Bethesda E3 Showcase Figures Gallery


Some of the lucky few (including us) got to attend Bethesda’s E3 Showcase at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. All attendees were given three Funko designed figures, based on the Bethesda franchises Doom, Fallout and Dishonored.

Unfortunately we don’t have any figures to give away but what we do have is a few photos to share with you, which are below. Enjoy!

Dishonored 2 And Dishonored Definitive Edition Officially Announced


Arkane Studios has officially announced a sequel to Dishonored with a cinematic trailer at Bethesda’s E3 2015 conference earlier today. Dishonored 2 is set 15 years after the Lord Regent has been vanquished and the dreaded Rat Plague has passed into history. An otherworldly usurper has seized the throne from Empress Emily Kaldwin, leaving the fate of the Isles hanging in the balance. As either Emily Kaldwin or Corvo Attano, travel beyond the legendary streets of Dunwall to Karnaca, a once-dazzling coastal city that holds the key to restoring Emily to power. Armed with the mark of the Outsider and powerful new supernatural abilities, hunt down your enemies and forever alter the fate of the Empire.

You can explore the world with either Emily Kaldwin or Corvo Attano, both powerful assassins with their own unique set of supernatural abilities, weapons and unusual gadgets. Define your own playstyle by blending immersive first-person action, assassination, stealth, mobility and the game’s brutal combat system. Combine the tools at your disposal to creatively eliminate your enemies whether you choose to pursue them unseen or ruthlessly attack head on with weapons drawn. More than ever the choices you make will determine the outcome of each mission, and ultimately the game.

Dishonored 2 will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in early 2016.

At the same time Arkane Studios’ 2012 Game of the Year, Dishonored, and all of its additional content (Dunwall City Trials, The Knife of Dunwall, The Brigmore Witches and Void Walker’s Arsenal) was confirmed that it is coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with the Dishonored Definitive Edition. You can experience Dishonored plus all of its additional content on the new console systems for the first time, complete with enhanced graphics that take full advantage of the powerful hardware of this generation.

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Dishonored Definitive Edition is set to release for Playstation 4 and Xbox One on 28 August 2015 with a pricing of US$39.99

OXCGN’s Thief Review


Run away, and live to steal another day.

The Baron’s Watch patrol the jewellery store, but they’re no match for me. I stalk in the shadows. Unseen, unheard. I manage to lift everything that isn’t bolted down, but I still crave more. I peer through a keyhole, where I see my prize.

A wall safe.

Problem is, there’s a sleeping guard no more than arm’s length away from it. It’s nothing Garrett, the Master Thief can’t handle. I slip through the doorway, and tiptoe up to the safe. I pull out my trusty lockpick in order to gain entry to the riches locked away.

First pin, set. The second, set. The tension in the room is almost unbearable as I have certain death just a few feet behind me. I go to set the final pin, and it slips out of place. The loud crack wakes the guard from his slumber. With no time to lose, I dive behind a couch, resigning the fact that I will soon be discovered. The guard rises from his chair, looks around to see nothing disturbed, and thankfully returns to his slumber.

I return to set the final pin before claiming my prize, and getting the hell out of there, like a ghost in the night.

Many prizes are there for the taking.
Many prizes are there for the taking.

Many experiences such as this await you in Thief, the latest instalment in what series arguably started the stealth genre back in 1998. Developed at the hands of Eidos Montreal and brought to us by Square Enix, Thief is the long overdue return to form for the stealth genre, which hasn’t seen too much love in the last few years.

Players once again take on the role of Master Thief Garrett, a dark and solitary individual that stalks from the shadows of The City. Oppressed and abused by the Baron’s Watch, the people have had enough. A revolutionary named Orion has stepped up in order to end the tyranny, and free the people. Add to that as sickness known as The Gloom is plaguing the city, and you can see it’s not the best place one could live. None of this is a concern to Garrett however. He doesn’t involve himself in the politics and struggle. All that matters to him are the prizes, and overcoming the challenges that accompany them.

Unfortunately for Garrett though, as the story unfolds events from his past will drag him into the light of the struggle; a place where no thief ever wants to be.

Overall, the story is quite engaging. It was quite refreshing to have a character who is not on the road to redemption or anything of the sort. Garrett doesn’t want to be a hero. Much like the character’s core, Thief‘s heart is all about stealing other people’s valuables. The character of Garrett himself was quite logical in the story, always calm and collected. Garrett always stayed true to himself, and never had any cliché moments where he changes his attitude for the greater good, etc. No matter what his objective is, there is always time for a bit of good old fashioned thievery.

“This is Dishonored 2 right?”

I’m just going to get this out of the way early, Thief has comparisons to 2012’s hit Dishonored.

Not to go into anything for risk of spoilers, but many components people find in the game will remind them of Dishonored. Thief takes place in a plague-ridden city, with its occupants oppressed and desperate for a revolution. Other themes will have players casting their minds back to their time in Dunwall, whether it’s the similarity of the world’s environments, or where specific chapters take place. Sure, Thief hasn’t done any favours by switching from a medieval setting to a steampunk-inspired world, but to call it a knock off of Dishonored is ridiculous.

They both may have a stealth focus, but Thief doesn’t put you into the shoes of a magical assassin hell-bent on revenge. Garrett is more likely to get killed in a confrontation, whereas Corvo would dispatch them with ease.  Take a couple hits from a sword and it’s game over for Garrett. Dishonored had a magic-heavy focus too, whereas Thief is solely focussed on stealing things with realistic tools without getting caught. It doesn’t try to tack on any gimmicks in order to make things seem more exciting. It’s a bare bones mechanic of sticking to the shadows.

Garrett is no assassin.

Stealth 101

Following the trend in gaming, Thief operates with a hub world structure. Garrett’s base of operations is the Clocktower, which allows players to check out their collection of loot they have stolen throughout their journey. Players can also store excess items for later use.

From here, players then enter the world of The City, which consists of various districts. Each district is filled with various homes and business where you can take time away from the main objective in order to line your pockets with gold. Each district feels starkly different to each other, even though the overall game has the typical dark and dreary palette. While this might come as no surprise to anyone, the addition of characters (both seen and unseen), as well as various books and notes within these districts help bring The City to life, and immerse the player into the world. The character’s conversations detail the current events, but if you take your time to go around and loot houses instead of actively pursuing the main story, there will be a lot of repeated dialogue.

Overall, Thief is not a linear experience. Many routes all lead to the same objective, it’s up to the player to discover the right way for them. From The City’s districts, levels branch off into specific areas for each chapter, which moves the story forward. These levels are more highly detailed and allow the player to discover multiple ways of completing objectives. Secret switches in bookcases may reveal a hidden passage, or a journal hidden behind a painting may reveal the easiest route to an objective. Each of these levels are distinctively different, with one such level giving me the creeps a lot better than the latest Amnesia game did.

Levels have a great mix of action, exploration and puzzles. A lot of these puzzles are unique and quite challenging, which makes the game all the more exciting as they aren’t endlessly repeated. Whether it’s aligning a puzzle lock, or hunting around for clues to a safe combination, there is always a great reward for your troubles.

Each chapter can be completed in three ways, much like in Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Depending on your playstyle, you’ll be awarded a title for each chapter. Ghost has players remaining undetected and disturbing no enemies throughout the chapter, Opportunist sees the player using the environment to their advantage to bypass enemies and obstacles, and Predator sees the player stalking and taking enemies out one by one. Each chapter has a list of objectives to complete in relation to a specific method the player wishes to use.

After completing a chapter, players are free to head back and revisit it in order to perfect their skills, try a different approach, or loot all the remaining collectibles. This adds not only replayability, but convenience as well by not having to start a new game to play through a favourite level.

If you want to take your time however, there are a variety of side jobs available in The City which allow you to put your skills to good use, and gain even more coin for supplies and upgrades. This side missions all vary, from simply emptying out a house of it’s valuables, to retrieving a Carnival owner’s 8-legged cat.

Tools of the Trade

If simply sneaking past enemies doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then Garrett has many tools at his disposal.

The blackjack is the trusty tool of knocking people the hell out unsuspectingly, but is quite useless taking on an alert guard. That’s where Garrett’s trusty bow can help. In conjunction with different arrow types, the bow can get you out of trouble. Rope arrows can help you reach high places, water arrows can put out torches, fire arrows can light oil slicks, and sawtooth arrows have the useful ability of penetrating enemy skulls. If all else fails you can just throw bottles into a guard’s face. Their A.I. is much better than standard guard A.I, with suspicious guards having various levels of suspicion, before going to search mode, then attack mode (much like Dishonored).

Guards aren’t the only thing you have to worry about though, as plenty of traps aim to hinder Garrett from getting his hands on valuable loot. Wirecutters can deactivate traps, and a makeshift spanner can open hatches which help you avoid them entirely.

Broken glass left on floors can alert people to your presence, and rushing past birds and dogs can lead them to do the same thing. It really pays to be careful and not rush things in Thief, as doing so will usually lead to a quick demise.

Avoiding confrontation is the best course of action.
Avoiding confrontation is the best course of action.

Five Finger Discount

So what’s the point of stealing all these shiny objects? All these items you steal convert into gold, which allows Garrett to buy upgrades and abilities. These abilities range from increased bow and blackjack damage, increased quiver storage, damage resistance, the usual upgrades you’d expect.

Gold can also be used to purchase Focus Points, which relates to Garrett’s special ability. Focus acts as a sort of Eagle Vision in Thief, highlighting interactive objects, enemies, valuables and traps. Focus depletes quickly with use, and is replenished through the consumption of poppies. Enhancements of this ability is gained through Focus Points, which can result in lower consumption of Focus, slowing down time in order to take out enemies simultaneously, pickpocketing faster, etc. Points can be found throughout levels, or purchased from the Queen of the Beggars in the Chapel.

It can be quite annoying purchasing these points though, as the Chapel is located in one corner of the map, which requires a lot of backtracking through loading times to get to and from in relation to the rest of the city. A fast travel option would have helped greatly in this regard.

The great thing about Focus is that it isn’t overpowered. Even with the reduced consumption, it depletes relatively quickly, forcing the player to utilise other skills instead of going the one move frequently. For you murderers out there, Focus can help you take out an alerted guard with one hit, but it’s more so designed so you can get away, as more than 2-3 uses of this ability will find your gauge quickly depleted. It works to complement the rest of Garrett’s skills, instead of overshadowing everything else.

In the Shadows

In terms of hardware, Thief looks and feels pretty slick.

The game controls feel fluid and smooth, much like Garrett himself. On the Xbox One controller, the Left trigger has players sprinting around and leaping over walls with ease. Players can duck between cover and peek around walls with the push of a single button. Pressing A allows players to swoop quickly through patches of light into the safety of darkness. Xbox One owners can utilise their Kinects if they are feeling more interactive. Leaning side to side allows them to peek around corners, leaning forward automatically performs the Swoop, and shouting profanities into the mic can distract guards.

Visually, Thief looks impressive, with all character models being highly detailed, and environments full to the brim with little details to truly portray a living world. There was a few instances of muddy textures popping in, but other than that I had no bugs. Transitioning between gameplay and in-game cutscene is almost flawless, with a few times I thought I was still in control. It really works to tie in the whole experience, limiting that disconnect players have with the story. I can’t say the same for the pre-rendered scenes however, with some looking like the quality we associate with last gen technology.

In relation to audio, Thief holds its own. I’m not sure whether it was my set up, but the music would changed volumes without me altering anything, sometimes making character dialogue hard to hear. That’s a shame too, as the music really helps to set the mood for the environments. The voice acting is really well done too, with Garrett being the stand out. His delivery is never forced, his voice perfectly portrays someone who is cool, calm and collected. That’s not to write off the supporting cast however, as all characters are well-voiced. It’s great to hear the generic NPCs not sound like stereotypical cockney hacks.

There are some immersive places to explore.
There are some immersive places to explore.

Are you a Master Thief?

All in all, players of all types will find something to enjoy with Thief.

Passive players can play through the whole game without killing anyone, sadists can kill everyone they see, with plenty left for players in between. There is plenty of replayability to be had too, with players able to revisit levels after completion in order to complete them in different ways. It’s quite a lengthy playthrough, taking around 15 or so hours on the first run through. Patient players can expect that to drag out, if they wish to collect all unique treasures and items.

A challenge mode operates similar to the Arkham series of Batman games, where players post as score to the global leaderboards in order to complete with friends and strangers. There’s even a custom difficulty mode, which enables players to set specific parameters for how alert guards are, how frequent supplies are, etc. This really helps to add longevity and challenge to a game after initially completed.

The story overall is engaging, but is let down by a lacklustre ending. But that’s not what Thief is all about. Primarily it’s about stealth, that’s all it’s ever been about. Sure, it’s going to always be compared to Dishonored, but to do so would be a cop out. Fans of the series know what to expect.  It mightn’t be flashy and have all these cool supernatural bells and whistles attached, but it is one of the best pure stealth experiences to emerge from the shadows in years.

The City awaits...
The City awaits…

Pros:

+ Multiple playthroughs cater to many playstyles

+ Great balance between skills

+ Non-linear, immersive world and characters

Cons:

– Load times between areas can suck you out of the game

– Minor graphical bugs

9/10

*Review conducted on Xbox One with code supplied by Square Enix.
©2014 Daniel Geikowski

Preview: Thief Will Immerse Players in a City with Plenty of Secrets and Loot


Patience is a virtue, which rings true when playing Thief

Much like Final Fantasy, I never got into the original Thief trilogy, purely because at the time in 1998 I didn’t own a PC powerful enough to run it. I was only equipped with an Amiga 3000 and my trusty Nintendo 64. Moving along, it wasn’t until 2002 when I had a PC that had enough grunt to run games at decent specs. By that time unfortunately I had invested my time in so many other franchises Thief fell into the shadows.

Now with Eidos Montreal having successfully rebooted Deus Ex with Deux Ex: Human Revolution on consoles, of course it would seem fit to do the same thing with Thief.

Always explore your surroundings
Always explore your surroundings

Thief  opens up with Garrett in a room where the first thing you’ll do is steal loot, and lots of it. Searching table drawers or cupboards, almost everything in the world of Thief can be stolen. Knives, forks, scissors, stainless steel cups, photo frames, coins the list just goes on and on. Every item that you steal within the environment will reward you with coins, which of course is the in game currency.

These coins will allow you to purchase items such as arrows or upgrades to your various abilities, longer lasting focus, better lock-picking skills and more.

Garrett returns as the game protagonist/anti-hero refit for the modern gamer, whilst still retaining his quality trademarks which have hailed him in various lists as one of the “influential most bad-ass and anti-hero characters” to be created.

We learn after looting the room you start in that Garrett has a protege, in the form of a female thief, called Erin.

She’s young and extremely cocky, much like many sidekicks in almost every game or superhero tale. It is during this opening mission you’ll embark throughout the City whilst learning the basics of the game. How to run and jump towards ledges which is mapped to L2 (Game features parkour movement akin of Mirrors Edge) and how to equip various arrows etc.

Using the PS4 touch-pad for this type of functionality was flawless, I found myself using it a lot more than scrolling with the D-Pad. Various arrows such as water, fire or blunt are mapped to specific sections of the touch-pad. Once you slide your finger and have highlighted the arrow of your choice, all you do is click and it’s equipped.

Whilst Garrett can fight, it isn't advised
Whilst Garrett can fight, it isn’t advised

You can’t seem to retrieve these arrows, so be sure to explore every inch of every level as Thief isn’t your average stealth game.

In an effort to retain the PC gamers who grew up on the original Thief trilogy, Eidos have introduced difficulty mods that one can select before starting a new game. These include classic, legendary and ultimate difficulty mods.

One mods includes turning off the glint that all types of loot give off when entering a room. This means searching all inches of a room before leaving as no glint will give you any help what so ever.

Other mods include the ability to turn off automatic saves and finishing all missions without knocking out or alerting any guards. The toughest of them all, is of course the mod which only gives you one life.

Let’s say you’ve poured 10 hours or so into the campaign and you’ve managed to reach the final level, if you die at any point you will be reverted to the start of the game. It’s definitely giving PC players that customisation they love, to cater the game to how they want to play and also the hardcore gamers, who love a challenge. Eidos did comment that they will be finding ways to reward those players who wish to take up the challenge.

Despite the game difficulty, one can still find it a challenge even on Normal.

This is due to the fact that Garrett is NOT a brawler. Even though he is equipped with his trusty Blackjack and Erin’s claw, I do not advise in ever combating more than one enemy at once. Garrett does hold the ability to dodge attacks, however ensuring minimal casualties and maximum coins will require patience. Take enemies out from behind without alerting anyone or don’t engage them at all.

Thankfully Eidos have included multiple paths that players can take up on when entering a new area. Whilst many will take the obvious route, players can activate the “Focus” ability that will highlight interest points in blue.

This is the only ability that Garrett possesses and it can be turned off if one does not wish to be assisted. Remembering guard patrol patterns, exploring the environment and using the available tools at your disposal will be key.

Water arrows can distinguish torches, however if a guard notices this they will reignite the flame. Hiding bodies will ensure guards do not become alerted of your presence and throwing glass bottles will create enough of a distraction to ensure safe passage to the next bench to hide.

The environment is interactive and the games highlight is that of Garrett’s hand movements.

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Jazz hands

Anything that Garrett touches he will interact with. My favourite portion of the game is picking locks and feeling up photos for switches to unlock the safes behind them. When walking through curtains, rather than a static movement to sway away what’s in front of him, Garrett’s hand will move in an extremely realistic fashion.

Putting out candles with his fingers the same way you would in real life and even whilst walking, you’ll notice Garrett’s hand hover in front of him as to balance his body when creeping around. It’s the little inclusions such as this that makes Thief such an immerse experience.

Whilst the game is rich full of content and the characters are as pleasant to listen to as they are to look at, you’ll appreciate the dedication the development team had trying to create a true next-gen experience.

It’s more about making the player feel as if they’re the character they’re controlling. Seeing things through a first person perspective is important and you want the character to be as interactive as possible with his surroundings.

Peeking around corners like you do in Battlefield 4 or sliding to the crate across the footpath rather than walking there. The level design works for various game styles. You can scour the rooftops of The City and find little hidden areas to loot or various pathways to your mission. If you do this, you will be rewarded with not only dialogue spoken by Garrett but with high value treasure you can steal that is completely optional.

Everything of high value that you steal or earn is stored at your Watchtower which is your hub. You can admire your possessions or embark on the next story mission, it’s totallty up to you.

Perhaps one of the more innovative features though, as to not pull the player away from the experience, is the PS4 controller. When players sit or walk through the shadows the light on the controller will stay blue. If a player stumbles into the light or a bright flame, it’ll turn white. This allowed Eidos to minimize what’s on the screen and not have the player continually look at a certain section of the HUD to see if they’re hidden or not.

It’s why Thief is so enjoyable, from running around or creeping behinds guards you’ll always smile at the animations. The PS4 and Xbox One allow developers to do this now and it’s why I’m extremely excited to see what else they can throw in to the experience.

On top of all these features Thief is definitely a story and character driven experience, which is dark in tone and for mature audiences. The City is harsh, and you’ll uncover many secrets on your path to find out the truth. Stay patient, toy with the mods and turn the volume up when you play this game, because you’ll want to enjoy it and immerse yourself.

Down it is!
Down it is!

OXCGN’s Game of the Year Awards for 2012


2012 GOTY feature

OXCGN’s Game of the Year Awards for 2012

The world did not end this year 

by David Hilton

©2012 David Hilton

game of the year award smlWith all the attention on the impending Mayan apocalypse it would have been fitting to look at the state of gaming at the end of 2011 and wonder if the gaming world might also end.

While there was initially some optimism that new major next gen consoles would be announced at this year’s E3, only the Wii U actually was a next gen certainty and the limits of current gen consoles had seemingly been reached.

On top of that, gaming sequels continued to dominate game releases.

It looked like the end could be nigh for big release gaming of the AAA variety in the near future.

However the quality of this year’s titles shows that gaming is very much alive and though many studios and franchises faltered this year, more succeeded with some of the best games this gaming generation.

With a huge renaissance gaming year promised for 2013 in the form of new generation consoles, let’s look at 2012 as the last big battle of this current console generation for top gaming honours.

We gave our readers a chance in a poll to decide their 2012 Game of the Year, and the results came in with the beautiful and clever Playstation exclusive downloadable title, Journey. Now it’s our turn.

OXCGN GOTY here

OXCGN’s 2012 Reader GOTY: Gamers Voted, But Will the VGAs Get it Right?


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OXCGN’s 2012 Reader GOTY

Gamers voted, but will the VGAs get it right?

by Nicholas Laborde

©2012 Nicholas Laborde

For five wonderful years, OXCGN has been bringing the gaming community in Australia and abroad the best opinionated pieces in the gaming space.

This year, we decided to have two separate Game of the Year awards: one for the readers, and a second traditional one decided by our staff.

You voted, and the results are in.

Who did you pick?

And the winner is…

OXCGN’s Dishonored Competition


OXCGN’s Dishonored Competition

Win awesome stuff!

by Nicholas Laborde

©2012 Nicholas Laborde

Dishonored is the surprise hit of this year, gaining an astounding 9.5/10 from us.

We’re not stopping there, though.

OXCGN has partnered with Bethesda to give away t-shirts and copies of the game!

Remember, revenge solves everything… except entering our competition.

Which you should totally do. Continue reading OXCGN’s Dishonored Competition

OXCGN’s Dishonored Review: Best New IP in Years


OXCGN’s Dishonored Review

Best New IP in Years

by Nicholas Laborde

©2012 Nicholas Laborde

We’re at the end of the longest console cycle in the history of the industry.

Most AAA releases consist of sequels in well-established franchises. Publishers are taking less risk.

And then there’s Dishonored.

Created by the masterminds at Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda, Dishonored can only be accurately described as a beautiful, evocative masterpiece.

Dishonored Review: a masterpiece