OXCGN’s RONIN Review – Kill Bill in a Motorcycle Helmet


Ronin is a 2D turn based game in which you take the persona of a motorcycle helmet wearing samurai set on a course to kill five targets who you’ve got bad blood with. With the ability to play each level either stealthily or gung-ho, Ronin is a challenging yet very fun game!

Screenshot 2015-07-03 22.00.25

Gameplay

Out of combat with enemies, the game isn’t turn based, with the player being able to move freely around the level and also is given the ability to stealth kill bodyguards – as long as you’re unnoticed. That being said, when you are in combat that is where the magic occurs. As it is turn based combat every movement or strategy you execute can change within a turn, moving to different locations or killing/stunning different enemies.

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The key to winning the battles you face is the jump arc. With the player given the ability to jump to an enemy and knock them down, thereby stunning them, this gives a new aspect to the game when dealing with multiple enemies. One feature that was really enjoyable about this aspect was how the environment around you interacts with your actions as well as the enemies. A good example of this is jumping at an enemy and they fly through a glass window and out to their death. By using little tricks like this as well as using one enemy to stun multiple enemies, it makes the game a little more ingenious, requiring thought for the best course of action every turn cycle.

Screenshot 2015-07-03 22.01.54

Another enjoyable aspect of the game is the skill points earned. With successful completion of all the objectives in a mission – civilians are alive, enemies are all dead and data is obtained/an enemy is killed, you obtain a skill point which are used for skills such as stunning multiple enemies or teleport attacks within game. These skills allow for more elaborate game play with your techniques in-game becoming more stealthy and complex.

Cons

At times whilst playing the game, it was a struggle to get the jump arc to correctly be followed, with the character not following the projected arc at times. Also the main point of the game is to not get hit, so if you get hit by one bullet, well then it’s game over.

TL;DR

Overall the game was highly enjoyable for what it is. I thoroughly enjoyed the mechanics as well as the little ‘hints’ put in-game such as “the jump arc isn’t really a jump arc” which did make for a laugh whilst playing.

7/10

Street Fighter V Beta Kicks Off Exclusively on July 24th for PS4 Users


Street Fighter V’s beta is set to start exclusively on July 24th 11:00am for PS4 users for a total of 5 days running. As with other beta’s this is to test out online net coding (For a smoother online experience), as with a fighting game minimal latency issues is definitely key. All information collected from the beta will of course allow Capcom to improve the net code come the final release of the game.

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As per the press release here are the details of the beta:

Characters

Throughout the course of the BETA, all 6 characters will be available. This means that players will be able try out all the characters that were present on the E3 build. To set expectations clearly, the BETA will roll out with four characters playable immediately, with Birdie and Cammy becoming playable on Saturday, July 25th. The reason for their delayed release is that in addition to testing out the net code, we’re also testing out our new content delivery system

Gameplay Flow

When players boot the game up and go past the start screen, they’ll be taken to the character select screen. Players should choose the character they would like to fight others with, as they will not be able to select a different character before heading into battle. Once they select their character, players will be placed into training mode while an opponent is found. Upon finding an opponent, players will be transported back to the versus screen and begin their match shortly thereafter. After the match is complete, players will then be brought back to the Grid where they will go back into queue for the next match.

Unfortunately there will be no local versus mode during this BETA. Once again, the primary purpose of this BETA is to test the online functionality.

Stages

While players are awaiting their match, they’ll be training in the Grid. Versus matches will take place in either theBustling Side Street (China), Terminal Station (London) or in the brand new stage the Forgotten Waterfall. Here’s a look at what the Forgotten Waterfall looks like.

Look familiar? Maybe you’ve seen the top of it in a previous Street Fighter. Each of the stages has been inspired by various locales throughout the world with the Forgotten Waterfall’s inspiration being directly pulled from New Zealand.

PS3 Stick Functionality

At this moment in time we’re currently evaluating PS3 joystick and controller functionality for the final product. That said, PS3 joysticks and controllers will not work for this BETA.

Now that you know what to expect, players should read up on how the new battle systems work to get ready for battle. For those interested in signing up for the BETA, please read the instructions below and follow those which pertain to your region.

Sign up now:

Users can sign-up via PSN for a chance at being selected to participate in the Beta program.

You can sign-up at the following link:

Street Fighter V Beta Enroll

Sign-ups will close on July 15. Users who are selected to participate in the Beta will receive an email on July 24 with instructions on how to access their Beta redemption key. 

Gorgeous Destiny Console Bundle to Release This September in Australia for $569.95


Happy Bungie Day everyone.

To celebrate this glorious day, Bungie and Playstation have announced a new Limited Edition Playstation console bundle that you can buy come September 15th in Australia at EB Games and JB Hi-Fi for $569.95. It’s a shame that this is the 500GB model and not the 1TB, but then again you can easily put your own HDD in your PS4 if need be. This will be a good (And kick arse) time to get into Destiny and if you don’t already own a PS4 yet. Note: The black console bundle will NOT be sold in Australia.

This is the second console bundle that Bungie and Activision have teamed up with Sony to produce. The first being the Glacier white console released in September last year when Destiny had release.

The console bundle that shall be sold in Australia will include the following:

Product name LIMITED EDITION DESTINY: THE TAKEN KING PlayStation®4 Bundle
Release date September 15, 2015
Included ・  PlayStation®4 x system x 1 *Special Design
Hard Disk Drive capacity 500GB*・  Wireless Controller (DUALSHOCK®4) x1 *Special Design・  DESTINY: THE TAKEN KING – LEGENDARY EDITION for PS4 x 1・  Mono headset x 1

・  AC Power cord x 1

・  HDMI cable x 1

・  USB cable x 1

・  Printed materials x 1

Copyright ©Bungie, inc.©Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.Design and specifications are subject to change without notice

Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst Has a Strong Story, Features Gadgets to Help Faith and Gets Very Vertical


It’s been a long seven years for Mirror’s Edge fans, but finally after such a uncertain wait, Faith is finally back and in a much bigger and more impressive way than any of us could have imagined. Gone is the gunplay, meaning that players can not use any guns dropped by enemies and many fans of the original will note that apart from the short and simple storyline, this was the weakest part of the game.

Included as well is an overhauled melee combat system, which feels much more fluid in Faith’s movements and to accompany this is a truly open world setting for players to traverse.

The City of Glass is Faith’s new playground and it is littered with various objectives the player can undertake.

Included in the demo for E3 but not limited to these were:

  • Billboard Hack
  • Speed Run
  • Delivery

Whilst these aren’t the official titles of the objectives, you can get a rough idea of what they involve.

Billboard hacking is exactly as it reads, you traverse the environment in any way possible to reach a high up billboard, press ‘X’ or ‘A’ to hack it and you’re done. Similar to Assassin Creed’s towers, though I’m not sure they really change the influence in a section or if they are more so for there for completionists, and to showcase the beautiful city environment. This was quite easy and I’m hoping the further you are in the game the harder they get.

Speed Runs are your time trial objective where you must get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ in the shortest time possible and where the game truly shines. As Glass is an open world with no loading screens, players can follow the set marker trail to reach their destination but they are not restricted to it. You can still take shortcuts if you find them to shave off a few seconds, and remembering the days of Mirror’s Edge, speed runners will tear this game apart.

They will find every little hole Faith can slide under, every wall she can jump over just to get there a fraction quicker, and with leaderboards you can bet some ridiculous times shall be recorded.

Last but not least there’s package delivery. These are very similar to the speed runs, but you’ll have enemies around most corners ready to take you down. This is where we got a chance to test out the game’s combat in all its revamped glory. Whilst I didn’t mind the combat in the original you can definitely see that Faith’s movements are of a more fluid nature.

She seamlessly transitions from running to combat and it’s a sight. I applaud the removal of gun combat because it took away from using Faith’s most powerful tools, her body. Combat feels less like a chore this time around and Faith is equipped with a whole arsenal of new moves to take down foes. There are specific takedowns that Faith can do similar to that of the Arkham franchise whilst she’s in the air.

This demo, whilst short, gave me a good indication that Catalyst won’t be disappointing fans of the original entry to the franchise.

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After the 13 minute demo had ended, I managed to have a quick chat with Erik Odeldahl (Design Director) who whilst new to the franchise, joins the team at DICE which includes 7 original developers who worked on the Mirror’s Edge (2008).

We like to think we’re catering to several types of players. We have a very strong story that brings you through the city, brings you into contact with all the important characters and Faith’s origins story. The free roaming sections are very important as well, we believe even players that don’t usually do that type of stuff we really hope they will play this one as well.

I also asked that since the game is now open world how vertical does the City of Glass get for Faith to traverse, as giving players this type of liberating freedom means the game world must be engaging enough to explore.

It’s gets very vertical after a while and we have gadgets, but we’re not ready to talk about those yet to help with some of that, so definitely very vertical.

Whilst they haven’t touched up on the gadgets, I’m assuming they’ll be something akin to maybe a zipline to travel from building to building. Heading closer to the its February 2016 release date we’ll find out more about what they will be.

Overall, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst to me feels like the game it was meant to be 7 years ago. No gun combat, huge focus on parkour movement, a beautiful city run by a controlling government with our runners and another faction at play, ‘Black November’, which we know little about.

There isn’t much more I can add unfortunately, the demo gave us a glimpse of how the game runs and looks and fans should be pleased. It didn’t give away any plot elements, as doing so would leave us over the 8 months with knowledge we can’t do anything with.

It was a perfect short demo to showcase the open world nature of the game, no loading screens, revamped melee combat and how much free roaming the player can do.

February 2016 cannot come fast enough.

My Heart Is Unraveling Like Yarn Because I Want To Play More Of Unravel


In between the announcements of the yearly updates of EA Sports titles and big titles like Mass Effect: Andromeda and Star Wars Battlefront, came an announcement on the partnership of a small Swedish game studio, Coldwood and Electronic Arts on the development of a new puzzle platformer game titled, Unravel. I had my hopes high for Unravel since seeing the trailer for it and EA has ticked all the boxes for publishing a great game. It’s nice to see while EA is concentrating on big titles with new story lines with Mass Effect: Andromeda, in the meantime they would be publishing little budget games like Unravel.

Unravel introduces Yarny, a tiny, new character made from a single thread of yarn that slowly unravels as you move, who embarks on a seemingly larger than life journey through the breath-taking, lush environments of Northern Scandinavia. Using Yarny’s small thread and big heart, players will traverse nature’s obstacles in this unique physics-based puzzle platformer.

Before the hands on demo there was a presentation with Jakob Marklund, Chief Technology Officer at Coldwood, explaining the concept behind the game and game mechanic were explained after putting Yarny in different situations from environments in Northern Sweden, and snapping pictures, figuring out fun things you could do with that yarn.

The hands on demo starts off with Yarny trying to mend a broken bond, trying to help a lonely old woman reconnect with all that she has lost. The yarn unravels as you move, and if you run out of yarn you can’t go on. You will need to find yarn balls to replenish his body to progress in the game. Your goal is to try to make that yarn reach all the way through the game, from start to finish. This allows the player to retrace their steps just in case if you get stuck on how to move forward or fall in a hole. The yarn is quite literally the red thread that ties everything together and unravels more of the story the further away it gets from the things that it loves.

There are a few different gameplays available throughout the various puzzles. You have the ability to shoot your yarn like a grappling hook, or hold onto the string behind you to have the option of pulling yourself up or descending on it. You can also use the yarn to grab and drag objects, and tie off the yarn to fixed points for either the purpose of using it as a bridge or to use it as a trampoline to throw yourself to higher heights.

Unravel is a game all about overcoming obstacles, both big and small. Some challenges are simple, like using Yarny’s thread to swing across a gap, or rappel down a tree. Sometimes things get more complex, like making a bridge with some apples to walk on so Yarny doesn’t get wet and die, and players will need to use Yarny’s thread in clever and creative ways to find the path forward. If you die, there are yarn balls placed around the map that serves as checkpoints. Along the way, you will witness him unlock a heartfelt story about love and longing, and the ties that bind. The tale is told completely without words and clues about the game’s storyline like a baby in a photograph, a laughing boy with his father, and the father being dragged away by police are discovered in the background throughout the way immersing the player in the game rather than having cut scenes.

Having not played for that long, Unravel pulls you into the game with its realistic scenes (gardens, forests, streams, gravel roads), wistful music and the different emotions that Yarny expresses taking into account the lack of facial features Yarny has and makes you want to keep playing it to make sure that Yarny is safe. I cannot wait to get my hands on this when it comes out as I would love to find out what happens while I enjoy the different puzzles available in this beautiful world that they have created.

Embark with Yarny on a seemingly larger than life adventure to reconnect the long-lost memories of a family when Unravel releases in 2016 for digital download for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a physical release of this game with Yarny included in there as well, but only time can tell with the interest it picks up.

This Australian Fought for a Refund from EA for Simcity’s Broken Launch and Won


One Australian Reddit user, WhyDoISuckAtW2, has gone up against the two-time ‘Worst Company in America‘, Electronic Arts, and won.

After speaking to EA online several times for a refund, WhyDoISuckAtW2 was then put through to a representative from Origin who told him he had to call a United States number in regards to refunds.

Having to call in the early hours in the morning (due to the time difference) and was then left on hold for over 30 minutes, eventually he came to the conclusion that he was getting no where, which then lead him to complain to the ACCC, which followed through with his complaint and forced EA to refund the money paid for the game.

On the 28th of April, the ACCC released a statement declaring EA’s business practices were in breach of Australian Consumer Law (ACL), stating that their customers are not entitled to refunds under any circumstances..

It is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law for businesses to state that customers are not entitled to refunds under any circumstances. Where a product has a major failure, consumers can insist on a refund or replacement at their choice. Representations that this right has or can be excluded, restricted or modified are false or misleading,

– Rod Sims, ACCC Chairman

SimCity 5 was a broken piece of shit and EA made it extremely difficult to get a refund.

I filed a complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) who eventually forced them to issue refunds.

– Reddit Poster WhyDoISuckAtW2

EA have since amended their terms and conditions to comply with Australian Consumer Law, as well as implement and maintain an Australian Consumer Law Compliance Program, with measures for risk assessment, complaints handling and staff training.

SimCity 5 at launch was almost unusable, mostly due to the fact that the game required an always-on internet connection, and EA’s servers would take a beating due to the influx of traffic.

Simcity refund

Credit: Reddit

GAMMA CON 2015 – The Indie Games


At the end of May, Canberra celebrated video games, cosplay and all things geeky at Gamma Con which a pop culture convention that is only in its second year. It’s a small event with plenty of board games to play, loot to spend all your cash on and panels with special guest such as Goose from Good Game and host of SBS Pop Asia, Andy Trieu. There were gaming tournaments, films, workshops and a great room that was filled with Canberra game developers showing off their latest creations. Here are my thoughts on some of the titles I got to have a quick play of.

Warden: Melody of the Undergrowth 

If you like the sound of The Legend of Zelda meets Banjo-Kazooie then Warden: Melody of the Undergrowth might be just for you. Warden has you play as Tavian, an imperial prince, who fights, figures out puzzles and navigates the world quite like the loveable Link. His appearance is cartoonish similar to Windwaker’s art style and the world he explores is full of bright, exciting colours such as the solid, green leaves shuffling in the trees and the calming blue water trickling down the river. I only got to play the pre-beta build but there is plenty to do such as fight a couple enemies, become introduced to the characters that expand the story and solve some puzzles. Overall it works quite well and I enjoyed myself the entire time whilst playing it. I’m looking forward to see how it’ll improve and change before the release.

Evergreen

Do you like trees? Ever get that nagging feeling that damn it would be great to just sit down, relax and grow your own unique tree in a matter of seconds? Well it’s time to get your green thumbs out in the tree building extravaganza called Evergreen

Within the game you can create pretty much any type of tree you desire with the choice of branches, flowers, leaves and even roots, but there is more to the game than meets the eye. You see you need to create strong branches and have long roots sucking up the nutrients your tree needs for sustenance, otherwise there is a chance you might see it just topple down. There also are goals along the side of your screen that once achieved unlocks more design choices for your plant. The game looks quite simple visually but your tree lives in a unique world that changes and evolves as your tree does – even to the point where animals will be coerced to sneak out of their hiding place and witness the beauty of your impressive creation.

Dragon’s Wake

Dragon’s Wake has you, the player, starting off as (you guessed it) a young, baby dragon who is ready to explore the world and evolves into a bigger, stronger dragon as you play. It works with a simple mechanic – jumping and gliding onto platforms with the click of a button – but you need to pinpoint the exact times when to jump, double jump or even triple jump in order to reach your intended destination. As you explore the 2-D retro caverns you’ll start to come across different types of life which are there for you to gobble up and either top up your health, give you new powers or get some upgrades. I’ve only played a little bit of this but it’s a delight. The art style is beautiful and the controls are fluid and accurate making me immersed in this little game in just a matter of minutes. Plus it has an incredible soundtrack changing whilst you explore new and interesting areas.

The Incredible Journey of You and I

The Incredible Journey of You and I was by far my favourite out of all the titles I played at GAMMA CON. It’s a two player experience that requires you and your partner working together to travel through a level whilst shooting at enemies but there’s a catch – only one person can either shoot or move your flying ship at one time and it all depends on the colour you are. You may either be blue or pink as well as the background behind you. If the area is blue and you’re character is blue as well,  you get to control the ship whilst your pinks partner shoots and vice versa. Colour also is important whilst defeating these black enemies that also may have a touch of blue or pink. Pink enemies can only be hit by pink bullets and blue enemies can only be hit by blue bullets. It sounds a little confusing but it all works incredibly well and its very much in early days – the spaceship we were flying wasn’t even visible. I can’t wait to see what the end result is because just playing this little demo got me extremely ecstatic and had me smiling the entire playthrough.

Incredible Journey of YOu and I

Just Cause 3 is a Bat-Shit Crazy, Next Generation Mercenaries That Never Was


Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (2005) and Mercenaries: World in Flames (2008), were one my favourite titles back on the original Xbox, developed by the now defunct Pandemic Studios. They were every gamers dream of having an open world title where they could do almost anything they wanted. After seeing Just Cause 3 in action at the start of Square Enix’s E3 Press Conference, I must say I am excited for it’s open world gameplay that lets you ride a god-damn missile falling from the sky.

The images below are screen-caps from the trailer as, unfortunately, I cannot find ANY press assets from E3 that showcase these crazy stunts.

In Mercenaries, the open world was the players playground and they could level any single building that they saw fit. Give or take the Just Cause franchise includes this feature, a decade ago on the original Xbox, this blew my mind. To see a game on the new generation of consoles feature such a vast open world for the player to explore where they can level buildings, use barrels as explosives by using the grapple hook and allowing them to hook enemies to buildings is just pure bliss.

From watching the trailer, you’ll instantly notice the similarities between both games and you’ll know why Just Cause 3 will be amazing. Driving tanks, soaring through the sky in your wing-suit, leveling buildings, blowing everything up it’s what I really wanted Mercenaries 3 to be, but unfortunately never was.

On the show room floor, Square Enix were holding public interactive presentations where they would showcase just how you can cause destruction in the game. Players can destroy buildings by using the grapple hooks to couple them together with exploding barrels, they can destroy statues again by using exploding barrels, or the statues own arm to slap itself and make it crumble.

Players are able to use helicopters to destroy bridges and make them tumble with cars still on there, unhinge large fuel containers to blow up petrol stations or tether cars to other cars, the possibilities are endless. Avalanche Studios have embraced the over the top nature of the franchise and it’ll make you and I enjoy the game all the more.

What you saw over the course of the 3 days is exactly what I saw and there wasn’t much else. You can’t sell the game to me any more because I’m already sold. I love an open world game where I can traverse the environment and do as I please. Standing on top of the plane you were just flying then just casually base jumping off it, only to spread your arms and activate your wing-suit to sore through the sky, will be on many players “To do” list.

Losing speed? Just use your grapple hook to hook onto the ground to pull yourself further and continue flying.

There are so many open world games coming out end of this year and early next, that they’ll need something special to make them stand out from each other. Just Cause 3 will have some really tough competition for crazy open world game, but I strongly feel that it does enough to set itself apart from the pack.