OXCGN’s Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 Review


It’s no secret that over the past few years, Pro Evolution Soccer has been overshadowed by the train that is the FIFA franchise. Unable to capture what made PES the top football franchise back in the glory days of the Playstation 2, every year each iteration has hurt the series. However due to the rising competition and always striving to be better than last, PES is seeing a resurgence and with the latest entry, we’ve finally got a football game that players of PES can be proud of.

Powered by the Fox engine, and being a year into maturity with the PS4 and Xbox One, it’s clear to see that the developers have had a good portion of hands on to accurately model players and their animations during matches, and it shows. Some players looks scarily accurate to their real world counter parts in PES15 than they do in FIFA15. Whilst some don’t look as good and have either slightly larger heads or wider jaw lines.

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Characteristically players such as Arjen Robben with how he runs and Cristiano Ronaldo with his unique stance prior to a free kick to name a few. Crowd support is exactly as is during a tense match in the EPL or El Classico, the fans are loud and supportive and it really adds to the atmosphere of the beautiful game. What brings this down though is once again the horrid commentary. It’s still too stale and repetitive, and at times I felt it would be better to turn it off completely and casually make remarks myself at the game.

Whilst PES still cannot compete with FIFA with licensing, they do their best with the team and players names, prior to the games release, patch v1.00 does add Adidas and Nike boots and we’ll as additional teams and authentic kits. It’s good to see that as the game rolls on, the developers are doing their best to try and garner more authenticity, keeping fans happy.

Man City as Man Blue or Chelsea better known and as London F.C and so forth are different in name only. Whilst this may still unsettle some players, rest assured each players is as authentic as possible in both appearance and gameplay. What hit me almost instantaneously is that PES15 is a more mature football game and one that many players will require hours to take a grasp of. Passing requires a much more calculated approach, where one cannot simply tap A and let it magically go to a player of their own.

Players will need to see where their team mates are and ensure that passes are complete, because having a ball intercepted could result in a counter attack by the opposing team. It’s a much more manual game than before, and I feel will make some frustrated at times. The ball doesn’t roll as if it’s always on ice and first touches are everything. Thankfully, PES15 isn’t FIFA15 and players can’t just run though the whole opposing 11 by just flicking the ball around and somehow not being penalised with a loss in speed. Multiple online matches in FIFA15 has shown me that the franchise is going in the wrong direction. Whereas PES15 is finally becoming more grounded again, requiring less assistance and relying less on individual performances and instead, on how the team performs as a whole.

C. Ronaldo can’t just run from kick off down the line up in the box shoot and score. By having such a tight control over how players and your team defend, goals are much harder to come by and that leaves the player feeling much more satisfied when they eventually hit the back of the net. Shooting is harder than ever, however it’s much more realistic and more intense. Games won’t go up to 5 or 6 goals a piece but instead be more akin to real world scores such as 1-0 or 2-1 with the odd 3 to 4-0 victory if your opponent gives up.

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If a player wishes to turn off all assisted options for passing and shooting they may do so, but be warned that whilst PES is difficult turning off all these options could result in disaster. PES is a difficult game and always has been, especially with the very little assistance involved in its gameplay. Players have indeed perfected the level of gameplay present within the franchise but for newcomers or casual players it is not recommended. The ball requires the delicate touch and performing tricks to pass an opponent are satisfying when pulled off but getting too cocky can lose you the ball.

Higher prolific players have better first touches than lower ranking players, and it clearly shows. They occasionally misplace a hospital ball given to them but overall they are consistent, and allow you to create a passage of play with some basic passing and crosses.

I, myself, play turf soccer every Monday and have been playing for roughly 4-5 years now. I’m not the best player who can rainbow the goalkeeper, or roll the ball over and take on a whole team, but I can dig up a sense of determination and play a solid amount of football that requires again, a calculated approach rather than just taking the ball and running down the field. I make the odd mistake when I don’t listen to my teammates, but I don’t just kick the ball everywhere or ‘Hero Run’.

This I feel, is emulated to perfection in PES15.

I’m happy with how this year iteration has turned out and I can safely say it’s the better football title available on next-gen, however what it doesn’t get right the way that FIFA does is that its online portion is severely broken. Sure, Master League and Champions League can keep players happy becoming increasingly difficult as you progress up the leaderboard to eventually win the title, but every now and again I wish to compete against a colleague online for supremacy.

This cannot be achieved, as the game won’t allows us to connect to each other.

The developers have acknowledged that there is a problem but in today’s current age of technology it’s extremely unacceptable. 343 Industries and Microsoft are doing back-flips because multiplayer in the Halo: The Master Chief Collection is broken. It’s the same case here in PES15, multiple nights and countless hours wasted creating games in multiple servers to no avail. With no word of an official fix anytime soon, unfortunately shipping a game with a broken multiplayer does hinder my ability to full enjoy the experience.

Despite that being the only real problem present, I cannot fault this game for much when compared to its competition. Goalkeeper AI is much more fluid and rather than forgetting they can touch the ball with their hands, accurately pressure strikers and correctly decide when to come out for the ball. Defenders with precision mark their players and follow them instead of ball watching, whilst the only nuance present is that of the referee. He seems to have studied the rules of the game from the same book FIFA has where certain fouls he won’t reward but others, he’ll blow the whistle and give a card. It’s not enough to be a huge problem but you will realize every few games it is present.

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Pros:

+ Player characteristics and animations are top notch

+ Easily encapsulates the essence of the beautiful game

+ Game modes can be increasingly difficult and well worth the challenge of getting better

Cons:

– Multiple multiplayer issues

– Menu system whilst fluid still not as appealing as the FIFA franchise

– Default speed may be too slow for some players

TL;DR

A friend of mine recently told me that if he was to compare both Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA, he would say that FIFA is Call of Duty, fast, frantic and good to pick up a controller play a quick match then be on your way. Whereas PES is more like Battlefield, it requires patience, a much higher level of skill and finesse to come out victorious. It’s a football game that rewards the player for their hard work and with the ability of the FOX Engine to produce some stunning visuals the way the ball flies into the back of the net after a sweet connection with your boot, is nothing short of satisfying.

8.5/10

OXCGN’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection Review


Anyone knows that the key to a successful collection, are what extra goodies the publisher/developer can squeeze in and charge for an affordable price. Most movie box sets have hours of commentary by actors and directors, deleted scenes, as well as various other things for fans to get excited about.

The Master Chief Collection is the epitome of a collection, featuring 4 complete single player campaigns with hundreds of achievements and hours of content. Only available on the original Xbox and Xbox 360, now all 4 campaigns are available on a single disc on the Xbox One, with multiplayer available through a 15GB download prior to the games release.

This collection is huge, and I’m not talking about the size of all the content.

This is Master Chief’s journey, and I’m glad that fans of new and old, can experience and relive what made this franchise a blockbuster hit with millions of fans around the world. To relive the journey of Spartan 117 through 4 sprawling campaigns on a mission to stop a genocidal alien race called the Covenant, is nothing short of epic.

Accessibility within a collection of this magnitude is key, and 343 Industries have done an outstanding job to not only make it look gorgeous, but easy to navigate. Seamlessly navigating the menus, players can access all 4 campaigns as well as multiplayer, achievements, customisation options, medal, leaderboards, and a whole lot more.

From the moment one inserts their disc into the Xbox One, every single mission from each campaign is available and I commend 343 for doing this, as it allows players to either start from scratch or enjoy their favourite level. For newcomers, they can enjoy everything Halo has to offer them.

Players can seamlessly choose to play which mission they desire, and equip any of the games Skulls which act as modifiers to increase difficulty, score multipliers and fun. In the many ViDoc’s that Bungie done during their time promoting each Halo game they always spoke about the “Combat Loop”.

“In Halo 1, there was maybe 30 seconds of fun that happened over and over and over and over again. And so, if you can get 30 seconds of fun, you can pretty much stretch that out to be an entire game.” Half-Minute Halo: An Interview with Jaime Griesemer

Skulls add to this famous combat loop, and players wishing to perform LASO runs through each campaign will be in heaven. They can choose it directly from the Playlists, which are specific missions that 343 have mustered up sprawling all 4 campaigns. Players can choose to play ‘Guilt Pleasure” which only features every level with a Guilty Spark or “Arbiter’s Journey” featuring only missions with the Arbiter from Halo 2. It’s definitely a nice touch for players to experience the most epic of scenarios within the Halo series.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

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Halo: Combat Evolved revolutionized the first person shooter on consoles and did what no other shooter could replicate since Goldeneye 64 on the N64. It brought staples to the genre such as a limit on carrying weapons, health kits, shields and tight controls for both driving and shooting.

Combat Evolved has already received the anniversary treatment but seeing how each game runs and at 1080p and 60fps, this version actually runs a lot smoother the it did on the Xbox 360. There’s not much else that’s been changed or added to this version, so don’t expect it to really be much different. But alas, this is the game that started it all, and boy is it difficulty on Legendary. Games of today feature many little additions that not only enhance gameplay but make it easier.

This is pure twitch shooting on a console, and even though level design is extremely outdated, the game still holds up quite nicely, especially when it comes to Legendary difficulty.

There’s no drop in frames, and when the action ramps up everything is smooth.

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Halo 2: Anniversary

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Halo 2: Anniversary though, is what most gamers will be buying The Master Chief Collection (MCC) for. Reliving the thrilling campaign which introduced new gameplay features never really witnessed in a console shooter. Hijacking Ghosts whilst enemies rode them around, dual wielding various one handed weapons such as the SMG and the over powered needler, as well as that now infamous ending cutscene.

Everything the way that you remember it is here, and in glorious 1080P at 60FPS.

Halo 2: Anniversary features the game completely remastered to take advantage of the Xbox One’s hardware and boy, does it look gorgeous. Character models from Master Chief, Miranda Keyes, Cortana, Brutes, Grunts etc… all look spectacular for a game that’s 10 years old. When eyeing a Brute up close you can notice the amount of detail that 343 have put into its model. You can now see individual strains of fur on Brutes, and it does actually make for a more thrilling experience.

It’s a huge feat that they have managed to replicate from Combat Evolved. Whilst it may not be as big of a graphical leap from the original Halo 2, you can definitely see the limitation the original Xbox had and what the hardware of the Xbox One has been able to produce.

Audio has also received an update with a lot more environmental sounds happening at any given moment. When switching to original graphics, players can notice the barren emptiness in hallways and open rooms in most levels. In anniversary mode, enemies are more consistent shouting and screaming at your where about, enemy movement can be heard in the distance, human AI where applicable, are shooting enemies calling out to one another and the orchestral soundtrack is in full force.

It really helps to build a much more engaging action adventure with so much happening on the screen.

Players may find that some new audio enhancements are a little to different to how they were originally and find that a little off-putting. Users found the Energy Sword to sound too different and not as brutal as it once did, with the addition of 60 FPS, meaning that the Covenant Carbine was extremely over powered with a quick trigger finger. Unfortunately players cannot mix and match between original and remastered, if one was to enjoy the remastered graphics with the audio enhancement unfortunately they’re out of luck.

Switching between modes is flawless however, and unlike Halo: CE, Halo 2 has received updated cutscenes thanks to Blur technology. When viewing the opening cutscene players can notice that cutscenes which are visually appealing do indeed create a much more engaging story. Switching to original graphics and one can see just how bad the game actually looks whilst not giving the player a real incentive to watch them apart from propelling the story forward. Now seeing character models pre-rendered even though some do look awkward is simply amazing and makes you more engaged with the story.

Prior to the update, H2:A did feature some game breaking bugs where not only would enemies glitch through the map, but Grunt Birthday Party would drastically drop the frames per second and certain sections of levels would freeze. The patch has definitely fixed any problems that I may have witnessed prior to its availability.

Halo 3

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What is arguably the most epic of all campaigns due to the large scale battles witnessed in the later portion of the game, Halo 3 feels like the odd one out of the bunch. Even though the game runs in 1080p and 60fps, it definitely isn’t the prettiest as it feels like ‘Halo Lite’.

Graphically it’s still too bright, and weapons don’t have that heavy sound to them the way they do in H2A or Halo 4. Whilst that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it would have been nice if this title did receive a bit more of an update apart from a bumped up resolution. Visually it isn’t as striking as Halo 4 or even Halo 2: Anniversary, that being said though, players can enjoy the game via co-op, the way they did on the Xbox 360 in 2007.

It was the game that introduced Theatre mode, a staple function that many other shooters included in Multiplayer as a means to replay, save and edit prior games then upload them onto File Share. There, other users could save game clips, vote on them and share them around. With the 15GB update Theatre mode returns and with the power of the Xbox One Azure Servers this could mean endless potential.

Also returning is Forge mode, which saw users creating countless novelty game types within pre-existing maps as well as characters from other titles such as the Brumak from Gears of War or the Death Star from Star Wars.

With the amount of emphasis on user created content, and players around the world creating ridiculously amazing works of art, it will be a sight to see what is created in the hands of players who love creating content but have never experienced Halo before.

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Halo 4

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Halo 4 was released late into the life cycle of the Xbox 360 and was developed by 343 industries. Keeping the franchise alive after Bungie and Microsoft split and went their separate ways, Halo 4 has received the least treatment. When stacked up against other titles currently available on the Xbox One, Halo 4 is artistically and visually appealing. The Prometheans and their weaponry add to that visually striking art that this title has over the rest. Radically changing the look of Master Chief to properly convey his tremendous weight due to this armour is apparent.

Whilst many dislike the additional features added such as sprinting which make it feels like Call of Duty, 343 took Halo 4 in a much needed direction to keep the franchise somewhat relevant by today’s standards.

While Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach both had Firefight which was a co-operative game mode much like Horde Mode in Gears of War, Halo 4 introduced Spartan Ops. Taking place 6 months after the ending of the story of Halo 4, players could enjoy this story-centric missions based add-on in 4 player co-op. Again, whilst it may not be as fun as Firefight, players can enjoy the 10 episodes that were released for it.

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Halo Channel

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Halo Channel technically replaces Halo Waypoint in that every additional piece of content available through Xbox Live ends up here. Players can watch the countless video documentaries posted by 343 Industries regarding the collection, Halo: Nightfall as well as watch Twitch streams regarding anything Halo, terminal videos and much more. Much like the main menus within the collection, Halo Channel is easy to navigate.

The main downside to this is that any terminal you now view is housed in the Halo Channel. When accessing a terminal in Halo 2, the game minimises the game loads up Halo Channel and then begins to play the terminal video. Whilst it doesn’t break the game it does detract the user from the game and takes them out of the experience a little. Much like over complicated menus do every so often in role paying games, this is exactly the same.

Halo: Channel is the hub for everything Halo, so if you’re tired from playing the game you can browse the hours of content that is featured within the channels menus.

Halo: Nightfall

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Halo: Nightwall which isn’t yet live and won’t be till the game release, bridges the gap between the events of Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. It tells the story of Jameson Locke and his team as they are caught between a terrorist attack whilst investigating terrorist activity on a distant colony world of Sedra. Sounds simple enough and with Ridley Scott attached, one would assume we’re finally going to receive the Halo we’ve been waiting for since the movie has been on an indefinite hiatus.

Unfortunately initial reports points towards this being an utter failure, which horrible CGI, dialogue and acting, and that’s not good. We haven’t had the chance to yet watch the pilot so we’ll hold our judgement until then, but Nightfall does not affect the overall experience of this collection, so one does not need to worry.

TL;DR

Whether you love or hate Halo, there is no denying that for value for money, there is nothing better than The Master Chief Collection at the moment.

Those that have been on the fence about purchasing an Xbox One, now is the perfect time to get into it. Featuring 4 single player campaigns, Theatre mode, Forge, 450 achievements and every single multiplayer map ever imagined there is no doubt this will keep you entertained for months to comes. For those who have already experienced the Halo series and completed all 4 games multiple times, there is still a lot to be loved here.

The pros most definitely outweigh the cons, and despite some minor annoyances there is a lot of polish in this collection. From the fluidity of the menus to how smooth each game runs. 343 Industries must be commended for the work they have included in this collection and definitely support them by picking it up on release.

Pros:

– Endless amount of content from 4 campaigns, multiplayer, forge and hundreds of achievements

– Each game runs in 1080p and 60 FPS

– Menu layout is top class and users can easily pick and play any game and multiplayer map/type they want

Cons:

– Halo 3 is the least visually appealing and thus is the weakest of the 4 games on offer

– Viewing terminals minimizes the game and loads up Halo Channel, detracting from the experience

– Cannot play multiplayer, Theatre of Forge without the 15gb content update and various bugs and glitches ensue if you don’t

9.5/10

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Disclaimer: The 20GB now 15GB update, was not available to reviewers until late into the review period. With only custom games available and no real matchmaking, we may revisit the games multiplayer at a later date to give an accurate and fair analysis of how multiplayer is revived within this Anniversary edition of Halo 2 and entire collection. Until then we shall wait for the game to be released and the servers to be populated so we can enjoy, experience and report back. Also this review was conducted with a digital copy of the game provided by Microsoft Australia.

PICKS OF PAX – Australian Expo Edition


The Best Things About PAX Aus!

PAX Australia 2014 was a brilliant expo that showcased both the amazing talent we have here in Australia of those making games, and the nationwide community that enjoys them. For three days fans descended upon the Melbourne Exhibition Centre to play the best in Indies and AAA titles, as well as chill out with board games, panels and good food.

Picks of PAX is my way of looking back on the great weekend I had, chronicling the best of the Expo and games from my time at the event.

First, the Expo itself.

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The Signs

‘Welcome Home’. Before you even walked in the doors of PAX, the Melbourne streets around the Expo had taken upon the feel of it. Signs hung around the venue with messages like “why your IT guy is out sick” and “we’re back, with less tents”. These little signs made me chuckle more than once and were widely shared across social media, it was great to see that the organisers put this extra effort and community touch into their promotion, making it fun and enjoyable before PAX even began.

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The Panels

If there’s something I wish I could have seen more of at PAX, it would be the panels. The couple I visited were really well put together and provided a lot of thought provoking discussion. I heard a lot of good reports from others, but between clashes and media appointments I missed a fair few. You could attend PAX and just hop panel to panel for the three days, barely touching the show floor, and still have an amazing time. Lucky for me, and for those of you who didn’t end up at PAX, a lot of the panels were streamed on Twitch and available to watch right now right here, on PAX’s Twitch channel.

The Booths

The big hitters on show at PAX had equally huge booths, ranging from League of Legend’s stage to showcase local matches and Oceanic finals to Ubisoft’s maze of screens and AAA titles. This year booths were given to a huge range of companies, with even Harvey Norman and the Australian Classification Board (mostly unmanned for the weekend) getting their own stands.

One of my favourites was Wargaming’s booth, filled with a tank, a stage and plenty of computers to play on. Another of the cooler ones was Media Molecule’s booth in the Indie area, decked out in all sorts of papercraft creatures in true Tearaway style. All in all, the booths managed to be really different and despite the crowds I never had too much trouble navigating them!

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The Cosplay

For a convention without a cosplay competition, there sure was a lot of cosplay. It was really impressive to see so many people decked out as their favourite characters on the show floor. Thanks to the large presence Riot Games had at the expo, a vast majority of the outfits were characters from League of Legends. Similarly, Borderlands cosplay were not in short supply, thanks to the presence of Randy Pitchford and the recent release of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The cosplay was one of those awesome things that served to really amplify the atmosphere of a convention. Wherever you went around PAX you saw characters you knew and loved, be that in the hallways, outside or even in the Crown food court nearby!

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The Handheld Lounge; Clear your Streetpasses or even take a nap!

The Community

In my opinion, the best part of the entire convention was the community. From the exhibitors to the developers, the con-goers to the cosplayers, PAX has to be the most positive show I’d ever attended. Kotaku published an article on why PAX was the perfect antidote to the negativity and clashes going on in game culture, and I couldn’t agree more. Everyone was friendly, accepting and enjoying the wonderful world of games, tabletop and indies together.

The Diversity Lounge, a place that really helped foster this atmosphere, contained several booths including one for the charity group ‘Medic‘, working with Special Effect, a group who help disabled people to enjoy games, in the UK. It also showcased games that encouraged diversity, with one of my favourite indie games ‘Never Alone’ on show there. They even had panels and tournaments running in there during the expo, creating a really encouraging space that I feel symbolised a lot of what PAX was about.

All in all, PAX Australia was an incredible experience. From playing tonnes of fun and interesting games to meeting new people and bonding over shared loves, the show was really something special. I’d like to thank everyone involved in organising, exhibiting and even attending for making PAX Aus such a memorable expo. I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Jayden Perry ©2014

OXCGN’s Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution Review


It was a Naruto video game that made me become a fan of the series. I remember completing this Nintendo DS game to be left with a huge cliffhanger that bugged me for weeks and weeks. This led me to fuel my Naruto appetite by reading the manga and watching the anime so as a fan I generally enjoy most Naruto games but the only condition is that it has to be based on the original story of the manga and sadly Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution doesn’t deliver. Instead you witness a generic “let’s all fight to find the strongest” story that slowly bores you as you fight though rounds and rounds of opponents.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimte Ninja Storm Revolution is a fighter that throws some RPG elements into the mix. In the main story mode, Ninja World Tournament, you proceed through D rank to S rank matches till you find out who the ultimate ninja is. Each battle has you facing three other ninjas at the same time, fighting for battle orbs that drop from characters when hit. As you go up ranks these fights slowly get more challenging adding extra obstacles and opponents. Rails will appear allowing you to skate on and deal devastating damage, special orbs can be collected that gives you the chance to “awaken” and become stronger and character obstacles emerge and deal damage to whomever is in their way. You can also play battle challenges that add conditions to the matches.

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In each fight there is multiple characters to play as and fight against that all have their unique jutsus and fighting styles. Each combat move correlates with the manga and anime, which is a nice touch for fans. Every character also has their own unique “Ultimate Justu” that is performed through beautifully crafted cut scenes. It is a bit hard when first working out how to fight, as there is no interactive tutorial. Instead you read through many screens of text but when you start getting used to performing combos the combat becomes quite fun. The only problem with fights was there would be that some characters feel too overpowered and quickly I could pick out those characters that would get me an easy win.

In-between battles the game encourages you to explore the game’s setting, Festival Island, where you can unlock characters for the tournament and earn money through jobs. These side missions range from fighting matches, completing quizzes, collecting items for others and playing rock, paper, scissors. These RPG elements become quite dull and repetitive and since your character seems to run around the place with an incredibly slow pace, I avoided these missions unless I desperately wanted a certain character in my tournament team.

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The game offers more variety with its two other modes, Mecha Naruto Story and Ninja Escapades. I enjoyed Ninja Escapades a lot as it followed the backstory of the Akatsuki through unaired cut scenes alongside a couple of fights. You get to play as a variety of the Akastuki characters whilst Obito is recruiting members to achieve his idea of world peace. This mode has great dialogue and an intriguing story that is more than what the World Ninja Tournament offers. I only wish this was the main story mode and had a longer duration.

The Mecha Naruto Story was completely the opposite and was a horror to sit through. Basically Naruto stumbles along a robotic version of himself and alongside Hinata, fights though a tournament to obtain a crystal to regain Mecha Naruto’s memory. This story was filled with horrible dialogue that was repetitive and dumb and forced you to stumble across the Hidden Leaf Village to complete jobs. It also felt like it was trying to teach you a lesson about striving to be yourself and not worry about what others think, but it saturated this message throughout the whole story. I’m sure children playing the game would realise quite quickly what the game was trying to say and think that’s totally lame.

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Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution works perfectly fine but with too dull a story and tiresome side missions it ‘s a drag to play. The only thing I would recommend in this game is the Ninja Escapades but less than two hours of content is not worth the premium price. If you aren’t invested into the manga or anime you probably won’t find any joy in this game and if you are a fan you’ll be very disappointed.

Pros:

+ Ninja Escapades is fun and has a great story

+ Lots of variety in characters

Cons:

-Main story is dull and cliché

-RPG elements are boring and not worth completing

-Over powered characters

-Mecha Naruto is horrible!!

TL;DR

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revoultion is a good fighter that has a horrible story and RPG elements which clouds the enjoyment. There is joy to be had during Ninja Escapades, a series of animated cut scenes and fights that follow the Akatsuki, but the main story mode is repetitive and cliché. It’s not as great as other Naruto games and is a disappointment for the fans. I would recommend skipping this installment and going back to the Naruto games that follow the manga’s story.

6/10

This review was conducted by a promo copy provided by Bandai Namco Australia.

OXCGN’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 shoots players back into the webslinger’s suit to experience the same old web-slinging action that we have known since the Spider-Man 2 era; but somehow, this game sadly feels like a step backward. Awkward controls seem to interfere with what could be a graceful web-slinging experience, and repetitive thug fights grow stale quickly.

Spider-Man 2 places gamers into a world based similarly-but-not-quite on the movie. Peter Parker likes to have long-drawn out conversations full of cheesy jokes and one-liners, that will surely have you rolling your eyes after Spiderman’s first interrogation sequence.

Players also get to relive the Uncle Ben scene again – in-case you weren’t sick of it already.

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The story mode spends most of its time introducing players to the random villains and heroes known in the Spider-Man universe – which leads the main thrust of the narrative to quickly get lost. Additionally, there is way too much time spent performing Peter Parker missions, where players are forced to walk and take investigative photos of objects and other things within the game world that instantly becomes boring.

The only nice surprise is to see Stan Lee receive a large feature in the game as Peter’s go-to comic book guy.

I must confess: I did enjoy the quick time sequences that featured during the game. It’s refreshing to have them back after game developers got over the fad, and there really are some cool sequences that really make you feel like the web-slinger himself.

Graphically, on the PS3 the game looks fairly awful: The open city is full of jagged edges and blurry textures. Loading times are also worth mentioning – the game will take so long to load you may consider taking a nap. This is particularly frustrating when you’re waiting for something to load and it turns out to be a tiny room; leading you into another load sequence within minutes.

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If you are a next-gen console owner, you’re probably bored waiting for that next big release – you may have already considered purchasing this game. Taking into consideration the game’s low purchase price, it does offer some value for money, but is destined for the bargain bin for those still on the fence.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 delivers exactly what you would expect going in. And with that in mind I think gamers who’ve enjoyed the past iterations of Spiderman or those tired of waiting for the next big release should consider The Amazing Spider-Man 2. 

Pros:

+ Quick time events are quite refreshing

+ Stan Lee cameo

Cons:

– Horrid loading times

– For a PS3 release so late in its cycle, graphically the game is poor.

TL;DR

6.5/10

The Evil Within DLC Pass Announced


Bethesda announced that their upcoming survival horror game, The Evil Within, is set to have a $25.95 DLC pass.

The pack will include three expansions taking on three different perspectives.

In the first add-on, assume the role of The Keeper (aka Boxman) in a sadistic collection of mission-based maps. The second and third add-ons take you further down a path of madness in a two-part, story-driven experience in the role of Juli Kidman – Sebastian Castellanos’ mysterious partner. Encounter unthinkable enemies and new areas that reveal hidden motives and harrowing evil.

The Evil Within is set to release for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC on October 14.

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Assassin’s Creed Rogue Confirmed


Ubisoft have officially announced the newest addition in the Assassin’s Creed series with a new cinematic trailer.

Dubbed Assassin’s Creed Rogue the game puts you into the role of a Templar seeking revenge on the assassins that have wronged you.

Betrayal can do terrible things to a person’s psyche. After a mission for the Assassin Brotherhood goes terribly wrong, Shay Patrick Cormac leaves the Order, prompting his former brothers to make an attempt on his life. Of course, what doesn’t kill you turns you into a hunter. Now Shay is on a path of vengeance, tracking down the Assassins and systematically eliminating them. Assassin’s Creed Rogue will be the darkest chapter in the franchise as you take off your Assassin hood and step into the role of a Templar.

According to Ubisoft’s blog the game is set inbetween the events of Assassin’s Creed III and Assassin’s Creed IV : Black Flag, completing the North American Saga.

The game will include new weapons and a new ship, Morrigan, which will be equipped with a puckle gun (a machine gun-like weapon) and burning oil, which creates a trail of fire behind your ship.

Ubisoft Sophia is developing the game in collaboration with Ubisoft’s Montreal, Quebec, Singapore, Chengdu, Bucharest and Milan studios.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue has been set for release on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 on November 11 globally, a couple of weeks after the release for Assassin’s Creed Unity which is exclusive for Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC.

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.

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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