to hijack and deliver any vehicles on the road to your garage, which will unlock the ability to get them dropped in.

Missions are typical of this type of open-world game, with the first one giving you a little bit of everything, although there’s sadly a flawed structure in place in order to unlock some of the game’s missions late in each of the three acts. Sometimes you’ll find yourself hitting a brick wall and not being able to progress through the story until you have taken care of the required number of provinces in the area by blowing up enemy bases and outposts, and taking out equipment such as speakers, statues, satellites, and billboards to liberate towns. As the game’s destruction is often so enjoyable, with towers toppling down, objects sparking, giant balls rolling, and the potential to cause a domino effect with explosive objects, there’s much fun to be had in destroying objects, although it can feel a little repetitive when you are ordered to do it again and again just so you are able to play specific story missions. This is at its worst in the final act, as the game asks you to attack massive bases and city areas, which obviously takes awhile to accomplish. It’s even more annoying when you aren’t even able to find a town, outpost or enemy base to attack, as you need to come across them before they are shown on the map.

Some might feel that the above mentioned structure is a tad restrictive for such an open-world game, although Just Cause 3 does have many other things to do, and it’s possible to lose yourself for many hours on the island of Medici. Liberating some areas unlocks side missions such as races, wingsuit challenges, destruction challenges, and more. It’s also possible to find collectibles on the island such as audio tapes from the main villain, shrines, and more.

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The wingsuit is something that would be extremely missed if Avalanche were to decide to remove it in a future game, although with how well it has been received, I doubt that this would ever happen.

It’s nice to see the side missions being factored into the game itself, and completing them comes with their own rewards, which permanently enhances a number of things. Completing such side missions awards you with gears, the number being based on how well you performed. When you have earned enough gears, you’ll unlock new mods, which can be toggled on and off at any time. In another nice touch, there are weapon mods, tether mods, traversal mods, destruction mods, explosive mods, as well as mods for land, sea and air vehicles. You’ll only earn gears to unlock the mod based on whatever side mission you undertake, so completing a race will earn you gears towards the next land vehicle mod, while wingsuit challenges will reward you gears that go towards the next traversal mod, and so on. It’s an excellent and intelligent piece of game design, and it makes side missions feel less like a fun distraction or, at worst, filler. There’s many mods to unlock, including everything from precision aiming, extra tethers, vehicle nitrous, the capability to carry extra grenades, and so on.

Visually, Just Cause 3 is a fine looking game when it’s running as it should, although technical issues do get in the way of the fun from time to time. Yes, even with multiple patches, the game still continues to underperform technically at times. The frame-rate drops horrendously when the action gets really intense all too frequently, and this really does take some of the shine away from the game. Fortunately, in my own experience, it didn’t happen over and over again, but it still occurred enough to spoil things somewhat, and for a game that has a focus on causing extreme chaos, it just isn’t good enough. It just feels like shoddy work.

There’s an excellent action game hiding under Just Cause 3’s issues. The presence of a parachute, an improved grappling hook that can be played with in many different ways, and the addition of a wingsuit once again means that the Just Cause series remains distinct in a crowded genre, and it really is an exhilarating action game when things are working as they should. It’s just a shame that the game is tarnished by a slightly flawed and repetitive mission unlock structure as well as some truly immersion breaking technical issues. To sum things up, Just Cause 3 is fantastic on many occasions but it’s also a disappointment.


7/10


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