Category Archives: Video Games

Assassin’s Creed Unity – Preview

The French Revolution just got real.
 
If you are an Assassin’s Creed fan, you know there’s never a dull moment in Ubisoft’s virtual reality world.
 
Their new game is available on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
 
Here’s what you need to know about the game. First, it takes place in Paris during the French Revolution. If you are not familiar with the French Revolution, I’d suggest picking up a copy of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities or just immersing yourself in the game— massive fun either way. The story line features the lead character Arno Dorian trying to expose the powers of the French Revolution.
 
For the new release, Ubisoft includes the Co-op Multiplayer option. That means you can expect to get all the awesomeness of previous Assassin’s Creed games and more. The announcement for the Co-op Multiplayer was announced at E3 this year, and I for one am damn excited!
 
Taverns act as social hubs in the game. Here you can enter and see if any of your friends are playing. If someone is currently on a mission, a ghost version of them appears allowing you to approach the person/ghost and request to join in on the mission. If accepted, you are transitioned into their game and both of you reset to the most recent checkpoint, and continue on from there. Awesome, right? AND you can have up to four players!
 
When playing the game on your own, you’ll always be the lead character, Arno Dorian, and other players will look like random characters of your brotherhood. There are lots of missions and activities available for Co-Op multiplayer, so there’s plenty to do. However, some story missions are set aside to be played in single player mode only. So you’ve got a good range of missions to complete either solo or with the help of friends. I’m already beginning to worry about my social calendar, looks like I’ll be booked for the foreseeable future.
 
Ubisoft also made some changes to combat. Fencing is the inspiration for the new system and as for weapons, there’s The Phantom Blade, which is similar to a crossbow. It fires silent projectiles but can still be used in a similar role as the Hidden Blade in previous Assassin’s Creed games.
Weapons from previous games can also be found in Unity, so best to keep an eye out for that.
 
If you didn’t think the Assassin’s Creed games were cool enough, what with being able to scale buildings and do all the sweet moves the lead character does, Arno will also be learning parkour (Parkour, for those that don’t know, is a high-adrenaline sport involving rapid movements, typically in an urban setting, while negotiating obstacles by running, jumping and climbing). Ubisoft has created “Parkour Up” and “Parkour Down” so now it’s easier to scale buildings in both directions and your lead character keeps learning new tricks throughout the entire game.
 
Ubisoft also played around with crowds in the game too. Interactions got even better, from getting involved in a fistfight to chasing down a pickpocket– don’t forget those sweet Parkour moves whilst doing so.

And aside from all that, Assassin’s Creed Unity brings back the amazing graphics. You’ll see Paris in a whole new light.
 
With stunning views, visuals, kickass moves, more voices and much, much more, the game is as always breath-taking fun, strategic and skillful. But now, you get to enjoy all of the good stuff, along with the all new, awe-inspiring Co-Op multiplayer mode.
 
 

Batman: Arkham Knight – Preview

One of the newest and most innovative Batman games and part of the Arkham Series will soon be available! Batman Arkham Knight is due for release in 2015. The game was developed by the pros from Rocksteady Studios and Warner Brothers Entertainment.
 
The great news about Batman Arkham Knight is that it will be released for Playstation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows.
 
Who or what will you be fightng in Arkham Knight? Of course all of Batman’s chief foes with be there including the Scarecrow, Penguin Harley Quinn, Two Face, and who can forget the Riddler? An update has just been announced and will be released via Amazon that Harley Quinn will be fighting Batman. This will be a new twist to the game.
 
Players can opt to play as Harely Quinn or alternatively as Red Hood. Go to the Rocksteady Store to get an update and get it for free on Pre orders from the store. One thing of note however, is thtat the Scarecrow Nightmare download is exclusive to Playstation 4. It features it own unique version of Gotham City. It has a huge and towering Scarecrow figure along with an undead army. Excitement a plenty is available with this version. Batman of course will have his trusted cronies, Commissioner Gordon along with his daughter Barbara will work the superhero Oracle.
 
The game is set one year from the Joker’s Death, and of all things, is on Halloween night. To add to this night of mischief and mayhem, the Scarecrow unveils the fact he has set up bombs throughout Gotham City, and has created a new fear toxin. Naturally this has a frightening effect on the denizens of Gotham who flee the city, leaving only the criminals and the overwhelmed Gotham police force. Batman however, uses amazing new armor and the newest advanced crime fighting technology.
The trailer manages to amaze with the graphic details of the game. The visuals are some of the best ever. The newest Arkham Knight game won the best action game at E3 this year. It also has the distinction of being Game of Show and runner up for best Play Station 4 game.
 
If The fantastic visuals, the great story line, and the ability to play amazing characters don’t send you over the moon, hold onto your socks Batphiles because the new villian Arkham Knight is introduced. The new Arkham Knight game is the brainchild of DC Comics, CCO, DC co-publisher and comic artist’s Jim Lee and writer Geoff Johns. Look out for this awesome game coming your way soon.
 
 

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Nintendo’s new Super Smash Bros. game for Wii U, due to be released towards the end of 2014, features various characters from the Nintendo franchise. As before, only a maximum of 4 characters can fight each other at a time. In a bid to make Super Smash Bros. more appealing, Nintendo has added several new features to the game including Smash Balls, Assist Trophies, customizable characters, and online multiplayer modes.
 
Smash Balls
 
Smash Balls were first revealed in Super Smash Bros. Brawl where they allowed for super powerful attacks. These attacks can be achieved by hitting the Smash Balls more times than your opponents do until the ball breaks. This gives you the ability to perform a ‘Final Smash’ This adds luck as a factor in game play.
 
Here’s a look at Mega Man’s Final Smash:
 

 
Assist Trophies
 
Assist Trophies allow players to summon another Nintendo characters to help and/or attack on their current characters behalf, helping to keep you in the battle.
 

 
Online Multiplayer Modes
 
The game also features three different kinds of online multiplayer modes, ‘For Fun’ and ‘For Glory’ and an online ranking system entitled “Global Smash Power.” Global Smash Power offers solo score showing how many players you’ve outscored rather than the traditional ranking system.
 
For ‘Fun online’ multiplayer mode there will be Smash only matches and Final Destination stages will not be features. There will be random stages and items.
 
The ‘For Glory’ online Multiplayer mode will be limited to Final Destination stages with no items but will have the option for 1-on-1 battles for tournament style gameplay.
 
Customizable Characters
 
An intriguing new development from Nintendo for the Super Smash Bros. game is customizable characters. Customizable characters are sure to make the game play more fun, longer lasting and fans can’t wait to try it out. The characters you create will also be able to be transferred from the Wii U and 3DS.
 
Nintendo has done a great job in making a plain fighting game varied, interesting, and fun. Combining all the different game play choices, options to customize players, various online modes, and “Global Smash Power,” it feels like Nintendo is trying to make Super Smash Bros. appeal to a broader audience. Competition is fierce for game developers and Nintendo needs to set itself apart to make the Wii U a console you want to have in your home. This is definitely a game to watch out for come Christmas, so don’t even think about selling your Wii U just yet!

 

 

Halo 5: Guardians – Coming Soon

The launch of a new game in the famous ‘Halo’ series was announced at E3 last year and now the developer, 343 industries, has officially confirmed that the new version of the game will be called ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ and is scheduled for release in 2015. The release date of the game has not been announced yet, however, a Beta version is confirmed to release in the month of December, 2014.
 
Even though Halo fans would want to lay their hands on the latest version of the game as soon as possible, it seems like 343 Industries are looking to get some valuable feedback from fans about how they would adapt to changes and new weapons and to test the game well before it’s released. It’s nice to hear of a developer who works hard to incorporate feedback in order to make it more enjoyable for fans.
 
The new game will be exclusively for the Xbox One and will run at 60 FPS (frames per second). Franchise Development Director, Frank O’Connor, said, “Moving to the Xbox One would call for the development of a new games engine and hence we can surely expect great things from Halo 5. The Beta trailer has already been released and as always i’ve been really impressed by the graphics. In this era, I think the games are generally expected to give high quality performance and Halo really does push those boundaries and delivers an excellent product showcasing what can be done.”
 

 
Along with the release of the new game, the release of the Halo TV series being directed by Steven Spielberg is also due for a release in 2015. Now that it’s been announced that Spielberg is on board and directing the Halo TV series, people are sure to have high hopes for it and Spielberg fans will watch in excitement, even if they’re not a Halo game fan. The telecast rights of the series are in the negotiation stages, but it’s uncertain how closely the show would be to Halo 5 or even the Halo series in general. “This will undoubtedly be very appealing for the fans of Sci-Fi shows and would possibly give a boost to the game play by those who may not have played Halo earlier. I’m sure that more will be revealed soon,” O’Connor concluded.
 

 
The image released for ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ shows a figure with blue visor wearing similar armor to the mirror image of Master Chief below. Whether this figure is a friend or a foe remains a mystery as his identity has not been revealed yet. It’s interesting that this mysterious character is projected as the main focus of the release, with Master Chief merely a copy of it below. O’Connor further stated that this will definitely get people talking within the Halo community and will make for a very good storyline.
 
There’s plenty to look forward to in 2015 for Halo lovers, especially with the ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ release and the new Halo TV series which is directed by Steven Spielberg. Definitely good times ahead!

 

 

Review of PlayStation Now

Innovation and an immersive player experience have always been at the heart of Sony’s strategy for the PlayStation. The next big thing for Sony’s trademark line of gaming consoles is the Playstation Now feature, with the open beta having been made available to PlayStation 4 users on the 31st of July. In essence, PlayStation Now is a video-game streaming service which shall be providing content to Sony’s products, ranging from its line of consoles to its televisions. Users of this service will be able to access a variety of titles previously released for the original PlayStation, the PlayStation 2 and the PlayStation 3.
 
This new system requires no physical discs or actual downloading – it operates on a cloud basis through a pay-for-access or subscription model. A strong broadband connection is naturally recommended, so that you can enjoy the games at the highest quality. In order to play a game, you would rent it for the time period most convenient to you. The rental periods are 4 hours, 7 days, 30 days or 90 days. This variety is certainly welcome and will ensure that the service is used by different players with different tastes, but there are certain considerations to be made.
 
Basically, the 7-day rental option looks to be the most popular choice with respect to the length of time and the price. The other options do not really seem like the most plausible alternatives, for quite clear reasons. The 4-hour option will essentially provide the user with a glorified demo version of the game, unless the latter takes less than that time to complete. Conversely, the 30-day and 90-day options would verge on being unreasonable in the sense that if someone plans to play such games for such a long period of time, then he might as well buy the game rather than rent it. Clearly, exceptions to this reasoning exist – for instance, one might be having a friend over for a month, and renting a game for that month would make more sense in that case.
 
The PlayStation Now currently features a game library boasting over 100 PlayStation 3 games, with several other titles on the way in the near future. PlayStation users will also be pleased to know that there is full support for cloud game saves, friends, trophies and leaderboards. As emphasized by Sony itself, the service is still in beta, so user feedback at this stage is vital for the company to refine and improve the service. Consequently, players have been urged to come forward with their comments, considerations and opinions to be part of this exciting stage in PlayStation history. As it was launched on July 31st, PlayStation 4 users in the USA and Canada can head right in and start making use of this service.

 

 

Where Are eSports Headed? 

As one of the most popular forms of entertainment since its inception, the video-game industry has thrived even more substantially in the recent past. This exponential growth also influenced the so-called eSports industry, which essentially involves gamers competing against each other for considerable prizes. Up to some years ago, eSports were considered as a mere satellite of the video-game industry – an extension of the many activities associated with gaming. However, things have changed radically since nowadays the substantial prize-pool and the ever-increasing following of eSports events have arguably elevated this industry to a sport in its own right.
 
A crucial factor in the increasing popularity of eSports is the accessibility granted to anyone interested in following events. Apart from gaming enthusiasts who physically attend as spectators, there is a surge in online viewing of these events. eSports attracts a wide range of individuals – from avid fans of the event-games, to gamers having a general interest in the proceedings, as well as people who are merely curious to see what such events have to offer. Tuning in on popular streaming sites like Twitch (aka Twitch.tv) is all it takes for a person to start following eSports.
 
What’s bringing eSports to the attention of more and more people worldwide is the ever-increasing prize-pools associated with these events. While in relatively recent years these could reach a “modest” six-figures, the last five years or so have spawned prize-pools running into the millions. The highest-ever amount was the whopping $10 million crowd-funded prize pool made available in the Dota 2 International tournament of this year. Chinese giants NewBee won the grand prize of $5 million, with runner-up Vici Gaming taking home almost $1.5 million.
 

 
Apart from Dota 2, other popular games such as League of Legends and Call of Duty have also given rise to noteworthy prize-pools in recent years.
 
In such a dynamic industry, predicting where eSports is headed in the coming years is not simple, but what seems certain is that it is headed to even greater heights. The emerging technologies and the most recent generation of consoles have been designed to take full advantage of the increasing status of eSports. The massive turnout for these events is pretty much on the same scale as those of more traditional events, whether it’s sports or concerts. It really seems like eSports is headed towards great things – a very rosy present cannot but precede an even rosier future.