The Living, Breathing World of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt


Geralt’s Grandest Adventure

If there’s one thing I take away from checking out The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt at E3, it’s that CD Projekt Red are on track to create a huge living, breathing world.

With the use of a new game engine, Wild Hunt aims to be the RPG that CD Projekt Red have always wanted to make. Due to limitations of the previous engine, the developers had to make a choice. They could make a game that had a deep, interwoven narrative structure with branching outcomes, but had a smaller world. On the other hand, they could create a big expansive world, with a barebones narrative.

What I was shown during the 45 minute hands-off demo was a world that felt like it exists even when you’re not around. A world that is alive. A world that is in trouble.

One thing leads to another…

Geralt’s main point of call during this demo was the city of Novigrad, a city that has something for everyone, no matter their race or social stature. As Geralt approached the city walls, it was evident that CD Projekt Red have spared no attention to detail when the creating the world.

From the way the land is shaped, the world isn’t simply a flat plain with some hills in the distance, hills, gullies, ditches and uneven terrain give the world an authentic feel. This terrain is then used to dictate where objects and buildings are placed within the world. Farms make use of what flat terrain there is to plant crops which flourish in specific areas, while being situated close to water for survival and irrigation. Houses are situated in any free space possible, whether that be just off the main path, or on the side of a ditch if need be.

Monsters come in human form too.
Monsters come in human form too.

Novigrad has much to offer, as it’s the biggest in the world of Wild Hunt. Lucky for us there is plenty of Witcher’s work to be taken up on. In the demo, Geralt is collecting on said Witcher’s work, as he has the head of the Griffin he fought in the latest cinematic trailer for Wild Hunt.

Geralt arrives at one of the local watering establishments to claim his prize: information on an ashen-haired woman he is searching for.

As we know in many games, things are never so straightforward. Instead of getting a simple answer, Geralt was told to venture to a swamp region in No Man’s Land, and search out a creature named Johnny who was seen in the woman’s company.

All about the journey

With our next objective known, Geralt sets off to this swamp region. As we left the city, I noticed the A.I. react in various ways. A rainstorm rolled in as we left the city walls, and people scrambled to get inside or find something to shield the rain. We were told NPCs react in various ways, all depending on weather and time of day. So while one player may experience a busy street or path to navigate, others may find they are the only souls on the road.

What this amounts to is that players will get varying experiences from one another.

We are then told by the devs that in the interest of time, Geralt will need to fast-travel to the swamp region, as it would roughly take 15 minutes real time to traverse at full horse gallop. If that’s not a sign of how big the world is, I don’t know what is.

It's not all sunny skies and rainbows.
It’s not all sunny skies and rainbows.

In no time at all, Geralt makes his way to the swamp region in No Man’s Land, a dull and brooding place in stark contrast to the bright vistas we had just experienced at Novigrad.

Using his keen monster tacking skills, Geralt easily is able to locate traces of Johnny, in order to follow them to his current location. Upon locating Johnny, Geralt discovers he is a godling (a small, Gollum-esque creature), and it’s quite difficult to pry any information out of him. It turns out that he’s lost his voice. Well, stolen to be exact. A group of  harpies are responsible, and in true RPG fashion, Johnny needs you to retrieve said voice before he can help you.

Geralt then sets off to the harpies’ nest, with Johnny in tow. Along the way, we are able to see Geralt’s magic in action, as a pack of drowners emerge from the marshlands. All your favourites from the previous games return, and look much better this time around. Igni really looked dangerous this time around, effortlessly incinerating those pesky drowners.

After that little mishap, Gearlt continues on his way. The brooding marshlands then give way to breath-taking views of mountainsides. What amazed me was this seamless transition with no loading time. It really made it feel like a coherent world, instead of a bunch of unique areas pasted together. And with a keen sense of timing, the devs chimed in to tell us everything is explorable, with no hidden barriers.

Some stunning landscapes await fans.
Some stunning landscapes await fans.

See that mountain? You can scale it. That island off in the distance? Take a boat out there. Or if you’re desperate you can swim. Hearing statements like these really gets the RPG fan in me excited.

We spy the harpies’ nest on top of a mountaintop, thanks to the harpies themselves circling them. The player has a few ways of reaching the peak, much like the remainder of the game having multiple paths. You could just simple waltz up the path into oncoming danger, or you could think smart.

Witcher 3 has a lot more verticality this time around, whereas the previous two entries were more like flat canvases. Therefore, Geralt is able to navigate a cliff-face in order to sneak up on the nest. Upon reaching the top, Geralt only has to deal with a couple harpies who have stayed to guard the nest. Instead of using his trusty silver sword, Geralt debuts a new weapon: the crossbow. Perfect for engaging aerial monsters, the crossbow was the right tool to ground the harpies, in order for Geralt to be able to dispatch them with his trademark sword.

Geralt is then able to claim his prize, this time being Johnny’s voice contained in a bottle. Upon restoring the gift of speech to the young godling, Johnny can’t help out much regarding the whereabouts of the ashen-haired woman, but can take Geralt to someone who does….

Prepare to Hunt

With that, our time with Witcher 3: Wild Hunt came to a close. It was truly an amazing world to visit, one that is seamless and coherent. One that seems to continue on with or without your presence. The guys at CD Projekt Red told us that everything reacts to the world around it. Certain monsters may only appear at either day or night. Some quests may only be available when a person is present during a particular time of day. No longer do NPCs or enemies sit around waiting to dote on the player anymore.

What’s more to say? Come the 24th of February 2015, I for one cannot wait to jump into the shows of the legendary White Wolf, and see what this living world has in store for me.

© Daniel Geikowski 2014

The 10 Talking Points of Xbox at E3


Summed up in one word: Games

It’s that time of year again. For a gamer, it’s pretty much the best time of the year. All the rush and excitement, eager to see what the big boys in the gaming industry have in store for us.

OXCGN was present once again at the Xbox E3 media briefing, and it was plain to see what their focus was. Games. Phil Spencer told us that Xbox listened to fans, as they were shaping the future of the company. In that respect, fans just want to play games. It’s all about games. So much so that the entire briefing was devoted solely to games.

So what got people talking the most? Check out the main points of interest from Xbox at E3.

10. A more interactive experience

Microsoft’s Xbox conference felt like a huge event, even more so than last year, when the focus was all about the next generation of consoles. It felt like something you’d see from a major sporting event, with a pre and post-show that got people’s excitement growing, and tied the whole conference together.

The stage configuration played a key part in a more personal experience. Little individual stages on the show floor allowed presenters to get up close and personal with gamers. It was a neat touch.

Another little neat thing for those attending were the Xbox bracelets received upon entry. They lit up in various colours at specific points throughout the show, making the audience feel apart of what was happening on screen.

9. Call of Duty returning to form?

I’m one of those guys who has a jaded view of the Call of Duty series. I, like the masses, used to play my fair share. I was hooked by the original Modern Warfare, over time the yearly releases of virtually the same product made me abandon the series.

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However, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has piqued my interest. The demo looked really slick, and the setting almost makes it seem like it isn’t a Call of Duty game.

Riding the current wave of futuristic warfare, the use of booster packs and the increased verticality of movement no longer has me thinking about past Call of Duty games, but Titanfall instead.

Could Advanced Warfare be the one to revive the series?

8. Forza, into the future

Racing fans got their fix with more details about Forza Horizon 2. The game will feature a full day/night cycle, as well as a dynamic weather system. The news that this will all be running in 1080p got the audience cheering.

The great thing for fans who will be picking up Forza Horizon 2 is the fact that your Forza 5 Drivatar is already participating in races. So you’ll have a nice reward to collect when the game launches this year on September 30th.

Turn 10 were on hand to talk about the upcoming Forza Horizon 2, but they had a little something for those who own Forza Motorsport 5.

They announced that the famous Nurburgring would be making its debut, with the best thing is that it’s available now – for free.

7. The rebirth of Fable

The Fable series has always been a bit troubled. Seemingly over-promising and under-delivering, the last few entries into the series weren’t too well received by the gaming community.

Fable Legends looks to be the rebirth of the series. It still takes place in Albion, and returns to the medieval setting of Fable 1 and 2. It retains the quirky British-esque voice acting and humour. What’s new is the fact that four players can team up to complete quests, combining skills in order to defeat enemies.

In a great twist, another player can play as ‘The Villain,’ who plays through the God perspective, setting traps and placing enemies in an effort to overwhelm the players.

With the Multiplayer Beta coming in Spring, Fable Legends looks to break out from its previous structure, tgo provide a new adventure experience.

6. Assassin’s Creed regains its footing

Assassin’s Creed: Unity looks to be built solely for next generation consoles. Set in 18th century Paris, players are let loose in the biggest world Ubisoft have created in the AC series. In a first for the series, up to four players can band together to rid the world of Templar threats.

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It looks cool to see you and your fellow assassins flowing through the crowd, taking out guards in unison along the way. Crowds actually look like crowds this time around. Hundreds of NPCs cram together on screen to truly present a city population on the brink of revolt.

The movement is fluid and is as crisp as ever, but the visuals have received a lot of improvement. For ages the Assassin’s Creed series has had a lot of jagged edges plaguing it, but Unity has tightened things up immensely, as all characters look great.

Unity looks to be putting Assassin’s Creed back on the right path after the waywardness it’s suffered in over the last few years.

5. Co-op is the norm

It seems this year the growing trend is co-op gameplay. Rather than limit the campaign of a game to one player, you and three friends can get in on the action.

We’ve already covered the fact that Fable Legends and AC: Unity have co-op, but so did many other games shown at the Xbox conference. Evolve has it, with the addition of another player as the monster, Sunset Overdrive has an eight player Chaos mode, and The Division lets you and your friends team up to cleanse New York City.

The more the merrier.

4. DLC and you

Like it or not, DLC is a regular part of our gaming lives, and we just have to get used to it. The neat thing is, all games shown at the Xbox conference will receive all DLC content first.

Killer Instinct continues to be supported, with TJ Combo revealed as the latest downloadable character for Season 2.

But by far the funniest DLC story coming out of the conference is Dead Rising 3. Having the best DLC name ever, Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha Prime is packed to the brim with Capcom love.

You and three friends (again) can team up as your favourite Dead Rising heroes in an arcade zombie killing adventure. Containing references to old Capcom games, it seems to be their version of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, with its wackiness and humour.

3. The craziness that is Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive is truly a unique and exciting, not to mention new, IP from Insomniac Games.

You play as the hero, in a world that has been plagued by monsters who have been created from contaminated energy drinks. Yes, as you can probably guess, Sunset Overdrive is very tongue-in-cheek, and it works very well.

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It gives the game its own unique character, which complements the gameplay shown, Sunset Overdrive has players traversing over a bright landscape with ease. Movement is fluid, with the player easily able to transition between grinding powerlines and bouncing trees.

All while the player is grinding across the level, they’re also chaining kills. Much like games such as Devil May Cry, more and more kills generate bigger and better combos.

With a unique look and an exciting feel, Sunset Overdrive is one exclusive we can’t wait to play.

2. Those sweet, sweet reveals

By far the best thing, and the thing most gamers out there look forward to at E3 conferences, is brand new reveals. Whether it’s a reboot, or a brand new IP, it always get’s gamers excited out there.

In addition to what’s been covered, here’s what Microsoft revealed at the Xbox briefing:

  • Happy Wars – porting over to Xbox One
  • Fantasia: Music Evolved – available October 21st
  • Dance Central: Spotlight – a digital-only download
  • Conker (Conker’s Bad Fur Day) now a part of Project Spark
  • Ori and the Blind Forest – emotionally-charged platformer from Moon Studios
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Inside – Playdead Studios, creators of Limbo
  • Phantom Dust reboot
  • and many more indy titles

Oh, there was one more thing that was revealed.

1. Halo: The Master Chief Collection

 There was a collective cheer heard around the world as Xbox owners knew that Halo: The Master Chief Collection was real.

There were rumours buzzing around before E3, people were unsure if there was going to be said collection, or Halo 2 Anniversary.  Well, we got both. The collection features Halo 1-4, with Halo 2 receiving the full anniversary treatment, all the while retaining its original multiplayer. The collection is all one one blu-ray disc, accessible from one slick HUD.

halo

This isn’t just some bundle collection. Players are able to pick their favourite levels from each of the games, in order to create custom playlists. Every multiplayer map will be available to play, coming in at over a whopping 100 maps. It also contains 4000 gamerscore for achievement hunters, and will run at 1080p at 60 fps.

Also bundled in is Halo: Nightfall, a live action series which takes place leading up to the start of Halo 5: Guardians.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be available on November 11th, this year.

Only the beginning…

The expo hasn’t even started yet, but we’ve seen a lot from Xbox in their briefing. Stay tuned to OXCGN for the rest of our E3 coverage!

© Daniel Geikowski 2014

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Release Date and Monstrous Collector’s Edition


CD Projekt Red let Geralt loose in Feburary 2015

Overnight, CD Projekt Red held their summer conference, and it was all good news concerning any fans of The Witcher series, in particular the upcoming The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Not only was an exact release date confirmed, but CD Projekt Red also revealed the many variations of how Wild Hunt would be released. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be launched on Feburary 24th 2015, where players can jump into the boots of Geralt of Rivia one last time, as he searches for the world’s greatest threat, the Wild Hunt.

CD Projekt Red are keeping up their tradition of giving gamers more, announcing that The Witcher 3 will be available in two physical versions, as well as a digital version on GOG.com.

NAMCO-PEGI_The-Witcher-3_Standard_Edition

Dedicated to gamers who want more from physical box editions of games than just the disc and the manual, containing premium items prepared by the developers, this “standard” edition of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the definitive answer for those gamers who want to enter the Witcher universe with style.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt box contents

– A Blu-ray™ Disc with the game (DVDs on PC)
– An exclusive CD with the official soundtrack
– The official, developer-created “Witcher Universe – The Compendium”
– A beautiful, detailed map of the in-game world
– A set of unique stickers
– A stylish, protective sleeve

NAMCO-EN-PEGI_The-Witcher-3_Collectors_Edition-X1

This is the version collectors (and myself), will be after, and I think CD Projekt Red said it best themselves:

“Behold, the Collector’s Edition of The Witcher–over two kilograms of the most badass monster slayer, ready to bring your desktop figure collection to a whole new level,” said Adam Badowski, Head of Studio, CD PROJEKT RED.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Collector’s Edition box contents

– All the contents from the standard edition of the game
– A giant, 33x24x26 cm (10”), 100% hand painted, Polystone figure of Geralt of Rivia battling a Griffin
– An exquisite, collector-grade Witcher medallion
– A one-of-a-kind SteelBook™ box
– A two-hundred-page artbook, containing breathtaking art from the game
– Huge outer and inner Collector’s Boxes you can store your Witcher merchandise in!

The hunt begins…

With just a few days before E3, CD Projekt Red have got gamers salivating already. While we’ve still got to wait until next year to get our hands on it, you can go and pre-order your version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt today.

© Daniel Geikowski 2014

5 Heavy Hitters I Want To See More Of At E3 2014


The Fab Five

It’s that time of year again.

We’re just over a week away from one of the biggest events on the gaming calendar, E3. It’s pretty much like Christmas, we spend all the time leading up getting excited and thinking of what we’ll receive, and revel in the excitement when that time comes to ‘opening our gifts.’

While everyone loves E3, I enjoy the weeks leading up to it. You read people’s thoughts on what they think will be revealed or shown at the event, and it’s great to hear some of the realistic and far-fetched theories of what we can expect from this year’s event.

The main thing about E3 is of course, video games. You know there’s always going to be some big talking points. Whether it’s seeing some unique gameplay of a recently revealed title, or the world’s first look at a new game, there’s always something for everyone.

Without further ado, here’s my list of the AAA titles I’d like to see more of at E3.

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was hands down my favourite title that I saw first hand at last year’s E3. Hell, it’s the one game I’m looking forward to more than anything. CD Projekt Red are really putting their heart and soul into the final entry into the trilogy of Geralt of Rivia. Last year, I was blown away by just how far CD Projekt Red had come in such a short amount of time. I was privy to a 45 minute demo of the vast and beautifully-detailed world players will be able to explore.

The-Witcher-3

While I hope to see more gameplay footage revealed, what I really want to see is a bit of narrative background for Wild Hunt. Yes, we know Geralt is after the Wild Hunt, but a little bit more information about the goings-on in the world would be great. That, and I really would like to see more regarding the detailed monster hunting, as well as the impacts various choices have on the player.

CD Projekt Red are striving to ensure The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the genre-defining RPG, and here’s hoping what they show at E3 can tide me over until its release in 2015.

2. Far Cry 4

Ubisoft’s Far Cry 3 was OXCGN’s own Game of the Year in 2012, and with good reason. It was an open-world shooter that gave the player a choice of how they’d like to approach multiple objectives, whether that be through brains or brawn. Add to that the fact the environment was a lush, bright tropical paradise of Rook Island, compared to the dark, bleak and dingy settings we are used to with most FPS titles. To top it all off, it had some great characters and a reasonable story.

Fast forward to 2014, an Ubisoft have announced the latest instalment into the series, Far Cry 4. Taking place in Kyrat, a remote area located within the Himalayas, the country is home to violent traditions. It’s reported you play as Ajay Ghale, a Himalayan native who returns to Kyrat to fulfil his mother’s dying wish.

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Far Cry 4 aims to build of the success of the previous entries in the series. Naturally, I’d loved to see anything about the game. While no doubt many people want to see gameplay footage of the new and beautiful world Ubisoft are able to create, as well as the many options to complete objective available to the player (myself included), I really want to see a focus on characters and narrative.

Ubisoft have got the open world down pat, but the narrative needs work. Far Cry 3 had some amazing characters (most notably Vaas), but the story left a bit to be desired. I want Ubisoft to give me a reason to care about the characters, and want to constantly keep progressing. If Far Cry 4 gives me a main character to care about, it could be the final piece that makes it one of the best games of 2014.

3. Tom Clancy’s The Division

Another highly-anticipated title to receive a delay into 2015 is Tom Clancy’s The Division. One of the big surprises of last year’s event, The Division looks to be a different take on the ‘end of the world as we know it’ scenario. Capitalising on the success of online survival titles such as Rust and DayZ, The Division allows you and your fellow mates to team up and attempt to save what remains of society after the outbreak of a deadly disease.

Division

The game no doubt has impressed people with the visuals, but what has impressed me is the RPG structure of The Division. While games such as Borderlands have you select a specific class, and build up a unique set of skills from there, The Division does things slightly different. Instead of locking yourself into a set class, the game adapts to your playstyle on the fly. Prefer using a sniper rifle over close quarter weapons? The game picks up on this, therefore rewards and weapons you receive tailor more to a long range kit.

So what do I want to see more of? Combat of course! I’d also like to see more of the world, and what else friends can get up to when not shooting A.I. or other players in the face. Not to mention what the game offers to those who prefer a lone wolf style of play. I’d also like to see more narrative focus, in order to keep players interested. As demonstrated with Titanfall, things felt repetitive with no deep story and characters to keep things interesting.

4. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

The famous stealth espionage action series finally makes its way to Next-Gen. While we’ve already had a taste of what’s to come with Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, gamers like myself out there can’t wait to sink our teeth into Phantom Pain. In a first for the series, MGSV goes open world, allowing players to approach objectives in an order they see fit, and completing them in a similar manner.

mgs5

Konami have shown us the eclectic cast of characters Kiefer Sutherland’s Punished Snake will be going up against, but hopefully we get to see more of each character’s background, and their motivation for going up against Snake. Speaking of Kiefer Sutherland, after playing Ground Zeroes, I felt his portrayal of Snake turned a once iconic character into another generic action hero, much like Sam Fisher in Splinter Cell: Blacklist.

Therefore I hope Konami really show me something that makes Snake feel like the unique character we’ve grown up with. How do they do that? I have no idea…cardboard boxes maybe?

5. Quantum Break

Remedy Entertainment look to be on the mark with the Xbox One exclusive, Quantum Break. While it was recently announced that Remedy would be revealing all new gameplay at Gamescom, I hope we at least get something at E3, as it would be a huge boost to Microsoft’s line-up. Even though Quantum Break is another title which we won’t get our hands on until 2015, there’s plenty to be excited about.

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When Remedy do something, they don’t do it half-assed. They created a fantastic graphic novel inspired series in Max Payne, then an episodic drama with Alan Wake. Quantum Break is the next step for Remedy Entertainment to conquer. To intertwine both a live action series and video game is no small feat, just look at Defiance.

Even though we won’t be seeing any new gameplay, what could I hope to see? Give me more information on the game’s three main characters. Get me invested in their stories now. While we know they were all involved in the same experiment in time travel that went horribly wrong (or right), a bit of background information wouldn’t hurt. Since Gamescom is getting new gameplay, how about we get a sneak peek at the live action series accompanying it?

Biding Our Time

While this is a personal wishlist of what I’d exactly like to see, we just won’t know for sure until the big event hits us next week. We here at OXCGN will be on the ground in LA to bring you all the big news from this year’s E3, so we’ll see how much of my wishlist comes to fruition.

What do you hope to see more of at E3?

© Daniel Geikowski 2014

BAM6: Enter As Foes, Leave As Friends


Healthy Competition

I’ve been to my fair share of gaming-related events. Midnight launches, LAN parties at University, PAX, and the EB Games Expo. I’ve even been lucky enough to go to E3. Earlier this month however, marks the first time I’ve ever been to a gaming tournament. Sure, I’ve seen a few mini tournaments held at expos and the like, but I’ve never experienced an event solely dedicated to them.

The event in question was Battle Arena Melbourne, running in its sixth year (BAM6). It’s an event which holds tournaments using various fighting titles, from the likes of Street Fighter 4 AE, Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2, to games such as Blazblue, King of Fighters 13 and the ever popular Super Smash Brothers offerings.

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I had a few expectations before heading to the event. I thought since there were some great prizes on offer for the winners, I imagined there would be some fierce competition, with participants pretty much out for themselves. Fighting games are typically lone affairs, you against the world, so I thought people would more than likely keep to themselves.

What I found when I experienced BAM6 however, was so much more.

Round One

Sure, Battle Arena Melbourne was primarily focussed on holding a fighting tournament, but there was other things on offer for gaming fans. Any true gamer loves their swag, and BAM6 obliged by giving out free Street Fighter posters. There also were a range of gear to purchase, from commemorative shirts, to blinged-out snapbacks.

Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz, an artist who works on the Street Fighter comic, and Mick Gordon, the composer on Killer Instinct, were also present at the event. While attendees could commission Chamba for a specified sketch, he was more than happy to take time out and chat to fans. The same could be said for Mick Gordon. While both guys are affiliated with hugely popular IPs, they are still down to earth guys who enjoyed having a chat, both gaming and non-gaming related.

Round Two

Battle Arena Melbourne had things on offer for both the highly-skilled, and those new to the tournament scene. While skilled players signed up to various tournaments to test their prowess against both familiar and unknown rivals, there was ample opportunities for the casual fighting fan like myself to step into the ring.

Now, while I’ve played my fair share of fighting games, I’ve never been quite skilled at them. I can hold my own more often than not, and even get lucky and eke out a win. However, if I’m playing against someone with a bit of skill and a hell of a lot more patience than myself, I will come out on the losing end more often than not. Mashing buttons is the beat I dance to, and it always leads to my downfall.

Therefore, when I was offered to have a go at Def Jam: Fight For NY by one of the other media guys in attendance, I was really hesitant. Not only had I never played the game before, I didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of a room full of fighting fanatics.

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After a little reassurance that these guys weren’t pros either, I decided to step foot in the ring. And wouldn’t you know, the fighting gods looked favourably on me that day. I don’t know how, but I somehow won four games in a row before being toppled. Highlights including kicking Flavor Flav’s and Snoop Dogg’s collective asses with the one and only Danny Trejo.

Not only was I congratulated on my performance, all the spectators (and even us competitors), were having a great time. People were laughing at the on-screen shenanigans, all the while supporting each other when a well-timed attack was executed, or a move well defended. It was all a light-hearted affair, with people going so far as to jokingly poke fun at each other along the way.

It was at that point it made me realise…

Round Three

While it was predominantly a tournament, and people were competing against each other, it didn’t feel that was the be-all and end-all of BAM6.

At it’s heart, Battle Arena Melbourne felt like a bunch of friends getting together to enjoy what we all enjoy: games.

Even though a lot of people didn’t know each other, they were supporting and encouraging one another, to go along with the friendly banter. It wasn’t all about how much better some people were compared top others, it was more about celebrating the joys of the fighting game genre.

All around the room, you could hear the big cheers of groups  huddled around a TV. That, coupled with the reaction a player’s face immediately let you know something great was happening; and that it was shared with people who share the same passion as them. That’s the great thing about events such as BAM, more often than not our great gaming-related achievements are accomplished in our gaming rooms alone. At an event however, people can simultaneously witness and enjoy great gaming feats.

While there was a healthy focus on competition, to determine to see who was the best, people were more than happy to help each other out with tips on how to improve.

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To paraphrase what Couchwarriors president Daniel Chlebowczyk told me in a conversation we had, two competitors battle, then they go off. However, eventually they come back and meet up, and discuss their match. The winner doesn’t gloat, instead encourages the loser, and lets them know a specific move or technique they can use to counter an attack just used against him. Not only are they giving them tips on how to get better, there are actually identifying their own weaknesses for others to potentially exploit.

Therefore, it felt like winning wasn’t the sole objective. Sure, there was a chance to win a trip overseas to Singapore in order to compete in Street Fighter 4 as part of the Capcom Pro Tour, but there was more to BAM. It felt like a tight-knit community growing that much stronger, and the bonds formed are sure to make future BAM events that much more successful in the future.

Victory!

Overall, for my first appearance at a fighting game tournament, I thought BAM6 was a very successful event. Not only did I get to witness some kickass action, I got to take part myself, and made a few new friends along the way.

It opened my eyes to see just how deep the fighting game community runs in Melbourne, and how much passion attendees have for the genre. Organisers Couchwarriors and New Game Plus did a fantastic job of bringing the event together, and with live Twitch streaming and video broadcasts, BAM will continue to grow in the coming years. If you’re a fighting fanatic, or just a keen gamer, I wholeheartedly recommend going along to BAM next year.

Sure, you might get your ass handed to you, but you’ll make some friends doing so.

© Daniel Geikowski 2014

Bring A Coat: Far Cry 4 Revealed


Ubisoft Announces Their New Foray Into The Wild

Have you had your fill of futuristic shooters? Depressed by the dark and dirty environments the seems to come part-in-parcel with most FPSes nowadays? Well gamers, like me you can now rejoice, as Ubisoft earlier today revealed the latest entry in their Far Cry series, somewhat surprisingly named Far Cry 4.

The sequel to the hugely popular and not to mention OXCGN’s GOTY for 2012, Far Cry 3, players will once again be able to explore a vibrant open world as they create their own adventures. Far Cry 4 takes place in Kyrat, a Himalayan region that is filled with danger as it is beauty. Much like Vaas in Far Cry 3, players will have to deal with a powerful ruler throughout their travels, as the land is ruled by a self-appointed king.

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Ubisoft are going all out with Far Cry 4, aiming to make it better than all that’s come before. Excerpt from Ubisoft’s blog:

“Following the success of Far Cry 3, we wanted to take the franchise to the next level and create a game that will surprise players and exceed fans’ expectations,” said Dan Hay, Executive Producer. “Given the unique setting, we feel Far Cry 4 will stand out as a top first-person shooter and we’re eager to reveal more about the game in the coming months.”

Can’t wait to set out your next adventure? Neither can we, and luckily we don’t have to wait too long. Far Cry 4 will be available this year on November 18 in the US and November 20 worldwide. The game will be available on both generations of consoles – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, as well as PC.

I don’t know about you, but this has rocketed to the top of my list of Most Wanted Games.

© Daniel Geikowski 2014

Dragon Age: Inquisition Reveals Massive $229 Inquisitor’s Edition


The Price to Pay for all the Goodies 

Those of you out there who are eagerly awaiting Bioware’s Dragon Age: Inquisition might have to cancel your preorders. Why settle for a base copy of the game, when you can own the Inquisitor’s Edition. It’s an EB Games exclusive over here in Australia, and as imagined stocks would be quite limited. The Inquisitor’s Edition is a hefty investment though and one that isn’t for the faint of heart.

It will only set you back $229. But as you can see for yourselves, owners will without a doubt get their money’s worth.

Dragon-Age

The edition includes:

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition Standard Edition
  • Highly detailed exclusive Inquisitor Collector’s Edition case produced by TriForce measures approximately 3.5″ x 7.5″ x 11.5″. The case is individually wrapped in faux reptile skin, has the mark of the Inquisitor stamped on top in gold foil, and the interior is fitted with and imprinted red silk.
  • Cloth map of Thedas drawn to scale measuring approximately 14″ x 17″
  • 72 card Major and Minor Arcana tarot card deck with custom artwork depicting mythology and mysticism from Dragon Age lore.
  • Inquisitor full scale six tool lock pick set
  • One set of four full scale map markers each approximately measuring 3.5″ x 2.5″ x 3″
  • Inquisitor’s Badge
  • Quill and Inkpot
  • 40-page Inquisitor’s Journal
  • Orlesian Coins
  • Limited edition SteelBook case

The Inquisitor’s Edition is an absolute must for any Dragon Age fan. Be sure to reserve your copy today at EB Games before Inquisition launches on October 7th.

 

© Daniel Geikowski 2014

Fighting Fans, Battle Arena Melbourne 6 Awaits


Challengers Young and Old Welcome!

Are you a fan of fighting games, or gaming in general? Do you live in Melbourne? If so, then you should be pretty excited, as Battle Arena Melbourne 6 is just under two weeks away!

BAM6 is being held May 9-11, organised through a combined effort from the guys at CouchWarriors and New Game Plus. The 6th annual event promises to be jam-packed with non-stop virtual fighting action, being one of the key events in the Australian fighting tournament calendar.

The Line Up

In a media release available earlier today, Battle Arena Melbourne 6 aims to be an event not only catered to hardcore fighting fans, but gamers and the general public as well.

Here’s what the event includes:

  • A weekend full of fun and competition with a welcoming, passionate, energetic community. Not just one of Australia’s premier tournaments, new players and spectators will find plenty to enjoy. BAM6 is a 3 Day event including Friday night exhibitions and interstate rivalry matches. Spectator passes are a cheap $5 one day, or $10 for the weekend.
  • A CAPCOM PRO TOUR RANKING EVENT – BAM is also serious business. It’s part of the internationally recognised Capcom Pro Tour circuit, allowing players to accrue points for the international Capcom Cup.
  • South East Asia Majors Official Qualifer ­ Sending the SF4 winner to Singapore – SEAM is an international event in Singapore on June 20-­22, and a Capcom Pro Tour Premium event. In partnership with ToughCookieTV BAM6 will qualify the top 2 players from five games for SEAM. Australian players will also gain the opportunity to compete on the international stage as the Super Street Fighter IV Champion of BAM6 will receive flights and accommodation to the event.
  • Special Guests -JEFFREY “CHAMBA” CRUZ – Udon Comics (STREET FIGHTER) Artist and MICK GORDON – KILLER INSTINCT Sound Designer/Composer
  • A massive amount of tournament titles – All your favourites, from Super Street Fighter 4 AE, ­ Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3, ­ Killer Instinct, ­ King of Fighters 13,Tekken Tag Tournament 2, ­ Virtua Fighter 5, Final Showdown, ­ Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, Injustice: Gods Among Us, ­ Blaz Blue Chrono Phantasm, ­ Smash Bros Melee, Brawl, Project M and more!
  • New Challengers: A Free Tournament for New Players – In keeping with BAM6’s aims to be welcoming, inclusive, and new player friendly,they are holding a FREE SF4 tournament exclusively for any players who has never before won a game in a major event. Spectator pass holders can join in! Make your tournament debut or play for fun!

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Will You Answer the Challenge?

Battle Arena Melbourne 6 is shaping to offer something for everyone. Whether you’re a hardcore fighting fanatic, or someone who dabbles in Street Fighter every now and then, you’re sure to meet some equally-skilled people ready to go head-to-head with you.

BAM6 will be located at CQ, Event Room 2, 123 Queen Street. For registration to the event, or more information, visit www.couchwarriors.org

For those who unfortunately won’t be able to make the event, fear not, as you can keep up with the live action as the guys from New Game Plus will be live-streaming on Twitch at http://www.twitch.tv/newgameplustv.    

© Daniel Geikowski 2014