Watch the Telltale’s Game of Thrones Episode 4 Launch Trailer


Telltale have announced that episode four of Game of Thrones: A Telltale Series will be released next week on the 26 May. Along with the announcement came a new trailer, shown below.

Episode Four: Sons of Winter will launch on May 26 for PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. The Xbox versions will be available May 27, and iOS and Android on May 28.

OXCGN’s Ori and the Blind Forest Review


Imagine a forest where shining lights dance on the trees, where the ground and plants explode with all the colours of the rainbow. Now imagine a score, swaying in harmony with the environment, its delicate beauty accentuating the lush world, feel the anguish as it shifts and the darkness overcomes the light, what was once beautiful is now a blind withered forest.

These are the first images of Ori and the Blind Forest, a stunning platformer that has truly captured my heart. You play as a teeny, white creature named Ori who is sent to save the forest from the looming Owl whom is hell-bent on its destruction. You must save each tree that represents the elements – water, fire and air – and restore balance to this paradise before it’s too late.

Now the absolute first thing you notice about this game is how incredibly pretty it is. The art style is phenomenal; from the enemies you encounter to the powerful colour schemes employed for the different environments, each still could be hung in a gallery.

My jaw dropped when I began this game and there were many moments where I just had to stop and stare at all the things this game had to offer. It also has an immersive soundtrack that perfectly fit into every new area, action sequence and story moment; keeping me sucked in the entire time I played.

The music is so effective that even when I had stopped playing these tunes still swirled around in my mind, reminding me of the game. The score still rattled around in my head

Ori and the Blind Forest is incredible and not just in an artistic sense.

This is one of the strongest platformers I have ever played, offering an experience on par with Rayman Legends or Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze. It is challenging, at times feeling incredibly unfair, but the controls are so polished that you know every mistake is entirely your fault. The gameplay is split between helping Ori defeat new enemies by avoiding their projectile attacks and avoiding traps and other follies in the environment; one false move and Ori is dead!

The save system adds pressure to the game because there are no checkpoints. Instead you collect spirit to form “Soul Links” that let you save anywhere in the game. The effective use of this ability is crucial to success as there is always a new challenge lurking around the corner.

I  have one gripe with this system and it’s during the infuriating escape sequences. These fast paced sections must be completed in one run otherwise you must start again from the beginning and never in these areas does it let you produce a soul link, which would be fine if these rare sections weren’t so cheap.

This world and its areas are quite hard and Ori is a fragile creature, with very little health. It doesn’t take much to send Ori to its death especially since you may encounter new places that aren’t intended for your level, which I managed to do quite a bit. For a while I found this reddish area that had creatures shooting out lasers, green, rolling rhinos knocking me out at every turn and these reddish blobs shooting billions of projectiles at once. These were all intended for a much later date and I only found it because the entire game is set on one huge map.

This map evolves as you unlock new abilities exposing areas that hid in secret. It covers an enormous area that sadly has no fast-travel so you’ll have to manually make your way through areas all over again, which didn’t bother me too much since I got to see these amazing places again filled with sweet memories.

There are many moments of Ori and the Blind Forest that stick strongly in my mind, and despite its difficulty I want to play it all over again and explore every single section on the map.

This clever and gorgeous game is shaping up to be a strong contender for the best game of 2015.

TL;DR

Ori and the Blind Forest is a platformer set in a creative and bright world set on a huge map, begging for you to explore it. It can be incredibly difficult, but that is all part of the challenge and makes you want to improve skills. This game is stunning in every way and is the most enjoyable gaming experience I’ve had this year.

Pros:

  • Beautiful setting with a stunning art style
  • Challenging level design
  • Beautiful soundtrack

Cons:

  • Unfair escape sequences

9.5/10

This Xbox One digital copy was provided by Xbox Australia.

Far Cry 4: Valley of the Yetis DLC Coming in March


Ubisoft have announced that Far Cry 4’s DLC, Valley of the Yetis, will launch March 10 in US and March 11 in Europe.

A trailer was released showcasing the stunning, snowy mountains of Kyrat, a dark, mysterious cave and your newest enemy, the Yeti.

It’s the survival of the fittest in Valley of the Yetis. Take it on solo or bring a friend to help you weather the dangers on the snowy peaks. Discover the mystery behind the yetis as you fight to make your way off the mountain.

Valley of the Yetis can be purchased by itself or with the Season Pass. The Season Pass also includes The Syringe, the Hurk Deluxe Pack, Overrun and Escape from Durgesh Prison.

Far Cry 4 released last year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

New Resident Evil Revelations 2 Trailer Released


With less than a week until release, Capcom have released a new trailer for Resident Evil Revelations 2 giving us a peek at what each episode entails.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a four-part episodic adventure that sees Claire Redfield returning to the horrors of her past. Claire works for Terra Save, the anti-bioterrorism organisation, alongside a new recruit, Moira Burton, daughter of Resident Evil’s infamous Barry Burton. Together they face a dark journey in an abandoned detention facility working together to survive.

Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 1 – Penal Colony releases February 24th in North America and February 26th worldwide on Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. The other three episodes will be released each week.

The Evil Within’s DLC “The Assignment” Coming in March


The first DLC for The Evil Within dubbed “The Assignment” has been announced for a March release with a teaser trailer via the bethblog.

Not much has been given away other than the DLC’s title and a rather creepy voice calling out for “Leslie”, one of the supporting characters in the game.

The Evil Within released back in October last year for Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.

Hands-on with Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin


You awaken in an unfamiliar clearing, the darkness surrounding you as you make your way toward the singular source of light – a large, bright crack in the sky. You reach a small hut, filled with cackling, elderly fire keepers who send you on your way with doubt in your heart, and after backstabbing, slicing and kicking your way through the ranks of fallen adventurers who hollowed out in this same, strange place you have found yourself, you reach the outside world. The kingdom of Drangleic.

This is an opening fans of 2014’s Dark Souls II will be familiar with, but it has never looked as good (on console) as it looks in Scholar of the First Sin, From Software’s ‘master quest’ version of Dark Souls II. The game boasts better graphics, different enemy placement, and a supposedly enhanced narrative through a new NPC – the titular Scholar, and while I didn’t run into the Scholar during my hour or so with the game last week, what I did see left me very exciting for this game – but all things considered, your level of excitement may vary. For me: I never played Dark Souls II, after spending dozens of hours struggling through the original, so this version seems like the perfect place for me to jump in. Conversely, if you’ve logged 200 hours into Dark Souls II already, I’m not sure the changes here will make the game feel brand new again.

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Dark Souls II was mired in criticism upon release, with the game’s graphics seemingly having taken a huge hit between trailers and release, and a lighting system that was to give characters the choice of holding a torch, but forgoing a shield, in order to see in dark areas was all but scrapped, with most of these dark areas not providing enough contrast to pull people away from the safety of their shield. These problems seem all but solved in this version of the game, with the graphics impressing and the darkness unsettling me, making me wonder what was lurking in the room with me. Thanks to the different enemy placement, even long term players may be caught off guard by the enemy types that could end up surrounding them, and so perhaps that torch will finally get some use.

Being that I only had an hour with the game, I took on the two most early areas – Heide’s Tower of Flame, and the Forest of the Fallen Giants. I completed neither, mind you, but I saw some of the changes in these areas already. For example, as soon as you enter Heide’s Tower, you are greeted by a Heide Knight – which makes a lot more sense than where he was found before. The area was still peppered with large, rusted knights, but now the presence of the meditating swordsmen made you think twice about what you wanted to do. Would you rush forward, only killing the large knights? Or would you take on every enemy in order to get your hands on the very useful Heide equipment early on?Similarly, upon entering the Forest, I was greeted with a large, hulking ogre who prompted me to sneak around him. I wasn’t strong enough to fight this thing yet, and decided to push onward instead – it seems like killing this enemy may give you some reward, but I wasn’t game enough to try.

I died many, many times during my time with the game, but none of them felt unfair. I opened a trap chest which pelted me with arrows. I took on an early boss even earlier than I should have, and I forewent a shield in order to two-hand a giant, glowing blue blade and was killed by ranged enemies as a direct result of my choice. The ‘difficulty’ of the game hasn’t let up, and in many ways it actually feels as though it may be harder than the original version – I saw giant, menacing enemies in areas early enough that I didn’t expect them, and this caused me to make stupid mistakes. Rushing in to combat is rarely a viable strategy in the Souls series, and it cost me my life on more than one occasion.

I will note that during my time with the game I was never killed by a shoddy hitbox – each time I was hit, I was definitely meant to be hit. This may seem like a small improvement, but considering some of the insane invisible hitboxes that existed in the original version, that feature being remedied would go a long way to convince die hard fans to double dip.

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Truthfully, I barely saw any of the game. I explored as much as I could, literally skipped over all cutscenes and dialogue to get me the most amount of gameplay, and saw the results of From’s attempt to polish this diamond in the rough of a game. The slow, steady and weighted combat of the series remains, yet new enemy placement forces new and wildly different strategies than before. New item placement allows for different builds to become viable earlier or later than previously, and a new NPC hopefully will provide some meager amount of closure to some of the game’s more confusing lore. Personally, I’m glad I waited on Dark Souls II. I’m getting a far better version of the title now than I would have at launch, and yet, much of the mystery of a first-time tour of Drangleic will be lost on me. I know the areas, enemies and general story beats of the game, but not religiously. Whatever slight changes have been made to lore or narrative won’t have much of an effect on me, but the change in enemy and item placement give me a completely different adventure to those who have already played.

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin releases April 2nd, 2015 on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.

Rise of the Tomb Raider’s Gorgeous New Screenshots


Brand new, high resolution screenshots of Rise of the Tomb Raider have been released showing off the new environments and wildlife. Below you can see Lara adventuring in the snowy mountains that are both terrifying and stunning.

Rise of the Tomb Raider releases for Xbox One and Xbox 360 late 2015 and may release later for other platforms.

OXCGN’s Dragon Ball XenoVerse Preview


It has been years since I played a Dragon Ball game. Back in my teenage years I frequented Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 – a solid fighting game with a single player mode that followed the entire series, jumping between world exploration and 2.5D battles with iconic enemies. It was, easily, one of my favourite games growing up, and it still holds a special place in my memory.

Last week I got to play Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, and for the first time in years, returned to a world I haven’t set foot in, or thought about, in quite some time. The gameplay is very different to the titles I remember playing, but if anything, Xenoverse brings the anime’s fast paced, potentially world ending battles to life in a way that Budokai never quite managed.In Xenoverse you play as a member of the ‘Time Patrol’, a faction run by Trunks in the future with the sole purpose of returning to pivotal moments in history and ensuring that they play out exactly as they were supposed too. This is complicated when the enemies we grew to love and hate following the series for many years gain a strange boost in power, and are able to defeat the heroes in each time period. You are sent back to each time paradox to aid the heroes in defeated powered up versions of these villains, be they Radditz, Frieza or Buu.

This character you play as is entirely customisable, with the option to choose his or her race, gender, and physical appearance before starting up the game. This allows you to create a character you have always wanted to see in the series, or, create a future version of your favourite character to send back and aid those who came before. It is an interesting idea, and worked pretty well, with your character working more as an aid to help the battle, rather than the pivotal hero who turns up to save the day – at least in what I played. My character never spoke a word, and most of the story seemed to be centred around the other heroes fighting against super powered enemies, with you merely being present to help them fight.

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In the first few minutes of the game you are welcomed to Toki-Toki City, the hub world which the Time Patrol operates out of, by Trunks – who immediately attacks you to measure your worth. It isn’t a hard battle, and within minutes I was exploring the city’s layout, running from district to district to see what I could learn about the place. There were quite a few NPC’s littered around the place, and almost none had anything consequential to say to me, until I ran into Krillin. After fighting him, he agreed to become my master, and as I gain EXP, teach me more of his techniques. I assume, as the game goes on, there will be more characters in the city willing to teach you their techniques, allowing you to customise your move load out.

Soon afterward, I found my way to a giant time gate, with Trunks asking if I wanted to get back to the patrol. Within seconds I was staring down Nappa as he beat the living hell out of Gohan, Krillin and Piccolo,  yet my arrival did a little to keep them safe, with Piccolo still sacrificing himself and Goku still appearing to save the day. The voice acting seemed to the be exact same actors as in the anime, and it was nostalgic to hear Vegeta and Goku trading perspectives while trading blows.

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The fighting style is far more similar to the Tenkaichi brand of games than Budokai, in that you navigate a 3 dimensional battlefield with destructible environments, and use a lock on feature to keep track of your opponent. The actual fighting felt fast, if not a tad hard to follow, with sound clips playing exactly the same as in the anime when your character disappears through your opponents attack, only to reappear behind them and smash them down the earth. Special attacks are powered by your Ki meter, as in most Dragon Ball games, yet I couldn’t find a way to charge my meter, having to instead wait for it to recharge naturally.

This really broke the flow of battle, as one minute I could be shooting a barrage of energy balls at my opponent, and the next have to rely on far weaker physical strikes. I feel this battle system would have trained me, in time, to be more careful with my energy usage, but with only a limited hands on time, and two deaths due to limited energy and healing, I was wishing for a way to pull out those bigger attacks more often.That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the battle system – it was actually quite solid. Once I had a fight or two under my belt, I was beginning to learn to cancel out of a combo to land a point-blank energy blast for devastating damage, and eventually started getting the hang of dodging my opponents attacks. With more time, I feel like I could start to become pretty proficient, but my limited time led me to go all-aggressive and get my ass kicked more than a few times.

I’m actually far more interested in Xenoverse now that I have had some hands-on time with it, and with it’s February 26th release date, I don’t have to wait long before I can try some more out. The characters are strong, the plot seems interesting (if not another excuse to run through the same climactic battles we have a dozen times before), and the gameplay teases depth. For a short while, I remembered why I loved this series for so long, and I’d be lying if I didn’t walk away thinking about finding a way to watch some of the anime. Instead, I’ll wait, and relive my teenage obsession through Xenoverse.

Dragonball Xenoverse releases on 26th February, 2015 for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.

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