Posts Tagged Gaming

Outlast Review – PC

Outlast

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

During an E3 interview this year, Co-founder and President of Red Barrels Games Phillipe Morin uttered an emphatic statement that constantly rang true in my head while playing Outlast; “Our goal is to scare the s*** out of players”. All I have to say is mission accomplished, for Outlast is a demented experience that returns the survival horror genre to its purist roots.

It goes without saying that this current generation of gaming has seen an evolution of sorts in the mechanics of survival horror, shifting from a more helpless approach to action oriented horror. I enjoy games similar to Resident Evil 6 and the Dead Space franchise for their more cinematic and blockbuster presentation of horror, but the inability to fight back like a trained slaughterer of monsters is what truly elicits anxiety and hysteria. Outlast is an independent love letter to survival horror experiences of past, lifting elements from recent independent brethren such as Amnesia with the absolute inability to defend yourself from the terror lurking around every corner, but rather forcing you to either run, hide, or die.

Players assume control of a journalist named Miles whom is tipped off about a remote mental asylum (Mount Massive Asylum) that may be conducting inhumane experiments on its patients. Not very surprisingly, there’s some twisted and disturbing stuff going on rendering its patients deformed, seemingly hulkish, freakish, but above all else violent and murderous. Lunatic priests, satanic and brainwashing rituals, and a complete lack of anything normal after initially finding yourself trapped spark the fear, but it’s once again that helplessness and total inability to fight back that really get your hands sweating and heart palpitating.

Your only source of anything advantageous is a camcorder with night vision toggle, and Outlast has no qualms with punishing you for not approaching every situation smart and stealthily. Run out of batteries for your camcorder? Then you had best better pray you can find some in the surrounding immediate areas otherwise you may find yourself reloading past saves.

Darkness engulfs the asylum along with a sense of dread and isolation. The only exit is sought by pushing forward through hallway after hallway of mutilated corpses, rivers of blood, strung up bodies, and unnerving insane patients that may either attack or silently bash their skull on the nearest wall repeatedly in a trance. The tension rarely, if ever leaves the game but it’s when you’re spotted that Outlast transcends itself into an even higher pulse pounding level of horror, shifting everything into a frenetic and claustrophobic game of hide and seek.

Miles is able to lightly sprint, jump, and parkour his way through tight and narrow environments in ways that take advantage of the first person perspective similar to Mirrors Edge, resulting in motion playing an integral part of the suspense, full of varied animations that seem almost too real in the thick of things. The one glaring difference is that instead of climbing buildings and hopping over rooftops you’re stumbling over waist high desks and shimmying through narrow passages. Should you manage to actually break the line of sight you can hide out in a locker as you catch your breath knowing that you are alive, for now.

Enhancing the suspense even further are Mile’s pants and hyperventilating as you aimlessly run your ass off in any direction like a headless chicken because once again, this is survival horror of the purest form. There are no conveniently placed maps or magical green arrows guiding you along the proper path. Whether your objective is to navigate the wards, sewer, outside, or any other hellish area that awaits you it’s up to you use your peripheral vision and search for building directions along the walls.

Along with the aforementioned panting and hyperventilating, Outlast boasts some of the most chilling sound design in recent horror video game memory,full of multiple tempos and distorted noises sure to wreck your composure. The feeling of temporary solace that the fading musical score brings after sneaking past some patients or successfully evading your pursuers inhibits an exhilarating rush that has sadly disappeared from more modern and mainstream survival horror games.

Rebarrels

Outlast unfortunately has its own share of flaws though, most notably including bland level design that has you fetch questing silly items in pairs of threes. When Outlast is forward moving it’s a rush, these interludes break that palpable immersion though and will undoubtedly be received with groans from players.

It’s also a bit dated graphically too as unfortunately up close and personal the crazed patients kind of look silly and poorly detailed. The game’s environmental effects including pouring rain were always impressive however. Overall though, it’s not up to snuff so hopefully this is an area that is improved upon with the upcoming PS4 version.

Finally, while the story offers loads of collectable files to find that admittedly do spike intrigue in what the hell happened, mute protagonists in 2013 are an archaic example of narrative design. Sure, Miles sporadically comments on events in your notebook but it’s nearly impossible in this day and age to connect to a character that does nothing audibly but pant. The game’s ending is also rushed and leaves something to be desired.

Drawing inspiration from similar independent titles such as Amnesia along with the atmospheric approach of the genre’s glory days, Outlast is five hours of pure terror that while faulted, is a breath of fresh air into the modern era of gaming as a whole. I am stoked that sequels are planned because there’s a hell of a lot of tantalizing spooky and demented mystery still left to explore in Mount Massive Asylum.

Outlast Header

Outlast is available now on PC and coming to PS4 free of charge for Playstation + members in early 2014

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10 Most Ridiculous Character Names In Video Games

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We have all seen some pretty absurd names in video games, whether it be from something on the sillier side like Conkers Bad Fur Day, or something a little more serious like Final Fantasy. There is that moment when you are playing a game and you are introduced to a character with a name so long you couldn’t pronounce it if you tried, or a name so silly that you actually burst into laughter when you see it, the name of a character becomes an iconic part of not only the game, but the fandom as well and it begs the question that we all have wanted to ask at least once in our lives, “what were they thinking?”

Video game character names have become such a staple to the game itself that it is hard to decipher if the name is ridiculous but we are used to it, or its just a normal name, if you say something enough, anything can sound normal. So without further ado, this is my list of most ridiculous character names in video games;

Honourable Mention:

Samus Aran

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Although Samus isn’t a ridiculous name, which is why it is only getting an honorable mention, it did have the added effect of confusing everyone who played into thinking Samus was a man, when infact she was a really tiny blonde girl. Not at all what I thought was under that power suit. Samus had generations of people using her character, and became highly popular in Super Smash bros, all while people thought she was a he, Mulan would be proud Samus.

Lets start off with one of the less known characters:

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Call Of Duty: Ghosts Multiplayer Trailer Featuring New Eminem Song

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Unless you literally live under a rock within an Amish village you know what Call of Duty is and you know that the yearly installment is on the horizon. Earlier this year at E3 quite a bit of campaign related information was revealed but now it’s the time for the yearly phenomena of Multiplayer to take center stage. There’s also a pretty nifty bonus for fans of iconic caucasian rapper Eminem as the trailer unveils his latest hit single “Survival”

Starting with the actual gameplay trailer, it is blatantly obvious that the mechanic of having a dog companion will carry over in some fashion. New weapons are also showcased along with various killstreak rewards. The trailer also openly lists its multiplayer modes which contains some new additions including Cranked; a mode where players will receive speed upgrades and more upon each kill but must obtain their next kill within 30 seconds, otherwise they shall spontaneously explode into slabs of meat (potentially for your combat dog to chow down on).

The game also showcases some destructive environments that you can use to your advantage (buses falling off a cliff and exploding gas stations) but without beating around the bush, it didn’t impress on nowhere the level EA did at E3 with Battlefield 4 and their collapsing building which will probably thrill me s***less when I find myself in that conundrum.

By far the most unexpected reveal though is the implementation of female soldiers although it’ll probably be an abused feature. You just know people are going to risk their own statistics and jeopardize their own team for cyber brownie points by helping out someone that may just be a male in a female avatar or an already competent and legitimate female participant Regardless, it is a welcomed and kind gesture towards female gamers around the world that deserves some applaud. It is just like the Black Ops 1 trailer campaigned- there’s a soldier in all of us,

Mostly though, the Multiplayer looks like more of the same stuff I am exhausted on but with the above aforementioned slight tweaks, leaving me staying for the Eminem song which is honestly fitting and catchy with the fierce vocal delivery we have come to love and expect from the universally acclaimed rapper. Even the equally impressionable chorus sung by Liz Rodrigues feels destined to be blasted over a surround system during ANY online competitive shooter. Most surprisingly is the heavy Rock tone with numerous guitar riffs that the song carries but honestly it was pulled off to perfection. The full song can be heard below.

You can expect more details on the untitled album soon, although the release date is pegged for late 2013. Call of Duty: Ghosts will be released for current generation consoles on November 5th with next generation ports prepped for their respective launches. Comment your thoughts below!

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5 Terrible Fighting Game Characters That Nobody Should Ever Choose

Mokapend1

Fighting games are great, and despite not really much of a plot, they are cracking good fun. Scores of colourful characters in the form of Gods, superheroes, ultra martial arts masters etc beat the heck out each other via combos and special moves. These have composed the body of most gamers experience with consoles, in particular those of the Megadrive/SNES generation, and they in turn have produced countless iconic characters. When one thinks of the fighting games genre, a lot of character names come to mind. Names like Scorpion, Ken, Ryu, and Sub-Zero, King just to name a few.

But then there are the other characters. Those characters that sit side by side with the legendary-tier characters of your Street Fighters, Tekkens etc. They are lame, annoying or poorly designed. While the worst of the terrible beat ’em characters are often unplayable due to their design flaws.

I could compose a list of all the awful fighters from the history of video game, but instead I want to make this a list of characters such bad design, or so annoying, that nobody would ever chose to play as them….And to my knowledge, either online or through local, anyone that I have played against has willingly chosen.

So, without further ado, here are 5 terrible fighting game characters that nobody should ever choose…

Dishonorable Mention: Everything – Ballz 3D

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Ballz 3D is a terrible, terrible, terrible game! The name alone should make you run away! This game looks bad, plays bad and makes no sense. Ballz 3D really doesn’t feel like a fighting game, it feels like a “mash the buttons and see what happens” game; I really don’t know what to say about it. I played this when I was a child and it was repulsive.

The game is built on a crude premise of a game called “Ballz” but with bizarre layouts, random sound effects and characters that have no real defining figures. I have to ask: what the heck was going on here? There was/is nothing appealing about this game. I cannot point out terrible fighters to avoid because they were all bad.

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5 Elder Scrolls Titles That Could Be Adapted Into A TV series

SkyrimDragonborn

The Elder Scrolls is a long running and award winning computer games series set in the continent of Tamriel spanning several centuries and containing many myths and stories. The have been many games released along with many add-on storylines ranging a Holy Crusade across Cyrodiil, entering other realms, getting involved with vampires and so on.

The Elder Scrolls can be, in my opinion, adapted into a TV series. It already had plenty of characters, stories, plots, locations, dialogue, weapons, items etc so half the work is already done. All that would need to be done is work on a way to take the game dialogue and work it into a script while taking into account the various multiple choice options, that and getting the rights to make it.

I listed five titles that could be adapted, a given a brief description of the game, what is in it, and who I would want to play the character (in some cases the same actor who provided their voice for the game). Feel free to give your own opinions or suggestions; if enough people like it, it may just happen. (SPOILER ALERT: THERE ARE REFERENCES TO SPECIFIC MISSIONS WHICH MAY RUIN YOUR GAME EXPERIENCE)

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PS4 And Xbox One – The Realistic Launch Dates

The Future

The Future

Many people in the world play video games; and a significant number of those people have pre-ordered a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One. However, that said, apart from a very select few, no one actually knows when these two behemoths of the gaming world are going to launch.

Having had a serious look at all that we know, as well as the history of the two brands, we can actually formulate and make a few reasonable predictions about the release dates. Here they are:

Sony’s PlayStation 4

History Says:

PlayStation – Release Dates
JP December 3, 1994 Saturday
NA September 9, 1995 Saturday
EU September 29, 1995 Friday
AUS November 15, 1995 Wednesday

PlayStation 2 – Release Dates
JP March 4, 2000 Saturday
NA October 26, 2000 Thursday
EU November 24, 2000 Friday
AUS November 30, 2000 Thursday

PSP (PlayStation Portable) – Release Dates
JP December 12, 2004 Sunday
NA March 24, 2005 Thursday
EU September 1, 2005 Thursday
AUS September 1, 2005 Thursday

PlayStation 3 – Release Dates
JP November 11, 2006 Saturday
NA November 17, 2006 Friday
EU March 23, 2007 Friday
AUS March 23, 2007 Friday

PlayStation Vita – Release Dates
JP December 17, 2011 Saturday
NA February 22, 2012 Wednesday
EU February 22, 2012 Wednesday
AUS February 23, 2012 Thursday

Points Of Note:
– Every single home console released by Sony has been released in the EU on a Friday, following the traditional day that games are released.
– Japan launches everything on a Saturday, apart from the PSP, which launched a day late.
– The US has no particular pattern for hardware launches. But it seems likely with the new US/UK focus that the PS4 will launch on a date to focus on the gamers in those countries. IE, Tuesday in the US, Friday in the EU.
– Australian launches historically hug the EU, meaning that usually the two aren’t far apart.

Sony’s Behaviour Says:

Team Sony have been riding a wave of positive momentum after a fairly astonishing E3 in which they said that the PlayStation 4 (PS4) will launch ‘holiday 2013.’ Now, several different retail outlets and internet sources have thrown different dates out. In particular Media Markt, who have placed signs in stores across Europe citing a PS4 launch date of November 13th, 2013. Where as Amazon had slated October 29th as the big day to coincide with the release of Battlefield 4, before changing it to December 31st. It seems as though there are dates being thrown around left, right and centre. The truth is that both of these dates have been confirmed as nothing more than place holders, a clever and deceptive tool that enables a heightened sense of excitement due to perceived ‘knowledge’ that the desirable item is coming at a specific time. This is better for retailers than an uncertain limbo state when there is no pinpointed date given and thus momentum and ‘hype’ towards a product falls.

So with that in mind we can look towards what is realistic. Firstly, if history shows us nothing else it’s that Japan will get the PS4 before any other territory. Let’s get that out of the way. It’s done. Secondly, Sony announced their new console at a conference that occurred in New York, stating that the console would launch ‘Holiday 2013.’ We now know that this also applies to the US – and it was also then confirmed as being the case in the UK (this was confirmed by a full page advert in The Metro – a free newspaper in London.)

The difficult territory to predict for the PS4 is Australia. Historically the EU and Oz get a back seat to Sony’s parties, but with Sony placing that full page advert, effectively confirming that the UK (by which we must assume means the EU as a whole) is a priority territory one must believe that Australia will also not be left behind, meaning a worldwide launch in 2013. It feels prudent to suggest that Sony will not do a worldwide launch all in one day. That would simply be too demanding on their resources. And, considering the astronomical pre-orders worldwide they will certainly want to stagger matters. which sadly means that Australia (and possibly the rest of the EU) might have to take a minor hit on the launch date.

Sony’s biggest launch game for the PS4, bar none, is Watch Dogs. You can talk about Call Of Duty, Madden and FIFA all you like. But Sony have secured exclusive content on Watch Dogs – and are likely to make sure that EVERYONE knows about it. So we can reasonably expect the PS4 to land in the US and UK with Watch Dogs already available – which likely means launching on or around the game’s release date, one might conclude. Which would mean a US/UK launch in the week commencing November 18th, 2013.

PREDICTED PLAYSTATION 4 LAUNCH DATE:
JP November 9, 2013 Saturday
NA November 19, 2013 Tuesday
EU November 22, 2013 Friday
AUS November 28, 2013 Thursday

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10 Controversial Gaming Moments In 2013

Gta Gta

Another year of video games have passed and with it, another year of controversy. It’s nothing to be necessarily ashamed about because realistically every entertainment medium has their rotten apples, but it’s baffling all the same.

Some of the incidents truly came out of left field too, and as I look back on the moments I have hand-picked one of two things always comes to mind; A: what were the corporations thinking or B: why is this even causing an uproar. Seriously, a good chunk of this article is me telling everyone to quit crying on their soapbox for attention and internet fame.

These moments range from developer deception, to corporations screwing over consumers, to next generation battles, and more. In all honesty there are probably tons more out there but these are the 10 that still – after one long year- stick out at the front of my mind. It truly is a riot reflecting on these shenanigans and I sincerely hope you enjoy it (and get mad all over again).

Click Next to begin!

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Beyond: Two Souls – 9 Reasons It’s An Incredible Achievement In Gaming

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Beyond: Two Souls has proven to be a very divisive game so far, with critics and fan-reaction being split somewhat down the middle, although more seem to be falling into the “what the hell is this?!” side of the debate, as oppose to congratulating David Cage and his team at Quantic Dream for their efforts.

David Cage is a man so loving of his own creative vision that there’s a small, cult-like following around his creations. Such a figure is always going to create controversy, but even if when reading this you’re firmly in the Hate Camp, always remember that the best art forms, especially wen it comes to film, have always had controversial creators behind them.

In this world of annually-regurgitated franchises featuring bladed assassins or skull-faced mercenaries, we need a figure like Cage to play with the boundaries of gaming as a medium. Having a skilled production team on his side serves to make his complex visions a reality, and can aid in bringing out a wider appreciation for video games overall, either through staunch opposition to his work, or through learning from his mistakes.

Whilst there’s been a wealth of controversy flowing through the internet (as there) always is when anyone tends to stray from normality, I thought it was about time to celebrate the things that Beyond does right, as oppose to lambasting it’s creative vision due to lack of genre-pigeonholing. The entries will all be spoiler-free, but I welcome everything to be discussed in the comments below…

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10 Reasons No One Cares About Xbox One & PS4 Next Gen Consoles

Consoles

With there only being about a month to go until the ‘next generation’ is upon us, it begs the question as to why there seems to be a complete lack of buzz around the releases of the new Xbox and PlayStation consoles. Even heavyweights Ubisoft have delayed their Assassin’s Creed-esque titan Watch Dogs alongside open-world driving game The Crew, under the guise that the games needed to be ‘fine tuned’ before release.

Take that as you will, but the fact remains that for many these games were system-sellers, and the very reason they were struggling to stymie up any positive energy towards forking out another considerable amount of money for the sake of playing something slightly shinier in the first place.

Therefore it prompts the question: ‘If delaying a couple of major titles is enough to cause console pre-orders to be withdrawn and Ubisoft’s shares to plummet, what were people holding onto outside of that?’

I remember the hype leading up to the launch of the PS2, back when console wars were something fought across playgrounds and work spaces, the screenshots of the likes of Tekken Tag Tournament, SSX and Timesplitters were nothing short of salivating.

We had to have that console as soon as yesterday, and the resulting clamour to get a hold of one set in motion what became pretty much the greatest console run in history, beginning with the sort of fandom more commonly seen around film premieres or Apple launch events.

However even though the big-wigs are intent on telling us it’s going to be the biggest launch ever, something feels off this time around, and here’s 10 reasons why.

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Beyond Two Souls: 8 Reasons It Sucks

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With one eye open, dribble pouring from the side of my mouth, my head fighting to stay upright and sleep engulfing me like a cloud of depression; this was not me going home on the night bus at 4am after a heavy nights drinking, but rather the state I was in as I approached the ”trilling” climax of Beyond: Two Souls.

Having been a huge fan of ‘Fahrenheit’ and ‘Heavy Rain’, I was looking forward to David Cage’s new movie/game offering. I was looking forward to it so much, I accidentally ordered the Special Edition from two different outlets. But what followed was something that can only be described as a crashing disappointment.

There is so little in Beyond: Two Souls that can be described as a game, it is a wonder that it’s not been investigated under the Trade Descriptions Act. Pretentious, dull and a cluster of clich s, Beyond: Two Souls is like you’re being forced to participate in movie you know is terrible but are contractually obliged to finish. Every time you think it might get better, it comes crashing down to Earth again and spends another two hours making you drag it through the mud that is the story, while wearing lead boots.

Fans will argue that Beyond: Two Souls is innovative, it’s a new way to tell a story through the medium of video games and that the thrilling storyline more than makes up for the limited interaction. But they would be wrong. Like I said, I loved ‘Heavy Rain’ and it was one of the best experiences I had on the PS3. However, if it is too much confidence, too much freedom or no self-control, something went wrong during the development of Beyond: Two Souls.

A game that should have been the last must-have exclusive for the PlayStation 3, Beyond: Two Souls instead shows itself to be a terrible movie that’s been repackaged as an ”interactive experience.” Click ‘Next’ to find out why the game was so terrible.

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