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

EA’s E3 2015 Press Conference To Be Broadcast Live Include Star Wars Battlefront , Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Need For Speed And Others


The 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo begins next week in Los Angeles and EA kicks off the week by hosting its ninth annual E3 press conference on Monday, June 15 at 1:00pm PDT (June 16 at 6:00am AEST). EA joins the week-long gaming celebration by showcasing a dozen HD titles including the world debuts of gameplay from Star Wars Battlefront, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Need for Speed and more which will be hosted by CEO Andrew Wilson.

For the first time, EA will welcome hundreds of local High School and University students in the live press conference audience exposing them to the most exciting week for the videogame industry. Following the press conference, EA is hosting an exclusive panel discussion for these students featuring EA leaders and moderated by Tracy Fullerton, Director of USC’s Games Program, to discuss career opportunities in the videogame industry.

For viewers unable to attend the show in person you can view the EA E3 2015 Live Stream on the day.

The titles that EA will be showing off are:

  • FIFA 16
  • EA SPORTS FIFA
  • Madden NFL 16
  • Madden NFL Mobile
  • Minions Paradise
  • Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
  • NBA LIVE 16
  • Need for Speed
  • NHL 16
  • EA SPORTS Rory Mcllroy PGA TOUR
  • Star Wars Battlefront
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic (Knights of the Fallen Empire Expansion)

 

Need For Speed Returns In An Action Driving Experience That Unites The Culture Of Speed


Ghost Games which is an Electronic Arts studio announced today the return of Need for Speed in a full reboot of this storied franchise. The game delivers on what the fans want, and what Need for Speed stands for: deep customisation, authentic urban car culture, a nocturnal open world, and an immersive narrative that pulls you through the game.

Marcus Nilsson, Executive Producer at Ghost Games, stated:

Need for Speed is one of the most iconic names in gaming, and we’re returning it to greatness in this reboot. Pulling on our 20 years of history, and then taking a year out from releasing a game, we are making the game we’ve always wanted to. We’re listening to the fans and delivering an experience that will capture their imagination and unleash their passion for cars and speed.

Fuelled by EA’s own car culture community, SpeedhuntersNeed for Speed will deliver an experience that’s grounded in authentic car culture by diving into the rich world of past, present and emergent trends of the urban car scene. This collaboration with Speedhunters in the research and development of the game means the level of detail and real-world authenticity will envelop gamers in an exciting world to discover and enjoy in a way that only Need for Speed can deliver. See the Need for Speed announce teaser trailer below and don’t forget to watch the first full trailer on 15 June 2015.

Need for Speed will launch worldwide in Autumn 2015 on Origin for PC , PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

OXCGN’s Battlefield Hardline Campaign Review


Playing the police in a video game removes some of the core conflict resolution strategies first person shooters have come to rely on; when killing everything that moves is not your first option and the notion of playing the ‘good guy’ informs the decisions you must make game designers have the potential to change the dynamic of a shooter and favour a more nuanced approach to conflict. Battlefield Hardline is not the game to do this. What EA has delivered is a 5 hour snore fest devoid of any real personality or memorable qualities.

Hardline begins with Nick Mendoza, an ex-cop dressed in a prisoner’s uniform as he travels back to jail. Conveniently, we are given a flashback detailing the events leading to this point. Spoiler alert Nick hasn’t has the best luck whilst on the job, but with his new partner Khai Minh Dao how could anything else go wrong?

The story is separated into ten episodes with a “previously on” montage to refresh your memory as you head into the next episode. I always enjoy these little refreshers and it would be good to see this mechanic used more often in video games.

During each episode, buddy-cop movie and detective-show clichés are used instead of an original or imaginative story making the whole campaign dull. The dialogue is atrociously simple and each line is delivered with little to no passion. The characters are bland and lack any ounce of personality beyond their poorly constructed and stereotypical shells. The only time a little emotion was shown was when they randomly mention that Nick’s mother had died, after a brief and I stress brief moment to reflect on this loss we are thrown back into the action and his mother is never mentioned again.

Since it’s just a Battlefield campaign I thought that at least the action and gameplay would make up for a dull story… but I was dead wrong.

Car chases, explosions and shootouts provide little stimulation, as they all feel completely artificial. Each scene is extensively choreographed and you act like a puppet moving on to the next scene whilst you sacrifice your own enjoyment. I’ll even admit that, sometimes, I would just run past groups of bad guys to start the next cut scene so I could get past all the tedious, boring fights.

It also feels weird that the game encourages you to be super-stealthy all the time. You gain zero experience running and gunning but this is what you’d typically do during a Battlefield game! I understand it adds to the authentic police story experience but I just wanted to feel my blood pumping, not snooze while I subdue enemies with my infinite amount of handcuffs.

There is no way I could recommend playing the Battlefield Hardline campaign. It tried to be original but succumbed to the tedious clichés and stereotypes found in an average police drama. It had no “wow” action moments and makes me wish I didn’t waste the five hours of my life it took to complete it.

TL;DR

Battlefield Hardline suffers from bad writing, clichés and stereotypes as well as dull gameplay that will bore you to sleep. The campaign offers nothing special and nothing fun, overall this is a  negative experience that just felt like a waste of time.

Pros:

  • It tried

Cons:

  • Simple dialogue
  • Riddled with clichés and stereotypes
  • Boring action and gameplay

5/10

This Xbox One review copy was provided by EA Australia. 

Star Wars Battlefront Dev Diary Goes Behind The Scenes


With so much being revealed about Star Wars Battlefront over the weekend at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, it didn’t stop there as developer DICE takes you behind the scenes look with the ongoing development of Star Wars Battlefront in the first episode of a four part Developer Diary series.

The video discusses the amount of  detail the developer is pursuing in creating the most authentic Star Wars experience. DICE is working closely with LucasFilm in using the same authentic sound effects and recreating the landscapes that match the feeling of the films. In the first episode we also get to see a still image of the splitscreen co-op, featuring both third-person and first-person perspectives.

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Star Wars Battlefront will be available in North America on 17 November and starting 19 November in Europe for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and on PC.

EA, DICE and Lucasfilm Invite You to Immerse Yourself in Your Star Wars Battle Fantasies, Watch the New Star Wars Battlefront Trailer Now


DICE, an Electronic Arts studio, and Lucasfilm announced today that Star Wars Battlefront will be released on 17 November 2015 in North America and starting 19 November 2015 in Europe as the first full length trailer for this highly anticipated title premiered to thousands of fans at Star Wars Celebration. Combining an unprecedented collaboration with Lucasfilm and the award winning Frostbite game engine, Star Wars Battlefront will deliver an incredibly authentic and immersive interactive entertainment experience featuring photorealistic visuals and epic action in iconic Star Wars locations. See how this comes to life in-engine by experiencing the newest trailer for Star Wars Battlefront below:

Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir, Senior Producer of Star Wars Battlefront, said:

Like so many others around the world, everyone at DICE is a tremendous fan of the Star Wars universe. To be working on a Star Wars project and knowing we are helping to represent the universe we love to our generation and a legion of new Star Wars fans is truly an honor. Thanks to the access and knowledge shared with us by Lucasfilm, and the passion and talent of our team, we plan to deliver an amazing game that puts you right in the middle of the Star Wars battles you always imagined playing.

Star Wars Battlefront will allow fans to live out a wide range of heroic moments and intense battle fantasies of their own – firing blasters, riding speeder bikes and snow speeders, commanding AT-ATs and piloting TIE fighters and the Millennium Falcon. These battles will take place on some of the most iconic planets in the Star Wars universe, including Endor, Hoth, Tatooine and the previously unexplored planet, Sullust. Gamers will be able to play as some of the most memorable characters in the original trilogy such as Darth Vader and Boba Fett. Star Wars Battlefront will feature a wide range of modes tailored for different types of battles, from larger 40-person competitive multiplayer to crafted missions that are played solo, with a friend via split screen offline or cooperatively online.

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Fans who pre-order Star Wars Battlefront will be among the first players to experience the Battle of Jakku, the pivotal moment when the New Republic confronted key Imperial holdouts on a remote desert planet on the Outer Rim. Taking place in the aftermath of the Rebel victory in the Battle of Endor, players will experience the events that created the massive, battle-scarred landscape of Jakku shown in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Players who pre-order Star Wars Battlefront can fight the battle one week early starting on 1 December 2015. All other players will get access to this free content on 8 December 2015.

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For those who were at SWCA: Star Wars Battlefront Panel, there was a special giveaway for three lucky fans. A Star Wars Battlefront themed box with PS4, and a download code for Star Wars Battlefront were up for grabs. Winning tickets were taped under three random seats. Star Wars Battlefront will be available in North America on 17 November and starting 19 November in Europe for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and on PC.